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Article about high temperatures in 1896


With the high temperatures we endured this week I thought this appropriate. A little snippet from Trove that I came across.

The weather report in Albury Banner and Wodonga Express paper from the Finley correspondent on January 13 1896.

Temperatures of 112 degrees farenheit reported which converts to 44.4 degrees celcius. And to think there was no such thing as air conditioning and insulation back then, and I would hate to think what the ladies were wearing - at least three layers!

No reports of death by heat stroke though thankfully, I take it the old coolabah fridge would have had a good workout.

Presbyterian Church Boomanoomana


Church services began at the home of Mr WJ Crammond “Pine Hills”, Boomanoomana in 1912 and continued there until 1924. Service was then taken at Mr JM Johnson’s “Carramar” home and in 1927 land was donated by Mr RA Collie for the building of a church.

The church was opened on 16th December 1928 with the Minister Rev Albott coming from Berrigan. Under the pastoral care of the Berrigan Parish the church was active for the next forty six years till the closure in March 1976.

Tocumwal Fire Brigade


Town and bush fire brigades have been in existence since the early days but it was not until 29 July 1946 that the NSW Board of Fire Commissioners formed the Tocumwal Voluntary Fire Brigade with a strength of 14 men under Captain WJ Millman Jr. The original fire engine was a Garford Hale (as featured in our picture) but this was changed for a more modern Dennis Engine in December 1951.

The Fire Brigade was stationed in temporary quarters until the Hon TJ Smith, President of the Board of Fire Commissioners opened the new Fire Station on 8 June 1951.

The Tocumwal Fire Brigade members are now also Tocumwal First Responders. In the absence of an ambulance service to the township of Tocumwal the Fire Brigade First Responders have been trained to deal with medical emergencies, and it is a very welcome sight to see the fire engine heading towards you with lights flashing in your moment of need. Though I have seen a few confused children trying to work out where they are going to lie down in the back of the truck!

Information sourced from Tocumwal Centenary 1857 - 1957, photo of Engine housed at NSW Museum of Fire, sourced from Fire Engine Photos on the web.

St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Barooga


The actual opening date of the original St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Barooga is not recorded in the book “Barooga and Districts, Yesterday and Today”, which states “the date of erection is not certain, but it is in record that a wedding, probably the first in Barooga, was celebrated at St Joseph's in February 1907, when Mr and Mrs PJ Quinane were the couple married”. I have been able to ascertain from Mr Tom Danaher that the Church was first utilised in 1901 and the Quinane nuptials are believed to have been the third wedding. 

The small St Joseph’s Church was referred to in the poem by Father Pat Hartigan “The Church upon the Hill” written under his nom de plume ‘John O’Brien’. The poem can be found at 

St Joseph's catered to the community of Barooga and surrounding areas until it was decided that it was too small to fit the ever growing congregation. The new larger church was built in 2007, the first service in the new Church being 14 October 2007. The old Church was later sold off and then destroyed when it was found that it could not be relocated.

Finley School of Arts - part 2


The first School of Arts was destroyed by fire in 1901 and was sold by the insurance company to a private purchaser.  The location for rebuilding at that site had become unsuitable due to the fact that the railway had come to town and the town was split apart by the railway line.

The location at the corner of Murray and Wollamai Streets was available and so the insurance monies were invested in the building of the new School of Arts. The new School of Arts was officially opened by Jim Moodie on 24 August 1904 three years after the original hall burnt down.

At this time the hall was the only building in that area of town and it featured two anterooms and a porch in front.  It was not ceiled and the interior brickwork was left exposed by later rendering.  There was a temporary stage but no dressing rooms.

Considerable improvements were effected some eight years later in 1912 when the hall featured in the newly established Finley Mail, mentioning a function to launch the new-look hall, in which the ceiling had been steel lined (Wunderlich), a permanent stage with attractive proscenium fitted (a word which was used to describe the angel sides and tip which ‘picture framed’ the stage) and the walls had been kalsomined.

Some years later the School of Arts was expended to the west, allowing for additional floor space and windows, with an enlarged stage and two dressing rooms to the right and left of the stage.

Finley School of Arts - part 1


The first Finley School of Arts was built on land in Finley St and was purchased in 1892 at the time of town lots being released. The Berrigan Advocate of 12 May 1893 indicated that tenders had been called for a brick structure and the contract was subsequently let to J Lundholme of Tocumwal who already had a brick kiln in Finley.

The Tocumwal Times of 1 February 1894 reported that “Building operations at the new Finley School of Arts is in full swing and the contractor is sanguine of completing same on time. The structure measuring 50 feet by 26 feet with 8’ by 8’ porch rests on a solid clay bottom. Walls are of nine inch brickwork and pilasters are placed at regular distances. The gables are finished with cement coping and finial ornaments.”

The Tocumwal Times of 26 April 1894 and the Berrigan Advocate of 27 April 1894 both reported the opening of the School of Arts on Monday 23 April with a Sports meeting in the afternoon and a concert and dance at night, the opening being performed by Mr Jeffries of Tocumwal.

The cost of the building was approximately £320 and the Government subsidy was the rather unusual sum of eighty one pounds fifteen shilling and threepence, which works out to be a quarter of the erection costs.

Exactly a year after this opening Finley’s first school began in the building on 22 April 1895 with EH Templeton as teacher and an initial attendance of seven pupils which some parents paid and others refused. As the school monopolised use of the hall, on 22 November 1895 the committee served ninety days’ notice on the Education Department to vacate the premises.

Public Swimming Pools of Berrigan Shire


The Finley Memorial Swimming Pool was first mooted in 1944 but it was not till 1961 that a concerted drive for funds yielded in excess of £11,000, an undertaking in which Fred Dobbin was prominent. Others who played a worthwhile role were the Atkinson Family, Ray Koschel and Fred Cuthbert. The pool was officially opened on 1st December 1962 by His Excellency the Governor of NSW, Lieut-General Sir Eric Woodward, KCGM, CB, CBE, DSO. Sourced from Looking back on Finley by Norman McAllister.

The Berrigan War Memorial Swimming Pool was built in 1962. The plaque at the pool reads as follows: This pool was built by the residents of Berrigan and District as a memorial to the fallen in two World Wars. Was solemnly dedicated by Lieutenant- General H G Edgar CB, CBE on Remembrance day 11th November 1962.

The photos featured this week have come from the Berrigan War Memorial Swimming Pool Committee facebook page. Robin Cobb provided the photos to the committee and these are all featured on their facebook page. As Robin notes on the page “When the pool was built a lot of people had slides rather than photos and our Dad, Bill Kay, took these.”

The Tocumwal Pool is a more recent build and as such we havent included it in our writeup today.

Schools of Berrigan Shire


Due to the fact that a century ago most students were required to make the trek to school by foot, with few fortunate enough to have a horse, schools were more prevalent but with lower numbers. As mentioned in previous posts there was a requirement to have a minimum of twelve students for the Education Department to grant classification as a Provisional School and a minimum of 25 students to be classified as a Public School. This meant that in the Berrigan District alone there were quite a few schools that came and went based on the number of students within the drawing radius.

Many schools were in existence in various parts surrounding the Berrigan district over the years, but the exact location of these is not easy to pinpoint, and also some schools probably had various homes as they were moved to satisfy the growing population. The schools were named Warragabogra, Leniston, Nangunia, Nangunia South, Wanborough, Osborne Well, Trefoil Park and Green Swamp Road. All have disappeared from the scene as transport has improved and larger schools in the towns have absorbed the students.

The Rev. John Dykes notes that he preached in the school adjoining Dalmally in 1885, this being known as Warragobogra School though Department of Education records the school as being open only from 1916 to 1929 with the spelling Warragubogra. The Advocate mentions Leniston in issues of 1892, it was open from 1887 to 1907. Agitation began for a school at Trefoil Park in 1905 and their request was soon granted. There was a school at Warmatta from 1902 to 1914. Green Swamp Road opened in 1922 and closed again in 1965, and a school at Wanborough emerged in 1933 which closed in 1947. The commencement date of the Osborne Well School is not known but it is stated as opening in 1917, it first closed in 1948 but then prospered again, only to close when numbers dwindled once more in 1974.

SCHOOL Opening date Closing date
Barooga Jan 1896 open
Berrigan Oct 1891 open
Boomanoomana Jul 1895 Dec 1952
Boomanoomana South Mar 1937 Feb 1951
Finley Apr 1895 open
Green Swamp Road Jan 1922 May 1965
Lalalty Jan 1884 May 1981
Leniston Jan 1887 May 1907
Nangunia Jun 1886 Mar 1932
Nangunia South Apr 1899 Dec 1914
Osborne Well Jul 1917 Dec 1974
Tocumwal Mar 1881 open
Trefoil Park Jul 1904 Jun 1914
Wanborough Jan 1933 Apr 1947
Warmatta Sep 1902 Jun 1914
Warragubogra Jun 1916 Aug 1929

Tocumwal St Peter's Parish Catholic Church


Prior to 1881 visits of Priests to Tocumwal were few and far between. Mass used to be celebrated in a small brick building also used as a school on Mr William Hennessey’s land at Beregegama, three miles from Tocumwal. Later on mass was celebrated at the Court House in Tocumwal, then at Mr Hillson’s new hall before a Church was finally built.

The Church was finally opened on May 2nd 1890, although not quite complete. The original church building only extended from the porch area to just behind the second window from the current sanctuary. The extension was completed in the following ten years, the difference can be discerned in a slight change in brick colour and different arches over the windows.

The Catholic Parish of Finley and St Mary's Church


From late 1879 the Murray Hut Hotel was the home to periodical worship, baptisms and marriages with a Parish Priest available from Jerilderie.

The Finley Free Press of 30th September 1904 reported under the heading “Official Opening of R.C. Church” that “The Rev. Dr. Gallagher, Bishop of Goulburn, opened and blessed the new Roman Catholic Church on Sunday last (25th Septembr 1904) in the presence of a very large number of people.

The original St Mary’s comprised the front section of the present church, including the porch, and as far forward as the forth gothic window. An influx of residents following World War 1 taxed the capacity of the original building and extensions were carried out in 1919 and blessed by the Bishop of Wagga in 1920.

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