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The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 2 Aug 1879 1



London, July 31.

    In the House of Commons this evening, a supplementary army estimate of £3,000,000 was asked for by the Government to meet the expenses of the Zulu war. This converts Sir Stafford Northcote’s estimated surplus into a deficiency of £1,163,000. Sir Stafford Northcote stated that the South African colonies would reimburse the Home Government, and that it was intended to raise the money asked for by a further issue of Treasury bonds.



    Last night a well-attended meeting was held here, Mr J McCrossin in the chair. The advisableness of establishing a municipal incorporation was discussed, and arrangements made to hold a further meeting in respect thereto. The disgraceful state of the cemetery fence was also before the meeting. A resolution was passed that the district and Gold-fields members should be requested to apply to the Government for funds to fence it.

    It is raining heavily, and the creeks and rivers are in flood. Farming operations are entirely suspended.




    This week nearly 4,000 acres were selected.

    Heavy rains are falling.




    At a public meeting held at the Court-house, to-day, Mr Kenyon, JP, in the chair, it was unanimously resolved to commemorate the opening of the new Court-house with a dinner; and a most influential committee was formed for carrying out the above object.




    The quarterly tea-meeting of the members of the Wesleyan Church was held on Thursday, for the purpose of laying before them a statement of accounts for the past quarter, and enlisting their sympathy in the prosecution of Church work. A long address was given on the occasion by W Davies, MLA, on the education question. He thought the pastoral address just issued would, instead of assisting the Roman Catholic cause, have just the opposite effect. Several other gentlemen addressed the meeting.

    A lecture was delivered last night in the Presbyterian schoolroom by the Rev Theodore Osborne, of Taralga, on the subject of the South Sea Islands. The lecturer advocated the annexation of the Islands by the British Government. He concluded by giving a graphic account of his having been shipwrecked on one of the islands.

    The weather this morning is very fine, the rain having ceased. The rains of Wednesday and Thursday have rendered the river impassable, and the cracks have no been able to take their usual spin on the racecourse.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 5 Aug 1879 2

(From the Herald, Echo, and Evening News.)




(Evening News.)—The weather is now fine, but it has rained for several days past. The rivers in all directions are up, many bridges have been destroyed, and communication by vehicle is almost impossible. In the north-west and west several commercial travellers have been unable to proceed on their journeys during the past week. The rivers are reported to be falling.

    A boy named Kent was drowned to-day at noon, while endeavouring to cross the river on horseback. He was after cattle, and was swept from his horse, which swan ashore. His body has not yet been recovered.

    When Mr Hanley Bennett resigns, Mr Abraham Cohen, our leading storekeeper, who is highly esteemed will be requested to stand for the district. Mr Bennett is daily becoming less popular.

    The sun is very hot, and the sky clear.

    It is pay-day on the railway works, and there will no doubt be a good deal of disorder this evening.




(Herald.)—At a public meeting held at the Court-house to-day, Mr Kenyon JP, in the chair, it was unanimously resolved to commemorate the opening of the new Court-house with a dinner; and a most influential committee was formed for carrying out the above object.




(Echo.)—Parker and party obtained a prospect of 2 ozs to the dish on the surface of the hill yesterday. The prospects look well.

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The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, Sat 30 Aug 1879 3


    Court-House.—The key of the new court-house was handed over by Mr W Duncan, the contractor, to the bench of magistrates on Thursday. This step was authorized by the colonial architect in order that everything should be in proper order for the opening and public dinner in connexion therewith on next Wednesday. Mr JJ Allman, who was requested to act as chairman on that occasion, is unfortunately prevented from so doing owing to severe indisposition. And Mr JF Kenyon has kindly consented to fill the position.

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The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, Sat 6 Sep 1879 4


    Opening of the Court-house.—The business of the court was on Wednesday conducted for the first time in the new court-house. When the bench took their seats Mr Davidson rose, and on behalf of the legal profession, tendered his congratulations to the bench and the inhabitants of Gunning on the completion and opening of their new and handsome court-house. He also expressed the wish that the very presence in our midst of such an imposing edifice would act as a great deterrent on litigation. Mr Kenyon from the bench responded on behalf of that body, and thanked Mr Davidson for his kind congratulations and wishes.—I was sorry to observe that at the opening of our new court-house not the slightest provision has been made for the accommodation of the representatives of the press. They complained, and with cause, of the lack of courtesy shown them. In the position the reporters were allowed to take on Wednesday, it was almost impossible to hear distinctly any word that was spoken. This in part no doubt was due to the great resonance of the walls.

    Public Dinner.—The dinner which was held in the old court-house at night was most successful. Mr JB Thompson MLA, who had promised to be present, was at the last moment unavoidably detained and sent a telegram conveying his best wishes for the success of the demonstration. Shortly after half-past seven pm the doors were thrown open and about fifty gentlemen passed in and seated themselves to a spread which was provided in such profusion that it might well have accommodated three times the number. Everything was of the nicest and the tables were laid in a very elegant manner, which reflected great credit upon the caterer, Mr Hourn. JL Kenyon Esq, was in the chair and Messrs AS Jones and WT Busby filled the vice-chairs. The chairman had the Hon M Fitzpatrick MLA on his right hand and JF Gray, JP, upon his left. After a most satisfactory discussion of the edibles,

Gunning courthouse, opened 4 Sep 1879, photo 3 Sep 1885. Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000332.jpg
Gunning courthouse, opened 4 Sep 1879, photo 3 Sep 1885.
Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000332.jpg

    The Chairman rose and in a few appropriate words proposed the Queen. This toast was of course receives right loyally. This was followed by the Chairman proposing next the Prince of Wales and the Royal Family, and following that with his Excellency the Governor. These having been drank,

    The Chairman again rose and proposed the health of the Parliament. He said he knew it was the custom to speak slightingly of it, but he considered that the men who gave up their time to our service without any hope of reward were deserving of our deepest thanks.

    Mr Fitzpatrick in rising to reply was received with loud and prolonged applause.

    He said: I am the representative of Yass Plains, which include the district of Gunning, and therefore I am your representative. I had hoped to see six or seven members of parliament here, and at any rate my old friend Mr Thompson; but I find myself alone as the sole representative for what are generally considered a bad lot, and it is not very satisfactory to have to represent a bad lot. But putting joking aside, I think the parliament does its duty, or at least tries to so it. If it does not, it is the fault of the electors, for we have a grand constitution, the best in the world, and under that constitution the people create their own parliament and they alone are at fault if the right kind of men are not sent in. Every man who has lived for six months in any one place—and almost every man has done that—has the right of suffrage. For my own part, I have always found that I have got more licks than half-pence, in fact I get no half-pence at all through my connexion with parliament. The members of parliament have always tried to do their duty to their constituents as regards roads, bridges, and other public works; and taking the good and b ad together, I maintain they have acted well their part and are deserving of great credit. I return you my very sincere thanks on behalf of the parliament for the kind manner in which you have honored [sic] the toast.

    Mr AS Jones in rising to propose the Event we Celebrate, said: I shall trespass very little upon your attention. I well remember when the court of petty sessions was held in a public-house, and the surroundings were not very conducive to the propers carrying out of the law. However the public rebelled against this state of affairs, and through Mr Fitzpatrick’s efforts this room was built. This did very well for a time, but when a land-office was established here the magistrates’ room had to be used for that purpose. Then we again asked Mr Fitzpatrick’s aid, and the result is this handsome and commodious building which has been opened this day. It has been built to accommodate the sittings of a district court, and I hope we shall have one; we ought to have it, and we will before long. I will close by echoing what the minister of finance said in his letter, that he hoped that Gunning would maintain its reputation for good order, and that the courthouse might be very little used for the purpose for which it is intended.

    Mr Fitzpatrick in responding said: This is hard upon me, but I must bear up and do my duty. This room in which we are assembled is the first great work which I have accomplished as a member of parliament, and I well remember wearing-out one pair of  boots running from one public office to another before I could accomplish it. In those days Gunning was profanely designated Sleepy Hollow; but it has thrown off that epithet now. It has greatly benefitted [sic] and gone ahead since the railway came here, and I consider that I was well justified in asking for this building. Some of my friends in Yass thought I was going too far in getting this district separated; but it is a very difficult matter to please everybody, and so I generally end by pleasing myself, and I please myself when I do what I believe to be right. I have always done what I have believed to be right, and I always shall do so, even if it were to cost me my seat. I do not consider this courthouse a great thing to do for you, and I would like to do more. There was a time when Gunning was not very fond of me; but they did not know me then as they do now, and that is now a thing of the past. I maintain that I have done all I could for Gunning.

    Mr WT Busby proposed Our Guests, and said he regretted we had not more present whom we invited, but it was a great gratification to see our member, who had gone to much trouble to be with us.

    Mr Fitzpatrick in reply said: I call upon you to particularly notice that that toast was our Guests, decidedly in the plural. Now I desire the other guests to rise while I respond. As no one rises I must conclude that I am a multitude. Let me say on behalf of the government that I humbly believe that their absence is caused by satisfactory reasons. I had the opportunity of speaking to them personally about it and feel convinced that if they could have been here they would. Mr Thompson also, upon whom I look almost as a colleague, is undoubtedly unavoidably absent. Having spoken twice before I have little to add; but I would like to say thins. A previous speaker has mentioned that the members of parliament are working without the hope of reward, but I look forward to a reward of kind feeling and appreciation from my fellow citizens. This invitation is part of the reward which I receive for my ten years’ service. I now wish to propose Prosperity to Gunning and District. I stand upon my chair because I am a man of small stature, and I am determined to be seen and heard, especially on this subject. I take upon myself some credit for the prosperity of Gunning, for prospered it certainly has. I was one of the first to say that Gunning was one of the small towns to be permanently benefited by having the railway pass through it. It has not like some of the small places been rubbed out, but on the contrary has continued to go on and prosper. This is to be accounted for to a great extent by the districts of Grabben Gullen on the one side and Gundaroo on the other. I have labored [sic] incessently [sic] for your advancement. My old friend Billy Afleck, whom I see here, will tell you what I have done for his side. I admire and love Gunning greatly. The other day I saw in the paper an advertisement of a house for sale near Gunning and wanted very much to buy it and come here fo live, and I should have done so only my balance of account at the bank was too small to allow of it. I believe Gunning is on the road to considerable prosperity, and that its prosperity will continue to increase for many years to come.

    Mr Kenyon rose to respond and said: I feel great diffidence in rising to respond to this toast in the presence of so many older residents of larger interests, but I will give place to no one in my appreciation of Gunning. I believe I owe more to Gunning than any other person here to-night. I came here in a very small way, but though I have had a hard struggle I have found a great prosperity. I found here many warm hearts under rough clothing. When I needed kindness I have always received it, and I feel proud of my position here.

    Mr C Hourn also responded. He said: I have been a resident of Gunning for the last fifteen years, and in that time I have seen many changes, all of which have been for the better. This I consider a certain indication of advance and progress. Gunning stands in a good position for trade on account of its central position; if we can only secure this trade we are bound to prosper. I have prospered here and most others have who have launched out. Our chairman has found his fortune in Gunning and gained here the greatest prize of his life, and many others have done the same. I think we can all safely look forward to better days in the future than we have experienced in the past.

    Mr WT Busby then proposed The Agricultural, Pastoral, and Commercial Interests. He referred to the present depression caused by the hard times, but expressed a belief that it would soon pass away, and then we would all sing Hard Times Come Again No More.

    Mr T Starr, in responding for the agricultural interest, said: I have a great deal to say, but I find it difficult to say it. I have lived in this district for the last thirty-seven years and have seen great changes, and I can vouch for the truth of the fact that they have always been for the better. This court-house is certainly a change for the better; and the railway, although it may not have brought trade yet it has given it firmness, and there are better days in store. Dalton and Gundaroo will give Gunning greater trade, and it will advance. A few years longer will see it. I must confess the railway has benefited me. Instead of taking six weeks to go to Sydney as it used to do, I can go now in a few hours, and no danger of being bogged either. The millers can now send their flour and the farmers their produce much quicker and at less expense.

    Mr JF Gray responded on behalf of the pastoral interests, confessing his inability to say anything more than what had already been said.

    Mr H Saxby responded for the commercial interests and expressed his surprised at being called upon to speak, but felt great pleasure in doing so. He said he had been in business here for twenty-0sic years and had always seen changes for the better. He remembered that the police-magistrate oncer said that Gunning was the most quiet, sober, industrious, and law-abiding community in the southern districts. Although times are hard and business dull, we must look for better times. The railway has no benefited us commercially as yet, but it will in time. Land is being constantly taken up in all directions, and the population is increasing. 

    Mr AS Jones responded as a junior representative of the commercial interests, and said: The gold indications of the district have been overlooked. We have plenty of gold in the Gunning district. I could point out half-a-dozen places within a few miles where it has been found; also precious stones, diamonds, &c. I have the authority of Mr Copeland, who is now prospecting in the vicinity of Gundaroo for saying that Gunning will, from the indications presented, be one day a great field for precious stones. The Rev Mr Clarke was the first man who pointed this out, and one day it will be proven. I will also mention that the prospects for copper are very good.

    Mr John Davidson expressed his pleasure at having the opportunity to propose the Magistracy, and said: Lawyers never speak well excepting in court when they talk for a fee. There is a story of a lawyer in England who when he had to speak upon such an occasion as this always took a guinea from his waistcoat pocket and put it in his trousers-pocket before he was able to commence. I can well appreciate a capable and impartial magistracy such as you have here. I have been attending for four years regularly, and can testify to these qualities in this bench. It is sometimes pointed out as a discredit to a town to have a good court-house; and few cases of litigation; but I consider it is a credit to the people, and shows that they are peaceable and orderly. It is also a testimony to the impartiality of the bench, for the people knew that whenever they do wrong justice will be brought home to them. Mr Davidson then favorably [sic] compared the courthouse with those situated in other similar towns, and ascribed all the honor to Mr Fitzpatrick for the advantage which we possess over the others in this respect.

    The toast was drunk in bumpers.

    Mr JF Gray responded on behalf of himself and the other members for the bench, and said that he had wished, while heartily supporting this demonstration, to keep in the background for fear it might take a political bias. The spoke feelingly of the progress which Gunning was making, and called the attention of those present to the fact that we had had representatives before Mr Fitzpatrick, but under them we had never progressed; but since Mr Fitzpatrick had represented us we had made constant progress. This fact he said needed no comment.

    Mr J Wearne proposed Our Visitors and said: If I am not able adequately to propose this toast, I feel sure that you will be able to drink it. Many of our visitors have come here at great trouble and expense and have incurred the danger of traversing bad roads. I hope that all the roads leading into Gunning will soon be declared first-class, so that there will be no danger for anyone in coming in at night. Dalton, Grabben Gullen, Gundaroo, and Gunning are bound to go ahead, and if you will not let them go ahead you must clear out. We have had a great deal done by Mr Fitzpatrick and we will get him a new pair of boots if he will run around and get our roads put in proper shape. Public buildings like the present should always be erected on such a scale as not to want constant additions. We also require a new post and telegraph office and a school of arts. (Mr Fitzpatrick: The money is voted for those.) We are thankful for past favors [sic] and wish for more.

    Mr W Afleck responded and pointed out all that Mr Fitzpatrick had done for their side in getting the road from Gunning to Gundaroo declared a first-class road. The interests of Gunning and Gundaroo are identical and if one goes ahead the other is bound to do so. He entirely reciprocated Mr Davidson’s feeling that the lack of litigation was always a sure sign of prosperity.

    Mr FJ Lawless proposed the Contractor, and claimed for him great credit for the way in which he had done his work.

    The contractor, Mr Duncan, not being present,

    Mr Fitzpatrick said: I wish to say a word in connexion with this toast. When I was written to by my friend Mr Jones, to try and get the building turned over at once, I saw the colonial architect about it at once and he promised to telegraph and have it transferred to the bench immediately. I mentioned the fact that the inspector was in Goulburn and it would be no trouble for him to go up. The colonial architect answered that it would be unnecessary, as anything that Mr Duncan built he could always rely upon.

    Mr P Board proposed The Ladies and hoped that the time was not far distant when all present would have wives to cheer their lives.

  Mr John Davidson said in response: I don’t know why I was put down to reply to this toast, unless it is that I am a bachelor, and bachelors are supposed to know actually nothing about the ladies. I don’t know that I ought to say that they are all jolly good fellows, but they are properly appreciated by all jolly good fellows, either as mothers, sisters, sweethearts, or wives. If I had the inspiration of their bright eyes here upon me I should be better able to respond.

  Mr JW Gray also returned thanks.

  Mr Jones gave the Press.

  Mr WR Riley in response said: I thank you for the kind manner in which you have drunk this toast and I wish all manner of prosperity to the Gunning district. You have no local paper here at present, but my paper is doing the best that is possible to advance the interests and advocate the claims of Gunning before the public. As a visitor I cannot lay claim to as much credit for coming here as my friend Mr Afleck, who has braved the dangers of bad roads, for I came comfortably by rail; but I hope that the roads will be so improved with the money that parliament has voted that travelling in every direction around Gunning will soon become both safe and pleasant. Like Mr Fitzpatrick I have all along prognosticated that Gunning will be permanently benefitted [sic] by railway communication; and I anticipate continued success for the town and district. You have the railway, you are well represented in parliament, you have a capable and impartial bench of magistrates, you have at least one good public building, and you are evidently on the high road to prosperity. Be assured the press will advocate the interests of Gunning and keep its claims before the public, and in this matter I think I may speak for the other Goulburn journals and the Yass and Queanbeyan papers as well as for my own.

    This terminated the formal programme.

    Mr J Wearne then rose and said he did not wish the company to disperse without doing justice and honor to the caterer and cateress. 

    The chairman supported the toast and stated that if Mr Wearne had not taken the wind out of his sails he should have proposed it himself. The toast having been honoured,

    Mr JP Gray proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Fitzpatrick for his kindness in visiting us on this occasion.

    Mr Fitzpatrick in response said: I thought I was through talking for this evening, but I will say a little more. When I received the invitation to this banquet I had already arranged a trip to Queensland, but I altered my arrangements in order to be here, as I always make it a point to acknowledge any little compliment of this kind which my constituents pay me, even at great personal inconvenience.

    Mr Wm Afleck proposed The Vice-chairman. Mr AS Jones responded for himself and for Mr Busby.

    Mr WR Riley proposed the Committee. Mr John Davidson returned thanks.

Mr Kenyon as chairman of the committee also responded and proposed the health of the honorary secretaries. This was responded to by Messrs AS Jones and NT Collins.

    At Mr JF Gray’s suggestion the company rose and drank to Our next Happy Meeting.

    This brought to a termination the pleasantest and most successful demonstration of the kind ever held in Gunning. The different speakers were constantly greeted with applause and frequently interrupted with cheers and laughter, induced by the very happy frame of mind in which every one present seemed to feel and speak.

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Evening News, Mon 8 Sep 1879 5


    GOULBURN, Saturday.—The opening of the new courthouse, Gunning, passed off very successfully. A number of police and small debt cases were heard in the morning, and in the evening a dinner was given. Mr Kenyon was chairman, and Messrs Jones and Busby vice-chairmen. Mr Fitzpatrick, member for Yass, was present, together with about 50 gentlemen. After the usual loyal toasts, the chairman proposed “The Parliament,” which was responded to by Mr Fitzpatrick in an able speech. Mr Jones proposed the toast of “The event we celebrate.” Mr Fitzpatrick responded. Mr Busby proposed “Our guests.” Mr Fitzpatrick again responded, also Messrs Kenyon and Hourn. Mr Busby proposed, “The agricultural, pastoral, and commercial interests,” which was responded to by Mr Starr for agriculture, Mr JF Gray pastoral, and Messrs Saxby and Jones for the commercial interest. Addresses were given by Messrs John Davidson, JF Gray, John Wearne, William Afleck, FJ Lawless, P Board, WR Riley, and others.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 9 Sep 1879 6

(From the Herald, Echo, and Evening News.)




(Evening News.)—Archbishop Vaughan arrived here this evening, having administered confirmation at Dapto, and Albion Park. Seven clergymen—Monseignor [sic] Lynch, Fathers Petre, Cunningham, D’Arcy Hewitt, Hayes, and Riordan—accompanied his Grace. A large number of horsemen escorted him to and from Dapto.




(Herald.)—In a case of assault, arising out of the practice which has recently sprung up of making post-cards the medium for sending offensive requisitions for payment of accounts, the Police Magistrate animadverted on an attempt to extract payment by a course of defamation, and inflicted a light penalty upon defendant, who pleaded guilty to a charge of assault under gross provocation in having such a post-card sent to him.

    The weather has been fine for the past day or two, but to-day the sky is again becoming overcast.




(Herald.)—Our new Court-house was opened yesterday. Mr Davidson, of Goulburn, representing the legal profession, congratulated the Bench of Magistrates on the completion of the building. Mr Kenyon, chairman of the Bench thanked him on behalf of the Magistracy, at the same time acknowledging the great assistance the Bench had always received from Mr Davidson during his connection with the Gunning Bench. In the evening a dinner was given in the old Court-room. Mr Fitzpatrick, member for the district, was present, and Mr JF Kenyon occupied the chair, and Messrs AS Jones and WT Busby the vice-chairs. Various toasts were proposed, and duly honoured, and the party broke up about half-past 10 pm, after the most successful meeting ever held in Gunning.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 10 Sep 1879 7


    In consequence of the inclemency of the weather, the steamer with the party on board for the opening of the Gunnedah Railway did not leave Sydney last night for Newcastle. The Government have telegraphed to the Gunnedah Demonstration Committee stating that the opening will take place on Thursday, instead of Wednesday. If the weather moderates, the steamer will leave Sydney for Newcastle at 10 o’clock to-night, and the arrangements made for opening on the 10th will hold good for the 11th instant.

Combined Gunning courthouse and police station, opened 3 Sep 1879. Photo: Peter de Waal
Combined Gunning courthouse and police station, opened 3 Sep 1879.
Photo: Peter de Waal

    We observe in the Goulburn Herald of Saturday an account the opening of the new court-house at Gunning, which took place on the 3rd instant. When the Bench had taken their seats in the new building Mr Davidson, on behalf of the legal profession, tendered his congratulations to the Bench and the inhabitants of Gunning on the completion and opening of their new and handsome court-house. He also expressed the wish that the very presence in our midst of such an imposing edifice would act as a great deterrent on litigation. Mr Kenyon, from the Bench, responded on behalf of that body, and thanks Mr Davidson for his kind congratulations and wishes. In the evening a public dinner was held in the old court-room. Mr JF Kenyon was in the chair, and Messrs AS Jones, and WT Busby filled the vice-chairs. The chairman had the Hon M Fitzpatrick, MLA, on his right hand and JF Gray, JP, upon his left. Mr JB Thompson, MLA, had promised to attend, but being unavoidably detained forwarded a telegram conveying his best wishes for the success of the demonstration. After the usual loyal toasts, the chairman proposed “The Parliament,” to which Mr Fitzpatrick responded. He also replied to the toasts of “The event we celebrate” and “Our Guests.” the proceedings throughout were of a social and convivial character, and everything passed off in the most pleasant manner. 


1  The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 2 Aug 1879, p. 5. Emphasis added.

2  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 5 Aug 1879, p. 3. Emphasis added.

3  The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, Sat 30 Aug 1879, p. 2.

4  The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, Sat 6 Sep 1879, p. 2.

5  Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Mon 8 Sep 1879, p. 2.

6  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 9 Sep 1879, p. 3. Emphasis added.

7  The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 10 Sep 1879, p. 5. Emphasis added.