A brief history of Underwood

Underwood celebrated its centenary on February 14, 1959. Miss M (Maggie) Brewer, the oldest resident at that time, unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the event.

Miss Brewer was then 82 years old and a descendant of the Campbell family. An early settler, John Campbell, had selected land between Lilydale and Underwood in June, 1860.

Mr. William Lynch is reputed to have been the first person to take up land and reside in the district in 1859.

Again around 1860, another settler, Michael Shea, had set up home at Underwood. Apparently, the hapless Mr. Shea came to an untimely end, when the log he was rolling for a culvert got away and rolled on him. His body was later found with the log lying across it.

Prior to what was regarded as settlement, there had been much activity on the banks of the Upper Piper river. An American firm had erected a water-powered mill and then Messrs. Grubb and Tyson had taken it over. In 1854 the Crabtrees were brought out from Lancashire to manage the mill, William and his nephew James and their families. With them also came workers, horses and machinery. During this time a wooden tramway was constructed from the mill to Mowbray to efficiently expedite the haul of sawn timber to the Launceston yard.

William Crabtree later built a house he named Holly Bank. Community spirit abounded, some materials from the old house he'd lived in having been used in the construction of the Methodist Church (Underwood's first public building). Prior to the erection of the church, services had been conducted by Mr. Crabtree at the mill. At other times, dances were held in the barn at Holly Bank, or cricket matches were played in the grounds. Holly Bank saw the first game played there and later a board pitch at Caber-Feidgh would see innings tumble (a Mr. Campbell built the Caber-Feidgh Hotel, possibly 1885).

Edward Massey had been brought to work as a benchman and later a splitter at the Underwood mill. When he died in his home at Underwood he was aged 99.

At one time (date not sourced), there was even a ladies' eleven, the Underwood First Ladies' Cricket Team. Some of the ladies were: Laurie Blyth, Elsie Blyth, Kate Box, Ella Blyth, Ruby Youl, Annie Cameron, Florrie Fisher, Lizzie Box, Alice West, Margaret Cameron, Ada Benny, Janet Orr.

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