Kinchela
Kempsey Shire heritage

Kinchela was gazetted as a village in 1885 or 1886 but the locality was known by the name Kinchela long before, as was the creek which enters the Macleay River close by.

Kinchela may have been named after John Kinchela, Attorney General of New South Wales who had arrived at Sydney in 1831.

The Government Gazette dated March 1885 described the boundaries of Kinchela as being in the County of Macquarie, Parish of Arakoon at Kinchela Macleay River, containing about sixteen acres. This notice and a corresponding map put the village slightly north of the present location.

Another map dated 1886 showed the village south of the former site and signed by E. Herborn licensed surveyor. The revised plan and relocation is a slight mystery as there is no amendment to be found in the Government Gazette of 1886. It is believed that the formal declaration of the naming of the village was notified in that year.

Streets were then surveyed and residential blocks offered for sale. Prior to this Kinchela had been a collection of homes at the confluence of the river and creek and around the wharf. It appears that it remained so except that Heborn’s second survey divided the village into residential blocks.

In 1883 an Aboriginal reserve was gazetted at Kinchela and an Aboriginal school established in 1892 at Pelican Island downstream from Kinchela. It operated briefly, closed and reopened in 1911. The school struggled to survive until attached to the Kinchela Boy’s Home, an institution set up for boys at Tacking Point in the 1920s. The Boy’s Home was thought to be originally for orphans or neglected children, however, it was a place where children of the “stolen generation” were lodged. The Home closed in 1970.

Looking toward river (west). Johnstone's General Store, large building near pine tree; C.E.Ball's store behind store shed at front left; Kinchela Hall is high roof on far left
Looking toward river (west). Johnstone's General Store, large building near pine tree; C.E.Ball's store behind store shed at front left; Kinchela Hall is high roof on far left

Source and photos: Courtesy of the Macleay River Historical Society

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