Original mayor connects with current council

Linda and Peter Kerslake with a portrait of Thomas Wellburn, Tenterfield's first mayor, and the letter Peter found in a glove box at Glen Innes tip more than 30 years ago.
Linda and Peter Kerslake with a portrait of Thomas Wellburn, Tenterfield's first mayor, and the letter Peter found in a glove box at Glen Innes tip more than 30 years ago.

The days of rubbish tip scavenging may be behind us but a fortuitous find at Glen Innes tip more than 30 years ago came full circle last week, when a page of Tenterfield history found its way home.

Peter Kerslake taught at Glen Innes High School from 1984 to 1988. He happened to be at the local tip in the bad old days when rubbish was burnt, but managed to save an interesting-looking glove box from the flames.

On investigation the box contained not only a tiny pair of ladies gloves but also postcards of Tenterfield scenes and a letter penned by Tenterfield's first mayor, Thomas Wellburn.

READ ALSO:

Mr Wellburn served from 1871 but he wrote the letter a few years later in 1881 to the mayor and aldermen of the day, in the beautiful copperplate script and formal prose of his era.

The cause of his concern was a gentleman overstocking the Western Common (now Curry's Gap) with sheep, thereby eating out the available feed.

"I have remonstrated with the owner (Mr Pillar) without any effect," Mr Wellburn wrote.

"To make matters worse, I am reliably informed that Mr Pillar has had the impudence to bring a selectors flock of sheep from Barney Downs to feed on the small piece of Common we have here.

"I trust you will order the sheep to be removed at an early a date as possible."

In fine company: Mayor Peter Petty (with a portrait of his 1871 counterpart Thomas Wellburn) and Peter and Linda Kerslake with the framed letter in the School of Arts Banquet Hall. They're accompanied by Greg Sauer, John Macnish, Tamai Davidson and Bronwyn Petrie, who spotted the find on Historic Australia.

In fine company: Mayor Peter Petty (with a portrait of his 1871 counterpart Thomas Wellburn) and Peter and Linda Kerslake with the framed letter in the School of Arts Banquet Hall. They're accompanied by Greg Sauer, John Macnish, Tamai Davidson and Bronwyn Petrie, who spotted the find on Historic Australia.

It's unknown whether Mr Wellburn's plea had the desired effect but Peter's wife Linda squirrelled away the find, only to post it on the Historic Australia Facebook site recently. It was spotted by heritage fanatic and member of the current Tenterfield Shire Council, Bronwyn Petrie.

The Kerslakes now live in Buladelah in the Hunter region but, being fans of the district, happily accepted an invitation to formally hand over the historic items to Tenterfield Shire Council.

The items are now destined to be displayed in the foyer at the Tenterfield School of Arts along with a portrait of the illustrious Mayor Wellburn that council had in storage while building work on the council offices continues.

The letter penned by Thomas Wellburn in 1881.

The letter penned by Thomas Wellburn in 1881.

This story Original mayor connects with current council first appeared on Tenterfield Star.