John “Wylie” Breckenridge (Third) was born in 1873, the eldest son of John Wylie Junior “Laird of Failford”.1 Wylie married Edith Herkes in 1899 and had two children Jack and Fanny.2 In the early 1900s Wylie took over the proprietorship of his father’s sawmill business and store at Failford having previously managed the Breckenridge sawmill at Kendall.3
In the early 1920s Wylie commissioned architect James Thomson Chambers to design the Californian-style Bungalow on Failford Road for his family.4 This fine house still stands (2021) and is a locally listed heritage item.5 Wylie served as Councillor on the Manning Shire Council for many years and involved himself in sporting groups including the Black Head Surf Life Saving Club where he was Vice President.6 The Wylie Breckenridge Park at Black Head is named in his honour.
Like his forebears, Wylie was a boat enthusiast. He had an idea for making the sport of motor boat racing popular at Cape Hawke and set about designing a speedboat.7 His speedboat “Miss Brec” went on to win the Australian speedboat championships in 1925 and 1926 putting Cape Hawke on the national map.8 “Miss Brec” was driven by his son Jack.9
Jack was a fine sportsperson particularly in tennis and cricket. He married Jean Laurie and took over the management of the Failford sawmill around 1930.10 Daughter Fanny married Lieutenant Gordon Alick Gould of the HMAS Moresby. Gould became the first Shire Clerk of Hay and later of Coonabarabran. He was honoured for his contribution to the Siding Spring Observatory near Warrumbungle National Park. Fanny has a lookout named after her in the same park called “Fan’s Horizon”.11
All four members of the Breckenridge family are buried at Failford Cemetery.
Author: Marilyn Boyd
1 NSW BDM, birth index No. 17433/1873.
2 NSW BDM, marriage index No. 9032/1899, birth index Jack No. 7676/1901, birth index Fanny No. 36175/1902.
3 Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 27 January 1910, 5.
4 Heather M Chambers, James Thomson Chambers: a small architectural history, 2006.
5 Great Lakes Local Environmental Plan 2014, Schedule 5, Item No. I21.
6 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 28 September 1932, 3.
7 MRT, 13 May 1925, 3.
8 MRT, 3 February 1926, 2; MRT, 11 March 1925, 3.
9 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 7 January 1927, 3.
10 Northern Champion, 26 September 1928, 2.