Communal Groups

Mackenzie’s shepherds: Five men killed at Rawdon Vale by a group of Gringai people. While their deaths caused much concern among the Europeans of the Williams River district, they are never named individually in the many newspaper reports. However we know Alfred (Fred) Simmons is named as the individual for whose murder Charley was tried. Additionally the Convict Death Register gives us the names of James Beachan, Richard Grey, Laurence Kennedy & Alfred Simmons, all reported to have died 13 May 1835 as ‘killed by the natives’.[1]

Sisters of St Joseph: In 1888, four nuns of this order travelled from Lochinvar to Dungog to establish a convent and school in Dungog. From then until the convent closed in 2002, the nuns of St Joseph supplied teachers to the school as well as music lessons to many Dungog children both Catholic and non-Catholic.

Vernon Boys & Barnados Boys and Girls: From the 1870s through to the 1950s, various government and charitable organisations sent young boys and girls to the farms, shops and homes of Dungog Shire district to work as farm hands, apprentices and servants. Variously known as Vernon Boys (after a ship in Sydney Harbour) or Barnados Boys and Girls, they appear occasionally on the records, usually in family recollections but are rarely named. An exception to this is a listing of 13 names of ‘State Boys and Girls’ that attended school at Eccleston while placed with local families.[2]

Wattle Club women: Formed after the First World War and continuing throughout most of the 20th century, the many women of the Wattle Club were a ‘Ladies Auxiliary’ to the RSL, responsible for the organising of countless dances, balls and euchre nights which raised money for handouts to ex-diggers, and expansions of the RSL Club rooms. While the names of many individual members are known, many more members contributed in an unnamed capacity.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. [SRNSW ref: 4/4549 Reel 690, pp.14, 85, 120, 195. Most of the names of these men were found by the excellent research of Carol Baxter.
  2.  Education in Eccleston, 1867-1967, p.18.