In 1889, Joseph Fallon bought crown land, Section 8 Lot 1, in the village of Copeland. He sold it a year later to Janet Higgins.1 Janet and her husband John were Scottish immigrants and after working with the Australian Agricultural Company they established well-known Berrico Station.2 Janet bought the property after John died and according to family stories, built the original house and established the beautiful gardens.3 She lived there until her death in 1896.4
William Webeck and his wife Ann bought the property in 1910 and developed the homestead known as ‘Holmlea’.5 William was an early comer to the Copeland mining field after alluvial gold was found in 1876. He worked one of Copeland’s earliest mines, the Prince Edward. William and his friend, Robert Oram, were quite successful.6
Holmlea was noted for its “beautiful flower and vegetable garden and orchard and likewise for its open hospitality”.7 William and Ann were generous, kind people who opened their home to care for the sick and needy of Copeland. All who knew the Webecks “felt that they had entered a home of real peace and true hospitality and an abiding friendship”.8
William Webeck died at Holmlea in 1916, aged 66 from chronic lung disease.9 Ann continued to care for others at Holmlea, including their dear friend, Robert Oram.10 Ann herself spent her last days on the sheltered verandah of Holmlea where she would receive guests. She died in May 1933.11
There are still traces of Holmlea’s orchards and gardens. The home’s beauty reflects the deeds of those who lived here.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 NSW Land Registry Service, Vol-Fol: 935-39.
2 Ancestry.com.au, NSW Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, September 1840, ‘Isabella Watson’; Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW: 1870-1907), 19 January 1889, 10.
3 Information from Effie Crawley, Gloucester District Historical Society, 17 September 2018.
4 Maitland Daily Mercury(NSW: 1894-1939), 23 January 1896, 4; NSW BDM, death index for Janet Higgens [sic], 1896, No. 1587.
5 NSW Land Registry Service, Vol-Fol: 935-39.
6 Gloucester Advocate, 23 July 1954, 2.
8 Gloucester Advocate, 26 May 1933, 2.
9 Gloucester Advocate, 25 November 1916.
10 Sydney Morning Herald,22 August 1922.
11 Gloucester Advocate, 26 May 1933, 2.