Old news from Armidale and New England

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News from around Armidale, August 1865.

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The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), Saturday 19 August 1865

District News.


GUYRA AND GARA STATIONS – This long-pending case, which had been referred to Messrs. Oliver and Greaves, has been submitted to an umpire, who, for a few days past, has taken all the evidence, which has been, as usual in cases of this kind, conflicting. The award, I hear, will shortly be made, and it may possibly end this lengthy affair, caused in the first instance, doubtless, by the different runs not having been properly described when taken possession of by the owners.

Grafton Road – A petition to the Minister for Lands is now being numerously signed, for transmission to Sydney, and it is hoped that this road, so beneficial to the interests of both this town and Grafton, will at once be placed under proper repair, at least so far as the sum voted will allow of.

Our Hospital – I am glad to report that the efforts of our collectors in town have been so far successful in the work of charity; and though not any of the lists have yet been handed in as complete, I hear that many of our townsmen have most liberally contributed to assist the funds.

Coroner’s Inquest – Mr Markham, our district coroner, held an inquest on Wednesday last, at Mr Galvin’s inn, on the remains of a shepherd who came into Armidale for medical relief. Several witnesses were examined, and the verdict was, “Died from natural causes.” The deceased was named William Weeks, and prior to his death gave over about £40 to Mr Galvin, requesting to be buried in a respectable manner. Mr. Galvin complied with his request, and the remains were consigned to the grave in a hearse and full-mounted coffin. The balance in hand will be given over to the Government, as it did not appear that he had any relations or friends near.

Our School of Arts. – We are most likely to have a boisterous meeting next Friday, which has been called for by three members and subscribers contending that the late election to the offices of president, vice-president, &c, was illegal, and not in accordance with the bye-laws of the institution. It will be, of course, an evaporation for the time being, and end in a nine days’ wonder. I do not offer any opinion as to these contests.

Rifle Corps. – This corps is likely, I hear, to be established. The preliminary meeting to propose rules, &c, was favourable to the affair, and it may be inferred that Armidale will shortly add, to other signs of advancement, a military force, consisting of many of our young men, possessed of ardour in the cause of “protection,” when needed against an aggression which at any future period may be attempted, the hon. secretary to the meeting will no doubt use his best endeavours to further the movement.

Streets. – A new culvert is nearly completed at the east end of Beardy-street; and, though these culverts are now and then complained of by a few, they seem to be well formed of the material to hand, and our municipal officers seem determined not to be in debt if possible – a praiseworthy resolution.

Our racecourse. – The appearance of the grandstand on this ground is most unsightly. We have a racing committee, and the repairs of this shed, or an improvement in its appearance, is worthy of notice, and I trust that the attention of the committee may be attracted to this scaffolding. Query, whether is be safe in its present shaky days?

Bridge in Marsh street – The tenderer for the getting and delivery of timber is to have it on the ground by the 1st September next. The sum tendered for £15.

Butchers Meat – I observed a large draft of cattle en route toward our town on Sunday last and no doubt these fetched full prices. The high price of cattle published in your and the Sydney papers, leave little doubt but that our friends of the “cleaver” will be making a good thing, consequent upon the sudden rise – I cannot say unexpected, for, with the severity of the season, no other conclusion could be arrived at.

Grafton Mail – It is impossible to state when the usual regularity of the departure and arrival of this mail will be resumed. On Sunday last, at four p.m., no mail, and due on Friday last, at six p.m. Our residents are much inconvenienced by this failure, and I trust that a fresh tended may be accepted on the 23rd instant, in order that we may have a regular transmission of correspondence.

Agricultural. – Our farmers are in good spirits at the appearance of the young crops, which is highly gratifying to those concerned, as well as generally. I hear that a large quantity of grain from the last season is still on hand, and our mills are now in full work; but fears are entertained that a rise in flour may take place, from the quotations at Sydney and elsewhere.

August 14.

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May 18, 2013 at 11:52 am

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New postal communication routes

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Wednesday 15 January 1851, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser


WE are glad to find that the government are keeping steadily in view the desirableness of extending and improving the postal communication throughout the colony. Each year there are additions, more or less, made to the post stations in the different parts of the colony, and coach mails are being gradually substituted for horse mails.

Amongst the additions and improvements made this year, we observe several in our own division of the colony. From the 1st instant a mail direct has been established from Murrurundi to Carroll; the Tamworth and Wee Waa line has been extended on to the Barwin ; a mail has been established between Walcha and the Macdonald River; and a direct mail be tween Armidale and Grafton has been established. The whole of these extensions will afford to the settlers in the several localities great additional facilities for postal communication.

Coach mails have also this year been substituted on three of our lines for horse mails, viz, between Merriwa and Cassilis, between Murrurundi and Tamworth, and between Tamworth and Armidale. This is a great improvement, particularly on the northern line, where the mails are heavy, and the distance great. When the heavy mail bags on this line were conveyed from Murrurundi on horseback the enclosures were very liable to injury from being so much rubbed together, especially the newspapers, which not unfrequently arrived at the more distant post-offices almost entirely stripped of their envelopes. The establishment of a coach line to Armidale will secure the safer conveyance of the mails thus far, and as the bags from that place onwards are not so heavy, the residents beyond are likely to receive their papers and letters in better condition than formerly. We hope that a mail coach line will at no distant date be extended right through the northern district to Moreton Bay.

We are glad to find, also, from a notice published in the Gazette of the 7th instant, and copied into the Mercury of Saturday last, that the government are at length prepared to extend the benefits of postal communication to the residents of the coast district between Stroud and Port Macquarie. Tenders are called for to convey, from the 1st of April next, a mail once a week from and to Raymond Terrace and Port Macquarie, by way of Stroud, Gloucester, and Wingham, on the Manning River. Hitherto, the residents on the Gloucester and Manning River have been practically shut out from the benefits of postal communication, and the inhabitants of Port Macquarie have received their mails from the metropolis and elsewhere by a very circuitous route. The direct line now about to be established through the coast district will obviate both these disadvantages-much to the satisfaction and benefit, we apprehend, of all the parties interested.

Written by macalba

October 16, 2010 at 8:09 pm


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Saturday 2 August 1930, The Sydney Morning Herald

Wonderful Landscapes.


During a recent visit to Ebor I was much impressed with the possibilities of this part of the State as a tourist resort.

Ebor is 53 miles by road from Armidale, on the way to Grafton. The road is in excellent order in some parts, with the local shire council doing its best to improve the remainder, which is in fair condition; and when the council completes its work the whole trip will be most comfortable for motor driving.

Around Ebor and Guy Fawkes can be seen some of the most magnificent scenery in this State if not Australia. Through the placid little village of Ebor flows the river of the same name. It is never dry, and abounds with trout. It wends its way for about half a mile on one side of the township to the commencement of the wonderful Ebor Gorge. The two falls arc scenes of beauty, and in winter time are sometimes frozen, making a beautiful spectacle as they hang in huge icicles. The water from the Ebor eventually finds an outlet in the Clarence River. Around Ebor are various other streams-such as the Styx which are the trout fisherman’s paradise.


I had the pleasure of visiting Point Lookout, about ten miles from Ebor. As motor traffic cannot get to this beauty spot, our party did the trip by horseback on horses kindly supplied by the Turnbull family, of Kotupna station. Mr Thomas Turnbull was our guide and philosopher.

From Point Lookout, the highest peak in New England, being 5300 feet above sea level, a most expansive and wonderful panorama meets the eye. Although the day was not a particularly clear one, we were able to observe with (he naked eye the breakers rolling on to the beach at Macksville, about 40 miles away as the crow files. On a clear frosty day it is quite easy to see the boats that pass this beach.

To add to the beauty of the view, we had the mountain mist rising from one of the deep canyons on our left, while on our right the Bellinger and Nambucca rivers wended their way seawards.

The densely timbered country in the valleys below Point Lookout abound in brush turkey, lyre bird, wonga pigeons, and dingoes, to say nothing of death adders and other reptiles. In some parts there are many large cedar trees, but it is impossible to get them out to market.

The view, however, as regards expansiveness, ruggedness, and beauty, must compare more than favourably with views of a similar nature in any part of the Commonwealth. It reminded me of the Valley of the Thousand Hills, outside Durban, in South Africa. To anyone visiting Ebor or travelling from Armidale to Grafton, I unhesitatingly say, spend an hour and wander off the road to see the Ebor Falls, and if you can spare a day borrow or hire a horse and visit Point Lookout.

On the way to Ebor the tourist can also observe another wonderful view by going off the road for about a mile near Wollombi (sic) to see the famous gorge. Into this gorge the Wollombi River falls a distance of 1500 feet on one side, while on the other the Chandler River falls a similar distance.

Written by macalba

September 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm

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The “Red Bushranger” at large near Armidale

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Friday 14 June 1918, The Advertiser (Adelaide)

Sydney, June 13.

The bushranger who recently began his career at Rockvale, near Armidale, has eluded the vigilance of the police who have scoured the whole of the Hernani, Tyringham, and Guy Fawkes districts. It is believed that he is now making for either Glen Innes or Grafton. The man who is known as the “Red Bushranger” told a resident that when he was on one side of the Ebor Falls he plainly saw two police on the other side. He would have shot them both if the distance had not been too great.

Written by macalba

September 4, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Road works

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Tuesday 26 June 1866, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

Nearly all the works under the department of minor. roads in the Clarence and Richmond district have been arranged for. Tenders have been invited for a bridge over the Saltwater River, on the Casino Road, and it is proposed to let metalling of approaches to Casino Ford, and some clearing through Bargo Brush. On the Tenterfield Road the improvement of Currabubla Hill, and the Sandy Hill, and several small works near Fairfield and Tenterfield have been let ; also the repairs to bridges near Wyon and at Tenterfield. On the Tenterfield and Glen Innes Road, the cutting and metalling at Bolivia has been let, also some metalling near Tenterfield. On the Grafton and Armidale Road, works have been let to amount of available funds, at Blaxland’s Swamp, Urara Bridge, approaches to Blick’s River Bridge, and at Shea’s Scrub ; also, clearing and culverts between Hillgrove and Armidale. On the road from Armidale to Glen Innes, arrangements for the works are in progress. Arrangements are being made for the commencement of works on the Newton Boyd Road. In the Kempsey and Port Macquarie district all the works have been arranged for except the bridge over Hyndman’s Creek, for which no tenders have been received. On the road from Singleton to Cassilis, all the works are let and in progress, and the screwing up of Nundle Bridge has been ordered.-Herald’s Summary, June 23.

Written by macalba

August 26, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Hunter River District News

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Tuesday 27 May 1856, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

(From the Armidale Express, May 17.)

CIRCUIT COURTS,-The great inconvenience experienced by the inhabitants of the Northern districts of the colony, from the want of Circuit Courts nearer than Maitland, has a very injurious tendency, inasmuch as serious crimes have repeatedly been overlooked, solely on account of the difficulties and expense of prosecuting them, at Maitland. Maitland is 250 miles from Armidale, and persons accused of criminal offences are often sent there from a much greater distance than Armidale. It is surprising that, although the inhabitants of the Northern districts have complained of this (great grievance.for years past, the Government have remained inert, and little has been done towards removing it. New England is rapidly acquiring an extensive population. At the Rocky River diggings, alone we believe that there are from twelve to fifteen hundred people, and this number is being augmented every day. There is every prospect of such an extensive development of new gold fields in this district, that the population must largely increase. Geologists are of opinion that the greater part of New England will yet be proved a gold- producing country. With such facts before us, it requires no prophet to foretell a large accession to our population – in fact, our present numbers may be trebled within the next year. In whatever different lights, the occupation of gold digging may be viewed, there is one subject on which people generally will agree – that much greater facilities for the commission of prime are presented at diggings than in the midst of well-ordered, settled communities. A vigorous movement has been going on for some time past respecting Circuit Courts at Tamworth. We consider they are necessary there also. Tamworth is 175 miles from Maitland, and is the capital of the Liverpool Plains district. It is consequently, as the centre of a large tract of country, possessing already considerable population. Although only 75 miles from here, there is very little connection between Tamworth and Armidale. Liverpool Plains and New England are separate and distinct from each other; and we think that, instead of any jealousy existing about which should gain the establishment of Circuit Courts – thereby throwing the other out of consideration – the inhabitants of both out to combine their best efforts to obtain assizes for each.

CENSUS FOR ARMIDALE AND THE POLICE DISTRICT.-The following is a comparative statement, based upon the official census returns for the town and police district of Armidale, for which we are indebted to the courtesy of Mr. Bligh, C.P.S. :-

              1856.                   1851
Armidale. -     Males..... 499}  858     Males}  556
                Females... 359}        Females}
Remainder of
police dis-         Males 1971} 3020     Males} 2759
trict of Ar-      Females 1049}        Females}
midale ...                      ----            ----
Total population of police dis. 3878            3315 

From the above statement it will be seen that the increase in the population of this township during the past five years has been – Males, 170; females, 132; in the aggregate 302, or about 52½ per cent. In the remainder of the police district the increase has been – Males, 111; females, 150; in the aggregate 261, or nearly 9½ per cent. We think the above results are nothing more than might be expected to accrue from the influences to which the district has been subjected during the period referred to. The main deduction from these premises are that the number of persons in the township has increased in the ratio of five to one, as compared with those occupied in pastoral pursuits ; and taking into consideration the fact that the occupation of gold digging employs a considerable number of those set down for the district population, it may fairly be assumed that the pastoral interest in this district in the year 1856, employs a smaller number of people than it did in 1851.

GOODS BY THE CLARENCE LINE. – During the past week, four heavily loaded drays have passed the Express Office, from the Clarence. We have also been informed that a dray lately arrived at Hillgrove, from Grafton, bringing up supplies and a family. These are proofs, amongst many others, that the Clarence line might be made a most desirable road for the transit of goods and produce to and from New England.

THE ROADS. – We have been informed by a gentleman who had occasion to travel over the Moonbies lately that the condition of the roads about that locality was scandalous. There were nine drays waiting at the foot of the first pinch until the road should dry – two of the drays having families with them. The road at the time was so extremely bad that our informant believed fifty bullocks could not have taken up a loaded dray. He also stated that he had passed on the road about 150 men, women, and children, bound for the Rocky River diggings.

THE ROCKY RIVER. – The diggings here are going ahead greatly, and the number of fresh arrivals is astonishing. On Tuesday last I saw a specimen of gold in quartz-not one speck only, but completely encompassing the stone. It is a handsome specimen, and I suppose worth about £2. The finder declared he procured it on these diggings. Our population is increasing with extraordinary rapidity : we want population to open up the hitherto undeveloped resources of New England. It is the opinion of most persons that New England is a gold field more or less, throughout. I have heard of several parties who have struck upon fresh discoveries of the precious metal outside the limits of the diggings. All parties appear doing well, a proof of which is the extraordinary demand for buckets, ropes, shovels, calico, and all sorts of digging tools. Two or three accommodation houses have been opened-one, in particular, which deserves that liberal support its enterprising proprietor is sure to receive.

Rocky River, May 14.

Written by macalba

August 23, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Book import relief; public libraries pleased.

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Thursday 29 June 1944, The Sydney Morning Herald

The formation of public libraries in New South Wales would be greatly assisted by the permission granted to them this week to import fiction and general literature from the United States, the principal librarian at the Public Library, Mr. J. Metcalfe, said yesterday.

Mr. Metcalfe, who is also executive member of the Book Publishing Committee and the Book Sponsorship Committee, said that about a dozen new public libraries were already planned under the recent State Library Act, including libraries at Broken Hill, Inverell, Grafton, Wagga, Lismore, Jerilderie, Glen Innes, and a children’s library at Albury.

These centres could now go ahead with their plans in the knowledge that they would not be affected by the previous ban on the import of general literature from the United States.

A booksellers’ representative said that the trade was disappointed that greater freedom had not been given for the import of general literature from the United States.

“Many standard classics are unobtainable in London since bombing destroyed publishers’ stocks and proof sheets,” he said. “We are not asking for permission to import ‘Deadwood Dicks’ and cheap thrillers. Limited import of otherwise unobtainable classics and good quality general literature could be permitted from the United States.”

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May 8, 2010 at 6:05 am

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