Cootamundra's Near Neighbours,  No. 3,

79 Years Ago!

20 March 1945 Cootamundra Herald  

This ancient history is gathered   from the NS.W. 'Gazetteer,' 1866.  

Cootamundra was then three years old, and had a population of about 100.  

Gundagai (Co. Clarendon) is a postal township in the electoral district of the Lachlan and police district of Gundagai.

It is situated on the Murrumbidgee river, that part of it on the n. bank being known as Gundagai proper, and that on the s. bank as South Gundagai.

The river is navigable up to this place, and a costly iron bridge is in course of erection over it to connect the two parts.

Jones's creek falls into the Murrumbidgee at the township; Coolac creek about 6 miles above it, and the Tumut river about 2 miles still higher up. 

Mount Parnassus and the Kairo ranges are near the n. from the river. Gundagai has three steam flour mills. 

The district is an agricultural, pastoral, and a mining one, the latter both alluvial and quartz; the alluvial workings are the North Gundagai diggings, adjoining the township; the Stony Creek diggings, 4 miles from South Gundagai, and the Eurongilly diggings, 25 miles distant on the roadto Wagga Wagga.

The quartz reefs are the Muttama, the Kimo, the Stony Creek, and the Eurongilly Reefs, the two latter only being worked at present, and being both considred payable.

The nearest towns are Tumut, 20 miles s.e.; Adelong. 25 miles s.; Wagga Wagga, 50 miles w.; Eurongllly, 25 miles w.; and Jugiong, 25 miles e..

Coaches run thrice a week between Gundagai ,and Wagga Wagga, and dally to and from Jugiong. 

With Tumut, Adelong, and Eurongilly there is communication only by horse and dray.

With Sydney, 242 miles n.e., the communication is by daily coach, via Yass and Goulburn to Picton, and thence by rail.

Gundagai has a fine, large, substantial hospital, having aresident house surgeon, and its funds in a flourishing state; a post and money order office; a telegraph station; a first-class court house (where the Quarter and Petty Sessions and the District Courts are held), Roman Catholic and Wesleyan churches, and a Church of England just about completed, and a commodious national school.

The stores and other buildings are large and handsome, and the hotels roomy and well conducted.

The principal ones are the Australian Arms, Milton's Head, crown Inn, Commercial, Noah's Ark, and Gundagai. 

The principal stores are the Union, Old Gundagai, Commercial, and National.

The booking office, per Royal mail, is at the Crown Inn, where places may be taken, and parcels sent to any place between Sydney and Melbourne on the main line of road.

There is one newspaper, the 'Express.' Gundagai has a Benevolent Society (established in 1849), a Debating Society (with a circulating library), a ferry over the river, and branches of the City and New south Wales banks, and of the Sydney, Liverpool, and London and Globe and Australian Mutual Providence Insurance Companies. 

Gundagai is the headquarters of the district.

Its settlement was first suggested in 1830, but the town was not surveyed and marked out for sale earlier than 1840, in which year the first sale of allotments was held.

In ovember, 1844, the inhabitants were for the first time dismayed and inconvenienced by the flooding of the Murrumbidgee, which submerged their little village to a depth of 4ft.; but, as it was still back water, no damage was sustained.

Since that time floods occurred annually, which familiarised the residents to the scene, and instead of causing them to remove from their watery situation, it appears to have created in them an accountable attachment to their respective locations.

On 25th June, 1852, the river came down in such a body as to overwhelm the surrounding country for  miles - the entire valley of the Murrumbidgee became an inland sea, the swollen waters of which rolled with such fury and impetuosity as to carry away everything before them.

The inundated town was swept away.

Only seven buildings out of 78, riddled and otherwise dilapidated, were left standing; and out of a population of 250 souls who were surrounded by water that night, 80 perished.

The awful scene of wreck and devastation which presented itself when the day had reappeared but too clearly pointed to the limit of human foresight, and  demonstrated in plain and unmistakable language the absence of the  instinct in man which is so wisely bestowed by the Almighty upon his inferior creatures.

After the dreadful catastrophe just alluded to, the first lard sale was held in November, 1853, since which a new town has gradually been rising out of the ruins of the old one.

Owing to its central situation, the watch house in the town has become the receptacle for prisoners from seven police stations to the s. and w.

On the 16th September, 1858, Captain Francis Cadell ascended the Murrumbidgee and arrived at Gundagai in his large steamboat, 'Albury,'

It thus opened up the natural highway of commerce to the heart of this territory, proving the practicable navigation of the noble Murrumbidgee, and brought it within a fortnight's reach of the South Australian capital. 

Through the gallant enterprise of this truly great pioneer, Gundagai has received an advantage over all inland towns to the n. e., and w.

Which circumstance attaches to it an importance which it could not have derived, from any other source.

The country surrounding Gundagai consists of large and exceedingly fertile flats along the banks of the river, with ranges running out from the river, the hills and interior low lands being remarkably suitable for pastoral purposes.

The river flats are nearly all taken up by settlers and small farmers, many of whom have taken up land since the passing of the new Land Act.

The products of the district are wheat, barley, maize, oats, millet, potatoes, butter, hides, skins, and tallow. The geological formation is lower Silurian.

Population of the town and suburbs of Gundagai numbers about 600 persons; that of the police district of Gundagai, including the population on the Eurongilly diggings, about 4000 persons.

The quantity of gold received by escort from the Gundagai gold flelds during the year 1864 was 6262 ozs., which, at 3/17/9 per oz., was of the total value of 24,344/11/5. 

During the year 1864 were sold 246 miners' rights and 40 business licenses.

Junee is a postal township in the parish of Junee, electoral district of Murrumbidgee, and police district of Wagga Wagga.

It is situated on Houlahan's creek, in the midst of fine undulating country.

The entire area is a pastoral one, there being very little land under, cultivation.

The nearest places are Wagga Wagga, 22   miles s., and Bethungra, 14 miles n.n.e

The communication is by horse and dray only, the mails being carried on horseback twice a week.

With Sydney the communication is to Bowenfels by horse, thence by coach to Penrith, and then by rail; or from Wagga Wagga by the Great Southern route which is, however, a very circuitous route.

There is one hotel in Junee, called 'The Junee.'

The surrounding country is undulating, thinly timbered, and geological formation is granitic.

The road passing through Junee is kept in repair by the Government under the control of a road superintendent. For 20 miles on each side of the town are naturally good and tolerably level roads.

Drays coming with loading from Sydney, and returning with wool. etc. are continually passing along it.

The line of telegraph passes through Junee but no station has as yet been established there, the nearest being at Wagga Wagga.

Gold has been found about 16 miles distant in a s.e. direction, but not in paying quantities; and limestone of excellent quality abounds about 12 miles to the e.

The country is, generally well grassed, but badly watered.

The population of the township numbers only about a dozen persons, although there is a scattered population in the district.