The Cooke Cairn is made from bricks taken from Fairfield Homestead built by William Freeborn in 1889.
The Cooke Cairn is made from bricks taken from Fairfield Homestead built by William Freeborn in 1889.

Road builders save historic cairn

ROAD workers on the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale Pacific Hwy upgrade have gone an extra mile to help preserve a memorial dating from the early settlement of the North Coast.

The Cooke Cairn was erected by Ian Cooke on his property at Newrybar using bricks from the chimney of Fairfield Homestead.

Vice-President of the Alstonville Plateau Historical Society, Ina le Bas, said Fairfield Homestead was built by William Freeborn in 1889 on the first land grants in Alstonville.

"The Freeborns were the first settlers in Alstonville," she said.

"They had to walk from Alstonville to Casino to lodge their land claim, so the bricks from their house go right back to Alstonville's settlement."

Ms le Bas said Fairfield Homestead was moved from Alstonville to Eltham in 1990.

"Ian Cooke asked the people moving it if he could take 100 bricks from the chimney and he used the bricks to build a cairn on his property at Newrybar," she said.

When Mr Cooke's property was acquired by the RTA for the highway upgrade he enlisted the historical society to try to preserve the cairn.

NSW Minister for the North Coast, Don Page, said the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) team working on the highway were only too happy to relocate the cairn.

"The Roads and Maritime Services work crew liaised with Ballina Shire Council to find a suitable site for the memorial's relocation, and together they found a council-owned reserve in Alstonville near the original site," he said.

The Cooke Cairn now has pride of place at Tanamera Dr in Alstonville, complete with a plaque describing the history of Fairfield Homestead.

  

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