History Parkes

stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past


The past and the present at Bumberry. Top image: 1892 photograph of Cobb & Co coach at Bumberry Hotel. Bottom image: Fishing at Bumberry Dam. Sources: National Archives of Australia website and Parkes Shire Council website

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.

Map of Bumberry in relation to Parkes, Manildra and Orange. Source: Google Maps

Early History of Bumberry

Map of County of Ashburnham with parish boundaries, including Bunbury. Source: Central Mapping Authority of New South Wales

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.

An excerpt of Bilbie’s report on the naming of the parish of Bunbury and how shepherds changed the pronunciation from an ‘n’ to an ‘m’. To read the report in its entirety click here. Source: Western Champion December 21, 1916 p.22
Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury, 6th Baronet. Bunbury was an important figure in the English horse-racing. ‘Diomed’ won the inaugural The Derby Stakes in 1780. Another of Bunbury’s horses – ‘Eleanor’ – was the first female horse to win The Derby and the first horse to win both The Derby and Epsom Oaks (winning the latter in 1801). Source: The British Museum website

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)

Click here to read about Cookamidgera

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.

The location of Bunbury (which became Bumberry) in the cadastral map of Ashburnham county. Source: County & Parish Maps of NSW with Index by Alice Jansen (1999) p.9

Click here to read about the county of Ashburnham

The origins of Bumbury can be traced back to early England. According to www.houseofnames.com:

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”.

Source: House of Names website

An early mention of Bunbury station occurs in New South Wales Government Gazette September 25, 1848 where Mr Bolton’s station of Bunbury is described being near the Mendagery (now called Mandagery) mountains.

Mention of Bunbury Station near Billabong Creek. Source: Sydney Morning Herald May 23, 1859 p.7
Bunbury station is sold by the owner. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald October 15, 1862 p.5
Report of a horse stolen from Bumberry in 1868. Source: New South Wales Police Gazette and Weekly Record of Crime October 21, 1868 p.309 Another report of theft, John Chandler’s camp in 1866, lists the place as Bunbury Mountains. Source: New South Wales Police Gazette and Weekly Record of Crime August 22, 1866 p.311
An early mention of Bumberry, with a petition of eight hundred signatures wanting a direct mail service from Forbes to Orange via Bumberry instead of Murga. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald December 4, 1873 p.5

Sir Henry Parkes visits Bumberry

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”.

M. Bashir (2015) p.iii

Click here to read about Nurses from the Parkes Shire who Served in the Great War

Sir Henry Parkes, namesake of the town Parkes and five-time Premier of New South Wales, visited Bumberry (notice the spelling by the townspeople as ‘Bumbury’) in 1887. This address was presented to Sir Henry Parkes and is replicated in Lex and June Weaver’s well-researched 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.
This address was presented to Sir Henry by the school children of Bumbury. Student names are William Townsend, Annie Knight, Edmund Townsend, James Hazell, Edward Davis, George Schnabel, Colin Sladden, John Hazell, Jane Eschbach, Harriett Knight, Elizabeth Townsend, Lucy Cochrane and Madeline Massurit. Source: “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 by June & Lex Weaver (2015) p.23

The Schools of Bumberry

Bumberry Public School with teacher Mr Davies. The photograph was taken December 31 1889. Source: Flickr website

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)

Listing of schools at Bumberry. Source: Government Schools of New South Wales 1848 to 1993 (1993) p.41
A photograph that was passed on to Geoff Anderson for him to share on Parkes In Photos of Years Gone Past, which he is an administrator of. The photo is dated as either 1929 or 1930. Source: Parkes In Photos of Years Gone Past Facebook page
An earlier photograph of Bumberry School which Ron Dunford posted on the same thread on Parkes In Photos of Years Gone Past. Other contributors to the site mentioned that it was used as a church with a wedding taking place there in 1889 between Samuel Farr and Josephine Parker, and that the lady in this photograph is their daughter, Josephine Farr who later married Les Starr. Source: Parkes In Photos of Years Gone Past Facebook page
Ron Dunford also posted this photograph on the same thread on Parkes In Photos of Years Gone Past. This is Bumberry Siding school. Source: Parkes In Photos of Years Gone Past Facebook page

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.

Heavy snow at Bumberry (spelled Bumbury). Source: Western Champion Friday July 13, 1900 p.10

Click here to read about Snow in the Parkes Shire

Like many towns and villages in the Parkes Shire, Bumberry had a tennis club that competed against other tennis clubs from the region. Source: Western Champion August 18 1932 p.7
Graph displaying the slight variations to the population of Bumberry in the three years it met the guidelines set out by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (CBCS). Source: ABS website made using Online Chart Tool

Click here to read about The Rise, Fall & Rise of the Population of the Parkes Shire

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)

A former resident of Bumberry, farmer Barwon Barton Staggs. The son of Jacob & Victoria Staggs, he resided at “The Corner” Bumberry and enlisted on June 14, 1918. Sadly Staggs died of influenza in Sierra Leone on 02.11.1918 and is buried in Freetown (King Tom) Cemetery. Source: NSW State Library Archives
Photograph of the Cobb and Co coach at Bumberry Hotel near Parkes. Source: National Archives of Australia website which can be found at https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/DetailsReports/PhotoDetail.aspx?Barcode=3025541
Photograph of the Cobb and Co coach at Bumberry Hotel near Parkes. Source: National Archives of Australia website
Photograph of Mrs Massurit feeding poultry at “Woodburn” Bumberry taken between 1890-1910. Source: State Library NSW website
Threshing on "Woodburn", Bumberry. Source: State Library NSW website which can be found at http://digital.sl.nsw.gov.au/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?embedded=true&toolbar=false&dps_pid=IE1716024&_ga=2.12350004.1072913260.1590446523-1853509756.1523252311
Threshing on “Woodburn”, Bumberry. The boy on the left is Raymond Massurit, with father Thomas Joseph Massurit on top. Source: State Library NSW website
Thomas Joseph Massurit sowing on “Woodburn” property at Bumberry. Source: State Library NSW website
Photograph of life at “Woodburn” Bumberry. The boy in the car is Leonard Massurit and his older brother Raymond is the boy pulling the billycart. Source: State Library NSW website

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.

Leonard Joseph Massurit grew up at “Woodburn” in Bumberry. Source: Parkes Champion Post website

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”:


Headline in Sydney newspaper highlighting the terror that gripped New South Wales with the Frank Butler murders meaning troopers were scouring Bumberry as well as the Black Range out at Yarrabundai. Source: Evening News December 14, 1896 p.5

Click here to read about Yarrabandai – one murder site from Australia’s first serial killer

Photograph of 3813 W106 Western Endeavour Second Division passing Bumberry Waterholes on 11-09-1970. Source: Flickr website
Confirmation of the official name change from Bumberry Ridge to Bumberry Ridges in December 1979. Source: Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales December 14, 1979 p.6319
An excerpt from a reader’s story in The Australian Women’s Weekly 1973 where Marjorie Gentz recalls memories from the railway at Bogan Gate and Bumberry. To read the article in its entirety click here. Source: The Australian Women’s Weekly September 19, 1973 p.97
Photograph of railway passing through Bumberry. Source: Flickr website
The staff hut on the southern side of the crossing loop at Bumberry. Source: NSWRail.net website
A trio of ALCO/AE Goodwin DL531s powered by an inline 6-251 prime mover, battle the Bumberry Ranges east of Parkes, NSW. Source: YouTube
Pacific National’s 3YN2 Whyalla SA to Newcastle NSW steel trains pass through Bumberry NSW. Source: YouTube

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)

Location of Bumberry Ridges (black rectangle) in relation to Parkes as part of Cathryn Collins’ thesis Bumberry Ridges, Parkes NSW, A Non-conformity? (2002) p.7
Excerpt from a Travel newspaper report about Parkes, where Goobang National Park is one of the tourist spots. Part of the Goobang National Park consists of the Bumberry mountain ranges. Source: Sydney Morning Herald website
Photograph of Bumberry Dam. Source: Visit NSW website which can be found at https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/country-nsw/parkes-area/parkes/accommodation/bumberry-dam
Photograph of Bumberry Dam. Source: Visit NSW website
“How’s the serenity?” The beauty of Bumberry Dam, a natural sanctuary of solitude. Source: Aircamp website
Another photograph of Bumberry Dam, thick foliage surrounding pristine water. Source: Aircamp website
Sunrise at Bumberry Dam. Source: Aircamp website

Parkes Shire Library would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in making this post possible:


Spotted a mistake? Maybe you have something to add.

If you have stories, photographs and/or memories of Bumberry that you are willing to share, please contact Parkes Shire Library via dan.fredericks@parkes.nsw.gov.au

Your stories are part of the history of the Parkes Shire. Allow us to preserve them for posterity and share them on this blog. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.


Feature Picture Images

Bumberry Ridges seen from Parkes. Source: C. Collins (2002) p1

One comment on “Bumberry

  1. David Nash
    March 31, 2021

    Bumberry cemetery had burials spanning 1877 to 1954 https://austcemindex.com/?cemetery=bumberry&sort=death


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This entry was posted on March 31, 2021 by in 1850s, 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1947 Census, 1954 Census, 1961 Census, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, brief background to cadastral maps, Bumberry, Early History of Bumberry, First World War soldier from Parkes Shire, General history, Impact of Sir Henry Parkes, Legacy of Sir Henry Parkes, local historical articles, Memories of Bumberry, Oral History, Parkes, Parkes Library Family & Local History Resources, Settlement in Parkes, Sir Henry Parkes, Sir Henry Parkes visits Bumberry, snow, The Schools of Bumberry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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