Pioneers have an important place in our history. They confirm our beginnings and give us role models. Over the years, as a community retells its history, it sometimes relegates a pioneer to the basement or the margins.
At the same time as Mrs J B Simpkins, wife of Councillor Simpkins, switched on the lights at the sub-station in McDonald Street Kandos, my grandfather’s four-year old daughter Josie, sitting on her uncle’s shoulders, reached over and switched on the lights in their home.
What did it take, I ask myself, to create a town and industry at the beginning of last century?
Suddenly through the night air came the thrilling sounds of a brass band “marching in from the back blocks”. It drew crowds to the main street. It drew children with their own tin-can band.
The Kandos Progress Association helped build much of Kandos. Yet there is no visible testimony. Thankfully there is plenty of evidence in newspapers of the time.
A hall built by visionaries to suit a town built by visionaries. A building that has shaped our community, provided a focal point and improved our quality of life.
There will always be questions I forgot to ask my mother but there’s a good chance I’ll find some answers in the Mudgee Guardian. They say nothing is as dead as yesterday’s newspaper. But I say at least you can dig up your ancestors.
The establishment of a railway station and sidings for the new town of ‘Candos’ was one of the first priorities of NSW Cement, Lime and Coal Company. After all they had to despatch goods in order to receive revenue. Luckily their chairman James Angus had knowledge and contacts.
The new church certainly created a lot of interest outside the town, as well as inside. “A unique Methodist Church,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald, “...of Mexican mission style...flat-roofed...the only one of its kind in the State.” According to the Kandos Star it had been likened to “a picture show, town gaol, synagogue or vault.”
The Australian dream to own a ‘quarter acre block’ entered the Australian psyche around the time Kandos was established in 1915, though that dream grew dramatically after World War 2.