Report from Tumut
The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser
21 December 1850
Weather.-The weather has been exceedingly dry for some months, and though the climate of this district is naturally wet, there have not been any heavy rains during this year.
A smart shower or two on the 8th instant cheered the hearts of our agriculturists.
We have looked in vain for some time, for an article from the "Sydney Herald" correspondent, at Wagga Wagga, and we much fear that "Oasis of the Desert" has lost its vaunted Emerald hue, as well as our own locality, through the long continuance of the drought,
Crops.- The hay has been gathered in, and though light in quantity, is of first quality. More than forty tons may be obtained in the immediate vicinity of the township; a hint which may be useful to the mail contractors. The growers are already asking £6 per ton.
The wheat crops have been considerably damaged by the blight, and will, with one or two exceptions, yield much below an average. Harvesting' has commenced generally. By average, here, is intended thirty bushels per acre. The crop of oats is considered poor.
Potatoes are also likely to be scarce, there being probably not many more than will supply the wants of the immediate neighbourhood. This is partly owing to a late frost.
Notwithstanding the state of the weather stock of every description is in first-rate condition, more especially sheep, which are free from disease, and hold out a prospect of yielding more profit, than during the late succession of wet seasons.
It is evident even in this severe and trying season, that the alluvial land on the banks of the Tumut River is capable of supporting an immense population, and not only that, but of supplying the wants of the surrounding and more sterile districts.
Accounts from the Lower Murrumbidgee are very unfavorable as will appear from the subjoined extract from a letter, from Mr. Wentworth's station, Kieto.
Attempt At Murder By A Black.- The letter referred to also contains an account of a man (known as Serjeant James, of Mr. Bingham's Police,) having been speared by the blacks. James was a quiet and steady man, and not wanting in pluck, as will appear from the account given:-
"My dear, We have reached this far down, just five miles from Balranald, without any accident or impediment, but the horses are knocked up; there never was known such a miserable season for grass, and if the weather continues so hot and dry, a great mortality amongst the stock is anticipated.
I have a piece of bad news to communicate concerning poor James (Corporal James, formerly in the Border Police.) He has been badly wounded, and in a very strange manner.
It appears he went in company with another constable of the name of Thomas Halliday, to apprehend a black thief on a warrant issued by the Balranald Bench, and that on securing his man in camp, he ordered him to lay down his spears, which he refused to do but showed fight; the spear and carbine bullet thereupon went upon their errand simultaneously - James received the spear under the ribs, the black the bullet in the abdomen.
James was in the act of firing a second time when he received the jagged spear of his opponent through both parts of his right arm, as it was bent, he however, hit the black in the ankle and he dropped.
The other constable all this time was behind a tree, about one hundred yards from the scene of contest, discharging his pistol repeatedly, and strange to say, the Doctor attending James positively states that the third wound in James' body is a gun-shot wound, which is no doubt the case - the constable in his trepidation hit James behind with a bullet - there's a mate for you.
James, though we have not seen him, is doing well, the spear had to be cut out of his arm; the black died in twelve hours."
Since writing the above, we have seen Mr. Edward George Brown, of Tumut, who has returned from South Australia, where he had driven a large mixed herd of horses for the Adelaide market.
He accomplished the journey down in seven weeks, one of which lie was detained upon the road. His return trip occupied only twenty one days, being one of the quickest on record.
This may be related as an instance of' the hardihood of the Australian horse, Mr. Brown having ridden the same animal the whole distance, at the rate of nearly forty miles per day. The country from Adelaide to Gundagai is in a wretched state for want of feed.
The cattle are so reduced, that they may be seen, dying in numbers on the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers. It is as well to observe that Mr. Brown's horse, even after this unprecedented journey, is so spirited that he would frighten a bad equestrian.
Adelaide horse market is glutted, and [there are] between five and six hundred head on [???] thither. December 4, 1850.