Historical Tumut Stories Special Correspondent

1872 - A Tour to the South. [By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. -


LOBB'S Hole deserves a better name. The explanation of its getting such an ugly one is, as I was told, that a kind of rawfish or lobster abounds in the bed of the mountain torrent, and these were locally called 'Lobs, for shortness. I'm rather doubtful about this origin myself, but as it is the generally accepted version, I give it without further question or remark.

On my last I endeavoured to describe the "Walle 'Of Troy,' which were supposed to be impassable, except by the aid of rope ladders. I have heard that while walking along the edge of this precipice many bullocks on their way to market have missed their footing, and been precipitated hundreds of feet below. While leading our horses along we felt that a false step, or treading on a pebble, would have ended disastrously. The difficulty is that the gradient from the rocky wall is about five in six feet, so that our shoulders almost touched the mountain slope when walking on the ledge. After descending, and before getting to Green's, I examined a curious causeway of rock, which runs into the bed of the Yarrangobilly River. It is somewhat similar to that at Ulladulla, previously described.

The causeway has regular parallel grooves, about four foot wide, separated from each other by straight îioi's, that seem as if they had been formed by stone masons with chisels. In those lines traces of copper ore are visible, and the presence of the metal. seems io oemcnt the blocks of stone, which resembles tho pavement of a court-yard.

To get out of Lobb'a Hole it was necessary for us to climb up on to the Monaro Range again, about a thousand feet above. Going out by way of Tumberumba the ascent is said to be less difficult, and as l think I have already remarked, Mr. Thomas Green says that he is aware of an easier way on to Monaro. A few miles below Green's the mountain torrent escapes from Lobb'e Hole through narrow passes or gorges, through whioh the rushing torrent makes a mighty uproar. Southey's amusing lines apply here :

Rattling aud battling, and shaking and quaking,

And pouring and roaring, and waving and raving,

And tossing and crossing, and lowing and growing,

And gloaming and steaming, and streaming and beaming, And rushing and flushing, and brushing and gushing, And flipping and rapping, and clapping and slapping, And curling and whirling, and purling and twirling, Retreating and boating, and meeting and sheeting, Dollying and straying, and playing and spraying,

Advancing and prancing, and claning and dancing,

Iteeniiinti, turmoiling, und toiling and boiling,

And thumping and lumping, and bumping and jumping, And dashing und Hashing, and splashing and clashing, And are never ending, but always desconding,

Sounds and metloos for ever and ever are blending, All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar. And this way the water comes down at Lodore

And this way the waters come down from Lobb's Hole, too. This romantic place is said to have once been a retreat of the bushranger Morgan. Mr. Green kindly offered to be my guide out of Lobb'a Hole. We left a curious natural formation, called the 'Toll Bar,' to our left it opens a pass to a settler's, named Cunningham. Acconding the mountain we had a splendid view of Mount Ida, clothed in very dure, with its rocky Wulla fur below.

Over a slight eminence we came to a deserted cattle station, and a short distance beyond, my guide left me, with instructions how to reach the Tumut road, ten or eleven miles distant. The track I was on was a very narrow one. I was to follow it along for two miles, and I would reach a swamp when the track disappeared. I was to strike straight across the swamp, and I would again find the track, though not very clear for a mile. I would then come to a dead tree where the track brandies off in two directions. The left-hand track I was to take, which I was to follow for three miles, and at a scrubby place, where broom was growing, the track again branched in two directions. This time I was to follow the right hand path, which would bring me to the Tumut road from Kiandra. I did not feel happy, or over-confident in these directions, though they were given as clearly as words could give them. I expected to have reached the swamp sometime before I really did. The distance seemed five miles in place of two. I was half-an-hour at the swamp trying to cross without getting bogged, and when I did cross I could not find a track anywhere.

Going up a steep and scrubby range, my horse started on hearing a rushing noise, and almost immediately afterwards a bullock bolted down nearly close to me. Following it at full gallop came two horse men no, horsewomen! My mistake arose through their style of riding-man-fashion. They pulled up on seeing me, and they seemed the strangest beings I had ever seen. They were tall. The one nearest me had on a cabbage-tree hat, and a cotton dress, The other had a hood tied on with a piece of stringy bark, a man's jacket, and nether garments of a feminine sort, but not well defined. I was non plussed for a few moments, and the thought flushed through my mind that they were the daughters of a person who, I had been told, lived in Lobb's Hole for years, and whose depredations on cattle and horses, within forty miles, had made himself and sons notorious. I was so amused on a second glance at the comical appearance they presented, that I pulled out my pocket-book to take a rough sketch, with a most unladylike salute, they at once wheeled their horse's heads around, and were out of sight in a gully in a few moments. They seemed to BUBpeot that they were ' wanted.' I am informed that the present home of this family of sons and daughters all tall and straight as the gum tree is miles away, in a wild place on the road to Tumbarumba.

The bright visions having fled, I had recourse to the sun as a guide, and following what I thought was a north-easterly direction, for about ten miles over scrubby country, I at length came out on a plain, and then to another almost deserted station, called Yarrangobilly. A settler, named Brownleigh, lives in this place, twenty-five miles from Kiandra. Here I obtained a guide, who piloted me to the celebrated caves, five miles distant.

The Yarrangobilly caves were visited by the Earl of Belmore a few years since. Though they are very fine in many respects, they are not so remarkable as those at the Fish River. They more nenrty resemble the caves at Wellington Valley, especially in their finest feature, the entrance, for the entrance of one of those at Yarrangobilly is strikingly romantic in appearance, and resembles the gateway of a ruined castle, with domed archway.

There are properly speaking three caves, I explored, the larger one for about a quarter of a mile. It is in places very narrow, but it widens out considerably in some parts. There are namers of stalactites, and I regretted to "see that some destructive hands had demolished some columns and other ornamonts. With only a single candle it was impossible to do full justice to the whole of these remarkable caverns.

Leaving the caves, I got back to the Tumut road, on my way to the town The Bogong Ranges soon appeared in eight. "When riainer on the top of the Talbingo, said to be the third highest mountain in the colony, I fortunately met the mail contractor (Madigan) before commencing the descent. The mail he was taking was not a heavy one, so we took a short by-path which ran along the side of the mountain, and so escaped the steepest descent. As it was, the zig-zag path we took was extremely difficult, and we had to exercise the utmost care in places to prevent our rolling into the yawning abyss below. It is certainly surprising to think what capital climbers and sure footed animals bush horses are.

We at last got to the foot of the Monaro Range, and into the Tumut district, where a different world presented itself, as regards climate and natural features. The cold bracing air we had felt on the top was changed for a close warm atmosphere below.

It was a fine sunny afternoon the first station is about a mile below the mountain, along the road. It is owned by Mr. O. Lampe, and is called Talbingo. It is a cattle station, having an area of 30,000 acres, watered by the Jounima Creek and Tumut River. The house and garden are on the roadside. Continuing along the road for a few hundred yards I first saw the Tumut River Five miles further on Í came to Mr. John Bowman's farm and accommodation house, where I stayed for the night, quite tired after a long weary day's ride of more than forty miles, over some of the roughest country in the colony. Bowman is an old resident. His farm is a comfortable one of a 100 acres, with a frontage to the Tumut. There is good scenery here. At the back of the houses rises a large mountain called Paradise Peak.

The following morning I had an early start, and when about a mile and a half from Bowman's I crossed the river near the house of Mr. Timmos, a tutor to the family of Mr. Thomas Wilkinson.

Fine willows and acacias on the river bank, and a capital garden and orchard here, come under notice. A canter of half a mile along a track to the right, brought me to Yallowan, Messrs. Wilkinson Bros station, and the residence of Mr. Thomas Wilkinson. The house looks very picturesque on an eminence peeping between the trees. Chicara Peak rises to the south west, and the river runs in front. The area of the station is about 25,000 acres, and it has a frontage of five or six miles to the Tumut River. It carries about 1000 head of cattle, and 100 horses.

Recrossing the river, I rode past a number of farms taken up under the Free Selection Act, amongst the principal of which, were Mr. J. E. Bridles,

Mr J. P. Higgin's, and

Mr. Clifford's. And

ltnoBt deserted station in charge of Mr. Ilett, but the property of Mr. Norman, was next passed; and then again crossed the Tumut, and followed the river bank down. About a mile from Mr. Norman's, is the residence of E. G. Brown, Esq, J.P. The scenery is grand in the extreme around Mr. Brown's residence.

This cattle station is called "Blowering", and it has an area of about 16,000 acres. The view of the river below the house, the Bogong ranges beyond, and at the top of these immediately opposite the house, a strange romantic wall of rock, visible miles away, go to make up a fine picture. Again crossing the Tumut I rode along the river bank and passed a large number of good farms. When five miles from the town, a comfortable farm house, with well filled barns of wheat, and hastacks of hay, made me rein and salute a hearty looking yeoman, in whom instinctively saw the owner.

I found in Mr. George Johnston a most intelligent, practical farmer. He is the largest wheat grower in the Tumut district. He pointed out to me that though the Tumut was an immense wheat growing district, yet the producers were in difficulties as there was no market for the tons of thousands of bushels grown here. The disgraceful state of the roads and the consequent high price of carriage were truly said to be in a great measure the cause of this. A prosperous season, like the past, gives a glutted market in Tumut without an outlet. Ridiculously low prices consequently are the rule. - (Ref- Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907)(about) Previous issue Saturday 9 March 1872).

From Johnston's to Tumut, the road was a good one, and much well grassed land, and a few good paddocks appeared to view. One in particular, consisting of 800 acres on the borders of the town, deserves particular mention. It is a fattening paddock, judging by the condition of the stock it contains. At the lower end, among other large trees, there is a fine walnut tree, which I am confidently assured yielded walnuts last year to the value of £l'i. This paddock is the property of J. B. Sharp, Esq., J.P. TUMUT.

The township of Tumut is on a good broad stream of the some name, 265 miles from Sydney. Tumut was proclaimed a township in 1847, and the first land sale took place in the following year. The population is now over 500. There are four places of worship, two schools, eight public-houses, three stores, one steam-mill, and two water-mills, a post and telegraph offices, a bank, and a few fine private residences.

The township has a homely appearance, rendered so by the planting of gardens, and a number of willows and poplars in many places, particularly by the river banks. The place is laid out in the form of a square.

The principal streets are called Wynyard, and Fitzroy streets. The court-house has not much to commend it either for elegance or convenience. The bench is an old table F. W. Vyner, Esq., whose ability, impartiality and courtesy is spoken of in the largest terms, is Police Magistrate. The other members of the benoh are L, Mandelson, E. O'Mara, A. Rankin, and E. G. Brown, Esquires.

The Church of England is constructed on an unusual plan-unusual at least in New South Wales. It is what is known as brick-nogged. The building is very plain and unassuming. It was explained to me that the church was built at the time of the first discovery of gold in the district, and consequently under difficulties. Service was held on the morning following my arrival, and a most eloquent sermon was preached by the incumbent, the Rev. D E. Jones. Many of the congregation come in from the country, judging by the large number of horses and vehicles I saw standing outside the church. A well built parsonage is a short distance from the church near the river.

The Roman Catholic Church is of brick. At the side there is being completed a large brick presbytery. The Revs. 0. Twomey and H O'Brien officiate.

The "Wesleyan Church is about the prettiest of all. It is also built of brick. The Kev. Mr. Danne conducts service.

The Presbyterian Church is an old small wooden building. The Rev Mr. Ponnycuik is the minister.

The Tumut Public School is a credit to the town, and to those gentlemen who in the face of difficulties set about the work. It is a good brick building having one large class-room, and two smaller ones. 121 children were on the roll and the average attendance is over 100. The children underwent are examination in grammar, arithmetic and geography Their drawings and copy-books were also exhibited, and they sang several songs. In all these subjects the pupils displayed marked ability. Mr Thos Bonynge is the teacher, and he is assisted by Mrs, Bonynge. The inspector (E. H. Flannery, Esq.,) reported last year: 'The organization is very good tho attainments are very fair. Substantial progress has been made during the past year, and the present condition of the sohool is in every respect deserving of commendation. The members of the local board are Messrs. F. W. Vyner, PM.; E.G. Brown, J.P. ; James Robertson, and L. Mandelson, J.P. The Roman Catholic school was not opened in consequence of a change of teachers being about to take place.

The post-office is under the chargé of an old resident, Mr. Hilton.

The telegraph office is under the charge of Mr. M'Kenzie.

There is only one bank in Tumut. It is a branch of the Bank of New South Wales, and under the management of Mr. A. T, Holland.

The principal stores are those of Mr. Mandelson (the Commercial), in Wynyard-street, and

Mr. A. R. Newman (the Bee hive), Fitzroy-street. Mr. R. A. Newman's store, in Fitzroy street, is a spacious two story structure with ware houses in the rear filled with bulk goods. A large hotel containing nineteen rooms, is attached to the store. The Tumut Dispensary and Book Depot (Mrs. Caspersonn) has also a small printing office in connection with it.

Mr. Mandelson, has extensive premises of brick with stone foundations erected on ground facing three streets. Drapery, grocery, wines, spirits, ironmongery, etc, are in the various departments.

The principal hotels are

M'Key's Queen's Arms,

Dears Hotel,

The Old Rose Inn,

The Woolpack,

The Horse and Jockey, (Filzgorald's) and

The Sportsman's Arms. The first named I put up at and found moderate charges and good accommodation.

The Tumut Steam Flour Mill is the property of L. Mandelson, Esq. It is a good large brick building near the outskirts of the town. It works two pair of stones. The two water mills are on the Gilmore Creek, which flows into the Tumut neat the town.

The nearest is the property of Mr. N. Mandelson, and the fine mill beyond is the property of Mr. M'Gillvray.

The private residences in Tumut worthy of mention are those of Mr. James Robertson and Mr. L. Mandelson.

Mr. Robertson's residence is prettily situated and constructed on an elegant design, by Mr.J Mayes, of Sydney. The ground slope from the house to a gully also by the town, and is about four acres in extent. It is planted with choice trees and shrubs, inoluding pines and poplars.

Mr Mandeleon's residence is in the centre of the town. It is a large two story building in brick, and sumptuously furnished throughout.

At the invitation of Mr. E. G. Brown, the late member for the district, and Mr. James Robertson, I rode out with them to see the Tumut or Shelly's Plains, a few miles from the town. The road or lane along whioh we rode presented very pleasant scenes.

We first passed Mr. Vyner's private residence, peeping between choice trees and shrubs. On the opposite side was Mr. Cooke's. Mr. Cooke is an old resident, and led the way in planting extensively his grounds with fine trees. He has now what are admitted to be the most majestic row of poplars in the colony. They present a rare sight, and I quite agree with the statement that they are worth an afternoon's ride to see. They line the road side for a considerable distance and look splendid, towering above thr traveller's head.

Crossing a bridge, we find ourselves on the Tumut Plains, and in the vesta, first peeping between the trees, saw the pretty residence of Mrs. Shelly.

The plains comprise about 3000 acres of rich alluvil deposit, and the bright green fields from which rise abruptly the Bogong Ranges with their towering summits, present a magnificent picture of rich and varied scenery.

Cantering over these plains we passed some very good stock, and ascending a slight hill, we came to Mrs. Shelly's house. The view from here is very fine. We returned to town in the evening.

On the following morning Mr. Mandelson brought his buggy round, and drove mo over to Bombowlee, which is a fine tract of agricultural land on the river bank, below Tumut. The whole is cut up into farms, whioh are principally free hold. <

These farms yield enormous crops, and present another evidence of the wealth of the district. Mr. Mandelson, whose extensive commercial transactions enable him to form a correct opinion, informed me that the people are on the whole very comfortable. There is no such thing as poverty in the district, and the complaint is that they grow too much in fact the land yields too abundantly as they cannot sell at a profit.

While driving past those numerous farm houses all comfortable looking, and those splendid corn fields rich in golden grain, few could help exclaiming with poor Waller:

Australia, Australia, thy star is shining now,

A Rlorious wreath hath twined around thy youthful brow ;

Thy golden treasures long entombed, thou yield'st to bless the soil

Of those who come to pitch there tents on thy beloved soil ;

Upon thy harbour's bosom float the ships of every clime,

Thy vales are deck'd with waving grain which ripens in due time.

Among the principal of these farms at Bombowlee might be mentioned that of

Mr. William Bridle, who is returning officer for the district. This farm is about 220 acres in extent. There is an orchard and vineyard of about two acres, whioh contains many fine varieties of fruit.

Among other farms worthy of mention are






O'Neil's, and


We returned to Tumut in time for dinner. In the afternoon another buggy was placed at my disposal, and Mr. Newman piloted me to Messrs. Ranken Brothers stations, which are at the the borders of the Bombowlee farms There are well-grassed runs, and have a good frontage to the Tumut River.

While Tumut is unquestionably a good agricultural district, thexo RTO etil! large tracts only good for pastoral purposes. If the statistic collected is reliable, the following extract will enable those at a distance to form a good idea of its wealth last year, and the way it is distributed.

The population is put down in round numbers at 3500.

The produce was 38,800 bushels of wheat,

8500 bushels maize,

2500 bushels oats,

5000 gallons wine,

besides barley, potatoes, etc.

The live stock is placed at

4500 horses,

15,200 horned cattle, and

100,000 cheep. - (Ref- Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907)(about) Previous issue Saturday 9 March 1872).

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

To Home page - To INDEX