Pearson Hudson Simpson.
Pearson Hudson Simpson. Samantha Elley

Another chapter in cedar story ends

PIONEER Pearson Hudson Simpson is buried in East Ballina cemetery and when he died, one of the last ties to the original cedar-getting industry in the early days was cut forever.

Pearson Hudson Simpson.
LOOKING BACK: A portrait of Pearson Hudson Simpson and, above right, his headstone. Samantha Elley

Simpson was born in the Uralba area in 1854 to father Pearson and mother Elizabeth.

As a young lad he worked with his father and brother Sidney in the timber industry.

The demand for, and supply of cedar eventually diminished and it was then that Simpson Jnr selected a farm in Upper Uralba, building on it one of the most beautiful homes in the area.

He became one of the earliest and most successful fruit growers in the community, winning prizes in many of the local shows.

It was with the help of other pioneers in the area, including W Wilson and J McAndrew, that they organised to build a school at Uralba.

Simpson and Wilson chose the sight of an old Aboriginal burial ground due to its elevation. They felled the trees and cleared the area at no cost while McAndrew, with the help of a government grant of 15 pounds, built the school house for the Department of Education in 1888.

Fourteen pupils were enrolled including Simpson's daughter Jane, who was only three-and-a-half years old.

The school continued operating until 1967, when it finally closed.

Simpson was also the first warden of the Church of England church erected at Uralba in 1911.

He was known for his straight and direct principles, as well as his kindness, which was highlighted in the story of when he was coming back from Ballina in a dray and he came across a Crimean War veteran on the bank of Emigrant Creek about to commit suicide as he was starving and had no money or family.

Simpson gave him half his earnings and half his meat and bread, saying he would give him all of it but he had a wife and children at home.

Simpson died in 1929.

This story was suggested by reader Julie McRae.

References: A Pioneer Passes, The Northern Star, July 9, 1929; Uralba School Jubilee, The Courier Mail, December 27, 1938; List of schools in Northern Rivers, Wikipedia; Pioneers of the Richmond River, The Northern Star, August 30, 1929.