Commissioner, Henry Bingham Hard Pressed

The Sydney Herald

28 November 1840

Murrumbidgee

A few weeks since I wrote you, giving some information of a murder, supposed to be committed by blacks, on the Hume River. Since then something further has been communicated to Mr. Bingham, our Commissioner, which leaves very great doubts as to whether the murder was committed by whites or blacks.

However, a day or two since a report became circulated that blacks (supposed to come from Port Phillip Road or Owen's River) have been in the neighbourhood of Mann's committing depredations, robbing huts, &c, and thereby caused the shepherds to take the flocks to their head stations, as the only place that could afford them protection for the time being.

Our worthy Commissioner, Henry Bingham, Esq. fortunately anticipated this conduct from the natives, and had a few days previous to his receiving a report of the above dispatched two of his police to traverse to and fro amongst the stations in that quarter.

And here let me inform you that that gentleman had to furnish his police with his own saddle horse, the Government not either allowing a sufficient number of horses, or that the small sum the Commissioner is authorised to give for them, he is unable to procure any.

We know ourselves, that had it not been for the Commissioner's own horses, which are daily used by the police, the business of his office would entirely stop.

Look for one moment, the immense distance they are compelled to travel over, say at the least twice a year, from the head of the Murrumbidgee to the Broken Range, about 80 miles on the Port Phillip side of the Hume River, the distance being about four hundred miles.

Then again down the Murrumbidgee from the junction of the Tumut, about two hundred miles.

How is it possible for one Commissioner, with four police, and horses of the poorest description, say worth 35 each, to complete this work?

If two more police were added to the number, and two horses for each man (bear in mind no forage is allowed for horses, bush grass only) going the district from Cavan on the Murrumbidgee near Yass, to the lowest station on the Murrumbidgee River, and then from that up the east side of the Hume River, then the business might be carried on satisfactorily, (and then the unfortunate one of our district who is constantly raving against the man, Heaven only knows for what, will be satisfied.)

One of your correspondents says that the Commissioner has been out the last three month serving assessments: it is true he has, but what a multiplicity of other business has he performed! how many cases of disputed runs has he decided on, and that to the perfect satisfaction of all parties concerned (except in one or two instances.)

I will say little more or our Commissioner at present.

Everyone in the district must acknowledge him to be a most straightforward man, and acting in the capacity of a magistrate, none could exceed him.

The crops arc looking very well; being heavy frosts on the 11th and 12th, some fears are entertained for the wheat.

Hay making and shearing have commenced. Shearers [are] demanding 4s. 6d. per score and 7s. 6d. per day for washing. Bushrangers we are perfectly free from - in fact, we have not had a robbery since Mr. Bingham and his police came in the neighbourhood.

Two thousand head of cattle have passed to Port Phillip during the last month.