Hume & Murrumbidgee are Bank High
News from the Interior (From Various Correspondents) Yass.
The Sydney Herald
16 September 1840
Having just returned from the Hume River, I beg to send you such scraps and shreds of local intelligence as I have collected on my travels.
You will doubtless be glad to hear that from the Murrumbidgee to the Hume, the grass is very abundant and the wheat crops are looking remarkably well.
Wheat is now selling on the Tumut River at 10s. per bushel and is expected soon to fall to half that price.
There are very few stations in this district where the squatters, have not raised wheat enough to supply their own establishment. In consequence of the abundance of grass and the very mild winter we have had, cattle are so fat, that with the exception of the milch cows, it would perhaps be difficult to find a beast here that is not fit for the butchers.
Within the last two months we have had copious rains. The rivers Hume mid Murrumbidgee are bank high. I had to swim my horse across each of them.
A few days previous to my arrival at the Hume, a Mr. Walker lost a £70 horse in attempting to cross that river; and Mr. Cooper has recently met with a similar accident in attempting to cross the Murrumbidgee.
On this I occasion Cooper himself had very nearly lost his life.
At the crossing place at the Hume, (on the Port Phillip Road) there is a substantial canoe, and there is also on each side a very good landing place, but at the Murrumbidgee there is neither a proper landing place nor a safe punt.
The miserably rickety looking punt, kept here is owned by a person named Andrews, who keeps a public house at the crossing place.
In this small punt which I suppose might have originally cost £3 or, £4, you are half up to your knees in water and dirt, and if you have any goods to cross you must youself find men to work the punt.
In order to give you some idea of the moderate charge, I may tell you that on Thursday last a Mr. White or Wright from Berrima, crossed with his own men four dray loads in this punt, for the use of which he had to pay £ 4.
Through the medium of your paper, which I find is read by every respectable squatter in these districts, I would suggest to the numerous stockholders beyond the Murrumbidgee, the expediency of building by subscription a safe and proper punt capable of crossing horses, &c., at the expense of £4 or £5, a good landing place might be made on each side the river.
The proprietors of stock in these districts would find it their interest to commit this punt to the care of some sober, blacksmith for whom there is now a good opening here and who for a stipulated amount of yearly wages, might be required to work the punt for the subscribers.
You will probably feel desirous to know the current prices of live stock in, these districts.
A mixed herd of cattle may still be purchased at £5 a head. For sheep there is scarcely any demand. But if you have horses for sale, you may obtain any price which your conscience will allow you to ask.
At the outstations on the Ovens and Broken River the poor blacks are still troublesome, they know very well that the shield of protection is thrown over them whatever may be the number and turpitude of the crimes committed by them.
I am sorry to tell you that the disease called the black leg, has lately carried off a number of cattle, in the neighbourhood of the Hume River. This disease has made its appearance on the Hume some time ago.
I will soon write to you again, and give you some of the Yass news, at present I can only add that notwithstanding the late rains, this town and its vicinity present a miserable aspect.
Nobody resides here except those who cannot leave it.
From the stinted appearance of vegetation and the sterility of the soil you would suppose that the curse of heaven has rested on Yass and its neighbourhood.