OWNERS: Robert Henry ‘Harry’ Hammond with his wife Elizabeth and a friend on the Woody Head homestead.
OWNERS: Robert Henry ‘Harry’ Hammond with his wife Elizabeth and a friend on the Woody Head homestead.

Hammonds parting ways with history at Woody Head

AFTER almost a century of living on the grounds at Woody Head, the Hammond family is finally parting ways with the last remaining property at the famed coastal location.

Henry Robert 'Harry' Hammond, a gold miner stationed at Jerusalem Creek in the Bundjalung National Park in the late 1910s, would take regular visits south for fishing trips on his days off work until he fell so much for the coastal land that he applied for a selection of land at Woody Head.

Harry was granted a 380 acre selection at Woody Head that was completely covered in prickly pears, weeds and overgrown shrubbery on the proviso he cleared the block within a year.

LARGE HAUL: Fishermen bring in a haul of mullet at the water’s edge at Woody Head. Mullet fishing was a fond pastime of the three Hammond brothers and their father Harry.Photos Contributed
LARGE HAUL: Fishermen bring in a haul of mullet at the water’s edge at Woody Head. Mullet fishing was a fond pastime of the three Hammond brothers and their father Harry.Photos Contributed

After struggling along with his three sons, Bert, Charlie and Bill to clear part of the land, Harry donated 200 acres to the government and settled on the remaining 180 acres.

In 1937 Harry Hammond and his family were granted Torrens title over the land at ten shillings an acre. Harry divided the land between his three sons who each built a homestead.

Rhonda Newton-Brown, the daughter of Bert Hammond, was raised there and can still remember the quaint charm the isolated property held.

"When you think about our life there at Woody Head it just brings back fond memories," Mrs Newton-Brown said.

"I asked my sister her favourite thing about growing up, she said we always had our own vegetables, we had our own cows and produced our own butter. We were so self-sufficient on the land that we barely needed to rely on anyone else.

SOCIAL OCCASION: A fishermen’s picnic held on the land at Woody Head. These happened quite often on the property.
SOCIAL OCCASION: A fishermen’s picnic held on the land at Woody Head. These happened quite often on the property.

"We were so safe, once we started to swim and going around the rocks there was never any worry or risk."

In fact the land was so isolated at one stage that it took three separate ferries just to reach the riverbank at Maclean.

"I can remember as a child when my youngest sister was stung by a bee," Mrs Newton-Brown said. "She went into an anaphylactic shock so my father raced to the phone to call the local doctor in Maclean.

"The doctor had to ring ahead to stop the ferries to make sure they were all on the right side to meet each vehicle so we could meet the ambulance on Goodwood Island."

Bert and his family were the last Hammonds to live on Woody Head, with Bill selling his land in 1953.

Now, 60 years after Bill sold off, Rhonda and her sisters Laraine and Joy are parting ways with their father's pride and joy.

The land goes on the market in September.



VIDEO: Extent of juvenile justice centre blaze revealed

premium_icon VIDEO: Extent of juvenile justice centre blaze revealed

VIDEO: blaze at South Grafton correctional centre

Police make third appeal for 'dangerous' wanted man

premium_icon Police make third appeal for 'dangerous' wanted man

POLICE appeal for public information to locate Brodie Dalzell, 25.

Eight miles of issues for highway off-ramp

Eight miles of issues for highway off-ramp

Council to request an upgrade, reclassification of off-ramp

Local Partners