A Few Remarks Respecting Your Correspondent
The Sydney Morning Herald
†22 August 1844
Gundagai. To the Editors of the Sydney Morning Herald.
Gentlemen,- Permit me as a resident of the town of Gundagai, to make a few remarks respecting your correspondents communication in Monday's Herald of July 29th. We are described as dwellers in "a far off land", "as things apart," "us of the back woods," &c. Then him of "the backwoods" says, "be it for me to raise the veil which has so long hid the dawning merits and rising advantages of our little village."
And I would ask in what way does he do so: he tells of a new punt being put across the river, that he met several drays laden with tallow on his return from Yass, or, as he calls it the "valuable secretion." But plain spoken men, like the folks of Gundagai, cannot make out exactly whether the dray was dragging the bullocks, or the bullocks the tallow, but the world is informed we have discovered a process, or "the owners of the boiling down establishments have some unknown mode of extracting the valuable secretion without destroying them;" and on the score of economy they drag their fat in a dray instead of carrying it in their hides! How very witty! A Yass worshipful Magistratee could not "at all ekal it, "sir." Bruce the celebrated Abyssinian traveller, tells us of those Mahometans taking a rump-steak from their cattle when driving them, but we can surpass them- take their fat first, and walk them off with their hides and horns to market.
Then comes an attack on the Yass Bench, an account of a man being drowned at the Sandy Falls, of another being thrown from his horse and died- although Mr Norman gave him gruel, and the doctor gave him physic, and of a third that had a loaded dray pass over his body. This is what he calls raising the veil.
Now, I conceive this twaddle about living in a "far off land," "'us of the back woods," &c., is apt to frighten and deter some people from coming into the country- persons, strangers to the colony, have no idea of becoming "as things apart in a far off† land," &c. I would beg to inform those who may think of coming into the country that these phrases are what the writer thinks fine, itís a manifestation of self esteem - the affectation of one cut off from the city- in which he thinks he would be an ornament. No doubt he fancies himself one of those gems or flowers alluded to by the poet-
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dirk unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to bloom unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Gundagai is situated on the right hand bank or Sydney side of the Murrumbidgee River; it is a pretty romantic spot, the river abounds with fish, and affords good duck shooting; the land is exceedingly rich, and capable of maintaining a dense population, the mail passes to and from Port Phillip once a week .
The Surveyors that laid out the town were, I have no doubt, struck with the romantic beauty of the spot, and named the streets after ancient and modern poets, we have Virgil street, Homer street, Milton street, Byron-street, etc., &c., also our Mount Parnassus a pretty round hill, as if formed by art, - and Kimo, the name of a very high hill behind. So we are blessed with
The fountain's fall, the river's flow,
The woody valleys warm and low,
The windy summit, wild and high,
Roughly rushing, to the sky.
The inabitants are two wheelwrights, three blacksmiths, two tanners and curriers, three shoemakers, one harnessmaker, one storekeeper, two surgeons, three innkeepers, - and a flour mill is about being erected. There is a good opening for a tailer, a steady man that had a small stock of goods would do well. Bricks and lime are to be had cheap, the latter is made from a block marble, found a few miles from the township.
With regard to your correspondent suggestion of the "one pair of hands, and one small boiler, capable of holding a score of sheep," to be used by every stockholder for boiling down their surplus stock, I think a fallacy, quite an absurdity; but for the purpose of boiling down a few old sheep that are unfit to travel, and not sufficiently fat to be remunerative, it may answer. Rendering tallow, although a very simple affair, requires great care and attention, and public establishments always produce the best article from obvious reasons.
It is certainly a great inconvenience to ride sixty five miles to attend the Yass Bench, but certainly the Yass magistrates are not to be blamed, if, as stated by your correspondent, no magistrates should be in attendance. I will, by way of example, suppose Dr. Ellis, R.N., as he lives nearest the Court House, to grant a summons for some employer, is it to be supposed he will neglect his professional duties for the public?
A gentleman whose professional reputation as an operative surgeon is equal to any in the colony. With regard to the "extraordinary judgment occasionally exhibited by their worships,"' as stated by your correspondent, I know nothing; but from what I hear, they are all superior to him in knowledge and judgment; but it is a grave offence to keep a sheep overseer or a superintendent waiting! when they are a mensa et thoro.
What we require is a Police Magistrate, and in his person to be likewise a Commissioner of the Court of Requests, then tradesmen would bo able to obtain payment for some of the many dishonoured orders of those whose pounds, shillings, and pence, "are but as things that were;" -it is quite ridiculous to suppose Mr. Commissioner Bingham can move his establishment to Gundagai, as he would but be leaving one populated neighbourhood for another.
Your correspondent states, a man of Mr. Thompson's had a loaded dray pass over his chest; as he knows so much of the case, he should in common justice have stated, that he was taken to Mr. Spencer's, Surgeon and Innkeeper, who kept a man with him during the night; but as he was neither bled nor blistered, your very wise correspondent may fancy he did not receive medical assistance; but let me tell him, had the man been bled he would have died. I would remind him of a schoolboy's phrase, ne sutor ultra crepidam.
And am, Gentleman, Your most obedient servant, Y'orick. Gundagai, August l8, 1844.