The Totem Pole - Wolgan Valley

The iconic Totem Pole is a fascinating conglomerate erosion residual located 26 kilometres down the Wolgan Valley from Newnes.
The structural elements range from large water-worn rocks to tiny grains of sand glued together somehow into a single stunning column.  It must have been far stronger than the surrounding geology that has eroded away behind it. The Totem Pole is protected from the worst of the elements by a large cap stone.

Looking at the Totem Pole you just have to wonder how it stays upright.

There are similar but much smaller pinnacles in the area.  Some have the same cap stone protection.  Others do not and have weathered into a cone shape.

Ref: Dingo Gap Gallery

Boomerang - Cave Art - Mt Genowlan

A section of the rock wall clearly showing a boomerang. Any other objects depicted have long faded away.
Photo: Dingo Gap Gallery

Cave Art at Mt Genowlan is a reminder of the Aboriginal Culture in & around the Capertee Valley.

The Art consists of Stencils depicting hands & weapons.

The Stencils were made on a sheltered sandstone wall of a rock overhang & have managed to survive the elements.

The stencils are extremely fragile.

Ref: Dingo Gap Gallery

Cable drum and handbrake at Airly

Cable drum and handbrake

Photo: Bryan Ayling collection

 This overgrown apparatus comprises a cable pulley and screw handbrake, firmly anchored to a timber post and tram rails. Perhaps it was used at the bankhead of the Airly self-acting incline, in which case it seems to have been relocated a short distance, some decades ago. 

Ref: Shale mining relics at Airly by Brian Ayling

Tramway skip at Airly

Tramway skip
Photo: Bryan Ayling collection

Body of a skip used for carting shale on the tramway system lays overturned along the route of the self-acting incline. Remains of several other skips can be found in this area. 

Ref: Shale mining relics at Airly by Brian Ayling

Self-acting incline at Airly

Site of the bankhead
Photo: Bryan Ayling collection

Shale was carted from the Airly mines by horse-drawn tram to this point at Airly Gap, where a self acting incline was used to lower laden skips to a dray loading staith, for transfer by road to Capertee railway station. Today a few old timbers and broken cable mark the site of the incline bankhead. 

Ref: Shale mining relics at Airly by Brian Ayling

Herb Davis and wife

Herb Davis and wife (Violet?)

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

Postcard - Zig-Zag railway

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection


Postcard: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

This is one of many postcards I have of My Grandmothers collection starting around late 1800's to into the 1900's. The Charlie & Elsie refers to Charlie & Elsie Mulholland and his brother Jack who was shot coming home from school. He was a teacher at Yulumla."Jack & Murial had two sons, one Jack who served in the 2nd World War at Darwin, during the bombing of the city. Jack wrote two books about this topic. He was interviewed by the ABC in February but sadly passed away later in the year.
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

John & Margaret Lane's Family

Back Row: Sam, Jim, Will, Edwin, Clara, Sarah.
Centre: Margaret, Emily, John, Ben, Martha, Jack.
Front Row: Albert, Alice
Photo: The Black Family History 1813-1991 by Sylvia Taylor

John & Lilian BLACK

John Percy MILLS & Lilian Ida BLACK
12 Jan 1910
Photo: The Black Family History 1813-1991 by Sylvia Taylor

Children of William & Elizabeth MILLS

Back Row: L-R: Mary (Black), Annie (Halpin), Sarah (Willis).
Centre: Elizabeth MILLS (neé RUSSELL, 70y), William. Front: John, James. George.
Photo: The Black Family History 1813-1991 by Sylvia Taylor

Bridge Inn, Rylstone

This photo was taken in the late 1800's. The Gentleman with beard standing on the right of a lady in black is John Brown, licencee of the Bridge Inn at this time.
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

Picnic at Dunns Swamp

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

This photo was taken around late 1920's. The man holding the baby is Sidney Brown, son of Archibald Arthur Brown and Isabella Jane Brown nee Morrison, the gentleman with the hat on in profile is Alick Brown brother to Sid.
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

Dunns Swamp 1930's

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

This photo was taken in 1930's at Dunn's Swamp looking towards the weir. We used to go to the Swamp for my Grandmother's birthday and also at Christmas time when all the cousins were over from the Newcastle area.
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

Growee Valley, near Rylstone

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

recent photo is taken on a Fire Trail overlooking Growee Gulf, the two men in the photo are Bert and Andy Watson. Bert was out on holiday from Dundee, Scotland
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

Growee Valley, near Rylstone

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

A recent photo, overlooking Growee Gulf on a Fire Trail. Springtime with the country side looking fresh and clean.
Ref: Snirley Tunnicliff

Ferntree Gully, Rylstone

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

Recent photograph

Collits Inn, Hartley Vale

Building previously described as Collits Inn, Hartley Vale (Postcard: Shirley TUNNICLIFF)

I bought this postcard from a little boy who was sitting outside Collits Inn at Hartley Vale. He and his mother and sisters lived here at the time. We were given a tour of the house, sheds and the cemetery behind the house.
The shed where Cobb & Co changed horses had never been updated. 
Collits Inn is different now as it has been repaired and updated, but has lost some of the charm it had when I saw it first.

(Source: Shirley TUNNICLIFF)

According to Terry SMITH, the building in the photo is not Collit's Inn. It may be a small house on the property that later became the Mount York Farm, but the Inn itself was/is constructed of weatherboard, not brick, and is much larger.
Collits Inn (Source:

Additionally, the website for Collits Inn has a photo showing a smaller house on the property that could be the building shown above.
Outbuildings near Collits Inn (Source:

Haymaking at "Heatherly", Pinnacle Swamp, Rylstone

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

Photo taken 1930's
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

Railway Weir, Rylstone Common

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

Photo taken 1940's
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

Swinging Bridge at Olinda

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

Photo taken 1945
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

Haymaking at "Heatherly", Pinnacle Swamp, Rylstone

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

The person on the load of hay is my Mother Sylvia Ferguson née Mulholland. We used to bring the hay to a shed on the road to the house where it was pitchforked into the shed to be cut up by using a chaff cutter. The chaff was used to feed our horses and cows. The shed is not there any more but if you look at the next photo you will see the shed at the top of the photo.
Photo taken 1930's.
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

"Heatherly", Pinnacle Swamp, Rylstone

Photo: Shirley Tunnicliff collection

This photo is taken from the house looking towards the hayshed and shearing shed. In the foreground is one of the horse stables and behind is the shearing shed. We had fine Merino's and each year after shearing my Grandma would wait to see what the clip would bring. I remember one year around 1941-2 we got 19 pence per pound for our 3AAA ewe fleece, beat Mr Sheridan of Glenlee by one pence per pound. This was a good price at this time. The highest price going to Dabee, only a couple of pence above 19. A few years after this I attended the wool sales which was at the exchange in the city, I remember Mr Sheridan and Sir Walter Merriman showing over the wool store and pointing out all the grades of wool. It is all different now with wool being sold at Yennora and the classing different.
Photo taken in 1920's.
Ref: Shirley Tunnicliff

Ada May Harris

Photo: Lynn Ryan collection

The lady is Ada May Harris (nee Martin).
Ada, or May as she was known married George Harris, jnr on 9 Jan 1895. Ada’s father was Robert Goddard Martin and he was engaged to build the cedar staircase at Ilford House and then settled in the area. His wife was Mary Ellen Walcott.  His daughter, Ada, as mentioned married into the Harris family as did her brother, Edmund Walcott Martin, who married Martha Patience (Pattie) Harris, younger sister of George jnr (both children of George & Martha Harris). George jnr was a teacher, and Edmund & Pattie lived in the Meroo area near Mudgee on a property called ‘Sunnyside’ (descendants still there).
Ref: Notes from Lynn Ryan

Roy Harris's horses, "Woodlands"

Photo: Lynn Ryan collection

On the back in dad's (Bill Eagle's) writing it says barn on the left, garage/workshops on right and the 'ratproof' 2 storey behind the garage.
The pile of debris is the remains of a bark workshop.
The wagonette was kept in there as well as Vincent Harris's tools until it fell down.
No idea for the photo date but guess it was before the war.
Ref: Notes by Lynn Ryan

William Frederick BLACK and sons

L to R  Sons: George, William,  Frederick at "Lugan Park" Rylstone, 1909.
Black, William Frederick (1827-1938).
Ref: The Black Family History 1813-1991 by Sylvia Taylor

Old Camp Hill

Photo: RDHS Wiki

People in photo are Duncan McLachlan & Barbara
Ref: Pam Cowie

Airly/Newnes Miners

Photo: RDHS Wiki

This is from an old postcard, from the Newnes region. My Great Grandfather James Carmichael worked for one of the Shale Companies.
Ref: RDHS Wiki

Howards at "Hiawatha", Running Stream

Photo: Kevin Gale collection
L to R: Clarrie Howard, D.R. Howard, (Seated unknown), & Mrs D. R. Howard at "Hiawatha", Running Stream - 1905/6
Ref: Back of photograph.

"Hiawatha", Running Stream

Photo: Kevin Gale collection
Photo taken 1906/7
L to R: D. R. Howard, Mrs Howard, Alice Leader, Victor Howard, Mrs H. Luke, R. C. Leader, Ida Lloyd, Miss Buckley & C, Howard
In front: Clifton & Clive Luke
Ref: Written on photo.

Elizabeth Conroy (née Harris)

Photos: Lynn Ryan

Elizabeth Harris, b 7/2/1823 in England was the second daughter of Thomas and Patience Harris.

It is on record that Thomas Harris' Aunt was the Mother of Captain Cook. Maybe this connection influenced them to come to Australia which they fondly referred to as "Jimmy's land" for after moving about England for many years seeking work Thomas and Patience Harris together with their nine children emigrated, arriving in port Jackson on the 11 October 1837 on the ship "Augusta Jessie" a trip that took four months. 
Elizabeth married (2nd) Luke Conroy.
Ref: Looking Back and Moving Forward by Effie White - Johnson

George Harris (Jnr)

Photo: Lynn Ryan

George Jnr, son of George & Martha. He was born 1870, died 1933.

George was a teacher. He married Ada May Martin & her brother married George’s younger sister Pattie.

Ref: Lynn Ryan

Kandos Railway Station

Photo: Bon Tomlinson collection
Taken 17/7/1993

Rylstone Hotel, 1849

 Photo: Betty Edwards collection

Saddler's Shop, Rylstone

(Photo: Betty EDWARDS)

Jim HONEYSETT (Snr) outside his saddler's shop in Louee Street, Rylstone, with Jim's two sons, Ernie (Ernest Charles) & Ted (Edward James).

Source: Betty Edwards

Kandos Railway Station

Photo: Bob Tomlinson collection
Taken 10/4/1984

Old road to Kandos at 'Petticoat Hill'

Photo: Lynn Ryan collectiot

L-R: Pearl Eagle, Pat Sim, Esme Martens (Shire Engineer), Margaret Piddington & Bill Eagle walking the old road to Kandos at 'Petticoat Hill'.
Ref: Lynn Ryan