Coffs Coast First Fleeters dig deep into history

Robin Hosking talking about her First Fleet ancestors John Small, Mary Parker and their son who settled on Smalls Island, later known as Woodford Island.

THE NORTH Coast Chapter of the Fellowship of First Fleeters, a social group comprising descendants from the First Fleet, hosted an historical talk at its latest bi-monthly meeting.

Held at Red Rock, the guest speaker for the day was Dee Murphy, an archaeologist and botanist specialising in the use of various native plants.

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“Dee gave us a very informative talk,” Pat Davis, President, North Coast Chapter of First Fleeters told News Of The Area.

“She first spoke about the local area of Red Rock and what its most famous for, namely the Red Rock that is a 20 metre high headland composed of 300-million-year-old rock jasper, an opaque silica with ten different colours of clay, four of which are white, red, purple and orange.

“And how the local Indigenous people traded in the Ochre trade.

“A number of our members asked questions on the different clays and how it was extracted.”

Members were amazed to learn that the inner bark of the cottonwood/hibiscus/tiliaceus tree is dried, split and spun, then used to weave many products.

“Dee had a small string bag she had made by this process and used old tea bags to dye the string to a required colour, telling us it took her around 200 hours to make from start to finish.”

Another one of her items on show was a necklace woven and made from the dianella/flax lily plant and flower.

The First Fleeters members foster the common interest of preserving their heritage by celebrating January 26, 1788 as the day that convicts, marines and their families first stepped on shore as Australia Day.

“Our North Coast Chapter is affiliated with the Fellowship of First Fleeters, a national organisation established in 1968.”

Membership is open to anyone who can prove his or her relationship to a First Fleeter, a convict, marine, seaman or government official.

“Additionally, we encourage any interested person to join as an Associate or Friend with a common interest in Australian history,” said Pat.

The Chapter’s bi-monthly meetings are held at various local venues.

“We welcome anyone wishing to attend our meetings as an observer or prospective member.”

“Enquiries can be made to Pat Davis on 0402 022008 or Robyn Condliffe on 0420 923140.


The inaugural meeting of the North Coast Chapter of the Fellowship of First Fleeters, held at Boambee on June 1, 1997.

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