In 1952 I arrived in Australia, a young twenty four year old bride, who with her husband looked forward to work and family life in this country. We found our happiness and security here till I lost my husband in 2008. What was I going to do with my time? I went to Wingham Museum and learned all about the town’s beginnings and following history. I felt close to these beginnings and wrote weekly local historical stories in the Wingham Chronicle.
It was a big loss when Wingham Hotel burnt down. Many locals tried to save the lonely coach house on that empty block, but Taree City Council did not respond to the people’s voice. The coach house is gone!
In my mind I saw that house as a beacon on the hill, renovated with photos and information of past and present. Similarly I saw the opposite corner with a combined bookshop and coffee house there is one run successfully in Bowral) where the open area, once showing new cars from the car dealer, now displayed a few big old time agricultural implements from Wingham Museum, while it seats the visitor on this tree-shaded terrace.
My further thoughts saw Isabella Street with angle parking along the kerbs only while the centre of the road, planted with shade giving trees, would seat and serve the visitors with their morning coffee and food. Every shop would proudly display a good sized photo with description of the early days.
The round about at the end of Isabella Street should have a sculpted scene of a mob of kangeroos lying at rest. Restaurants should revamp some of the food that was eaten in early days, on the menu as ‘the day’s special’. We could even have a horse driven coach with paid for rides through town and movies of the early days in the Town Hall on Sunday afternoons.
That is how my mind sees Wingham as a Heritage Town.
Is it possible? I think it is if people with similar ideas are willing to take it up. Plan, decide, and apply for grants. Visions could become reality and Coles can forget about its petrol outlet at the entrance of our town.
Mieke van Werdt,