Fine timbers but a tough life for settlers at The Channon

The Channon Hall, c.1912
The Channon Hall, c.1912

THESE days the place known to us as The Channon is probably best remembered for its experiments with multiple occupancy of land.

However, it has had an interesting history over the years, not only because of its importance to the Indigenous peoples, but also because of settlement by the white invaders.

The first white men were the cedar-cutters who found the area full of fine timbers.

However, the hillsides were steep and the more open areas were out of bounds because they were held by squatters.

The cutters did, however, persevere for some time and logs were floated down the creeks as in other places.

Although timber-cutters remained in the area until a more commercial timber industry was established and sawmills were built it is said that timber-getting nearly cut out overnight in 1849 because of a huge flood.

Terania Creek rose so rapidly and so high that all the timber waiting to be floated downstream was lost and there was much other damage.

Many were lucky to escape drowning. Quite a few gave up and left in disgust.

Pauline Barratt has written a fine history of the area entitled "Around the Channon; a history of its places and people".

It is probably one of the best local histories we have, and it is well worth reading. She tells us that the first Europeans to select land in the area under Conditional Purchase after the Robertson Land Act were brothers Don and Jim Thorburn. This was in 1882.

The next selection was not made until 1900 when William Hall took up a lease-holding which was changed over to Conditional Purchase in 1910. Other selectors soon followed these pioneers.

Because of the many streams and creeks often running through steep terrain conditions were difficult and isolation was a big problem.

Bridges were few and most streams had a narrow footbridge or causeway which was often difficult to cross.

Flying-fox cables were also used in some places. In this way products could be carried across streams and on to market.

Getting goods to market was always a problem, however, and the early settlers were more subsistence farmers than anything else.

As the population grew small community activities were organized. Church services were initially held under trees in Wallace Road. Picnics, often organized by church groups, were held on various properties, and there were regular sporting activities.

Gradually churches were built on land donated by parishioners.

Pauline tells us The Channon has had two halls and that the present one has had two different sites.

The first hall was built on donated land situated on or near the original Thorburn selection.

The timber for it was donated by Ben Funnell and milled free of charge by Edwin Roach. This was in 1907.

Unfortunately, its life was short as it was burnt down in 1911.

The fire also destroyed irreplaceable historical documents which had been stored there for safety.

Luckily, however, the building had been insured and so the Progress Association was able to start building another hall soon afterwards.

The much bigger new hall was opened in 1912. It was moved to its present site in 1924.

Over the years The Channon has been active in welcoming new arrivals, especially those from different cultural backgrounds.

Indians and Italians were among those who were employed to work the land and then purchased their own holdings.

Perhaps it is not surprising that our experiment in multiple occupancy began there.

Topics:  history the channon

Sneaky $1 parking hike takes motorists by surprise

The cost to park at the Lismore Rowing Club car park is now $1 more. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw

It now costs $1 more to park at the rowing club.

Flu cases jump by 259% in Northern NSW

Community members are urged to access the 2017 flu vaccine.

Is there a flu crisis on the Northern Rivers?

Ten things to do in Ballina, Byron Bay and Lismore this week

The 1975 perform to a huge crowd at Splendour in the Grass 2014. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Spending a week in the Northern Rivers? Check this list out

Local Partners

Channing Tatum’s cheeky $2400 sex toy prank

ALWAYS the prankster, Channing Tatum decided he would go all out after wrapping his latest movie.

Still downloading Game of Thrones? Expect a letter

You mean to tell me HBO want to protect one of the world’s most popular shows?

HBO title holds record as most illegally downloaded show

Sam Newman's Footy Show performance baffles panel

Sam Newman on the Footy Show

“Cat got your tongue tonight has it?”

OJ Simpson loses cool as he begs to go free

Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectables sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier.

Tension at the parole hearing didn't stop OJ going free

Lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, dies age 41

Coroner spokesman Brian Elias says they are investigating Bennington's death as an apparent suicide but no additional details are available.

Chester Bennington's body was found in LA at 9am local time.

Chester Bennington’s tragic Chris Cornell connection

Bennington sings at Chris Cornell’s funeral on May 26 in Los Angeles. Picture: AP

Bennington reportedly godfather of one of Cornell’s three children

Holy schnit: This steak's the size of a small child

WHAT A STEAK: Sarah Atkins was amazed to see the Pinnacle Pub crumbed steak was bigger than one of her four-month-old twin daughters, Jorja.

It's not every day you get served a steak as big as a baby

Island resort living from just $250 a week

Couran Cove on Stradbroke Island is undergoing a makeover. Photo: Steve Holland

Resort offering permanent rentals at almost half normal rental price

New era for stunning historic Rocky venue

St Aubins Village, West Rockhampton.

St Aubins Village reopens to the public after years of closure.

Cashed-up investors driving Ipswich's luxury housing market

SOLD: Elia Youssef bought a home on Hilton Drive Camira for $830,000.

New wave of interstate investors and young super savers in town

Boom or bust? '5.5 million moving into retirement'

National Seniors said that the inequalities with the retirement sector are "a big problem and it's a growing problem".

"It's a big problem and it's a growing problem."