The following reminiscences published in the Maitland Daily Mercury in 1898 describes the settlers at the Paterson in the days of his youth - 1840's.
The recent visit of his Excellency Lord Hampden
to the district of the Paterson River, reminds me
of the visit of Governor Sir George Gipps to that
district, before the introduction of parliamentary
government, or shortly after the time that your
predecessor (Mr. B. Jones) began to publish the
Maitland Mercury. There have been vast changes
in the district since that period of our history : the
early pioneers of the district are now all gone over
to the majority ; they were almost without exception
able men, and well qualified to conquer the difficulties besetting settlement in a new country.
Having been a resident of the Paterson River at
the time of Governor Gipps' visit, I remember him
well walking about the township unattended,
making enquiries regarding some grievances that
affected some of the residents at that period. There
were not many 'little settlers' on the river - the
farming was mostly carried on by the pioneers who
had obtained grants of land, generally from 610 to
2560 acres in extent, some of them having increased
their grants of land by purchases, all of them being subject
to a quit rent of one farthing per acre.
or Phoenix Park, was then, with the exception of a
few small patches, brought under cultivation, a
thick brush with magnificent straight flooded gums,
nearly 200 foot in height from any a line drawn
from the Paterson close to estate of Dunmore to
Bolwarra. Mr. R. Jones estate of Bolwarra was a
well-cultivated farm. A good breed of cattle was
herded on the bush land.
On the slope of the ridge
leading towards the lagoon in front of Bolwarra
House, I have seen a muster of aborigines numbering from four to five hundred, armed with their
spears and boomerangs, etc..
Mr. Andrew Lang's estate of Dunmore contained
a considerable area of alluvial brush land, part of
which he cultivated, and began leasing allotments
of from 10 to 20 acres on clearing leases of five
years free from rent.
On the opposite side of the
river was the fine estate of Bowthorne - Capt.
Livingston being the proprietor,
the finest and largest farm in the district.
I have seen on that farm, from near the homestead
on both sides of the Hinton road leading to
Raymond Terrace punt (Mrs. James' hotel), an
excellent crop of wheat.
was the estate owned by the Messrs. Barty, Dr.
Scott was the proprietor of the estate of Coolie
Camp; John Galt Smith's Woodville farm adjoined on the upper boundary. Major Hobbler had
a grant near Green Wattle Creek. Mr. Lee occupied the farm known as Leeholme on the opposite
side of the river was the estate of Bellevue, Dr.
Evans being the proprietor; at the Old Banks, the
Swan family, I think, are the oldest settlers of the
district, most of the others dating from 1820 to
Captain Dunn was an early settler on the
river, as was also Mr. Dunn, the coroner, whose
farm was on the opposite side of the river to that of
Tocal. A Mr. Powell had a farm near Hogg
Mr. Felix Wilson's estate of Tocal was among
the best in the district : a considerable area was
under cultivation, the cattle run being richly
grassed running back along Webber's Creek
towards Lamb's Valley.
Next came, the estate of
Bona Vista, Mr. James Phillips being proprietor.
On the opposite side of the river were the farms of
Mrs. Ward (afterwards Mrs. Robert Studdert), Messrs.
Kingston, and Mr. Macquarie, while on the township of Paterson Captain David Brown, who kept
the Bush Inn, was proprietor of about 700 acres of
land. Mr. Brown's and Mr. Bedwell's lands
are now held by the family of the late Mr. Corner.
Major Johnson a was Police Magistrate ; Mr. R.
Studdert was Clerk of the Court; Chief-constable
Sullivan was in charge of the police. Adjoining
the land of Capt. Brown was the small estate of
Cintra, Lieutenant Bedwell, E.N., being proprietor. On that estate was the extensive store
kept by Mr. T. Alford, subsequently by Mr. R. C.
Gordon and Messrs. J. and M. Andrews, the writer
having been in the employ of each in succession for
The Rev. J. J. Smith was the Church of England
minister, and who mainly raised and provided the
funds for the erection of the church and manse.
He was a gentleman of scientific attainments,
frequently delivering lectures on various subjects.
The Rev. W. Ross was the Presbyterian clergyman.
Mr. C. D. Haylock kept the Wellington Hotel, who
was highly popular and well patronised, especially
on Court days.
The large brick building erected by Mr. Wilson
was then being finished, and afterwards opened as
a hotel by Mr. Brown, who was the contractor for
the construction and completion of Tocal mansion.
Adjoining the estate of Mr. Bedwell was Tillimby,
Mr. Boughton, solicitor, being proprietor, who
cultivated a portion of his estate and leased small
blocks of alluvial land to little settlers. On the
opposite side of the river was situated the estate of
Gostwyck, Mr. Edward Cory being the owner. He also at the head of navigation had a
flour mill worked by a Mr. Brenner, who went to
Queensland. It was afterwards kept by Mr. S.
Hopson Dark for many years.
At the crossing place on the road leading to
Dungog, was the farm and hotel occupied by Mr.
Thos. Jones, and to whom the 'Jew Boys' gang
of bushrangers paid an unfriendly visit during
About 10 miles distant on the Dungog road was the beautiful estate of the Grange, belonging to Mr. M. Chapman
, who subsequently met his death
from an accident at Stony Creek. Dr. Nind occupied
a small area of the Tillimby estate with his residence and hospital he kept for the convenience of the
settlers to send their Government men to when sick.
The next estate upwards from Tillimby was Vacy,
Mr. Gilbert Cory being the proprietor. At the junction of the Allyn and Paterson
Mr. W. Cardow had a large farm. Mr. Jones had
a farm adjoining Vacy.
The large farm of Lennoxton owned by the Messrs. Adair came next. A considerable area was under cultivation. The farm,
Cardoness, occupied by Dr. Park, was to the right
of Clark's crossing place. Two brothers named
Barker also had a farm adjoining Lennoxton, while
on the opposite side of the river were the farms of
Messrs. B, Clark, E. Kiely, and Lee. The
next estate was that of Elmshall, Mr. W.
W. Bucknell being the owner. The estate included the Brecon Mountain, the foot of which
was laid out as the site for a village in allotments
during 1839. The advertisements of Mr. R. Stubbs,
auctioneer, of Sydney, drawing attention to the
attractions of the scenery, etc., have not yet been
excelled by the glowing notices that appeared
during the last land boom.
Opposite the farm of Elmshall on the Paterson,
Mr. Westmacott was the proprietor of about 1200
acres. On that side of the river was the estate of
Norwood, Colonel Gibbes being the proprietor.
Next came the large and valuable estate of Trevallyn, belonging to Mr. G. Townshend, which
also had a frontage to the Allyn River. Adjoining
on the Allyn was the large and valuable estate of
Lewinsbrook, belonging to Mr. Alex Park. Adjoining were the farms occupied by Messrs. Dalgleish,
and Messrs. Durbin and Way.
Higher on the
Allyn were the large estates of Camer Allyn, belonging to Mr. Charles Boydell, his brother (Mr. W. Boydell) being the proprietor of a farm on the
upper boundary. Near Gresford were the farms
occupied by Dr. Campbell (subsequently in charge
of Gladesville Asylum) and Dr. Lindeman.
Higher up the Paterson were the farms of Messrs;
Roebuck, Fenwick, Massie, and Co., Captain Patch,
Williams, and Webber.
A Mr. G. Bolton had the
farm of Coulston, afterwards occupied by Mr. John
Brown Esq, the father of the ex-M.L.A.
McCormick had a farm near Gresford, and was a
manufacturer and grower of tobacco on a large scale.
Most of the gentlemen whose names are mentioned had a number of assigned servants, allowed
them by the Government. With very few exceptions they were kind and considerate to them. All
now have passed away: few of their names are connected with the lands, that their parents had
granted to them.
The first time the writer visited West Maitland,
then more frequently mentioned in conversation as
' Molly Morgan's Flat,' there was a gang of men
dressed in variegated clothing forming the street
opposite the Rose Inn, The roads generally were
in a very bad plight in those days - the only bridge
I remember in the whole district was a log bridge
over Wallis Creek - the approach on either side not
good. There was a punt at Hinton, worked by Mr.
Graham, a similar punt at Morpeth. The Falls at
West Maitland was the crossing place on the
Hunter. Except in time of floods, the river was
always fordable, and I have frequently crossed it on
foot, the water, not reaching above the knee.
remember seeing, William the Fourth, steamer,
plying in the river about 100 yards below the Falls.
The road from Hinton to Maitland led through an
archway, and the yard of Captain Anlaby's hotel to
the lower road from the steamer's wharf. The
upper road was not then formed.
During the year
1840 to 1844, the settlers of all classes suffered
severe privation from the effects of drought and the
low value of produce. The distress then was more
general and acute than what the colonists have been
passing through, during late years. The causes
were the same - drought, land boom, and low prices
for produce, and yet there were no beggars or sun
downers roaming the country as of late years.
During the years 1842-3 produce was sold at very
low prices. I have known settlers bring a team of
six bullocks down the river a, distance of thirty
miles loaded with 70 bushels of maize and dispose
of it to my employer for 7d a bushel of 60 lbs, the
wholesale price in Sydney being 1s per bushel.
The cost of freight to Sydney being 5d per bushel.
A good sample of wheat was only valued at from
2s to 2s 6d per bushel. I have seen bullocks then
sold for less than 20s per head and sheep at from
ls to 2s each, with station and improvements given
in. Those prices prevailed until the system of
boiling down took place on the Hunter, which had
the effect of raising the value of a good bullock to
45s, that being the export value for their hides and
fat. The value of sheep rose in the same ratio
to 4s 6d per head. Yet we struggled through
those hard times and look back even with pleasure
and pride that we were successful in overcoming
the difficulties then prevailing unaided.
There were at the time in question several industries on
the Hunter which do not now prevail, a consider
able proportion of the consumption required by the
people was produced on the Hunter, among which
may be mentioned the items tobacco, arrowroot,
mustard, earthenware or crockery, and salt.
- Maitland Daily Mercury 10 September 1898