Saturday, June 27, 2020

History on the Hume: The Garrison of Goulburn

Goulburn was gazetted in 1833 as a garrison town with two main purposes: to guard the convicts in the stockade at nearby Towrang and to act as a centre for police action against bushrangers in the southern region of the state. By 1836 the town of Goulburn had 'a courthouse of slabs covered with bark, a lock-up house, a few huts occupied by the mounted police and constables, a cottage of roughly cut timber and a small inn affording tolerable accommodation'.

History on the Hume: A peek at Picton

Picton NSW today (

The first land grant at Stonequarry (Picton) was made in 1822 to Major Henry Antill whose property was named Jarvisfield' after Jane Jarvis, Governor Macquarie's first wife. The homestead on the property has been recycled' and is now the clubhouse for the Antill Park Golf Club.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Cobb & Co: Getting the mail through

Hooves drumming in perfect unison, whip cracks, clattering Wheels - out of the dust cloud over the rise comes a Cobb & Co coach - surely one of the most romantic sights of the last century and one of the most welcome to news-starved inland Australians before the days of electronic communication.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

India: The birthplace of civilisation

Ganges at Haridwar (c) Roderick Eime

Like a peerless jewel, Uttaranchal nestles in the Himalaya with unmatched majesty, glorying in its title of 'dev bhumi', or the mythological abode of gods, with its icy mantle, verdant forests, sylvan valleys, perennial rivers and breathtakingly beautiful shrines. Here nature is divine and ecology mythology and spiritualism go hand in hand

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Famous Meat Pies of Fiction

 Dana Ellyn

Pies have had leading and cameo roles in all sorts of works of fiction. Nursery rhymes, such as those illustrated here, and others such as Simple Simon, refer to pies. Pies have also made numerous appearances in novels. The ingredients and the method of procurement of Mrs Lovett's pies in Sweeney Todd has probably done more damage to the image of the meat pie than any other work of fiction to date.

Friday, June 19, 2020

History on the Hume: Berrima snapshot (1984)

The busy Hume Highway winds like a black ribbon through the very heart of this small Georgian village, but so forceful is the town's character that it scarcely impairs Berrima's charm.

(Ed: Berrima was subsequently bypassed in 1989)

Official parties, including explorer Dr Charles Throsby. sent by Governor Macquarie to explore the land south of Sydney in 1818 reported in glowing terms on the excellence of the land and the quality of the pastures. Throsby and nine other Free Persons were granted permission to take up land in the district, and when Macquarie toured the southern counties in 1820 he found the countryside 'particularly beautiful and rich-resembling a fine extensive pleasure ground in England'.

Surveyor General Inn: Although substantially altered, the basic form of this inn (1835) survives, and it has the distinction of being the oldest continuously licensed inn within the same walls in Australia. It was built by William Harper, who had been Assistant Surveyor to Major Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General, in whose honour he named the hotel. The inn remained in the Harper family for almost a century. The observant eye will see where the sandstone blocks ran out and sand stock bricks were used to complete the walls. Hume Hwy. (Pic: DNSW)

Sunday, June 14, 2020

History on the Harbour: The great Lennox Bridge debate

Source: Parramatta City Council

[The text below is derived from interpretive panels installed inside the bridge's pedestrian walkways, (portals) themselves a source of some controversy. Links are my own]


Darug people crossed the river using stepping stones or canoes. After 1788, a wooden bridge was built from bank to bank. Later, a stronger crossing was built from stone and wood. In 1836 it was agreed that the growing town needed a strong, reliable bridge

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Parramatta: The second oldest settlement in Australia

Two months after the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove in 1788, it became obvious that the soil in the area would not produce sufficient crops to feed the infant settlement. Governor Arthur Phillip decided that it would be necessary to search for more suitable land if the colony were to survive.

Parramatta History: Harrisford House

The building was originally a two-storey house one room deep. Exactly when it was built is unclear, but it seems to have been 1820s. Parramatta was a government town, and all land was leased until grants were made in the 1850s. The lease of the land, which runs down to the river, was acquired by the Methodist clergyman, the Reverend William Walker (1800-55), in 1829, by which time the house was certainly there.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Mallee History: Manangatang at the crossroads

Manangatang in the Victorian Mallee region (pop. about 500) comes from 'manang', an Aboriginal word for 'land and 'kaatin', meaning 'water', possibly referring to a waterhole to the north of the present township. A Mr A.T. Creswick of the Bumbang Station had a hut built near the waterhole for his stockmen. The waterhole lies on the line of an old track, one of many used by wild animals, the Aborigines and perhaps the squatter's men, as these tracks are recorded on maps of the time.

Settlers first took up land in the Manangatang district around 1911. The 'bush' of mallee eucalypts was tamed with the 'mallee roller', a large round log or old boiler drawing by horse or bullock teams, which flattened everything in its path. The best time to roll the mallee was during the winter, in June or July, as the trees invariably grew back when rolled in the warmer months. Any scrub remaining after rolling was burned off before the first crops of wheat were planted.

Scrub rollers like these were used throughout the Victorian mallee around 100 years ago (State Library of VIC) 

Rolling started around 1908 in the Manangatang district in expectation of the settlers' arrival, and surveyed blocks were available by 1911. Town allotments were sold for between fif teen and thirty pounds sterling. The first wheat grown in Manangatang was delivered to Chillingollah Station after the 1911-12 harvest. The waggon drivers carried metal tanks on top of the wheat and brought back water on their return trip.

Former Langley's service station on the highway. 2016.

Many returned soldiers from the First World War took land north up of Manangatang under the Soldier Resettlement Scheme and, like the early pioneers, found the going tough, particularly in the dry years. But by the 1920s, Manangatang had changed from a canvas town to a busy commercial centre with general stores, bakers, butchers, greengrocers and an auctioneer.

Empty shop in the main street, Wattle Street. 2020.

A succession of bad seasons and falling world prices resulted in the establishment of the Farmers' Debt Adjustment Board in 1935. The board gave cash to creditors to the value of the farmers' assets. The farmer then had to pay over an extended period of time the amount funded by the board. Another cruel run of bad seasons, from 1938 to 1941, prompted many struggling farmers to leave the land for good, despite these assistance programs.

The butcher shop is a reminder of the former commercial activities on Wattle Street, Manangatang.
In the 1920s, soldier settlers were establishing small farms nearby and the township was expanding. Constructed in 1926 close to the station, this building was originally a haberdashery and dressmaker's shop run by the seamstress, Ethel Thompson (nee Wilkinson). After that, it was owned by Maher, a saddle repairer and bootmaker. Now it's a private residence. Known butchers: Gil Sutherland and family 1947 - 1967 Bill Carroll and family 1967 - 1981 Daryl Devereaux and family 1981 - 1991

About this time, the Victorian government contemplated declaring the district closed to agriculture, such were the difficulties encountered by farmers over the years in what was considered by many experts to be 'marginal' land. It was finally decided under the West Mallee Settlement Areas Act to lease land to farmers north of the Manangatang-Ouyen road, and wipe all other debts to the government. Today, Manangatang is still a wheat-growing area.

Built in 1924, the bakery is typical of commercial shops constructed between World War I and World War II. Bread was baked in a wood-fired oven, which occupied a large portion of the west wall. The rooms at the rear were used for bread preparation and flour storage. For a time, the shop to the left of the bakery was originally the National Bank, then a barbershop rented by Bill Anthony, Bertie Tom, Al Smith and Michael Picos. Known bakers: J. Andrews c1935-44 Charlie McInnes, Billy Rice and N James 1951-1959 D Hildebrandt 1959-1979

Today there is a self-guided heritage walk that visitors can undertake which highlights the remaining historic buildings and sites in the town.  

Text sources: Readers Digest 'Australian Places'
Photographs: Roderick Eime

History on the Hume: Marulan NSW: Marble Town

UPDATED: 26 July 2020

Old shops, George St Marulan. The red-fronted shop is the Coronation Store opened in 
1902 in the year of the coronation of Edward VII. Now an antiques store. 

Originally laid out as a private township called Mooroobool, the name Marulan was adopted, almost by default, in 1878. The local postmaster st Mooroobool applied for a date stamp for his post office and was told to use the old one from Marulan Camp post office, which originally operated four kilometres south of Mooroowoolen but had since closed.

Marulan Post Office, NSW 2579. The present building was erected in 1884 and called Mooroowoollen Post Office and replaced an office in the Marulan Railway Station. The name was changed to Marulan in 1878.

Baldock's Store: The group of buildings that make up this general store and residence shows classic Australian style with the galvanised shed complementing the shop and residence while Mrs Smith and her five sons ran the shop. Later the shop was bought by Baldock and Crighton. The business was carried on by the Baldock family for over half a century.It was built in the 1870s by Mr J Cunningham who was described on his letterhead as "Grocer, Ironmonger and General Provider'. A well at the back of the Baldock's was one of only three that constituted Marulan's main water supply until the early 1900s. A second was behind the nearby Royal HotelThe store was run by Mr Cunningham for quite a few years and then was taken over by Tom and Bill Smith. Bill Smith was a bachelor, but Tom had a wife and six children. The men ran a 1000 acre property called Mt Otway, Since the 1990s the complex has been progressively restored.

From its early days, Marulan was a staging post for bullock teams and coaches on the road from Sydney to Goulburn. Joe Peters, one of the first ticket-of-leave men to be granted land in the County of Argyle, as the district around Goulburn was called, succeeded in holding up progress on the building of this main road to allow him to establish a new hotel at Marulan when it became apparent that his old hotel would be bypassed by the road.

The Butcher Shop, now run by the Hughes family. This Victorian shop was built in 1878 and once had an old bakehouse at the rear. A Federation style house has since been added, and as far as can be ascertained, this site has always been a butcher's shop Even before the present facade of the shop was built, it was Feltham's Butchery and customers queued up outside to be served through the window. Everyone who can remember says that Granny Feltham, whose ghost haunts the store, was still a good butcher at 93 years of age. (RE)

The Royal Hotel was built in 1872 by Mary Carrigan. Mary Carrigan's two deceased former husbands had owned The Whitehorse Inn at Wingello and the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel at Marulan. After Edward Carrigan died in 1871, his wife Mary Carrigan purchased land opposite the Terminus Hotel and built the Royal Hotel the same year. The two-storey brick section at the front of the building was completed by 1880 and the original wooden section at the back became a billiard room. The new Royal was by far the most opulent of all the inns in the town with plush velvet curtains and beautiful furnishings. In 1884 Mary Carrigan died, followed a few weeks later by her daughter Mary Houm. The eldest daughter, Annie Kelly and her husband then took charge of the hotel. At about the turn of the century, all hotel licences were recalled by the Government and the Royal Hotel was not re-issued with a licence. Since then, the building has had many varied uses, including as a boarding house, a shop, and as a private residence. (from interpretive panel)

The Old Hume Highway heading north along George St (RE)

Although the country around Marulan was not ideal grazing land, it had other assets. Limestone and marble have long been quarried there. Marulan marble varies in colour from pure white to jet black was used for flooring in the early Sydney University buildings.

Did you know? there is a sign which reads "You are standing in the exact middle of the Eastern Standard Time Zone."

Text sources: Readers Digest, Aussie Towns

Photographs: Roderick Eime

MORE: History on the Hume series

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Gundagai: The story of The Dog on the Tuckerbox

Dog on the Tuckerbox, Gundagai (c) Roderick Eime

Explorers; Hume and Hovell, passed through the region around Gundagai, ancient home of the Wiradjuri people, in November 1824 and by the time Charles Sturt's party crossed the Murrumbidgee River in 1829, pioneering settlers had begun to establish themselves. In 1838 the original township of Gundagai was gazetted and expanded on the floodplain under the old road and railways bridges. A decision that would later prove fateful.

The story of The Dog on the Tuckerbox, is a part of Australia's early folklore. Its origins lie firmly with those early pioneers who forged their way into the Australian bush. In the early days the area was serviced by huge wagons hauled by teams of sturdy bullocks. With rough tracks, river crossings, floods and extreme weather, many bullock teams became stranded or bogged. Often, on such occasions, the bullocky's dog would sit guarding its master's tuckerbox and possessions while he was away seeking help.

Bullock wagons at work

The legend of The Dog on the Tuckerbox captured the imagination of Australians throughout the colony. Spread by word of mouth, several versions of the story evolved over time, changing to suit the audience. The story was further embellished in later versions, with the bullocky having died and the dog pining away on the tuckerbox, awaiting its master's return. Bullockies meeting at camp sites and crossings (such as Muttama Creek near Gundagai) often sat around the fire in the evening sharing these stories, poems and songs.  penned his version of the story in a poem in 1857, but the verse was amended some time later by Jack Moses. Finally the legend was immortalised by Jack O'Hagan in 1937 in his popular song 'Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox'.

Why a Monument ?

On 29th July 1932, a public meeting was held in Gundagai to discuss the 'Back to Gundagai' celebrations. The idea of a monument to the pioneers, in the form of The Dog on the Tuckerbox at the Nine Mile Creek, was decided upon. Frank Rusconi was elected as the chair of The Pioneers Monument Committee (having earlier suggested the idea in 1928).

“A monument should be erected at the Nine Mile Peg, dedicated to the pioneers and bullockies, who made the highway of to-day possible [sic], and there should be an unveiling ceremony during Back to Gundagai Week.” Monies from the wishing well at the base of the monument are still donated to the Gundagai Hospital Auxiliary.

The dog section of the monument was cast in bronze by Oliver's Foundry, Sydney and its base sculpted by Gundagai stonemason, Frank Rusconi. It was unveiled by the then Prime Minister of Australia, Joseph Lyons, on 28 November 1932, with more than 3000 people in attendance.

For more information on visiting Gundagai, see the website:

Be sure to pop into the Dog on the Tuckerbox Lolly Shop and Cafe and say hi to lovely 'Rosie'.

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