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Discovery and Early Pastoral Settlement of New England (part 1)

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The Scone Advocate (NSW : 1887 – 1954), Friday 22 September 1922

Discovery and Early Pastoral Settlement of New England.

PIONEERS OF UPPER HUNTER PLAY LEADING PART.

(From a paper written by Mr. J. F. Campbell, L.S., and read before a recent meeting of members of the Royal Australian Historical Society).

(No. 1).

The writer commences by touching upon Oxley’s trip to the New England Tableland in the year 1818 and having crossed the southern end, making his way to the coast at Port Macquarie. At this early date, Oxley had good reasons to believe that he was not the first white man to enter the tableland, for from his journal, he reports having encountered natives, who, “from the whole tenor of their behaviour, had previously heard of white people.” By way of confirmation of his surmise, it is significant that upon continuing his journey southerly from Port Macquarie along the coast, he found in Chowder Bay a small boat, half buried in the sand, and the remains of a hut which had evidently been constructed by Europeans; the saw and axe having been employed upon it. From these and other indications, it would appear that adventurous bushmen, free and otherwise, had already explored to some extent the coastal and tableland regions, especially the former, lying far beyond the recognised limits of settlement.

EARLY PASTORAL SETTLEMENT.

When it became known in Britain that rich pasture lands had been discovered beyond the range of mountains which for a quarter of a century had confined settlement to a limited portion of the coastal region, immigration, especially of pastoralists, became more pronounced. Mr. Campbell incidentally refers to the rapid progress of settlement in the Hunter Valley, and quotes from Assistant Surveyor Henry Dangar’s “Hunter River Dictionary and Emigrants’ Guide,” published in 1828, wherein it is set out that “whereas in 1822 a division of country occupying upwards of 150 miles along the river, which in 1822 possessed little more than its aboriginal inhabitants, in 1826-27 more than half a million acres were appropriated and in a forward state of improvement, and carried upwards of 25,000 head of cattle and 80,000 sheep.” In order the more readily to control this rapid advance of pastoral settlement, and to safeguard the lives and the property of settlers generally, it was decided in 1826 to limit the area within which land could be selected and securely held. The northern limit of this area was fixed as from Cape York in a line due west to Wellington Vale, beyond which land was neither sold nor let. In the meantime, however, pastoralists from the Hunter Valley, whose selections had become overstocked, or were drought-stricken, began to steal over the boundary and squat in favorable positions of the Liverpool Plains. Foremost among these was a Mr. Baldwin, who, actually in 1826, with his stock, ventured beyond the limit. His teams were the first to cross the Liverpool Range and to form the northern road over the gap at Murrurundi. No particulars are given respecting this adventurous squatter, but from official papers of that time, mention is made of an enterprising settler, Henry Baldwin, of Wilberforce and Patrick’s Plains, who may have been the pastoralist referred to. By the end of 1831, the so-called waste lands of the colony had become exploited up to the New England Tableland. The trend of this pastoral occupancy was naturally directed along the main creeks and rivers that drain the open valleys of the Namoi basin, but little information, other than traditional, seems to be available adverting to the personnel and doings of the pioneers outside the limits of settlement. In the case, Eales v. Lang, however, the evidence on record reveals something about the early occupancies on the Mukai (Mooki) River, a branch of the Namoi. Donald McLaughlan (MacIntyre?) informed the Court “that from 1825 to 1831 he was in the service of Thomas Potter Macqueen, of Segenhoe (then in England), and was several times on the Mookl looking out for runs.” In his last years of service he formed a station (Breeza) for Macqueen, which station he occupied himself in 1835. This occupancy, under license, was affirmed by the Police Magistrate, Edward Denny Day, then residing at Muswellbrook. In the same case, John Rotton deposed that in September, 1828, he formed a station at Walhalla, on the Mooki River, and remained there two years. Doona run, which was situated between Walhalla and Breeza, was first occupied on behalf of Macqueen, and formed into a station in 1833. Samuel Clift stated in evidence that he entered into possession of Doona in 1837. In 1832 the Australian Agricultural Company’s exchange grant, Warrah, situated on the northern foothills of the Liverpool Range, displaced the early occupiers of that portion of the Liverpool Plains, and the Peel River part of the grant monopolised about a quarter of a million acres on the upper reaches of that tributary of the Namoi. According to the Company’s Commissioner, Sir Edward Parry, who personally inspected the areas in 1832, the squatters who were wholly or in part displaced by the exchange grant of Warrah were as follows: — Messrs. Robertson and Burns (on Mooki), John Blaxland (Kilcoobil), William Lawson and Fitzgerald (Muritloo), Otto Baldwin, William Osborn, John Upton, George and Richard Yeoman, and Patrick Campbell (Yarramanbah), John Onus and Robert Williams (Boorambil), Thomas Parnell, Philip Thorley and William Nowlan (Warrah) and Major Druitt (Phillips Creek). The above occupiers ran 8200 head of stock, mostly cattle, between them. As to the Peel River exchange, the following were affected: — Messrs. George and Andrew Loder (Kuwerhindi, or Quirindi), Brown (Wollomal), William Dangar, Edward Gostwyck, Cory, and Warland (Wollomal and Waldoo). There were 3800 head of stock held on the properties mentioned.

The squatting invasion of New England (according to William Gardner, of Armidale, writing in 1844), commenced in 1832, when Hamilton Collins Sempill, of Beltrees (one l), Hunter River, from his out-station, Ellerstone, crossed the boundary (Liverpool Range) with his stock, and following approximately the Great Dividing Range north-easterly to the Hamilton Valley of Oxley, formed a station in the upper Apsley Valley, which he named Wolka (Walcha), with headquarters on the flat near where Oxley pitched his camp on the evening of September 8, 1818. The precise route is not recorded, but probably he reached the tableland by way of the Nundle spur, a route defined by survey the same year (1832) by H. F. White, Government Surveyor, in conjunction with H. Dangar, the Australian Agricultural Company’s surveyor. About the same time, Edward Gostwyck Cory, a settler, also from the Hunter district (Page’s River and the Patterson, and a squatter on the Page’s River, about where Tamworth is now situated), is said to have passed over the Moonboy (Moonbi) Range, along the route of the Great Northern Road from Tamworth, which route, it is also stated, was previously discovered by him, and, proceeding northerly, he camped for a time on one of the upper tributaries of Carlyle’s Gully. This tributary streamlet still bears the name of Cory’s Camp Creek, and where the camp stood may be seen in the Dog-trap paddock of Rimbanda. A memorial of his ascent to the tableland is also to be seen in the form of a rock at the foot of the second Moonboys, known to the present day as Cory’s Pillow. . . It is not definitely known on what part of the main stream Cory first formed his homestead, but it is surmised that Gostwyck was his headquarters for a time. Later on he established himself at Terrible Vale, about where the present station is situated, while the representative of William Dangar occupied the lower part of the valley with the homestead, Gostwyck, included. In the meantime Colonel Henry Dumaresq had formed a station in the vicinity which he called Saumarez, after the home of his ancestors in the Isle of Jersey. This station appears to have been fully equipped with the necessaries of pastoral life prior to the year 1836, as indicated by the evidence given in the Supreme Court, Sydney, on November 4 of that year in the case, the Crown v. Thomas Walker. In this case, the historic importance of which is obvious, Walker was indicted for the murder of a bushranger near Saumarez, in April, 1836. O’Neil, of the mounted police, “on duty at Colonel Dumaresq’s,” in giving evidence, said: “I heard that bushrangers used to be harboured at Dangar’s station, about five or six miles from Dumaresq’s. The prisoner at the bar was a shepherd there, and he told me that the bushrangers had given him the (stolen) things, and that they were to rob Mr. Cory’s and Mr. Chilcott’s stations the day after. These stations were about twelve miles from Mr. Dangar’s,” etc. Chilcott appears to have been the first occupant of Kentucky run. About this time Cory and Chilcott Had transferred their pre-occupancies. Dr. William Bell Carlyle, about the same time, occupied the valley drained by the creek which bears his name, and Captain William John Dumaresq joined his brother on the north-east. This coterie of adjoining squatters were landed proprietors from the Hunter Valley, where they usually resided. . . Sempill was soon followed by others, including the Allman brothers. The discoveries which led to the pastoral occupation of Cory’s, New England, were continued by Messrs. James and Alexander McDougall, and Alexander Campbell (one of the five overseers who accompanied Peter Mclntyre — he was T. P. Macqueen’s agent — to Australia in 1824), who in March, 1835, started, on an expedition to examine the country now named New England, and at the time unexplored. These explorers evidently followed Oxley ‘s trail to the tableland, their subsequent course being described as due north to Tilbuster, which station was then in the course of formation. From that locality they proceeded easterly, and then northerly, locating suitable positions for stations en route. Some ten years later, Campbell settled on his Macintyre occupancy, which he named Inverell.

In dealing with the pastoral settlement of the western slopes, of the tablelands, which commenced in the year 1836, the writer quotes from ‘The Reminiscences of Mrs. Susan Bundarra Young,” an author whose father, Edward John Clerk, in partnership with John Rankin, settled at Clerkness (now Bundarra). This lady’s story of the incidents and events of her childhood days, in the then Australian bush, although subject in part to correction, is, nevertheless, of historical value, insofar as it portrays the rise and progress of pastoral settlement on the tableland. Her father, who was born in England, was the son of Major Thomas Clerk, of the Indian Army. He came to N.S. Wales, via Tasmania, about the end of 1835, and with John Rankin, purchased Dr. Carlyle’s Invermein or Cresswell property, on Kingdon Ponds, and apparently his New England occupancy, Carlyle’s Gully, as well. They also formed Newstead Station, which upon the dissolution of partnership in 1842, became the occupancy of Rankin, while Clerk retained the original station, Clerkness. (Looking up records in the possession of the ‘Advocate,” we find the names of Messrs. Rankin and Clerk, both of whom were, as far back as 1838, on Satur, and not Invermein, as stated by the writer. Each subscribed a tidy donation towards, the erection of the original St. Luke’s Church, Scone. After the name of each of the two donors, the word “Satur” is plainly written).

(To be continued).

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October 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Support for a Bundarra to Kentucky railway line.

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The Tamworth Daily Observer (NSW), Wednesday 21 June 1911

BUNDARRA NEWS.

(From our Correspondent.)

Farmers and Settlers’ Association. — A meeting of the Bundarra branch of the F. and S. Association was held to-day, at which it was decided to enter a protest against the amended claims of the Rural Workers’ Union, as being excessive, and also to protest against the repeal of the Conversion Act — a copy of each motion to be forwarded on to the respective authorities through the member for the district.

The chairman stated that he understood a Railway League was being formed in Bundarra to advocate that construction of a line of railway from Inverell to Kentucky, as part of the decentralisation scheme. The meeting expressed itself favorable to the idea, and a motion was carried to the effect that “this branch of the F. and S. Association pledges itself to support any public movement aiming at the construction of a railway through Bundarra.”

Railway League. — Immediately after the close of the Farmers and Settlers’ meeting, a public meeting was held to discuss the advisability of urging the construction of a railway from Inverell to Kentucky (on the Great Northern Line) via Bundarra. Mr. A. McGinty (the convener of the meeting) was appointed to the chair, and in his opening remarks said that for years he had advocated the construction of a railway to Bundarra, unfortunately without success. The recently published report of the Decentralisation Commission, however, went to show that a line through here had been suggested as part of the scheme, and he considered the time opportune for the people affected to make an effort 0n their own behalf. The export of wool, stock, and other products from this district was at the present time very considerable, while the splendid resources of the district fully warranted the recognition in the way claimed. Aided by the output from the neighboring tin and silver fields of Tingha and Howell, he contended, it would be one of the best paying lines in the State; while, on the other hand, the construction of a line from Inverell to Kentucky would provide a shorter and more direct route from the North-West to the proposed port at Salamander Bay than the Inverell-Guyra proposal, while the class of country passed through would be in every way superior. It was not difficult to realise the impetus that would be given to the district by being brought into direct touch with the world’s markets, which in itself would prove a strong incentive for the exploitation of other industries such as dairying, agriculture, etc., for which a large portion of the district is eminently adapted. To hope for success they must take prompt and decided action, and not be backward in asking for what they are justly entitled to. Mr. Donoghue then moved that a Bundarra Railway League be formed, and that the membership, to defray expenses, be fixed at 1/-. This was seconded by Mr. Parsons and carried. Mr. A. McGinty was appointed secretary of the League, and was instructed to collect all possible information of the nature required, which will subsequently be embodied in a petition to be presented to the proper authorities. It was also resolved to solicit the cooperation of Inverell, Uralla, and other centres interested, as well as every land holder along the proposed route, and to invite the assistance of the member for the district, Mr. G. R. W. McDonald, M.L.A. It was decided to hold regular monthly meetings of the League to transact ordinary routine business and report progress. The meeting then adjourned.

June 17.

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June 3, 2013 at 8:24 am

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Romance of Cattle Stealing

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Empire (Sydney), Monday 28 October 1872

A rather important case of this character, says the Armidale Chronicle, will shortly come before the judicial authorities at Bundarra. Pending the result, and the affair being now sub-judice, we refrain from giving the names of the parties who are said to be involved in the transaction. As far as we can learn, the facts of the case appear to be as follows:- Fifteen head of cattle belonging to Mr. Sydney H. Darby were lost; they were all marked with Mr. Darby’s brand ; they were afterwards found, when it was discovered that they had all been rebranded the new mark being above that of the original brand ; the fifteen beasts were now secured in a paddock, and two men and a black boy appointed to watch them. For two nights there was no result, but on the third the watchers were started by the sudden appearance of four men. Beyond assisting by their presence, two of them appear to have taken no further part in the proceeds ; but the other two, who were armed, and one of whom wore a mask, set to work, tied up the watchers, broke down the fence, and drove out the cattle, all subsequent trace of which has as yet not been discovered. We understand that two of the young men who have been mentioned as taking part in this affair, are connected with families of the highest respectability, but that one of them had at a former time undergone a judicial examination for an offence of a similar character, for which, however, he was acquitted. In the meantime, Mr. Abbott has left for Bundarra, in order to watch proceedings on behalf of one of the accused.

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September 19, 2011 at 8:03 am

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Licences granted

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Wednesday 7 May 1851, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

ARMIDALE.

Licensing Meeting. – On the 15th ult. a Court of Petty Sessions was held for the purpose of considering the applications of persons wanting publicans’ and other licenses. The magistrates present were M. C. Marsh, Esq., and – Tourle, Esq. The following licenses were granted: Edward Allingham, Rose Inn, Armidale ; James Doran, Horse and Jockey Inn, Armidale; A. O’Dell, Sportsman’s Arms, Armidale ; E. M. Butler, Armidale; Robert Bicknell, Macdonald River ; James Starr, Macdonald River ; George Cormie, Falconer Arms, Falconer ; John Hamilton, Squatter’s Arms, Yarrowwitch ; Samuel McCrossen, Rockey River; William Stitt, Carlisle’s Gully ; Samuel Caldwell, Apsley Arms, Walcha; Jonathan Cock, Bundarra. – Confectioners : Phillip Simmons, Armidale ; Charles Selmes, Armidale. – Auctioneer : Thomas Boyce Dowling.

Churchwardens. – A meeting of parishioners was held in the vestry of St. Peter’s Church on Easter Tuesday for the purpose of examining and passing the accounts of the past year; and also the appointment of churchwardens for the ensuing one, when Mr. E. Allingham was appointed by the trustees, Mr. George Martin by the parishioners, and Mr. R. Furnifull by the Rev. H. Tingcombe.

The Weather. – The weather continues unusually mild for the season ; the night frosts, which prevailed at this time last year, have scarcely made their appearance.

The Police. – Mr. Day, inspector of police, is daily expected here. We understand that recently six prisoners, who had been forwarded from this place to Tamworth, made their escape from the lockup of the latter, by simultaneously rushing upon and overpowering the lockup keeper. This was during the visit of Mr. Day at Tamworth.

April 26, 1851.

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May 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Weather; Outrage by Blacks; Maize; Bundarra crops; Telegraph broken

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Saturday 21 December 1861, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

NEW ENGLAND.

(From the Armidale Express, Dec. 14.)

THE WEATHER – The weather at Armidale was satisfactory early in the week. On Sunday there was a little rain, with thunder, while at Cameron’s Creek, to the N., and Mihi, to the S., the rain was much heavier. On Tuesday there were several fine showers at Armidale, with a little thunder. On Thursday night a thunderstorm, with remarkably vivid lightning, passed over Armidale from the S. It lasted about an hour and a half, yet gave but a moderate supply of rain, with some hail occasionally. It was followed yesterday morning, by mere rain in showers. We have since been informed that several trees in the outskirts of the town were struck on Thursday night. It is well that no buildings appear to have been damaged, as for more than an hour the lightning was terrific. Yesterday between 5 and 6pm, Armidale was visited by a hail storm – the heaviest since the greater one of Nov. 17, 1859. Not a few of the stones were from 4 to 5 inches in circumference. One which we measured was 4¾, and others were apparently larger. The hail caused considerable damage in gardens and orchards, but fortunately the storm had passed to the E. by half an hour after its commencement. A correspondent reports a fearful hailstorm at Glen Innes on Sunday afternoon last – the heaviest ever witnessed in the district, and causing much damage.

OUTRAGE BY BLACKS – Mr. Weaver, P.M., has favoured us with information to the following effect, received from Mr. Blythe, C.P.S. at Walcha, by a letter dated 11 th instant. Constable Grant, who returned to Walcha from Winterbourne on 10th instant, reported that Dr. Morris, J.P., had informed him that on Saturday last, at noon, a party of aboriginals armed with guns attacked some Winterbourne blacks on Moona Plains station, killing four and wounding a fifth. Two of the assailants are well known as Jemmy and Major. Dr. Morris was too ill to visit Walcha to report in person the statements made to him by the surviving blacks. Active steps were at once taken by the authorities at Armidale and the Rocky to afford protection to the fugitives, who, it is stated, dare not leave Winterbourne.

THE MAIZE CROP – We are informed that the grub has attacked the young corn, by eating up the plant while yet below the surface. In consequence, it is apprehended that the yield will be materially diminished. Owing to the scarcity of hay and the probable dearth of maize, horse-feed promises to be dear next winter. We recommend some of the agriculturists near town to sow barley or green stuff in the fall of the season, as there will, no doubt, be a good demand for it in Armidale.

BUNDARRA – The crops are likely to be more abundant than was thought some short time since. There will be a very fair yield of wheat, and a prospect of a good crop of potatoes, especially the late sown ones. Corn is also looking pretty well. The gardens too are looking much better, and the neighbourhood generally is vastly improved by the timely rams we have had for the last week or two. Reaping will commence in a few days. 7th Dec, 1861.

(From the Tenterfield Chronicle Dec 12.)

THE TELEGRAPH – The telegraph wire was again broken down yesterday afternoon between Armidale and Tamworth, so that we were not able to procure our telegram from Sydney. Although the line has been open for five or six weeks, we have not had a chance of receiving a telegram for publication, which certainly shows that there must be great fault in the construction of the line. It seems to us to be a rule that the wire shall be broken every Wednesday afternoon.

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May 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Bundarra Telegraph Office

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Friday 2 October 1874, The Sydney Morning Herald

BUNDARRA.

Thursday.

The Telegraph Office was opened to-day by Mr. P. B. Walker, Assistant-Superintendent of Telegraphs.

A storm passed over the township this afternoon.

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April 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

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Mischief at Bundarra

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Saturday 17 November 1860, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

NEW ENGLAND.

(From the Armidale Express, Nov. 10.)

Outrage in Bundarra District.- On the 4th inst. Mr. Goldfinch, on returning from Armidale to Tienga, found that a most malicious and serious attack had been committed on his premises on the 1st inst., when, at 11 p.m, stones were thrown at the window of the bed-room in which Mrs. G. and, her children were sleeping. One weighing about 4lbs. came through the window as Mrs. G. was rising, and to her alarm passed near her head, and broke a watch and a brooch. Much wanton mischief was also done in the garden, by pulling up roots of flowers, &c, and throwing them over the fence. A reward of £20 has been offered on conviction of the offender. On the 5th a repetition of the attack occurred. A person disguised with a black handkerchief over the lower part of his face, concealed himself in Mr. G ‘s nursery-a deserted building, and which, fortunately, Mr. G. had not allowed the children to remain in since the first attack; the nurse had occasion to go in, when the ruffian made a violent assault upon her, and knocked her down. Although the alarm was given immediately, and Mr. G. had assistance, they could not catch the fellow.

The weather may be summed up in a few words. A little rain at the beginning of the week-temperature, variable-the two last mornings frosty.

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December 5, 2010 at 8:07 pm

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