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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ponies at Bull's Camp

Cave at Bull's Camp
(originally thought to house convicts overnight
but now considered to have been a store for food)
An article in the Nepean Times dated 8.2.1940 stated that permission had been given by the Blue Mountains Council (temporarily) for the establishment of ponies for hire at Bull's Camp reserve Woodford.  It would seem that the recreation was recommended as a good way to popularise the reserve.  The article went on to state that the reserve was of historic importance being the site of a military camp under the supervision of Captain Bull.  The camp was established for the convict road gangs that were employed in road building along the Western Road.  Woodford House was built later to accomodate the officers in charge of the road works in the mid twenties.

The reserve has subsequently been encroached on by contemporary road works and unfortunatelty, today, is in a sad state.  

Dam wall constructed by convicts

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Early Residents - Ralph & Ida Abercromby

The Sydney Morning Herald dated 26.4.1926 carried the obituary of Ralph Scott Abercromby 'Vineta' Springwood.  He was aged 69 and his funeral was a private affair with a request that no flowers be sent. Ralph, who was born in Lanark Scotland, lived in Essendon Victoria during the 1890s.  Newspaper accounts from that time show that he may have been a victim of the economic downturn which hit Australia in the 1890s because  he was declared insolvent in 1896.   He was a commercial traveller, and the Warrigal Guardian dated 12.6.1896 related that his wife, Ida Laura, was the breeder of St Bernard dogs.  

At some point in time Ralph and Ida moved to New South Wales because in the 1920s they lived in the cottage 'Vineta' in Railway Avenue Springwood.  The property had some 15 acres attached plus a motor garage, coach house and stables.

Local ancedotal history suggests that he was a train commuter and - according to cemetery transcripts - fellow commuters were accustomed to the sight of Ralph striding ahead to catch the train followed by a coloured man carrying his bag and umbrella. 

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald dated 18.7.1936 confirmed that Ida lived  in Strathfield and resided there for about ten years.  She died in 1950.