Creating Memories

Our rivers can leave us with an indelible impression or memory. They are places for quiet reflection, of play or adventure, of work and prosperity, of new beginnings and of treasures lost or found.  They are also places of fond holiday memories and of long hot summers. Keepsakes of such prompt our memories and trigger the sights and sounds of our life experiences.

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Click to view A Picture paints a Thousand Words

A Picture paints a Thousand Words

Just arrived at Cundletown was painted in the late 1850s by Dr George Herman Bruhn. Cundletown is situated at the junction of the Dawson and Manning Rivers and it was one of the major centres of commerce in the Manning…

Click to view Hoist the Sail

Hoist the Sail

This well detailed hand crafted wooden model of a Barquentine sailing ship was built by Thomas Thornley the lighthouse keeper at Crowdy Head from 1892 until 1920 when the lighthouse was automated. It is believed Thomas built the model as…

Click to view Model of Clinker Boat

Model of Clinker Boat

This model clinker sail boat was made by Tinonee carpenter Thomas Middlemiss in 1897 from red cedar cut on the family property ‘Dundale’ near Little Tinonee. The mast, sails and oars are now missing. Middlemiss lived near the river port…

Click to view When Bob Hope Dropped In

When Bob Hope Dropped In

This simple bound autograph book records Laurieton’s very unusual association with World War II. It was used to obtain the autographs of Bob Hope’s American entertaining troop and their aircraft crew in 1944 after an emergency landing in the Camden…

Click to view A Right Royal Regatta

A Right Royal Regatta

This English made tankard was the prize for the best comical float in a river pageant celebrating the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and is the only known surviving trophy from the Laurieton Coronation Day Aquatic Procession  held on 2nd…

Click to view Something to Take Home

Something to Take Home

These Japanese made ‘opaline glazed’ souvenir china dish and jug feature transfer pictures of the first motorized Laurieton Punt to Dunbogan with the Dunbogan side in the background. Souvenirs of this type were likely mass produced and then smaller quantities…

Click to view Kitsch Fish

Kitsch Fish

This kitsch lustre-ware fish shaped small salt shaker with hand printed message in a naïve style was made in Japan and is a souvenir of North Haven. Designed to capture the essence of the area, this souvenir was firmly aimed…

Click to view Seaweed Scrapbook

Seaweed Scrapbook

Collecting natural history specimens was a prestigious hobby for gentlemen during the 17th and 18th centuries, and this filtered down to the middle classes at the beginning of the 19th century. Seaweed collecting became very popular during the Victorian era …

Click to view A House of Shells

A House of Shells

Shell craft is a traditional female handicraft, hobby and pastime dating back to primitive cultures to whom making and trading shell craft was often turned into an industry. It was particularly  popular in the late 19th century in Britain and…

Click to view Send us a Postcard

Send us a Postcard

This collection of seventeen postcards  of waterfalls and cascades of the Comboyne area taken during the 1910s. The postcards reflect a time before common camera ownership and were a means to capture the view to take home as a keepsake…

A Picture paints a Thousand Words

A Picture paints a Thousand Words

Circa 1858 / Learn more on Ehive
Perhaps the paintings were made not to reflect his artistic talents, but to record local landscapes and daily activities, in much the same way as we take photographic records of our travels today

Just arrived at Cundletown was painted in the late 1850s by Dr George Herman Bruhn. Cundletown is situated at the junction of the Dawson and Manning Rivers and it was one of the major centres of commerce in the Manning Valley at that time. The town had been laid out similar to an English village with squares and radiating roads by an English surveyor in about 1844, and the painting reflects an orderliness in the grid patterns of the house blocks. It is simply drawn and childlike or naïve in style.

Dr Bruhn was born in Germany in 1810 and came to Australia with his wife and four children in 1847, settling initially in South Australia, before moving to Victoria.  In about 1856, he moved to Cundletown NSW where he was the town’s first resident physician and surgeon.

Dr Bruhn also had qualifications and experience as a Chemist and in Agriculture, Geology and Mining, and it was he who found the first gold in Victoria at Clunes in 1851, thus starting the ‘gold rushes’ in that State in the 1850s.  After his short stay in Cundletown, he worked as the local doctor in Maclean, but then moved to Bundarra in the New England region of NSW in 1863, where he was again involved with mining and gold prospecting.

Dr Bruhn is known to have painted many scenes along the north coast of NSW and elsewhere, and they all used similar techniques and colours.  Perhaps the paintings were made not to reflect his artistic talents, but to record local landscapes and daily activities, in much the same way as we take photographic records of our travels today.

Hoist the Sail

Hoist the Sail

Circa 1900s / Learn more on Ehive
It is believed Thomas built the model as a gift for his daughter Nell and survives today in its original sealed glass case

This well detailed hand crafted wooden model of a Barquentine sailing ship was built by Thomas Thornley the lighthouse keeper at Crowdy Head from 1892 until 1920 when the lighthouse was automated. It is believed Thomas built the model as a gift for his daughter Nell and survives today in its original sealed glass case.

Many lighthouse keepers built models to help pass the time and as a relief from the daily repetitive tasks of tending to the lighthouse maintenance. Thomas Thornley was the lighthouse’s third keeper and his wife Alice was employed as assistant lighthouse keeper and his daughter Nell as housekeeper.

Each element of the model is detailed and well crafted including its masts and rigging. Perhaps Thomas built the model to capture a large timber ship going out of fashion.  This model is a reminder of the beauty of sailing ships of a bygone era and reflects Thomas Thornley’s love of the ocean, and the ships he helped protect and guide in his role as a lighthouse keeper.

Model of Clinker Boat

Model of Clinker Boat

Circa 1897 / Learn more on Ehive
Middlemiss lived near the river port of Tinonee and would have seen clinker built sail boats that once carried goods and passengers along the Manning River

This model clinker sail boat was made by Tinonee carpenter Thomas Middlemiss in 1897 from red cedar cut on the family property ‘Dundale’ near Little Tinonee. The mast, sails and oars are now missing.

Middlemiss lived near the river port of Tinonee and would have seen clinker built sail boats that once carried goods and passengers along the Manning River before the introduction of steam powered ships. Clinker built boats used overlapped hull planks and this model illustrates that method of boat building.

This simple model made when Middlemiss was a young man appears to have been treasured by him as it remained in his possession until his death when it was passed down to his son. Perhaps it was the first model he made or was an exhibit in a local agriculture show when model making was a regular prize category.

When Bob Hope Dropped In

When Bob Hope Dropped In

Circa 1944 / Learn more on Ehive
The Catalina eventually ran aground on the sand bank between Bunny’s corner and the Dunbogan boat shed from where its occupants were rescued by local fishing boats

This simple bound autograph book records Laurieton’s very unusual association with World War II. It was used to obtain the autographs of Bob Hope’s American entertaining troop and their aircraft crew in 1944 after an emergency landing in the Camden Haven River.  Bob Hope and his entertainment group were part of the United Service Organization, providing entertainment to US troops.

During a flight to Sydney on August 14th 1944 Bob Hope’s Catalina Flying Boat, “Spare Gear”, developed trouble in its starboard engine causing Pilot James Ferguson to make an emergency landing in the Camden Haven River. Locals flocked down to the river bank to see this rare event, including young resident Betty Bonser. The Catalina eventually ran aground on the sand bank between Bunny’s corner and the Dunbogan boat shed from where its occupants were rescued by local fishing boats.

An impromptu show in the Laurieton School of Arts that same evening, became Bob Hope’s first performance in Australia, albeit unscheduled. It was a big event for Laurieton with over two thirds of the local population of around 600 people jammed into the local hall. It was during the dancing after the show that Beryl Bonser, Molly Twomey, Rita Eggins and others taught Bob Hope the Hokey Pokey dance which he would later introduce to America and this is also when Beryl Bonser produced her autograph book to the group for signing. The first two pages of the Autograph Book contain the autographs of the entertainers, including Bob Hope.. The last two pages of the Autograph Book contain the autographs of the Catalina Flying Boat Crew. It is the only known autograph book containing all the signatures of Bob Hope’s Entertainment Troop.

A Right Royal Regatta

A Right Royal Regatta

Circa 1953 / Learn more on Ehive
The river procession made news around the country and was recorded on a Cinesound newsreel

This English made tankard was the prize for the best comical float in a river pageant celebrating the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and is the only known surviving trophy from the Laurieton Coronation Day Aquatic Procession  held on 2nd June 1953. It was awarded to Ron McLennan, Laurieton’s Assistant Post Master for his entry described as: The latest model water mobile. A jalopy that likes the water choppy.

Across Australia, communities celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s coronation with concerts, street parades and many other civil and community events. In the Camden Haven area, the people of Laurieton, Dunbogan and North Haven joined forces and organised an aquatic festival. River parades have a connection with British royalty going back 600 years to the time of King Henry VIII with parades on the Thames.

The river procession made news around the country and was recorded on a Cinesound newsreel. It was reported that the procession included 13 fishing boats, droghers, rafts and more than 20 smaller craft decorated with flags and bunting paraded down the Camden Haven River to the entrance and back again. The population of Laurieton was nearly 1500 at the time and the procession decorations costing £400 were paid for by the community. More than 3500 people lined the shore to cheer the passing fleet of boats. The Aquatic Procession was followed by a sports programme, fireworks display and a grand Coronation Ball held in the School of Arts building.

Something to Take Home

Something to Take Home

Circa 1954 / Learn more on Ehive
The first ferry was installed in June 1896. According to reports it was hand pulled

These Japanese made ‘opaline glazed’ souvenir china dish and jug feature transfer pictures of the first motorized Laurieton Punt to Dunbogan with the Dunbogan side in the background. Souvenirs of this type were likely mass produced and then smaller quantities were picture transferred for sale to tourists and holiday makers visiting the Camden Haven area. They are reminders of our desire to take a holiday souvenir home and china with transfer pictures was particularly popular amongst holiday makers without cameras.

Souvenirs of this type usually feature picturesque and notable or cultural landmarks of the town. The punt would have been a major point of visual interest in Laurieton at the time and the river scene depicted on the souvenir ware an attractive reminder of a visit to Laurieton. Before the area was bridged, boats, ferries and punts were used to transport people and vehicles across the Camden Haven River. The first ferry was installed in June 1896. According to reports it was hand pulled and had capacity to transport a few people and a car or two on each trip.

From the 1930s there was much agitation for an improved service but nothing happened until 1949, when the original ferry was motorised. By the late 1950s a new ferry was in operation, carrying up to six vehicles and the first ferry was retained for use in emergencies or when the regular ferry was up for repairs or out of commission. In 1966 the Laurieton-Dunbogan Bridge was built and the ferry made its last journey at the bridge opening celebrations on 10 December 1966.

Kitsch Fish

Kitsch Fish

Circa 1950 / Learn more on Ehive
Designed to capture the essence of the area, this souvenir was firmly aimed at those who tried their hand at fishing during their holiday

This kitsch lustre-ware fish shaped small salt shaker with hand printed message in a naïve style was made in Japan and is a souvenir of North Haven. Designed to capture the essence of the area, this souvenir was firmly aimed at those who tried their hand at fishing during their holiday to the Camden Haven area.

 

Probably sold as a matching set, the pepper shaker companion piece is missing. The shaker evidences North Haven as a tourist location and the special place it continues to be for amateur fishing and other water based holiday activities.

Seaweed Scrapbook

Seaweed Scrapbook

Circa 1869 / Learn more on Ehive
This 22 page album of unidentified local seaweed specimens was created by Ernest Charles Davies at Port Macquarie in December 1869

Collecting natural history specimens was a prestigious hobby for gentlemen during the 17th and 18th centuries, and this filtered down to the middle classes at the beginning of the 19th century.

Seaweed collecting became very popular during the Victorian era  and creating pressed seaweed albums and scrapbooks was seen as a domesticated way to explore the natural world. Such albums were considered quite an accomplishment for both men and women as they involved painstakingly obtaining, preserving, and mounting seaweed specimens demonstrating patience, artistic talent, and an appreciation of the subtle beauties of nature.

This 22 page album of unidentified local seaweed specimens was created by Ernest Charles Davies  at Port Macquarie in December 1869. Davies, an English immigrant was one of the first parties to explore Queensland. He resided at Port Macquarie in the late 1860s to early 1870s and was engaged in sugar cultivation and experimentation. His later pursuits involved mining.  Davies business interests appear to have centred on the natural environment in one form or another.

Whilst there are many seaweed sample albums and scrapbooks in existence this one of specimens collected at Port Macquarie appears to be quite rare. It has significant research potential in identifying the types of seaweed found locally at that time and also in providing DNA for further scientific research.

A House of Shells

A House of Shells

Circa 1890 / Learn more on Ehive
Each shell has been arranged to complete symmetry and design elements including window sills and door step

Shell craft is a traditional female handicraft, hobby and pastime dating back to primitive cultures to whom making and trading shell craft was often turned into an industry. It was particularly  popular in the late 19th century in Britain and Australia, with an emphasis on craft objects and ornaments, particularly those to decorate the home such as frames and trinket boxes.

Items this large were less common and few shell houses are known to exist today. Made  of small pink, cream and brown seashells it is believed that the shell house was made around 1890 from seashells collected at Port Macquarie. The house has roof shingles, a chimney, fanlights above the front door and window, and exhibits features of Georgian architecture on a cottage scale. Each shell has been arranged to complete symmetry and design elements including window sills and door step.

The roofing shells are an unknown bivalve and the walls comprise a form of Bankivia fasciata known to be endemic to this area and usually washed up in large numbers. Given its good condition it appears to be a well-cared for drawing room or parlour decorative item.  It is an outstanding piece of shell craft work and must have taken a large amount of time and painstaking effort to complete.

Send us a Postcard

Send us a Postcard

Circa 1910 / Learn more on Ehive
it is highly likely that many visitors took day trips to the hinterland to take in the splendour of the many waterfalls, unique flora and abundant fauna

This collection of seventeen postcards  of waterfalls and cascades of the Comboyne area taken during the 1910s. The postcards reflect a time before common camera ownership and were a means to capture the view to take home as a keepsake or to show family and friends.  Many people kept albums of their holiday postcards.

The Comboyne area in the hinterlands west of Port Macquarie  was once covered in dense virgin rain forest. Remnants remain today in the Boorganna Nature Reserve, the second oldest nature reserve in New South Wales, declared in 1904.Whilst not then easily accessible it is highly likely that many visitors took day trips to the hinterland to take in the splendour of the many waterfalls, unique flora and abundant fauna. It is possible that these postcards were purchased as souvenirs either from one of the many Comboyne stores operating at the time or from a gift store in one of the main towns.

The postcard images are simple illustrating the quality of photographic images of the era, yet give a clear impression of the magnitude and expanse of the Comboyne plateau, its dense bushland and splendid waterfalls. Many of which such as the Rawson Falls are still viewed today.