Morawa Museum banner
EDWARD LARKIN

   Edward Nicholas LARKIN was from Sussex, England and migrated to Australia with his wife Jane in 1837. He operated the windmill on "Kirkham" and in 1839 rented the Perseverance mill at Airds from William MANNIX for a period of four years. There is some evidence to suggest that he had this mill from 1837 but only had it operational from 1839. This is presumably the same mill he is recorded as starting in Cambelltown by 1840. He was operating two windmills there by 1842. In circa 1846 he erected a post mill at Windmill Hill, 1.5 kilometres south of Appin, and operated it for almost twenty-five years until the grinding rights for it were acquired by James BOCKING in 1870. The new owner probably never operated it and the mill was standing silent by 1873. In later life LARKIN was a major railway contractor in partnership with the prominent engineer William WAKEFORD (1825-97) of Strathfield, Sydney.
   Larkin and Wakeford went into partnership to establish a contracting company, Larkin & Wakeford of Burwood, Sydney. Their first contract was to take over NSW Government Railways Works Contract No.2 to construct the Great Southern Railway from Couridjah (Thirlmere) to Balmoral (Bargo) in Feb 1863 and then followed Works Contracts No.3 & No.4 to construct it to Mittagong in Jul & Nov 1863 for a total of 91,925 (970x av an wages). The contract involved Ed Larkin, T. Larkin, T. Byrne and Wm Wakeford and was overseen by John Whitton (Gazetteer Rly Contractors v1 by Popplewell). The company was then awarded Contract 1A to lay the permanent way of ballast, sleepers and rails for this section of railway on 31 May 1865 and the section to Mittagong opened on 1 Mar 1867. Then a Works Contract was obtained to construct the railway to Wingecarribee (Moss Vale) in 1865 and the section to Moss Vale opened on 2 Dec 1867. The company was awarded a contract to lay the permanent way for the Great Western Railway from Penrith to Blackheath in 1865 and the section to Mount Victoria opened on 1 May 1868 (Mid Mountains Hist Soc). The company obtained a contract to construct the Great Northern Railway from Muswellbrook to Parkville (Scone) on 21 Jun 1869. The 12kms section to Aberdeen opened on 20 Oct 1870 and the 14kms section to Scone was opened with ceremony by the NSW Governor and Premier, followed by a ball on 17 Apr 1871. Larkin & Wakeford was awarded a contract to lay the permanent way for the Great Western Railway from Rydal (Lithgow) to Kelso (Bathurst) and the section to Kelso opened on 4 Feb 1875. Then William Wakeford built the harbour works at Kiama in 1874. Their last and biggest engineering job was the Works Contract to construct the Great Northern Railway from Murrurundi to Tamworth that included designing and driving the Murrurundi tunnel through the Great Dividing Range on 4 Mar 1874 (still existent). William Wakeford built a large steam sawmill and wharf at Wyee Point, Lake Macquarie that produced 40,000ft of timber per week and employed 60 men in 1875 (Lake Macquarie Hist Soc). However William Wakeford was criticised publicly because the works ran 2 years late, to which he responded that it was due to difficulties in obtaining labour (NSWRly AR 1876).

Thanks to Robert McLellan for supplying the information on the Larkin - Wakeford partnership.