European settlement of the Tweed Valley commenced in the 1840s with the arrival of the cedar getters, followed by timber merchants, boat builders and publicans.
In the 1860s Samuel Gray and Joshua Bray were the first to take up leasehold land at Tyalgum and Kynnumboon. After the Robertson Land Act enabled closer settlement, population grew, firstly along the fertile river flat and the rich volcanic soils of the Cudgen plateau.
In the 1900s selections were opened in the upper river valley and the catchment creeks. Each area had leading families who contributed to the development of the Valley by pioneering the primary and service industries and by contributing to the community facilities.
Pioneers were mainly Anglo-Celtic in origin, with roughly half born overseas, but most of these did not arrive directly on the Tweed. The Australian-born largely came from the South Coast of NSW, again not always directly. Some families pioneered waves of population expansion from the Hunter, to the Clarence, the Richmond and the Tweed.
Early non-European migrants to the Tweed included South Sea Islanders and Sikhs who came to work in the sugar cane industry and have become established as part of the fabric of Tweed life. Later waves of migration followed the Depression and World War 2, and in the 1970s after the Aquarius Festival, 'New Settlers' bought non-economic farms and repopulated rural areas. However, retirees made up the bulk of the population growth.
Did you know?
The Museum and Historical Societies hold large amounts of information about early local families. For more information get in touch.