Back to Patonga – please book on Eventbrite

Back to Patonga event on the 27th April 10am -2pm – WHY BOOK ON EVENTBRITE?

You might have asked yourself why the heck do I have to register on Eventbrite to go to a FREE event in Patonga. Here’s some points why it helps.

1. The event is part of the National Heritage Festival 2019. To register “Back to Patonga” as an event for the Festival and to get Council support we had to have a booking system. Eventbrite is FREE, is reportedly safe and also available to a larger amount of people. That way we have exposure in the National Trust event, a council brochure for the Heritage Festival and more exposure through Eventbrite. National Trust site for event –

2. An avenue to verify community interest and support will help in any applications for grants and/or sponsorship. 

3. A really important point about registration is that it gives the Progress Association some idea of how many to cater for in the proposed BBQ. Remember the BBQ is also a fund raiser for renovations for the War Memorial.

4. Eventbrite takes limited details – Name and email address minimum for a FREE event. Create a new web page email if you wish.

5. FINALLY A lot of work has gone into this and it’s going to be depressing to see that only 20 people are interested enough to register. So if no other points make sense and you think the Patonga Project is worthwhile continuing – PLEASE register. 





A story in the Bush Fire Council of New South Wales “Sitrep” Bulletin of 1976

RFS tender_1
The Patonga Tanker

The story highlights the work of Mrs Walter ALLSOPP of Patonga who over a period of time collecting donations from visitors and tourists to benefit the Bush Fire Brigade. Accordingly to the article she raised over $800 for the fire shed to be built and a further $2,000 to buy the Bedford  tanker (pictured).
Work on the fire shed and the tanker was done by members of the brigade headed by the Captain, Doug Allsopp, Mrs Allsopp’s son.

For the full story click on the link

Officers of the Bush Fire Council inspecting the vehicle.

Back to Patonga – 27 APRIL 2019

The Australian Heritage Festival will run between 18 April through to 19 May this year with a theme of Connecting People, Places and the Past. The Patonga Project is hosting a “Back to Patonga” day as part of the festivities.

We are planning to include a display of photographs; the opportunity to scan your photos on the spot or tell a family story; catch up with old friends and families; Guest speakers as well as (hopefully) representatives from the Gosford Historical Society to help with queries relating to ancestry, research and tips etc.

The event is FREE but we will accept donations – Please Book through Eventbrite so we can manage the numbers.


Commencing at midnight on Friday, 10THApril 1936 a fishing competition, with anglers sleeping beside thelr lines, ended on the following Monday night at Patonga Beach, No fewer than 121 persons competed from Gosford, Sydney, Newcastle, and other areas.  Among the competitors were 25 women, and the ages of the male competitors ranged from 8 to 75 years.  Mr. S. Brown, of Patonga, was the oldest. Two cups were awarded, one for the heaviest flathead and the other for the largest Individual blackfish,

MESSRS. A. SMITH and W. Bale, of Patonga, were successful in catching the largest flathead during the fishing competition, their fish weighing 8 lb. Mr. W. Norford, of Sydney, won the contest for the largest individual blackflsh and also the cup for the competition, his total haul being 818 fish, 180 of which were caught in nine hours. There were 121 competitors. Including 25 women, and the ages ranged from 8 to 16 years. So successful has the competition proved, that the Amateur Fishermen’s Association, which was responsible for this contest, will conduct another over the Anzac week-end.

Mr. P. S. Williams, of the Patonga Beach Social Club, states that in the club’s Anzac week-end fishing competition, Mick Simmons’ special trophy for the largest number of blackfish was awarded to Mr. G. Peaty who caught 68 of an average weight of two lb.


CHARACTERS OF PATONGA Nellie FLOWERS. (1890 – 1968)– How did she get to Patonga and was it because of a broken heart.

Nellie Flowers was born into the family of Fred and Annie Flowers.  Fred had been originally born in England and immigrated in 1882.  He was a painter and plasterer by trade and soon became involved in the Labor movement.  Nellie was the second of four children.  Fred was a major influence in the Labor movement of inner Sydney.

Fred FLOWERS was president of the premier Rugby League club, South Sydney, in 1908-28; as the patron of the New South Wales Rugby Football League in 1910-28, he contributed much to its survival in the difficult early years. In 1924 he became first chairman of the league’s Australian Board of Control.  Flowers encouraged the building of a new zoological gardens at Taronga Park, on Bradleys Head, and became chairman of the controlling trust next year. In 1915-16 he arranged the transfer of animals and birds from their inadequate location in Moore Park to their new harbour site. The zoo became known internationally. State’s first minister of public health, from April 1914 to April 1915.Fred was given a life appointment to the Legislative Council in 1900 and was President of the Legislative Council for 13 years.  As a Minister, Flowers made many important contributions including improvements to police working conditions while Colonial Secretary, and as the first Minister for Public Health he oversaw the introduction of public health centres for mothers and infants.

Nellie Flowers, aged 27 had married Carl IRVING, aged 30, a dentist, in 9thJune 1917 at St. Stephen’s Church Sydney.  IRVING had been married previously in 1908 whilst as a student, aged 22, and then divorced in 1913.  He had spent 2 days with his NZ wife before she returned to New Zealand.  

In 1921 Nellie filed for divorce over desertion brought a suit at the Divorce Court on Wednesday, against her levanting husband, Carl Howard Irving, an Oxford-street dental doctor, for divorce, on the ground of desertion. Petitioner is the daughter or Mr. Fred Flowers, President of the Legislative Council. Mr. Markell (instructed by Mr F. Marsden) appeared for petitioner, and the suit was not defended. Mrs. Irving, slender and good-looking was wedded on June 9, 1917, the ceremony being performed at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Kirk Sydney, by the Rev. John Ferguson.  During the divorce proceedings it was recorded that “…The bridegroom had previous experience of the united state.- for the marriage certificate set forth that he was a divorced petitioner. He was in business as a doctor of dentistry in Oxford-street, and In a good way of making money. Nine fleeting months of life together, however, and the honeymoon waned. It had been, waning for some time, for the fang puller had neglected his young wife by remaining away from home till late at night, and excusing it on the score of pressing business at his surgery. On March 8, whilst they were residing at Milroy-avenue, Kensington; Irving, who was a man over thirty then, and some years older than his wife, packed up his belongings and left home. He had threatened to leave. a few times before, but his wife regarded his threats in the light of a joke, though he had never exhibited much warm affection for her. See full article below:

Nellie purchased No.’s 21 and 23 Patonga Street in 1931 and 1936 respectively.  She retained the properties until two years before her death, selling them in 1966. I was unable to find records about her time in Patonga other than in 1931 Nellie made application to council to build a weatherboard and fibro home – builder G.T. Page.

In September 1941, an obituary states   Dr. Carl Howard Irving dental surgeon, of Forest Road, Hurstville, who died suddenly in Brisbane while on a holiday, practised his profession at Hurstville. He secured his degree in U.S.A., and had travelled around the world twice.  He took much interest in the art of magic, and his library on that subject was perhaps, one of the largest in Australia. The late Dr. Irving was a member of the A.J.C., and also of the St. George Bowling Club. He married Miss Fuller, of Parramatta, and had one daughter, Miss Ursula Irving who is a singer..   

There is no mention of Carl’s previous two marriages in his obituary.Nellie died in 1968 aged 76.  She is recorded in the name of Nellie FLOWERS so it can be a

Help Needed on these Photos

Borrowed from the Patonga Village Voice in the hope that someone can help out with identifying these photos from 1933 – help required to identify People, Street, or houses. The fact that they came from someone in Patonga Street may be a hint (or a red herring).

Gone But Not Forgotten – Part 2

Following on from the theme of Gone but not Forgotten Homes here are some examples of our not too distant past to remind you of the importance of capturing this history.  Houses that are gone and/or land that has been re-imagined.

Please REMEMBER that some changes may not be to your liking BUT it would be impolite to comment too harshly here. You are always welcome to comment on memories of the houses or request for photos of others that have gone.


Example of Change – this church in Jacaranda Avenue is now a residential home (Halton Family photos)

For Patonga the early challenge was getting materials on site.  Initially material had to come by water as there was no functional road. Then lifestyle dominated the buildings as the homes doubled as weekenders and holiday lets until, for some, retirement meant you may become a permanent resident.

Most times there had to be room for visitors and quite often that might be an enclosed verandah or a sleep-out.

The Patonga Project hopes to collect photographs of those buildings through their various transitions and reincarnations.  Some you will like and others you will deplore but one thing is for sure they will reflect the changes over time.

Photos exist of old homes and some examples are:

Photo by Beryl Strom – Best guess is 100 and 102 Patonga Street

1 and 5 Bay Street (June Coates)

Wilkes’ – 8 Patonga Street (Nerida Browne)

Patonga Progress Hall and Bowling Green (Nerida Browne)

In the next post we will give examples of recent houses that are no longer with us.

If you have a photo of a house that you would like to share please do so or contact Patonga Project so we can add it to the repository.

Patonga Project Team

24 Nov 2018









From Vaudeville Comedian to Patonga resident – Bill DYSON

Patonga Characters – William Frederick John DYSON.

I started off with Will DYSON as I came across his occupation  as “vaudeville artist” in a land titles search.                                                      

How did he get to be a resident in Patonga?

Born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1879 and passed away at Patonga in 1956.

Dyson was a boisterous and versatile performer starting out as an eccentric comedian and dancer through a stage of “black face” minstrel before finding his niche as a comedian singing humorous songs.   He worked with companies in Launceston and Hobart (1902) moving on to Melbourne and then most capital cities and several regional areas in Australia.  He also had stints in Manila,(P.I.) and in the U.S. Records indicate that his two brothers, Hal and Jim, were also involved in the vaudeville scene in the U.S.

Dyson was described variously as the three storied comedian, midget comedian and reports of his height were from 6’ 8” to 8 feet as well as 210cm.  He was also known as “Long Bill” Dyson.  The Mudgee Guardian described him. “… Mr. Will. Dyson, the very tall comedian, was an instant success, and was responsible for paroxysms of laughter. The way such a big man can twist his limbs and at the same time give forth genuine comedy lines with a powerful voice was an eye-opener…  

The Mercury (Hobart) Mar, 17, 1902

Bill married Dora Ellen WELLS and they appear to have had no children.  Recorded in the census as being together in 1912 – Melbourne.  No date for marriage could be confirmed but appears to be registered in 1918.  Dora was born in around 1882 and died in 1966, aged 84.  She also had a relative in Patonga, Mrs H. Wells, in 1940, both of who may have originated from Perth, W.A.

In 1922 William Frederick John Dyson purchased Lot 96 in DP 9408 at Patonga.  We would know it as No. 35 Patonga Street.  Dyson reported to his old colleagues in 1924 and it appeared in a trade journal as, …”Will DYSON whilom popular comedian has long been the owner of a prosperous boat-shed at Patonga Bay, Hawkesbury River. In addition, he works a small farm to satisfactory returns.  It is pleasing to note that Mrs Dyson, who was very ill last year, has now entirely recovered, and, with her husband is keenly interested in both businesses.(Everyone’s Vol. 4, No. 239)

1922 Transfer

During the Depression, Bill Dyson sought and was given work along with Messrs Wilson and Hine on road works, particularly the sanitary works road.

Roy Ewer (in his blog) recalls, “There was no electricity and a roaring trade in kerosene for lighting was a priority prerequisite. This fuel was sold in sealed 4 gallon (18+ litres) oblong tin cans and were difficult to dispose of. One retired couple, Bill Dyson and his wife erected part of their home using these cans.” 

According to The Gosford Times and Wyong District Advocate in 1928 when reporting on the purchase of an organ for Church and Sunday School, “…many thanks to me untiring efforts of Mr. W. Dyson, of Patonga Beach, the generous public were appealed to by him for this worthy object. More than the quota aimed at was collected by Mr. Dyson, with the result that a beautiful instrument was purchased from the firm of E. F. Wilks and Co., Pitt St, Sydney. Mr. Brack extended his best thanks to Mr. Dyson for his kindly help.” 

Another anecdote from Roy Ewer recalls “When the daily ferry from Brooklyn arrived at Patonga, it was quite an occasion. Many residents made a habit to “meet the boat.” One occasion worth recording was the assistance rendered by a resident called Bill Dyson who was at least 210 centimetres tall. Bill insisted that he caught the ropes thrown from the ferry and place them on the pylons to complete the mooring. On this occasion, I had the duty to throw the rope to Bill but unfortunately, missed and threw the rope over him, and it would be the only time that Alan Windybank failed to put the old Atlas” engine into neutral, consequently the “Swanhilda” cruised slowly towards the shore with Bill in tow astern. All was quickly rectified and Bill, because of his height and the state of the tide, coughed, spluttered and waded ashore, not much the worse for wear, but such goings on encouraged the locals to “meet the boat”.

William Frederick John Dyson died in 1956 and his wife sold the property in 1961 to Ronald and Helen BURGESS who retained it for 2 years.

The Final note on Bill Dyson goes to Patonga Beach correspondent in The Gosford Times and Wyong District Advocate, 12 January 1933, “ Our old friend, Mr. Bill Dyson, was again to the fore as has been his custom in years past, to meet the ferry and then lend a helping hand to one and all when disembarking from the launches. His kindly disposition and genial smile and cheering words have made our boy friend most popular.”

Seems like Bill was a nice man who liked people but unfortunately I couldn’t explain how he found Patonga and decided to stay, maybe a reader can help.


We Need Your Help to Capture the History of Houses in Patonga

Patonga’s Houses

The Patonga Project is about to commence its first undertaking and we need your help! We are trying to get a handle on the homes of Patonga’s inhabitants. We would like to get an idea of the types of houses that were originally built in Patonga as well as a current survey of the dwellings today.
The ultimate goal would be to have an exhibition in the hall to display the photos and memories of the past as well as current dreams and aspirations. You may not have owned the home, but rather rented it for holidays or just have great memories of the house. We hope to use a search of land titles to show different home sites and match the time period with photographs and/or memories. In the end, or course, the outcome will depend on what information is received.
The following list of questions is meant as a guide and some may not be applicable to you and your home.
What is the address?
Does/did the house have a name?
What is your first memory of this house? Year?
What is your favourite memory of the house?
Is the house still standing? When was it demolished? Do you have photos of the previous structure?
How is this house important to you?

Wharf Road
Wharf Road aka Jacaranda Ave

Description of the House
Please provide a photograph of the front of the house. For homes in Bay Street and Patonga Street, on the waterfront, photographs of both the front and back should be included if possible.

History and remarks (if known)
Eg: When was it built? Renovated?

Date of Photograph (if known) and the Photographer (if known)

Marinook 2009
Marinook 2009

Architectural style. Building materials
Verandah Roof, floor, supports, decoration.
Front Door:
Exterior Doors:
Other Features:

Please send through your document and/or photographs to If you do not have access to a computer, please let us know so that we can come and write your thoughts and scan your photos over a cuppa.

Thank you