Murrumbidgee Report 

The Australian

26 November 1839

Nov. 16.

During the last ten days we have had a considerable fall of rain, and it still continues showery.

The extreme heat, and parching winds, at the termination of last and commencement of this month, has done considerable damage to the wheat on the banks of the river and surrounding country, none but that on the Toomut river having entirely escape their influence; however, from the late plentiful rains, we may still expect very fair crops, and an abundance of hay.

Grass is very plentiful, and stock look well; cattle and sheep are something cheaper than they have been these three months past; horses, however, from the continued demand for those animals, still maintain a high price.

This and the neighbouring district (the Lachlan) are in a truly deplorable state, not a day now passing but we hear of robberies, either on the roads or at some of the stations in the vicinity.

There are numerous bands of armed ruffians out in all quarters.

Within the last three weeks they have twice robbed the Burrowa stores; five armed men hive visited Mr Broughton's station, on the Lachlan, and taken away a valuable horse; last night another party of three men, likewise armed, attacked Mr Nelson Matcham's station, on the Murrumbidgee ; and after bailing up (as they term it) and placing a sentry over Mr. M. and his people, proceeded to rob the place of all his shearing necessaries, clothes, and, in fact, everything valuable or useful it contained, with which they decamped about midnight, placing their booty on the only horse then at the station.

These occurrences are daily on the increase, and very little surprise does it create, seeing that we have no police to put them down.

There are certainly four or five constables said to be stationed at Yass, but what with escort duty and serving of summonses, more than one is seldom to be found there at a time; and the nearest mounted police stations are at the township of Goulburn and the Hume river, upwards of two hundred and fifty miles apart.

The mounted police were removed, twelve months ago, from Yass to Goulburn, until suitable barracks could be built for them at the former place; but, as yet, nothing more has been, heard of the police, their new barracks, or even tenders for their erection.

The exertions of Mr Commissioner Bingham, indefatigable as he is known to be, can never be duly appreciated while his head-quarters are fixed in such a retired and out of-the-way spot as the Toomut, surrounded by only a dozen or so respectable settlers.

Surely he must be aware, before this time, that somewhere on the great thoroughfare to Port Phillip and Adelaide, near or at Gundagie, would be by far a more eligible spot for a police station, as then we should not be likely to hear of so many runaways infesting the roads.

Mr. Commissioner Cosby has his hands full of business, scarcely a day passing without reports of robberies, or demands for the border police being made to him; and active as we know him to be, with the few men placed under him, he cannot be expected to perform much.