Old news from Armidale and New England

Local news from newspaper archives

Posts Tagged ‘walcha

Discovery and Early Pastoral Settlement of New England (part 3)

leave a comment »

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 2)

leave a comment »

The Scone Advocate (NSW: 1887-1954), Tuesday 3 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. 2).

With reference to the activity displayed by squatters about this time (1842) in the appropriation of the country lying generally to the north of the latitude of Armidale, Abington was first taken up by John Cameron, who was one of the first pioneers to come to New England. Some years later the property came into the hands of Henry and George Morse. Stonybatter was taken up by Tom Hall, of Dartbrook, and Beverley, first taken up by Allan McPherson, of Keera. It passed through many hands, eventually coming into those of Tom Cook, of Scone. Aberfoyle passed from Denny Day to Captain Pike, then to Walker, and Kangaroo Hills become the occupancy of William Dangar, whose agent had secured it on the advice of a local stockman named Joe Brooks. Falconer Plain was taken up by John Falconer for Donald McIntyre, and Guyra by the same man for Peter McIntyre. A bushranger named Cooney, from the Ballarat side, took up Cooney Creek, but when his identity was disclosed, he was hunted out of the district. Cooney was hanged in Sydney, and the run fell into the hands of Mr. Robertson. According to the “Government Gazette” of the time, the following were included among those to take up land between 1832 and 1839: Hamilton Collins Sempill (Walcha), Edward Gostwyck Cory (Salisbury Waters), A. A. Company (Nowendoc), H. Macdonald, (Bendemeer), Henry Dumaresq (Saumarez), J. Chilcott (Kentucky), William Dangar (Gostwyck, from E. G. Gory ) , William j Dumaresq (Tilbuster), William Frederick Cruickshanks (Mihi Creek), John Dow (Inglba, obtained from John McIvor), Allman brothers (Yarrowitch), J. Morse and T. Foule (Balala), Francis Forbes (Yarrowich), Robert M. Mackenzie ( Salisbury, from E . G. Gory), Edward George Clerk and John Rankin (Clerkness and Newstead), John Cameron (Abington), Alexander Campbell (Inverell), Donald McIntyre (Falconer), C. H. and W. F. Buchanan (Rimbanda), Henry Nowland (Guy Fawkes). It was in 1839 that Edward Denny Day came into possession of Aberfoyle. Others to take up land at the same time included Stephen Coxen, Gregory Blaxland, and Charles Windeyer. In 1843 the New England district, which hitherto embraced the Darling Downs, was limited on the north by the latitude of Wallangarra, but it extended southerly to the Manning River, easterly to Mount Sea View, and westerly to the western limits of the tableland. The Downs squatters included Colin Campbell, John Cameron, Patrick Leslie, and John Pike. It was about this time that the craze for land, which had induced men of all ranks and professions to try their luck in squatting, having run its course, was followed by probably the most serious depression the pastoral industry has experienced, and this depression was more apparent on the tableland, than elsewhere, owing to the great disabilities of transit and the adverse climatic conditions of the winter months. When stock became almost unsaleable, excepting for the tallow their carcasses yielded, the upland runs, as a matter of course, also became more or less valueless, and so much was this the case that at auction sales of bankrupt stock the purchaser was frequently given the rights of occupancy, if he so desired., With the authorisation of pastoral holdings in 1848, an opportunity was afforded of ascertaining the extent of many tracts of country taken up by individual holders. For instance, leaving their interests in the Hunter River and other districts, perhaps further south, out of it, the Dumaresq family, controlled approximately 175,000 acres, Morse and Toule 96,000, George Hall 76,000, Henry Dangar 48,000, and John McIvor 20,000. On their different runs, the Dumaresqs ran 31,000 sheep, as well as 3600 cattle. All areas ranged from 10,000 to 100,000 acres.

For a quarter of a century after its discovery by Oxley, New England remained practically unknown to the Government authorities in Sydney, and it was not until about the year 1846 that any serious attempt was made to acquire a geographical knowledge of it. In 1839, the Government learning of the rapid, progress of squatting on the northern tableland, took action with a view to the establishment of law and order in that region. The appointment of a Crown Lands Commissioner was accompanied by a notification defining the limits of the new district, which was vaguely described as bounded on the east by a line north from the top of Werrikimber Mountain, which is at the head of the Hastings River; on the south by a line west from the top of the same mountain to the Great Dividing Range; on the west by the western extreme of the Great Dividing Range, so as to include the tableland; and on the north the boundary is indefinite.” The name New. England (“Arrabald” by the aborigines), was given to this elevated region because of the similarity of its climatic conditions to those of Britain. . . . When the pioneer pastoralists of New England reached the tableland they found it a vast tract of well-watered woodland country, interspersed with numerous lightly-timbered patches of grassland, but the coarse and sour character of much of the pasturage, together with the inclement winters and the difficulty of access to the tableland from the east, south, and south-west, militated somewhat against permanent or at least perennial occupancy in its earlier stages. It was soon observed that the granite country on the west, and the basaltic ranges on the south and in other places, were unsuitable for the healthy maintenance of sheep all the year round, and especially in wet seasons. The early squatters on these two classes of country had, therefore, to abandon sheep to more suitable pasturage. Hence the frequent changes in occupancy which, being unrecorded, obscure much of the early history of pastoral settlement. All primary upland squattages were usually bounded by leading ridges, and embraced the valley or valleys lying between. They were briefly described as including all the land drained by the main stream and its tributaries. Later pioneers adopted, where practicable, a similar system of boundaries, but in many eases arbitrary lines limited adjoining runs, and the fixing of these lines frequently gave rise to disputes, in the settling of which there was then no jurisdiction, as stated or implied by Governor Gipps in his despatch of April 3, 1844. He writes: “Parties, originally, in taking up their runs were limited only by their own moderation, or by the pressure of other squatters on them, and it is this pressure of one squatter on another, and the disagreements which arose therefrom which in the year 1837 led to the first appointment of Crown Commissioners.” In an earlier despatch, dated September 28, 1840, the Governor describes the conditions under which squatters held their occupancies at that time. The extract runs: “Beyond the boundaries the country is roughly divided into districts in each of which there is a Commissioner of Crown Lands, who is the chief magistrate of it, and has under his control a small force of mounted constables, who, in order that they may be distinguished from the more regular mounted police of the colony, are called by the name of border police. . . . Beyond the limits of location land is neither sold nor let, but licenses are granted, at the discretion of the Crown Commissioners, for the occupation of such portions of land as may be desired by proprietors of stock, on each of which licenses a fee of £10 is payable annually, and an assessment under a local ordinance is levied on the stock depastured there. Each allotment of land for which a license is given is called a station, and the station may vary in extent from 5000 to 30,000 acres.” The troubles which beset pastoral pioneering, especially on the tableland, were many and varied. Apart from the ordinary discomforts of bush life as then experienced, the visits of bushrangers, the destruction of stock by aborigines, and the delinquencies of many of the assigned servants, were causes of annoyance and unrest, and occasionally the loss of life itself. The Legislative Council’s enactment of July 29, 1836, prohibiting the occupancy of ‘Crown lands beyond the “limits,” without first obtaining a license ior such purpose was, more or less, directly the result of petitions from pioneer squatters, who, under the authority of the Governor, had ventured beyond the “boundaries,” but were seriously handicapped by the depredations of lawless men, usually of the convict class. The following extract from a memorial to Governor Bourke portrays the trouble which pressed upon these pioneer pastoralists in this direction: “We beg leave to add our own personal knowledge of the fact that the interior of the colony is infested with gangs of cattle stealers and other disorderly persons, whose depredations are carried out to an alarming extent. These gangs consist of freed men, who have served short sentences, or those of long sentences holding tickets-of-leave, who combine with the assigned servants to plunder the herds of their masters. Many of these men are known to possess large herds of cattle, obtained in a very short time by a series of schemes for stealing them.” — Sydney “Herald,” April 11, 1836.

In reviewing the bushranging and other lawless acts incidental to the convict days, by aid of information gleaned from law court proceedings and Press narratives, etc., one can not fail to realise that “man’s in humanity to man” gave rise to many retaliatory offences of a more or less serious nature, which could readily have been averted. The earliest recorded instance of bushranging on the tableland occurred about the beginning of the year 1836 at Saumarez (Armidale). The bushrangers in this instance were absconders from the service of a few squatters who had established themselves on that portion of the tableland, but their misdemeanours appear to have been confined to robberies only. In the absence of correspondence from the tableland, news respecting the movements of bushrangers, or in fact any other movement, seldom reached the Sydney Press. Traditional tales, however, are numerous, but conflicting, and therefore unreliable. Of the more interesting cases reported, mention may be made of the Port Macquarie road-gang deserters, whose depredatory intentions on the tableland were nipped in the bud; and of Wilson, the leader of the gang that for several years terrorised travellers, chiefly along the Great Northern Road.

(To be continued in Friday’s issue).

Written by macalba

October 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Fires near Walcha.

leave a comment »

The Tamworth Daily Observer (NSW), Friday 5 March 1915


Disastrous Fires.

Hay Crop Destroyed.

(From our Correspondent.)

A disastrous fire took place at Messrs. Crawford Bros.’ Moona Plains Station, about midnight on Saturday, when the whole of their hay crop was mysteriously destroyed by fire, together with hay shed, saddles, harness, and adjoining sheds. The loss is estimated at between £300 and £400.

The property was uninsured.

At Walcha Road Mr. J. Burgess lost an old woolshed by fire. This, however, was caused by a bush fire.

At Winterbourne last week, Mr. E. Lisle’s house was burnt down. Mr. Lisle recently went to the front, and his brothers, living near, were keeping an eye on the property during his absence. When they came to get flour, etc., they found nothing but the brick chimneys standing. The residence was not insured.

Written by macalba

June 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Walcha revisited.

leave a comment »

Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), Tuesday 27 August 1889

Walcha Revisited.

(By the Tourist.)

The township of Walcha is about 330 miles north of Sydney, the railway running within twelve miles of it, viz., at Walcha-road where there is a station ; thence there is an excellent line of coaches to Walcha which meet each passenger train. This road has been opened since the railway has been made to New England. Formerly persons desirous of visiting Walcha had the choice of three roads, viz., via Bendemeer, Uralla, or Armidale. The latter was the only one from which there was a regular line of coaches, which also carried the mails ; now, however, all passengers and mails go over Walcha-road. The drive is a pleasant one of about twelve miles. I saw a large number of game of all kinds, and this must be a good place for sportsmen. On arriving at our destination I could see that great alterations and improvements had taken place during the last fifteen years, but strange to relate all the people who were in business then are still trading at this town. I put up at Moore’s New England Hotel — most comfortable quarters, and a most worthy host. There are several first-class hotels, viz., Bath’s Commercial, the Royal Walcha, Apsley, and Carriers’ Home. Mr. G. H. Erratt has recently erected splendid stores in lieu of the old ones formerly occupied by him. The design is novel but unique and characteristic of the owner. The other storekeepers are Messrs. M. J. Walsh, A. Mitchell, T.O.Hardaker, D. McDonald, J. Marshall; and John Love. There is a coach factory where vehicles of any description can be made and turned out in first rate style; this is carried on by W. K. Scott. There is also an extensive tannery, belonging to M. J. Walsh. This town can also boast of two saddlers’ and three blacksmiths’ shops. The banking interest is represented by the Commercial, who have recently erected a handsome brick building, which is an ornament to the town; while the A.J.S. have what they call a temporary place, which appears to be all signboard. The manager, however, is very popular, and says that it won’t be long before they have a building erected worthy of the place.

Walcha is one of the most sterling places in the north. Everyone appears to be well off. A solicitor can’t live there, and so peaceful and happy are its residents that the only legal business is an occasional transfer of land, not sufficient however, as Mr. Potts stated, to keep a legal adviser in the place, so that he packed up his traps and went to another town during my visit. This district is a grain producing one, and some of the finest samples of wheat have been grown. There are two flour mills, owned by Messrs. A. Mitchell and A. J. Walsh respectively, which are in anything like fair seasons kept in full work. Most of the stations and selectors obtain their supplies from these mills. The courthouse and police station are built on the hill at the northern end of the township, and are a really good pile of brick buildings, far in excess of the requirements of the place, according to the lawyer’s idea. The post and telegraph offices are very neat, built of brick, and afford excellent accommodation for the public. The churches of the Anglican, R. Catholic, and Presbyterian denominations are substantial buildings of brick and stone, the two latter having the greatest pretension to architectural design. The climate of Walcha is delightful at any season of the year, being clear and bracing, being one of the highest portions of the New England district. The local magistrates are: Messrs. J. Fletcher, J. E. Gill, G. H. Erratt, M. J. Walsh, A. Nivison, C. D. Fenwicke, T. Laurie, T. Crawford, T. B. Kermode, J. W. Duff, C. E. Blaxland, J. H. Head, E. Marriott, F. W. Thrum, P. Wright, and J. A. Nivison. The police magistrate from Armidale, who is also warden for the district, attends when required.

Walcha is one of the best pastoral districts in the colony, and is surrounded by large stations well stocked by either cattle or sheep, the principal of which are Ohio and Congi, A. Nevison, owner; Europambela, C. D. Fenwicke, owner; Waterloo, J. H. Head; Tiara, Edward Norton ; Tia, August Hooke; Moona Plains, Crawford Bros. ; Yarrawich, W. Nivison ; Surveyors’ Creek, J. Connell, jun. ; Abberbaldie, B. Kendall ; Mllurendi, James Scott; Orandunbi, J.Fletcher; Branga Plains, Thomas Fletcher ; Ingleba, J. Connell, sen. ; Walcha, G. R. Gill.

Numbers of selectors have found out the capabilities of this rich country, and have taken some good slices out of the various runs. The principal selectors holding from 1 to 10,000 acres are: W. and E. Livingstone, Jas. Steel, Jas. McGuffoy, Jas. McCormack, Thos. Crawford, John Gardener, David Green, Will Dodds, John Steer, and others.

The district abounds in minerals ; copper and iron being exposed freely on the surface in many places. Some twelve miles from Walcha the famous Glen Morrison exist. Why I call it famous is because some very rich patches of gold have been found there. The country is impregnated with auriferous reefs and leaders, which up to the present have never been properly worked. Now and again spasmodic efforts have been made to develop some of these reefs by small syndicates; but in most cases want of capital and proper machinery have resulted in the ground being abandoned. Several reefs — viz.. the Glen Morrison, Homeward Bound, North Star, Mountain Maid, Sleeping Beauty, Tia, and others — “that have names good enough to float a company on,” varying in width from 12in to 5ft, and giving fair results, yet they have not been worked continuously nor profitably. Mr. C. R. Manly, an experienced Californian and Victorian reefer, has taken the management, on behalf of a Sydney and Walcha company, of the Glen Morrison claim, and has a fine lot of machinery in transit to the mine, with which he states he will be able to overcome all difficulties, and return gold in sufficient quantities to satisfy all parties concerned. The reef is there, the gold is there in payable quantities, and with the machinery he has ordered he states he will make the mine dividend paying, and also prove the reefs of the whole field. “Well, here’s success old man ; I hope you may not be too sanguine in your expectations,” is a frequent toast given to Captain Manly.

My idea about the northern goldfields is that the reefs first outcrop at Stewart’s Brook, or the Dennison diggings, 35 miles from Scone, where some rich finds have been made ; but this old and rich goldfield has been sadly neglected, and is well worth the attention of miners. The next outcrop going north is at Nundle, then Hanging Rock, then Glen Morrison ; on then to Hillgrove, thence to Butcher’s reef, passing east of Glen Innes, outcropping again at Timbarra, Drake, and other places in the vicinity of Tenterfield. The peculiarity of the northern reefs are that after they leave Hanging Rock they widen out and become mixed with all sorts of base metals difficult to treat — such as arsenic, zinc, antimony, &c. Then also come in the silver, bismuth, tin, &c. ; while, as I have previously stated, iron and copper are found in many places in the New England district, the former, not payable on account of the low price at which it can be landed in the “pig” at Sydney, while the latter can only be worked profitably with cheap carriage, and when copper is being sold at a fair price. The fluctuation in the price of this metal cripples any company with small capital who cannot afford to hold for a market.

Written by macalba

May 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

News from Armidale, Feb. 1860

leave a comment »

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), Saturday 11 February 1860

(Abridged from the Armidale Express, February 4.)

The weather, &c. – Since our last impression the rule has been warm days and cool nights. We are informed that on Sunday and Monday mornings there was white frost a short distance from town, but the maize did not seem to be injured by it. On Thursday the weather broke slightly, with thunder, but, although refreshing, the rain was too small in quantity to ensure permanent advantage. On a solitary farm or two a few hands may yet be seen employed gathering in a remnant of the harvest, but generally this work has terminated for the present. The farmers’ staple crop is now safely housed and no longer liable to damage from the elements. Labour has been abundant, and many reapers were met during the harvest enquiring where they could find a job. At the commencement of harvest we were visited by a few showers, but the water-holes away from main creeks are nearly dried up and others stagnant. Heavy rain would be a general blessing, and probably save the maize crop.

Fruit – On a visit to Gara station, about 12 miles from Armidale, lately, we were much surprised at the abundance of fruit in the orchard, and very much gratified in partaking of a considerable quantity, by which we can speak conscientiously of its excellent flavour. With regard to plums and apples, in particular, we never witnessed such extraordinary yields, the branches bending in some instances to the ground and in others breaking off with their abundant burdens. The American blight is still a stranger to Gara orchard, and long may it remain so. It is singular that the cultivation of fruit trees is so seldom attended to as it should be in New England.

(From the Tamworth Examiner’s Correspondent.) Patrick Hynes, charged with stabbing Constable Manning at Walcha, was this day (Feb. 2nd) brought before the Police Magistrate, pursuant to remand. Manning was able to attend, and the whole of the evidence was gone into. Hynes is committed to take his trial at the next Armidale Quarter Sessions, but allowed bail. Manning is in a fearful state; he will feel the effects of this brutal attack for a long time to come.

Written by macalba

May 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Grey Crawford’s death

leave a comment »

The Port Macquarie News and Hastings River Advocate (NSW : 1882 – 1950), Saturday 12 November 1932



Since last writing from Walcha, two old identities have passed over to the great majority. Mr. Grey H. Crawford, of Moona Plains, son of the late Captain Crawford, well known horse and cattle breeders. The Crawford Brothers — Rowley being the surviving brother — are well-known throughout New England. Their station embraces the tributaries of the Macleay River, and a life-long acquaintance with pastoralists and breeders of large stock brought them into touch with graziers throughout the State. Honourable men, all of them, with lives extending over 80 years, their passing is a loss to the State.

Mr. Harry Costigan, another octogenarian, who, with his late wife, reared a large family at Yarrowitch, died a few days ago. A fine man, of military bearing, he was a lover of good music, and one of the pioneers when bush difficulties were not easily overcome.

The recent storms have provided green pasture for the summer.

Shearing is, proceeding throughout the district. The clip generally is light, but the wool is good and clean.

The lambing was only fair.

Written by macalba

April 29, 2013 at 8:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Occupation Licences

leave a comment »

Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW), Wednesday 26 December 1906


At Walcha on January 7 the local Crown land agent will offer for sale by public auction the right to an occupation licence of 55,820 acres, in the county of Vernon, and parishes of Kangaroo Flat, Loch, Styx, Mooraback, and Fitzroy. The land is lot No. 37, adjoining Cunderang R.A. 564, Cunderang East R.A. 585A, and Cunderang West R.A. 586A. It is thickly timbered; rough country, of poor grazing capacity. The block is about 32 miles from Walcha. The upset licence fee for each section of 640 acres is 6s 8d. A supply of water exists in McCarthy’s Creek.

Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW), Wednesday 4 September 1907


At Armidale on September 30 an occupation licence of 71,000 acres in the counties of Sandon and Vernon, and parishes of Merrigalah, etc., situated in “The Falls” country, and the resumed areas of Enmore and Cunderang, will be offered for sale by the Crown land agent. The annual upset licence fee per section of 640 acres is 2s 6d. The block has a good supply of water. The land, which is more or less inaccessible, with small flats near the watercourses, is about 20 miles from Walcha, 12 miles from Armidale, and 2 miles from Hillgrove.

Written by macalba

October 1, 2011 at 8:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Geological surveys; report from the camp at Walcha

leave a comment »

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Saturday 28 May 1853

Letter from the Rev. W. B. Clarke to the Honorable the Colonial Secretary, on the geological structure and auriferous condition of the country along the upper waters of the Namoi and Apsley Rivers.


Camp at Walcha,

28th December, 1852.

SIR—Since I last had the honor of addressing you, I have made the following journeys of exploration, viz.:—

1. From the junction of the Peel and Cockburn Rivers to the upper portion of the latter.

2. From my camp on the Cockburn, between Nimmengar and Brodie’s station, to the head of Moonbi Creek, and thence crossing the range of that name to Bendemeer.

3. From Bendemeer upwards along the Namoi (there called Muluerindie or Macdonald) to near Tara, at the junction of Congai Creek with the Namoi.

4. From Bendemeer to Balara, on “Carlyle’s Gully.”

5. From Carlyle’s Gully, through the bush, to Congai Creek, and across the “Dividing Range” to the eastern waters falling to the Apsley River.

6. From my camp, at the head of Bergen-op-Zoom Creek, to Walcha.

7. From Walcha to Waterloo and to the falls of the Apsley, and thence to the ranges between Stony Creek and Tiara Creek, which joins the Apsley in parallel channels.

8. From my camp above Stony Creek to Walcha

9. From Walcha to Tinker’s Falls, on Cobrabald Creek, and to the junction of that creek with the Namoi, crossing and re-crossing the “Dividing Range” at two points, separate eight miles from each other.

In these traverses many localities were visited out of the direct routes, though they are not named.

In these traverses I have been enabled to obtain full information as to the structure and conditions of a considerable tract of country, completing my exploration of an area of 2,400 square miles in the counties of Buckland, Parry, Inglis, Sandon, Vernon, and Hawes, and which comprehend the south-eastern portion of New England.

I have enumerated these separate lines of exploration because I wish to show that I have not contented myself with travelling along a high road, but have carefully worked out the country in the only way capable of unfolding its physical conditions.

(2.) I have now the honor of reporting, for the information of his Excellency the Governor General, what are the geological features of this tract, and its auriferous character.

The course of the “Main Dividing Range,” between the heads of the Page and Hastings River, is towards east 35° north; but about the latter point it trends to north 20° west, the continuation of those directions being marked by long spurs, which divide the waters falling from their intersection in the radiating channels that eventually join the Hunter, Manning, Hastings, Macleay, and Namoi.

Much of the “Dividing Range” and of these spurs is occupied by basalt, amygdaloid, and greenstone; the former distinguishes the range within the limits of the area now under discussion, and in consequence of the peculiar features frequently assumed by that variety of trap, the range itself becomes more regular in outline, presenting to the eye at a distance a flat table top summit, with but few prominent points above the general level, or with only slight undulations. It is, in fact, not distinguishable by any striking feature for miles at a time, and, in crossing it, it would almost be impossible to detect the anticlinal ridge without close observation, in consequence of the gentle character of the first falls of drainage. In this respect it differs from the character it assumes in the southern districts, where it is marked by culminating summits of great elevation which overlook the passes, and is, in consequence, of a bolder and wilder nature. But I have observed even here, where large tracts of well-wooded land or of open forest extend along the gentle declivities, or continue above the incipient drainages in extensive tracts of nearly equal elevation, the very same phenomenon which I have before mentioned as so strikingly illustrated between Maneroo and the coast; I mean the extremely narrow space which marks the actual division of the falls towards the east and the west, where these falls are nearest to each other. In one instance, between Walcha and Cobrabald Creek, an elevation of a few inches and a breadth of about two paces separates the waters of every shower that falls upon it into streams that pass off into channels which terminate on the one side, in the ocean near Smoky Cape, in the meridian of 150° east; and, on the other side, in the waters of Encounter Bay, in 139° east—an enormous separation, when the width and elevation above the sea of the actual line of division are taken into account.

(3.) I attribute this peculiar feature of the “Dividing Range” to the slowness of the process of elevation of such tracts from beneath the ocean, and the abrupt declivities of other localities along the range to more decisive and sudden paroxysms of the same process; and these, so different conditions of the case, serve to point out that interruption and partial delays, and unequal efforts of nature, took place in the disruption of the formations and in the outburst of the igneous masses that have produced the physical features of the “Cordillera,” and that, though now the elevated tracts of this continent are in a state of repose, in order to attain their present position, they must, through long periods of time, have been under the influence of various degrees of dynamical action, and subjected to the violence and gentle operations of the ocean according to circumstances. Where the upheaving, and consequently contrary depressing, forces were most intense, of which the igneous rocks of intrusion bear testimony, there will be found the most abrupt and broken declivities; but where these forces where of longer or gentler kind, and there the igneous rocks that occur appear to have flowed slowly, the character of the surface is correspondingly of a less marked and gentler aspect.

(4.) These correlative phenomena distinctly point out the great dependence of what is called natural scenery upon geological conditions, and the value of the pursuits of the geologist to the aspirer after eminence in some departments of the arts. The ordinary admirers of the wild or beautiful in the external landscape seldom, perhaps, understand, that it is with the causes that have produced or modified the gracefulness or sublimity of such scenes that geology is conversant; and many an artist fails in his attempts to imitate nature, because he does not perceive that, to become creator in art, he must necessarily obtain some insight into the laws by which what is called nature has been produced. No where, I imagine, could a student in art or nature obtain more useful aids to his invention than in contemplating the varied surface and slopes, the gorges and valleys, that adorn the narrow but important “Cordillera” of Australia. Having crossed and re-crossed it in no less than sixteen points throughout its undulating course, between the latitudes 31° and 36°, I cannot but pronounce it as interesting to the lover of the picturesque as it is instructive to the geological explorer.

(5.) The principal formations that produce the great diversity in the scenery and composition of the southern end of the “New England Table Land,” have been incidentally mentioned in my former reports. It is necessary now to lay before his Excellency a connected, though necessarily brief, account of the manner in which they are associated in the area defined by the traverses enumerated at the commencement of this report.

The peculiar transmuted rocks that were described as occurring along the tributaries of the Peel, in what are called “the Hanging Rock Diggings,” are continued through part of the country watered by Ogunbil or Dungowan Creek; and I found them in equal force along the Cockburn River for a considerable distance above the junction.

(6.) They afterwards became connected with quartziferous schistose rocks, which, for convenience, have been denominated slates, but which would, perhaps, be more distinctly expressed as slaty flags. I do not doubt that they are consecutive members of one vast formation of which I have before spoken; and should, hereafter, direct zoological evidence be produced as to the exact position of these slaty rocks in the geological scale, and that position be assigned to a lower level than I am inclined to adopt for them, the botanical evidence, from the altered shales of Goonoo Goonoo Creek and the Manilla, will be in strict agreement with similar facts observed in some parts, of Europe, in which there is a direct passage from the carboniferous to what was formerly called the “Transition” series, and the continuance of the plants belonging to the former into the beds composing the latter.

Whether this is, or is not, the case in New England, the slaty rocks become prominent along the Dividing Range, on the waters of the Apsley, on Cobrabald Creek, and on some parts of the Upper Namoi (or Macdonald), and are ranged on the eastern side of the granite, of which I shall have to make mention.

(7) These slaty beds are frequently hardened into a silicified rock, which retains the marks of the original lamination, and between, and through which, are innumerable veins and seams and bands and strings of quartz, of a different kind to that into which the once softer beds containing them have been transmuted. Numerous instances occur, as near Orundunbee, of contortions in the slaty and silicified masses; and, as the intrusive quartz follows as well as intersects the contortions, intruding between the laminæ; and, since soft unaltered, or slightly altered, beds alternate with hard brittle flinty beds; there can be no doubt that it is to the intrusion of silex in a hydrous form, and, probably, to the action of boiling water and steam, that these partial transmutations are due. Dry heat could not have acted so partially, hardening one bed and leaving another soft, but water charged with silex, or steam, could have so permeated the beds; and, where they become cracked transversely, may have produced the transverse connecting veins.

(8) As basalt and amygdaloid have intruded through the slaty masses, there is no necessity to enquire for the evidence of heat below the surface of the ocean, into which the original mud, now become slate or shale, subsequently hardened, was deposited; and if, as is probable, during various outbursts of trap, the sea water must have been occasionally heated so as to boil and to become steam (a probability shown by the occurrence of volcanic action in the ocean, as for instance in the rise of Paubellaria, in the Mediterranean, a few years since), it is not difficult to comprehend how the transmutations, exhibited amidst these New England schistose rocks, may have been chiefly brought about by silicification, through the agency of heated water or vapour. There is no other supposition which can so easily and satisfactorily account for ceous pebbles and fragments may still be traced the change sometimes exhibited in brecciated and conglomorate rocks, in which the separate siliceous pebbles or fragments have been connected into a homogeneous siliceous mass, in which each separate pebble and fragment may still be traced in its original outline. I am not aware whether geologists have adopted, already, any such solution of a difficulty presented to some of them but I suggest it here, because I am led to believe it to be the only feasible explanation of the condition of the rocks now in question.

(9) The occurrence of broad masses and long dykes (if such they can be) of quartz rocks amidst the slaty flags, themselves apparently bedded with the schistose beds, and equally with the latter traversed by veins of white quartz, may thus find explanation, having been intruded contemporaneously into the original muddy sediment, and, afterwards, impregnated with true veins cutting across the bedding lines and lamination. We may thus be led to understand why, as in Australia, ridges and bands of quartz that follow the strike of the slates that contain them, may be traced for miles and miles without a trace of auriferous mineral or gold, though in other instances, every quartz vein may be, more or less, auriferous. The difference depends upon the ages of the silicious intrusions, the impregnation of auriferous quartz having occurred at various epochs.

(10) The falls of the Apsley, and the creeks flowing tranversely (sic) to that river about the falls, are excellent localities in which to study the peculiarities and phenomena of the schistose beds.

The falls themselves have been much spoken of as a scene of almost unparalleled grandeur; but as a geological feature they are infinitely inferior to the gullies of the Shoalhaven, and are not so grand as some of the cataract gorges of King’s Table Land. The River Apsley, after collecting its waters in various sluggish channels, which sometimes expand into considerable reaches, and are oftentimes nearly obliterated, is suddenly arrested by a bar of slaty rock a mile or two below the head station of the Waterloo Run. At this point the breadth of the channel is about 86 yards, which I measured by pacing across the rocks at the edge of the fall, where a thin seam of quartz strikes from northwest across the beds. Below this bar there is a deep narrow gulf, into which, in times of flood, the river is precipitated. As the dip of the laminated beds is up the river, at such times the fall must be very beautiful; but at the period of my visit there was no fall of water whatever. The descent is nearly if not quite impracticable, except to such as can climb like a goat; I much regret that I was not sufficiently confident to venture upon an examination of the bed of the river below the falls, which by a series of observations on falling stones I make about 190 feet. Below the first fall, the river continues to precipitate itself over ledges of rock, the channel widening, till it attains a lower level and mingles with the McLeay. These falls occupy several miles of country; that which is reported to be the grandest occurring about nine miles below the first.

(11) Parallel with the Apsley, there runs a line of basaltic hills, which exhibit occasional passages into amygdaloid and other varieties of trap. This trappean eruption may be traced distinctly as bursting through the quartziferous schistone formation, from the Dividing Range along the eastern side of the Apsley to Orundunbee and through to the Walcha and Waterloo Runs to the very edge of the New England table land; I have myself traced it from the Dividing Range to near Tiara Creek. It is highly probable, that in the first instance the ravines which are now the sites of the falls were mere cracks in the slaty formation, induced by the tension of upheaval, and the transverse creeks falling into the Apsley from the southward, are the natural results of such a fracture, being (in perfect adjustment with the theory of upheaval so skilfully and satisfactorily illustrated by Mr. Hopkins) the cross dislocations mechanically produced by disruption. (12) These creeks as well as the river expose the phenomena of the formation which they traverse. They exhibit the formation as composed of alternating hard and soft material, of gritty flagstones, quartzite, and slate, the latter sometimes approaching the roofing variety, and as troubled by concretionary modifications of structure as well as by distinctly marked metamorphic action. Veins of quartz crowd together in some spots, at others larger veins occur in more solitary examples. The strike and dip vary with the concretionary forces, and the former is sometimes north and south, at others east and west, with intermediate directions; whilst, too, the harder masses put on the appearance of indistinct stratification, this is obscured in the more slaty varieties, and cleavage planes and joints become the most prominent features.

At the first fall, the dip of these planes is 82° to north, a little below it is 82° to southwest, and further on 82° to west south-west, and 82° to west. These variations are occasioned by concretionary action around a centre, through which the axis of dislocation must have passed. Indistinct lines of apparent bedding appear at intervals along the face of the cliffs.

(13.) At a spot on Stony Creek which I selected as a bath, a deep waterhole is interrupted by a mass of almost true writing slate, and as this locality exhibits many peculiar features of the formation, it may be useful to record them. The rock is blueish grey in color, and passes off into a grit and quartzite to the eastward. It assumes a boss-like form with irregular beds, striking upwards 10° to 14° on a bearing of 305°. It has a regular cleavage along a bearing of 127° at right angles to the horizon; it is also cleaved along a line of joints bearing 212°, the dip of cleavage being 40° towards the former cleavage strike, viz, 127° to 128°. Other joints cross these cleavages on a bearing of 64°, and veins of quartz cut obliquely through the first cleavage on bearings of 148° and 160°. Fragments of this cleaved rock naturally break off the mass in four sided tables, of rhomboidal outline, having the opposite angles respectively 64° and 166°.

These examples will show how much the original deposits have been modified and changed by various forces, in which thermo-electricity as well as mechanical violence may have had part. There is scarcely a mass of the formation exposed in any part of the district in which some such changes of structure cannot be traced. These phenomena are not however peculiar to New England. In Maneroo I often observed very similar examples; and in this respect, as well as in the general outlines of the surface and the disposition of the hills, there is a close analogy between the two districts.

(14.) This is still further confirmed by the occasional appearance of the conglomerate of “doubtful age,” which in the Apsley as well as in the Bombala country rests upon the slopes of the basaltic hills, looking like re-cemented fragments of quartz which were detritus at the time of the trappean outburst, and which have been converted by steam into a compact mass. After I had reported upon this occasional formation in my communications from Maneroo, I found a mass of this rock near Captain Campbell’s head station at Bombala, resting upon basalt, which had pierced the schistose rocks along the river, and in it there were numerous casts of the stems and bark of some plant which appeared to me to be marine or lacustrine. The casts of the interior of the stems were silicified, and I think therefore that the rock is what I have mentioned, a mass of ancient quartz gravel and sand, into which plants had been washed, at the bottom of a lagoon or creek, and that the trap converted it into breccia or conglomerate after the surface, had descended below the sea level. I have seen no plants yet in the similar rock in New England.

(15.) Whatever be the age of the slates, the occurrence of basalt and other trappean rocks along the narrow spine of the “Dividing Range,” on each side of which the schistose bed dips away at a considerable angle, with proofs of hardening and impregnation by silex, shows that much of them is younger than the slaty deposits; but as these deposits appear to rest upon granite, which at the various planes of contact exhibits evident proofs of interference with the former, it seems to me that the intrusion of trap is but the last of a series of similar phenomena, and that, whilst the transmuted grits and shales of Goonoo Goonoo and the Peel are charged with auriferous quartz in the Hanging Rock district, the slates were affected at an earlier period by the granite itself, which may be proved to be of later origin (in situ) than the slates.

(16.) The granite makes its first appearance en masse on the Cockburn River about eight miles from Tamworth: thence I have traced it across the Moonbi Creek along the Moonbi Range, across the McDonald, Congai Creek, and along the western side of the Dividing Range, and further to the west at the back of the ranges heading Mooara and Hall’s Creek, and so across Stony Gully and Carlyle’s Gully, and it will be crossed by me in further explorations to the north-west. But having thus followed it on three sides of its southern development, I have seen enough of it to discern its connection with the surrounding formations, to pronounce it younger than the slates at least, and certainly intrusive.

(17.) The constituents of some of this granite are quartz, frequently amethystine, black mica in oblique rhombic prisms, hornblende, and albite; the crystals of the latter being of considerable size, and impressed both by quartz and mica, as well as by the abundant hornblende which distinguishes the exterior portions of the mass. It is nodular and scales off in great flakes. On the Moonbi Ranges there are some considerable” rocking stones,” and some of the summits of the subordinate hills are pointed and topped by loose blocks which are partly disintegrated in situ. Veins of segregated quartz are not uncommon, some of them expanding into considerable masses; and distinct boss-like dykes of hornblendic granite, of the very finest grain, looking like mica slate, occasionally traverse the granite from west to east. On the Macdonald the granite becomes less hornblendic, but retains its nodular outline and structure, the crystals of albite assuming a fixed direction, as if indicating the line of flow. Segregated patches of hornblendic composition are numerous.

(18.) Not far from Nimmengar on the Cookburn, the south-east side of that river is bordered by some bare hills of very hard silicified rock, and on the opposite bank the granite is traversed by quartz dykes, and by dykes of pegmatic and other binary elvans. Nearer Tamworth it is separated from the transmuted rocks by a suspicious looking mass, which ia places appears to be sedimentary, and in others contains true trappean constituents. In contact with it, the supposed carboniferous beds are all transmuted, and thrown off at a high angle.

(19.) On the Macdonald, I found the plainest evidence of the character of the granite. A few miles above Bendemeer, the granite, which has occupied a low position in the bed of the river, comes in contact with a highly inclined hard grey siliceous rock, which stretches across the river from a lofty range along the left bank. The strike of this mass, which is bedded, is north and south. The approach of the granite is marked by veins of the same rock of binary composition, such as pegmatic, in one instance thirty-nine inches wide, sending off lateral threads, and entangling the older rock, which on the one hand passes into a soft slate or hornblendic rock, and on the other into a quartzite. Innumerable strings of quartz interlace it at this point, and are evidently of granitic origin.

The hornblendic varieties of the altered mass assume the appearance of mica slate, and furnish good scythe stones.

(20.) Passing from this spot, which is below Tara, to the ranges along the river at the upper northern bend, I came again upon a patch of this schistoe dark rock, of inconsiderable extent; and just below the junction of the Cockburn and Moonbi Creek, other patches were observed.

(21.) On the way to Carlyle’s Gully, I found the granite interrupted by a mass of the hardened siliceous rock occupying some space, succeeded by soft schist with quartz veins, and preceded by a dyke or elvan of porphyr, with double pyramids of quartz, the ground being strewn with fragments of the jasperiod, and other transmuted rocks, common in the Hanging Rock country, and which have been washed from the head of Stony Creek, where this change commences. The soft schist is succeeded, in its turn, by N. and S. beds of the hornblendic schist, inclined to the west horizon, at an angle of 50°, which are separated from the granite to the N.E., by the dykes of binary granite, or large grained pegmatite, which, at the junction with the granite, pass into quartz dykes.

(22.) At the head of Congi Creek, the granite is succeeded on the Dividing Range by similar changes of feldspathic and quartz dykes, quartzite and hornblendic schist, and on the eastern fall by slate full of large dykes of quartz. The strike on the range is N. and S., or N. 15° W., with a dip of cleavage 62° to W. In the bed of the first creek to the eastward, the strike of the head quartzite is W., and the dip 62° S.; this is, therefore, the locality of a boss-like concretionary mass.

The facts just enumerated distinctly prove that the same order of change is observable wherever the granite is in contact with the slates, and the conclusion must be that the granite is the younger and has produced these changes.

(23.) I have already reported the existence of an elvan of granite on Duncan’s Creek, and I have since found that a coarser granite becomes somewhat prominent at a little distance. Between the Peel and this locality, I also reported the occurrence of slates bearing quartz; and, therefore, I would extend my conclusions so as to admit that the remarkable transmuting influences that have left such evidences in all that district, may have been commenced by the granite, and continued by the subsequent operations of the trap. Since then the granite sends out quartz veins, it is not improbable that it has been the source of silicification of the rocks throughout this tract of country; and the office of the trap eruptions may have been to produce auriferous veins derived from the granite.

(24) Admitting that there may have been an older granite from which the slates were derived (mere mud of felspar deprived of its alkali), that the alkali of the felspar (become mud altered into slate) with the silicia of the felspar, mica, and quartz, acted upon by steam, may have become dykes and veins and beds, of intrusive quartz, still the evidence upon the whole is to establish the conclusion, that the hornblendic granite of the Moonbi and Namoi is of later origin in its present position than the slates themselves.

(25) In all these respects there is the closest analogy with the granite and associated rocks in the Braidwood country, and in various localities south of the Murrumbidgee. The surface of the granite country in this part of New England is precisely that of the Maneroo and Araluen granites, and putting together all the phenomena, there is a priori a just presumption that, as at Araluen and in the Alpine country, granite is auriferous, so will it be here; and as much of the slaty districts, though full of quartz, is not auriferous in Maneroo and Argyle, and yet that auriferous quartz does occur there, so in this part of New England similar results may be anticipated.

(26) I now, therefore, will endeavour to show how far these conclusions have been borne out by the facts observed by myself, in these respects.

Gold, undoubtedly, occurs at the head of Ogunbil or Dungowan Creek. Gold occurs also in the Cockburn. I found, at a spot where about six persons were established, a little above Brodie’s Station, a patch of soil, some feet below the bank of the river, of exactly the same character and constitution as that which furnishes the “dry diggings” at Hanging Rock. It is chiefly a decomposed serpentine impregnated with lime, derived from a spring in the bank, and with this lime some fragments of greenstone from a dyke in the vicinity were coated. This soil contains gold, as I personally proved. Close to it, the hard siliceous rock was traversed by a vein of quartz in which gold was visible, and from which it was extracted. The direction of this vein was 240 degrees, with a trend of 64 degrees to south-east. As the direction was evident by the prominent summit of a hill lower down the river, and through which I traced a quartz dyke to the granite, I think in this case, at least, the relations of the phenomena are those of cause and effect.

In all the creeks falling into the Cockburn gold is readily procured. Gold in small particles was found to occur on the upper part of the Moonbi Creek, in granitic detritus.

(27) Above Bendemeer, and below the junction of the granite with the transmuted rock, scale gold was procured by me at every accessible point which I tried in the river bed.

At Tara, at the junction of Congai Creek, I did not myself wash any soil; but there are persons digging there who obtain it in small quantities.

On Carlyle’s Gully Mr. Buchanan, junior, washed in my presence, from the surface of the granite on the creek near his house, gold of a very small rounded form, similar to that which occurs on Rocky River, and which I have denominated gunpowder gold from its granulated small appearance. It was also procured from the joints between the nodules of hard granite in the bed of the creek, I feel convinced gold will be found in Stony Creek, a branch of Carlyle’s Gully, and on the granite platform. The drainage falls along little channels like those at the head of Major’s Creek. It has been reported to me that it has been found there by a prospector. Mr. Buchanan promised to examine it near the junction of the gully.

(28) At the head of the Congai Creek gold occurs in quartz. I found gold also in quartz running through slate at my camp, on a knoll near a station at the head of Bergen-op-Zoom Creek, which is one head of the Apsley. I was drenched with the rain of a severe tempest and could not explore. The adjoining country is covered by quartz.

Gold has been reported to me as found in several places near Walcha; I have been unsuccessful; but on the run of that name (a tract of 100 square miles), I have found such indications as are common; rubies, zircons, and magnetic iron. In fact rubies and zircons, and the gems common in goldfields, are found in all parts of the country. The nearest approach to gold is a portion of a quartz vein with auriferous pyrites, which I took from the bed of the Apsley, near Walcha head station. I do not doubt that there is gold on this run, for the whole of the superficial and other phenomena justify the belief; and several persons tell me they have found it. I am not, however, sanguine respecting it, as there is a great similarity in some places, to the non-auriferous quartziferous slates of Maneroo.

Near Waterfoo, gold has been found in some of the gullies eastward of the Apsley, and one fragment, which I saw, of quartz, containing bright gold, was picked up a little above the head station. Gold is also found in Stony Creek, one of the gullies transverse to the Apsley below the second fall, and in the Emu Creek, six miles from Waterloo.

(29.) At Cobrabald and at Inglebar Creeks (as before mentioned) there is a little gold, and I saw it washed from the surface at the junction of the former with the Namoi. It has been also found in a creek at the back of Surveyor’s Creek, and in the latter in the granitic portion.

(30.) So far, then, as I have gone, I have found the country generally auriferous in some degree; and I am convinced that the same disposition apparent in its distribution along the Peel and its tributaries is persistent thus far. We may therefore anticipate that auriferous veins will be found occasionally distributed amidst the slates and altered rocks; and that there are various auriferous patches amidst others that contain no gold; the success therefore of the gold digger must depend upon various contingencies. But I feel sure that in the granite country there is far more probability of success, for the gunpowder gold of the Rocky River is found more or less all the way to the Cockburn.

I have not mentioned other metals, but such exist, and hereafter I may have an opportunity of reporting upon them.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

W. B. CLARKE. The Hon. the Colonial Secretary.

Written by macalba

September 26, 2011 at 8:06 am

Licences granted

leave a comment »

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.

Written by macalba

May 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Striking feature

with one comment

Saturday 27 October 1866, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

FREE SELECTION. – At the Quarter Sessions, held here last Monday, before Judge Mcymott, an assault case was tried, which revealed a striking feature of the easy manner in which a free selector secured a house, garden, and cultivation ready to his hand. The case will be better explained by a summary of the evidence produced at the trial. A man, named Timothy Mulreay, waited on the land agent in January last, and selected a portion of the Europambela run, known as Butler’s station, near Walcha; and, on offering the usual deposit, and describing the ground he desired, was told by the land agent that he believed the ground could not be selected, and referred him in the meantime to the district surveyor for definite information. Mulreay waited on the surveyor, from whom he learned not only that it was not open for selection, but that the lessee had applied for it in consequence of the valuable improvements on it, that the law did not allow it to be free selected, and if Mulreay did so the ground would be measured off, and any additional improvements he might make would go to the lessee. Mulreay said he would take it on chance, and take he did. In July the surveyor had instructions from the Government to survey the land, as applied for by the lessee, and proceeded to the place for that purpose, when Mulreay prevented him by assaulting him several times, and finally cutting his chain into five or six pieces. The survey was relinquished, Mulreay was prosecuted, and at the Sessions was convicted and sentenced for the assault; but I believe his family still retain possession of the land, house, garden, cultivation, and all. Now, if this is not taking possession of another man’s property by force and under colour of law, it would be difficult to say what forcible possession is. We are constantly witnessing the mischievous effects of some parts of the Land Act of 1801, but this appears to be one of the most daring violations of right that has come under my notice. Whether the Government will allow Mulreay or his family to retain possession of this land remains to be seen, for if the Government make no effort to disturb them it will be difficult to say if the squatter’s principal residence will not be the next point of attack by some equally as daring free-selector in search of a home made ready to his hand. – Armidale Correspondent of Herald.

Written by macalba

April 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

%d bloggers like this: