Thomas Hodge Mate <p> "Farmer"

Thomas Hodge MATE (Sen)

"1837 - Farmer"

Tarcutta, NSW"

Brother in law of Thomas Hill Bardwell and Charles Dudley Bardwell - son in law of Thomas (1st) Bardwell.


1836 - Thomas Hodges Mate. married Miss Maria Bardwell - (Ref- NSW BDM V183678 20/1836).

Births for Thomas (1st) & Maria in the years 1788 to 1911

V18422319 27A/1842 MATE, ANNE parent THOMAS H & MARIA - She married 5890/1889 John THOMPSON in WAGGA WAGGA.

V18492083 34A/1849 MATE, EMILY Ann parent THOMAS H & MARIA - She married 3701/1871 William ALLAN in WAGGA WAGGA.

V18511969 38A/1851 MATE, ALFRED parent THOMAS H & MARIA - In 1939 ALFRED died in CHATSWOOD. - (Ref- NSW BDM 22294/1939).

V1837417 21/1837 MATE, MARIA A parent THOMAS & MARIA - In 1920 MARIA A died in WOOLLAHRA.- (Ref- NSW BDM 11998/1920).

V1838338 23A/1838 MATE, THOMAS (2nd) parent THOMAS H & MARIA - In 1919 THOMAS in TUMBARUMBA - (Ref- NSW BDM 20476/1919). - The death is reported from Tumbarumba (N.S.W.) of Mr. Thomas Mate, one of the best known graziers in the Riverina. He was aged 82. His father, the !ate Thomas Hodge Mate, settled in Tarcutta Station In 1837, and was for some time member for Murrumbidgee in the New South Wales Parliament.- (Ref- Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Saturday 30 August 1919).

V18432320 27A/1843 MATE, WILLIAM H parent THOMAS H MARIA - In 21728/1927 WILLIAM H died in ADELONG.

V18473039 32A/1847 MATE, FREDERIC parent THOMAS H & MARIA - In 1058/1864 FREDERICK died in SYDNEY.

V18587498 121C/1858 MATE, SOPHIA V parent THOMAS H & MARIA

Son's children.

1881 - MATE.—September 29, at 6, Victoria-parade, Melbourne, the wife of Thomas Mate, of Tumbarumba, N.S.W., of a daughter. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Friday 7 October 1881).

2nd MARRIAGE for Thomas H MATE

1883 Thomas H MATE married MissFlorence BROWN in ALBURY, NSW - (Ref- NSW BDM 3298/1883).


1885 Florence A MATE parents THOMAS H & FLORENCE in ALBURY - (Ref- NSW BDM 12312/1885).

Thomas (1st) MATE - Life Report.

MATE, THOMAS HODGES (1810-1894), grazier and store-keeper, was born on 5 April 1810 at Canterbury, England, son of Thomas Mate. At 23 he migrated to Sydney where he stayed for some months and then moved to the country to gain pastoral experience. On 8 February 1836 at St James's Church, Sydney, he married Maria Bardwell.

Mate bought a few sheep from H. H. Macarthur and in 1837 took up a run on Tarcutta Creek. His primitive homestead was half-way on the track between Sydney and Melbourne so he added an inn and store for travellers.

Though the Aboriginals were then very numerous he avoided conflict by his kindness and faithful promises. By 1849 the Tarcutta school had sixteen children, four of them Mate's, and the station was well stocked with sheep and cattle. In 1850 he decided to open a general store at Albury. The town was then very small but it grew rapidly after gold was discovered and river transport was opened. As his emporium prospered he expanded as a wholesaler and had a bonded store. At first his store housed the post office and after 1858 a telegraph office but both moved to other premises in 1862.

Prominent in Albury's growth, Mate served on the Albury Hospital Committee and chaired a banquet to celebrate the opening of the bridge across the Murray on 2 September 1861.

In 1859 he had contested the Hume electorate; as a squatters' candidate holding land on the Murrumbidgee and near Albury as well as Tarcutta he was beaten by three votes chiefly because floods prevented many country electors from voting. He won the seat in December 1860 and held it until November 1869.

He sought in vain to confine John Robertson's free selection to settled areas instead of the whole colony but in 1866 succeeded in initiating a bill for preventing the careless use of fire which became law in April. As a supporter of the Martin ministry he helped to pass the Public Schools Act in December and was gazetted a magistrate of the territory. - (Ref-

From 1864 Mate was involved in much litigation mostly over land. His major holdings were Kulki near Urana and the Tumberumba and Brae's Springs runs near Albury and Tarcutta, which were managed by his sons. His store continued to expand and as mayor in November 1880 he was chosen to open the Albury market yards which soon attracted store cattle from all north-eastern Australia, especially after Victoria raised its stock tax. Predeceased by his first wife, Mate died at Manly from pneumonia on 22 July 1894 and was buried in the Anglican section of Waverley cemetery. He was survived by his second wife Florence, née Brown, whom he had married at Albury in 1882, and by three sons and four daughters of the first marriage and one daughter of the second. His probate was sworn at over £13,000. His firm is still the largest in Albury.

Hambledon Homestead
In the beginning the warriors of the Waradgery tribe (Wiradjuri) traversed the Tarcutta Valley, as they moved about their territory which 'extended from about Jugiong and Tumut in the east to the junction of the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers in the west, while their northern boundary was somewhere out between these two rivers and their southern about Billabong Creek.'

The Bugong (Bogong moth) formed the Waradgery tribe's principal food during the summer. Their weapons were like those of the natives of the colony, except the spears, which were made of strong knotted reeds about 6' long, to which was affixed a piece of hardwood, about 2' in length with a rounded point, barbed in some instances with numerous small pieces of flint or agate. Many Aboriginal implements have been found in Keajura district paddocks.

The first white colonisers to view these people were Hume & Hovell, who recorded the event on 6th January 1825. Early that year their party of eight persons were crossing the valleys south of Tarcutta. Near Tarcutta the party came upon a group of friendly Aboriginal people. The explorers were very impressed with the physical characteristics of these people and became friendly with them, some of whom later travelled with them as far as Yass. Hume reported that the timber principally observed in the district was stringybark (Eucalyptus sp.).

Late in 1829 Charles Sturt explored the Murrumbidgee River, commenting on the last permanent settlement near Jugiong and the last sight of settlers at South Gundagai.

In October 1836 Major Thomas Mitchell's party approached Tarcutta. Near Kyeamba he wrote of finding cattle marks in the valley and tracks of well shod horses, finding a wild herd of at least 800 head. He commented on the dark umbrageous trees overshadowing the noble river, the rich open flats with tame cattle browsing on them, unlike the (other) wild herd.

Lady Jane Franklin, wife of the Tasmanian Governor, and the first woman known to travel overland between Melbourne and Sydney, recorded in her diary: ' Thurs 25th April 1839 Tarcutta Creek', saw Aborigines near Mate's homestead. 'Dabtoe was the Chief of Hoonbiarjo'. Mrs Annie Thompson (daughter of T.H.Mate) on her 100th birthday said that 'the Aborigines at Tarcutta were always friendly but her father never employed them regularly on the station. He certainly would not let them in or near the homestead.'

Though there were '3 or 4 hundred camping round his place at one time, they never killed nor even molested a single person on the station, or did any appreciable damage during a period of 40 years, and were otherwise useful about the station. 'Some of the blacks assisted on the station at shearing time, and they were even given the carcasses of sheep which sometimes were drowned when they were being put throught the trough after shearing'. 'I fear that sometimes a sheep was held under too long...but the blacks were not above eating drowned mutton.'

The name Tarcutta (Lower) is Wiradjuri for 'meal made from Gulla or grass seed, or flour and cakes made from grass seed. The name Murrumbidgee (Morumbeeja) is Wiradjuri for a flood (or a big one water)(Tarcutta Schools Centennary, 1873-1973).

The real stimuli to pastoral development were the buoyant conditions of the 1820s and the desire for new and better grazing lands. After 1822 enterprising pastoralists sent members of their families with shepherds or stockmen, or even just sent the shepherds or stockmen, to graze stock in distant areas under Tickets of Occupation. These were sometimes established pastoralists from near Sydney, or Sydney businessmen, or even both. (Swan, Keith, A History of Wagga Wagga, WWCity Council, 1970, 19). Although much of this early pastoral development of the region was a part of wider family and company interests, some early settlers had no pastoral interests outside the area.

A good example was Thomas Mate, an Englishman who settled on the Tarcutta Creek thirty miles east of Wagga Wagga in 1835 or 1836, and quickly expanded his activities to include a store and inn because of his position on the Port Phillip Road. When licences were introduced in 1837 the Murrumbidgee River frontage had already been occupied below Wagga Wagga. By the same year Thomas Mate had occupied the Upper Tarcutta Creek, John Smith the Kyeamba Creek and there had been settlement on the Hillas and Adelong Creeks. (ibid, 21).

G.W.Rusden's estimate of the number of children attending Wagga Wagga School 1849 included 16 from Mate's Tarcutta Run (ibid, 33).

Thomas Hodges Mate had arrived in Sydney in 1833 on the ship 'Palambam' from Sudan via Hobart. He was a cabinet maker. Also on the ship were the Bardwell family, one of whom, 17 year old Maria, was later to become his wife. They married on 8/2/1836 at St.James' Church, Sydney and would go on to have 8 children.

Mate had been born in Kent on 5/4/1810 into a French Huguenot family with the name 'Meitte' (pronounced 'Mate'). He spent part of his childhood in France and was always interested in the French language. He remained in Sydney for 12-18 months, having 1000 pounds in funds. Taking the advice of friends he moved into the interior in 1835. At the age of 23 his first speculation was to buy some sheep from Hannibal Macarthur, a nephew of John Macarthur of Camden Park and Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta. He headed south with his flock by bullock wagon and horse back with his wife and infant in the late spring of 1836 and finally settled down on the Tarcutta Creek.

By 1835 Gundagai was the terminal point of settlement...from this point the great age of pastoral occupation...squatting...set in. A further effort was made in 1836, by Act of Council, to control the squatting boom, part by the imposition of annual licenses of 10 pounds each. Thus Mate became the largest landholder in the district. When the first map of the Port Phillip (later Melbourne) Road was printed in June 1836 two buildings were shown where Tarcutta is now located. Other settlers were located along the mid-reaches of Tarcutta Creek. The blacks were very active and numerous just then, and the reports of their depredations on the Murray were such as to deter Mr Mate from going further than Tarcutta.

With the introduction of "Depasturing Licenses' in 1837, Mate's name appeared in the NSW Government Gazette as a landholder in the Murrumbidgee-Southern and Yass districts.

Hambledon homstead is one of the earliest buildings in this part of the state. The first house was only a wattle and daub hut, without floorboards, but by 15th June 1839 Mate had an Inn, a Store and an established sheep station by the creek. He became a licensed publican on 1/7/1839 for his 'Tarcutta Inn'.(Tarcutta Schools Centennary, 1873-1973). His Store Book for 1839, found in the ceiling at Hambledon, gives a list of the large stock of goods available from the general store in 1839. The store became an important coaching station in an extensive network of mail services from the Upper Murray and Balranald. Its importance declined after the construction of the railway to Wagga Wagga in 1878. (National Trust (NSW), 1977).

The settlement of Tarcutta grew up around Mate's homestead (AHC, 1980).

Later, believed to be over the years 1847-9, a new house was built on the opposite side of the creek. This vertical slab, U-shaped homestead is still in use (1973) under the current name 'Hambledon'. It was probably in this building that Tarcutta's first Post Office was opened in 1849 (AHC, 1980).

Mate succeeded in avoiding any conflict or collision with the Aborigines in the district by kindness and firmness. He insisted on them obeying his orders, and faithfully kept his promises to them.

In 1848 landholders had to declare their holdings and define the boundaries thereof. Mate's Tarcutta land was described as named 'Umuther and Toonga' (Umutbee), of 120,000 acres, with 800 cattle and 11,000 sheep, stretching from near Oberne to Lower Tarcutta, then south-west to near Keyamba, then east to Osborne. The length of boundary was 50 miles. Other properties were described at Kulki, Tumberumba, Walla Walla and Oberne.

In 1850 the drought was broken with a flood. Also in 1850 Mate beacme a general storekeeper in Albury, when the Beechworth gold diggings opened. He became influential in Albury, later becoming Mayor. By 1894 this store, 'Mates Ltd.' had grown to become one of the largest provincial businesses in the colony, employing 50 hands. He always continued to personally supervise and manage this business, while his sons attended to his station properties. These included Umutbee, Toonga, Kulki and Tumberumba.

Hambledon was managed in 1855 by Mate's son Alfred (Branch Manager's report 233/84 (1984).

Mate's interest in the Robertson Land Act led him to seek election to Parliament as the Member for Hume. He was returned to oppose the Robertson Land policy, being in favour of confining free settlement to the 19 old counties. He was a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly from 15/12/1860 until 15/11/1869.

While in the House, Mate succeeded in inscribing on the statute book the useful Act dealing with the 'Careless use of Fire'. He also assisted in passing the Public Schools Act of 1866) and supported the Martin-Parkes administration. Also during his term he was gazetted a Magistrate of the Territory.

Early in 1872 a special correspondent of the "Town & Country Journal" visited Tarcutta describing: ' Tarcutta is a fine station on the Tarcutta Creek, and carries both cattle and sheep. The residence of the hospitable owner is near the main southern road. The grounds are planted with choice trees, shrubs, and flowers, which give the place a most pleasing appearance. Commencing with all sorts of beautiful roses, fuchsias and other flowers, under the immediate care of the ladies of the house. There were also, rearing their lofty heads, poplars, willows, acacias and elms. Further rambling showed fruits in abundance, inclusive of oranges and among the shrubs the mulberry was conspicuous. While looking at the latter I was shown some excellent specimens of silk, quite equal to those exhibited in Sydney a few months ago. This was prepared by one of the ladies of Mr Mate's family. Arrowroot growing well next passed under notice, and there were fine fields of planter's friend flourishing amazingly beside paddocks of maize. Mr Mate has expended many thousands of pounds on improvements. The area of the station is over 70,000 acres and nearly 8000 acres are purchased; and now it carries about 10,000 sheep and 1000 head of cattle. The cattle...are pictures of good breeding, and their glossy skins and well shaped quarters are the talk of the district! Their ancestors mostly belonged to the Purple blood, and their imported sire, Lucifer, was owned by Mr Mate. In the centre of one of the larger paddocks half a mile from the house I was shown a wash pen for warm and cold water, constructed on a good principle. The water is obtained by means of a race from Tarcutta Creek. Opposite the home station there is a large brick hotel, with full stables, called 'The Horse and Jockey'...Immediately at the rear of the residence there is a large swamp called 'Umutbee'. It is 8 miles in length from NW to SE. This swamp years ago was covered with rushes which looked like fields of growing grain. From Tarcutta Creek have been taken large eels, which upsets the theory that they are only to be found in eastern waters'.

Another reporter in February 1879 wrote: 'Tarcutta is very quiet, and being now off the main coach road to Albury and Melbourne, little happens worth recording.' This was soon after the opening of the Wagga railway station. (Tarcutta School Centennary 1873-1973).

After his wife Maria died in 1877 he left Tarcutta to live in Albury. In 1882 he remarried. Florence Ada Mate (nee Brown) had come to the Ovens diggings with her father. In 1884 a daughter was born. From 1886-9 Mate was an Alderman of Albury Council and in 1888 he became Mayor. At Brae Springs, Walla Walla, he built a fine residence where he retired and he died at Manly on 22/7/1894.

Mate's children appear to be as follows: Sopia (1836); Thomas (?), Annie (1840); William (1842); Frederick (1844); Emily Ann (1849), Alfred (1851); Maria (?) and Florence (1884)(Tarcutta Schools Centennary, 1873-1973).

The whole of the Tarcutta, Oberne and Humula areas were completely burnt out in January 1905, due to fence-high red and kangaroo grass through the dead timber.

1914 was among the driest season recorded, other dry years were 1896, 1902, 1929, 1940 and 1944.

In 1938-9 Tarcutta Creek dried up at the bridge and even the Murrumbidgee ceased to flow. 1916, 1917, 1923, 1932, 1934, 1950, 1952, 1956 and 1959 all recorded floods 1940 and 1952 recorded fires in or around Tarcutta areas. (Tarcutta Schools Centennary, 1873-1973).

Amongst later owners of Hambledon were Henry Tyson 'The King' and Charles Owen Lloyd-Jones. The present owner is best known as an Olympic equestrian. The restoration of this building was assisted by a $50,000 loan made available from the Heritage Conservation Fund in 1982. - (Ref-

This report is submitted in good faith. All endeavours have been made to make all entries authentic and correct. For any corrections and additional valuable information, maps and photos you may have please contact John

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