John Hawdon
The first Tuross Head settler

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You can learn of the life and times of John
Hawdon in our "Tuross Head - a brief history"

You can read this history here as a pdf file

View the Tuross Head brief history as an e-zine here

John Hawdon arrived in Australia from England in 1828 with his wife and two sons. After leasing “Elderslie” near Camden he received a land grant on the northern banks of the Moruya River at Kiora where he built a substantial Georgian homestead which still stands today.

Wanting more land he also squatted on land south of the Moruya River which covered the area of Congo, Bergalia, Tuross Head and Bodalla. The whole property was referred to as Bergalia.
Over the period 1836 until 1848 John Hawdon made several attempts to have the Governor grant him title to all or part of Bergalia. In 1843 he established a squatting station at Bodalla (known then as Boat Alley). When the squatting regulations were introduced in 1848 John Hawdon applied for and received a Crown Lease of 30,000 acres bounded on the North and East by Coila Lake, on the west by Bodalla Mountains and south by Wagonga River.

John Hawdon employed managers to run cattle and establish a dairy on this property. Unfortunately he did not have the finances to fully establish his grand dream. Eventually his Crown Lease was taken over by Thomas Sutcliffe Mort. John Hawdon settled on two properties, his original grant at Kiora and at Tuross Head, where he named his property “Kyla Park”.

John Hawdon and his wife Margaret, lived out their retirement years on their tranquil and idyllic property at Kyla Park. He died on June 12, 1881. His wife Margaret survived her husband by five years.

Today John Hawdon’s former pioneer land and holdings comprises 4 cluster housing developments, a local community recreational area, with the remaining of the ‘Kyla Park’ rural lands being devoted to livestock grazing and perpetually protected by a heritage listing.

source: Moruya District Historical Society




Prepared by: Helen Townend
Member, Moruya & District Historical Society
Resident, Kyla Park, Tuross Head, New South Wales


In the late 1970's the developers of Kyla Park dedicated the Kyla Park "Grazing Lands" to the community of Tuross as "an area of unique characteristics for the visual benefit of members of the general public". The intention was to provide a continuance of the historic Kyla Park Dairy Farm in appearance and to provide a substantial open space buffer of land between the town of Tuross Head and the Princes Highway.

However in mid 2000, the Eurobodalla Shire Council called a public meeting of residents. The residents were told that changes to Council's Local Environment Plan and NSW State Government laws meant that the Council now owned these lands - not the community.

The meeting was told the Council would like to subdivide and sell the lands and the residents should agree to change the classification of the lots from Community to Operational and the zoning from Rural 1c to Rural 1a.

When the community became aware of the type of industrial, commercial, residential etc development allowable for these beautiful lands under the proposed Rural 1a zoning they were adamant - "It's our land, leave it alone!"

Recognising the heritage value of these lands, Helen Townend of Kyla Park compiled a report on the Hawdon family. The report had to show the continuation of occupation of the lands by the Hawdons for about 140+ years and the contribution of the Hawdon family to the development of this country.

The report was complemented by the Council's Consultant Heritage Architect's assessment which stated:

"The Kyla Park community has a close `cultural' relationship to the pastoral lands and have a strongly protective attitude to the conservation of these lands."

"The site has a spirit of place which has been retained relatively intact and free from intrusive development."

In February 2003, the Eurobodalla Shire Councillors voted unanimously for the lands to be included in the ESC's Rural Local Environment Plan as heritage lands and for the Kyla Park lands to be listed on the Council's Heritage Register.

All five lots were categorised as "An Area of Cultural Significance" owing to the historical use of the land for grazing by the Hawdon family. Council adopted the Kyla Park Plan of Management, Areas of Cultural Significance on 9 December 2003 (see links to these documents below).

The two large lots continue to be used as grazing lands, as they had been for the past 160+ years, while the three smaller lots are for horse agistment/general community use.

The amendment to the ESC's Rural Local Environment Plan was gazetted in November 2004. A Grazing Lease for the grazing lands was granted to a local grazier on 1 April 2007 and is valid to 31 March 2028.

And so these beautiful lands have been protected.

The category of "Cultural Significance" is defined as "aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual value for past, present and future generations".

Source: Deed of Agreement between Camenae Corporation Limited and The Council of the Shire of Eurobodalla, dated 22 November 1978.

Foreshore Reserve 36 ha
Grazing Lot 192 ha
Strata Title Residential Precincts 50 ha
Recreation 11 ha
Total 288 ha.

In 1978, Council approved the development of Kyla Park by Camenae with conditions.
Source: Management Plan - Kyla Park, 20 November 1978

The developer and Council recorded their general agreement and mutual intention that:

Foreshore Reserve (36 ha) and Grazing Lot (192 ha)
The original Kyla Park farm was owned to the high water mark of both Coila and Tuross Lakes. Camenae dedicated these "Foreshore Reserves" as:

"The whole of the Grazing/Foreshore Reserve Lot should be maintained as an area of unique characteristics for the visual benefit of members of the general public."

Strata Title Residential Precincts (50 ha)
Six lots (Clusters) to be subdivided into 69 Residential Strata Lots.

"The Residential Strata Lots shall be developed and used as individual homes of good quality which harmonize with the area surrounding them." The individual owners would be responsible for the construction and maintenance of access and internal roads. The Council, under no circumstances would supply water to the Residential Strata Lots.

Recreation area (11 ha)
Known as the "Hall Lot" would be transferred to Council for public use as a community hall (Kyla Park Youth & Sports Club) and for recreational facilities for sporting activities.
"The Hall Lot should be maintained for use by members of the general community including the occupiers of the Residential Strata Lots towards satisfying the present lack of amenities for them."

Foreshore Reserve & Grazing area:
"This open space area comprises a Grazing area and a Foreshore Reserve area. It is intended that the Grazing area should be used for grazing purposes only and should not be available for use by members of the general public or for use by the Cluster owners.

"It is intended that the Grazing area be made available pursuant to an appropriate agreement for the grazing of livestock on such terms as are commercially negotiated.

"It is intended that the Foreshore Reserve area should be freely available for use by members of the general public and Cluster owners."


NOTE: Copies of the complete Kyla Park report (including maps) are available from the Moruya & District Historical Society in Campbell St, Moruya for $10 (phone 4474 3224).

see also Jocelyn Righton Hawdon article - Bay Post Oct 2013

In 1838/9 John Hawdon owned a small sailing cargo vessel named “Alligator” which he used for transporting goods up the coast. She had been built in 1835 in Hobart by William Williamson, whose ship building yard was to the East of Her Majesty’s Ordinance Stores near Battery Point.

She was a carvel planked 2 masted schooner of 20 tons net, 33.4 feet in length, with a breadth of 12.4 feet and depth of 6.3 feet.

In 1837 she was purchased by Alexander Imlay who was at the time looking after the Imlay brothers Tasmanian properties. John Hawdon then purchased the boat from Alexander.

John Hawdon did not keep the vessel for long in 1839 Jane Thomson of Broulee is recorded as the owner.
Source Wendy Simes MDHS


Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)

Saturday 18 June 1881
From Moruya we learn by telegram of the death of an old colonist, Mr. John Hawdon, at his residence, Coila Park, near that town.

The deceased gentleman had been 53 years in the colony, and was well known to all the first squatters in tho southern parts of New South Wales, and in Victoria. Mr. Hawdon was born at Walkenfield, county of Durham, on June 29, 1801, and arrived in Sydney September 12, 1828, with his wife and two sons. He then proceeded to a farm, at the Cowpastures, named Ellerslie, which he rented for five years, at the end of that period removing to Kiora, a splendid farm on the banks of the Moruya River.

About the same time he formed a cattle station at Howlong on the Murray River, and from this Station were sent the first stock that ever went overland to Adelaide.

He was noted as being a splendid horseman, and was the first contractor for the conveyance of the mails overland between this colony and Victoria. Mr. Hawdon was in his 80th year when he died last Sunday. He leaves a numerous family, all of whom are married, and with three exceptions, reside in the Moruya district.