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Grocery prices: Regulations contravened

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The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, Fri 17 Apr 1942

Three Firms Prosecuted

In Armidale Court of Petty Sessions yesterday convictions were recorded against three Armidale business firms for breaches of the prices regulations.

The firms concerned were Moran and Cato Pty., Ltd., Joseph M. Hanna and Wright, Heaton, Ltd.

The evidence showed that in the case of Moran and Cato and J. M. Hanna the breach was caused by defendants raising the price of rice and tea to the level being charged by other Armidale stores. In the case of Wright, Heaton Ltd., the manager stated that the total overcharge was 7/5.

Hanna pleaded guilty to one charge concerning tea and was fined £10, with 8/ court costs, and £2/2/ professional costs.

Moran and Cato Pty., Ltd., pleaded guilty to a charge involving the price of rice, and was fined £15, with 8/ costs, and £2/2/ professional costs.

Wright, Heaton, Ltd., admitted four breaches concerning sales of sago, fish paste and soap, but denied two charges involving sales of bicarbonate of soda and tapioca. Convictions were recorded in all cases, excepting that involving tapioca, which was dismissed, and fines and costs totalling £49/0/10 were imposed.

Mr. A. E. Gentle (Weaver, Gentle and Harrison) appeared for Wright Heaton, and Mr. Q. A. Biddulph (Mackenzie and Biddulph) for Hanna and Moran and Cato. The Crown was represented by Mr. S. Snelson, of the Crown Solicitor’s Office, and Hector McDonald Ross, inspector under the price fixing regulations, gave evidence for. the prosecution.

Inspector’s Visit

In the cases against Wright, Heaton, Ross said he visited the Armidale premises of this firm on May 21, 1941, had seen the manager, Mr. Irwin, and had asked to check on buying and selling costs of 20 grocery items. He had asked for landed-into-store costs and wholesale and retail selling prices, as at August 31, 1939, and similar particulars as at May 17, 1941.

Later, continued Ross, he had received the landed-at-store costs and wholesale prices, Irwin explaining that the firm sold only on a wholesale basis. A check on the list revealed that, in respect of bicarbonate of soda, the company had increased its percentage of profit.

Proceeding, Ross said he had told Irwin that he would have to reduce the selling price of this commodity so that the margin: of profit would be reduced to that prevailing at August 31, 1939. Irwin had replied that he would do anything that witness advised.

Ross said he had advised that figures be checked and that refunds be made to those who had been overcharged. Irwin had promised to do this and, later, he had handed witness a list.

Continuing, Ross said that on November 19, he had returned to Armidale to cheek on prices at Wright Heaton’s, and together with Irwin, he had searched through bundles of documents. Eventually he had been handed certified documents.

One of these, a invoice dated January 24, 1930, showed 12/ per cwt. for bicarbonate of soda. Another, dated August 19, 1939, showed that bicarbonate of soda had been sold to J. Burraston at 2½d per lb. That indicated a margin of profit of 38.12 per cent.

Witness produced a copy of a purchase invoice, dated January 9, 1941, for one sack of bicarbonate of soda at 16/ per cwt. He also produced copy of a sales docket, dated May 8, 1941, showing that 6lb. bicarbonate of soda had been sold to C. Burraston at 3¼d per lb.

This disclosed a margin of profit of 47.73 per cent., an increase of 9.5 per cent.,” said witness. During Ross’s evidence Mr. Gentle asked the Magistrate if it were possible for him to give a direction. to the Press not to publish figures re-j vealing margins of profit. “These are things not usually disclosed to the public,” he said.

The Magistrate stated that the court was open, and that such a matter was for the Press to decide. He added that he was concerned only with the differences in the margins of profit.

Answering Mr. Gentle, Ross said that the first sale to Burraston had been 28lb. and the second 6lb., but he did not think that different quantities made any difference in the margin of profit for wholesale dealers.

Ross further stated, in cross-examination, that the firm was entitled only to a profit of 38.12 on 16/. “He might have made a hundred sales and not exceeded the margin, but he did on this one, and other sales were not produced to me.” he said.

Mr. Gentle: You compared a 6lb. lot with a 28lb.? — That was the only docket available.

How many prices did you discover which you considered to be breaches of the regulations? — I checked 90 and found six wrong.

Did Mr. Irwin give you any explanation? — No, only that he said he was not watching costs properly. You asked Mr. Irwin to make adjustments? — Yes.

How much did these adjustments amount to? — About 12/.

Are you sure it was not 7/3? — It may have been. No check was made.

This concluded the evidence for the prosecution.

L. J. Irwin, manager for Wright, Heaton, stated that Ross had been given certain information, but he did not know at the time that it had to be in decimal points of the costs. He had thought that the amount to a fraction was sufficient. He did not remember Ross asking him how the mistakes occurred. On the sale to Burraston of 28lb. he had since worked out the profit at 33 1/3 of landed cost, and this was nearly 5d under the maximum price allowed. The difference in the charge for a later amount was due to the quantity being under 14lb. He had endeavoured to fix the price according to the regulations.

The total of errors he had discovered in checking up over six months was 7/5, and this had been refunded in discounts. The turnover in that period would be in the vicinity of £25,000.

Cross-examined by Mr. Snelson, the witness said he had been told that an increase granted by the Commissioner applied to stocks in hand and stocks to come in. He did not agree with the statement that all of the articles in a list produced were on the averaging system, except tea, matches, sugar and rice. He had not been able to find a docket for sale of carbonate of soda under 14lb. prior to August. 1939.

The P.M.: I think I should find the offence proved.

Mr. Gentle pointed out that the amount involved was very small, and that a subsequent sale and the price showed that the practice of an increase was not being adopted regularly.

In the case of tapioca Ross stated that on May 21 last year, he visited the defendant’s premises, and after perusing the list of costs and selling, prices prepared by Irwin he asked for documents of costs in August, 1939, and selling prices at the present date.

These documents showed a rise in the percentage of profit on tapioca from 13.39 to 28.95.

Irwin, in evidence, said he had worked out the profit on a sale in 1939 as 29.1 per cent, and on a sale referred to in the evidence, made in 1941, at 28.1 per cent. He would have been entitled to charge more. The P.M.: I think I’ll give the benefit of the doubt in this particular information.

Apparently, in these two cases, if the information had been properly supplied in the first place, there would hot have been a prosecution.

Mr. Sneison said the price in 1939 for soap was 7.72 per cent, as against 12.76 at the date of the offence.

In the case of anchovette the price in the period had risen from 10.84 per cent, to 19.54 per cent; for sago from 22.67 to 28.36 per cent.

Mr. Gentle said he did not agree with these figures.

Mr. Gentle said there had been a clerical error in the invoice for some items.

The P.M.: My experience is that they are never under — they are always on the right side.

Mr. Gentle: There was only 7/5.

The P.M.: That was all that was discovered. There wasn’t an audit.

In fixing the penalties, the P.M. said: “I am allowing for the errors made in the averaging. In the other cases the prices were fixed, and there should not be any difficulty. There was no room for any error.”

The Magistrate imposed the following fines: Soap, anchovy and sago, 17/10/ each case: fish paste, £5; and soda £12/10/. Professional fees £2/2/, witness’s expenses £1/6/2, and court costs 8/ were imposed in each case.

Price of Tea

Outlining the case against Hanna, Mr. Sneison said Mr. Ross had visited Hanna’s shop on May 21, 1941, and asked for certain details of buying and selling prices.

Prices for tea, Mr. Sneison said, had been fixed at that prevailing on December 31, 1940, plus 5d. This meant that Hanna should have been selling tea at 3/1, but he was selling at 3/2.

Mr. Biddulph said the breach had occurred at a time when the commercial public was not as fully appreciative of the National Security Regulations as they are now.

Goldenia tea, said Mr. Biddulph, had been a catch line at Hanna’s and had been selling at 1d below that charged by other stores at Armidale when prices were fixed, Hanna had continued to sell at the reduced price until approached by other storekeepers, who pointed out that he was underselling them in this line. He then increased the price to that at which other stores were legally able to sell, but in doing so he had committed a breach of the regulations.

The Magistrate said Hanna should have got other Armidale stores to reduce their prices. He knew of some storekeepers who sold commodities at a much lower price than other stores in the same town for the reason that these low-priced commodities had been catch lines when the regulations had been imposed.

Mr. Biddulph stated that the breach was a technical one and that no injury had been done to the public. He said it was significant that, in such a large business, a careful probe had revealed only one breach.

The Magistrate: Where a price is fixed a storekeeper can be under no doubt as to the price he should charge. “I have noted that prices are generally put up, and that they never come back,” he added.

Mr. Biddulph: This happened at a time when the regulations were new. your Worship.

Mr. Snelson; Tea was declared in September, 1939, and prices were fixed under this particular order in December, 1940.

Pegged Price of Rice

The case against Moran and Cato Pty., Ltd., concerned rice, the price of which had been pegged as at August 31, 1939, said Mr. Snelson.

On August. 31, 1939, Moran and Cato’s Armidale branch had been selling rice at 3½d per pound, but when the inspector visited there in May. 1940, the price was 4d per pound.

Mr. Biddulph said this was another case of a catch line. Moran and Cato’s had been selling rice at 4d, but just before the price was pegged they had reduced it to 3½d. Before the inspector’s visit, the price had been raised again to 4d.

The firm had 28 other branches in country towns and all had been selling rice at 4d per pound and were legally entitled to do so. said Mr. Biddulph. The metropolitan price was 3½d and cost of transport to Armidale was approximately ½d. Moreover, the ruling rate for rice at Armidale at the time of the offence was 4d, and all other shops were entitled to charge that price. “This firm has 78 branches, and this is the first offence,” he added.

The Magistrate: The prices regulations had been in operation for nearly two years. One would think that the firm would have had time to be come acquainted with them.

Mr. Biddulph: The local manager might make a mistake, especially as other branches of the same firm and other Armidale stores could charge the higher price.

The Magistrate: But 3½d was a fair price.

Mr. Biddulph: The Sydney price was 3½d. and it cost ½d to bring it to Armidale.

The Magistrate: Some country places farther out than this are selling rice at under 3d per lb. Isn’t that so, Mr. Ross?

Mr. Ross: Under 2½d.

Mr. Biddulph: They are losing money on it.

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April 25, 2016 at 9:25 pm

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New England University College – Claim of North

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Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW : 1914 – 1949), Friday 17 August 1934


A deputation, representing practically the whole of Northern New South Wales, and organised by the New England University College Provisional Council, waited on the Minister for Education (Mr. D. H. Drummond) at Armidale on Saturday last and presented the case for the establishment of a University College at Armidale affiliated with the University of Sydney.

In reply the Minister said there were two possibilities of launching a University course — either through the Government or apart from the Government. He felt the force of the claim of the deputation, but he believed that it would be far better for the North if it could manage to achieve its object without relying wholly on the Government.

The legal aspect was bound up in finance. The Sydney University Act provided that the Senate of the University may set up a college within the University where the promoters provide £10,000. The Government was then pledged to provide a like amount, and £ for £ up to £20,000 and contribute £500 a year tor the upkeep of the principal. In the case of the North the buildings were already in Armidale. The Teachers College was perfect architecturally, and since the depression the full accommodation had not been utilised. The accommodation, therefore, would be sufficient for at least a decade.

PROVIDE £10,000

“It should be no unsuperable task to ask the people of the rich northern parts of the State to provide £10,000,” declared Mr. Drummond. ” When I go before Cabinet with this proposal within the next six weeks I feel that my position would be greatly improved if I could tell my colleagues that I had £10,000 towards the cost. It would immeasurably strengthen my case. I really believe that the Teachers’ College and the University College work could be dove-tailed very well. The University College at Canberra costs about £3000 a year. I have closely examined the reports and financial statements, and I have no hesitation in saying that a College in the north could be run economically, without impairing its efficiency.” Continuing, the Minister said that this movement might induce the Sydney University to do something in the matter of correspondence courses. He believed, however, that it was far better for the student if he could be brought into close personal contact with the lecturers, and that was certainly more likely in a University College than in one big central institution.

In conclusion, Mr. Drummond said that he had already communicated with Professor Wallace, Vice-Chancellor of the Sydney University, asking him to bring the matter before the Senate, and advise him of the decisions arrived at. The gathering would be pleased to know that Mr. Ross Thomas, Director of Education, was a member of the Senate by virtue of his position in the Department, and he was present that day as an observer.


The personnel of the New England University College Provisional Council is as follows:— Right Rev. J. S. Moyes (Anglican Bishop of Armidale), Right Rev. Dr. John Coleman (R.C. Bishop of Armidale), Messrs. E. Simpson (Armidale), A. E. Sweaney (Inverell), P. A. Wright (Wallamumbi), W. S. Seaward (Scone), H. H. Hungerford (Murwillumbah), S. C. Wilson (Armidale), H. Regan (Tamworth), J. P. Abott (Wingen), C. McKenzie (Lismore), W. E. Waterford (Quirindi), Dr. Banks-Smith (Tamworth), Dr. D. J. Crossin (Armidale), Dr. R. B. Austin (Armidale), Principal C. B. Newling (Armidale), Mrs. A. G. Bryden (Armidale), Miss Mary White (Armidale), Dr. Earle Page, M.H.R. (Grafton), Col. H. F. White (Guyra), honorary secretaries, Messrs. R. L. Blake and J. Laurence.

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June 21, 2015 at 9:54 am

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University Council

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Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 – 1954), Thursday 10 November 1938

Mr. A. E. Brand, of Lismore, has been officially advised by the warden of the New England University College (Dr. Edgar H. Booth) that the Sydney University Senate has appointed him (Mr. Brand) to the advisory council of the New England University. The council will meet for the first time on November 25. The council comprises: Captain J. Abbott, Messrs. R. L. Blake, A. E. Brand, Lt.-Col. Bruxner, Mr. W. P. Chapman, Dr. Douglas Cookson, Messrs. T. R. Forester, R. S. Heathwood, A. Joseph, Dr. A. J. McKenzie, the Bishop of Armidale (Dr. J. S. Moyes), Sir Earle Page, Messrs. Eustace Simpson, W. H. Watson, Miss Mary White, Messrs. H M. Wragge, M.L.C., and P. A. Wright.

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June 10, 2015 at 10:11 am

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Benefactor to Armidale and New England Hospital

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Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld), Tuesday 4 September 1934

Mr. Francis John White, of Saumarez station, near Armidale (N.S. Wales), who died last week, was one of the greatest benefactors to public and charitable bodies that the New England district has known. The Armidale and New England Hospital was his special care, and he has donated thousands of pounds for its development. In memory of his daughter, Miss Doris White, who was, accidentally killed some years ago; he gave a children’s ward, known, as the “Doris White Memorial Ward.” He made it a practice of’ giving a cheque for £5 to every trainee of the hospital nursing staff when she passed her examination, and he regularly visited the institution to distribute gifts to the patients. He had been president of the Armidale and New England P. A. and H. Association for many years, president of the Hospital Board for 20 years, and a member of the Pastures Protection Board for 24 years. Colonel H. F. White, former M.L.C., is a son. and Miss Mary White, president of the northern group of the Country Women’s Association, Mesdames Cullen (Sydney), and Black (Orange) are daughters.

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June 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm

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Students in rooms protest

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The Canberra Times (ACT), Tuesday 6 July 1965

SYDNEY, Monday. – Men and women students at New England University who visited each other in their rooms last night to protest against regulations could be sent down for breach of the rules.

About 1.000 students deliberately broke university regulations against such visits as a protest against what they regarded as “unreasonable” strictures.

The demonstration was organised by the students’ representative council and senior students of five of the colleges.

At Duval women’s college, 310 men sat in rooms talking to the women, and more than 110 women students made reciprocal visits from Mary White College.

Men from the Earl Page College also took part in the visits.

Last Monday, the students protested at a general meeting about the ban on such visits.

After the meeting, they had talks with the university vice-chancellor, Dr R. B. Madgwick.

The students’ leader, Mr G. T. Briot, said later that Dr Madgwick had insisted on adherence to the university rules by all the students.

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June 5, 2015 at 12:59 pm

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University of the Pastures

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Good Neighbour (ACT : 1950 – 1969), Wednesday 1 May 1963

Unique in location, character, impetus . . .



MIGRANTS have helped an Australian university to become a highly-respected seat of learning in just nine years. In the academic field it is characteristic of Australia’s growing cosmopolitan nature: it is a university which is unique in location, character and impetus.

This is the University of New England at Armidale in the State of New South Wales —a university of the pastures. Surrounded by rich sheep and cattle properties and the beautiful bush country of the New England plateau, the university has blended itself with the character and welfare of the pioneers and pastoralists who founded it.

No extremes

At 3,300 ft. above sea level, the university (of 2,935 students) stands aloof from extreme weather conditions.

It is 360 miles from Sydney and 100 miles from the coast, the only university in Australia which is outside the area of a capital city.

About half of the 296 members of the academic staff were born outside Australia. They are robbed, by sheer numbers, of any feeling of being “newcomers”.

Their university is so young that tradition is still looking for an opportunity to begin. As Classics Professor John Bishop, from Edinburgh, said: “To come from a place steeped in old traditions to a place with none, is both refreshing and challenging”. This sums up an attitude at the University of New England, which, in itself, is likely to create a tradition. There is little doubt that the migrant academics, with their wealth of experience from the historical universities of the United Kingdom and Europe, are bringing a valuable contribution of character to their new environment.

There is something symbolic about the red deer and tame kangaroos grazing in the university’s front garden.

The University of New England was established in 1938 as a university college of the University of Sydney at the request of the citizens of northern New South Wales. It remained a university college until the University of New England was proclaimed in February, 1954.

The determination of the people of Armidale and district to establish a university followed the establishment in Armidale of a Teachers’ College in 1929. The people of the district raised £A 10.000 as a token of good faith, and the University of Sydney was presented, in trust for the college, a large brick homestead known as “Booloominbah” and 183 acres of land. The property now comprises more than 800 acres.

2,935 students

In 1962, the university’s enrolment of 2,935 students consisted of 798 internal, 1,971 external and 166 parttime. These figures include 183 post-graduate students. The 296 members of the academic staff made an overall student-to-staff ratio of 10 to one.

There are four faculties — Arts, Science, Rural Science, and Agricultural Economics.

The university is proud of its residential system for students. Full-time undergraduates live in one of five colleges — Mary White and Duval Colleges for women, and Wright, Robb and Earl Page Colleges for men.

The residential system gives students the opportunity to enjoy the full corporate life of the university and the social and intellectual benefits of the free mixing of undergraduates, graduates and academic staff.

“Salaries are good, and so are the conditions,” he added. Another incentive is the provision for sabbatical leave. This gives staff members one year’s study-leave after each six years of service.

Associate Professor Frank Annison in the Faculty of Rural Science, said: “When you live in a country town like this one, you get to know a lot of people. The graziers and farmers in the New England district know and appreciate the research work being carried out at the university”.

Professor Annison came from Babraham, near Cambridge, four years ago.

An idea of the pride and purpose of this “youngster” among universities is given by these words of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. R. B. Madgwick:

“Perhaps the University of New England is the most worthwhile of all the Australian Universities. Its standards are sound, the quality of its staff is very high and their academic integrity is undoubted. The departments are well equipped and both teaching and research compare favourably with any other place.


“Its buildings are inadequate but accommodation is improving. Its graduates already have an enviable reputation both in Australia and overseas.

“But it is the challenges it faces that makes it such a worthwhile place for people who welcome challenge and who are not afraid, within the accepted university traditions which must be kept inviolate, to try new ways of doing things in a physical setting which is vitally different from that which established Australian universities have known”.

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June 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

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Discovery and Early Pastoral Settlement of New England (part 3)

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The Scone Advocate (NSW: 1887-1954), Friday 6 October 1922

Discovery and Early Pastoral Settlement of New England.




(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, Sydney).

(No. 3).

Thus the Port Macquarie correspondent of the “Sydney Herald,” of April 10, 1841: “We have great satisfaction in being able to announce the capture of the seven bushrangers who absconded from the New England road party on the 5th inst. They were taken at New England within a short distance of the station occupied by Todd and Fenwick, and it would seem only just in time to prevent them adding the crime of plunder and perhaps murder to their former offence. They had proceeded thus far without committing any mischief, and were lying in ambush awaiting the departure of Todd and Fenwick’s shepherds from the station, when it was their intention to seize and bind these two gentlemen and possess themselves of what firearms they could find, and such provisions as they stood in need of. Happily, however, a native black who went forward a short distance in advance of the constables, discovered them, and giving a private and pre-concerted signal afforded the constables an opportunity of taking the proper measures for securing, them, and in a very short space of time they were handcuffed and on their way to Port Macquarie.”

As for Wilson and his gang, these highway robbers in the early forties added considerably to the inconvenience of travelling and of rural life in the districts where they operated. From time to time solitary travellers passing between the Hunter Valley and New England were waylaid by Wilson and submitted to rough handling if unwilling to “stand and deliver.” Becoming hard pressed by the police on the Liverpool Plains, these bushrangers sought refuge on the tableland, where they usually roamed, until their capture in 1846. Wilson and his lieutenant, “Long Tom,” were executed at Newcastle. A few days after the execution, according to Sir William Barton, the judge in the case, a free pardon and £300 had been received in the colony for Wilson, and he also stated that Wilson was the son of a baronet, well-known in London society.

The bellicose attitude of the aborigines on the tableland, as elsewhere, began when their localities became overrun by the stock of the squatters. The blacks naturally resented, the intrusion of the whites with their flocks and herds, and both parties soon commenced a war of extermination. Fearing the firearms of the intruders, the natives devoted their attention to the slaughter of the stock, and, when opportunity presented, of the shepherds and herdsmen as well. In retaliation, the conquering whites, while making application to the Government for assistance, which they scarcely expected, ensured the granting of such relief in other ways. The following are excerpts from the “Sydney Herald,” between 1836 and 1842:–

“We hear that numerous, outrages have been commenced by the aborigines in the newly discovered country north-east of Liverpool Plains.” . . .

“Two men belonging to John and Francis Allman were murdered at Yarrowitch, and their sheep taken away.” . . .

“We have been informed that the blacks of New England drove off 1400 sheep, the property of Mr Windeyer, but they were all recovered with the exception of 50 or 60, which the savages had slaughtered.” . . .

“Poor Kelso has lost 600 or 700 sheep again by those infernal blacks who have nearly ruined him.” . . .

“The blacks to the number of 500, have been about Peter McIntyre’s Byron Plains station for the last five weeks. Last week they commenced driving off the cattle, 400 head of which are missing. They also attacked a shepherd, who saved his life by killing one at the first shot, after being wounded in the head by a spear.” . . .

“Letters have been received in town stating that the blacks had attacked the station of Robert Ramsay Mackenzie (Salisbury), murdered a shepherd, driven off 1300 sheep, and burned down two huts. The district is without police, Mr. Commissioner Macdonald and his party having been ordered by the Governor to proceed to Moreton Bay.”

Prior to railway communication, the principal line of traffic to and from the tableland followed the route of the G.N. Road, via Tamworth, but the 250 miles of partly formed roadway to the shipping ports about Newcastle consumed so much time in the transit of wool goods, etc., that efforts were made to reach the coast by a nearer route. In the meantime the settlers at Port Macquarie, being aware of the importance of the New England trade, if diverted to their port, began to make, strenuous efforts to render Oxley’s route from the tableland trafficable for wool teams. This historic road was brought under public notice in 1838, when it was announced in the Sydney Press that a movement was being made at Port Macquarie to get the road to New England made trafficable. The following interesting references to the old Port Macquarie New England road found place in the “Sydney Herald” from 1840 to 1842:–

“By a letter received from Port Macquarie, we learn that the new road to New England is now open for horsemen, and travellers can proceed from the town of Port Macquarie to the station of R. R. Mackenzie.” . . .

“Several gentlemen connected with New England (Messrs. Kelso, Turner, McLean, and Steele) have lately visited Port Macquarie by the new line of road in order to judge of the practicability of land carriage for the present year’s clip to this port of shipment, but at present this desirable object cannot be effected. Major Innes, for his station at Yarrows, purposes to bring down the present year’s clip by means of a sledge.” . .

“Mr Gray, P.M., of Port Macquarie recommended the line of road laid out by Surveyor Rolfe. Forty men are now at work, and thirty convicts are to be sent by the order of the Governor.” . . .

“The new road is in such a rapid state of forwardness that several teams of wool belonging to Major Innes have already travelled the road.”

Tho following interesting proclamation, touching the same road, appeared in the “Government Gazette” of September 9, 1842:—

“To the New England settlers and all concerned. — Notice is hereby given that the road to New England from Port Macquarie, made by the settlers of these districts is now open and ready for drays conveying wool or other produce or supplies to and from Port Macquarie.

(Signed) William Gray, Police Magistrate.”

Next year — on the 10th February to be precise – “Sydney Herald” made the following announcement:

“Twelve drays laden with wool came down the New England line the other day, and it is said there are no less than twenty four more on the road. Forty-five men are still at work on the road. The drays were only ten days on the road which must have been a saving of nearly three weeks, as drays are commonly a month on the road from New England to Maitland.”

About this time, the slump in the value of wool and depreciation of stock generally began to paralyse the pastoral industry, and the anticipated volume of trade with the Port becoming unrealisable, the interest hitherto taken in the formation of the road practically ceased for a time.

The next route of primal importance to pastoral settlement in the early days, of which we have definite knowledge, was the “Peel line.” This route, which led indirectly to the tableland, was established by survey in 1832 by the Australian Agricultural Company as a means of communication between their coast and inland grants, to which reference has already been made. This line of road was surveyed by way of Hungry Hill spur and Nowendoc, northerly to the junction of the main Range, with the easterly trend of the Hawes-Vernon country boundary. From this junction routes were measured either way along the main range, the Peel line running south-westerly, via the Callaghan Swamps and the Nundle spur to the Peel River, and the route northerly following the range towards Walcha, evidently connecting Oxley’s trail. Along the Peel line was conveyed the requirements of the inland grants, and in return the produce of those grants for shipment at Port Stephens. The mode of conveyance at the commencement of operations was usually by packsaddle, but as the road-forming progressed vehicular traffic became more general. Regarding this road, the company’s report of February 2, 1836, states that the distance from the nearest point of the Port Stephens location to Liverpool Plains is about eighty miles, and the country intervening offers, facilities for the formation of a road, which is now in progress.” The Peel line between Callaghan Swamps and the Port Stephens road on the east, also the branch road northerly along the main range, have long been abandoned, and are now scarcely distinguishable; but the Nundle spur and its northerly trend by way of Ingleba, are still in use although largely suspended by the railway.

About the time when the Peel line was receiving its final survey adjustments by Surveyor H. Dangar (1832), E. G. Cory was engaged in exploratory work along the Great Northern route between the Australian Agricultural Company’s Peel River grant and the Armidale region, but he apparently left no diary records of his movements.

(To be continued).

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October 26, 2014 at 11:50 am