Elms and bridge on Gostwyck Station near Uralla New South Wales. Gostwyck established 1832. Octagonal shearing shed built 1851.
Image by denisbin
Gostwyck Station is so much more than just a beautiful Anglican Chapel covered in red-leafed Virginian Creeper surrounded by majestic English Elm trees. It is the story of one of the earliest and wealthiest pastoral properties of New England. In 1832 Edward Gostwyck Cory squatted on land near Uralla to where Armidale now stands. Just two year later he sold the station which he had named after his grandfather to William Dangar and his brother from the Hunter Valley. The station was one of the largest in NSW. Dangar built himself a large octagonal woolshed in 1851 which he had designed himself. It is now part of Deargee station (sometimes spelt Deeargee.)
In the 1850s the Dangar brothers got 14 year leases to their run which pastured over 20,000 sheep. Gradually a grand homestead was built by adding to the original 1840 residence in 1859 and again in 1871. By 1862 Gostwyck employed 23 full time shepherds plus another 14 full time staff. When shearing began 32 shearers descended on the property with 22 assistants. In 1862, for example Gostwyck employed 120 full time and casual employees. It was big business. But just a few years later everything changed. By 1869 Gostwyck covered a huge area including 30,000 acres of freehold land, hence the grander homestead. This was the period when land was being offered to selectors, small farmers, but the Dangars managed to buy up much of the land offered on their run. But the big change in 1869 was that all the paddocks were fenced by then with barbed wire. A mere 7 boundary riders had replaced the 23 shepherds. Above is Deargee Octagonal Woolshed.
Gostwyck remained in the hands of the Dangars the great pioneering family of the 1830s for many decades to come. Henry had come to NSW in 1821 as a surveyor. He was the man who surveyed the Hunter River Valley for the government as it prepared the valley for free settlers. Henry also designed the layout of the city of Newcastle. For his government service he was given a large land grant in the centre of Newcastle and on this land Henry Dangar trialled a meat cannery works at one stage. He also acted as surveyor for the Australian Agricultural Company ( AAC) at Port Stephens. He surveyed 600,000 acres for them. He also took out his own leasehold land and so by 1850 the Dangar brothers at Gostwyck had more than 300,000 acres of leasehold. Henry Dangar eventually became a member of the Legislative Council of NSW from 1845 and he died in Sydney in 1861 with an estate valued at the huge sum of £280,000. Despite this social and political prominence a group of his assigned convicts on one his of his New England runs massacred a large group of Aboriginal people in 1838. The convicts were responsible for killing 28 women and children at Myall creek towards Inverell. Seven of the convicts were hung for murder but Henry Dangar clearly wanted the massacre to be forgotten. After the public investigation of this massacre and trial, future reprisals against Aboriginal people in New England were not reported to authorities. Some say Dangar sacked the shepherd who reported the Myall Creek Massacre to police.
When one of the later generations to Henry Dangar was killed during World War One in France, Clive Dangar, his widow had the pretty little Anglican Church erected on Gostwyck as a memorial to her late husband. The English Elms along the driveway had been planted several decades earlier. The Dangars maintained ownership of Gostwyck until 1936. It was a 30,000 acre freehold estate still at that stage. Today it has been broken up into smaller properties hence the old shearing shed is on Deargee Station now. It is one of the largest and oldest woolsheds in New England with a diameter of 15 m. It was used by 24 blade shearers working in a circle. It also became one of the first sheds to use a Wolseley shearing machine in 1890. The three-tier roof designed by Henry Dangar possessed a clerestory of glass ventilators which allowed shearers to work in a well-lit and ventilated shearing shed.