Tumut Centenary - Celebrations Next Week.

Adelong and Tumut Express and Tumbarumba Post

31 October 1924

An Elaborate Programme.

Tumut and district will next week celebrate the 100th year of its discovery by those intrepid explorers, Hume and Hovell. The festivities are to be on an extensive and elaborate scale, the whole week, from Sunday to Saturday inclusive, being devoted to the carrying out of the programme. Extra accommodation other than that provided by the seven hotels, has been arranged, and judging by announced intentions of erstwhile residents coming 'Back to Tumut,' there will be the largest assemblage seen in the place, the big railway opening week in 1905 (sic) not excepted.

Outline of the week's programme:-

Sunday, special church reunion, band recital, sacred concert; Monday, railway picnic, civic reception, signing visitors' book, dedication of trees to pioneers, unveiling Boyd Memorial (Thos. Boyd was head bushman of Hume and Hovell party and died in the Tumut district, at Gilmore, in 1855, and was buried in the Tumut Cemetery), smoke social and concert, pictures; Tuesday, grand procession, Friendly Societies' sports, old times ball, pictures, Crowning of Centenary Queen; Wednesday, motor trips, Centenary races (first day), flower show, juvenile dance; Thursday, motor trips, Centenary races (2nd day), Centenary banquet, Centenary Dance; Friday, monster picnic, wool-classing demonstrations, Military sports, Centenary ball, pictures; Saturday, tennis matches, motor-cycle sports, Carnival, pictures, State Cabinet Ministers, State Federal politicians and ecclesiastical dignitaries will be amongst the visitors. Triumphal arches are being erected in the three principal streets, and the streets, parks, etc., are to be brilliantly illuminated by electric light.

A Few Notes on Early History.

Hamilton Hume and Captain Hovell, having completed arrangements for the expedition to explore the country from Lake George to Western Port, in Bass Straits, set forth from the residence of Mr. Hume at Appin on October 3, 1824. Accompanying the two explorers were six men, each providing three. Those belonging to Mr. Hume were: Claude Bossan, Henry Angel and James Fitzpatrick. Hovell's were: Thomas Boyd, William Bollard, Captain Smith.

On Oct. 27 they arrived at the Murrumbidgee River after passing through a valley of limestone. They, found the river in flood and had great difficulty in crossing it; they tried to make a canoe out of a sheet of bark, but the bark cracked and proved useless for the purpose. Then an excellent and serviceable punt was made by covering the body of the cart with a tarpaulin. In crossing the river they had to leave the carts and use pack saddles on the bullocks as the country was so rough.

On October 30 they passed through comparatively level country, often through perfect quagmires occasioned by the hills around - these are, without doubt, the Micalong Swamps. On October 31, towards night, after descending a steep mountain, came to a river - the Goobragandra or Little River - some distance above (the present Goobragandra Station homestead at Dinner Time Creek. On November 1 they rested, as there was good feed for the cattle. Hovell's journal mentions that they planted clover seed and peach stones.

On Nov. 2 they crossed the Goobragandra and set out over the mountains in a south westerly direction, and towards evening "came in sight of some small plains to the westward of us and a large river". Hovell's journal mentions: 'Here we saw that it was only lately that the natives had passed up the river in the direction we are going, and by the marks which they cut in the trees they had iron tomahawks in their possession.'

On Wednesday, November 3, they started at sunrise and made towards the river, and after going three miles came to the banks of a river which was running very strong, equal to any of the others we have passed; it was about 80ft. wide and 3ft. or 4ft. deep over the falls. 'After wandering along the banks of the river for some time,' the journal states, 'we found the place the natives had crossed only a few days before. There the river is at least 150ft. wide, the stream very strong, stony bottom, about 2½ft. deep, the falls being a little below us. We crossed with the loads on the beasts' backs a little after sundown and encamped for the night on the west bank.' 'This is the fourth river we have crossed, exclusive of the one at Yass, the streams of which are all running very strong to the north west and west, and, as we are not yet clear of the mountains, I expect we shall have more to cross besides those which may take their rise at the back of the mountains in the S.E. coast. I perceive that when this river is flooded it is at least 10 to 15ft. higher than at present, as the washings are still remaining on the banks and trees. Thermometer 52deg. at sunrise and 79deg. at noon. This we afterwards learned was called by the natives Tumut. The site of the crossing was, as far as one can judge, about the vicinity of the Blowering Station home stead.

The expedition continued on after leaving the Tumut River. On November 16 they came to the Hume (Murray) River, and on December 16 reached Port Phillip. Settlement followed the discovery of the Tumut Valley by Hume and Hovell very quickly.

As far as can be ascertained the first advance was made down the banks of the Murrumbidgee from Yass, and must have taken place in the late twenties of the 18th (sic 19th) century. The first authentic information that can be found is that a daughter was born to Thomas McAlister and his wife at Darbalara in 1830; this daughter was named Elizabeth, and afterwards married Mr. John Wilkinson. Darbalara thus was the first land to be settled on the Tumut River, and is situated on the banks of the river just before it flows into the Murrumbidgee.

In 1832 George Shelley arrived in Tumut and took up land at Bombowlee and was the first landholder there, and in 1845 became the sole owner of the now famous fertile Tumut Plains. In 1836 John Archer Broughton arrived in Tumut. He was born in Appin and was the son of William Broughton, who arrived in the colony with the first fleet in 1788 under Governor Philip. He settled first at Mundongo and afterwards at Gocup.

In 1837, James Garland took up land at Darbalara, and in the same year J. B. Sharp came from Windsor and took up 'Green Hills,' Adelong.

In 1838 John and Thomas Wilkinson came through from Gundaroo with 80 head of cattle and camped at what is now known as 'Rosebank,' on Gilmore Creek, and on applying for a squatter's, license were given 'Yellowin,' to which place they moved in 1840. John was 17 and Thomas '14 years of age, having been born in Liverpool, N.S.W., in 1821 and 1824 respectively. Both built homes at Yellowin.

These pioneers were followed up by Robert Cooke, Dr. Clayton, Francis Anderson in 1838, Timothy O'Mara, Fred. Body, Thomas Eggleton, Frederick Wheler Vyner, Robert George Ibbotson in 1839, Henry Bingham (Commissioner of Crown Lands) in 1840. In 1838 William Clee was born at Bongongo, near Tumut, Richard Clee at Tumut in 1840, Robert McAlister at Tumut Plains in 1842, the two latter being still alive and take part in the celebrations. Other arrivals whose descendants are in the district are Robert Piper and M. Brennan in 1841, Francis Foord in 1843, Augustus Lefevre in 1844, E. G. Brown in 1846, William Bridle in 1848.