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Tuesday 27 May 1856, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

(From the Armidale Express, May 17.)

CIRCUIT COURTS,-The great inconvenience experienced by the inhabitants of the Northern districts of the colony, from the want of Circuit Courts nearer than Maitland, has a very injurious tendency, inasmuch as serious crimes have repeatedly been overlooked, solely on account of the difficulties and expense of prosecuting them, at Maitland. Maitland is 250 miles from Armidale, and persons accused of criminal offences are often sent there from a much greater distance than Armidale. It is surprising that, although the inhabitants of the Northern districts have complained of this (great grievance.for years past, the Government have remained inert, and little has been done towards removing it. New England is rapidly acquiring an extensive population. At the Rocky River diggings, alone we believe that there are from twelve to fifteen hundred people, and this number is being augmented every day. There is every prospect of such an extensive development of new gold fields in this district, that the population must largely increase. Geologists are of opinion that the greater part of New England will yet be proved a gold- producing country. With such facts before us, it requires no prophet to foretell a large accession to our population – in fact, our present numbers may be trebled within the next year. In whatever different lights, the occupation of gold digging may be viewed, there is one subject on which people generally will agree – that much greater facilities for the commission of prime are presented at diggings than in the midst of well-ordered, settled communities. A vigorous movement has been going on for some time past respecting Circuit Courts at Tamworth. We consider they are necessary there also. Tamworth is 175 miles from Maitland, and is the capital of the Liverpool Plains district. It is consequently, as the centre of a large tract of country, possessing already considerable population. Although only 75 miles from here, there is very little connection between Tamworth and Armidale. Liverpool Plains and New England are separate and distinct from each other; and we think that, instead of any jealousy existing about which should gain the establishment of Circuit Courts – thereby throwing the other out of consideration – the inhabitants of both out to combine their best efforts to obtain assizes for each.

CENSUS FOR ARMIDALE AND THE POLICE DISTRICT.-The following is a comparative statement, based upon the official census returns for the town and police district of Armidale, for which we are indebted to the courtesy of Mr. Bligh, C.P.S. :-

              1856.                   1851
Armidale. -     Males..... 499}  858     Males}  556
                Females... 359}        Females}
Remainder of
police dis-         Males 1971} 3020     Males} 2759
trict of Ar-      Females 1049}        Females}
midale ...                      ----            ----
Total population of police dis. 3878            3315 

From the above statement it will be seen that the increase in the population of this township during the past five years has been – Males, 170; females, 132; in the aggregate 302, or about 52½ per cent. In the remainder of the police district the increase has been – Males, 111; females, 150; in the aggregate 261, or nearly 9½ per cent. We think the above results are nothing more than might be expected to accrue from the influences to which the district has been subjected during the period referred to. The main deduction from these premises are that the number of persons in the township has increased in the ratio of five to one, as compared with those occupied in pastoral pursuits ; and taking into consideration the fact that the occupation of gold digging employs a considerable number of those set down for the district population, it may fairly be assumed that the pastoral interest in this district in the year 1856, employs a smaller number of people than it did in 1851.

GOODS BY THE CLARENCE LINE. – During the past week, four heavily loaded drays have passed the Express Office, from the Clarence. We have also been informed that a dray lately arrived at Hillgrove, from Grafton, bringing up supplies and a family. These are proofs, amongst many others, that the Clarence line might be made a most desirable road for the transit of goods and produce to and from New England.

THE ROADS. – We have been informed by a gentleman who had occasion to travel over the Moonbies lately that the condition of the roads about that locality was scandalous. There were nine drays waiting at the foot of the first pinch until the road should dry – two of the drays having families with them. The road at the time was so extremely bad that our informant believed fifty bullocks could not have taken up a loaded dray. He also stated that he had passed on the road about 150 men, women, and children, bound for the Rocky River diggings.

THE ROCKY RIVER. – The diggings here are going ahead greatly, and the number of fresh arrivals is astonishing. On Tuesday last I saw a specimen of gold in quartz-not one speck only, but completely encompassing the stone. It is a handsome specimen, and I suppose worth about £2. The finder declared he procured it on these diggings. Our population is increasing with extraordinary rapidity : we want population to open up the hitherto undeveloped resources of New England. It is the opinion of most persons that New England is a gold field more or less, throughout. I have heard of several parties who have struck upon fresh discoveries of the precious metal outside the limits of the diggings. All parties appear doing well, a proof of which is the extraordinary demand for buckets, ropes, shovels, calico, and all sorts of digging tools. Two or three accommodation houses have been opened-one, in particular, which deserves that liberal support its enterprising proprietor is sure to receive.

Rocky River, May 14.

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Written by macalba

August 23, 2010 at 8:08 pm

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