Bathurst CPSA members get a surprise during Millthorpe visit

LOOKING BACK: Leslie Stapleton reading about her uncle Eddie’s self-propelling orchard sprayer and her cousin Matthew in the Trevor Pascoe Pavilion at Millthorpe's Golden Memories Museum.

LOOKING BACK: Leslie Stapleton reading about her uncle Eddie’s self-propelling orchard sprayer and her cousin Matthew in the Trevor Pascoe Pavilion at Millthorpe's Golden Memories Museum.

TWO members of the Bathurst branch of the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association got more than they bargained for during a recent bus trip to Millthorpe.

While looking around the historic village’s Golden Memories Museum, they realised they are related to each other.

Kay Jones, a committee member of the branch, said the connection came as a surprise.

”The first building I walked into was the Pioneers’ Gallery, which was the original St Joseph’s School and had displays of a typical classroom along with the original workbooks children used in the school,” Ms Jones said.

“Portraits of pioneering families hung on the walls and it was here that I found another member of the CPSA, Leslie Stapleton, was related to me.

“Leslie was talking to friends about a photo of Amelia and Charles Wilson hanging on the wall. I overheard her and realised that we are both descendants of Pierce and Mary Collits, a pioneering family who settled in Hartley Vale.  

We are both descendants of Pierce and Mary Collits.

Kay Jones

“Leslie is a direct descendant of Amelia, who was the youngest daughter of Pierce Collits. Both the Collits and the Wilsons lived in Hartley Vale. Amelia and Charles married and eventually went to live at Forest Reefs, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

“Their property is still in that family today.”

Ms Jones said she is a direct descendant of Frances “Fanny” Collits, Amelia’s older sister, and Charles Fell, Frances’ second husband.

That wasn’t the only surprise for Ms Stapleton, according to Ms Jones.

“Hanging in the Trevor Pascoe Pavilion, which features hundreds of Australian inventions, was a small aeroplane. In fact, when Leslie first looked at it she thought it was a toy plane,” Ms Jones said.

“Upon reading the story about it, she realised her uncle Eddie Wilson had built it and her cousin Matthew had flown it when he was just 12 years old and got his pilot’s licence on that very same plane.”

Eddie Wilson, an orchardist and inventor, was “always making things”, according to Ms Stapleton.

On display in the pavilion was the New Era 55 self-propelled orchard sprayer Mr Wilson invented and made with his brother Don, who owned an engineering shop in Orange.

The sprayer is still made today and sold to orchardists across the country, according to Ms Jones.