Old news from Armidale and New England

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The City of Armidale (as at July 1889)

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Australian Town and Country Journal, Saturday 20 July 1889

(See illustrations on pages 26 and 27.)

During the past twelve months a considerable amount of public attention has been directed to Armidale and its surroundings, principally owing to the discovery and opening up of several exceedingly rich gold mines in the district, such as the Baker’s Creek and other properties at Hillgrove, and else where; thus proving the adjacent country to abound in mineral wealth. A few miles from the city is the Herbert Park Reef, where the prospects are encouraging; while at Tilbuster the Clarendon Gold and Silver Mining Company has an excellent “show,” and is working upon a large and well-defined lode. The plant it has erected is one of the most perfect which could be obtained for gold saving; and over £3000 have been spent upon it. Nearer still to Armidale is Clarke’s Reef, which carries gold, as do other claims on the same line. At the Rocky River, fourteen miles distant, operations are being vigorously pushed on at the Jubilee Mine ; and it is anticipated that good alluvial gold will be found in the deep ground. Of later date have been the discoveries of splendid reefs at Kookabookra; which, although situated many miles from Armidale, have been rushed by Armidale speculators and capitalists. With these late developments of the mineral resources of the district, the cathedral city has entered upon

A NEW ERA OF PROSPERITY ;

and, as it is on record that the breaking out of the Rocky River gold diggings gave a great impetus to the town in the past, so it may be confidently asserted that the Hillgrove and other mines above-mentioned will do much more for it in the future. Already some fine buildings are being erected. The city has a population of over 3000, and is situated in the centre of the fine tablelands of New England. It is 335 miles from Sydney, on the main northern line. Being at an altitude of no less than 3278ft above the sea level, it has a fine salubrious climate ; the summer months being very pleasant. The winter is cold, and an occasional fall of snow takes place. The great dividing range passes through the district. Agricultural pursuits are carried on to a certain extent ; and exceptionally good crops of cereals have been obtained. But the pastoral interests take the leading place ; some of the finest lands in New England being shut in by the various large station properties. The soil and climate are particularly well adapted for fruit growing.

MANY YEARS AGO

the country for 100 miles around the spot where Armidale now stands was held by the Dumaresq family, and was divided into two immense stations. At this time the blacks were very numerous and troublesome, and caused considerable anxiety to the squatters-so much so that police protection was found necessary. This being secured, matters improved, population increased, and the nucleus of a town was formed, being on the main traffic route through New England; and eventually the streets were properly laid out by the late Captain Gorman, when the place went steadily ahead. Churches, schools, and other public buildings were erected; and to-day it is spoken of as

THE CATHEDRAL CITY OF THE NORTH,

possessing two fine cathedrals, together with other places of worship. St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, and the Presbyterian Church are all imposing buildings, of which illustrations are given. The Wesleyan Church is also a well built edifice.

ST. PETER’S CATHEDRAL

was erected at a cost of £8000. The diocese of Armidale and Grafton was formed in 1865; and the first bishop was Dr. Sawyer, who had hardly taken possession of his see ere he was drowned by the capsizing of a boat on the Clarence River. He was succeeded in 1869 by the present bishop, Dr. Turner. Armidale was originally in the diocese of Newcastle; and the first curate in charge was the Rev. Mr. Tingcombe, lately of Camden, who was succeeded by the Rev. Septimus Hungerford, now of the diocese of Sydney. He left Armidale in 1875 ; and for three years the cure was vacant. In 1878 the Rev. James Ross, the present archdeacon, took charge. The Ursuline Convent and school, the private residence of Bishop Torreggiani, and the new college are all fine buildings. The town hall, the commodious lands and survey office, court house, post and telegraph office, public school, and hospital do credit to the town. Close to the first mentioned are the library and reading-room, with an excellent stock of books and periodicals. Upon a hill to the south of the city stands the gaol ; while at the western end the railway station and goods sheds are seen. The Pastoral and Agricultural Society’s Show Grounds are well arranged ; and the racecourse of the New England Jockey Club is well kept. Last year the latter was planted with trees, which, when grown, will add considerably to its appearance. In the centre a space has been set apart as a cricket ground. Armidale possesses numerous clubs ; and recreative pastimes are not lost sight of by the inhabitants. A large, new skating rink, the Columbia, has just been erected in the town, and is well patronised by the lovers of that amusement.

THE STREETS OF THE CITY

are well laid out, and have a width of 66ft. Beardy-street is the principal thoroughfare, in which are the substantial buildings of the Australian Joint Stock, the Commercial, and New South Wales banks ; while the City Banking Company intends to erect a building shortly. There are also several well-built general stores here; the leading ones being Messrs. P. Brand and Company’s, Messrs. Richardson and Company’s, and that of Mr. Herrmann.

The boot factory and tannery of B. A. Moses and Company at the west end of tho city are well worth a visit as representing one of the large industries of Armidale. From 70 to 100 men are regularly employed ; and at the tannery 200 dressed sides of leather can be turned out per week. In the boot factory the best labor-saving machinery is used. A short distance from the above factory is

HILLIER AND SOLOMONS CITY BREWERY.

Upon looking over this establishment one cannot help but remark how clean and bright everything appears, and how compactly arranged the plant is. Like all modern-built breweries, the work is started at the top of the building; and as each stage of the operations is complete, the brew descends, until finally the beer is run off into the casks in the cellar. An engine on the ground floor works a pump for raising water to the top of the premises, and supplies steam for boiling purposes to a large copper boiler on the second floor, and also for cleaning the barrels in a covered yard in the basement. Upon a floor below where the boiler is situated, the firm has a patent refrigerator for cooling the beer. Messrs. Hillier and Solomon bought the business some time ago from the former proprietor, Mr. Billston, by whom they were employed. Mr. G. R. Borland has the largest steam aerated water and cordial works in Armidale. The factory is fitted with first-class machinery. He has taken numerous prizes for his cordials, bitters, &c., at the various shows.

Messrs. Harper Bros.’ steam sawmill covers a large block of ground, where, the cedar and other timber found in the district are worked up. Some years ago cedar trees were plentiful within a few miles of the town ; hut now the timber-getters have to go a considerable distance back for them.

Armidale boasts of two newspapers-the EXPRESS and the CHRONICLE-both well got up and widely circulated.

THE NEW ENGLAND LADIES’ COLLEGE

has just been completed at a cost of £5000, and ranks as one of the best structures in Armidale. It occupies a commanding site at the corner of Dangar and Barney streets, and faces the Armidale Park. The establishment is intended for the education of young ladies on similar lines to those in vogue in the high schools in England. The college was opened in January, 1887, in the old Church of England school buildings, under the charge of Miss Higgs ; and such was the success of the institution that, despite several additions which were made to the old building, the accommodation afforded was found to be quite inadequate to the requirements. After due consideration the council of management decided upon erecting the new building as depicted in our illustrations. The idea of starting such a college came about through the recommendation of the Archidiaconal Council of Grafton, “That it was the urgent duty of the church to establish church schools in the diocese, wherever practicable.” Following this, and upon the approval of a committee, Archdeacon Ross proceeded to form a proprietary with a capital of £500. He was successful, and the college was opened as described. When the council of management decided that the erection of a more commodious building was necessary, a capitalist, willing to invest his money in the venture upon satisfactory terms, was found in Mr. John Bliss, who provided the land, and erected the college ; the council agreeing to pay him as rent a certain percentage on the capital invested. On August 16, 1888, the foundation stone of the new college was laid by the Bishop of Grafton and Armidale, assisted by Archdeacon Ross. The building is a brick structure, and has a frontage of 116ft by a depth of 100ft, and a height of 36ft. The principal entrance is through a handsome porch in the centre of the main front, on either side of which is a verandah 10ft wide ; the balcony above being supported by ornamented plaster columns. The entrance leads into a spacious hall, at the end of which is a staircase loading to the upper storey. To the left of the hall is a large drawing-room; and to the right are the Principal’s receiving room, and a teacher’s sitting-room. At the rear of these two rooms runs a long corridor leading on the left to a dining-room 36ft by 20ft, and on the right to a schoolroom 56ft by 20ft, adjoining which is a class room 20ft by 20ft. At the extreme end of the right wing of the building is a hospital 18ft by 20ft. A lavatory and two specially-constructcd music rooms are separated from the front rooms by the corridor above mentioned. At the rear of the dining-room are a large kitchen and other outbuildings. Upon the upper floor are the bedrooms of the Principal and pupils, on either side of two long corridors ; each pupil having a separate room. The rooms are well lighted by separate windows, and the ventilation all that could be desired. Both water and gas have been laid on throughout the building, thus affording every convenience to the occupants. The management is in the hands of a council of churchmen selected from the proprietary; and the course of education comprises the usual branches of a thorough English education.

THE RAILWAY HOTEL,

of which Mr. W. Stevens is the proprietor, is situated in Rusden-street, and is but a short distance from the railway station. The old portion of the hotel was opened about ten years ago. But a fine new building was added onto the latter some twelve months ago, giving the whole a very striking appearance. The house contains twenty large well-ventilated bedrooms, several public and private parlors, dining rooms, bath-rooms, laundry, billiard-room, &c. ; and the house is fitted throughout with gas and electric bells-Mr. Stevens having studied the convenience of his patrons. Underneath the building is a large cellar, where the best of liquors are kept ; while at the back of the yard adjoining the hotel are good livery stables, from which a cab runs to meet every train. The present proprietor has occupied the house for the past ten years, and is deservedly popular with his patrons.

TATTERSALL’S HOTEL

is one of the oldest hotels in the city ; and a portion of the present premises was built fully thirty years ago, and was known as The Wellington. Some ten years ago the name was changed to Tattersall’s. Occupying the central position which it does in Beardy-street, the house commands a large trade ; and, owing to increased business, Mr. Patrick Wade intends to make extensive additions, which will double the accommodation the house now affords. The hotel at present contains twenty-five bedrooms, numerous parlors, dining-rooms, three large and well-fitted sample-rooms, good bath-room, billiard room, &c. At the rear of the premises is a twelve stall brick stable. Mr. Wade, the present proprietor of the hotel, has had the place for about five years during which time he has worked up an extensive connection. Our illustration shows the building as it will appear when the additions and alterations are effected.

THE ROYAL HOTEL,

which is also situated in Beardy-street, is a very comfortable place to stay at, and is well conducted. The house is a large one, and is set off by a wide verandah and balcony running round the two frontages. It contains numerous bedrooms, parlors, diningrooms, bathrooms, &c. ; and in one portion of the house is a private suite of apartments which the visitor can have if he desires. The hotel also possesses excellent stabling accommodation. Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald, the host and hostess, are well liked by their customers for their attention an business aptitude.

F. BRAUND AND CO.’S GENERAL STORE.

This business may be said to be one of the oldest established in Armidale, having been carried on by Mr. John Moore for thirty years previously to Messrs. F. Braund and Company taking it over in April last. The present capacious two-storey building was erected by the late proprietors about 8 years ago, and stand upon a large corner block of ground at the corner of Beardy, and Dangar streets. A very large business is done in all lines of general merchandise, stock and station supplies ; and the firm’s connection extends for many miles around the district. All class of goods usually found in a well-stocked general store are to be seen here, including wines and spirits, furniture, &c. At the rear of the main building are separate stores for bulk goods, where there are large stocks of wire, salt, sugar, flour, wines and spirits. There are also a powder magazine and large stables near by. The store is well lit throughout by gas and the general arrangement of the stock is excellent. Mr. F. Braund, the present proprietor, is well known throughout the northern districts, having been traveling for a considerable time for the well known firm of Messrs. A. McArthur and Company.

DANGAR’S FALLS,

situated about twelve miles from Armidale, are a favorite resort of picnic parties and other pleasure seekers, on account of the magnificent scenery surrounding the waterfall. A drive of about an hour and a half brings one to the edge of the gorge, from which a zig-zag path has been cut to the bottom. Away to the left is seen the cascade falling over a sheer face of rock 780ft in depth (of which an illustration is given). From this level the torrent dashes onward from ledge to ledge, and from pool to pool, till it sinks to rest at the bottom. Various estimates have been made of the depth of these falls ; but 1500ft is as near as an ordinary observer can gauge it. From near to the top of the falls a magnificent view down the gorge below is obtained, the sides being broken by spurs and narrow ravines.

THE WOLLOMOMBI FALLS

are situated at the confluence of the Wollomombi and Chandler Rivers, about twenty-nine miles from Armidale. The route to them is by the Grafton-road, which leads to within two miles of the junction of the above-mentioned streams. The depth of the Falls has never been officially ascertained, but is some where near 1500ft. The scenery around them is very grand. Butting cliffs, many a hundred feet deep, stand out in bold prominence on both sides of the gorge; while between them lie rocky ravines waist deep with ferns, and fringed and bordered with shrubbery and taller vegetation. The streams of water are always flowing over the Falls ; but in wet weather, when the Wollomombi and Chandler are swollen by floods, the united torrents pour in a vast cataract from rock to rock, and basin to basin, until they are at length lost to sight. The Gara Falls, which are nearer to Armidale, are also well worth a visit.

ORCHARDFIELD.

A pleasant four miles’ drive from Armidale is that out to Orchardfield, the property of Jackes Bros., who have an orchard of 120 acres under cultivation. The late Mr. Franklin Jackes, for some years a storekeeper in Armidale, started planting the orchard some twenty-five years ago, and spent large sums of money upon it yearly for the first five years, after which it gradually began to pay, and in time became so profitable that about twelve years ago he devoted his whole attention to it. At the present time there are 12,000 trees on the property ; those being mostly apple, pear, cherry, quince, plum, and walnut trees. They are mostly planted about 20ft apart, and run about 100 trees to the acre. A pathway has been left round each acre block. The greater portion of the orchard has been planted about fifteen years. There are three varieties of soil on the property-black, chocolate, and red volcanic. The pear trees are found to thrive best in the firstnamed apple trees in the chocolate, and stone fruits appear to do best in tho red volcanic soil. The cherry trees grow especially well, and bear prolifically; and the fruit is very fine. A part of the last crop brought as high as 10½d per lb in Sydney. About 8000 quarts were gathered. In the season of 1888 the yield of fruit amounted to 170 tons 15cwt, and was of good quality. In 1889 the crop was not nearly so heavy ; there being only 65 tons 12½cwt of fruit. When the work of packing is in full swing in the large shed built upon the ground for that purpose, as many as seventy cases can be packed and sent away per day. Most of the fruit is sent to Queensland. There are other fine orchards near Armidale, such as those of Mr. Geo. Faint, Spring Valley ; Mr. John Yeomans, Green Hill, and Mrs. Craigie, Box Hill.

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Written by macalba

October 10, 2011 at 8:01 am

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