Emily Wintle (nee Gillespie), was a woman who made a significant contribution to trade and transport in the early days of this district. A photo of her in the Corkhill Collection shows a woman of strong and determined character.
Her recollections of her life and times were recorded when she was 85.
The daughter of early settlers in the district, Emily was born in 1848. She was put into service with a property-owning family as a very young girl and remained there under a harsh regime until she was 18. After a dispute in which she’d been unjustly accused of breaking a basin, she’d “had enough” and went into business near Bega with her mother, a “splendid needlewoman”. A couple of years later she married Robert Walter Wintle and together they ran a wattle bark farm. He died when Emily was 39, leaving her with 10 children. She acquired an eleventh when a friend died.
living at Wallaga Lake, Emily took on a haulage business as it was more profitable than farming. With two drays pulled by eight horses, Emily took stores from Bermagui to Tilba Tilba and Central Tilba, backloading with railway sleepers. There was no bridge across the Lake and the goods had to be unloaded from the drays and put on to barges, as shown in this photo.
Emily and her workers had to punt the barges and swim the teams across the water, then reload the drays from the barges on the other side. She tells of once having to beat off eight sharks hemmed in by a sandbar.
When the bridge was built in 1894, a number of men tendered for the carrier trade.
The storekeeper said that since they hadn’t been interested before the bridge was built Emily could keep the business for as long as she wanted.
Now known as Horsehead Rock near Camel Rock, Wintle’s Rock was named after her, but she deserves to be re-commemorated!