Appin Bi-Centenary

“I have a connection to the pub across the road” I told the woman who was looking after things at St Bede’s Catholic Church in Appin today. “Two of my ancestors ran the pub back in the 1840s”, I told her, referring to William Rixon and Ann Hoare.

“There was a close connection between the church and the pub” she told me, pointing to the family, the Carolls who owned the pub and who ran it as a guest and boarding house, who were buried in the graveyard. “The sisters also used to have rooms there”, she added.

With a strong and long-term interest in family history, I hopped on a train early this morning and made my way to the 200th Anniversary Celebrations for Appin, located about 15km from Campbelltown in Sydney’s West. My ancestral connection to Appin is pretty much confined to the period when they ran The Union Revived. Their main connection was with Campbelltown itself, which is where William is buried, along with his mother, in the graveyard of the Anglican Church. I visited their graves also today, for the first time. Meanwhile, Ann went on to marry a few more times, moved closer to the city, and was finally burried under the name Ann Phibbs at Waverley Cemetery. I visited her grave a few months ago.

After a look around the St Bede’s Cemetery, I made my way down the street to watch the street parade. Mostly, the parade was made up of school groups, sports teams, organisations like the Rural Fire Service and pipe bands. I couldn’t believe there could be that many bagpipes in one parade, but then I guess, the area is called The Southern Highlands and the main town is Campbelltown. My favourites were a young girl, maybe five years old, who was impressively beating her drum in time, and seeing a 16 year old emo girl as part of one of the bands. Later I saw an emo boy dressed up in colonial gear which also gave me a bit of a giggle.

Naturally enough, there were art displays, Aboriginal cultural displays, sausage sizzles, jumping castles, and of course gözleme.

But for me, the most interesting thing was going to see the pub that was once run by some of my ancestors. The building is in a very poor state of repair now. There were no signs to say you couldn’t enter the building, so I just did. But as I walked through I needed to be particularly careful, as I discovered the floor could give way with one too heavy foot-step. “It’s a real shame it’s in such a poor state of repair”, a woman who was doing the same said to me as we passed each other.

I picked up a book about the town which mentions William Rixon’s brief period at the pub, and I placed an order for another book commemorating the anniversary.

And that cleaned me out of my planned spending money for the day which became a bit of a problem as I went to use the ATM at the servo. “It’s empty”, I told the bloke behind the counter. “Yeah, it’s been flat out since five o’clock this morning”, he told me. I reckon it was one of the busiest days in the history of Appin.

3 Replies to “Appin Bi-Centenary”

  1. Hi James,
    I, too, am interested in genealogy and am led to believe that my family also has a link to the Appin Inn. My great – great grandparents emigrated from England in 1913 and i have been told that they worked/ran a boarding house in Appin. My great grandfather was a rigger on the Cordeaux Dam where he met my great grandmother, who was working with her parents at the boarding house. My grandfather was then born in 1920 so i am guessing they met somewhere between 1913 and 1920.
    Can you tell me where i would be able to find some information/evidence that this story is true!!

  2. My gr x 3 grandparents Bryan and Mary McNamara, Bryan arrived as a convict assigned to Thomas Rose and Mary and the family arrived a few years later. Bryan an Irishman along with some friends was involved in an argument with a couple of English road gang members resulting in one of them being bashed and dying. I believe the argument was in the Union Revived Inn – this happened on St Patrick’s Day so no doubt a certain amount of alcohol was involved. Murder charges were laid but the judge decreed not guilty, apparently as he could not determine which of the Irish men dealt the fatal blow. Bryan was later convicted of house breaking and sent to Norfolk Island, returning to Appin a few years later. The family moved to Wagga Wagga and Bryan spent the remainder of his years on the right side of the law. Bryan did still manage to be mentioned in the newspapers which has certainly helped with my research

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: