There are many towns and villages within the Parkes Shire LGA (local government area) and Bumberry is one of them. Like other place names, it has had several different spellings including Bumbury. The first spelling was Bunbury which was named after Lord Bunbury and not the Western Australia city. The city of Bunbury, situated on the coast of Western Australia, was named after its European founder, Lieutenant Henry Bunbury. Located just under 25 kilometres east of Parkes, it roughly halfway between Parkes and Manildra – the latter town being only 23 kilometres away.
Early History of Bumberry
The Western Champion reprinted a report from1860 by a writer known as “Bilbie” who stated the original Bumbury station and who Bunbury parish was named after. The report also explains how over time the ‘n’ became an ‘m’, hence Bunbury became Bumbury and then later on became Bumberry.
Bumberry was established with the advent of the railway line from Molong to Parkes; with a town established in Bumberry and the nearby Porcupine Gap (so named for the porcupine grass with its long needle-pointed spears). It is documented that the railway assisted not only Parkes’ growth but also former villages to flourish such as Meranburn, Porcupine Gap and Flagstone (later called Cookamidgera) Source: Australian Town and Country Journal July 15, 1893 p.26 The Sydney Morning Herald highlighted how a railway line could be the difference between survival and extinction for small country villages while also mentioning that Bumberry Mountains had the finest timber in all of the colony (Source: Sydney Morning Herald July 31 1886 p.14)
Bumberry is located in the county of Ashburnham, with the original parish of Bunbury adjacent to the parishes of Bindogundra, Curumbenya, Wolabla, Dulladerry, Terarra and Coonambro. Bumberry Dam was utilised as a water source for Parkes by then Mayor, Charles Thomas Woodward, in 1921.
Bumbury is one of the names that was brought to England in the wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bumbury family lived in Cheshire, where they were located since the early Middle Ages. The family name is derived from the area Bunbury, near Nantwich in this shire. The name Bunbury derives from the Old English personal name Buna, and the burh, which means “fortress”.
The legacy of Sir Henry Parkes to Australia is almost immeasurable. And the town that bears his name has a special relationship with the ‘Father of Federation’. June and Lex Weaver, in their excellent book “Welcome to Parkes” Henry Parkes’ Visits to Parkes The Town That Bears His Name Including His Visits to Bumberry, Cudal, Eugowra, Forbes, Garra and Manildra highlight this special relationship as they document the four visits that Sir Henry made to the town that would share his surname. Former Governor of New South Wales, the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO explains the legacy of Sir Henry Parkes:
Much has been written about Sir Henry Parkes, and justifiably so. For his legacy to Australia can never be overestimated.
From humble beginnings, he arrived in Australia in 1839, as a young immigrant from Coventry, England with his wife Clarinda and infant child Menie (Clarinda Sarah) who was born at sea, towards the end of that long voyage.
Sir Henry was indeed an intelligent man, a man of great vision and a gifted speaker. Determined to contribute to his new homeland he entered politics and during his career, was five times elected as Premier of New South Wales.
Parkes played a vital part in many reforms, he condemned transportation, advocated women’s suffrage and improved nursing by arranging for nurses, trained by Florence Nightingale, to come to New South Wales.
He was responsible for the Public Schools Act of 1866, which ensured free compulsory education until the students’ 14th year. His role as the Father of Federation is well know. Indeed, his dream for a united Australia was expressed in his eloquent cry, “One People, One Destiny”.
The student of Bumberry school presented Sir Henry Parkes with an address on the occasion of his visit to Bumberry in 1887. Bumberry had a provisional school that was established in July 1878. It became a public school (more than 25 students in attendance) in June 1880 and remained classified as a public school until July 1914. It reverted to provisional school status in September 1915 until March 1926; with provisional school status listed again from May 1934 until April 1940. In October 1915 the spelling of the school name went from ‘Bumbury’ to ‘Bumberry’. Bumberry Siding was a provisional school established in June 1955 until November 1957; being a public school from November 1957 until its closure in December 1972. While the NSW Department of Education lists the two schools, former students reminiscing on the Parkes in Photos of Years Gone Past Facebook page seem to indicate that it was the same school that was moved from Bumberry to Bumberry Siding (Source: Government Schools of New South Wales 1848 to 1993 (1993) p.41)
Memories of Bumberry
The Bumberry Ridges (aka “The Bumberrys”) are know for their cold temperatures in winter. There are several instances of heavy snow falling in Bumberry during the cold winter months. The report below is from 1900 and has the spelling of Bumbury.
Bumberry was considered prime land for agriculture. The Bumberry Mountains were considered to have “…the finest timber in the colony…” which would prove vital for housing and railway sleepers (Source: Sydney Morning Herald July 31, 1886 p.13)
Someone who grew up on “Woodburn” was Leonard Joseph Massurit (1933-2016) who was born in Parkes at St Elmo Private Hospital on October 25, 1933. He was the son of Thomas Joseph Massurit and Eileen Florence (née Hardy) and younger brother of Raymond Bruce Massurit. Leonard (known as ‘Len’ or ‘Lenny’) spent his time in Bumberry going shooting, rabbiting or helping out on the farm. While he attended school at Bumberry, his obituary notes that “…schooling wasn’t his scene.” However he did attend many dances in Bumberry and enjoyed playing tennis. While Len’s time on the farm moved from Bumberry to nearby “Jubilee Farm” at Bindogundra, he was known for his interest and passion in sheep; admiring the fine wool merino and later breeding dorpers. Highlighting the inventive genius of the folk who live on the land, Len designed a feed out bin to feed the ship behind his ute long before anything was commercially available. He also fitted an FJ Holden motor on his auger – possessing the first electric start auger in the district.
Rob Willis, as part of the Voice of the Bush Oral History Project, recorded the late local historian Yvonne Hutton. Hutton recalls a story about “Bumberry Squash”:
Bumberry Today – Picturesque Picnickers’ and Bushwalkers’ Delight
Bumberry Dam plays an important ecological part of the Parkes Shire. Not only for recreation users but also for important ventures such as Bird Week walk and count days. On October 25, 2020 the National Bird Week Walk began at Lions Park, Parkes and concluded after 4km at Bumberry Dam. Central West Lachlan Landcare arranges these vital survey collation of woodland and water birds that walkers will encounter. (Source: Parkes Champion Post website)
Parkes Shire Library would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in making this post possible:
Central Mapping Authority of New South Wales, cartographer & Brown, W. E & New South Wales. Department of Lands, issuing body. (1971). Map of the County of Ashburnham : Central & Eastern Divisions : N.S.W Retrieved March 26, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-752132780
Weaver, J., & Weaver, L. (2015). “Welcome to Parkes” Henry Parkes’ Visits to Parkes The Town That Bears His Name Including His Visits to Bumberry, Cudal, Eugowra, Forbes, Garra and Manildra. June and Lex Weaver. p.iii
Weaver, J., & Weaver, L. (2015). “Welcome to Parkes” Henry Parkes’ Visits to Parkes The Town That Bears His Name Including His Visits to Bumberry, Cudal, Eugowra, Forbes, Garra and Manildra. June and Lex Weaver. p.21
Weaver, J., & Weaver, L. (2015). “Welcome to Parkes” Henry Parkes’ Visits to Parkes The Town That Bears His Name Including His Visits to Bumberry, Cudal, Eugowra, Forbes, Garra and Manildra. June and Lex Weaver. p.23
Hutton, Yvonne (Recorded on 27 July and 8 August 2017 in Parkes, New South Wales) Yvonne Hutton on “Bumberry Squash” part of Voices of the Bush Oral History Project interviewed by Rob Willis. Retrieved March 4, 2021, from https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-522001815/listen/0-1864
Matt Adams (Director). (2014, May 23). A trio of Pacific National 48-class locos slug up the Bumberry Ranges east of Parkes, NSW with train 8834N, a loaded grain train for Manildra, NSW. [Video file]. Retrieved March 12, 2021, from https://youtu.be/QK2yJzr3j8s
Diesel Dave Trains (Director). (2020, July 16). Pacific National’s 3YN2 Whyalla SA to Newcastle NSW steel trains passes through Bumberry NSW amid a shower of much welcome rain. The train is seen here passing the SPENO rail grinder set which is in the 100m dead end siding at Bumberry being prepared ready for traffic, it will follow the steel train out once it’s clear of the section and grind rail near Mandagery Tank. Bumberry was a very busy location back in the days of stream traction and was opened on the 18th of December 1893 and boasted a passenger platform, goods shed, 931m loop line and associated buildings. Bumberry was a main ordinary staff section from Manildra, withdrawl started in December 1994 with the signalling being modernised and thus eliminating the staff system of sectional working. Bumberry itself was closed on the 23rd of November 1974 as a manned point and the infrastructure demolished leaving just the section hut, loop line and dead end siding. Interesting to note, on a property nearby, a former Victorian railways stainless steel Hitachi suburban power car 66M sits on a private property minus the bogies, a long way from its former stomping ground of suburban Melbourne. 1420hrs on Wednesday the 10th of June 2020. [Video file]. Retrieved March 12, 2021, from https://youtu.be/1AjHAH1g-TM
Collins, Cathryn J. “Bumberry Ridges, Parkes NSW, A Non-Conformity?” University of New England, 2002.p.7
Bumberry cemetery had burials spanning 1877 to 1954 https://austcemindex.com/?cemetery=bumberry&sort=death