(BY OUR TRAVELLING CORRESPONDENT.)
THE Royal Alfred Bridge connects North with South Gundagai. In 1852 the river Murrumbidgee flooded the flats, and swept away the town of Gundagai, then situated on it, causing a known loss of 93 lives. To secure the traffic of the Great Southern Road from interruption by such recurrences the present bridge and high-level approaches were erected and finished about eight years ago.
The iron bridge itself is only 300 feet long, and 50 feet above the bed level of the river, while the approaches, built of timber, are 2775 feet in length, and in 1870, shortly after being finished, the strength of the whole structure was tested by a heavy flood which made little or no impression on the piles except washing some of the drift from around them. The toll-bar over this bridge lapsed at the beginning of the year, so that it is now free to man and beast. I have been informed that several new buildings are shortly to be erected in North Gundagai, especially new premises for both banks - the New South Wales and the Commercial. South Gundagai more resembles a deserted township, the buildings nearly all wearing a dilapidated appearance, and the owners not thinking it worth the candle to keep them in thorough repair ; the reason seems that nearly all business is conducted on the north side.
Near the bridge on the south side is Mr. Fuller's Bridge Hotel ; a hundred yards further is a store, and the South Gundagai post-office ; on the opposite side of the road is Mr. Deighton's Royal Oak Hotel and store. Three or four private residences scattered around make up South Gundagai. Thiodon's Wonders^ have been located at the court house, North Gundagai, for four nights, and, though the entertainment is unique and unsurpassed in the colonies, still I am sorry to say Mr. Thiodon did not receive the support he so well merits - why is hard to account for, except it is put down to the drought, or coming just after the Lynch Family, who performed for one night to good business. Mr. Thiodon is on his way to Sydney, where he will open a big show in a short time. For the benefit of those residing around Gundagai, I may mention, en passant, that Mrs. Davidson is the agent for the Town and Country Journal and Evening News, copies of which can be obtained at any time. I was detained a day or so in Gundagai in consequence of the wet weather, which I am glad to say has been gentle but steady, soaking well into the ground, and causing those elongated visages of the residents to assume another and far more pleasing shape. This rain has been general over the whole district, and hopes are entertained that the drought has at length broken up.
^ Thiodon's Wonders was a travelling exhibition popular in the nineteenth century which presented scenes and events, usually animated with small flat figures. Such elaborate 'model theatres' were known by a variety of names: mechanical theatre, theatre of arts, museum of arts, world theatre and, in Europe, theatrum mundi. [more]