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  • Writer's pictureMillpost Merino

Millpost: back through time

Some of you may have read Millpost: a broadacre permaculture farm since 1979 , the story of our time at Millpost. This month marks 100 years since my grandfather Frank Hyles purchased Millpost. To mark the centenary I have written a companion book, Millpost: back through time, which traces the Millpost history before my time here. Once again Fiona Edge has done a magnificent job putting it all together and Murray worked hard compiling and editing the photos including many we had never seen before, courtesy of Hatch descendant Glenda Bowerman who we are very grateful to for her contributions. The book opens with a chapter on Aboriginal history. It describes the refinding of the Axe Quarry and its gazettal as an Aboriginal Place. Ngambri elder Aunty Matilda House - Williams, Ngunnawal Elder Uncle Wally Bell and Aboriginal archaeologist Dave Johnston were interviewed for this chapter. The story of white settlement follows. Our back paddock McKays was advertised for sale in 1836. In 1842 it was purchased by the son of a French nobleman who had fled Paris at the time of the revolution. The serious settlement began in the 1860s after the Closer Settlement legislation passed in NSW. A succession of battlers tried to eke out a living here until the turn of the century. None of them succeeded. About 35 small blocks were eventually consolidated into the property Millpost. The Hatch family struggled for 20 odd years until my grandfather purchased it as an outstation to his ACT base, Murryong. On Sunday we had a party to celebrate the centenary. Hyles family elder Peter Hyles planted a Ginkgo tree to mark the occasion. I am hoping there will be a much bigger event next autumn as part of the Heritage Festival for an official book launch. We will have a tour of the Axe Quarry, the historic limekiln and a morning or afternoon tea at the homestead. Local historian David McDonald has written some generous and thoughtful words about the book:

"Millpost: back in time is a delightful, authoritative, and important book. It realises the aphorism, attributed to American historian Thomas J Noel, that 'History is not something that happened long ago and far away. History happens to all of us all the time. Local history brings history home...'. Millpost is about family, community and place. It engages with both the European heritage of our area, and with deep time. And it demonstrates how one family of our era has skilfully blended caring for country and conducting a successful family farming business. Highly recommended."

You can purchase the book, as well as my previous book, from our website. David Watson - 31/10/23


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