AN EARLY PIONEER. MR. HIRAM BARNES. WORK IN THE EARLY DAYS. EXPERIENCES WITH BUSH RANGERS.
One of the most conspicuous links with be early days whom we have at present Queensland is Mr. Hiram Barnes, of Brisbane, bright and cheery, active, and
enjoying good health despite his years and tough experiences. Mr. Barnes arrived in Sydneywith his parents in the year 1837, on the good ship Duchess of Northumber- landl. The voyage from England occupied 6 calander months and a few days. His father was first engaged by William Rut ridge, Towngabba, four miles from Parra- matta, and remained there for a very short time. He removed back to Parramatta to the employment of Messrs. I. and I. Burns and there young Hiram was sent to Staif School. Then the family removed to Kiss ing Point and remained there till 1847. In that year Mr. Barnes, sen, travelled overland to Port Philip, and the family followed him there in the same year by the A.S.N. steamer Shamrock, commanded by Captain Gilmour, the passage taking seven days. The family settled in St. Kilda for several years, and here young Hiram Barnes married. When the Ballarat gold- fields opened up Hiram, in company with ||i%r"**others, went there and worked on the Black Hill surfacing, with little suc cess. Afterwards he returned to St. Kilda and formed a fresh party, which went to Forest Creek when the "rush" was on to that place. After remaining a short time there Friars' Creek gold mine broke out, and there he very successful in gold mining operations. Eventually he re- turned to St. Kilda, where, with his father, they commenced carrying to Castlemaine and Bendigo with three horse teams. To give an idea of the rough nature of the roads in those days—roads which were well near impassable owing to the wet wea ther the nine horses were frequently hitching to one dray with one ton of flour, and after working hard all day when night fell the teams would be well within sight of the starting point of the morning. The whole journey from Melbourne to Bendigo sometimes occupied six weeka, ■whilst many others took two months. After a short time Mr. Barnes went into the butchering business in Melbourne in company with Mr. Samuels. .• :-V£ 1888 Mr. Barnes left Melbourne by jlfarVbrig Golden Spring, commanded by llaitlh'n Rosie, for the Canoona rush, near Sthampton, in charge of the cargo on d. The journey from Keppel Bay up Fitxroy River to Rockhampton occu pies fourteen days, the brig seemingly get ting on to all the sand banks in the rit*r* The diggings proving a failure, fcevjftid not go all;.the wny, but returned jriu the same brig to Sydney. Arriving s£fftrdney, Mr. Bwnes was minded to go MM* to Melbourne by « steamer, but, bemg persuaded by Captain Rosie, hie con tiMed his journey on the Golden Spring. Hit voyage from Sydney to Melbourne ~SM( somewhat eventful, a*, encountering Iwjvy winds and a gale, the brig was jatweekf in accomplishing the journey Hftreen the two ports. Eventually, Wspn the weather moderated, the brig ttttobed Pert Phillip Heads, but «n con- I t^Hnce of the wind suddenly changing I It $ould not venture to enter, and thit LMoek continued for six successive days. A-4tfr. Barnes then commenced his coach* Etaf experiences, and with his family went Kjb reside in Castlemaine. He was-engaged Km Hobby and Hewstead as driver, tpit WVtm running in--opposition to Cobb and ljb.. between Castlemaine and Ballarat. •jKnally Hobby and Hewstead was- (bought jfeer by Cobb and Co., and with this well* r4piown firm Mr. Barnee was engaged as jjpiver, and a« such he became exceedingly ptpvkr. He remained there until Cobb 'Ma Co. despatched their plant to New Wales from Bendigo to Che Lach ffttt diggings in 1862—with 10 coaches, two fe-VMaerican waggons, and 105 horses. After considerable difficulties in p«r««si?g rivers*, creeks, Ac., the journe/
of over 400 miles -was safely accomplished in three weeks' time, and 103 horses out of the 105 arrived in good condition. Arriving at Forbes, Mr. Barnes was appointed manager between Forbes and Orange. When the Laclilan diggings be gan to fail and passenger traffic got less, Mr. Barnes acted both as manager and driver, and drove 80 miles per day and seven days a week, in.consequecce of the snail leaving Forbes, and not Sydney, on the Sunday. It was at the time that the Ben Hail bushranging gang was operating between IForbea and Orange and surround ing district. Fortunately Mr. Barnes es- caped being "held up" by them at any time, and this no doubt was largely owing to the fact that he maintained a discreet silence as to their movements. A consid- erable amount of the "holding up" in tho*o days was done 'by "bush telegraphs" and dishonest miners, the credit of which was often attributed, to the Hall gang. At Murgo the hotel was owned by a Mr. Marr and another locally known as "4>erraan Jack." At the end of the veranda a small room was being erected as a post office. At 6 o'clock on a summer morning "German Jack' and others were on the veranda when some one saw horse men coming. Thinking it might be Hall's gang, "Jack," who had money in notes in his possession, put his hand into his pocket and threw the notes amongst the shavings. Tbia, however, did not escape the quick eye of the rangers, although at a distance from the ihotel. When the rangers arrived one was delegated to keep watch on the veranda in case the police should surprise thenu f whilst the others went to the bar and invited all about the place, including "German Jack," to be treated. Aftc -wards one of the gang went to see how the post office was progressing, and in a very casual way exclaimed: "Hallo, what's this amongst the shavings ?" and picked up the notes thai "Oerman "Jack" had thrown down, but which were not sufficiently buried. John Gilbert, aijso one of the gans, was having a stroll round the pluce, and made his way into a bedroom, the door of wlhicJh was not locked. Mr. Marr himself was from home, and this room proved to be the bedroom of Mrs. Marr, wihich was occupied by her and her sister. As no mosquito nets were then in use at the
hotel, these ladies had a sheet over their faces. Gilbert very quietly turned down i'hie gheeting to see who the sleepers were. This action awoke the ladies, who instantly gave vent to stream*. Noticing Hhey were ladies, Gilbert at once bowed him self out of the room, apologising in the most gentlemanly fashion for having dis turbed <tihem, assuring them he wouldn't hurt a (hair of their heads. A very few days after thin the gang attempted to break into Mr. Campbell's bouse, about a mile and a half from the hotel. This Mr. Campbell had aided the police in at tempting their arrest. Not succeeding in getting into the house, they net fire to tie stable, when two very valuable hordes were burned. Mr- and Mrs. Campbell were defending their home as best they could, and in the glare of the burning stable the head of one of the cans was «c*n above an outer fence. Mr. Campbell at once aimed and ahot the intruder through the neck. Wlben Mr. Borneo was driving from Forbes early next morn injf he vrvi rant by a mc'enrvr wjttwtjng him to go on to Mr. Campbell's house, hoping to identify the rthot man. It was supposed at first that the detid man was Gilbert, but Mr. Barnes in stantly identified Sim as <VMalley. It was about thift time that the Keightley ransom occurred near Bathuret. Mr. Keightley was suspected by the same gang of giving assistance or information to the police as to their movements. Conse quently they made a raid upon his house, when he succeeded in shooting Burke, one of the rangers. He was eventually cap* tured, and a ransom of £500 was de manded for his release or he would be a dead man. Mr. Keightley despatched a messenger to the bank in Bathuret. Mean-' while the gang with their prisoner took up a position from which they hod an extensive view of the country, and con sequently could at once detect if any force would come to the release of Keightley. The messenger, however, returned alona with the above sum of £500, and Keight ley was released. In 1865 Mr. Barnes came to Queens land to inspect the coach route between Brisbane and Ipswich, and other places. In the beginning of 18C6 be was success ful in securing the carrying of the mails between Brisbane and Jjwwich, and bought out John Nolan, who was then run ning the mails. Later on, for Cobb and Co., he* bought out the firm of Cook and Fraser, running the coach between Bigg's Camp (now Qiandchester) and Toowoomin, and still later on he also bought out Mrs. Hartley, of Jondaryan, who was running the mails between Toowoomba ana Dalby. For the same firm cf Cobb and Co. he commenced a coach between Too woomba and Warwick. Then he extended the route from Dalby to Roma. Shortly after the Gympie gold rush broke out strong representations were made toy the principal merchants in Gympie to Orfjb and Co., in Sydney, to have a coach service 'between Brisbane and Gympie. The route was surveyed by one of their employees, who condemned it, on the ground that the wear and tear would ibe too costly, besides the great danger to life. Consequently the project was in abeyance for some short time, unt 1 the Gympie people again agitated in the natter. Mr. Hall, of Sydney, then in
structed ?ibe Brisbane manager to have the route again inspected. Mr. Barnes was appointed to rcsurvey the route, and re ported that the route was possible, but that several bridges would require to be erected. The Government cleared a track through the fauelh, and in order to avoid various dangerous tidelings ihe track was run over most of the steeipeat ridges. Mr. Barites went through with the first ooach to Gym-pie, leaving Brisbane at 4 a.m., arriving at Maroochy at 9.30 p.m. the same day. Leaving next morning at day light, Gympie was reached at 6 in the evening, tie hour mentioned by Mr. Barnes at starting. The advent of the coavh was welcomed ty the utmost en thusiasm and cheering on the part of tho Gympie inhabitants, who had assembled to make the occasion one to be remembered. No State Governor ever received a greater welcome than dfid Mr. Barnes on the ar rival of that first coach. Eventually he became driver of that route from the Bris bane ehd. Some considerable time after the route (had been evened Mr. Barnes on mo occasion had only one passenger on board, and -when nexring Melum Creek n largo tree had fallen across the road. Just here the read -was very narrow, and lay (between two gu%p. It was impos sible to turn the coach back, and pro^rots nuiflt be made. Mr. Barnes got the pas senger to attend to the horses, whilst he himself explored the gullies' in the hope of getting past the fallen tree. After some hard working with tho axe he clcered a/ track, <but the sideling (being so steep and on the driving aide, there was grave danger of the coach capsizing. A rope was then tied to the top of the coach, whilst the passenger bung on to it for alii he was worth to sare the coach from rolling over. This w>« successfully accom plished*, and the coaoa eventually reiched the road on the otlher side of the fallen tree. This passenger was none other than Sir Horace Tozer, then a solicitor iv Gympie. In after years Mr. Barnes was appointed road manager between Bul burrah and Clermont and Copperfield. Mr. Barnes is now residing in. his ad vanced years at his residence, Kelvin Villa, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, enjoying the highest esteem of a very large circle of friends. He lias given hostages to for tune, two of whom have achieved high posi tion* in the State—'Mr. G. P. Barnes, member for Warwick in the Legislative Aecemtbly, and the Hon. W. 11. Barnes, MJLJk., Minister for Works and Educa tion.