Thursday, August 31, 2017

Whatever happened to...Sandy Creek

I have recently had some very interesting queries about specific places in central Wagga Wagga , which prompted me to think about some little places around the district that have disappeared over the years, references to which I have often wanted to research but have hit the proverbial wall of no information.  Sandy Creek is one of those intriguing local areas that had a vibrant past that still lives in documents, newspapers and old maps.

Here is a map showing Sandy Creek in relation to Wagga Wagga :

image courtesy Google Maps

The Wagga Wagga City Library has the minute book from the Sandy Creek Presbyterian Church 1919 to 1940 as part of its local studies collection. The minutes, written in ink and pencil, only take up half a plain black covered exercise book. The minutes point to there being an actual building, a church, in Sandy Creek itself, but I have not been able to find an area on a map or a reference in a book that shows where the actual building stood. 

The minutes discuss very practical concerns such as repairs to the church, replacing hymn books, and creating a social group for younger members of the congregation. All minutes closed with the following:

Other references I found on Sandy Creek in conjunction with a Presbyterian church are in Kengal  Lion of the plains : the story of the Rock, edited by Charles Maish, 1984 , and a plain advertisement in the Daily Advertiser of 1923.

“In 1906 The Rock was included in the new Parish of Lockhart with James Jennings as  minister. Then in 1910 a new parish was formed comprising The Rock, Collingullie,  Sandy Creek and Tootool."

                                             Kengal Lion of the plains, p 73 

In 1923 there was an advertisement in the Daily Advertiser for a concert and supper at the church:

from the Daily Advertiser, Saturday 13 October 1923

Other aspects showing that Sandy Creek was a thriving little community are also seen in a Trove newspaper search. In 1882, Sandy Creek had their own football team:

from: The Wagga Wagga Advertiser, Tuesday 1 August 1882

As the little community in Sandy Creek progressed, the land holders agitated for a school for the area, saying that thirty children would benefit from this, and it was "four miles" to a school at The Rock, clearly a long way to travel in the days before easily accessible transport. It would have been a very hard walk at the height of summer, too. 

from The Wagga Wagga Express, Thursday 25 October 1900

In 1900 a bushfire passed through Sandy Creek over the course of some days and caused extensive damage (and injury to those who tried to protect their property):

from: the Wagga Wagga Advertiser, Thursday 20 December 1900

In 1901, a local district luminary of the Best family who had owned the Sandy Creek station, died: 

from the Wagga Wagga Advertiser, Thursday 31 October 1901

The Best family are well known as a major part of the local district history and the Best family graves are still in Truscott Drive, Wagga Wagga. George and Martha Best, the original Bests, were convicts, whose children became graziers and property holders in the district. The local historical connections between districts are endlessly fascinating and any research is always rewarding. 

As with all searches for historical information, the information, photograph or map location may or may not exist at this point in time. Many people do expect historical information to be all accessible, all of the time, but in reality this is often not the case.

If anyone has any information about the history of the Sandy Creek community and/or the Sandy Creek Presbyterian Church, or any photographs of the area,  let us know !  Drop by the Information desk at the library, or email

Happy researching 🙂 

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