Wyong’s World War One treasure survives the inferno

A precious piece of local history has been safely in storage since being rescued from the smouldering ruins of the Wyong District Museum at Alison Homestead in December 2011.

Tea Cloth 1915_0397

For Belgium 1915 from Wyong – embroidered signature teacloth – Wyong Museum & Historical Society.

On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW1, and on the eve of work commencing on the Museum rebuild, this delicate piece of fabric sealed behind glass has been cleaned of layers of soot and grime and was displayed at the Wyong District Pioneers Dinner on Saturday 18 October, 2014.

The gold frame is slightly charred and blistered on the bottom edge – evidence of just how close we came to losing this unique item to the fire which claimed so many of our heritage items.

It is believed the square teacloth was made by several local women to raise funds for the Belgian Relief effort. The names on the cloth appear to be signatures as they are not all written in the same hand, and then embroidered over in red thread.

Tea Cloth 1915_0416

Detail of embroidered signatures on the teacloth – Wyong Museum & Historical Society.


It is likely that people from the Wyong district paid to have their name embroidered on the cloth. The tablecloth was then auctioned by means of an art union prize on Belgian Day, 14 May 1915, to raise further money.

There are over 180 names on the cloth, most are well-known Wyong pioneers and settlers such as: Bailey, Barker, Beaven, Boyd, Chapman, Duggan, Earl, Gascoigne, Gavenlock, Hunt, Sharp, Smith, Tonkin, and Waters to name a few.

Detail of embroidered signatures on the teacloth – Wyong Museum & Historical Society.

Detail of embroidered signatures on the teacloth – Wyong Museum & Historical Society.

This irreplaceable treasure will, once again, take pride of place in our Museum when the rebuild is completed, we hope by October 2015.

Detail of embroidered signatures on the teacloth – Wyong Museum & Historical Society.

Detail of embroidered signatures on the teacloth – Wyong Museum & Historical Society.

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SOURCES: Wyong Museum & Historical Society; NLA Trove; Australian War Memorial.


Do you have a local history story to tell?

Story to Tell.indd

To acknowledge the pioneers and settlers of the Central Coast during our Pioneers Centenary year, our members are gathering snippets and stories of our men, women and children from the Wyong District.

We are looking for stories about local families – pioneers, settlers, local soldiers and those who returned from WW1 and settled locally.

We want to hear your memories of growing up on the Central Coast, as well as copies of letters, postcards, photos and any other related stories.

Wyong District Pioneers Logo_Colour

Wyong District Pioneers Association
Alison Homestead, 1 Cape Road, Wyong 2259
PO Box 241, Wyong NSW 2259

Email: wyong.pioneers@gmail.com

Blue Gum Flat Eleven v. Wyong Eleven – June 1878

This is a supplement to our post last month Wyong Eleven v. Blue Gum Flats Eleven – April 1878. Below is the account of the follow-up match at Blue Gum Flats (now known as Ourimah); as reported in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Saturday 22 June 1878.

Brisbane Water and Wyong District Cricketers

Four of our pioneer cricketers, L-R: Edward Hawkins, Robert Izzard, John Robley and James Buscombe. It was John Robley who with George Henry Taylor organised the first cricket match on the Central Coast played at Gosford in January, 1858.
[Original Photo: Miss Dorothy Garratt, Epping]



A recent match between the two Brisbane Water Cricket Clubs, generally known as the Wyong C.C., and the Blue Gum Flat Eleven (the former including the cricketers of Wyong, Yarramalong, and Cooranbong; and the latter the cricketers of Blue Gum Flat and Ourimbah) having terminated at Wyong place in a victory for the Blue Gum Flat, a return match was projected, and came off, at Blue Gum Flat, on the 31st of May and the 1st of June. In this amicable contest the “Wyongers” honorably retrieved their lost laurels, and inflicted a defeat on their sturdy opponents. The attendance throughout was good, and the play highly creditable to both of these clubs. The weather was only tolerable during the first day, but the rain, which came on about one o’clock p.m., was happily not continuous, and cleared off, after damping the spirits of both parties for an hour or two. Several visitors from Gosford, Wyong, and other places in the district, attended this match, which was played in the grounds adjoining to the Blue Gum Flat post office and store, kept by Mr. E. Wamsley. Mr. Robley, captain of the Blue Gum Flat Eleven, having won the toss, sent his opponents to the wickets, to contend against the bowling of himself and Mr. Izzard. The Wyongers, however (and especially Lewis and Bardin) played remarkably well, and were not disposed of until they had made a score of 41 – effected in good cricketing style, and showing great skill in batting.

At the end of this innings a smart shower came on, and all parties wisely adjourned to luncheon, in a tent near the post office; Mr. Reeve, the Police Magistrate, presiding. When the rain was over, and the players duly refreshed, Mr. W. Waters, the captain of the Wyong Club, placed his men, and the B.G.F. Eleven took their turn at the wickets. They did not (any of them) remain long bat in hand, the bowling of Lewis and of Bardin being altogether too much for them. They could only make 28 runs. This ended the first innings on either side, the rest of the evening being devoted to social festivity.

At the dinner, the chair was occupied by W. Allison junior, supported on his right by Mr. Lewis, and on his left by Mr. Robley. Several good speeches were made, the toasts done honor to being “The Queen,” “The Two Clubs,” “The Scorers,” “The Umpires,” “The Host and Hostess (Mr. and Mrs Wamsley),” and “The Ladies.” After dinner, in the large room at the back of the store, dancing began, and was kept up till the following morning.

At eleven a.m. on the 1st instant the clubs resumed play, and although the Blue Gum Flat Eleven did well, they were unmistakably defeated; the Wyong C.C. making 27, and the Blue Gum Flat C.C. making 33. The Wyong team thus won the match by eight runs. The following analysis will show the state of the game:

Blue Gum Flat v Wyong_May 1878

Game statistics for the Blue Gum Flat v. Wyong cricket match played 31 May – 1 June 1878. [The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Saturday 22 June 1878]

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Sources: Wyong Museum & Historical Society Archives; A Pictorial History of the Wyong Shire, Volume 1, Edward Stinson; Trove Digital Newspaper Archive.

Wyong Eleven v. Blue Gum Flat Eleven – April 1878

While searching Trove I came across a play-by-play account of an historic cricket match between the Wyong Cricket Club and the Blue Gum Flats Eleven as reported in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Thursday 2 May 1878. This detailed report filled three columns in the newspaper and gives us a wonderful account of how our early pioneer families spent their leisure time. The match reporter (who ever he was) certainly had a way of telling a good story.



On Friday last, the 20th instant, in Mr. William Alison’s grounds, at Wyong Place, a cricket match came off between the Wyong Eleven and the Eleven of Blue Gum Flat, which, both as a match and as a social gathering, was a decided success. At daybreak the weather seemed likely to prove unfavourable and when some of “Nature’s dewy tear drops” fell from the grey clouds overhead, a corresponding gloom stole over many expectant faces; but it was only “the pride of the morning,” for it turned out a beautiful, if not a sunny day – cool and pleasant, just the day for swift running, although, on the damp turf, the balls were not altogether as lively as could be wished by bowlers and by batsmen. The gay “convincing ground” was a large open meadow of 320 acres, stretching away before Mr. Alison’s residence, near the Wyong crossing; limited on  the north and east by the forest, on the west by the Maitland Road, and on the south by the tree shaded banks of the pretty and picturesque Wyong, which here winds slowly down from the Big Bridge to its entrance into the Tuggerah Beach Lake. On the eastern side of the paddock, where the forest boundary rises into a well-wooded, cone shaped hill, several clumps of trees extend a grateful shade either to man or beast; and it was here, under the green wattles, that, in true sylvan fashion, a table was spread by Mr. Woodbury, where at, from time to time, the weary athletes refreshed themselves during the day. The supremum opus – the “dinner” – was laid out at the Wyong Crossing, about a mile away, and became a matter of keen discussion at even tide.

Alison Homestead was built by Charles Alison when he settled in the area in the 1870s. It was extended when he married Constance Cox, the grand daughter of Blue Mountains explorer William Cox. The property passed out of the family in the 1890s.

Alison Homestead was built by Charles Alison when he settled in the area in the 1870s. It was extended when he married Constance Cox, the grand daughter of Blue Mountains explorer William Cox. The property passed out of the family in the 1890s.

Between eleven and twelve o’clock the Wyong Eleven, with their friends and sympathizers of both sexes (from Yarramalong, Cooranbong, Gosford, and the more immediate vicinity) began to assemble on the grass; and with them congregated the redoubtable B.G.F.’s, from Blue Gum Flat and Ourimbah – flushed with the honor of their recent encounter with a Sydney Eleven, in which they were but barely beaten, and determined to do or die in the approaching contest. As these cricketers, and onlookers of the sterner sex, came flocking in upon the ground in all directions – with wives, sweethearts, sisters, and daughters, dispersing into different watchful groups, a charming ever-changing tableau was afforded; a thoroughly Australian social scene, which will be long remembered by those who witnessed it. The wickets were duly pitched, and play commenced shortly before noon, the game being kept up (with one brief interval for “rest and refreshment”) until after five o’clock in the evening, when the light began to fail.

The Blue Gum Flat team consisted of Messrs. Frank Gavanlock, James Buscombe, Edward Hawkins (the captain), John Robley, Robert Izzard, Alfred Wamsley, Albert Wamsley, William Wamsley, William Hawkins, William Earl, and Joshua Hitchcock.

The “Wyongers” – including those members who reside at Yarramalong, and who came to help from Cooranbong – were Michael O’Leary, Alfred Bridge, William Alison, John Trainer, Edward Barden, William Bridge, James E. Waters, William J. Waters, William Waters (the captain), John T. Waters, and Mathew James Woodbury.

For the Blue Gum Flat Eleven, Mr. George Kater acted as scorer, and Mr. Edward Wamsley, of Gosford Park, as umpire Mr. James Waters, of Yarramalong, scored for the Wyong Eleven, and for them Mr. R Waters, also of Yarramalong, acted as umpire.


Bowler: “How’s that?” Umpire: “Wasn’t looking. But if ‘e does it again, ‘e’s out!”
[Image from Mr. Punch’s Book of Sports, Vol. 102. February 27, 1892]

The toss was won by the Wyong men, and the result was that their visitors went first to the wickets; Frank Gavanlock and James Buscombe being called upon to open the ball, and each to wield a bat. Both made good play, as had been anticipated, but James Buscombe got the first off his bat and excelled them all, making 26, the finest score of the whole match, before he had to give place to another player. After several good hits from both batsmen, Gavanlock having scored 3 to his side was caught out by James E. Waters, bowled Barden.

Gavanlock was judiciously replaced at the vacated wicket by the captain of the B.G.F.s, Ned Hawkins of Ourimbah; but Hawkins (an admirable player) immediately came to grief, being also cleverlycaught out by the Wyonger, James E. Waters. Then Josh Hitchcock advanced, took  the bat, and made most admirable play, scoring 19 before he could be compelled to retire by his anxious opponents. It was twenty minutes to one o’clock before Hitchcock’s career could be effectually checked, and then he was very smartly bowled out by Trainer. Robert Izzard, of Blue Gum Flat, next came to the bat; and having played a close and cautious game, scored 40, and was skilfully caught out by the captain of the Wyong team (W. Waters), bowled by James E. Waters. John Robley – an accomplished cricketer – then took the bat from Izzard, and scored eight. He would doubtless  have scored more if it had been a brighter day,  but the absence of the sunlight was thought to be somewhat against that veteran player. In meantime Buscombe, at twelve minutes to one, came to the close of his triumphant score, being bowled out by Edward Barden. Alfred Wamsley was called to the bat, but he was (like his friend Hawkins) singularly unlucky; for, at starting off, he (like Ned) was complimented with a “goose egg,’ – that oval but significant mark in the scorer’s book, which stands for nothing. Robley then resigned the willow with an indignant sigh of astonishment, having been neatly caught out by Matthew Woodbury, but who the bowler at that time was on the Wyong side quite escaped the vigilant eyes of our reporter. Then William Earl scored one, and retired, bowled out by James E Waters; but William Hawkins had eight notches entered to his credit in the scorer’s books before he was caught out – a deed performed by John T. Waters, the bowler being the swift and successful Barden. William Wamsley was not allowed any opportunity of scoring, having had to carry off his bat; and Albert Wamsley likewise received oval honours when caught out by William J. Waters, the bowler being James E. Waters.

This terminated the first innings of the Blue Gum Flat Eleven, who found themselves out at 26 minutes past one o’clock, but with the handsome score of 73 to the credit of their team, and to the dejection of their sturdy opponents.


[Image from Mr. Punch’s Book of Sports, Vol. 102. February 27, 1892]

The Wyongers, however, did not give way to despondency, but determined bravely to fight it out – to make a Waterloo of it, if possible; refusing, with British pluck, to believe that they could be vanquished. After a brief, hasty, and temperate lunch, both parties returned to the charge, and gallantly recommenced the contest, the two first bats being Michael O’Leary and Alfred Bridge. The long-headed Blue Gum Flats were still far too sharp for their opponents, and were throughout very cleverly handled by their captain. Their fielding proved to be excellent, and the work of the two crack bowlers of the B.G.F. Eleven (Messrs Robert Izzard and John Robley) was swift, steady, and strong; awaking involuntary apprehensions in the minds of the Wyongers – feelings which nothing but determined courage and unwearied tact prevented from   becoming sheer defeat, disaster, and dismay.

Bob Izzard’s bowling sent in the balls like cannon shots; and as for the balls projected by Robley, they were so judiciously and unswervingly pitched that it was almost “impossible to get a hit off them” Even the ladies present got interested in the gallantly sustained, but unequal conflict; and professional criticism, stratus gramine, calmly and officially surveyed, and approved, Michael O’Leary scored three, ere he had to leave the post of honor, being bowled out by Robley; and Alfred Bridge made two off his bat, before he was caught by Albert Wamsley, bowled by the last mentioned clever and unflinching cricketer. Then Alison took the striker, and scored three; one stroke of his  willow being “a palpable hit” He also was bowled out by the inexorable Robley; the ball  having glanced somewhat, and turned perversely  in.

The next adventurous batsman, John Trainer, was not even so fortunate, for he was promptly run out with nothing for the scorers to chronicle, much to his disgust. Then Edward Barden took the wood, and tried desperately to retrieve the fortunes of the Wyongers, but he tried in vain. Barden played well, scored seven, and was given out by the Wyong umpire. William Bridge also wielded the cricketer’s baton for awhile, to his personal credit and to the advantage of his party, until an insidiously swift, sure ball from the hand of Izzard, knocked over his stumps. James E Waters succeeded W. Bridge, and after scoring 4 by careful play, was run out. William J. Waters (bowled out by Izzard) was presented by the scorers with ignoble cipher of non success; and the stumps fell ingloriously behind William Waters (the Captain) from the same active, predisposing cause. John T. Waters, in his turn, at last stood up, but was quickly caught out by Hitchcock, bowled by Izzard; and Mathew Woodbury, smilingly defiant, had the empty honor of carrying off his bat, but without any opportunity of scoring. Thus, at 4 o’clock p.m., the first innings of the Wyong team closed with the very small number of 31 as against 73.

The second innings commenced late on Friday afternoon by John Robley and Robert Izzard standing up to the two wickets; but Robley was bowled out at the second ball, pitched towards what he strove to guard, by Barden. A cypher was the only figure which represented John Robley’s innings. Bob Izzard (again unfortunate as a batsman) was next bowled out by James E. Waters. Again Wm Earl assumed the bat, and, scoring 3, was caught out by William J. Waters. Frank Gavanlock scored 10, and was bowled out by James E. Waters. J. Hitchcock achieved two notches, and was then cleverly run out. James Buscombe’s late tide of success now deserted him, for he made nothing, and was caught out by William J Waters bowled by Barden. Ned Hawkins scored 19, and was still in when the stumps were that evening drawn. Alfred Wamsley, at the very first ball, was caught out by Trainer, bowled by James E. Waters William Hawkins made two really good hits, and, scoring 4, was eventually caught out by Barden. The stumps were drawn at 5.15 on the Friday evening; and play was resumed on the following day.


[Image from Mr. Punch’s Book of Sports, Vol. 102. February 27, 1892]

In the forenoon of Saturday, W. Hawkins and Edward Hawkins resumed their innings. During their first three “overs” only two runs were made off the clever bowling of Edward Barden and James E. Waters. The fielding on the other side was cautious, and the play on the other side careful.

During the fifth “over”, three runs were made by E. Hawkins off Barden’s bowling. At the sixth over, off James E. Waters’ first ball, W. Hawkins was caught well by Barden, his score (as already intimated) being left standing at 4.

Albert Wamsley was then welcomed to the wicket, and E Hawkins got two off James E. Waters’ bowling. Albert Wamsley was splendidly bowled out by Barden, and had to retire with an “egg.” Will Wamsley grasped the willow, and the resolute Ned Hawkins scored again at the next over. Wamsley made one off Barden, and finished that over. Again W. W. made one, his fellow batsman, E. Hawkins, still  adding one to his score off a badly fielded ball.

Hawkins made two off Waters; then, for a nice slip, one, counting three for one over “Spell-oh” was cried, and all hands rested on the grass for five minutes.

Then Hawkins received Barden’s over, and off the third ball made two “for a light,” and finished the rest of his over without scoring.

James E. Waters next bowled to Wamsley, and was well missed for a good catch by one of the Waters family, making one run Hawkins then made one off a hit well fielded by Alison, and that over finished without further scoring. Barden here bowled to Hawkins, and one was made by the Wyong captain off second ball. Willie Wamsley then sent a most beautiful catch to Willie Alison, who beautifully missed it Barden then bowled the first wide ball of the match, and so finished that over.

Off Waters’ next over Wamsley made one. Barden commenced trundling the ball to Wamsley, who made one off the second ball, and that over finished without farther mark. Waters bowled to Wamsley, who then made his first double run, off the third ball, and was well caught out by Trainer, the wicket keeper. The redoubtable Hawkins carried his bat out – as we have already intimated – for a well made 19. The innings for Blue Gum Flat closed for 47 runs and 7 sundries, making a total of 54. The total of the two innings for the B.G.F.’s was 124.

The Wyong team first sent M. J. Woodbury and O’Leary to the wickets, where Robert Izzard, as one of the bowlers, soon sent Woodbury to the right about, Mat retiring with the proverbial egg. Alf. Bridge stepped into the arena after Woodbury, and received the last of Izzard’s over. O’Leary then got John Robley’s first over, and second one off the second ball.

Alfred Bridge received the remainder of the over, but failed to score. Izzard then tackled O’Leary, who made a good stop for one, finishing that over Robley then bowled at O’Leary who got one off the third ball, and one was made for a bye. O’Leary made a beautiful light off Robley’s last ball, which was well fielded by the inevitable longstop. Off Izzard’s first ball next over A. Bridge went out for 0, although he stopped the ball. W. Bridge next took the willow, and received Izzard’s bowling for the rest of the over, without being able to score.

O’Leary then made one off Robley, as also W. Bridge ditto, finishing Robley’s over. Izzard then faced W. Bridge in his usual fierce style, and Bridge effected one sharp run, and the over then finished without further scoring. Izzard next bowled the first maiden over of the morning, and Robley followed suit O’Leary made a good drive hit only, and got one off Robley.

W. Bridge received the rest of the over, and scored one more for his side. Bridge then received bowling from Izzard, without scoring O’Leary got two for a gallant drive, but was clean bowled out by Robley’s next ball, and had to retire for seven. Trainer next made his way to the wicket, but was caught out by Robley, off his first ball – greatly to the disgust of the Wyong men and himself. Alison succeeded, but was again beautifully caught out, at the first ball, by Robley, off his own bowling. James E. Waters scored one at the bat, and was caught out by Alfred Wamsley. Barden took the willow, scored seven, and carried off his bat. William Waters took an egg, and was bowled out by Robley. William J Waters did somewhat better than his namesake, for he scored 4 before he was bowled out by Izzard. John T. Waters essayed his strength and ability with the baton, and scored nothing; he was caught out by Hitchcock, the longstop.

It was, as our readers will see, a clear triumph to the eleven of Blue Gum Flat. The Wyonger’s first innings stood at 31, and their second at 34 – making a total of 67. The Blue Gum Flat party raised their score in their first innings to 73, and in their second scored 54 – making a total of 127; and beating the cricketers of Wyong and Yarramalong (with their Cooranbong friends) by sixty (60) runs, or one innings and six runs.

Drawing of Woodbury's Inn on the Old Maitland Road near Wyong Creek crossing. [Published in the Illustrated Sydney News, 15 March 1884.]

Drawing of Woodbury’s Inn on the Old Maitland Road near Wyong Creek crossing. [Published in the Illustrated Sydney News, 15 March 1884]


The dinner came off on the Friday evening, at Woodbury’s House, where so many a tired traveller, through the long, wide forests of Brisbane Water, has sought for and found refreshment and needful repose.

This Bushman’s Home stands amidst its pleasant grove of orange trees, near the old bridge over the shady Wyong – a bridge shortly to be replaced, through the care of a considerate and watchful Government, by something much better fitted for its appointed purpose and constant use. The “hospitable spread” was laid out in a marquee near the house, and was, in every respect, all that could be desired. At the head of the table sat the police magistrate, Mr Edward Reeve, with Mr Edward Wamsley on his right hand, and Mr. William Alison junior, on his left. The vice chair was occupied by Mr Edward Hawkins, of Ourimbah, the captain of the Blue Gum Flat Eleven.

The principal toasts were, “The Queen,” “The Elevens of Wyong and Blue Gum Flat, coupled with the names of the captains of each team, William Waters and Edward Hawkins, “The Umpires and Scorers,” “The Ladies,” and the “Host and Hostess, Mr. and Mrs. Woodbury” The Wyong men drank with genial cordiality to the Blue Gum Flat men, and the B.G.F.’s returned the compliment. The chief speakers were Mr. Reeve (the chairman), Mr Alison, Mr Edward Wamsley, Mr E. Hawkins, Mr James Waters, and Mr John Robley. “All went merry as a marriage bell” – both at the dinner table, and afterwards in the adjacent barn, where a ballroom was lighted up and decked out for the younger folks. There – on the heavy determined heel, or on “the light fantastic toe” – the dance was kept up till morning dawned upon those lads and lasses who came to the Wyong cricket match.

And so for the present the fronds of the Bangalow palm rest beyond a doubt in the hands of the cricketers of Blue Gum Flat.

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Sources: Wyong Museum & Historical Society Archives; A Pictorial History of the Wyong Shire, Volume 1, Edward Stinson; Trove Digital Newspaper Archive;  Mr. Punch’s Book of Sports, Vol. 102. February 27, 1892, The Gutenberg Project.

Convict Relics Unearthed – 1923

The Maitland Daily Mercury, Saturday 21 April 1923, page 4

Convict Chain Gang early 1800s

Convict Chain Gang – early 1800s


A report from Wyong states that ploughing new land on his holding at Yarramalong, near Wyong, John A. Hill unearthed a pair of leg irons and two links of what had evidently been the connecting chain. The irons were locked, and had been half eaten through with rust. The land had not previously been touched. Mr. Hill states that he has heard his father, one of the district pioneers, mention that convicts, once worked in gangs in the district but it is considered probable that an escaped convict, from the Hawkesbury, may have got rid of the irons and “planted” them, which would account for the two irons being separated from the links.

The rusted leg irons may have been similar to this set in the Powerhouse Museum Collection.

The rusted leg irons John A. Hill found while ploughing at Yarramalong may have been similar to this set in the Powerhouse Museum Collection.

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Sources: Wyong Museum & Historical Society Archives; Trove Digital Newspaper Archive; Powerhouse Museum Online Collection;

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.


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.


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.


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.


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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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.


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.

Plan to rebuild historic Alison Homestead lodged with Wyong Council

Reposted article by Errol Smith, Central Coast Express Advocate, 7 January 2014

Historic Alison Homestead is one step closer to being rebuilt after it was burned down by an arsonist in December 2011.

Wyong mayor Doug Eaton (right) with Greg Denning, Kerrie Forrest, Phil Morley and Garry Lee with plans for rebuilding Alison Homestead. Source: News Limited

Wyong mayor Doug Eaton (right) with Greg Denning, Kerrie Forrest, Phil Morley and Garry Lee with plans for rebuilding Alison Homestead. [Source: News Limited]

A development application has been lodged for reconstruction of the regionally significant heritage attraction.

The late 19th century farmhouse, long associated with the pioneering Alison family, was renowned for its social, cultural and historical significance as the oldest house in the town of Wyong, before being tragically destroyed by an arson attack in December 2011.

As the site’s owner, Wyong Shire Council has since worked closely with the Wyong District Museum and Historical Society, that manages the site on a volunteer basis, to develop a sound proposal to restore and reconstruct the least-damaged southern wing of the homestead.

“This is a significant milestone for everyone who cares about Alison Homestead,” said Council’s Manager of Community Partnerships and Planning, Julie Vaughan.

“And we are talking about a lot of people.”

“I’ve received countless letters and emails from people keen to see the homestead rebuilt; they don’t want the mindless act of arsonists to be the end of this much-loved community asset.”

Council is planning for a new building to function as a museum/heritage centre to be constructed on the footprint of the original homestead but with a more flexible and functional internal area to accommodate a broader range of uses.

“We have worked closely with the wonderful volunteers from the Historical Society to come up with this proposal,” Ms Vaughan said.

“It retains as much of the site’s heritage and cultural identity as possible while also ensuring the Homestead has a viable future in terms of cultural tourism.”