History of Ewingsdale
The Ewingsdale locality was named after Thomas Thomson Ewing, who provided the land on which the school was established. At first a ‘peppercorn’ rent was paid for the school site, but in 1909 the Department of Public lnstruction acquired the freehold from Ewing. The capable Ewing was closely associated with the Richmond River district for many years, first as a Department of Lands surveyor, and later as a politician.
He became a licensed surveyor with the New South Wales Department of Lands in 1877, and from then until his resignation in 1885 he did much surveying work in this district. He stood successfully for the Legislative Assembly in 1885 and held the seat of Richmond from then until 1894 and the newly-created seat of Lismore from 1894 until 1901. Ewing moved into Federal politics in 1901. He held the seat of Richmond in the House of Representatives until ill health forced his retirement in 1910.
Closely associated with Ewingsdale is the name of Flick, one of the Byron Bay district’s early settler families. William Flick and his wife Sarah came in the late 1880s to the area that later became known as Ewingsdale. William Flick brought the first school to Ewingsdale, drawn by his bullocks through the scrub from McLeod’s Shoot. lt opened on its new site in 1895 as Tyagarah School, and was renamed Ewingsdale Public School in 1909.
William Flick and his wife Sarah reflected the tenacity and commitment of pioneer farmers of the era. Not only were they instrumental in establishing the school, but they also agitated and worked for the establishment of a church.
St Columba’s Anglican Church was built a short distance to the north of the Ewingsdale school on a block of land presented for the purpose by Sir Thomas (as he was by then) Ewing. The church was opened in 1915.
Here is an interesting Prize Letter from the Northern Star which details some more of the history of the area.
Some interesting notes from the history of the Hall:
16 July 1934 Letter of thanks to Mr Duncombe for hauling electric poles. Moved that ladies who bring cakes to socials be admitted free.
20 August 1934 First electricity account paid.
17 September 1934 Prizes for Euchre Tournament – safety razors and chocolate
18 January 1937 Special Meeting to plan enlarging hall
18 February 1937 Special meeting to interview Mr Cross and Mrs Sansin re plans and prices for Hall Extensions. Mr Cross quoted 125 pounds
21 March 1938 It was decided to hold a social in aid of Hall funds. Mrs Rose was appointed to “procure necessary goods for supper”. Cigarettes and chocolate were made available for the chocolate waltz.
20 March 1945 The wearing of coats for men attending dances or socials was made compulsory