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Uralla. A New England Wool Town

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Saturday 8 December 1928, The Brisbane Courier

By Our Special Representative.

Uralla, situated at an altitude of 3337ft. above sea level, derives its wealth mostly from wool, although the granite and volcanic soils are favourable for the growing of English fruits. Uralla is about 400 miles from Brisbane on the direct route between the Queensland capital and Sydney.

THE first business premises of this New England wool town were established In the early ‘fifties, and since then the township has grown to considerable dimensions. The present population is about 400, and the community is municipally governed. Very keen interest is manifested in Brisbane and its markets, the main line from Sydney to Brisbane carrying much produce, other than wool, to the Northern market. One illustration of the gaze northwards is a big sign at the entrance to the town setting out that the “Brisbane Courier” may be purchased at the local newsagent’s.

EARLY DISCOVERIES.

Uralla and its contiguous district were discovered by Oxley in 1818, when he was journeying across the southern portion of the New England Tableland towards the coast. The great explorer wrote of the country as beautiful park lands, and to-day the same apt description holds good, for the open forest has been preserved to a great extent in its natural timbered state, wholesale timber destruction not being adopted. The early explorations and discoveries led to an influx of colonists, and notable developments took place in the early ‘thirties. Squatters came forward during these years from the Hunter, including H. C. Collins, who took up the Walcha run, Edward Gostwyck Cory, who took up Gostwyck. Terrible Vale was taken up later. It is rather difficult to follow the actual trend of settlement, or how each squatter worked out his destiny in the shuffle and reshuffle of boundaries. William Dangar took up a run in the same area, and the executors of his descendants’ estate still administer the affairs of Gostwyck. Probably Cory altered his boundaries or sold to Dangar. At all events both family names are now part and parcel of the Uralla district, landmarks and localities bearing their names. Other settlers followed-men of all ranks and professions trying their luck. There came a time of pastoral depression, both land and stock becoming almost valueless. Permanent improvements took the place of haphazardness when the 1847 leasehold system of tenure was enacted, and real settlement commenced. The sour nature of some of the country has been overcome, and the improvement in the breeding of sheep has helped considerably to minimise the severity of the winters. The advance of white settlement gradually caused the depredation by natives and the raiding by bushrangers to cease, and steady development took place up to the present. The call for closer settlement has been so insistent that the big holdings have become shrunken in comparison to their former proportions, but the move has been good, and the small men have made great strides.

MINING.

The Uralla district also has played its part in the production of gold. The Rocky River field was discovered about the ’50’s, and 538 licenses for mining were issued in 1853. When the search was at fever heat about 5000 persons were on the field. In the first 16 years 118,824oz. of gold were won, of the value of £467,293. These figures were taken from the official escort returns, and do not include parcels taken away by individuals. Up to the present the gold won from the Rocky River field amounts to nearly three quarters of a million sterling. Another field, known as the Melrose, was opened in 1889, samples of ore returning lloz. to the ton. It is claimed that payable gold exists in this area, but requires modern methods to properly work it.

FRUIT.

In a country with a climate such as is enjoyed at Uralla the possibilities of agriculture in many branches are evident, and the granite and volcanic soils favour the cultivation of English fruits. It would not be correct to say that the district is free from pests, but they are under organised control, and are a minor trouble compared with some other fruit areas. In addition to fairly extensive fruit production by private enterprise, there is a group of ex-soldier settlers at Kentucky, some 10 miles from Uralla. Passing through their settlement one notes that success has been attained. The homes are comfortable, the orchards well kept, and an air of content is general. Brisbane is a market for much of the Kentucky fruit, which is always in great demand on account of its clean and healthy state.

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Written by macalba

March 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. Interesting.
    A Woodsrunner’s Diary.

    Le Loup

    March 27, 2011 at 11:52 am


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