The information and images on this page was sourced from ' A History of Wyndham' Fourth Edition 2003, published by the Wyndham Public School with their kind permission and other main contributor, historian Bernie Cornell.
HOW DID WYNDHAM GET ITS NAME?
During 1856 land was surveyed in the Wyndham District and a suitable plan was drawn up for a village. At this time, on the other side of the world, the Crimean War was taking place where great moments of history were unfolding before all, such as "The Charge of the Light Brigade". Heroes were being made: Florence Nightingale (the lady with the lamp) and other famous military and naval persons such as Cathcart, Windham, Raglan, Dundas and Nolan. These people were some of the brave leaders of the time and it would have been an honour in those days to name a village or town after one of them.
Sites were fixed for the village of Windham on the 24th July, 1856, some 4-5 months after the finish of the Crimean War; and at Cathcart in 1857. The village of Raglan near Bathurst and the town of Dundas near Parramatta were most probably named for a similar reason.
The following extract from the book "The Crimean War" is a reference to the Colonel Windham who it is believed Wyndham has been named after. It makes quite interesting reading:
"Colonel Charles Windham, known for the rest of his life by the nickname of "Redan" Windham, had two nights before tossed a coin with Colonel Uniet, to decide which of them should have the honour of leading the British assault party on the other great Russian redoubt. Having won the toss, Colonel Windham spent the night before the attack writing to his wife, to suggest how she might apply for a pension, and arranging his personal affairs in the cool and certain expectation of death.
At 1 pm., amid the deafening din of bombardment, Colonel Windham drew his sword, and went manfully over the parapet of the outermost British trench, followed by infantrymen of the 41st Regiment, with Grenadiers following. A far from successful assault took place at the Redan.
The raw recruits near Windham had begun to speak of their mortal fear that the Redan might be mined. Colonel Windham himself, so far miraculously unscathed, had sent back message after message to headquarters, insisting that supports be sent up at once. But each young officer sent back by Windham with this urgent demand was shot down crossing the bleak and bare terrain of no-man's land.
A group of British did manage to cling closely for as long as an hour - but when Windham had decided there was nothing for it but to go back for reinforcements in person, a Russian sortie at bayonet point succeeded in driving the last of the attacking party away from the walls of the Redan."
Photo courtesy Bernie Cornell
THE EARLY SETTLEMENT OF WYNDHAM (This section with kind permission of Bernie
The town's early history shows that it was founded indirectly at least, as the result of gold seeking. From research we learn that during 1852, the Rev. W.B. Clarke made a tour of the southern districts to examine likely gold deposits. His journey took him from Monaro to Eden via the Big Jack route, and in the course of it he claimed to have discovered gold at Honeysuckle Flat. He also made mention of the abundance of molybdenite on the way to Eden from Honeysuckle.
Arriving at Eden in March of that year, he reported his findings, and by October of the same year men were, "on the average making their pound a day", at Honeysuckle digging for gold. The bulk of these men appeared to have come from the diggings in the Araulen Valley, and continued to do so for the next few years, although the field yielded little gold, and by 1854 the men were doing little more than making wages.
To cater for the needs of the diggers, William Thompson was 1st licensee of the Honeysuckle Inn erected by 1855 and continued to supply meat, bread and provisions for the next ten years. "Portion of this Inn still stands on the original site and several of the square cornered, dark glass rum bottles sold in those days still lie around the establishment".
Particularly in the days of the Kiandra gold rush, the peak of which was reached in the latter part of 1860, the Inn was recognised as somewhat of an important landmark on the way to the diggings. In early newspapers it is referred to as being more of a farmhouse than an Inn, and it is spoken of as "being situated in an open flat valley, with its high post on the opposite side of the way; the sign board suspended and swinging to the breeze, forcibly reminding one of the picture of an English roadside Inn in the olden times."
Both Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were well spoken of by the diggers, who spent their evenings playing quoits in the large open ground behind the Inn.
By 1862 the rush to Kiandra had subsided and men turned their attention to farming, while others spread to the diggings at Bendoc and Delegate.
Since 1853, miners had been searching for
gold at Honeysuckle and from about 1893 the
Whipstick area was mined for gold.
At Craigie, three or four hundred Chinamen were congregated together to "devote their time to gold diggings, opium smoking and kindred pursuits." Meanwhile, at Honeysuckle, the first farmers were settling on the flats, and to John Robinson must go the credit of realising the opportunities offered to the farmer.
In 1853 he purchased 52 acres of land, and in later years he enlarged his holdings by further purchase. The land thereafter continued to be sold in 52 acre blocks, as life on the flats settled down to a more peaceful atmosphere, broken occasionally by an arrest or a hold-up in the vicinity.
James and Bridget Hickey took over the Inn at Honeysuckle in 1882 although they had no licence to sell liquor. When Whipstick mines attracted large numbers of miners, Bridget took over the Inn as a general store until 1928 when the Whipstick area was burnt out in a bushfire. Her husband worked as a road maintenance man as well as running a small farm in the valley. Bridget was known to have hidden the sovereigns she received in the chimney but her hiding place was robbed. Several years later two sovereigns were ploughed up on the hill behind the store and bore the dates of 1827 and 1857. The Hickeys came to Australia in 1865 from Tipperary in Ireland. They had befriended another Irishman, Bernard Grant, in Moruya where both first settled. James and Bernard visited each other's homes and usually walked together after the meeting as far as the Honeysuckle Bridge where from opposite ends they farewelled each other in song.
For a period the innkeeper was obliged to absent himself, being under arrest on a shooting charge. Whilst quarrelling with his son he became so excited "that in a burst of passion lie fired at his son, but missing his aim, the whole contents of the gun were lodged in the person of Mrs. Dunn," who lived across the creek.
Daniel Dunn followed Thompson as licensee, and he too apparently was not on good terms with his stepson John White, and cautioned all persons against dealings in cattle and horses with him. With the advent of farming, the search for gold at Honeysuckle was discontinued, although a few men continued to search at Scotchys Creek, near the present town of Wyndham.
Wyndham was surveyed and the site was fixed on July 24, 1856, and in September of the same year the first land sale for the town was held in Eden, little of the land offered being sold, and of those blocks sold none were occupied. It was not until the tune of the Kiandra excitement that buyers became really interested in the land. Now hundreds of men en route to the Snowy River passed through the town site, via Big Jack.
A further land sale was held at Pambula on July 19, 1860, and most of the remaining blocks were sold, mainly to Pambula and Eden citizens, among them being Robert Turbet and Emma Love.
John Love, during 1860, commenced to build the Old Stockyard Inn on a site on the river flat at the present western end of the town, while Robert Turbet, at about the same time built the Scottish Chief Inn on the present site of the Robbie Burns. Both Inns were destroyed by fire, the last to burn being the Scottish Chief, which was destroyed in 1865.
Candelo was visited in 1865 by two men with blackened faces who stuck up Witten's store. the Bombala-Cooma mail was held up at One Tree Hill shortly afterwards and in Wyndham a band of diggers threatened Mrs. Love "a hot seat on the fire if she did not give them what they required." The presence of the police must have had the desired effect as the incidence of crime decreased soon afterwards.
A local newspaper reported: "This is the second public house destroyed by fire in this township. We might with truth say the whole township was completely destroyed by fire as the said township comprises of only two houses, both inns, one being destroyed by fire some time ago."
The Inns were rebuilt; Love's close to the present road away from the creek, and Turbet's on the same site and known afterwards as the Robbie Burns.
Innkeeping in those days was rather a hazardous occupation as masked men roamed the country sticking-up those most likely to have money or goods. Troopers were dispatched from Sydney and stationed along the route to the Snowy River. Two were allocated to the Roan Horse Inn, two to the Dragon Inn at Cathcart, and two to Nimmitabel, where in 1851 bushrangers "put the town in consternation."
An early and optimistic estimate of the farming potentialities of Wyndham in 1860 describes the land as "of the very best description" and "of great extent, with excellent pasture" sufficient to support a population of 1,000 persons.
Another describes it as "thickly wooded, barren and stony, being adapted for no other purposes than that of a sheep run." At this time the population was estimated at about 20 persons.
The Wyndham district was probably the first used as a cattle run by the Imlay brothers, George, Alexander and Peter, who settled at Twofold Bay and Pambula in about 1834. By 1846 all the Imlay property had passed over to James and William Walker, excepting that on the north side of the Bega River, which remained under Peter's charge. George and Alexander having since died, Peter carried on until 1853, when the land was purchased mainly by Thomas Mort
September 3, 1897
* Meeting at Robbie Burns Hotel to consider establishing dairy factory at Wyndham. Mr. D. Grant occupied the chair.
THE ROBBIE BURNS HOTEL, WYNDHAM
An Account from the Sydney Mail, January 1903
"Although this is the only hotel in Wyndham, it is a very superior hostelry. Mrs. Turbett, the proprietress, started in business with her husband at Wyndham during the Kiandra rush, and family are well and favourably known. The Robbie Burns is a treat to the traveller, who is not likely to ask how far it is to the next township, as is the case in many places. The Robbie Burns is not an old building, and has large rooms, well ventilated. The stables and out-buildings are very good and substantial, and contain 13 stalls and several loose boxes. The Misses Turbet are very kind and attentive, and I fancy they do a share of their own cooking, for there is a chanu about the scones and butter that does not hang around those produced by the professional cook. There were a number of visitors staying during my visit, and they were all unanimous in their praise of the house."
* Our township and some of its environs were well represented in the last issue of the "Sydney Mail". The Robbie Burns Hotel and Dublin House stood out in bold relief.
March 22, 1907
* Mr. Dunphy of the Robbie Burns Hotel intends having acetylene gas installed on the premises.
|Inn Keeper's Licensee's|
|Mick Grant late 1930's- 1940
Robert McBurney Turbet 1940-1958
Lou Marney 1958- 1962
Sid Robinson 1962
Harry Cramp 1963- 1965
Lail Powell 1965-1970
Springett 1970- 1975
Gordon Ashcroft 1975- 1978
|E. Trestrail 1978- 1980
George Constable & Bill Pearce 1980 - 1987
Jenny Vincent & David Carey 1987- 1992
License changed to Hotelier's license
Terry Percival 1992- 1995
Bernadette Godfrey 1995 -
|Mrs. Turbet||Robbie Burns Hotel 1903
|Robbie Burns Inn Date unknown
Photo courtesy Bernie Cornell
|Robbie Burns Hotel 1926
|Wyndham Hotel with Grant's Butchery on right.
(Robby Burns Hotel, Wyndham, built on the site of Scottish Chief Inn.
Photo courtesy Whitby family.
In 1848 the Walkers had several stations
consisting of all the Kameruka, Candelo,
Towamba, Wyndham and Rocky Hall country.
The Wyndham area would most likely have been
included in the Yaclama Run, which included
the Rocky Hall land. Following Walkers came
the Twofold Bay Pastoral Association, in
This association split up in about 1860 and divided the property amongst its members.
Thus R. and E. Tooth, Styles and Manning occupied that country between Kameruka and Rocky Hall and south to Towamba. Other members had interests in some of this land and Kanoonah, in the Bega district, belonged to Styles and Manning.
It should be understood that the bulk of the land was leased, and small farmers were prevented from settling on the land until after the Free Selection Act was passed in 1861. Any man could now occupy land providing he paid for portions of it over a period of time.
The Robertson family arrived in Wyndham from Pambula. Charles Robertson was the son of Charles senior the licencee of the Governor Fitzroy Inn near Oaklands property on Pambula Flat. Young Charles married Elizabeth Robinson, daughter of John and Martha, in 1868 and raised a large family the sons occupying the total Honeysuckle land until half way through this century.
Meanwhile the village developed at two ends; Honeysuckle and Diversi's to the west of the townsite. Under the new legislation, Ferdinand Diversi selected land about two miles west of Wyndham along the present Rocky Hall road. In about 1870 he built a store and later operated the first Post Office. There was also a blacksmith shop and assembly room and hotel. Combining farming with the running of the store and Post Office, he endeavoured to draw the population and business centre away from the surveyed township, which by then was practically nonexistent. This was done by arranging concerts, dances, rifle shoots and athletic meetings. At a rifle shoot in 1893, Mrs. Diversi donated a bracelet, as a special prize, valued at £1/10/-. Shooting ranges were 100, 200, and 300 yards and each shooter was allowed five shots. Daniel Grant and Robert Beek, storekeeper from Rocky Hall, were appointed handicappers and cartridges were sold on the ground. That night a fancy dress ball was held in the assembly room. Sometimes live pigeons were used and seven birds were allowed each shooter.
In 1885 a police station and courthouse were built close to Diversi's and this was visited by travelling Magistrates Charles Stiles and Patrick Sheehy on the bench.
|Photo courtesy Bernie Cornell|
When the new Police Station and Court House
were built in 1898 in the village and with
the post office already moved, Diversi's
plan to have the village move west came to
a finish. A brickmaking industry had begun
in the town the clay for the bricks, being
dug from Robert Turbet junior's property
on the old Burragate Road. Bricks made here
were used in the new school buildings opened
Others to select land west of the town were Power, Shipway and McCausland. The position then was that at the two ends of the town were two small settlements Honeysuckle and Diversi's.
Construction of the road to Candelo commenced in 1888 along with a new road to Burragate. Creek crossings at Pretty Point and Honeysuckle remained major problems, until wooden bridges were constructed in 1888 at Honeysuckle and 1896 at Pretty Point. Wyndham's oldest inhabitant, Mrs. Ellen Love, wife of John, broke a bottle of champagne on the last named bridge, built of box timber milled by Rayners Mill at Myrtle Creek.
A school was built between Wyndham and Honeysuckle but this was burnt down shortly afterwards and lessons were then conducted in a room at the Robbie Burns Inn until 1871 when a slab school was built on the present site. The 1968 history says weatherboard but in 1878 there is a reference in school files to a slab building.
As the century moved to a close, most of the permanent buildings in the town had been completed. Dairying was established; the mines at Whipstick were experiencing mixed fortunes and timber milling near Honeysuckle was carried on by the sons of Charles Rayner after his death at the mill in 1896.
Thomas Beare the teacher died in 1902 following his wife's death from typhoid fever in 1900. Mr. Frank Fell, the new teacher remained for twenty seven years. The disastrous fire of 1904, and rabbit plagues of 1911 were still to come. When asked, shortly before he died, what was the principal life-sustaining force in Wyndham, Robert Turbet hesitated, before going on to say that "On a cold winters day, a good glass of Scotch is not to be despised".
|Preparing for the trip to Merimbula wharf
with a load of skins and hides.
Taken about 1910 in front of Skin and Hide Shop. Note two policemen on the verandah
Photo courtesy Bernie Cornell
THE FIRST WYNDHAM
Race Meetings commenced on St. Patrick's Day 1888 and were held until the 1930's. The course was situated on Charles Robertson's property on the Burragate Road close to the Pambula Road. Although the track itself was cleared of timber, many trees and stumps covered the area, so much so, that one jockey at the first Meeting was thrown onto a stump and injured, and a horse and rider collided with a tree. Mr. P.M. Sheehy acted as Judge and Charles Turbot was Secretary for early Meetings. A publican's booth was organised by Robert Turbet, the hotel-keeper, and all settlements with the bookmaker were made at the "Robbie Burns" after the Meeting.
The first Race Ball was held in the new School of Arts on 18.3.89, but the day's events must have tired the dancers as only 25 couples attended.
Although there was a full programme of races at the first Meeting, the number of nominations for each race was usually six or seven horses, many horses being nominated for more than one race.
Race Meetings and Athletics Carnivals were often associated with St. Patrick's Day and Charles Turbet, the Secretary, appears to have been Wyndham's fastest footrunner. A handicap system operated throughout the District and runners' handicaps were published in the newspapers prior to the meetings.
Source: Candelo & Eden Union 1888-89, courtesy of the Mitchell Library.
Footnote: Charles Turbot married Evelyn Robinson from Honeysuckle, later joined the Police Force and became Superintendent of Motor Transport, one of the most senior positions in the NSW Police at the time.
|Photo courtesy Bernie Cornell|
(The following is a transcript of a story which was sent Bernie Cornell in 1956 by Dan Grant. I have rewritten it as faithfully as I could to the way Dan had related it. Some slight word changes were made to assist in the continuity of the story.) Bernie Cornell
LITTLE BOY LOST - 1871
It was a Pic - Nic at Honeysuckle about the year 1870 or 1871. There was a march to Honeysuckle by the schoolchildren. Charley Turbet became lost. A long and diligent search was mounted by a number of people looking in logs and bog holes.
He was eventually found by Edward Power in a tussock, on the flat the tussock were about 4" high.
The tracks of the boy were discovered crossing the sandy stream bed which led the searchers through the tussock to where the boy was found by Mr. Power carrying his little straw hat in his hand.
The lost child would have been three years old when all the above happened. He lived on to become the Chief of Police.*
The partners on the way to the Pic-Nic were George Grant and Edward Whitby, Bob Turbet and Charles Whitby. Jams Grant and Harry Whitby, Peter and Dan Grant.
*Charles Turbet was in fact Chief Superintendent of Motor Traffic, a position once held by a member of the police force.
WYNDHAM VISITED BY GOVERNOR - GENERAL
On his tour of the Southern districts (in March 1907), the Governor-General, Baron Northcote, had a mishap with his carriage as it descended the Big Jack Mountain. A brake shoe on the hind wheel failed and the carriage shot down the hill. The driver and passengers, excepting His Excellency, were thrown to the ground, but hanging onto the reins, the driver held the horses and assisted by a mounted trooper who helped him, brought the carriage to a halt.
After this incident, the children at Rocky Hall School welcomed the party, which then set out for Wyndham, where they arrived on 11th March, 1907. A number of residents escorted the party into the town and a banquet took place in the School of Arts. Thomas Waterson, the local carpenter, storekeeper and undertaker, chaired the banquet proceedings and Thomas Moore delivered the address of welcome.
On behalf of the children of the local school, and Whipstick and Stony Batter schools, Dollie Grant (Cornell) read an address of welcome and Linda Beare (Keys) presented some children's drawings to His Excellency who praised the beauty of the local countryside and also the inhabitants for their loyalty to Britain.
Ref: Pambula Voice 15.3.1907 State Library of NSW
|(Accepted as) The arrival of the Governor-General, Baron
Possibly Rocky Hall or Wyndham.
THE OLD POST OFFICE
Known Post Masters of Wyndham
1887 - Crown Grant to George Berney. (Opposite park) House built. Berney He was Police Constable in Wyndham 1886/87
1888 - New Post Office and Telephone Office in Wyndham. Post Office at Diversi's Closed. Post Office Mr. Flanders (Pambula Voice)
1888 - Berney's occupation was Storekeeper. Left Wyndham same year
1890 - 1907 William Edwards was Postmaster.
1907 - 1914 Unknown
1914 - 1948 Harriet Goldberg.
1948 - 1955 Jack Fleming
1955 - 1983 Fred Umback until he died (27 years).
The Post Office then went to the General Store.
|Stan Reid with the mail car next to the pub.
Probably taken in the late twenties
|Game of tennis on the court beside the Post
The court was constructed in 1899.
Those in the photograph would all be relatives of each other as they are:
L - R: Ivy Turbet, William Edwards, Elsie Waterson (1st seated), Cuthbert Edwards (standing),
Tom Waterson, Jane Waterson, Frank Fell.
Our township and some of its environs were well represented in the last issue of the "Sydney Mail". The Robbie Burns Hotel and Dublin House stood out in bold relief. Moorvale farm and area looked well but, strange to say, the champion farm of the district, Mr. Chas. Robertson's was reproduced in anything but an attractive form, though the genial "Charley" himself is there all right, and some of his cows look what they are. Mr. Robertson's Jersey herd will compare favourably with any of the kind on the South Coast...
June 24, 1898
...The new court house is rapidly nearing completion, and when finished will tend much towards enhancing the look of the town...
DUBLIN HOUSE, WYNDHAM
Mr. Simon Goldberg commenced business in Wyndham in general storekeeping in 1888. Since that time the business has had several changes also some ups and down. Mr. Louis Goldberg was a partner for some considerable time, but withdrew and commenced business on his own account in Pambula. The steady growth of the trade compelled Mr. S. Goldberg to remove into far more commodious premises, and far the past years his business has been opposite the Robbie Burns Hotel, in the centre of the town of Wyndham. The Dublin House, like many other places, has had some trying experiences. The most important were the `93 bank failures. and maritime strike, together with several mining failures in the neighbourhood, and a succession of very dry seasons. lately business has been improving under a good system.
Goods are delivered to customers within a radius of 16 miles and a branch store has been established at Rocky Hall, about 13 miles out, under the management of Mr. Gen. Beare, and another is contemplated at Burragate (about eight miles away). In the aggregate, some 250 tons of goods are received annually.
Mr. Goldberg is a native of Russia, and has resided in the colony for 20 years. During his residence here he has taken great interest in the welfare of the town and surrounding district. His establishment is the Anthony Borden's of Wyndham district, for he supplies everything from a needle to an anchor. Wire fencing. barbed wire, ironmongery of all descriptions, buckets for dairies, small dairy supplies.. a general store in all its branches, and very scat and stylish hats and drapery - in fact, it is one of the most up-to-date country stores to be met with in the South Coast, and has able and smart assistants.
SOURCE: Sydney Daily Mail 28.1.1903 Courtesy Mitchell Library
January 29, 1904
* Last Tuesday quite a number of patients were here to meet Dr. Bruce who visits Wyndham on that day. There is no doubt the want of a resident medical man is keenly felt in some parts of the district.
August 26 1904
* With this issue the "Voice" completes the 12th year of its existence. The first copy of the first issue of the "Voice" was printed by our local postmaster Mr. E.J. Cornell on 27th August, 1892.
|S. Goldberg Store Wyndham 1896
Photo courtesy Bernie Cornell
THE WYNDHAM GENERAL STORE
Built in 1888 on the present site for Simon Goldberg the Dublin House carried on until its destruction by fire on the night of 31st December, 1930. Only a mass of burnt roofing iron and the front concrete steps survived. The Foley family who operated the business left the town.
The large home across from the blacksmith shop still belonged to members of the Irish Grant family, so S.A. (Dolly) Grant and her husband, Reg Cornell, opened a Store in the eastern side of that home. A sign was erected on the roof corner indicating that it was a Cash store. A Texaco petrol pump was installed at the western end of the home. The telephone number was ' 1 '
The severe economic depression soon made the Store a Credit store and also a place for the exchange of food for Dole Coupons. Reg Cornell died in 1935 and Alfred Bower from Candelo managed the Store for S.A. Cornell until after the war.
In 1938 Louise Turbet sold the burnt out store site to her niece Dollie, who had the present Store built by Bill Higgins and Tommy Wragge. The Store sold every type of merchandise and even took measurements for men's suits. Closed on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays, it was a hive of activity on Saturday nights when almost everyone came to town. Wartime rationing of tea, sugar, butter, petrol, clothing, and tobacco caused much anguish especially when the tobacco failed to arrive on the ship. A common scene was that of many men gathered outside the shop waiting for their tobacco rations.
In 1951 the Cornell's moved away from Wyndham. Electricity came in 1954 and with refrigeration the range of goods sold underwent a change. After Fred Umbach died in 1983 the postal and banking facilities were transferred to the Store.
Bernie Cornell 2003
WYNDHAM SCHOOL OF ARTS 1888
Wyndham, as well as several other small settlements, erected its School of Arts in the 1880s. The town began as two centres one in its present position and the other at what was known as Diversi's. Ferdinand Diversi erected his hotel on the Rocky Hall road not far from the present Mt. Darragh turnoff and he managed to attract the first post office, police station, court house and several other dwellings to his settlement. Here the first policeman had a lockup and those locked up were first brought before Justices of the Peace Charles Styles and Patrick Sheehy on 19th July, 1888. Sheehy was also judge at the first Wyndham Race Meeting in Charles Robertson's paddock on 17th March, 1888. He was also given the credit for securing a telegraph office in Wyndham, for which approval was received in December 1888, though a line to Candelo had yet to be constructed.
Until 1888 all public functions were held in Diversi's Assembly Room, however that year saw several new buildings erected at the eastern section of Wyndham and the building of the School of Arts must have put an end to the controversy.
A Committee to build the School of Arts was active in the first month of 1888 and set about canvassing subscriptions from the public and by February, £114 was placed in the A.J.S. Bank at Pambula. The rest of the money being collected, tenders were called in May and Thomas Waterson was awarded the contract, which was completed in about 4 months.
The Committee responsible for the project was:
President A.W. Small
V. President Charles Robertson (farmer)
Secretary Thomas Beare (teacher)
Treasurer Pat Conlon (farmer) Members Wm. McCarthy (blacksmith) Robert Turbet (hotel) Edward Power (farmer)
The building cost £171-11-00 and was free of debt when opened.
WYNDHAM PRESBYTERIAN - UNITING CHURCH 1861
Land reserved and dedicated as the site for the erection thereon of a Presbyterian Church was granted to Arthur Newton, Henry Grant, John Grant, Thomas Beare, Robert Turbet and The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church on 26/7/1861. (Ref title deeds)
Wyndham Presbyterian Church was built by Thomas Waterson and opened in 1889. The Minister of the Eden Charge at the time was the Rev James Lawson Forbes M.A.B.D., who ministered the area from 1885-1920. Services were being held at the Eden, Kiah, Pambula, Lochiel and Wyndham. Towamba, Burragate and Rocky Hall services were being held in the local halls. Services in all centres were attended by large numbers of people and the stories that surround Mr. Forbes are legend.
His horse and buggy were a well-known sight to many people and this quiet well-loved man was often to be seen reading a book as his faithful horse took him around often on trodden roads. Often Mr. Forbes was so weary that he would fall asleep and his faithful horse would bring him to his destination. Some people recall that their first job, when Mr. Forbes arrived to stay overnight was to take his horse and feed it and put it out to pasture for the night and then to put the buggy away safely.
The earthly remains of the Rev and Mrs. Forbes and those of their only child Mrs. Bertha Robertson now rest in the quiet of the Wyndham Cemetery. (Ref Bega-Eden Presbyterian Charge 1861-1861 Centenary souvenir).
Vivian James (Bob) Grant recalled Mr. Forbes as a very learned man who lived with his wife Eliza on one of the Honey Suckle farms near Whipstick. He remembered the family going to their home for christenings and recalled going to the farm after the Forbes home had been destroyed in the 1929 bushfires and seeing the piles of charred books among the ashes. Apparently much of the history of the early Presbyterian Church was also destroyed.
|Wyndham Presbyterian - Uniting Church|
Robert Turbet 1821-94 was a very prominent
member of the Presbyterian Church and Colin
Turbet, his grandson, recalls that he gave
the bell which hung over the roof. Robert
Turbet's funeral was the first to he held
in the new church building.
In 1965 a communion set of altar table and three chairs was given by the Goldberg family, dedicated to the memory of Harriet Ann Goldberg who was the daughter of Thomas Beare, a former teacher at Wyndham School. Harriet was also Post Mistress at Wyndham. Sons of Mrs. Goldberg were Dudley, Austin, Rawson and Cecil.
In reply to an invitation from Bruce Grant to attend a barbecue on the 24/3/1974 to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Church Building, Cecil Goldberg of Woollarah wrote: -
"Memories are recalled as I write this: One in particular, which is that I rang the bell there nearly 56 years ago when the news of the Armistice of the first World War was declared - such came by telephone through the Post Office where I worked assisting Mum. The Bell ringing (which I did for 10/15 minutes) was to inform the "Vast" population of Wyndham of the news!!
Austin Goldberg played piano and Bob Grant violin and both were members of the Wyndham Band. Austin, a professor of music, played for the Queen some years later. Dudley married Doris Grant daughter of Viv and Elsie Grant and Great daughter of Henry Grant Jnr, along with being an Elder of the Bega Church was Session Clerk at the time of the centenary of the Bega-Eden Presbyterian Charge. Dudley also was Mayor of Bega during the sixties.
Through the Ministry of the Rev John Broadhead, and with Jack Jones as Teacher in Charge at Wyndham, a second Teacher Dennis O'Neill was appointed. This is remembered as a time of strong Christian and community bonding.
A Sunday school was started and Bruce Grant, Roxey Cunningham and Mrs. Stem Tasker are remembered as being Sunday school Teachers in the church. Church concerts were held at the hall. Combined evening services were held in the C of E Church because there was no electricity connected to the Presbyterian Church.
Known Elders to serve at Wyndham Presbyterian Church are Dan Grant, Jack Fleming, Mac Turbet, James (Squire) Robertson, Herbert Robertson, Earl Robertson, Bob Grant. Mesdames Goldberg and Turbet for the part they played as Lady Helpers, all were acknowledged in the booklet published for the Parish Centenary. Also, along with supporting elders from Towamba - Vern Clements and James Sawers. At the time of Church Union 1977, Bruce Grant, Gloria Grant and Phillip Grant had been inducted as elders.
Mac Turbet was Church Secretary and Bruce Grant was Treasurer. After Mac and his mother, proprietors of the Robbie Burns Hotel, left the district, Bruce held the position of both secretary and treasurer for around 30 years, until he moved to Pambula in 1990. Earl Robertson, V.J. (Bob) Grant, Colin Turbot, Fred Grant, Charley Parish, Carl, David, Allan and Dalby Elton were all supporting committee men.
Organists over the years that we know played the beautiful old organ on many occasions are Harriet Goldberg, Austin Goldberg, Beatrice William, Eva Elton, David Elton, Tom Porter and Freda Bower, all were regulars in our Church family.
The younger families of our Church carry on this tradition and we still serve sandwiches today filled with a recipe handed down by Mrs. Robert Turbet."
The sixties and seventies saw a number of the families move from the area and numbers dropped considerably. However services have continued every third Sunday of each month over all these years. Early 1990 saw the building needing paint and repair and funding was hard to come by. A working bee was held and some painting had been commenced but more unexpected repairs were needed on the building.
November 22, 1895
The timber turned out of the local saw mill is meeting with the highest praise on the Monaro, and the contact is likely to prove a beneficial advertisement for the Wyndham box-wood.
BOILER EXPLOSION AT WYNDHAM
On 4th November, 1896, the quiet around Wyndham was shattered by a deafening explosion. Charles Rayner's sawmill on the bank of the Mataganah Creek, a short distance along the road into Devil's Hole from the Candelo Road, was shrouded in vapour and dust.
The galvanised iron roof lay about crumpled like paper, and the nearby trees were scarred by flying fragments. The boiler, which had tumbled end for end, had been thrown 80 metres in a south easterly direction, and Charles lay dead, with a severe wound to the back of his head, having been struck by a piece of sawn timber.
He had come to Wyndham about ten years previously and set up a mill at Myrtle Creek, but then had two more moves to the place where the accident occurred. The mills produced boxwood timber for bridge building, and the new bridge across the Mataganah on the Wyndham - Rocky Hall Road had just been built with timber milled by Rayners, and opened on 20.10.1896.
Charles was an engine driver and fitter by trade, and was the father of three sons who were working with him at the time of the accident. Charles Junior, 23, and Leonard 21, were setting up a log ready for sawing when their father called:
"Hurry up and let me start the engine and pump, there is only an inch of water in her."
He started the engine and the boiler exploded. Charles, who was standing in front of the stoke hole, was hurled north-west, as was George who received a piece of timber across his body, breaking three ribs. The other boys were protected from the blast by the log. The flywheel (15 cwt.) had its iron spokes broken and was thrown 30 metres.
At an inquest held in Bombala the jury found that the cause was either a lack of water in the boiler or possibly due to a defective water gauge.
It recommended in future that boilers be regularly inspected by Government inspectors.
The Rayner family continued to mill lumber around Wyndham at intervals until the 1930s and later in Bombala for a good many years. George, who was injured, operated these mills at Myrtle Creek and Bombala.
Charles was buried in Wyndham Cemetery and he and his wife's graves are identified by a marble column topped by an urn.
Pambula Voice (13.11.1896) N.S.W. State Library. compiled by Bernie Cornell.
The headstone of the grave of Charles Raynor and his wife Elizabeth in the Wyndham Cemetery
|The headstone of the grave of
Charles Raynor and his wife
Elizabeth in the Wyndham Cemetery
October 12, 1934
'The Bombala Times'
(From Our Own Correspondent).
* Mr. Merve Rixon has gone to Sydney to see his sister, who is very ill. Two dairy farmers in the vicinity of Wyndham, are likely to be moving from the district shortly. Family endowment applicants had to go to Eden last week to attend an inquiry into their claims.
* Mr. Green, Instructor of Agriculture, is putting in a corn experimental plot on Mr. Bert Whitby's farm near Wyndham.
February 8, 1935
'The Southern Record and Advertiser'
* Mr. Carl Holzhauser, of Wyndham, has established a fish run from Merimbula to Candelo.