If you’re looking for something just a little bit different to do on a Saturday, mark April 28 in your diary. Take a drive through the beautiful Hastings hinterland to the historic village of Kendall and stop over at the Kendall Services and Citizen club for a special luncheon, held in honour of famous Australian poet, Henry Kendall. Kendall Heritage Society Inc. President, Ray O’Neill, explains the significance of this special event …
Hi Ray. What’s the aim of the Kendall Heritage Society Inc.?
The group started 13 years ago, with the aim of preserving the history of Kendall. We’ve been working on this ever since – one of our projects included the Henry Kendall statue in town.
In the past few years we’ve also produced three books: one on Kendall and the surrounding area; one on Kew and Herons Creek; and the last one was about the Lorne Valley.
We’re currently trying to see if we can have the large axe that was situated at Kew moved to Kendall, so it can be placed near the statue of Henry Kendall. The axe handle was actually damaged by white ants, and we helped to replace it … We’d also like to raise enough money to create a sculpture of a bullock team, either out of metal or some other material, but this will be quite an expensive project.
Where can the public source the Society’s books if they’d like to read them?
They’re available at the craft centre near the railway station in Kendall or from the CTC [Community Technology Centre] at Comboyne. The public can also contact members of the Kendall Heritage Society to get a copy. They’ve been very popular, and they’re great books with lots of photos and information from 1860 to 1960. We sell them for $25 each.
Describe the statue of Henry Kendall you mentioned. What was involved with this project?
We had this built about 4 or 5 years ago now. It’s made of granite, and we had to fundraise in order to have the statue built.
Henry Kendall was the first Inspector of Forests NSW. He was appointed to this position when he was in Kendall, so Forests NSW generously donated $5,000 towards the cost of the statue.
What’s the significance of Henry Kendall to the township of Kendall and surrounding areas?
Henry Kendall was brought to the Camden Haven from Gosford by the Fagan family, to work in the mills they owned in this area … He lived here from 1876 to 1881, which is when he was appointed Inspector of Forests in NSW. He had to ride a long way around the state to inspect the forests as a part of this job, and unfortunately he grew frail and died about 18 months after he was appointed to the position.
Henry Kendall was a great poet, and he wrote a lot of his good poems while he was in this area. He was actually the first Australian-born poet, so he was very important historically. The area Henry lived was originally known just as the Camden Haven, but it was renamed Kendall after him.
What’s happening at the Henry Kendall Memorial Luncheon on April 28?
We have Don Godden appearing as a guest speaker at the luncheon. Don is well known in the field of heritage architecture, and he’s Vice President of the National Trust. The patron of our society, Elaine van Kempen, will be introducing Don prior to his presentation.
We hold a memorial luncheon every year, and we always hold it as close to Henry Kendall’s birthday – which was on the 18th April – as we can.
The luncheon will start at around 12pm. Everyone is welcome to attend by purchasing a ticket for $25 – we always have an interesting guest speaker each year, and the ticket price also includes lunch.
We find a lot of people who used to live in the area regularly return for the luncheon and visit for the day.
Is the society actively seeking new members?
We’d love to have some new members join. We meet on the first Thursday of every month at the Kendall Services and Citizens’ Club at 7.30pm.
Where can people purchase tickets to the luncheon or find out more information about the Kendall heritage Society Inc.?
Tickets for the luncheon are available for $25pp by calling Sandra Haswell on 6559 4083 or at the Kendall Services and Citizens Club.
For further information about the society, please contact the Secretary, Betty Boyd, on 6585 7022.
Interview by Jo Atkins.
This story was published in issue 77 of Port Macquarie Focus