The remnants of the Wingham Wharf have witnessed nearly 190 years of activity. Apart from stories of the timber and shipping industries, there are tales of celebration, sadness and madness. Read on…
At six am each January 1st, the wharf became a hub of excitement with over 400 people boarding a steamer to Harrington or Farquhar’s Inlet to celebrate the New Year. The steamer was decked out in bunting and brass bands entertained the crowds. After enjoying hours picnicking by the beach the steamer would return the weary passengers home.1
The day to day use of the river was not without its dangers. In 1869, newly married Henry Thiele, was moving furniture by boat to his new home at Wingham. A steamer towed his boat to the wharf and Henry cast off with less than 100 metres to go. The next morning Henry’s boat was seen floating down the river with the furniture still on board. His body was found in the shallows soon afterwards. Unfortunately, he had lost his footing and drowned.2
Rats were a constant problem around wharves. In 1902, the Wingham wharf was teeming with thousands of rats which were destroying chaff and other goods. The large number of people visiting the wharf each day meant that a plague could spread quickly if there was an infected rat. The public urged the Wingham Municipal Council to act on this nuisance. After rat catchers were employed the public then complained that the smell of the dead rats waiting for the inspector to pass them was worse than the plague!3
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 5 Jan 1898; 7 Jan 1899; 3 Jan 1900.
2 Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser,19 Aug 1869.
3 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer,11 Feb 1905; 12 Mar 1902.