Published 21 Feb. 1930
Old Cowra – A Retrospect of Fifty Years Our 52nd Anniversary
On Wednesday the “Free Press” completed the fifty second year of its existence as an exponent of public opinion and as the ever vigilant guardian of the rights of the people without respect to class, creed or political leanings. When we launched our little bantling on the tumultuous journalistic sea over half a century ago we were practically inexperienced in newspaper craft, and the couple of hundred people, the then population of the comparatively unknown village of Cowra, were equally inexperienced in respect to the needs of a journalist.
However, we battled along in the face of preconceived prejudices and antiquated notions, and in the course of time succeeded in arousing our fellow townsmen to a sense of their responsibilities as the denizens of a centre with great possibilities. Through our persistent efforts we succeeded in founding the School of Arts as an initial institution. Up to that time horseracing was conducted at such intervals as the hotel-keepers thought fit. Funds for the purpose were raised by contributions from the public, collection lists being distributed amongst the business people and those interested in the “Sport of Kings.”
Meetings used also to be conducted at intervals in proximity to Chivers’ Horse and Wagon Inn, Back Creek; James Lynch’s Sheet O’Bark hustler; George Locker’s Cross Keys Inn, Holmwood; Charlie Broanders’ Goolagong Inn; Clyburn and Dawes’ hotels, Canowindra, Morongla Creek and other localities. Through our instrumentality the Cowra Jockey Club was formed. at that time race meetings were held at Mulyan, now Mr. J.H. Fagan’s property, and when that ceased to be available, an area at Scalded Plains, granted for racecourse purposes, was fenced and a running track cleared by the Jockey Club.
After a few meetings had been held on the new course we succeeded, through Sir William J. Lyne, in inducing the Government of the day to effect an exchange of sites, the fine property now occupied by the Club having been substituted for the Scalded Plain area. The cost of fencing and otherwise improving the new possession was effected by means of debentures issued to Messrs. Hamilton Osborne, William H. Boxhall, Joseph P. Poole, Patrick Hough, M.T. Phillips, and J.C. Ryall. As the Club was not in a position for some years to redeem the debentures, the obligation was overcome by making the holders life members of the Club. The continguity of the racecourse to the town and the excellence of the running are factors which have conduced to the Club’s present very strong financial position.
The erection of St. John’s Church of England was another project in which we actively participated. we were directly responsible for the initiatory measures which led to the inauguration and founding of the Cowra P. A. and H. Association, also its subsequent working over a course of years.
Founding of District Hospital
The origin and founding of the Cowra District Hospital is another matter for which we can claim a large share of credit. It was mainly upon our representations, that Dr. F P. Bartlett entered upon the practice of his profession here, and it was through persistent agitation on our part that the establishment of a Hospital became a real and live question. In order that the benefits derivable from the operation of such an institution should be made available as speedily as possible to the people of the district we made application to the head of the Police Department for permission to use an abandoned dilapidated wooden structure, on the Canowindra Road which had formerly been a mounted Police barrack, as a temporary Hospital.
The requisite permission having been obtained, we assisted Dr. Bartlett to render the place habitable and something approaching a suitable place for the housing and treatment of sick people. Later we took an active and prominent part in raising funds for the erection of a humble brick cottage on the site now occupied by the institution, and we subsequently indefatigably assisted to raise funds for the furnishing and upkeep of this refuge for the needy sick.
Railway Movement Origin
The railway movement originated with us, and it was mainly through our untiring efforts that the completeness of the loop line, Blayney to Harden, became an activity, the lion’s share of the work having been performed by us in a purely honorary capacity. The railway extensions Cowra to Canowindra, and Koorawatha to Grenfell, were advocated and supported by us. During the many years the Cowra railway League existed, the secretarial duties of that body were performed by us from start to finish.
Intimately Associated With Every Movement
The same may be said of the Progress Association, the Land and Industrial Alliance, the Wyangala scheme, and the new traffic bridge movements. As a matter of fact we have been intimately associated with every movement which had for its aim the advancement of the interests of our town and district. in doing this we were solely actuated by a sense of duty, and the success of almost every project with which we have been associated is regarded by us as ample compensation for our efforts. During our extensive journalistic career we freely acknowledge the invaluable assistance that has been accorded us by many sympathetic friends. Indeed, if it had not been for their support our endeavours would in a large measure have been abortive.
While filling the editorial chair for an unbroken period of over half a century we have striven to steer a straight and consistently conscientious course. If in the pursuit of a public duty we have done aught to wound the tender susceptibilities of any of our readers, we feel sure that their good sense, on reflection, will enable them to perceive that our strictures were not animated by a spirit of rancour or personal vindictiveness. We have never cringed to anyone to gain favour or popularity, and at the present advanced period of our existence there is little prospect of our line of conduct undergoing a change.
While the “Free Press” has enjoyed an unbroken tenure of over half a century, our contemporary has changed hands several times, and it has almost as frequently changed its policy and brand of politics. Our interests and those of the district are identical. We reside on the spot, hence we are in touch with the people. Can all country newspaper proprietors lay the fluttering unction to their soul that they can make a similar assertion?
Published 12 September 1930
The Jubilee Year
Nineteen hundred and thirty marks the Jubilee Year of the Cowra P. A. and H. Association which held the first show on the 19th August 1880. The Show Ground then was where the Methodist Church now stands, and the land was owned by Mr. S.G. Alford. After holding one Show on this site, another site was secured opposite the present Racecourse, and Shows were held there until 1910, when an arrangement was entered into with the Cowra Jockey Club and the Racecourse was dedicated for Show and Race purposes, and the arrangement still continues.
Forming the P. A. and H. Association
Those responsible for first forming the P. A. and H. Association were Messrs. J.C. Ryall, W. Howey, J.H. Turner, C. Lockyer, A.R. West, and the first meeting held was presided over by Mr. Turner, who was manager of the local A.J.S. Bank. A Committee was eventually formed with 100 paid up Members, the Committeemen appointed being: Messrs. J.H. Turner (President), S.G. Alford, R. Chivers, R. Daly, D.C.J. Donnelly, H. Dennis, H. Ford, F.B. Freehill, W. Howey, G. Lockyer, A. Middlemiss, P. Murray, Jas Ousby, Joseph Ousby, W.J. Quick, P. Robinson, C. Stibbard, A.R. West, and T. Walsh.
Mr. J.C. Ryall was appointed Hon. Secretary, and he took a very prominent part in the early formation of the Association, it was principally due to his efforts that the Association was brought into existence at the period. He held the position of Hon. Secretary for some years and acted on the Committee for many years. The first Trustees of the Association were Messrs. D.C.J. Donnelly, H. Ford, W. Howey, G. Lockyer, and J.C. Ryall. Amongst all those who were the first office-bearers only two are now living, namely, Mr. J.C. Ryall (of the Cowra “Free Press”) and Mr. A. Middlemiss, of Cootamundra.
The Hon. Thomas Waddell, M.L.C., was the first Patron of the Association, and held that position from 1900 to 1923. Mr. H.R.M. Pigott was also for some time President. Later Mr. Jas. Smith’s connection with the Show dates 1890, and in 1896 when matters were at a low ebb and the Association was in danger of becoming defunct, Mr. Smith undertook the duties of Hon. Secretary and re- organised the Association. Later on he re-entered the Committee, where he remained until 1926, after being President for several years.
Presidents of’ the Show
The President of the Show since its formation have been:
Messrs. J . H. Turner, D. C. J. Donnelly, H. W. Shuttleworth, W. S. Suttor, F.H. Piddington, W. Tucker, A. Kindleside, Joseph Neild, F. P. Fawcett, Dr. J .E. Foley, Messrs. F.J .L. Dunlop, J . Smith, H.S. Henley and W.A. O’Neil, who still holds that position.
Taking the only records available, which date back to 1896, the following gentlemen served on the Committee for various periods, and the position of the Association today is due in a great measure to the very active work of these Pioneers, most of whom are still living in the district and Members of the Association: Messrs. P. Squire, J. Alford, H.S. Francis, J.T. Evans, R. Burke, J. Densmore, J. Chivers, Dr. J.E. Foley, Messrs. W.F. Ormiston, I.J. Sloan, W.J. Gore, Jno. O’Neil, H.W. Street, W.H. Wordsworth, J.H. Fag~i, E.A. Field, B. Jones, G.L. Suttor, H.Y. Smith, W.H. Corp, J.T. Howard, J.S. Poignand, A. Rothwell, Dr. H. McClaren, Dr. Wawn, Messrs. H.J. Brien, H.W. Muggridge, A.J. Murray, C.K. Rose, E.S. Twigg, J.T. Martin, C.W. Phillip, W. Golsby, M.H. Reynolds, M. McInnes, W.T. Nixon, A.J. Begley, C.J. Campbell, Thos. Bryant, H.P. Christoe, A.E. Smith, A. Turner, S.R. Grainger, E.J. Bourke, P. Lynch, J.D. Houlston, S.H. Alford, E. Frost, J.F. Male, G.E. Campbell, F. Dickson A.B. Jones, H.J. Mackenny, A.D. Ming, J.J. Sullivan , J.R. Wright, R.A. Nickson, E.J. Ousby, W. Weir, J.H. Barqvanna , N.C. Bellamy, S.D. Matheson, R.A. Wilson, J.R. Simpson, E.J.A. Ousby, H. Gray.’
Many others who were prominently connected with the Association have passed away.
The Cowra Show
The present assets of the Show consists of buildings, yards, etc., valued at approximately £4,500, which includes a spacious Industrial Pavilion, exceptionally well constructed Cattle Stalls and Yards, capable of holding 200 head of cattle; a large Sheep Pavilion, that will house 350 sheep, and a Poultry Pavilion that will accommodate some 400 birds. Besides there are several loose Boxes for Horses, also Dog Kennels and Pigeon Coops, etc. The Ring is equipped with Five substantially built Hunting Fences and a High Jump constructed on the latest lines.
The attendance at the first Show held was estimated at about 300 people, but the record now is in the vicinity of 12,000, and the Entries have reached up to over 4,000.
The Cowra Show has been noted for many years past for its wonderful entries in Stock, particularly in Sheep and Cattle, and it is generally recognised that with the exception of the Sydney Royal Show the Cattle Exhibits are the first in the State. The Exhibit of Fat Lambs at the Show is also another very prominent feature, and has not been exceeded at or equalled at any Show in the State, including the Sydney Sheep Show, and in 1929 reached the number of over 160 animals.
The Association has also done much in assisting to improve the methods of farming in the district, and in the early days conducted many Ploughing Competitions, which evoked much interest and encouraged farmers to pay more attention to this important part of farming.
In later years Fallow and Crop Competitions also Fodder competitions, have been regularly held, and much improvement in farming methods have been noticed since. It is rather a noteworthy fact that in the Ploughing Competitions of many years ago Mr. F.C. Rowlands carried off most of the honours , and during the later years Mr. Rowlands and his sons have been the winners of the Crop, also the Fallow Competitions, and have also created a State record in Crop Competitions, bringing credit to the district and the Association and to themselves.
Published 19 Feb. 1934
The 56th Anniversary of “The Cowra Free Press”
The first issue of the “Free Press” appeared on February 20th, 1878, and since that date it has continuously been under the control of myself and sons. That such an insignificant locality as Cowra should have been selected as a field for exploitation needs some explanation. Between the years 1868 and 1878, I resided with my parents at Grenfell. My father practised as a solicitor, and while he attended to his own professional duties, I engaged in mining and other pursuits, and in addition took a prominent and active part in public bodies and organisations. The Grenfell Freeholders and Householders Association, whose functions were similar to those of a Progress Society, being one of them.
About 1875 or 1876, Mr. Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief for Railways, submitted a scheme to the Government, to connect the Southern and Western railways systems of the country by running a loop-line from Blayney to Murrumburrah, as close in its course to such centres as Carcoar, Cowra, Grenfell and Young, as practicable. The object of the scheme was to effect as far as possible, heavy rail traffic over the Blue Mountains. (The famous Zig-Zag then existed)
The dispatch of coal for railway purposes from Lithgow to Southern stations was then a serious problem, as was also the transfer of starving stock from the West to the South and vice versa, also the transfer of empty trucks, vans and rolling stock generally, with a view to obviating much wear and tear through haulage over steep mountain grades. It was contended by Mr. Whitton that the proposed loop line would ensure greater efficiency and economy in the working of the railways.
The proposal was regarded with much favour by the Grenfell F. and H. Association, and I, as hon. sec., was directed to convene a public meeting to consider the project in all its bearings. The meeting was held at the School of Arts, which was then located in George Street,opposite the Thistle Hotel, and was attended by about 30 residents, including Messrs. Ralph Halls, R Hill, F. Allen and a number of employees of the firm of Hill and Halls. Mr. R. Halls, having been voted to the chair, opened proceedings with a strong and vigorous denunciation of the proposed loop line and railways generally. In support of his views he instanced how Parramatta, Campbelltown, Bathurst and other towns had been ruined upon ceasing to be terminal stations.
Opposition to Railway Extension
other members of the firm also spoke in opposition to railway extensions. The proposal to endeavour to have Grenfell included in the route of the proposed loop was rejected upon a show of hands being taken. Grenfell was thus cut out of the running. Later on Parliament approved of the construction of the loop, but as there was a shortage of money in the treasury, it was resolved to build the line in sections, Murrumburrah to Young being the first section. Messrs. Watson Bros. (William, John and George) being the leading storekeepers and incidentally the leader of public opinion at Young in those days, and their brother Mr. James Watson, was a member of the firm of John Frazer and Co., wine and spirits merchants, Sydney, and he also held office as Colonial Treasurer, in the Government of the day.
Perceiving that the construction of the first section of the proposed loop line would be a distinct advantage to Young, Messrs. Watson Bros. were indefatigable in their exertions, and as their brother James was an influential member of the Government their efforts were successful and Young was afforded the privilege of being for a time at least, an important railway terminus, the Watson Bros., being keen businessmen and adept at political log-rolling, were not slow to take advantage of Young’s position, hence they were strenuous in their efforts to make that town a trading centre for a considerable radius, and they were equally energetic in exercising their influence to prevent the railway loop being extended.
It was this knowledge of underground engineering on the part of Young’s leading citizens which caused me to regard Cowra and district as being robbed of rights which could not fail to develop great natural resources.
Mr. Howarth Consulted
Feeing that efforts of mine might be instrumental in securing for such a splendid tract of country as equitable recognition of its claims, I consulted the late Mr Howarth, proprietor of the “Grenfell Record”, about giving Cowra the benefit of a local paper.That gentleman approved of the proposal provided the promise of local support were sufficiently encouraging. A canvas of the locality having dispelled all doubts regarding the success of the project, I arranged with Mr Howarth to print the “Free Press” in Grenfell until assured that sufficient local permanent support would be forthcoming. Accordingly, the initial issue of the “Free Press” was printed at Grenfell and published at Cowra on the date previously stated. Having thus disposed of the motives by which I was actuated in selecting Cowra as a field for journalism we will endeavour in future articles to outline our early experiences in a crude atmosphere.
Published 22 Feb. 1934
The Village of Cowra in 1878
Some idea of the proportions and character of the little : centre, in which had cast my journalistic lot, may be gleaned from the following description of the business and other structures lining the so-called streets.. . The village from the western banks of the Lachlan was approached by means of a spider-legged engineering monstrosity which by courtesy was termed a bridge, and might be regarded as a monument to the incompetence and criminal cheeseparing policy pursued by the Works Department of the day. The superstructure bore the appearance of being unwieldy and unnecessarily weighty for the long slender supporting piles. It was practically an unservicable structure, being ill-adapted to cope with the traffic even in those early days. It was so frail that heavily laden wool wagons from the lower Lachlan had to divide their loads, one half being left on the western bank of the river while the other half· negotiated the bridge.
Even with the reduced load the structure used to creak and quiver in a menacing manner. In addition to being frail it was so narrow that vehicles crossing from one side of the river to the opposite side could not safely pass each other on the bridge. It was no uncommon sight to see quite a number of vehicles ranged up on one side of the stream waiting the transit of vehicles, which had first reached one of the approaches. Pedestrians had often to undertake a great risk, when attempting to pass a fractious team when crossing from one side to the other: this applied particularly to women and children. The stability of the edifice was pretty severely tested when the historic flood of 1870 came down. The only damage then effected was the washing away of the western approach, much to the relief of the responsible contractor.
When we first made the acquaintance of Cowra a blacksmith named Pryor had a very crude shelter for a home and smithy close to the approach referred to. This man claimed to be a specialist in shoeing bullocks and appeared to be earning a livelihood when the strong arm of the law charged him with being in unauthorised occupation of Crown lands, hence he was forced to strike camp and depart elsewhere.
After crossing the erection spanning the river the village was entered through a narrow lane, for which a niggardly Government had resumed land through private property.
This, by a stretch of courtesy was termed Bridge Street. It was lined on the northern side by Mr. Robert Daly’ s Australian Arms inn, which stood where the road turned in the direction of North Logan and Canowindra. a portion of the inn was a brick two- storied erection, but the remainder was of weatherboard, which bore indications of age and decay.
On the same side of the street was a small wooden structure occupied by Professor Bellerby, tonsorial artist and town crier. Then came Skelly’ s butchery and a shed where Messrs. Lockett and Crawford carried on a buggy building business,. Mr. John Arnold’s bakery adjoined this. It was a small comparatively new weatherboard erection. Next to this was Mr Peter Hurray’s residence, another small weatherboard structure, and adjoining this was Mr Murray’s store, a rambling corrugated iron building, which with a number of additions covered a large area of ground. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that on the date under review Mr. Murray controlled a very extensive business, his operations extending a long way down the Lachlan. His turnover at the time was estimated to run into over £30,000 annually.
At the corner of Lachlan and Bridge streets stood the Fitzroy Arms Hotel, then a single storey brick building with a two storied kitchen and stables at the rear, lining Bridge street. This hostelry was conducted by Mr Henry Dennis , an ex-orderly of Lord Belmore’s. He was a vain conceited man inflicted with an absurd sense of eloquence as an orator. Many an enjoyable evening was passed by local wags at the hotel at Denniss’ expense, during which he was made the unconscious victim of many practical jokes.
Proceeding along Lachlan street next the Fitzroy Hotel was Harold Hurst’s billiard room, C. Stibbard’s fancy goods shop, Page and William’s oyster saloon, fruit and confectionery business. Then at the corner of Lachlan and Kendall street was the primitive smithy and buggy factory of Mr Hugh McLeod.
Along Kendall street towards the river were two old wooden buildings, one occupied by Mrs Buckley, as a bushman’s boarding house, and the other by blind Soldier Hill and his family. Turning again into Bridge street on its southern side were the butchery of Mr James Egan, the smithy of Seymour and Simpson, the cordial and aerated drink factory of E. Fitzgerald, the bakery of John Lee (Chinese), the high long bare brick wall of the outbuildings attached to the Fitzroy Hotel. Out along the Canowindra road was the wooden residence of Geo. Gillett, the old mounted police barracks (later used as our first Hospital), and the very neat weatherboard residence of Mr. E. Fitzgerald.
St. Raphael’s Catholic Church
Passing the Pound Yard in Liverpool street was Mrs W. Cummings’ brick cottage residence, and an old building occupied by Mrs McMahon. In Lachlan street in the vicinity of Francis’ residence was a wooden building of two rooms owned by Mrs N. Challacombe, Mr. W. Robertson’s wooden residence was in the same street, and Mr B. Austin, of Austin Bros., resided in a brick cottage, near St. Raphael’s Catholic Church. The latter sacred edifice was then in a small rubble building in which Miss Purcell (later Mrs E.J. Collins) conducted a school, the priest from Carcoar (Rev Phil. Ryan) only came here once a month to celebrate Mass in those days. The walls of the present church were only a few feet high, and a convent did not materialise until some years later.
Perched on the summit of a gravel pinnacle in Kendall street, adjoining the Catholic Church ground was a wooden residence and butchery, and next to it was a brick cottage occupied by the Australian Joint Stock Bank, (now the offices of Messrs. Garden & Montgomerie). The weatherboard store of Messrs. D.C.J. Donnelly & Co. came next, and the two storied rubble stone store of Messrs. Austin Bros adjoined. Mr. John Muir dwelt in a brick cottage at the corner of Kendall and Macquarie streets on the Presbyterian Church ground.
St. Peter’s Church, which was used in turn by the various Protestant denominations, located on the rising ground well back from Kendall street, still exists. On the same side of Kendall street in a somewhat ancient weatherboard edifice Mr. Chas McCloskey plied the vocation of saddle and harness maker, and Mr William Whittaker that of watchmaker. Next door in a brick cottage, Charley Nathong (Chinese) conducted a small grocery store and bakery.
Published 1 March 1934
Further along was Mr Thomas Walsh’s rubble stone cottage (single storied), termed the Court House Hotel, and followed a brick building which served as a court house, Clerk of Petty Sessions office, police station, lock-up and lock-up keeper’s quarters. No other building on any kind was met with until the residence and brick kiln of Mr Andy O’Neil and the residence of Mr H.Unsworth some distance along the Carcoar Road. Returning towards the village proper on the southern side of Kendall street were the residences of Mr Wensley, on the property of Mr Geo. Campbell, and on the Cowra side of Waugoola Creek, that of Mr Bernard Monaghan, also of Mr Thos Lee and some other old residents. A block of 10 acres of vacant land, owned by Mr. S.G. Alford, and where by the way, the first of the Cowra P. A. and H. Association Shows was held, occupied a considerable frontage to Kendall street.
Next this block stood a rubble stone structure jointly occupied by Mr T. Rigaut and Messrs. Rheuben Bros. A nearby cottage, owned by Mr N. Challacombe, and occupied by Mr James Ousby, was destroyed by fire a night or so before we became associated with the place. A young ladies’ seminary conducted by Miss McDonald and Mrs Adams followed in line. Then came in consecutive order the cottage residence of Sen. Constable McCartie, the business premises of Messrs. Share and Berry, saddle and harness makers, the office of Mr F.B. Freehill, solicitor, the pharmacy of Mr C.J. Lewin, the smithy of Mr T. George Lawrence, the butchery of Starchy Butler, two vacant allotments claimed by Mr R. Stevenson, the store of Mr Dan Neville, the residences of Mr R. Stevenson and Mrs McDiarmid.
This brings us to Mr D. Robertson’s Club House Hotel, which was in the course of practical construction, seeing that a two storied rubble structure was being reared over and around the original inn. Cheek by jowl with the hostelry was the Royal Hotel, owned and conducted by the genial host, N. Challacombe. Adjoining was the old green house tenanted by Mr. Thomas 0’Shaughnessy, road contractor. The latter building was the original Royal Hotel, which was conducted for many years by the Nevilles prior to becoming Mr Challacombe’s. There were no further buildings in Kendall street.
In Lachlan street was a deserted hotel which was at one time was run by Mr Geo. Lockyer, and at the time under notice was occupied by workers engaged in the erection of the new Catholic Church. Further along Lachlan street were the antiquated tenements of Messrs. Steve Little and Still and others. Turning into Vaux street a short distance from the roadway we found the flour mill under the management of Rheuben Bros. a going concern. Mr. P. Healy’s residence was next the mill. Mr. Joe Potter resided at the corner of Vaux and Macquarie streets. I have omitted to mention that Mrs Kennedy, the venerable mother of Mrs. D. Robertson dwelt in a small cottage at the rear of Mr D. Neville’s store.
Cowra’s First Official Post Office
Amongst the residents in Macquarie street not previously mentioned were Mrs Pryce, Mrs Cummings and a couple of others. We find we have neglected mention of Cowra’s first official post office. This was the old ill-adapted structure where the additions to the premises of Messrs. Squire. Pepper and Co. ltd. now stand. Later, when Mr Single vacated Miss Sloan’s brick cottage in Brisbane street the postal authorities secured it as a more suitable office, while a still more suitable structure was being erected. Returning to Vaux street we must mention the terrace of four or five wooden dwellings erected by Mr. John Marman of Neila.
The Public School, which at the time under notice was under the charge of Mr. W.J. Quick, was a very small edifice indeed, so much so that shortly after I came to Cowra, it became imperative to erect Class rooms providing for double the number of pupils. The classification of the school having been advanced with the increased number of pupils, Mr. Quick was transferred to Cargo and a teacher of a higher grade was appointed to take charge.
Amongst the scattered dwellings not included in our list are those of Mr William Mitchell and Mrs Martin, Messrs. -J. and M. Duggan, Mr Austin, wheelwright, and a few others. Mr Jacob Seymour dwelt in a habitation in Liverpool street, which was in a very advanced state of decay. The other residences in that street were the rubble cottage of Mr John Arkins, C.P.S., Mr Chas Moore’s brick cottage and Mrs O’Sullivan’s primitive dwelling. The whole of the structures of every class did. not exceed 90. The Jerula homestead, the residence of Mr George Carnpbell, was about 9 miles from the village and the structure of Mr Alex Middlemis of Taragala, was about the same distance.
The Inns of the District
Amongst the inns of the district outside the village were Mr George Wilson’s Bumbaldry Tavern, Mr Robert Chivers’ Horse and Wagon Inn, Back Creek, Mr Geo. Lockyer’s Cross Keys Inn, Carcoar Road, Mr J.H. Rolfe’s Westville Inn. and Mr James Lynch’s Sheet 0′ Bark, Carcoar Road. Having thus enumerated the architectural adornments of the village and, incidentally introduced many of its citizens, we venture to hope that we have succeeded in conveying to our readers a reasonably fair idea of what Cowra was like in 1878.
There were only two places of worship here and they were so diminutive as to be scarcely worthy of being designated churches. There was only one minister of religion here, the Rev. J. Young (Anglican), and he only arrived here a few days after I made my debut. The first post and telegraph master, Mr J. Church, and his assistant, Mr Read were also new arrivals; there was no Land Office here.
No Public Organisation
There was no Association, club or other public organisation in evidence, public meetings were so few and far between, as to be practically unknown. Race meetings were arranged by placing subscription lists with innkeepers and a few interested parties. Frequently the lists were lost or destroyed and in such in- stances reliance had to be placed on the memory and honesty of the collector. In public movements I was invariable elected hon. sec., and then in addition to my ordinary secretarial duties, in order to keep a movement a going concern I was compelled to call on many of the more active townsmen and remind them that a meeting was to be held. In striving to overcome old prejudices, and to arouse people to a sense of their responsibilities as citizens was a very uphill task, and if I were not endowed with a large stock of optimism and unfaltering perseverance I would have thrown in the sponge after a few months experience.
Cowra was satisfied to be meekly subservient to Carcoar, despite the restricted resources of the town.
…..to Part THIRTEEN (Final part).