The Bain family | remembered around Wauchope

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FROM bridges and parks to mountains and lakes their names live on, but have you ever wanted to know more about the people behind these place names…. 

THE  Bains came from Scotland and made a big contribution to Wauchope and the name lives on with a park, a street and a bridge all named in their honour.

And Ray Cooper of the Wauchope Historical Association has written their history.

Alexander Bain's family home was named 'Letterewe' after his home place in Scotland and it's beside what's now the Lank Bain sporting complex on the Beechwood Road.

Alexander Bain's family home was named 'Letterewe' after his home place in Scotland and it's beside what's now the Lank Bain sporting complex on the Beechwood Road.

Alexander Bain was one of the original settlers in the district. He and his wife, Catherine came from Scotland and settled in the Hastings in 1839, beside what’s now the Lank Bain sporting complex on Beechwood Road.

Alexander named their home ‘Letterewe’ in memory of the district in Scotland from where he hailed, as ‘Ewe’ was the name of a local river and ‘Letter’ is Gaelic for the bank of the river.

After partially developing his land, Alexander bought the Yeppin Yeppin estate and farms at King Creek and Koree Island. When he saw the chance, he sold house blocks from the estate by private treaty.

His great belief and leadership in his Free Presbyterian religion saw Alexander, in 1873 build the first church in the Upper Hastings – the Free Kirk Church at ‘Letterewe’ plus a manse.

Founding father: Alexander Bain came from Scotland and settled in Wauchope, with his wife, Catherine.

Founding father: Alexander Bain came from Scotland and settled in Wauchope, with his wife, Catherine.

With Alexander’s death in 1892, his only son, Duncan inherited two farms of the ‘Letterewe’ estate. While his father was acquisitive, Duncan was more interested in public life.

Through his generosity, the name of Bain became legendary with his donations of blocks of land for schools, churches and other community facilities such as the showground in Wauchope. Bain Park bears his name. 

Duncan married twice, and from these two marriages produced 17 children. His son, Jas became a dairy and pig farmer, and his pigs were taken by steamer from Port Macquarie to Sydney.  During World War One, he bought a milking machine for his cows.

His wife, Ivy had a lot of fowls running around the yard that used to roost up in big orange trees, as Jas had no time to build roosts. 

The family planted a large orchard and grew peaches, apricots, apples, pears, persimmons, prunes, mulberries and quinces. 

One of their children, George lived to celebrate his hundredth birthday this year.

For a while, the Bains had a sulky and pony, allowing them to follow their favourite sport, Saturday football, as far away as Telegraph Point, Hamilton and Beechwood.

As the family grew, they bought a buggy, but there were just too many of them to fit in. This meant that the kids had to get out and push whenever they came to a hill.

Years later, Jas bought a Model T Ford from Cecil Payne, as it was evident that this was the only way he could take his large family around.

In 1926, Jas and Ivy contracted Arthur Mackay to build them a new home in town at a price of £400 ($800). All the timber came from one tree that Jas purchased from Arthur at Rollands Plains.

Town benefactor: the generosity of Duncan Bain in giving land to the community ensured that the family name will be remembered in Wauchope.

Town benefactor: the generosity of Duncan Bain in giving land to the community ensured that the family name will be remembered in Wauchope.

Their uncle, Hec Bain and his family and many others used a bush track near what is now Bain Bridge.  It was a convenient shortcut to Wauchope, as it crossed over Yeppin Yeppin Creek.

As this creek always had water in it, the Bains provided a small punt equipped with oars to allow people to cross safely. Eventually, Jas decided to build a log bridge across the creek. 

It remained in place for a number of years, until a large flood washed it away and Jas built a swinging bridge across the creek, using his horses.

One could say that boxing was part of the make-up of the Bain family, it seemed to run in the blood. So much so that they became known as the ‘Boxing Bains.’  

When Ray and Joan Bain and their family moved into Campbell Street, they established a club in their garage.  They held their first boxing contest in 1961 and four contenders for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games were on the program.

The boxing club may be gone, but the name Bain is etched on the memory of Wauchope.

This story What’s in a name | Bain Park first appeared on Wauchope Gazette.