An Old-Time Whisky Distillery

21 January 1947 The Tumut and Adelong Times

(By M.F.D., Gocup)

In the early 1860's a man named Pat. Salmon had a 200-acre block which he acquired under the Robertson Land Bill on the river between what is now Eurobin and Erinvale estates.

He had two employees, Tom Toohey and Jim Loan.  

They cleared a few acres over Gocup creek now known as Little Sugar Loaf, and planted English malting barley. They reaped it with a sickle and threshed it with a flail.

They constructed what they called a still in some nearby reeds and brewed whisky, the chief ingredient being the barley grain. 

It was carted in and sold to a man who kept the Shamrock Hotel near the Tumut Bridge, and those who drank it were frequently mad drunk; in fact, two or three were sent to Tarban Creek, near Goulburn, from the effects.

One day Constable Johnston came out looking around and, noticing a thin curl of smoke through the reeds, went in and disturbed Loan at work.

Loan raced for the river, hotly pursued by Johnston, who fired several shots.

Loan plunged into the swollen stream and the current carried him across.

He called out to Johnston, in frozen words, to corns and get him. The Tumut lock-up keeper was not taking the risk.

Loan was later arrested and given six months gaol by Mr. Vyner.

The still was broken up and the chief part - the worm - was destroyed.

Salmon sold the block to John Hammond and went to America.

This block was the rendezvous of bush-rangers, Blue Cap, Jerry Duce and Lawter, a tea and sugar bandit who stuck up Lampe's Talbingo and Edwards' Willie Plonia stations.

Another to holiday here was Chippendale, the notorious horse-stealer.

Hammond built the Yass Bridge and, with a man named Bocking, built the Prince Alfred Bridge at Gundagai.

This latter bridge is seven furlongs in length, and a Tumut drover once gave his horse a trial on it with Alf. Piper, of Dotswood, holding the watch. Dobbin fell on the bridge, however, and broke his knees.

John Hammond sold out to Edward Brennan and with Charlie Thatcher and Tom Roche, of Adelong Crossing, went out on to the Lachlan and took up country below Forbes.

Tom Leslie married a Miss Sara Pearce from Yass and acquired a station named Blink Bonney.

It was there a few years ago that young Leslie was going from Sydney with a large sum of money to pay dam-sinkers.

He picked up two men at the spit who asked for a ride. He was later found shot at the wheel of the car, and no trace of the money and valuables.