title illustration thompson family

Frank Skinner Thompson and Family

Published in Walpole Weekly 31 October 2018
 Looking Back With Molly
by Life Member Molly Smith

 Tap image thumbnail for enlargement.
The recent  (17 September 2018) Looking Back describing the tragic fire which destroyed the iconic Tinglewood Lodge has led me to take a look at the early settlement of the Thompson family who were responsible for the construction of the Lodge.
Frank Skinner Thompson and family before leaving England
Frank Thompson (Snr) travelled from the family home in Tunbridge Wells to Western Australia on the Grace Darling and arrived in April 1910. He met Sir James Mitchell who spoke to him in glowing terms of the land around Nornalup. Frank was intrigued and decided to see the area for himself. He was enchanted with everything he saw and proceeded to make arrangements immediately to take up a parcel of land on the Deep River. He met with the recently established Bellanger family and though they were quick to tell him of the many difficulties they encountered, nothing could deter him.
detail Thompson family before leaving England
He wrote to his wife Alice and she and their four children (Frank Jnr, Phyllis, Dorothy and Salome) sailed to Perth and arrived in Albany by train on Christmas Day. The family travelled to the Nornalup Inlet on the tug boat Dunskey and on 12th January, 1911 arrived at The Depot where all their possessions were unloaded and finally transported by boat to their new location. One wonders at the thoughts of Alice on arriving at the remote location where they were to make their home.

The years passed and with their home established, the main road and bridges complete, their homestead was the first coming from Manjimup and the last coming from Denmark. It was inevitable that travellers frequently made their way to the residence to take advantage of the hospitality of the Thompson family who finally found it necessary to make a small charge to the visitors. The family then introduced camping holidays at a picturesque spot known as the Peppermints. Guests were transported here and Alice Thompson baked bread, made butter and sold stores and milk.

However, the desire for camping waned and guests preferred the home style hospitality of the Thompsons. The family decided to construct holiday accommodation. To keep costs down, timber from the bush was used. Frank (Jnr), now a young man in his early twenties, had been working away from home for some time and he used his expertise as an axeman to cut the timber for the new building.

The main structure was constructed between 1923-1926. Firstly, two rooms were built next to their old home, which was then demolished. Another two rooms were added, then three on an upstairs level and so Tinglewood Lodge was born with hand hewn timber used throughout.

Tinglewood Lodge was an extremely popular tourist destination and the family’s hospitality was known far and wide.

Frank Thompson was a great favourite around the Walpole district. He had an amazing memory and liked nothing better than to tell his family story. Frank’s mother and father died in 1948 and 1949 respectively and Tinglewood Lodge was sold in 1956. Frank eventually moved to Perth but made frequent trips back to the area he loved. He died in August 1981 at the age of 94 years. This family, too, was influential in the development of this south coastal town.

This article was published in the Walpole Weekly, 31 October 2018.
Photo: WNDHS collection.

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