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North Beach Mylestom

Extract from an article written by Mr H. J. Hobson for the Bellingen Centenary in 1963. Kindly reproduced with permission from the Bellinger Valley Historical Society.

North Beach Mylestom

North Beach Mylestom

Long before the turn of the century and up to the time travelling was made easier and faster with the advent of motor vehicles, the most popular picnic and fishing resort for residents of the Bellinger District was North Beach.

It is remarkable the number of changes in the outline of the area that have taken place, particularly since 1900, due to havoc caused through encroaching sand making big inroads on to the land. Before any houses were built, North Beach actually commenced where it now finishes as far as it concerned the portion utilised for camping or picnicking. The reserve extended from Tucker’s Flat to Potts Point, but only the area from where the Mylestom General Store now stands to Potts Point was suitable for camping and picnicking. The rest of the reserve was covered with bush and undergrowth. Over the years since then the camping area has dwindled down considerably and the part of the reserve under bush has now become a residential area. The only building on the camping reserve prior to 1900 was a weatherboard shed with a large galvanised tank attached.

About one acre of land was also fenced for paddocking horses. Access to this area was along what could best be described as a sandy track, very uneven, and a real menace to drivers of horse drawn vehicles when churned up by heavy traffic. Over the Easter and Christmas-New Year periods tents on the reserve would be very numerous, often exceeding 100 over the Xmas period. People came down from Dorrigo, Ebor and the New England Tablelands to supplement the local contingent.

Fishing with pippies (usually very plentiful), particularly at the Bar, attracted many enthusiasts. Walks along the beach or by inland track to Bundagen were popular with the non-anglers. The main attraction however, was surfing. Crowds sporting in the breakers or congregated on the sands made the scene one typical of a Sydney beach at holiday time.

About 1905, a small building was erected on the camping area and over the Xmas period for many yars was utilised as a store. The amenities provided a real service and a profitable investment to those in charge.

Excursions from Bellingen to the beach were run on occasions by Mr Doepel Senior and later by his son Harry, in their large river lighters, and were always popular. With the Bellingen band and an orchestra on board to provide entertainment, the holiday-makers enjoyed themselves immensely.

North Beach Urunga

North Beach Urunga

Starting time was 9am and the return trip was timed to reach Bellingen by 10pm. The night trip provided entertainment on a grand scale, with dancing and concerts being featured. The late Mrs Wunderlich usually ran a fruit, drinks and cake stall on board the boat, proceeds of which were handed over to the hospital. Her contributions were augmented by the fares collected. It was not unusual for the proceeds to exceed a hundred pounds, and as there were no Government subsidies in those days, the funds handed in assisted the Hospital Board in no small way in the upkeep of the hospital.

Also interesting in the early days was the view of ocean-going vessels making their way up to Repton to load up with timber. A start on the building of houses on the reserve was not commenced until after the turn of the century.

Worthy of mention is the great interest taken in the early affairs of North Beach by Dr. Tom Myles, of Bellingen. During his many years at Bellingen, both before and during the period of the first world war, the doctor loved to travel down to North Beach on every possible occasion. He possessed a large launch which was used for making the trips to the beach. He also had a smaller boat for use at the beach for fishing and sailing. He was a sailing enthusiast and it was through his efforts that regattas were held for which there was good support. Up to a dozen 16 foot boats competed in the races, and rowing events were also conducted. They were a big attraction and continued on for a few years.

It was after Dr. Myles had left the district that a Post Office was established at North Beach and the decision was made to give the beach a new name. As a token of regard to the doctor the name chosen was Mylestom, his name in reverse.