Historian Delves into Colonial Times in ‘A year on Cooplacurripa’

David holding a copy of ‘A year on Cooplacurripa’.


DAVID BENSON, the former principal of Bulahdelah Central School, has used primary source material to get as close as possible to an accurate portrayal of colonial life around the Karuah River and the northern settlement of Port Stephens.

The history of the Australian Agricultural Company is well documented but in his new book ‘A year on Cooplacurripa’, David dug deeper and brought to light a little known part of their enterprise which led to the sacking of its chief agent.

He even tracked down remnants of their farm, bridges and the access roads to their No.1 farm as it was known.

His glossy 35 page book, liberally illustrated with colour plates, tells the story.

On top of this David’s ‘The Present State of Karuah Port Stephens’ sources material from Robert Dawson, who wrote of European interaction with the Indigenous people of that time.

Yet another publication of Benson’s is ‘The Historians’ Guide To the North Shore of Port Stephens’.

This highlights some of the more remarkable but lesser known historical events and individuals of those times long gone.

Straying from the history trail, David has also put into print his very amusing personal experience as a green young teacher sent to an isolated one teacher school in the 1960s.

He is indeed a talented writer and his ‘A Year on Cooplacurripa’ is a page turner to lift anybody’s spirits.

His skills were no doubt honed as a long time English / history high school teacher and subject master.

David took out the Port Stephens Literature Award some years back with his short story: ‘An Old Man on Port Stephens’.

This award, currently sponsored by News Of The Area, draws entries from all Australian states and has been running for some 15 years.

Those wishing to know more about David and his work can access details on http://aacoroad.com

You can also listen to a reading of his school teaching memoir on this site.

Leave a Reply