Lodge Tweed United No. 136 History
Part 2 – The Junction
The Junction – Tumbulgum
Tumbulgum was the first white settlement on the Tweed River, situated at the juncture of the two main river systems. In the 1960’s it was known as the Tweed Junction and as the years went by simply as “The Junction”. In its hey day around the 1880’s it had three Hotels, five stores, three churches, two doctors, a chemist, a blacksmith and a boatbuilder.
About 1870 a Captain Logan built the Junction Inn on the north side of the river. Not long after a rival Hotel was built on the opposite side of the river called the Junction Hotel. Tumbulgum was a convenient meeting place for cedar getters and settlers as there were no roads and transport was by river only, the scrub being so dense that single tracks through the bush was all that was available.
The first school on the Tweed was opened in 1872 at the Junction with 12 pupils and Mr Harris the teacher. A slab hut was erected by the residents on private land with a lean-to for the teacher to live in. When the inspector paid visit he had mixed feeling about the situation. There was no office, no bell, no wash place, the class room was too small and there was little playground. This school only lasted about six months with its earthern floor it became too damp. From then on classes were held in Mrs Logans private residence for about twelve months.
In the meantime both Murwillumbah and Tumbulgum had applied for a Public School, one was built in North Tumbulgum in 1875 and the teacher was Mrs MacAdoo, the other was built in Bent Street Murwillumbah. Life was tough with no doctors in the area as the paper of 1888 reported an accident at the Junction – a man had his arm, leg and one side of his body crushed. Mr Chad Skinner rode a horse to Brisbane for a doctor who agreed to ride to the Junction for a sum of 80 pounds ($160). In the meantime the man died and a second horseman was sent to intercept the doctor on the trail, this he was able to do and the doctor agreed to charge the widow only 30 pounds ($60).
The first resident doctor was a Dr. Rowlands, a ships doctor who left his ship in Brisbane and walked to the Tweed and practised on the Main Arm of the river. The second was Dr. Sullivan who was buried in the old Tumbulgum Cemetery. His successor was Dr. Pybus who also had a small private hospital. He was a little bit eccentric and also farmed at Terranora and in the end left the district. Dr. Roderick McDonald came later but he eventually moved to Murwillumbah.
“The Metropolitan Hotel at Tumbulgum would like to inform the public that the Hotel contains every convenience”
The Junction was progressing and now had three Hotels “The Junction, “The Royal” and “Metropolitan”. An advertisement in the Tweed and Brunswick Advocate of December 1888 says “The Metropolitan Hotel at Tumbulgum would like to inform the public that the Hotel contains every convenience, stocking the best brands of liquors kept, and with good horse stables and paddock, also a billiard table and bath house.” Also Creswell and Brown, bakers and confectioners deliver fresh bread, eggs and butter to all parts of the river. Other ads were by PC Fanning, builder. W H Breet, auctioneer, and the Commercial Banking Co. Branch office.
Capt. Logan built the Junction Inn and in 1872 built a store and post office with residence on top. He was a British army officer before coming to Australia and was considered to be hard and tough. The store and post office was operated by his wife.
The mail would leave Casino at 6am on a Tuesday and come by horseback over the Nightcap Range to the Post Master (Mr Joshua Bray) at Kynan by 6pm Wednesday, From there by rowboat to Tweed Junction where it would arrive by 9pm. John Boyd who held the mail contract said it was too dangerous to row at night because of snags and dead logs, eventually the rowing was left till daylight.
The Post Office and Store was shifted to higher ground, on the site where Ian Shaw’s Woodcraft Gallery is now situated. The Post Office was operated over the years by the Logans, Norths and Higgins.
…a petition from the residents of the Junction seeking a name change to the Aboriginal word Tumbulgum meaning ‘Meeting of the Waters’
In 1880 the Postal Department in Sydney received a petition from the residents of the Junction seeking a name change to the Aboriginal word Tumbulgum meaning ‘Meeting of the Waters’. After some lapse of time the department agreed.
In 1884 Murwillumbah was connected to South Tumbulgum by telegraph with the Post Office acting in conjunction. South Tumbulgum was progressing more than North Tumbulgum and the old Post Office on the north side was given 12 more months to operate, but as things happened the old Post Office and store survived until 1952. In 1890 the inspector of schools was told to choose a new site at South Tumbulgum and by 1892 the new school was ready for occupation.
The River Steamer Service was pioneered by George Skinner who had selected land at the Junction. He named the property ‘Inglewood” and from there started a Cordial Factory from which he delivered by row boat, but in 1891 shifted the manufacturing to what is now Factory Lane in Murwillumbah.
Tumbulgum was starting to decline and Murwillumbah was taking over as the major centre on the Tweed. This decline was helped along by the severe financial crisis the country found itself in at the time and plans for a new building were abandoned.
The picturesque Ferry across the Tweed River had its last run on December 20th, 1986 after a new concrete bridge was built. The locals were glad to see it go as it always seemed to be on the opposite side of river when it was needed, but the day tripper thought a little bit of romance and nostalgia was gone forever.
These days Tumbulgum rests in its own tranquility with lifes’ pleasures concentrating on the churches, hall and Tumbulgum Tavern which overlooks the river with its weekend water attractions and pleasure craft, and the occasional fisherman tries his luck from the grassy banks, as Tumbulgum turns it back on the busy Pacific Highway, and the oldies look across the river at the images of yester-years.
Originally Written by: Ron Johansen
Tales of our Times No. 67
Tweed Valley Times (July 1992)