NEWS, COMMUNITY, RECREATION, FRIENDS & FAMILY | MUSWELLBROOK, SINGLETON & SURROUNDS

June 22, 2024 3:21 PM

Muswellbrook History Captured in Kildonan and the Cafe

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BY DI SNEDDON

Kildonan and the Café by Professor Robert Smith captures an insight into the history of Muswellbrook and at the recent launch of the book, many were keen to get their hands on a copy.

Mr Smith is a fifth generational Muswellbrook resident but moved to Lismore in 1971.  He came back to his hometown to launch the book at the Muswellbrook Library last month.

The book is the culmination of 40 years research about a house that has intrigued many for years.

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Robert Smith with his newly published book, Kildonan and the Café.

Robert spoke of his research and the writing of the book that traces the history of his family from England, the settlement in Muswellbrook, the establishment of the Café, the war years and the naming of the house that still stands today.

Kildonan and the Café sets out to tell the story of a house and a shop.  In doing so it tells a rich story of people’s migration, settlement in Muswellbrook, the establishment of the Café, the war years and the naming of the house which still stands today under its new name, The Old Tea House.

Professor Smith was told a lot of family stories by his grandfather and third generation Muswellbrook man, Cecil Wilkins.  Cecil was better known around town by his nickname ‘Sappy’, many retold in the pages of this book.

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The book is now available at Muswellbrook Museum.

Kildonan was Sappy’s family home that got its name from a World War 1 troopship Kildonan Castle.

Professor Smith told The Hunter River Times that the book is partly a family history but only relating to the buildings, closely mapped to the history of Muswellbrook between 1860 and 1960.

It is well researched complete with footnotes and indexation and anybody with an interest in history would find the book a useful model to work with.

The book is available for purchase at the museum or through northernrivers.press.com

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