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Walcha revisited.

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Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), Tuesday 27 August 1889

Walcha Revisited.

(By the Tourist.)

The township of Walcha is about 330 miles north of Sydney, the railway running within twelve miles of it, viz., at Walcha-road where there is a station ; thence there is an excellent line of coaches to Walcha which meet each passenger train. This road has been opened since the railway has been made to New England. Formerly persons desirous of visiting Walcha had the choice of three roads, viz., via Bendemeer, Uralla, or Armidale. The latter was the only one from which there was a regular line of coaches, which also carried the mails ; now, however, all passengers and mails go over Walcha-road. The drive is a pleasant one of about twelve miles. I saw a large number of game of all kinds, and this must be a good place for sportsmen. On arriving at our destination I could see that great alterations and improvements had taken place during the last fifteen years, but strange to relate all the people who were in business then are still trading at this town. I put up at Moore’s New England Hotel — most comfortable quarters, and a most worthy host. There are several first-class hotels, viz., Bath’s Commercial, the Royal Walcha, Apsley, and Carriers’ Home. Mr. G. H. Erratt has recently erected splendid stores in lieu of the old ones formerly occupied by him. The design is novel but unique and characteristic of the owner. The other storekeepers are Messrs. M. J. Walsh, A. Mitchell, T.O.Hardaker, D. McDonald, J. Marshall; and John Love. There is a coach factory where vehicles of any description can be made and turned out in first rate style; this is carried on by W. K. Scott. There is also an extensive tannery, belonging to M. J. Walsh. This town can also boast of two saddlers’ and three blacksmiths’ shops. The banking interest is represented by the Commercial, who have recently erected a handsome brick building, which is an ornament to the town; while the A.J.S. have what they call a temporary place, which appears to be all signboard. The manager, however, is very popular, and says that it won’t be long before they have a building erected worthy of the place.

Walcha is one of the most sterling places in the north. Everyone appears to be well off. A solicitor can’t live there, and so peaceful and happy are its residents that the only legal business is an occasional transfer of land, not sufficient however, as Mr. Potts stated, to keep a legal adviser in the place, so that he packed up his traps and went to another town during my visit. This district is a grain producing one, and some of the finest samples of wheat have been grown. There are two flour mills, owned by Messrs. A. Mitchell and A. J. Walsh respectively, which are in anything like fair seasons kept in full work. Most of the stations and selectors obtain their supplies from these mills. The courthouse and police station are built on the hill at the northern end of the township, and are a really good pile of brick buildings, far in excess of the requirements of the place, according to the lawyer’s idea. The post and telegraph offices are very neat, built of brick, and afford excellent accommodation for the public. The churches of the Anglican, R. Catholic, and Presbyterian denominations are substantial buildings of brick and stone, the two latter having the greatest pretension to architectural design. The climate of Walcha is delightful at any season of the year, being clear and bracing, being one of the highest portions of the New England district. The local magistrates are: Messrs. J. Fletcher, J. E. Gill, G. H. Erratt, M. J. Walsh, A. Nivison, C. D. Fenwicke, T. Laurie, T. Crawford, T. B. Kermode, J. W. Duff, C. E. Blaxland, J. H. Head, E. Marriott, F. W. Thrum, P. Wright, and J. A. Nivison. The police magistrate from Armidale, who is also warden for the district, attends when required.

Walcha is one of the best pastoral districts in the colony, and is surrounded by large stations well stocked by either cattle or sheep, the principal of which are Ohio and Congi, A. Nevison, owner; Europambela, C. D. Fenwicke, owner; Waterloo, J. H. Head; Tiara, Edward Norton ; Tia, August Hooke; Moona Plains, Crawford Bros. ; Yarrawich, W. Nivison ; Surveyors’ Creek, J. Connell, jun. ; Abberbaldie, B. Kendall ; Mllurendi, James Scott; Orandunbi, J.Fletcher; Branga Plains, Thomas Fletcher ; Ingleba, J. Connell, sen. ; Walcha, G. R. Gill.

Numbers of selectors have found out the capabilities of this rich country, and have taken some good slices out of the various runs. The principal selectors holding from 1 to 10,000 acres are: W. and E. Livingstone, Jas. Steel, Jas. McGuffoy, Jas. McCormack, Thos. Crawford, John Gardener, David Green, Will Dodds, John Steer, and others.

The district abounds in minerals ; copper and iron being exposed freely on the surface in many places. Some twelve miles from Walcha the famous Glen Morrison exist. Why I call it famous is because some very rich patches of gold have been found there. The country is impregnated with auriferous reefs and leaders, which up to the present have never been properly worked. Now and again spasmodic efforts have been made to develop some of these reefs by small syndicates; but in most cases want of capital and proper machinery have resulted in the ground being abandoned. Several reefs — viz.. the Glen Morrison, Homeward Bound, North Star, Mountain Maid, Sleeping Beauty, Tia, and others — “that have names good enough to float a company on,” varying in width from 12in to 5ft, and giving fair results, yet they have not been worked continuously nor profitably. Mr. C. R. Manly, an experienced Californian and Victorian reefer, has taken the management, on behalf of a Sydney and Walcha company, of the Glen Morrison claim, and has a fine lot of machinery in transit to the mine, with which he states he will be able to overcome all difficulties, and return gold in sufficient quantities to satisfy all parties concerned. The reef is there, the gold is there in payable quantities, and with the machinery he has ordered he states he will make the mine dividend paying, and also prove the reefs of the whole field. “Well, here’s success old man ; I hope you may not be too sanguine in your expectations,” is a frequent toast given to Captain Manly.

My idea about the northern goldfields is that the reefs first outcrop at Stewart’s Brook, or the Dennison diggings, 35 miles from Scone, where some rich finds have been made ; but this old and rich goldfield has been sadly neglected, and is well worth the attention of miners. The next outcrop going north is at Nundle, then Hanging Rock, then Glen Morrison ; on then to Hillgrove, thence to Butcher’s reef, passing east of Glen Innes, outcropping again at Timbarra, Drake, and other places in the vicinity of Tenterfield. The peculiarity of the northern reefs are that after they leave Hanging Rock they widen out and become mixed with all sorts of base metals difficult to treat — such as arsenic, zinc, antimony, &c. Then also come in the silver, bismuth, tin, &c. ; while, as I have previously stated, iron and copper are found in many places in the New England district, the former, not payable on account of the low price at which it can be landed in the “pig” at Sydney, while the latter can only be worked profitably with cheap carriage, and when copper is being sold at a fair price. The fluctuation in the price of this metal cripples any company with small capital who cannot afford to hold for a market.

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Written by macalba

May 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

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