140 descend on Bridle and Wilkinson reunion

The Buddong Society. For more photos of the Buddong Society Reunion see the Tuesday, May 9, and Friday, May 12, editions of the Tumut and Adelong Times.

Over 140 descendants of two Tumut men, William Bridle and William Wilkinson, filled the Anglican Church Hall on Saturday for the launch of their third book of family history, ‘The Buddong Flows On; Those Precious Ones.’

This volume was primarily authored by Colin Wilkinson and Margaret Francis, with the index by Barbara Crighton, and this volume alone took over four years to complete. It’s the third in the series of Buddong family history, with the first being published 24 years ago in 1993.

Colin’s wife Val Wilkinson explained her view of the extraordinary journey.

“Many hours have been devoted to this undertaking, and I think you will all be thrilled at the result,” she said.

“Margaret and Col have met every week, either in Tumut or in Wagga, and the emails have been running hot for five years.

“We can speak first hand of the dedication and effort of this book’s production. Margaret Francis has lived and breathed the Buddong books for 27 years. She has been involved with the Buddong Society for over 45 years, and Margaret’s family have grown up with Buddong. It has been part of their lives since babyhood, and now her grandchildren are coming [to reunions].

“Rod Francis has patiently supported Margaret on the many trips to collect memorabilia or stay in touch. When Margaret’s mother Stella was alive there were weeks on end with the two of them ensconced in the lounge room with folders and papers spread from one end to the other, as the pages were set up ready for the printers.

“Now, Margaret can have time to enjoy her five grandchildren, without the constant thought of ‘Buddong!’ ringing in her ears.”

The Buddong Society is named for Talbingo’s Buddong Falls, a special place for both William Bridle and William Wilkinson, and was formed in 1967.

There are 11 family branches stemming off from the original Williams, with 10 of them making the journey to River Street on Saturday.

Family members travelled from Victoria, Queensland, the ACT, and Tasmania to celebrate the book launch in the spot where it all began: Tumut.

The book is 600 pages and weighs two and a half kilograms, which actually represents a more condensed version of the full content created as it progressed.

“It isn’t light bedtime reading!” joked Colin Wilkinson.

A previous Buddong Society volume won the Alexander Henderson Award for Best Australian Family History, and the clan thinks this volume will be a solid contender to win it again.

“It’s becoming quite popular to write histories, but there’s none as good as ours!” said Buddong Society President Robin Bridle.