Deepwater Scarecrow

Wool Festival 

Fun for all the Family

Deepwater Station with surviving slab huts

The Deepwater district was originally Yagambal territory and the Aboriginal name for the area was 'Tal'gambone' or 'Dal'gambone', meaning `dry country with many dead trees'.            

   Like many towns in the New England region Deepwater was named after the biggest pastoral holding in the area. The naming was supposed to have occurred when a man threw a stone into a deep hole on the river and exclaimed "Hey, that's deep water!" Some believe the man was Archibald Windeyer and others Explorer Allan Cunningham however it appears that Allan Cunningham did not travel through Deepwater but through Inverell instead so it is unlikely he named Deepwater.

 Progress was rapid and by 1845 the property covered 60,000 acres and ran 13,500 sheep, 283 cattle and twelve horses with sheep the main industry grown for their fine wool.

In 1848 Archibald took up sole ownership of Deepwater. Archibald also owned a property near Raymond Terrace in Hunter Valley called "Kinross" his family home where he administered his various pastoral interests. By 1848 Deepwater covered 60,000 acres.

 1861 saw the first land sales of 'country lots' from the 'Deepwater Reserve', previously part of the Deepwater Run. The blocks were on and near the Deepwater River.

 In 1866 Deepwater was described as 'a pastoral hamlet and roadside hotel' = the Deepwater Inn was established about 1862. 

 In 1868 bushranger Thunderbolt aka Frederick Wordsworth Ward, William Monckton stole two horses from Deepwater Station leaving two others in their place. They took the Deepwater horses to Ranger's Valley, the neighbouring station to be shod. A posse including Ranger's Valley manager, J McMaster set out after the bushrangers with a black tracker but lost their trail.

 In 1870 Archibald Windeyer died and his son John (1830-1892), together with his brother-in-law, John Donald Macansh (1820-1896) and nephew William Thomas Cadell, (1845-1922) ran “Deepwater” as a partnership . According to Sydney Morning Herald report the property was put up for sale in Feb 1875 and by April of the same year it was purchased by Messers J D Macansh, J Windeyer & W T Cadell.

John Donald Macansh had married Sarah Jane Windeyer (1826-1900) in 1849; he became a magistrate and Member for Legislative Assembly in QLD. William Cadell later married Anne (1849-1934) a daughter of John Donald Macansh in 1873.

By 1872 there were two hotels operating - the Deepwater Inn and the Commercial Hotel [established in 1871 with attached Post Office] a blacksmith, a couple of shops and a carrier. 

 With the construction of the Great Northern Rail Line in 1884 a public school was established. The first teacher was Mr John Grigg and the building was situated on the present entrance to the race course. It acted as both a church and a school under a 3 year lease with the Council of Education. However 3 years later the Trustees of the School requested a separate school as the Trustees of the Church wanted the building for church purposes only.

By 1888 the new school was erected where the present school stands in Young Street with Mr David Berry as the appointed teacher. The wooden building eventually succumbed to white ants and was demolished in 1927 and replaced with a new brick building that still stands today. 

 A paper called titled the "Deepwater, Vegetable Creek and Castlerag Miner, Nine Mile and Torrington Advocate"was printed and published by J. Leslie King for the Deepwater Newspaper Company commenced publication in 1889. It was also known as the "Deepwater Miner"

 The Deepwater Railway was opened on 1 September 1886. Tin mining boomed at Emmaville, Stannum and Torrington and these mines were served by the Deepwater railhead. Molbdenite finds were made around Deepwater in the late 19th century. During its heyday two daily trains for passengers and one mail train ran to and from Sydney stopped at all stations. The other train the Brisbane Express made its first stop at Deepwater.

Deepwater was described as 'the busiest second class station on the Great Northern Line' and William T Cadell of the Deepwater estate took advantage of the rail to transport the Deepwater wool clip commencing in spring 1886. He also transported stock to the meatworks in the 1890's from his Deepwater estate the main pastoral client of the railways. WT Cadell lobbied the government for improved stock holding yards. He wanted to assure potential buyers that the Deepwater clip 'goes from the shed to the railway trucks as fast as it is shorn' a distance of 2 miles.

By 1891 the population of the village had risen to 362 and during the railways heyday the residents of Deepwater enjoyed two daily trains to and from Sydney with one mail  train stopping at all stations and the other, the Brisbane Express making its first stop Deepwater. While all other stations south of Deepwater were serviced by another train to Glen Innes.

 The railway which created the town later reversed its policies and caused the closure of the tin smelters by doubling the freight on ingots of tin but not on untreated tin.
Wool scouring plants were also closed when the railway began charging per bale on wool when all other commodities were charged per pound.

The Deepwater Railway closed in 1972 and the building preserved. Today it is used by local groups e.g. FM Radio Station 2cbd, Carol's by Candlelight and Deepwater Art Group

Technical problems are preventing images to be displayed correctly on this page - Please bear with us as we sort this out - will update this ASAP Sorry about this - there is plenty more below to read

William Collins & his wife emigrated to NSW with seven children in July 1839 on the sailing ship "Kent". They had seven more children at Deepwater station, some years later he moved to Bolivia where he died in 1885.

death notice for William Collins the first manager of Deepwater station for brothers Charles & Archibald Windeyer.-

2 May 1885 OBITUARY.-We learn that on Sunday, the 19th inst., there died at Bolivia one of the oldest residents of the dlstrict and a pioneer in the truest sense of the term. Mr William Collins took up the Deepwater run in 1839 link to full obiturary 
Australian Town and Country Journal Saturday 2 May 1885, page 43 National Library of Australia TROVE newspapers online article71026876-4-002
Deepwater Hotel was owned by Thomas Fitzgerald in 1895
Notice of his wife's death -
The Sydney Morning Herald Friday
8 February 1895 Trove newspapers online

Below = An interesting news article involving Deepwater Station at the time William Thomas Cadell owned it.

Tenterfield Star, Saturday Morning, October 17 1896

An extraordinary story has reached Glen Innes from Deepwater, the facts of which are vouched for. It appears that a married aboriginal, engaged on Mr W.T.Cadell's property, occupies a hut in one of the paddocks. The woman is suckling a young baby, and during one night last week she awoke to find that instead of the infant a large black snake was attached to her breast, and was regaling itself.The woman awoke her husband in a great fright, and, in doing so, the snake disappeared. After a search had been made the reptile was discovered and shot.

References =

Deepwater Railway Conservation Management Plan - Prepared for the NSW State Rail bu David Ellsmore - Sydney December 2001

Bushranger - Frederick Wordsworth Ward in Deepwater   [SRNSW 4/624 No:58/2145]; Clarence & Richmond Examiner 31 March 1868 page 3.

Biography - Charles Windeyer 1780-1855 1st Mayor or Sydney & Pasturalist

Biography - Archibald Windeyer 1785-1870 Landowner & Pasturalist

Biography - John Donald Macansh 1820-1896 Pasturalist, Politician, MLA

Windeyer info from The University of New England Regional Archives 

Deepwater Public School 1884-1984 - A History of the school and origins of  Deepwater -  compiled by Allan Barratt  Copies available from

Journal of Arthur Wellesley Robertson ( per  Perthshire 1837).  A4/ROB/1  [M Wilson]  link