ANOTHER SCENE ON THE RIVER. - the town band was turned out in full force, and the bci'oreinentionoed crowd adjourned to the proposed terminus, where they made night hideous, much to the annoyance and discomfort of the more staid and peace loving citizens. (P)The township is situated on a river of the same name, and is surrounded by wonderfully fertile country. (p)The river valley, which varies in width from two to six miles, is almost exclusively devoted to agricultural purposes, and produces wonderful crops of maize, etc. A farm which had been continuously cropped with maize for forty years is reported to have yielded one hundred bushels per acre. (P)English trees, such as oak, poplars, walnuts, etc., grow to perfection, and there are many splendid specimens to be seen throughout the district, giving the place quite an English aspect. (P)The proposed site is situated some three or four miles to the south east of the present township, and will readily lend itself to the requirements of the area.
Amongst the many attractions, special mention must be made of the magnificent Yarrangobilly Caves, which are about thirty miles from the town. The road to these caves passes through some magnificent country, which in time of drought has proved the salvation of many Riverina squatters, who pay heavy rentals for this so called "summer country," upon which they depasture hundreds of thousands of sheep, which would otherwise die of starvation.
TUMUT. September 15. WEATHER. (P)It is again abominonbly dry as to raise forebodings in the minds of the farmers. Once or twice during the week rain has seemed to be upon the point of falling; but the signs have proved deceptive. In the hill country around Tumut a slight shower or two occured on Wedneaday last.
PASTORAL.-Every available mountain run is being rapidly occupied by squatters from Riverina, and sheep will soon be arriving here in thousands. Fortunately for this part of the country the rainfall in the uplands has been far greater than in the immediate vicinity of our town.
1873 - That a site for the bridge over the Tumut River at Brungle would be selected, and tenders for the erection of the bridge would be invited on the return to town of the Chief Commissioner for Roads, who was at present on duty in the Southern districts.- (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Thursday 17 April 1873).
1899 - Tenders have been accepted for the following1 public works for week ending 30th ultimo - Road "Works -Tumut to Gundagai, J, Maidment,, Gocup, £200 4s. (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Wednesday 4 October 1899).
Early Settlement of Gundagai and Tumut IX (By George Clout)
25 March 1924 The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser
On some fertile spot which one may call our own
Where the rich, verdure grows we will build up a home.
When the disposal of land by auction was resolved upon the agricultural possibilities of the districts under review drew together a large influx of the farming class, and no place at that period received more attention than Bombowlee Plain.
Here the purchasers were men whom it may be claimed were the builders of the district.
For although the corners had been knocked off the pioneering work previous to their advent, yet it was they who kept the ball rolling, and by their industry and perseverance in making the land produce to its fullest capacity made a name for the district which it has retained to the present time.
Among the most prominent of those first settlers were Messrs. W. Bridle, senr., Henry Hoad, George Green, Hibbens, senr., Frank Foord, senr., Abraham Anderson and many others.
The whole of those mentioned are, with the exception of Mr. Anderson, now but a memory only.
Mr. Bridle passed away but a short time since at a very advanced age, well on into the nineties, after having spent a long and useful life in the district of his adoption.
Mr. Anderson's parents first settled on the Murrumbidgee in 1839, and thence came on to Tumut.
The subject of this sketch was then a very small boy.
They there turned their attention to fruit growing, and to such good purpose that the orchard then established is still a feature of the possessions of the Anderson family.
But the historical significance of the work of Mr. Anderson lies in the fact that he, in conjunction with his father and the late Mr. Francis Foord, erected the first bridge across the Tumut river.
This was a colossal undertaking on the part of private individuals, who at that time must have been very deficient in the appliances necessary for such work, but it was undertaken and carried to completion and a very useful adjunct to transit across the river it proved to be.
A small charge was made for crossing to help recoup the expense.
They sold their interest in it to the Government some years after, when it became public property.
Later on when it became old and decrepit, the flood waters swept every vestige of it out of existence.
At the same time the grand work that these old pioneers did should not be allowed to sink into oblivion.
The bridge over the river at the foot of Wynyard-street, Tumut, was built in 1862-63 by Hammond and Backing, for the Government, and that of course has been the highway ever since.
There are numbers of the early settlers of whom but little data can be obtained as to their history.
We may presume that they were not gifted with a super abundance of literary talent, and therefore did not trouble themselves with keeping any record of their actions.
Hence the difficulty, I might say the impossibility, in many cases of obtaining information as regards their past history.
Brief mention, however, must be made of those who were in the first flight of settlers in these districts. Amongst these may be mentioned Mr. David Richardson, who came to the colony in the forties, and is still with us, hale and hearty.
He first had a turn at the goldfields, but did not meet with any great success, and eventually settled in Tumut, where one of his first occupations was at blacksmithing in conjunction with the late Mr. J. Allatt, in the vicinity of the old bridged.
Gardening pursuits then took his attention, and here be figured to advantage, as his garden of both fruits and flowers is the delight of all beholders.
A garden infinite in its productions, in which he finds in his declining years a soft amusement, a humane delight of careless sweet rusticity, which gives to a faint picture of home a never-failing loveliness.
The Atkinson's also were located on the river bank not far from Anderson's bridge, where they had a small brewery and an orchard also of small dimensions.
Their stalwart sons held a station property at Goobragandra, and it was here that our old friend Johnny Beale gained some of his first experiences of colonial life.
Mr. T. Lindbeck was on the Lacmalac road, where he lived for a long number of years.
Mr. James Kell, at Lacmalac; Mr. Geo. Sturt, senr., at Tumut Plains.
This esteemed old gentleman was a kinsman of Captain Sturt, the Australian explorer.
Another old identity worthy of more than passing notice was Mr. Auguste Lefevre, who in the early days was an employee of Mr.. Geo. Shelley, and spent a long life on Tumut Plains, where he died.
Nearly the whole of those mentioned, above have long since crossed the Great Divide, which makes me think that I must be getting old, as I had a personal acquaintance with most of them.
The real pioneer of settlement, however, was the gold fields, and although thousands failed in their wild speculations its aftermath was the agriculturist and the grain era.
To those gifted with a spirit of foresight it was plainly evident that Australia held in trust boundless wealth which her sons and daughters were to inherit, and that the wool, the wheat, and the wine of this land of the Golden Fleece would give her a status that would eclipse anything that had occurred among the older nations of the world.
Writing these gleanings from the history of those of a past age would appear to be the only way in which the present generation can obtain a knowledge of the sights, scenes, and facts of a by- gone period.
There are still living some whose great age, puts them in possession of our past history, almost to the beginning of our colonial life.
Their memory of incidents of historic value is of great service, yet it is a curious exhibition of human divergency to hear from different sources such widely different statements of the same facts. There is a noble work lying to hand of some able Australian writer to give us more fully than has hitherto been done the Epic of Australian youth, when she was indeed a terra-incognita, to the world.
Some 16 years ago a writer on old pioneering days stated, this: -
"The lesson of the pioneers, their unquestionable courage, their boundless hope, their verile record, will be a grand prologue to the first Epic of Australia's homes.
But what should be the central theme of that Epic?
Perhaps ere long in the course of the decrees of the future, Australia may enter upon its first national ordeal, the beginning perhaps of a Titanic life or death struggle whereby her very existence may be imperilled."
That forecast was truly prophetic.
That Titanic struggle has been consummated.
The central theme of Australia’s first Epic is not now far to seek.
That theme is Gallipoli, Pozieres, Bullecourt and Villers Bretoneaux.
It was there that deeds were done which rival, in glory the gallant actions of the bravest of the brave.
Deeds as worthy of the central place in an Epic as ever were those of Leonora’s and his little Spartan band at Thermopoly 2500 years ago.
There have been seven main bridges and a walk way constructed over the beautiful Tumut River, four of them and a walk way in the Blowering Area.
1900 - Mr. R. Donaldson, M.L.A., has been successful obtaining a special grant of £75 for a road from Jones's Bridge to West Blowering. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Wednesday 24 October 1900).
1936 - THE CARETAKER. A Hermit of the Tumut.(BY EVAN SAWKINS.) - He is an old-time miner named Donohue, and for 40 years he has lived amongst the steep mountains that crowd against one another in the wild country between Tumbarumba and Kiandra.
At O'Hares Bridge, on the Tumut River, on a little piece of flat land, he has a humpy, and lives alone. Seven or eight miles of difficult track to the east leads a bushman to his nearest neighbour at Lob's Hole, where once a famous copper mine yielded rich ore. Twenty miles father on, and 3000 feet higher, is grey wind-swept Kiandra.
Donohue is one of the old pioneer miners of yesterday, slightly stooped, rough and weather beaten, and with a long white beard, and very picturesque. He is paid a small sum to watch the bridge and keep fires away, and at the same time does a little fossicking every day and takes a great deal of interest in his garden.
In the summer time when the west lands are dry and parched, great mobs of sheep are trucked through Wagga to Tumbarumba, and driven down on to the Tumut at O'Hares Bridge, and over and away to the summer grazing lands about Rules Point. After they have got their sheep across, the drovers always camp at the bridge, and their company is invariably bright and their talk newsy.
When the trout are striking the old man is often hailed by passing road men. He himself never fishes, but there is a frivolous little creek that joins the river near the bridge, and in the late afternoon he often likes to sit on a rock on its bank and watch the trout in the sparkling water.
In the winter time no one passes by. The rough old bridge again becomes part of the wild bush whence it was hewn, and the mad Tumut races underneath, its waters swollen with melted snows.
It was in the late winter that I made the bridge, one dull bleak afternoon, very near to sunset. A hundred yards along the river I saw the old ramshackle hut - a thin wavering line of smoke rising from its chimney. The garden was well set out and efficient looking, but the rough and tumble fence around it was made up from logs and branches, and being without posts, had a rather sorrowful aspect.
He had imported seed from America, and was most optimistic about certain experiments he was making with it. His interest in the subject was infectious. His chief experiments, however, were with the medicinal herb Golden Seal. This plant is particularly suited to cultivation in alpine dis- tricts. He had imported seed, and was, he thought, the first to successfully grow it in Australia. The large scale cultivation of Golden Seal was now his chief concern, and the little mining he still did was for the sole purpose of allowing him to keep on with these experiments.
I said good-bye to him the following morning, and left him those stores that I could spare. He saw me over the bridge, and indicated the Tumbarumba track. Later on in the morning, as I sat down to rest, and the more to relish my final glimpse of the Tumut, now almost 2000ft below, I was still listening to his cheerily spoken words of parting: "I'm not lonely, I'm in a bubble of excitement to see how my pansies turn out in the spring" -lucky man. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Saturday 1 February 1936).
G and V Boston - erection of bridge over Tumut River at O'Hare's Crossing, road Kiandra to Tumburumba - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Wednesday 9 November 1892).