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3 corrections, most recently by robyn.crocker - Show corrections

OLD AND NEW WARRAGUL AND THE EARLY DAYS. 1892-1882--1851. -*-   [In order to make these interesting sketches as complete as possible, we shall be pleased to receive additional information from any of our readers, many of whom could no doubt afford much interesting matter in the way of personal expe- riences and observations, or even anec- dotes, connected with the early times.— ED. W.G.] No. 11. It is proverbial that Gippsland air is a great appetiser, and we certainly proved it. After tea the three of us marched off to William's, his other visitors having arrived before us. As in the early days we often dispensed with the formal Mr. and substituted names of our own choosing, I will   introduce them as they were introduced to me-Tom Payne, our pioneer; Sam Snide, " special reporter ;" and your old friend, Donald. ' Eh, mon !" said the latter, giving my hand a pump-handle shake, "I'm richt prood t' see ye ance mair. Did ye leave the fowk a' well at hame ?" " All well," Donald. " Sit down, sit down ben the fir, its cauld the night." It was cold, and the fire welcome. " This is as good as our smoke in town," said the "special," handing   round the cigar case. " Hoots ! a deal better," said Donald. " they town fires wad'na toast a moose, and what do ye thinks o' Worregul, the noo Dave ?" "It has improved." " Improved ! ma certes ! you'll ken a differ the roads are braw the noo. Losh ! preserve's it was a lang dreich road to travel lang syne. I mind when I had to gang through a wee bit track not owre muckle wider than mysel', and carry a load on ma back eneuch to foonder a horse, and mud owre my boot tops; aye, and oft to ma bow-yangs, our Pioneer can tell ye aboot the times he was in Geepsland in 1857." " In 1857," echoed the "special," " a neat way they have sometimes of leading people on to talk." " Yes," said the Pioneer, " I crossed Gippsland in 1857 prospecting and exploring this country. It was said to abound it mineral wealth. I found coal at that early date, but the precious metal-gold-was then at fever heat, and nearly all other branches of indus try were abandoned by its allurements at the close of the fifties. The only inhabitants here then were a few squatters. I can give you the names   of all the squatters that existed in what is now known as the county of Buln Buln, but it would take too long now.   Mr. M'Millan was the first white man who discovered Gippsland. He was manager for Colonel M'Allister, who lived at Mowburn Park, who was at   one time manager for Mr. M'Arthurs, Campden Park, N.S.W. Count Sterz   lecki explored the Australian Alps in 1840; the ranges you crossed to-day   are named after him. In 1842, Mr. J. A.C. Hunter, and his brother Alick, commanded an expedition from the                   head of the Goulburn River, past Glen maggie in this direction. I passed through in 1857. Mr. J. Connor lived at Brandy Creek in 1868. Mr. J. C. Hann purchased land at Brandy Creek on the 28th of November, 1868; then selectors followed, Messrs. J. and G. Young, Higgs, J. Rogers, H. Walton, Deane, Copeland, Mulhare, Sargeant, Meehan, Alford, Charsley and Shields were among the early settlers. Mr. John Rogers was the first who really showed what could be done to turn this country described by the Hon. J. B. Patterson as "' No man's land" into a land fit for any man, and proved what Casey, Minister for Lands, said " The Brandy Creek country was the finest under the canopy of heaven." The late J. A. C. Hunter and J. C. Hann endured great hardships when exploring between Brandy Creek and Coast Range, travelling where they could not get a pack horse and carrying overything they required- provisions, blankets, etc.,-on their back, through what was then known as " Wild Cattle Country" (willow scrub and speargrass) for the wire grass, being like a creeper, could not be gone through, and had to trampled down or laid on as they went along, each one taking his turn in front. Lardner was settled before Warragul; it was an important place in the early days, I can assure you. Mr. Shaw kept a post-office and store there, near where the Mechanics' Insti tute now is. The late J. A. C. Hunter was the first selector at Lardner. Mr. O'Mahoney was a very old settler; he claims to be the founder of South War ragul and Drouin, having, he states, camped there first, and when the site was in danger of being removed, in conjunction with the Mfinister of Rail ways, he was mainly the cause of their positions being retained,and was dubbed by the leading organ of the colony, the ' Deputy Minister of Railways.' " I remember him telling me in his quaint original style about a stream near his house, called by many at the present time, O'Mahoney's Creek, he said "it was formally christened by Francis Longmoro, Minister of Lands ; that Dr. McCartney was godfather; and that he (O'Mahoney) was with the babe in the woods. "You have a good memory, said the 'special.'" "Memory ! said Donald, he's like ane o' these uncanny whipmaleeries ye ca a phonograph, tell him aye thing ance and he'll hand it for years, and syne rattle it off word for word." " I wish I had the same gift, I trust principally to Pitman's short-hand for items I wish to retain, said the 'special.' " "I have been promising my friend Dave a few stories of the early days, said Will, some of the yarns you read to me on Monday night. They are all true, I only collect facts." "A' the better, said Donald, I'm no ow're fond of whids." "What are whids? enquired the " special.' " "Lees! mon! lees, things that arena truen." "All my sketches are written down, verbatim as they have been given to me by various people, or copied from letters dairys or newspapers." " If frae newspapers there's no gain aaying them, said Donald, with his knowing characteristic wink." (TO BE CONTINUED.)