THEY came from near and far, from across the road to all the way from the Northern Territory to celebrate a remarkable woman.
More than 200 people converged on the St Peter’s church at Tarana last month to celebrate 145 years since pioneer Ann Webb signed the deed for the land for the church.
Relatives and visitors from Queensland, all over NSW, as well as Sydney, Melbourne and even the Top End crammed into the historic church and spilled out around it to join in a service to commemorate Ann Webb’s contribution to the Tarana region.
There were plenty of surprises and hugs as people came across relatives they hadn’t seen in decades, and lots of chatter as everyone caught up on the family news.
Ann Webb, along with her husband William, came to Tarana from Cornwall in England on February 26, 1840, and made their home in the valley.
Today many of Ann’s descendants still live and farm in the valley.
Ann’s great-grandson Kevin Webb said Ann’s husband William was killed in a wagon accident in 1852, and because there was no cemetery, he was buried in Bathurst.
Mr Webb said with this tragedy, Ann decided to give land, as well as materials, for a church and cemetery to be built.
“She didn’t want other families to go through that,” he said.
Mr Webb said there had been awful weather in the lead-up to the event, but the sun shone on the large crowd on the day.
The service including representatives from all denominations of the Christian church, as Mr Webb said Ann had intended the church to be used by all.
“It was Ann’s wish that all denominations were welcome in the church,” he said.
The service also included performances by Ann’s great-great-great-grandson Adrian Perry and great-great-great-great-granddaughter Brooke Webb.
Mr Webb said he was thrilled with the turn-out.
“It was just fantastic that such a great pioneer is still so greatly respected today,” he said.
“To put in a bit of effort and get that result was just wonderful.
“We just wanted to honour her generosity and legacy. She didn’t do it for herself, she did it for the community.
“She would have been tough, but she would have had to be. But she was very generous.”
Planning is already underway for a family reunion weekend in the next five years.