The following is reproduced from The Book of Bournewood, published in 1984, by kind permission of the Centenary Book Committee, Bournewood Baptist Church, who are the copyright holders. Many thanks to Graeme Wykes of Australia for all his help in making this information available.
John Wykes was the eldest son of James and Susan Wykes. He was born in Lincolnshire, England on March 22, 1842. He was 11 years old and was able to read when the family arrived in Australia in 1852 on board the Hydaspes.
On the arrival of the Hydaspes in Sydney, James was engaged to work on Byrmadura or Bimedrie Station as Molong, by the owner Mr Douglas or his agent With a party of others they set out over the Blue Mountains on the trip which was to take them four weeks.
However, contemporary reports indicate that the trip could be a far from pleasant one. The road was little more than a track with wagon ruts two feet deep. On many parts of the journey those riding on the wagons, the women and young children, had to alight to help push the wagons up the mountain and then alight again for the descent as there was no hope of stopping a loaded wagon should it get away from the team.
The few inns along the way at that time charged such exorbitant rates that only the wealthy could usually afford to use them. This meant whole families would be forced to camp out under their wagon which they had either purchased or hired in Sydney. The trip was a very harrowing experience for a family with small children, especially if it was undertaken during winter.
After the family arrived in Molong John's father began work for Mr Douglas. Shortly after the property was sold to Captain Finch.
We know nothing of John during this period but as he was 21 by the time he father left there to take up his selection at The Shades, it is possible that John too worked for Captain Finch.
About a year later, in 1864. when John was 22 years old, he married Ellen Wing who had come from Lincolnshire also. Ellen was about 17 when she came to Australia and was the eldest daughter of John Thomas Wing and Jane Brackenry. After John Wing's death, around 1855, Jane had married William Higgenbotham, hence the confusion surrounding Ellen's surname. Her mother, Jane, was known as Granny Higgenbotham.
In 1878. John had followed stock which had strayed from The Shades to the Bournewood area so he selected 400 acres in the true "peacocking" fashion. That is, selecting land along the water courses and leaving the higher, unwatered land to the late-comers.
By this time John was 38 years of age and so he brought his wife, Ellen, and their children Jane aged 11, Lucy 9, John (J.T.) 7, James 5, Emma 3 and Ellen 1. William, Ada, George, Mary, Arthur end Allan were born after the move to Bournewood.
All of John's brothers and sisters, as well as his parents, followed there to the Bournewood district.
John worked his selection, Portion L17, which was just below the present Bournewood Church, for 11 years before he died there of a long standing lung condition on May 25, 1888. He was aged 46 years two months and was buried at the Curra Creek cemetery four days later with one, Samuel Turner as minister.
This left his widow Ellen, with 12 children ranging from Allan, aged two yearn to Jane, 22 years who had married George Astill three years earlier. The two eldest sons, John (J.T.) and James were 19 and 17 respectively.
Ellen and the children. particularly J.T. and James had to take over the running of the selection although they had apparently been contributing a considerable amount of effort all along.
There was no school at Bournewood until 1864 so even it there had been the time for the older children to attend school, the facilities were not there. As a result of these factors. J.T. could not read and could write only his name. It is highly probable that the other, older family members suffered similarly.
On February 5, 1 893, five years after his father's death, J.T. married Sarah Ball, the daughter of David and Martha Ball, residents or The Shades. By this time J.T. had selected Rosebud, west of his father's block. After their wedding, J.T. and Sarah got on their horses and rode from Molong back to Rosebud. They had a slab house on the Chinaman's Creek and they lived there for many years. Their elder children, Ida. Harold, David, Abel, Ernest, Samuel and Guide were born there before they built a brick home on higher ground to the north of the creek. The bricks for the new house were made and kilned on the site. clay coming from a dam in what was known as the "middle paddock" north of the home site.
Three more daughters, Letta, Ellen who died in infancy. and Janet were born to J.T. and Sarah.
J.T. was a good judge of stock and ran stock of top merinos as well as growing wheat. He obtained a lease of 400 acres, now known as Masdine, and purchased an additional 500 acres from the McCullochs of Buckinbah. This made Rosebud 1480 acres. He died of cancer in 1928 aged 57 years.
Meanwhile, his mother Ellen. had moved to Wellington where she lived until advanced years forced her to return to Bournewood where she lived with her daughter-in-law, Sarah, at Rosebud. She died there in 1927 of a stroke.
Soon after, Sarah moved to Yeoval where she lived until three years before her death. She died at Mudgee in 1962 aged 90 years. Her knowledge of the Bible was an inspiration.
After Sarah moved to Yeoval her son, Ern and his family resided on Rosebud. They were followed by Em's son, John and on Sarah's death, Rosebud was sold to the Morris family and is now run as part of Sunset.
J.T. and Sarah's eldest child, Ida, lived all her life in the Yeoval/Bournewood area. In 1913 she married Ernest Sparkes and of their five children only Henry remains in the district. Jean being at Dubbo, Sylvia at Cobar and Fay at Wollongong. Arthur passed away in Dapto.
Aunty Ida as she was known to everyone was loved by those who knew her. Her influence on the young people of the district was immeasurable. Until her death in November 1958 she had lived in Yeoval with her mother, Sarah.
Her brother Harold had married a local qirl. Tot (Hannah) Whttaker in 1919.He was the baker at Yeoval for many years, finally passing the business o to his son Reg in the 1950s when he and Tot moved to Dapto. Their two sons Reg and Bruce both live on the South Coast.
The second of J.T. and Sarah's five sons, David left Bournewood for Wellington. His widow, formerly Beulah Wetland still lives there. Dave was the only family member to qo to World War I and this experience left him in ill health in latter years. He died in 1975.
The next son, Abel, married into a well known local family when he married Francis Pickford. They had five children, Les, Mervyn, Doris, George and Albert. Albert was born after Abel's very untimely death at 29 years of age. Most of the family still live in the area.
Ernest, J.T. and Sarah's only son still living, lived on the family property Rosebud for many years. He had also been the milkman in Yeoval, taking over from another well know personality, Pierce Blatch.
Ern married Alice Miller and with the younger of their 10 children left Bournewood for Wellington. Ern now divides his time between members of his family.
Samuel married Enid Melhuish in 1 924 and they had one son. Sam died aged 36. His widow and son Paul continued to Jive at Bournewood for many years before going to Tooraweenah.
Back in 1924 Dulcie had married Leslie Mumford at the Bournewood Church They lived in the area for many years before ~going to Grenfell then in the late 1940s they moved to Mudgee. Dulcie still lives there, Les having died in 1983, 59 years after their marriage.
Letta married Yeoval man Russell Johnson in 1926. In 1933, after seven years in the area they moved to Grenfell where they remained until about 1960 when they moved to Sydney. Their sons Kevin and Clive live at Grenfell and their daughters Brenda Matthews and Lois Rasmussen live in Sydney. Letta lives in St Ives following Russ's death in September 1983.
Janet, the youngest child or J.T. and Sarah married Sid Johnson a brother of Russ, in 1930. They also lived near Yeoval for a couple of years before going to Grenfell in 1932. In 1945 they purchased the Yeoval property Buckinbah and remained there until 1962 when they purchased another property outside Orange. 1962 was also the year that Sid became President of the NSW Baptist Union, receiving support from his home churches, the Yeoval Bournewood Church.
In 1973 they moved from their property into Orange where they still live.
Their eldest son Leo now lives in Sydney, another, Wilfred lives in Dubbo. Elvin and Ron on Buckinbah, and Reg on the Orange property. Daughters Marjorie Blatch and Sue Job live at Yeoval.