The Pioneers of the Illawarra

8 March 1918 Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong)

(By Hon. James Gormley, M.L.C.)

When I first resided in Illawarra in 1840, Dr. John Osborne resided on his estate, adjoining the town of Wollongong.

The homestead was somewhere near where the Wollongong railway station now stands, and the land extended to near the foot of Mount Keira.  Another brother resided near Dapto. Both these men had been surgeons in the British navy.

When my parents were residing at Unanderra, Henry, Osborne occupied his estate at Marshall Mount.

I remember in '41 he had five or six sons about my own age. In '43 I was able to ride a horse, and went with my father and Osborne to one of the Osborne out stations, which was then) called the Kangaroo Ground.

There was then a superior herd of cattle at this station, and my father purchased some dairy cows, which I assisted to drive to our home.

From what I have heard and from what I saw, Henry Osborne was an active, enterprising man. Soon after my parents settled on the Murrumbidgee in '44, Osborne became the owner of Wagra station on the Tumut River and Arrajoal on the Murrumbidgee.

The latter was situated 40 miles below Wagga. When my parents reside on the river below Gundagai, he frequently remained a night at our home.

He used to ride on horseback from Illawarra to Murrumbidgee station.

A mule, carrying a small pack, followed his horse. Much of his success may be attributed to the good judgment he possessed in selecting men to manage his various stations.

He purchased a number, of stations just before the discovery of gold in Victoria.

During the first four years after gold was discovered, stock and stations greatly increased in value, as the abundance of gold produced on the Victorian fields made pastoral properties on the Murrumbidgee boom.

Henry Osborne was elected to the first Parliament for the Eastern Division of Camden, which elector-ate embraced Illawarra, but he only held a seat in that Parliament.

 Sometime after the starting of the coal industry in Illawarra, Henry Osborne purchased extensively land that contained coal.

Like his pastoral transactions, these proved sound and profitable investments, and when he died he left an immense amount of property.