Revised Tamworth history a great read

A GROUP of dedicated history buffs have rewritten some of the history of Tamworth – but in the very best tradition of showcasing our heritage and our history pioneers.

Research officer Barry Ford did the lion’s share of the work, first painstakingly produced by the late historian and former Tamworth teacher Jim Hobden.

Mr Hobden’s original text, a paperback edition economically produced with photocopiers and typewriters, has been transformed this time around into a colour-cover production.

Mr Hobden’s book was published in 1988 after he’d produced a series of talks for radio on the lives of the early Tamworth pioneers, one of a number of selfless and generous acts where he shared the long hours of his love for research into our history.

According to Tamworth Historical Society spokeswoman Del Brooke, the demand since its first print prompted the publication of this updated version.

Retired accountant Barry Ford updated the detail, his wife, retired teacher Marlene Ford, proofread it all and published author and historian and academic Warren Newman assembled it all ready for printing.

It was done, says Mrs Brooke, to fulfil Jim Hobden’s original intention “with a sincere desire that it will be of assistance to teachers, particularly the younger ones and those with a limited knowledge of Tamworth and the history of the Peel Valley”.

Among the changes to the original text are updated property information, including new owners and better identification of properies. The new edition has added either the name of the present occupier, street numbers or a description of the site to enable better identification. 

They’ve also updated the appendix to include listings of significant events since 1988.

“The book is a detailed story of Tamworth and the surrounding district from the time of occupation by the Kamilaroi people, of the explorers, squatters and adventurers who were the first white people to view the fertile Peel Valley,” the society says.

It includes the involvement of the Australian Agricultural Company in establishing the town of 

Tamworth and the way of life of the people who helped in this development. 

There are chapters devoted to life in general, communication, law and order, schools, hospitals and health, and gives us an insight into how and why streets and place names came about.

Called From The Dreamtime to the Iron Horse, it also encapsulates the coming of the train to this region – the reason for the title.

The original edition contained 14 photographs but in this new edition Warren Newman has included more than 50 photos from his own collection.

The book is available from the historical society and will be officially launched at 10.30am on Wednesday at Calala Cottage, the Denison St home of the society.

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