In 2010 Jennifer Evans collected and edited stories from 30 or so residents of Patonga where they related their memories of their time. “Stories from Patonga” ranged from people who grew up in Patonga to those who found it later. The memories of these contributors reflected several eras of Patonga but all reflected their love of the place. Fortunately the memories were collected before several of the contributors moved on through relocation or departure from life.
The popularity of the first book encouraged Jennifer to collect and edit stories for a second edition with current residents and a similar sociological reflection of the village, Patonga or as many still refer to it Patonga Beach. “More Stories from Patonga” was 3 years in the making.
The launch of the long awaited, ‘More Stories from Patonga’ will occur at the Patonga Progress Hall from 10-12 noon on Easter Saturday (2022) to distribute books and have a chat. To help us, we are asking that you pre-purchase your books, if possible, by direct deposit. Details can be obtained by email@example.com
We have printed the new book ‘More Stories from Patonga’, and re-printed the original book ‘Stories from Patonga’ that was released in 2010 with a cost of $25 per book. Postage can be arranged as your cost.
In looking through land titles for Patonga we came across the name Myles Joseph DUNPHY who had purchased in May 1934, Lot 5 in Bay Street. The title described Mr DUNPHY as being an architect from Mortdale.
Some further digging identified that Mr Dunphy had been an influential figure in the bush walking groups of Sydney. This in turn makes sense that Mr Dunphy retained the property until November 1960 when it was sold to Colin ZWAN. The bush walks around Patonga are extensive and beautiful.
It is with a little pride that we note he kept a little piece of Patonga near to 30 years but why the statement that he “was regarded as the father of conservation in NSW” and also in some quarters credited as “the father of the National Parks systems”.
Myles Joseph Dunphy, was a resident of Oatley, and as a marathon bushwalker he galvanised the bushwalking conservation movement into articulating a vision for legislative protection of the environment. He spent a lifetime walking, mapping and calling for national parks to be established.
He had a particular passion for the Blue Mountains and this led to the creation of the Blue Mountains National Park in 1959. In 2000, the Greater Blue Mountains National Park became a World Heritage Area. Dunphy’s maps were the guide for most bushwalkers and his skill is evident in the image below.
Dunphy was an architect and was appointed as a full-time teacher for architectural engineering and later architectural history at Sydney Technical College in 1922. Later, this section of TAFE would become part of the University of NSW. For his work in architecture Myles was awarded Life Fellowship of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 1970.
In 1914 Dunphy, with his friends Roy Rudder and Bert Gallop, formed the Mountain Trails Club. Membership was by invitation only and required a stiff initiation ritual of a twenty-mile (32 km) walk.
Dunphy’s association with formal walking clubs reflected his search for a recreational area free from the constraints of urbanisation. He later wrote that people needed a space to rid themselves ‘of the shackles of ordered existence’, and this belief sustained his approach to conservation. Perhaps Patonga provided this space as it does for so many people who have homes here.
Dunphy mobilised the “bushwalking conservation” movement that rose to prominence in the 1930s during the Depression with the popularity of bushwalking as an inexpensive sport.
It was Dunphy and his bushwalking colleagues who in fact coined the word “bushwalking” when they formed the club, The Sydney Bush Walkers.
As the Mountain Trails Club did not admit women as members, in 1927 the Sydney Bush Walkers club was formed, with Dunphy as a foundation member. Through this club, he focused on protecting bushland from development. He helped to negotiate the purchase of the lease of the Blue Gum Forest on the Grose River in 1931-32 to save the area from being logged. Similarly, an area of the Garawarra coastline in Sydney’s south was reserved as parkland in 1934 after Dunphy directed a lobbying campaign aimed at the under-secretary for the Department of Lands.
In 1925 Myles married Margaret Peet and shortly after bought a dog which he called Dex. In 1929 son Milo arrived. Dunphy quite often trekked with his wife, Margaret, son Milo and dog Dex.
Dex was known to have his own boots and on one trip from Oberon to Kanangra they even pushed Milo in a pram.
In 1933 Dunphy had helped to form another group, the National Parks and Primitive Areas Council, which sought the reservation of scenic areas for recreation. He looked enviously on the development of national parks in the United States of America and hoped to encourage similarly protected environments in New South Wales for bushwalkers. As secretary of the NP&PAC, in 1934 Dunphy publicised a proposal for a Blue Mountains national park that had been submitted in 1932, but it was not until 1959 that lobbying resulted in a government gazettal of 155,676 acres (63,000 ha). This park was only a quarter of the size envisioned by Dunphy but with subsequent additions, such as the Wollemi National Park in 1979, the eventual Greater Blue Mountains Park fulfilled his original proposal. Other parklands, for example the Warrumbungle National Park in 1953, were created as a result of NP&PAC lobbying and his maps. In 1967, with the establishment of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the lobbying role of the NP&PAC diminished but Dunphy served on the Blue Mountains National Parks Trust and in his retirement successfully fought the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales, of which he was an honorary counsellor, to retain the names he had chosen in the Blue Mountains region.
He was appointed OBE in 1977 and was given the Fred M. Packard International Parks merit award by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1982. He was active in promoting conservational issues until his later years.
Myles believed the preservation of nature was crucial for the wellbeing of modern society. He recognised how dangerous big business could be for the environment in its pursuit of profits. He opposed the privatisation and commercialisation of scenic, majestic and beautiful natural places.
Myles believed that pristine natural landscapes were too important to the nation to develop, log or mine. He believed they belonged not only to his generation but for future generations. People needed wild, beautiful places to maintain their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.
Myles Dunphy’s brilliance was that he was able to articulate and promulgate an alternative vision for the land. Instead of “conquering”, “exploiting” and “clearing land for improvement” he and his strong network of bushwalkers wanted national parks and wild places conserved, appreciated and walked. That is why many came to call him the “father of the conservation movement”.
Memorials include Dunphy’s Campground (Southern Blue Mountains area); Myles Dunphy Reserve at Oatley; a Display of the Dunphy collection at the National Museum of Australia; The Dunphy Award from the Nature Conservation Council for the most outstanding environment effort by an individual.
Myles Dunphy was also active in war historian Charles Bean’s post-World War I Parks and Playground Movement that demanded governments put aside the protection of open space, playground and sporting areas. Locally, all this work is under threat with the review of Crown Lands that proposes to “divest” of public lands and “assets”. Many local communities like Patonga are concerned to hold onto their public or community spaces as local government seeks to commercialise them.
In 1973 Mendelssohn Bartholdy MILLER, and his wife Marion purchased Lot 52 in Nalya Avenue. With such an interesting name it begged further investigation. The unusual name came about as a result of his father described by Miller as being a Professor of Music at the age of 20. His sibling received the Christian names of “Amadeus Beethoven Carl”.
It would seem that MILLER was a policeman in the 30’s and as a result of the name became known as the “musical policeman”. However, MILLER (according to news reports) became the victim to what was described as “police terrorism”. The Truth newspaper in particular took up the banner with numerous articles about MILLER who allegedly refused to give false evidence in respect of an SP bookie charge. He then became ostracised and allegedly secretly investigated. The Truth outlines a series of activity by the then NSW Police which they labelled as harassment. MILLER went on the give evidence at a Royal Commission into illegal off-course betting and police officers in the mid 1930’s. (Surprisingly this has been the subject of royal commissions in the 60’s and 90’s).
As a result of the media, the Police investigation and his evidence to the Royal Commission, MILLER and his wife suffered from the unwanted attention although he remained with the NSW Police. MILLER was initially terminated but reinstated after taking tribunal action. In 1963 he is recorded as a Police Constable living with his wife at Mortdale. By 1968 (aged 65) he was recorded as a financier and sought to live a more peaceful life on the Central Coast. They had several addresses in the area as well as a short stint in Mudgee. He only held the property in Patonga for 12 months, so perhaps they were testing the waters to find the best retirement location. MILLER passed away in 2002 around 99 years old. Incidentally he sold the Nalya Avenue property to another policeman.
How did this happen? How did an Englishman working as the curator of the Darwin Botanical Gardens get to purchase land in Patonga?
Charles Ernest Frank ALLEN was born on the 2nd of July 1876 in Wimbledon in the county of Oxford, England. Before his arrival in Australia, C. E. F Allen spent some time working in Rhodesia and Mozambique. By trade he was a botanist, he received his formal training at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England.
He went on to apply to join to His Majesty’s Armed Services during the Second Boer War in South Africa. Due to medical issues with his teeth, he was declared as unfit for service. C. E. F. Allen worked with the botanic gardens in Cairns and later in Darwin, Northern Territory, and on October 7, 1913, he was titled curator and later acquired the additional role of Superintendent of Agriculture for the Northern Territory. He was the garden’s very first full-time curator but he soon left to join the Australian Expeditionary Force during the First World War.
C. E. F. Allen returned to the Botanic Gardens in the 1920s but due to his many responsibilities, he was unable to devote much time to the Gardens. Allen undertook experimentation in economic botany and established the Gardens first Herbarium during his time as Curator. He retired from the position in February 1936. He later returned to the United Kingdom where he later died. Since then, there has been a park and street dedicated to him in Fannie Bay, Darwin.
Perhaps in anticipation of his retirement ALLEN, in 1935, purchased a grant of land sold by auction being Allotment 7 of Section 3 DP758831 (67 Bay Street). There is no evidence that he ever visited the site let alone built or lived there. At retirement he returned to England and died in 1939.
It may have been his role as a public servant that gave him the notification of the gazetted auction but maybe someone knows the answer.
The BLUMER’S had several properties in Patonga and although they were not overtly involved in the community in the small village they were well known.
Sydney John Blumer was born in 1889 in Sofala, New South Wales, to parents, George (26) and Mary (24). He married Marjorie E H Martin in 1915 in Ryde, N.S.W. They had one child during their marriage. He died prematurely on 14 June 1950 in New South Wales at the age of 61.
In 1914 Sydney BLUMER finished his degree and in 1916 appeared on the Register of Medical Practitioners as working at Bowraville whilst his brother George who had graduated in 1910 was working as a doctor in Macksville.
In 1918 Sydney Blumer was working as a doctor in the Bowraville area and a local news story tells of him coming to the rescue of a young man bitten by a black snake. Nambucca and Bellinger News Feb, 8, 1918
It appears Blumer was still in Bowraville in 1920, DISTRICT COURT. (Before Judge Cohen.) ACCIDENT TO A SEAMAN. Claims by Doctor and Nurse. Sydney John Blumer, surgeon and medical practitioner, of Bowraville, was the plaintiff in an action against John Storey Rodger, of Wauchope, sawmlller, and at one time owner of the ship “Hall Caine”, for the recovery of £72 4/ for professional services rendered to H. Miller, a seaman employed on the “Hall Caine” on February 12, 1918. His Honor gave a verdict for the defendant in each case.
By 1923 he was in Sydney and in 1924 an early member of the N.R.M.A. In 1925 he was reported as a bowler for South Ashfield, in the final of the Metropolitan Championship Pairs.
From Roy Ewer blog in an early reference to Patonga: “… first two story home in Patonga belonging to the Rollason family. They owned a successful business in Sydney, importing precious metals and gem stones for the jewelry manufacturing trade. Quite a few vacant blocks further along the beach was the residence of Bill Gunnee. He was a retired fire brigade chief and had two sons and a daughter, Sam, Don and Billie. The last house, nearest the bar, was a retreat for Sydney medico, Dr. Blumer…”
In April 1930 Marjorie Blumer became the owner of the property at 71 Bay Street at the cost of one hundred and forty pounds whilst Sydney John Blumer became the owner of 73 Bay Street. In November 1930 another property was transferred to Marjorie Blumer (39 Patonga St) which was owned until 1943. In July 1931 S.J. Blumer applied for approval to build a concrete building in Bay Street.
After his death the properties became part of the RAWLIN family holdings beginning with Ethel Olive Blumer who married Arthur Joseph RAWLIN. The properties remained with the RAWLIN family until at least the late 80’s.
In 1930 an article in the Daily Pictorial painted the picture of Dr. Blumer’s love of fishing “…
Margaret Blumer – 1934 must have been the “coming out” year for Margaret Blumer as she appeared in several newspaper articles. In 1934 Marjorie (mother) hosted a young peoples’ week-end party during Easter, at her cottage at Patonga. It would seem that Margaret was reluctant and retired to the family farm at Windsor where she took over and managed the apiaries.
Her marriage in 1937 to a pastoralist, Jock Weston, of Wellington saw Margaret lead the family to interests around Wellington N.S.W. By July 1940 The Australasian Corriedale Society has approved of the registration of studs from the following breeders:’—”Levels” section: A. R. Beeson, Leyburn, Gunnedah, N.S.W. “C.S.” section: A. Suttie, of Byaduk, Vic.; and C. J. G. Weston and Dr. S. Blumer, Wellington, N.S.W.
By April, 1949 Sydney Blumer had his pilot’s licence but came to grief “… CRASH: This two-seater Aeronca monoplane crashed in Martin’s Paddock, Fairfield Street, Fairfield yesterday. The pilot. Dr. Sidney Blumer, 51, of Woollahra, was slightly injured, and his passenger Richard Creak 23, of Earlwood, was not hurt….” The truth of the matter was that Blumer fractured his spine, was encased in plaster and spent some time in hospital.
Blumer did not have much luck with aircraft whilst recovering from his own crash his plane a tiger moth was crashed by the hirers in May, 1949. In the next year Blumer was subjected to his final catastrophe.
In June 1950 circumstances of kismet surrounded “…THE death of Dr. Sydney Blumer earlier this month was part of a tragic coincidence. He had been delivering some wood from his Hawkesbury River property to his mother-in-law, Mrs. Madge Martin in Holden Street Ashfied, was knocked down by a car as he stood by his jeep and died in hospital the next day. Mrs. Martin’s other daughter, Mrs. A. V. Rosich, whose husband was a banking identity some years ago, was widowed in the same manner. When Mrs. Martin, who was deeply shocked by the death of Dr. Blumer, went to visit his wife, she dropped dead…”
You can’t help but think that Sydney Blumer on one hand worked hard and achieved a lot but on the other you may wonder if fate was unkind to him on many occasions.
It is a publication titled ‘Stories from Patonga’ that was released in December 2010. It is a collection of stories from 33 people who lived in Patonga between 2006-2010. It is not an historical account, but rather a collection of those people’s memories that sometimes gave glimpses of Patonga’s history.
In January 2020, Patonga Project announced that work would begin on a new edition, ‘More Stories from Patonga’. In the first edition, I would sit with people and have a chat about their experiences and memories of Patonga. The conversation was recorded and later transcribed. The Corona virus disrupted our plans for some time. With restrictions now being lifted, we can now proceed and we have developed an additional pathway.If you have a computer, can you send me a story? The only rules are, there must be some relationship to Patonga and you can’t make any comment that others might find hurtful.
Some questions that may help you focus include:
How did you get to find Patonga? What do you remember of that time? Do you have any special traditions relating to Patonga? Do you remember any ‘characters’ from that time? What did you do when you were there? Who did you do it with? What did you love about Patonga?
You might find it easier to grab a photograph of a time when you were at Patonga. Who is in the photo? What were you doing? Why?
We have never had a camping story and so many campers visit every year!
If you don’t have a computer, can you record your story (or your Mums) and send me the file? I’ll type it for you.
These books are essentially a collection of people’s stories and they can’t be done without people contributing their memories. ‘Stories from Patonga’ is a feel-good sort of a read, it is not rocket science, nor will it ever be a best seller. But it did give people a smile and helps to preserve some of the memories that make Patonga such a special place. We expect the same with ‘More Stories from Patonga’.
Please send me a story. Photographs make the story come alive so try to include some. I can help you to edit the story and scan photos or help in any way that I can. You have final editing rights and can withdraw your consent to use the story at any time up to publication.
When we have a collection, we will publish it and have a book launch in the hall for all contributors. The last book launch was enjoyed by everyone.
Feedback from Back to Patonga day overwhelming asked for a Movie Night for the next event. We tried to get the View from Greenhaven (2008) without luck. So next best things was The Beast. Not the greatest movie but fun to watch with friends and pick the Patonga location highlights. Join us for a FREE screening on Thursday 9th January – Open 5:30pm Screening 6;30pm. Bring your own nibbles and drinks.
Stanley John HORSLEY was a private in the First World War enlisting on the 10 November 1915 at the age of 18.5 years and embarking from Australia on 08 March 1916. He returned on 31 March 1919 after serving with the 17th Australian Infantry Battalion. He saw active service in France in 1918 and received a fracture to his right femur (gunshot). He remained incapacitated and in hospital for some time after returning.
As a result of his service he was awarded the 1914-15 Silver Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Prior to enlisting HORSLEY had been a baker. He was originally from Casino, NSW.
In 1922 the marriage of Horsley and Grace Mary Krauth was registered at Burrowa New South Wales. The Horsleys lived in a number of areas in NSW with Stanley recorded as working variously as a mechanic, baker and a wine licensee. After his time at Patonga, electoral rolls record him as a baker, he took up the license for the New Gunyah Hotal Lockhart N.S.W. in 1954. By 1958 and also in 1963 electoral rolls show the family back in Patonga. By 1967 when Grace dies it appears that the family had relocated to Tweed Heads.
In 1937 the properties at 17 & 19 Bay Street, Patonga were purchased in Grace Horsley’s name. In 1937 they sold No. 17 to Thomas WATSON. NO. 19 remained with the family till 1971. In 1940 again in Grace’s name they purchased 20 Bay Street leasing it to the Hamilton’s and later to Bertha HARRISON and Amelia ELLIOTT (advertisers/sponsors in the war memorial program) until it was sold to the ALLSOP’S in 1964. At the time of the 1937 purchase Grace was identified as being from Parramatta and the “Wife of Stanley John Horsley, Wine Licensee”. In 1940 it was a similar description but with the address as Kings Cross.
Stanley John Horsley died in 1981 at the age of 82 and is buried at Tweed Heads. Horsley’s headstone reveals the anomaly that he was born in 1899 and if he enlisted in 1915 as recorded he would have been 16 years old.