“The Parsonage”

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The former Methodist Parsonage high up on the river bank overlooking the Sackville Reach [SHRB.06]

In 1875, tenders were advertised for the erection of a Wesleyan Parsonage at Sackville Reach. Built from sandstone c.1876, at a cost of upwards of £600, the Parsonage served as the Minister’s residence until the mid-1920’s when the site was sold to Mr. Scharkie for £750.  In 1905, extensive repairs to the building were undertaken by Mr. Greentree of the Lower Hawkesbury; with the shingled roof being stripped back and covered with iron, plaster ceilings removed and replaced with redwood and the walls kalsomined (whitewashed).

In January 1913, both the Methodist Church and Parsonage narrowly escaped being engulfed by a bush-fire. The Rev. Rudd, his son Selby and a visitor used water from an underground tank and a well to fight the flames, along with the Everingham brothers who arrived on the scene just as the fire was reaching the Church. Both buildings were saved, but the old parsonage, an earlier wooden home used by former ministers, was burnt to the ground. The Sackville School of Arts building and its entire contents was also lost. A news report in the Windsor and Richmond Gazette describes some of the fire damage suffered by the residents of Currency, Sackville, Ebenezer and Wilberforce :-
“M. Gill, wattle bark and fencing, £20 ; J. Tuckerman, shed and fencing £20 ; E. Fallick, fencing, £17; unoccupied slab hut and fencing, Ebenezer, £15 ; P. Bennett, unoccupied hut and shed, £60 ; R. Bennett, fencing, £5 ; R.H.H. Brown, lucerne stack and fencing, £80 ; A. Brown, shed containing hay and fencing, £140 ; W. Kemp, bees, citrus nursery, 2 pigs and fencing, £87 ; W. King, shed and fencing, £45 ; R.J. Holmes, fencing, £5 ; R. Hutchinson, 1 cow, damage to orchard, fencing, £40 ; J. Bradley, 16 head cattle, poultry, stable and fencing, £250 ; Mrs N. Hall, fencing, £200; D. Irwin, fencing, £150 ; S.A. Tuckerman, fencing, £60 ; J. Brown, fencing £25 ; J. Watkins, fencing, £10 ; Dr Fiaschi, fencing, shed, damage to vineyard, £420 ; J. Stephens, fencing, £60 ; A. Stephens, fencing and damage to orchard, £100 ; J. Bennett, fencing and damage to orchard, £200; L. Brown, fencing, £60 ; C.H. Britten, fencing, £25; A. Dunston, hayshed, dray and fencing, £65 ; Jos. Aspery, fencing and damage to orchard, £55 ; J. Noble, shed and furniture, £50 ; Sackville School of Arts, hall, piano, and furniture, £175 ; Rev. T.F. Rudd, stable, shed, sulky, buggy and harness, £45 ; Public School, Sackville, fencing, £10 ; G. Hastwell, bicycle and tools, £5 ; Gotts Bros, fencing, £10 ; Mitchell, fencing, £5. Amongst others who suffered loss were Messrs J. Teale, Wilberforce (the fire passing right over his property), and Messrs. J. V. Dunston, W. J. Reynolds and Packer, who lost stock. Happily no human lives were lost, though there were some narrow escapes. The flames swept over the residence of Mrs. Kemp, Senr., of Ebenezer, leaping along the tree tops. Some debris set fire to her bush house, and alone she fought the fire and put it out. The great heat overcame her and she was found unconscious by some neighbors when they went to see how she had fared. Mrs. Joseph Aspery, of Sackville, had a trying time. She was alone, and the fire came up to the house which was charred in some places …”  [SHRB.06]