Paterson Historical Society to launch new book: Vacy to Gresford – People and Places

The cover of 'Vacy to Gresford' by the Paterson Historical Society features a picture of a valley and portraits of a man and woman.

The Paterson Historical Society’s new book, Vacy to Gresford – People and Places, will be launched on Sunday, 17 March 2024, by Mr Dave Layzell MP, Member for Upper Hunter.

The book was written by Society member and long-time historian Dr Brian Walsh. It covers the people and places along the Paterson and Allyn Rivers between Vacy and Gresford. The book reveals how a whole new European society emerged along the two rivers from the 1820s, albeit at the expense of the dispossession of Aboriginal people.

The immigrants lured by grants of riverside land were remarkably diverse in age, wealth, nationality and life experience. Welshman Charles Boydell was only 18 years old when he was granted ‘Camyr Allyn’. In contrast, Jamaican plantation owner and slave master Francis Blower Gibbes had fought in the Battle of Trafalgar two decades before he was granted ‘Norwood’. Constantine Crichton, who purchased ‘Wallah’ near Gresford, was born in St Petersburg, Russia, where his father was personal physician to the Tsar. Irish shepherd boy Edward Kealy was granted a mere 200 acres that he named ‘Summer Hill’.

The book also provides information on the convicts, emancipists, free immigrants and colonial-born who worked on the estates or leased parts of them as tenant farmers. This includes the wave of German immigrants in the 1840s and 1850s.

Vacy to Gresford shows how the subdivision of many of the large estates from the late 1800s replaced a mosaic of tenanted farms with a patchwork of small, privately owned farms, many of which became dairy farms. The book also explains the formation of the villages of Vacy, Gresford and East Gresford.

The book’s publication was supported by Create NSW’s Cultural Grants Program, a devolved funding program administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society on behalf of the NSW Government.

When: Sunday, 17 March 2024 at 2 pm.
Where: School of Arts Hall at Vacy NSW 2421.


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