This is a journey from Coopernook up to Wauchope, out to Port Macquarie and then following the coast down to Laurieton.
Days of travel
Coopernook to Wauchope
Coopernook means The Elbow in the local Biripi language which refers to the bend in the Lansdowne River.
The town was established around 1875 and the school and Post Office date back to that period. The town straddled the Pacific Highway, a major transport corridor on the East Coast of Australia. It has seen many changes in its history, none more so than (March 22nd 2006) when the Pacific Highway bypass was opened.
The three brothers were named by James Cook on May 12th 1770 during his exploratory voyage of Australia. They were so named for their resemblance to his Yorkshire dales back in England. But when he named them like that he was unwittingly paralleling the Biripi language names of Dooragan in the North, Mooragan in the middle and Booragan in the south.
Used to provide timber to the growing colony in Australia. Today, about half of Middle Brother is a National Park (1830 hectares to be exact) preserving some of the largest remnant trees, with the other half remaining as a working State Forest.
Bird Tree picnic area (Middle Brother NP)
Two of the largest remaining Blackbutt Trees Bird Tree and Benaroon. Bird Tree is thought to be about 300 years old. Bird Tree picnic area. (Preservation, prevent negative change)
Originally named Camden Heads, it was renamed Kendall in 1891 after the poet Henry Kendall who lived and worked in the area as NSW’s first forest inspector. Among other things, Henry Kendall was a bush poet;
There was a rock-pool in a glen Beyond Narrara’s sands; The mountains shut it in from men In flowerful fairy lands. But once we found its dwelling place— The lovely and the lone— And, in a dream, I stopped to trace Our names upon a stone.
By channels of coolness the echoes are calling, And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling: It lives in the mountain where moss and the sedges Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges. Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore bowers Struggles the light that is love to the flowers; And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing, The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.
More recently, Kendall gained some infamy through the disappearance of the three year William Tyrell on Sept 12th 2014 from his foster mother’s house in Kendall.
Port Macquarie was known to the Biripi people as Guruk.
Port Macquarie – First sighted by John Oxley in 1818.
Due to its isolation from the rest of the colony and impenetrable surrounding bushland, a penal colony was established in 1821 replacing Newcastle as the place of banishment for irredeemable convicts who had committed secondary crimes while in Australia.
The first sixty men to be sent here, came with 38 soldiers and civilian officials. They also had six months of supplies and were carefully selected to have the necessary skills to establish a self-sufficient settlement.
The first camp commandant, Francis Allman was fond of flogging the inmates and the place was known as a living hell.
Port Macquarie’s penal settlement lasted ten years until 1830 and had 1500 convicts at its peak in 1825, but once the area opened up to free settlers, the brutish penal colony was closed in favour of Moreton Bay.
The closure of the penal colony had a secondary effect of depriving people like Clunes Innes of free convict labour which in turn created a short economic depression in 1840 and brought financial ruin to Clunes Innes.
Laurieton was known as Peach Orchard until the 1870’s when Joseph Laurie moved here with his brothers; Andrew and Alexander. The Laurie brothers had timber interests in the area and started the first mill on January 12th 1876.
A Catalina seaplane carrying entertainer Bob Hope was forced to make an emergency landing on Camden Haven adjacent to Laurieton on 14 August 1944. Bob was returning to Sydney after entertaining troops in Guam.
The local postmaster lent Bob money for his hotel bills after the luggage was jettisoned. An impromptu party was held, and the next day Hope and his entourage travelled by road to Newcastle and flew from there to Sydney. Hope maintained contact with the residents of Laurieton for decades afterwards.