Yesterday Today: a look back with Alan McRae

George Haywood’s home and tanning works were in Kelso. While his tannery is long gone, his house remains. Our photo this week shows two children standing out the front.

George Haywood purchased a block of land from Michael M. McGirr during May of 1879.

William Coates was originally granted the land, some 60 acres, for his services of starting and operating a school at Kelso for the children of convicts and soldiers stationed at Bathurst. Coates could read and write, so his services were sought after by the authorities as well as local settlers.

It was Haywood who built this house on the land, naming it “Windsor Villa”, but that would later be changed to “Kiora”.

Haywood had originally worked for George A. Thompson’s Great Western Tannery on O’Connell Road at Kelso. His tanning works had started on a small scale, turning out 30 to 40 hides a week, but later, with the introduction of steam and machinery, the output increased greatly.

Haywood was working there in late November 1872 when “Kelso was submerged”. 

Thompson’s tannery lost some 30 tons of bark in tan-pit liquor and had 2000 sides of leather injured, beside dressed skins. His pits were filled with mud and slush and his house was only saved and his and his family’s lives by the providential interference of a break in the embankment.

After learning all he could, Haywood later decided to go out on his own and he established his own works, the “Kelso Tannery”, in 1883.

Haywood advertised that “having the ambition to rise above the comforts which any wage provides” and having nothing in the way of capital but his own brains and a thorough knowledge of the trade, he had set up a tannery just across the river.

He constructed new buildings and tanning pits as well as establishing dams to provide water. In all, he constructed 10 sheds which he built of the best Oregon with galvanised roofs.

Before long he had developed a good reputation among local boot and shoe-makers as well as those making harnesses for horses and bullocks.

He was continually advertising for wattle bark to use as part of his tanning process.

Haywood was known for being very community-minded and especially worked on children’s sports and activities.

In 1906, he was the honorary secretary of the Kelso Football Club Juniors (rugby union) which was captained that year by Master A. Wood, with Mr. J.J. Sullivan as club president.

Haywood was long known for his breeding and display of his game birds, poultry and ducks. His birds were much admired around Kelso and Bathurst.

Haywood also entered his birds in the annual Orange Show. He won many awards. For example, there was a report in the Bathurst Times on May 17, 1887 that Mr G. Haywood had been successful at the Hawkesbury Show and had sold some of his exhibits.

Haywood had taken 12 prizes – three special, five first and four seconds in the game classes, with Colonial Duck wing, Colonial black-red, Colonial hen feather, Colonial any colour and British game.

In 1910, Haywood decided to retire to Sydney and he held a sale prior to his departure. “Windsor Villa” was also sold.

The property was advertised as “a beautifully and healthily situated and substantially built brick villa residence with 9 inch walls and cedar fittings” on four acres of good wheat land with stables, buggy shed, man’s house, hay shed and outhouses.

At the same auction, Haywood’s well-known bay horse and his furniture, including a splendid toned Broadway grand pianoforte, and solid oak nine piece drawing room suite, were included.

The National Advocate felt that Haywood’s beautiful villa home in its charming position on the heights of Kelso should be a strong inducement to those in search of a refined home.

HOUSE AND HOME: George Haywood's home, pictured with two children out the front, remains in Kelso.

HOUSE AND HOME: George Haywood's home, pictured with two children out the front, remains in Kelso.

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