Family history is part of our community history, and as a sixth-generation local, I was pleased to attend the 35th birthday of Wyong Family History Group on Sunday at Wyong Golf Club and congratulate them on a long and proud history.
As well as researching their own family history, group members are helping others do the same, and their work is really beneficial to our community as a whole.
My own family has a long and proud history in Wyong, beginning with pioneer Joseph Beaven, who features in the well-known Edward Stinson pictorial histories of Wyong.
Joseph Beaven came to the Yarramalong Valley in 1858 with his father William, and became a timber trader, farmer and grazier. For a time he also ran the mail service and the coach service.
Joseph Beaven’s daughter Dinah married Edward Gleeson; their daughter Mollie Day is my grandmother and her daughter, Barbara McBride, is my mother.
I am proud to be a sixth-generation local, and am so grateful for the role that dedicated members of Wyong Family History Group play in bringing to light our local history.
On Sunday, I presented awards in recognition of their long service to founding members Lynda Smith and Eileen Wheway.
Lynda Smith is Member Number 2, and joined the Wyong Family History Group on August 5, 1983, just two months after the inaugural meeting. Lynda has held the roles of president, vice-president, treasurer and assistant treasurer, and was awarded Life Membership in December 1985. She was the inaugural editor of the newsletter “Tree of Life”, has published transcriptions of Wyong Shire cemeteries, collated information for the Pre-1910 Pioneer Register, and taught classes on family history at WEA.
Eileen Wheway is Member Number 6, and is known as the lady who sells raffle tickets at events and meetings and helps prepare the Christmas basket raffles. She has been vice president and a committee member, has been a frequent friendly face at the Wyong Family History Group Cottage, and has helped on the Palmdale Project.
My colleague David Harris, State Member for Wyong, presented Life Membership awards to John Selwood, Member Number 79, and Michelle Gane, Member Number 174, who I also congratulate on their long membership to the group.
John Selwood has been a member for 15 years, and has worked on a number of publications including the Cemetery Books, Simplicity Record Books, Advocate Books, Central Coast Honour Roll, the updated Pioneer Register, and the soon-to-released People of Wyong. He has been the driving force behind the Anzac banners and instigated the Jilliby Walk.
Michelle Gane has been a member for 14 years and treasurer for the past eight years. She was instrumental in setting up electronic banking and professional book-keeping, and has helped with fundraising events and seminars.
I thank the Wyong Family History Group for its 35 years of service to our community and look forward to their future publications.