Old Wellington and Sally
18, March 2016 Tumut & Adelong Times
SIR, — Gary Bilton's letter of October 2, 2015 concerning "Old Wellington" and "Sally" struck a chord with me.
Wellington, that remarkable Aboriginal man and his wife Sally, appears to have been part of the Tumut community, probably from the arrival of the first Europeans in the late 1820s. He was certainly very much part of the Tumut community when he died in 1875.
Perhaps it is now time for Tumut to recognise Wellington and Sally and although their exact gravesite might now be uncertain, appropriate recognition should be made. It is up to the Tumut community.
The Bilton letter also interested me for another reason; the reference to Rolf Boldrewood and mention of Wellington and that he probably guided him through the mountains certainly the Yarrangobilly area.
(Boldrewood incorrectly included Wellington in the Karnilaroi Tribe which is from northern NSW.)
I am bold enough to suggest another person who probably introduced Boldrewood (real name Thomas Alexander Browne), to the Lobs Hole and Yarrangobilly area.
Thomas Wardle Hammond, a first generation Australian, was born at Campbelltown, NSW in 1826.
After some legal training, he spent time with the Royal Bank's stations between the Murray and Edward Rivers.
Around 1850, with his business partner Richard Gwynne, he bought cattle in northern NSW or Queensland and drove them into Victoria for sale, a profitable venture.
In 1857, Hammond and Gwynne purchased the grazing licence on the Jewnee Run which was at least 100 square miles (about 26,000 ha).
It included the village of Jewnee (now Old Junee) when it was surveyed in 1860 and also the site of present day Junee. The run straddled the great north-south droving route.
Hammond Family papers recount how Thomas Hammond drove cattle from eastern NSW, probably the Monaro/Limestone plains area, through Lobs Hole to Victoria for sale.
This was in the early 1850's as the Victorian gold rush gained momentum and before the Kiandra rush.
It is believed that graziers from the south west by then used this route for opportunity summer grazing on the high country as did graziers from Tumut-Gundagai through to the Riverina using different routes.
Rolfe Boldrewood (Thomas Browne) and Thomas Hammond were friends from school and Boldrewood, who ran Bundidgerry Station near Narrandera for five years from 1864, visited Hammond at his Jewnee Run (renamed "Wyoming" in 1887).
It is quite feasible that Boldrewood was told of Lobs Hole/Ravine, its isolation, its rugged beauty, the difficulty and danger in reaching it, even if Hammond did not take him there.
It is also possible that Thomas Hammond met Wellington and Sally.
He certainly had a good relationship with local Aboriginals whom he employed on the Jewnee Run and I have a great photograph, c.1890 of a laughing Aboriginal, taken from the Hammond photo album.
I believe that in "Robbery Under Arms", his novel based on a number of actual events, Boldrewood used his knowledge of the deep Lobs Hole/Ravine as the "terrible hollow" in the book, simply as props for the novel.
An 1860 article in the Sydney Morning Herald said of Lobs Hole: "It affords a short cut for foot passengers and horsemen from Victoria, but no dray or wheeled vehicle can be made to ascend its rough and jagged heights...".
The Herald was unaware that Government Surveyor Arthur Stapleton, somehow took a bullock cart with him when he surveyed the Tumut River valley from the Murrumbidgee to just south of Lobs Hole in 1832.
Lobs Hole was on the Yarrangobilly River near its junction with the Tumut and is now partly covered by the backed up waters of Talbingo Dam.
And then as to the name Lobs Hole.
Was there a person named Lob after whom the locality was named?
There is a Lobs Hole in the UK near Stevenage, north of London, understood to be an Iron Age site.
Could the practice in early times of European settlement in Australia, where names of towns, rivers, etc. in England were used here, explain the local name Lobs Hole?
What is not explained is why some parties added a second "b" to Lobs Hole around 1891.
At that time, a move was made to establish a school there and the Education Department requested that "a more appropriate name for the school should be given".
The request was rejected but others started using the Lobbs spelling and later, it became officially known as Ravine.