T. Wilkinsonís Record of Olden Days
22 July 1904 Albury Banner and Wodonga Express
The following is a record of the biography of Mr T. Wilkinson, sen., whose death at Yallowin we recently recorded, and the particulars were written by Mr S. F. Wilkinson at the dictation of his father some time before the date of his demise :ó
I was born at Liverpool, N.S.W., on 20th January, 1824, and lived there until eight years of age.
There were only three or four business places in existence then.
The present benevolent asylum was used as a hospital, under Dr. Hill.
My father was a farmer on George's River, two miles from the town.
My mother was drowned in the river when I was seven years old, through getting capsized out of a log canoe she was taking across.
There were no houses in Goulburn when I came through on my way to Gundaroo, but on Mulwary River there was a police station, hotel and store.
Later on a number of convicts were put on to alter the road.
On a hill this side of where the present town of Goulburn stands I saw two skeletons of men hanging on a gallows, and learned that they had been gibbetted for murdering a man named Roche, an overseer for Broughton, who lived on a Government grant near the present town.
It was all convict labor those times.
The first Governor who visited Goulburn., Governor Bourke, had the skeletons removed.
Men were hanged in those days for stealing sheep and cattle.
I stayed for nine month at Gundaroo, 12 miles from Lake George, which was dry excepting one small swamp, where the water was a few inches deep.
All lands were then owned by the Crown, and people's flocks and herds ran where they liked.
Terence Aubrey Murray claimed one end of Lake George, where he ran a dairy and milked 300 cows, sending the butter to Sydney.
Scrubby ridges about the land were swarming with wild cattle. McLeod was the only sheep owner.
Black fellows were very plentiful, but they were pretty well civilised.
In 1838 I left Gundaroo, and rode up to Tumut, accompanied by Boyd, who drove a bullock team.
My sister came up also with Boyd's wife, in a cart.
What were termed settled districts extended as far as Bomen in this direction.
We struck the Tumut River at Darbalara, where Trecilla had a cattle station.
Wagra was held by Osborne, and Brungle by Katherine, each of whom owned cattle.
We crossed the river above the Tumut racecourse, the crossing being known as Mundong.
There was no town then.
The first store was opened a few months after I got there by a man named Carns.
Where the police station now stands was & thick cluster of saplings and a big cattle camp.
There was only one station on Gilmore, which was owned by Shelley.
At that time there were no defined boundaries to any of the stations.
From Darbalara up this way there were only 12 stations, owned as follows:-
Tooth owned Tarabandrs,
T. Boyd west side of Gilmore,
G. Shelley from Westwood to the head of the Gilmore,
Rose Springfield and Wereboldera,
W. Shelley Bombowle,
Osborne Wagra, and
We lived 18 months on the Gilmore, at the place now known as Rosebank.
The Gilmore Greek was dry from end to end of 1838 until the middle of 1839.
Wheat was then worth £2 per bushel, and hard to procure at that.
We took up a license for a holding on the Gilmore, but a dispute arose with Shelley as to the boundaries.
We were ordered to move by Commissioner Bingham, who possessed great power at that time.
We built where O'Brien's house now stands, and had one crop of wheat which was half smut.
My brother John was with me then.
We had about 70 head of cattle.
Bingham moved our license over to Yallowin.
That was in June, 1840, and we were the first there.
We settled on the flat, and put in a crop of wheat at the top end of it. All wheat was ground by hand flour-mills, the nearest mill worked by power being at Yass.
Mr. McAlister was the only man who grew wheat for sale, and this was on a farm on Gilmore Creek where Korn now resides.
Cultivating was done with the old swing plough drawn by bullocks.
All crops were reaped by hand and threshed with flails.
Rations were served out in wheat, and each man had to grind his own flour.
We bred cattle at Yallowin, fat bullocks then being worth 20s per head in Sydney, and hard to sell at that.
Two-year-olds were worth 10s, 3 yrs 14s, and 5 and 6 year old store bullocks 20s.
We paid about £25 a year for our squatting license.
We could hire good men for £12 a year.
Whitty used to pay his men £5 a year, and gave them a 2-year-old filly each.
He was one of the best employers at that time.
Dr Clayton owned East and West Blowering in 1839, and about two years later Whitty bought the property.
There were no fences existing anywhere.
Our cattle grazed from Tumut to Lobb's Hole.
Davis had Yarrangobilly run in 1840.
There had been stations on Long Plain, Tantangra, Coolamon and Currangorambla, but they were all deserted on account of the snow.
In 1850 we took our cattle up to Long Plain (I was in partnership with W. Bridle, sen., then).
We thought we could dairy there, but the 6th of March, 1841, snow fell, and this disgusted me, go we came back to Yallowin, leaving our cattle at Long Plain, where 80 of them perished in the snow.
In 1851 gold was discovered in Victoria.