Blackman’s Swamp

Blackman’s Swamp in 1870

We had five nights in Cowra and planned to have three nights at Blackman’s Swamp.
We left Cowra on Friday, but after we received a phone call that Maureen was booked into hospital on Tuesday we decided to cut our visit to Blackman’s Swamp to just two nights.
Just to make things clear in today’s cancel culture world, Blackman’s Swamp was named after an Englishman named James Blackman who arrived in Australia in 1802 as one of four children of James Blackman (senior) and his wife. The children were all boys, Samuel, James, John & William.
They arrived as free settlers who had been sponsored by the British Colonial Office.
James (Junior) was one of ten farmers to be allocated 50 acres of land near Bathurst in NSW.
In 1818 it is thought that Blackman became involved in exploring and was with  John Oxley’s expedition to Port Macquarie, because there is a Blackman’s Point on the northern bank of the Hasting River at Port Macquarie.

                                                      John Oxley 1783 – 1828
John Oxley had arrived in Sydney as the Surveyor-General in 1812.

During their return from investigating what was to become Port Macquarie they came across a beautiful valley with a river running through it, which was unknown to the Europeans.
Oxley, as the leader, named the valley Wellington after the Duke of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo.

                 Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington – 1769 – 1852.

Oxley also named the river as the Bell River after Thomas Bell who had fought with Wellington in Spain and commanded the 48th regiment at the battle of Salamanca (1812) & Neville (1813) against the French, for which he was awarded the C.B  and four other medals, and a gold cross.
(The C.B. =  Most Honourable Order of the Bath, a British order of chivalry founded by King George I in May 1725).

I was unable to find a picture of Thomas Bell, but I did find his medals, which were sold in 2008 for USD $55,000.

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B., Military Division is the first medal on the left, followed by the Army Gold Cross in gold, and the first clasp on the third medal was for Salamanca, the second clasp Neville. On the fourth medal the clasps are for the battles of Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz and Toulouse.

In 1827 Thomas Mitchell was appointed as Assistant Surveyor General under John Oxley.
In 1828 Oxley died and Mitchell took over as Surveyor General


Thomas Mitchell 1792 – 1855

Thomas Mitchell joined the 95th Rifles in 1811 (which later became the Rifle Brigade) and took part in a number of battles during the Peninsular war against the French.
He was a skilled draftsman and at the end of the war spent time in Portugal & Spain making sketches of the various battles.
Later as Surveyor General he completed plans of Sydney and the Nineteen Counties (the Nineteen Counties were the geographic limitations of the colony of NSW). For his skill and accuracy he was knighted in 1834.
In 1846 Thomas Mitchell renamed Blackman’s Swamp to Orange, to honour Prince William of Orange with whom he had served during the Peninsular war.

William II of the Netherlands. 1792 – 1849

William II was 22 at the battle of Waterloo and was wounded in the left shoulder by a muscat ball. He was commander of the 1st Corps, not bad for a 22- year- old.

The town of Orange has been confused with the fruit for years, but oranges do not grow in or around Orange, but the climate is ideal for the growing of apples.

As the town of Blackman’s Swamp / Orange has grown we were not required to sleep in a swamp.
We decided to stay at the Quest, which is a cross between a hotel and self- catering.

Maureen is at a small kitchenette with all the facilities to cook a meal.

The sleeping area, and on my right (as I took this picture) was the bathroom.

In the morning after breakfast, we left for the day and like a normal hotel staff would tidy the place & make the bed etc.  The main difference was that the hotel only had a coffee shop, they did not have a restaurant.
The hotel supplied  tea, coffee (instant & perc), milk and all cutlery & crockery in the kitchenet. It was perfect for us.

I woke early due to the full moon lighting the whole room – I had drawn the net curtains, but not the blackout the previous evening.

The view from our window.

During our first evening we ate at the Hotel Orange, which was a short walk from our accommodation.

It was a pub with a dining area, all very pleasant and the staff were friendly, and we enjoyed the food. Only after ordering the food did we find out that our first drinks were free, which was a nice touch.

The above picture is copied from their web page because I think the lady in the picture served us.
The following day we ate at ‘Mr Lim’ which is a Korean restaurant that was recommended by one of the staff in our hotel.

Kitchen was open for all to see what was ‘cooking’ lovely food and different than Chinese food.


If you have a gang . . . tables can be combined or isolated depending on the number in your group.

                                         The food went well with the beer.

It was Friday afternoon so we decided to take a walk along Summer Street, the main shopping street of Orange.
This road is also known as the Mitchell Highway, being named after Thomas Mitchell who was the Surveyor General in 1828.

                                     Dalton Brothers Store – founded in 1849.

I could not walk  past this building without taking a photograph, because I already knew a little of the Dalton family.

James Dalton 1834 – 1919

A fascinating story of an Irish family that migrated from Ireland to Australia in the late 1840’s. The father built and opened a bark and slab store.
This type of building is an all-wood building – the trees are split to create ‘planks’ which are used to create the floor. Using certain types of Eucalypts trees they found that the floor would be termite resistant.

Over the years the Dalton family expanded and opened a shop in Orange as well as flour mills.
In the 1870’s they knew that the railway was going to change things, so they started an importing agency in Sydney, built Dalton House (115 Pitt St. Sydney), the original building has been replaced with a modern structure.
In addition the Dalton’s built storehouses, a wharf, warehouses and bond stores in Sydney in support of their overall business.
From reading about the Dalton family I am surprised that they have not become the basis of an Australian fictional literary saga or even a TV series.
If you would like to know a little more about this family, click on the link below. Be careful not to get the Australian Dalton’s mixed up with the American Dalton family who were outlaws.

Dalton’s of Orange

‘Banjo’ Paterson in 1890.

One of Orange’s most famous sons was the poet ‘Banjo’ Paterson, 1864-1941.
His correct name was Andrew Barton Paterson, and after leaving school he became an articled clerk before being admitted as a solicitor.
During his time a solicitor he submitted his writing to The Bulletin, which was a literary journal.
When writing he used the pen name of The Banjo, which was the name of a horse that his family used to own.

Waltzing Matilda

He was not only a poet because he was also a journalist, and as such covered the Boer War in S. Africa. He became editor of the Sydney Evening News.
When WW1 broke out, he failed to become the European correspondent for the fighting in Flanders, so volunteered as an ambulance driver.
He returned to Australia in 1915 and was commissioned in the army and returned to France where he was wounded and reported missing in 1916. Later he commanded a unit in Egypt. He was discharged from the army in 1919.

Everyone remembers that Banjo Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda, but few remember who wrote the music, it was Christina Macpherson.

‘Banjo’ Paterson was awarded a CBE in 1939, and he died in February 1941 at the age of 77.

His poem of The Man from Snowy River has been a film,

a second film – The man from Snowy River II

and a TV series of 65 episodes (four series over two years)
all based on Banjo Paterson’s poem.

Just two verses of the thirteen verses of ‘The Man from Snowy River’.

When they reached the mountain’s summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat –
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

The ride

Lambing Flat

Today it is the cherry capital of Australia.

In 1847 Edward Taylor planted the first cherry tree in the Lambing Flat area.

James White was the first European to lay claim to land in the area in 1826. He had been convicted of horse stealing in Buckinghamshire in the UK in 1812 and transported to Australia in 1813.
He named his cattle station ‘Burrangong’ and claimed 260 square kilometres of land (100 square miles).
In 1860 a group of men, led by Michael Sheedy, were looking for horses on James White’s land and they  camped along a creek in an area called Lambing Flat.
The cook for the group, who was an American, thought the area reminded him of goldfields that he had encountered previously. He washed several spade full of earth and found gold.
The group returned to their homes, which were about 51 km away (32 miles), and a few days Michael Sheedy and six of the group returned to Lambing Flat with equipment to test the area for gold.
They found gold and within a short time there were fifty more people looking for gold, which soon grew to thousands of gold seekers, and many of the new prospectors were Chinese.

Lambing Flat miners’ camp c.1860s. Courtesy State Library of  New South Wales

It is estimated that the goldfields produced 15,000 kgs of gold (470,000 ozt) thanks to the 20,000 miners of which 2000 were Chinese.

In 1861 the Lambing Flat post office was opened and in 1863 it was renamed ‘Young’ in honour of the Governor of NSW Sir John Young, 1861 to 1867.

Sir John Young  1807-1876

In 1889 the town of Young was the first town in Australia to have electric streetlights and electricity connected to homes, which was only ten years after the first electric street light and connection to homes had been switch on in Newcastle England.

Maureen and I decided upon a visit to Young and I followed the signs to the tourist centre, which I usually do when I visit any new town, so it was a surprise to see that it was located in a railway station.

Entrance

The railway station was a lovely looking building and too big to get in to one screen shot in my camera.

The right-hand side of the building and the red bits are train carriages.

Closer look of the rail carriages.

The station was opened in 1885 and closed in December 1989 and is considered historically rare. I must admit that it is a fine well-built solid station that reflects the power of the railways in years gone by.

I wonder when the next train will arrive.

Past times. I am standing on the platform with the station behind me.

Picture by Denisbin https://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/

Inside the railway station the various offices have been converted into a welcome area for the tourists with very helpful staff. One of the old waiting rooms is a now a display area for various wines produced in and around Young.

I do like a town that helps me try out their wines – unfortunately I never managed to get close to any vineyard – I should have bought a bottle or two from the railway station.
I wouldn’t mind how late the train was if the station waiting room is like the waiting room in Young. All the wine on display was for sale.

While chatting with the young lady at the tourist desk she suggested a visit to Poppa’s Fudge & Jam Factory, which was a five-minute walk from the railway station.
of course the focus was on cherries, strawberry and cherry jam, cherry Turkish delight, cherry sauce, cherry nougat, they also had Cherry chutney, Chilli Cherry Chutney, cherry topping and so on . . . . I think we bought a few jars of cherry jam as presents because I don’t have a sweet tooth and prefer sour marmalade. Think Easter  Poppa’s Fudge & Jams
If you click on the link, click full screen, less distractions from other adverts.   

Young was interesting, but the town centre was like any other small town centres with shops- interesting for Maureen  . . . .

Farwell to the cherry tree capital

Driving around the Cowra/Young area I can’t help stopping at odd ball places because of the name.

Most of the odd ball places always have a pub, so they can’t be too bad of a place to live. . .

Talking of pubs perhaps the best place to experience a pub would be in the UK at Millthorpe in Derbyshire.

Perhaps the Royal Oak, Millthorpe for a British pint of beer, the pub was built in 1857, from British aspect the pub is quite new.

When I saw the map of NSW and noticed Millthorpe we just had to visit, because when we lived in the UK we were only about 60 km (40 miles) from Millthorpe. 

The two towns have one thing in common – quiet streets.

Must admit I do like the pavement overhang to keep a shopper cool or dry depending on the weather.

The building on the right was built in 1911, old for Australia, but yesterday from a British point of view.

The Grand Western Lodge in Millthorpe Australia, built in 1901.
At first, I thought it was a Masonic Lodge, but have since read that it started life as a hotel-pub. It closed operating as a hotel in 1961.
Because of its historical importance as a fine example of an Edwardian pub it is now listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. 
In 1987 it became a nursing home for people with disabilities. 
In 2013 the residents initiated a class action against the management and in 2016 the action was settled for $4.05 million.
In 2020 I believe the building was sold again and the new owners plan to renovate the place and turn it back in to being a hotel. 

Next stop . . .   

Past Time Towns

Canowindra

During our stay in Cowra we visited other towns and one was Canowindra. On the day we visited it was quiet, but if we had picked April instead of March, we would have experienced an international balloon challenge. The above was copied from the advert for the balloon meet.

It was a lovely day, but the town was quiet, and I was able to stand in the middle of the road without fear of being run over while I fiddled with my camera. The population of the town is just over 2000 people according to the 2016 census, which would account for the lack of traffic.

Finns Building built in 1910

Royal Hotel, perhaps seen better days as a pub, but I was told they still operate as a restaurant.

This pub was built on the site of a previous pub called Robinsons’ Hotel which began life in the 1850’s. The Robinsons’ Hotel became famous in October 1863 when Ben Hall and his bushranger gang (think bandits) took over the hotel for three days.

Ben Hall 1837- 1865

They locked the local policeman in his own cell, none of the local people were hurt and the bushrangers gave the locals beer, blankets and entertainment. When they left, they paid for their time at the hotel and ‘expenses’ to the citizens. The point of the three days was to confirm that Ben Hall and his men could do what they wanted and that the police were unable to stop them.
By 1865 Ben Hall and his gang were classed as outlaws and could be shot on sight.
                        There was a £1000 reward on his head.
              Which is approx. AUD $115,000 or USD $80,000 today.The Old Vic Inn, which is up the road from the Royal Hotel.

Originally built as a weatherboard building in 1865 and was called the Victoria Hotel. In 1908 it was upgraded on the promise of more traffic thanks to the railway arriving in town.

The hotel was closed in 1967 and remodelled as a convalescent home and later became a B&B.
Family butcher building, built in 1913 

As we walked along the street, we could feel the history of the town. There were hardly any other people around, but as we strolled under a canopy a young man ‘befriended’ us – I think he just liked to speak to strangers. 
He started talking and pointing our various places of interest and gave us information as to what happens at various time of the year and the visitors for the balloons. He told us that we were too early to see the hot air balloons but that at that time the town would be full of people.
We reached the end of the street and crossed to walk back to our car along the other side of the road, and the young man bid us goodbye, because he was going to a meeting. It was an interesting encounter that we would not have received in Sydney.

Had to take this photograph because it seemed just right in Canowindra.

Later we visited Forbes, which is a larger country town that Canowindra. It is thought that the town was named after the first chief justice of NSW Sir Francis Forbes in 1861 during a gold rush period.

Forbes Townhall – obviously a rich town when it was built.

 

Forbes Post Office.

Court House built in 1880 – still had the old coat of arms – Australia did not become a federation until 1901.

In the park across the road from the Court House was the war memorial, which listed the wars in which the locals had been involved.
WW one 1914-1918
WW two 1939-1945
Korean war 1950-1953
Malaya 1948-1960
Malaya 1963-1966
Vietnam 1962- 1973
Somalia 1992-1995
East Timor 1999-2013
Iraq 2003 – 2009
Afghanistan 2001-2013 

A fine record of service for a town with a population of about 8,500 in the 2016 census.
During the gold rush there was a tent city located at Forbes with a population of over 30,000 people.

A peaceful picture of the bandstand in the same park as the memorial, with Maureen under the palm tree.

To bring the bushranger story of Ben Hall to a close he was shot dead at Billabong Creek about 20 km (12 miles) outside Forbes in 1865 two days before his 28th birthday. He was buried in Forbes Cemetery.

The statue of Ben Hall outside Forbes’ information centre.

Ben Hall was surprised at his camp site at Billabong Creek. When he woke from sleep, he saw that he was surrounded by eight men (six policemen and two trackers), the police opened fire and shot him over thirty times as he tried to escape.
He was unable to return fire because the first shots from the police severed his gun belt as he attempted to run.  
The picture is a newspaper drawing created shortly after his death. 
If you wish to know more of Ben Hall, I can recommend this book. 

Just for the record I have known Nick for some years, (he lives in Sydney) and I am recommending his book for the quality of his writing and research, not for any other reason. 
He is Scottish by birth, if you are wondering about his name.  

When I drive around the old smaller towns of Australia, I can’t help but think of

Tenterfield Traveller

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