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A Centenary of Schooling, 1867-1967
Both to keep this section within manageable size and in keeping with the historical aspect of a centenary, we have sought the story of families living in the district within the first fifty years of the establishment of a school in Southgate. Thanks is expressed to all who supplied material, which generally has been edited and shortened, and apologies to any old families we may have missed in our researches. The original papers supplied have been enclosed in a folder to be left permanently at the school. About sixty requests were made, and the following has been compiled from replies.
Use the "Find" feature of your browser to find the surname you are interested in. Don't just stop once you've found the first instance - through marriage etc the same surnames are often found in several different entries. Families are not arranged alphabetically. This was generously contributed to CVGenWeb by Rod Kennedy
Edward Bender Senr., was born at Camira Creek in 1858 and came to Southgate as a lad of twelve. Later he married Margaret Cameron of Smith's Creek and took up farming on the farm now owned by Brian O'Donohue. There were twelve in the family. The girls married and moved away. James was a blacksmith at So)4thgate, and later in Sydney. The other boys carried on farming at Southgate. Edward worked 'at Grafton Experiment Farm for over twenty years. The surviving members of the family, now retired, are Edward (South Grafton); Mary (Mrs. Martin), Sydney; Flora (Mrs. Skinner), Grafton; George, Winegrove; Aubyn (Iluka). Edward, Allan and George were well known for their football, cricket, rowing and foot running. Their father was a noted foot runner too. A treasured recollection of Flora's is four years attendance at Southgate School during which only half a day was missed, the reward being a doll.
Thomas Berry was born in Liverpool, England, in 1831, and at fourteen began the hard life of a sailor, the voyages finally leading him to Australia. Here he married Helen Hatton of Berrima in 1856. He was Lighthouse Keeper at Gabo Is. for a while, but came to the Clarence as Customs Official at Grafton. Meeting vessels meant being rowed to Yamba (by two aboriginal lads) and on these journeys he assessed land possibilities and chose his Southgate property, which he took up about 1862, settling there with his wife and two eldest children. There were seven sons and five daughters in the family. Of them, Tommy, handled the McMillan property for a number of years, but later died of pneumonia 'flu at Innisfail. Edward stayed on the Clarence in the vegetable trade. The rest drifted to Sydney, except Sam and Frank who stayed on the old property. Frank wed Mary Havinden, granddaughter of John Small of cedar getting fame on the Clarence. Frank, who died at 89 last year, was well known for his wonderful store of memories of early days, and material supplied from them by his daughter, Hope Biddle, has been used in this booklet. Mrs. Biddle has articles brought cut from England by the I-Iavinden family, and most prized of all, a dilly bag made by a lubra and presented to her great grandmother so that she could go unhampered about her work with Mrs. Biddle's grandmother in it on her back.
In 1868 Thomas Boothby arrived from England and selected land at Southgate. Besides farming this land Tom Boothby and his brother-in-law Charles Leeson built a sugar mill on his farm which operated till about 1901 when milling operations on the Clarence were finally taken over by the C.S.R. Company. His family, Maria, George, William and Valentine were all schooled in Southgate, Maria and George attending the first school, which W2S situated on the banks of Southgate Creek that borders the Boothby farm. On their father's death George took over the farm, William and Valentine going to the Richmond where they selected land at Whian Whian. Both boys served in World War I, William being invalided home. George in his younger days was a keen cricketer and footballer in the local teams. When he died the farm was taken over by one of his sons and it is still in the Boothby name.
Robert Biddle, a free selector, came from England and set up a Forge and Engineering business on the Hawkesbury at Richmond. In 1873 he came to the Clarence, bringing with him George Francis Biddle, and after buying three properties of standing scrub at Tyndale, he returned to Richmond. In 1883 George Francis Biddle came to the Clarence, married Alice Pateman and settled on one of the Tyndale properties. Brother Robert and stepbrother John settled on the other two. The children of the marriage were: Jaci@ (R. J.); Frank (F. E.); Jim (J. A.); Mabel (Mrs. Doust); Anne (@VIrs. Kratz); Mary (Mrs. Leeson) and Ena (Mrs. Campbell).
In 1905 George Francis Biddle bought the McCaughey property at Great Marloiv, from where Mary, Jim and Ena attended the Southgate Schoot. Frank and Jack shared this property. Jack's son, Bruce, and Frank's boys Athol and Geoff attended Southgate School. After four years in the A.I.F. Jim purchased a Southgate property. Two of his children, Doreen (Mrs. R. Lee) and Nancy (Mrs. A. Jackson) went to Southgate School till 1930, when Jim purchased one of the original Biddle properties at Tyndale. Thus the family has been associated with the school from 1905 till 1938 when GeofT left for High School. Geoff is well known in Grafton district for his interest in marine biology and photography. Mr. J. F. W. Biddle, Principal of Westlawn Primary Setiool, is a son of Jim
(J. A.) Biddle.
Walter Boorman, a pioneer of Southgate, came to Australia a babe in arms with his parents, James and Jane Boorman, about 1845. With them came one sister, Tryphena, and they settled at Bolwarra Flats on the Hunter River. His mother was Jane Watts, a grand-daughter of the famous poet and hymn writer, Doctor Isaac Watts, who was responsible for the change in hymn singing.
He disliked the chanting of hymns of his day and wrote a new hymn a week, words and music, their acceptance initiating the change to the style that has been used ever since. Walter Boorman later settled at Southgate, being one of the first selectors. His only schooling was obtained at night school. He became an expert light horse judge at local shows and was well-known for his work as a veterinary surgeon in the area. He was a Councillor of Copmanburst Shire since the inception of Local Government (1906 Act) till he retired in 1926 and President for the period also. He helped finance the Southgate Union Church, and was Secretary and Sunday School Teacher there for 36 years. During his early days at Southgate he helped overcome the mistrust and antagonism of the Aborigines by his kindness, his ministrations to their sick and his Christian love and concern for his fellow man. He married Miss Martha Spence. The daughters were Clara (Mrs. A. Lickiss), Edith (Mrs. A. Gray), Jessie (Mrs. C. Lickiss), Elsie (Mrs. J. Bondfield), Maud (Mrs. C. Paine). The three sons of the family, Ernie, Tom and James, attended Southgate School as did their sisters. The sons settled on Southgate properties and their children attended the school also. The present W. James Boorman, of Ulmarra, who proved himself to be a very successful farmer is the only surviving member of the family.
Angus Cameron migrated from Scotland with his wife and two children in the "Brilliant" in 1837. Firstly he settled on the Hunter River and then came to the Clarence River district in 1858 and settled in Great Marlow-his holding being named "Strontain Park" after his home place in Scotland. He was actively interested in the affairs of the growing settlement, and when he retired from farming he lived at "Argyle Villa" near Ulster Lodge, the former home of Bishop Sawyer. (An older brother of Angus, Donald Cameron, was the first person buried in the Grafton Cemetery in 1860). His son, Alexander, remained on the property. He was of retiring disposition and applied himself diligently to farming pursuits and acquired a large amount of valuable property in the district. He married Emily Clements. Their seven children, Angus, Ethelbert, Alexander, Ethel, Inez and Maud (all deceased) and Vera (Mrs. Dreghorn, Sydney) all attended the Southgate School. The three scns remained on the property. Angus and Ethelbert @crvcd in World War I and the latter in World War II (died at Hay in service). Alexander Cameron's death at 81 in 1930 removed one of the veteran Scottish pioneers of the Clarence River.
Walter Dale-v was born in Cowper in 1889, and when in his teens and living at Brushgrove he started his blacksmiths business in Southgate in a shop next to the Southgate Hall. He drove from Brushgrove in a sulky each day. He married Eileen Burkhardt, sister of Carl who used to assist him in the blacksmith's shop. In 1917 he moved to the house opposite Wingfield's Store, and built another blacksmith shop there. He began dairying also, and remained there until nine years ago, when he sold his farm to Mr. W. Doust, and later the shop was demolished. Walter Daley retired to Concord in 1958, but died a year after he began his retirement. The seven children of the family are: Monie (Mrs. Aub. Allen); Esma (Mrs. Chas. Phelps); Jean (Mrs. V. Phelps)-, George (died second World War); Bob (Maroubra); Roy (Balgawlah); Beryl (Mrs. K. McDonald).
David Doust and his young bride arrived in Australia early 1859 on the "Admiral Loyens" with about 500 other passengers. His first home was at Bolwarra near Maitland where he worked for an uncle for 15/- a week, but after six months decided to stri'@-e north to the Clarence, arriving with his wife and young baby in 1861. Some of the pioneering difficulties they faced are quoted in the section on history of Southgate. Their first home was at Southgate where he worked for an uncle, William Boorman. and lived in a small hut he built "destitute of windows, the doors made of thin slabs, the floor of earth." Furniture he made himself from bush material.
Later he worked for a Mr. Pateman across the river, but made the daily journey on a raft of three cedar logs. He worked till he had saved f,13, and with this capital took for five years a farm of standing timber.
After the five year lease, equipped with a team of bullocks and implements he had bought, he selected a 250 acre block consisting of scrub along the river bank, falling back to a large swamp and then forest land.
More years of toil followed but as things improved he bought a second farm and with much ingenuity that had characterised all his work, he drained the swamp. So efficient was his farming that in 1893 he won a Government prize for it. As time passed he built a home on the hill at the back of the farm, at present occupied by Kevin Doust. David Doust's children were four boys and one girl, Polly. Samuel died at an early age, William remained on the farm, Albert farmed at Southgate, and Reuben was one of the first settlers in the Dorrigo district. One son and two grandsons served as Councillors on the Shire of Copmanhurst.
Robert Alexander Dickson was born in 1873 at Great Marlow. On leaving school he entered the employ of his brother in-law, John Wingfield, Southgate storekeeper. He married Fanny Lee and set up home at South.-ate. They had a family of three Jack, Cliff and Earle, all schooled at Southgate. Later a farm was acquired near the Ulmarra Ferry. The North Coast Steam Navigation Company's Wharf was on the property and Mr. Dickson Snr. was Wharf Manager. Working as a family the Dicksons built up a fine herd of A.I.S. dairy stock which won many prizes and became well known along the North Coast. The Dickson brothers were sportsmen, representing the Clarence District in cricket and football. They were also capable scullers and tennis players. Earle represented the North Coast in the first Country Week Cricket Carnival in Sydney. Mr. Dickson was a Director of the Ulmarra Butter Factory and took an active interest in public affairs. Jack, like his father, was on the C. P. and A. Society Committee. Cliff served with the first A.I.F. and later carried on a butchery business in Southgate trading as Hutchings and Dickson,
Around 1860 W. J. Ensbey purchased a 48 acre farm (standing scrub) from the Government for E6O. This land was occupied on a five year clearing lease by John Lee who had come to the Clarence from England. The land continued under lease to him and his son Joseph till the latter's death in 1908, when W. J. Ensbey's son, John R. Ensbey became the owner, working it as a mixed agriculture and dairy business. He married Miss R. C. Childs of Clarenza, their family of five being Lillian (Mrs. P. Fernance), Lance Earl (died 1916), Garnett, George and Bert (recently deceased). John R. Ensbey was wharfinger at the Southgate wharf for a number of years, Chairman of the Southgate Flood Reserve for about 20 years, and had been a Copmanhurst Shire Councillor for 23 years when he died in 1942, when the original farm and a 70 acre one were both sold.
William Albert Evans came from Wales. He was an Able Seaman, and the skill with the needle that is necessary for a sailor was put to use on the voyage out in making a tapestry representation of the boat he came in. This is still in the possession of Mr. Ron Evans of South Grafton. He finally came to the Southgate district and found it to his liking. Maintenance of the settlers boats, a vital means of transport for them, became a call on his skill, and later he settled here. He married Miss Annie Hobbs. The eldest son, William Edward, was born in 1863. Later members of his family were Alice, George, Elizabeth, James, Annie, Mary and Herbert Henry, father of Ron at South Grafton.
The brothers, Sam and George Ellem, came to Australia in the 1830s and later began working in the Hunter River district at Elalong. Here they married, and after 15 years moved to the Clarence River. The trip by horse and wagon took three months. Sam settled at Nana Glen and George at Seelands@ George had eight sons. One son, Alfred, moved to Southgate and here he reared his family of six children, all of whom attended the Southgate School and remained in the Clarence River district. Alfred passed away n Southgate at the age of 89. The members of the family were active and capable sportsmen, taking part in cricket, football, woodchopping and boat rowing. Reference is made in the -section on sport to the rowing of sons Fred and Earle.
In 1910 Edgar Fischer moved from Grafton to Southgate and worked in the Wingfield's General Store, where he remained till retirement forty-three years later. In the early days he drove one of the horse vans, a veritable store on wheels, as from the front was sold groceries and from the back drapery and haberdashery. Often he left at 4 a.m. and returned at 10 p.m. He was always a keen cricketer, representing the Clarence River on many occasions. All the seven children attended Southgate School. Reg, Ellwood and Ellie are deceased. Marjory, for many years a teacher, now lives in Lawrence, where Eddie is a building contractor. Bob is an electrical mechanic in Wagga, and Laurie a Baptist minister, now stationed in Taree.
George Finlay, a carpenter by trade, settled in Southgate about 1860. While a young man in Scotland he had begun studies for law, and although this was discontinued, his capacity for written expression was of considerable use later in getting schooling established in Southgate, the various letters to the Council of Education being his composition, He purchased and lived in the "Highlands" home of Samuel Hawkins and around 1870 operated a sugar mill there. It is reported that in these early days, when travel to Grafton was often done by rowing boat, a loaded gun was often carried by the family for fear of aborigines, and this led to a shooting accident to one of the Finlay girls. The family were George, Lawrence, Forrest (badly burned by boiling sugar), Frank, James, Garnett, Ethel, Mary, Margaret, Elizabeth and Janet. The latter's daughter, Mrs. Rowthorne, now resides in Grafton. Elizabeth, who wed David Morris, celebrated her hundredth birthday in Wyong in 1958. George Finlay later went to live in Grafton and then Sydney where his son James was a building contractor.
John and Elizabeth Grainger arrived from Blacktown, Sydney, and settled in Ulmarra. With their family of Thomas, William, Louis, Amelia, Violet, Catherine and Ada they then moved to Great Marlow. Three daughters attended the Southgate School, and Ada taught at that school in the 1890's. Thomas married Emmaline Leeson, and later purchased a farm on the Southgate Road. Their family consisted of Stewart, Harold, Minnie (Mrs. G. S. Barnier) and Vera (Mrs. W. J. O'Donohue). Stewart became a teacher and spent a short time teaching at Southgate. He is now retired in Sydney. Harold wed Ruby Goodger. Their daughter was Catherine (Mrs. L. Tarrant) and their son David still farms the property taken over on his father's death in 1956, living there with his wife (Nee Bennet) and children Pete, Mary Therese and Michael.
Thomas Gray was born in Dapto in 1848 and ran awav to sea at an early age. His flrst visit to the Clarence was in a pilot boat under Capt. White, and six months were spent assisting ships out to sea.
He later returned to the district and worked in the cane industry, but as the sugar mills began to close he transferred to local government employment, much of his remaining life being spent on road construction and maintenance. His last job was in planting the jacarandas that run along Queen Street to North Street. The family lived not far from the old slaughter house up the lane, and then further out along that road on the Ring Tree Hill. It was from there that Ted (Grafton now) at an early age gained information he is able to recall about the aborigines in the Southgate district. Of the eight children in the family only Ivy, Clarrie and Ted are surviving.
William Gulliford, born in Somerset, England, migrated to Australia with his wife, Mary Ann, and settled on a farm at Southgate in the early 1860's. The family home was of wide cedar boards, locally pit-sawn. The family of ten were reared and educated in the Southgate district. (Now all deccased). They were Thomas (died early twenties); Charles (Government Railways); Albert (Treasury); Rose (later married and left district); -(ane (trained nurse-later matron of own private hospital in Quirindi); Harriet and Elizabeth (remained at Southgate and then Grafton). Mary Ann, who as a hospital matron died during the outbreak of bubonic plague while nursing patients in the Macleay River District Hospital in 1907, is remembered in a marble plaque in the building. William and Hugh, who worked the farm till it was sold in the early 1920's. William was a skilled athelete and cricketer in his youth and retired to Grafton. Hugh, after some years in business in Sydney, joined his son on a farm at Burren Junction. Some grandchildren received their primary schooling at Southgate, and of the thirteen still living, three are in the Clarence District. The Church of England in Southgate is on land donated by the Gulliford Family.
John Harrison, a native of Cavan in Ulster, Ireland. settled at "Round Mountain", Lower Southgate over a hundred years ago. With his wife, Johanna, who was born at Nenagh in Tipperary, Ireland, and the elder members of his family he began farming operations on land which is still held by his descendants, Some grandchildren and great grandchildren attended Southgate school. A grandson, Lieut.-Colonel C. S. Harrison, O.B.E., E.D.. resides in Great Marlow and was for many years President of the Southgate P. and C. Association.
S. F. Hawkins came to Grafton some time before 1850 and will be recalled for the fine home he built on the "Highlands," known later by old hands as Leeson's Hill. He had successful mineral interests and was able to live there the life befitting a gentleman of substance and culture. He had a fine library and entertained professional people of Grafton, and at these times the verandahs were hung with Japanese lanterns. The house contained nine large rooms (two more were added later by George Finlay), cedar, which covered the hills when it was built, being used extensively in it. Mr. Hawkins employed both men and maid servants and had fine stables. His large floored barn was used often by local residents in flood time. The "Highlands" through the Finlay and Leeson families who later occupied it, has played a part in some enterprises in Southgate.
James Hutchings and family came to Southgate from Grafton in 1903. He purchased the butchering business of W. Leeson, building his new home and shop in the centre of the village. He later purchased land at the end of the Sche-ol Lane, building on it his slaughtering shed and boiling down works. James Hutchings was the typical jovial butcher. He was the owner of the second motor car in Southgate, John Wingfield being the first. His son Bert, who married Ruby Leeson, took over the business on his father's death in 1926. Their two sons, Norman and Howard, both attended Southgate School. When Bert died in 1939 the business was sold to V. K. Holmes. James' other son, Leslie, wed Vera Lickiss and started a butchering business at Trenayr, later moving to Grafton and having a business in Dovedale. Their family was Myrtle, Hazel and Leslie. Kelvin, an adopted son who attended Southgate school, later became a teacher. He was killed in action in the R.A.A.F. over France.
John Jenkins, born 1831, came from Taunton, Somerset, and worked on the breakwater at Yamba to pay for the farm before he married Mary Flatley from Sligo, Ireland. He died from accident in 1887. Children were Mary Jane (Daley), Elizabeth Ann (Hughes), Ellen (Short), Martha Matilda (Morris), John and William Walter. The latter wed Fanny Lawrence, both being pupils of the school. Children were Alice, Will who has recently retired as a secondary school teacher, Dorothy who was a teacher, Jack (Newcastle), Bess (Randwic!-), Ron (Grafton) and Hedley who was killed in action in the R.A.A.F. in 1944. Alice was married to Colin Hundt, son of Frank and Isabella Hundt, both having taught at Southgate, which was Frank Hundt's first appointment in 1919 after his service in the lst A.I.F. By the strange twists of fate the original John Jenkins and his neighbour, Phillpot, had met in Jamaica in the West Indies, and Phillpot recognised Jenkins by his bent little fingers, while talking over the fence one day.
William Kay and Anne McPhee were married in Scotland and arrived in Australia in 1857. They acquired land in Southgate and farmed there, raising a family of seven. The property later passed to son William who wed Emily Ellem. Their family comprised Malcolm, Alstonville; Winifred (Mrs. Gerrard, Alstonville); Bill, Lismore; Mary (Mrs. Biddle), Harwood; Garnie, Lismore; Ivan, Coolangatta; Vic, Alstonville; Kelvin, Lismore; Jean (Mrs. Coughran) Byron Bay. William was well known for his athletic abilities in his younger days. He later sold the farm and moved to the Richmond River, retiring, at Alstonville where he died in his 94th year.
John and Elizabeth Lee came from England with their family in 1856. Their intention was to settle in the Hunter district but after a short stay they decided on the Clarence, so they made their way overland by bullock dray and horseback. After arrival at Grafton, where they found the main street a thoroughfare of mud and cart tracks, they proceeded to Southgate where they leased land on the river bank not far from the present Ulmarra ferry. This untouched land had to be cleared and farming operations begun by planting corn and potatoes among the stumps and logs. Their family was Charles, John, William, Bess and Joseph, the latter born at sea. "The Daily Examiner" in reporting the Jubilee celebrations of Southgate School in May 1932 says "Mr. George Boothby told how fifty years ago John Lee had laid the foundation stone of the present building. Mr. Lee was selected to lay the foundation stone, and the old generation had a lot to thank Mr. and Mrs. Lee for. Mrs. Lee was the first lady to meet many of the present generation when they came into the world." The mallet and trowel presented to him to mark the occasion are still in the family, and were exhibited at the function. Son Charles worked on the farm and in the timber industry and, through his acquaintance with the river channels was often called on to navigate timber ships through the Lawrence crossing. He was among the first cane growers in the district. Later he pursued dairying, finally settling in the Cowper district. Joseph remained on the farm at Southgate. His son William lives retired at Ulmarra, and grandson Allan farms at Southgate. Of the family, William, Henry, Walter, Janet, Clarence, Bertha, Elsie, Fred, Elizabeth and Jessie, all but Jessie attended Southgate School.
Charles Lickiss came to Southgate in the very early days of the settlement and took up farming in the pioneer way. Of the five children, William, Charles, Arthur, George and Sarah, William moved to Ballina, and Charles had a property at Woodburn. George stayed in Southgate and carried on the farm for many years, and their four children, Vera, Myra, Roy and Aubrey all attended the Southgate sebool. Arthur moved to the Richmond, but three of his children-Linda, Valentine and Ivy were pupils of Southgate school, Val later rising to Headmaster of East Lismore Public School. His brother Norman entered the Methodist Ministry and received recognition as President of the Methodist N.S.W. Conference in 1961. (The present Principal of Southgate School recalls receiving scripture lessons as a boy of ten from Rev. N. Lickiss).
The parents brought their family of seven sons and one daughter to Australia from England in 1843. After a time on the Williams River they came to the Clarence. William and George settled in Ulmarra, George later going to the Richmond. Christopher and Henry settled in Southgate in 1862. Their families are treated separately below.
CHRISTOPHER LEESON married Jane Byrnes. Their family were: Herbert, Matilda and Annie, all of whom made homes on the Richmond; Isabella (Mrs. Joseph Lee), Jessie (Mrs. Charles Leeson), Emmaline (Mrs. Thos. Grainger), Alma (Mrs. Samuel Wingfield), all making homes in the Southgate district; Henry and Frederick who both remained on the farm "Leesonvale." Henry wed Margaret Dickson who died young leaving one daughter, Daphne (Mrs. H. Apps). Frederick wed Annie Ellem, this couple being the first to be married in Holy Trinity Church, Southgate. They had a family of twc-Ivy, (Mrs. Roy Lickiss), and Harold and an adopted daughter, Henrietta Cowan (Mrs. Henry Lee). Harold worked the farm after his father's death in 1948, but later it was sold after being in Leeson hands for 90 years. Christopher Leeson gave the land on which the Southgate Union Church was built. It has now been moved to South Grafton.
HENRY LEESON married Ann Law and they reared a family of eight: Robert, Matilda, Ann-Jane, Kezia, Elizabeth, William, James and Charles. Some made homes out of this district, but Elizabeth wed Thomas Doothby who joined William, James and Charles in the sugar mill venture here, the mill starting in 1870 and keeping open till almost 1900. When it closed the three brothers then taking up their own ways of living.
James became manager of the Co-operative Dairy Factory in Southgate. Local folk gathered at their place for tennis, and a Ladies' Cricket Team was also formed. All the family, Neil, Kenneth, Arthur, Harry, Eva and Lucy came to Southgate School. When the factory closed they purchased a farm at Dungawalbyn on the Richmond.
Charles, when the sugar mill closed, bought a property at Southgate, building a large home on the hill. He married Jessie Leeson. Their family was: Ettie (Mrs. E. Payne), Evalyn, Ruby, (Mrs. Bert Hutchings), Hilda (Mrs. J. Alexander), Edith (Mrs. Len Mitchell), Hedley, and Lindsay who wed Beulah Barber. Charles was always interested in public affairs. Later he bought the "Highlands" from brother William and lived there. Saturday night dances were held there for some time, music being supplied by Sid Payne and his brother Ted. The son Lindsay carried on the property after his father's death in 1916. It was leased in 1937, and after 70 years in Leeson hands sold to Bob Tunsted in 1957. Recently it has changed hands again.
William purchased the Highlands from Mr. Finlay and married Caroline Payne. They raised a family of three sons: Frederick, Charles and Reginald, He worked the farm for many years and started the first butchering business in Southgate. Mrs. Leeson was organist at the Holy Trinity and the Union Church at Southgate. All the family went to Southgate school.
The Mansfield family arrived in Southgate in the 1860's. Fred Mansfield, a ship's engineer, was accidentally drowned some years later and his widow had to provide for seven children -William, Frederick, Harry, Maggie, Agnes, Johanna and Blanche. Fred Mansfield attended the local school till he was thirteen and then left to help maintain the family. He worked at a local mill for some years, and in 1894 married Emily Smith, daughter of William Smith, a well known Southgate pioneer. Later on he commenced share farming and made his home at Southgate till 1913, when the family moved to a farm on the Casino Road. His children, Blanche, Arthur, Mary, Annie, Thomas and Frederick attended the Southgate school, but the younger two Hector and Emily, were not of school age when he moved. Fred Mansfield in his younger days was a very flne cricketer and was the proud owner of a cup presented by the late John Wingfield, for the best bowling average. He was also a foot runner of some ability and won many handicaps conducted under gaslight on the Southgate running track. Surviving members of his family are, Blanche (Mrs. Corkett), Annie (Mrs. N. Eggins), Thomas (Coffs Harbour), Frederick (Tyndale School), Hector (Grafton), and Emily (Mrs. J. Tranter).
This family lived at Great Marlow. The grandfather, Hugh McDonald, came from Scotland in 1859, the passage taking 18 weeks. The father, John McDonald was a farmer, and horse breeder and fancier. His two children, Annie and Reg drove to Southgate School per small sulky and pony. Annie married Gordon Wingfield, later MLA for Clarence, who also attended Southgate School. Their children were Joan and John, who after service in World War II became a Doctor and is in Macquarie Street, Sydney. Both attended Southgate School.
Reg. (W. R.) has followed an executive and journalistic career, including accountancy and languages in his studies. He was Managing Secretary of The Daily Examiner at Grafton and in 1930 was appointed Assistant Manager of The Telegraph Newspaper in Brisbane, later becoming Chief Executive and General Manager. World War II saw him lecturer on current affairs in the Army, and in England attached to General Eisenhower's Headquarters as a correspondent. His book "By Bomber to Britain" published in 1944 sold over 20,000 copies. His work as broadcaster, lecturer and writer has taken him to many countries. His only son Jack (D. J.) was an R.A.A.F. fighter pilot in 77 Squadron in Korea.
Hugh McLachlan was born 1836 at Kilmory in Scotland. The family migrated and he arrived in Sydney per "General Hewitt" in November 1848 along with his parents and three brothers and two sisters. They proceeded to the Williams River and settled there for ten years. In 1858 the whole family moved to Ulmarra. Hugh purchased land at Great Marlow from Sharp and Bligh in 1863. About one hundred aboriginals were living in camps made of ti-tree bark on the property when Hugh arrived. By degrees the dense vegetation was cleared and maize planted among the stumps and logs. Hugh married Mary McFarlane of Carr's Creek, their family consisting of eight daughters and four sons (one son died in infancy). Hugh resided on the property till his death in 1928. All the children attended Strontain Park School, and on its closing the junior members attended Southgate School. The only surviving members of the family are Arthur Stanley (Sydney), and Cecil Hugh who has retired on the Great Marlow property. The properties are worked by their sons Bill and John who also attended Southgate School. Jean Johnston (daughter of Cecil), who lives at Great Marlow also atttended Southgate School.
Hugh McPhee and family came overland from the Williams River in March 1866. His family consisting of Hugh, Alan, John, Angus, Catherine, Sarah and Donald, attended the old school under teachers Jas. McIntyre and Donald Stewart. John, after two years at Fort Street College entered the teaching profession. From 1880 the family resided on another property in Woodburn, but in 1895 they returned to Southgate. Son Donald had taken over the farm on his father's death in 1895 and his family still own the property. Members of it were Muriel, William, Dallas and Esme, and they attended the present school in Southgate between 1906 and 1932. The family of Thomas McPhee who settled on the Coldstream in 1862 also attended the old Southgate school as there was no school on the Coldstream at that time. Between 1906 and 1916 the sons of Alan McPhee, who was manager of Tuckumbil Station at Woodburn attended Southgate School. They were Donald and Ronald.
Bert Morris, born at Southgate in 1878, was the son of Benjamin Morris who came from the Hunter and settled at Southgate, taking up farming pursuits on the farm now occupied by Boothby. He was wharflnger for the North Coast Steam Navigation Company's wharf at Southgate. Both Bert and Matilda Jenkins, whom he married, went to Southgate School. In 1912 they left to take up farming at Carr's Peninsula.
This pioneer family of the early days remained till 1908 when they moved to Woodburn. The parents were Michael and Rose McCormack, and their eleven children attended Southgate School during the time of Thomas Page and W. Hayes. They were, Bridget (Mrs. Edwards); Lawrence (A.I.F.); Mary (Mrs. Bentley);
Frank; Sarah (Mrs. Millare); Michael (auctioneer at Woodburn died 1957); Kathleen (Mrs. McNamara); Thomas (A.I.F. and later accidentally killed on his Woodburn farm); Margaret (Mrs. Cooper); John; Patrick (the youngest-born 1900).
Richard O'Donohue was born in County Clare in Ireland in 1843. He came to Australia in 1860 and worked on the Hunter, Richmond and Clarence River between then and 1870, when he selected land at Southgate. He married Mary Phelps, daughter of George Phelps who had selected land nearby. Times were hard and for some years the houses were mainly built of slabs and the kitchens had dirt floors. The roofs were covered with wood shingles. There were no bakers and bread was baked on the farm in camp ovens or fuel stoves. They had a family of nine boys and three girls: Michael, Ellen (Mrs. Plumber), John, James, Eliza (Mrs. O'Keefe), Thomas, George, Daniel, Richard, Edward, William, Mary (Mrs. Walsh), of whom only Richard is surviving now. John, Richard and William farmed in Southgate district. A great grandson of the pioneer (Billy O'Donohue) at present attends Southgate School. His great uncle, Richard, retired in Grafton, is a fine source of recollections of the earlier Southgate days.
William Paine migrated to Australia at the age of seven, with his parents who settled on the Hunter. In 1867 he married Agnes Goodger, about when the family migrated to the Clarence. William took up Lot 73 on "The Point," brother Richard Paine settled on the adjoining block; Steven at Carr's Creek; James and Benjamin at Great Marlow; sister Agnes married George Crispin of Grafton.
Blacks were still in the area, and friendly enough as there was ample fish and game for all. They often danced round the hut at night. Buildings were made of black ironbark, bloodwood and cedar, the timbers being pit sawn and shaped and fitted with a m(>rtising axe and adze, while the roof was covered in split shingles.
William was an accomplished boat builder, and all the cedar planks, ti-tree stays and hickory ribs were taken and hewn by hand from the property. Hickory was also used to make "truck baskets," a body some 30 ins. long by 18 ins. wide and 8 ins. deep in the middle where a full circle handle, basket fashion, was put. As initially all business was transacted in Grafton he used to row the ten miles.
When floods threatened the usual procedure was to load the boats and row to Boorman's Hill for the duration .
William Paine's children were: William who died of the black plague in 1905 (the father of Mr. E. E. Paine who supplied this article)-, Minnie, Sarah Ann and Charles Edward. All went to Southgate School, walking the six miles daily. Mr. Paine adds "What would my grandparents think to-day if they could return to see their small selection being cut about to service many farms with irrigation stretching as far as Grafton?"
At the age of five, Sid (Sydney) Payne came from the Hunter Valley to Clifton with his parents Joseph and Sarah Payne, and his five sisters and seven brothers. Of these Ester, Jack, Bill, Bob and Sid himself received part of their schooling at Southgate. At the age of ten Sid went to work at Boothby's Sugar Mill, where he remained for sixteen seasons. Then after nine years at the Grafton Experiment Farm he left to go working in the bush. At thirty-six he married Rachel Norman, and they finally settled on farming at Southgate. His wife was a Southgate ex-pupil. Their family, Ivan, Keith, Clive, Gordon, Melvie, and Grace went to Southgate School, but Barry attended Trenayr. Ivan still farms at Southgate, and Keith also. The latter married Mildred Holder of Southgate and their family is Janice, Noeline (both ex-pupils), Narelle (a present pupil) and Keith Junior.
Thomas Philpott and two sons left England in the early 1850's. Their first port of call was Jamaica, and here with an English friend, Mr. John Jenkins they were put in charge of sugar mills, Philpott being builder and caretaker. From there he went to New Zealand and as a builder completed a couple of Auckland hotels. He came to Sydney around 1860, where he met and married his second wife, and thence to the Clarence where he purchased a farm, later known as "Picton Farm." He became interested in the sugar industry here and built one of the first mills in the district. His two sons were also interested in cane growing and worked for many years in the mills. William carried on as a farmer, and later took up dairying on the farm. He married Margaret Smith. The three sons and two daughters of this marriage were schooled at Southgate. The other son, Jack, like his brother was an excellent sportsman, shining as a football player. Strangely enough, it was Thomas Philpott's old friend and coworker, John Jenkins, who, when he came to Australia, settled on the farm next to him.
Albert Paine of Alumny Creek wed the youngest daughter of Christopher and Jane Leeson in the Southgate Union Church in 1903, where she had taught Sunday School. After eight years farming in Southgate they moved to Great Marlow, and twenty years ago went to Grafton to live. Mrs. Paine had her schooling at Southgate School, being born at Southgate in 1879. Albert Paine was known as a keen cricket umpire all his life. There were four children of the marriage, Harold (deceased), and three daughters, Florence, Elsie and Grace (Mrs. D. A. Eggins), all being pupils of the Southgate School.
Mr. and Mrs. George Parnell came to Southgate from Lower Southgate about 1899 and acquired a farm owned by Eggins. This is now owned by Ron Gosper. Later they bought the adjoining farm owned by the late Sam See and now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Brian Tarrant. The family were George, Irwin, Harold, Harvey, Ellie (all now deceased) and Ivy, Clarrie and Rose at present living in Grafton. Mr. Parnell was a very successful farmer and the local vet., and later was licensee of the Yamba Hotel. Son Clarrie was an excellent sportsman in his young days. Southgate residents of 1920 will recall the Queen of the Day competitions to raise money to build the Nurses' Home in Grafton in which daughter Rose was third.
William Smith came to Australia at the age of thirteen. After ten years on the Hunter he settled at Southgate, taking up farming on some 300 acres. He had a strong interest in horse breeding, specialising in ponies, one, Chevichase, being well known over the North Coast once. As well, he took prizes for colonial bred horses at Grafton Shows. He wed Miss Fanny Brown, their family being Edward, Thomas, Francis, William, Mary-Anne and Emily.
Edward married Emma Phelps. Their family remained single except for Alexander who wed Linda Tamini, and of their family of twelve Edward and Brian remain in the Southgate district farming. Thomas married Margaret Mansfield, and of this family Frederick farmed at Southgate; Hedley was on a Southgate farm till recently; Claude is still on a farm in the district. Francis rnarried Agnes Mansfield, and of their family of six, Cliff spent some time farming at Southgate. Mary-Anne remained at Southgate. The families of Emily (Mrs. Mansfield) and Lisa (Mrs. Cooper) lived for a time at Southgate. It was William Smith who helped materially in having the school built on its present site, as he sold the land for that purpose at half its value.
The late William and Mary Tarrant arrived in Australia, from County Cork in Ireland, in 1880, settling with their then family of six children (the eldest being Mrs. D. Collins, now deceased, of Carrs Creek). The family later increased to fourteen seven boys and seven girls, the only surviving member being Mrs. J. B. O'Hara of Southgate Road. All of the menfolk secured properties at Alumny Creek and Southgate and were involved in agriculture and dairying. The late Maurice Tarrant, the eldest son, was at one time a successful breeder of horses and pigs, winning many prizes at Clarence and Richmond Shows. His children and those of his brother William attended Southgate school from 1910 onwards, and some of the great grandchildren of the original William and Mary, including present pupils Rodney and Catherine Tarrant.
John Wingfield worked at Brushgrove in a store, and one of his jobs was to deliver goods by rowing boat to farmers up river as far as Mountain View. He began business in Southgate in 1886 and it prospered under his capable guidance. The story of the Wingfield Store is told in another part of this booklet. John Wingfield played an active and stimulating part in the life of Southgate, as did members of his family. They were L. J. (Jock), Gordon, Violet (Mrs. Biddle), Linda (Mrs. Wilson), Flo and Will. All had their schooling at Southgate. Will became a clergyman, anc[ both Jock and Gordon continued in the business of their father. Gordon's capacity was recognised by the electors and he became M.L.A. for Clarence and remained in this office until his untimely death in 1955. Parliamentary tributes paid on the occasion mention his wide knowledge of the problems of the estuarine fishing industry and add that he was a most colourful character with a tremendous sense of humour.
John Wingfield began business in Southgate in a small store, and the establishment was to grow with Southgate into a successful enterprise serving a wide area. He added to his business by selling from travelling vans through the outskirts of Grafton and in the Carr's Creek and Mountain View area. Then about sixty years ago additions were made. The sign over the verandah read: "Hardware, Groceries, Boots, Shoes, Drapery," so practically all the wants of families were available there. Prices in those days were butter 9d. a lb., calico 1/11 a dozen yards, tea 1/11 a lb. The store collected eggs, once quite a big product of the Southgate farms, over 3,000 dozen a week being handled and packed for bi-weekly steamer transport to Sydney. Sam Wingfield, Bert Dickson and Edgar Fischer were men who gave long service to the store.
Jock Wingfield, and Gordon Wingfield who later became M.L.A. for Clarence took over after their father in 1920. Gordon was always ready to assist people with their problems and the store was a centre of activity in Southgate. In 1932, J. Jukes purchased the business, and then A. Claydon. However, the decline of rural villages had not missed Southgate and the store was closed after a short period of ownership by Mr. Dwyer, and then Mr. W. Doust of Southgate. It was demolished in 1964, yet around 1914 it had been large enough to employ eleven members on the staff. Because John Wingfield was so helpful to the Indians who came here as farm workers this is perhaps a place to mention them. They came usually for three years, and often on week-end mornings there would be about a dozen of them at the store to get Mr. Wingfield to assist them in business matters, usually sending money home to India, for they had a high regard of him. They lived cheaply in barns or sheds that were placed at their disposal. Some were here in the 'teens of this century, but opportunities had changed and they sought work elsewhere, some going to Dilkoon area and into timber work.