Old news from Armidale and New England

Local news from newspaper archives

Posts Tagged ‘glen innes

News from across New England, August 1870.

leave a comment »

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), Tuesday 23 August 1870

NEW ENGLAND.

(From the Armidale Papers. Aug 20.)

A fatal accident happened to an elderly married woman, named Rebecca Woods, on Friday evening last week. She and her husband were returning from Armidale to Gara station, on which Woods is a shepherd. They were on the road after dark, and in going along a rocky sideling the upper wheel of their dray was raised so high by coming on a rock that the dray turned over. The side of the vehicle fell upon the chest of the unfortunate woman, in whom life, it appeared, remained sufficiently long to enable her to tell her husband that she felt she was dying. Before she was removed from under the dray, which was done by Mr. Thomas Watt and others who were attracted by the cooeying of the old man, she was dead. Woods was fortunate to escape with only a few very severe bruises, and attended his wife’s funeral on Sunday. On Saturday the coroner held an inquest on the body of deceased, when a verdict of accidental death was returned. – In going out to Gara, while crossing a creek, the shafts of Mr. Markham’s buggy separated from the body. The horse went on, leaving Mr. Markham and the buggy surrounded by water. His position, however, not being very perilous, he escaped from it with no greater damage than wetted boots. On the following day, he and Mrs. Markham were both thrown out of the buggy, owing to a bolt coming out, but fortunately a few bruises were the only bad results.

On Thursday we received an intimation that, on the recommendation of Inspector Brown, Sen. Constable Walker, of Glen Innes, bad been promoted to the rank of Sergeant, for his gallant conduct with reference to Thunderbolt.

[The Telegraph says the promotion is to the rank of senior-sergeant]

GLEN INNES. – On Friday and Saturday last the district was visited by some of the heaviest rain known, even during these late months of wet weather. Thunder, lightning, and a high wind came in company with it. It began on Friday early, and lasted without ceasing until Saturday morning. The plains were a sheet of water, the creeks and rivers being higher than known for the last five years – in fact, there was a regular sea. The mailman to Grafton had to return to Glen Innes from the Beardy Plains, they being literally covered with water. Fortunately no damage or loss of life is reported. On Saturday, at ten a.m, I was told the river at Beardy was going down as fast as it had risen – so quickly that the Armidale mail coach came in about half-past four, having had, however, a narrow escape in crossing the Beardy at Stonehenge. Had it not been for the coolness and management of Mr. Leary, the driver, some accident must have happened. Mr. Patter left in the evening, and succeeded, also under great difficulties, in crossing at Yarrowford, on his way to Dundee and Tenterfield – The weather is now fine and frosty. There was a heavy storm on Sunday afternoon, after which it cleared up. – 15th August, 1870. Correspondent.

INVERELL. – On Friday last, at noon, it commenced raining heavily, and towards eight o’clock the River Macintyre was heard to murmur, which, increasing to a turbulent roar, soon became alarming. At two o’clock the water had attained its highest level, being within three feet of overflowing. Fencing alongside the river has in some instances disappeared. We have been informed that serious damage was sustained by the rising of the creek at Newstead, which partly destroyed the washpool, carrying away some of the sheep-washing apparatus. Aug. 15, 1870. – Correspondent.

DUNDEE. – We had a flood here in the River Severn (I believe that is the name of it) on last Friday night. The water rose ten feet, equal to the flood in 1863 – and it has done considerable damage. At Mr. Chappell’s wool scouring establishment, a large boiler was carried away, and has not been found as yet, and at Ranger’s Valley the dam on the river was swept away, while, amongst a great multitude of articles.carried off, were six casks of sheep’s tallow (1½ ton), some of which can be found. If we don’t get a bridge across this river, which is getting deeper every flood, we may expect to hear of the mail coach, horses, &c., being carried off some of those fine days – Correspondent. To the great regret of the residents generally here, the Rev. M. Keogan left Armidale for Grafton on Tuesday. As a number of his friends insisted upon his receiving from them some substantial token of their esteem, they presented him with an elegant gold watch and chain, the watch bearing a suitable inscription.

Advertisements

Written by macalba

May 21, 2013 at 8:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

News from around new England, May 1869.

leave a comment »

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), Thursday 13 May 1869

District News.

NEW ENGLAND.

(Abridged from the Armidale Papers, May 8)

Since our last issue there have been a few light showers at Armidale, but on Saturday there was a pretty heavy fall at the Rocky and other places. The temperature is rather changeable, and hence colds are a common complaint. Express.

We understand that during the past fortnight the Gyra station, formerly in the possession of Mr. G. Allingham, and latterly in the hands of Messrs. Levy, has found a purchaser in the person of Mr. Montagu Marks, who we believe will take up his residence on the run. Rumour speaks of many intended improvements, and among others the erection of a new house for the owner. – Telegraph.

The Athletic Club at Armidale has now the large number of 67 members. – Express.

PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF NEW ENGLAND. – On Wednesday afternoon a Committee meeting was held, in the New England Hotel, to make arrangements for a ploughing match. There were present Mr. Thomas (in the chair), and Messrs. Markham, Miller, Waters, Fitzgerald, J. Moore, E. Baker, and W. L. Seeley. The committee being unanimously in favour of having a ploughing match, it was decided that it was desirable to invite special contributions towards that object, the present state of the funds of the Society not warranting additional expenditure ; and those of the public favourable to the proposal were requested to forward their contributions to the Treasurer before the 20th instant. – Express.

INVERELL. – On last Saturday night a storm of frightful violence occurred, the thunder literally shaking persons in their beds, accompanied by vivid and blinding sheets of lightning and torrents of rain. A tree was struck by lightning close to the Royal Hotel, and the fragments carried a considerable distance. – May 3. – Cor. of Express.

A serious robbery occurred on Sunday night at Mr. Ince’s Inn. It was discovered about half past ten o’clock that two boxes had been stolen from a bedroom. The police were at once informed of the occurrence, and they commenced to make a search, which resulted in the discovery of one of the boxes at some distance. This box contained clothing, and was all right when found. The other box was not found until next morning, when it was discovered near the creek, at the foot of Taylor-street. The box had been broken open, and £60 in a cash-box, together with some watches and papers, had been abstracted ; some deeds of land, however, were left. – Abridged from the Express, May 8.

CHINESE SWINDLING. – The Telegraph relates that on Saturday, May 1, a most rascally imposition was practised by a Chinaman at the store of Mr. Weston, at Maitland Point, which is managed by a Mrs. Jackson. Several Chinamen have long been in the habit of selling their gold at this store, among others one whose parcels have invariably been found genuine in quality. On the day in question John paid his usual visit, and handed Mrs Jackson a parcel of gold done up in the usual fashion. Taking it for granted that the parcel was genuine as usual, she weighed it, and handed him what she calculated to be the value (£67) with which he left the store. It was afterwards discovered by Mr. Weston that the parcel contained only sand and stones, ingeniously made up. The Chinaman is known to the police, and it is to be hoped he will soon be captured.

GLEN INNES. – We have had another change in the weather. After a few days’ severe frosts rain came on again; since then the weather has been soft and mild. – May 3. – Cor, Express.

INVERELL RACES. – These races came off on April 27 and 28. There was a pretty good attendance, and the races passed off with great spirit. The Maiden Plate of £20 was won by Mr. J. Gillespie’s Ding Dong. Mr. J. Bowman’s Slowboy carried off the Publican’s Purse, of £15. The Ladies’ Purse was won by Mr. F. McInnes’s Jack Spring. This formed the programme for the first day. On the second day the first race was the Town Plate, which was won by Mr. J. Bowman’s Slowboy. The Hurdle Race fell through for want of entrances, and a Hurry Scurry was substituted, which was won by Mr. J. Rose’s Topsy. The same owner’s Ranger took the Hack Selling Stakes, and the Forced Handicap, which was won by Slowboy, concluded the meeting. – Abridged from the Express.

Written by macalba

May 20, 2013 at 8:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Accused committed for trial (part 3 of 3)

with one comment

The Northern Daily Leader (Tamworth, NSW : 1921), Friday 1 April 1921

HILLGROVE ROBBERY.

Accused Committed for Trial.

HILLGROVE, Thursday

At the police court yesterday, Jack McCarthy Woodburn, aged 26, laborer, of West Australia, was charged with breaking and entering the Hillgrove Post Office on or about the 19th March, and stealing cash, stamps and cheques to the value of £181/14/11.

Mr. A. A. Russell, acting postmaster, stated that on the 18th inst. he was on duty at the Post Office until 10 p.m. He balanced everything before leaving the office. The safe in the office contained postal notes, cash, cheques, stamps, war saving certificates, etc , valued at £358/15/4. When leaving the office he securely locked all doors and windows, also tried all the drawers and the safe. Then he went to the hotel where he boarded. Next morning, about 7.30, Constable Kennedy came into his room and showed him a broken cash box, also a few postage stamps. They went to the Post Office, and found the front door locked, but the back door of the office open. The middle window had been forced open. The iron safe was laying on its side on the stand with the door blown open — apparently forced open by an explosion. Pieces of a fuse and gelatine were laying close by. All the drawers in the office with the exception of two had been forced open. Later, Mr. Postal Inspector Woolett and witness made an examination to ascertain what was missing and found a shortage of £181/11/11. A pair of rubber gloves shown were also the property of the department. Before locking up the cash witness took the number of all the notes with the exception of three, and the numbers of the notes produced agreed with his record with the exception of one. There was also a registered packet missing from the safe.

To the accused: There is only one note which I cannot identify.

Constable Kennedy, police officer, at Hillgrove, said that on the morning of the 19th inst. he found the empty cash box, also the few postage stamps, 3d and 1d on a vacant piece of land near Faint’s garage. He took them to the Sydney Hotel, where Mr. Russell was staying. They then went, to the Post Office and found the premises in the condition as explained by the previous witness. Lying of the floor was one crowbar, one 8lb hammer, one coal chisel, one file, one axe head, and three damaged mail bags. The whole office appeared to have been ransacked.

Chas. Rowe, miner, employed at the New Baker’s Creek Mine, remembered conversing with the accused at the mine on the 18th inst. about 2 p.m. Near by was a box containing explosives. He left the mine about 3 p.m. Next day he returned to the mine, and at about 9.30 a.m., after having heard something, he went to his box and found missing 4½ plugs of gelatine, one plug of gelatine dynamite, 10 or 12 feet of fuse, and about 50 detonators.

Victor Adamson, engine driver at the Baker’s Creek tram line, said he saw the accused and conversed with him in the engine shed on the 18th inst. He lowered him down the tram line to the mine. Witness recognised the hammer and other tools produced as the property of the company.

William Peters, residing at Hillgrove, and living within 20 yards of the Post Office, said he remembered the night of the 18th inst. He was in his house in bed and heard something which sounded like an explosion at about halt past eleven or twelve o’clock. The sound appeared to come from the direction of the Post Office. Following this sound he heard what sounded like hammering. About an hour later he heard another explosion. After this noise he got out of bed and went to the fence adjoining the Post Office, looked over the fence, but could hear no sound nor see any light. Just before 2 o’clock he heard a third explosion.

Cornelius Faint, car driver, Hillgrove, said that on the 18th inst. the accused came to him between 10 and 11 a.m. at his home and inquired if he was a car driver. Witness said, “Can I get a car to Armidale?” Witness asked, “What time?” He replied, “Between 9 and 10 tonight.” Witness replied that he could. He did not see him again until next morning, when he came to witness’s house and stated that he wanted to go to Armidale. Witness asked him if he knew what time it was. He replied “No.” Witness informed him that it was 2.30 a.m. ‘”Oh!” he said, “it’s worth £3 to you.” He paid witness then with the notes he produced. Witness knew one by the mark he put on it before giving it to the police. He then drove him to Armidale.

Daniel Aiting, a motor car proprietor, of Armidale, said at 4.30 on the 19th he received a telephone call. In reply to his question, “McCarthy” was the name given. He got in his car, went to the Post Office, and then saw accused. He said, “Did you call to take me to Glen Innes?” Witness replied “Yes.” They then drove to Bradbury’s hotel for his bag and then went on to Glen Innes to Tattersall’s Hotel. The accused left the rubber gloves shown to witness on the seat of the car. He paid witness £7 before getting to Glen Innes — £5 and two singles. When returning to Armidale the sergeant of police at Guyra told witness something and he handed him the notes he got from the accused. He did not take the numbers.

Accused was asked if he had any thing to say, and replied “No.” He was committed for trial at Armidale Circuit Court on April 20, 1921.

Written by macalba

May 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Stamps, gelignite, and revolvers (part 2 of 3)

leave a comment »

The Northern Daily Leader (Tamworth, NSW : 1921), Tuesday 22 March 1921

HILLGROVE CASE.

YOUNG MAN BEFORE THE COURT.

What the Police Found.

STAMPS, GELIGNITE AND REVOLVERS.

GLEN INNES, Thursday.

At the local police court this morning before Mr W. S Perry, Jack McCarthy Woodburn was charged with having stolen from the Hillgrove Post Office postal notes, stamps and money, to the value of £200.

Defendant, a young man about 26 years of age, well groomed, appeared unconcerned during the court proceedings.

Sergeant McGrath stated that about 1.30 p.m on the 19th instant, in company with Constables Stewart and Cumming he went to No. 12 room at Tattersall’s Hotel where he saw defendant lying on a bed. Witness inquired his name. Defendant replied “McCarthy”. In reply to witness defendant said he had come from Armidale that morning by car. Witness asked when he arrived at Armidale and he replied “by train from Sydney last Wednesday.” “Have you ever been in Hillgrove?” asked witness” “No never”, replied defendant. Constable Stewart asked “Isn’t your name Woodburn.” Defendant replied in the negative. “What is it all about anyhow?” asked defendant. ‘The Post Office at Hillgrove,” witness replied ”was broken into last night, and a quantity of stamps and money stolen.” Witness asked defendant if the bag in the room belonged to him. He replied “yes.” The bag was then opened by Constable Stewart, who said “it’s all-right Sergeant; he has all the stamps and paraphernalia here.” Defendant was taken to the lockup and when formally charged replied “right.” Drawing an automatic revolver from the bag witness asked where did you get this?” Defendant replied, “I got it from a friend of mine yesterday.” The Sergeant said, “where did you get all these stamps in your bag.” Defendant replied, “I got them from the same friend, at the same time.” Witness said “there are several plugs of gelignite, a fuse and detonators in the bag. Where did you get them?” Defendant replied “I bought them in Sydney. I have often to use them at my work as a carpenter.” The portmanteau was further examined and was found to contain an automatic revolver loaded in two chambers, an extra revolver magazine, 13 revolver cartridges, two coils of fuse, a box of detonators, 23 sticks of gelignite, two sticks of blasting gelignite, one stick of dynamite, a file, a gelignite piercer, 12 Chub lock keys, a lady’s pocket knife and a mouth organ. There was also an envelope addressed to the Postmaster at Hillgrove, containing stamps to the value of £5/11/7. A second envelope was found to contain stamps to the value of £1/1. There were also in the bag 270 stamps at 1/, 180 at 9d, 290 at 6d, 240 at 5d, 440 at 3d, 120 at 2½d 1302 at 1½d, 938 at 1d, 1163 at 2d, 556 at 1d, 4768 at 2d, 1219 at a half-penny, representing a total value of £112/4/10. Witness said “Do you still say you got these things from your friends?” Defendant replied “I’ll say nothing, I will take my gruel.” On searching defendant at the lockup witness found £4/10 on him.

Constable Stewart said he charged defendant and said “Is it correct you went to Hillgrove last Friday?” Defendant replied “Yes.” “How many shots did you put in the safe?” witness asked, and defendant replied “One.” In reply to witness defendant said he did it between 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock. “Did you have a car waiting for you?” witness asked, and defendant replied “No, I pulled the mail driver out of bed and he drove me to Armidale.” Further questioned defendant said “I had a mate.” He followed on behind on a motor cycle.” Witness said “You paid Mackenzie and Sons £4/3 on Saturday for clothing. You also paid £2/10 to Mrs. Turnbull for board in advance. Is that right?” Defendant replied ‘That is correct.” “What did you pay for the car from Armidale to here?” asked witness. Defendant replied, “£6; my mate gave me the money to pay for board and car.”

Defendant refused to give witness a signed statement.

Defendant was remanded to Hillgrove and intimated that he did not wish to apply for bail.

Written by macalba

May 6, 2013 at 9:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Hillgrove Post Office Robbed (part 1 of 3)

with 2 comments

The Northern Daily Leader (Tamworth, NSW : 1921), Monday 21 March 1921

NEWS OF THE NORTH

Hillgrove Post Office Robbed

SAFE BURST OPEN.

Arrest Made and £200 Recovered.

The Hillgrove Post Office was broken into on Friday night when a safe was burst open and £200 in cash stolen.

At one o’clock on Saturday morning a man who runs a motor car service between Hillgrove and Armidale was awakened by a man who told him that he must get to Armidale urgently. It has been ascertained that the same man engaged an Armidale taxi-driver to take him to Glen Innes, and left there at four o’clock on Saturday morning. The police think that it is quite probable that Glen Innes was not the real destination, but that the route was altered afterwards to throw the police off the track. Nothing since has been heard of the taxi driver.

Inquiry by the police shows that the suspect had been in Armidale for the past week staying at one of the hotels. The postal assistant at Armidale who knew him by sight said that he had frequently seen him looking through the window of the post office after nightfall.

An arrest was made later at Glen Innes, and all the stolen notes were recovered.

Written by macalba

May 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

“Australia Unlimited”

leave a comment »

Cairns Post (Qld.), Wednesday 7 March 1945

In his 35-page book on the Clarence River hydro-electric gorge scheme, Sir Earle Page. M.H.R., a member of the Australian Country Party, has introduced into the murky atmosphere of politics that gleam of combiner idealism and common sense which is as refreshing as it is scarce at the present moment. In a masterly review of the publication. Hon. D. H. Drummond, M.L.A., Deputy Leader of the New South Wales Country Party, comments that the book contains more challenge to thought, to constructive criticism, to courage and to imagination than any other one thing that has been produced during the whole period of the war. It makes the other plans for post-war reconstruction look like midgets of ineffectual vision. Whether the critic will agree with the Doctor, or whether he win disagree, he will find himself forced up against the question which the Japanese menace still points, viz., that if Australia and Australians do not tackle these things in a big way, they may never have the final opportunity of completing them even in a small way.

Sir Earl draws pointed attention to the lack of an electrical connecting link between Sydney, the greatest Australian manufacturing city, Newcastle, its great coal and power producing centre, and Brisbane, the centre of Queensland’s industrial activity. Briefly his suggestions for immediate action are the linking up of Newcastle and Brisbane with a 66,000-volt power line, via Werris Creek, Armidale, Glen Innes and the Clarence Gorge, with another line of 165,000 volts as far as Werris Creek, then of 68,000 volts as far as the Clarence Gorge, and from thence to Brisbane of 165,000 volts.

The question of an immediate market for the total output of the gorge hydro-electric development would be completely changed if it were an integral part of the Newcastle-Brisbane high voltage transmission system. Brisbane would be immediately able to purchase a substantial portion of the whole output, and the balance would be absorbed locally or utilised in the general transmission system.

A study of the data, says Sir Earle, will show the high priority of the undertaking. A consideration of its immediate and remote benefits will demonstrate that, though this dam, when constructed, will be the largest in Australia, it will immediately prove fully reproductive from its inception. This is due to its geographical position, combined with the economic progress that the development of both primary and secondary industries in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales has already attained.

He visualises in the main scheme the full development of the watershed of the Clarence, which includes, not only the Clarence Gorge, Jackadgery, Nymboida and other reservoirs, but also the Styx hydro-electric scheme on the Macleay, and a number of other subsidiary schemes which all will contribute their share to the ultimate development of the area. It is estimated that if the major scheme is ultimately developed to the full, in the case of the gorge proposal, a dam 320 ft. high would impound 3,400,000 ac. feet. This does not probably convey very much to anyone until it is realised that the storage would be equal in capacity to three dams of the size of the Hume on the Murray River, and would, very closely approximate to the famous Assuan dam on the Nile River of 4,000,000 acre feet.

(Contributed by the Australian Country Party, Queensland.)

Written by macalba

September 28, 2011 at 8:08 am

Armidale; then to Tenterfield by train in 1887

leave a comment »

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Tuesday 21 June 1887

A Journey due North.

Armidale to Tenterfield.

(By Bruni in the Australasian.)

Armidale, the oldest and most important town on the New England plateau, is a place of considerable importance. It is the principal business centre of an extensive pastoral and agricultural district, of which it is considered the capital, and is the residence of a Church of England and of a Roman Catholic bishop. I find it is much smaller in size than I anticipated, and with no appearance of rapid advancement, but it has an air of quiet respectability befitting the leading town of a large and steadily-improving district. The oldest part of the town is situated close by the bank of the rivulet that runs by the place, and consists of a group of extremely quaint old-fashioned wooden houses, huddled together as if for mutual protection. The principal portion of the town is situated on some gently-rising ground on the western bank of the stream. The houses are built in a much more modern style than those of the first settlement, but here and there one meets with one of those homely square brick dwellings, with small windows, low ceilings, high shingled roofs, and attic-windows, that are so frequently seen in all the older towns of the parent colony. Though having no pretensions to architectural beauty, they are generally roomy, comfortable places to live in, and I have frequently found them inhabited by the children, grand-children, or even more remote descendants of the pioneers who erected them. They are solidly built, and though presenting often a somewhat weather-beaten appearance, will yet last longer than the more pretentious run-em-ups of later days. It is quite a noticeable feature in rural life in New South Wales that families should remain on the land taken up by their fathers in the early days of the colony. Sons and daughters may marry and go out into the world but there ever remains a representative of the family at the old home. This is quite different to what one finds in Victoria, where change seems to be the order of the day. Though the country is still so young it is a very rare thing to find a rural property still remaining in the hands of the original settler or his family. Even the farms that have been reclaimed from the stubborn forest change hands as readily as so many chattels. This may denote progress, but I am old-fashioned, and prefer the mode of life which obtains in these pleasant but somewhat sleepy old towns of New South Wales.

At the first view of Armidale one immediately perceives that the climate is entirely different to that of the country lying between Newcastle and Tamworth. The air is sharp and bracing, but with nothing unpleasant in it. In winter the climate is said to be very severe, but in spring, summer, and autumn it is admitted by everyone to be most delightful. A better holiday ground for the sunburnt residents of Queensland and the hot plains of north-western New South Wales it would be hard to find, and when the rail is carried over the short gap between Wallangarra and Tenterfield, New England will doubtless be a favourite place with those who are anxious to escape from the terrors of a Central Australian summer. The streets of the older portion of Armidale are narrow and irregular, but a marked improvement is shown in the newer portion of the town. No attempt has been made to beautify the place by planting trees in the streets, though nowhere have I seen the elm with such a splendid mass of foliage as in the gardens of Armidale. They were just touched by the first frosts of winter when I saw them, and the contrast between the yellow of the outside leaves and the dark-green of the rest of the foliage was very fine. English fruit trees grow well in this district, and so, I believe, would all English flowers, but one sees very few of them. There is a notable absence of cottage gardens, though pocket-handkerchief allotments were not the fashion when the town was laid out. Indeed, in Armidale a cottage garden may be said to be the exception and not the rule, and few of the larger houses have gardens. This is one of the peculiarities of the place that is at once noticed by a visitor. The business portion of the town is of small extent, and to judge by the appearance of the shops, the trade done is a very quiet one. The most attractive feature of the place is the pleasant villas that surround the town, and these have a very pretty appearance, peeping through the foliage of the forest that hems the town round. The little valley in which Armidale is situated is bordered by lines of low hills, composed of a poor white-coloured soil, with frequent outcrop of rock. The forest that clothes the hills is of a very poor description, stunted in growth, and useless except for firewood. These barren hills give one a poor opinion of the surrounding country, but almost immediately beyond them is a large extent of fertile land, scattered over which are many farms, the comfortable homesteads on which indicate well-to-do proprietors.

In the centre of the town is a large square, which has been planted with ornamental trees. Surrounding it are all the leading places of worship. I was shown the cathedrals of the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church. Had I not been told they were cathedrals I would have taken them for well-built, unpretending village churches. The Government buildings are extensive, and each department has a large staff ; Armidale being a Government as well as a business centre for the New England district. There is a large hospital just outside the town on a fine site. The public schools are of considerable size, and are attended by a numerous troop of sturdy, rosy-cheeked, young Englanders. The railway station is situated a considerable distance out from the north-western corner of the town, and, magnet like, is drawing the town towards it. A good deal of building is going on, the material used being invariably brick. A better building material could not be found than the bricks made in Armidale ; they are dark in colour, and almost as hard as flint. My stay in Armidale was a brief one, but I saw much that pleased me. Nature had done much to make this an attractive summer residence for the dwellers in tropical and semi-tropical Australia. The air is pure and invigorating, and nowhere have I seen anything so closely resembling the lovely turquoise blue of the Tasmanian skies as in Armidale. Even in winter the cold is not unpleasant, though the frosts are sharp and frequently last till late in the forenoon. Often in winter one may sit on the leaside of a house and enjoy the genial warmth of the sun, while on the shady side the air will be freezing. On such occasions the different sides of the street have widely different climates. It is a remarkably healthy district, and there is no tonic that I know of like the air of this elevated plateau. To judge by the substantial repasts prepared to satisfy the heroic appetites of their guests, this fact had been forced upon the attention of the local hotelkeepers.

Resuming my northward way, I left Armidale by a goods train after an early breakfast on a bright frosty morning. The train travelled at a marvellously slow rate, and I was thus enabled to have a good view of the country we passed through. About a couple of miles out of town I was shown the fine mansion lately built by Mr F. White. It is on a very pretty site, and overlooks the little valley, which is here of much greater extent than at Armidale. The train for a few miles passes through low hills on which a thin layer of cold poor soil produces only a forest of stunted, worthless trees. Then a welcome change took place, the light coloured stiff clay gave place to a rich chocolate soil, and the country was dotted over with pleasant looking and substantially built homesteads. Stock feeding is much practised about here and every little steading was surrounded by numerous large and well built stacks. I noticed that many of the farm horses in the fields we passed by were rugged, a sure sign of cold climate, and of care on the part of the stock owners. Much of the forest near Eversleigh would be greatly improved by ring-barking, but the practice is not in favour with the residents. Though we were now approaching the highest part of the tableland traversed by the railway, the views were never extensive, and only disclosed a series of low wooded hills in every direction. The formation was now granite, and the cuttings along the line were very heavy. This portion of the railway must have cost a large sum per mile, and for a considerable distance it runs through an almost uninhabited country, in which the natural resources are apparently very small. The line appears to follow the summit of the mountain range ; sometimes the fall is to the east, and then, again, it is to the west. On more than one occasion I saw the fall of the country east and west from the line at the one spot. At Black Mountain we had reached an elevation of a little over 4300ft. ; there was a bright sunshine, but the air was sharp and cold. Like the greater portion of the tableland, there was a large quantity of young timber springing up through the forest. From the appearance of the patches that have been ringbarked, clearing this country will be a very difficult operation, as, owing to the climate, the native trees have a strong vitality. Beyond Black Mountain the country is flat and swampy, and at Guyra the train runs by a very large marsh named “The Mother of Ducks,” but the ducks had deserted their mother at the time I passed. The formation about here is basalt, and if the surface were drained it would make excellent. grazing ground. At Ben Lomond we were 4471ft. above the sea, the highest point reached by any railway in Australia. The station is a pretty one, with comfortable quarters for the railway officials. The hamlet is small, the most noticeable building being a diminutive wooden church. To my surprise I saw a calico poster announcing the fact that there was to be a large sale of business and villa allotments on a day in December last. In a cutting beyond the highest point I noticed that the formation was still basalt. The descent beyond Ben Lomond is rapid, the train running down a narrow valley, and at times I got a view of a forest country extending a long way to the north, with blue mountains outlined against the sky. As we went on, the little mountain glen opened out into a large valley, and I got a fine view of the country to the northward. There were plenty of both cattle and sheep on the hillsides, and the grass was everywhere abundant. The lower we ran down the valley the more extensive became the flats, which were composed of the finest black soil. The temperature rapidly became higher as we descended the valley, and orchards, maize-fields, and small farm-steadings were frequently met with. The prevailing grass all over this country was kangaroo grass. Beyond a place named Glencoe we got into granite country again, and at Stonehenge passed an immense number of granite boulders standing high above the surface of the ground. The granite country lasted till we reached Glen Innes, where I anticipated there would be a halt for refreshments. To my intense disgust, there was a long wait, but nothing eatable or drinkable was to be obtained, and this is a country where the appetite is sharpened by the fresh mountain air.

Glen Innes is a small town, but a very “live” one. It is fully alive to the advantages of railway communication with the coast, and the inhabitants seem thoroughly in earnest in their determination that their town shall be the point of departure of the line to the coast and of that for Inverell. I intended stopping at this interesting town on my return journey, but unfortunately had not the time to spare. The soil around Glen Innes is remarkably good, and some of the very best is contained in the Furrucabad estate, lately purchased and cut up into farms by a syndicate. Though granite rock crops out all over the district, the soil is of the blackest and richest I saw in New England. The agricultural resources of the district surrounding Glen Innes are very great. After passing through a large area of rich-soil country, we come into a poorer soil on which there are very few habitations to be seen. The cuttings are numerous, and some of them very deep and long. We were rising again beyond Deepwater, and the incline was so steep at times that the engine could only just keep the train moving. On the summit of the range called the Bolivia Mountains a halt was made to let the brakes down, a precaution we soon found was absolutely necessary. If the hills were steep on the southern side, they seemed to be much more so on the northern side. The train plunged down among a series of wild rocky hills. The sudden curves on this part of the descent showed the necessity for strong brake power. In some respects this place resembles the famous Zigzag on the Blue Mountains, but to my mind is much more beautiful. The hills are wilder and the view more extensive, while below is seen a most charming valley, in which the groups of bright-foliaged apple-trees have a very fine effect. On reaching the valley I found it consisted of a wide extent of rich black soil, on which there was a heavy sward of grass. Here I saw a good many well-bred cattle all of which were in excellent condition. From below, the prospect of the mountain side, with the bold sweeping curves of the railway, was almost as attractive as that from the summit. Soon after leaving the Bolivia station night closed in, and the remainder of the journey was performed in the dark. The train reached Tenterfield a little after 7 o’clock, having taken 10 hours to perform a journey of 121 miles. The line from Newcastle to Tenterfield is 381 miles long, and there are no less than 66 stations on the way, an average of a station to every 5-2/3 of miles. During this long ride I was surprised to see so much good soil, the greater portion of which is as yet unimproved. It is a splendid country, and appears capable of producing all descriptions of agricultural produce in unlimited quantities. To me, the most attractive portion of the journey was the run across the New England tableland. With its immense area of splendid soil and glorious climate it has capabilities that are as yet undreamt of by the inhabitants. When the railway is completed to Sydney, and the carriage tariff arranged on a scale that will encourage traffic, there will be a great awakening all through this important district. In many respects the country resembles the plateau that extends eastward from Ballarat, but it is more than a hundred times larger. For growing all the fruits of a temperate clime, for dairy produce, for agriculture, and for grazing, I know of no district of equal size that can compare with New England, when the great natural resources of the land are fully developed.

Written by macalba

September 18, 2011 at 8:07 am