Posts Tagged ‘walcha road’
Hay Crop Destroyed.
(From our Correspondent.)
A disastrous fire took place at Messrs. Crawford Bros.’ Moona Plains Station, about midnight on Saturday, when the whole of their hay crop was mysteriously destroyed by fire, together with hay shed, saddles, harness, and adjoining sheds. The loss is estimated at between £300 and £400.
The property was uninsured.
At Walcha Road Mr. J. Burgess lost an old woolshed by fire. This, however, was caused by a bush fire.
At Winterbourne last week, Mr. E. Lisle’s house was burnt down. Mr. Lisle recently went to the front, and his brothers, living near, were keeping an eye on the property during his absence. When they came to get flour, etc., they found nothing but the brick chimneys standing. The residence was not insured.
(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.
(Tamworth, News of Friday.)
We write “extensions” advisedly, for there are two large contracts going on at present. As to one of these, from Uralla towards Glen Innes, Mr. D. Proudfoot, a New Zealand railway contractor of some note, has plenty of work in his hands. He is adopting the sub-letting principle chiefly ; and even goes so far as to have his offices, stables, etc., put up by the piece. The clearing on this contract is in hand from its commencement to Ben Lomond ; and most of the cuttings from Uralla to Armidale, are being excavated. The distance that all plant and material have to be brought is a great impediment to the contractor, most of his appliances having to come from either Tamworth or Grafton. The Government have, we understand, recently sent an engineer up to report on the progress Mr. Proudfoot has made.
The Messrs. Amos, in their usual pushing manner, are going ahead with the works on their contract (Tamworth to Uralla) at a great pace. The three remaining brick arches over Jamieson’s Creek are nearly finished ; when these are completed the rails can be laid a further distance of six miles, all the works for that length being sufficiently advanced for the purpose. Cutting 98, at 310¾ miles (measured from Newcastle), a very hard metamorphic shale formation, needing some 70,000 cubic yards of excavation, will probably not be ready by the time the permanent way reaches it ; and it may possibly be the end of July, or the beginning of August, ere it is through. The works from this point to Macdonald River are now nearly done, and it is hoped that the “head of the road” will be at the water’s edge early in October. Before the river can be approached, however, there is yet a considerable quantity of stuff to be taken from cutting 116, – where originally a second tunnel was proposed – only 130,000 cubic yards, out of an estimated 170,000, are at present removed. The lovely banks of the Macdonald River are now the site of an almost perfect, if ephemeral, township. A school-church, police station, hospital, doctor’s residence, contractor’s offices and buildings, three hotels, extensive steam sawmill works, stores, butchers’ and bakers’ shops, aerated water manufactory, brick yards, milliner’s shop, hair cutting saloon, etc., together with well-built wooden cottages, and canvas homes of workmen, make a place which wears a far finer aspect than does Uralla itself. There are, all told, something like 1000 persons congregated at this point; while but a few months ago, the family of Mr. G. D. Smith-the generally respected general purveyor – were, with a shepherd of Mrs. Scott, (the owner of the run), the only inhabitants. The railway is to cross this river on a lattice girder bridge, resting on two substantial piers, built, to all outward appearance, of solid bricks. The fact is that these piers are really built of Portland cement concrete, with outside casings of bricks, and here and there a binding-wall from side to side. The iron work tor this bridge has, we believe, arrived in the colony, and will be put up towards the end of the present year. When the line was designed, it was thought that near this river would have been an excellent site for the Station, for both Bendemeer and Walcha; but subsequent enquiry, and repeated applications on the part of the Walcha residents – who appear to be of a pertinacious disposition – have induced the authorities to make a change, and the station, to be known hereafter as the Walcha Road Station, will be placed at 222 miles, or 4½, miles north of the River, 40 miles from Tamworth.
To get ground upon which to build this station, the side of a hill is to be cut away, the additional earthwork being the nice little amount of 40,000 cubic yards ! Close to this station, the Surveyors’ Creek is crossed on a 20 feet brick arch, now being built, the bricks are made on the spot, and are of excellent character. The works hereabouts look heavy, but the material is mostly granite sand, and easily moved.
Beyond Surveyors’ Creek, to the Congi Creek (a distance of three miles) all the cuttings are in hand ; and further on again, until within 12 miles of Uralla, the excavations have been commenced.
At Congi Creek is another brickyard, the bricks from which are intended to build a 20ft. arch needed by that creek, and the various small culverts thereabouts. The bulk of the waterways, however, between here and Uralla are wooden, the two largest being the bridge over St. Helena Creek, of five 26ft. openings, and that over Chilcott’s Creek of seven openings of the same span : neither of these have been commenced.
The highest point on the line, indeed we believe the highest point on any line in Australia, is near St. Helena Creek, in cutting No. 154, where, at 231 miles 42 chains from Newcastle, the natural ground is 3702½ feet above sea-level ; the formation of the railway being 11¾ feet lower. The height at Clarence siding, on the Western line over the Blue Mountains, is the next nearest to this, being 3658 feet above sea-level ; while the famed Doughboy Hollow, on the Northern line, is only 2070 feet high. It may be interesting to some readers to state that Tamworth is 1246 feet, and Uralla 3585 feet, above the sea level.
The contract for the construction of the station buildings at Uralla will soon be let ; they will consist of passenger and goods stations of considerable size, stationmaster’s house, large sheep and cattle yards, and a gate-keeper’s cottage. It had been intended also to build an engine shed here, but this, we believe, is not yet decided.
We have before remarked on the extensive character of these works, and on the responsibility which rests on the Government local staff in carrying out works which, in magnitude and importance, have rarely, we question, been surpassed in New South Wales. It is certain, at any rate, that no contract has before been let in Australia of an equal extent ; and, as we have explained, the original sum will be increased by perhaps some £200,000 – making the total price to be paid to Messrs. A. and R. Amos about £800,000.
AN ISOLATED TOWNSHIP.
A deputation from Walcha was introduced to the Under-Secretary for Works, Mr. Hanna, yesterday by Mr. Lonsdale, M.L.A. Ministers will not receive deputations till tho want of confidence motion is disposed of. The deputationists, having come a long way, were allowed to approach tho “Under-Secretary in the meantime.
The object of the deputation was to put before the Minister reasons why there should be a railway extension from a point on the Great Northern Line to Walcha township. It was submitted that such a railway would open up good agricultural country suitable for closer settlement, and make largo quantities of timber accessible to market.
One member of the deputation stated that hundreds of tons of excellent potatoes, the best that could be grown, were being allowed to rot because it would not pay to get them to market.
The length of line asked for as an instalment was 13 miles, and the final argument advanced was that large quantities of fodder could be grown on the high lands during drought for use on the low lands. Incidentally it was remarked that the highlands generally should be utilised in the way suggested, so as to provide a safety valve for low-lying country addicted to periodical drought.
Mr. Hanna, in reply, promised to lay the request of the deputation before the Minister. Its arguments, he said, were sufficiently strong, at all events, to justify a careful investigation of the claims made.
Those desirous of escaping for a brief period from the heat and dust of the metropolis or the inland country districts during the summer months to the cool, salubrious climate of the mountains, will find ample facilities provided by the Railway Commissioners for so doing. On the Southern line tickets are issued at excursion rates from all stations to those between Mittagong and Goulburn, the former place being 2069ft. above sea level, and the latter about the same, the atmosphere being generally clear and invigorating. The mountains in the vicinity of Mittagong afford numerous pleasant walks, and are much frequented by excursionists during the summer months. Bowral is surrounded by very picturesque scenery, and, being well provided with hotel and lodging accommodation, is a favourite place of resort, especially by invalids in search of health. Moss Vale, which is 2205ft. above sea level, excited the admiration of Mr. J. A. Froude, who compared it to the famous Victorian sanatorium Mount Macedon, only that, instead of being in the midst of dense forests, it is surrounded by rolling grassy uplands, thickly sprinkled with trees, cattle farms, sheep &c., and long ago taken up and appropriated. “To those who are fond of riding,” says Mr. Froude, “the situation of Moss Vale is perfect as the green grass stretches out into infinity.” The climate is delightful to the visitor from Sydney or Albury it is like passing from the tropics into the temperate zone. The celebrated Fitzroy Falls are in the vicinity, while the rugged ravine in which the Berrima coal mines are situated can be reached by a walk of about seven miles. Several pleasant excursions may also be made from Goulbourn, one of the healthiest cities in Australia, the principal being that to the Wombeyan Caves, to which a new road is being made from Bowral.
At Bulli and Wollongong, on the South Coast line, visitors will find abundant opportunities for reaching the more elevated portions of the Illawarra Range, including the Bulli Pass with its magnificent panoramic views and enjoying the cooling ocean breezes sweeping over the lovely valley below.
On the Northern line several of the more distant townships are delightfully situated, especially after ascending the Moonbi Ranges, on the further side of which is Walcha-road, 320 miles from Sydney and 12 from the township, where the surrounding scenery resembles in many respects that of tho Blue Mountains. It is 3346ft. above sea level, and looking southward, the peaks of the Liverpool Range are seen, while, rising like many islands, are the heads of mountain chains extending as far as the eye can reach. About 16 miles south-east of Walcha are the magnificent Apsley Falls, one of the real beauty spots of New South Wales and destined to become one of the great attractions to visitors from other countries. The immense ravine in which they are situated is one of the grandest and most awe-inspiring in Australia, the sides of the gorge rising almost perpendicularly to the height or about 3000ft., causing it to resemble one of the great American canyons. The main falls are 240ft. deep, the others varying from 100ft., the volume of water pouring over the rocky lodges being enormously great. Armidale, 3313ft. above sea level, is often visited by those desirous of a trip to Dangar’s Falls, about 12 miles from the city. The principal fall is 780ft. deep, the depth of the whole series being estimated at 1500ft. The Woollomombi Falls, about 29 miles from Armidale, are on an equally grand scale, the scenery in both places partaking largely of the sublime. The line continues ascending until the highest and coolest point, Ben Lomond, 4560ft. above sea-level, is reached, after which it gradually descends towards the Queensland border. The greater portion of this elevated region, although familiar to the prospector, the pastoralist, and the agriculturist, is virgin land to the tourist, who will find many beautiful places and romantic localities which have yet to be described by pen or pencil.
Of the Blue Mountain resorts on the Western line there is little that is fresh to be said, but in the principal townships there has been a considerable increase of hotel and lodging accommodation, with improved facilities for visiting the more distant points of interest, there now being a good coach-road from Katoomba and Mount Victoria to the Jenolan Caves. The Railway Commissioners have arranged the train service so as to meet, as far as possible, the requirements of visitors, especially those whose time is limited, so that the various sights can be reached either in the course of a prolonged trip or during a series of short excursions, as may be found most convenient. The coach journey to the Jenolan Caves is very pleasant, and now that the caves are illuminated by electricity, their marvellous beauty becomes more clearly revealed. At Wellington, 995ft. above sea level, the famous caves, similarly named, are much frequented during the summer months, and possess many points of interest.
Mr. A. Hooke, of Tia, writes our Wingham correspondent, amongst others, is just now evincing a keen interest in a suggested railway line to connect southern New England with Port Stephens. In connection with the proposal, he has prepared the following figures :- Glen Innes to Grafton, 115 miles, estimated cost £1,812,903; Glen Innes to Grafton, 128 miles, estimated cost £1,715,058; Guyra to Grafton, 156 miles, estimated cost £1,726,677; Armidale to Kempsey, Trial Bay, 167 miles, Wollun to Woodside, 80 miles, Wollun to Woodside, via Upper Tia, 95 miles.
It may be granted that any railway from Woollun to Woodside or Wingham will go past a certain point on the watershed of the Tia, Yarrowitch, Manning streams, and approximately at the head of the Swampy Creek. This is the junction of two routes brought forward, but the direct route is 15 miles shorter. There is little difference between the two in value to the district, as they are only about ten miles apart at the widest part.
Three or four industries loom very prominently on the horizon of the future in connection with a line from Wollun to Woodside. All along the line from Walcha to Cells Creek potatoes can be produced to perfection, and the absence of diseases in cold climates would ensure the success of such crops. Thousands of tons could be grown, as the soil is suitable all along the route. Oats also prove prolific, and Manitoba wheat grows well-as also do field crops, such as turnips, mangels, beet, etc. The main range, at the head of Swampy Creek, is over 4000ft high and exceedingly rich, and apples can be grown there in a manner that defies competition. The timber industry is also right on the spot – the belt is about 20 miles long, and the route runs through the middle of it. Hardwoods abound on the north side, and softwoods, cedar, beech, etc, on the south.
At the present time, from a mill situated 50 miles from Walcha-road, 20 teams are carrying constantly, and ten times the quantity could be sold if it could be taken away. If it pays to get timber under such conditions, it only goes to show the genuine demand that exists for it, and with rail carriage the public would get the benefit, and a very large trade must result. The Forestry Commission two years ago assessed the value of this timber at £8,500,000, which is a very fair reason for asking better transport to market than at present exists. There is more money in timber if this railway is constructed than has been dreamed of in the past; but men who cannot get on the land have to look on at those golden opportunities rotting away, because a policy of extreme economy has guided the work of railway construction in the past. If Port Stephens is made a port for shipment of timber, coal, and wool, as is suggested, the whole of the New England wool could be put on board there, saving 150 miles of extra rail carriage to Sydney.
WALCHA, Wednesday. Wool worth more than £2 million was trucked from the Walcha Road railway station this season. The Stationmaster at Wal- cha Road, Mr. R. Little, said to-day that 16,792 bales were trucked.