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

Author: 1944april

Traveled a great deal - about 80 countries - first foreign country I suppose was Wales, which was only 80 miles away from where I was born. Visited each Continent, except Antarctica, and I doubt that it is on my bucket list - too cold. I love Asian food, Australian wine & British beer & trying to entertain by writing.

2 thoughts on “Blackman’s Swamp”

  1. William of Orange did not cover himself with Glory at Waterloo!!!

    The Peninsular War if Thomas Bell survived Badajoz he was a v lucky man,

    The horsemanship in the film the man from Snowy River is incredible

    Liked by 1 person

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