Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The History of Runnymede

The Property Runnymede, west of the highway near Batemans Bay, was established on June 8, 1828.

Henry Burnell was given a grant of 1,928 acres by the Governor of New South Wales in 1837. He was from England and named it Runnymede after the spot on the Thames where he went to school.

He employed servants he had brought from England with him. He also had convict labour to help clear and work the ground.

They bricked in a natural spring. They made the bricks out of the red clay they dug out of the side of the hill near the spring in 1837 and this well has never known to be dry in the worst of droughts.

The homestead was built by convicts out of the same bricks. The walls of the house are 18" thick. There is also a large cellar underneath the house with a double fireplace.

The homestead was completed in 1838. Henry Burnell never married. Two of his servants, Cathrine Condon and William Austin, married in 1841. They leased the property from Burnell who returned to England. They had nine children.

Their third daughter, Laura, was born in 1856. In 1883, she married Michael Ryan, who lived further up the Buckenboura Creek, after her father died. Laura and Michael Ryan bought Runnymede.

They had five sons and five daughters. A son, James, married Honorah Corrigan and went to live at Mosquito Creek. They had ten children, three boys and seven girls.

Another son, Herbert Austin, married Rachel Jonas. They lived at the place called Austin's Crossing. They also had ten children, four boys and six girls.

The rest of Cathrine and William Austin's children went to Brooman, Milton, Braidwood and Sydney to live.

When William died, Cathrine married Joseph Bland. They had a son Joseph and a daughter Grace.

Joseph died aged 28 years. Grace married a policeman named Tim Ryan, brother of Michael.

They lived for two years after they married on a farm known as Egans. They got burnt out and shifted to Batemans Bay to live. In 1906 they started a boarding house, known as Blandford House.

Runnymede was known for its cheese which was first made there in 1847 by an English convict and then, as the years went by, it was made by Timmy Ryan for over forty years and then by Pat Ryan until the factory closed down. The present factory that's on the property was built in 1887.

When the cheese was made before the factory was built, it was put down the cellar to mature. In those days they got 2-1/2 pence for a pound of cheese which went per steamer to Sydney for sale.

Runnymede also had a Post Office and telephone exhange. That's when the name was changed to Runnyford about 1909 as there was already a post office in Tasmania named Runnymede. It was closed as an exchange in 1972.