Summary of Tocal's history
Tocal has a long and proud history, during which it has become one of the foremost agricultural institutions in Australia. Tocal was on part of the land of the Gringai clan of the Wonnarua people. The name 'Tocal' is a Koori word meaning 'plenty'.
Its involvement with agriculture began in 1822 when James Webber took up the property as one of the first land grants in the Paterson Valley. Webber sold Tocal to Caleb Wilson in 1834, and Caleb's son, Felix, subsequently acquired it.
Felix built the Homestead in 1841 and it is the centrepiece of a set of timber, brick and stone buildings that are subject to a Permanent Conservation Order and registered in the National Estate.
Charles Reynolds leased the property in 1844. During the next 82 years, Charles and subsequently his widow Frances, his son Frank and grandson Darcie ran Tocal as one of the most important Hereford, Devon and Thoroughbred studs in the country. Frank Reynolds purchased Tocal from the Wilson family in 1907.
In 1926, the Alexander family bought Tocal from the Reynolds family, which consisted of Isabella, Robert, Jean and Charles Alexander. By 1939 only Charles remained and when he died in 1947, he left a very large estate and a complex will. His intention was that his estate be used to help orphan and destitute children by training them for agricultural careers. In 1963, the Presbyterian Church was awarded Alexander's Estate under a proposal designed by Edward Alan Hunt, law agent for the Church.
In 1965, the College buildings, designed by architects Ian McKay and Philip Cox, gained Sulman and Blacket Awards for Architecture. In that same year the first fifteen students were enrolled, and Sir Robert Menzies opened the CB Alexander Presbyterian Agricultural College.
The Church managed the College until 1970 when it was transferred to the NSW Department of Agriculture (now NSW Industry & Investment). This coincided with the passing of the CB Alexander Foundation Act, 1969.
Key advances since then have been admitting females in 1972, additional buildings 1974, 1987, 1994 and 1996, commencing dairy apprenticeships 1980, relocating NSW Agriculture's Home Study Program to Tocal 1981, starting Tocal Field Days 1984, adopting a problem-based learning curriculum 1985, public access to Tocal Homestead 1987, commencing Rural Traineeships 1994, and launching the Certificate in Landcare 1995.
The Tocal property has increased through various land purchases since the College commenced and is now 2,200 hectares. In 2006 the CB Alexander Agricultural College and the Murrumbidgee College of Agriculture became one Registered Training Organisation (RTO) known as Tocal College. The College now has two campuses, the CB Alexander Campus at Paterson, and Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre at Yanco.
NSW Industry & Investment runs Tocal College assisted in many different ways by the CB Alexander Foundation and Friends of Tocal.