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.


Alison Homestead hosts pioneer families

This article is reblogged from branchesofourfamily.wordpress.com

BUCK & GASCOIGNE Family Reunion a success

More than 100 descendants of pioneer families BUCK and GASCOIGNE descended on historic Alison Homestead, Wyong NSW Australia on Saturday 11 November 2006 for a long overdue family reunion.

Family came from all over NSW and Queensland to Wyong Shire where their forebears settled in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many BUCK and GASCOIGNE descendants are still living in the Wyong and Tuggerah Lakes area and are connected with other pioneer families such as AMOR, BEDDING, DUNCAN, FERNANCE, LEGGE, STACKMAN, and WALMSLEY.

Alison Homestead, home of the Wyong District Museum and Historical Society, was the perfect venue. The wide verandahs and aptly named breezeway helped to keep folks out of the heat of the midday sun. Many toured the museum’s collection of artefacts used in the work, home and school life of our ancestors. The volunteer staff were very knowledgeable and ensured all were well looked after.

Many of those at the reunion were descended from the six children of Thomas GASCOIGNE and Sarah PATERSON. Thomas was the licencee of the Commercial Hotel (now the Grand Hotel) at Wyong before taking up 60 acres at Pipeclay Point in the 1890s in the area now bounded by Howelston Road and Gascoigne Road, Gorokan.

Thomas also built and operated the ferry ‘Wyong’ which could be hired by holidaymakers and picnic parties for transport down the Wyong River and across the lake to the Entrance and Toukley.

As the reunion was held on 11 November – Remembrance Day – those assembled took time to remember family who had served in the two World Wars and other armed conflicts.

Ernest BUCK enlisted in the AIF in August 1914 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade. He took part on the Allies landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and two months later was shot in the chest. Ern was evacuated to a military hospital on the island of Malta, then to a hospital in Manchester England. He was unable to rejoin the fighting as his chest wound affected his heart and he returned to Sydney in May 1916. (see pte ernest buck – anzac for his story)

The LEGGE family settled at Tuggerah in 1896 and Byron LEGGE married Ernest’s sister Bertha BUCK in 1915. Ern came to visit them and recuperate from his wounds and decided to stay. Byron LEGGE was a builder, as was Ern BUCK, and they both found plenty of work in the booming Wyong Shire.

Ernest married Madge GASCOIGNE (daughter of Thomas and Sarah) in 1923. They built a house on the lake at Pipeclay Point and raised nine children. Ern would fish in the spring and summer and work building houses and other construction in the colder months.

Five of their nine children, Ron, Tom, Shirley, Hazel and Midge still live in the area and Mick and Bernice travelled from Queensland to attend the reunion with their families. Eldest daughter Jessie and another son Stephen were fondly remembered by their brothers, sisters, daughters, nieces and nephews.

The reunion was a resounding success! Those gathered representing four generations mingled and caught up on news of family life and new additions to the family tree. The youngest present were Lewyn PILIC, Kaylee QUINN and Harrison BUCK, all born in 2006 and descended from both the BUCK and GASCOIGNE lines.

Any descendants who would like further information on their family history or future events can contact Susan Buck at family_history ‘at’ dodo.com.au (replace ‘at’ with @).

Thank you to Kerrie BROOKS and John MAJOR for sharing their photographs.