Descendants of Leighton and Guthrie families to reunite

Are you a Leighton or Guthrie descendant?

Descendants of the Leighton/Guthrie families are meeting for a family reunion on the weekend of September 24 and 25 in and around Lithgow, Running Stream, Rylstone and Kandos.

Mary Leighton (nee Elliott) born 1800 in Scotland (wife of David Leighton, Builder, born 1812 Scotland), died at Mudgee at 92 years of age in May 1892.

At that time she was reported as having 192 [sic] children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Both Mary and David are buried at the cemetery in Running Stream.

Some of the family is known to have moved to Maitland, some to the Illawarra, and it is our belief that there could be a substantial number of descendants still west of the Blue Mountains in the Lithgow to Mudgee regions.

The extended family of the Grandchildren of David & Mary, ie descendants of Robert Alexander Leighton (1871–1955) and his wife Elizabeth Guthrie (1886-1972), will be travelling from Queensland, NSW & Victoria to attend the reunion.

They are seeking contact from any descendants or even old timers who may remember the Leightons/Guthries.

If you have an interest in, or knowledge of these families from the region, please get in touch by contacting Yvonne on 0403 706642.

Yvonne Toepfer (nee Leighton)

Keiraville, NSW

Source: Mudgee Guardian, news article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/4013318/calling-leighton-and-guthrie-descendants/?cs=1989, accessed 6 July 2016

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Era ends, but family still talks shop

From 30 August 2004:

Betty Edwards shut up shop at 11 am yesterday, ending her family’s 88-year history of keeping Rylstone up with the news.

Shutdown ... Betty Edwards and her daughter, Veronica, take a last look around. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Shutdown … Betty Edwards and her daughter, Veronica, take a last look around. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Her mother, Hilda Yarrington, opened the newsagency as a 16-year-old in 1916 when most of the men around the Mudgee area had gone to fight in World War I.

“Mum paid 50 quid to buy the business from Mr Sampson. He was going to the Western front,” Mrs Edwards said. “She was too young so she had to go into partnership with her older sisters Pearl and Gladys … bought them out when she came of age.”

The newsagency wandered up and down Rylstone’s main drag, Louee Street, occupying five sites over the nine decades before Mrs Yarrington built her own shop in 1973. Over the years, the business diversified, adding a drapery, toys, books, records and anything else that was not available in the 15 or so other Louee Street establishments.

Mrs Yarrington was even canny enough to see a future in gambling. During World War II her shop was reputedly the first NSW newsagency to obtain a licence to sell lottery tickets.

Over the years, Rylstone’s town population stayed steady at about 800, with another 3000 living on properties in the area.

Mrs Yarrington, who was Miss Cooper, married Barney Yarrington in the 1920s. They had four daughters, who worked in the newsagency after school and at weekends.

Only one daughter stayed in town, Mrs Edwards, and she took over the newsagency when Mrs Yarrington died in 1987.

“Mum had a wonderful mind for business … and she and the shop went on to be such an important part of our community.”

Perhaps the biggest event to happen to the newsagency came a year after Mrs Yarrington’s death when Mrs Edwards opened an old shed that had been locked by her mother years before.

It contained a sort of lost inventory of Mrs Yarrington’s business, including a copy of the first Phantom comic (went on sale September 9, 1948, price sixpence), a 1950s wind-up Japanese robot and a wind-up 1913 Zulu ostrich cart.

“A real time capsule, it was,” Mrs Edwards said, “and we sold the lot for more than $10,000.”

A Blue Mountains couple, Doreen and Peter Shelley, take over the business from today.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, newspaper article, http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/08/29/1093717838110.html, accessed 2 July 2016.

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Open Day at Government House

12th June – Open Day at Government House

The following is a message from the Governor, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d),

On Sunday, 12 June 2016, Government House will open its doors for self-guided tours and Guides will be on hand to answer questions about this 170 year old residence. We also invite you to bring a picnic rug, pack your favourite picnic fare, and enjoy the winter sun in the grounds of Government House. Entry will be by (optional) charitable donation.

The Society has been invited by its patron the Governor to have a table at the Government House Open Day, which will be held in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. We would like to thank the Governor for the opportunity to share information about RAHS activities with people who attend this event. RAHS Council and staff members will be there on the day looking after the RAHS table so please come over and say hello.

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Ian Jack, Honorary Fellowship University of Sydney

Honorary Fellowship University of Sydney

On Friday last, 13 May 2016, Professor Ian Jack was conferred Honorary Fellowship of the University of Sydney for outstanding service to the University.  Ian’s association with the University began in 1961, when he arrived in Australia from Scotland.  Ian is currently Senior Fellow at St Andrew’s College, University of Sydney.

The nomination was made by St Andrew’s College, University of Sydney and was accepted by the Senate of the University at their most recent meeting.  The conferral occurred as part of a graduation ceremony at The Great Hall and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Barbara Caine AM, made the presentation.

Ian+Jack-Honorary+Fellowship+University+of+Sydney-photo-201605140_1605-Capture

Professor Ian Jack

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Edward King COX (1829–1883) and James Charles COX (1834-1912)

Edward King Cox (1829-1883), grazier, and James Charles Cox (1834-1912), medical practitioner, were the eldest and third sons of Edward Cox, M.L.C., of Fernhill, Mulgoa, and his wife Jane Maria, daughter of Richard Brooks, and grandsons of William Cox. Both were born at Mulgoa, Edward on 28 June 1829 and James on 21 July 1834. Until James was about 13 the boys lived at Mulgoa and attended the parish school of Rev. Thomas Makinson; in 1847 they went to The King’s School at Parramatta for about three years.

After leaving school Edward lived on his father’s sheep stations at Rawdon, Rylstone, in the Mudgee district, and his leases on the Namoi. In 1852 he accompanied his brother to Europe where he studied sheepbreeding and inspected the principal flocks in England and on the Continent. At Tralee, County Kerry, on 19 May 1855 he married Millicent Ann, daughter of Richard J. L. Standish. Soon afterwards he returned to take charge of his father’s stations.

Edward King COX (Rawdon)

Edward King COX

Edward was an outstanding breeder of stud stock. He inherited his father’s merino stud at Rawdon, Rylstone, and by careful breeding won world renown as ‘the great improver of the Australian Merino’. He won awards in many countries for his wool, particularly the grand prize at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878. Edward brought together at Fernhill, Mulgoa, his stud Shorthorn cattle and thoroughbred horses in 1868. His chief sires, Yattendon and Darebin, both won the Sydney Cup; he also imported stud mares from England and bred the Melbourne Cup winners, Chester and Grand Flaneur. In 1873, with John Agar Scarr, Edward was joint editor of The Stud Book of New South Wales.

In July 1874 Henry Parkes appointed Cox to the Legislative Council in the squatting interest, although he was ‘as yet an untried man in public life’. Because of arthritis and a trip to England he was never active in politics. He died on 25 July 1883 at Mulgoa, survived by his widow, who died on 11 March 1902 aged 70, five sons who followed his pastoral interests, and a daughter Mary, who in September 1881 married John Archibald Anderson, a grazier, of Newstead, Inverell. Cox’s estate was valued at £95,572. His home, Fernhill, still stands, a fine example of Georgian architecture, built by his father in 1840 of local sandstone.

As a child in the bush around Mulgoa James had played with Aboriginal children from whom he learnt the lore of native birds and animals. He showed such interest in natural history that his father determined to make him a doctor and apprenticed him for three years to Henry Grattan Douglass at a fee of 300 guineas. At the Sydney Infirmary he learnt dispensing, acted as a clinical clerk, assisted at post mortems and in 1852 witnessed an early operation performed under chloroform. In his last year of apprenticeship he became assistant to Professor John Smith, who had just begun chemistry lectures at the University of Sydney in what became the Sydney Grammar School. Cox also made himself useful in setting up the museum next door. He then continued his studies at Edinburgh (M.D., 1857; F.R.C.S., 1858) and returned to New South Wales where he registered as a medical practitioner on 1 February 1859.

Through his social, government and vice-regal connexions Cox enjoyed a very extensive private practice. He became recognized as a leading physician in Sydney and was for many years medical adviser to the Australian Mutual Provident Society. In 1875 he joined other prominent doctors in defending their profession against his former tutor, Professor Smith, who as dean of the Sydney medical faculty had allegedly reflected on the skill, qualifications and sobriety of colonial medical practitioners.

Cox’s contributions to medical education began at the Sydney Infirmary where he was honorary physician in 1862-72, honorary surgeon in 1877-79 and honorary consulting physician in 1873-76 and 1880-1911. His attempts to effect some reform in the technical management of the hospital were at first frustrated, and the pharmacopoeia he compiled in 1870, based largely on London editions, was not accepted till the late 1870s. But his services to Sydney Hospital were remembered in the dedication of Frederick Watson’s The History of the Sydney Hospital from 1811 to 1911 (Sydney, 1911), as one ‘who, for sixty-one years, has watched and assisted [in its development] as student, hon. physician, hon. surgeon, hon. consulting physician and director’. In 1883-1901 Cox lectured at the University of Sydney on medical principles and practice and was an honorary physician at Prince Alfred Hospital in 1889-1901. A student later recalled ‘the noble old face, with its gentle and courtly expression, the well-known stoop, the slightly bowed legs, the soft elastic-sided boots of French kid, and the dentures that never quite fitted … His great kindness of heart, his hatred of anything mean, and his extreme care in avoiding any possible hurt to anyone’s feelings, endeared him to everyone’. He was particularly remembered by final year students for his annual picnics at Newport or the Spit.

Cox retained his early love of natural history all his life. On his return from Britain in 1859 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales (then the Philosophical Society). He was first president in 1862 and long a member of the New South Wales Board of Fisheries, and a trustee of the Sydney Museum, to which he left his collection of Australian land shells. He was first secretary of the Entomological Society formed in 1862 and, after it became the Linnean Society of New South Wales in 1874, was its president in 1881-82; in 1868 he had been elected a fellow of the Linnean Society of London. His contributions to the journals of these societies were mainly on the conchology of Australia and the South Sea islands, but he also wrote on such subjects as the government regulation of oyster beds, and Aboriginal drawings, wax figures and stone implements. Among his works of reference published in Sydney were Catalogue of the Specimens of the Australian Land Shells (1864), A Monograph of Australian Land Shells (1868), An Alphabetical List of the Fishes Protected Under the Fisheries Act of 1902 (1905), and an Alphabetical List of Australian Land Shells (1909).

As a member of an old colonial family Cox took an antiquarian’s interest in Australian history. He was first president of the Australasian Pioneers’ Club, a member of the Australian Club for over fifty years, and a founder of the Historical Society in 1901. Although an obituarist in the Sydney Morning Herald considered him ‘very reticent in regard to himself’ and reluctant to write his autobiography, he was always good company at the leading Sydney clubs where his after-dinner speeches recalled early colonial days and the exploits of his family.

In Scotland on 29 September 1858 Cox married Margaret Wharton, daughter of John Maclellan, a merchant of Greenock, and his wife Jane, née Wharton. Of their four sons, James Wharton (1859-1911) and Allaster Edward (1864-1908) graduated in medicine at Edinburgh; Arthur Brooks (1866-1924) studied in London (M.R.C.S., 1890) and practised in Sydney as a dentist; the eldest of their six daughters, Millicent, married in 1890 Montague Peregrine Albemarle Bertie (twelfth Earl of Lindsey), who had been aide-de-camp to the governor, Lord Carrington, in 1885-88. Cox’s wife died on 21 February 1876 aged 36, and on 18 March 1878 he married Mary Frances, daughter of Dr William Benson, a medical practitioner in Hobart, and his wife Louisa Frances, née Lakeland; she died childless at 52 on 1 October 1902. Soon afterwards Cox married a widow, Emma, whose first husband was a grandson of John George Gibbes; they had one daughter. Cox died at his home in Mosman, Sydney, on 29 September 1912 and was buried in the family grave at Mulgoa.

Two portraits of J. C. Cox, one by Herbert Beecroft, are in the Australasian Pioneers’ Club.

Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cox-edward-king-3278, accessed 14 April 2016.

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Dabee Aboriginal Travelling Exhibition

The Dabee Aboriginal Travelling Exhibition will be on display between 10am and 4pm daily on the 14th, 15th & 16th April 2016 in the Bridge View Inn, everyone is welcome to attend.

The exhibition was put together by North East Wiradjuri Co and Kandos Historical Society, and designed by Lyn Syme, Kevin Williams, Wendy Lewis and Ed Windle.

Through 10 display panels and a number of other artefacts including a facsimile of Jimmy Lambert’s breastplate and Peggy Lambert’s Queen sash, the last identified apical ancestors of the Dabee people of the Kandos area.

The display was two years in the making and features panels telling the story of the changes European settlement brought to the Aboriginal people, with a focus on local stories such as those of Jimmy and Peggy Lambert – the last identified apical ancestors of the Dabee people of the Kandos area.

The exhibition was funded initially by a native title agreement with Moolarben Coal which includes an amount designated for cultural activities and subsequently by dollar-for-dollar funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

In June 2015, the exhibition was held at the Kandos RSL & Community Club and was officially opened by Djon Mundine OAM, an Aboriginal curator, writer, artist, and activist, and member of the Bundjalung people of Northern NSW.

Since June the exhibition has travelled to several locations in NSW including the far south coast of the state.

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Constance MOULDS (1897–1972)

Constance Moulds (1897-1972), trotting trainer, was born on 14 February 1897 at Rylstone, New South Wales, daughter of London-born Dudley Joseph Stephens, mounted-police constable, and his Victorian wife Mary Eleanor, née Calvert. In 1908 the family moved to Rouse Hill and on leaving school Connie worked as a clerk. On 17 May 1919 she married George Francis Moulds, butcher, at Christ Church, Rouse Hill. Her only child Lawrence was born in 1923.

By 1922 George was a smallgoods man at Riverstone and from 1925 a fruiterer. Although he suffered from spinal arthritis, they began to train trotters after the purchase of Tiny Loche for £30; the mare won her first three starts (which carried total prize money of six guineas) and later established a family of winners. Constance trained the horses full time, sometimes for other owners.

After winning open events against all-comers at shows, in 1924 Mrs Moulds was granted by the New South Wales Trotting Club a trainer-driver licence to compete at registered meetings outside the metropolitan area. She was the only woman granted such a licence in New South Wales although there were women drivers in other States. At Richmond on 10 June she rode Chester in a rough race and finished second. A fortnight later at Menangle, she had weighed in when she was notified that she could not compete. The stewards later said that men might be inhibited by chivalry from protesting against interference by women drivers. Thereafter her racing was confined to events restricted to women. This action set back the cause for women’s participation in registered trotting in New South Wales for many years.

Constance MOULDS

Constance MOULDS (nee STEPHENS)

By the early 1930s the Moulds had about twelve horses in constant work. After George was killed on the Windsor Road while driving Charming Ribbons in 1932, Mrs Moulds was ‘granted permission’ to continue training but kept only one pacer, Robert Loche, a winner on provincial tracks and at Victoria Park, and used him to pass on her knowledge and training expertise to her son Lawrie, who became a leading reinsman.

In the 1940s she twice rescued a nondescript gelding, Machine Wood, from the knackery. Her kindness and gentle training were rewarded when the gelding gave Lawrie his first win at Harold Park in 1944. At the inaugural night-trotting meeting at Harold Park on 1 October 1949 Machine Wood won the New Zealand Handicap. She was soon frustrated when ordered to transfer her horses to a man before they could compete at Harold Park; so, many of her entries appeared under Lawrie’s name. Nonetheless Constance Moulds was largely responsible for training Van’s Dream and Miss Josephine, winner of the Tom Austin Cup at Richmond.

At trotting meetings, her dumpy little figure was conspicuous in wide-brimmed hat and jodhpurs—she was rarely seen in a dress. She was affectionately known as ‘the little mother’ for her sympathy and practical help. Survived by her son, Constance Moulds died at Blackheath on 27 September 1972 and was buried in the Anglican cemetery at Rouse Hill.

Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography, ‘Moulds, Constance (1897-1972)’, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/moulds-constance-7671, accessed 2 April 2016.

Image: Australian Harness Racing, ‘Women in Harness Racing’, http://www.harness.org.au/hra/awards/2010/WomeninHarnessRacing.pdf, accessed 2 April 2016.

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Rylstone doctor’s story inspires book: ‘Kitchener’s One Hundred’ tells story of WWI medicos

Rylstone doctor Jack Farrar was one of 100 Australian doctors who answered the plea from British War Secretary Lord Kitchener for help to bolster the war effort in 1915. More than 100 years after he enlisted Jack’s story has inspired a 560 page account of the lives of his colleagues who would become known as Kitchener’s One Hundred.

Rylstone born doctor John ‘Jack’ Farrar has inspired a detailed volume on the lives of 100 Australian doctors who answered the plea from British War Secretary Lord Kitchener for help to bolster the war effort in 1915.

Rylstone born doctor John ‘Jack’ Farrar has inspired a detailed volume on the lives of 100 Australian doctors who answered the plea from British War Secretary Lord Kitchener for help to bolster the war effort in 1915.

Lina Stunden never imagined a volunteer shift at the Rylstone Historical Society would lead her on a six-year investigation into the lives of a group of otherwise forgotten Australian trained doctors and surgeons who served in the First World War.

“I joined [the Rylstone Historical Society] and asked if anyone was writing a book on WW1, no one was and they were happy for me to begin but then I got sidetracked by John William Farrar or Jack as he was known,” Lina said.

The son of publicans and farmers, Jack was fresh out of Sydney Medical School when he enlisted as a doctor on a hospital ship in the Pacific in 1914.

A year later he re-enlisted with 99 other young doctors, among them doctor Robert Burnside Carter, who settled in Mudgee following the war. The men, most of whom were in their early twenties, were dispersed across the European front.

“Most of them were in their final months of university study and the British wanted single young men because they were seen as expendable,” Lina said.

Lina discovered the British attitude toward the group was one of disdain.

“There were accounts that they were made to fill potholes and build toilet blocks with their fine surgeon’s hands,” she said.

“Kitchener’s 100 were regarded as only temporary officers and colonial and looked down upon, their records were destroyed after WW1.”

Without solid records Lina took her search to school and university records that often had copies of the men’s published letters.

It was then a painstaking process to find living relatives on Facebook and in the White Pages.

“The whole process was great because I had no idea that I would uncover the lives of these amazing men and their families,” Lina said.

“They all had very interesting ancestries. I later found out that I was related to one of them.”

Of the remaining family members she did contact, Lina said very few knew of their relative’s service.

“Nearly all of the remaining family members said their fathers didn’t talk about war,” she said.

Sadly she discovered that seven of 100 were killed in battle, three committed suicide not long after the war and two more later in life.

She said reading about the horror they faced gave her strength to pursue the book and matters in her personal life.

“I loved it, I have a child with cerebral palsy and the process of writing the book has helped buck me up when I felt a bit down and read about courageous people like that and what they went through,” Lina said.

Lina’s book Kitchener’s One Hundred is available online at australiandoctorsww1.com

Source: Mudgee Guardian, news article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3697523/rylstone-doctors-story-inspires-book-kitcheners-one-hundred-tells-story-of-wwi-medicos/, accessed 31 March 2016.

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Vandals attempt to pull headstone away with car at Rylstone Cemetery

A headstone has been damaged beyond repair after trespassers attempted to drag it from Rylstone Cemetery with a car.

Mudgee police said the senseless act of vandalism occurred some time between Wednesday, February 17 and Friday, February 19 at the cemetery on Narango Road.

“These offender/s have wrapped a chain around the headstone and using a vehicle have pulled the headstone forward a short distance causing damage to it,” police posted to their Facebook page.

“The headstone weighs almost one tonne so it would be expected a large vehicle such as a four wheel drive or small truck was used. This senseless action has caused the coffin to be partly exposed.”

Police said the damaged headstone cannot be fixed and is valued at $2800.

“Police have to attend and deal with all types of incidents in the course of their duties, some of which could be called pretty low. But this can only be described as disgusting – one of the lowest acts many of us have ever seen.”

Followers of the Mudgee LAC Facebook page were disgusted.

One woman wrote: “This is really upsetting. To vandalise someone’s final resting place is lower than low. What saddens me is that this is what the world’s come to.”

Another said: “Beyond words. This is lower than a low life, how sad a person could even think to do such a thing, let alone do it.”

Others said: “Beyond words…. Absolutely awful”, “Disgraceful and disrespectful”, “So horrible have some respect”.

Many called for CCTV to be installed at the cemetery.

Anyone with information about the crime is urged to contact Mudgee police on 63728599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Rylstone Cemetery

 

Source: Mudgee Guardian, news article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3801876/vandals-attempt-to-pull-headstone-away-with-car-at-rylstone-cemetery/?cs=1233, accessed 23 March 2016.

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Ruth Beatrice FAIRFAX (1878–1948), a founder of the CWA

Ruth Beatrice FAIRFAX (1878-1948), a founder of the Country Women’s Association, was born on 8 October 1878, at Lue, near Rylstone, New South Wales, second surviving daughter of native-born parents Vincent James DOWLING, and his wife Frances Emily, daughter of T. C. BREILLAT. She was mainly educated by governesses at Lue and briefly attended the Sydney Church of England Grammar School for Girls under Miss BADHAM. On 2 February 1899 at the Anglican Church, Dungarey, near Rylstone, she married John Hubert Fraser FAIRFAX (1872-1950).

The Fairfaxes went to live at Dalmore station near Longreach, Queensland, where she loved the outdoor life. In 1908 they moved to Marinya, near Cambooya on the Darling Downs, where their only child was born in 1909. While at Marinya, Ruth FAIRFAX regularly taught in the Sunday School and supported the Bush Brotherhood and other Anglican organizations. For her local war work she was awarded the Belgian Medal ‘de la Reine Elizabeth’.

At a meeting at the Albert Hall, Brisbane, in August 1922, Mrs FAIRFAX was appointed first State president of the Queensland Country Women’s Association, which was to prove ‘her heart’s great love’. She embarked on a strenuous six months tour in an open car of outback Queensland, organizing branches and holding some meetings on the banks of creeks. In 1926 she resigned as president of the southern division but remained as State president until 1931; she was appointed a justice of the peace in 1927.

The Fairfaxes visited England from March 1929 to December 1930. Ruth attended many gatherings of the similar Women’s Institutes and represented Australia at the International Conference of Rural Women’s Organizations in London in 1929, and on the Liaison Committee of Rural Women’s and Homemakers’ Organisations.

On their return to Australia the Fairfaxes lived in Sydney, at Elaine, on Seven Shillings Beach, Double Bay, that Hubert had bought from the estate of his uncle Geoffrey FAIRFAX. Ruth continued to work for the C.W.A. as New South Wales State secretary until 1946, a vice-president from 1934 of Associated Country Women of the World and as co-editor with Dorothy CATTS of the Countrywoman in New South Wales. As well she served on the boards of the Adult Deaf and Dumb Society of New South Wales and St Luke’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, and on the State executive and general council of the Girl Guides’ Association; she was a life governor of the Benevolent Society of New South Wales, a trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales from 1937 and chairman of the council of the Australian Board of Missions. In June 1935 she was appointed O.B.E.

ruth-fairfax-obe

Ruth Beatrice FAIRFAX OBE

Ruth FAIRFAX loved music and her gardens at Marinya, Elaine and Wanawong. She enjoyed entertaining and often lent Elaine for fêtes, pageants, meetings and entertainments for patriotic and charitable causes. Among her many activities during World War II, she helped to provide sheepskin vests and other comforts for the Australian Comforts Fund. Her friends remarked on ‘her deft, capable hands’. Her ‘dark brown eyes were strong and friendly, her gait was busy and purposeful; her voice and ready laughter made her presence cheerful and dynamic’. A diabetic for many years, Ruth FAIRFAX died from chronic nephritis in St Luke’s Hospital on 1 February 1948 and was cremated with Anglican rites.

Her husband, always known as Hubert, was born on 11 May 1872 at Trahlee, Bellevue Hill, Sydney, fifth son of (Sir) James Reading FAIRFAX and his wife Lucy, née Armstrong. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and Bath College, England, then returned to Australia and joined Dalgety & Co. Ltd. After practical experience under his future father-in-law at Lue, he bought Dalmore station in Queensland in 1897 and Marinya in 1908. He bred Ayrshire cattle and Corriedale sheep, which he successfully exhibited, and later often acted as judge at Australian shows. He was sometime president of the Ayrshire Association of Queensland, the Australian Corriedale Sheepbreeders’ Association, the New South Wales Sheepbreeders’ Association and a vice-president of the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales.

After he returned to Sydney in 1931 he bought Wanawong, 70 acres (28 ha) at Castle Hill. He was a director of John Fairfax & Sons Ltd in 1931-45, the Bank of New South Wales in 1932-50, the Australian Mutual Provident Society (1932-48), the Royal Insurance Co. and the Walter and Eliza HALL Trust. He was also president of the Young Men’s Christian Association from 1935, of the Boys’ Brigade from 1945, and of the Australian Air League and a council-member of the British Empire Society and was involved with the Legacy Club of Sydney.

FAIRFAX was a keen golfer and a member of the Oriental Club, London, and of the Union and Australasian Pioneers’ clubs, Sydney. He died in St Luke’s Hospital on 10 June 1950 and was cremated with Anglican rites. He was survived by their son (Sir) Vincent.

Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/fairfax-ruth-beatrice-6134, accessed 4 March 2016.

Image: Ruth Beatrice FAIRFAX OBE, Queensland Country Women’s Association, http://qcwa.org.au/page.php?About-About-our-founder-Ruth-Fairfax-36, accessed 4 March 2016.

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Rylstone rail not just a one-hit-wonder?

Saturday’s special train to the Rylstone Show and the opening of the line to Rylstone may be considered a one off event for the moment.

Both the Lithgow State Mine Railway and the Kandos Museum, though, will be working with the relevant government departments to ensure it won’t be just a one hit wonder.

Both organisations are keen to develop a regular tourist service to the area from Lithgow.

The Rylstone Rambler sold out very early and generated a lot of interest along the way as it passed through the magnificent Capertee Valley and headed towards Kandos and Rylstone.

There was a great crowd waiting at Rylstone to meet the railcars as they rolled into the station where a small ceremony took place to mark the occasion of the first passenger train back to Rylstone in more than 10 years.

A number of dignitaries were on hand to jointly cut a red ribbon prior to the train pulling fully into the Rylstone platform to allow the passengers from near and far a chance to visit a country show.

Three shuttle runs were also operated between Rylstone and Kandos during the afternoon for the locals to experience the ride.

The shuttle runs were all very well patronised.

The Minister for Local Government and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole was on hand, together with David Ginn, the area manager for John Holland, Rob Mason, the CEO of Transport NSW TrainLink, Buzz Sanderson, chairman of the Kandos Museum and Michael Wilson, chairman of the Lithgow State Mine Railway.

The day would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of businesses and organisations, including Ben Hope, David Ginn and the team at John Holland who played a major role in getting the line open again, the Lachlan Valley Railway, operators of the train, and Tim Elderton and his maintenance staff from the Lithgow Railway Workshop who were on hand to ensure things went smoothly.

Organisers are heading back to Kandos for the Kandos Garden Fair on Saturday April 2.

Details and bookings are available through the Kandos Museum website: kandosmuseum.org.au.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3767895/rylstone-rail-not-just-a-one-hit-wonder/?cs=1485, accessed 4 March 2016.

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Riders revel in Rylstone Rambler rail journey

Visitors travelling from the Blue Mountains to the Rylstone Kandos Show on the weekend had extra motivation to make the trip, with the opportunity to take the Rylstone Rambler on the rail line from Lithgow to Rylstone.

The train trip was organised as a fundraiser by the committee of the Kandos Museum.

Travellers enjoyed the scenery of the Capertee Valley, made new friends on board, and in some cases made their first trip to Rylstone in a most unique fashion.

Helen Overmyer travelled from the mountains, and on the way met Mudgee’s Carol Eade, discovering that the two women had something in common as wives of devoted train enthusiasts.

Mrs Overmyer’s husband Steve worked on the restoration of the visiting train as a member of the Lithgow State Mine Railway.

She said the trip had been fabulous, particularly the magnificent scenery along the way.

Mrs Eade agreed the rail line provided a totally different view of the countryside and a much more relaxing way to travel.

The Overmyers spent the day at the Rylstone Kandos Show and explored the town, enjoying the old stone buildings before boarding the train to return home.

The Rylstone Rambler will return on April 2 for the Kandos Garden Fair, with the train ride including a country luncheon at the Kandos Museum.

Rylstone Rambler_27FEB2016

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3756677/riders-revel-in-rylstone-rambler-rail-journey/, accessed 29 February 2016.

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First train for Rylstone since 1982

For the first time since 1982 a train will pull into the Rylstone Railway Station on Saturday, February 27 in time for the local show.

Kandos Museum, together with their event partners Lithgow State Mine Railways (LSMR) are bringing the train back to Rylstone.

Over the past six months, LSMR and the museum have been working in the background to re-open the rail link between Kandos and Rylstone. Museum president buzz Sanderson says it’s a great occasion.

“What better occasion could there be than for the train to coincide with the RylstoneKandos Show, arguably the best small town show in New South Wales.”

Rylstone Railway Station has a lot of history. The line to Rylstone was opened in June 1884 and the length to Mudgee later in the same year. The contractor for the Rylstone Railway Station was Henry Lawson’s father and young Henry assisted with the building.

“It has taken a concerted effort by the museum and LSMR to re-open the rail link using Railmotor Set 661/726. The Kandos-Rylstone section was closed in 2004 and last travelled by a Railmotor in 1982.

Of course none of this would have been possible without the support of many others and our thanks go to Paul Toole MP, our local member, Mayor Des Kennedy, our colleagues at Lachlan Valley Railways, John Holland and Transport for NSW as well as the Rylstone-Kandos Show Society.

We are all looking forward to a fantastic day,” Buzz Sanderson said.

Rylstone railway station

Rylstone Railway Station will welcome a train to its platform this Saturday for the first time since 1982.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, news article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3746974/first-train-for-rylstone-since-1982/?cs=4131, accessed 25 February 2016.

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Dame Constance Elizabeth D’Arcy (1879–1950)

Dame Constance Elizabeth D’Arcy (1879-1950), obstetrician and gynaecologist, was born on 1 June 1879 at Rylstone, New South Wales, fifth daughter of Murty D’Arcy, sergeant of police, and his wife Bridget, née Synnott. She passed the senior public examination in 1894 from Rylstone Public School and, after attending Riviera College, Woollahra, in 1898 she matriculated at the University of Sydney (M.B., Ch.M., 1904). As neither of the Sydney teaching hospitals would accept a woman, she did her residency at the (Royal) Adelaide Hospital. She became resident medical officer at the Royal Hospital for Women, Paddington, in 1905. She was soon called to give evidence at a coroner’s inquiry into a death from septicaemia following induced abortion. Throughout a distinguished career she was concerned to reduce the incidence of maternal death.

D’Arcy opened a practice in Macquarie Street in 1908 and was appointed honorary surgeon at the Royal Hospital for Women. She supported improved standards in nursing and regular antenatal examination and investigated control of sepsis in hospitals. On the executive of the Australian Trained Nurses’ Association, she moved the motion in 1923 calling for the formation of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation. She was a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London, a foundation member of the College of Surgeons of Australasia (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons), and an active member of the Catholic Medical Guild of St Luke. She helped reform the Medical Women’s Society of New South Wales, serving as its president from 1933-34. In 1935 she was appointed D.B.E. and invited to deliver the Anne MacKenzie oration to the Australian Institute of Anatomy, Canberra. She spoke on maternal mortality, control of puerperal septicaemia and the rise in deaths from illegal operations. She condemned moves to legalize abortion.

In 1919-49 D’Arcy represented the graduates on the Senate of the University of Sydney, the first woman to be elected. She had been an executive member of the Sydney University Women’s Union, the Catholic University Women Graduates’ Association and the Sydney University Women Graduates’ Association and she remained active in them. While on the senate, she helped to secure recognition of St Vincent’s as a teaching hospital and was its honorary gynaecologist in 1923-45. When the National Council of Women, of which she was a member, requested the university in 1922 to establish a chair of obstetrics, D’Arcy steered the proposal through faculty and the senate. Her efforts were supported by public agitation organized by Millicent Preston-Stanley calling for ‘horses’ rights for women’; in 1924 the government made money available. D’Arcy was lecturer in clinical obstetrics 1925-39 at the university, and was associated with later moves to expand staff and to extend laboratory facilities. D’Arcy served on the senate finance committee, the Cancer Research Committee and the conjoint board of Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children and she represented the university on the Australian Council of Hospital Almoners. As deputy chancellor in 1943-46, the first woman so elected, she took major responsibility in resolving many of the problems associated with the post-war expansion of the university.

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In the 1920s D’Arcy helped to organize the sex education work of the National Council of Women. She gave her services also to the Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children, founded in 1922 by a group of female doctors who were worried by the difficulties women encountered in securing placements. Aware of prejudice, she established links with other professional women through the Professional Women Workers’ Association. Her attempt in 1935 to persuade the university to appoint a woman to its appointment’s board revealed her continued concern on this issue. In 1944 she became president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Sydney.

Renowned for her quick response when called, D’Arcy was chauffeur-driven on her rounds. She was a large woman, heavily built, remembered for her hearty infectious laugh, a gracious manner, and her jewellery—on emergency calls, the first task of the sister on duty was to lock it away. She collected antiques and donated a valuable cabinet to Sancta Sophia College; in 1929 she was a foundation member of its council, which she chaired from 1946. She was honoured by the Pope in 1940 with the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

For many years D’Arcy’s two unmarried sisters kept house for her. She died of cerebro-vascular disease in the Sacred Heart Hospice for the Dying, Darlinghurst, on 25 April 1950. After requiem Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, she was buried in Waverley cemetery. To commemorate her service at the Royal Hospital for Women, a ward was named after her.

Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/darcy-dame-constance-elizabeth-5880, accessed 9 February 2016.

Image: Constance Elizabeth D’Arcy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Elizabeth_D%27Arcy, accessed 9 February 2016.

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2016 Calendar of Events

RDHS Calendar for 2016

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Rylstone Rambler – Show Special (by Kandos Museum Inc)

Major news – a branchline many thought was long left to ruin in NSW is reopening – well least a short section that was once closed – to allow privately run passenger train operations to again return.

In late February 2016 a heritage railmotor will operate along a section for the first time in nearly a decade beyond Kandos and terminate at Rylstone around 7km further on.

This is meaning significant clearing work on the track is needed as the Kandos to Rylstone section is heavily overgrown in the past decade since closure of the section.

Tickets for the train event can be purchased via http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/rylstone-rambler-show-special-tickets-20400390116

Source: NSW Heritage Railway Stations and Infrastructure, Facebook group post, 15 January 2016.

See also http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3669045/rylstone-line-to-re-open-for-show-train/?cs=1233

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Families saddened by proposal to move Bylong graves

As a child, Leeanne Campbell never knew why the Bylong Valley was a favourite destination for her father’s Sunday drives with his family.

 Leeanne Campbell and Kimberley Coward described plans to relocate graves as “morally wrong”.

Leeanne Campbell and Kimberley Coward described plans to relocate graves as “morally wrong”.

It was only when her aunt told her of proposals to relocate the bodies of her great-grandparents and great-uncle from the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Cemetery to make way for KEPCO’s proposed open cut coal mine that she discovered her family’s connection with the area.

The discovery sent Leanne’s daughter Kimberley Coward on a search for her family roots in the area, resulting in their visit to Bylong on Saturday.

Leeanne and Kimberley planned to visit the graves of Leeanne’s great-grandparents Hugh and Susan Cobrey,  and great- uncle Gerard Cobrey at the cemetery, as well as showing their support for the Battle of Bylong.

Kimberley and Leeanne said discovering the family connection to the Bylong Valley at the point where it was about to be lost was “bitter sweet”.

“It’s beautiful – too beautiful a place for a coal mine,” Leeanne said.

Kimberley said the proposal to exhume bodies to make way for the mine was “morally wrong”.

“How can you dig up people’s graves?” she said.  “Rest in Peace is meant to be Rest in Peace for ever, not Rest In Peace until you get dug up.

“They worked here on the land to shape the community and now they are going to be removed from it.”

 Kimberley, a student of Aboriginal studies and geography, said she planned to make a submission before the closing date of November 6.

Sharon Cobrey, Michael Cobrey, Marie Vangelov (nee Cobrey) and Branko Vangelov at Bylong on Saturday.

Sharon Cobrey, Michael Cobrey, Marie Vangelov (nee Cobrey) and Branko Vangelov at Bylong on Saturday.

Michael Cobrey and Marie Vangelov (nee Cobrey), the grandchildren of Hugh Francis and Susan Cobrey, were also visiting Bylong on Saturday.

Michael and Marie, who grew up in the Bylong Valley and attended Upper Bylong School, returned from their homes near Newcastle to make what they expected would be their final visit to the graves of their grandparents and cousins at the cemetery as well as the Cobrey’s former property “Innisfail”.

The Cobreys said they were shocked and surprised to learn about the proposal to relocate the graves in the cemetery.

“We would prefer that they stay buried in Bylong, even if they are moved,” Michael said.

The church was sold by the Catholic Diocese in 2008 and changed hands a number of times before being bought by KEPCO.

KEPCO has commissioned an expert to investigate and assess the heritage of the burials within the grounds of the former church and to gather information regarding the identity of any unmarked burials and the names of relatives and descendants of the deceased.

KEPCO Bylong Australia’s chief operating officer, Bill Vatovec told the Mudgee Guardian earlier this year that KEPCO has been consulting directly with the descendants and will continue to do so throughout the assessment of the Development Application for the project.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3445842/families-saddened-by-proposal-to-move-bylong-graves/?cs=1485

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Stitches in Time a ‘must see’ exhibition

The exhibition, ‘Stitches in Time – Stories of the WWI Rylstone Autograph Quilt 1915′ was officially opened on Friday evening at the Rylstone Memorial Hall where a large gathering discovered just how fascinating the exhibition is.

During the welcome, newly elected president of the Rylstone and District Historical Society Shirley Tunnicliff explained that 27 people were involved with research for the project. She also thanked district schools who made around 1500 poppies for the exhibition.

Immediate past president and curator Helen Marsonet explained that when she first discovered that the quilt existed she became very excited.

“I had absolutely no idea it existed. I contacted someone at the War Museum and he told me there were 49 soldiers’ names and 900 other names. We had no idea what it was all about.”

Mrs Marsonet started researching and discovered the quilt was very unique. It was white embroidery on white cloth and also one huge piece rather than separate pieces. People signed their names in indelible pencil and then it was stitched over.

“One of the society’s supporters Dan Hatton from Gunnedah was going to Canberra and he photographed the quilt. From that we made a list and put it out on local media and people came forward. I laid all the research material on my kitchen table and Virginia Hollister came and helped. It was very difficult to identify all the people at first,” she said.

The historical society then decided to put on a special exhibition to view the culmination of all their work. Of the 966 autographs they ended up with two thirds researched and from that selected about 120 names for the stories that are on display.

Using the quilt signatures as the starting point, the exhibition features biographical vignettes, photographs, uniforms, badges, flags, and other items to tell the social history of the district at the outbreak of World War One.

It’s a fabulous exhibition and is a must see for anyone interested in history. The exhibition will remain open from 10 am to 4 pm daily until this Friday, September 11.

There will be demonstrations of embroidery in the manner of the quilt, army sock knitting, and table loom weaving. War poetry will be recited daily at 2 pm. Entry is by gold coin donation. This is an official History Week Event presented by Rylstone and District Historical Society.

Source: Mudgee Guardian [http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3337032/stitches-in-time-a-must-see-exhibition/?cs=3740]

Maureen Brodie (nee Carter) Helen Marsonet (nee Norris and Gwen Potter (nee Mulholland) all went to Rylstone Primary School together. It was a great thrill for them to get together again at the exhibition opening.

Maureen Brodie (nee Carter) Helen Marsonet (nee Norris and Gwen Potter (nee Mulholland) all went to Rylstone Primary School together. It was a great thrill for them to get together again at the exhibition opening.

Following his address on the connection Red Cross had to Australia Day 1915 and fundraising over the last 100 years, John Pocius Manager of the Greater Western Area of the Red Cross Society presented Helen Marsonet with the book “The Power of Humanity” celebrating 100 years of Red Cross from 1914 to 2014.

Following his address on the connection Red Cross had to Australia Day 1915 and fundraising over the last 100 years, John Pocius Manager of the Greater Western Area of the Red Cross Society presented Helen Marsonet with the book “The Power of Humanity” celebrating 100 years of Red Cross from 1914 to 2014.

Virginia Hollister was also presented with a gift from Shirley Tunnicliff for her tireless work assisting with research and helping with the exhibition.

Virginia Hollister was also presented with a gift from Shirley Tunnicliff for her tireless work assisting with research and helping with the exhibition.

The Wollemi Voices sang stirring songs on Friday evening and received a traditional three cheers from the audience following their performance.

The Wollemi Voices sang stirring songs on Friday evening and received a traditional three cheers from the audience following their performance.

Gemma and Margo from the Convent and Chapel Wool Shop demonstrating the art of sock knitting. They’ll be at the exhibition each day.

Gemma and Margo from the Convent and Chapel Wool Shop demonstrating the art of sock knitting. They’ll be at the exhibition each day.

Around 120 stories of those who signed the autograph quilt adorn the display area – a mammoth task for researchers and a joy for descendants and history buffs.

Around 120 stories of those who signed the autograph quilt adorn the display area – a mammoth task for researchers and a joy for descendants and history buffs.

Neil and Barbara Reynolds viewing one of the Red Cross displays. Mrs Reynolds has been actively involved with the Rylstone Branch of Red Cross for many years.

Neil and Barbara Reynolds viewing one of the Red Cross displays. Mrs Reynolds has been actively involved with the Rylstone Branch of Red Cross for many years.

President of Rylstone and District Historical Society Shirley Tunnicliff presenting Helen Marsonet with a gift for her fabulous work in researching the quilt and curating the exhibition.

President of Rylstone and District Historical Society Shirley Tunnicliff presenting Helen Marsonet with a gift for her fabulous work in researching the quilt and curating the exhibition.

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Amazing stories from WWI quilt revealed

A remarkable exhibition on display in the Rylstone Memorial Hall this week paints a picture of the people of the township during World War I.

“Stitches in Time – Stories of the WWI Rylstone Autograph Quilt 1915” explores the stories of local people who paid to have their signatures embroidered onto a quilt in 1915 to raise funds for the war effort and the relief of the wounded at the Dardanelles.

Publicans and saddlers, butchers, bakers and bootmakers, shop keepers, soldiers, siblings and sweethearts all signed the quilt Rylstone, along with almost every town in the country, celebrated the first “Australia Day” on July 30, 1915, with a huge procession, fundraising auction, speeches and a concert.

The Rylstone Autograph Quilt was just one of the items auctioned, sold to local ironmonger, draper and grocer E. H. Nash.

The quilt was found in a collection of linen purchased at auction in Sydney in the 1970s and was donated to the War Memorial in Canberra for safekeeping.

Historical society president, and curator of the exhibition Helen Marsonet said the discovery six years ago that there was a Rylstone autograph quilt in the collection of the War Memorial led to a massive project researching the signatures.

Using the quilt signatures as the starting point, the exhibition features biographical vignettes, photographs, uniforms, badges, flags, and other items to tell the social history of the district at the outbreak of World War One.

There will be demonstrations of embroidery in the manner of the quilt, army sock knitting, and table loom weaving. War poetry will be recited daily at 2 pm.

The exhibition will be open at the Rylstone Memorial Hall in Louee Street from 10 am to 4 pm daily from now until Friday, September 11.

Entry is by gold coin donation. This is an official History Week Event presented by Rylstone and District Historical Society.
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Owain James with part of the “Stitches in Time” exhibition at the Rylstone Memorial Hall. The exhibition, inspired by Rylstone’s Autograph Quilt, is one display throughout this week.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article [http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3330466/amazing-stories-from-wwi-quilt-revealed/]

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Celebrating 100 Years of ANZAC

Re-enactment of the 1915 recruiting marches honouring the Tooraweenah ‘Kookaburras’ along the Castlereagh Highway in 2015. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for rural communities along the Castlereagh Highway from Tooraweenah, to Dunedoo, Mudgee, Portland and Bathurst to re-invigorate their volunteer spirit, celebrate their heritage and reconnect with descendants of local families. Overview – While the snowballing marches of 1915 focussed on recruiting members to the Australian Defence force, the re-enactment events of 2015 will focus on recruiting modern Australians to community service. On the ’Kookaburras’ route the average marching distance between overnights stops is about 25km. At Bathurst the ‘Kookaburras’ will link up with the Parkes/Forbes ‘Boomerangs’ where they will all board a train for Sydney. The total march event will cover thirteen days. The tentative march timetable will see the ‘Kookaburras’ arrive on Friday 6th November, they will march via Lue to Rylstone camping in the showground overnight, continuing onto Ilford via Kandos and Clandulla and will camp at the Ilford hall on the 7th November. Major Bill Duncan OAM will be co-ordinating the ‘Kookaburra’ march and for general information you can contact him on i.mentor@me.com or phone 9654 0525 or mobile on 0488 999 177. General enquiries to info@cooeemarch.org.au or the website on www.cooeemarch.org.au.

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