By Coach from Wagga Wagga To Adelong
A Sketch From The Box. By Momus
20 April 1880 The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser
In leaving Wagga Wagga for the Main Southern Road, thirty miles distant, you cross the railway line upon the Tarcutta road.
Passing the suburban farms and a 'pub.' or two, you arrive at Alfredtown, a small hamlet about nine miles from Wagga.
The town consists of a nice-looking hotel and a few other buildings, and apparently depends upon passing traffic for subsistence.
Leaving this city in embryo you pass through a country of low ranges, with a dwelling dotted here and there along the road, until Berambula station, with Mr. Bannantine's hotel, is reached.
The land here becomes more level.
Crossing the Careenbob Creek, half a mile from the hotel, a road is found branching off, emerging upon the Main Southern Road about seven miles below the road we are now on, which leads to Upper Tarcutta, the other to Lower Tarcutta.
The country is here undulating to the main road, heavily timbered, and composed of slate and quartz, having every indication of being auriferous, but probably very deep.
We now emerge upon the Great Southern Road opposite the station of Mr. T. H. Mate.
Situated as the station is upon the edge of an extensive basin - probably at one time a lake - it bursts upon the view as you emerge from the Wagga Wagga road (which runs into it at right angles) as a splendid panorama; the extensive plain surrounded by low hills, with an opening at the upper extremity as if some mighty river had once had its course through this outlet.
The Tarcutta Creek runs through this basin, a comparatively small water-course, but being fed from the ranges seldom stops running.
Surrounded and sub- divided by good fences, with the white gates gleaming in the distance, and the paddock dotted with a noted breed of cattle, deep in luxuriant grasses, it at once strikes one that great judgment was displayed in the selection of this beautiful spot, when tho country was a wilderness, and macadamised roads and telegraphs were things of the future - and very distant the future must have looked at that time.
Mr. Mate was its first occupant, and for forty years has resided upon it, fencing and improving it until it has become one of the most desirable properties in this part of the country.
The residence is situated forty or fifty yards from tho road, with rows of fine poplars on either side, and having a fine garden; a very pretty hedge of dwarf quince encompasses two sides of the grounds, a rarity in this part of the world.
The Tarcutta Creek crosses the road about one hundred yards from the house. It is crossed by a good bridge that has withstood all floods for years.
About two years ago it was repaired thoroughly – re-planked, new rails, &c.
It is a creditable structure, but too narrow - so much so that some wag has christened it the 'Bridge of Size.'
Immediately upon crossing the bridge you arrive at one of the best buildings on the Southern Road.
It was built for an hotel, and was occupied as such for years, but the falling-off of traffic and passengers caused by the Southern Railway having reached Wagga made it an unprofitable investment for publicans.
It underwent a thorough repair, painting, &c., and is now occupied as a private residence by Mr. John Lloyd, of Cobb and Co., and I have no hesitation in saying that Mr. Lloyd is one of the best-housed men on the Southern Road.
The post and telegraph offices are in this building, Mr. Jacks being postmaster, and Mr. C. Elliott telegraph operator.
There is a fine brick stable (the house is also of brick), where Mr. Lloyd's thoroughbreds are at home.
A few hundred yards from this house is the coaching stables.
Previous to the extension of the railway to Wagga Wagga, Tarcutta was a place of some importance, as all mails between the colonies passed through its post-office, and a great number of coaches were engaged in the transport of passengers and mails, but the railway put a stop to all that, and Tarcutta sunk into a very quiet little roadside hamlet, with all probability of its remaining in that state, as free-selection in the neighborhood is the exception, not the rule, the land having been secured by the lessee of the run.
Leaving Tarcutta, and proceeding towards Gundagai, you pass through a part of the Tarcutta run, a good farm three miles from Tarcutta.
Being passed, you find here and there a few free-selections until you arrive at Lower Tarcutta.
It is at this point that the road that branched off at Careenbob Creek, as already mentioned, joins the Southern Road; in fact it is the Southern Road itself, the road to Upper Tarcutta being the branch.
There is an hotel at this place kept by Mr. Wm. White, but it is an antiquated affair, although the site is a very fine one, and, situated as it is at the junction of the roads, a more desirable business site could hardly be selected for the erection of a substantial hotel.
There is also a police station here, Constable Hoban in charge, but only nominally, as he has been stationed for some months at Adelong, re Kellys, much to the discontent of tho neighborhood, which is thus left without protection.
There is also a public school here, but it has been without a teacher for many months.
There are a good many children in the vicinity, and despite the promises to the contrary, the school remains closed.
I am afraid the compulsory clause will not have much effect in a quarter where no accommodation is made for the instruction of the children.
Less than half a mile from the hotel is the now gold-field, the Lower Tarcutta reefs.
The prospectors' claim is on the side of a steep gully in sight of the road.
They are down about 60 feet, and are still sinking.
They have struck gold-bearing stone at 50 feet, going nearly an ounce to the ton.
The country is said to be auriferous for miles around, and general appearance justifies the assertion.
The only drawback to this becoming an extensive reefing district is the want of machinery, the nearest crushing plant being at Adelong, thirty miles distant, and the cost of carting the stone and paying for crushing is too great for the miners to be remunerated for their labor.
The miners at work are sanguine that when greater depths are reached their venture will pay. I sincerely wish those persevering men success, as they have been industrious and energetic.
Leaving the reefs, we cross a dividing range by a road cut around the sides of the hills, and then descend into a more level country.
In four or five miles we arrive at the Junction Inn, on or near Hillas's Creek.
This is a stone building kept by Mrs. Upton, and should the reefs become payable, this house will command a good trade, situated, as it is, at the junction of the road to Adelong by Mount Adrah.
Alluvial mining is being carried on at Hillas's Creek with good returns.
A mile further we pass the public school, a somewhat primitive building of wood, that looks as if it would be pretty cold in winter.
Miss Crowe, a lady deservedly popular, has charge of between thirty and forty pupils, who are showing great improvement under the system pursued by their kind instructress, making it indeed a labor of love.
A mile further we passed a little girl, ten or twelve years of age, who, the coachman informed me, walked four miles every day to attend school.
Driving along a level road, we arrive at Mundarlo.
This is on the run of Mr. Bootes, where there is a brick church, public-house, blacksmith's shop, &c., at this little township.
It is situated upon the Murrumbidgee, and may become of some importance when the surrounding country receives an accession to its population.
The road continues near the Murrumbidgee till we near Adelong Crossing, running through a valley, the river being the centre, with strips of 'bottom land' on ether side being subject to inundation, and therefore but slightly cultivated.
There are a few stations and farms along the route, and, seemingly, prosperous.
Adelong Crossing is next reached, where the road branches off to Gundagai on the one hand and Adelong on the other.
There is an hotel here, where the coaches change horses, but business does not seem to be over brisk.
This is a very pretty country, many good farms being in the vicinity and two fine flour-mills.
It will, no doubt, in course of time, become of importance.
Changing horses, and with a now driver, we turn up the Adelong road, and continue up a broad valley, through which runs the Adelong crook, reminding one somewhat of El Dorado in Victoria.
'Charley,' the now driver, with whom I now find myself seated on the box, was mining for a number of years on this creek.
The greater part of it has been (or is being) worked by Mr.Shepard, who recently sailed for home via San Francisco, his mining affairs being superintended by Mr. Wm. Ryan, a Victoria mining manager.
The few particulars I here relate I received from 'Charley,' as from the box seat of a coach my observations must necessarily have been very limited.
Mr. Shepard holds about 150 acres under lease, between the Gibraltar reef and Shepardstown, on the Adelong creek.
There is about a mile of drives and tunnels, and the sinking is said to be wet.
There are engines and water wheels, and a stone-faced dam a mile in length, and a long embankment of debris extending for 600 feet.
There are about 80 men employed on the claim, and about 100 in all, the working expenses being about £800 per month. It is very valuable property, as the yield of gold pays about 100 per cent over and above the working expenses.
Passing Shepardstown and Cornishtown, we come in view of the Adelong reefs, around the, crown of the hills to the left, and soon the high walls of Mr. John Hodgson's splendid hall are in sight, and in a few moments we pull up at the hotel of Mrs. Shaw, and are in Adelong.