Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Whatever happened to Highfields?

Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Cudgen, and many other country towns had one - a Progress Association. But it wasn’t until last year’s discovery of a “recipe book” that the existence of the Highfields District Progress Association was rediscovered.

Highfields District Progress Association
Minute book
A simple school exercise book originally used to record the Association’s meeting minutes was turned into a scrapbook for recipes cut from newspapers and magazines, but thankfully, not all of them were glued in completely and enough of a record remains to confirm the Association’s activity.

Excerpts from the Minutes book are included in this article. They extend frm the years November 1937 to July 1940, although it is not known whether this was when the Association wound up. However, the national web service Trove provides some of the earliest information about this Association, as shown in the newspaper articles included here. [i] 

The Highfield Progress Association was initially established in 1918.[ii] There were immediate issues to contend with which, in fact, had inspired the group to form. The first problem, the road to the Bilambil-Cobaki ferry, was described in the Tweed Daily on 8 January 1918.[iii] This article also explains the intended operation of the group: residents were to meet at a private home, a membership fee of two shillings per year is to be imposed, and issues affecting all residents were to be discussed, but always with the big picture in mind: “The opening up of closer settlement is certain on these coastal slopes. There is a big piece of country – scrub and lantana jungle – within easy reach of Tweed Heads that would make good homes with an assured income, and the Highfield Progress Association is out in the interest of all to assist in the development of their own and kindred areas.”

Before the Second World War, a new advertisement appeared in the Daily News on Tuesday 12 October 1937. 

The name Highfields was well established before the second Progress Association was convened. It was the recipient of spasmodic postal services in the 1920s [iv]. It appeared in NSW Electoral Rolls from 1930 onwards. It was provided as the address for representatives on the Banana Marketing Board [v]; Highfield women formed a sewing and knitting circle during the Second World War [vi], and even the local Council used the name well beyond the 1940s [vii]...

The full article is included in Issue 114 of The Log Book, the journal of the Tweed Heads Historical Society, and is available for purchase. The Society provided unstinting support in the publishing of this article.

[i] Trove is at http://trove.nla.gov.au. It contains digitised historical newspapers including The Tweed Daily, trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/title/1007
[ii] 1918 'ROUND THE RIVERS.', Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876      - 1954), 12 January, p. 2,
[iii] HIGHFIELD. (1918, January 8). Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW : 1914 - 1949), p.2, 
[iv] LOWER TWEED POSTAL SERVICES. (1920, April 17). Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW : 1914 -     
[v] BANANA MARKETING Board. (1935, July 18). Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW : 1914 - 1949),  p.5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194223485
[vi] DONATIONS BY TWEED HEADS RED CROSS BRANCH. (1940, September 18). Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW : 1914 - 1949), p.5. 
[vii] TWEED SHIRE COUNCIL'S WORKS PROGRAMME. (1948, April 15). Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah,  NSW : 1914 - 1949), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195502491