Tilba Tilba and Tilba CWA wouldn't be what they are today without Henry John (HJ) Bate and his wife Elsie.
HJ Bate was the third generation of the Bate family to live at Mountain View farm at the foot of Gulaga in Tilba Tilba.
The farm was the setting for the Tilba CWA's Vintage Garden Party on Saturday, September 10, which honoured Elsie Bate, Tilba District CWA president from 1934 to 1970.
At the garden party, Zoe Burke of Tilba Walks Heritage Talks, spoke with Harry Bate, great-grandson of HJ Bate, about the history of the property and his great-grandparents.
Originally the land in the area was held under a squatters licence but the Robertson Land Acts of 1861 broke up the monopoly from 12 square miles to 40-acre blocks.
Henry Jefferson Bate was the first selector to be given permission to select the newly-divided land.
He established the Mountain View property in 1869 which became the first cheese factory in the area.
He was also the instigator of NSW's first cheese co-op, Ms Burke said.
One of Henry Jefferson Bate's sons, Richard, was instrumental in creating the village of Tilba Tilba.
Richard's son, HJ Bate, carried on the family's work in the community.
HJ Bate was a farmer, cheese-maker and the chairman of so many groups in the area.
"He helped organise the farmers union's research into drought in 1936 so he was very forward thinking," Ms Burke said.
It was HJ Bate who devised a reservoir by harvesting Tilba Creek in 1910.
From that he developed a hydro-electric scheme that provided power to the farm and several other homes.
It was only superseded by grid electricity in 1952, Ms Burke said.
"HJ was a god," she said. "You could not get a better man for the job. In those days you had to have ingenuity to survive.
"He had a passion for it and was in state parliament, while his son went into federal parliament."
HJ Bate's wife Elsie was his equal.
"Like her husband, she was very much in charge of what she did, her gardening and CWA.
"Bottling and pickling were life skills and these were perfected through the CWA," Ms Burke said.
After her conversation with Harry Bate, Ms Burke led a group of 25 people around Mountain View farm and the original Bate family home, pointing out items of historical interest.
On the day Penny and Kirk Coningham won the prizes for best-dressed male and female. Ms Coningham is a member of Pambula-Merimbula CWA branch.
An estimated 500 people attended the party and Tilba CWA hopes to have raised $7000 for the Women's Resource Centre in Bega.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.