Early Settlement of Gundagai and Tumut No VIII (By George Clout)
18 March 1924 The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser
The manly yeoman settles on the soil,
And wins the wilderness with hopeful toil.
All those who were active participants in pioneering work in its very early stages have long since passed away, and unfortunately very little note was taken of the part they had played in the great work of civilisation.
As a consequence, many of those whose efforts were doubtless worthy of very high praise, have been allowed to sink into oblivion, not only with their noble work unrecorded, but unwept, unhonored, and unsung.
It stands to the credit, however, of many of these early settlers that much of the land occupied at that time is still in the possession of the original holders descendants, men that are now in the sere and yellow leaf were born on the holdings that they still have a claim on, and which were secured by their forbears in the early days referred to.
A case in point, which is also applicable to many others, is that of the Quilter family, so well known in this part of the State.
Quilter, senr. was in the employ of Hamilton Hume, the explorer, and was afterwards sheep overseer for Mr. Henry O'Brien at Reedy Creek.
This was the same Mr. O'Brien previously alluded to who first started boiling-down operations in the colony.
Mr. Quilter afterwards came to Gobarralong and secured the home which has ever since been in possession of the family, and was the birth place of many of them.
To Mr. J. F. Quilter, of Claris Park, Junee, the writer is indebted for much old-time information of this character.
The Carberrys and the Crowes, of Gobarralong, have also been part and parcel of that district from the time of its first occupancy. Mr. James Brennan, of Eurobin, on the Tumut river, first settled at Gobarralong, but for a short time only.
The Brennan family were for many years residents of Tumut, and were highly respected.
The Eurobin estate is still in possession of younger members of the family.
In 1847 an amended Land Act was passed, which raised the price of land from twelve shillings to one pound per acre, but with much greater facilities for obtaining it.
Small areas of land were to be submitted to auction, and these were usually disposed of at the upset price, and from the early fifties substantial progress was made in land settlement by small holders.
This was in a great measure brought about by the free Immigration sys- tem of a few years previously.
Unfortunately there was a dark side to this free immigration policy.
Such multitudes of people came from the old country, that there were more than the country could provide for, many of them being poor people with little or no means of subsistence other than what they could earn or obtain from the Government.
There was in fact no employment for them, and the in- evitable result was partial starvation.
Hundreds were walking about looking for the work they could not obtain, and they were compelled to beg or starve.
They slept in the parks.
Their home was under the trees.
This state of affairs was especially distressing in the case of hundreds of young girls who had been induced to come to the colony, but found on their arrival that there was nothing for them to do, and they had nowhere to go.
In this connection it is impossible to refrain from mentioning a lady who befriended them, a lady whose large heartedness will ever live in the memory of all truehearted Australians.
This was Mrs. Caroline Chisholm.
She established a home for friendless and destitute girls, and the benefit of it was apparent immediately.
That home remained for years after wards, a fitting memorial of the unselfishness and the philanthropy of the lady referred to.
Nor was this all.
The terrible distress amongst those who had been induced to emigrate, by the offer of labor and cheap land, excited her compassion to such a degree that she moved all the machinery of government to provide for these people, and with such success that during her eight years stay in Australia she provided for and settled eleven thousand souls.
Before commencing with the settlement of the agriculturists a little diversion with regard to the colony itself may not be out of place - that is with regard to its flora.
There is nothing that surprises the stranger who visits this country for the first time so much as the variety and beauty of her flowers.
He is in point of fact overshadowed with the magnitude and grandeur of the floral kingdom.
The undulations that mark even the plains and the wild grandeur of the rougher regions of the coast district lend enchantment to the view.
There is a plethora of color in the flowers that everywhere meet you.
They are not placed here and there only to give one the impression of limit.
They cover mountains and valleys in all kinds of form and shades of beauty.
Climbers rich in crimson and interspersed with every other color, are multiplied by millions, scattered by a lavish hand until every shrub, and plant, and bush, robed in splendour, makes the wide continent gay with blue and gold and purple and crimson.
When Dr. Solander and Mr. Banks, the first English botanists who visited this continent, looked out upon the land surrounding the bay where Captain Cook first landed, they were delighted with the view.
They were astonished to find in this strange land a gorgeous display of beauty that rivalled all other parts of the world in variety, extent, and in the tints that their great numbers gave to the landscape.
When the Creator of the universe conceived a plan by which should carry on His work.
His thought was good to stamp every part with beauty.
The heavens that are stretched out like a garment, studded with a count-less host of twinkling stars.
The mountains that toss their craggy heads to the sky, valleys, hills and plains, river, brooks and lakes, clouds and snow, and all forms of life are clothed in beauty that comes from a mind full of the best thoughts towards man.