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The Dynamite Tragedy at Uralla.

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The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, Friday 11 Sep 1896

The Dynamite Tragedy at Uralla.

On Tuesday forenoon Coroner Roman held an inquest as to the cause of death of Raymond Duncombe, the victim of the sickening dynamite explosion. The jury having viewed the body, the following evidence was taken.

Constable Clark stated: On Sunday afternoon, 6th inst., between 2 and half past 2, from information, I went to John McGinty’s house, Armidale-street, and there saw Raymond Duncombe lying on a bed suffering from wounds, which I believe to have been caused by some explosive; then examined the lad, and found a large T-shaped wound in the abdomen; the stomach and portions of the intestines were protruding; the left hand was blown off at the wrist, and the forefinger of the right hand shattered below the knuckle; he was bleeding very much ; he had some slight abrasions on the face; Dr. Williams arrived, and took deceased in charge as medical attendant; then Dr. Pring came and assisted Dr. Williams ; I produce a complete dynamite detonator, which was found where I was told the accident occurred; this morning I identified the body of Raymond Duncombe, the subject of this inquest; I now produce a piece of jagged metal like copper, handed me by one of the doctors, which was taken from deceased’s body.

Clarence Faint stated: I am eight years old; live with my mother and father; know a place called Lynch’s, near my father’s place; our yard is divided by one fence from it; I remember last Sunday afternoon; left my home about not a minute after dinner, and went into a closet in Lynch’s yard; my brother Garnet was with me; when I got there I found a tin with some brass things in it—like a blacking-tin—up in the brick wall; some of the bricks were out, and the tin was in one of the holes; the things I found in the tin were similar to the caps produced, only not bent; eight were in the tin; then I gave one to our baby, who was with us ; then left the closet and went into the bushes near the Church of England schoolhouse; Garnet, my brother, went with me; saw Ray Duncome there, and he said, “Give them to me,” and I said,” ” I won’t unless you give me something for them; he said, “I won’t give you anything for them,” and he took them from me; my brother had a pocketknife, and Ray took it from him, and he held six cartridges in his hand and a seventh in his finger and thumb ; this last one he was picking with a pocketknife, and it went off like a gun; then I could not see, but felt pains on my face, like stones hitting me in the face; for a time I was blind; then I went home; have seen the dead body of Ray Duncombe down at Mr. Duncombe’s.

William Faint also gave similar evidence.

Dr. M. P. Williams stated: Am a duly qualified medical practitioner at Uralla; I was called on Sunday afternoon last, about half past two, to the residence of Mr. J. McGinty, Armidale-street, Uralla; I saw Ray Duncombe lying on a bed; his left hand was off at the wrist, and his right forefinger was shattered to the second joint; he had a large T-shaped lacerated wound (external) in the abdomen; through this wound portion of the stomach and intestines protruded; shortly after Dr. Pring arrived; we replaced the stomach and intestines after cleaning them; we then sewed up the wound; had a consultation and decided that the boy was too much collapsed owing to injuries to further operate on the hands; we decided to operate on the hands at 10 a.m. next day, providing the condition of the lad could bear it; in the meantime Dr. Wigan was sent for by me to assist in the operation; on the following morning Drs. Wigan, Pring, and myself removed the forearm bone up to about 3in. above the wrist, and the remainder of the forefinger of the right hand; the three of us visited the patient again about two in the afternoon, and Dr. Pring and myself showed Dr. Wigan the wound in the abdomen and then re-dressed it; on going up again at 7 p.m. Dr. Pring informed me that the child had died; have seen the body of Ray Duncombe as he now lies; the piece of jagged copper metal now produced was found in the wound of the abdomen, and handed by me to Constable Clark ; when we returned the stomach and intestines to the abdomen, there was a quantity of blood internally ; I attributed death to collapse, shock, and loss of blood occasioned by injuries which he had received.

James Stuart Duncombe stated: Am a butcher residing in Uralla; have seen the dead body the subject of this inquest, and identify it as that of my son Raymond ; his age was 10½ years; his death occurred at about 6 o’clock yesterday evening; I was present when he died; he left no property.

Senior-constable Harris stated: This morning I forwarded a telegram to the Hillgrove police, requesting them to see a man named Robert Burns, who had formerly occupied the house referred to as Lynch’s house, and to ascertain from him whether he or his father-in-law (whose name is Fry) had ever left any dynamite detonators in or about a closet belonging to the premises; to this I received a wire in reply, and which reads—”Re your wire Robert Burns states that about 8 months ago his father-in-law put some dynamite caps in a tin box on the brickwork of the closet referred to; may have been forgotten.”

This being the evidence, the jury returned this verdict:—”We find that Ray mond Duncombe met his death from injuries received by dynamite caps accidentally exploded by himself. We also wish to say if there is no restriction placed upon them by law, we desire to protest against their being left about in a careless manner,”

—Times.

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April 30, 2018 at 2:17 pm

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Fell in front of locomotive

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The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Friday 24 August 1906

A STRANGE RAILWAY FATALITY.

SYDNEY, Thursday. James McHugh, an hotelkeeper at Uralla, was killed at the Armidale railway station to-day. He missed the mail train, and went to sleep by the fire in one of the station rooms. At 2 o’clock this morning an official woke him up in order that he might go on with a special train. McHugh ran on to the platform and fell on to the rails. He was knocked down by the engine and killed.

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September 13, 2011 at 8:09 am

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Alleged Rich Gold Reef in the Uralla District

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Tuesday 23 July 1889, Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton)

GREAT excitement was occasioned in Uralla on Friday last in consequence of a report that an auriferous quartz reef, the stone from which was studded with gold, had been discovered in the Mihi Creek falls country, at a place known as Postman’s Point, about 30 miles from Uralla in an easterly direction. The alleged discovery turned out to be correct, the fortunate discoverers being two residents of Uralla, Messrs. G. McCrossin and Robson, who have been prospecting in the locality for some weeks past. The reef crops out from the surface for some distance, and small pieces of the stone, which is of a slaty character similar to that of Baker’s Creek and other Hillgrove reefs, have been tested; and the yield of gold is considered very good. When the news spread quite a rush set in to the locality (a portion of the eastern falls, the waters of which go to the Macleay River), and scores of residents of Uralla and the surrounding district, many of whom have pegged out near the prospectors’ claim, visited the spot as soon as the find was made known. The place where the reef is situated is on the borders of Cunderang and Enmore runs, in exceedingly rocky and broken country, the exact counterpart of that at Kookrabookra and Hillgrove ; and many of those who have visited the place are sanguine that, as the locality becomes thoroughly prospected, it will no doubt develop into a rich quartz-reefing centre. It certainly has a likely look at present, and it is to be hoped that the new find will turn out another Bonanza. The nearest route to Postman’s Point is by way of Uralla, Gostwyck, and Enmore, the track being good to the latter place ; from this to the new rush (about 12 miles) the road is rough and broken. The locality is a regular wilderness, and those going there must take rations and tents. It is situated in the Uralla mining district, and in consequence of the discovery the Mining Registrar (Mr. Garland) has during the past few days been literally besieged by applicants for miners’ rights and leases. A good many people are already camped at the place, the country being dotted in all directions with tents. Here it may be said that the locality has for years past been regarded as auriferous, alluvial gold having been worked at Boro Creek and other places in the falls country. It is stated that the reef discovered by Messrs. McCrossin and Robson has been traced for a considerable distance down the falls, and the prospectors and others believe they have a good thing in hand. The find was made by pure accident, whilst the prospectors were resting after a search among the rocky spurs.

The following applications for leases have been posted up at the Court House :- A. A. Dangar, 10 acres, county Sandon, parish Meregalah, on left bank of Postman’s Creek; J. D. McLennan and party, 15 acres; Rainey Mackay and party, 15 acres ; J. T. McCrossin and party, 15 acres; C. McL. Marsh and party, 15 acres ; J. Burraston and party, 15 acres ; John Rogerson and party, 10 acres ; G. H. Robson and party, 15 acres ; George McCrossin and party, 20 acres; T. Doyle and party, 15 acres.; J. Miller and party, 15 acres; Wm. Thorley and party, 15 acres; K. Finlayson and party, 15 acres (these applications adjoin). From this it can be seen that intending claim holders have taken time by the forelock, and are determined to be in the. swim. It has been somewhat difficult to get at the facts through the conflicting reports in circulation, but the above may be accepted as the main truths associated with the discovery. Whether it will merge into a New Eldorado, time alone will show ; but both Adelaide and Melbourne speculators who are now in quest of palatable things in the quartz-reefing line, and whose appetites have been tickled by the developments at Kookrabookra and Baker’s Creek, are said to be very anxious to take part in the boom at Postman’s Point; indeed, it is reported that a good round sum has already been offered for a block intersecting the supposed golden stone. It is intended by the prospectors to thoroughly test their ground at once.

-Walcha Times.

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April 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm

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Uralla. A New England Wool Town

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Saturday 8 December 1928, The Brisbane Courier

By Our Special Representative.

Uralla, situated at an altitude of 3337ft. above sea level, derives its wealth mostly from wool, although the granite and volcanic soils are favourable for the growing of English fruits. Uralla is about 400 miles from Brisbane on the direct route between the Queensland capital and Sydney.

THE first business premises of this New England wool town were established In the early ‘fifties, and since then the township has grown to considerable dimensions. The present population is about 400, and the community is municipally governed. Very keen interest is manifested in Brisbane and its markets, the main line from Sydney to Brisbane carrying much produce, other than wool, to the Northern market. One illustration of the gaze northwards is a big sign at the entrance to the town setting out that the “Brisbane Courier” may be purchased at the local newsagent’s.

EARLY DISCOVERIES.

Uralla and its contiguous district were discovered by Oxley in 1818, when he was journeying across the southern portion of the New England Tableland towards the coast. The great explorer wrote of the country as beautiful park lands, and to-day the same apt description holds good, for the open forest has been preserved to a great extent in its natural timbered state, wholesale timber destruction not being adopted. The early explorations and discoveries led to an influx of colonists, and notable developments took place in the early ‘thirties. Squatters came forward during these years from the Hunter, including H. C. Collins, who took up the Walcha run, Edward Gostwyck Cory, who took up Gostwyck. Terrible Vale was taken up later. It is rather difficult to follow the actual trend of settlement, or how each squatter worked out his destiny in the shuffle and reshuffle of boundaries. William Dangar took up a run in the same area, and the executors of his descendants’ estate still administer the affairs of Gostwyck. Probably Cory altered his boundaries or sold to Dangar. At all events both family names are now part and parcel of the Uralla district, landmarks and localities bearing their names. Other settlers followed-men of all ranks and professions trying their luck. There came a time of pastoral depression, both land and stock becoming almost valueless. Permanent improvements took the place of haphazardness when the 1847 leasehold system of tenure was enacted, and real settlement commenced. The sour nature of some of the country has been overcome, and the improvement in the breeding of sheep has helped considerably to minimise the severity of the winters. The advance of white settlement gradually caused the depredation by natives and the raiding by bushrangers to cease, and steady development took place up to the present. The call for closer settlement has been so insistent that the big holdings have become shrunken in comparison to their former proportions, but the move has been good, and the small men have made great strides.

MINING.

The Uralla district also has played its part in the production of gold. The Rocky River field was discovered about the ’50’s, and 538 licenses for mining were issued in 1853. When the search was at fever heat about 5000 persons were on the field. In the first 16 years 118,824oz. of gold were won, of the value of £467,293. These figures were taken from the official escort returns, and do not include parcels taken away by individuals. Up to the present the gold won from the Rocky River field amounts to nearly three quarters of a million sterling. Another field, known as the Melrose, was opened in 1889, samples of ore returning lloz. to the ton. It is claimed that payable gold exists in this area, but requires modern methods to properly work it.

FRUIT.

In a country with a climate such as is enjoyed at Uralla the possibilities of agriculture in many branches are evident, and the granite and volcanic soils favour the cultivation of English fruits. It would not be correct to say that the district is free from pests, but they are under organised control, and are a minor trouble compared with some other fruit areas. In addition to fairly extensive fruit production by private enterprise, there is a group of ex-soldier settlers at Kentucky, some 10 miles from Uralla. Passing through their settlement one notes that success has been attained. The homes are comfortable, the orchards well kept, and an air of content is general. Brisbane is a market for much of the Kentucky fruit, which is always in great demand on account of its clean and healthy state.

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March 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm

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Prospector’s claim

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Monday 28 January 1935, The Sydney Morning Herald

URALLA, Sunday.

Mr. Jack Thompson, a prospector, who formerly worked on the Melrose field (a “rush” that took place nearly 50 years ago) asserts that he has again found the reef, and that it averages 15dwt of gold to the ton. The reef is in the gorge country, 900ft down. He has applied to the Mines Department for assistance in installing a treatment plant.

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March 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm

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A Wright Wedding

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Wednesday 26 October 1960, The Australian Women’s Weekly

SIR BERNARD CROFT, Bt., and Lady Croft will entertain at their home, “Salisbury Court,” Uralla, after the wedding of their daughter Margaret to David Wright, of “Wallamumbie,” Armidale, at St. John’s Church, Uralla, on December 3. They’re hoping for good weather so that the reception can be held in the garden. Margaret will be attended by her sister-in-law, Mrs. Owen Croft, Frances White of “Bald Blair”, Guyra, Mary Thompson, of Neutral Bay, and youthful maids, her sister, Camilla Croft, and six year-old Anne Weaver, of “Prospect,” Spring Ridge.

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March 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm

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Governor visits Walcha and Uralla

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Tuesday 3 May 1938, The Sydney Morning Herald

LORD WAKEHURST.

First Visit to Walcha.

ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME.

WALCHA, Monday

The Governor, Lord Wakehurst, accompanied by the Minister tor Education, Mr. Drummond, and Captain Harding, aide-de-camp, visited Walcha this morning. The day was beautifully fine and warm.

The Vice-regal party was met on the outskirts of the town by a troop of Light Horse under Lieutenant E. Lisle, and escorted into Walcha, where morning tea was served.

A welcome was extended by the Mayor Alderman T. C. Bath, and the shire president. Councillor R. C. Noakes. Both speakers expressed the pleasure that the people felt at the visit of Lord Wakehurst, who is the first Governor to visit Walcha.

Lord Wakehurst, who was received with cheers, expressed the delight it gave him to visit this part of the State. He thanked the mayor and shire president, for their kind words of welcome and professions of loyalty to the King. He apologised for the absence of Lady Wakehurst, who, he said, had had 10 strenuous days in connection with 150th Anniversary celebrations. He pictured the difficulties of the pioneers in crossing the mountains and the wonderful achievements since accomplished. He spoke of the advantages of freedom and the unity of the people of the British Empire now woven into a fabric which he believed to be indestructible. (Cheers).

Mr. Drummond, who moved a vote of thanks, said that Walcha was noted for its loyalty, but the present gathering gave further proof of its intense loyalty to the Governor.

The party visited the hospital and inspected returned soldiers under Sergeant Harrison, nurses, Junior Red Cross, school children under Mr. Foley, and Scouts under Mr. Cecil Macdonald. The Scouts gave a display of first-aid and ambulance work. A picnic arranged by the Shire Council took place at Apsley Falls. The Governor granted the school children a holiday and sports were held in the park.

VISIT TO URALLA.

URALLA, Monday.

Lord Wakehurst made his first, official visit to Uralla to-day. He was given a reception at Hampden Park beside the Memorial Gates by a large number of citizens, including 530 children representing the various schools. The Governor was welcomed by the Mayor, Alderman Ferris, and the shire president, Councillor Shanahan.

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December 15, 2010 at 8:03 pm

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