Murwillumbah History Before we start with this I must say that the best way to see our great little valley is in a Happy Little Camper Hire Van
OK, now this yarn has spurts of history concerning this Cosy Town of Murwillumbah. Yes, this town of New South Wales is the last Township before the Queensland Border and the Gold Coast. People from all over Australia are starting to realize how beautiful this area is.
Murwillumbah is in a valley Surrounded by mountain ridges that fade away into the ocean in the east. Murwillumbah is Beautiful and green all year round and only a short trip to the world-class Gold Coast. Keeping its old time charm and being so close to the city makes it a great place to raise the Family.
A 30-minute drive along the Tweed River lands you in the business hub of Tweed Heads. That same drive from Murwillumbah in a slightly different direction can land you on the white sands of the Kingscliff Beach and the Newly renovated and extended Kingscliff Beach Hotel.
Of having only one traffic light and that’s within a 30-kilometer radius, the town is growing all the time with housing estates forming on the outer perimeters.
The Tweed River provides the perfect conditions for boating and skying. The main street in town is developing with old buildings being renovated into new Glitzy Restaurants and coffee shops. People are enjoying the atmosphere and the hotels are having million dollar upgrades. Weekend drivers from the Gold Coast flock the area on weekends to enjoy the peaceful Tweed Valley and what Murwillumbah has to offer.
Murwillumbah Tweed Regional Gallery
Tweed Regional Gallery, On the outskirts of Murwillumbah, is the new Tweed Regional Art Gallery. The Gallery is frequently visited by Gold Coast Week End Drivers and Artist alike.
The Tweed Valley is 32 kilometers across
The Tweed Valley is 32 kilometers across so it’s not a small valley by any means. There are several little historic Villages within the Valley area. The Murwillumbah Council have just provided the Town with the newest skateboard track and the latest play area for the Children. This playground is huge and nestled in amongst huge trees from another time.
The Murwillumbah Children’s Play area boasts all the best design swings. There are barbeque areas and seating for the Adults. It is easy to watch the Children run around and play or to join in for a fun day out.
Murwillumbah History Tumbulgum
Tumbulgum Is still a Riverside Village “That is by today’s standards”. Tumbulgum had the first Post office and School in the Tweed Valley it was the major shipping port on the Tweed River. From there the settlers went back towards the Mouth of the river to the North East and to the South West where Murwillumbah stands today. In the early 1840’s timber getters were drawn to the area. When the Tweed Valley was colonized Tumbulgum was the main Township.
Tumbulgum holds a lot of Historical memories of the first White settlers and the White families who occupied the Valley at that time. One of the early settlers of the Tumbulgum area was the Skinner’s who graced the area in 1865.
Mr. Henry Skinner was a Sawyer and Timber getter He later became a sugar cane farmer. His son young George Skinner was 5 years old when they arrived. He went on to be one of the great names in the early history of Murwillumbah and the Tweed area. First with his brother they started Skinner Bros Aerated Water Factory in 1884.
At that time Murwillumbah consisted of two Hotels
At that time Murwillumbah consisted of two Hotels a Bank, two stores a bakers shop, the Court House and five or six cottages. Tumbulgum had a greater population than Murwillumbah in those years.
The cordials had to be transported along the river in open boats. In late 1885 the Skinners deemed it necessary to bring a small steamboat into service to transport the products.
In 1886 they constructed the Florrie it was named after Florrie Skinner sister of the brothers. The Florrie was 10 feet wide and 35 feet long. That year they were awarded the mail contract from Murwillumbah to Tweed Heads. The Florrie commenced taking paying customers on the trip. The Florrie would leave Murwillumbah one day and return the next.
Two years later with the increasing river trade Skinners had another boat constructed. This one’s name was Pearl she was constructed at Tumbulgum. Now with the second boat, they could leave each terminus every day. A few years later the Uki was built and She took place of the Florrie. It was on the Uki that Frank Lowes started in the river trade. At this time the river was very shallow many a time one or the other would get stuck.
So fishing was the main event until the water came in. It was suggested that it was just one of the many hardships the pioneers had to endure. Five years after the Uki started, the train line from Brisbane to Tweed Heads was opened. About this time the Mebbin was built to connect the line from Murwillumbah to Tweed Heads.
Tweed River Steam Boat Booyong
Two years after this the Booyong was built and it with the Mebbin carried on the service. With running the daily service it was necessary to have a spare boat and the Emma Pyers was bought. The Emma Pyers was built in 1884 by Mr. Pyers of Casino. She was rebuilt for her new life on the Tweed River. Prior to this, she had adventurous tips between the Richmond River, the Clarence and on to Sydney and back.
The Firm of G and C Skinner carried on the business until around 1918. Then the business was then leased to Mr. Lowes and Mr. Skinner. They later formed the Company Skinner and Lowes. There was only one fatal accident in the 44 years of the River Boat Service.
The story goes that just after dusk one night two young men and two young women were skylarking in a small boat. Their little boat got in front of the much larger vessel the two Young Ladies Died. No blame was put on the Captain of the steamboat because the smaller boat pulled in its way.
The Skinner family Murwillumbah
The Skinner family were also Kean Bowlers, George being one of the founders of the Murwillumbah Bowling Club. George was also an Alderman in the area for some years. He died in February 1933, there were 60 vehicles in the Procession, that was possibly every car in the area. All the main businessmen in the Valley were there to say goodbye to one of our true Murwillumbah Legends.
The local hotel in Tumbulgum still stands and ferry boats still pull up at its front. The hotel is full of history and the old photo’s of Timber cutters grace the walls. In the 1870’s sugarcane farms started to appear in the fertile well-watered soils. Although there were smaller attempts of sugar refining it was in the mid-1870’s when the main CSR Sugar refinery opened its doors. Dairy farms and bananas were thriving and the area was on its way.
The First Murwillumbah Butter Factory.
Mr. Isaac McIlrath was the founder of Murwillumbah’s first butter factory. He was sent to the Tweed by The Prescott’s Groceries and Produce group Sydney to see if the area was suitable for the dairy industry. McIlrath saw there was a great opportunity for the industry in the Tweed. George Skinner introduced McIlrath to all the dairy farmers in the area and they were in favor of a new factory in Murwillumbah. After 6 months in the Tweed area, McIlrath returned the information to Prescott’s.
The first butter factory was built in 1897 in Commercial-road Murwillumbah it was called the Tweed River Butter Co. Coy. The factory was a Limited Company until 1905 at that stage a Co-Operative was formed. Six months after the factory was operational McIlrath and his family settled in Murwillumbah. On the Third of July 1939, McIlrath died at his property in Commercial Road.
Mr. Isaac McIlrath was very community mined he was a member of the council for 30 years. He was a member of the first council which formed in 1902 when the municipal was incorporated. He earned the right as being one of the area’s most public-spirited citizens. Over the 30 years service to the Municipal, he held positions as mayor and counselor.
To get this straight the Commercial Road Butter factory was not owned by the North Coast Butter Co-Operative. The North Coast Butter Co-Operative was first built in Byron Bay. The North Coast Butter Co-Operative built factories all over the Northern Rivers and beyond. In 1905 the first North Coast Butter Co-Operative was built in South Murwillumbah.
The factories position was on the vacant peace of the Caltex’s ground on Tweed Valley way. That is between the Caltex and the train line. “Not Where IGA is today, and the last Norco was pulled down”.
A train siding came up the factory for easy rail transport to the Byron Bay factory as it did for the newer factory. On the western side of the first factory was the Bacon factory.
The Tweed River Butter Co. Coy
The Tweed River Butter Co. Coy in Commercial-road was now known as the Tweed Butter Co-Operative. This Co-Operative moved in 1919 to where the Murwillumbah McDonalds and IGA are today. These two Butter factories battled for the support of the local Dairymen and often the dairymen would swap sides. Although the Tweed Butter Co-Operative had the bigger of the factories the North Coast Butter Co-Operative had factories everywhere and controlled the overseas market.
In 1925 the North Coast Butter Co-Operative changed its name to NORCO. In 1929 the Norco factory building was condemned. Being faced with the expense of building a new factory it put a deal to the Tweed Butter Co-Operative to take over it’s newer factory. At that stage, the Tweed Butter Co-Operative and Norco knew if the Tweed Butter Co-Operative did not do the deal the Tweed Butter Co-Operative would be put out of business.
Norco had great power in those days and could offer all the local Dairies more money for their milk. It could sub-stain a lost longer than the Tweed Butter Factory. Directors of the Tweed River Company put it to its shareholders and under the circumstances, they all agreed to merge with Norco.
Mr. James Buchanan Murwillumbah
James Buchanan Married Ellen Armstrong from Disputed Plains in the Casino area in 1875. He and his wife Ellen moved to Murwillumbah in 1875. The trip from the south in those days over the old Night Cap Bridal Track. They purchased the property that runs from Condong creek to where Buchanan st South Murwillumbah is today.
James in the next few years obtained other properties around that area as well as at Dum Dum and Terranora. The Condong Creek property became the home address for most of their lives they named it Mayfield. Ellen died at Mayfield in 1914 her funeral procession was said to have been the biggest ever seen in Murwillumbah.
James Buchanan was a founding member on board of the North Coast Butter Co-Op in Byron Bay. At a board meeting in Byron Bay, he personally financially guaranteed that the new Murwillumbah factory would succeed. Before this, he and his family made butter and cheese at his property. The butter and cheese were supplied to local shops, the sugar mill workers, and the railway construction camps.
In a board meeting in 1904 at the Co-Op James with the other directors decided to build the factory in Murwillumbah. This became the first Norco in Murwillumbah. Many years later James passed the position on to his son Alexander.
Mr. James Buchanan Murwillumbah Generosity
Mr. James Buchanan was a very generous man and a Presbyterian by faith. He donated the land for the St Andrews Church in Wollumbin St. At first a timber Church was built many years later the wooden church was moved to the back of the property and the brick church was built. On this joyful day in 1911 Ellen was asked to lay the first foundation brick.
The extent of generosity went further when the Savings bank closed. The Committee of the church were financially paralyzed after this. Mr. James Buchanan lent the church a large sum of money to build the Jessie McMillan School Hall. The generosity of the family went further when James Buchanan Junior donated the land for the school.
James Buchanan also owned Hotels in the area. Before the Broadway building in Queen Street was built a Hotel owned by James Buchanan stood the “Australian Hotel”. Also, he owned the Condong Hotel which stood near his home “Mayfield” so it must have been somewhere between the Caltex garage and the Condong Creek.
E. J. Fackerell graced the Murwillumbah area
E. J. Fackerell graced the Murwillumbah area in the late 1880’s He was a very successful businessman and a carpenter by trade. Edward and his wife had 5 children in the Murwillumbah area. They first owned a Dungay farm which is out of Murwillumbah towards the foothills of the Tomewin Mountain. Two of Edwards Sons fought in the 1st World War, His oldest Son Humphrey died as a result of wounds.
Bert the 2snd oldest Son also fought in the 1st World War he served in Gallipoli. Also in France, he was wounded there and after he healed he went back again. He caught Dengue Fever and died when he was 35 years old in 1913. Edward like Humphrey also died in 1913 he died in an accident while clearing scrub around Murwillumbah.
Edward opened an aerated water company just after the turn of the century. E. J. Fackerell Bottles are very collectible and sort after by Collectors all over the world. Edward was a carpenter by trade. He completed many major works around Murwillumbah including Bridges and Schools.
He was an Alderman for 3 years and a very respected member of the School of Arts. Edward also was a very kind man. He gave big donations to the War Fund and other local fund razing exercises.
Shortly after the first decade in the 1900’s he purchased the Imperial Hotel. At that time the Imperial was known as the upmarket Hotel in Town. Edward left Murwillumbah and went to Sydney in the 1920’s. He just couldn’t keep away Edward returned to Murwillumbah often over the coming years. Upon his return each time there was a write up in the local paper celebrating his return.
The E J Fackerell aerated water and cordial factory
The E J Fackerell aerated the water and cordial factory was sold to the longtime manager of the business Mr. Herbert Walter Dunn in 1919. The factory was at No. 11 River Street South Murwillumbah it is still there today.
Again in 1926, the business was passed on to P Clifford another longtime manager. In 1942 P Clifford moved the business into Holston’s Lane which is just around the corner. P Clifford sold the business to Lindsay Munro in 1958 the building still stands today.
Even though E J Fackerell left the Murwillumbah area he remand the owner of the 11 River st buildings until 1930 when he sold the house and factory to J C Crawford of Bray Street South Murwillumbah. MR Edward Fackerell died in Sydney in 1941. Mr. Herbert Walter Dunn died in his residence at South Murwillumbah in 1932.
All aerated water bottles from these businesses are sort after by collectors all over Australia.
Patrick Smith first white Man born on Tweed
Patrick Smith Junior from P Smith & Sons Murwillumbah was said to be the first white man born on the Tweed. He was labeled a true Tweed pioneer in the days the word pioneer was used for all the elderly. He was born at Terranora in 1851 to Patrick Senior (Paddy) and his wife Bridget.
Paddy was killed in 1874 while falling a tree. He had his own name to fame he was known as the most powerful man on the coast. Paddy was one of the first timber getters, he came to the area in 1844. Paddy and his five mates marched off a Whaling ship and into our untamed bush searching fortune in cedar.
First Captain John Logan named the river Tweed in 1823, then Captain Rous navigated the river in 1828, Rous caught a number of escaped prisoners from Brisbane on his trip. Later there was a military post set up at Point Danger to catch runaways. One year later the soldiers withdrew from the area. This was due to hostilities of the local Aboriginals.
The Smith family moved to Lismore in young Patricks early life and then onto Sydney until the screams of the Tweed called them back. At a young age, Patrick helped his Father and Henry Skinner ( George’s Father) cut Cedar at Tyalgum.
At fifteen he secured the first mail run from Kynnumboon to Casino. No doubt by order of Joshua Bray, the trip in those times took 2 days by horseback and was a fortnightly event.
(Paddy) purchased a property at Dungay and for a while, Patrick junior helped clear the scrub.
Dennis Hartigan was a friend of Patrick junior they went about getting cedar for a bit. Then Patrick joined up with Harry Skinner in the same operation, Harry was the brother of George Skinner. Patrick married Elizabeth Skinner the daughter of Henry Skinner. Their marriage was blessed by God and their life was strongly influenced by the Church.
Next, he moved into the hotelier business partnered with a Mr. Brett they ran the Metropolitan Hotel in Tumbulgum. A short time later he started in the butchering business at Tygalgarh. His next venture was as an auctioneer at this he found his forte. The business of P Smith and Sons still runs in Murwillumbah till this day.
He was a member of the Tweed Council for many years. In 1902 when the first council was elected he headed the poll. Six councilors were elected that year due to the small population of the area. Patrick Smith, Peter Street, John Withford, Ralph Thornton, Edward Osbourne and Izzac McIlrath. Because of the population explosion the next year there were nine councilors elected.
Patrick was also a very kind man there are numbers of writings of him giving large amounts of money to any worthy cause. In 1907 he took out awards for best-thoroughbred horses at the local show.
The first White Man born on the Tweed died in May of 1925 at his residence in South Murwillumbah he was 75 years old. His wife died at Greenhills South Murwillumbah in September of 1926 aged 77 years.
Edward Twohill Lisnagar Kynnumboon
Edward came from Ireland in 1883 at first he went to the Macleay River area with his brother John. The two were very capable farmers and Edward carried on farming with John for three years. Edward moved to Sydney then and worked with a company called John Bridge and Co. John Bridge and Co were the export and domestic suppliers of Pigs, Cattle, Sheep, Rabbits, and their products.
Edward stayed with them for two years then made his way to the Tweed in 1888. For the first two years on the Tweed Edward worked for the Government as a road contractor. Being the hard worker that he was he also grew Maize, he must have worked 24 hours a day the Maze grew covered 58 acres. It wasn’t long before Edward could rely solely on the profits of his farming. He became known as the best Maize grower on the Tweed.
At that time he rented the Lisnagar property from Samuel Gray then years later he purchased the property. Edward married Miss Ellen Jane Neylan of Tumbulgum they had 9 children. Edwards life was packed full, he was a founding shareholder of the Tweed Co-Operative Butchering Company and also of the Byron Bay Canning works. He was also a staunch member of the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society.
Edward Twohill Sportsman
Edward Twohill was a very keen sportsman and known as one of the best in the whole of the Northern Rivers. He also had a very keen eye for a racehorse and owned several well known in the area. The first race track was half on Edward Twohill’s property and a half on Joshua Bray’s property in South Kynnumboon. This track was very dangerous as on race days fences had to be pulled down enough for the tack.
There was a gully as well it was filled in enough for the horses to pass over on race days and cleared out for water on off days. The track crossed a road and there was a 2 railed fence in place. One meeting 2 horses were killed one crashed over the fence coursed by a bunching field. The horse went over the fence and broke it’s neck in the gully the horse name was Kingsworth.
Later that day a horse call Jack had a similar fate, after crossing the road it bolted off track and tried to jump a wider part of the gully, but fell and broke it’s back. Later the track was moved to its present position.
Edward died in November of 1921, Ellen died 17 years later she remained at Lisnagar until her death. Edwards brother John died in 1920. Unlike many of the old homes of the pioneers, Lisnagar still stands and is living in by the grandson Terry Twohill.
Settlement in Murwillumbah started with Joshua Bray
Settlement in Murwillumbah started with Joshua Bray. Joshua was sent to the area to make peace with the Aboriginals. He came from Tumut where he and his father conducted a similar service. He was one of the influential residents he had many roles for the Government.
Joshua with his Aboriginal police officers went about making the settlement. There are conflicting stories about his roll in the endeavor. Especially about the treatment of the local Aborigines.
Joshua Bray came to the area in 1863 he was appointed to the commission of the peace in 1865. At one stage he ran the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. He also served as the Post Master. In the beginning, he ran the mail service from his home was the Coroner, and the Crown land Agent as well as the Guardian of Minors.
Joshua certainly was a man of many talents. He acted as the local doctor as well as the dentist. In those days there was no anesthetic so pulling teeth was very unpleasant.
A story told by a Mrs. Sweetnam of South Murwillumbah was that Joshua’s dentist tool was a corkscrew looking instrument with a hooked end that wouldn’t let go until the tooth and the patient was parted. Doctoring was done out of a book, treating snake bites, broken limbs. He administered vaccinations all these were in his excepted portfolio. He lived at Kynnumboon for most of his years and died in 1918.
“King of the Tweed”.
There was a stage in His life were they called him the “King of the Tweed”. He was also the area’s first Police Magistrate and held the position for 20 years. The old-timers spoke of him like he was the biggest man on earth. Stories went like, ” He was the first Man to blaze a track through the Richmond Ranges”.
This was so they could run cattle into the Tweed and start the cattle trade.” They say he was the first white man to camp at the Blue Knob”. A true pioneer was the headlines when He passed. Joshua was born an Australian in Appin NSW on the 3rd of September 1838.
In the postal directory of 1875 to 1877 the word Murwillumbah was not known. The area was documented as Kynnumboon, it went on to say a settlement in the police district of the Tweed River, a county of Clarence. There is a list of people in the directory. The names and occupations were split in two sections the Kynnumboon and the Tweed Junction. Take note that there are other Great Pioneers who are not on this list.
Names are as follows from the area of Kynnumboon.
Patrick Austin Farmer, John W Alexander Farmer, William Austin Farmer, James Baker Farmer, William Baker Farmer, Richard Barling Farmer, John Barton Farmer, James Black Farmer, Charles Bourman Farmer, Robert Booth Farmer, Thomas Boyd Butcher, John Brady Farmer, Peter Brady Farmer, James Bray land Agent, Joshua Bray Post Master, Henry Brown Boatman, Andrew Burke Farmer, Edward Burke Farmer. James Barby sericulturist, John Bell Farmer, Patrick Byrne sugar cane crusher, James Byrne Farmer, Henry Caddy Farmer, Thomas Clarke Farmer, Conelius Clifford Farmer, William Clifford Farmer, James Colin Farmer, James Cox Farmer, Richard Croker Farmer, Henry Robert Gazala Opium Grower, Thomas Carrick Collector of Customs, Thomas Campbell Farmer, George Dinsey Farmer, Patrick Doherty Farmer, Henry Doig Boat Builder, Nicholas Dries Farmer, James Dixson Farmer, John Guilfoyle Farmer, Joseph Guilfoyle Farmer, Charles W Gray Opium Grower, John Graham Timber Getter, Richard Hail Farmer, William Hall Farmer, Denis Hartigan Farmer, John Hindmarsh Farmer, Walter Hindmarsh Farmer, James Holden Farmer, Robert Hopkins Timber Getter, Robert Kelly farmer, William Kelly Farmer, William Kelly Junior Farmer, Bernard Kiernan Farmer, James Knight Farmer, Thomas Kyle Farmer, Thomas Lilley Carpenter,Alexander Logan Storekeeper, Patrick Leonard Farmer, William Mayers innkeeper, William McGregor Pilot, Kenneth McKenzie Farmer, Donald McLeod Farmer, Hamilton McLeod Farmer, John McLeod Farmer, Norman McLeod Butcher, Bugald McMillian Farmer, Peter McNulty Farmer, George Murray Farmer, Wiliam Marks Farmer, James McAuo Farmer, William McLeod Farmer, James McLeod Farmer, Jahn McFarland Farmer, Samuel Newell Farmer, Thomas Newell Farmer, Edward Nixon Farmer, George Nixon Farmer, Frank Nixon Farmer, John Neylon Farmer, Hon A.A.T. Farmer, James Pringle Sugar Crusher, William Parkes Boatman, Cecil Pery Farmer, John Quirk Farmer, Eli Richards Farmer, William Richards Farmer, John Richards Farmer, John Ritchie Farmer, John Roache Farmer, David Roache Farmer, Thomas Robinson Farmer, James Rowland Farmer, Patrick Smith farmer, Peter Scott Ship Builder, Henry Skinner Sawyer, John Sharpe Farmer, James Shankie Sugar Cane Crusher, George Wells Farmer, William Waugh Farmer.
Some of the names in this next section are doubled up some of those have their area included.
Names are as follows from Tweed Junction.
John Alexander, Farmer, William Arnold, Pilotman, Tweed Heads, John Bell Farmer, Patrick Byrne, Sugar Mill Proprietor, Charles Brady, North Arm, Charles Beardman, Farmer, North Arm, James Burley, John Brady Cedargetter, Pigabeen Creek, Patrick Brady, Sawyer, Terranora, William Baker, Farmer, Stott Creek, Thomas Boyle, Butcher Tweed Heads,
Henry Caddy, farmer, Ballambula Creek, Henry Clark, cedar getter, Cudgen, Thomas Carrick, Collector of Customs, Thomas Campbell, butcher, George Dinsey, farmer. Thomas Dinsey, farmer, John Dinsey, farmer, Richard Dodd, cedar getter, Henry Doig, ship carpenter, Stott ck, James Ford, John Guilfoyle, botanist, Cudgen, John Garrick, pilot-man, John Graham, butcher, Tweed Heads. George Holmes, engineer, James Holden, farmer, Pigabean Creek, Robert Harrison, pilotman, Tweed heads, Bernard Kierman, sawyer, Cudgen, William Kyle, farmer, Thomas Lilly, shipwright, Main arm, Patrick Leonard, farmer Stott Creek, Alexander Logan, storekeeper, Stott Creek, William McLeod, farmer, Stott Creek, William McGregor, pilot, Tweed heads, James McKenzie, farmer, Kenneth McKenzie, farmer, Peter McNulty, farmer, Stott Creek, McAdo, farmer, Cudgen, William Marks, farmer, Duroby Creek, Donald McLeod, storekeeper. John McFarland, farmer. Hon. Edward Perry, settler, Stott Creek, John Naylan, farmer, Alexander Pringle, Sugarmill proprietor, John Quirk, farmer, John Ritchie, farmer, South arm, William Ryan, cedar cutter, Main arm, Peter Scott, shipbuilder, Tarranora, Thomas Shankie, Sugarmill proprietor, Henry Scammell, Sugarmill, Ballambula. Henry Skinner, farmer, North arm, James Vaugh, farmer, Stott Creek. George Wilts, pilot-man.
As previously mentioned at that stage there was no mention of Murwillumbah. The main workings of the area were centered around Joshua Bray’s property a Kynnumboon. There seems to be no explanation why the town shifted to its present position. It was said the town was never set out and it just grew. It is interesting to note that Joshua Bray owned all of East Murwillumbah (now called South Murwillumbah) and most of the now main section of Murwillumbah.
That is easy to believe since the town is built on a swampy floodplain. So the first post office was at Joshua Bray’s house. In 1876 the post office moved from Mr. Bray’s house to Mr. Samuel Gray’s house. Mr. Gray lived a short trip down the road where the Edward Twohill’s Lisnagar now stands.
When Mr. W J Grime came in 1878 or 9 the post office was moved to a position close to the river bank where Murwillumbah stands today. Mr. Grime has the title of being Murwillumbah’s first Post Master. But Joshua Bray was the first Post Master and from his home. The thing is, “THE KING OF THE TWEED WAS THE FIRST AT EVERYTHING”.
This paper clipping is from 1870 there is no mention of Murwillumbah only Kynnumboon. In those early days, the main areas of NSW were called counties. This clipping is only 2 of the of the 130 counties. The Clarence was classed as one of the counties and included a number of New Counties. One being Rous at that time Kynnumboon was classed as a Town of. Joshua Bray named his property Kynnumboon the Government classed his property as the town of the area.
The Tweed River was dredged
The Tweed River was dredged to allow ships to steam there way through. Even these days if you look close enough along the river bank you can see pylons from the old wharfs piercing the water. The old wharfs disappeared as the roads went in and the train track to Kyogle connected.
The dredge stopped its action and cartage on the river ceased. In recent years the train line was closed and train travel from Sydney stops at Casino. The rest of the journey is done by coach line. “Never mind the International Airport is only 25 minutes up the road.
Murwillumbah stories of the Tweed River floods
Murwillumbah stories of the Tweed River floods in the Murwillumbah area. November of 1917, everyone was getting ready for the yearly Show. This was one of the big event’s of the year in thought’s days. It started with a sprinkle and then the huge drops came and came. The Showmen had set up their sideshow alley. As the night grew old the river rose until it covered the grounds by 3 feet.
The Showmen were devastated all their belongings were water damaged. But then there was a scream ” The Alligator is out”. The Men scrambled the Women were terrified. John Hops started a large fire on the high ground and then in the darkness, a Women’s scream was herd. She and a Baby were seen floating downstream on a barn door with the man-eater lurking around.
The story goes as Little Red Watson saw it
The story goes as Little Red Watson saw it. John Hops and other people ran to the scene. They tied a mongrel dog by the tail to some Large pieces of sugar cane and threw it into the river. The Whining and Yelps of the canine attracted the Alligator’s attention.
Billy Nudgel from Murwillumbah mounted a draft horse and scrambled across the flood to grab the distressed lady. Latter Red Watson was asked, “did the croc get the dog? ” Yes He replied. “it’s tail is still attached to the cane, it was only a mongrel anyway, but the Lady is safe!”
In Murwillumbah 1893 the river flooded once a week
In Murwillumbah 1893 the river flooded once a week for four weeks the last capped the highest mark in Murwillumbah. The flood exceeded the previous week by 6 inches. It flooded Mr. Bray’s house the Police Magistrate, also Known as the “King of the Tweed”.
The reports from Tumbulgum were a cyclone had hit. They said they heard a huge sound of like thunder coming down from the mountains. They looked up towards Terranora and sore trees and tree limbs flying hundreds of feet into the air.
Another report was that the wind caught up a Bullock and lifted it 10 to 12 feet in the air. A house on the outreaches of the current was unroofed and torn down. Timber and iron were seen flying hundreds of feet into the air. A sheet of iron cut the telegraph lines. A pole near the Boyd’s Hotel was ripped from the ground and dropped in the middle of the river.
When the cyclone was over unrecognized sheets of iron were found in Tumbulgum. Later it was discovered they came from Houses on the Terranora Hills North of Murwillumbah.
In 1907 the whole Town of Murwillumbah burnt
In 1907 the whole Town of Murwillumbah burnt to the ground in a raging Fire “The Murwillumbah’s Holocaust”
September 15th was a Sunday in 1907 it was night and the folk was just leaving the Murwillumbah Church. They were frightened to hear the clang of the warning bell. Quickly the quiet streets filled with hundreds of people. They all raced to the main street to see their town partly wipe out.
The fire started in Dainer’s Bake House then spread rapidly in all directions. Everything possible was done but that was pitiful to little to extinguish the driving flames. They licked up store after store. The Flames darted across the roadway, raging both ways with its horror.
It was plainly impossible to do anything Murwillumbah was doomed. It was soon a very sea of flames a devils cauldron of smoke and fire. The whole street roaring and seemingly swaying with the seething heat.
The inferno of flame,
The inferno of flame, smoke and the dreaded crackle and booms as the roofs and walls collapsed. The sparks cascaded upwards followed by flames. They reached higher and higher as though they were flaunting in their triumph. The pity of it all was there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. There was no firefighting equipment only a 4 hundred gallon water cart. Its normal use was to water the footpaths.
There was plenty of helping hands. They carried as much as they could to the vacant land and to the police paddock. With the little time, they had people tried to pull down walls in front of the fire. But the fire was too quick so they started a fire in the Commercial bank which stayed the fire. That was on one side on the other side it burnt from corner to corner and destroyed the whole block.
The rebuild started straight
The rebuild started straight away with the Murwillumbah Carpenters and Murwillumbah Plumbers helping. The business owners on both sides of the street decided to donate five feet of their land to widen the street. Murwillumbah in those days was built with a very narrow street.
The timber buildings were a proven fire trap. 60 business premises destroyed and the damage done totaling easily over 100,000.00 pounds. The Town Folk rallied and there was plenty of work for the men in the area. One year latter Murwillumbah was put back together again.
Murwillumbah Electricians Electricity
Murwillumbah Electricians electricity supply. Until 1960 Murwillumbah maintained it’s own power supply in the Murwillumbah Power House due to continues interruptions Murwillumbah Electricity was passed over. In May of 1960, the Murwillumbah electricians in the Power Station stopped producing power and the Tweed Shire was supplied with power from Southern Electric Authority “SEA”.
Electricity was first made available to Murwillumbah Electricians in 1919 from a local plant which produced 85 kW of power.
In 1923 there were 130 customers in Murwillumbah so in those days Murwillumbah electricians were scarce, the price of power cost seven pence, electric lights were one shilling and a penny per unit.
From 1919 to 1956 the power consumption increased and was in great demand when the peak load was 1990 kW. The English Electric turbine broke down and caused huge problems and it took 12 months to repair. That time the SEA came to the rescue, in 1957 another crisis happened when the stator of the Metropolitan Vickers set burned out because of an electrical storm, leaving the power station able to produce 900 kW.
By the end of 1957, the damaged sets were back in action, but this only just enough to overcome further breakdowns. The SEA officially took over the responsibility of the Tweed Shire Council Electricity Undertaking on 1 November 1959.
There were mixed feelings from the Murwillumbah Folk when the local power station ceased, some were pleased to be free of the falling soot from the plant. Others complained that without the power station whistle in the mornings they would not know what time of the morning it was.