Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Baddeleys - Aiding District Development


The property now referred to as Baddeley’s holds an important place in the history of Pambula, and of the many families that settled in the district in its early days, there would not be another that could claim to have had the impact that members had.

The family first arrived in Pambula in 1866, after Charles Henry purchased the Post Office Stores late the year before. It was his intention to move to the area and commence “…an extensive tannery.” A local newspaper reported “…Mr. Baddeley is a gentleman well known on Monaro as an enterprising and energetic business man and will prove a beneficial acquisition to Panbula, which only wants a few more men of his stamp to revive its drooping prosperity.” The Bega Gazette reported on their impending arrival in March 1866 to reopen the general store and “…carry on an extensive leather manufactory.”

Baddeley’s Tannery was to become one of the town’s earliest enterprises and with the business continuing to operate until about 1926, it was also one of the longest continually run local ventures. In 1871 a local correspondent reported on the enterprise, stating “… Below the court-house there is a tannery doing an extensive trade, and manufacturing harness and sole leather chiefly for the English market. The tannery is the property of C. H. Baddeley Esq. JP, and is 124 feet long and 24 feet wide. The water supply is obtained from a reservoir to the tannery…” In 1873, Charles Henry Baddeley advertised that he would purchase wattle bark in any quantity, delivered at the Pambula tannery, for 45s for stick or 50s for chopped per ton.

Receipt for C. H. Baddeley and Co, tanners and curriers, from the 1870s.

Hides were purchased from as far away as Bombala, Delegate, Bibbenluke and other districts on the Monaro as well as locally. Wattle bark strippers were able to sell their produce to the tannery for the leather manufactory process and in one year, the amount spent on such purchases amounted to ₤15,000, a huge sum in that era.

It is apparent that Charles Henry was also involved in farming pursuits and in an 1867 deposition to the Pambula Court he said “…I am a farmer and reside at Panbula.” By that time, his son Charles Arthur was managing the tannery.

Public notice announcing the dissolution of partnership between Charles Henry and William Baddeley.

Originally operated in partnership with his cousin William, the pair dissolved their business relationship in April 1875, with Charles Henry carrying on as the sole proprietor.

1875 agreement dissolving the partnership between Charles Henry and William Baddeley in the Pambula tannery business.
Apart from concern with their family business, the Baddeley’s were also deeply involved in all manner of local organizations, contributing in many and varied ways to the growth and development of the town’s community and cultural life.

Having previously served on the Bench of Magistrates on the Monaro, Charles Henry was quickly appointed to a similar position on the Pambula Bench. It is recorded in local Bench Books that he was serving in this position by April 1866 and in January 1868, he was appointed District Coroner, with a local newspaper reporting “We have great pleasure in being able to state that the appointment of a Coroner for this rapidly increasing but long neglected district is at length in a fair way being realized and that Mr. C. H. Baddeley will be entrusted with the important duties devolving thereupon.” 

1858 letter advising Charles Henry Baddeley of his appointment as a Magistrate.

His son Charles Arthur followed in his footsteps when he was appointed to the local bench in October 1882. In October 1890 he was also appointed to the licensing bench, and in 1898 became deputy licensing magistrate for the Licensing Court in the district of Eden, remaining in the position until his resignation in 1902.

1882 Government Gazette announcing Charles Arthur Baddeley's appointment as a Magistrate.
By 1895, like his father before him, Charles Arthur was gazetted as coroner of the Eden Police District, and continued to occupy the position until March 1900. The same year he took up a position on the local Land Board for the Eden District, and two years later was a appointed a receiver for pestilent animal scalps by the Pastures and Stock Protection Board at Bega.

Charles Arthur Baddeley.

Having acted as Postmaster on the Monaro prior to his move to Pambula, Charles Henry Baddeley’s name had been put forth as a potential candidate to occupy the local position by 1871. By that time, the then postmaster, Mr. J. H. Bennett, had become increasingly unpopular with certain aspects of the local community and the same year, Charles Henry wrote to the Postmaster General’s Department, applying for the Postmaster’s position “…having heard that Mr. J. H. Bennett, the present Post Master at Panbula, is about to resign his office…” In actual fact, Mr. Bennett would not willingly relinquish the position, but as a bankrupt individual, was not considered a fit person to hold the office. A notation was made on correspondence that Charles Henry was being recommended for the position and after much correspondence over the matter, the Postmaster General’s Department had decided by November 1872 to remove Bennett. Charles Henry Baddeley was appointed on January 1 1873. By 1881, however, pressure was being exerted to amalgamate the local post and telegraph offices, Postal Inspector Moyse recommending that the Post Office be moved to the telegraphic headquarters, with telegraph master, Mr. E. J. Cornell, being appointed to both positions. In May that year, Cornell was appointed, but after intervention by Mr. Henry Clarke MP on behalf of Charles Henry, the decision was reversed. According to a report on the matter “Mr Clarke states that the present Postmaster, Mr Baddeley, has held the office for a long period; that it is centrally situated and that he is about erecting a new building…the telegraph premises are of an inferior class and very close to a Public House…” This was followed in September 1881 by a memorial from a section of the local community requesting that the amalgamation go ahead as planned, commenting “The premises in which the Telegraphic business is conducted is a detached building centrally situated and in every way suitable for the requirements of the Post Office.” Although Charles Henry corresponded with the Postmaster General’s Department in November to inform them that he had erected a new building “…specially intended for a Post Office and fitted up with every convenience for carrying on the duties of the office…”, the amalgamation went ahead on January 1, 1882, with Mr Cornell again appointed to both positions. Charles Henry, realising that his efforts to retain the office were futile, sent in his resignation as Postmaster on November 25, 1881, to take effect on 31st December the same year. He reported on December 31st that he had transferred “…all property in my possession in connection with the Panbula Post Office…” to Mr. Cornell.

From the time the family arrived in the district, they were stalwart parishioners of the local Anglican Church. Members served on various committees over the years and when the Church of England Horticultural and Pomological Society was formed in 1895, a Miss Baddeley was among those present. In 1917, Charles Arthur purchased a block of land adjoining the Church of England presbytery in Pambula and donated it to the Church of England body.

Almost as soon as he arrived in the district, Charles Henry became involved with local education. He was a member of the Pambula School Board by the 1860s and was to maintain that involvement for many years. In May 1880, he stated in a letter to the Department of Public Instruction that he had had “…upwards of 20 years connection with the public school board…” in Pambula and Bombala. By the 1870s, he was serving as the board’s honorary secretary and undertook many duties as part of this role. When the original school building on the flat was damaged by persistent flooding, Mr Baddeley made a room available in his tannery in which classes could be held. When further flooding in May 1870 rendered the original school totally unsafe, Charles Henry again provided temporary classroom accommodation at his tannery complex. A newspaper report in 1871 commented “…The Public School building was recently washed away, and the school is at present held in a small wooden building, the property of C. H. Baddeley, Esq., JP. … The members of the local board are Messrs C. H. Baddeley J.P…”

Charles Henry was instrumental in having the school moved from its original position on the flood prone flats to the higher ground opposite the court house and police station. As honorary secretary of the local school board, it was also Charles Henry who was charged with the responsibility of undertaking the purchase of land for the erection of a teacher’s residence. When the only other person in the area capable of drawing up the necessary plans declined  to do so at the given price, Charles Henry reported to the Department of Public Instruction that he had prepared them himself. After these were approved, Charles Henry informed the Department that he had advertised tenders in both the local newspapers. The nearby Lochiel School also benefited from Charles Henry’s interest in education, he providing a building for classroom accommodation between March 1884 and May 1887.

Charles Arthur continued his father’s involvement with the local school board, and in 1878, was responsible, together with John Martin and teacher J. H. Wellings for undertaking an inventory of the school’s contents. By 1907, he was President of the local school board and like his father before him, was instrumental in lobbying to have the school moved again when the continually increasing student population outgrew the 1870s site.

Sporting and recreational facilities also attracted the support of the Baddeley family, and in 1893, Charles Arthur was appointed a trustee of resumed land added to the Pambula Recreation Ground. A keen cricketer, he was a member of the district team that played the English eleven at Kameruka in 1886, and for 60 years reputedly never missed either a local match or a test in Sydney. For many years he served on the committee of the Pambula Cricket Club, was appointed a selector in 1896 and from 1925, also held the position of club patron. So renowned was Charles Arthur for his support of local sport that when the Pambula Football Club was formed in 1896, the meeting resolved to ask him to become inaugural President of the body, after which he also occupied the position of Vice President of the club. Charles Arthur was also a foundation member of the Pambula River Aquatic Club and occupied various positions including auditor and vice president. He remained active in the club until it was wound up in 1914.

Local cemetery matters attracted the interest and support of members of the Baddeley family. In 1882, Charles Arthur was acting in the role of Honorary Secretary and Treasurer to the Trustees of the Pambula General Cemetery and by 1887 was Chairman of the Trustees of the Church of England portion of the ground.

Politics was another area where the family made valuable contributions.  When local government was introduced in 1906, Charles Arthur stood for election for B Riding, and the following year became the first President of the Imlay Shire Council, going on to serve several terms as a local councillor.

Charles Arthur Baddeley's first wife Mary (nee Graham).

As the main lobby group in the township, the Pambula Progress Association was yet another area where family members remained active. By 1893, Charles Arthur was the organisation’s chairman and became involved in pushing for a huge range of facilities, including improvements to the local cemetery, the town common, bridge facilities on Pambula flat and across Merimbula Lake, gold mining, town reserves, roads maintenance and upgrades, wharfage facilities at both Eden and Merimbula, schooling and education, pastures & stock protection and a town well. He remained involved with the committee up until his death in 1929.

The Baddeley family’s integral involvement with the local chapter of the Masonic Lodge is evident in the fact that it was named after Charles Henry, who is recognised as the founding father of the organisation. Whilst in Bombala, Charles had been instrumental in establishing the Mountain Lodge in 1861, and was designated their first Worshipful Master. It was the Mountain Lodge who, in turn, sponsored the application for the establishment of Lodge Baddeley. The Baddeley family were to remain active members of the local Masonic Lodge over three generations, including Charles Henry's son Charles Arthur, who twice served  as Worshipful Master, and his grand son Ben.

From 1898, when Pambula’s first public hospital opened, Baddeley family members played a significant role. Charles Arthur was present at the first public meeting held to found the institution and was elected to the provisional committee. He was subsequently elected to the executive and became the institution’s first Chairman, a position he continued to occupy until 1904. After the hospital was taken over from founder Dr. C. W. Morgan in 1904, he was again elected a committee member of the new governing body and in 1906, when it was decided to purchase the hospital land and building, Charles Arthur was appointed to act as a trustee. When a larger site became necessary, Charles Arthur was once again actively involved, remaining so through the years of effort that were involved to construct a new hospital, after which he was once again appointed a trustee of the property.

Over the years, Charles Arthur was an ardent supporter, and often committee member of the local School of Arts and was very involved in the push for the new School of Arts building

Charles Arthur Baddeley's second wife Alice (nee Bennett) and their son Charles Arthur Junior ("Ben").

During both wars, the family were central to local patriotic efforts. During World War 1, Charles Arthur apparently acted as a local recruiting officer and was also very involved in the many and varied fundraising activities held during the war years. During World War II, with the threat of Japanese bombing raids, Volunteer Air Observers Corps were established throughout the nation to spot and identify aircraft. When one of these posts was established in Pambula, Mr Baddeley was appointed to the position of Chief Observer.

As competition from overseas leather became too great, the family business closed down around 1926. Charles Henry’s grandson Ben moved into commercial and game fishing and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the local trawling industry. Together with his wife Alma, he also operated a large number of commercial oyster leases in the Pambula River and Lake.

Ben and Alma Baddeley culling oysters at Broadwater.


When the family first moved to Pambula, they initially resided in the original Post Office Stores premises, which stood further down the hill next to what is now known as Baddeley's Swamp. Soon after their arrival, however, they became aware of the problems associated with constant flooding and itt is evident from correspondence between various local individuals and the Postmaster General’s Department that the issue was an ongoing one. In 1873, when heavy rainfalls affected the district, the Bega Gazette reported “Our correspondent speaks of Panbula being visited by the heaviest floods he has known for 28 years…The water rose three feet in Mr. Baddeley’s house…” By 1881, Charles Henry Baddeley had made moves to rectify the situation, writing that year “I do myself the honor to inform you that I have completed the erection of a building specially intended for a Post Office and fitted up with every convenience for carrying on the duties of the office, situated about 60 yards from present site, adjoins the Court House, is immediately opposite the Public School premises and is in every respect more central and convenient for the public…[I] beg leave to request permission to remove the Post Office to the new site.” The Postmaster General’s Department had, by that time, however, decided to amalgamate the Post Office with the local telegraphic department, so the building only served as the local Post Office for a brief period. Nonetheless, the building continues to stand today and has been home to five generations of this important local family, remaining so until 1995, a period of more than 110 years.

Ben Baddeley with his daughter Margaret at Pambula River Mouth.

The land behind the house was also home to some of the local Chinese market gardeners, with one known as “Lamby” living in a hut behind the Baddeley family house and maintaining a garden in that area for some time.

The Baddeley family home in 2004.
Although a small recognition was made several years ago with the naming of the Baddeley Car Park, over the years, much of their contribution has been largely forgotten. However, without the Baddeley's, Pambula would have been lacking in many of the local facilities that continue to flourish today. 

A portrait of members of the Baddeley family who contributed so much to the development of the Pambula district.

© Angela George.

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