Old news from Armidale and New England

Local news from newspaper archives

Road from Armidale to the McLeay

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Saturday 14 June 1856, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

(To the Editors of the Armidale Express.)

GENTLEMEN – Observing in your publication of 3rd instant, a paragraph respecting the importance to Armidale and its neighbourhood of a nearer and better road to some shipping port than the present long and bad routes to the Hunter and Clarence, and suggesting Kempsey, on this river, as the nearest, and soliciting information-I have to call your attention to the fact that there is a dray road via Hillgrove and Jeogalla, distance 110 miles.

I do not mean to assert that it is at present a very practicable one, which is not surprising, as not one shilling of either public or private money has ever been expended on it ; but if a proper survey were made, and a few hundred pounds laid out in making sidelings on the Big Hill and in other places, as the ground is perfectly sound, and there is good feed and water throughout, I believe a much better and nearer road may be found than on the line to any other river.

It is probable a route may also be found from the cattle station called Little Harry’s, near the Guy Fawkes, crossing the heads of Fifth Day anti Nullah Nullah Creeks, and avoiding crossing this river. The part from Fifth Day Creeks upwards to and downward from New England has been traversed at different times, on horseback, by myself and two other parties ; and I doubt not, with a little trouble, a good road might there be found.

The subject has attracted considerable attention here, and subscriptions have at various times been opened, but nothing has hitherto been attempted. I expect, however, three or four persons, accompanied by blacks, will start hence in the course of a fortnight, to explore the dividing range between the Nambuccra and McLeay, and if that is found impracticable, then to examine the Fifth Day Creek line.

The proprietors of Little Harry’s, Guy Fawkes, Bald Hills, and other stations in the neighbourhood, ought at once to direct their superintendents to give every information in their power, particularly as to the spurs leading off the table land, and not let the paltry consideration of the disadvantage of a road going through a cattle camp weigh in the scale against so great a public benefit. I speak advisedly on this point, an objection having been made on that ground to my opening a road there to which I then acceded.

As regards this river, the bar is the safest on the coast save Moreton Bay, and always has nine feet of water on it. Vessels are never bar-bound for want of water, as in a much puffed river to the south, and with the aid of a pilot and his boat and crow (voted, but not yet obtained), would get out and in during nearly all weathers. It embouches in Trial Bay, a safe refuge in southerly gales-northerly and easterly being fair for entering the river or proceeding to Sydney.

The soil here would successfully compete with any in the colony. No manure is ever required. The products are maize, tobacco, pumpkins, bananas, oranges, lemons, grapes, potatoes, onions-in fact, vegetables and fruits of all kinds in the greatest perfection, which might be exchanged for your wheat. – I am, gentlemen, your very obedient servant.

J. W.

Kempsey, McLeay River, May 23, 1856.

Written by macalba

August 24, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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One Response

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  1. Just a note to say that I’m enjoying both of your blogs very much. I grew up in and around Ebor, Wollomombi (near the Styx river) and Armidale, and am very interested in the history of the area. Thanks for compiling them, I wonder what part you live in.



    September 12, 2010 at 2:03 am

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