Gresford and East Gresford are two attractive village settlements in the area which is bounded by the Allyn and Paterson Rivers.
Gresford was named after the town on the Allyn River in North Wales, Great Britain and was first inhabited between 1812 and 1820 by itinerant cedar cutters.
In the early 1820's Charles Boydell was granted "Camyr Allyn" and George Townshend "Cawarra". Later William Boydell was granted "Caergwrle" at Allynbrook and built the beautiful Church of St Mary on Allyn, and Alexander Park purchased "Lewinsbrook". John Phillip Webber was granted land north of Gresford on the Paterson River, now the areas of Mt Rivers and Lostock. Dr Lindeman purchased "Cawarra" in 1842 and the vineyards were commenced in 1843.
A good place to seek out some of Gresford's past is to visit St Anne's Church. The Townshend family gave the land for a church and cemetery and it is thought that burials started around 1850. The present St Anne's was built in 1898, although some controversy exists over the actual date of the laying of foundation stone.
A look inside the church is a must to view the stained glass windows, many of which were donated by early families, among them the Lindemans.
Outside the Church a lane leads to the Paterson River and the original ford, part of the main road from Dungog to Singleton. Also visible is very old Ard-na-Hane, a staging post for Coaches travelling from Singleton and Gloucester.
There are many other historical buildings in the area. Amongst them is the St Helens Catholic Church opened in 1867, the local pub which is over 100 years old, the General Store over 90 years old and the Police Station.
Spend a few days in Gresford at one of our B&B's or the local Hotel. After you have spent the first days exploring the immediate region with it's history and beautiful scenery you will find a day trip to the Lower Hunter or Upper Hunter wineries or the Barrington Tops an easy task, returning in the evening to the country peace.
Daytrippers can travel along Allyn River Road from East Gresford, through the valley to Eccleston and the Upper Allyn, where the old timer mill village still exists until they reach the forest. Here Pademelons, Lyre Birds, Wallabies, Potaroos and numerous birds can be found. BBQ's are provided and the popular Ladies Well swimming hole is always full of pristine Allyn River water. This area is a popular picnic and camping spot. The peatbog Burrago Swamp and walk is a 1 kilometre drive. This walk is a spectacular experience with Tree Ferns under a canopy of giant fig trees giving the impression of a "fairyland".
Lostock Dam on the beautiful Paterson River is a 25 minute drive from Gresford. The Dam is a peaceful place for a BBQ, picnic or water sports. Fishing, canoeing, windsurfing, swimming and low powered boating is accommodated. The drive to the Dam is a very relaxing and scenic one, as the road follows the river past many rural properties. For 4 Wheel Drivers, the Boonabilla Road meets the pristine and beautiful head of the Paterson River, which is less frequented.
Every year our local events grow in popularity. These include the Gresford Show in March, the Rodeo in August and the Billy Cart Derby and Easter Fair on Easter Saturday. Make sure you book early!
Located north of East Gresford, the village of Allynbrook grew up around Boydell's Caegrwle Estate which was taken up by him in 1836. The population of the village grew in the 1850's with the establishment of early agricultural industry, particularly tobacco. Located close to the forests, timber became a significant industry in the 1860's.
The village remained isolated until the 1890's when it was serviced by a coach and later a motor service. Population continued to increase throughout the early 1900's with the advent of dairying and in 1950 Allynbrook was described as being 'a thriving community', however the village subsequently declined with the downturn of dairying. The post office closed in 1977 and the locality is now a scattered and picturesque settlement.
The village of Eccleston apparently originated with Alexander Seymour's property, taken up in the 1830's in the predominantly Welsh Gresford district. Located north of Allynbrook, Eccleston was very isolated throughout the 19th Century, with roads in the area not constructed until 1920. Eccleston was an important dairying and citrus growing area, with goods sent by road to Paterson.
Located on the Paterson River north of Gresford. Originally John Webber's estate selected in the early 1830's. Both localities have boasted a school, with Lostock stilll having its own hall.
The locality of Lewinsbrook was derived from the original estate of Alexander Park.
Located north of Gresford, between Allynbrook and Eccleston, Halton was the name of the original property acquired by George Townshend in the late 1830's.
Extract from Dungog Shire Council's Community Profile of Dungog Local Government Area 1999