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Tobacco growing in Waanyarra

Posted by on April 22, 2012


Tobacco was first grown at Waanyarra in the summer of 1864-65. Mr. Thomas Leech planted ½ acre crop at Grassy Flat, the fertile creek flats North of Morton’s Welcome Inn. The venture was successful, so the following season he planted a larger area.
After dismissing the belief that the locally grown product was inferior, he sold the crop for 3/- a pound.
Mr Leech then constructed a press which was used to press the produce into a more saleable item at 4/- a pound.
In the years 1866-67 Mr. Leech planted an acre of tobacco which yielded around ½ a ton. The crop, when cured and pressed, was sold for 4/6d. a pound.
Mr. Leech’s venture gained much notoriety in the Waanyarra neighbourhood, and in the following season the crop was again a success, with more acres being planted.
In the 1868 Waanyarra Postal Directory a Mrs. Mueller of Mosquito was listed as a Tobacco grower, so there was no doubt that Mr. Leech’s tobacco venture caused interest.

5 Responses to Tobacco growing in Waanyarra

  1. Sarah Russell

    Thomas Leech was my ancestor, whom I have been researching lately. I would love to know more, particularly about his sons, William Henry and George Frederick, as they continued farming at Woosang.
    There is some information on the Muntz family website.
    I am now living in NSW.
    Warm Regards

  2. janet

    Hi Sarah
    I now live on grassy flat and the Leech’s where the last to live here so I would love to see a photo of Thomas if you have one.
    I have a photo of his grand daughter Daisy. Also when webought the land I requested the historic deeds which tells when he bought it andwhen he died,
    Draper Alexander, miner, Grassy Flat
    Barns Thomas, tailor, Grassy Flat
    Berry John, farmer, Grassy Flat
    Leech Thomas, dairyman, Grassy Flat
    Rands Edward, gardener, Grassy Flat

    Mr. Thomas Leech was elected to the School Board for the Tarnagulla Riding of the Bet-Bet Shire in June of 1872.

    The 1871 School picnic was held at Thomas Leech’s paddock at Grassy Flat on the 17th March, with Mr. Birrell supervising the games.
    The children who attended the picnic were given grapes by Mr. Leech.
    I cannot find it at the minute but also have more tit bits.I do know 2 of the Leech boys and 2 of the leech girls married partners from the same family.

    • Mary Twyford

      Dear Janet, Hadn’t seen your post before and visit this site regularly….need to look a bit better. The Alexander Draper listed is my great grandfather and have found that Thomas Leech was the informant on the death certificate of Alexandrina Draper/Williams aged 8mths died 1865 and buried in Waanyarra Cemetery. She was daughter of Jane Williams (or as death cert says Mary Williams – Inquest says Sarah Williams) and father was Alexander Draper. A couple of questions does the land you are on include Alex Drapers land as I would be most interested in finding out when it was sold or if you can let me know how you obtained the historical deeds I would be most grateful. Have at last found my Alexander buried in White Hills cemetery Bendigo….but cannot find Jane/Mary/Sarah Williams. Mary Twyford Bega.

  3. Janet Rowson

    Just found this thought it was interesting that Thomas Leech had a refreshment licence for Grassy Flat it also names other people in the area who held other licences

    PROCIAIMED 16th FEBRUARY, 1853 :Page 240 @VERI&IEI{I.

  4. Sarah Russell

    Hi Janet Towson and Mary Twyford

    I didn’t see your comments above until now, which is a shame as I am very interested in your information and comments.

    I don’t have photos of Thomas Leech but do have one of his son, George Frederick with his wife Elizabeth Muntz and Thomas’ daughter Laura Leech with her husband William Thomas Muntz.

    We are visiting the area in early January 2016 and would love to meet you both.

    Warm Regards
    Sarah Russell (nee Leech)

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