4 March 2020
Since the Singleton Bicentennial Commemorations Working Group was formed and began meeting more than a year ago, I’ve imagined countless times how it must have felt for those colonial explorers to emerge from the rugged outcrops of the Blue Mountains and see the vista of the plains of Whittingham, interrupted only by a lazy, winding river, unfurl like a banner.
The historians among us may dismiss this narrative as being entirely without any factual basis, and perhaps it is. But the true beauty of the commemoration of the bicentenary of Singleton is that it’s a chance for all of us to bring our own meaning to what is a significant milestone in our history, and to share our own stories of Singleton.
The Wonnaruah/Wanaruah people first belonged to this area, establishing an unbreakable connection that is revered and will continue to be revered for generations to come. A mere 200 years ago, the first European explorers arrived. Today, 22,987 people now call Singleton home. And each of us adds another chapter to the story of Singleton.
The bicentenary commemoration is not limited to John Howe and Benjamin Singleton, or any of the other 15 or so members of the exploration party who staked their claim on this land on 15 March 1820. It’s in the stories of the Wonnarua/Wanaruah who passed down the traditions of their ancestors, and in all of us who followed – no matter where we came from, how we got here, or which part of our local government area is home.
The premise of Back to Singleton 2020 extends to everyone with a connection to Singleton, whether you were born here and moved away, stopped once on the way up the highway or make a regular pilgrimage to our cellar doors. The story of Singleton is not owned by any one person, but is rather a rich tapestry of the stories of the people who were here and are still here, and those to come.
Another chapter will be written next week, when we come together for a weekend to enjoy all that makes our area special. All the festivities start with Singleton Homecoming on John Street on Friday 13 March, followed by free family fun on the Civic Green at Singleton Day Out on the afternoon of Saturday 14 March. I then invite you to buy your tickets to join us for some old-time glamour at the Singleton Soiree at the Civic Centre, including live music, canapes, dessert and entertainment for just $35 per person (not including drinks). Tickets are available on Council’s website, Administration Building or Singleton Visitor Information Centre.
The community has also come together to compile a fantastic program of events to commemorate Back to Singleton 2020. For all the information you need to plan your bicentennial year, visit www.singleton.nsw.gov.au/backtosingleton2020 or contact Council for a printed copy.
Cr Sue Moore
Mayor of Singleton