Goulburn's Growth & Early Explorations
13 January 1940 Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga)
The district of which Goulburn is now the centre was first explored by Hamilton Hume, Charles Throsby and Surveyor James Meehan, all of whom had been in the vicinity by the end of 1818.
John Oxley wrote glowing accounts of the locality in 1820, in which year Governor Macquarie made a tour of the southern districts and passed over the present site of Goulburn on his way to Lake George and Lake Bathurst.
The first road probably followed the track blazed in 1818 by Meehan and Hume, though Governor Macquarie took a slightly more westerly road after leaving Bong Bong.
The present road through Marulan to Goulburn was surveyed by Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General, in 1829, but it was not completed for many years.
The original idea of establishing a town at Goulburn Plains seems to have been prompted by a scheme for the settlement of a number of discharged soldiers in various selected country districts.
In 1829 the township of Goulburn Plains was marked out in a bend of the Wollondilly River and the site ap- proved by Governor Darling.
When Governor Bourke visited the district in 1832 he altered the site to that which the town now occupies. Assistant Surveyor Govett surveyed the plan for the design, and Assistant-Surveyor Hoddle planned the streets and general layout of the town.
The plan of the 'Town of Goulburn' was approved by the Executive Council on January 21, 1833.
On November 1, 1836, Sir Thomas Mitchell wrote: 'I continued my ride through the new township (Goulburn), in which, although but few years had elapsed since I had sketched its streets on paper, a number of houses had al- ready been built.'
By 1848 the population had grown to 1171.
In that year the first news paper was established and the town ship had become quite prosperous.
It was first proclaimed a municipality in 1859.
The 'Gazetter' of 1866 describes Goulburn as "an Episcopal city (the bishopric having been recently formed), an assize town, the chief place in the southern district, and one of the most important townships in the colony."
The hospital was singled out for special mention, it being stated that the buildings and mounds occupied 2½ acres of land.
Some idea as to the rate of progress of Goulburn is given in the following population statistics:- 1840,. 1171; 1866. 3241; 1888, 8500; 1900, 12,000.
Goulburn to-day with a population of over 18,000, is the third city in New South Wales, ranking after Newcastle and Broken Hill.
It is now a city of importance, being at the Junction of the Canberra, Cooma and Taralga lines with the main southern railway.
With wide streets, good public buildings, magnificent churches, and a cool bracing climate, it is not surprising that Goulburn has become a popular tourist centre.
From here it is only 22 miles to beautiful Lake Bathurst, and 23 miles to Grand Canyon at Bungonia, from which I obtained a magnificent view of the Shoalhaven River and the Glenrock Waterfall, both trips being well worth the drive by car.
The Wombeyan Caves (50 miles) provide another easy and justly popular outing.
To historians the area known as the Old Stockade, about sixand a half miles from Goulburn on the Sydney road, provides a wealth of interest.
Here were housed, with their soldier guards, the convicts who built the Great Southern Road.
To-day, in a mass of debris, there exists a cell built into the side of the hill facing the Wollondilly River.
It was a substantial piece of masonry approached by a low and narrow passage, the only ventilation being through the door, in which there was a grating.
There is also, in quite a good state of repair, a stone arched bridge, built, according to the key stone, in 1839.