Historical Tumut No. 5

25 January 1910 The Tumut Advocate and Farmers and Settlers' Adviser

[By "Wombat."]

Mr. Robertson had as a partner a Mr. Barrymore.

He owned and resided in those promises known as " Comely Bank," now owned by Mrs J Nestor.

Like many of our oldest identities, he has passed away from earthly scenes.

My readers will pardon me for here making an addenda to my previous remarks, with a view to bringing in some worthy identities previously overlooked.

It will be considered how very difficult is my task when attempted in chronological sequence.

In 1841 a group of sturdy immigrants arrived in Sydney.

Amongst them were the following married couples:- Mr. and Mrs Jas Brennan (who hailed from Limerick, parents of Messrs Edward, Martin and Lawrence Brennan and of Mrs N Porter), Mr. and Mrs Richard Brett (who were near neighbours, just across the border, in County Tipperary, parents of Richard Brett, Tumut), and Mr. and Mrs Denny Keefe and Mr. and Mrs Michael Quirk (Wagra).

Leaving the ship, they faced at once the hardships and the dangers of the bush, and came up country to Darbalara, then owned by the Hon L F De Salis.

After some years spent there, having by persevering frugality and steady work amassed some capital, the late Mr. James Brennan and, if I remember rightly, Mr. Richard Brett rented farms from Mr. Archer Broughton, of Gocup, the latter residing on the site of Mr. Samuel Gordon's present smiling homestead.

 When Sir John Robertson's Free-selection Bill became law, Mr. James Brennan quickly availed himself of its privileges and, with rare foresight, took up land in the vicinity of Gocup, thus founding the well known Eurobin Estate, now under the management of Mr. Edward Brennan.

Mr. James Brennan, the father of the family, was a grand type of man. His shipmates were worthy men and women, who proved hardy pioneers and prospered, and whose progeny are all well known and respected to-day.

In 1811, Mr. William Haydon (father of Messrs John and Robert Haydon, of Tumut and Argalong respectively) came to Tumut. He was the first wheelwright and undertaker, and carried on his business in the now defunct town on the flat; and Mr. William Eggleton was the first blacksmith.

[I desire here to correct errors in my previous history where I stated that Messrs F. Foord and Thos Eggleton held senior priority in their respective callings.]

Prior to 1847, some other old identities who have long since "returned to dust" were Henry Rockley (father of Mrs. Alfred Harris, Charles Lee (known locally as "Cockatoo Charlie") and Bill Ward.

They assisted in building Foord and Anderson's old bridge in 1847.

The first mailman to these parts was Ned Holmes.

He carried the mails from Gundagai to Tumut when the town was on the flat, and he used to herald his approach by the blowing of a horn to rouse the inhabitants to the arrival of the much-appreciated mail.

There were no banks or financial institutions in the district in those days; IOU's were the medium of exchange between the business people, and it is needless to say many were lost, destroyed or worn out in the pocket before presentation could be effected.

At this time races were held at the back of the present racecourse.

The run was a straight one starting from the " Frenchman's Waterhole" - the one in the Bull Paddock - so called by reason of a Frenchman having driven his bullocks and dray into it, and the culmination turned out to be his watery grave.

The finish was in front of the only public house, owned by Mr. Timothy O'Mara, a sturdy old Irishman, whose physique earned for him the aboriginal title of "Teddy Caborn" (big).

 An accident occurred at the races which might have cost Bill Ward before mentioned his life.

Though nobblers were 1s a glass, men usually got pretty merry at races.

On this occasion a crowd attacked Ward and, getting him down, were kicking him unmercifully, when another old identity in the person of William Buckley sr. appeared on the scene and struck one of his assailants with a stone.

They all left their victim and turned on "Buck," as he was called, who took to his heels and was chased towards the Tumut River which he plunged into and swam to the opposite bank, none daring to follow.

In 1852, settlement may be said to have started on the site of the present town.

Alexander Myers, father of Mr. W. Myers of Gocup, had a shoemaker's shop near the existing Oddfellows' Hall, where Ah Loy resides.

W. Haydon's wheelwright's establishment was just below.

 A man named Adams was the original purchaser of the corner block on which stands Nestor's Woolpack Hotel, and he sold it to Timothy O'Mara for two gallons of rum (there was a peculiar fascination in some for spirits in those days).

The building of the Queen's Arms Hotel, Mr. John Madigan's, was effected in 1852, the late Mr. James Leonard Madden, returning from the Ovens goldfield, being the contractor.

The erection of the Woolpack Hotel, a partly wooden structure, was carried on about the same time, O'Mara removing his public house from the flat.

David Crampton sr, father of Mr. D. Crampton, of Lacmalac, was the first baker in Tumut, and his cheery presence on the occasion of racing or other festivities will still be remembered by many residents; his "Aunt Sally" and other devices for coaxing the nimble shilling created much merriment.

The site of the first bakery was about where Mr. Robins' chemist's shop is in Wynyard-st, and the position of Eggleton's blacksmith's shop was between that and the Commercial Bank corner.

MR. Joseph Allatt was one of Tumut's earliest working blacksmiths, having worked for some time onward from 1847 for Mr. F. Anderson near the old bridge, where Mr. Abraham Anderson's residence stands on Bombowlee.

Leaving that employ, he secured the residence he still occupies in Capper-st, and also the block alongside on which he started blacksmithing and wheel wrighting on his own account.

Mr. Henry Moon has the credit of building the first flour mill, at Gilmore.

It was situate in front of Whitman's Hotel, was driven by water power and was on the stone system.

About 1851 or thereabouts he built an hotel on the site of O'Dea's, and opened it as the Royal Hotel. It passed later into the hands of C Jones.

About this time Timothy O'Mara built and carried on a general store, where Casperson's buildings are erected. He was also a wine and spirit merchant.

(To be continued.)