Camden Haven Historical Society explores how the region got its name

In December the Camden Haven Historical Society spoke of the naming of local streets, many named after local families. The Historical Society is also undertaking research for another edition of a book telling of the Early Camden Haven. This book will include stories of the early families in the region, and place names honouring those families.

Camden Haven itself was a name much bandied about in the early days. We know the haven (port or refuge) was named Camden Haven by John Oxley in 1818, after John Jeffreys Pratt, second Earl of Camden. Oxley also named Watson Taylor's Lake (today Watson Taylors Lake), after the secretary to the Earl. However Camden Haven was also the earlier name for the village we now know as Kendall, re-named in 1891 for the famous poet Henry Kendall, who resided there for some years.

Confusingly, it was also the early official name for the village which is now Laurieton. The confusion bears some telling. With the early mail deliveries Laurieton was first known as Peach Orchard, a village which the Australian Town and Country Journal of 1882 explained: 'consisted of a post and telegraph office, a public school, several dwelling houses, and a sawmill.' The journal explained how the village became Laurieton: 'The settlement came into existence about seven years ago, and received, from the Postmaster-General of the day, the name of Laurieton, in compliment to Mr. Laurie, the proprietor of the mill, together with other public works on the Manning.'

Although named by the Postmaster General as Laurieton, the village was officially named Camden Haven in 1889, when the 'Boundaries of the Village Lands at Camden Haven' were declared in the Government Gazette. However, most people ignored the official name, and the village became known as Laurieton, after the Post Office. It was not until 13 December 1946 that the Minister for Lands notified the official 'alteration of the name of the village of Camden Haven to Laurieton' in the Government Gazette.

Other villages have interesting place names. Dunbogan acknowledges Thomas Dunn and Barney Bogan, owners of a mill built there in 1885. Rossglen was named in 1921 after Frederick D. Ross, postmaster in 1880, at what was then known as Camden Haven Punt.

Logan's Crossing was also named after another early postmaster, John Logan. Kew, where the Royal Hotel now stands, was known as 'The Stables' and was a main intersection for traffic from Port Macquarie and what was then the villages of Laurieton and Camden Haven.

Even officials became confused, for example when considering a telegraph connection. The attached sketch map shows a plan which was sent to the Superintendent of Telegraphs in 1898, to clarify this perplexing array of placenames.

The writer, A Thompson, estimated mileage and described the Stables (at Kew) as 'to Camden Haven 1 1/2 miles' and 'to Laurieton 6 miles'. Today, for many of us, Laurieton is at the heart of the Camden Haven.