By the 1820's various explorers had extended the boundaries of the Colony of New South Wales but the nature of the interior of south-eastern Australia was unknown. Governor Brisbane wanted an expedition mounted to investigate the quality of the land between Lake George and Westernport on the southern coast of the continent. Hamilton Hume was recommended to him as a competent and experienced bushman and explorer. He was joined by William Hovell an Englishman who had been a ship's captain.
The journey commenced on 3rd October 1824. The party comprised Hume and Hovell and six assigned men seeking tickets of leave. In order to reach Westernport, the explorers endeavoured to follow a south-westerly routes on every possible occasion, travelling along the western edge of the Great Dividing Range and over the plains toward what would become Albury.
After ingeniously crossing the Murray River by building a raft using a tarpaulin, they continued on, reaching Port Phillip on 16th December 1824, at the present site of Geelong. The poor state of their provisions forced them to set out on the return journey almost immediately.
They arrived at Hume's outstation near Lake George on 18th January 1825, completing one of the Colony's most significant explorations. They had travelled more than 1900 kilometres on foot, in only 16 weeks, and in doing so had discovered some of the most fertile land on the continent.
The Governor, who was under instruction to expand the boundaries of the Colony, was able to exploit the achievements of the small party and settlement quickly followed - Ref - http://www.lands.nsw.gov.au/recreation/walking_tracks/hume_and_hovell_walking_track/history
COOMA COTTAGE, YASS - Home of Australian explorer HAMILTON HUME - Cooma Cottage, Gunning - per Bill Peach
TRAVELLERS’ TALES - An interactive education program for primary students
COOMA COTTAGE 756 YASS VALLEY WAY (PO BOX 98) YASS NSW 2582 T: 02 6226 1470 F: 02 6226 3024 E:firstname.lastname@example.org COST: $5.00 PER STUDENT inc.GST : Teachers and adults - no charge
CONTENTS - TABLE OF CONTENTS - SECTION 1 Curriculum Links NSW & ACT 1 - PROGRAM Program Aims 2 - BRIEFING Program Description & Themes 2
Planning Your Excursion 3 - Classroom preparation 3 - Other activities in Yass 4 - Getting there 5
SECTION 2 Exploration in early 1800’s 6 - STUDENT Hume and Hovell Exploration 9 - RESOURCES The Ngunawal Nation 16 - & ACTIVITIES Life on a Colonial Homestead 20 - A Town is Built 24
The Heritage Property 26 - SECTION 3 Timeline 30 - RESOURCES Glossary of Terms 31 - Bibliography 34 - PROGRAM BRIEFING
1 CURRICULUM LINKS ACT - SOCIETY AND ENVIRONMENT - TIME, CONTINUITY AND CHANGE
Level 3 - Describes different periods of time in the local area. - Places events, and the ways people have lived and worked, in a sequence.
Level 4 - Describes important events and ways of life in some periods of Australia’s past. - Describes an event or occasion in history - from a particular point of view.
Level 5 - Describes the significant ideas, people or events that have contributed to the Australian identity.
Examines and explains how people may think differently about the same event or issue. PLACE AND SPACE Level 3 Identifies issues about the care of places which occur because of the different ways that people value these places. Level 4 Describes how the different things people believe in, value and become involved with, influence the way they use places. Describes the different views that individuals and groups have about issues to do with the care of places. Level 5 Explains how people’s use of natural and built features of places changes over time. Explains why various individuals and groups have different views about the care of places.
NEW SOUTH WALES HUMAN SOCIETY AND ITS ENVIRONMENT CHANGE AND CONTINUITY Significant People and Events STAGE 3 CCS3.1 Explains the significance of particular people, groups, places, actions and events in the past in developing Australian identities. STAGE 2 CCS2.1 Describes events and actions related to the British colonisation of Australia and assesses changes and consequences. ENVIRONMENTS Relationships with places STAGE 3 ENS3.6 Explains how various beliefs and practices influence the ways in which people interact with, change and value their environment. STAGE 2 ENS2.6 Describes people’s interactions with environments and identifies responsible ways of interacting with environments. PROGRAM BRIEFING 2
PROGRAM AIMS - The aim of Travellers' Tales is to provide opportunities for students to: ?? Observe the nature of continuity and change over time of a natural and built environment. ?? Identify the different experiences of individuals involved with and affected by colonial exploration and expansion. ?? Recognise the impact of colonial exploration and expansion on the Aboriginal people. ?? Relate to the different lives and experiences of those who lived and worked at Cooma Cottage. ?? Understand the nature and significance of an Australian heritage site.
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION AND KEY THEMES - Time: 2 hours - Travellers' Tales is an interactive program with students participating in a variety of experiences over the whole property including house, stables, land and river.
The students are divided into three groups which rotate during the 2 hours.
1. Exploring Change Over Time – 40 mins Students explore the phases of occupation of the property from an Aboriginal landscape to the development of a pastoral property. Students view and discuss a series of sketches to understand the change of the landscape over time. They finish by sketching their own interpretation of the property. Key themes: ?? Change over time ?? The historical landscape ?? Use of land ?? Impact of colonial expansion on Aboriginal people
2. House & Social Visit – 40 mins To explore the social function of the house at that time, a cold winter’s evening is recreated in which the experiences of the visitors - Hamilton Hume’s niece Mary, her servant girl Jane, and Hume’s coachman Jimmy, are compared . Students explore how their status reflected their entry and access to different parts of the property. Key themes: ?? Function and use of particular spaces ?? Influence of social class on living arrangements ?? How people lived in the 1800’s
3. Exploration Team – 40 mins
Students take on the roles of the exploration team that took part in the historic 1824 journey of Hume and Hovell from Sydney to Port Phillip Bay. Students choose and carry equipment and supplies, journey to a final campsite and mark their progress on a map. When students have set up camp, they sit down at the campsite and discuss the effect that exploration had on Aboriginal people, the landscape and colonial expansion. Key themes: ?? Colonial exploration and expansion ?? Impact of colonial exploration and expansion on Aboriginal people
3 CLASSROOM PREPARATION This kit contains 6 topics in Section 2 – Student Resources and Activities, that you can use to expand on the themes explored during Traveller’s Tales. In each topic there are suggested Pre-Visit and Post-Visit activities. The Pre-Visit activities are reproduced below for ease of reference. For further details refer to the Reference Sheets in Section 2. PROGRAM BRIEFING
4 - OTHER ACTIVITIES IN YASS - EXPLORATION IN THE EARLY 1800’s - Recording history • Have the students keep a diary of a particular event or day at school. • Compare the different viewpoints. • Discuss why the students may have had different viewpoints or chosen different words to describe or record the event. Explore the concept of subjectivity.
HUME AND HOVELL EXPLORATION Supplies and resources • Ask the students to think about a family camping trip. • Have them write down all the supplies they might need to take with them. • Ask them to think about what they would take and leave behind if they had no car. • Ask them to draw a pictorial representation of these supplies. The Explorers • As a class read through the attached profiles of each explorer. • You may allocate theses roles for the excursion if you wish.
THE NGUNAWAL NATION European occupation • Research the Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal history of your school area. • Find out when the area was settled by Europeans, who the Aboriginal people were and which language group or nation they belonged to.
LIFE ON A COLONIAL HOMESTEAD Servants and masters • Discuss the role and lives of servants and masters. • Use the internet or library to research what life was like in the 1800’s. Living on an outstation • Ask students to imagine they are living on a piece of land in the middle of nowhere: the nearest shops are days away and you can’t use a car to get there, only a horse and cart. You have no electricity or telephone. • Ask students to write a shopping list of the supplies they will purchase when they travel to the shops in their horse and cart. • Discuss the practicalities of their lists.
A TOWN IS BUILT Colonial expansion • Brainstorm what some of the consequences of exploration may have been. What happened after the explorers returned home with maps, names and descriptions of places? • Research when your local school area was ‘discovered’ then ‘settled’ by European explorers.
A HERITAGE PROPERTY History and heritage • Discuss the difference between history and heritage. • Research the meanings of some key terms associated with heritage eg. conservation, archaeology, cultural significance, preservation. Change over time • Research the layers of occupation of the local school area – from Aboriginal occupation to the present day. • Present the findings as a diagram, timeline or in pictures. Yass & District Museum
Filled with local historic information and featuring a photographic exhibition Parallels – an exhibition of Yass in the 1890’s, this museum provides an interesting and informative visit for school groups. An entry fee applies. Further information and opening times can be obtained from the Yass Tourist Information Centre on (02) 6226 2557. Yass Historic Walk and Drive Maps of both the walk and drive are available, or you can arrange for a member of the Yass Historical Society to join you on your bus and provide a commentary tour of Yass – call the Yass Visitor Information Centre on (02) 6226 2557. Hamilton Hume’s Grave Both Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth are buried in the Anglican section of the Yass Cemetery. The original headstone on Hume’s grave was replaced by the existing one in 1879. Accessible at all times.
Yass Railway Museum - Wander through the 100 year old station building, view an old rolling stock and walk on the shortest platform in Australia. Open daily 12pm – 4pm. Entry fee applies. Phone: 6226 2169. Kuroing Sheep Station - Working sheep station approximately half an hours drive from Yass near Binalong. Contact (02) 6227 4222 or 6227 2884.
Carey’s Caves Wee Jasper - Located in picturesque Wee Jasper Valley, one hours drive from Yass. Fully guided tours and well lit pathways with minimum stairs. Contact (02) 6227 9622. Burrinjuck Waters State Park Scenic 57km from Yass, feed the friendly kangaroos and coloured birds, water skiing, sailing and fishing. Contact park office on (02) 6227 8114.
5 GETTING THERE - Location: - Yass is located at the junction of the Hume Highway and the Barton Highway, approximately 3 hours south of Sydney, 45 minutes from Canberra and 6 hours north of Melbourne.
From Sydney or Canberra: - If entering Yass from Sydney or Canberra side you will find Cooma Cottage a couple of minutes down the Yass Valley Way from the junction of the Barton Highway and the Hume Highway exit. - Follow the signs to the town of Yass and before you get to the town, you will see a brown sign indicating that Cooma Cottage is ahead on your right. There is a small right hand turning bay and you will turn directly into the Cooma Cottage driveway.
From Melbourne: - If you are entering Yass from the Melbourne side, exit the Hume Highway and follow the signs to Yass. Drive through the town. Approximately 3.5km from the town you will see a brown sign indicating that Cooma Cottage is ahead on your left. Turn left straight into the driveway of Cooma Cottage.
6 - EXPLORATION IN THE EARLY 1800’s -Until the beginning of the 1800’s, the Europeans only occupied the strip of land around Sydney, between the mountain range and the sea.
The European settlers saw Australia as a vast continent waiting to be discovered, explored and tamed. The landscape was seen as a blank canvas that needed to be mapped and named.
7 - CLASS ACTIVITIES - PRE-VISIT - Recording history • Have the students keep a diary of a particular event or day at school. • Compare the different viewpoints. • Discuss why the students may have had different viewpoints or chosen different words to describe or record the event. Explore the concept of subjectivity.
POST-VISIT - Recording history • Students write their own account of the exploration at Cooma Cottage. • Review the accounts and ask if everyone’s version of the day is the same. • Discuss different points of view and possible reasons for the differing viewpoints. • Ask students to keep a diary of their next trip away or a weekend visit. Discuss how they
will use this diary to remember the past and how it might be used by others. Mapping and owning • Divide students into groups and allocate an area of the school property to each group eg. the oval, the quadrangle etc. • Ask students to map the area using a trundle wheel, pencil and paper. • Have the students name their area. • Create one new map of the school property with different areas named and owned by the different groups. • Discuss how the rest of the school community will feel now that the places have been renamed and claimed as owned.
USEFUL RESOURCES Flannery, T (ed). (2001). The Explorers. Phoneix: London. Favenc, E. The History of Australian Exploration (online). http://gutenberg.net.au/ausexplore
Wallace, A.R. (1893). Australian exploration (online). www.wku.edu/~smithch/australia/walltext.htm Culture and Recreation – Access to Australia’s culture and recreation www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/explorers/
8 - STUDENT ACTIVITIES
9 - THE HUME AND HOVELL EXPLORATION - STUDENT ACTIVITIES
10 - The Hume and Hovell exploration to Port Phillip Bay in 1824 is thought to be one of the most difficult, but most successful explorations in Australia.
Hamilton Hume offered to make a journey south-west towards the place where Melbourne is today. The government accepted his offer.
Then Hume accepted an offer from William Hovell to join the party and provide half the men and cattle needed, while the government provided some other supplies. The two leaders had specific instructions from the Governor, the ultimate goal being to reach the Southern Ocean at Western Port in Victoria.
They travelled during the day and then camped at night. Every night, Hume would sit down and chart the distance and route travelled through the day. Hovell did not keep a map, but he did keep a journal which he wrote in nearly every evening of the trip. The two partners, Hume and Hovell, slept in one tent, while the other six men slept under tarpaulins.
They hunted kangaroo, emu, fish and lobster for food.
During the exploration they met and crossed ten rivers. At many of the rivers Hovell wanted to follow their instructions from the Governor which said that if they found a river they could not cross they were to follow it to see where it went, but Hume was always determined to cross.
Each time he found a way to cross the river, often using the tarpaulin and cart or later building a boat from wattle trees. At the Goodradigbee River near Yass, they had to hide their carts and some supplies because the land was too rough to continue with them.
When they reached the Snowy Mountains, Hume and Hovell had a big fight about which direction to travel. They decided to divide the supplies in two and each go a different way. They argued about the tent they shared, and they fought over the frying pan and broke it.
Hovell led his men straight into the Snowy Mountains, but Thomas Boyd convinced him the route was too dangerous, so they turned around and caught up with Hume who had gone around the mountain. Then on Thursday 16th December they reached the Southern Ocean - their goal.
They thought they were at Western Port, but it was later found they had actually reached Port Phillip Bay, which was very close to Western Port. They were exhausted, their clothes were in rags and they had very few supplies left.
The next day was the first time they actually saw any Aborigines. Hume was said to have called the Aborigines peaceful and friendly, but Hovell wrote in his journal that they appeared suspicious and treacherous. Later in the journey Hume was invited to visit an Aboriginal camp, but Hovell refused to go with him.
Before leaving Port Phillip, the men collected bottles of sea water to prove they had reached the sea. They set out for home with Hume as their leader. They had to kill some of their bullocks and use the hide for footwear and the meat for food. They travelled back as quickly as they could, worried that if it started to rain they would not be able to cross all the rivers along the way.
On 18th January they arrived at Hume’s station at Gunning. The whole trip had taken 16 weeks, with the return trip taking only 31 days. All eight men returned home, but no dogs or cattle made it back.
CLASS ACTIVITIES - PRE-VISIT
Supplies and resources - • Ask the students to think about a family camping trip. - • Have them write down all the supplies they might need to take with them. - • Ask them to think about what they would take and leave behind if they had no car. - • Ask them to draw a pictorial representation of these supplies.
The Explorers - • As a class read through the attached profiles of each explorer. - • You may allocate these roles for the excursion if you wish.
POST-VISIT - The Explorers - • A class trip to the school or local library, or the internet, could be used to research further details about Hume and Hovell. - • Conduct a comparative study of explorers under different conditions.
Recording history - • Use the attached journal entries about Hume and Hovell’s fight at the Snowy Mountains, to discuss how and why the versions might be different.
USEFUL RESOURCES - Webster, R. H. (1999). Currency Lad.2nd Ed. Ginninderra Press: ACT
Prest, J. (1963). Hamilton Hume and William Hovell. Oxford University Press: Melbourne
11 - PROFILES OF EXPLORERS: The profiles will be read by students during the program.
HAMILTON HUME: “My name is Hamilton Hume. I was born on 19th June 1797, near Parramatta in Sydney. When I was growing up, my brother John and I spent a lot of time in the bush around Sydney. I loved exploring and I made lots of Aboriginal friends. Now people know me as a great explorer with amazing bush skills. I learnt lots of skills from the Aborigines and they have really helped me on my journeys.
When I meet them on a trip they often tell me where to find water or the easiest path to follow. Today I am very excited about this journey because we will be the first white people to walk down to Port Phillip Bay.
Other men have been there, but only by sea, no white man has ever walked through the land that we will be exploring on this trip.” WILLIAM HOVELL: “My name is William Hovell. I was born in England in 1786. I was a Captain in the English navy. I arrived in Sydney in 1813. I heard that Hume wanted to explore the south-west, so I offered to share the cost of the journey and be a joint leader of the exploration team.
Our mission from the Governor is to map the land from Sydney to Port Phillip Bay. The people in Sydney need more farming land because there isn’t enough food for everyone. So our mission is very important.”
THOMAS BOYD: “My name is Thomas Boyd. I was born in Ireland in 1798. I was transported to the colony for robbery. I am a convict servant for Mr Hume’s uncle John Kennedy, but I have been lent to Mr Hovell for this trip. People say that I am brave, strong and a good worker. I think that’s why Mr Hume wanted me for this trip.”
WILLIAM BOLLARD: “My name is William Bollard. People say I am a good worker and can keep working for many, many hours at a time. I think that’s why I have been assigned to Mr Hovell for this trip.”
THOMAS SMITH: “My name is Thomas Smith. I have been assigned to Mr Hovell for this trip. I am younger than the others in the group and I think that Hamilton Hume is a very great explorer.”
HARRY ANGEL: “My name is Henry Angel, but people call me Harry. I was born in England in 1790. I was charged with robbery and I was sentenced to death. Because I was young, they changed my sentence to transportation for life so I was sent to Sydney in 1819. At first I worked on the mountain road gangs and then I was assigned to Mr Hume last year. I am a short man, but am strong and very good with horses and bullocks, so I will be helpful on this trip.”
JAMES FITZPATRICK: “My name is James Fitzpatrick. I was born in Ireland in 1800. I am tall and strong and very smart and I stand up for what I believe in. I was angry at the government in Ireland so they arrested me and I was sent to Australia for 7 years. When I first got to the colony I managed to escape but I was captured again and sent to work on the road gangs. Then they assigned me to Mr Hume. I think Mr Hume is a very good man and the best explorer in Australia.”
CLAUDE BOSSAWA: “I have been assigned to Mr Hume. Mr Hovell says that I am a good fighter, but Harry Angel thinks I am a coward. I’ll show them what I’m really like on this trip. My job on this trip is to use the measuring tool called a perambulator. I wheel it along as we walk and take notes of the distances we have travelled.
12 - VERSIONS OF THE EXPLORATION - During the exploration, Hume and Hovell had a fight about which direction they should travel. The following versions (taken from: Webster, R. H. (1999). Currency Lad.2nd Ed. Ginninderra Press: ACT) tell us a lot about the people involved and the way history is recorded. Hume’s Brief Statements of Facts
…I found we were getting in too high a country, for the Snowy Mountains (the Australian Alps) were observed crossing our course. I proposed that we should take a direction more westerly, in order to avoid the formidable barrier which threatened to interrupt our way: but Mr Hovell dissented from my proposal.
After some wrangling and disputing, each being positive of the correctness of his opinion, we resolved to part company, and follow each his own course; I steered mine west. However, when my party turned into camp, and lighted the fire for the night, great, indeed was my surprise to hear one of my men call out, ‘here comes Mr Hovell’, and sure enough, there he was, with his man Boyd running down our tracks… William Hovell’s journal
… As we found it impossible to proceed any further in that direction without endangering the lives of both men and beasts, and perhaps to no purpose, I proposed that we should return the 5 ¼ miles, to attempt a passage over the range, west of us, and to endeavour to get fifty or sixty miles in a westerly direction…
Thomas Boyd …two or three days after we came in sight of the Snowy Mountains…Mr Hume and Mr Hovell had a great difference about the course they should go; after quarrelling over it they parted, each going his own way. I had to go with Mr Hovell. After travelling some distance, I represented to him that the course we were steering led us right among the Snowy Mountains, and that if we once got among them we could never get out, and must all be lost. He agreed with me; and at his desire I sought and found Mr Hume’s track, ran it down, and we joined him and his party about dusk the same evening, just as they camped for the night.
Henry Angel …I recollect Mr Hume and Mr Hovell having a dispute about which course we were to travel after we came in sight of the Snowy Mountains. After some wrangling they separated, each going his own course. Before they parted they had a row about who was to have the tent, they were going to cut it in two, but My Hume let Mr Hovell have it. Then they quarrelled about the frying pan, but broke it in pulling at it. It was not long however, before Mr Hovell came after us, a few hours or half a day.
James Fitzpatrick …Mr Hovell struck off with his own men towards the Snowy Mountains, in the direction (as I know the country) of Omeo or Gippsland. Mr Hume kept his westerly course. I accompanied Mr Hume. However, Mr Hovell and his party came after us again, and camped with us that night.
13 - SUPPLIES TAKEN ON THE EXPLORATION - List of provisions taken on the Hume and Hovell exploration to Port Phillip Bay in 1824
Webster, R.H. (1999). Currency Lad. 2nd edn. Ginninderra Press: Charnwood, ACT. - Eight stands of arms - Six pounds of gunpowder - Sixty rounds of ball cartridge - Six suits of slops - Six blankets - 1,200 pounds of flour - 350 pounds of pork - 175 pounds of sugar - 38 pounds of tea and coffee - 8 pounds of tobacco - sixteen pounds of soap - 20 pounds of salt - cooking utensils - One false horizon - Three pocket compasses - One perambulator - Two carts - 3 horses - Seven pack saddles - One riding saddle - 4 bullocks - several kangaroo dogs - 2 sketch maps - Two tarpaulins - One tent made of coarse woollen cloth
14 - STUDENT ACTIVITIES
15 - ROUTE OF THE HUME AND HOVELL - EXPLORATION TO PORT PHILLIP BAY IN 1824 - SOURCE: Webster, R. H. (1999). Currency - Lad.2nd Ed. Ginninderra Press: ACT - An Exploring Party, Looking for a Sheep Run - From National Library of Australia - Party Bivoac’d for the Night - From Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW
16 - THE NGUNAWAL NATION
17 - The Yass and Canberra districts are Ngunawal country. People from the Ngunawal nation usually moved in small family groups, in Yass these were the Wallabolloa people. There is evidence of large meetings or corroborees of the Ngunawal people, such as gatherings for the Bogong moth and the Yam daisy.
In Yass it is believed corroborees were held on the site where the Catholic school, Mount Carmel, is now located.
The Wallabolloa people had probably heard of the arrival of the Europeans from the Gundungurra people to the north and the Darug in the north-east. The first record of people reaching the Yass Plains was in 1821 when Hume ‘discovered’ the area and came across a small Ngunawal settlement of bark huts on the river south-west of Gunning.
The reactions of the Ngunawal people to these first meetings has not been recorded in European history. However, it is believed that these first meetings were courteous.
There were reports from travellers that the Aboriginal people were very hospitable and history claims that Hume had a good relationship with them.
The Ngunawal people called the river “Yharr” meaning running water and it is believed that the name Yass came from this word. The district was named the Yass Plains and was reported by Hovell to be the “most magnificent”.
By 1830 a small village of Europeans had developed on the south bank of the Yass River in an area that the Wallabolloa people called Warrambalulah meaning beside flowing water.
As more Europeans came to the area, the Ngunawal people and their way of life changed. There were clashes between shepherds and the Aborigines, and in 1826 around 1000 Ngunawal people gathered at Lake George to protest against the stockmen.
The effect of the cattle and sheep on the landscape was quick, with their hard hooves and large appetites damaging many food and water sources such as the Yam daisies and watering holes. However, it is believed that the relationship between the Ngunawal people and the Europeans was better than in other areas of Australia. The Ngunawal people adapted to the Europeans by taking jobs as stockmen in return for food and shelter.
Hume reported that in all his explorations he had never had to defend himself from an Aborigine even when he was the first white man they had ever seen.
The number of Aboriginal people in the south-west began to decline significantly. In 1831, many Ngunawal people died from smallpox, a European disease, and in the 1860s measles caused much suffering to the people. However, they continued their way of life as best they could, with reports of corroborees around Goulburn in the 1840’s and 1850’s attracting around 3000 people.
As European farming and fencing spread, the Ngunawal lifestyle of moving across vast areas became extremely difficult. The Europeans became more possessive of their individual landholdings and of the towns they lived in.
An Aborigine Protection Board was formed in 1883. In 1888 they formed the first mission called Oak Hill on six and a half acres on the northern side of Yass, restricting the Aboriginal community to the area.
ACCOUNTS OF HUME AND HOVELL MEETINGS WITH ABORIGINES - Taken from: Webster, R. H. (1999). Currency Lad.2nd Ed. Ginninderra Press: ACT
Hume’s accounts - Hume told Robinson when he returned home that the Aboriginal people they met on the exploration were peacable and friendly. …we found about thirty or forty natives, young and old, awaiting us, a special messenger having been sent on to inform them of our coming. Among them I observed a very tall light coloured man, several inches higher than myself. The number of women and children inspired me with confidence, being a sure sign that they were peacefully disposed; many of the children took hold of my hands and knees, at the same time patting me. I had nothing, however, in the shape of presents to give them, except an old tin pot and broken knife.
At the request of the old men, I named one of them and some of their children. The three natives who had remained in our camp overnight gave me their names as Nowingong, Cooradoc, and Wowhely; the latter has for years past resided in the Yass district; he is known by the name, ‘Mickey’ and very often pays me a visit, being, as Mike terms it ‘a very old acquaintance’…
Hovell’s accounts - …their conduct, generally…appeared to all very suspicious and treacherous. They laughed about running after the man, but I have not the least doubt that had they got him they would have eaten good part of him… …the musterings of the natives warned us that a longer delay would not be prudent…
18 - STUDENT ACTIVITIES
19 - CLASS ACTIVITIES - PRE-VISIT
European occupation - • Research the history of your school area. - • Find out when the area was settled by Europeans, who the Aboriginal people were and which language group or nation they belonged to.
POST VISIT - Recording history - • Why do we have written records of early contact from the European point of view, but none from the Aboriginal point of view? Early Contact
European reactions - • Read through the attached versions of Hume and Hovell’s accounts of their meetings with Aboriginal people. - • Discuss why their versions might be different and whether this might have affected their relationships with the Aboriginal people and their success as explorers. - • Focus on the different words used to describe the Aboriginal people and the differing lengths of the accounts.
Aboriginal reactions - • Ask students to imagine they are a member of the Wallabolloa people and they have just seen the Hume and Hovell expedition team camp on the banks of the Yass river. - • Ask them to write a diary account of this event.
USEFUL RESOURCES - South Australian Museum - www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/tindale/boundaries.htm
ABC - www.abc.net.au/frontier/education/enemstu.htm
20 - LIFE ON A COLONIAL HOMESTEAD - STUDENT ACTIVITIES
STUDENT ACTIVITIES - Hamilton Hume and his wife Elizabeth moved to Cooma Cottage in 1839. The property was on 100 acres and had a small three-roomed cottage on it. They lived there until Hamilton died in 1873.
Cooma Cottage was quite an isolated property. It was a long distance from Sydney and the town of Yass was only just beginning. So Hume and the property had to be self sufficient, because it was not easy to get supplies like food and building materials. He used the property to plant orchard trees, a vineyard, he kept some sheep and cattle and other farmyard animals and he planted a large vegetable and herb garden.
Hume also made many extensions to the house and property. He built onto the house until it had around 20 rooms. He added many different outbuildings, including building impressive stables, servants living areas, a blacksmith workshop, a manager’s cottage, a dairy, possibly a winemaking area, and probably other small buildings as well. Hamilton and Elizabeth Hume were reasonably wealthy.
Hume had received lots of land grants for his explorations and he was a successful farmer and businessman. Hume was also quite famous as an explorer and was respected by society. Therefore they had servants to help them around the house and property. They had men working on the property and building the extensions, and women running the homestead. The servants lived at the property, sleeping in either small outbuildings around the property, or some of the girls slept in small rooms added onto the homestead.
In 1841, when Hume was building many extensions onto the house, there were 17 servants living at Cooma Cottage, most of them were shepherds and gardeners.
The homestead was built in a certain way because there were masters and servants living there. The front of the house had the formal rooms used by Hamilton and Elizabeth, such as the Dining Room and the Drawing Room, while at the back of the house there were the domestic rooms such as the Dairy, the Cellar and the Pantries.
The front formal rooms had back doors for the servants to enter through, rather than having them use the front doors. The bedrooms had external doors for the servants to enter through rather than having to go through the formal rooms in order to clean the bedroom and empty chamberpots and so on.
The servants’ bedrooms, when attached to the house, didn’t have internal doors so the servants could not access the house without first going outside.
It is believed that Hamilton Hume treated his servants quite well compared to other masters during that time.
Cooma Cottage and detached servant quarters 2003.
21 - CLASS ACTIVITIES - PRE-VISIT - Servants and Masters - • Discuss the role and lives of servants and masters. - • Use the internet to research what life was like in the mid-1800’s, paying particular attention to life on pioneering outposts and pastoral enterprises.
Living on an outstation - • Ask students to imagine they are living on a piece of land in the middle of nowhere. Describe the situation to them, the nearest shops are days away and you can’t use a car to get there, only a horse and cart. You have no electricity or telephone. - • Ask students to write a shopping list of the supplies they will purchase when they travel to the shops in their horse and cart. - • Discuss the practicalities of their lists.
POST-VISIT - Servants and Masters - • Ask students to write a diary account of their visit to Cooma Cottage from Mary’s perspective and then one from Jane’s perspective. - • Compare their accounts and discuss the differences. Living on an outstation - • Ask students to imagine they are a servant working for Mr and Mrs Hume and living at Cooma Cottage. - • Ask them tow write as letter to a friend describing their life at Cooma Cottage.
USEFUL RESOURCES - Museum Victoria - http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/windows/8hrs/missus.asp
22 - STUDENT ACTIVITIES
23 - STUDENT ACTIVITIES
24 - A TOWN IS BUILT - Yass was a crossroad for major routes not only linking Sydney to Melbourne but also linking Bathurst and Queanbeyan and was a rest stop for travellers. During the 1850’s traffic along the road from Sydney to Melbourne was often held up at the river crossing and the river often flooded as well, so they built the first bridge in 1853.
In the 1870’s the main Sydney to Melbourne railway bypassed the town by 3 miles, but a link was built and trams ran from the town out to the railway from 1893 until 1958. By the 1881 census the population of Yass was 1805 people. The town of Yass helped the colony expand and develop. It led settlement away from the coast and onto the vast open plains of the south and west. It helped expand the Australian wool industry and it became the resting place for travellers from Sydney to Melbourne.
After Hume and Hovell returned from their expedition to Port Phillip Bay in 1824, news spread of good farming land in the southwest.
A rough bush track joined Yass to Goulburn because of the Hume and Hovell exploration, so settlers began taking flocks of sheep to the area.
Henry O’Brien and his brother Cornelius applied for grazing permits and set up stations at Yass and Jugiong. Other settlers started farms in the area, as did Hume and Hovell who both received land grants.
The farms were like small villages because they were so isolated they had to be self sufficient. By 1830 a small settlement had developed on the banks of the Yass river, and the settlement began to grow quickly. The Police Magistrate at Goulburn then selected the site of the town. The first survey and plan of the town was done in 1834 and it was made an official town in 1837.
In 1841 there were 173 people and 29 buildings in the town. The 1840’s were very hard times for the people in Yass because of severe droughts and the collapse of the wool industry, but the town continued to grow.
The road from Sydney to Melbourne, with Yass directly in its route, continued to grow and was called the Great Southern Road, which is now the Hume Highway.
25 - CLASS ACTIVITIES - PRE-VISIT - Colonial expansion - • Brainstorm what some of the consequences of exploration may have been. What happened after the explorers returned home with maps, names and descriptions of places? - • Research when your local school area was ‘discovered’ then ‘settled’ by European explorers.
POST-VISIT - Colonial expansion - • Visit the town of Yass. Obtain a map of the historic walk or drive from the Yass Visitor Information Centre or contact a member of the Yass & District Historical Society to conduct a commentary tour of the town. Alternatively, visit the Yass & District Museum.
USEFUL RESOURCES - Yass Valley Council - www.yass.nsw.gov.au Yass & District Museum - 249 Comur St, Yass 02 6226 4966
Yass Visitor Information Centre - Coronation park, Comur St, Yass 02 6226 2557
26 - A HERITAGE PROPERTY - Cooma Cottage is a heritage property. Heritage is any ‘thing’ which contributes to the understanding of the human story. Cooma Cottage is a heritage property because it helps us and future generations to know what it was like to live in a house in the 1830’s; to know how they built houses in the 1830’s; because it was the home of Hamilton Hume who was a famous explorer; and it shows us how people have changed the landscape and the house over time.
It is a heritage property because it tells us a story about the past. The property is now owned by the National Trust of Australia (NSW). The National Trust is a community organisation which believes in conserving Australia’s heritage, whether it is built heritage, natural heritage or cultural heritage.
Cooma Cottage Drawing Room 1970, before National Trust conservation and restoration work began.
Conservation means looking after a place or object so that it keeps its significance, so that it can keep telling us stories about the past. The National Trust looks after the property so that people can visit and listen to the stories of the past.
Cooma Cottage Drawing Room, 2004. - There are lots of organisations which look after our heritage and history. Some of them are government organisations and some are community organisations like the National Trust.
The work they do is very important because if we forget to look after our heritage or remember our history then we won’t know anything about our past. We won’t know who we are or where we came from. We won’t know how or why we came to be living here. We won’t know the ways that other people lived or how we know how to build houses and roads and cure illnesses.
We won’t know anything about yesterday or last year or last century. If the National Trust didn’t look after Cooma Cottage we might not know what happened to Hamilton Hume after his big exploration. We might not know that he got married and moved to Yass and had 17 servants.
27 - CLASS ACTIVITIES - PRE-VISIT - History and heritage - • Discuss the difference between history and heritage. - • Research the meanings of some key terms associated with heritage eg. conservation, archaeology, cultural significance, preservation.
Change over time - • Research the layers of occupation of the local school area – from Aboriginal occupation to the present day. - • Present the findings as a diagram, timeline or in pictures.
POST-VISIT - History and heritage - • Research the work done by the National Trust in NSW, right across Australia and internationally.
Conserving our heritage - • Ask students to imagine that Cooma Cottage is going to be closed down. Ask them to write a letter to the National Trust or the local newspaper, explaining why Cooma Cottage should be kept open to the public.
USEFUL RESOURCES - National Trust of Australia (NSW) www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au - Australian Council of National Trusts - www.nationaltrust.org.au - Australian Heritage Council - www.ahc.gov.au - NSW Heritage Office www.heritage.nsw.gov.au - Environment ACT – Heritage Unit www.environment.act.gov.au/heritage/heritage.html - Teaching Heritage - www.teachingheritage.nsw.edu.au
28 - SIGNIFICANCE OF COOMA COTTAGE - Cooma Cottage is an important heritage site. The significance of the site can be explored through the following topics relating to the property.
Exploration - • The Hume and Hovell exploration team to Port Phillip Bay in 1824 passed through the land now called Cooma Cottage. - • The property was the home of explorer Hamilton Hume from 1839 until 1873.
Early settlement and life on a colonial homestead - • The property was an early homestead group of buildings, an Australian pioneering outpost. It provides opportunities to explore:
The social impact of living on the land. - The domestic character and function of each space. - What it would have been like to live in a house such as this. - • The property was an early Australian pastoral enterprise. Cooma Cottage was self sufficient with some sheep and cattle, vineyards and orchard trees. - The first builder Cornelius O’Brien was a pioneer, significant in developing Yass and the wool industry in the area. - Hume also contributed to the development of early Yass and its wool industry.
Natural Environment - • Cooma Cottage offers the opportunity to examine the Aboriginal and European impact on the natural environment.
Architecture - • The building is a rare survivor of early Australian architecture. - • It shows a wide range of building and construction techniques. - • The property reflects patterns of use and growth over time. - • The process of construction acts as a clue to understanding the values, perceptions and attitudes of the builder/owner, Hamilton Hume. - • The design of the house features a combination of Palladian and Greek Revival styles which is unusual for a pastoral homestead.
Conservation - • Cooma Cottage is managed according to a Conservation and Management Plan based on the Burra Charter, archaeological research and documentary evidence relating to the history of the property. - • The property is an important resource which demonstrates the restoration work and conservation policy of the National Trust of Australia (NSW).
29 - ABOUT THE NATIONAL TRUST - The National Trust of Australia (NSW) is a non-government, community organisation which promotes the conservation of our natural, cultural and built heritage. It is the largest independent organisation in Australia which is dedicated to the protection and conservation of heritage. It depends for its existence on support from donations, bequests, subscriptions from members and the generosity and commitment of some 2000
volunteers throughout the State. - The Trust was founded in 1945, when a group of Sydney residents led by Annie Wyatt resolved to do what they could about the destruction of buildings and land which they valued as their heritage. Over the years, the scope of the Trust has broadened to encompass all kinds of heritage – built, cultural, natural – which contributes to our understanding of Australia and its peoples. The Trust’s unique independence has always been its strength in speaking out for the protection of heritage, without fear or favour. Half a century since it was formed, a main role of the Trust continues to be advocacy.
In addition, the Trust conserves and maintains some of Australia’s most significant heritage properties including houses, estates, gardens, bushland and two galleries, and owns Australia’s most comprehensive collection of cultural and moveable heritage. Fifteen National Trust properties operate as house museums, interpreted to create insights into lives and times significant to our history. Educational programs for schools and other groups help to enhance appreciation, and ensure that our heritage will be cared for into the future.
Our Vision - is to live in a community in which we all understand and enjoy our heritage
Our Mission - is to be an independent, non government, community advocate, understanding and safeguarding our heritage today and tomorrow
The Trust performs a variety of tasks including: - Owning and operating house museums and galleries - Surveying and assessing the natural and cultural environment of NSW - Making submissions and providing advice to the Federal, State and Local governments, property owners, architects and consultants on environmental issues - Publishing and selling educational material, conducting tours, lectures, seminars and inspections - Operating a contract Bush Regeneration/ Bush Management Program for councils and other land owners - Operating historic properties for sale or lease website
30 - TIMELINE
1814 Hume’s first exploration
1817 Major explorations outside the colony begin
1824 Hume and Hovell’s exploration to Port Phillip Bay
1830 A small village grows on the banks of the Yass river
1835 Cornelius O’Brien builds Cooma Cottage
1839 Hume buys Cooma Cottage
1840 Hume begins extensions to Cooma Cottage
1841 The first census of Yass:- There are 173 people living in Yass - And 19 people living at Cooma Cottage
1840’s Yass suffers from drought and collapse of wool industry
1850’s The road to Yass changes direction and Cooma Cottage reaches its final form
1853 Yass builds first bridge
1873 Hume dies at Cooma Cottage
1870’s Sydney to Melbourne railway built
1890’s Cooma Cottage bought by the Nordrach Institute to use as hospital for consumptive patients
1900’s Cooma Cottage occupied by Bowden
1910 Jack Bourke buys Cooma Cottage
1970 National Trust acquires Cooma Cottage
1988 Cooma Cottage open to the public
31 - GLOSSARY OF TERMS - Adaptation Modifying a place to suit proposed compatible uses.
Aesthetic value Includes aspects of sensory perception, may include consideration of form, scale, colour, texture and material of the fabric or landscape.
Archaeology The systematic study of past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material evidence such as graves, buildings, tool, pottery etc.
Archaeological Research and evidence produced through archaeology. research
Built heritage An item of heritage that has been constructed by people and contributes to the human understanding.
Burra Charter A document which sets out the principles, processes and standards for the conservation of the cultural environment.
It is the Australia standards based on ICOMOS. It sets down the guidelines for heritage conservation and management works.
Conservation Keeping safe or preserving a heritage resource from destruction or change. The processes involved in looking after a place to retain its cultural significance. It includes maintenance and may include preservation, restoration, reconstruction and adaptation and commonly is a combination of more than one of these.
Conservation and A document which sets out how to look after the heritage and non-Management Plan heritage features of a place. It documents the sequence of steps undertaken in the conservation process. It sets out what is significant about a places, and consequently what policies are appropriate to retain its significance. It also includes a consideration of the practical circumstances including economic and political contexts affecting the use of the place.
Conservation The policy used to determine the significance of the place and how this policy significance will be conserved.
Cultural heritage Items of heritage pertaining to the history or value of past or present cultures.
Cultural Aesthetic, historic, scientific or social value for past, present or future significance generations.
Derelict A place is considered derelict when it has been neglected or abandoned and is physically and materially damaged.
32 - Documentary The written, visual, audio or electronic information about a place. evidence
Domestic life The way of life of those living in the household. Fabric All the physical material of the place.
Greek Revival Elements of Classical architecture, most notably over the entrance to buildings, were used in Victorian times to demonstrate economic and social success. The Greek styled portico at Cooma Cottage is an example of the way in which Hamilton Hume wanted to signify his success as an explorer, pastoralist and businessman.
Heritage A place, object or building is considered to have heritage value if it has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the human story.
To do this it must present some aesthetic, historic, scientific or social value for past, present or future generations. History Describes the story of a place or its people and can apply to any period, although not usually the current period.
ICOMOS International Council for Monuments and Sites, sponsored by UNESCO.
ICOMOS promotes good conservation and management practices throughout the world.
Interpretation The means of communicating ideas, feelings, meanings and relationships of a place to enrich people’s understandings of their world and their role within it.
Landscape A place containing cultural and natural features and values which extend over a large area.
Land grants An area of land under control of the government, given to a private person or enterprise.
Maintenance The continuous protective care of the fabric, contents and setting of a place.
Master The head of a household and employer of servants, has control and ownership.
National Trust A non-government, not-for-profit, community organisation dedicated to conserving heritage. In Australia, there is an independent National Trust in each state or territory.
Natural heritage Items of heritage based on the importance of ecosystems, biological diversity and geodiversity for their existence or intrinsic value, or for present or future generations in terms of their scientific research, social, aesthetic and life support value.
33 - Ngunawal The language group or nation of Aboriginal people living in the area now known as the Canberra district or Capital Country.
Outstation A remote or isolated station or farm.
Pastoral A business based on animal husbandry or other farming activities. enterprise
Palladian Named after Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio who revived the Greek and Roman classic and symmetrical styles in 16th century Italy. The Palladian style was introduced to England in the 1700’s. Cooma Cottage, with its colonnade and wings, is an example of 19th century Australian Palladian design.
Place A site, area, building or other work, landscape, seascape, feature, group of buildings, other works or landscapes, together with associated contents and surrounds.
Preservation Maintaining the fabric of a place in its existing state and retarding deterioration.
Reconstruction Returning a place as nearly as possible to a known earlier state and is distinguished by the introduction of materials (new or old) into the fabric.
Restoration Returning the existing fabric of a place to a known earlier state by removing accretions or by resembling existing components without the introduction of new material.
Servant Employed to perform domestic, menial or other labour duties and subject to the command of their employer.
Social function The purpose of an area or space in terms of what and how it is used by people.
Social value A range of qualities for a place such as spiritual, traditional, economic, political or national qualities which are valued by the majority or minority group of that place.
Suits of slops Cheap, ready made garments.
Wallabolloa The family group of Aboriginal people who were part of the Ngunawal people and lived in the Yass district.
34 - BIBLIOGRAPHY
Australian Heritage Council (2003). Information resources (online).
Retrieved via Explorer: www.ahc.gov.au
Baker, K. (1998). An Adventure in the Southwest: Hamilton Hume and Cooma Cottage 1797-1897.
Hamilton Hume Foundation: Yass
Favenc, E. (2003). The History of Australian Exploration (online).
Retrieved via Explorer: http://gutenberg.net.au/ausexplore/ausexpl00-index.html
Flannery, T (ed) (2001). The Explorers. Phoenix: London
National Trust of Australia (NSW) (2003). About the National Trust (online).
Retrieved via Explorer: www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au
National Trust of Australia (NSW) (1988). Cooma Cottage: Conservation and Management Plan.
National Trust of Australia (NSW): Sydney.
The National Capital Authority (2003). Ngunnawal Country (online). R
etrieved via explorer: www.nationalcapital.gov.au/factsheets/ngunnawal.htm
Wallace, A.R. (1893). Australian exploration (online).
Retrieved via Explorer: www.wku.edu/~smithch/australia/walltext.htm
Webster, R. H. (1999). Currency Lad.2nd Ed. Ginninderra Press: ACT
The Hume and Hovell Walking Track stretches over 440km between Yass and Albury and allows walkers to rediscover the route of explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell on their expedition to Port Phillip in 1824. The route offers a variety of topographies, vegetation types and land uses, as well as numerous points of historic interest.
Apart from bush walking, the track gives access to other recreational activities including camping, fishing, swimming, nature study, photography and wildlife observation. The track starts at Cooma Cottage on the outskirts of Yass and finishes at the Hovell Tree on the banks of the Murray River in Albury.
It has three track heads approximately 100 kms apart - James Fitzpatrick at Wee Jasper, Thomas Boyd on the Goobarragandra River 23 kms from Tumut and Henry Angel on Burra Creek near Tumbarumba. - (Ref-http://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/journeys_footsteps.htm).
58 Australian Heritage - THE PUBLIC had no inkling of the hostility between the two explorers when The Australian, on January 27 1825, reported: Captain Hovell and Mr H. Hume have returned from their excursions to the southward. It appears that they penetrated as far as Western Port, Bass’s Straits, where they discovered a river of considerable magnitude. They represent the country to be remarkably rich.
Their actual achievement was far greater than the first sparse reports indicated. They were the first white explorers to see the snow-capped mountains of the Australian Alps and traverse their foothills and to cross the Murray and all the rich land and rivers south to Port Phillip Bay.
Settlers soon followed in their wake with mobs of sheep and cattle. Within ten years, many of the valuable river frontages had been taken up, and the settlement of Melbourne had been founded at the head of Port Phillip Bay.
The Hume Highway that now links Australia’s two greatest cities still follows to a large degree the track established by Hume and Hovell.
The public did not learn till thirty years after the exploration that Hume and Hovell were perhaps the last men on earth who should have travelled together. The blame was not wholly theirs. Ten years earlier, Governor Macquarie had sent George Evans on an expedition across the Blue Mountains to follow up the work of Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson.
Evans crossed the Great Divide, saw the western plains, named the Macquarie and Lachlan Rivers, and
BY BILL PEACH - They were the odd couple of Australian exploration. One, a starchy sea captain, a stickler for rank and discipline, an Englishman and haughtily proud of it.
The other, a rough-and-ready bushman, a democratic Australian-born ‘currency lad’, and aggressively proud of it. Given the temperamental differences between them, a partnership like this did not seem destined to end happily, and indeed it did not.
ABOVE LEFT: Hamilton Hume, The Explorer, Wood engraving by Samuel Calvert. State Library of Victoria, mp001862.
ABOVE RIGHT: Captain William Hilton Hovell, 1866, Mitchell Library, ML 34.
BACKGROUND IMAGE: Hume and Hovell thought they had arrived at Westernport Bay but in fact it was Corio Bay, pictured here as seen from Flinders Peak in the You Yangs, the spot from which they first viewed it. Photo by Philip Kellett. Hume and Hovell
EXPLORERS AT ODDS
Australian Heritage 59 did a fine job. Unfortunately, Earl Bathurst, the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London, was not impressed by the unlettered style of Evans’ journal. He instructed the Governor to choose men of more scientific observation and general knowledge to lead expeditions.
The Surveyor-General, John Oxley, was a scholar and a gentleman with aristocratic connections, and Macquarie turned to him to lead two major expeditions into western New South Wales. Oxley led large and well-equipped parties, discovered valuable land and wrote stylish journals. However, he did not understand the nature of the arid Australian landscape, and with the green meadows of England firmly lodged in his head, he made a hasty judgment about the land south of the Lachlan River. Stranded in waterless plains (he stopped a few miles before he’d have found the Murrumbidgee), he called the country desolate, melancholy, miserable, impossible desert which civilised man was unlikely to visit again.
It seems an odd way to describe the Riverina, but Oxley went further. He said there was no river flowing to the southern coast of Australia, and that the land south of his expedition (i.e. Victoria) was useless and uninhabitable. It was a bad call, one of the worst in the history of Australian exploration, and it had a crucial bearing on the Hume and Hovell expedition.
In 1824, Governor Brisbane expressed interest in the land between the Goulburn Plains and Bass Strait. This was the land that Oxley had already declared useless. He was still the Surveyor-General, and he risked a colossal loss of face if his judgment was found to be wrong.
Governor Brisbane discussed a southern expedition with the Shoalhaven pioneer, Alexander Berry, and Berry suggested it should be led by an experienced bushman, Hamilton Hume. Hume himself was always confident he could do it. He displayed a degree of what the gentry called ‘colonial bounce’ in a letter to Governor Brisbane “presuming myself (although an Australian) capable from experience of understanding such an expedition.”
Brisbane, having launched the idea of an official expedition, progressively withdrew his support. Oxley had the Governor’s ear and Oxley was for obvious reasons hostile to this project.
It became clear to Hume that the expedition would either have to be privately financed or not go at all. Hume could not afford it, and the whole project was in doubt until one man came forward and offered to share half the cost of a private expedition. His name was Captain William Hovell. So the odd couple began their stormy partnership. Unusually for a currency lad, Hamilton Hume was born of free parents, at Toongabbie, in 1797.
The South Australian Alps as first seen by Messrs. Hovell and Hume on the 8th November, 1824, painted by George Edwards Peacock. Mitchell Library ML144
60 Australian Heritage - Exploration Maps Hume and Hovell 1824 and 1825, Series VPRS 12903/P1, Public Record Office Victoria.
By 1824, Hume was already a legend as a bushman. He had explored the Bargo Brush, the Southern Highlands and the Illawarra coast in the company of James Meehan, Dr Charles Throsby and Alexander Berry. All spoke highly of his practical bush skills, his unerring sense of direction and his gift for making friends with Aboriginal tribes. He was in the prime of life, strong and fit, and an ideal candidate for the overland journey to the southern coast.
William Hovell’s qualifications as an explorer were less obvious. Born at Yarmouth in 1786, he spent his early life at sea before obtaining a land grant at Narellan.
Berry introduced him to Hume as a man anxious to join the expedition and capable of taking observations to ascertain the latitude. The first part of this description was certainly true. Hovell stretched his resources to the limit to supply a cart, a horse, two convicts, four bullocks and half the provisions. Hume had to go into debt to Berry to provide his half of the enterprise, including a cart, two horses, four convicts and one bullock.
Governor Brisbane’s inglorious contribution to the undertaking was
two tarpaulins and
All up, it was worth less than fifty pounds, and he had the gall to demand that the equipment should be returned later to the government stores.
Asked many years later why they did it, Hovell said it was for the glory of the undertaking if they succeeded and also because it had been given out that it could not be done. Hovell didn’t say who gave this out, but presumably he meant Oxley. He could almost have included Brisbane. The Governor who first thought of the plan was prepared in the end to let Hume and Hovell depart with one of the most meanly equipped expeditions in Australian history.
Australian Heritage 61 - Their instructions were to travel in as direct a line as possible from Lake George, the edge of settlement, to esternport Bay, the best-known location on the southern coast at that time.
Taken literally, this line would have sent them practically over the top of Mount Kosciusko.
Following Hovell’s calculations, they attempted something close to that, but when they reached the region of Tumbarumba and Hume saw the Snowy Mountains ahead on their track, he insisted on a major deviation to the west. They reached a big river they called the Hume, and then several southern tributaries of that river. Eventually and with great difficulty, they crossed the southern end of the Great Dividing Range, and reached the sea at a saltwater bay. They had been out three months since they left Hume’s station at Gunning, and they immediately turned around and made the return trip in one month. Their rations were completely exhausted and so were the men. None of their dogs or cattle finished the trip.
It was a remarkable journey, more remarkable than the public realised from the sketchy reports in the press. There was no comprehensive account of the expedition until 1831, when Dr William Bland published Journey of Discovery to Port Phillip. Hume and Hovell had been instructed to go to Westernport Bay, and both thought they had gone to Westernport Bay. Hovell’s alleged expertise in geographical calculations had been no help in this matter, and when he returned with a naval expedition to Westernport Bay in 1826, he was forced to admit it was nothing like the place they had seen.
They had in fact been to Corio Bay, many miles away on the western side of Port Phillip Bay. This mistake, and the delayed publication of Dr Bland’s Journal due to his illness, took some of the shine off Hume and Hovell’s achievements. However, when the book was published, it became clear at last just how challenging their task had been.
It may not have been as long or as grim as later desert explorations, but it was certainly more rewarding for the country. It was probably the most valuable expedition in Australian history.
Hume and Hovell had agreed before the trip began that Hovell would take the measurements and write the daily journal of their travels. Dr Bland’s book was largely based on Hovell’s journal, plus a map and some notes separately made by Hume. Bland’s book was carefully objective, gave equal credit to both men, and gave no hint of any quarrel between them.
Hume and Hovell both received land grants and enjoyed a reasonable degree of prosperity and fame. Bland’s book remained the only published account of their journey, and might not have been questioned if Hovell had not returned to Corio Bay. In 1853, he accepted an invitation from the citizens of Geelong to celebrate the 29th anniversary of the Hume and Hovell expedition. Overwhelmed by the spirit, and perhaps the spirits, of the occasion, the 67-year-old Hovell told the audience how wonderful it was that I should live to be among the children of the land of my adopting and that these children should, with one accord, meet and acknowledge me as the discoverer of their fine country.”
Hume had always been irritated by references to the ‘Hovell and Hume Expedition’, as it was at first called. When he read the press reports of Hovell’s remarks, he thought he was being written out of history altogether, and he burst into print with ‘Brief Statement of Facts in Connection with an Overland Expedition from Lake George to Port Phillip in 1824–1825’.
The pamphlet portrayed Hovell as a useless and cowardly scourge who could not be trusted to walk out of the camp without getting lost.
Hume And Hovell Crossing The Murray [River] In 1825. History of Victoria, Illustrated. Engraver – F A Sleap. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, IAN01/08/88/Supp/3
62 Australian Heritage - According to Hume, the entire expedition had been a battle of wills, with Hovell constantly wanting to turn back. He said that Hovell would never have crossed the Murrumbidgee if he, Hume, had not created a boat by wrapping his cart in a tarpaulin; that Hovell went out and got lost at Wee Jasper and was found two days later heading back in the wrong direction towards Yass; that Hovell had wanted to head due south into the Snowy Mountains until Hume made him follow west; that Hovell had refused to cross the Mitta River and tried to stop the expedition until Hume seized Hovell’s servant by the throat and said he would pitch him in the river unless he crossed it in the leaky tarpaulin boat.
Hovell published a reply which contradicted Hume point blank on every important point. Clearly, one of them wasn’t telling the truth.
Unfortunately for Hovell, Hume had also obtained and printed statements from three convicts who had given outstanding service on the expedition and later became highly respected members of the community. Thomas Boyd, James Fitzpatrick and Henry Angel not only agreed with Hume’s version, but went further, each adding their own colourful details. Henry Angel said Hume and Hovell went separate ways when they sighted the Snowy Mountains. Before they parted they had a row about who was to have the tent. They were going to cut it in two, but Mr Hume let Mr Hovell have it. Then they quarrelled about the frying pan, and broke it in pulling at it. It was not long, however, before Mr Hovell came after us, a few hours or a day.
This story didn’t do much for either explorer’s reputation when it was published. Neither did the whole controversy, but history’s verdict has clearly been in favour of Hume. He was undoubtedly the greater explorer, and he has been duly honoured on the map. Except, that is, for the Hume River, which Sturt named the Murray, an unworthy act for which he later apologised to Hume. Hovell’s reputation has suffered, perhaps to an unjust degree. It is pretty clear that Hovell represented himself in his journal of the expedition as playing a different and stronger role than he actually did.
Still, Hume had agreed that Hovell should write the journal. Most later explorers made it a rule that if they led the expedition, they wrote the book. Naturally they cast themselves in the best possible light. Hume’s problem was that he was not the leader, at least not in theory. He was a joint venturer with Hovell. He probably had misgivings about Hovell from the beginning, but he needed his contribution. Otherwise the expedition could not have gone. With decent support from the government, Hume would not have had to take an unsuitable partner.
The weak Brisbane and the malicious Oxley were more to blame than Hovell, who had the enterprise to put up half the cost and the courage to go on an obviously dangerous mission.
Hovell thought that in return he deserved half the glory. Hume was prepared to share that much, but he exploded when he thought Hovell was trying to take it all. What followed was far from sweetness and light, but it certainly made a major Australian exploration even more interesting. ?
Walkers on the Hume and Hovell Track are able to cross the Goobarragandra River on a swing bridge, rather than having to ford it as the explorers did. Photo courtesy of Department of Lands NSW.
Captain William Hovell carved his name on this tree on November 17, 1824. Alongside was another tree into which Hume carved his name but sadly this tree was destroyed by fire in the 1840s. Photo courtesy of the Albury City Council.
Australian Heritage 63 - Heritage Touring The route of Hume and Hovell from Yass to Corio Bay offers an interesting range of heritage and bushwalking experiences. The Hume & Hovell Walking Track follows the explorers’ footsteps for 440 km from Cooma Cottage near Yass to Albury, assisted by detailed maps that show the explorers’ original route and campsites. Three major trackheads offer car-based camping and interesting day walks in either direction or, for the experienced hiker, 17 campsites are located at a day’s walk apart along the entire route.
For more information contact the track coordinator, Warwick Hull, at the Department of Lands on (02)6937 2700.
In Victoria, the route taken by Hume and Hovell is marked by a series of 37 memorials, each with inscriptions about the significance of their site, built in 1924 to celebrate the centenary of the expedition.
COOMA COTTAGE - Cooma Cottage, near Yass in NSW, the house in which Hamilton Hume lived during the latter part of his life. On the banks of the Yass River near Gunning, Cooma Cottage stands in the heart of the rich sheep-grazing country which attracted pioneers in the early 1820s and 1830s. The original colonial bungalow forms part of the earliest complex of dwellings and stables on the site and was built by pioneering pastoralist, Cornelius O’Brien.
The original timber cottage built by O’Brien and his wife Rebecca in 1835 was a simple, three-room, colonial weatherboard bungalow with a verandah. It looked north over the Yass River with a pretty garden in front. Writer Thomas Walker described Cooma Cottage as “a very nice and commodious cottage, very will [sic] furnished with everything comfortable about it; the grounds and garden nicely laid out, but as yet quite in their infancy.” Cornelius sold the house to Hume, who is said to have fallen in love with the site while camping overnight on his journey to Port Phillip Bay with William Hovell.
Hume purchased the cottage and 100 acres in 1839 for £600 and decided to make it a home befitting his status as a well-known explorer and grazier. He undertook eight building programs to extend the modest cottage into a grand homestead, adding 17 rooms, Palladian style wings and a Greek revival portico over a 21-year period.
The range and diversity of building materials used was exceptional roofing of shingle, weatherboard, iron tiles and corrugated iron, walls of weatherboard, brick nogging (timber frames with brick in fill), lath-and plaster, solid plaster, dirt floors, timber, flagging bricks and brick pavers among them.
The gardens contain many notable 19th century trees and shrubs (including one of the oldest and largest olive trees in Australia), with vistas of sheep-grazing pastures. The property is furnished with pieces from early colonial times, including a cedar secretaire, two demilune side tables and a fine dining table on loan from the Yass Historical Society. Original wallpapers have been recreated.
After Hume’s death in 1873, the property remained in his family for a number of years. In the 1890s, it was briefly turned into ‘The New Nordrach Institute for Consumption’ for the treatment of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis.
It was then sold to the Bawden family and later tenanted. The last owner was a reserved bachelor, Jack Bourke.
The National Trust of Australia (NSW) acquired Cooma Cottage in a derelict condition in 1970 and has since carried out an extensive conservation program of restoration, repairs and interpretation to the house and gardens. Today, the homestead contains displays relating to Hume’s early explorations in the Yass area. Visitors can take a guided tour and are encouraged to walk freely though the house. There are educational programs for school children and the property’s extensive grounds are suitable for picnics and pleasant walks.
Cooma Cottage is open daily - Thursday to Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed Christmas Day). Groups/bus tours are welcome by appointment. Lunches/morning/ afternoon teas by arrangement.
Admission: National Trust members free, adults $5, seniors/concession $3 and families $12. For more information: (02) 6226 1470 or www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au
The monument to Hume and Hovell at Sunbury. - The inscription reads: Dec 1924. Erected by the residents of the district in memory of the explorers Hume and Hovell who camped near this site on the 14th and 20th of December 1824. - (Ref- http://www.heritageaustralia.com.au/pdfs/Heritage0307_Hume%20&%20Hovell.pdf).
1844 - YASS COUNCIL ELECTIONS. May 11.-In my last I informed you that the nomination of candidates for seats in the Yass District Council had taken place, and that a poll had been demanded. The polling accordingly took place, here, at Burawa, and at Gunning, yesterday the two latter being the most convenient places for electors residing in the remote parts of the district to attend at, and today, at one o clock, p.m., the Warden attended at the hustings, according to adjournment, and after having made known the state of the poll declared Mr Hamilton Hume, of Yass, and Mr. John James Howell, of Burawa, duly elected to serve on the Yass District Council in the room of Benjamin Clayton and Moses Moses, Esquires, who retired on the 1st instant, in accordance with the ninth clause of the charter of incorporation. The whole affair went off well and was well contested.
The poll stood as follows:
Mr. Hamilton Hume 38
Mr. John James Howell 30
Mr. Edward Ryan 27
During the days of nomination and polling the flags of the different candidates waved to the breeze as carried by the supporters of those parties and with the Yass band (which certainly would do credit even to the metropolis ) brought to mind recollections of home recollections too, made the more interesting as having been called forth by scenes (although, comparatively speaking, of the tiny kind) in these certainly beautiful forests of the land of our adoption, such as many present had seen in their father land. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Friday 24 May 1844).