Naylors’ impact on the North-East
By Daisy Baker
August 21, 2019
Throughout their time living in Branxholm, Ken and Sue Naylor have become well-known for their wide-reaching community involvement.
Throughout their 50 years of marriage, they have been involved in organisations including the Branxholm Fire Brigade, sporting clubs and the Branxholm Progress Association.
Ken says when he moved to Branxholm at around three years old, it was a very different town to the “sleepy hollow” it is today.
“As a child, Branxholm was brilliant because there were so many young people around,” he says.
“There was as school, which I think went through to year nine at one stage and then later it went to year six, after which you went to either Scottsdale or Winnaleah.
“When I was going to school here, there were three classrooms which were all full.”
He says even at this time, when most people got to working age they would drift out of Branxholm because there weren’t many local jobs apart from the mill.
“Over the years the town’s gone downhill in terms of population,” he says.
“Once upon a time I could get a junior cricket team from just around here,” he says, points out the window to their street.
“Now there’s nothing, no young people here at all. No employment for them to start with.
“Forestry was a big thing here and when it closed down it didn’t do the town any good.
Branxholm used to have its own forestry group and then it amalgamated with Scottsdale.”
Sue says things are slowly picking up again with tourism and farming ventures.
“I think the hops now are starting to revitalise things with the expansion to Maryvale,” she said.
“That will create employment which I think is excellent to see.”
Sue grew up in Scottsdale and moved to Branxholm when she got married to Ken 50 years ago.
“I used to work at a haberdashery with ladies and men’s wear which was where Harcourts is now,” she says.
“Scottsdale has really changed a lot since then.”
Together, Ken and Sue have four children, Maree, Mathew, Adam and Kylie.
Sue worked at the Branxholm IGA for more than 30 years and was heavily involved in the Branxholm Parents and Friends’ Association where she got to know many locals.
Sue has also been involved with the Branxholm Flower Show for almost 40 years and has been the secretary for 30 odd years.
Recently the Naylors received recognition from Tasmania Fire Service for 35 years of service.
They no longer attend callouts but are associate members of the brigade.
Between cricket, football, work and his other community engagements, Ken says he was rarely home.
He held a volunteer role as the divisional superintendent for St Johns Ambulance for several years which involved work in Launceston and teaching first aid among the local community.
On top of this, he held a job as the forest officer for forestry for 48 years.
Pointing to an historical photograph of Branxholm, Ken recalls shops previously in the town.
“There was Scott and Rapley, a general merchandise and clothing store and the post office wasn’t very far away from that - that was where Tin Timbers is now,” he says.
“There was Rose’s shop just near the bridge which is a residence now, and there was Wardlaw’s shop that got burned down.
“There was a hotel on the other side called the Retreat, a butcher shop and the old court house which is a private residence now.”
The Naylors both take an interest in local history and together with neighbour Trevor Smith, Sue revised the town’s history book Bygone Branxholm, which has recently been reprinted.
Despite the declining population of Branxholm, Sue says the community spirit is alive and well.
“You do what you can to help keep the community going.”