Unearth Wyong Newsletter – January 2014

Published by Wyong District Museum & Historical Society. Written by Chris Hodges.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new members and volunteers both at the Museum and the Men’s Shed. We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and happy New Year. We would also like to extend our congratulations and best wishes to Phil Morley and Karen on the occasion of their wedding.

Construction

We are now a step closer to starting the reconstruction of the Homestead as the DA for Stage 1, with the amendments, was finally submitted to Council in December 2013 (see plans below) and should be approved sometime in February 2014. In the meantime the tree guavas in the driveway will have to be moved elsewhere on the property. We are all eagerly anticipating the start of construction for Stage 1 which is now expected to begin in July 2014. Council wants the new building to function as a museum and heritage centre, constructed on the footprint of the original homestead which was known for its significance as being the oldest house in Wyong Shire.

Homestead Plans_2013

The DA and plans have been submitted to Wyong Council for approval.

Donations

A great day was had by all when the Wyong & District Pioneer Association donated the cost of having an end of year BBQ for the Homestead and Men’s Shed volunteers and pioneer members. The BBQ was also attended by Mr Webber MP and Wyong Councillor, Mr Bob Graham.  On the day, the Homestead also received a generous donation from the Pioneer Association.

Greg Denning accepts a generious donation from Wyong & District Pioneer members Lee Frame and Flo Davies.

Greg Denning accepts a donation from Wyong & District Pioneer members Lee Frame and Flo Davies.

Alison Homestead Craft Group has completed the Dresden Plate pattern quilt they have all been working on, and it has now gone off to be quilted by one of the ladies whose quilting experience and time has also been donated. This beautiful quilt has been donated to the Museum to replace 2 quilts which had previously been donated by Dooralong School which were destroyed in the fire of December 2011. It will be hung in the Homestead when it has been rebuilt.

We would like to give a big thank you to Dave Young, who has donated a great deal of his time over the holidays setting up the sprinkler system for the Homestead. Dave has also donated his skills as a mechanic to fix some of the old sewing machines to get them up and running.

We also received from Carol Bailey a beautiful crocheted layette, baby booties (4 sets), bonnet and gown, in rich cream silk which was made for Sarah-Jane Van Telle in the 1870’s.

Gwen Clarke also donated the engraved plaque which was presented to her when Gwen became a life member of the Museum back in August 1994.

Rhonda White has generously donated 2 violins (1 JTL Geronimo Barnabetti Paris 1897), a doll’s pram circa 1950’s, a two-handed saw, an English Bebarfald-Vickers Sewing Machine circa 1930’s and a 44-piece silver-plated cutlery set.

Fundraising

The sale of Rotary raffle tickets has now closed and we sold overall $900 worth of tickets. This is one of our major fundraisers for the year and Rotary will return to us after the draw in February the value of the tickets we sold.

We also have a variety of plants available for sale as part of our fundraising efforts. If you are interested, do not hesitate to either visit us here at the Homestead or ring us for information.

We are anticipating arranging a Fair/Car Boot sale as another major fundraising effort for the year, possibly early May, with various stalls and rides, as well as the car boot sale.  A definite date will be decided upon at the next Committee meeting (4/2/14) and you will be advised of the date in our next Newsletter.

Grants

We have received from Wyong Council a grant to assist in the relocation of the telephone lines and electricity to the Slab Hut.

The Alison Homestead Men’s Shed

At the end of year Christmas BBQ, Mr Darren Webber MP also presented the Men’s Shed with a cheque for $12,513.00 for setting up the Men’s shed, and to construct a concrete pathway from Barkers Barn through to the Men’s Shed to enable wheelchair access. The Homestead also appreciates and would like to thank the Men’s Shed for all the ground work and maintenance work the men are doing for the Homestead.

Grant cheque presentation 2013

Darren Webber presents a cheque to Greg Denning at the end of year BBQ in the grounds of Alison Homestead.

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Why Local History?

Our family, our community, our locality, our region: we shape our sense of who we are partly by the people and places who surround us and with whom we live.  Their stories are a part of us, and to understand those stories is to understand ourselves and to imagine and explore the links between past, present and future. – University of New England/Local Studies.

Here are some memories of Eva Gear, from one of Wyong Shire’s pioneer families:

“Looking back over the years, it’s amazing how life has changed from long hard working days to the present modern equipment.

I can remember Sgt McCarthy, who was stationed at Wyong, would arrive on horseback and ride up the mountain behind our house on his way to Wollombi. He would stay overnight on his way back late the next afternoon. He would call and have a cup of tea and homemade bread. My mother cooked bread three times a week, many times in a camp oven or bake in a fuel stove.

One of Chapman & Sons wagons which delivered goods to the yarramalong and Dooralong Valleys in the early 1900s.

One of Chapman & Sons wagons which delivered goods to the Yarramalong and Dooralong Valleys in the early 1900’s. [Source: A Pictorial History of Wyong Shire, Vol II by Edward Stinson]

A covered wagon drawn by 2 horses, driven by Mr Eph Jurd, came out 5 days a week to deliver bread from Chapman’s Store as far up to Yarramalong store.  If families needed groceries an order was given to him on the way up and he would deliver on his way back.  Later on Vin Earl came with bread and butter; the bread was baked at a bake house over the Railway line owned by Mildred Jones.The roads were really bad, big pieces of rock and holes we couldn’t dodge, a hectic trip for everyone. One section near Kidman’s Lane was all logs, called corduroy. It was just a big wet place in bad weather; even sulkies had a job to get through. It was a treat for us kids to go shopping by a horse and sulky only. The horse would be tied up at Frank Adams Blacksmiths Shop.  On the way home, maybe 6d, or a shilling, would be our pocket money. We would stop at a little house near the Milk Factory owned by Bob Boyd. There was one step onto the veranda, a small wooden shutter would open up in the wall, no door available, and there were jars and jars of lollies.  The horses would get water from troughs; one at Chandlers Lane, the other near Wyong High School.For many years my father owned a bullock team, bringing logs out of the mountains. It would be 2 days to take a load to Wyong Railway. The bullocks would get water and salt at Wollabada Lane.Every day something new comes along and takes away the things we should remember.”

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Reminder

We are again asking those members who are currently not on our email list, if you would like to receive your copy of the next Newsletter by email, please advise us of your email address as this will save a lot of postage expense and time.

As advised in the previous email, future Newsletters will only be sent to financial members. If you are not sure if you are financial, give us a ring and we can check for you, otherwise you may miss out. Membership fees for the year 2014/15 are due on 1/7/2014.

Postscript 

We need any medium to large POTS for our plants, so if you have any to spare please think of donating them to us. We are also in need of some plastic storage containers (preferably with lids) to store books in.

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Sources: Newsletter written by Chris Hodges; Wyong Museum & Historical Society Archives; A Pictorial History of Wyong Shire, Vol II by Edward Stinson.

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