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Henry Pond was one of the early pioneers of the Swan Bay area. He was from the Platsburg area of Wallsend. He bought land at Swan Bay in 1888, eventually moving there in 1900. The land was slowly cleared by hand for a dairy farm, orchard and market garden. Milk from the farm was carted from Swan Bay to the Oak factory at Hexham.
The spring-fed dam on the Pond farm was often used in times of drought as a town water supply in times of drought. The people would come down to the little jetty and scoop water from the dam.
Henry Pond died in 1925 (his wife in 1919), with the farm being left to Thomas Pond and then in 1960 to Eli Pond.
When the farm was owned by Cecil Cook from 1968, the site was developed, with some 28 lots of 25 acres being sold off. This was the Swan Bay Estate.
The first family at Lilley's Point, Swan Bay, was the Muston family. Muston was a timber cutter. The logs were taken by bullock team to the water's edge from where they were placed on punts and sent to Sawyers Point (Karuah). The Muston family moved to Karuah to start a saw mill.
After the Muston family came the Joass family.
Lilley's Point is the site of the original farm owned by Samuel Lilley. Samuel Lilley bought his land from James Joass.
All the equipment and supplies for the Lilley family were brought in my ship from Soldiers Point.
The Engel family lived next door to the Lilley family.
The oyster farming industry began in primitive fashion at Swan Bay by simply knocking the oysters off the rocks (rock oysters). As the demand for oysters grew, so the pioneering oyster farmers began to dredge the mud flats (mud oysters).
Eventually oysters were grown in shallow mud flats on large stones placed in rows upon timber and also upon mangrove sticks.
The bricks from the brickworks would be taken by line to Pipe Clay Creek and then by boat to Newcastle.
Some bricks made at the brickworks were used at the Newcastle Steelworks in the furnaces and coke ovens.
Bricks from the brickworks were marked P.S.F.B. This stood for 'Port Stephens Fire Bricks.'
When the owner, Mr Richardson died, the brickworks were closed.
At the abandoned brickworks site stands a large chimney.
The first church service was held at the house of S. Davis in Swan Bay. The service was taken by Reverand Robinson. He would travel from Tea Gardens to Karuah, then by boat to Swan Bay by S. Davis. A service was held on Saturday evenings, before he returned the next morning to Karuah to hold service there. Services were also held at the home of G. Davis.
Later Reverand Rooke would travel from Karuah by push bike to Reedy Creek, where one of the Lilleys' would pick him up by row boat. A service was then held in the Lilley shed. Later the service was moved to Alf Lilley's place and sometimes Les Lilley's place.
With the death of Rooke, Reverand Weston would travel to Swan Bay to hold services.
Eventually it was decided to build a hall to meet in, funds being raised by community dances and bazaars. After a few years and with a loan from the Church of England diocese of Newcastle, a hall was built. The hall was built on land donated by Jack Davis.
The first service was held in 1954 and the hall was dedicated in September 1962 by the then Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, the Reverand James Housden.
A wedding was held in the hall at one point (between Lorna Pile and Greg Nicholas).
In the 1930's, Alf and May Lilley applied for a telephone. The phone was connected to the Karuah exchange as Karuah subscriber #5.
The actual telephone line from Karuah was built by the Lilley family. This line required constant maintenance, as it was affected by winds, falling timber, bushfires, etc. Where the line crossed Reedy Creek, the wires would often get tangled and would need to be untangled. This was done by one of the Lilleys rowing across the creek and untangling it.
The actual phone was located on the family's verandah. It was used by all the residents as it was the only phone in Swan Bay for many years (until 1952).
From 1952 May Lilley operated the Mulwee Telephone Exchange. There were three subscribers, May's two sons Les and Arthur, and her nephew Pearce Lilley. This she continued until 1963 when she died.
After May Lilley's death, the exchange was moved to her son Harold's home. Eventually there were forty subscribers to the service.
The exchange went automatic from March 25, 1980.
Electricity came to Swan Bay in May 1954.
For the Mulwee School click on the link.
UPDATED: 27 February 2011
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