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Trip to Monaro - 1874
The following transcriptions were provided by Judy Richards [judy.richards-at-westnet.com.au]
The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 26 March 1874
The weather that fell to the lot of Sydney during the latter half of last February must, from its extreme badness, be yet fresh in the minds of many citizens, ten days of steady persistent rain, accompanied by strong southerly gales, which drifted each shower through the streets with an almost irresistible force, trying the patience of each household and the weather capabilities of each gable and roof. It was bad in the city; but what must it have been outside the Sydney Heads, on the coast? The Illawarra Company's boats bound for southern ports, from Wollongong to Eden, had one and all to succumb to the violence of the wind and sea, and when half way on their respective voyages to turn back and make for some friendly haven. The steamers Kiama and John Penn had to ride out a few days in Botany Bay; the former vessel, after four days there, had, with her freight and passengers, to return to Sydney.
My feelings on the 27th of February, the day I took passage in the Kiama, were not enviable; sadly I booked for Moruya, and settled down on the deck amid a dozen or so passengers, many of whom were the victims of the former unsuccessful event; but, as if it were to give flat contradiction to that old and well worn axiom “that Friday is a most unlucky day," this particular Friday turned out all that could be wished, the rain ceased, the wind lulled, and after a short time even the sea became tranquil.
We made a brief stay at Wollongong for coals — started from there at 3 pm, and were securely fastened to the wharf at Ulladulla about midnight — remained there about two hours, and steaming all night made Bateman's Bay, the mouth, of the Clyde at 7 am, Saturday. As the steamer generally goes up to Nelligen, and makes a stay in this bay to await tide before going round to Moruya, the passenger for that place as a rule takes coach and travels by road 22 miles, past Mogo down to the Moruya River, paying 7s. 6d. for coach fare, that with the saloon passage 35/- brings up the cost to £2 2s. 6d; many consider the charge for the distance rather high. Some ten months back, I described in the columns of the Herald the southern coast, Moruya being included in my jottings with the rest of the coast towns, I will not therefore at present enter into detail, but simply string together a few mems., mental ones, made during my progress from Moruya to Manaro.
One of the first of these mems.; I find, must touch upon the Moruya River, a stream which, by the way, of late years has not been conducting itself in a manner likely to benefit or keep the goodwill of the residents along its banks. Some short time back a punt used to travel from bank to bank opposite the town, the depth of water being quite sufficient for the purpose — indeed more, for I believe small coasting craft used to come up from the Heads to the town, a distance of about five miles. Latterly, however, the stream commenced to silt up, each fresh bringing down from the Araluen thousands of tons of sand. In fact, the Moruya for years had to do the duty of a monster tail-race for the diggers of the Araluen Valley. Immense sandbanks now have formed in the river. The punt cannot work, and the crossings, which only can be attempted by horses or vehicles at low tides, are dangerous in the extreme. This state of things is most disagreeable to the people of Moruya, and offers a serious bar to the traffic along this part of the coast. By all reports, and according to all opinions, nothing but a bridge can answer the purpose. To obtain this boon the residents of the district have struggled, and I believe intend this year to make another attempt.
My stay in Moruya was a very short one. Sunday morning found me on the coach — the only one working on the line — a vehicle which of late has been put to the work by Mr. Macgregor, the contractor for the mail carriage between Moruya and Bega. The first day we only got along as far as Bodalla, 17 miles. For this I was not sorry, as it enabled me to rest, for I am not a believer in Sabbath travelling; it also permitted me to pay a visit (my second one) to Mr. T. S. Mort's model dairy farms — Trunketabella, Comerang, and Bodalla. The improvements which were in progress at the time of my first visit, when I described these excellent properties, I found now completed. One of the most noticeable among them is the now double- walled cheese-house, which, true to the intention of its designers, has proved a complete success. This building occupies a foundation on a hill side, which has been excavated for the purpose, so that the cellar might be entered from the low side, the first floor from the higher ground. The structure to the first floor is of stone, wooden walls or frames with clay rammed between form the upper part, which gives two flats; one, the first, to be used as a cheese-room; the other, the upper, as a seed store. The floors are double, with clay rammed between, and as several windows have been provided, the temperature of each apartment can be regulated with the greatest accuracy. At present the rate maintained in the cheese-room, or ripening store, is 68.
The cellar, in the warmest seasons, is intended for the storage and curing of bacon. To effect this refrigerators will be used. So far as appearance goes there need be little fear of the success of the plan, as every precaution has been taken to exclude the action of externus air — among the rest, strong double doors.
No pen however flattering could in description of the Bodalla Estate too highly laud its appearance at this season, when every flat, ridge, and mountain presents to the gaze a coat so delightfully verdant — when each animal there depastured might be truthfully written down as being knee deep in clover. On the farm, improvements are always in progress, clearing, fencing, and grassing, and it is pleasing to find that while the interests of its spirited proprietor are being steadily advanced, the comfort of the employees and their general welfare are by no means neglected. At the time of my last visit I noticed the principal room of the cottage, Mr. Mort's residence, being reserved for divine worship. This time I have a further concession of space for that purpose to chronicle, for I found that one building had been set apart for the use of the Roman Catholics in the employ; the fittings for this chapel, altar, altar-piece, and other concomitants were ordered the evening of my stay.
The road between Bodalla Flats and Cobargo, thirty five miles, is a fearfully rough one, over a mountainous country, which in spite of late improvements in the shape of cuttings, is not the way I should advise any buggy traveller to attempt. At Bodalla I abandoned Macgregor's trap, and took to the saddle, for various reasons, one of then being all sufficient, for the fact was that, through there being three female passengers with luggage, there was no room in the buggy. I therefore accepted the offer of a horse rather gladly, and as I was fortunate to fall in with a couple of equestrians on the way, passed the time rather agreeably, and beat the coach by many hours in the first day's stage, Bodalla to Cobargo, although I did not start for hours after it took its departure from the former place. The country around Cobargo is a most excellent grazing one; this, selectors have not been slow to find, and around it may now be found more bona fide selections than many other parts of the colony can boast of.
As I have before in this paper written, it is not my intention to describe that which I have, previous to this, treated of. I will, therefore, push along to Bega, which lies about twenty-five miles south of Cobargo. I was rather surprised to find that the Bega river as yet is bridgeless, and furthermore that the chance of having a bridge across it seems just as remote as ever, although the crossings are, even in the finest seasons, most dangerous, and the traffic great and increasing each month in importance. I cannot forget the necessity of a bridge across the Bega, for I have a vivid recollection of being nearly drowned in it on my former visit, when my horse and self were washed down a considerable distance, and landed with great difficulty. The adventure was, I acknowledge, most exciting, one that some venturesome spirits would glory in; still I hope I may escape being taxed with cowardice if I make the confession that I do not like anything of the kind, in fact I, as a rule, object to free bathing, particularly with my garments on.
Bega I found very lively and prosperous, a place to my thinking bound to go ahead, placed, as it is, in the centre of such a fine district, where so many industrious men are laying the foundations of little fortunes. Unfortunately, Bega has no good port at hand. Tathra might be made one by a little outlay for a breakwater. This improvement will, I suppose, sometime or other be effected; the growing trade of the district calls for something being done speedily to further its traffic. The now church (Church of England) I found in course of building; the site is a very beautiful one, and the building — the design of Mr. W. Boles — will be well worthy of such a position. Its erection is, in the hands of Mr. Plant, who informed me that he had experienced the greatest difficulty in procuring mortar in the district.
Being bound for Bombala I did not long delay in Bega, but rode over to Cundela — 14 miles — to meet the coach from Merimbula, and proceed up the Tantawanglo road to the Manaro district.
Who has not heard or read of the great battle 'twixt the Big Jack and Tantawanglo roads, a strife that has been raging for over two years, and even now seems far from a satisfactory settlement, spite even of the special survey which, by-the-bye, must have taken a considerable sum from the £10,000 voted for the construction of a road from Manaro to the coast? I have not been informed what road now is the chosen one. As a visitor, one that has travelled both, I can only remark that for the distance, about sixty miles from coast to Bombala, both roads offer but little reason for any particular choice, for both are, and spite of all engineering will be, rough disagreeable ones. One fact, however, I do hope, for the welfare of Monaro and the coast, has not been forgotten — that is, that Eden is the port, and that as no other haven exists on the Southern coast, any road intended to be useful as an outlet to Manaro should lead to it.
My journey up the Tantawanglo was far from being a pleasant one: part of the distance from Candelo to the foot of the hill, eight miles, I had to ride. I also had the saddle for the trip up the mountain, about nine miles, a long but a very easy hill, from many points of which most picturesque views of the country east towards the sea and of the coast can be obtained.
When near the top the coach that was to convey my road companions and self from Candelo, but did not come down for the purpose, put in an appearance, and after a change of horses — saddles being taken off our nags so that they could make up a team to draw — we started to make the twenty-two miles into Bombala. I must in justice remark that the coach service from Merimbula to Bombala is generally conducted in a very fair style, but on the present occasion the races proved a greater attraction to the two proprietors — so it transpired that my journey proved rather more broken from horse to coach than many would consider pleasant.
The custom is for two coaches to meet the steamer at Merimbula, and convey passengers to Bombala. One (Diversis's) travels by the Big Jack Road; the other (Peisley's) goes by the Tantawanglo, and each man believes his own road the best. "Now, when drivers disagree," &c, how can a simple traveller express an opinion. The roads at the mountain top around Cathcart I found rapidly undergoing improvement, and Mr. Bundock, the road superintendent, has worked well to improve the traffic way, which was at the time of my last visit something fearful to travel over. Now there is here and there a chance of having a few miles of good metal to work upon, instead of that bugbear to all travellers — black soil. The town of Bombala is progressing steadily but surely. New buildings are going up, and a bridge across the river is in progress. A new school of arts will soon grace the allotment obtained some time back for the purpose, for the townspeople and these of the district are at present taking steps to raise the necessary funds. Another improvement — one that is badly required — is the enlargement of the old or the erection of a new Public school, as the present one is far too small for the purpose, being only of a size fitted for about 90 children. The number on the roll is about 150, and it is the opinion of Mr. Maynard, who was busy in the work of inspection at the time of my visit that, close upon 200 little ones, should attend the Public, being the only school in the town. The gentlemen of the School Board have determined to raise funds for the purpose: it is to be hoped their efforts will be crowned with success.
The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 31 March 1874
With fine weather at this season of the year, before the not over-pleasant Manaro winter sets in, no more agreeable country could be wished for by a traveller on pleasure or for information bent than that around the township of Bombala. At the time of my last visit to Manaro some nine months back through miserably sloppy days, I had but little opportunity of visiting dozens of places which this trip I have made the acquaintance of. At that time I confess my ideas of the country were rather contracted, and by no means flattering, for even to this day I have a distinct recollection of the many miles of execrable roads I had to drag my weary way through. On this occasion I have in point of weather been most fortunate, the days of the past fortnight have been all sunshine; and after attending the show, I made the best use of my time by wandering through the district, and will now string together a few jottings in a paper which, from the absence of detail and regularity, I wish to be merely considered as the rambling notes of a rambler.
A glance at a map of the colony will display the position of Bombala, and its close proximity to our Victorian boundary. The distance as the crow flies to the surveyed line is about twenty miles. Lying inside that line are the two now nearly worked-out goldfields of Craigie and Delegate on the runs of Messrs. Lawson and Hemsleigh and Miss Campbell; the latter is managed by Mr. McKeachie. Two of these properties are situated in both colonies, and the border or Customs difficulty on this cattle route can be far more easily imagined than described. Bendock, a diggings on the Victorian side of the line, must perforce obtain all its supplies from Bombala, as the country, at its back is virtually cut off from the rest of Victoria by the unfordable Snowy River and a chain of mountains untraversed unless by pack-horses.
The Delegate Gold-field has, as many of my readers must be aware from the amount of newspaper controversy it has occasioned, lately been thrown open to free selection; and as there were too many applicants, or as the selectors blocks applied for, and cash deposited for, overlapped each other, when the surveyors set to work many were left out in the cold, and the feeling of dissatisfaction thereat may be described as intense. In some cases, indeed in too many, the position of these would-be conditional purchasers amounts to a hardship, for some of the cast- away ones not only paid in their cash, but also improved-in one case, I have heard, to the amount of £200, and now must, by the decision of the Land Office, be considerable losers.
For some time there, has been a school, under the auspices of the Council of Education, at Delegate; the attendance is between 20 and 30 scholars, and no sooner did the selectors referred to begin to settle than the Council, with praise- worthy alacrity, established another, five miles distant, at Power's Corner, which provides education for upwards of 20 scholars, who otherwise would be cut off by distance from any means of scholastic culture. Crossing the Delegate River, a tributary of the Snowy, and ascending the broken country which lies along the border to the west ward, Corrowong is reached, a station belonging to Mr. O'Hare, a magnificent squattage, which runs into the neighbouring colony; here, too, the long arm of the Council has reached, for there is a school in active operation, attended by about 30 scholars. The duty of inspecting these schools falls to the lot of Mr. J. C. Maynard, the inspector of the Braidwood district, who also occasionally crosses the border, as an act of courtesy to the Victorian Government, to visit tho Bendock school, which cannot be reached by the Victorian inspectors.
I have unconsciously skipped from Bombala to our border without paying attention to the road by which Delegate is reached — this I must make amends for, as along it there are some fine properties and some very pretty homesteads. The first met along the way after the Saucy Creek (named from the manner it uses in time of rainfall a wondrous saucy streamlet, a fact of which travellers and teamsters too often are made painfully aware of) is "Aston", the property of Mr. Donald Mackay, a solid comfortable looking stone building, which stands close to the Aston Creek, with a well laid out garden close at hand. Aston is the head station of the Aston run, which is considered a good property, and keeps on it about, 12,000 sheep and a fair sprinkling of horned stock. From Aston the way runs for three miles over undulating plains — then bolts of timber intervene and a few stiffish hills; next twelve miles from Bombala is to be seen the Little Plains Station, which is to my thinking one of the most delightful of all the delicious spots to be found on Manaro.'
The Little Plain is the property of Mr. John Nicholson,"one of the oldest residents of our southern country. It is bounded and almost encircled by the Little Plain River, a stream which to look at in dry seasons seems a harmless useful watercourse, but in wet becomes a dangerous torrent, one that naught in the shape of a conveyance can cross. To meet this difficulty Mr. Nicholson for years at his own expense has maintained a boat to cross the mailman and others. Now it is proposed to bridge the river, and it is to be hoped the proposition will be carried out, for the expense of the structure (the span will be only about 80 foot) will be light when compared with the benefits it would yield. The mail, I may state, between Delegate and Bombala, travels three times weekly; one of the trips extends to Bairnsdale, a place in Victoria beyond Bendock. In the improvements of Little Plains, I may write, that no expense has been spared, and there is more than the average amount of taste displayed in the laying out, of its lawn, garden and surroundings.
English trees, many of them fully grown, almost hide the mansion from the gaze of the traveller, and as a pleasing contrast to them many of the indigenous forest monarchs have been spared or saved from the axe of the woodman. A stroll through the orchard is indeed a treat — so numerous are the varieties of its plants, and so excellent the quality of its fruits. Of the former I may particularise the English hop, which stands or is trained over twelve feet above ground, being of most luxuriant growth.
The water supply for the house is obtained from the river by the latter's action or flow, a force-pump worked by a plain water-wheel doing the service; a very simple but a most useful contrivance — one that saves a great amount of labour to the domestics. Of the station or run's character I am not in a position to write, not having had time to accept its kind proprietor's invitation to have a ride round it. By report it is an excellent pastoral property, very fairly improved and stocked; it is also plentifully watered by the river, and some of that stream's prominent tributaries.
Returning along the Delegate Road; I diverged when past Aston and near Bombala to the left to have a peep at the racecourse, the scene of some good equine struggles a few weeks back. The Bombala Jockey Club is a very good working and well-meaning one. I believe it is the intention before the next annual meeting to have the course fenced. Its position is excellent, not too far from the town, and horse-owners agree that few running grounds in the colony excel that at present laid out there.
Proceeding towards Bombala, when within one mile of it, a road runs to the right which leads to Maharatta, Mr. Joseph's station, where the first annual sale of shorthorn stock was lately held, a report of which appeared in the columns of the Sydney Mail, also a brief sketch of the station.
Since writing the report of that sale I spent a day riding through the paddocks among the herds; and I would counsel any person who may wish to note the colony's improvement in horned stock, and the suitability of the short horn to the climate, to do likewise. A similar advice might be tendered to station-holders who intend to introduce a good hardy strain into their herds. The great secret of the success of Mr. Joseph's breeding no doubt lies in the excellence of the female stock his shorthorn importations were put to from the first. Of what at present are to be found in the paddocks, all I can say is that better cows I have not seen to the southward, indeed I may state not as good a mixed herd, if I except a lot I had the pleasure of inspecting some months back at Mr. Francis McMahon's, Ulladulla, and they were most undeniably choice. One fault judges of stock may find in the Maharatta herd, that is a little coarseness in the touch; this is mainly due to the climate, for I have been informed by some gentlemen from the coast that Maharatta calves always lose it when brought to warmer pastures.
My wanderings north of Bombala, in the direction of Cathcart, were rather contracted; but I did manage to make a halt at a few places of interest. One of them was on the property and at the residence of Mr. Cooke, the Crown Lands Commissioner for the Monaro districts. That gentleman's house and grounds occupy a commanding site high above the rocky bed of the tortuous Coolumbooca Creek, a short distance from the spot where it junctions with the Bombala River. The hill side, which is rather steep, that leads to Mr. Cooke's habitation, has been terraced and tastefully planted and grassed. I have not before seen in country districts the cocksfoot, which there takes to the soil most kindly, and grows more profusely than either prairie, rib, or rye. Mr. Cooke considers it a hardy winter and an excellent feeding grass at any season, and particularly well suited to the climate of Monaro. From the Coolumbooca I headed north for a few miles, and crossed the ridge which divides its country from the Plains of Bibbenluke, through which the Bombala flows.
"Bibbenluke" is indeed a monster station, embracing 20,000 acres of land purchased conditionally and otherwise, and I know not how many leased from the Crown, but I suspect the purchased portion exceeds the leased, for the rental is fixed on the lowest scale. The aboriginal name of this station-Bibbenluke — I have been informed means "big look out;" why so named originally I know not. Were it christened since 1861 I should write it aptly named, for its manager, Mr. Edwards, of late has had to keep a very big look out indeed to ward off the swarms of free — and particularly — easy selectors.
This by purchase and good management Mr. Edwards has succeeded in doing, and now this fair property — which forms one of the stations of the Bradley estate, which has for a general manager and superintendent, Mr. E. Antill — may be considered as pretty safe.
It is not my intention in any of my descriptive jottings to refer to the action of free selection in Monaro. After the close of this trip I will be in a better position to note the action of the Land Act in Monaro and other districts, and perhaps elucidate matters a little; at least, I will make an effort to do so. Bibbenluke is to a considerable extent fenced; on it are run 35,000 sheep, 2,000 head of cattle, and a fair lot of horses. By referring to the report of the Bombala Show, it will be observed that Mr. E. Edwards took prizes for merino sheep, and for blood horses. I saw while on the run some nice colts and fillies, and a very fair herd of well-selected cattle. Around the homestead, which is a plain one, a visitor can find much to interest and among the sights can enjoy a floral treat or sight in the small but well-kept garden by the riverside. Close to the station there is a building used as a half-time school that, with one at Cathcart, employs a teacher; both educate about 40 children.
The Sydney Morning Herald Friday 3 April 1874
From Bibbenluke, which is eight miles north of Bombala, I started in a north westerly direction towards the Snowy River, my intention being to traverse a pastoral country I had heard much praised by many old residents on Manaro. I had a long stage before me, distant about forty miles, and not the best of roads, but in two points I had rather an advantage — they were fine weather and company. Taking the road which is known as the Bobundra, our way led for seven miles over the open, well-grassed, undulating plains of the Bibbenluke run; then, diverging a little to the left, a chain of bald hills present themselves to be climbed over, and from their summit I had an opportunity of viewing some fine country, through which flows on the east the Cumbalong and Brugolong Creeks, on the west the river McLaughlan, one of the tributaries of the Snowy; and to the left appears, about three miles distant, the pretty Gunningrah station, the property of Mr Graham, the present member for Manaro.
The scenery of this fair portion of the Monaro country is, indeed, varied and of remarkable grandeur on every side. Gazing from the hill by the McLaughlan the eyes are feasted with great and glorious natural pictures of verdant plains watered by ever-flowing creeks and pellucid lakes, where flocks of wild fowl find abode — of rocky eminences, the effect of volcanic upheavals, and of cloud-capped mountains. To the north the spurs of the dividing range display the "Peak" and the Jinny-Brother past them, stretching out towards Cooma the peculiarly-shiped and lofty Brothers; on the south-west, 50 miles distant, the Snowy range forming a bold background to the open, lightly-timbered country which lies east and west of that river, which winds its way from our Snowy Alps, past our boundary through rugged Gippsland and to the sea, which it reaches at the Ninety-mile Beach, between Cape Howe and Wilson’s Promontory.
Four miles from the McLaughlan River, and twenty miles from Bibbenluke, an almost level plain is travelled over. On the left, close to some large lakes, Mr Thompson has of late taken up the Ironmongery run and enclosed a large portion of it with stone walls which are, to the inhabitants of Monaro, rather novel. Mr Thompson has introduced on to his run pure Lincolns, the. ram and ewe of that breed exhibited at the Bombala Show, which deservedly — although there was no competition — obtained a prize. On the plains, at a spot known as Duke's Springs we made a midday halt at what I consider one of the most respectable inns I have met on Monaro — a good building, clean, and well conducted, and as such deserving support.
I am sorry to remark that of all Monaro hostelries the same cannot be written. It is not at all uncommon to hear travellers questioning each other as to the presence or absence of certain insects considered by all parties’ unpleasant bed-fellows at certain hotels. The subject is disagreeable; still I refer to it, for I cannot indeed chronicle the Manaro hotels as first-class ones.
From Duke’s Springs the distance to the nearest crossing is seven miles over a country which at parts is rather rugged and gradually changing from the trap to granite rock. We reached the river opposite Rolfe’s. There it flows swiftly but placidly enough to afford in good seasons a fair crossing width about 100 yards. Safely landed on the west side of the Snowy; our track lay over lightly timbered ridges, well grassed for about six miles. Then came in sight the plains of Matong, with the snug homestead of Messrs H. and I. A. Watson, Brothers, in their midst one of the neatest and best squattages I have made the acquaintance of on Monaro; indeed, I had ere this no idea that such excellent plain country existed near the Snowv, a part generally considered rugged and cheerless. Matong is situated on a kind of peninsula, formed by the Snowy River which flows from the Jinderboine almost from west to east as far as Buckley’s Crossing, where it turns again inland almost surrounding about 30 miles of open country which is occupied by a few runs.
The Matong Creek, a tributary of the Snowy, flows through, and with others, waters this excellent arable country, which for stock supported by natural grasses, I question if any part of the colony can excel. The southern run Gimenbuen, is held by Mr Crisp, one of the oldest residents on Monaro, who has resided west of the Snowy for upwards of 30 years.
Matong and Numbla, two runs, were formerly the property of Mr Crisp. They were sold about five years back to the Watson, Brothers, two young gentlemen who hail from that good old English county Leicestershire. These gentlemen, since their occupancy, have been active in the improvement of the run, and the introduction of thorough good strains into the herd, which now numbers 5000 head, considered as a mixed herd to be far above the Manaro average.
The area of the two runs, upon which this number runs, is estimated as 50,000 acres; 6000 of that number have been purchased, outright or conditionally.
The homestead at
Matong is neat, plain, and well arranged; the garden, which is well enclosed and
spacious, most trim and orderly. In it I observed what I have not seen for many
a year — some well clipped hedgerows.
The excellence of the Matong herd is mainly due to the selections made during the past few years from various good breeders — bulls purchased from Messrs Lee, Josephs, and De Graves, and at the start 500 picked heifers from Mr G Loder. This year some fine young bulls go from Maharatta to Matong, purchased at the late sale, and a valuable addition to the females of the herd will come from Kameruka, Mr Wren’s herd, in the shape of thirty heifers, picked recently by Mr H. Watson. They are, report has it, of rare good quality, by the bulls Oscar, Duke, Inkerman, and Bacchus. The three latter were imported. On the run at Matong may be seen some very fair horse stook, many colts and fillies, by that well known horse Python, the property of Mr. A. Ryrie, of Micalago. There is also a fashionable-looking two-year-old, named Ranger, a fine upstanding dark bay by Millionaire — a sire that is fast making a name, and once stood at Tarraganda, near Bega, now I believe placed north, having been purchased lately by a well-known sportsman. Beeswing, the dam of Ranger, is by Punjaub, as good a pedigree, I believe, as the most captious could wish for.
From Matong I made my way to the adjoining run, Marrinumbla, the property of Mr A. Bloomfield, which is of a character equal to Matong in excellence The herd is small but really good, Mr Bloomfield, by purchases from Maharatta, having introduced a good strain, and it is satisfactory to learn that he now reaps the benefit by commanding the highest rates for his stock in the Gipps Land and other markets The next station to Marrinumbla is Beloka or Beloco; the distance between the two homesteads is about six miles. This run, which is the property of the Colman family, is managed by Mr T.W. Drewitt — there can be seen another Millionaire colt, bred, by Lieutenant, a shapely dark bay, which ought to prove a most excellent sire.
The mention of this colt reminds me that it is quite apparent that the breeding of good hacks has of late been sadly neglected on Monaro, a place once noted for its stock. There has, within the last ten years, been too great a tendency to breed for racing purposes, and to neglect the useful breed for stock and general hack use. This, to even visitors, is quite apparent, for the contrast between the old sort and the new is so marked that even a bad judge cannot fail to notice it. I for one feel glad to observe a disposition this last year or so to alter this state of affairs The colt Kinloch (Mr Drewitt’s property, I believe) — just the stamp required for the purpose, for he possesses size, speed, and colour, and is what judges would term — just the right stamp of a hack.
Close to Beloco, on a picturesque part of the plains, not far from a spot known to old residents as "Kierles Corner," a name lately brought forward in the famous Buckley will case, I made a stay to admire one of the prettiest little places of worship I ever met in my travelling. There it stands alone — its neat spire uplifted to heaven, with not a human habitation in view from the site it occupies. This little edifice is of stone, of a plain but handsome style of architecture. It was completed about one year back, at a cost of about £650, and opened for Anglican worship. The Rev. Mr A. Williams, of Cooma, officiates once in each month. It is intended, in course of time, to form a school and hold it in a portion of the building. To this place, on days of service, people from all parts west of the Snowy flock in; and I was informed that the congregation is usually a large one — that is, in comparison with the population of the district surrounding. To the brothers Watson great praise is due for the efforts they made to provide this portion of Manaro with a place of worship. More than one half of the cost (the sum was, I believe, £350) was forwarded from England, a subscription from the Messrs Watsons’ family, who reside at Lutterworth, Leicestershire. The altar cloth, a remarkably well embroidered one, and the Church services and chalice, were also forwarded with the cash subscription, and a sweet-toned bell, which hangs in the small turret, also is an English gift, presented by Mesdames St John and Blandy. In the interior of the building, the fittings, of polished cedar, are most complete, and not the least, although the last remark concerning it is, that so well have the residents around bestirred themselves, there is no debt.
Buckley's Crossing, the best ford and the general crossing of the Snowy, is reached five miles from Beloco; there the buildings are but few, but shortly to be augmented by the erection of a court-house, lock-up, and police station. Close to the river there stands an hotel, a store, a black-smith's shop, and a few huts. When the river rises a private punt — not a very safe one — does duty. The charges are high, for the work of punting is most dangerous. From the crossing I rode over the Coolamatong run to its proprietor’s home, distant about an hour’s smart ride; there I had an introduction to Mr E. Higgens, and a look at some of his stock. That gentleman is and has been for a considerable time, devoting himself to improving a small herd —small through the greater portion of the run being used for 12,000 sheep. The stud bulls are undeniably good. I append the part pedigrees of three: -Nero, a strawberry roan, by Imperial Purple, dam Star, by Magician, 18304; Norfolk, a 2 year-old roan, by Imperial Purple, dam Gazelle 2nd, by Bosphorus; and Imperial Purple 22nd, a dark roan, 2 years, dam Pet.
From Coolamatong to Cooma the distance is about 25 miles, over a road, plainly marked. Five miles on the way I passed Gezezerick, where a good substantial store and some other good buildings, the property of Mr Oliver, form a small village. My way from there lay over plains for about ten miles, past innumerable sheep stations and the Brooks family's head station, which is well situated. My next stay was at Coolringdon, a fine station at present held by Mr. David Ryrie. On Coolringdon about 30,000 merino sheep are run, and although a considerable portion of it is fenced, eighteen shepherds are employed. The house and gardens are of a superior class, and I believe will rank with any to be found on Manaro; a plantation of willows and other trees which stand by the creek lend a charm to what visitors describe a most hospitable mansion. For the remainder of the road into Cooma there is not much to note. I only remember, through heavy showers, finding myself with a wet jacket for the second time, a resident of that substantial but not very graceful town of Cooma.