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1886, Balranald Courthouse - Unfit For Publication
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Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 21 Sep 1872 1

 A TOUR TO THE SOUTH.
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(BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)

THE MURRUMBIDGEE.—HAY
TO BALRANALD.


    I was most hospitably treated at Paika by Mr and Mrs Macfarlane, and I left there after lunch on the day following my arrival. The road runs through a dreary mallee scrub for the greater of the distance to Balranald—ten miles.

    Balranald is a township on the Murrumbidgee, 560 miles south-south-west of Sydney. The population is about 350. It was laid out by Mr MaCabe, about twenty years ago. It may be interesting to know that the first inhabitant was Mr Robertson, who built an hotel there twenty-three years ago. He was followed by Mr Locock, and then come Mr Denis Hannan, at present the oldest resident, who arrived twenty-one years ago. It is a curious fact, and speaks well for its progress, that Balranald has doubled its population within the last eight years.

Balranald courthouse sketch, opened 2 Apr 1886. Photo: courtesy Russell Bodinnar, Balranald
Balranald courthouse sketch, opened 2 Apr 1886.
Photo: courtesy Russell Bodinnar, Balranald

    Balranald has a resident police-magistrate, a court-house, lock-up, police-station, a post and telegraph office, a Public-school, several good stores, and public houses. Robert B [Richard Blunt] Mitchell, Esq, is the police-magistrate, and he is highly spoken of in his small kingdom, which also includes Moulamein and Euston. Mr Mitchell is a son of the historical Sir Thomas Mitchell, whose eminent services in exploring the interior of Australia will long be remembered. The Queen’s Bounty, or annual distribution of blankets to the blacks, took place during my visit. After they had all been served, Mr Mitchell called for three cheers for the Queen, which the blacks responded to. The Balranald Court-house—a plain wooden building—was undergoing considerable improvements. The interior and exterior had received a few coats of paint, and the private room of Mr Mitchell was handsomely fitted up and had a good library. A garden containing many choice plants and flowers surrounded the courthouse. These improvements were carried out at the sole cost of Mr Mitchell.

    The post and telegraph office, under the charge of Mr GT Harrison, is one of the best buildings of the kind on the Murrumbidgee. It is of brick, with slated roof, and contains five rooms. A small brick building a few yards in the rear is used as a battery room, and stables. The whole was erected at a cost of £1500.

    The Public school and teachers’ residence are two buildings, built of wood at a cost of £380. The attendance on the occasion of my visit was 42. The school seems to be efficiently conducted. Mr H Murray is the teacher, and the following gentleman are the members of the local board:—Messrs Walter McFarlane, JP, J Cramsie, PH Comitti, WN Garside, and C Silvester. A new Church of England, the first place of worship in the town, has recently been commenced. A description of the building appeared in these columns at the time the foundation stone was laid, a few weeks ago. The Rev WH Yarrington is the resident minister.

    There are two good stores in the town. The principal one is a very fine brick building, carried on by Messrs John Cramsie and Co. Beside this the firm have a wool store, a large galvanized iron building, and several smaller buildings in the town. They do a large trade. The other store has recently been established in the town. It is the property of Mr Thomas Linton, and under the management of Mr A Halbert. A large new building is now about being erected by Mr Linton. There are two good hotels in the town, carried on by Mr Peter Young, and Mr William Hall, respectively.

    One good point about Balranald is its prospective advancement. Though it is in an incipient state the inhabitants believe in its future greatness, and the very fact of the population having been doubled since Mr Mitchell’s arrival eight years ago, speaks much for its future.

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Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 7 Sep 1878 2

DENILIQUIN.

September 2.


    DULNESS OF TRADE.—Trade is very dull here just now, and almost everyone is complaining of the stagnation that prevails. I hear good accounts from Balranald, at which place buildings, including an hospital and court-house, are going up in all directions. Many workmen of Deniliquin have repaired thither, and others contemplate trying heir luck in the evidently thriving township, unless things take an unexpected turn here for the better.

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Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 14 Mar 1885 3

OUR CANOE UPON THE
MURRUMBIDGEE.
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VIII

Balranald, January 31.

FRIENDS IN NEED.—BALRANALD AT LAST.

“Balranald courthouse, erected 1885 – the site is now ‘Heritage Park’.” Photo: courtesy Russell Bodinnar, Balranald
“Balranald courthouse, erected 1885 – the site is now ‘Heritage Park’.”
Photo: courtesy Russell Bodinnar, Balranald

    After about four hours good work we make the camp of an old Frenchman who followed the apostolic vocation.. He was a constant reader of the TOWN AND COUNTRY, and, being at the time engaged in perusing a chapter relating to our late experiences on the Lachlan, recognised the Bunyip at once, and expressed his pleasure and surprise at being able to personally inspect that now well-known little craft. Being informed that the township was close at hand, we moored the canoe and straightway made tracks for the nearest hostelry, where very shortly our troubles and privations gave place to ease and plenty. Balranald is rather a drowsy little township; but roused into the semblance of life and activity, when the state of the river admits of its navigation by the river steamers and their attendant barges. The district hospital is a roomy and well-constructed institution, the town otherwise comprising five or six hotels, the same number of general stores, and the usual complementary aggregation of more or less insignificant little shops and dwelling-houses. The foundations of a new court-house that promises, when completed, to be a credit to the place, occupy a suitable site opposite an old-fashioned, shingled-roofed, brick cottage, that serves as a post and telegraph office. Returning to the canoe we follow round a deep bend, passing the No. 1 camp of the Government rabbitting [sic] parties. Mr Taylor, the gentleman in charge, gave us every opportunity of ascertaining the various modi operandi employed in extirpating the little pests, and couteously [sic] extending every civility. We finally moor our little craft just above a very fine and well maintained iron bridge, the central span of which is elevated on its four cylindrical piers to a sufficient height to admit to the river craft passing the approaches, are together the best part of a mile in length, the low ground opposite the township being very uneven and frequently flooded.

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Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 8 Aug 1885 4

COUNTRY AND MINING NEWS.
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(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTS.)

  ☞  SPECIAL TO CORRESPONDENTS.—We are now revising the lists of country correspondents, and ask that all letters sent bear the name in full of each correspondents. The signature is for editorial guidance only.

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BALRANALD.

July 30.

    WE JOIN IN THE HOPE that the expectations of the residents re. the new Land Act will be realised, and that after August 12 the present terribly dull state of affairs will be altered for the better.

    NEW BUILDINGS.—Inspector Thorne, of the Public Works Department, has been here, the object of his visit was inspection of our new courthouse, which can stand inspection very favorably. It is very near completion. The contractor for the Balranald gaol has, with the assistance of the inspector, commenced pegging out the site.

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Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 24 Oct 1885 5

COUNTRY AND MINING NEWS.
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(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTS.)
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SPECIAL.—Correspondents are requested to write on one side of paper only, and to use ink. It is a cruel infliction on editorial eyes and time, and still more cruel to compositors, to place “copy” before them in the form of almost obliterated scrawls in pencil. Number each page, leaving No. 1 to meet the eye of the reader first; and every communication should bear the name of the writer, the date when written, and the place from which it is sent. Attend to these details, and your “copy” will be all the more acceptable.

BALRANALD.

October 16.


    WATER SUPPLY.—The mayor’s visit to Sydney proved a success, as, on Mr Wilkinson’s return to Sydney, an amount will be put on the Estimates for a water supply for this town. The mayor, when in Sydney, also secured the old court-house as a municipal chambers and library at a rental of £5 per annum.

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Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 10 Apr 1886 6

Balranald courthouse. Photo: courtesy Russell Bodinnar, Balranald
Balranald courthouse. Photo: courtesy Russell Bodinnar, Balranald

GENERAL NEWS.
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    NEW COURTHOUSE FOR BALRANALD.—the new courthouse was opened in Balranald on April 2. The architecture of the facade facing Market-street is in the Italian style. The exterior of the building is handsome and pleasing, and the interior is commodious. The contract price was about £3000. On the closing of the legal business, Mr Rowling, police magistrate, entertained the leading representative residents of the district at luncheon. Toasts suitable to the occasion were honored.

 


1  Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 21 Sep 1872, p. 18.

2  Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 7 Sep 1878, p. 39. Emphasis added.

3  Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 14 Mar 1885, p. 28. Emphasis added.

4  Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 8 Aug 1885, p. 15. Emphasis added.

5  Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 24 Oct 1885, p. 16. Emphasis added.

6  Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 10 Apr 1886, p. 12.