Are you one?
This is a question anyone can ask.
At the Wyong & District Pioneers Association meetings and dinners, a few lines penned by Lorna Clayton are recited:
They toiled before sun rise,
And long after it had set.
They helped to build the nation,
Our pioneers we should not forget.
This ode echoes the motto of the Pioneers – “No pioneer will ever be forgotten.”
These men and women were our ‘originals’ who took up selections, received grants from the government, cleared the virgin bush to make way for the first farms and settlements in Australia.
In 1914 a group of adventurous pioneering men who had contributed so much to the growth of the Wyong and Tuggerah Lakes District, met at the Grand Hotel, Wyong for the first pioneers get-together. Two informal dinners were held that year.
Then in 1915, the first official Brisbane Water District Pioneer Association dinner was held which included the Wyong area. There were forty present at the first dinner in 1915 and many recalled their experiences of “the good old days”.
There were a few years during WWI and WWII when dinners were not held, but the annual gathering of pioneers and their descendants continued well into the 1950s. The association disbanded after one of the last original members, Gersh Baker died; but was later renewed by his son Mick Baker, as the Wyong & District Pioneers Association, which continues to this day.
These pioneers blazed the way for new settlers who arrived in the early 1900s when land was sub-divided into small farm holdings. These settlers brought with them new names, skills and experiences to add to our rich history.
In every decade since, there have been new settlers who have planted roots and made their mark on our district. Many pioneer and settler family names live on through their descendants.
Anyone moving into the Wyong shire these days is undoubtedly one of our newest settlers – many moving into new estates, schools, businesses etc. They and their descendants will continue to build on our rich heritage, generation after generation.
Where do you fit – are you a pioneer, descendant, or a new settler?
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Written by Faye Maloney