Imagine this…it is 1920 and you are travelling along Isabella Street, Wingham. You see an enormous fig tree on one side and foliage on the other. At the end of the street is the Wingham Wharf leading onto the Manning River. What is this place? It is now 2018 and you can no longer drive down Isabella Street to the wharf but instead down Farquhar Street. At the end is a wonderful nature reserve, that is ‘Wingham Brush’.
Wingham Brush has long been the home of the endangered grey-headed flying fox. Originally the flying foxes were thought to be pests and the government encouraged the destruction of this animal.2 But now the flying fox’s habitat is classified as a Nature Reserve and they are protected. At sunset you can watch the spectacular sight of the bats flying down the river searching for food.3
One of the main attractions is the large Moreton Bay Fig Tree. In 1891 there were two large fig trees. One was 9 feet (3 metres) from the ground, but now it’s much taller. The tree near it was much larger. To walk around the roots of one of them took no less than 96 large steps which is around 60 metres in circumference.4
Wingham Brush has always been a place of interest for tourists and locals. In 1898, Mr G. B. Morris teacher of Pampoolah Public School took the students upstream by boat to Wingham Brush where they partook in a variety of activities. When they arrived, they grouped themselves under the shade of the fig trees.5
Now you know what Wingham Brush is, you can admire the sights, listen to the bats screech or walk around the old fig tree.
Authors: Sommer Abbott, Year 5 and Breanna Colvin, Year 6, Taree West Public School.
1 Google Maps, Wingham, accessed 26 September 2018.
2 Sydney Morning Herald, 1 December 1909.
3 National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW, https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/wingham-brush-nature-reserve/learn-more
4 Australian Town and Country Journal, 18 April 1891.
5 Manning River Times and Advocate for the North Coast Districts of NSW, 30 November 1898.