Tea Gardens - Culture and History

The area was occupied by the Worimi Aborigines prior to white settlement. The first Europeans to work in the area were timbergetters who took an interest in the forests (mostly red cedar) along the Myall River early in the 19th century. The timber was hauled by bullock train to mills, then carted by punt downriver. Ships bound for Newcastle and Sydney picked up the timber, unloading the stone they carried for ballast on the banks of the river, much of it being used in the construction of the rock walls which can still be seen today.

The Australian Agricultural Company arrived in the area in 1826 and it was reputedly their failed attempts to grow tea there which underscored the name Tea Gardens, although another account suggests it was the tea-tree in the area. At any rate it seems Chinese assistants were employed as advisors in the endeavour and they also acted as gardeners growing vegetables for the company settlements. The mouth of the Myall was traversed by punt until a ferry service was established in 1928, replaced by the bridge in 1974.

A quilt and patchwork show is held at the Myall Arts and Crafts Centre in Myall Rd every second October.

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