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Paterson River history

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Tocal

Tocal stands on what was once probably part of the land of the Gringai clan of the Wonnarua Aboriginal people. The name 'Tocal' is an Aboriginal word meaning 'plenty'. In 1822 James Webber took up the property as one of the first land grants in the Paterson Valley (see map).

Webber sold Tocal to Caleb and Feix Wilson in 1834, by which time it comprised 3,300 acres (1,335 hectares). Caleb and Felix were father and son, and Felix became sole owner when Caleb died in 1838.

Felix built the Homestead in 1841 and it is the centrepiece of the complex of timber, brick and stone buildings that are subject to a Permanent Conservation Order and registered in the National Estate.

Charles Reynolds leased the property in 1843. During the next 83 years, Charles and subsequently his widow Frances, his son Frank and grandson Darcie ran Tocal as one of the most important Hereford, Devon and Thoroughbred studs in the country. Frank Reynolds purchased Tocal from the Wilson family in 1907.

Going to market - Tocal Bridge 1906

The above image shows cattle walking over the Tocal Bridge. It is from a postcard postmarked 1906. Part of the villlage of Paterson can be seen in the background.

In 1926 Jean Alexander purchased Tocal from the Reynolds family and took up residence there with her siblings Isabella, Robert and Charles, all of whom were unmarried. By 1939 only Charles remained and when he died in 1947, he left a large estate and complex will. His intention was that his estate be used to help orphan and destitute children by training them for agricultural careers.

In 1963, the Presbyterian Church was awarded Alexander's Estate and in 1965 the CB Alexander Presbyterian Agricultural College began operation at Tocal. In 1970 the College was transferred to the NSW Government.

The Tocal property grew in size through land purchases from the 1960s onwards and is now 2,200 hectares. The education institution established there in 1965 continues to operate, now as the CB Alexander Campus of Tocal College.

Tocal Homestead and outbuildings

Above: Tocal Homestead today.

See also

James Phillips Webber

Tocal web site

More information on Tocal's history

Detailed information on Tocal's convicts