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Governor visits Walcha and Uralla

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Tuesday 3 May 1938, The Sydney Morning Herald


First Visit to Walcha.


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.


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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From the Uralla and Walcha Times

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Saturday 3 November 1888, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General


(Uralla and Walcha Times, Oct. 31).

One day last week Miss Morcom, the teacher of the Maitland Point Public School, wag the heroine of an adventure with a brown snake which shows that the young lady possesses other qualifications besides those of teaching the juvenile idea how to germinate. It seems that Miss Morcom’s charges were enjoying their regulation play, when her watchful eye detected a brown snake gliding swiftly towards one of the juveniles. Miss Morcom took in the situation at once, and, with an exhibition of courage that does her credit, armed herself with a stick, and by accurate blows managed to despatch, the venomous reptile, which contained several young ones, all in a lively state [Miss Morcom is a daughter of Mrs. Morcom, of Vacy, Paterson River, and we echo the statement of the local paper that she is a credit to the district from which she hails.]

The sad surroundings attending the death of the young man Arthur Watkins, particulars of which were given in our last issue, have been intensified by the death of the father in the Armidale Hospital on Thursday last, seven days after his son’s end in the same institution. It does not often occur to a country newspaper to have occasion to chronicle the deaths of a father and son – the bread-winners of a poor family – within the space of a few days, and we trust that the claims of this peculiarly melancholy case will not be ignored by those of our readers who, as property owners or having fat incomes, may be living in luxury. The remains of the father, who for many years had been a valuable employé in the family of the late Mr John McCrossin, were interred in the Uralla cemetery on Saturday afternoon last.

Mr. Joseph Paul, who has represented D. Cohen and Co., of West Maitland, for so many years, was the victim of a most serious and very nearly fatal accident on Thursday evening last. Mr. Paul was proceeding in a buggy, drawn by a valuable horse, from Beverly to Bundarra, when on crossing the river, near the station, he unfortunately kept too far to the left, and with the vehicle and horse was thrown into ten feet of water. He used every exertion to save the animal, and was fully a quarter of an hour in the water, luckily having the buggy to stand on. When Mr. Paul found all efforts to save his horse were futile, he plunged into the stream, and with great difficulty, through being fully dressed, succeeded in reaching the bank in a very exhausted state.

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December 9, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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The Hanging Rock

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Tuesday 21 October 1856, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

These diggings, although not much spoken of, or attracting great attention, are not to be despised. The diggers are doing a quiet stroke, and pocketing their nuggets without making a fuss about it, with this advantage over the Rocky, that the work is neither so laborious nor the sinking such a depth. The gold being sent by the mail, or by private parties, no accurate amount of the weekly produce can be arrived at.

We are in receipt of the following letter from the Rocky, from our townsman, Mr. Levien, which fully confirms the information as to Sawpit Gully:

To the Editors of the Maitland Mercury.

Dear Sirs – It is with much satisfaction that I advise your numerous subscribers, through the medium of your journal, of the discovery of a very rich tract of auriferous land at a place called Sawpit Gully; it is situated to the right of Mount Jones about one mile, and appears to be a continuous “lead” of the mountains already worked. The diggings in question am at present only bottomed in the gully, but holes are going down in the mountains on either side, where it is supposed the shafts will require an average depth of 55 feet. The prospects in the gully claims are excellent, yielding 2 to 4 dwts to the dish, but it would not be advisable for diggers to come up purposely for this spot, as there must be over 2000 claims already marked out, and before they could arrive it would be impossible to to get at all near the desired locality. My own impression is, this rush will prove superior to either Mount Jones or Mount Welsh, and so very sanguine are all here of success that four stores are already going up, and application has been made to the Commissioner for permission to remove one public house and leave to erect another. If any of your readers are acquainted with the Armidale road if will be sufficient to say that the place is about two miles from “The Barley Fields,” to the left, going towards Armidale, from Mr. Samuel McCrossin’s Inn. There are beautiful specimen’s of quartz in the mountain – one of which I forwarded last post to Mr. L W. Levy – and also a sample of the gold, which appears exceedingly bright and pure.

Sydney Flat, a continuation of this lead, is also spoken of as proving equally rich. I cannot learn the truth of this rumour now, but you may calculate on the earliest intelligence if it proves – as I hope – a fact.

I should have advised you of the rush to Sawpit Gully last post, but refrained from doing so until the claims were in some measure worked to prove the many idle rumours at first afloat as to the richness of the digging. All I can now say is, I have personally conversed with at least one hundred of the diggers, and all substantiate the above.

I see some correspondent, in one of the journals, blames the Commissioner, and says he is seldom seen. This is not true. The Gold Commissioner’s quarters are certainly badly selected, and now this new rush has been made, must be altered, as he is placed at least three miles from the civilised portion of the diggers, his only companions being the Chinese and the cockatoos. We want him in the midst of us; but I can certainly bear witness to his exertions and to his most courteous and gentlemanly conduct to the diggers indiscriminately.

The Escort starts to-morrow for Sydney. I think there will be a still larger amount of gold than by last escort go down this trip. The next shall show the advantage of the new rush.

I sincerely hope my suggestion, that a practical geologist may be sent here, will be taken into consideration. It is spoken of that emeralds, ruby, sapphire, garnet, and other stones – antimony, and other minerals – are here. Much labour might be saved by the knowledge of the science, and further discoveries in valuable products made known; thus developing the resources of the colony, and by degrees assisting in emancipating us from the name of colonists to that of a mighty nation. Individuals would give a trifle to hear of a rich claim, why not our Government !

I am, dear sirs, yours faithfully,


Rocky River Diggings, Oct. 14, 1856.

P.S. – Immense rain has fallen this last few days. I think the heaviest hour’s rain I ever saw was on Tuesday last, and yesterday it rained all day very violently at times. I have now been here three months, and it has rained almost every second day since I arrived. The roads are described as fearful about Kentucky, and I have no doubt they are so.

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November 10, 2010 at 8:06 pm

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Power blackout fear

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Friday 27 January 1950, The Sydney Morning Herald

Sequel To Strike

Power blackouts are likely in many country towns because the strikebound Shell Company has had to stop all deliveries of diesel oil and petrol.

Ninety per cent of country power-stations depend entirely on the company for their supplies of diesel fuel.

Ploughing in some country districts may also be affected by a shortage of power kerosene.

All deliveries of petroleum products by the company stopped at noon yesterday, as a result of a strike by members of the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Association at the Clyde refinery] and Gore Bay ocean terminal.

Oil industry authorities said last night that other companies would not have the transport or storage facilities to serve Shell customers in the country.

The New England County Council has 5,000 gallons of diesel oil in stock. This will be exhausted in two weeks.

Armidale, Uralla, and Walcha will then be blacked out unless new supplies reach Armidale.


The N.S.W. manager of the Shell Company of Australia Ltd., Mr. Douglas Fell, said last night that a shortage of chemical solvents would affect production in some city factories.

Factory managers said yesterday that the stoppage of Shell deliveries would not immediately affect production in their plants. Many factories have large stocks of fuel oil and petrol.

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November 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm

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Shocking stuff

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Monday 7 December 1857, The Sydney Morning Herald

(From the Armidale Express, 28th November.)

THUNDERSTORMS. – On Friday night (20th) several thunderstorms passed over or skirted this township. The lightning was remarkably vivid, especially about midnight, when the flashes followed each other in an almost continuous discharge. We had a seasonable supply of rain through these squalls, and the crops were immediately improved in appearance. About dusk the electric fluid struck a post adjoining Mr. Walter Neil’s cottage, near the racecourse. The doors of the house were open at the time, but whether the lightning entered and was guided through by the draft, or came down direct upon the post, is not known, the flash having nearly blinded the inmates, and the thunder deafened them. The post, which was split up into fragments and scattered about by the shock, had been used as a prop for a clothes line. It had a flat top, and had no metal upon it. We are also informed that during the same squall, but at an earlier hour, a bevy of nine chickens were killed by lightning, at Uralla, whilst the hen, which was in the centre of the brood, escaped, and was afterwards endeavouring to rouse up its dead charge. On Monday evening last, another heavy thunderstorm passed over Tilbuster, whilst its southern wing gave a copious fall of rain during the brief space of ten minutes. The wheat crop near the town looks well, but more rain is required for maize planting, the time for which will soon be past.

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October 27, 2010 at 8:05 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

Bergen Op Zoom Creek bridge opened

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Friday 16 October 1936, The Sydney Morning Herald

WALCHA, Thursday.

The bridge over Bergen Op Zoom Creek, three miles from Walcha, on the main Uralla Armidale road, was officially opened yesterday afternoon by Mr. Newell, of the Main Roads Department, after the Mayoress (Mrs. Hargrave) had cut the ribbon. The bridge is of concrete, and cost £3654. The contractor was Mr. L. G. Bucknell, and the bridge was completed well inside the contract time. It consists of five spans, each 23ft, and two spans each 17ft 6in, making a total length of 152 feet, the width of the deck being 20 feet.

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October 20, 2010 at 8:05 pm

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