Old news from Armidale and New England

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Cross-country railway.

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Friday 19 August 1910, The Sydney Morning Herald

Mr. A. Hooke, of Tia, writes our Wingham correspondent, amongst others, is just now evincing a keen interest in a suggested railway line to connect southern New England with Port Stephens. In connection with the proposal, he has prepared the following figures :- Glen Innes to Grafton, 115 miles, estimated cost £1,812,903; Glen Innes to Grafton, 128 miles, estimated cost £1,715,058; Guyra to Grafton, 156 miles, estimated cost £1,726,677; Armidale to Kempsey, Trial Bay, 167 miles, Wollun to Woodside, 80 miles, Wollun to Woodside, via Upper Tia, 95 miles.

It may be granted that any railway from Woollun to Woodside or Wingham will go past a certain point on the watershed of the Tia, Yarrowitch, Manning streams, and approximately at the head of the Swampy Creek. This is the junction of two routes brought forward, but the direct route is 15 miles shorter. There is little difference between the two in value to the district, as they are only about ten miles apart at the widest part.

Three or four industries loom very prominently on the horizon of the future in connection with a line from Wollun to Woodside. All along the line from Walcha to Cells Creek potatoes can be produced to perfection, and the absence of diseases in cold climates would ensure the success of such crops. Thousands of tons could be grown, as the soil is suitable all along the route. Oats also prove prolific, and Manitoba wheat grows well-as also do field crops, such as turnips, mangels, beet, etc. The main range, at the head of Swampy Creek, is over 4000ft high and exceedingly rich, and apples can be grown there in a manner that defies competition. The timber industry is also right on the spot – the belt is about 20 miles long, and the route runs through the middle of it. Hardwoods abound on the north side, and softwoods, cedar, beech, etc, on the south.

At the present time, from a mill situated 50 miles from Walcha-road, 20 teams are carrying constantly, and ten times the quantity could be sold if it could be taken away. If it pays to get timber under such conditions, it only goes to show the genuine demand that exists for it, and with rail carriage the public would get the benefit, and a very large trade must result. The Forestry Commission two years ago assessed the value of this timber at £8,500,000, which is a very fair reason for asking better transport to market than at present exists. There is more money in timber if this railway is constructed than has been dreamed of in the past; but men who cannot get on the land have to look on at those golden opportunities rotting away, because a policy of extreme economy has guided the work of railway construction in the past. If Port Stephens is made a port for shipment of timber, coal, and wool, as is suggested, the whole of the New England wool could be put on board there, saving 150 miles of extra rail carriage to Sydney.

Written by macalba

May 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

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News from Uralla and Wollun

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Saturday 18 February 1888, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

(Uralla and Walcha Times, Feb. 15.)

Just previous to dusk on Saturday afternoon last a painful accident happened to one of the prominent performers of Messrs. Wirth Brothers’ Circus, Mr. John Walhalla (well-known in America and Australia as a clever equestrian and circus performer generally). It appears that Mr. Walhalla was charging a pistol with powder, in preparation for an act in his Saturday night’s performance, and had placed the cap on the nipple, the hammer being down ; and whilst ramming the charge home, by some unaccountable means the contents exploded. The ramrod was driven through a portion of the unfortunate man’s left hand, the member being severely lacerated, and two of the fingers injured. Much bleeding ensued, though his comrades lost no time in securing the services of Dr. Woods, who promptly attended and bound up the wounded hand. Mr. Walhalla has since suffered great pain from the injury, but it is thought that no dangerous symptoms are likely to ensue. The sufferer, whose accident was regretted by many people in Uralla, took his departure for Sydney on Monday.

At Wollun on Thursday, so we are informed, a remarkably heavy fall of rain took place, three inches falling in a very short space of time. As a consequence, creeks and gullies were quickly flooded though little damage was done to property. On Sunday a good deal of rain fell about Uralla.

On Sunday last the usual harvest thanksgiving service was held at St. John’s Church. The church was tastefully decorated with the fruits of the earth, in the shape of rich-looking vegetables tempting fruits, fine specimens of cereals, choice flowers, &c, the work being formed by a number of ladies. In the morning, in spite of the rain there, was a good congregation, and the Rev. W. J. Hugill, who officiated, preached a very interesting and appropriate sermon.

The election of Mayor of Uralla for the ensuing municipal year took place at the Council Chambers on Monday night, when all the aldermen were present. Alderman Bardsley proposed, and Alder man Pearson seconded, Alderman Everett for Mayor. The motion having been put, was carried unanimously. The Mayor-elect returned thanks in a few suitable remarks.

Written by macalba

April 28, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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General Birdwood visits soldiers at Kentucky.

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Friday 30 April 1920, The Sydney Morning Herald




ARMIDALE, Thursday.

The Diggers on the soldiers’ settlement at Kentucky will not easily forget their day with General Birdwood. It was an occasion which permitted the chief Digger to make himself quite at home.

When the mail train to which the General’s carriage was attached left Wollun the track lay through the heart of settlement. The visitors saw vigorous signs of pioneering on every hand – timber cut and stacked ready for firing, brand new weatherboards standing in clearings, rows of young fruit trees and yellowing fields of potatoes ready for digging.

General Birdwood received a hearty welcome on his arrival at Kentucky. A guard of honour composed of returned soldier settlers was drawn up outside the little station. The General had words of encouragement for every soldier, and chatted for a few minutes with Sergeant Freame on old Gallipoli days. Sergeant Freame was one of the General’s scouts on the peninsula, and was the first Australian to receive the D.C.M.

The soldiers recounted their experiences to the General, who was keenly interested in the progress made on their farms. The settlement comprises 5842 acres, subdivided into 114 farms, devoted to fruitgrowing and cultivation of vegetable crops. Arrangements are in hand for the acquirement of additional land to bring the total number of settlers up to 200. This land originally supported six graziers. The settlement is 3347ft above sea level, and has an average annual rainfall of over 32 inches. There are about 40 settlers now on their blocks, and each farm is fenced and fully equipped with house and outbuildings. There are also a general store, post-office, and provision for cool store. Settlers’ crops are marketed by the department without commission, and all operations are supervised by an expert manager and inspectors.

The visitors and soldiers made a tour of inspection of the settlement, and the General was keenly interested in the crops and stock seen on the farms. Piper Smith, an original soldier settler, told the General that he hoped to clear the whole of his liabilities this year that is, within two years of his taking up the block.

Major Evans, on behalf of the Minister for Lands, presented General Birdwood with an album of photographs of Kentucky. Replying, the General wished the settlers and their families every possible happiness in their new homes.

The party, motoring thence to Armidale, made a brief halt on the main road, where a little group of pupils from the Arding Public School lined up with their flag to greet the General.

The General and party reached Armidale by cars this afternoon, and were met opposite the New England Girls’ School by a guard of honour composed of the pupils, under Miss Lyons (principal). The welcome in the Town Hall was wholehearted and enthusiastic.

The Mayor of Armidale (Alderman Curtis) extended a hearty welcome to General Birdwood.

General Birdwood expressed his warm appreciation of their welcome. He said he was a country man himself, and the beauty of their district had appealed to him.

General Birdwood afterwards presented the Military Cross to Captain Bootle.

Written by macalba

April 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

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Branch line to North Coast railway

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Tuesday 9 August 1910, The Sydney Morning Herald


WALCHA, Monday.

Local people are convinced that a new route
for a branch line to the North Coast railway
can be found from the great northern line
through Walcha, and thus save the expense of
duplicating the G.N. line. A party is in readi-
ness to explore the best route, and a certifi-
cated surveyor has been asked for to accom-
pany the party.

A representative meeting of district resi-
dents took place on Saturday to consider a
new proposal for the Walcha railway, viz.,
from Wollun, on the Great Northern line, to
Woodside, on the North Coast line. Mr. W.
Fletcher presided. Mr. A. Hooke, of Tia River
station, who is conversant with the whole of
the country proposed to travel over, spoke.
The speaker pointed out that the proposed
Glen Innes to Grafton railway was 115 miles,
and estimated cost £1,812,903; the second
route was 128 miles, cost £1,715,058; Guyra
to Grafton, 156 miles, estimated cost
£1,726,677; Armidale to Kempsey (Trial Bay).
167 miles; Wollun to Woodside, 80 miles; or
Wollun to Woodside, via Upper Tia, 95 miles.
It was pointed out that Mr. Holman, deputy
leader of the Opposition, had promised his
support to the new route; and in response to
a letter from Armidale asking for co-oper-
ation in the proposed line to Coffs Harbour,
it was decided to reply that the meeting con-
sidered the Wollun to Woodside proposal the
best yet brought forward.

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March 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm

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News from Wollun

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Monday 10 December 1906, The Sydney Morning Herald


WALCHA, Saturday.

Percy Haviside was found dead in the bush
near Wollun with a gun at his side. He
was a married man.

Wednesday 26 October 1910, The Sydney Morning Herald


WALCHA, Tuesday.

The Decentralisation Commission is expected  
to take evidence here on November 8. Mr. F.
P. Brown, surveyor, is now taking the levels  
of the proposed railway route, Wollun to

Written by macalba

March 22, 2010 at 6:01 am

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