Friends of Fagan Park

Replacement of the pressed metal ceilings in Netherby Homestead were completed during June, matching the original patterns, and walls and ceiling repainted. We are in the process of cleaning and polishing all furniture, rehanging curtains, and returning all the small items that were packed away for safe keeping. The homestead should be reopened by the end of July.

More work has been done on the 1918 International truck project, mainly continuing the dismantling of the Orange chassis – this is the name we have given to the donor chassis because that is where it came from. The chassis of the donated truck was heavily modified during its life, so we have no choice but to use the Orange chassis as the basis of the restoration. We expect to use the mechanical parts of the donated truck, however. One significant item missing altogether was the water pump off the engine. We recently succeeded in locating one (not too common I can assure you!) after scouring the world, and it is now safely in our possession. Remember this is a 100-year-old machine, not that many survive, and certainly none within reasonable distance of Sydney to our knowledge.

A recent event was the hosting in Fagan Park of the National Motoring Heritage Day on 20 May, when various car clubs chose the park as its destination. About 50 historic vehicles assembled, one feature being the Sunbeam Club, which displayed various models of this well respected marque. Another repeat visitor was a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, a magnificent car as can be seen in the photo! This day was celebrated at many destinations throughout Australia, the purpose being to demonstrate the extensive interest that exists in motoring heritage.

It is my sad duty to report the passing of Mavis Andrews (née Bennett) one of our longest serving volunteers, on 26 June. Mavis had served for nearly 20 years, and had only recently retired. Her special interests were the Netherby gardens and the history of the Fagan family, she being related to them and many other pioneering families of the district. Her knowledge of the family history will be sorely missed.

The Friends of Fagan Park are on deck every Tuesday, our volunteering day. It is pleasing that many people seem to be reading these little reports, going by recent comments. We are happy to down tools to talk to visitors about the collection or the history of the place. We are always on the lookout for new members, offering everything from gardening to blacksmithing.

POSTSCRIPT: We are proud to announce that Netherby Homestead was reopened to the public on 17 July, resplendent with new ceilings and a coat of paint, and all the furnishings back in place. We also announce we will conduct an Open Day on Sunday, 30 September, when all the vehicles and tractors will be driven around the park, and the museums open to all. More details on our website and on Facebook – just look for ‘friends of fagan park’.

~Ian Browning

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