History of Tahlee | YWAM Tahlee
You were made for this


Tahlee has a rich history and is a significant site for both the indigenous people who called this land home, and the early settlers who chose Tahlee as the location for the first European settlement on the north side of Port Stephens. The earliest recorded human inhabitants were the Gringai people. Carrington- born William Scott recalls that “they (the Gringai people) had a great sense of fun and sharing.” The Gringai people were a peaceful people and lived quite harmoniously with the white settlers in the early years. (C.R Theobald “ A place called Tahlee”)

The first Europeans to settle here were a group led by Mr. Robert Dawson, who was appointed to establish the headquarters of the Australian Agricultural Company (A. A. Co), in 1826. As the company’s first Commissioner, he built the house where Tahlee House now stands. 

The second Commissioner of the A. A. Co. was Sir William Edward Parry. He and his wife Isabella, showed caring concern for the increasing numbers of people living in the Tahlee and Carrington settlements, including several hundred convicts. They had particular concern for the spiritual needs of the people. Together they began to conduct regular Sunday church services in the carpenter’s shop in Carrington Village. Sir Edward also established a school and organised fun days and dances for the local community.

The next Commissioner was Lieutenant Colonel Dumaresq. He added several rooms to Tahlee House before his death in 1838. Captain Philip King was appointed Commissioner in 1839. He laid the foundation stone for Carrington Church in December 1846, which was officially opened in 1847.

You were made for this


In 1849 the A. A. Co. moved its headquarters to Stroud and in 1854 sold the estate to Mr. Fredrick Manton. In 1860, the original Tahlee House burned down and in 1871, the Tahlee estate was purchased by Rev James Cameron and Mr Andrew R Cameron.

In 1880 Tahlee was then bought by Mr Robert Hoddle Driberg White, an elected Member of Parliament for Gloucester- the same year he came by a fortune of 175,000 pounds. He invested heavily into Tahlee and what we see today is largely the legacy of his tenure (the Boat Harbour, Wine Cellar, and the servants quarters are a legacy of the A.A. Co.). Mr. White arranged for the restoration of the Carrington Church in 1888 and, “to ensure attendance he arranged for a steamer to bring people from surrounding districts.” ( Newspaper article, 1934 ‘A place called Tahlee’).

In 1927 the property was inherited by his son, Mr. A. B. A. White.

You were made for this


The Gospel Fishermen Mission, under the leadership of Godfrey & Winnifred Theobald, moved from their base in Tanilba House to begin leasing rooms at Tahlee in 1949. It became a place to conduct children and youth camps and Bible teaching conferences. Tahlee was also a base for workers to go out and assist rural churches.

In 1951, the Mission commenced Missionary Training Camps to prepare missionaries for working overseas. In 1959, the Mission purchased the property from Mr. White and started Tahlee Bible College.

The name of the Mission changed to Gospel Service Ministries in 1998 and then to Tahlee Ministries Inc in 2004. YWAM Newcastle was offered a long-term lease of the property in 2018, and YWAM Tahlee was formed and took on management in 2019.

YWAM Tahlee continues to build upon this rich heritage and looks forward to creating a multi-purpose International training campus with outdoor education, marine and sailing initiatives.