Early Settlement of Gundagai and Tumut

26 February 1924 The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser 

By George Clout

No. 5. The Pioneers

A people who with strong right hand 

Have won with toil and straggle 

And with storm and stress 

A heritage from out the wilderness.

Amongst the very early settlers on the Tumut and Murrumbidgee, the Geographical Dictionary, which was published in the forties of the last century, gives brief mention of the following as being in occupancy of the runs opposite their names at that period:-

Blowering, J. C. and H. Whitty, afterwards E. G.Brown;

Bombolee, Howell, Burrowa, and afterwards George Shelley;

Bondo, De Salis (this gentleman later on owned Darbalara); 

Jeremiah, George Davis;

Tomoroma, W. Dwyer;

On the Gilmore, Heavers, Boyd, Downing, and McNatnara had four separate holdings; 

Brungle, John Keighran;

Gobarra- long, James Crowe;

Jumbelong, Henry Stuckey (this is evidently meant for Tumblong);

Ellerslie; C. McArthur;

Yabtree, John Hillas

Mingay, C. Nicholson;

Nangus, J. and A. McArthur;

Kimo, Joseph Andrews;

Money Money, Thomas Hanley;

Tarrabandra, J. Tooth; 

Wantabadgery, James Thorn.

We are also told in this informative work that Gundagai at this time contained 13 houses and 78 inhabitants.

Of the names mentioned little is now known of many of them, while others figured prominently in the colony at a later period, and many others of the early pioneers are not in the list.

The late Mr. J. B Sharp, of Green Hills, came to the colony in 1836, and secured Green Hills in 1838.

That station has been in possession of his descendants ever since. John Jenkins who was well-known to many who are amongst us, came to Coolac in 1838.

He afterwards bought Nangus station from McArthur and   lived there for many years. He also owned the property at Lacmalac which is now a soldiers settlement.

Mr. Henry Osborne, of Illawarra, came to the colony in 1829, and grew wheat in that district very largely.

He cultivated 1500 acres, some of which he sold at 20/- per bushel.

He formed stations all over the colony, at Coppabella, on the Murray; at Wagragobilly, on the Tumut; at Brookong, below Wagga; at Berry Jerry, and other other places.

He was one of the first to take stock across the country to Melbourne, and in 1839 he made an historic trip from Illawarra to Adelaide with stock.

He was the first holder of the Wagragobilly run and the first homestead was near the place where J. Webb's place is now located.

Later on the head station was removed down the river to where Mr. Cole now lives. 

Another early pioneer on that locality whose name is seldom heard of was John Liggins.

He was the owner of a small run on the west side of Quilter's which he sold to De Salis, but it was afterwards merged into the Darbalara estate. 

Liggins' wife was the victim of a tragic occurrence at Adjungbilly by being killed under a bullock dray when journeying from Old Darbalara to Tumut to pay the license fee for the run.

This occurred on the north side of the Adjungbilly Creek, not far from the Old Darbalara House, and was brought about by the dray tipping up.

Mr. Henry O'Brien, of Doura station, was another man who gained great prominence in the thirties.

He was also the owner of Gunningjugroueah station.

He was the first man to adopt boiling down operations on a large scale with the view of making profit out of sheep.

Sheep at this time were practically unsaleable. 

They had been sold in Sydney as low as 6d per head, which of course meant ruin to the owner, Mr. O'Brien's remedy was to boil them down for their fat, and it proved in some measure a success, as by that means from 5/- to 6/- per head was realised for them.

It was the pre- sent writer's privilege in his youthful days to see this operation carried out on a mammoth scale at Bradley's station in Goulburn, as very many thousands of sheep were boiled down there at that time for their fat.

A peculiarity of the method was that the paunches of the sheep were cleaned and the fat run into them in much the same way that we in later days have seen  lard put into bladders.

The paunches of tallow when cold had much the same appearance as large cheeses. 

A portrait of Mr. William Broughton, with many others, adorns the hall of the Australian Pioneers Club in Sydney.

His advent to these shores dates back to the beginning of things, as he arrived with Governor Phillip in the First Fleet, as Commissary General.

He had the confidence in a very marked degree of those in authority. So much so that when Governor Sorell was appointed to Van Deiman's Land. Mr. Broughton was appointed as his confidential adviser.

Mr. Broughton died at Appin in 1821 and was buried at Liverpool.

In the thirties of the last century the two sons of Mr. W. Broughton turned their attention to pioneering in the Tumut district and they decided on the localities which are since so well known as the Gocup and Gadara estates.

They also bad land at Mundongo, better known now as Bombowlee.

Here it Is said, that they grew the first wheat that was every grown in Tumut.

The late Mr. James Duffy, of Gocup, was in the employ of Mr. Broughton in those early days, as also was Mr. W. Clee, who is still in the land of the living.

Other members of the Clee family were also identified with the Broughton's in the early, days. Mr. J. A. Broughton resided at Gocup, where he spent many years of his life.

He afterwards removed to Deniliquin, where he held an official position, and there be died. 

The 'Pastoral Times' of that day day said of him:- 'No one, was better known or more respected than J. A. Broughton, Esq., who is now numbered with the great majority. 

Few indeed are they who would say an unkind word of the departed one. 

True to his ideas, true to his church, true to his friends, and kind to all, especially the children of the Episcopalian Sabbath School, in which   for years he took an especial delight. Mr. R. W. Broughton's home was Gadara.

He was a man of more than ordinary literary ability, and on many occasions contributed articles to the press which were characterised by considerable culture, and a more than ordinary knowledge relating to the colonies. 

He on one occasion sent cattle from Gadara to Adelaide. Mr. Broughton died at Gadara in 1876, at the comparatively early age of 59.

The estate is still in the possession of his sons.

In writing of wheat growing it may be stated that the late Mr. James Gormley has told us that the first wheat grown on Murrumbidgee was grown by Mr. Joseph Cox. Mr. Cox afterwards removed to Brungle Creek about 1838.

To Dr. Andrews we are indebted for the statement that Mr. William Wyse grew the first wheat that was ever grown on the Murray. Wyse had his camp where the Albury water-works now stand, and that within a few months he had cleared and fenced a paddock which he sowed with wheat, and we may imagine how anxiously it was watched till harvest time, as all the stores had then to be brought by dray from Yass.