Wyong Pioneers Monthly Meetings

Wyong District Pioneers Association monthly meetings are held 10 times each year (on the third Saturday of each month) at Wyong Homestead Museum, 1 Cape Road Wyong. Meetings start at 10:00 am, are run on a semi-formal manner over morning tea and everyone present is welcome to share items of interest to the group.

Pioneer Monthly Meeting Dates for 2016 (3rd Saturday of each month):

  • Saturday 20 February + Centenary Photo Launch
  • Saturday 19 March
  • Saturday 16 April
  • Saturday 21 May
  • Saturday 18 June
  • Saturday 16 July
  • Saturday 20 August
  • Saturday 17 September
  • Saturday 15 October
  • Saturday 19 November + Christmas Party

Membership to the Pioneers Association is free, but all are paid members of the Wyong District Museum and Historical Society. The WDPA welcomes all those who are interested in the history of our great district.

The group is focusing on several new projects in 2016 and beyond, including rebuilding our archives and assisting the Wyong District Museum and Historical Society with volunteer work and fundraising. Whether you are a descendant of a pioneer or a new settler to the district, we invite you to join us in celebrating our rich local heritage.

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Unearth Wyong Newsletter – September 2015

Published by Wyong District Museum & Historical Society
1 Cape Road, Wyong • PO Box 241, Wyong, 2259
Email: Info@alisonhomestead.com.au • Tel: 02 43521886

President: Greg Denning
Vice President: Liz Hogston
Secretary:Anita McCarthy
Treasurer: Michelle O’Sheades
Committee Members: Alma Thompson, Pauline House, Chris Hodges, Susan Buck

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We would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new members and volunteers both at the Museum and the Men’s Shed.

Homestead Rebuild Complete

All major construction on Alison Homestead has now been completed. Wyong Council has handed back access at a ceremony on 1st September. The occasion was well attended by Federal and State members of parliament, Mayor Doug Eaton and local councillors, the media and members of the Wyong District Museum & Historical Society. A Welcome to Country ceremony was performed and the local Baptist School Choir also sang a couple of songs.

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Alison Homestead building complete – 1 September 2015

Phil Morley gave an informative running commentary on the history of the area which included the names of all the previous owners of the homestead, some of which were not known to us. Greg thanked everyone and was pleased to have the homestead officially handed back to the Wyong District Museum & Historical Society. He also wondered why the DA had not been sorted out for the new office and Men’s Shed extension, although Council has agreed not to remove the “Lone Pine” memorial.  Consideration is being given to move part of the plant nursery to a new location near the vegetable beds.

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The hand-over ceremony was well attended – 1 September 2015

Family Fun Day & Museum Opening

Representatives of the Alison family will be attending the official Grand Re-opening of the Museum on Sunday the 4th October from 10.00am, in conjunction with the Wyong District Pioneers Centenary Celebrations. There will be displays in woodworking, sheep shearing, historic & vintage cars, memorabilia and activities to enjoy relating to local history, art, craft with lots of fun activities for the kids, both big and small, as well as raffles, Devonshire teas and sausage sizzle.  There will be a regular free bus shuttle pick up and drop off at Wyong Station, Wyong Christian Community School, Alison Homestead Museum and Wyong Milk Factory as there will be no parking available in the Museum grounds.  So lock in the date and bring the family and tell your friends.

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Upcoming Exhibition

Award-winning local botanical artist Marion Farley has accepted our invitation to exhibit her work at the first art exhibition at Alison Homestead Museum in 2016. We will confirm the date in the near future.

Botanical Artist Marion Farley

Botanical Artist Marion Farley

Fundraising

As previously advised, we will be holding another fundraising BBQ at Bunnings Tuggerah on Saturday the 31st October 2015. Again it will be all hands on deck and if our last effort is anything to go by, it will be a very enjoyable and successful day.

Don’t forget that we also have plants available for sale, including Agapanthus, Hippeastrums, Bromeliads, Succulents, Canna Lillies, Frangipani (from original homestead stock) plus many other plant varieties as part of our ongoing fundraising efforts. Prices start at $2.50 and for multiple purchases prices are negotiable. If you are interested in purchasing any plants, do not hesitate to either visit us here at the Museum, or ring us for information.

Hippeastrum bulbs in full bloom. Commonly known as Amarylis.

Hippeastrum bulbs in full bloom. Commonly known as Amarylis.

Tours

We will be celebrating our grand re-opening on the Sunday of the October long weekend in conjunction with the Pioneers who are celebrating their centenary.  We anticipate being will be able to take bookings and conduct tours after the 6th October 2015.

Donations

At the handover ceremony on 1st September,we received a donation from Mr Scot MacDonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter and Central Coast. The donation will go toward the cost of printing Max Farley’s book on Wyong history.

We have also received a number of generous donations from J & D Pearce, Judith Faulks, Bev Baldwin, D & P Hooper and Dawn Hooper. These were all received with appreciation and thanks.

Cheers for now, Chris

Unearth Wyong Newsletter – July 2015

Published by Wyong District Museum & Historical Society
1 Cape Road, Wyong • PO Box 241, Wyong, 2259
Email: Info@alisonhomestead.com.au • Tel: 02 43521886

President: Greg Denning
Vice President: Liz Hogston
Secretary: Anita McCarthy
Committee Members: Alma Thompson, Pauline House, Chris Hodges

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We would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new members and volunteers both at the Museum and the Men’s Shed.

Construction

Construction has moved along quite quickly recently and the builders, Collaborative Construction Solutions, are pretty much on schedule, even with all the recent rain. This still gives us a bit of time to set up our displays and exhibits for our grand re-opening, scheduled for the long weekend in October.

A blend of the old and the new on the Alison Homestead rebuild

A blend of the old and the new on the Alison Homestead rebuild.

Alison Homestead Build_2015-06_004

The breezeway and kitchen will be a terrific space to hold our meetings and events.

Fundraising

We will be holding another fundraising BBQ at Bunnings Tuggerah on Saturday 31 October 2015. Again it will be ‘all hands on deck’, and if our last effort is anything to go by, it will be a very enjoyable and successful day.

Don’t forget we have plants available for sale, including Agapanthus, Hippiastrums, Bromeliads, Succulents, Canna Lillies, Frangipani (from original homestead stock) plus many other plant varieties as part of our ongoing fundraising efforts. Prices start at $2.50 and multiple purchases prices are negotiable. If you are interested in purchasing any plants, do not hesitate to either visit us here at the Museum, or ring us for information.

Plants for sale for as little at $2.50 each. Multiple purchases are negotiable.

Plants for sale for as little at $2.50 each. Multiple purchases are negotiable.

Tours

We will be celebrating our Museum grand re-opening on the October long weekend in conjunction with the Wyong District Pioneers Association which is celebrating their centenary. We anticipate that we will be able to conduct tours, bookings etc after 6 October 2015.

Donations

Edward Stinson’s piano has been kindly donated to the Museum and, very fittingly, was delivered by bullock dray. We have also received a beautiful “Duchess” Empire Ware tea set circa 1930 from Elizabeth McDonald who also donated a piano circa 1911, with piano seat and sheet music.

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Requests

We would appreciate a donation of any old materials or sheets to be used as drop covers over the artefacts being prepared for display. Our gardeners would also appreciate donations of black plastic for the plant nursery.

Alison Homestead Men’s Shed

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Wally at the  Men’s Shed, a cabinetmaker by trade, is hoping to get permission from Council to build our cabinets for the Alison and Stinson Rooms at the homestead. The men have also restored a beautiful tallboy cabinet, which had been donated by Jenny and Peter Cooper. Jenny and Peter came along to look at the restored cabinet and were very pleased with the results.

Don’t forget, if you have, or know anyone who has, an old bicycle they would like to donate, it can be left at the gate to the Homestead for Kerry to restore and donate to various charities.

Re-cycle Bikes

Historical Note

Ezekiel John (Yorkie) Waters

Jack (Yorkie) Waters, was from one of the local Yarramalong pioneer families. He was a timber-getter and an expert in various woods, having vast experience in cutting wood. “Yorkie,” as he was known, won the championship at the Sydney Exhibition in 1908 by cutting a railway sleeper in 4.5 minutes.

Ezekiel John Waters enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1916. He served in the 30th Battalion during WW1 and saw action in France. Due to serious injuries during the war, he was later unfit for hard work.

Yorkie Waters working n one of his violins.

Ezekiel John (Yorkie) Waters working on one of his violins.

Yorkie started collecting various pieces of wood and began making violins, his first was made of swampy oak. He made other violins out of woods such as silky oak, white beech, sassafras and honey suckle. Jack also made his own polishing varnish which he mixed from four different species of gum. Many of the violins made by Yorkie were named Coo-ee, except for one that his daughter Jillian Eugenia Peterson [nee Waters] owned, which is called Sadie.

Yorkie often played free for the patrons of Peter’s Cafe at Wyong and also played at many of the local bush dances. After his death Yorkie’s own violin was kept by friends for many years and then generously donated to our museum.

Miraculously the violin is a rare surviver of the fire which destroyed much of museum collection in December 2011. “Yorkie’s Coo-ee violin” will soon be on display in the re-built Alison Homestead Museum to be appreciated by everyone.

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Former WDM&HS President Phil Morley holding Yorkie Waters’ Coo-ee violin in front of the burnt-out homestead in December 2011.

If anyone has any questions about the local area or the Museum specifically, please email us and we will endeavour to answer your questions in our next newsletter.

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Notice of Annual General Meeting

NOTICE is hereby given to all members of Wyong District Museum & Historical Society that the next Annual General Meeting will be held at Alison Homestead,1 Cape Road, Wyong, on Saturday 8 August, 2015 at 11:00 am.

Nominations are invited for election of Committee Members. Completed nomination Forms should be received by the Secretary no later than seven (7) days before the meeting. The positions vacant will be:

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Three General Members

Nomination forms are available by contacting Wyong District Museum & Historical Society office • Email: Info@alisonhomestead.com.au • Tel: 02 43521886. Please note only fully paid-up members are eligible to nominate, or be nominated for a position and be eligible to vote at the meeting.

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Catch up with you next edition, cheers for now.

Chris Hodges (Writer & Editor)

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

Who are the pioneers and settlers of the Central Coast?

Wyong District Pioneers Logo_Colour

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

Pioneers’ Dinner – 1923

A Born Raconteur

The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 13 December 1923

BRISBANE WATER PIONEERS’ DINNER

WYONG. Wednesday.

The ninth annual reunion of the Brisbane Water pioneers took place at Wyong race course dining rooms on Saturday last, there being an attendance of 38, ranging in age from 84 to 70. Many stories of the olden times were unfolded, and Mr. George Taylor (aged 84 years), Mr. Dad Finley (aged 80 years), Mr. Joe Fagan (aged 77 years), and others, related experiences with aboriginals and bushrangers. Old-time cricket matches were re-played, and sports meetings recalled. Old-time songs and recitations were rendered. By common consent, Ned Barden, of Catherine Hill Bay, was voted the pioneers’ greatest raconteur.

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SOURCES: Trove Digital Newspaper Archive; Illustration ‘A Born Raconteur’ from Project Gutenberg EBookMr. Punch’s After-Dinner Stories.

Alison Homestead Rebuild – Update

Our 300+ members, on-the-whole, are extremely disheartened with the lack of progress on the Alison Homestead rebuild.

Since the arson attack in December 2011 destroyed the homestead, which housed our Museum and Historical Society, the heritage site has been left in this sad state.

Alison Homestead, Wyong - July 2014, two and a half years after the arson attack.

Alison Homestead, Wyong – July 2014, two and a half years after the arson attack.

It is very depressing for our dedicated volunteers at the Museum who have been working hard to recover and catalogue the remains of our collection and resources.

The Deputy Mayor, Lynne Webster and Manager Community Partnerships & Planning, Julie Vaughan attended our Pioneers monthly meeting in June. A large number of our community raised concerns about the lack of progress and the continuing delays to the rebuild.

Julie acknowledged that initially the project was off-track for quite a while; but for the past 15 months she and her team have been working on the project it has been progressing well.

The homestead was insured for approx $586,000 for replacement of the building. In order to achieve development applications with current building codes (fire regulations, disabled access, driveways, parking etc), the cost estimate is around $1,000,000 to complete the building and to receive a certificate of occupancy.

Alison_Homestead_PlanB

Council are liaising and negotiating with the insurers to cover the additional costs of the project associated with rebuilding.

All indications are that provided the full insurance claim is accepted they will continue to work to the timeline in the Alison Homestead Rebuild Update – June 2014:

  • Invite tenders for construction (July 2014)
  • award tender (September 2014)
  • construction from beginning of 2015 to mid-2015.

If all goes to plan we can expect the building to be up and running by September 2015 in time for our Pioneer Centenary Celebrations on the October long weekend.

Fingers crossed there are no further delays. We will be keeping the pressure on Council to deliver on time.