|A Tour to the South - Town & Country Journal (1872)||Back to:   History Pages|
'A Tour to the South' was a series of articles published in 1872 in the Town & Country Journal, written by an anonymous correspondent. A number of the articles reproduced below concern the township of Hay and surrounding pastoral runs. Article 1 (published on 31 August 1872) - the correspondent travels along the north side of the Murrumbidgee River westwards from Narrandera. He describes "North Yanco", "Gogelderie", "Cuba", "Benerembah", "Bringagee" and "Groongal" stations. Article 2 (published on 7 September 1872) - the correspondent travels along the north side of the Murrumbidgee River westwards to Hay. He describes "Howlong", "Wardry" ("Uardry") and "Illilawa" stations. The account concludes with a general description of Hay township, including details of its three churches. Article 3 (published on 14 September 1872) - a detailed account of Hay township and its citizens, including descriptions of the local schools, hospital, banks, stores, hotels and government buildings. Sections of this article have the odd word missing due to faulty reproduction of the copy used. Article 4 (published on 21 September 1872) - contains an account of the correspondent's journey from Hay to Balranald. He describes M'Evoy's station ("Wooloondool"), "Benduck", "Canoon" and "Toogimbie" stations, the village of Maude, "Pimpanpa", "Gelam", "Nap Nap", "Oxley", "Juanbong" and "Paika" stations, before arriving at Balranald township. Article 5 (published on 28 September 1872) - contains an account of the correspondent's journey from Balranald to Wentworth. He describes "Canally", "Meilmam" and "Euston" stations and the village of Euston; followed by a description of "Tapalin" and "Mallee Cliffs" stations and Gol Gol village, before arriving at Wentworth township. Article 6 (published on 19 October 1872) - the correspondent retraces his journey along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers to Balranald; from there he travels to "Yanga" and "Moolpar" stations, the township of Moulamein, and on to "Woorooma" and "Murgah" stations. After losing his way the correspondent was rescued by George Peppin of "Wanganella" and "Morago" stations. After a night at "Morago" the writer travels the short distance to Deniliquin. Article 7 (published on 2 November 1872) - contains an account of the correspondent's journey from Deniliquin to Hay (mentions "Morago" station, Wanganella, Pine Ridge, etc.) and his later journey from Hay to Wagga Wagga ("Eli Elwah", "Burrabogie", "Toganmain", "Kerarbury", "Tubbo" and "Buckingbong" stations).
Article 1 (published on 31 August 1872) - the correspondent travels along the north side of the Murrumbidgee River westwards from Narrandera. He describes "North Yanco", "Gogelderie", "Cuba", "Benerembah", "Bringagee" and "Groongal" stations.
Article 2 (published on 7 September 1872) - the correspondent travels along the north side of the Murrumbidgee River westwards to Hay. He describes "Howlong", "Wardry" ("Uardry") and "Illilawa" stations. The account concludes with a general description of Hay township, including details of its three churches.
Article 3 (published on 14 September 1872) - a detailed account of Hay township and its citizens, including descriptions of the local schools, hospital, banks, stores, hotels and government buildings. Sections of this article have the odd word missing due to faulty reproduction of the copy used.
Article 4 (published on 21 September 1872) - contains an account of the correspondent's journey from Hay to Balranald. He describes M'Evoy's station ("Wooloondool"), "Benduck", "Canoon" and "Toogimbie" stations, the village of Maude, "Pimpanpa", "Gelam", "Nap Nap", "Oxley", "Juanbong" and "Paika" stations, before arriving at Balranald township.
Article 5 (published on 28 September 1872) - contains an account of the correspondent's journey from Balranald to Wentworth. He describes "Canally", "Meilmam" and "Euston" stations and the village of Euston; followed by a description of "Tapalin" and "Mallee Cliffs" stations and Gol Gol village, before arriving at Wentworth township.
Article 6 (published on 19 October 1872) - the correspondent retraces his journey along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers to Balranald; from there he travels to "Yanga" and "Moolpar" stations, the township of Moulamein, and on to "Woorooma" and "Murgah" stations. After losing his way the correspondent was rescued by George Peppin of "Wanganella" and "Morago" stations. After a night at "Morago" the writer travels the short distance to Deniliquin.
Article 7 (published on 2 November 1872) - contains an account of the correspondent's journey from Deniliquin to Hay (mentions "Morago" station, Wanganella, Pine Ridge, etc.) and his later journey from Hay to Wagga Wagga ("Eli Elwah", "Burrabogie", "Toganmain", "Kerarbury", "Tubbo" and "Buckingbong" stations).
(Town & Country Journal, 31 August 1872, pp. 272-3.)
A Tour to the South.
[BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.]
THE MURRUMBIDGEE. - (CONTINUED.)
RIVERINA is a country of extremes. In treating of it the most impartial writers would contradict each other if their visits were paid at different seasons. A writer, for instance, visiting it in March 1872, would describe it as consisting of vast arid plains – hundreds of miles of grassless country with little water. A second writer, visiting it in June, 1872, would tell of a beautiful well-grassed and well watered country – a land “flowing with milk and honey;” whilst a writer, in the beginning of August, 1872, might express his thoughts in one word by saying it is “Riverina,” for he would be compelled to travel through miles of water in such quantities as to lead to the belief that it is almost an inland sea. The last described scene is caused by the waters of the Murray, the Murrumbidgee, the Darling, and the Billabong, with their ana-branches (particularly the Edward) and lagoons, overflowing their banks and spreading over miles of the plains. Riverina receives the whole of the waters from the southern and south-western parts of the colony; and in flood time this is more than the low banks of her rivers can keep within bounds.
It was very late in the evening when I arrived at the North Yanco station from Narandera – fifteen miles. For at least seven miles myself and horse paddled through water and mud, and the rain poured down furiously and blindingly at first, and then it set in with a settled persistency. On a jaded horse, groping in the dark along an unknown road, where the miles seemed interminable, even Mark Tapley could scarcely “feel jolly.”
In time the lights, which were dotted about and pointed to the station-township appeared, and at length I reached North Yanco, and received a hearty welcome from Mr. Alexander McNeill and Mr. Elwyn, the proprietor and superintendent, whom I had met some months before. A cheerful fire and a good supper soon dispelled the unpleasant sensations of the few hours out, and though
“There was a roaring in the wind all night;
The rain came heavily and fell in floods.
The next day was ushered in by
North Yanco, McNeill Brothers’ station, is about seventy five miles from Wagga Wagga, and 100 miles from Hay. The home station and residence of Mr. Alexander McNeill are on the northern bank of the Murrumbidgee. As incidentally remarked, North Yanco is a small township in its way, and besides the residence of Mr. McNeill, and the superintendent, there is a store, a blacksmith’s shop, of bark, a shipping wool room, capable of holding 300 bales, mens’ huts of stone, stables, and a number of other buildings. The new residence just being completed is a fine brick building, double roofed, and covered with galvanized iron. The interior, including flooring and ceiling, is lined with the beautifully grained Murrumbidgee pine. The grounds before the residence are already laid out for a shrubbery. The old residence has a capital garden around it. To the west is the comfortable residence of the superintendent. It is also a brick building with verandah, and a garden in front. In the square is the station store. The well is also in the square and worked with double action pump by horse power, which raises the water into the tanks, supported by pillars twenty feet high. From these tanks pipes are laid on to the superintendent’s residence and the garden.
The area of North Yanco is 240 square miles; and it has a frontage of twelve miles to the Murrumbidgee. About 10,000 acres are purchased. The station is splendidly improved, and many thousands have been expended in fencing, damming for water supply, and in the erection of machinery for spouting and hot water washing wool. The station carries about 60,000 sheep, and a few hundred head of cattle. The sheep are chiefly the descendants of the flocks of Bayley, Cox, and other celebrated western breeders. The wool fro North Yanco last year averaged 2s 6d per lb.
This year it was calculated that 85 per cent of lambs would be obtained. The whole of the run is fenced in, and subdivided. Upwards of 260 miles of fencing have been erected, at an average cost of £40 per mile. Though the station has such a good frontage to the Murrumbidgee, and is also watered by an ana-branch, the Cudgell Creek, which runs parallel to the river for seven miles, yet it was found necessary to greatly increase the water supply by the construction of nine or ten dams, wells, and tanks, at a cost of over £5000. These statistics will give an idea of the expenditure connected with the stocking of the salt bush and myall country of Riverina. Messrs. McNeill Brothers employ about forty hands on the North Yanco station. Though there is no post-office, a mail is made up specially for the North Yanco station; and I believe that this is found necessary on most other large stations on Riverina.
The day after my arrival at the station the practical superintendent, Mr. Elwyn, rode with me to the woolshed, distant nearly three miles in an easterly direction. It is a large wooden and shingled building in the form of a T. It is 180 feet long and 35 feet wide. There is accommodation for 32 shearers. Two screen folding tables, and a traveling box screw wool press are used. A wool store is adjacent to the shed; and a short distance away are the superintendents quarters; the shearers, and the “rouse-about” men’s huts.
About 11 miles in a north-westerly direction from the home station there is a large clay pan where an extraordinary spectacle is to be seen. Men from the station were trying for water some years ago, and at an excavation of the depth of 9 feet they came upon a singular aboriginal grave yard. Innumerable bones were turned up and a careful examination for a considerable distance revealed thousands of ovoid shaped aboriginal graves. Many graves were double, tier above tier, and mostly running parallel, east and west. The supposition is that the country was once very thickly populated about here; or that a great battle took place in the vicinity, many years ago.
Leaving North Yanco, a ride of a few hours down the northern bank of the river brought me to a pleasant looking station called Gojelderi, though this seems to be a corruption of the aboriginal name Cudgelderie. Gojelderi is a fine homestead, and I should think one of the most comfortable on the Murrumbidgee. The station is the property and residence of J.A. Dallas, Esq., J.P.
The residence is approached from the roadside, 300 yards away, across a green lawn, or meadow, and then through a shrubbery and garden. It is built of pine. It has a double roof verandah in front, and porchway, enshrouded with the passionflower, connects the house with the laundry and kitchen. The shrubbery and garden is a maze in some parts. A circular flower bed, with a cypress growing in the centre, is in front of the residence; to the left are circles, triangles, squares, parallelograms, and many other geometrically-planned figures, planted with choice flowers, amongst which I noticed several beautiful varieties of roses, and the desert pea. Having regard to the intense heat of Riverina in summer, there is formed from the house to the front gateway, a vine trellis 200 feet long, which will be a cool retreat in the warm weather. A good hedge surrounds the garden, which is very neatly kept, and, though young, speaks well for its future.
Immediately at the back of the residence is the Murrumbidgee, which at this time of the year, with the steamboats passing and re-passing, and then gliding along between the trees along the river’s tortuous course, is a sight worth seeing. To the left of the residence, are the stables, coach-house, &c.; and further still, the superintendent’s comfortable cottage, with two fine Cuba trees shading it in front.
An inspection of the stables gave me an opportunity of seeing two fine horses which are spoken highly of in the district. The names of their relatives are a guarantee of their pedigree. The first shown was Yattendon, a thoroughbred stallion, sire Yattendon the Great, and his dam is Greenmantle. The other is a grey, called Sweet William, and his sire is the imported Arab, Sweet William. They are both in splendid form and condition.
Gojelderi has an area of about 160 square miles, and has a frontage of eight miles to the Murrumbidgee. Mr. Dallas has kept in the van of progress with his Victorian neighbours. The number of gates shows a wise sub-division of the run into paddocks. Though a cattle and horse station, over seventy miles of fencing, chiefly wire, have been erected. A number of wells and dams are on the back of the run. It is stocked by about 4000 head of cattle, and over 200 head of horses.
The next station below Gojelderi is called Cuba, though the aboriginal name is undoubtedly Cooba. The latter is a name given to a tree which is very plentiful on Riverina, and on this station in particular. Cuba has only recently changed hands, having been disposed of by Messrs. Waller and Gordon, to the present owners, Stanbridge and Co. it is superintended by Mr. W.J. McGaw. The residence is a very spacious building, having fine apartments, and exceedingly well constructed, partly of pisé work. The area of the station is thirty by thirteen miles; the latter being the frontage to the Murrumbidgee. Between 180 and 200 miles of fencing have been erected on this run, which now carries upwards of 80,000 sheep, and 800 head of cattle. The sheep are descended from Bayly and Learmonth’s flocks.
Leaving Cuba, and proceeding along the plains for two miles, I came to the site of the township called Darlington. The people were complaining of the want of a post-office here to accommodate both sides of the river. It is eighty miles from Hay, and forty miles from Narrandera; no post-office is between, so the people would seem to have made out a good case in the petition which has been presented. There is one hotel at Darlington, called the Coach and Horses, kept by Mr. K.C.A. Cummings. After leaving Darlington the road continues along the river bank, through salt-bush country, and along plains at a dead level. After three or four hours’ riding over this dreary ground I took, according to instructions, a side path which led through fences, and into paddocks. Passing through a capital avenue, a plain opens out, and in the distance a comfortable residence is seen. This is Benerembah, the station of Thomas Baillie, Esq. The house, just completed, is a well-planned and designed brick building on the bank of the Murrumbidgee. A boat is moored on the river for the use of visitors. The superintendent of the station, Mr. John Munro, gave me a pull on the river and across, where some picturesque scenery opened out to view. To the left was the men’s huts, and further still was the shearer’s hut. These are well constructed, comfortable buildings, and spoke well for the thoughtfulness of those in charge of the station for the care of the men. About a quarter of a mile from the house is the Benerembah woolshed, and woolstore. These are built of heavy sawn timber laid crosswise. The woolshed is a particularly fine one, 180 feet long and 45 feet wide. Forty shearers can be accommodated on a push, but twenty-eight is the number generally employed, so that full room is secured for all. The interior pens and gates are models of system and good judgment. The wool-press is of colonial hardwood, with screw, and worked by a wheel on a similar plan to Wilding’s patent. Thirty-three bales per day can be turned out. Good folding wire tables and sorter’s box adjoin. This shed is equally complete in regard to the drafting pens and yards connected with it. It was erected at a cost of nearly £2000. it may be here mentioned that a larger and more expensive shed on this run was destroyed by fire about five years ago. It was the act of an incendiary – a scoundrel who had a row with the predecessor of Mr. Munro, and revenged himself by this malicious act.
Benerembah has an area of 140,000 acres, and a frontage of nine miles to the Murrumbidgee. The run carries about 54,000 sheep. I have before had occasion to speak of the spirit and enterprise displayed by the large number of Victorian capitalists who have bought station property in Riverina during the past ten years. Mr. Baillie is another Victorian, and a few solid facts will speak for him in laudatory terms. The station has been in his hands about six years. There are now 150 miles of wire fencing erected, and the run is entirely enclosed, and subdivided into twelve large and seventeen smaller paddocks. To secure a sufficient supply of water, without which it would have been impossible to keep stock on the station except on the river frontage, three dams, one of immense size, and four wells have been constructed, and the books show the improvements on the station during the past six years to have cost £15,000. These are remarkable facts, as showing how the resources of Riverina are being developed.
Thanking Mr. Munro for his hospitality and assistance, I proceed on my journey “down the river.” A canter over the plains for six miles brought me into some splendid salt-bush country, and then I found myself at Bringagee, the beginning of the leviathan station of Groongal, the property of Mr. Thomas Learmonth, of Ercildoun.
The name of Mr. Thomas Learmonth of Ercildoun, is a household word among the sheep-farmers and squatters of Victoria and Riverina. Mr. Learmonth is the Bayley of Victoria, and divides the honours in Riverina with the latter gentleman. The Riverina station is an immense one, and is carried on in conjunction with Ercildoun by Mr. Learmonth. The flocks and herds occupy different parts of the run. That part higher up the Murrumbidgee is called Bringagee, and is a cattle station. Sheep are run on the lower parts of the river, and back blocks. The top, or cattle station, Bringagee, is under the charge of Mr. John Buckley. The paddocks, enclosed by first-class post and rail fences, contain splendid salt bush, some of the best that I have seen on the river. The cattle are a fine breed – all Durhams from imported stock, and among their ancestors were Royal Charley, Sir Robert Clan Campbell, and other well-known names. The number on the run varies from 2000 to 6000 head; about 3000 head are now on Bringagee.
Groongal head station is quite a little township. Besides excellent superintendent’s residence, it has overseers and storekeepers quarters, men’s residence, clergyman’s house, windmill, and other buildings. The superintendent of Groongal is Mr. D. McLarty; the overseer, Mr. Hardy; and storekeeper, Mr. Henderson. The superintendent’s residence is a spacious building or buildings; and to the right is the windmill which draws water from the river to the houses and excellent garden and orchard. “The working men’s residence” is a model one. It is the best in Riverina. It is built of red gum with galvanized iron roof. It is raised off the ground on blocks. The dining room is 25 by 18 feet, and there are 7 bedrooms, two beds in each, fitted up with all necessary conveniences.
The kitchen in connection with it, is also a model one, having stoves and other cooking apparatus, and a pantry adjoining. The cost of this building was £350. a missionary is kept by Mr. Learmonth on the station. He also maintains a school. The station is on the river bank; and a capital punt is kept on the river for the use of the station. The woolshed, about a mile from the home station, is a huge one, 200 feet long and 60 feet wide. Two wool presses are used; one of these is Wilding’s patent travelling box. There is dumping machinery here; and it is the only shed on the river that I have visited where dumping is done.
Dumping may properly be defined as packing bales of wool for exportation. Each bale is placed under powerful pressing machinery, and when under it, three or four bands are fastened on for the purpose of keeping the bale compressed, as seen in the accompanying engraving. As vessels to England take cargo per measurement, a considerable saving is effected by means of these presses. One bale of ordinary wool occupies about the same space as three when dumped. The process of dumping is chiefly done on the wharfs, and in the wool warehouses of Sydney and Melbourne. Groongal is one of the few stations in the colony that dumps its own wool.
The shearers’ and ‘rouse-about’ mens’, and overseers’, huts, are near the shed. During the shearing season 140 men are employed viz: fifty-two shearers; forty men at the wash; and forty “rouse-about” men, &c. this is independent of the hands regularly employed.
Groongal station has an area of 400,000 acres, and a frontage of twenty miles to the Murrumbidgee. The run is subdivided into twelve large paddocks, varying from six to ten square miles; and seven smaller paddocks, over 200 square miles of fencing altogether. Capacious dams and tanks are on the back parts of the run for watering purposes. One tank in particular having an excavation of 8000 yards. Through these immense improvements the station now carries from 120,000 to 140,000 sheep, and from 3000 to 6000 head of cattle.
[The article also contains detailed line-drawings of (1) Groongal station (Murrumbidgee River in the foreground) (2) 'Wool dumping' (shearing-shed interior)]
(Town & Country Journal, 7 September 1872, p. 306.)
A Tour to the South.
[BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.]
THE MURRUMBIDGEE. - (CONTINUED.)
A REMARKABLE fact about Riverina is that almost all the stations have changed hands during the past ten years; and of the original occupiers, scarcely half a dozen now remain. The names of Boyd, Lewis, Phillips and Graves, Hogg, Stuckey, Crane, Hobler, Wentworth, Morris, and a host of others, who were among the first pioneers have almost been forgotten; and the Gwynnes, D'Archys, and Rudds are perhaps all that are left on the country first taken up by them.
Mr. Wm. Rudd is pointed out as the only settler on the Murrumbidgee who still lives on the station first taken up by him, about twenty-eight years ago. His station adjoins that of Mr. Thomas Learmonth, Groongal, and is between thirty and forty miles from Hay. It is called Howlong. The comfortable station residence of the veteran squatter, is on the river bank. The three sons of Mr. Rudd who have become Benedicts have homes near their father's. That of Mr. Thomas V. Rudd, Alpha Villa, is a model private residence, about a mile and a half from the home station. It is situated in a bend of the Murrumbidgee river within sight, though half a mile from, the roadside. It is prettily designed, well built, and tastefully furnished. A well arranged, geometrically planned garden is around the house.
Howlong station has an area of about 160 square miles, and a frontage of seven miles to the Murrumbidgee. The station is all fenced in, and besides the river frontage it is watered by wells and dams. The country about Howlong contains a great deal of cotton bush, which is said to be superior to salt bush. It is often found to be green when every other kind of herbage is burnt up. Cattle are bred on Howlong, and I was glad to notice good pedigrees, amongst which was the Fenian, a roan by Royal Hope, imported by R. McDougall Esq; and Marmaduke by Admiral (imported), bred by Mrs. Robertson of Victoria. A few good blood horses are also on the station. Their ancestors are Blair Athol, Troubador, Lord of Hills, &c.
The next station lower down the river is Wardry [now called Uardry], the property of Messrs. Wragge and Hearne. This is a sheep station, having an area of 200 square miles, all fenced in, and subdivided into eight large, and a number of smaller paddocks. It has a frontage of eight miles to the Murrumbidgee. Wardry carries about 40,000 sheep. A few good cattle are kept on the station, and a short-horn cow from there took first prize at the last Hay Show. The proprietors of Wardry, are gentlemen of considerable practical experience, which they are bringing to bear in the improvement of the station. After leaving Wardry the road lies across vast plains having a great sameness of character. When about twelve miles away, a few free selections are passed and the next run is Illilliwa.
This is an extensive station which takes in part of the Hay township. It is the property of Messrs. John Rutherford and Company. The residence of the superintendent, Walter Tully, Esq., is a fine brick building, or rather buildings, very spacious and well constructed throughout.
Before the house there is a capital garden and orchard watered by large tanks filled by a windmill from the river. The woolshed about half a mile from the house is 250 feet long, and fifty feet wide. Illilliwa has an area of 300,000 acres and a river frontage of about twenty miles. The whole of the run is fenced in, and subdivided into fifteen large, and four smaller or stud paddocks. About 250 miles of fencing, (principally wire), have been erected. On the back part of the run ten or twelve dams and wells have been constructed. The wells are worked by horse and whim, and water 10,000 sheep daily. The country is cotton and salt bush. The sheep were originally from the flocks of Mr. Macansh, but Mr. Bayly and other great breeders have contributed of late years towards the further improvement of the sheep. Mr. Tully has carried off an immense number of prizes at the Hay pastoral show for the superior sheep that he exhibited. Gold and silver medals were taken for best merino ewes, best colonial bred ewes, &c. From the few facts given above an idea will be formed of the great outlay on this station. Nine miles from the residence of Mr. Tully, and 180 miles from Wagga Wagga, I reached the township of
Hay formerly known as Lang's Crossing Place received its present name in compliment to the Hon. John Hay. The first land sale took place in 1859. Hay now ranks among the most prosperous and progressive towns in Riverina. Its present population is nearly 800. A few years since its site was but a mere camping ground at a favourable crossing on the Murrumbidgee. The converging cattle tracks have given place to parallel streets, at present soapy, sloppy, or dusty according to the weather, but soon to assume hardness and consistency under the potent spell of "Macadam," directed by the infant municipality. The camp fires have long since been extinguished, and the weary traveller from the Darling, the Paroo, or the Great Gulf itself, can now anticipate the comforts of Scott's, or Menzie's while he takes his ease at Host Esplin's Tattersall's, or the Caledonian.
Spacious stores and shops, whose fronts already rejoice in all the glories of plate glass and golden letters; private wharfs where steam boats freighted with merchandize from the capitals of Victoria and South Australia can speedily discharge; commission agencies and auction marts, with all the minor surroundings of a great commercial entrepôt supply the requests of a wide extent of country over which the hawker's cart of other days catered alone to the wants of solitary shepherds and melancholy hut-keepers.
Not is it in material things alone that Hay excels. Already three churches, English, Presbyterian and Wesleyan, may be reckoned among its public buildings; and on the occasion of the recent visit of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Goulburn the necessary funds for the erection of a place of worship for that denomination were subscribed, the residents of the town and surrounding district, without distinction of creed or country, cordially joining together for the erection of all these religious edifices.
Ample provision is also made for education. There are three schools in the town, one public and two private. So it will be seen that almost every want, temporal and spiritual, is attended to. But it must not be inferred that Hay is in every respect a terrestrial paradise. Commonly speaking its situation is everything that could be desired - standing as it does on one of Australia's noblest rivers, and holding the key to the trade of a large and important district, rich with the golden fleece and fatted cattle, for which our colonies now hold the pride of place - there is a strong probability that it will at no distant day be the commercial capital of Riverina proper. But it has its drawbacks. When the fierce January sun pours its torrid heat on the grassless plains, and the hottest of hot winds blows the well nigh impalpable dust in dense clouds, the situation is not very enjoyable, for the thermometer at such times is something startling. Yet if I may be permitted to make a slight change in a familiar scripture phrase, "the wind is tempered to the parched lambs." But Murrumbidgee water at such seasons, whether mixed with the malt and hops of the local Bass and Barclay, or dashed with the "three starred battle axe," supplies a refresher for the heat-oppressed sojourner - a damper for the driest dust, and, "tell it not in the tents of Rechab," few there are in Hay, who do not fly to the fountain of Solace, and take it generally mixed!
As before stated there are three churches, two of which have just been completed. The Church of England a brick building is unpretentious in exterior appearance, but it is nicely fitted up in the interior with seats, pulpit, &c. The Rev. J.C.M. Ware attends, from Deniliquin.
The Presbyterian church just being completed, almost solely through the energy and zeal of the minister of the district, the Rev. S.A. Hamilton, is an ornament to the town. The building is of brick and has a fine tower, and steeple sixty-five feet high. In dimensions the church is forty by twenty-four feet in the clear (60 feet total length), and there will be seat accommodation for 150 persons. The interior is beautifully lined with Murrumbidgee pine. There are eight windows, and one of stained glass above the pulpit contains, amid scrollwork, a suitable inscription. The pulpit in course of completion, is also nicely designed. The tower and belfry was from a design by Mr. Franklin; and a splendid bell weighting two hundred weight was the generous gift of Messrs. S. and A. Moss, storekeepers, of the Jewish faith, in the town. A magnificent harmonium - one of the finest in Australia, has just been purchased for the church at a cost of nearly £120. The funds for this were raised by Mrs. J.H. Palmer, and a few other good ladies of Hay, town and district. The church was only opened on the 2nd of June last, and cost about £1000. The contractors are Messrs. Witcombe Bros.; it is only justice to echo the general expression that they have performed their task in a substantial, honest, and workmanlike manner. At the side of the church the foundation stone has just been laid for a Presbyterian Sunday School, and Assembly room. This building promises to be a neat one, and will answer the wants of the town in many respects.
The Wesleyan church, also just completed, is a nice little building of brick, with pine ceiling, and galvanized iron roof. Its dimensions are 40 feet long, and 24 feet wide, beside entrance porch, 7 feet by 7 feet. There are ten windows in the church, four on each side, and a nice pulpit or reading desk on a raised platform. The church is faithfully built, and cost only £500. The Rev. W. Weston is the minister.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
(The article also contains a detailed line-drawing of the Presbyterian Church at Hay.)
(Town & Country Journal, 14 September 1872, page 340.)
A Tour to the South.
[BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.]
THE MURRUMBIDGEE. - HAY
ON the day after my arrival (Tuesday) I visited the Hay Public School. It is the best public building in the town, is constructed of brick, and has a galvanized iron roof. There is ample accommodation for 120 scholars, but on the day of my visit, the teacher, Mr. John Hunter, informed me that the school was closed that day, in consequence of the approaches to the place being in such a boggy and sloppy state that the children could not attend. The site of the building is a very bad one, and in wet weather the approaches are nearly impassable; still it seemed to me that somebody was to blame, and that a few hours work, and a few loads of earth, would have rendered the place accessible if not comfortable. But this was not all; for owing to some misunderstanding or difference of opinion, locally arising as to the merits of the present teacher, not more than half the number that the school is capable of accommodating were enrolled, that is taking for granted that the school registers were correct. It is but fair to say that the teacher is acknowledged, by the large section of the inhabitants who condemn him, to be a fair scholar, and he tells me that he holds a University degree. The average registered attendance was forty scholars; sixty names are on the roll. The gentlemen forming the local board are Messrs. W.E. Twynam, T.E. Blewett, George Loughnan, P.G. Milne, W. Threlkeld, J.M. Gordon, J.F. Blake, George Butterworth, and Alfred Tartakover.
The Hay Commercial School, under the mastership of Mr. E.C. Hyde, assisted by Mrs. Hyde, is held in a wooden building, also in a bad position as regards approaches. It was crowded with an attendance of over fifty scholars. The number on the roll was sixty. The work of the school was vigorously carried on in all the branches. In English, including elocution, the pupils showed considerable proficiency, and their writing was neat and clean. Much attention was evidently paid to singing, which tends in my opinion to create a better feeling in schools than would exist without it. Altogether Mr. and Mrs. Hyde deserve success for the creditable manner in which the school is being conducted.
The wants of the sick are not neglected in Hay, for there is in course of completion a fine hospital. The charitable inhabitants of the town and district have come forward with liberal subscriptions, and a capital building will be ready in a few months. The plans and specifications were prepared by Mr. F.A. Franklin, the resident engineer for the bridge, and are regarded as being admirably adapted for the purpose; none the less acceptable for being the gift of Mr. Franklin, for he refused fee or reward. Messrs. Witcombe Bros. Are the contractors to erect the building for £1236. Mr. William Threlkeld is the hon. clerk of the works. The main building will be in the Grecian style, having a pedimented façade, with main and string cornices in bold relief, furnished with quoins, archtraves, and base courses in imitation stone. The principal entrance will be protected by a neat portico, with projecting mouldings. On either side of the main building there will be wings, having covered verandahs throughout. The walls of the main and wing buildings are to be finished in tuck pointing on a tinted ground. The entire length of the front elevation will be sixty-six feet, and the height of the central portion to the apex of the pediment, twenty feet. The internal accommodation will be spacious, economically arranged, and all well ventilated. Mortuary and other necessary offices will be provided. The building will be an ornament to the town. The president is Mr. J.E. Pearce; hon. treasurer, Mr. James Macgregor, junr.; hon. sec., F.W. Reed. Dr. Gordon is the resident medical practitioner of the district.
An instance of the neglect of Riverina by the Government is evidenced by the disgraceful buildings in which justice is supposed to be dispensed, and prisoners retained for safekeeping. For positive wretchedness those at Hay crown all others that I have previously visited. I should have appended a sketch of the interior, if I thought that the readers of the Town and Country could be persuaded that I had not wilfully caricatured these Government buildings. The court-house has a woe-begone appearance. The ceiling has nearly all fallen in, and the furniture is as shabby as the building. The gaol is in the same building and contains two cells, eight feet by ten feet. When women are locked up, one of these cells is set apart for them; on one occasion there were seven prisoners in one cell, while two females were locked up in the second cell, divided by a thin partition. It is clear that someone deserves censure for this state of things - Mr. J.E. Pearce is Police Magistrate, and Mr. Blake, Clerk of Petty Sessions. The police were at the time of my visit under the charge of Inspector Creaghe, an efficient and highly respected officer, who distinguished himself in the old bushranging days, in an encounter with Clarke's gang, when one of the bushrangers was shot dead. Mr. Creaghe has since been removed to Grafton, but before leaving Hay, was entertained at a public dinner; and presented with a handsome testimonial and address. The solicitors in Hay are Messrs. W.E. Twynam and F.W. Wood.
The post and telegraph offices are in a nice brick building near the court-house. The duties of the Hay post and telegraph department are no sinecure. 72 mails are received and despatched weekly; and the arrivals of some of these are at the hour, "when church-yards yawn" &c. Many of the stations have special mails made up. Mr. R.S. Arnott performs the double duties of post and telegraph master.
There is one banking establishment in Hay; it is a branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank. A view of this neat building is given in the background of the accompanying picture in which is the portrait of the champion horse Leicester. The courteous and energetic manager, is James Macgregor Esq. Mr. F. Gardiner and Mr. J. McIvor are his assistants.
In country towns, next to hotels, the stores come in as objects of attraction to the visitor. Of course every storekeeper finds it to his advantage and duty to keep a stock of goods in all branches. One part of the store is devoted to drapery, another to grocery, a third to ironmongery, while boots and shoes occupy a fourth, and wines and spirits are in cellars. More than this; local politicians congregate in many of the stores and settle the affairs of the town, the country, and often of the world, with an ease and confidence that is really refreshing to listen to. Sitting on bags of potatoes, on chests of tea, or perhaps on the counter, the speakers carry on their discussions with less temper, and sometimes with greater intelligence than is often exhibited in "the House" itself. As population increases country stores gradually assume the business aspect of city shops and less of debating clubs. Hay is undergoing this transposition. There are several fine stores in the town doing an extensive trade. The finest - that of Messrs. Blewett and Co. - which forms the subject of an engraving in this issue is at the corner of Lachlan and Bank streets. The store is a well constructed building of brick; and a wide verandah covers a good pavement, which is appreciated by the Hayites, after floundering through the muddy streets. Over the verandah wall-plates, is a line of plate glass, containing the name of the firm and other particulars. This is an improvement on the usual wood work. The windows are of plate glass, and passing into the shop its superior is only found in large cities. It has a very lofty interior; one side devoted to grocery, and the other to drapery, while the centre contains a sort of monumental figure loaded with light goods. Well arranged offices and cash receivers are at the furthest end and right through are back stores, where the wholesale goods are in stock, and the wines and spirits are kept. Messrs. Blewett and Co., the spirited proprietors, are also Stock, Station, and Commission Agents and auctioneers.
Lower down the street is the store of Messrs. S. and A. Moss. It has not a great frontage, but is of considerable length, and I found it piled with goods of every conceivable description. Large cellars run underneath the greater part of the building, and the offices are in a detached building under the charge of Mr. Higgins. A large business is done by Messrs. S. and A. Moss.
The store lower down still, was formerly well known as Mr. J.H. Pollard's. It has been purchased, and is now carried on by Mr. J.E. Warby. He conducted me over the establishment; I was surprised at the large quantity of goods here. The piles of chests of tea, bags of sugar, rice, &c., seemed to equal many establishments making pretensions to be wholesale warehouses in the city, and the conclusion one cannot but arrive at is that an immense trade is done by the storekeepers of Hay.
There are a number of other stores worthy of mention in the town. Foremost amongst these and on the opposite side of the street to those I have alluded to are Tartakover Brothers, who own a good general store, including a large stock of furniture, upholstery, crockeryware, &c.; the Bee-hive store, by Mr. W.L. Smith, is also on the same side of the street, lower down.
The hotels are generally the first places in a town to occupy the attention of the traveller, and there is a choice in Hay, for there are about a dozen altogether.
The leading hotel in Hay is Tattersall's Family Hotel, Lachlan-street. The building, of brick, has a good external appearance, and the interior contains nearly thirty rooms. There are two large dining-rooms, a fine billiard-room, four (or?) five parlours, a few private rooms, and eighteen sleeping apartments, (....) bathroom, &c. The capabilities of Tattersall's were put to a severe task during my stay, when the Hay Pastoral Dinner and Ball took place. The town was pretty full of visitors, and the dinner and ball took place in the hotel. The ball supper was a magnificent one, and called forth the admiration of the metropolitan visitors, who said they (...) saw anything superior to it in Melbourne or Sydney. The following evening the Hay Pastoral Dinner was also given at host Esplin's. Over sixty gentlemen sat down in the long room to a dinner quite equal to any spread that I have ever seen given in the metropolis. The tickets were fixed at 30s. each. The stables are in keeping with the character of the hotel, and contain twelve (in?) stalls.
A large brick building, seen on entering the town, is called the Bush Inn. It is the only two storey house in Hay. The Bush Inn has a frontage to Leonard and Lachlan streets, and contains twenty-two rooms, beside billiard-room, &c. It does a good trade and is carried on by Mr. William Sabine. The public school is opposite to the Bush Inn.
Next to Tattersall's, and nearer the punt, is the Punt Hotel, another spacious hotel (containing twenty rooms) well conducted by Mr. Edward Brandon. For many years Mr. Brandon was a coach driver and on his retirement from the service of Cobb and Co., the inhabitants of the district recognised (...) his skill in handling the ribbons under extraordinary difficulties, and his unwavering courtesy, and obliging disposition, by presenting him with a handsome testimonial, in the shape of a valuable gold watch, chain and locket.
Above Tattersall's is the Crown Hotel, carried on by Mr. W. Carter. It is also a good brick building having twenty-two rooms; and a large Assembly Hall, (known?) as the Adelphi theatre, where travelling theatrical parties give entertainments. It is a capital room, (and?) is supplied by a few good scenes which being of a general character are made to answer (for?) almost any play ranging from Shakespeare to Boucicault. Two other hotels near the bridge in Lachlan-street, (close?) to each other, deserve notice. They present a very neat exterior, and a very comfortable interior. The first is the Royal, carried on by Mr. Peter Halbish, and the other the Bridge Hotel, conducted by Mr. G. Lenning [John Lening]. Mr. Thomas Simpson has a large brewery on the northern bank of the Murrumbidgee on the border of the town, and he has succeeded in producing ale of a very superior quality. Both residents and visitors give undoubted proof of (...) confidence they have in it. The commission agents are Messrs. Forsyth and Co., Blewett and Co., and Mr. (..) Moore.
The only present available means of crossing the Murrumbidgee at Hay is by a punt, the property of Mr. Frank Johns. Less than half a mile (below?) the punt there is in course of completion a capital bridge, one of the (best in?) the colony. It is a swing-bridge so arranged that it may be opened (for?) vessels that they may pass and (repass?) to the wharf above. There are (...) six wharves owned or leased by Messrs. Pollard, L.A. Moss, Forsyth and Co., Blewett and Co., and J.E. Warby. A number of vessels arrived and departed during my stay. Among them were the Alfred, the Murrumbidgee, and the Pearl. I went on board the latter, and found it to be an excellent floating private residence of the owner, Captain Randall and family. The Pearl (...) favourite river boat, 30 horse-power engine, and besides taking cargo on board (45 tons) also tows two barges carrying nearly 100 tons more, or 140 tons altogether. The whole look well going down the river merrily, when full of wool. The Pearl (travels?) regularly between Hay and Echuca; Captain Randall is the master of the Pearl, and also owner of another boat, the Corowa. It may be of importance to mention that Captain Randall's brother, who has (...) a boat plying on the river, puts forward a claim to have been the first to attempt the navigation of the Murray in the Mary Ann, fully twelve months before Captain Cadell tried this feat.
Hay is not wanting in local institutions. Foremost among these is the Hay Pastoral Association. This useful institution is, probably for its size, one of the most powerfully represented in the colony. The committee of twelve gentlemen, I am assured represent property to the value of nearly a million sterling. They have very fine show yards just completed on the boundary of the town by Mr. J. (..) Palmer. I had the good fortune to be present at the last annual show of the association held in the beginning of August. The chief exhibits (were?) sheep; and those exhibits of Messrs. Gilbert (W..willah), McGaw and Co. (Burrabogie), Simson (Mungadal), Rutherford and Co. (Illilliwa), (..) Wilson (Yanko), and Peppin and Sons (Wanganella) carried off all the cups, champion and first prizes. In cattle the show was not so good; the first prize takers in the district being Messrs. J. and A. B(...), Wragge and Hearne, and Frank Johns. In horses the first prize takers were Mr. J.A. Keighran, Mr. Derepas, Mr. H.B. Welsh (two), and Messrs. (..) Væux and Cogle. The latter exhibited a beautiful pair of white or very light grey buggy horses. Mr. Derepas of Kulkie station obtained the champion's prize for the best thoroughbred stallion. He exhibited Leicester a magnificent horse which commanded general admiration on the ground. Leicester is a beautiful bay; his sire is the celebrated New Warrior, and his dam is Lady Jane by St. J(...) (imported). Leicester was bred by Captain Z(...) of Goulburn; the horse was shown five times, and carried off first prize each time. Robert Scott (Esq.?) of Toogimbie, is President of the Association.
The Hay Municipality has just been established and the first elections took place in the middle of August. Mr. Frank Johns was elected first Mayor of the town; and the following were elected aldermen:- Messrs. Threlkeld, Tartakover, Sabine, Johns, Pollard, and Witcombe. Auditors: Messrs. James, McGregor, and Lakeman.
There are a few nice private residences and gardens about Hay. One in particular, that of Mr. T.E. Blewett is a model in every respect. It is very elegant though not large and the grounds are (..) miniature botanical garden. I was astonished at the variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers of almost (all?) known varieties in the small space. Fountains p(...) in several parts and a good supply of pure water is obtained from a deep well, pumped up by a (whim?).
[The article also contains detailed line-drawings of (1) Esplin's Tattersall's Hotel (single storey), (2) Blewett and Co.'s store, (3) "the champion horse Leicester" with the Australian Joint Stock Bank building in the background (this illustration signed "Hoddle & Butcher").]
(Town & Country Journal, 21 September 1872, p. 370.)
A Tour to the South.
[BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.]
THE MURRUMBIDGEE. - HAY TO BALRANALD.
LEAVING Hay the road continued over plains of stunted salt bush for several miles. A short distance from the town Mr. M'Evoy's station was reached, but there was no one at home except the Chinaman cook who could scarcely understand a dozen words of English. It may be interesting to know that the majority of the stations on Riverina employ Chinamen cooks, and on the whole find them industrious and useful fellows. After leaving M'Evoy's, Wade's free selection, on which was a nice little cottage, was passed, then a few more farms. About four and a half miles from Hay a cluster of buildings was seen in the distance. This was pointed out as the wool-scouring establishment of Mr. H. G. Lomax. About thirty men are employed here in the busy season; and 120 bales of wool can be scoured weekly. The Victorian judges at the last Hay Show spoke in high terms of the bale of scoured wool exhibited by Mr. Lomax.
Still over plains the road continued, and when eight miles away from Hay, I found that I had lost my pocket book. The road was under water and I had picked a track along the plains to the right or left for a considerable distance. I lost the day looking for the book; and towards nightfall had got back to within a mile of Hay before I found the object of my search, conspicuous enough, with the leaves fluttering in the breeze. Regaining, with no small feelings of pleasure, my store of jottings (the loss of which would have been impossible to replace) I resumed the journey, and it was after dark when I reached the next station, ten miles lower down the river. It is called Benduck.
Benduck, Severne Brothers' station, has an area of 150 square miles, and a frontage to the Murrumbidgee of about ten miles. It is considerably improved, all fenced in, and subdivided into eighteen paddocks, carrying upwards of 25,000 sheep and 500 head of cattle. A capitally constructed woolshed stands at a short distance from the house. The yards are well arranged, and a Wilding's Patent Wool Press is used for packing the wool in bales.
About twelve miles from Severne Brothers is Canoon, the property of Mathew Palmer, Esq. It is twenty-two miles from Hay. The residence of Mr. Palmer is of a very comfortable one on the bank of the river. The area of Canoon is 250 square miles, with a frontage to the Murrumbidgee of 15 miles. The run carries 36,000 sheep, which are chiefly descendants of Bayley's, Learmonth's, Currie's, and Peppin's flocks. Canoon and Benduck stations were first taken up by Mr. Samuel Barber twenty-eight or thirty years ago.
Near Canoon, but on the opposite bank of the river, is the very picturesque residence of Robert Scott Esq., J.P. It is in connection with the station of Messrs. Hope and Scott, and called Toogimbie. This run was first taken up by Mr. Church. Mr. Gabott followed: he sold to Mr. Firebrace, who in turn disposed of it to Messrs. Hope and Scott, the present occupiers. A good garden surrounds the residence, and the whole makes a pretty picture, particularly as seen from between the large trees on the opposite bank of the river.
Toogimbie has an area of 180,000 acres, and a frontage to the Murrumbidgee of about 15 miles. Wire fencing encloses the whole of this run, which is again subdivided into a number of paddocks. Dams and tanks are on various parts of the run for the use of the flocks. Toogimbie consists of large salt-bush plains, having scarcely any timber. The station carries about 50,000 sheep. The woolshed, giving accommodation to 24 shearers, has a travelling box woolpress, one of Wildings' patent.
Crossing and re-crossing at Canoon and Toogimbie are done by boats belonging to these stations. I left my horse at Mr. Palmer's till I returned. Continuing the journey for a few miles I got thoroughly into the much dreaded "lignum" country. The name is doubtless a corruption of polygonum. It is a kind of hard-stemmed, thick, rushlike plant, with a number of branches from each stem. The lignum country presents an extraordinary sight. There are scores of miles of it - the lignum growing from five to fourteen feet high, in fact over horse and rider's head. It resembles a great artificial plantation, and is said to bear a nice flower, but it was not in flower when I saw it. No use whatever is made of this plant, and not a blade of grass was growing near it. In fact the lignum country is the terror of the traveller, whether in a vehicle or on horseback. The ground on which it grows is quite black, and exceedingly sticky and tenacious. A few yards over this adhesive soil made my horse's hoofs resemble pans, and another horseman and myself had to dismount several times to clear the tenacious clayey composition off. The wheels of a buggy resembled cheeses, all the spokes being filled up with this black clay. The driver had to dismount at intervals and with a spade clear the spokes of this waxy substance, in order to make the slightest progress. For the greater part of thirteen miles I worked my way through this dreadful lignum country, and was then glad to reach the village of Maude. Maude has a public-house, carried on by Mr. J. Murphy; a post-office and store opposite, carried on by Mr. Daniel Murphy, and two or three other houses; the whole the property of Mr. W. Sams, who also owns and works the punt on the river there. Maude derives its importance from being a crossing p1ace of the Murrumbidgee.
Still continuing my journey through lignum plains for four miles, in a southerly direction, I reached Pimpanpa, the station of J. Richmond, Esq. I found Mr. W. Broomfield in charge, and was glad to accept his invitation to remain for the night, being pretty tired and disgusted with my lignum experience.
Pimpanpa is a sheep station, having an area of sixty-four square miles, and a frontage to the river of about seven miles. It is all fenced-in and subdivided; and is watered in addition to the river frontage by two lagoons about a mile each in diameter. The station carries about 14,000 sheep. About two miles from Pimpanpa and along the river bank, I reached Gelam, the station of Henry Darlot, Esq., and under the superintendence of Mr. James Hunt. This is one of the stations first taken up by Mr. Thomas D'Archy, Esq., about thirty years ago. Mr. D'Archy also took up the station above Pimpanpa. The difficulties and strange adventure, particularly with the blacks at that time, of Mr. and Mrs. D'Archy, were of a very remarkable kind, but their recital would occupy too much space here, and if given it must be in a separate chapter hereafter. Gelam has an area of about sixty square miles, and a frontage to the Murrumbidgee of ten miles. It carries about 5000 and 500 head of cattle. The station where Mr. Hunt lives was once considered the best house on the Murrumbidgee, but time has reduced its pretensions to that honor. The woolshed, a new one, is some distance off. A mile and a half from Gelam the road was left for a track which run into a bend of the Murrumbidgee, and a pretty station on the opposite bank soon appeared. When we got to the river a boat was sent across, and on reaching the opposite side we found ourselves at the Nap Nap station, Messrs. Thomas M'Farland and Co., and the residence of Mr. M'Farland. The meaning of the original word Nap-Nap is swamp-swamp or very swampy. It is remarked that when blacks wish to describe any place or thing very emphatically, or in the plural number they double or repeat the name, as in Wagga Wagga, Mitta Mitta, Nap Nap, &c. The residence, of brick, on the river bank is a very nice one, and the whole of the outbuilding, stores, cellars, and kitchen, are also well arranged and faithfully built.
A promising garden is in the front and around the residence, and the whole is supplied with water from the river, by means of appliances drawn by a windmill. The station is much improved and system and order is everywhere apparent. The area of Nap Nap is 400 square miles, and it has twenty miles frontage to the Murrumbidgee. Great portion of the run is polygoneum country. It is protected from the intrusion of free-selectors by the flood waters, which, almost as regularly as the Nile floods Egypt, inundate the river frontage of the station, while the river waters remain for a long time on a great portion of the interior. 200 miles of country, or half of the runs was under water for fifteen months, in 1870-71. The run is all fenced in with wire fencing nearly 120 miles altogether, sub-divided into seven or eight paddocks. It carries 30,000 sheep and 4000 head of cattle. The latter are particularly well bred and their relatives are of the purple blood. A number of M'Dougall's shorthorns are now on the run. In reference to its former history, it appears that Hobbler [Hobler] and Barker first took it up, Wentworth, Augustus Morris, Kaye and Butchart followed. The latter firm sold to Thomas M'Farland and Co.
After leaving Nap Nap, to avoid a long dreary ride of nearly forty miles without a habitation, I took a northerly course across plains, the greatest part of which were under water for eighteen miles to Oxley. Large quantities of wild fowl were on the plains, chiefly bustards and wild duck. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when a narrow belt of trees on the plains indicated my approach to the "long and lazy Lachlan." Oxley is the residence and station of Thomas D'Archy, Esq., J.P. I received a most hearty welcome at the station and remained there several days. Mr. D'Archy is the oldest resident in that part of the country; and the health of this hospitable pioneer and his kind hearted lady, were drunk in bumpers of champagne at the last Pastoral Association's dinner held at Hay.
Oxley station has a spacious comfortable residence on the banks of the Lachlan. An excellent garden is in-front, but the season of the year, viz., the middle of winter, was not the most favourable time to visit it. Grapes grow well in it, but the most notable feature is an immense fig tree, the largest that I have seen in that part of the country. It is a splendid tree, although only fifteen years old. It represents the time of a christening party at Oxley, when the grandchild of Mr. and Mrs. D'Archy was baptized. Nearer the residence is a fine old belfry almost smothered in climbers, and from above it the Australian flag was floating proudly in the breeze. All kinds of roses and other choice flowers were growing in the garden. Oxley has an area of 160 square miles and has a frontage to the Lachlan of eighteen miles. Mr. D'Archy has marched with the times, and has seen almost all his early compeers come and go. The station is well improved. Sixty or seventy miles of wire fencing have been erected on the run which is also subdivided into paddocks. Mr. D'Archy was the first to secure the waters of the Lachlan by damming. The river is dammed in two places at a cost of over £800. One of the dams is 300 yards in length. About fourteen miles from the home station there is a fine lake. It is called Lake Ita, and is about seven miles in circumference. It was literally swarming with wild fowl, including geese, ducks, swans, and pelicans. There as a dam with sluice gates which regulate the reception and discharge of water from Lake Ita to the Lachlan River.
Just below the residence there is the Great Kalara, or large reed bed mentioned by Sir Thomas Mitchell. It is ten miles long and eight or nine miles wide. An extraordinary sight in these reed beds are the nests of the ibis which extend for several miles. A few years ago a party consisting of Mr. Peter Tyson, Mr. D'Archy, and a number of shearers, rode into the reed beds amongst these nests, which they found placed in layers. The party secured a great quantity of eggs, which I believe are excellent for puddings.
The day following my arrival, Mr. D'Archy and myself went for a ride to see some cuttings for water supply from the Lachlan to a lake on the neighbouring run, that of Mr. Tyson's. Many thousands of pounds have evidently been spent on this work. Leaving D'Archy's, with many thanks for the great courtesy and kindness shown me, I proceeded on my road to Balranald. The nearest station was eighteen miles distant, and for the great part of the way the country was under water. Travelling beyond a walk was almost impossible. A few heavy showers of rain fell which did not add to the pleasures of riding. Approaching the Juanbong (aboriginal "Swan") station, I noticed some very fine cattle on the plains. Juanbong is a cattle station the property of Mr. Tyson. The residence is a fine brick building, and before it there is a splendid lake. The next morning a substantial lunch was thoughtfully placed in my valise by Mrs. Tyson, and I commenced a very long journey of thirty-five miles over a dreary country without a single habitation. The day was a short one, so I had to push on, but my good little horse carried me along very well. The evening was closing in when I reached my destination for that day, viz., Paika, Messrs. Macfarlane and Webster's station. This is one of the prettiest stations on the route.
The homestead is almost in a peninsula, for a fine broad lake with a green shelving shore is on three sides. A thickly wooded island is in the centre. This lake abounds in wild fowl of every description, and the swans, pelicans, ducks, and geese, are remarkably tame on it. The spacious residence and coach house, stables, &c., are thatched in a capital style, with a kind of rush well suited for the purpose, and which grows on the run. Thatching is found far better than shingles or slates, being warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer. Paika is the residence of Walter M'Farlane, Esq., one of the firm who own the station. Both sheep and cattle are on the run. Two well bred shorthorns were pointed out to me. The first is Prince Frederick, a roan rising three years, by Monarch, dam Rowena. Monarch's sire is the Duke of York, descended from R. Booth's celebrated cow Fame. The second short-horn is Prince George, also a roan, and only two years old, though big enough for a three-year old. Prince George was bred by the Queen, at Windsor, from R. Booth's celebrated England's Glory, dam Carolina 2nd. These and others will greatly improve the stock of the district. There are a large number of lakes on the station, in fact it is too well watered. Some of these lakes, are very picturesque, and range in circumference from two to fifteen miles. I saw more emus and bustards or wild turkeys on Paika station than on any other part of the Murrumbidgee. Hobbler first took up Paika in 1845; Wentworth followed; Edmund Flood next; then Augustus Morris, who sold to the present owners, Webster and M'Farlane. Before leaving Paika the blacks or rather the remnant of the former large tribe were pointed out, camped on the opposite bank to the house. They are rapidly dying out.
I was most hospitably treated at Paika by Mr. and Mrs. M'Farlane, and I left there after lunch on the day following my arrival. The road runs through a dreary mallee scrub for the greater part of the distance to Balranald - ten miles.
Balranald is a township on the Murrumbidgee, 560 miles south-south-west of Sydney. The population is about 350. It was laid out by Mr. Macabe, about twenty years ago. It may be interesting to know that the first inhabitant was Mr. Robertson, who built an hotel there twenty-three years ago. He was followed by Mr. Locock, and then come Mr. Denis Hannan, at present the oldest resident, who arrived twenty-one years ago. It is a curious fact, and speaks well for its progress, that Balranald has doubled its population within the past eight years.
Balranald has a resident police-magistrate, a court-house, lock-up, police-station, a post and telegraph office, a Public-school, several good stores, and public-houses. Robert B. Mitchell, Esq., is the police magistrate, and he is highly spoken of in his small kingdom, which also includes Moulamein and Euston. Mr. Mitchell is a son of the historical Sir Thomas Mitchell, whose eminent services in exploring the interior of Australia will long be remembered. The Queen's Bounty, or annual distribution of blankets to the blacks, took place during my visit. After they had all been served, Mr. Mitchell called for three cheers for the Queen, which the blacks responded to. The Balranald Court-house - a plain wooden building - was undergoing considerable improvements. The interior and exterior had received a few coats of paint, and the private room of Mr. Mitchell was handsomely fitted up and had a good library. A garden containing many choice plants and flowers surrounded the courthouse. These improvements were carried out at the sole cost of Mr. Mitchell.
The post and telegraph office, under the charge of Mr. G. T. Harrison, is one of the best buildings of the kind on the Murrumbidgee. It is of brick, with slated roof, and contains five rooms. A small brick building a few yards in the rear is used as a battery room, and stables. The whole was erected at a cost of £1500.
The Public school and teachers' residence are two buildings, built of wood at a cost of £380. The attendance on the occasion of my visit was 42. The school seems to be efficiently conducted. Mr. H. Murray is the teacher, and the following gentlemen are the members of the local board: - Messrs. Walter M'Farlane, J.P., J. Cramsie, P. H. Comitti, W. N. Garside, and C. Silvester. A new Church of England, the first place of worship in the town, has recently been commenced. A description of the building appeared in these columns at the time the foundation stone was laid, a few weeks ago. The Rev. W. H. Yarrington is the resident minister.
There are two good stores in the town. The principal one is a very fine brick building, carried on by Messrs. John Cramsie and Co. Beside this the firm have a wool store, a large galvanized iron building, and several smaller buildings in the town. They do a large trade. The other store has recently been established in the town. It is the property of Mr. Thomas Linton, and under the management of Mr. A. Halbert. A large new building is now about being erected by Mr. Linton. There are two good hotels in the town, carried on by Mr. Peter Young, and Mr. William Hall, respectively.
One good point about Balranald is its prospective advancement. Though it is in an incipient state the inhabitants believe in its future greatness, and the very fact of the population having been doubled since Mr. Mitchell's arrival eight years ago, speaks much for its future.
(Town & Country Journal, 28 September 1872, p. 401.)
A Tour to the South.
[BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.]
THE MURRUMBIDGEE. - BALRANALD TO WENTWORTH.
THE distance from Balranald to Wentworth is computed to be 140 miles, but I believe they are what are known as stockman’s miles – considerably longer than English ones. Eighteen miles from Balranald, along the bank of the river for a short distance, then through scrubby country and small plains, I came to a splendid sheet of water called Waldaira Lake. It is on the Canally run – part of the station of Messrs. Maguire and Cohen, of Melbourne. Having had a late start from Balranald, it was long after nightfall when I got to Waldaira Lake. I had some difficulty in finding Mr. Preshaw’s (the superintendent’s) house, though the directions received seemed to be pretty plain. I was hospitably treated by Mr. Preshaw. At sunrise on following morning we had a row on the lake in a well-built boat. It was a most enjoyable pull, and the lake, like others in the district, was alive with swans, pelicans, wild ducks, &c. The house, as seen from the centre of the stream, looks most picturesque.
Resuming my journey along the edge of the lake, and through ground almost completely inundated for many miles. I travelled slowly all day, and towards evening got to Meilmam, Mr. Walker’s station, quite wet through. Meilmam is a comfortable, well-built residence, on the northern bank of the conjoined rivers, the Murray and Murrumbidgee. They join forty-two miles by the river above Meilmam. To the right of the residence the scenery is relieved by what appears like an artificial plantation of those beautiful rich green-foliaged pines – all fine, well-shaped trees. Meilmam carries about 12,000 sheep, and 5000 head of cattle. The short track to Euston was impassable in consequence of the flood water from the great river, here very wide, having overflowed its banks in many places.
Taking the other route, four miles from Meilmam, I came to a fine lake, and at the end of ten miles, to a very magnificent one, called Beunine, which I should judge to be nine miles round. This is the boundary of Mr. Walker’s station. Ten miles beyond I came to the Euston station, the property of Mr. Taylor, and in charge of Mr. Bertram. There are six runs in connection with this station, embracing an area of 1800 square miles. 700 miles are enclosed by fences. Euston has a frontage of twenty-six miles to the Murray River. The aboriginal name of Euston was Boonircool. Three miles beyond the station is the small township of Euston. It has 80 or 100 inhabitants. Among the buildings there is a court-house, a post and telegraph-office, a custom house, and bonded store, two hotels, and a good general store. A court is held at Euston monthly. Mr. R. B. Mitchell, P.M., from Balranald, attends, and the other members of the Bench are P. H. Gell, and W. Walker, Esquires. The post and telegraph office, of brick, is rather a neat building, under the charge of Mr. W. Hammond. Though a building is set apart there was no Public School in Euston at the time of my visit. The energetic inspector – E. H. Flannery, Esq. – was, however, making arrangements for the establishment of the school, and had provided a teacher. The Customs department, including bonded store, is under the charge of Mr. John O’Donnell. The leading store is a good general one, owned by Messrs. John Cramsie and Co., and under the immediate management of Mr. L. Gerstman. The principal hotel is the Euston, a capital country inn, built of brick. It is exceedingly well-conducted; good accommodation, including excellent table, civility, and moderate tariff was there conscientiously recorded in my pocket-book. Mr. John M’Donald is the proprietor.
A fresh horse was kindly placed at my disposal by the host of the Euston, and I was enabled to give my own a rest till I returned from Wentworth – 80 miles. I left Euston at about 7 a.m. The road was through water for the first six miles; then for twelve miles through mallee scrub and small plains. There is a hut near the roadside, eighteen miles from Euston, where the mail changes horses. Two miles beyond is a comfortable store, carried on by Mr. H. F. Hassey. There is a bend in the river here rejoicing in the name of Dinner Time Bend. A few miles further off the road is Tapalin, Mr. John White’s sheep station, under the superintendence of Mr. Alfred Cotter. After leaving this station I had a long dreary ride of eighteen miles – through water the greater part of the way, and without a single habitation. The Mallee Cliffs’ Hotel was then reached. This so-called hotel is a wretched roadside inn, where the liquor is the worst stuff that I ever tasted, and the food was badly cooked, but the charges were first-class. I was glad to get away in the afternoon and rode ten miles further, or fifty miles from Euston that day. It was just nightfall when I got to M’Farlane’s station, and was most hospitably entertained there. The ride was a long one, and far worse than double the distance over good roads. All short tracks were abandoned in consequence of the rain.
Mallee Cliffs receives its name from mallee scrub, where the Murray waters, coming in contact with a bend in the river, break the banks, which present high cliffs overhanging the stream.
Mallee Cliffs station has an area of 230 square miles, and a frontage of sixteen miles to the Darling. It is owned by M. and R. M’Farlane. Mrs. M’Farlane was the first white woman on the Darling.
Wishing to reach Wentworth early on the following day, I started on foot to get in my horse before breakfast. The paddock was a large one, of some thousands of acres. I wandered about for many hours, and once or twice came upon the horse’s tracks in the pine scrub, but without finding the horse. I returned to the house disgusted and tired at about ten o’clock. An obliging old veteran, who was on horseback at the station, then started after the horse, and succeeded in finding him after some trouble. It was nearly eleven, when I resumed the journey of thirty-two miles to Wentworth. The first place that I reached was Gol Gol, marked out as a township, ten miles from Mallee Cliffs’ station. Here the mailman changes horses at the farm of the veteran I have just alluded to. I may mention that the name of the latter is James Petley, and that he is an old navy pensioner, seventy years of age. He served in the first Brazilian war, and was wounded in an engagement there. The vessel to which he belonged was the Ganges, eighteen guns, Sir Robert Waller Otway, commander. From Gol Gol to Wentworth the road is another dreary one – in wet weather particularly. Three-fourths of the ground was under water when I travelled it, and scarcely a habitation to be seen. It was long after dark when I reached the River Darling, and Wentworth on its banks.
Wentworth, before the white man “sat down” on it, was known to the aboriginals under the name of Urumba. It received its present name in honour of the late William Charles Wentworth, Esq. The River Darling was so called in honour of Governor Darling. The township was laid out by Mr. Adams, in the year 1862. The population on the east and west banks of the river was, according to the last census 420.
Wentworth is 700 miles from Sydney, 300 miles from Adelaide, and 450 miles from Melbourne. The township is chiefly built of brick, there being no stone available for fifty miles. Many of the buildings are of great size, particularly the hotels, stores, and wholesale warehouses, and bonded stores. The court-house and gaol are badly constructed. The former is a narrow building, and there is great want of accommodation in it. The gaol is a small coop, having three cells; two of these are twelve by eight, and the third is seven by seven feet. One is used by the police, of whom Senior-sergeant Carter is in charge. W. L. Richardson, Esq., is the resident police magistrate and collector of customs. Mr. Charles G. N. Lockhart is commissioner for Crown lands; Mr. Andrew M’Clymont, inspector of sheep and cattle; and Mr. G. C. Gillott is the resident solicitor.
The Wentworth post and telegraph offices are in a good building, of brick, having a nice exterior. Wentworth is an important telegraph repeating station. Mr. W. Camper is post and telegraph master for New South Wales; and Mr. J. J. Watson represents South Australia. Mr. Cunningham is the telegraph line inspector.
The Church of England is built of rubble stone obtained from the Murray; and has brick buttresses and quoins. It has only recently been completed. The energetic incumbent, the Rev. Mr. Cocks, came to the district in February, 1871, the church committee obtained plans and specifications and served contracts by April, and the foundation stone was laid in May following. The church was built by local labour, and opened on the 24th December of the same year, at a cost including fittings, of £1350. Of this amount only £180 is unsubscribed. This remarkable undertaking, with a population of 420 in town, and 1200 of all denominations, for 150 miles north and south, speaks well for the district. The foundation of the entire building, is laid; the nave and porch are completed; and the vestry chancel tower, and spire are shortly to be proceeded with. The total length, from porch to chancel is 83 feet; the length of nave is 55 by 25 feet; the height from roof to floor is 35 feet: and the spire 85 feet. The roof is of Oregon pine, stained and varnished; and is arched arrangement and lofty proportions present a cathedral-like appearance. The cedar pews (Gothic) polished, in keeping with the design of the roof, give the interior a pleasing character. The handsome Gothic cedar pulpit was presented by H. O. M’Cormack, Esq. The finish of these internal fitting brings out the remarkable independence of some of these townships in the interior of the country: and show that skilled labour is at hand when any work of a superior character is projected. The beautiful stained glass windows were made in Adelaide, and reflect great credit on the designer. The western window is emblematic of the crucifixion, under which is inscribed the words, “Looking for that Blessed Hope.” The contracts for the church were satisfactorily executed by Messrs. Wright and Cummings. In connection with the church there is a Sunday school attended by 90 scholars, and nine teachers, at the head of which is the indefatigable clergyman, Mr. Cocks.
The Roman Catholic Church (the Rev. Father Ryan, incumbent), a brick building on stone foundation, is now in course of completion. The dimensions of the building are 45 feet by 18 feet; and the spirelet will be 45 feet high. The total cost of the building will be £700. Mr. Webber is the contractor. The foundation stone was laid in the month of June, 1871, by the Right Rev. Dr. Quinn, Bishop of Bathurst. The sum of £120 was laid on the stone. The church was dedicated to St. Francis Xavier. The windows are being prepared by Mr. E. Brooks of Adelaide; and are all the gifts of the members of the congregation. The works are being carried on under the supervision of Mr. Peter A. Dunne as honorary clerk of the works.
There is no Presbyterian or Wesleyan places of worship. Services of these denominations are held in the Court house.
The Wentworth Public School is in a flourishing condition under the charge of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Alcock. It is built of brick, and was completed at a cost of £1200. The large school-room is 50 feet long and 14 feet wide; and the class-room is 16 by l6 feet. The number of children on the roll is 84, and the average attendance is 55. Messrs. W. L. Richardson, P.M., W. Crozier, A. M’Clymont, W. Holding, John Moody, Peter Weltie, and J. T. Smith are the members of the local board.
A fine large building in the principal street (Darling-street) was formerly used as the Commercial Bank, but it was closed at the time of my visit. A branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank has since been opened in the town, under the management of Mr. Kirkman.
There are many fine hotels in Wentworth. One of these, the Crown, which I put up at, is excellently conducted by Mr. W. Gunn. The spacious building is of brick, containing nearly 30 rooms, beside a fine billiard-room fitted with two tables, &c. Large brick stables are in the rear. Mr. Gunn is the owner of several steamers, the finest of which is the Queen. He had the pleasure of entertaining Prince Alfred, on board this steamer, in Lake Alexandrina on his visit to Adelaide, and for this he received a special acknowledgement. Another good hotel is the Royal, carried on by Mr. Felgate. It is a large brick building, having a most artistic exterior. The rooms here are also very spacious, and well constructed; including capital billiard-saloon, and concert-room. The stables are also very good. Among the other hotels are the Wentworth, the Race-course, and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The stores and warehouses, on a par with the hotels, are also remarkable for their great size – greater than any other in Riverina. Near the Crown are the fine brick stores of Mr. E. Geyer. Huge departments of drapery, grocery, ironmongery, open and in bulk, are here, and Mr. Geyer also includes the business of chemist and druggist with his other branches of trade.
Another large store having a brick front, though a galvanized iron building, is under the management of Henry Williams, as executor of the late Mr. James Price. A very large stock of goods is also kept here. Opposite the Crown is a third large brick store, formerly carried on by Mr. Stone, but now about to pass into the hands of Mr. Williams.
On the wharf reserve there are a number of large buildings, amongst which are the long-room of the Custom-house; the Bonded and the Free stores; and the wholesale stores of Mr. W. Gunn, of the Crown Inn.
In the afternoon of the day following my arrival, Mr. Richardson drove me about the suburbs of the town, and I had an opportunity of seeing a piece of wasteful expenditure of public funds in the shape of a number of embankments crossing lagoons, which in flood-time are submerged by the river water. The unsatisfactory character of the “improvements” is not the only complaint, for a greater evil is that the work is left unfinished; and the town approaches, consequently, well-nigh impassable. After inspecting this, Mr. Richardson drove me to the junction of the Darling with the Murray river, half a mile below the town. The scenery about here is rather picturesque, although flat. The two large rivers move along for some distance with only a narrow strip of forest between them; and when they do meet, the waters of the Darling being slightly coloured show that they do not at once mix, but the two bodies glide along side by side for about half a mile. The combined rivers at the junction, are 500 yards across.
[Illustration: "Yanga House and Lake, near Balranald".]
(Town & Country Journal, 19 October 1872, p. 496.)
A Tour to the South.
[FROM OUR TRAVELLING REPORTER.]
THE MURRAY AND EDWARD RIVERS
I HAVE before referred to the numerous lagoons along the banks of the Murray and Murrumbidgee. In times of heavy rain the flood waters overflow the river banks and fill these lagoons, and cover the roadway. Considerable difficulty is experienced in travelling, particularly with teams during the wet weather. The accompanying engraving represents a loaded bullock-team crossing one of those dangerous spots near Wentworth. The winding river is seen to the left, breaking over its banks across the track.
From Wentworth I retraced my steps up the Murray to its junction with the Murrumbidgee, and again followed up the latter river to Balranald. Crossing the punt at Balranald in company with Mr. Mitchell, the police magistrate of the district, we had a pleasant ride to Yanga. About three quarters of a mile from the punt we passed a well-built roadside inn, called “The Punt Hotel,” carried on by Mr. C. J. Silvester. For three miles further the road wound through graceful pine plantations, and short plains; and Yanga Lake then burst on the view.
This magnificent sheet of water, fed by the Murrumbidgee in flood time, was discovered by Mr. F. A. Gwynne, in 1845. It is fully fifteen miles in circumference. In shape it resembles the figure 8, and at the northern end of the 8 the residence is erected. Yanga station is the property of Dr. Williamson. The residence is a fine spacious building constructed chiefly of Murray pine. A good garden is before the house.
About half a mile from the residence is the overseer’s, men’s quarters, and stables. At the latter I had an opportunity of seeing some excellent stock. Amongst these was Pluto, a bay colt by Ferryman, by Fisherman, dam Rose de Florence; Leonidas, by Kelpie, dam Bessie Bell; Mario, a handsome horse by Premier, dam Jenny Lind; and Styx, Sybil, and Castor, descendants of Ferryman, Warhawk, and Pluto, and the great “Talk o’ the Hills.”
These horses show considerable promise, and will no doubt be in the front rank at the local race meets, where I understand they are to show their paces. The three last named belong to Mr. Stevenson, the overseer.
Yanga is a splendid station, and is much improved. It extends from the junction of the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee on the northern side, south to the Edward River, as far west as within fifteen miles of the junction of the Murrumbidgee, embracing an area of 600 square miles. The run is all fenced in, and has over 125 miles of fencing, post and rail, wire, &c., erected on it. It is subdivided into summer and winter fattening paddocks, breeding, heifer, bull, and horse padlocks. Besides the Murrumbidgee River and Yanga Lake, Yanga station is watered by a number of other lakes – Condoopie eight miles round, Talbots three, small but deep; Tala seven miles round, Lurika seven miles round, and a few smaller ones. The run chiefly consists of plains, and pine ridges on the lower part of the run; towards the mouth of the Edward the country is principally mallee scrub.
Yanga is a cattle station. The breed is all shorthorn, of excellent family, chiefly the descendants of imported bulls from the herds of M’Dougall, of Victoria, and also a few from Mr. Devlin’s. About 10,000 head of cattle are now on the run.
The morning following my arrival, the superintendent, Mr. Pearson, had a capital pair of horses put to his buggy, and gave me a drive through the run, and to a neighbouring station, Canally, eleven miles distant. The road was a pleasant one, and the journey was accomplished in about one hour. We returned in the evening, and on the following day I resumed my travels. My journey was from Balranald to Deniliquin, via the Edward. From Yanga, across country, it is about twenty-five miles to the next station, Moolpar. I had some difficulty in finding my way, for the track was very indistinct in many places. The country, however, looked magnificent. It was beautifully undulating, and dotted over it were many fine lakes. Having had a late start from Yanga, it was long after night-fall when I came on to Salisbury plains, at the opposite side of which was the Moolpar woolshed, and half a mile further on, the residence of the proprietors, Messrs. G. A. and P. Mein, on the back of the Edward River.
Moolpar (an aboriginal name of a native flower of the hyacinth kind, which abounds there) is quite a township in appearance, and has an unusually large number of buildings at the home station. Moolpar, in reality, consists of eight runs, five of which are on the northern side, and three on the southern side of the Edward. Cattle are on the north frontage, and sheep on the south. The run is all fenced in and subdivided. Beside several lakes and the river frontage, there are ten or twelve dams also constructed; and some miles of cuttings to drain the sandhills, filling natural basins and thus forming lakes. 20,000 yards of excavations have been made. Between £5000 and £6000 have been expended in obtaining water supply, for this principality, which embraces an area of many tens of thousands of acres.
I made an early start next morning for Moulamein, the distance is twenty-five miles. The first distance-guide come to was Bimbernett, nine miles, where there is a stockyard belonging to the Moolpar station, but no habitation. Crossing plains, pine ridges, and a few creeks, almost swimable, another ten miles was got over, and Landale’s woolshed was passed to the right. Following a wire fence running parallel with the road for about five or six miles further, Moulamein was reached.
Moulamein, situated at the junction of the Billabong with the Edward, is remarkable as being the oldest township in Riverina. Before Deniliquin was proclaimed a township prisoners were brought to Moulamein for trial. Hay, Balranald, Deniliquin and even Wagga Wagga have since come into existence, and in point of progression, left Moulamein a long way behind. The best building in the township is the post and telegraph office, a neat structure of brick, with slated roof. It is under the charge of Mr. Edward Manners.
The Moulamein Hotel is a well-conducted country inn, carried on by Mr. William Burgess. He is the oldest publican in Riverina, and perhaps the most jovial of all. It is the only hotel in the town, and does a good trade. Opposite the hotel is an excellent country store, the property of Mr. Thomas Linton. It is well supplied with drapery, grocery, and the usual class of general goods for bush requirements.
The public school, a good building, was closed at the time of my visit. The cause was not explained. Nearer the centre of the township, I was shown a large wooden building undergoing alterations and improvements. I was informed that it had been purchased by two squatters of the neighbourhood, Messrs. Learmonth and Valiant, for church and school purposes. These gentlemen had further shown their liberality by appointing a teacher at a salary of £100 a year. These acts of generosity deserve the highest commendation.
On the boundary of the township is the Mooloomoon station, the property of Robert Landale, Esq., J.P. It has a frontage of eight miles to the Edward, and seven miles to the Billabong. It is under the management of Mr. G. C. Jaffray. From Mr. Burgess, of the hotel, who as I before remarked, one of the oldest residents, I learned that Messrs. W. and J. Jackson first took up country here. They were succeeded by Carne, Brothers, Firebrace and Brown, Landale and Robinson, and Mr. R. Landale (the present occupier) in the order named.
It was raining in torrents the morning I left Moulamein for Deniliquin, in company with the mail contractor. It had been raining almost unceasingly for several weeks before, and I was strongly advised not to travel, for the reason that it would be impossible for me to swim the creeks. An urgent engagement at Deniliquin, however, compelled me to push on. Leaving the road, and keeping wide of the Edward, we travelled through many miles of water, which seemed to cover the country. It was often up to our saddle-flaps. Box Creek No. 1, two miles from Moulamein, was safely passed; Boxwood Creek No. 2, four miles further was also got over; but at Gum Creek, six miles distant, we had a swim, which made the ride a most uncomfortable one, for we were there drenched through. Four miles beyond, and ten from Moulamein we got to Woorooma station, Mr. Lachlan M’Bean’s. The residence here is a very fine one of brick, but as no person in charge was at home at the time of my visit, I could obtain no information.
I left the mail contractor at Woorooma and resumed my journey amid torrents of rain. For four dreary hours I paddled through water – often up to my horse’s girths. The vast body of water spread over so many miles of country was truly astonishing. For two or three miles at a time I saw no vestige of a track, and it is a mystery to myself how I found my way on that dreary day with a jaded horse. Towards nightfall a habitation, a welcome sight, appeared in view and in a few minutes afterwards I found myself at Murgah, Mr. F. A. Gwynne’s station. Here, as in every other place on Riverina, I was warmly welcomed, and treated most hospitably. I have before referred to Messrs. Gwynne Brothers as being among the small band of pioneers who first took up country in Riverina. Their adventures and battles with the blacks at that time, would make a most interesting volume. As a proof of the remarkable decrease in the number of the aboriginals, it is stated by Mr. Gwynne that about twenty-eight years ago, when Messrs. Walker, Morris, and he, were on an exploring expedition for new country, they saw, between Moulamein and Hay, at a low calculation, at least 3000 blacks. At one place in particular, close to the junction of the Edward and the Wakool, a body of warriors 300 strong received them. They were splendid fellows, and not without military tactics, judging by the fact that the dense dark mass was drawn up in the form of a triangle. Murgah is a sheep station. The residence is a nice comfortable one on the Edward River, 50 miles from Denilquin. Wishing to reach Deniliquin next day, I made a pretty early start from Mr. Gwynne’s, having first been provided by that gentleman with a plan and instructions regarding the road I was to follow. The first nine miles to Barratti (Mr. Ricketson’s) was got over in good time. But after I had gone about 12 miles further, my horse showed signs of flagging, the miles of water he had travelled through on that and the previous days, completely tiring him. The pace then became very slow. I frequently had to leave the road to avoid the water, and I was compelled to cross some deep creeks. As the day wore on, my progress was little better than a snail’s pace, and the track was frequently lost, crossing the plains. I was at length obliged to give the horse an hour’s rest. Again I went on till evening, when I saw, crossing the plains, a buggy coming towards me. I asked how far I was from Deniliquin? “Deniliquin! why, you are on the wrong road. This track leads to Wanganella and Hay. Wanganella is only seven miles from here,” was the reply. Tired disheartened, a horse completely jaded, the prospect was not a bright one, particularly as night was coming on. The driver of the buggy, Mr. George Peppin, of Wanganella station, however, soon showed that he was of the good Samaritan type, for my horse was there turned out on his run, and in an hour and a half afterwards, I found myself once more in comfortable quarters at Morago, Mr. Fred. Peppin’s station residence, situated in a nice bend of the Edward River. Wanganella and Morago stations join, and are situated between the Edward and Billabong, having a frontage to both. The firm is under the name of Peppin and Sons. They are famous for their breed of sheep, and a reference to the report of the Pastoral Shows at Jerilderie and Hay, which appeared in these columns a few months back, will give an idea of the high character of their flocks. The stations are greatly improved at a cost of many thousands of pounds.
Wishing to reach Deniliquin early on the morning after my arrival, I rose at daylight and found Mr. Peppin’s pair of splendid greys almost ready for the journey. After a hearty breakfast Mr. Peppin drove me to Deniliquin. Shortly after leaving the house, we came to the woolshed, a fine large building. The morning was a glorious one, and the country through which we passed was really magnificent. A most extraordinary sight was the large number of kangaroos which crossed the road. We saw hundreds. They seemed almost tame, and mixed almost unconcernedly with the flocks of sheep on Morago. Mr. Peppin attributes their increase to the fact that the native dogs have nearly all been destroyed; and to the blacks dying off. The increase of kangaroos on Riverina, generally, is now attracting serious attention. On one station near the Murrumbidgee, it is calculated that there are at least 5000 kangaroos. Each is said to eat as much grass as two sheep.
The distance from Morago to Deniliquin is twenty-five miles. We left Mr. Peppin’s at seven a.m., and dashed into South Deniliquin precisely at 10 o’clock, performing the journey over frightful roads as we approached the town, in three hours. An exciting election was going on that morning for the representation of the district in Parliament.
(Town & Country Journal, 2 November 1872, p. 56.)
A Tour to the South.
[BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.]
THE task that I have set myself of describing Riverina, - its vast extended resources; its watercourses, towns, villages, and princely stations, was no light one. The courses of the Murray, the Murrumbidgee, the Edward, the Lachlan, and the Darling, were to be followed up one side, and down the other or vice versa, beside an occasional flying off at a tangent right and left to inspect the Billabong and back blocks. I merely mention this to show the difficulty of clearly indicating the direction in which I have been travelling.
From Deniliquin I crossed the country to Hay, on the Murrumbidgee, and up the left bank of that river to Wagga Wagga. The distance from Deniliquin to Hay is about 70 miles. I left Deniliquin in the afternoon to ride to Morago, Mr. F. Peppin's, 25 miles, to get my horses, which I had left there. The horse lent me to go to Morago was a perfect brute, a jib of the worst sort. After riding about 12 miles he, without notice, suddenly pulled himself up, and refused to move out of a walk. Bushmen of experience generally admit that the most exasperating of all troubles in the country, is a jibbing horse. Like others I devised all kinds of punishment to make him move, but without success. He seemed quite insensible to cuts from my whip, and for an hour refused to advance; then I got him to go on for a mile further, and he again jibbed. The best temper in the world would have been ruffled by such obstinacy on the part of brutes like the one given me to ride to Morago. I then thought of two cures (?) which had been resorted to by others in my position. The first occurred in the Western district. There the rider, after exhausting all his energies and patience, and tried all plans; at last lit a fire under the stubborn brute's belly, and this proved a failure. The second case occurred near Parramatta; when the horse jibbed for the twentieth time, the rider put a pistol to the horse's ear, and shot him dead! Kindness, patting, bouncing, and punishing, were tried in succession, but with little success. By dint of great perseverance, I at last managed to get to where some drays were camped. The drays were loaded, and were bringing goods to Morago. Those in charge of the drays were civil obliging fellows, and seeing my difficulty, most thoughtfully proffered me horses to take me to the station, while they would take charge of, and brought on the next day the jibbing brute that I was on. I never appreciated an offer more in my life, and coming from strangers whom I have never seen before, and even now do not know, the kindness is more gratefully remembered. With the good fresh little hack lent me, I got to the station in good time that night. The next morning, I had the privilege of inspecting some of Mr. Peppin's pedigree cattle. Amongst these was (1), Royalist, a red, 3 years, a fine square built beast; sire, Master of Athelstane, dam Grizzle Royal; (2), Harlequin, a roan, 3 years, by Count of Empire, dam Halloween; (3), Daylight, a pure white, 20 months, sire Fenian, by Degrave's Dairyman; (4), Hannibal, red and white, 12 months, sire Fenian, dam Halloween; and a few others from McDougall's stock. I am induced to mention these, as they all possess prize-taking qualities, will possibly distinguish themselves, and do good for Riverina at a future time.
Leaving Morago and the Edward, I struck across country, for 14 miles over plains, the greater part of the way, on which hundreds of kangaroos were feeding. I then arrived at Wangonilla [Wanganella], the residence of Mr. George Peppin. This is a delightful home, consisting of a fine large brick house, surrounded by a verandah, numerous outbuildings, a capital garden, tastefully laid out with choice flowers of all kinds, fruit, &c.; a lawn and croquet-ground, and a good windmill; all on the bank of a good stream of water, called the Billabong. The stations of Messrs. Peppins and Sons, I have before stated, extend from the Edward to the Billabong, and have a frontage of about 14 miles to each of these water courses. From Mr. Peppin's residence there is a charming view of the village on the opposite bank. Seen peeping between the large trees is a rustic looking bridge, crossing the stream, and the houses on the other side look as if they were built upon the bridge. There is no other such view in Riverina.
The village of Wangonilla [Wanganella] is a small one, boasting of a store, a school, and two public-houses. I had not an opportunity of visiting the Public School said to be excellently conducted by Mr. McQuade. The Wangonilla store is a good country one carried on by Mr. Monash. The Wonganilla Inn was built for a squatter, (Mr. Brodribb) whose station it was on. It is a good large building, carried on by Mr. Dillon. Nearly as far as the eye can see from Wangonilla, there stretches away a vast plain on the road to Hay. Crossing this in wet weather was very disagreeable, for the soil was of a peaty character, in places, and progress was difficult. Twelve miles from Wangonilla I came to the Black Swamp, a small, though neat, roadside accommodation-house, where the mail coach changes horses. I had some lunch here, served me by Mrs. Smith, who told a pitiful tale of the loss or dispersion of her family. Eight miles further across dreary plains, and I reached the Pine Ridge, a Government township, under the name of Booroorban. There is a fine brick hotel here, called the Royal Mail, containing nine rooms, and having brick kitchen, &c. It has only been completed a short time, at a cost of £1200, by Mr. Samuel Porter, the proprietor of the hotel. What surprised me most was to see near the hotel some cultivation paddocks - a rare thing about here - 60 acres in extent. At the rear of the hotel were large stacks of hay, which were grown in these paddocks. A post-office is sadly required at the Pine Ridge. The distance from Hay is 30 miles. The coach arrived at Pine Ridge about 6 o'clock on the morning after my arrival, and I took one of the passenger's seats, while he rode my horse to Hay. The roads were under water for the greater part of the way, and five horses were attached to the coach. The pulling was so heavy that the traces gave way several times on the journey. The first stage, 14 miles, "the Gums," a clump of gum trees, where there is an accommodation-house, was reached in good time, and at the "Settler's Arms," carried Mr. James McClure, refreshments were appreciated. Towards mid-day we reached Hay, and for the first time for a month the punt over the Murrumbidgee was crossable.
The Hay Pastoral Show dinner and ball, which I have before described, being over I turned my steps Sydney-wards again. The distance to Wagga Wagga up the river's left bank is 200 miles, and wishing to perform the journey in four days, the gentlemen of the district with great consideration, placed their buggies and horses at my disposal, and themselves or servants accompanied me from stage to stage. Mr. McGaw one of the proprietors of Burrabogie station, took me in charge for the first fifty miles from Hay to Toganmain. We left Hay in the afternoon, and after crossing at the punt, passed through some nice country for several miles, and the first station, Eli Elwah was reached. Approaching the residence of Mr. M.E. Maher, my attention was directed to some fine landscape scenery, pretty plains and trees in one direction, and river scenery in the other. We stayed at Mr. Maher's for a short half hour, for the evening was approaching, and it soon afterwards became very dark.
Shortly after seven we reached Burrabogie, the station residence of Messrs. McGaw and Company. If not the finest, Burrabogie House is one of the finest in Riverina. It has a spacious and lofty interior, with a verandah partially surrounding it. The garden and shrubbery deserves more than a passing notice. The ground is arranged with considerable taste, and a vine trellis-worked avenue runs in the form of a cross in the centre, proving a great boon in the heat of summer. The kitchens, stores, blacksmith's and carpenter's shop, overseer's and men's quarters, stables, coachhouses and other outbuildings make up the Burrabogie township.
Burrabogie is said to be a compound aboriginal word, and is translated as "Burra" quick, and "bogie" swim. This meaning was given me, but I scarcely think it is reliable. The area of Burrabogie is 500 square miles; it's frontage to the Murrumbidgee is 20 miles. It is all fenced in, and has on it upwards of 250 miles of fencing which cost from £50 to £80 per mile. Large sums have been expended in obtaining water supply; and incredible as it may appear the present spirited proprietors have expended in improvements upwards of £27,000 in four and a half years. The station carries upwards of 130,000 sheep. The superior character of these may be judged by a glance at the sideboard of Burrabogie, which is well filled with silver cups and champion prizes obtained at the Riverina Pastoral Show.
A capital horse was placed at my disposal by Mr. McGaw for the next stage of 25 miles, which was soon accomplished. The country looked very well, though too much water in places. Toganmain or Toganmai, is the aboriginal for "I am cold." The home residence of Mr. John Gow [Dow] is in a bend of the river having the pretty and rather musical aboriginal name of Singaramb[r]a - meaning a bend. The station is a capital one, having an area of 310,000 acres (20 miles frontage to the Murrumbidgee) divided into 40 paddocks, and carrying about 140,000 sheep. I was glad to meet Mr. Gow [Dow] at Toganmain. He is a fine specimen of the British gentleman, and an old colonist, whose recollections of the early days are full of interest.
Toganmain has a magnificent woolshed, 200 feet long and 54 feet wide, beside two wings of 15 feet each. The structure is of red gum, pine floor, and corrugated iron roof. About 100 men are employed in the shed during the season. The shed has five folding tables, two sorting tables, and two wool presses, one of Home's travelling boxes, and the other manufactured by Fulton and Shaw, of Melbourne. A short distance from the shed are the shearer's huts (2) and rouseabout men's quarters. The residence is a comfortable one. The bend of the river - Singarambra - is chiefly under cultivation, there being two paddocks of prairie grass looking very fine.
The next stage was to Kerarbury, ten miles, and Mr. Gow [Dow] sent me a guide to his station. The character of the country passed through offered no additional field for description, being almost precisely the same as the part of Riverina already described - saltbush plains, scrub, pine ridges, &c.
Kerarbury station, on the Murrumbidgee, is owned by Messrs. Clarke and Macleay; the latter gentleman is member for the district. The homestead (Mr. Clarke's residence), is a comfortable one, and is surrounded by the usual outbuildings on stations. The area of Kerarbury is about 180,000 acres, of which 8000 acres are purchased. The station has a frontage of nineteen miles to the Murrumbidgee. This run is also much improved; of fencing alone upwards of 250 miles have been constructed. The station carries upwards of 90,000 sheep. After resting some time at Kerarbury, Mr. Clarke's buggy was brought round, and he drove me to the next stage that day, 22 miles distant. The horses were good ones, and the country through which we passed was magnificent in places. We left the road far to the left in consequence of its almost impassable state, and often found ourselves on green knolls, among beautiful belts of pines, graceful coobas, and myalls. When about twenty miles from Kerarbury we passed the boundary fence, and found ourselves on the great Peters' run. Two miles further we came to the home station, called Tubbo, and were hospitably received by the manager, Mr. James Burt. Mr. Peters lives in England.
Tubbo House, I consider extremely picturesque, and the accompanying engraving will convey an idea of its beauty at the present time. It is near the Murrumbidgee, on the bank of which fine willows luxuriate, a good garden and orchard are before the house; and in the rear are a number of other buildings, galvanized iron woolstore, general stores, carpenters, blacksmiths, and wheelwrights' shops. The station store, under the charge of Mr. Walker, is one of the best of the kind in Riverina, - well supplied with grocery, drapery, &c.
About a quarter of a mile from the house is the woolshed - an immense building 200 feet long and 36 feet wide. There are two woolsheds for sheep shearing on the station, and 120 men were employed at the time of my visit. For the accommodation of this great number capital huts are erected, those for sleeping and having meals in being separate.
Tubbo is a huge station, covering an area of 450,000 acres. Though the Murrumbidgee frontage extends for 19 or 20 miles it is considered one of the worst frontages on the river at flood time, for it is then liable to inundation. The station improvements bear evidence of the judgement and energy of Mr. Burt, who has evidently made the most of his resources. 320 miles of fencing have been constructed. The station carries 200,000 sheep. This immense principality of 700 square miles all fenced in and carrying 200,000 sheep deserves a fuller notice than the present; and I regretted that the great pressure on my time, did not allow my acceptance of Mr. Burt's kind invitation to stay a month, and see the petty kingdom, over which he rules, at its busiest - shearing time.
The next day's stage was a fifty-mile one, and Mr. Burt provided two good horses for my journey. The one I got from Tubbo it was a real pleasure to mount and ride, for he was a noble animal. Mr. Peter Rhind accompanied me. The first 20 miles were across plains and boggy ground; and we then came to the second woolshed before referred to. This is recognised as one of the model sheds on Riverina. It is not nearly so large as the one of Tubbo, but constructed on a better plan. It is well built, raised on blocks, and has a corrugated iron roof. The improved plan is that when sheep are shorn they are shot into pens underneath the building; and there are capital drafting yards on a good working model around. One of Wilding's travelling box wool presses is used. A few miles from the shed is the residence of Mr. Alexander Burt, who has charge of this part of the station and shed. I got a fresh horse here, and after lunch, started for Buckenbong [Buckingbong], 25 miles distant. I had been [on] the road once before, in the summer time, so confidently proceeded alone. A short time after leaving the house I came to Yanco Creek, which I found pretty high, and after following up the stream for some time, I selected a likely-looking crossing, where the heavy ripples I thought, indicated a shallow place. I had scarcely advanced two yards, before horse and self went suddenly down over head into the water, and the next moment I found myself swimming down the stream with a strong current. The horse was fortunately an excellent swimmer, and I gradually bore his head towards the opposite bank. When about 25 yards lower down the more sloping bank was reached, where, after a few plunges, he landed me bravely. Half a mile beyond I got to a small roadside inn. I was of course saturated with water, and my clothing and papers soaking wet and damaged considerably. It was no use waiting there, so I pushed on, and shortly afterwards reached another creek, near Gillenbah, which also proved to be "a banker," but the horse swam it bravely, though wetting No. 2 was the result. Gillenbah I have before described as a crossing place opposite Narrandera, on the Murrumbidgee. I remained at Mrs. Hyland's inn for half an hour, and pushed on in spite of warnings to Buckenbong. I had only gone four miles when I was told that the river had overflown its banks, and it would be necessary to go twelve miles round to get to the home station of Mr. Jenkins, at Buckenbong. I then ran up the fence for three or four miles, and at dusk arrived at the woolshed, where I found Mr. Jenkins, junior, just getting in a horse for me, to go to Wagga Wagga the next day, as my arrival was expected. This act of kindness I most thankfully acknowledge. I left Mr. Burt's horse at the woolshed, and on a fresh horse accompanied Mr. Jenkins to Buckenbong. It was very dark. For six miles out of the nine we travelled through water, up to our horses' girths, and often just reaching the valise. The vast body of water which covered the plains here, was from the overflow of the Murrumbidgee, caused by the drainage of the mountainous country for hundreds of miles in this time of great rains.
It was about nine o'clock at night when we got to Buckenbong, soaking wet and completely exhausted. The next morning I tried to cross the Murrumbidgee in order to go to Wagga Wagga on the opposite side, but the impossibility was pointed out to me, and I was compelled to take the longer road. I again lost myself, (though only for a short time), on the trackless and inundated plains. The first night I spent, and was hospitably treated, at an out-station of Mr. John Leitch's, and the second day I got into Wagga Wagga. After many narrow escapes, some of which I have, I fear, somewhat egotistically related in order to give an idea of the trials and difficulties which beset the traveller in Riverina, in winter. From Wagga Wagga I took the coach to Goulburn, and the train to Sydney, a journey occupying 38 hours, and thus completed my second "Tour to the South."
[The article also contains a detailed line-drawing of "Tubbo station, Murrumbidgee River".]
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