The 53rd anniversary of Cessnock’s most recent ‘snow day’ is coming up next week.
On July 18, 1965, some 16 centimetres of snow fell on hills around the Cessnock area, including Quorrobolong, Mount View and Millfield.
About 10 centimetres of snow fell on Mount Sugarloaf that day too.
Readers shared their photos and memories of the snow day when the 50th anniversary rolled around in 2015 (read more here).
HOW WE REPORTED IT: The following article appeared on the front page of the Cessnock Advertiser on July 22, 1965.
SNOW A MAGNET FOR THOUSANDS
Snow covered mountains and fields in the Millfield-Wollombi-Quarrybylong areas during the weekend attracted thousands of people from Hunter Valley and Newcastle areas
Local residents were amazed at the amount of snow which fell during the early hours of Sunday. It is believed to have been first sighted by dancers at the Millfield Ex-Serviceman’s club at about 1.30am.
An employee of the club, Mr. A. Harris, was in the foyer of the building when he noticed it, he grabbed handfuls of the glistening snow and took it inside the club.
“We could clearly see the snow falling,” he said later.
Rector of the Wollombi Church of England parish, the Rev. Peter Greaves first spotted the snow on Mt. View as he prepared for his first service of the day.
Miles of it
To the south of his home he could see miles of snow covered escarpment laying over the Watagan plateau.
“I rang the church bell [sic] skied often on Barrington Tops, [sic] had told his wife the night before that it was cold enough for snow to fall over that mountain range that night.
Before 7 o’clock next morning several cars had travelled along Wollombi Road to Hayes Road, a forestry track which leads to the summit of Mt. Millfield.
Among the first to reach the area were Messrs Harry Crawford, Ray Davies, P. Phillips, Brain Phillips, Ray McGregor, Eric Coombes, Jack Evans, Garbey Craft and their families, all from the Millfield district.
Mr. Coombes and his family were well prepared. They ate breakfast served from the boot of their car.
A report from the snowfield said that children, middle aged men and women and grandparents threw snowballs with equal enthusiasm.
Heavy volumes of traffic passed through Millfield during the morning bound for Laguna where a heavy fall had been reported.
Small business and petrol stations en route did a record amount of trade.
Mr. W. Drayton drove to the top of Mt. View where he took photographs before proceeding to Mt. Millfield.
Members of the Paxton Cricket Club joined forces to ‘bombard’ fellow member, Mr. S. Parkes, who soon left to drive to Mt. View and Quarrybylong where the heaviest falls were reported.
Mr Parkes said that one farmhouse at Quarrybylong was sitting amidst an “immaculate field of snow”.
At 8am traffic was banked up along the road leading to Newcastle State Forest so Mr Parkes set out for the Hunter Lookout. There he saw snow three to four inches deep covering the ground.
He said the snow was still there when he returned before nightfall.
At Wollombi Mr. Parkes met sightseers from Singleton, who had seen snow near Broke.
Wollombi resident, Mr. Mel Jurd, said the earliest reports of snow had come from Mr. Ron Fernance, who had a farm a few miles from the town.
But the snow was not all for fun and games.
From Laguna to Newcastle State Forest it had left a path of destruction.
High winds and the weight of the snow had broken limbs and branches from trees.
Other large trees had been uprooted by the winds, blocking minor roads.
Cattle in some place were left dead by the freezing point temperatures if the previous night.