Most residents, familiar with Wagga history, would recall the names Baylis and Forsyth.
But few would refer to Frederick Tompson.
His story was revealed as part of The Daily Advertiser’s Memory Lane series, uncovering the long-forgotten residents behind Wagga’s streets.
According to city historian Sherry Morris, Tompson had been an outstanding figure of Wagga, playing a large part in every aspect of its development from the day it was named.
As such, he has been described throughout history as the father of Wagga.
The son of a convict, Tompson came to the area in 1832 and within eight years, he was operating the biggest stock station – Eunonyhareenyha – with more than 33 workers, 1200 cattle, 11,000 sheep 30 horses and more than 20 acres of wheat.
A registered pastoralist by 1847, Thompson was one of the key figures to petition for a court of petty sessions to be established and became one of its first magistrates.
According to Mrs Morris, he often sat on the bench with John Peter and William Macleay, but his decisions were not always the most reasonable, according to residents at the time.
In fact, Tompson was criticised for sentencing a man to seven days in jail, after the man said his dog looked better than the chief constable at the time.
Having decided to make the town his home, Tompson built his house on the Murrumbidgee River, even though the plans for the town had to be changed to accommodate this.
In addition to his role as a farmer, landowner, clerk and magistrate, Tompson was a business owner, court clerk, the first postmaster, the first town clerk, Bridge Company director, Murrumbidgee Pastoral & Agricultural Association secretary and town coroner.
He was integral in the building of the first bank, school, Church of England, bridge over the Murrumbidgee and the mechanic’s institute.
But across the decades, Tompson was impacted by financial struggles and was forced to sell up most of his assets.
Despite this he was still a popular man and social leader among the township of Wagga, according to Mrs Morris.
A father-of-eight, Tompson died in 1882, leaving behind behind his wife Eliza, his living children and a long-standing legacy.