Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Tumbulgum Ferry Had Proud History; Tweed Historian Di Millar Reflects on a Time When Tumbulgum Had River Transport

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Tumbulgum Ferry Had Proud History; Tweed Historian Di Millar Reflects on a Time When Tumbulgum Had River Transport

Article excerpt

GETTING about the Tweed in the early days of settlement could be quite a challenge because of the number of waterways to be crossed. People wanting to travel north or south of the Tweed River were conveyed across by ferrymen at designated locations, and from there the travellers journeyed on to their intended destination.

Ferry services continued to operate across the Tweed River until a bridge was built to replace them, however, it doesn't seem so long ago that motorists were catching the ferry across the Tweed River at Tumbulgum instead of driving across a concrete and steel bridge.

Tumbulgum's motorised ferry service was a slow way to cross the river, but it was not as slow as the old ferry punt that it replaced in 1914. At the time the punt was replaced, claims were made that it "had taxed the patience of the travellers, and had been accompanied by forcible and expressive language on many occasions".

Tumbulgum is the oldest settlement on the Tweed, and at one time it was also the Tweed's commercial centre, with the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney opening a branch there.

The first school on the Tweed opened at Tumbulgum and, in its heyday, Tumbulgum boasted three hotels, two on the south side of the Tweed River and one on the north side, a couple of churches and residences belonging to some of the Tweed's most prominent pioneering families.

Tumbulgum's fortunes fluctuated and by the late 1920s only the Metropolitan Hotel remained open to serve the needs of the locals and thirsty travellers who dropped by.

In the 1930s, Tumbulgum underwent a building boom, with garage and a plumbing shop opening for business. A new police complex comprising a police station, police residence and lock-up was built and a large number of private dwellings were constructed as well. An up-to-date dance floor was installed in the Literary Institute Hall, a new Roman Catholic Church was in the planning stages and even the ferryman was not forgotten, with renovations being made to his modest cottage. …

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