The Western Railway Extension. Sugar Growers' Conference.
Gin Gin and the Good-night Scrub.
Historical and Descriptive.
(By " Graphitc")
Forty years or so ago, where now stands the town of Bundaberg, the tall, stately eucalypti tcwered in Nature's splendour over vast tracts of scrub ^growths and less pretentious forest U -ees, thriving in their wild loveliness, heed less of the advent of the settler, the axe of the timber-getter, or the grubbing operations cf the agriculturist.
Great guant kings that towered liigli,
With proud heads lifted towards the tuy; Whilst at their feet the wattles lay, Their blossoms at the close of day.
The advent of white men in the district towards the mouth of the Burnett River was
in the year 1866, and from " The History oi: i>L-ndaberg,,s published some years ago by Mr. J. Y. Walker, we gather some informa tion as to the early visitations of parties of timber-getters, seeking timber suitabie for the making of casks for a boiling down establish ment then at .battle Creek, ',0 miles north <;t the mouth oi the river. Hearing from the captain of a coasting craft that suitab.e tuil iers grew near the coast, Messrs. John and (¿avin Steuart, who were engaged in cutting and splitting ash and cedar tor this puipose, decided to explore the country, and w.th the ai«i of some iriendly blacks succeeded in time, and in the beginning of the year 1867, they
seiected a 320-acre selection under the cohee
rnd sugar regulations of 1862, to whijh they ga.o the name of Woondooma. This was the infant yet to be named " Bundaberg," and these Steuart Brothers were the earliest p:o n< ers of this populous and prosperous d.strict, and their en rprise and self-sacrifice must have been great. . They were joined later in the year by Thomas Watson, and his was the first inhabited house in Bundaberg, imme diately opposite the old Mulgrave Hotel. Here K brought nis wife and daughter, who were thus the first white women inhabitants of Bundaberg. The first settlement took place
on the north side in connection with the tim ber trade, and here the first wharf í nd the i'lst store were erected. The Government tf-wnship was surveyed and laid out on ihe south side, and the streets named by Mr. Surveyey Thompson and his assistant, Mr. A.
D Edwards, who adhered as far as possible in native names. The main thoroughfare, Bourbon-street, has no connection with the ex Royal family of France, but is from " Boor bung " a chain ot waterholes between the town and Rubyanna. Th-i name " Bunda ber¿ is a hybrid, given the town by Mr. Thompson after Mr. Edwards, who did th^ Practical work of laying it oiTt. The latter was known to the blacks as "Blinda' and his i rt i mate friends used to address him so; to this name was added the "berg," and so we have it to-day " Bundaberg " signifying
" Bunda's town."
The first house of any importance was that of Captain Roberts, the first store that of Messrs. ¡Southerden, of Maryborough, opened by Mr. A. Cathcart, and the first steamer to visit the port was the Sir John Young. The first selection under the Land Act of 1363 was made at Splitter's Creek by Mr. R. Ken dall, and the first two land sales of town allot ments were r.iade at Maryborough, the upset price b.eip;g £8. The first land sale in Bundaberg was in August, Í872, and the first transaction was the purchase by Mr. T. E. Thornton of a piece adjoining A^e School of Arts Reserve in Bourbon-street for £4 10s.. whilst other quarters of an acre were sold for i rom £2 to £4. Within 15 years these pro perties changed hands ¡it from*£1000 to £4000, arid in one instance for a corner allotment in Bcurbon-street, an offer of £9000 was re
In January, 1873, the Bundaberg Progress Committee, the predecessor of the division.il board and tht municipality sprang into exist ence, the first members chosen bv the peopie t) act being Messrs. Alex. Walker, G. T. Bell, Walter Adams, J. W. Steuart, and ív-muel Johnson, their duties be.ng to com municate with the Government on subjects affecting the interest of the town and dis tiict. In 1375 the first church was opened, th.;t of the Vi o n*.an Catholic denomination, and in the course of the next few years tüe Metho dists, Congregational, and Church of England were opened in the order naïned. . At this t~me there scem:s to have been a commence ment along the line of progress, and though only a handful of people, about 200 to 300, the fi Bur Habere Mail," then a weekly paper,
sprung into existence, followed in the follow
>c-ai* by viie "Mount renv jwaii. \.iuva rc J no ved tö Lhe Burnett port Events began to move rapidiy—agriculture e*pandcd, in di, stries were founded, maritime commerce augmented, and in five or six years Bunda bi-rg oecame one of the best-known ports • f
The town was surveyed in a manner highly creditable to those responsible. The main thoroughfare, Bourbon-street, is two chains wide, running east and west, while the streets running at right angles are one and half chains wide, and parallel to the river a road runs for fully two miles. For a considerable distance along the centre of the main street trees have been planted, adding much to the beauty of the thoroughfare, while along the river bank further efforts are being made to beautify the town. The population of the municipality is some 5500, and of the district 16,000- Two splendid bridges cross the river, a railway and road bridge. The former is the connecting link of the North Coast railway line, and from here on the north side goes westward the Mt. Perry railway line, in length 67 miles.
THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND THEIR
The local authorities interested in the area under review include the municipality oí Bun daberg, created in 1881. This has an area of 1¾ square miles, 30 miles of streets, 1400 rate- payers, a capital value of £157,085, and col lected in rates last year the sum of £4597. The waterworks and supply are under the control of the municipality, and was constructed in 1902. The reservoir capacity is 6850ft, the pumping power being 960,000 gallons per 24 hours. The works cost £22,492 to install.
The indebitness of the town on account of Government loans totals £39,717 13s, tho annual repayment being £2532. On account of the repayment the arrears total £381.
The Barolin Shire to the west of the town has an area of 226 square miles, a population of 1655, and 671 ratepayers. The receipt from rates last year was £1330, and the indebtedness to the Government totals £1567, the annual repayment due being £419. on which there are no arrears. The value of properties total £130,999. The Gooburrum Shire is to the north of the town, and has an area of 512 square miles, a population of 4340, and 708 ratepayers. The value of the shire is put at £257,752. and the Gov ernment indebtedness totals £13,761, of which
£401 is in arrears.
The Woongarra Shire is to the east of the town, and is in area 35½ square miles, with a population of 3200, ratepayers 736,
and a capital value of properties totalling £206,736. The rates collected last year totalled £2378, and the loan indebtedness is £4956 9s 9d. There is a total arrear of repayment amounting to £299 10s.
Although a splendid stream (the Burnett) runs past the town, it is scarcely a place for shipping, the tonnage in the year amounting to but 34,000 tons. The Customs returns,
discloses the great trade of this» portion of Queensland, which totals upwards of £750,000 in exports and some £147,000 in imports.
Dairying in the district has not progressed to the extent one would expect, out there are some 300 farms on which cream and but ter is produced. The chief centre for all the cream is the Bundaberg Co-operative But ter Factory, situated near the Burnett River Bridge, which up to date factory receives the majority of cream produced in the district, and last year manufactured over 350,0001b weight of butter of an excellent grade.
The Press is represented by two daily papers, the '4 Bundaberg Mail" and the "Daily News," each conducted with consider able ability, and earnest in their efforts to
advance the interests of the district in which
they largely circulate.
Mention can also well be made to Eadie's splendid 6d illustrated almanac, a compen dium of the district which has no equal in merit in the state, and is a mine of informa tion to anyone interested in this part of Queensland.
The Pose and Telegraph Office is a hand some structure, erected in the year 1810, ani cost £7oOO. Portions of the building are occupied by the Lands Office and New Cale donia Cable * Company.
The Custom-house an attractive two stor.ed buiicLng, cost'.no- over £5000, was orened for ¡Dasiness in the year 1902.
The School of Arts is a handsome two storied building, opened in the middle of 1889, and was erected at a cost of £3500. It is leplete with current literature, and has a tine, cool reading-room. The library contains t.' me 9000 books and a museum in connection v.;th the institution, containing many objects of interest, ¿¿fiords a pleasant half-hour's time to visitors. A detached technical hall is used io:1 its named purpose, and is highly appre
The hospital, is prettily situated in the west end, surrounded by trees and flowers. There aie seven wards for male patients, and five for females, the number of beds being about 70. A separate Polynesian ward is also erec ted in the mairie grounds.
PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND CLUBS.
The iirst friendly society to open up in Bundaberg was the Manchester U.O. of Odd fellows. followed by the P.A.F.S.O. A.. In dependent Order of Oddfeliows, Rechabites
Good Templars, H.A. C.B. Society, and Foresters, each commencing with a feV/ meru it trs and advancing until this year collectively they can tota! over 2000 members. Masonic ledges are: Athole, S.O.; Bundaberg MarK Master*Lodge, E.C. ; Mulgrave, Q.C. ; Sir Augustus, E.G.; Tyiian. E.C. ; Waratah Royal Aich Chapter, S.C. ; and Tyrian Royal Arch Chapter, E.C.
The Burnett Club has spacious rooms, and is a flourishing institution, with comfortable reading and smoke rooms, as well as billiard tables. The Bundaberg Gordon Club is one of the most Fuccessful in Queensland of these pcpular clubs for young men, withf a good membership and a live committee ; the rooms nre very central and are the rendezvous of the Noun^ men every evening where billiards. lnimes," gymnastics, and reading are indugc.l
Sport is well represented by various clubs, including racing, cricket, football, tennis, bicycle, rowing, gun, and goit.
THE SUGAR INDUSTRY.
It has taken years of agricultural settlement to Orjng the liundaberg district to the position it holds to-lay- -that of the chief centre of the Queensland sugar industry. It was in ifc'/'tf that Messrs. Uran first commenced with tue co-operation of the settlers in the matte?: of planting cane, and in 1881 a contract was let, for the bunding of Millaquin Refinery at a cost of some £lo0,0Q0, and in 1882 opera tiens were commenced. Since its establish ment through the absorbing of other estates the capital as originally invested may now be estimated at double. Early in 1880, Messrs. i'oung Bros, purchased Fairymead. As time advanced, so did development; lands and estates were added, improvements and up-to-date appliances and a scientific system in stituted, so much so that it iß estimated that at least £300,000 or thereabouts is invested iii the enterprise.. In 1884 Messrs. Gibson and Howes purchased 2300 acres at Bingera, electing a mill thereon, the expenditure re presenting over £75,000. Year by year other aieas conveniently situated were acquired, and on account of the conditions of the sea sons, etc., an irrigation plant was installed, costing £4G,'jOO, by means of which the Bur nett water above the falls is forced into huge reservoirs, and reticulated by pipes and chan nels through some 2000 or .$000 acres of cane land whenever desired- N The estates spread over an area of 5000 acres ; there are 35 miles ot tramline and five locomotives, the whole establishment being an object-Jesson of thrift and enterprise. 1ÊTÏS04 a company, Gibson, and Howes, Ltd., was formed with a capital oi" £175,000. » ,
Then, as complete plants, there are Winde u/ere, Pemberton, Mon Repos, Ashgrove, Ash
field, Miara, Waterloo, Sunnyside. Springhill; Bonna^Invicfca, Seaview, Tegege, Woodlands,
and Gin Gin Central.