Woolgoolga – The History of a Village


$30.  Available from David Fayle via website contact page, or Woolgoolga Newsagency.


Since they sold out in 1996, copies of the only comprehensive history book on Woolgoolga have been as rare as hens’ teeth. Now, thanks to Woolgoolga Rotary, the book is available again – with 20 new pages, including 4 full-colour plates; 304 pages in all. The late Neil Yeates, professor at UNE in Armidale, wrote “Woolgoolga: the History of a Village” for residents, both longstanding and recent, as well as for students and visitors interested in learning about the history and culture of the place they are in.

The importance of this book should not be underestimated. It was a colossal achievement, and few of us can fully appreciate the meticulous research that went into it. It is full of historical photographs, most of which can be seen nowhere else (even on the new Woolgoolga Heritage Walk panels). As with any historical work, it is not perfect. Long-term locals are likely to pick out facts that they dispute, but the Heritage Walk team’s research has found that in such cases, the book quite often turns out to be correct. The tools and resources available to the historical researcher in 2013 are far more powerful than those available to Professor Yeates more than 30 years before, and inevitably there are some topics about which more is known now. The new 20-page section presents the recent findings on four significant topics, along with photos and maps. The new edition does not otherwise update the 1994 edition of the book.

When the Yeates family offered the opportunity of reprinting the book as a Rotary project, the Rotarians saw this as an opportunity to help fill a widening gap in knowledge and understanding of our local heritage. The club is grateful to the Yeates family, and especially long-time Grafton Rotary member Greg Yeates, for this opportunity. At the same time, the Rotary Club of Woolgoolga initiated a community project to develop the Woolgoolga Heritage Walk, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the gazettal of Woolgoolga as a village. Coincidentally, the club is also celebrating its own 25th anniversary.

The book costs $30, and copies may be purchased, while stocks last, from David Fayle 02 6654 7700 or Woolgoolga Newsagency. If postage is needed, add $13.40* for 1 or 2 books.  100% of the profits from sales of the new edition will go to the club.  (* postage rates subject to revision by Australia Post)