Buddong Society reunion

The members of the Buddong Society can follow the history of Australia through their family tree.

There are over 130 members, and they are all descended from two early settlers in the Tumut region: William Bridle, who owned the Talbingo station, and William Wilkinson, who owned neighbouring Yallowin station.

Some of the children of those two men married each other, and their descendants have been keeping track ever since. They’ll be in town this weekend for a reunion and a book launch; for the third volume of the group’s rich family history that they have written themselves, called ‘Those Precious Ones.’

Buddong Society secretary Margaret Francis said anyone is welcome to come to the launch, which will take place at 2pm on Saturday at the Anglican Church Hall, River Street.

“William Bridle’s father-in-law was a First Fleeter, and that’s where we have the connection with Miles Franklin as well, through her father Edward Miles,” Ms Francis explained.

“William Bridle and William Wilkinson were both pioneers in the town. We call ourselves ‘Buddong’ because both the Bridles and the Wilkinsons had connections to Buddong Falls and the Buddong Creek.

“We regard [Buddong Falls] as the heart of it: geographically, and symbolically, because it flows down the creek and it flows into the river and it flows onwards and that’s exactly what they did. They started with pastoral properties up the river, and then as they got older they retired into the town of Tumut, and had a town block, and then after that the next generations went off again.

“[Our family’s] followed the Australian tradition, where there was this big centre in Tumut and then even from the early 1900s some of the family was gravitating to Sydney. Contact dispersed a bit into the war years, but some of them kept it up, and they’re the ones who rekindled our family group in the sixties, as a nostalgic family group.

“We’ve had 24 reunions since then.”

The reunion this weekend is their eighth in Tumut, with one of them attracting over 200 people.

“We’re very proud that the family’s kept this up,” said Ms Francis.