The White's contribution to the growth of the small community of MountWilson

It is difficult to assess the participation of the White family in the small Mt Wilson community between 1921 and 1938. Documentation during those years is fragmented when it comes to records of official community activity. However, we know that Patrick and Suzanne spent holidays enjoying the company of Matt and Flo Davies at Wynstay, Lizzie Clark, their Nanny, and Syd Kirk and other Kirk brothers. There must have been, especially in the 1920s, not only contact with the Wynne family but other recognised families in the community such as George Valder of Nooroo, Ivie Sloan of Bebeah,and the Manns of Dennarque.

Housed within the grounds of Withycombe was a small timber building which had operated as the Post Office since 1890, and the Telephone Exchange, since 1916. It is not surprising that this arrangement would have had little appeal for Ruth White as people ventured in and out of the grounds of Withycombe to conduct their postal and other business.

  • thumbnails The Post Office in the grounds of Withycombe
  • thumbnails Business was brisk in 1922 at the Post Office

Ruth and Dick White, along with fifteen other families who lived in Mt Wilson in the 1920s, as well as the executors of the estate of Henry Marcus Clark, set up a private company to establish a local Post Office, store and residence in the Avenue, close to, but away from Withycombe.

A Trust Deed was set up for this purpose. Ruth and Dick purchased a maximum of 100 shares each at 1 pound per share. However, the legal formalities were not finalised until 1925.

  • thumbnails The Trust Deed for the Post Office

The Post Office was designed by John Moore, a leading Sydney architect, on land donated by Richard Owen Wynne. It functioned from 1922 until December 1986, when postal facilities ceased in Mt Wilson. Since 1987 the Post Office building has been a cafe and private residence.

  • thumbnails Mt. Wilson children outside St Georges Church after Sunday School in 1936.

The Whites would have been participants in the social fabric of Mt Wilson, especially those activities organised by Mariamne Wynne, such as the tennis parties, bridge gatherings and dances. The relationship with St Georges Church may have been rather more fractious - Ruth despised the Mt Wilson church for aesthetic reasons: "I'd burn it down if it would burn", said White of his mother's view of the Church in Flaws in the Glass.

  • thumbnails Tennis at Withycombe was a popular activity for residents and guests alike.

In the mid 1930s, Suzanne White joined a committee formed by Mariamne Wynne to take up the cause of constructing a Village Hall for Mt Wilson. Listed as Suzanne White of Withycombe, she remained supportive until the Hall was built in 1950-51, long after Ruth had sold Withycombe and left Mt Wilson. A curious twist in the story of the Hall is the donation of 100 pounds by Archbishop Mowll in 1941 to the Hall funds. According to Isa Valder that money came from the sale of Withycombe by the Archbishop.