Albury, a Sketch, Historical and Descriptive

Illustrated Sydney News

28 November 1889

On the 16th day of November, 1824, shortly after sunrise, a party of eight hardy explorers, travel-stained, and weary, in spite of their previous night's rest, suddenly arrived on the bank of a beautiful river, whose swift-flowing waters, deep, broad, and clear, had never before met the gaze of white man.

The exploring party was led by Hamilton Hume (a native of Parramatta) and his friend and ally Captain Hovell.

The beautiful river (now known as the Murray) the explorers christened the 'Hume.' Taking out his knife the delighted captain carved deep in the bark of a huge tree the words 'Hovell, November 17, 1824'.

That historic tree, with its inscription unimpaired by time, still stands. It will be found near the crossing-place at Albury, fenced about to preserve it so long as may be, and near it is a monument, with a suitable inscription, to the memory of the intrepid Hume.

In recognition of their services to the State, Hume and Hovell received grants of land (1200 acres each).

Subsequently Hovell effected a settlement at Western Port, and made a minute exploration of the country. He was the first Surveyor-General of Victoria.

The tree to which reference has been made marks the site of the now flourishing town of Albury, situate in the district of the same name, some 370 miles south of Sydney, and on the railway route to Melbourne, from which city it is distant about 190 miles.

For many years after Hume and Hovell camped on the right bank of the Murray the country hereabout remained unsettled.

In 1836 the late Mr. C. H. Ebden took up a run containing in its area the present site of Albury. Mr. Ebden is thus entitled to rank as the pioneer squatter in this prosperous district.

In 1839 the first sale of land was held, and by 1846 the population numbered 70 souls. It now amounts to about 7000.

The settlers in the Albury district devote their time and attention for the most part to agricultural and pastoral pursuits, and the cultivation of the vine.

Albury wine, as all Australians know, has lately acquired a worldwide celebrity.

The late Mr. J.E. Fallon's well-known vineyard, the Murray Valley, has 120 acres under vines, while thousands of gallons of the juice of the grape from this celebrated vineyard are stored away in the cellars.

Let us see what Albury produced last year! The figures will tell their own tale, and speak volumes for the rapidly increasing importance of the district: Wine, 104,141 gallons; wheat, 57,490 bushels; barley, 1036 bushels; oats, 2143 bushels; oranges, 2300 dozen; tobacco, 214 cwt.; and brandy, 179 gallons. Now as to stock, electoral district: Horses, 2182; cattle, 5536; sheep, 25,982; and pigs, 1105. Hume Electorate: Horses, 11,546; cattle, 48,061; sheep, 1,550,480; pigs, 4978. Total area of buildings, 95,587.

The town of Albury is beautifully situated in an amphitheatre of hills, and almost in- variably produces a pleasing impression on the mind of the visitor.

It is lit with gas, and has an excellent water supply, the cost of which was about 36,000. I

ncorporation took place in 1859. There are some 66 miles of roads and streets in the district, and the value of the rateable property is 420,000.

Railway communication with Sydney was completed on February 3,1881, and through railway communication between Sydney and Melbourne was established on June 14, 1883.

The railway station is a remarkably fine one, 300 feet long by 46 feet wide. In the centre of the edifice rises a clock tower, 80 feet high.

The platform is 400 feet by 20 feet, and there are about four miles of sidings and crossings in the yard.

In addition to the grazing, agricultural, and wine-making pursuits so extensively engaged in at Albury, quartz-mining is carried on at Black Bange, Bungawanah, Hawk's Yiew, and Nailcan.

The district embraces several thriving and notable townships, and with all the sources of wealth at its command, must become a place of the very first importance - not merely locally, but in a colonial sense - as the years roll on.

Albury has already been mentioned as the future capital of Federated Australia.