|Newspaper Title||The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947)|
|Trove Title||Barumba Station; Or, Amy River's Sacrifice. A True and Eventful Narrative of the Early Days in New South Wales|
MMMBA STATION; OR, Amy River's Sacrifice.
A Tine and Eventful Narrative . - or TUB " EARLY DAYS IN NEW SOUTH WALES.
'BY C APT AIM LACIE.
Coetoioht Reserved. CHAPTER. I,-..
This is slow work, Bill; I'm tired of it. If Ted and Joe were of our opinion we would soon have enough' fun to make life bearable. Let us get a straight answer to-night, and if they will not join us my idea is to go alone if you will not accompany me."
"You know my feelings, Jack, and they are becoming stronger each day. This place is enough to, give one the horrors. The rations are only fit for dogs, and that scoundrel Moncton is as bad as one of the worst slave-drivers in America. I'm with you no matter what happens. Six months of this is quite enongh for me. It must be four o'clock now, and they promised to be back at six, so we have no time to lose. Where did you leave the cattle ? In the creek paddock ?" " I didn't bother about them, Bill. Old Moncton can hunt them up him self. No more boundary-riding for me, as I am quite certain he must know . something about the. twenty-five bul locks we got rid of to the brig. I wonder how long it will be till his re turn?" spoke the man. " At least a week, I should judge. The head station is fully a hundred miles from here, and yesterday's rains would make the ground heavy. Did . he say anything lo you before leav ing ?'.' "Not a word, Just got on his horse, with the nigger, and rode off. There is something in the wind, and we must not lose any time. Who could have informed on us ? I suspect that fellow Cosgrove, and if the suspicion turns out to be true I'll take revenge in no light manner 1" " So will I. The four of us are im plicated and we must all have a hand in the business. Yet, there may be nothing in it. Moncton goes about once a quarter to the head-station, un less stopped by a messenger from there," spoke the second man. " But it is not a month since he left for the Goulburn on the last occasion. There is something peculiar afloat, and we must not be caught napping. Come in and we will have a talk with Cos- grove. Just a quiet talk to try and . pick some news out of him if it is pos sible." The two men engaged in the preced ing conversation were John Lynch and William Laurie, employees on Barumba Station, in the south-east corner of New South Wales. It was a magnifi cent November afternoon in the year 1S46, and the surroundings were not of a nature to cause ennui or dissatisfac tion. Barumba Station was less than seven miles from Twofold Bay, that fine 'haven on the coast of New South Wales, aboutthirty miles north of Cape Howe, the most eastern point of Victoria. For many years previously this excellent harbor was the resort of whaling ves sels, in addition to the other trading craft which went along the coast or round to Port Phillip and Van Die- man's Land. Settlement had early taken place ; the squatter as usual be ing the pioneer of civilization.
Barumba Station was one of the finest in the colony, and in addition to six permanent hands many others were employed during the busy seasons of the year. Cattle and sheep were the staples, but the former preponderated and in the real sense it was not a sheep station. In addition to the two men mentioned there were Edward Thomas, Joseph. Gibson and Alfred Cosgrove, whilst the manager's name was James Moncton. Cosgrove acted as cook, whilst the others performed the duties of boundary riders, drovers, &c. Lynch and Laurie were young men, neither of them being more than five and twenty years of age, while Cosgrove, Thomas and Gibson were yery little their seniors, The station' had been established for six years, but Cosgrove was the only man save the manager who had been at the place since its inception. Laurie and Lynch were engaged nearly a year be fore the date of the opening conversa tion, which took place on the 4th of November, 1846, and the other two were only their seniors by a iew months., 'The two young men were almost in-, separable friends, and Gibson and Thomas 'also "chummed" with them on ever occasion when it was possible to do so. Cosgrove was a pariah, so far as the quartette wits concerned, but the old servant and the manager were on the best of terms. James Moncton was one of those rigid, unbending sons of Caledonia who, perhaps, brought too much severity to the discharge of his duties, and consequently he was cor dially hated. ' The position occupied by him was no sinecure. He was solely responsible for the whole property. There were thousands of sheep, cattle, horses, &c., and an ugly practice had grown up in the colony which occa sioned proprietors and managers of pastoral properties considerable trouble and loss. This was the crime of cattle-stealing, or "duffing." Large numbers of the best stock were annually stolen and sold either alive or dead to men — receivers —who travelled the colony for the pur pose of making cheap purchases of such illegal goods. Wherever a market was obtainable there the cattle thiet would be found, and so expert were these men in erasing brands and alter ing hides that it was not an easy mptter
to sheet the crime home. Unlike the Americans in the western States, lynch ing was not established in New South Wales ; but when a conviction was ob tained according to the proper course of the law the sentences were usually very severe. - Indeed, more than one man preferred taking , to the bush to being arrested red-handed, and murder was committed on several occasions by cattle-thieves in order to shield themselves from the consequences of their acts. It was the first step on the path which led to out lawry, but the authorities were deter mined to spate no pains in suppressing the practice; and the fact that men often entered upon a bushranging career as a sequel to cattle-stealing only made the authorities more rigorous 'in the execution of the repressive laws relatinc to it.
The district around Twofold Bay was one peculiarly suitable to the carry ing out of the illegal practice. There was a fair market for the meat in the ships — especially whalers — which came to the port. These latter vessels were able to get supplies of fresh meat with out going further north and at a much lower figure than had to be paid in Sydney. Indeed, if a captain availed himseif of the cattle " duffer " his out lay would be merely nominal — and in fact the skippers did not consider it judicious to be too inquisitive as to the antecedents of the sheep and cattle of fered them. They paid the money and asked no questions. The locality was one of the most picturesque and fertile in the colony. The background was formed by the Great Australian Alps which towered skywards to the south and west. Mounts Townshend and Kosciusko formed the culminating peaks and lifted their hoary heads seven thousand feet or more above sea level. Twenty miles from the coast and about midway to these great peaks ran the Wanderer's Range, which extended north and south for
more than one hundred miles, and in deed were really a continuation of the famous Blue Mountain Range, which ran right to the northern boundary of the colony. Barumba Station was situated at the base of this great range, and the numerous spurs thrown off made portions of the " run " somewhat difficult of access. In the gullies and flats magnificent pasture was found and the cattle thrived amazingly. For six miles on the western boundary of Barumba Station a great cliff extended at the base of the range which made shepherding in that direction a very easy matter. Goats might have scaled it in some places but certainly not sheep or cattle. Wanderers Range itself' was one of the the most inaccessible of. the many rugged and wild parts to be found in that district of New South Wales. Some portions could only be reached by birds, and at that time — and, indeed, since — had not been trodden by the foot of man. In one portion a small path had been formed by whieh the summit of the range could be reached, but the ex perience was one which few cared to attempt as a mere matter of pleasure. The narrow track wound its uncertain way along the brink of giddy precipices and in places' the daring traveller had to walk on ledges of granite not more than eighteen inches in width, a false step meaning certain death as the per son making it would be precipitated some two hundred feet into the yawn ing abyss below. This was the path usually taken by visitors — few, indeed, they were — to the region, and the view from the summit repaid the danger in curred. During the time the four men had been on the station they.had made fre quent excursions to the range. It was, of course, part of their duty to visit that portion of the run where the mountain chain bounded, and, with the natural love of exploration and the buoyant spirit of youth, they generally put in a' day on the range.
This was not known to the manager, who would not have allowed what he would call a waste of time ; but there was no difficulty in finding an excuse for remaining away from the homestead two or three days at a stretch. The caves, cliffs and glens, with the mis shapen rocks and beautiful vegetation, were a natural attraction in themselves ; but as subsequent events showed there was another and not so innocent a pur pose in the frequent explorations. The ringleader in this work was William Laurie, though scarcely less ardent in" the pursuit followed his boon com panion John Lynch. Both men were natives of New South Wales, and from childhood they had lived near the dis trict having been brought up. at the Goulburn. Captain Booth of that place, the owner of Barumba Station, was a squat ter near the Goulburn, and it was on his property the two were . born, their parents being in Booth's employ. As the Barumba property developed and required more hands to work it, young Lynch and Laurie were drafted to it much in the same fashion that a squat ter sends a flock of sheep or a mob of cattle from one run to another. Their wishes were not consulted in any way. They were simply told to go and they went without open demur — in fact, Lynch was not opposed to the change, but Laurie did not like to leave the dis trict as he was engaged in marriage to a girl named Amy Russell, the daughter of the station storekeeper. Lynch laughed at his friend's evident infatuation, and in plain words told him he was a fool. "Thc'girl doesn't care a rap for you, Bill, and if you are wise you will put as much ground between her and yourself as possible. I am going whether you come or not," he said. Laurie could not see the matter through his friend's spectacles, but he deemed it wisest to follow the advice given. If he did not Booth would soon get rid of him for disobeying the order, and, above all, he did not care to run the risk of being laughed at as a milk-sop tied ,to a worn?', apron strings. Three months auer 'leaving, the faith which the young man had in Amy Russell received a rude ohuck when he learned the gn had jusi married a new clerk — a relative of Squatter Booth — brought irom Sydney
to take up work on the station; This man was supposed to be "named" in the rich pastoralist's will, and was in consequence quite . an eligible party outside his personal attractions, which were much above the average in that re spect. . Frederick Rivers might fairly be called a good-looking man. He was tall and of fine figure, whilst his dark hair and hazel eyes set in a welj-cut face, in addition to a charm of manner when in the company of the fair sex, made Amy Russell quite an easy vic tim. Underneath the veneer, however, Rivers was a mere clay figuw. Cruel and heartless to a degree, the fickle girl who had cast aside Laurie was soon to find how deceptive are outward ap pearance and polished manners. It was Moncton who brought the news of his intended's faithlessness to Laurie, and the old manager seemed to take a real pleasure in being the bearer of unpleasant news. His nature was soured by past events, and he reckoned everyone else should take a jaundiced view of the world as well as himself. Perhaps he could see during his brief acquaintance the character of the man Rivers, or it might be lhat the future ot Laurie himself was in a sort of Patmos vision revealed to him. Who shall say? It has been said a pebble often forms the course of mighty streams. The first tiny rill' meets it and is turned aside, and the ever-increasing volume follows the first channel. So it may have been with Laurie. Previous to the unwelcome news about Amy Rus sell, the young man had turned a deaf ear to many of the suggestions made by Lynch. Both men possessed a good deal of the wild nature and love of lawlessness peculiar to many of the early sons of Australia. Brought up as they mostly were in out-of-the-way places, the distinction between meum and tuum was not so marked as it should have been. This was especially the
case in relation to horses, cattle, and sheep. The clever and successful horse stealer had hosts of admirers and sym pathisers, and it was notorious that many of the officials whose duty it was to suppress the practice simply con nived at it. They " winked the other eye" because it paid them to do so, and it was not until the " sixties " that the authorities adopted vigorous mea sures for its suppression. That and the gold discoveries produced an abun dant growth of bushrangers, or highway- robbers, ar.d many lives were lost in consequence. Lynch was inherently bad, and even in the Goulburn district acts had been committed by him which if proved would have been followed by long terms of penal servitude. These lapses from the correct path took the form of horse-stealing, though on one occasion he was suspected of having shot at and seriously wounded a man. Under the circumstances he was not averse to leaving a district where his name was getting into bad odor and going to a region where probably he would have much more freedom and less officials to evade if necessary, On the road .to Barumba he plainly told Laurie he would not be over particular in dealing with his master's stock if he got a good chance to dispose of any. His com panion and friend argued against such a course, and for a space of three months or so the honest counsel pre vailed. Then came the change in his life. The man had loved Amy Russell well and truly, and though he was not a nervous sentimentalist the blow was a severe one, and he felt the advice of his friend Lynch when leaving the Goulburn was right. "You read her better than I did, Jack. Ah, well, the world is wide enough for us all, and perhaps it is for tunate for me I discovered what she was before it was too late,'' he remarked . to Lynch. "You will forget all about it in a week or two, and don't forget you are a free man now. , I wouldn't tie myself to any woman as you did. Follow my advice, Bill, and you will not go far wrong," came the reply. There is no doubt from that moment Lynch exercised a much stronger in fluence over his companion than pre viously, and it was used for evil and not for good. The whispered prompt ings of the past were renewed and soop they began to bear fruit. This end was hastened by Gibson and Thomas. The latter was an " old hand." That is, he had been originally a transportee but had served his sentence. Gibson had not been sent out " for his country's good," but all the same he was agree able to take a hand in anything which might put dollars in his pocket. In deed, it was Gibson who first suggested the idea of selling a few head of cattle or sheep to some of the vessels which came into port, and the project was quickly seized upon by Lynch. With the four men working in con cert there would not be much difficulty in disposing of stock in that manner, and the chances of detection we re very small. Where so large- a quantity of stock was kept a few hundred sheep or a score of cattle would scarcely be missed. At muster time there would, of course, be a discrepancy, but- death and wanderings might account for the lost ones. No doubt the business would end in a row, as sooner or later the fact that all was not well would be discovered and a change in the stafi made. James Moncton, too, was a most careful and conscientious manager and the thefts could not be carried out so easily as if more laxity was shown in the supervision. B i , (to be continued.) The mean annual tompefaturo in tka Arctic rcgionit in below 30 degrees Falironheit. Cabbjlqk is an old ouro for intoxioation, Tho Egyptians ate it boilod before their othei food if thoy intended to drink wina aftoi dinnor, and some of tho remcdias sold as a preventive of intoxioation on the Continent uro said to contain cabbage socd. relatively richest in horses and horneu .coolc ra Argentina nnd Uru guay. Austria lias tlie most, sheep, Sorvi. the greatest rotative niunbor of pigs to popu lation. The peurcSb jn horsos-ia Italy; in oattlo, Portugal; in sheep, Belgium; is ihogs, Grocoo.