Friday, July 17, 2015

Another mystery solved


A lonely workers memorial hidden behind the water tank on Blackwall Mountain , the scene of a tragic workplace accident that killed 2 local men ?
For years I have wondered about this , looked in Trove for newspaper articles , trawled through Birth Deaths an Marriages archives looking for the names of the deceased and asked many old time locals to avail 
With the help of the Facebook group Good Old Woy Woy the mystery has finally been solved  ....
The story goes that a crew of council workers excavating the rock with jackhammers for the new water tank created the memorial as a bit of a joke !
No those men are not dead but very much alive , another trick was to wire the jackhammer handle on and leave it running in a hole in the rock , then piss off to the pub while the sound of the jackhammer going would keep the bosses happy down at the council depot in Gallipoli Avenue

Good Old Woy Woy !

Article by Steve Spillard COPYRIGHT 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bulls Hill and Woy Woy Road

Woy Woy road under construction
The original first road into Woy Woy, connecting the town to Gosford and the mountain areas.
It was built in 1930, but before that it was a roughly made "goat track" that followed the course of the original trailblazers.
On the morning of March 10, 1923, car owner VJ McKenzie, Erina Shire President CJ Staples and Shire Engineer CJ Fenton the set out from Kariong into the bush.
There was no track and they cleared the way as they went, cutting down trees and using them to cross small creeks when needed.
Within three hours they had made it to the top of Woy Woy tunnel.
Another two hours were then spent searching for a suitable way down and before long they were driving along the main street of Woy Woy.
The occupants sounded the hooter on the old Buick as they arrived in celebration of opening the Mountain Rd.
Within months funding had been approved and a rough track was constructed.
Most of the townsfolk were happy as this opened the town up to more tourists and land buyers.
Most of them were happy, but not one man: John Bull.
John Bull arrived in Woy Woy in 1919 and purchased 30 acres at the head of Woy Woy creek, here he set up a dairy farm and a sign on his fence proudly declared "Bull's milk is best!"
He also fenced off the part of Woy Woy creek that crossed his boundary, a local boat owner cut through the wire as he rowed up the creek.
Bull threatened to impound the boat as it was trespassing.
"The local asked him where he got the rights to buy a waterway and left, only to come back and cut the fence again sometime later.
Bulls Farm
The new road into Woy Woy also crossed part of Bull's property and he resisted the plans.
Bull would argue to the local council engineer that they had no rights and would often rattle off many unheard of, and often made up, laws to support his case.
When this failed he set out with more direct means.
He simply let his prize male bull "Romeo" act as sentry at the entrance to his property.
The engineer Mr Webber could do little but wave his written "power of entry" letter as the large male bull charged the survey party sending them up the nearest trees.
The engineers soon learned to post a "lookout" while doing further work in Bull's paddocks.
Bull had told Webber that he would forcibly stop any vehicle crossing his property.
Webber did not take his threat seriously until the road was opened.
One day a man walked into Woy Woy and told Mr Webber that he had been stopped in his car by an armed man and forced to walk into town.
Mr Webber took the local police sergeant with him and went to Bull's property to find a barricade across the road.
And there was John Bull, standing guard with his Boer War rifle, medals and bandolier.
Bull berated the pair and declared his rights before suddenly surrendering his rifle (which was not loaded) and declaring that he had served his purpose and his resistance was recorded by law which would aid him in further appeals.
Mr Webber then removed the barricade.
Romeo later claimed more victims taking shortcuts across the paddocks.
Years later Bull ran for local council and paired up with another local named Vlies.
The locals quickly named them "Bull and Fleas", Bull was a large wiry man and Vlies was much shorter.
They held their first meeting in the Masonic Hall and a large crowd turned up for the occasion, most of them had come just for fun.
The chairman was a local by the name of Jerry Mahony.
Bull began his speech and frequently took swigs from a large jug of water, ignoring the provided glasses.
With each swig the crowd cheered and Fleas would raise his beer mug grinning.
This caused the locals to yell: "Give Jerry a drink! Give Jerry a drink!"
Bull held the floor for three hours until the crowd called out: "We've had enough. Give Fleas a chance."
Fleas' speech went for less than a minute.
"I don't know anything about council," he said.
"But you can call me ferret because if I get in I will ferret things out there."
Bull and Fleas were not elected and did not run for council again.
Bulls' farm was later the site of the FC Nicholls abattoir, which provided local employment for many until it closed in 2003.

Article by Steve Spillard COPYRIGHT 2015