Ron Barwick.

Ronald Barwick was born at Scone on 20th October, 1906, the second son of Ernest and Susan Barwick, who at the time owned a small farm called "Ingleside", about seven miles from Scone on the Gundy road.

It was here that Ron spent his early years until in 1912 his father Ernest drew a block of land at Dry creek in the Warrah closer settlement subdivision ballot. Ernest drew a block of 1161 acres, "Quondah", and he and Susan and their family moved there. In 1926, he bought the adjoining block of 431 acres called "Boolawa".

On February 13, 1937, Ron married Bernadette Meredith at Willow Tree and they reared their family of daughter Sue and son Peter. It was at "Boolawa" that Ron lived until moving into Elmswood retirement village in 1990.

Ron died on 17th August 1998 in Quirindi hospital, after a short illness.

Ron passed away due to old age, in 1998, aged 92.

Ron was a very competant horseman. He had a great love of horses and dogs and a vast knowledge of the care and handling of stock. This led Ron to become the main stockman in the family partnership.

Ron's children, Peter and Sue. Sue making her debut.

He also wrote in a diary every day, recording all manner of information. This began on January 1st, 1926 and continued until not long before his death, his last entry being July 10th, 1998, un unbroken period of over 72 and a half years. Some of Rons more interesting diary pieces are in the 'Stories' section of this website.

 

 He was a dedicated and loving family man, and had a wonderful sense of humour and sharp mind which was so clear right up to the time of his passing. Rons ability to recall local events of many decades was renowned.

 

 

Ron Barwicks memoirs and stories of the 1912 subdivision.

Ernest and Susan Barwick.

MR. RON BARWICK:

 

I am Ronald Barwick, the second of three sons of Ernest and Susan Barwick.On the 8th January 1912, my father participated in a ballot for one of the 84 blocks (or portions) conducted on the Warrah Closer Settlement Area, comprising 44320 acres.He was successful in drawing Portion 11, of 1161 of flat to hilly country in the Dry Creek valley, with the creek running for a mile through the block.

 

As it was necessary to dispose of any property then held, before being allowed to participate in the ballot for this restricted title country, my father and mother sold the small property and home they occupied on the Gundy road from Scone, and for six months my mother, my older brother, Allan 8 years, my younger brother, Edgar 2 ½ years old, and myself, 5 years of age lived with my mother's parents at Sparkes Creek, 18 miles west of Scone, on the southern slopes of the Liverpool Range and actually only 10 miles directly south of what was to become our new home.

 

During the next six months my father had erected our 6 room home, a quite large shed to accommodate the buggy and sulky, and a floored portion to house the harness and saddles, fencing and carpentering tools, etc., and also erected a 2 stand shearing shed with 2 machines driven by a 2 ½ H.P. Hornsby oil engine, with wool press, ample space to shed 100 sheep, with space underneath the shed to hold a further 100 sheep with quite extensive sheep yards. Fencing of the property also took place.

Photo of the hornsby engine that was used in the Barwicks shearing shed. It was restored by David Munn and is now owned by Rons nephew, Neil Barwick.

On a clear and sunny mid-June morning we commenced the journey from Sparkes Creek to our new home. Father and mother and we three boys, with our clothes and a few personal belongings in the buggy, pulled by 2 horses, a rather ill-assorted pair, an 8 year old black gelding and a 7 year old chestnut, a smart stock type which was my mother's riding horse, which she rode side-saddle, but both very quiet, steady and staunch pullers in the collar. Travelling east for 18 miles to Scone, then north on the Great Northern Road, as it was then known, through Wingen and then up the very steep and heavy haul of the Warlands range, down the steep descent to Blandford, north through Murrurundi and again up the heavy haul to the top of the Liverpool Range and down to Ardglen, up the pull to the Swinging Ridges, down and across Borambil Creek, over the hill then to Dry Creek, following the black soil track to "Quondah" as our parents named it.

 

It must be realised that the hardy pioneers who came to this area had absolutely no amenities whatever, to make life easier. No mail service or delivery of necessities. Black soil tracks, inches deep in dust during dry times, a foot of heavy sticky black soil during the wet, at times with creeks almost uncrossable even by horse drawn vehicles; no facilities for the keeping of fresh food, with the necessity of each house-wife to bake the bread in addition to the usual task of cooking, washing, scrubbing and mending for the family.

Carting wool from Quondah from the very early days of the 1912 subdivision.

Within twelve months of the Ballot, some 25 homes were erected on Dry Creek and Warrah Creek, occupied by a couple of bachelors, but mainly by newly married couples or families of up to 7 children. With such a population of children needing schooling, representations were quickly made for the establishment of a school, and land donated by Mr. R.R. Carter, a school was erected, a teacher appointed and school commenced on the beginning of the first term of 1914, with an enrolment of 44 children and an average daily attendance of 40 children. The first teacher was Mr. Robert Penny, who with his wife, as there was no school residence for almost 3 years, obtained board at the home of Mr.& Mrs. Dave Grady, a young married couple, one mile south. Walking to the school each morning with a packed lunch and carrying his violin, often accompanied by Mrs. Penny whose task it was to teach the girls sewing on 2 afternoons per week, Mr. Penny had the onerous task of teaching 6 classes, ranging from beginners to boys and girls in fifth or sixth class completing their primary education, all in one crowded classroom.

 

An evidence of the expertise of both Mr. Penny and the following teachers, on the occasion when ten of us scholars rode our pony’s or were driven by parents to the Willow Tree school, where we had not previously been, to sit for what was then the Qualifying Certificate, we had a 100% Pass, one 12 year old boy obtaining a Bursary and later becoming a High School teacher.

 

My father with several other Church of England residents contributed the necessary funds and with voluntary labour erected the Church of England on land donated by Mr. J.B. Holmes and the first service was held on 28th February 1915.

 

At about the same time the Methodist and Presbryterian folk built the Union Church on the hill between Warrah Creek and Jacks Creek.

 

Prior to the building of the Church of England church, on occasions the then vicar of the Parish, the Reverend H.C. Barnes would drive his pony and sulky to "Quondah" on Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday morning conduct a service in our wool-shed. On these occasions Mr. Penny would walk the 3 miles carrying his violin and play for the hymns. When the Bishop of Armidale came to set and bless the foundation stone for the building of the church, Mr. Penny played for the hymns. He and his wife formed a very close friendship with my parents and maintained communication over the years. As late as 1951 when my brother Alan died my mother had a very nice letter of condolence from Mr. Penny and he recalled the occasions when he played his violin for the hymns - I still have that letter.

 

Representations were made to the P.M.G. Department and on 5/1/1916 a Post Office was established at the home of Mr. G.W. Meredith - he built a small room, with his daughter Marie in charge, assisted by her younger sister Dette, who later became my wife. Years later, after much agitation the manual telephone exchange was opened on 17/6/1924, with 9 subscribers – many more were connected over the years. The first mail service was begun about the time of the opening of the Post Office. The first mailman was Charlie Redford, son of the family on Portion 21. He conducted the service with a pack—horse carrying the mail. He was followed by John Brown, driving a horse and sulky - sometimes with a second horse pulling an out-rigger attached to the sulky. The next and last horse drawn contractor was Ted Eastburn, who died in September and a sale of his vehicle, harness, horses, etc. was hold on 24/9/1932. A motor mail service was then commenced and continues to this day - the route is along the Borambil Creek, then to Warrah Creek P.O. and further south, returning to cross the hill to Big Jacks Creek road, returning to Warrah Creek and to Old Warrah and thence to Willow Tree. For many years there was no delivery to Dry Creek and we had to collect our mail from the Post Office, but the route now takes in Dry Creek. The original mail delivery was for Wednesday and Saturday - later a Monday delivery was added and later still a separate contract for Thursday carried out by the Meredith family. We now have the 4 day service with Friday substituted for Saturday, when the Post Office ceased to open on Saturday. With the advent of automatic telephones, the Warrah Creek Post Office and telephone office was closed.

 

Although many of the roads were provided with gravel surface-later some were tarred-for many years the Dry Creek road, remained a dirt track, especially the portion leading to "Towari" at the upper end of the road and once, when Eric Swain ran the mail by car, at a very wet time he was bogged near the "Towari" mail box for 4 ½ hours-who said the mail must get through.

 

Despite the fact that partys were held in private homes, with the population of young and not so young folks in the area, a need for the building of a public hall was felt. The Jacks Creek hall was built in 1917 and was used by the Department of Education as a Provisional school at a rental of $26 per annum-a school was built later.

 

The residents of Warrah Creek donated some funds in 1920 and with voluntary labour cleared the site for a hall on a portion resumed from the Tamworth P.P. Board travelling stock reserve -another portion was resumed for a Recreation Ground - and with some residents acting as Guarantors for a loan from the Commercial Banking branch at Willow Tree a tender was let for the building of the hall. For many years an annual sports day and race meeting was held on the flat on Meredith's property to raise funds to pay off the loan.

 

Naturally the two halls were the venue for many very well attended and happy gatherings over the years with thirty and forty couples gathering to dance the hours away. For some years annual balls were held at Warrah Creek hall - the M.U.I.O.O.F. local branch. the C.W.A. and the Red Cross being organisations responsible. Travelling picture shows and at least one conjuring show performed regularly, and as transport was limited to horse drawn vehicles or horseback riding in the early days the dances and shows were well patronized locally. 

 

The opening of the Warrah creek tennis courts, about 1924. L-R, Iris Kingston, Kathleen Smith, Ivy Morrison, and Madge Carter.

Despite the fact that many private tennis courts were built (we had a well maintained court for 30 years) a public tennis club was formed at Warrah Creek, with Mr. J.B. Holmes as the first President, and two courts were built and a considerable number joined the club. The courts are still maintained in good order at Warrah Creek, where the hall has recently had a face-lift and it too is in very good condition despite the passing of the years.

Ron at the '1912 Warrah subdivision' book launch in 1996, with Bob Levitt.

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27.12 | 18:19

Just a quick point re Mary Gallagher (Pearson). While Mary did die in Armidale the date was 26 September 1886 (NSW BDM 12817/1886)

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27.12 | 18:13

Just a quick point re Mary Gallagher (Pearson). While Mary did die in Armidale the date was 26 September 1886 (NSW BDM 12817/1886)

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18.12 | 17:53

Thank you so much Geoff, love the photos our 4 sons will have a great time going through all of them. Wonderful memories.

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18.12 | 15:00

That was quick Heather. Well done. I've tagged you in a few things. Hope you enjoy it.

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