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.LOWER MURRUMBIDGEE.

' [VBOM Otrn COMtBBPONDENT.]

JÍAV 1ST.-THE PAST SEASON -The past summer set injon the 8th of November with a hot (wjnd, which continued to blow during the twb following" days, and was followed by a rapid -ar.ge in the temperature of the air, as the thermometer, which stsod nt 105 degrees st two p m. on the 10th, was on the following day at the same time down to 63 degrees. On the whole the summer was rather drier this year than the last, äthough from November to March, both months in

uded, heavy rain fell six times, and slight showers on ,twenty-six other occasions ; but the latter com- municated so little moisture to the ground, that they were of hardly any benefit to the district. Sinoe 1845, very little thunder and lightning have visited this part of the country, only five moderate electrical storms having been seen during the past season. The hot winds were not as violent or as numerous as usual, seven only being recorded, and those not very strong. It appears to be generally noticed that the hot winds are not of such frequent occurrence or so disagreeable as they were formerly ; but whether this change for the better is to be of a permanent nature, or whether it simply arises from ordinary changes in the nature of the seasons, there is not sufficient data to determine. The hottest day was the 2i:h January, when the glass went up to 113 degrees, and stood at 99 degrees during the greater part of the night. The warmest period of the summer was from the 21st to 29th January, daring which the mercury never went below 87 degrees at night, nor below 102 degrees at two p.m. (the hottest part of our day), and on two occasions was as high as 113 degrees-the heat during this time was very op

ressive, both day and night, although lhere was no ot wind blowing, but the dead heat Tvhich then pre- vailed is much more distressing, as the body is not then relieved by ' copious perspiration as it is during a hot wind. In the month of February the weather was very changeable, considerable heat, alternating with cold showery days. The same observation will apply to the month, of March, after whioh the heat began gradually-to decrease, and the summer to give signs of breaking up. The insect plagues during the season were fully as numerous as usual,-hornets were unusually plentiful, and fre- quently made their fragile nests in inconvenient places, gnnh as the mortice holes in stock-yard fences and under the eaves of houses ; an aphis âestruyeù nearly all the crops of cabbages and cauliflowers, and the little they left a swarm of caterpillars ueed their best endeavours to finish ; a cockroach, of a mahogany colour, did much damage to woollen goods ; a small sized beetle attacked the cheese, piercing them with small holes ; the mosquitos, owing to the flood, staid about for a long time, and lost, though not least, the flies were worse and worse, and I cannot help thinking that the poet must have been prophetically describing Australia when he said,

" And all tho country filled was with nyes,

Which burred all about and made such sound, That they encumbred all men's cares and eyes

Lite many swarms of bec« assembled around."

I

CATTLE, 8HEBP, AND HOBSES.- Numerous mobs of store cattle have continued to arrive from the North, to supply the deficiency caused by the want of natural ulerease, owing to the majority of the cows in the dis- trict having been spayed, and to fill up the vacancy caused by the departure of fat cattle. The mobs of fat cattle sent to Victoriahave been generally of first-class quality, amongst whioh the spayed cows have been particular noticed as being in splendid condition. The number of cattle in the district is well kept, and is slightly larger than it was six months ago. Great fear is entertained of the Cumberland disease, which although it has approached, very close hps not yet come into this neighbourhood; on the Lachlan,however, it still rages, and overland partieB have met with some losses; pig«, that partook of the carcasses of the dead beasts beLame infected, and quickly died. The number of sheep is smaller than it was, the flocks sent to market not having in some instances been replaced, owing to the high prices demanded for sheep on the New England side preventing intended purchasers from becoming possessors of this sort of stock. Many mobs of horses have been sent to Melbourne and the

gold-fields, where they have realised fair prices ; mixed mobs, consisting of draught, saddle, and un- broken, have averaged from £25 to £33.

POLICE.-The want of a police magistrate is very much felt, as the J.P.'s in this large district are so few that it is very difficult to get a second magistrate to adjudicate on a case. One police magistrate would be able to visit a large extent of country, and could sit on appointed days at particular places, when there would be some chance of the Masters and Servants Aot being made some use of in this locality, where at present, owing to the difficulty of attending court, in consequence of long distances, and the uncertainty of there being a bench, it is almost as much use as a repealed Act of Parliament.

.?RELIGION.-Another half-year has again elapsed without the least sign of any minister of any denomi- nation coming to this part of the colony. It has been thought possible that some Chinese, seeing our un- cared-for condition, might one of these days come here, ereot a Joss Hnnse and kindly invite us to enter ; or some energetic Mormon missionary, ihlnKtng li a favourable opportunity to make converts, might visit the Lower Murrumbidgee and endeavour to induce us to join the saints at the Salt Lake. Apparently we might go anywhere, believe anything or nothing, wor- ship idols or set up an Agapemone establishment, far anything that any bishop, president, moderator, or other ruler of a religious society in the colony, what- ever name he may go by, seems to care. The Bishop of Sydney is reported to be going to visit Goulburn very shortly. Whether coming so far into the bush will have any effect in refreshing his memory about this part of the country remains to be seen.

DOMESTIC IMPROVEMENTS.-To dwellers in the bush it becomes year by year more apparent that a gra- dual and steady change is taking place in the tone of society, and in the manners, customs, habits, and dwellings of all classes of society. This is owing partly to the country being more settled thin formerly, partly to the influx of free immigrants who now predominate over the old hands, and in particular to the number of families now located in situations where sometime ago a female was never seen. Bush conversation, although still much interlarded with bullocks, sheep, horses, brands, and markets, is a little more intellectual, and we now sometimes hear a political discussion on some talk on scientific affairs. We have in a great measure to thank the authorities who caused a mail to be run np and down the Murrumbidgee, for this improvement, as the weekly supply of the latest news, and constant budgets of letters home and colonial, help to cast a civi- lizing influence on this part of the country-the benefit of which it never experienced before the mail came, as people then knew little and cared less as to how the world got on, as long as their bullocks were fat, their horses good, and their tea, beef, and damper always ready for them. Numerous new huts of large and improved construction, furnished with many modern comforts, are now in course of erection, and female taste commences to decorate these dwellings with some slight elegances, which the mind of the rougher sex would never be likely either to think of or care for, if living still, ns in olden times, in a state of singleness, when anything would do as long as it could possibly serve the purpose required of it, and when it was almost impossible to say whether the

largest accumulation of dirt lay inside or outside the

hut.

, GARDENS.-Notwithstanding the natural stubborn- ness of the soil, gardens are now being made in varions spots, and it is found that in localities sheltered from the blast of the hot wind, even grapes ond peaches may bereared. Tomatos and cucumbers grow luxuriantly this season, nnd yield large crops of fruit. Water melons, grown upon a new plan, grew to large plants, and gave abun dance of magnificent fruit. This plun wus, I believe, first introduced by tho missionaries who were formerly boated at Swan Hill. It was as follows : A hole being dug in. the ground, a short thick piece of wood is placed upright in the middle of it, and then the hole filled up with decayed manure and earth. The seeds are planted in a circle around the hole, and when the plants are well up, the piece of wood is care, fully drawn out of the ground without disturbing the soil, an ordinary quart bottle, from wich the bottom has been previously removed by knocking it out with a hammer, is then placed neck downtcard in the orifice left in the ground by the removal of the piece of wood. In watering the plants the water is gradually poured into the bottle, and descending to the manure below the_roots of the plant throws up a constant supply of moisture, whereas if the water had, according to the I UBual method, been poured out on the surface, it would have been quickly absorbed by the atmosphère. After watering, the orifice in the" bottle must be covered with a small tile or n bit of wood, to prevent the evaporation of the water through it. By this plan also the necessity of allowing the water to run^ over the leaves and blossoms of the plants, which is often injurious where the water is hard, is entirely avoided.

THE MAIL.-The increase in the number of 1 tters and newspapers coming to this district since the first establishment of a mail is considerable, for whereas formerly the mailbags were so light that they could with ease be carried on horseback in front of the mail -man, they are now so bulky that it is almost always necessary to make use of a pack-horse. On ihe arri- val of an English mail the bags.are particularly heavy,

and bring numerous newspapers átfd letters to stations where formerly. neither one nor the other were seen from year's end to year's end,_ ¡

.RUNS.-During the past six months miny settlers have employed licensed surveyors to muk out their boundary lines, and in several instances have fenced in part of their runs. Very largo paddocks, both for horses and weaners, as well as new stock- yards, have also been erected. The Bathurst burr still spreads, notwithstanding the efforts made to keep it under, and may be seen in some localities in beds so thick that neither horses nor cattle will face them. The want of rain has caused a great scaroity of pastur- age, and a blight, which killed much of the salt bush, helped to render the feed still less.

THE WATEU SUPPLY.-Exertions are still being made to sink Artesian wells, but from the opinion re- cently expressed by the Victorian Geological Surveyor with respect to the situations where water oould be procured by such undertakings, there is considerable doubt if the flat country in this part of the colony will not be found to be an effectual bar to any success in such meritorious, endeavours to increase the supply of

water.

THE MUBUUMMDOBE.- After the last high flood the river commenced falling on the 16th "November, and with the exception of some immaterial rises, caused by very slight flushes, has continued to fall .until the present moment; it is now so low that it is fordable in many places even on foot. Captain Cadell has taken advantage of the low state of the wster to continue the operations for the clearance of the channel, and has had a party of men at work during the last two months -ratting the snags and topping the overhang- ing branches. The river is now thus partially cleared from Nap Nap, near the junction of the Lachlan, to the junction of the Murrumbidgee with the Murray, and Captain Cadell, who has just visited the scene of these operations, states his intention of testing the possibility of a steamboat ascending the river as soon as the state of it warrants the belief of there being a sufficiency of water for a boat to pass over the shallow parts.

THE LACHLAN,-The channel of this river, after re- maining full of water during more than two years, has at last gone dry again, and now contains numerous water holes only. The feed ali down the Lachlan is very bad-in fact, there is none ¡ parties coming over- land have sustained considerable loss from their horses dying úñíng is the impossibility o? pïni»nring fodder.

TUB DARLING.-Much more attention is now being i paid to the stations on this river, and it is probable that they will soon be very valuable, as owing to the land in Victoria being converted from pasturage into arable land, there will be a demand for cattle and sheep stations. The rurs on the Darling are under- stood to be let as high up as Mount Pleasant, so that the only land possessing frontage on that river now available is between that spot and Fort Burke. There

are now numerous tracks across from the Lachlan to

the Darling, and no obstacles to travelling stock between the two rivers have been discovered. An opinion appears to prevail that this river is not healthy, whether entirely; correct or not remains to be proved; the water certainly is not good, and many persons appear to suffer from partaking of it in its natural state.

HEALTH.-The past season has not been remarkably healthful. Severe coldsfattended with headaches, have been very prevalent. Dysentery and ophthalmia, as usual, have prevailed. Rheumatism appears to be particularly partial to bushmen, probably from their sleeping so constantly on the ground when camping out ; sarsaparilla and hydrate of potash are much used as a remedy, and apparently with muoh success. In the bush many men die from such an accumulation of diseases that it is quite impossible to attribute their disease to any one thing. Like the man spoken of by Dibdin, in one of his songs, if you enquire what a person in suoh a state of health has the matter with him, you are told

Why ho'g dying of a new disease They calls a complication.

THE BLACK POPULATION.-The aborigines are dying away extremely fast-wearing olothes one day and none the next, gorging themselves with flesh meat one week and starving the succeeding week, loosing the greater part of their natural food, and living to a great extent", in a state foreign to their forefathers' habits, have had the effect of rendering their always short lives still shorter. Some of them die of con- sumption, curious to relate, and have the Bame short husky cough so noticeable in consumptive persons at

home.

THE LADOUB MARKET.-Men have been very plenti- ful all the summer, but yet there has been a demand for them, because those walking about have been that useless class of persons who having been brought up to nothing, neither know nor desire to leam how to work. The current rates of wages are as follows, all with rations :-Stockmen, £60 to £80 ; tailors, 15s. a week ; shepherds, £35 to £40 ; hntkeepers, £40 : good hutkeeper and cook, £50 ; man on station, 15s. a week ; fencing, 4s. 6d. a rod ; splitting, Gd. per post or rail-the two last without rations-. Good splitters ac- customed to working in hard gumwoad are in demand, and can clear, after paying for all their rations, from 25a. to 30s. » woolen À taw tradesmen, sach as tailors, shoemakers, saddlers, and grinders of knives, scissors, &c, would, if travelling with a small-stock-in-trade, from station to station make a good living, if not above doing all sorts of odd jobs ; two or three tinmen and workers in iron might also find it pay to travel these rivers. __^_^_^_^__^___

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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