Old news from Armidale and New England

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Armidale news

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Tuesday 3 October 1876, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

(From the Armidale Express. Sept. 29.)

During the past week we have been visited by glorious downpower [sic] of rain, which came just in time. The warm weather preceding those showers, which was of decidedly an unseasonable character, had so parched the earth that the farmers became somewhat anxious for their crops; such fears have passed away, and the whole district is now with verdure clad.

Another of the rapidly decreasing Hillgrove tribe of aborigines has passed away. On the morning of Friday last a female aborigine named Jenny Naillor was found, in the Black Camp in the rear of Mr. C. Moore’s paddock, in an unconscious state, and was brought in to the Hospital, by the police, where, despite the remedial measures that were applied, she expired the same afternoon.

An accident terminating in fatal results occurred on Thursday, the 21st inst. A man named Fred Thorpe, well known in Armidale, and who was formerly in the service of Mr. John Moore, J P , as a carter, was driving a heavily-laden return dray from Armidale to Mr. Coventry’s station at Oban, when, in ascending the Pinch, from some unexplained cause, the dray capsized, knocking down Thorpe, and rolling twice over his body – at least such is the explanation given by an aborigine who accompanied the dray-causing very severe internal injuries and fracturing one of his legs. The unfortunate man was brought in to Armidale and taken to the the Hospital, and the fracture reduced by Dr. Wigan, but the injuries received internally were beyond the reach of medical science, and Thorpe, lingered in a semi-conscious state until Friday morning, when he expired. The remains of Thorpe, who was respectably connected in Armidale, were followed to the cemetery on Sunday last by a large body of his friends and relatives.

On Tuesday the man John Jones, alias Burns, the soi-distant [sic] master of John Whalan, convicted at the last sitting of the Court of Quarter Sessions for receiving 91 head of cattle, the property of Jurd Brothers, of Orreba, was fully committed by the Bundarra Bench to take his trial at the ensuing sitting of the Circuit Court to be held on the 11th October, on the charge of cattle stealing.

Written by macalba

August 29, 2010 at 8:02 pm

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News from News England

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Saturday 7 March 1868, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

(From the Armidale papers, Feb. 29.)

On Sunday there were several thunderstorms, and the Armidale Greek was bank high for a time. On Monday another thunderstorm put the creek over its banks in some places. Monday night and Tuesday were very cold, but since then the weather has been pleasant. Grass is abundant. — Express.

BUNDARRA.–The country all around Bundarra is looking most beautiful. Late rains have given an abundance of grass ; with that we shall have plenty of fat beef – Since my last, two horses, supposed to be Thunderbolt’s, have been brought into the pound from Abington run. One is a handsome bay horse ; the other is a chesnut, white face and three legs white. The chesnut’s white face has been lately blackened. Our police have returned.- 24th Feb., 1868.- Correspondent, Express.

INVERELL.– FEBRUARY 25.- Yesterday, information was brought into town that the body of a man and a horse had been discovered, near to each other, at a short distance from Reedy Creek; the man was aged, and had apparently been dead about three weeks. The body, when found, was in a recumbent position. The horse had evidently been starved to death, as it was observed fastened to a sapling by a dog chain. Upon the foregoing circumstance being known, Senior-constable Farnsworth immediately started to ascertain further particulars by an investigation. A three storied flour and saw-mills, has been erected at Spencer’s Gully, Byron, by Mr. S. N. Dark, formerly of Clarence Town, and which is in full operation. The time from commencing to completion of the building, was within six weeks. The flour mill has two pair of stones ; the saw mill eleven circular saws, of different sizes. The whole has been erected under the superintendence of Mr. Dark, without the assistance of either carpenter, engineer, or miller. There is not the slightest doubt but that success will attend the spirited enterprise – Correspondent, Telegraph.

BENDEMEER, — A correspondent of the Express writes that on Sunday, Feb. 22, a shepherd of Mr. Perry’s was missing, under rather suspicious circumstances — the flock being all in the yard and the dog fastened up in the hut, Mr. Perry, on hearing of this, proceeded to the station, where he saw a man mounted on a grey horse, and a boy on a bay or brown cob, with a small mob of horses bailed up against one of his sheep yards. The man was coming towards him, he thought with the intention of opening a slip panel to yard the horses. Mr. Perry called to him, and he immediately galloped off, followed at full speed by Mr. Perry and his servant, but Mr. Perry, recollecting he was unarmed, reluctantly gave up the chase, which for a few moments was quite as exciting as a native dog hunt. Mr. Perry’s man suggested that they should take the boy, so they galloped back to where they had left him, but be had disappeared, and the horses they found within a few yards of the station. The horses the man and boy were on, are supposed to have been those stolen from Mr. Gibson’s station a few days ago. A violent storm came up soon after, stopping the chase, and obliterating all the tracks. It is said that six horses have been missed from Bendemeer within a few days.

GLEN INNES. –We have had a couple of days of heavy rain, still from the eastward, and even now the weather, though showery, does not seem settled either one way or the other. – On Saturday, 22nd Feb., a race meeting was held, and the programme arranged ready for publication. – The Bank of New South Wales has purchased Mr. A. Fletcher’s new house for bank purposes. It is reported that Mr. Robey, the present manager, is likely to be removed ; if so, he will be regretted, from his courteousness and willingness to oblige. -Feb. 24, 1868.- Cor. Armidale Express.

Written by macalba

July 17, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Missing plane

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Friday 23 July 1948, The Canberra Times


TAMWORTH, Thursday.

A Tiger moth aircraft, piloted by John Mayne, 20, of Texas, this afternoon, left Tamworth for Inverell and has not been heard of since leaving Bundarra, about sunset on the last stage of the flight.

The country between Bundarra and Inverell comprises open, cultivation land and it is believed the pilot may have made a forced landing.

A search is to be made tomorrow by East-West Airlines.

Written by macalba

July 3, 2010 at 6:03 am

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The trip from Inverell to Murrurundi in 1873

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Tuesday 18 March 1873, The Sydney Morning Herald



MY last missive treated of Inverell and its tin mines, short as it was, yet it was the result of a week’s weary wandering through swollen creeks and over roads heavy as black soil moistened could make them. Before taking my departure from the town, by invitation I attended one of those social little reunions so much prized by lovers of all that is English, “a public dinner,” given by the friends of Mr. E. V. Morriset to that gentleman prior to his departure from their midst. Mr. Morriset was for a considerable period manager of Byron station ; in that capacity he made many friends, fast and true and the “Inverellites” could not allow him to leave without tendering some token of regard. A neat little banquet at Mather’s where about thirty took seats to do honour to their guest, gave a fitting opportunity for a few short but expressive speeches, fraught with manly friendliness and good feeling towards Mr. Morriset.

Away from Inverell, in the direction of Tamworth, I for a second time made the acquaintance of that model township Bundarra, To reach it I had to cross the Bundarra, or Big River, which flows close to the town. I found it up “with a vengeance”-teams, buggies, and other vehicles waiting on either side for the falling of the water. There is no disguising the fact this river requires a bridge across it at this particular point. The traffic on the road of late has much increased, being as it is the shortest route to the mines around Inverell, and a main mail line. Cobb and Co, meet the difficulty ; and what difficulty is that that enterprising company will not meet by placing a coach on each side of the stream and conveying the mails across by boat.

To relate my own experiences. I found the river far too swift and deep for a trial, and so had to charter the boat, a private one of the flat-bottomed class, took off my saddle and trappings, and swam my horse by a lead. Had I travelled with a buggy a week’s detention would have been the result, as in the case of some commercial travellers I found in the town. Bundarra is about to receive the blessing of a telegraph line shortly, and, when in the vein for improvement, the Government might attend to a few more wants. The Court and its business, for instance, I found that tedious and vexatious delays oft occur through the absence of a petty sessions clerk, also from the non-appointment of some J.P.s in the district. The Inverell clerk; I was informed, receives £50 per year for his attendance at stated times at Bundarra, but through pressure of business at Inverell and distance, he rarely puts in an appearance, nor could he be expected so to do. I heard much dissatisfaction expressed by many engaged as witnesses in cases, at the loss of time these bad arrangements at Bundara occasioned, and for that reason give it publicity.

From Bundarra to Stony Batter is about 30 miles, over a middling road, and almost a level country. Stony Batter is not a place I would care to reside in, and if I had to stay there I would not put up at its only hotel. A short track, only available for horsemen or light vehicles, leads through Longford station, and brings the traveller in 30 miles to Bendemeer – a postal town on the main Northern road. This town is about 30 miles from Tamworth and 60 from Armidale, bordering the table-lands close to the Moonbi Ranges. The country around is one of rare beauty at this season ; suitable for agricultural or pastoral uses. Tin and diamonds have of late been discovered in its vicinity. Several parties are around, working good selections or prospecting. Want of time alone prevented me paying them a visit.

In no part of the colony have I noticed such active operations in road making and repairing as I met in my progress from Bendemeer to the Moonbl. Badly the road required what it is at present receiving, for in many parts the heavy traffic cut it up dreadfully. Six miles from the town, the famous hill known as the Moonbi on the chart, and the “Moonboys'” as pronounced by all I heard utter its name. It is a hill, and a nasty one for a heavy-laden team to rise. The gradients are, however, gradual, and the pinches few in its length (about four miles). To descend is pleasant enough. Warmer and warmer grows the atmosphere as the traveller leaves the New England district and enters the Liverpool Plains. The day I rode down it I felt light, as my attire was the bearer or wearer of a coat too many. Onward for eight miles, through a picturesque country, with lofty hills well timbered on each side, I made the township of Moonbi, where the first of the agricultural country claiming Tamworth for its market commences.

Bendemeer is but a small place, but Moonbi is more diminutive still, merely a village on the road side. Yet from the excellence of its hotels, it is a favourite halting place for travellers. From this pleasant village I made an early start for Tamworth, distant about fourteen miles. Farms on each side of the river – the Peel – extend all along the way ; the road running right of the stream. ‘The homesteads and their well-fenced lots make the way pleasant to one that too often journeys along through the blank bush ; for I confess, much as I like the grandeur of wild bush scenery, I prefer having a chance sight of a human habitation on the road.

It was my first visit to Tamworth and I made the town’s acquaintance under peculiar and favourable circumstances, for I entered it on a gala day, the first of the Tamworth annual races. The races I have already rendered an account of. The town has been so oft described that I suppose it is as well known by my readers as by myself, yet a few lines concerning it may not prove too boring.

Tamworth, distant from Murrurundi, the present terminal railway station, about 60 miles, is the capital town of the Liverpool Plains district, and I must, for information sake, state is not connected or a part and parcel of the Armidale or any other New England district. A great town now it expects to become greater. Town allotments are valuable ; one intended for the Commercial Bank, not much too large for the building, recently brought £700. The country around is a splendid one for agriculture, and selections innumerable extend for miles around the town, giving employment to two mills, one of them an immense affair to outward appearance. Large as these grinders of wheat are, another is needed, and will shortly be supplied, the speculation of two of the worthy townsfolk, estimated to amount when built and fitted to over £5000.

The principal portion of the buildings stands on a flat close to the river side unfortunately too low in flood times. This lamentable want of judgment in the selection of town sites is not alone chargeable to Tamworth. Too many of our towns have the same fault ‘ a reason for it is easily obtained. Early settlers, as a rule, squat down as close to the river side as possible particularly if business people and the main or any other line of road runs close to its banks. This was the case with Tamworth the road was close to the river, and there was erected a store, a public house, and a blacksmith’s shop. The place grew in importance, and the buildings became more plentiful, but all around the old centre. Thus it is when the Peel River grows angry from long rains, it takes its revenge out of the lower and principal part of the town; cuts up the road, washes away its metal, and, after doing serious damage of other kinds, again seeks its bed. The puzzle is why the present main road was not formed over the higher ground, which forms the central part of the town, as laid out.

It would have been far more economical and many think better judgment, but as in the case of Mahomet and the mountain, I suppose as the buildings could not go to the Government road, the road had to go to the buildings. The country sloping up from the road in question for a mile backed by spurs of the Moonbi, affords a capital position for buildings well drained and free from all danger of floods. On and along this portion of the town some of the best buildings have been erected. The School of Arts or Mechanics Institute, and the churches are neat buildings, and the latest addition is a fine Oddfellows Hall. The latter building I inspected interior and exterior.It stands on an excellent site, is substantially built of brick with a handsome front. A fine lofty well ventilated hall, well lighted and furnished, having a gallery at back, is admirably suited for meetings or entertainments. The oddfellows of Tamworth deserve credit for their energy and efforts to promote the interests of the order.

Strolling through the town, at the lower end, I had a peep at the hospital, a neat cottage building, surrounded by verandahs well sheltered by vines, forming an excellent cool promenade for the patients. Entering the hall of the building, on the right and left are two large wards for males, lofty and scrupulously clean. Past them to the back is the female ward, on the left, and opposite it, the dispensary and surgery. The attendants have quarters at the back of the building, where, in a spacious yard, the outoffices, bathroom, and wards for infectious diseases are placed. The medical staff consists of Drs. Dowe and Tayler. I was informed by one of the committee that much dissatisfaction exists among the townsfolk at the non-restoration of the former Government subsidy, rescinded sometime back, which was pound for pound collected ; now only half that sum is voted. The fact of patients, coming hundreds of miles to this hospital for treatment (and many do) entitles it to special attention.

Opposite the town, across the river, which is spanned by a wooden bridge in a ricketty, condition, as regards its upper works, I had a look at the portion of the town situated on the Peel River Company’s ground, This company holds a small slice of country, a portion of the original A. A. Co.’s grant. The country held attends along the Peel as far as Nundle; taking in the river’s windings it amounts to about 50 miles of river frontage: back it extends 10 miles. I may be incorrect in estimate of the block’s size, but I am positive in the statement of its being the choicest portion of Liverpool Plains, selected long ereTamworth dreamt of becoming a fitting place for the iron horse to drag a ponderous load along. The Church of England school, of stone, is on this side of the river, also some good substantial business places. Leases of building blocks and sales of lots are offered by the company on terms fairly liberal.

Strange to think, Tamworth is not incorporated : unfortunately, like many other towns, private interests will not become subservient to the public good There is not, what there ought to be, and will be eventually, a law compelling towns over a certain population to adopt local municipal institutions. The post and telegraph office in the town seems to be one of the fairest specimens of that class of building met by me in my wanderings. There can be no question as to its able management in Mr A’Beckett’s hands, but how hard worked that gentleman must be, with a dally mail from Sydney, and mails for and from all sorts of places arriving and departing at all hours day and night. From general observation throughout the colony I have ere this arrived at the idea that I would not like to be a postmaster. The Court-house is not a bad one, roomy enough for the purpose, but the police arrangements in the shape of accommodation are rather scattered.

The coaching along the Northern road from Murrurundi up to Queensland, with branches to towns en route, is really praiseworthy. Cobb and Co. strive to overcome every difficulty, the vehicles are good, and the horses A 1, as a rule in fine condition. I enjoyed my jaunt from Tamworth to Murrurundi ; sixty miles in 9 hours, with ample time for refreshment on the road allowed, is not at all a bad pace. Murrurundi I found not as bright as formerly ; the prospect of rail extension is not a blissful one for the holders of land in the town, and it is astonishing how much the value of building lots has depreciated.

The School of Arts, a neat handsome structure, is now nearly complete, and will soon be occupied. In notes published of Murrurundi eight months back, I particularly referred to the disgraceful state of the building used as a Public school. I was sorry to find on passing through the same complaint reached my ears. Is there no remedy ? Surely no inspector would visit the building without adding his condemnation to that of the district people.

Written by macalba

April 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Population of New England Towns, 1871

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Tuesday 6 June 1871, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser


The Armidale Express of Saturday has the following :-  

Mr. Blythe has favoured us with the following
return of the population in the registry district of
Armidale :- Males, 5448 ; females, 4315 ; total, 9763.


        Males. Females.  Total.
Armidale  720 ... 650 ... 1370
Uralla    128 ... 126 ...  254
Walcha    124 ... 119 ...  243
Bundarra   97 ...  88 ...  185
Bendemeer  61 ...  49 ...  110
Wandsworth 44 ...  37 ...   81
Nowendoc   27 ...  18 ...   45  
Falconer   19 ...  16 ...   35

Written by macalba

March 26, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Death by drowning

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Saturday 23 November 1878, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser


(From the Armidale Express, Nov 19)    

On Sunday last, a girl about nine years of
age, named Hannah Power, in the employ of
Mr. McCully, farmer, of Baker's Creek, not
returning home to dinner, search was made
for her, when her clothes were found lying
on the bank of a washpool, in which was
about nine feet of water ; the very natural
conclusion arrived at at once was, that the
child met an untimely death by drowning.

The police were communicated with, and
constables with the necessary appliances
were engaged in dragging the washpool, but
without effect. The banks of the pool were
then tapped, and the water having been run
off for several feet, the body in a nude state
was found lying on the bottom, from whence
it was removed to the surface. An inquest
will be held upon the remains.

On the 9th instant, a magisterial enquiry
was held at Bundarra, before Mr. G. P. Morse,
J.P. upon the body of William Gray, who
was drowned in the Bundarra River on the
5th instant. Mr. Morse found as follows :
"I find, from the evidence adduced, that the
deceased William Gray was accidently
drowned, in the Bundarra River, on Tuesday
the 5th day of November, 1878." The
following are the particulars of the case ac-
companying the finding :- Deceased was a
resident of Bundarra district, and his father  
and mother reside at Yarrowick. Deceased
was working at George's Creek, and came to
Bundarra on the morning of the 5th instant
he remained at the Royal Hotel till about 5
o'clock, that evening, and then started on
horseback to swim the river, which at the time
was flooded ; when he got into the stream,
the horse came in contact with a log; de-
ceased plunged into the water, and swam
strongly towards the bank, but before he
could reach it he became exhausted, and was
washed down the stream. A boat pulled off
to his assistance, but deceased sank before he
could be grasped, and was not seen alive

Written by macalba

March 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm

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Friday 21 October 1938, The Sydney Morning Herald

BUNDARRA, Thursday.

Work has been begun on the additions and
improvements to the Bundarra Hospital.

Following a suggestion from Mr. Lewis, of
the Hospitals Commission, who inspected the
hospital recently, it is probable that in addi-
tion to the improvements already arranged,
separate accommodation will be built for the
treatment of aborigines.

Written by macalba

March 7, 2010 at 5:49 am

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