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Testing the Railway Bridges and Viaducts.

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With the poor state of repair of the railway viaduct in Manilla threatening to end Manilla Shows being held there [ The Northern Daily Leader, Sunday, March 4 2018, The Northern Daily Leader, Tuesday, March 6 2018], here’s the original newspaper article describing how the viaduct in Tamworth was tested on November 16, 1881 …

The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, Friday, December 2, 1881

Testing the Railway Bridges and Viaducts.

(From The News.)

On Wednesday, the 16th instant, an important step was taken towards the final acceptance by the Government of the contract for the Railway from Tamworth to Uralla. We refer to the testing of the long timber viaduct that crosses the valley of the Peel in Tamworth, and the two iron bridges which span the Peel River and adjoining Manilla Road. The Inspecting Engineer arrived from Sydney with the testing apparatus on Tuesday week last, when the final arrangements were made for the morrow’s work.

A few words will describe the instruments used. They consist of small round clock-like machines, about 8 inches in diameter, on the face of which are graduations representing inches and decimal parts of inches. The arm or index is short piece of steel, very like the large hand of an ordinary clock, to the end of which is attached a coil of spiral watch spring, a piece of cat-gut being used to the end of the spring. A chain consisting of links of fine wire, a few nails, and some short battens, are all besides the discs needed for the testing.

The testing was conducted as follows, the two iron bridges being first tried, the wooden viaduct afterwards :— A batten was driven into the ground under the centre of each bridge, and the wire chain having been fixed to it by a tack, the latter was passed up to the bridge, a hole for it having been bored in the planking; the end of the chain on the bridge was fixed in rigid tension to the end of the cat-gut in one of the discs, which was itself firmly fastened to the bridge by a thumb-screw.

The testing weight was composed of three locomotive engines coupled together —two Government and one (the “Murrumbidgee”) belonging to Messrs. A. and R. Amos contractors. Their total dead weight may be taken at 174 tons 8 cwt. At first they were brought slowly over the bridges and allowed to rest when the middle engine was about on the centre of the bridge, this was done once or twice, with the result that the deflection was found to be in the Peel River Bridge about 80 of an inch, and in the Street Bridge about 25 of an inch. The locomotives were then sent up the incline on the bank at the North end of the viaduct and were brought down at full speed, and the deflection was found to be about 85 in the large and 30 of an inch in the small bridge, and there was no permanent set at all observable. This was considered a good result, and the two Government engines were sent away ; the wooden viaduct being loaded with the “Murrumbidgee” only, which weights 56 tons or thereabouts.

The only attraction in the method adopted in testing the viaduct was that the discs instead of being fixed to the top were secured to battens placed in the ground under each bay, and the chains were nailed to the wooden beams in the centre of the bridge. The deflection was very slight in each case, the greatest being .55 and the least about .30 of an inch. The spans of the wooden viaduct are chiefly 29 feet 6 inches, although there are two bays of 30 feet and five of 25 feet in it. The length of the large iron girders over the Peel River is 160 feet, and over the streets 60 feet. The testing was conducted by Mr. Wade, Inspecting Engineer, Mr. J. G. Griffin, District Engineer, and Mr. T. Parkinson, Inspector of Works on the part of the Government, and by Mr. John Owen, Manager, and Mr. J. S. Bennett, Engineer on the part of Messrs. A. & R. Amos, the contractors.

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March 6, 2018 at 3:34 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).

Written by macalba

October 26, 2014 at 11:50 am

Discovery and Early Pastoral Settlement of New England (part 1)

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The Scone Advocate (NSW : 1887 – 1954), Friday 22 September 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).

(No. 1).

The writer commences by touching upon Oxley’s trip to the New England Tableland in the year 1818 and having crossed the southern end, making his way to the coast at Port Macquarie. At this early date, Oxley had good reasons to believe that he was not the first white man to enter the tableland, for from his journal, he reports having encountered natives, who, “from the whole tenor of their behaviour, had previously heard of white people.” By way of confirmation of his surmise, it is significant that upon continuing his journey southerly from Port Macquarie along the coast, he found in Chowder Bay a small boat, half buried in the sand, and the remains of a hut which had evidently been constructed by Europeans; the saw and axe having been employed upon it. From these and other indications, it would appear that adventurous bushmen, free and otherwise, had already explored to some extent the coastal and tableland regions, especially the former, lying far beyond the recognised limits of settlement.


When it became known in Britain that rich pasture lands had been discovered beyond the range of mountains which for a quarter of a century had confined settlement to a limited portion of the coastal region, immigration, especially of pastoralists, became more pronounced. Mr. Campbell incidentally refers to the rapid progress of settlement in the Hunter Valley, and quotes from Assistant Surveyor Henry Dangar’s “Hunter River Dictionary and Emigrants’ Guide,” published in 1828, wherein it is set out that “whereas in 1822 a division of country occupying upwards of 150 miles along the river, which in 1822 possessed little more than its aboriginal inhabitants, in 1826-27 more than half a million acres were appropriated and in a forward state of improvement, and carried upwards of 25,000 head of cattle and 80,000 sheep.” In order the more readily to control this rapid advance of pastoral settlement, and to safeguard the lives and the property of settlers generally, it was decided in 1826 to limit the area within which land could be selected and securely held. The northern limit of this area was fixed as from Cape York in a line due west to Wellington Vale, beyond which land was neither sold nor let. In the meantime, however, pastoralists from the Hunter Valley, whose selections had become overstocked, or were drought-stricken, began to steal over the boundary and squat in favorable positions of the Liverpool Plains. Foremost among these was a Mr. Baldwin, who, actually in 1826, with his stock, ventured beyond the limit. His teams were the first to cross the Liverpool Range and to form the northern road over the gap at Murrurundi. No particulars are given respecting this adventurous squatter, but from official papers of that time, mention is made of an enterprising settler, Henry Baldwin, of Wilberforce and Patrick’s Plains, who may have been the pastoralist referred to. By the end of 1831, the so-called waste lands of the colony had become exploited up to the New England Tableland. The trend of this pastoral occupancy was naturally directed along the main creeks and rivers that drain the open valleys of the Namoi basin, but little information, other than traditional, seems to be available adverting to the personnel and doings of the pioneers outside the limits of settlement. In the case, Eales v. Lang, however, the evidence on record reveals something about the early occupancies on the Mukai (Mooki) River, a branch of the Namoi. Donald McLaughlan (MacIntyre?) informed the Court “that from 1825 to 1831 he was in the service of Thomas Potter Macqueen, of Segenhoe (then in England), and was several times on the Mookl looking out for runs.” In his last years of service he formed a station (Breeza) for Macqueen, which station he occupied himself in 1835. This occupancy, under license, was affirmed by the Police Magistrate, Edward Denny Day, then residing at Muswellbrook. In the same case, John Rotton deposed that in September, 1828, he formed a station at Walhalla, on the Mooki River, and remained there two years. Doona run, which was situated between Walhalla and Breeza, was first occupied on behalf of Macqueen, and formed into a station in 1833. Samuel Clift stated in evidence that he entered into possession of Doona in 1837. In 1832 the Australian Agricultural Company’s exchange grant, Warrah, situated on the northern foothills of the Liverpool Range, displaced the early occupiers of that portion of the Liverpool Plains, and the Peel River part of the grant monopolised about a quarter of a million acres on the upper reaches of that tributary of the Namoi. According to the Company’s Commissioner, Sir Edward Parry, who personally inspected the areas in 1832, the squatters who were wholly or in part displaced by the exchange grant of Warrah were as follows: — Messrs. Robertson and Burns (on Mooki), John Blaxland (Kilcoobil), William Lawson and Fitzgerald (Muritloo), Otto Baldwin, William Osborn, John Upton, George and Richard Yeoman, and Patrick Campbell (Yarramanbah), John Onus and Robert Williams (Boorambil), Thomas Parnell, Philip Thorley and William Nowlan (Warrah) and Major Druitt (Phillips Creek). The above occupiers ran 8200 head of stock, mostly cattle, between them. As to the Peel River exchange, the following were affected: — Messrs. George and Andrew Loder (Kuwerhindi, or Quirindi), Brown (Wollomal), William Dangar, Edward Gostwyck, Cory, and Warland (Wollomal and Waldoo). There were 3800 head of stock held on the properties mentioned.

The squatting invasion of New England (according to William Gardner, of Armidale, writing in 1844), commenced in 1832, when Hamilton Collins Sempill, of Beltrees (one l), Hunter River, from his out-station, Ellerstone, crossed the boundary (Liverpool Range) with his stock, and following approximately the Great Dividing Range north-easterly to the Hamilton Valley of Oxley, formed a station in the upper Apsley Valley, which he named Wolka (Walcha), with headquarters on the flat near where Oxley pitched his camp on the evening of September 8, 1818. The precise route is not recorded, but probably he reached the tableland by way of the Nundle spur, a route defined by survey the same year (1832) by H. F. White, Government Surveyor, in conjunction with H. Dangar, the Australian Agricultural Company’s surveyor. About the same time, Edward Gostwyck Cory, a settler, also from the Hunter district (Page’s River and the Patterson, and a squatter on the Page’s River, about where Tamworth is now situated), is said to have passed over the Moonboy (Moonbi) Range, along the route of the Great Northern Road from Tamworth, which route, it is also stated, was previously discovered by him, and, proceeding northerly, he camped for a time on one of the upper tributaries of Carlyle’s Gully. This tributary streamlet still bears the name of Cory’s Camp Creek, and where the camp stood may be seen in the Dog-trap paddock of Rimbanda. A memorial of his ascent to the tableland is also to be seen in the form of a rock at the foot of the second Moonboys, known to the present day as Cory’s Pillow. . . It is not definitely known on what part of the main stream Cory first formed his homestead, but it is surmised that Gostwyck was his headquarters for a time. Later on he established himself at Terrible Vale, about where the present station is situated, while the representative of William Dangar occupied the lower part of the valley with the homestead, Gostwyck, included. In the meantime Colonel Henry Dumaresq had formed a station in the vicinity which he called Saumarez, after the home of his ancestors in the Isle of Jersey. This station appears to have been fully equipped with the necessaries of pastoral life prior to the year 1836, as indicated by the evidence given in the Supreme Court, Sydney, on November 4 of that year in the case, the Crown v. Thomas Walker. In this case, the historic importance of which is obvious, Walker was indicted for the murder of a bushranger near Saumarez, in April, 1836. O’Neil, of the mounted police, “on duty at Colonel Dumaresq’s,” in giving evidence, said: “I heard that bushrangers used to be harboured at Dangar’s station, about five or six miles from Dumaresq’s. The prisoner at the bar was a shepherd there, and he told me that the bushrangers had given him the (stolen) things, and that they were to rob Mr. Cory’s and Mr. Chilcott’s stations the day after. These stations were about twelve miles from Mr. Dangar’s,” etc. Chilcott appears to have been the first occupant of Kentucky run. About this time Cory and Chilcott Had transferred their pre-occupancies. Dr. William Bell Carlyle, about the same time, occupied the valley drained by the creek which bears his name, and Captain William John Dumaresq joined his brother on the north-east. This coterie of adjoining squatters were landed proprietors from the Hunter Valley, where they usually resided. . . Sempill was soon followed by others, including the Allman brothers. The discoveries which led to the pastoral occupation of Cory’s, New England, were continued by Messrs. James and Alexander McDougall, and Alexander Campbell (one of the five overseers who accompanied Peter Mclntyre — he was T. P. Macqueen’s agent — to Australia in 1824), who in March, 1835, started, on an expedition to examine the country now named New England, and at the time unexplored. These explorers evidently followed Oxley ‘s trail to the tableland, their subsequent course being described as due north to Tilbuster, which station was then in the course of formation. From that locality they proceeded easterly, and then northerly, locating suitable positions for stations en route. Some ten years later, Campbell settled on his Macintyre occupancy, which he named Inverell.

In dealing with the pastoral settlement of the western slopes, of the tablelands, which commenced in the year 1836, the writer quotes from ‘The Reminiscences of Mrs. Susan Bundarra Young,” an author whose father, Edward John Clerk, in partnership with John Rankin, settled at Clerkness (now Bundarra). This lady’s story of the incidents and events of her childhood days, in the then Australian bush, although subject in part to correction, is, nevertheless, of historical value, insofar as it portrays the rise and progress of pastoral settlement on the tableland. Her father, who was born in England, was the son of Major Thomas Clerk, of the Indian Army. He came to N.S. Wales, via Tasmania, about the end of 1835, and with John Rankin, purchased Dr. Carlyle’s Invermein or Cresswell property, on Kingdon Ponds, and apparently his New England occupancy, Carlyle’s Gully, as well. They also formed Newstead Station, which upon the dissolution of partnership in 1842, became the occupancy of Rankin, while Clerk retained the original station, Clerkness. (Looking up records in the possession of the ‘Advocate,” we find the names of Messrs. Rankin and Clerk, both of whom were, as far back as 1838, on Satur, and not Invermein, as stated by the writer. Each subscribed a tidy donation towards, the erection of the original St. Luke’s Church, Scone. After the name of each of the two donors, the word “Satur” is plainly written).

(To be continued).

Written by macalba

October 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Licences granted

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Wednesday 7 May 1851, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser


Licensing Meeting. – On the 15th ult. a Court of Petty Sessions was held for the purpose of considering the applications of persons wanting publicans’ and other licenses. The magistrates present were M. C. Marsh, Esq., and – Tourle, Esq. The following licenses were granted: Edward Allingham, Rose Inn, Armidale ; James Doran, Horse and Jockey Inn, Armidale; A. O’Dell, Sportsman’s Arms, Armidale ; E. M. Butler, Armidale; Robert Bicknell, Macdonald River ; James Starr, Macdonald River ; George Cormie, Falconer Arms, Falconer ; John Hamilton, Squatter’s Arms, Yarrowwitch ; Samuel McCrossen, Rockey River; William Stitt, Carlisle’s Gully ; Samuel Caldwell, Apsley Arms, Walcha; Jonathan Cock, Bundarra. – Confectioners : Phillip Simmons, Armidale ; Charles Selmes, Armidale. – Auctioneer : Thomas Boyce Dowling.

Churchwardens. – A meeting of parishioners was held in the vestry of St. Peter’s Church on Easter Tuesday for the purpose of examining and passing the accounts of the past year; and also the appointment of churchwardens for the ensuing one, when Mr. E. Allingham was appointed by the trustees, Mr. George Martin by the parishioners, and Mr. R. Furnifull by the Rev. H. Tingcombe.

The Weather. – The weather continues unusually mild for the season ; the night frosts, which prevailed at this time last year, have scarcely made their appearance.

The Police. – Mr. Day, inspector of police, is daily expected here. We understand that recently six prisoners, who had been forwarded from this place to Tamworth, made their escape from the lockup of the latter, by simultaneously rushing upon and overpowering the lockup keeper. This was during the visit of Mr. Day at Tamworth.

April 26, 1851.

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May 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Weather; Outrage by Blacks; Maize; Bundarra crops; Telegraph broken

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Saturday 21 December 1861, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser


(From the Armidale Express, Dec. 14.)

THE WEATHER – The weather at Armidale was satisfactory early in the week. On Sunday there was a little rain, with thunder, while at Cameron’s Creek, to the N., and Mihi, to the S., the rain was much heavier. On Tuesday there were several fine showers at Armidale, with a little thunder. On Thursday night a thunderstorm, with remarkably vivid lightning, passed over Armidale from the S. It lasted about an hour and a half, yet gave but a moderate supply of rain, with some hail occasionally. It was followed yesterday morning, by mere rain in showers. We have since been informed that several trees in the outskirts of the town were struck on Thursday night. It is well that no buildings appear to have been damaged, as for more than an hour the lightning was terrific. Yesterday between 5 and 6pm, Armidale was visited by a hail storm – the heaviest since the greater one of Nov. 17, 1859. Not a few of the stones were from 4 to 5 inches in circumference. One which we measured was 4¾, and others were apparently larger. The hail caused considerable damage in gardens and orchards, but fortunately the storm had passed to the E. by half an hour after its commencement. A correspondent reports a fearful hailstorm at Glen Innes on Sunday afternoon last – the heaviest ever witnessed in the district, and causing much damage.

OUTRAGE BY BLACKS – Mr. Weaver, P.M., has favoured us with information to the following effect, received from Mr. Blythe, C.P.S. at Walcha, by a letter dated 11 th instant. Constable Grant, who returned to Walcha from Winterbourne on 10th instant, reported that Dr. Morris, J.P., had informed him that on Saturday last, at noon, a party of aboriginals armed with guns attacked some Winterbourne blacks on Moona Plains station, killing four and wounding a fifth. Two of the assailants are well known as Jemmy and Major. Dr. Morris was too ill to visit Walcha to report in person the statements made to him by the surviving blacks. Active steps were at once taken by the authorities at Armidale and the Rocky to afford protection to the fugitives, who, it is stated, dare not leave Winterbourne.

THE MAIZE CROP – We are informed that the grub has attacked the young corn, by eating up the plant while yet below the surface. In consequence, it is apprehended that the yield will be materially diminished. Owing to the scarcity of hay and the probable dearth of maize, horse-feed promises to be dear next winter. We recommend some of the agriculturists near town to sow barley or green stuff in the fall of the season, as there will, no doubt, be a good demand for it in Armidale.

BUNDARRA – The crops are likely to be more abundant than was thought some short time since. There will be a very fair yield of wheat, and a prospect of a good crop of potatoes, especially the late sown ones. Corn is also looking pretty well. The gardens too are looking much better, and the neighbourhood generally is vastly improved by the timely rams we have had for the last week or two. Reaping will commence in a few days. 7th Dec, 1861.

(From the Tenterfield Chronicle Dec 12.)

THE TELEGRAPH – The telegraph wire was again broken down yesterday afternoon between Armidale and Tamworth, so that we were not able to procure our telegram from Sydney. Although the line has been open for five or six weeks, we have not had a chance of receiving a telegram for publication, which certainly shows that there must be great fault in the construction of the line. It seems to us to be a rule that the wire shall be broken every Wednesday afternoon.

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May 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Country air routes

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Friday 30 July 1948, The Sydney Morning Herald

The Minister for Transport, Mr. M. O’Sullivan, yesterday approved the issue of licences for four new air services, to be operated by East-West Airlines.

The new routes are: Scone-Sydney; Glen Innes-Tamworth-Sydney; Armidale-Tamworth-Sydney; and Tamworth-Scone-Newcastle.

Mr. O’Sullivan said the services would depend upon petrol being available. That was a matter for the Federal Government.

Chairman of directors of East-West Airlines, Mr. M. Shand, said that the Federal Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr. Drakeford, had assured him recently that the company would receive the fuel, even if on a restricted basis.

The services would “feed” the company’s main route between Sydney and Brisbane.

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March 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm

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Development of Country towns

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Tuesday 23 August 1938, The Sydney Morning Herald


The Minister for Works and Local Government, Mr. Spooner, when opening the Tamworth Municipal Abattoir, said that the local government was making life in the country vastly different from what it was a few years ago.

The structure is the first municipally controlled abattoir to be erected in the State. It cost £15,000. In addition to the building there are 170 acres of land with resting paddocks and a plant for the treatment of by-products.

One of the most important duties of councils, Mr. Spooner suggested, was town planning.

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November 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm

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Horse stealing charge

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Saturday 18 September 1847, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

Edward Roberts was indicted for having stolen a mare, the property of Michael Quinlin, at Armidale, on the 3rd February, 1847.

Mr. Purefoy appeared for the defence.

The Solicitor General having stated the circumstances, called Michael Quinlin, who deposed that he was a storekeeper, residing at Armidale, New England, and that in February last he lost a black mare, which had been at his door on the evening of the 2nd, but could not be found next day. Witness had never seen her since, and he believed she was now dead. Witness had had her about eighteen months; she was a black mare, between thirteen and fourteen hands high, branded (upsidedown-B)E on the near shoulder, having a white stripe down the face, and a little white on one of the hind feet, just above the hoof, with a large head, a roman nose, a shortish black mane, and a thick neck; the tail had been docked, but the hair had grown long again ; she had been bought by witness as a five-year-old mare ; she was broken in to draught and saddle, but had no saddle marks ; she was smooth and in good condition when witness lost her, but was not shod ; the prisoner was at Armidale about that time, in Mr. Odell’s service, witness believed ; witness never saw him there. Tamworth was about seventy miles from Armidale.

This witness was cross-examined at great length by the jurors and Mr. Purefoy as to marks, shape, &c. distinguishing the mare.

Edwin Whitfield deposed that he lived, in February last, at Mr. Dangar’s station of Moonboy, on Liverpool Plains ; this was about twelve miles from Tamworth, on the New England side. “Witness bought a mare from the prisoner in February last; the receipt produced was the one witness got from prisoner ; it was dated 27th February, which was on a Monday, when witness paid £13 for the mare, and prisoner delivered her by telling him to go and take her out of the stable. The bargain was made on the Thursday previous. The overseer of the station was present when witness paid for the mare. Witness rode her away to where he was working, seven miles off, and tethered her, but in the morning he found the rope was broken, and the mare gone; he traced her a short distance in the direction of New England, and went about eight miles to the McDonald River, searching for her, but could hear no tidings, nor had he ever since seen her. About a fortnight before witness bought the mare, he saw the prisoner riding on what he believed was the same mare, past his place from the direction of New England ; prisoner told him he had found his mare at last, after he had lost her two years, and that a man had ridden her from the McLeay River to Armidale, where Mr. Odell had seen her and claimed her for him. A few days after witness lost the mare he saw prisoner at the McDonald River, and told him of his loss, and asked prisoner for a more exact description than the receipt gave, that witness might advertise the loss. Prisoner told him she had, he thought, a little white on the off hind foot. Witness bought her as being branded (upsidedown-R)E, and remarked to prisoner that the R turned in like a B, but prisoner said the brand had run. The witness was then examined at some length as to her marks, but his answers were given with the qualification that he had not particularly observed her ; he was sure she was a black mare with white on forehead.

The witness was cross-examined further by Mr. Purefoy and the jurors as to the marks, and by Mr. Purefoy as to the persons present when witness saw the prisoner at different times, and to the circumstances attending the interviews.

Stephen Parrott deposed that he was overseer at Moonboy, and recollected Whitfield buying a mare or horse from prisoner ; witness saw the money paid, but did not see the animal ; witness shortly after saw a black mare or horse tied up to the verandah, but did not notice it particularly ; witness had seen prisoner riding a similar animal about a fortnight previous ; did not know whether it was branded ; it had a long tail. The mare was sold on a Monday. Prisoner stopped there that night, and left next morning after breakfast.

John Bainton Smith deposed that he was clerk of the bench at Tamworth, and that on the 13th and 14th of February he rode from Murrurundi to Tamworth, in company with James Grady, then acting as mailman ; Grady had a little black mare with him, which he offered to sell to witness; she was from 14 to 14½ hands high, coarsely bred, heavy head, roman nose, with a blaze of white down her face, and a white rim round the off hind fetlock ; she was branded (upsidedown-B)E, Captain Biddulph’s brand ; was plump, with a long tail. Grady did not claim the mare as his.

James Grady deposed that in February last he rode the mail two trips between Tamworth and Murrurundi, and back again, for prisoner, who was then mailman, but was laid up by a kick of a horse ; the black mare seen with him by Mr. Smith on his first return trip was given to him by prisoner to take the mails for him while laid up. Witness did not much notice her marks or brands. Witness got her shod after his first return from Murrurundi to Tamworth.

Mr. Smith was here re-called to prove that certain statements of the prisoner attached to the depositions were made by him before the committing bench, but as Mr. Smith could not swear they were written down in the very words of the prisoner, although he knew they were written in the sense he (witness) understood him, Mr. Purefoy objected to the statement being put in, and his Honor sustained the objection.

David Lumden deposed that he was chief constable of Tamworth, and apprehended prisoner at Moonboy on the 21st March ; witness told him on what charge he was arrested ; on the way to Tamworth witness asked him some questions relating to the charge, to which prisoner replied that he got the mate in truck from a man whom he did not know, two years before ; that he had no receipt ; that he did not know what brand was on her when he got her, but that he put his own brand on her, and that he was sure to get out of this trouble, as the mare would be forthcoming, and he knew where she was ; that he had sold her to a man named Whitfield ; prisoner did not tell witness he had lost her for two years.

By Mr. Purefoy : Witness had a good recollection ; his memory was as good now as when he was before the magistrates. [The witness’s deposition was then put in and read.] Witness thought he did tell the magistrates that the prisoner told him he had sold the mare to Whitfield, and that he knew where she was, although it was not so stated in his deposition.

William Walker deposed that he lived at the McDonald River, and that in February Whitfield came to his place about a mare he had lost, and that about a fortnight after Mr. Quinlin came ; while about a fortnight before either came the prisoner was at his place, but he could remember nothing particular about either.

John Barnes deposed that he knew Mr. Quinlin’s mare, having broken her in three or four years ago, since which she had been sold two or three times ; at the latter end of February or beginning of March witness saw a black mare, which he then and still believed to be the same, standing m a blacksmith’s shop at Tamworth, but witness did not see the brand, and only the hind quarters of the mare.

Mr. Smith was recalled to repeat from recollection the prisoner’s statement, and the written statement was handed up to refresh his memory. Mr. Purefoy objected that no parole evidence was admissible when the same matter was contained in a written document, present in court, but not eligible in itself. The court overruled the objection, on the ground that the document was only to be used to refresh the witness’s memory, and that parole evidence of the statement was admissible ; but at the request of Mr. Purefoy, his Honor made a note of the objection. Mr. Smith then deposed that the prisoner first made a statement that he had obtained the mare as a legacy from some man whom he named who had died on the road near Scone ; Mr. Bligh, however, one of the sitting magistrates, told the prisoner he knew this was incorrect ; on this prisoner said that he got the mare from a man named McDonald, and that he lost her on the McLeay River about two years ago ; that about seven weeks before that day (the 7th April) he had found her hobbled at Armidale, apparently having been hard ridden.

Grady was recalled, and examined by Mr. Purefoy : Witness saw prisoner on the Thursday previous to his meeting with Mr. Smith; prisoner was then suffering from a bad leg, at Mr. Levy’s, at Tamworth; witness was not certain when the prisoner got the kick from the horse.

Mr. Purefoy addressed the jury for the defence. He could not see what portion of the evidence could satisfy their minds that the mare sold by the prisoner to Whitfield was the same mare that was lost by Quinlin ; the prisoner’s conduct was altogether inconsistent with the idea of his having dishonestly come by the mare. The jury, before they could find him guilty, must be satisfied not only that the mare was the same, but that it was the prisoner who stole it. The brands and marks, as described by the various witnesses, were altogether irreconcilable with the idea of its being the same mare, and if she were, and the prisoner knew that she was stolen, was it not utterly improbable he would hand her over for use to the mail-driver, where every day she would run the risk of being recognised. The learned gentleman then went through the evidence.

The Solicitor General replied.

His Honor having summed up, the jury retired for about ten minutes, and returned with a verdict of guilty. Sentence deferred.

Written by macalba

October 26, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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The Great Northern Railway Extensions

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Tuesday 19 April 1881, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

(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.

Written by macalba

October 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm

The Postal System in the Interior (or Don’t Ever Complain of The Slow Internet Again)

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Saturday 6 November 1852, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

Sydney News


(From a Correspondent of the Empire.)

That more complaints have been made during the past season, on account of irregular deliveries of letters and newspapers sent by post, is no new theme, but none have entered particularly into the various causes which have occasioned these irregularities. They may be classified as under –

The impaired slate of the highways.
Successive floods.
Country postmasters' negligence.
Remissness of mail contractors.

These have all been assigned singly, severally, or altogether, as incontrovertible reasons why the most unexampled uncertainty prevailed as to the time when her Majesty’s mails would be delivered at their proper places, or whether indeed they would be ever delivered at all.

On the first head, there can be no difference of opinion, that the public roads are annually becoming worse. . By one defect, the want of drainage, they are now so cut up by torrents of water pouring down from the higher grounds that scarcely saddle horses can get over in numerous places, where the trenches are excavated a yard deep, and draymen stand aghast by the sides of the gaping ditches. It is feared that the Internal Communication Committee will have still a harder task before them, ere they can get the public roads in a passable condition for the public accommodation. In fact three fourths of the northern roads are so bad that it is almost impossible that they can get much worse. On the second head, successive flooding of the rivers, much might be said.

This excuse in general for delays ought not to he admitted in the same way as bad roads. The roads cannot be readily or easily repaired, but the delays at flooded rivers ought to be provided for by the Postmaster General or by the Executive Government.

On the Northern Road, we have the Hunter at Singleton and at Aberdeen : why not keep boats there to be ready for emergencies ? Next we are pulled up on our travels inland, by the deep and narrow Peel. A bridge could be laid over this frequently flooded stream at no great expense, sufficient for the conveyance of men and horses at all times and on all occasions, if not drays. When we have waded safely through the Peel, the mighty McDonald, prime source of the Namoi, pulls us up at Bicknell’s. A boat ! a boat ! twenty pounds for a boat.’ has been shouted many a time by travellers in greater haste by far than the post man – but all in vain. A bridge which would span the Peel could not reach more than half-way over the McDonald, so -boat, ahoy ! if you please, Messieurs the Ministry, and we will cheerfully pay sixpence for our passage, yea, a shilling, it you will be quick only, and don’t keep us waiting. The ugly hole at Salisbury, and crossing at Gostwyck on the same creek, could be avoided by sending the mails via Kentucky and Mr. McCrossin’s Inn, on the Rocky River – by-the-bye, a road much nearer, and far better, and with no dangerous interruptions at all until arrival at Armidale, the capital of New England. From thence northward to Warwick and Brisbane the natural impedimenta are small indeed. The miserable, boggy, Boyd’s Creek, at Beardy Plains, and the large Yarrowford (the Sovereign), could be bridged at little cost. In fact from Maitland to Moreton Bay, there are found only four great obstructions from casual floods, and these stand first in the list, viz. : The Hunter’s two crossings, the Peel, and the McDonald. All nations have provided means of communication from head quarters to all parts of their dominions. The Peruvians had their bridges of hide, and, in the Himalaya Mountains, conveyance across furious torrents by means of ropes are said to have been constructed. The Chinese made bridges over gulfs from mountain to mountain. But we Australians are the most lukewarm set of folks on the face of the earth ; and like the squatters, are only famous for grumbling, suffering, and doing nothing towards obtaining redress of our grievances; aye ready to cry, what are the Legislative Council doing ? but do not bestir ourselves to strengthen the hands of our representatives ; so do a precious deal less, and matters drag on, or may stick altogether if they please, and men just wonder what detains the mails and there’s the conclusion – the expression of wonder and a sort of guttural growling byway of mental relief, like a steam-boiler escape valve.

Country postmasters are generally a very respectable body of men. There may be exceptions, extra fines, in all senses of the term ; but it is difficult to please every body – impossible; so more blame is laid to their doors than can be called just or fair on the whole. Without entering into the subject of responsibilities required of them to despatch the mailbags when the contractors fail in their duties, from what they consider perilous adventure, with permission, gentlemen, let us advert to one very common subject of complaint – the non-delivery or too frequent loss of newspapers to country subscribers. In most instances you ought to be exculpated ; the fault usually lies not with you.

Whatever chaffing may be found in the contents or insides of these newspapers amongst themselves, it amounts to nothing compared to the chafing the outsides sustain against one another, when shaken, jolted, rubbed, squeezed, jammed, rough-ridden upon the backs of hard trotting brutes of horses, from Tamworth to Tenterfield, and from thence to Gayndah, or some such outlandish place, at the rate of eight miles an hour; the postboys whistling along, unthinking of the messes they are making ; nor care they a straw about it, their sole anxiety resting on doing their given distance in given times. The consequences may be anticipated.

So much chafing has reduced the frail thin covers, and their superscriptions to chaff, and considerable portions of the newspapers in addition. The distinctions of meum and tuum have become indistinguishable. The Herald fails to announce its rightful owner, nor can the Empire recognise its true subjects. The People’s Advocate cannot advocate its own cause ; and the Freeman’s Journal may be free to any one. A subscriber to the Advocate, residing on the Darling Downs, reported that he had received five papers in three months, and another expressed his satisfaction that he had better luck than many of his neighbours by getting half the numbers of the Maitland Mercury, when others obtained about one-fourth. Many persons must ride twenty, thirty, fifty miles, and back again, in the bush, to their nearest post-offices for letters, &c. A newspaper in the far interior is a god-send, to let the solitaries domiciled there understand what the world is doing, and what are the prices of wool, tallow, sheep, and bullocks, flour, sugar, tea, salt, soap, and labour. Bushmen are not famous for possessing the virtue of patience. When told that there has been no post – no papers for the last month, they anathematise all concerned, from the Printer’s Devil to the Postmaster-General-wish them in warmer quarters than shall be at present expressed, but may be understood, and gallop away, swearing, the vagabonds, that they will give up their newspapers henceforth and for evermore, and many keep their words.

The remedial means in this case are very simple. Besides the usual address on the cover, let the names and residences of the parties interested be written upon the newspapers themselves, in the same way as are done with papers to and from Britain, and there will be little cause of complaint on the score of missing newspapers in future.

Written by macalba

October 23, 2010 at 8:06 pm

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