The Courier, Brisbane
23 January 1864
The Herald's Murrumbidgee correspondent gives a report of a case of disputed boundary which may be of interest to your country readers:-
A case under the Crown Lands' Act is now under course of arbitration at Balranald, which involves not only a disputed boundary, but also the solution of a geographical difficulty.
Some twenty years ago Mr. Tooth, of Sydney, took up a run on the Lower Murrumbidgee called Moonmoon Currah, but usually known as Boyonga.
This run is described as extending from the western boundary line of Craigengullen or Gelam to the Lachlan River.
For many years past, Mr. James M'Evoy, formerly of Sydney, has been the occupant of this run.
Mr. George Hobler, one of the first residents on the Lower Murrumbidgee, took up a run called Paika, which run passed to Mr. W. Wentworth, then to Mr. Augustus Morris, and lastly to its present holders, Messrs. James and Peter Tyson.
Now this run is said to extend easterly to the Lachlan, and consequently would abut, on Moonmoon Currah.
Now the question at present in dispute is not where the boundary between the two runs is, for we know the Lachlan is the boundary, but where is the Lachlan?
The one party says it is here, and the other party says it is there, and it is a very difficult question to settle which of them is right or which is wrong, or in point of fact if either of them is right.
The actual amount of country in dispute is not of large value, and it is probable that the expenses of the arbitration will exceed the value of the land itself; both parties are, however, well-to-do, and consequently it is simply a matter of taste the manner in which they expend their money.
Mr. Nicholas Chadwick, of Dunolly, is arbitrator for Mr. M'Evoy, and Mr. Robert Landle, of Deniliquin, acts for Messrs. Tyson, whilst Mr. William Ross, of Meilman, is umpire. Mr. George Rowley, of Sydney, comes up to conduct Mr. M'Evoy's case; and Mr. M'Cabe, the government surveyor, who originally mapped out this portion of the colony, is to be called to give evidence as to the locality of the Lachlan.
By reference to the report of the select committee of the Legislative Assembly on the navigation of the Murray, &c., under date of the 17th November, 1857, Captain Francis Cadell, in answer to questions 134 to 143, will be found to have given the following evidence respecting the Lachlan River:-
"I am acquainted with the Lower Lachlan; the portion I have seen is decidedly navigable. It is a perfect canal for thirty or forty miles of the lower portion of it.
When I speak of navigable waters I allude to the proper season. I saw the river in the middle of the summer - it was then in flood.
The Lachlan water hardly over reaches the Murrumbidgee; it loses itself in the reed beds.
To navigate the Lachlan a boat would have to be built on its banks; the navigation, if permanent, would be isolated.
I think the Lachlan would be highly capable of canalisation. In its present state there is no open communication between the Lachlan and the Murrumbidgee even in times of flood.
It is a matter of dispute whether the waters of the Lachlan ever reach the Murrumbidgee; one settler on the side of the river says they never reach it; but the Messrs. Tyson, who, I think, know the river better, say they do.
I speak from actual knowledge when I say that I have seen the river come down bank and bank within a few miles of, and yet not a drop has reached, the Murrumbidgee.
There is a hard road between; I noticed this in the summer of 1856.
The Lachlan, like many other Australian rivers, is much larger at its bend than at its embouchure; about thirty miles from its mouth it exists as a canal, twelve miles from its outlet it spreads out over extensive reed beds, passing through them it again collects its waters into two main channels and many small creeks, and at last empties itself into the Murrumbidgee - in flood time, at least - through a deeply cut channel.
During the past six months, the Lachlan has run continuously into the Murrumbidgee, a very heavy stream. The question to be decided by the present enquiry is which of these numerous creeks is the original Lachlan that was running when the country was surveyed twenty years ago."