Wollar Village

Wollar (Co. Phillip) 32°22’S. 149°57’E., 40 km E. of Gulgong, on Wollar Ck; estab. 1867, village gaz. 1868; farming and grazing, oil shale disc. 1927 by Edmund Edward Mancq; Angl. C. 1876, enlarged 1895, new one (St Luke’s) b. 1915 by Babbage Bros, d. by Harold Robert Hardwick, closed 2009, and graveyard (101 burials 1865+); butter factory (Wollar Dairy Co.) 1893; causeway across Wollar Ck; cemetery (252 graves 1875+); 1875; CH; fire 1960; flood 2010; PO 1874-1985; PS 1875, additions and repairs 1913 by William J. Kelman, new one b. 1936 by W. N. Horton, closed 1966; retort (Schultz) erected 1931 by Aust. Imperial Shale Oil Co.; Rom. Cath. C. 1873, new one (St Laurence O’Toole’s) b. 1905 by John S. Nutt, d. by Harold Robert Hardwick, closed; school 1881, additions 1927 by A. H. Baglee; telephone 1900; TX 1927, automatic 1985; pop. 76 (1901), 162 (1911), 115 (1933), 132 (1947), 97 (1954), 61 (1961), 260 (2011)1 .


31 August 1922
(By W. S.)
Leaving Bylong my trip led to Wollar and almost along the proposed railway line. It is some twelve miles to Wollar and there is some very good country to be seen on both sides of the road. Mr. Foster's farm seems to be a very good one with good looking stock. A bit further on there is Mr. Daniels, as also Mr. Mead. Woolaringa station also holds a good bit of the land, some of it very good, and nearly all good settlers country, but hardly anyone under present conditions of taxation and Shire rates could possibly do any good in grain growing along the creeks. There is a good deal of land that could be used for lucerne growing, and with railway communication to the west, a good market would be readily found for it. Before Wollar township is reached a nice creek of running water has to be crossed. The town itself is a thriving little place with a good hotel kept by Mr. Carroll, who has been many years there. Mr. Carroll, Senr., was one of the pioneers; a couple of good stores where goods can be bought reasonably considering the distance, they have to be brought; a very neat church and other buildings give an air of general prosperity to the town not every day seen in places so far distant from the railway. There is some good farming and grazing land in and around Wollar, but not too much farming as we of the West understand it is done. Questioned why - the answer was "Well we are too far away from market for it to pay to cart on a team; if the railway were close it would be different." That is the sole reason - want of cheap transport. Maize, which is nearly always a big price, can be grown, but it would have to be worth near- 10/ per bushel before it would pay to produce. The land thus is utilised to run stock which may be all right in one sense, but the country wants every part of it to produce as much as it can. Some very good horses are bred about Wollar, the single draughts being very good ones, and the Comealla Gleesons breed some extra good bloods. Wollar once had an aboriginal settlement and the notorious Governors were inmates of it and after the Breelong tragedy they made through the country to the mountain haunts between Mudgee and Wollar. There was a number of blacks at the settlement but they were removed by the Government of the day to Brewarrina and the settlement has never been reformed at Wollar2 .


10 March 1972
The days when koalas nestled in the fork of the gum trees on the Munghorn mountain near Wollar, must seem a long way from the present jet age, but to Mrs. Theresa Marskell, these times are as if they were but yesterday.
Mrs. Marskell is 94 years and despite slight deafness, is in very good health and takes an interest in all things taking place in today’s world.
Mrs. Marskell last year came to stay with her daughter a son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Newton Daniel of Mudgee.
It was at her daughter’s place, she had a little celebration with members of her family on her birthday, on February 23.
For most of her life time, Wollar was Mrs. Marskell’s world.
She lived with her husband on “Keylah” a property just out of Wollar, where they raised nine children, six of them living in the Mudgee area.
Wollar was a thriving little town.
It had two hotels, two butcher shops, 3 stores, a fine dance hall and two beautiful stone churches.
Now, there is only a store, and the two churches.
Mrs. Marskell remembers the time when the Catholic Church was being built.
It was about 70 years ago, about the same age as her son, Jack.
“You see, he was christened on the stage of the Wollar Hall and so was Rose Loy, the sister of the Police Inspector Loy,” Mrs. Marskell said.
Mrs. Marskell said the Church was opened just after that.
“And we had dances in that hall,” she continued.
“We used to dance all night.
“We’d ride side-saddle off to the dance and come back at dawn, get into a pair of old pants and go over into the old cowyard for the milking.
“We’d never have any sleep,” she said.
“Bill Archer used to play at the dance.
“He’d play the concertina, there were no pianos around then.
“He used to dance while he was playing and had some fancy ways of playing it too. He would be dancing with his partner and still be playing the concertina behind his back.
Mrs. Marskell’s parents had a dairy farm at Wilpinjong and the milk would be made into butter or brought into Mudgee for the Dairy factory.
She went to the Wilpinjong school where she was taught by Miss Crimond and Mr. Hanaphee.
The school at Wilpinjong had about 40 pupils.
There were schools like this every seven or eight miles.
They were part time schools though.
The teacher taught at one place for three days a week and then another for two days.
“That’s how we got our education,” she said.
“I was only a young girl of about 15, when Bill my husband and I met.
“Dad told me about it, he said he had a look at me in the buggy. I was with my mother, I don’t remember this.
“He died about 18 years ago.
Bill Marskell was a well known horse trainer in the district.
There was a race track on Keylah, Mrs. Marskell said.
Talking about how Mrs. Marskell managed without the modern day amenities, her daughter, Muriel, said she would still back her mother to make the best date pudding in the state.
Mrs. Daniel said her mother was renowned for her date puddings and was a very good cook.
“We used to take the pots and pans down to the water hole and clean them after a big dinner,” she said.
Mrs. Marskell said. “You see there were no water taps in the house when we first went there.
“We did everything ourselves, cured our bacon, baked bread and grew all our food and vegetables.
“There used to be a big number of blacks at Wollar but then the Government shifted them all to Walgett when Jimmy and Joe Governor were on their ran tan, Mrs. Marskell said.
“We know them.
“They were all right.
“We used to meet them, they travelled back and forwards to Gulgong.
Jimmy was a tracker for the police.
“Then he married a white woman.
“People gave her a bad time.
“I think that’s what started them.
“There were some who were very afraid at that time but he never worried our people.
“We used to come to Mudgee about once a year.
“We used to come in a horse and sulky and we’d have to leave before it was light.
“My aunt Annie used to drive herself in a horse and dray.
“There used to be koalas and mobs of emus in the Munghorn.
“The Munghorn was steep, it went straight up, instead of the road winding around as it does now.
Asked where the koalas had gone, Mrs. Marskell said there were stories about how they cried when people shot them for their skins, but she said she really thought the foxes got them.
Mrs. Marskell said she felt the younger generation were missing out on something, if they did not care about God.
“Our families were very religious. I remember as children how we had to be up early for Mass on the frosty mornings.
By the time we got to the church, we didn’t know whether we had toes or fingers, we were so cold. We’d pop into Granny Fields next door to the church and pop our hands in hot water before going to Mass.
Fr. Flanagan used to go through Wollar to Merriwa.
The Church of England minister and he were good friends and they used to race to see which was the best horse.
“Lent was a very hard time.
“You would only have black tea and a bit of toast in those days.
“Even for the children it was pretty hard, but it didn’t do us any harm and I think it did a lot of good.”
“We came to appreciate all the things of life” she said.
Of all the priests, Mrs. Marskell remembers two who will stay in her prayers.
“Dear old Father Crowe you would hear him all over the place.
“He used to come from Gulgong,” she said.
“When we met him first, my husband said, “Crowe, well that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a crow with a white ring around his neck.”
“Well, he laughed, you could hear him everywhere!
Then there is Father Horgan, ”I’ll miss Fr. Horgan, now he’s gone to Coonabarabran.
He used to come and see me every few days. He was wonderful to me.
“These are the sorts of priests we should have more of,” she confided in me.
“But today there is so much money around, the young people think of nothing else.
“You know I don’t mind the beards, but I don’t like the long hair on the boys.”
Mrs. Marskell said she watched television and was worried about all the wars.
“Wars should never happen, but it seems people are thinking nothing else,” she said.
We asked Mrs. Marskell, did she want to live to be 100, but she said she didn’t want to. “That’s too old”, she said thoughtfully3 .


1 Simpson, Phillip. Historical Guide to New South Wales. North Melbourne, Vic: Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty Ltd, 2020, p. 798.
2 A CROSS COUNTRY TRIP (1922, August 31). Wellington Times (NSW : 1899 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved April 15, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137405276
3 Mudgee Guardian, Friday 10 March 1972, p. 3.

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