FENWICK FAMILY HISTORY OF COOROY

Robert and Helen Fenwick moved from the Lismore district of northern New South Wales to Cooroy in the early 1900s.  Their sons, George, William (Bill), Fred and Charles (Walter) moved to Cooroy before their parents and one of their sisters, Elizabeth McLean.  The four Fenwick brothers purchased land and commenced the first sawmill in Cooroy township.  Elizabeth McLean with her husband, Alec, and family settled in the Cooroy district with their three daughters in 1907 and they lived in a bark hut on the sawmill land where Elizabeth’s brothers had established the sawmill.
Later, the parents, Robert and Helen Fenwick moved to the Cooroy district to live where all of their family with the exception of one daughter, Ethel, who stayed in the Lismore District of New South Wales.  It should be noted that George Fenwick served in the Boer War and returned to Australia in 1900 and remained in the forces until 1903.  George married and with his wife, Maud, moved to Cooroy where they lived in a house north of the sawmill but on the western side of the railway line.  This area today is Marrara Drive.  George’s wife, Maud, lived in Cooroy in their house until she passed away 1976 at the age of 97 years of age.  She and her husband, George, are buried in the Cooroy Cemetery.  George sold his interest in the sawmill after a number of years and he and his wife took up dairy farming.

The Fenwick brothers had timber hauled into their mill by bullock teams down the main street to the mill yard.  The area where the logs were stacked is in front of the present library and this area is called Mill Place.  The Fenwick brothers took a partner, Robert Morrish, into the sawmill business, but Morrish sold his interest after a few years.  As well as the mill, the Fenwicks owned a large parcel of land on which two houses were built close to the mill and were tenanted by mill employees.  The Fenwick Bros & Morrish Sawmill traded as Canadian Sawmills originally until Morrish sold his interest in 1912.  Fenwicks sold out to Blanford, Llewellyn, Smith and Carter in 1929 and in 1941, the Mill was purchased by Straker & Sons.  Milling operations ceased in 1972.  The sawmill was steam driven for many years until the electricity was finally connected.

Fred Fenwick was a carpenter and built many of the early homes and shops in Cooroy.  Fred Fenwick built the Cooroy Memorial Hall and a number of the shops opposite the hall in Maple Street including the pharmacy block.

There are many descendants of the Fenwick Bros residing in the Cooroy district.

From documentation, Nambour Chronicle Friday 11 December 1925, states:

School of Arts
This institution of which Mr W R Archdall is president and Mr Grant, secretary, is at present located in the building which was originally built about 15 years ago by the residents as an office for the Noosa Shire Council when it was created.  However, a vote of those interested decreed that the centre was to be Pomona, so the structure was used as a post office.  It will shortly be replaced by a hall, which Mr F Fenwick has secured the contract to build, at a cost of 1,512 pounds.

The Cooroy Ambulance Brigade was established in 1911 and it is noted from documentation in 1925 that William (Bill) Fenwick was a member of the Ambulance Brigade Committee.

The Fenwicks sold the mill to Blandford, Llewellyn, Smith and Carter in 1929.  In 1941 the mill was acquired by Straker & Sons, who enlarged it and traded as the Cooroy Sawmilling Company.  The mill ceased operations in 1972.

Even though sold by the Fenwick brothers, the mill was known locally for many years as “Fenwick’s Mill”.
The following is provided by Linda Sivyer the great grandaughter of Alec McLean and Elizabeth Fenwick. This was delivered by her at the opening of Fenwick Park on August 21, 2015. The colour photographs below are taken at the opening ceremony sponsored by the Noosa Shire Council. The historical photographs at the bottom of the page will give the reader a view of the Fenwick life. 

Cr Wellington, Noosa Council CEO, Brett de Chastel, family members and guests
 
It is a great honour for Deb and I, as descendants of the Fenwick family, to join with you today as we honour those who have gone before us.  Deb and I have been working towards something like this for the past 5 years.
 
The Fenwick brothers, George, William (Bill), Fred and Charles (Walter) arrived in Cooroy in 1907 from the Alstonville area of the NSW northern rivers.
At the end of 1907, Alex and Elizabeth McLean and family arrived in Cooroy.  Elizabeth McLean was a sister to the Fenwick brothers.
Sometime later, their parents, Robert and Hellen Fenwick arrived in the Cooroy district and lived initially at Tinbeerwah before moving into Cooroy and lived on the sawmill property.
The only family member to remain in northern New South Wales, was a daughter, Ethel, who marred Bill Johnston.
 
The Fenwick brothers took a partner, Robert Morrish, into the sawmill business,  and they commenced sawmilling operations in 1909.  Morrish sold his interest after a few years. 
As well as the mill, the Fenwicks owned a large parcel of land on which two houses were built close to the mill and were tenanted by mill employees.
 
Fred Fenwick was a carpenter and built many of the early homes and shops in Cooroy.  Fred Fenwick built the Cooroy Memorial Hall and a number of the shops opposite the hall in Maple Street including the pharmacy block.
 
The Cooroy Ambulance Brigade was established in 1911 and it is noted from documentation in 1925 that William (Bill) Fenwick was a member of the Ambulance Brigade Committee.
 
The Fenwicks sold the mill to Blandford, Llewellyn, Smith and Carter in 1929.  In 1941 the mill was acquired by Straker & Sons, who enlarged it and traded as the Cooroy Sawmilling Company.  The mill ceased operations in 1972.
 
It is now 108 years since the family first came to Cooroy and as descendants of Robert and Hellen Fenwick and their family, I trust that as this park stands as a memorial to them, that future generations will take pride in what has been planted down the generations by family members.
Lastly, I want to thank family members and Council staff for the work that has been achieved over the last five years to have this day and this memorial to the Fenwick Family.
Cr Wellington, please extend to Council the family’s appreciation for such a recognition to the Fenwick Family.