EARLY SETTLEMENT IH VICTORIA
From the 'Victorian Historical Maga zine,' we extract the following interesting paper on early settlement in the North Eastern District by Dr. Andrews;— Early in this year also Mr. E. P- S, Sturt was appointed Crown Lands Com missioner for the district, and entered on
his duties most enthusiastically, and being delighted with the climate and freedom of these wide spaces. He writes strongly of- the richness of the soil and the grazing capacity of the district, but for some unknown reason expressed' the opinion that agriculture would never be successful in this part. Time has shown how mis taken he was. He did not retain the position long, the work being irksome to him. He also appeared to find the steady stream of travellers distasteful, being of a very retiring nature. He resigned, and went overlanding to Adelaide, taking the track down. the Murrumbidgee. Not long after he was one of the fust, to make a home in the Mount Gambier district. 'With the exception of the graziers and their employes, there is little record of settlement to this time.. At the crossings of the rivers generally someone would be found to assist and- supply, the wants of travellers. At the Murray, Robert Brown a brother-in-law of Chas. Huon, had settled in 1836 and kept an accommodation house
and small store. His widow died but a few days -ago, aged 89. At the Ovens crossing one named 'Rattray' or 'Rafferty' kept a store for about a year, when he sold out to William Clark. This was on the site of or near the present 'Sydney Hotel' in Templeton street, Wangaratta. Wangaratta has had several meanings attributed to it, but the most probable one is 'Home -of cor morants,' these birds having been most plentiful there in early' days. Clark soon added to the premises, and a year or two after built, the first inn, ''The Hope,' there. He placed the first punt at the crossing, and carried on business for many
years, being always, looked on as the father of Wangaratta. 1833.— .With the commencement of this year, 1838, we may. say that the district 'was -'becoming civilized... For the first time, on 1st January, regular mail com munication was established between Sydney and Melbourne at fortnightly in tervals. The 'first 'mail; was carried by John Bourke, who. was employed by Joseph Haydon, the contractor.' He related graphically in later years his adventures with. the first post-bag, which only weighed fifteen pounds. ' He reached - the Ovens 'River, safely on horseback,-, but there his horse was speared by natives. He managed to get him as far as the Murray at How long, which was the official crossing of the river, and obtaining a fresh mount,
reached Yass at the due time. There were, however, no local post-offices, and the settlers along 'the route were dependent on the good, offices of the mailman for their correspondence. It cost tenpence prepaid then for a letter. We are now approaching the most active period in the--settlement of this district, and soon - find record names which after wards become household words through out the North-East. Docker, Reid, Eaith full, Mackay, Chnsholm, Lindsay Brown, and Barber are not likely to be forgotten for many, years. Practically the whole of the flat' country between the ranges and the Murray was speedily occupied, with
much of the lower slopes or the mountains, and even of .'the higher regions reaching towards the Divide-. Such was the rapidity with which -runs were formed that a brief or chronological account can hardly be given. Much confusion of dates is also found in early records, so that even so r,vel] known an event as the 'Faithfull Massacre' has been attributed to three distinct' dates .in- three different accounts, written while it was matter of com paratively recent happening. I have found the 9th,' 11th,' and 15th April given as the correct date, ' while one account says that all the men were killed, another that eight out of eighteen were lost,
while the says that "most of the men ' were killed, only one escaping unhurt.' The 'Letters of Victorian Pioneers,' written to Governor Latrobe in 1853, con tain, anany references to this district and its settlement, which showed 'clearly the conditions under which these pioneers lived. Mr. Gao. Faithfull relates that he decided in February^, 1838. to bring his stock from New South Wales. He travelled the usual road as far as the Ovens River,
where he turned aside to inspect the Oxley Plains. He had been greatly attracted by the- description given of these plains by Hume, and decided . that, if possible, he'. would settle on them. He, was so satisfied with them that he left his cattle there, sending on his sheep with those of his brother, Mr.. W. P. Faithfull, in the charge of an oversaer, to the Broken River, to wait for him. This was 'the party attacked, by the natives with such heavy loss. This occurence decided them to remain at Oxley, close to the Ovens River, and within a few months, he had for neighbours Messrs. Bowman, Reid, Docker, and Mackay. Another account says that Wm. Bowman preceded Faithfull by two months;- and took up Tarrawingee. Dr. Mackay writes that He arrived
on the Ovens on the evening of the day of the Faithfull massacre.' There were two temporary encampments in that part prior to his arrival — viz., those of Mr. W. Bowman and Colonel White. In a. few days Mr. Geo. Faithfull selected Oxley Plains, and he himself Myrrhee, directly opposite. The latter within a few months became the property of J W. Chisholm. Trouble with the natives was evidently acute after the massacre and most of the white servants abandoned' their employers
from fear. Messrs Bowman, Faithfull, and White were 'compelled to: leave their cattle to their fate, and all were soon dispersed. Maol is himself, after great privations, managed to drive his cattle back (till he reached safe quarters; on what he calls '-'The Hume' (Noorengong). ? It is difficult to identify the position, for the station of that name was nearly 20 miles from the Hume or Murray, but the fact of the- bracketing the name with the latter river lends support to the statement that . Noorengong was the native name of the Lower Mitta. After about six months he returned with his stock to the Ovens,' and found that Chisholm had taken possession of his abandoned run at Myrrhee ; Faithfull had returned to Oxley Plains ; Bowman had formed Tarrawingee, which, included the country , afterwards known as Everton and Bowman's Forest; Joseph Docker was already at Bontheram bo, and within a. few days 'David Raid settled on Carrara-gar-mungee, leaving Mackay himself to form- Whorouley station. The. well-known Rev. Joseph Docker.
settled at Bontherambo on 8th -bepteniuei-, taking unpractically all the country, from j Chiltern to 'the Ovens, and north to the ; Murray, out of which several distinct j holdings ivere formed in la't-ei' years, He ,' was for. many years one of the most i prominent figures among the settlers, being': possessed of ? a strong parson.a'lit.y . He j died in April, 186J5. His name is still! perpetuated in the district by_ many of i Iris descendants, and some portion of the ? original holding is yet .held. by them. /. j David Reid, another prominent identity, j claimed to have arrived in the district .: on the same day that Docker took \ip ( Bontherambo. He selected Carraragar lmnigee, a few miles north of the Ovens; which -he held 'some years.. He later held the Mill station at Yackandaridah. Ml
the gold rush, when he purchased Barna wartha. He then built The* Hermitage, and after a-: few years, sold out and crossed the Murray to Moorwatha, where he died 'a few years ago over 80 years of age. He was prominent during the fifties in public, matters, and represented the district- in /Parliament '? for many years.-. Iii his younger da^s he explored much of -the Gkeat Dividing Range, and is her lieved to have been the' first white man to ride over the site of the 'City of the Hills,' Beech worth. . ^ Mrs. Docker arid a niece are believed to have been 'the. first white ladies to cross the ? Murray, which 'they' did in
August witli Mr. IJoclter aim ..-.party. x\- ? has, however, been claimed that in the ! previous June Mr. George Kinchin'gton I had taken his wife and familyiacross. His son, also a George Kinchingtoh, now living at Yackandandah, states that he well remembers crossing in that month with his father and mother, and that they: were told at the time that a. Mrs. Judith Brodribh had crossed the clay before, on j her way to Mr. Chishlom's.* Mr. ? Kinchington was an employe of the late ' Mr. John Dight for some years, and assist- i ed at the building of the wall-known mills at Dight's Falls in the early forties. Later he formed ''Thirlingananga,' near Yackandandah, which the son. still holds. At this time. there ware many natives throughout the Ovens district, especially about the river and at the lake . near
Rutherglen. .Many ' outrages were attn- j buted to them, and various settlers give j most conflicting reports of them. We know ! of the Faithfull massacre, and early records give many instances of loss of stock, besides murder of hut-keepers and othersj and yet on the other hand]' wo' have the testimony of the Rev. Docker that he never had any trouble with them at any \ -time, allowing them about the home-' stead at all hours without having reason to regret it. One of Dr. Mackay's stock men, named William Thomas, who. had lirt^n i-n.£nri/-Miclir onfmfirofl IVlf.l'! IVTr /I .
wi^cti I ui i-v iuii.'i^ *^**^1* ,3*^^* ..*v... ~..».». .».; Mitchell's exploring party, appears to ' have been able to instil into their minds' a. wholesome respect for the white men,'Vj but whether this was by kindness or. other- '[ wise is not recorded; he is reported to have been able to track natives or sheep any where. Certainly in many places it was ? necessary to keep a constant watch over their movements. (Concluded in our next issue.)
*Since- tho paper was read-, mv atten tion has been drawn to Joseph Hawdon's account of his second trip with stork overland, in 'Letters from Victorian Pioneers,' where he shows that his party, which included Mrs. Jlawdon, after cross ing tho Murray at Alburv, roache.d tho Goulburn, and orcsberl it on 1st MhitIi, 1838, so wo must undoubtedly give Mrs. Hawdon the honour of being the first white lady to cross the Murray.