Chapter 181818049

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter TitleFROM TENTERFIELD TO GLEN INNES. from the Week of Saturday last.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article181818049
Full Date1878-03-09
Page Number20
Corrections0
Word Count4070
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 - 1934)
Trove TitleThrough New England. A Holiday Trip
article text

THROUGH NEW ENGLAM).

A HOLIDAY TRIP.

BY A BOHEMIAN.

CHAPTER V.

MOM TENTEEFiEtD TO GLUlT IKNES.

{ConlimlcAfrom the Week of Saturday last.)

WEslartedfromTcnterfieldat5 o'clock inthe morning, sharp, which' seems an unreasonably early hour to got up from one's .bed. I have .read of people who have campod out all night on the. top of a bloak mountain " for the solo purpose of being there noxt morning to seo the sun rise. I have heard others go off into raptures about tho glories of the early morning, when the dew is on tho grass, the birds strike up their first morning- anthem, and the last star dies out before the effulgent rays of the great sun who comes grandly lip from behind the dim far-off hills', bathing them in purple and gold. I have listened to this sort of talk as respectfully as I could, under the conviction that those who indulged in it were really honest and sincere, believing what they said, and not attempting to hoax or humbug mo. An honest, harmless, sincere conviction is always entitled to respect, however mistaken it may be. But I have always felt a degree of commisseration for these, poor mis-guided rising sun worshippers. I picture to myself, the terrible struggle it must .bo for them to rouse themselves up before daylight; the irritation and annoyance of groping about in.the dark for their separate articles of cloth ing. The muttered maledictions qa the fiend who has walked off with a sock, a pair of pants, or some other portion of wearing apparel; a rush, as a last resort, to the lucifer matches, and not finding any, or discovering that they will not strike, and at last turning out not per fectly clothotf/iib* in their right mind, to tramp through wet grass and take cold after cold^ which at length ends in chronic rheumatisimr merely to be in the open air when the birds sing their first song and the sun comes up over the tree tops. * As a matter of fact, neither the sun'nor the birds require the assistance of these enthusiasts, and- are supremely- indifferent to their worship, and the sacrifices they make to perform it; Indeed, if tho truth could only be* known, I venture to say that the birds have a' deep-tooted conviction that i they could got on a good deal better without the presence of these human interlopers.. No, I . think the place, in which to enjoy, in greatest perfection, the sun rise and the early songs of the birds is in bted.

If you have any doubts of the sun rising at the. proper time, unless you have your eye on him, lie awake until the operation* is complete,5 and then go to sleep again for an hour or two until you can. get your .bath, arid perform , your toilet in a calm,; deliberate, '?> and dignified manner, with the soothing consciousness that bythe time that is well through, the dayrooms will be swept and garnished, and breakfast will bo about ready. That is my view of 'tho sub ject at all events. .

; Still I must, in common fairness, admit that when you aro making a coach journey through New England in blazing hot weather, and when a drought has been prevailing for three years or so, starting before fcunrisa has its advantages. At all events on this part of the road. The air is keen and cold enough to makeit a reasonable and proper thing to take " a second-mato's nip"; of good whiskoy, or good old- brown brandy-just to keep the raw morning air off one's stomach. After that a genuine Bavanna or,, better still, briar root pipe, and some good tobacco seems a far greater luxury than it does during any other portion

of "the day ; and the horses are fresh,* and bowl along as if to show the driver that they are able to do that stage, and the next if necessary; and the-air is clear and bright, so that the landscapo is spread out and around in sharper and more definite outhno than it is later on. Above all, wo havo an ex cellent coach, a good team, and a far better road now than the one we have passed. As at .Warwick, breakfast is about sixteen miles ahead, but-all the worse for the breakfast when it is reached.

The road from Tenterfield to Glen Innes, and indeed-on to Armidalc-a couple of hun dred miles, or thereabout*-is very good for a mountain road. There are a few nasty pinches and one or two ugly crossings, but these are wide apart, and not at ull alarming in ordinary weather. For the rest, some of the worst parts havo been macadamised and chon-" nelled, and the remainder of the road, which runs through narrow valleys among the shoul-' dcrs of the hills, is as level as a bowling green for miles and miles at a stretch. We aro still

sticking to the western shoulder of. the Great Dividing Itango, high up, but only getting a eight of the peaks now and again. As I men tioned last week, we keep to this side until a long way past Glen Innes, when we cross the range at Ben Lomond, tho.vory highest point of the road, throughout the whole distance. Of course, when hugging thesummit* of the great mountain chain so closely it is to be expeetcd that spurs have to be croBsed, and

detached mountains passed on Cho right hand lis'well as tho loft. This is what happens, and gives half thocharinf-I may say all tho uharin to1 ilio scenery; and lovers.of mountain Bcenery cannot fail to bo cbarmcd nil day, and day after day with tho scenery along this road. . iivory. fuw miles so different in tlio details which, mako up tho oxquisito beauty or grandour^of the ttliolo scene? and yet so aliko in ujoir

znaguificcnt loveliness. Thus on leaving Ten-, tcrficid wo very soon passMount Mackenzie, and the Doctor's Nose to tho right, while tho Haiti ' Eango, as I have beforo said, is all tho while to tho loTt. Further on, somo aovon or eight' miles, wo come to another detached rango wlueh wo- pass to tho right-the most romarkablo mounUun 011 tho whole road. It is called tho, ".Blair," «nd no doubt .has been a well' known landmark ovor sinco New England was first visited by whito men. Looking at it from the road as we approach it, the mountain Bccins to rise up gradually from the plain some miles

away to. the right, and runs up by ono spur to - a tremendous height, where it ends abruptly in a precipice sheer down to the road we traverse, and down away beyond that also to the left,

although not a precipice on the other side. i-;;.

. As we smoke our morning pipes, and chat: about the road, the country, and what not, tho coachman tells me a local legend about. this "bluff rock" which may have a substantial

foundation in fact. At all evopts, it ? is charac- - teristic of the trials and difficulties« whichhud'

to be encountered by the pioneer settlers in this i. region, and will well bear repeating here.: .: <

In the early days, then, so tho coachman says,

the blacks were : fearfully bad in thiB part,' They .were hero in hundreds, and tho mountains

being so near, they could rob and murder tho i squatters, shepherds, and other .station hands,

and escape to tho ranges, with little fear of, punishment. At lost, the thing beaime intoler

able, and one tribe, the most treacherous and' tho most forociouB, wero camping near the foot1 of the Bluff, holding corroboroo after a raid on the flocks and the store-rooms of a neighbouring squatter. Then word was sccrotly sent round to all the white men in the district to muster with '?

and plenty of ammunition at the' Bluff to tf round up"* thiB tribo of blacks . on' the Bluff, if possible, and teach thom a lesson which would Btrike terror into all thoir raco. No ihercy was to bo shown to any, big or littlo/ young or old, matter female, but aboVo1 all the men were to be Bfc&t down, or kept on tho; Bluff. . Every white man withnr: reach assem bled well armed, for it was.folt that', this day: was to decide -who was to boT,master'inthis

part of the country. Tho foot of themountam - was encircled by the'whites, and < when- those in front appeared the* blacks wero taken - by. surprise, and rotreated . further. up tho hill, their assailants following steadily, and. surely. As;they ;went higher and higher, those planted oii.thesido* of the mountain closed up,«but

still kept.out of sight,'until .at. last, when, retreat on either side was impossible, the blacks turned to bay, thinking thoy only had .the enemy in front to contend with. They, soon found out theirinistukc, rcogmsing the fact that they had been caught in a trap. In front and on either side were white men well armed, and at<thoir back was this awful preciptcei sheer down hundreds of feot. They made

a dcspcrato stand, keeping tbo gin'd' and picaninicB behind them. Tho guns of tho white mcu made frightful havoc, and they at lost fled in terror towards the precipice followed by tho whites who, now their blood was /airly up,'wcro determined to muko a clean ' swoop. Tho blacks ran howling towards the prccipicc, tho whites shouting and stopping every now and again to load up and pour an other volley into the blacks, following them'up , in a mad race until atlast, when tho edge ^ of

the pricipice was reached, tho noiso of tho fire arms, the smoke, and tho deadly aim of tho white men, had so maddened thorn with terror that all the blacks whd were left, men, women, and children, rushed over the prccipice and were dashed to pieces on the rocks below.

The coachman assured mo that the skulls of some of these victims may atill bo sconaway up in the crevices of the first shelf or projecting ledge from the summit. I look up as wo pass beneath but cannot say. that I discovered any. *\Vhat looks like skullB from the road would, I fancy, prove to bo small granite boulders each one much larger than a blackiellowa' skull,

when it came to be closely examined. It in a. fact, though, that I never saw a single aborigi nal during the whole three hundred and..fifty miles of my trip through New Kngland. They havo been cleared off in some way. Tho tragedy of the 131uff rock might havo helped the process.

After passing the Bluff, we come into open country-long broad valloys and flats, putting one in mind of the country round Toowoombii, but so parched and desolate through tho long drought. "We cross the head of a rncr, which somo call tho Mole and some the Ijluft*-either name will suit me. This is camping place for carriers between . Glen Xnncs and Tenter field, and Home fourteen or sixtcon drays and teams are congregated round the waterholc^ wliilo tho horses or bullocks, as tho cano may ' be, are making futile efforts to got a feed of graBS in tho dricd-up portioue of the river bedt

?? Hera also wo pass a largo mob of travelling sheop, in chargo of four mon. Thoy wor

going through Tonterfiold towards Maryland, but lost heart whon thoy readied tlio Bluff at tho dreary prospect around, and tho nows of tlio Liverpool Plains' sheep on ahead, so they

turn round and determine to mulco for Glen

Innes and tho rungos further on. Judging- of the thing from an - outside point of view, I Bhould say that travelling with'a mob of slieep. for grass is about as _ monotonous ;l sort of life as it is possible for a man to lead in this world,

'i'ho sheep go mooching along at the rate of' fivo or six miles a day, and': tho 'men. go mooching after them." Thero are usually three men to a mob. They huve a light dray or paokhorses to carry their tents and stores, and; ofi course, are woll off for Afresh"meat

all the ,yay. When thoy feel too lazy to walk, any ^rthor in a day, or come to a watorhole

towards afternoon, :they: camp there for.the night, tho dogs seeming to liavo all the caro and responsibility of tho sheep. The consump tion of tobacco must.be a vflry. serious item of otpense to mon in chargo of sheep travelling for grass, as thoy have absolutely, nothing elBO but the pipe to fall back upon and tolling the same old yarns over and over again, day after day, and month after month. AVo passed other mobs .of sheep further, along towards Glen Innes, and saw tie-lot, some , fifty

thousand strong, on Glen Xnnes racecourse a day or two afterwards. ? There was grass there, so neither men nor sheep were in a hurry to, depart, and tho ^men were ..very exact about not travelling the . sheep further m any one day than the distance fixed by law.

.? = After leaving tho Bluff, we get a capital

road for some miles, and fine park-like scenery,

until at last wo turn round the foot of a. swelling knoll and plump on to a plain, half . way. along.which stands a honse, which prove8

to be the hotel where we stay for breakfast This is called tho Bolivia Hotel, the Bolivia Arms, or something of the kind. It is a large, commodious house, everything, clean and comfortable, and a breakfast: on the: table which would have done credit to any hotel in Brisbane. Tho only passengers in tho .coach .besides my travelling -companion' and: tnyBelf are two Chinamen and a little boy eight or nine years old, who is taking a trip of twenty-six miles f>y himself in the coach, to: see .his ;.aunt, at Deepwater. One of the : Chinamen ? was a new arrival and could not

speak a word of English.' The other could .just .make himself .understood, and scarcely . that, but to see tho smiles, which mantled, their faces at ^ the...sight of., curry, . minced meat, mutton chops, and steaks, and onions on that breakfast table, was a sight not easily forgotten. Thoy had but a vague and superficial knowledge of the proper uso of the knife and fork, although "icy..., seemed... willing, and indeed anxious to :learn as,they watched us commence with these,

implements /and imitated- us as well as could be expected. But after a short trial, observing that they were no match for the rest of the com pany with thoso eating tools, and noticing that their favourite dishes were disappearing with alarmingrapidity, thoyqnietly dropped thpknife and filled in with tho fork and a piece of bread with a neatness and despatch that was really in teresting. . .And. the, little-fellow who -was going to see his aunt; he beat the Chinamen at the minco moat, i: estimated that the

little chap ato about his own weight at that breakfast table, but tho coachman said that was slightly exaggerating the actual fact, of , -tho case, l ullhough . not very much We all did protty well. When it camp to paying, tho Chinaman who could speak Eng lish asked -the-landlady ."-how muchee," sho said two shillings, whioh ho: paid, and tho two Celestials too1'- their seats again in the coach. It took the landlady all tho broken English she was master of to convince " Johnny" that ho had unpaid for-tho two. ,.At last,, withUnfinite reluctance, and a long and animatod debate in. Chineso with his compatriot, . he forked out another two shillings, and because we laughed

and who could help it under such, circum stances-ho departed firmly convinced that he had been victimised at the Bolivia hotel. They travelled with us to Glen Innes, and then started straight away to walk that night

twenty miles to the tin,mines .at Vegetable] Creek, without taking another bite of food, so tho coachman and I agreed that they had secured a good two shillings worth each at breakfast time.

Aftor leaving tho hotol wo cross a flat, then ford tho head of a, creek or river, called Doep water, which is now only a series of detached .water-holes, tlion pass Bolivialioad station, and como to Bolivia Range,- when all thomales liavo to get out and walk, as tlioro is a long steep pinch over a leading spur of tlio range. Boli via Kango is an ofTahoot from tho Great Divi diug Range, - and runs at right angles to it. The old road passed through tlio valley below, near tho bottom, and only had ono short easy Pinch through tlio gap of tho rimgo, >ut it was padly out of repair, and ^ length tho Government of ..New

'th Wales sent surveyors to risurvoy it, and iirrango for making a good road at that; place, ?the surveyors camo and ran a couple of trial Burveys over tho rango at different altitudes.

The contract for making tho road was after wards lot to somobody in New England, and ho carricd the lino along the highest trial survey. This made three miles of road as steep as the roof of a house, and most of it had to ho blasted through granite boulders. The road cost as many thousands us the old road would have cost hundreds of pounds, and it never can be as passable. Teamsters always say their prayers when they go over: this road, and at the same time pray for the surveyor and the contractor. So do male travellers by tho coach when the weather is hot, and it was fearfully hot tho morning we passed over.

But the walking over the'range has the com pensating advantage of affording one of the most magnificent panoramas it ib possible to look upon. Turning round and looking back' .to BoUviv there.are the great peaks of the Australian Alps,'Standing one behind the other, on the right hand until the most distant is dim and indistinct on the horizon, whilo to the left is the Bolivia Range, coming round and stretch ing away ; for miles, and partly enclosing what seems an enormous plain through which the lagoons of the Deepwater Creek can be traced here and there, as the trees and un dulations of the ground afford opportunity. If .graBs had been green and luxuriant on the plain, as we are assured that it is in ordinary; seasons, I know of 110 more glorious view than that which can-be obtained from the highest joint of tho road over Bolivia Range looking

northwardl

"We again -take our seats, and go down the other side of tho range at a pace which gives no time for looking about. It is another case"

of Holding on by your too hails, and.hoping : nothing wilbbreak; while making the descent. Nothing does break, of course, and we go spinning along, not quite clear yet of the Bolivia Ranges, but have no more pinches to make it necessary to get down and walk. At length the last little spur is crossed, and we are rattling over a fine macadamised road, which would be all the better for some more ubinding,"'and in open level country again. By arid by we pick up the Deepwater Creek again, cross it at a ford, which I would not care to face immediately after a heavy fall of 'rain, although the coachman assured me that

" it is.nothing when you aire used to it.*' Soon wa come to/the .'place where our young pas senger^ aunt ;is,looking out .for him, and he is assisted.to,alight, his. waistcoat being pre viously unbuttoned, and his waistband slackened to give a little more room for his breakfast, in in the. act of jumping from the coach. That toy is quite able to taka care of himself, young

as he is.:

"We have a smooth level road for a long stretch after this, until we come to the village of SevernJ but better known as' Dundee, which is also the name of the sheep station in which the village is situated, where we cross tho head, of another creek which soon becomes a river, and iB subsequently called Beardy River. "We cross it again twice beforejentering Glen Innes, and the last fame it' is a beautiful permanent water, wide and deep enough to boat on or fish. in. If I remember aright ifc is called the Reedy Ponds at last, but it is the Beardy River all the

same. . '? . . : «.

Severn is a postal village, although there are only two public houses, a general store, and a blacksmith's shop-in sight. But there is a letter bag to be delivered, here, and another to betaken iip,and the waybill to bo signed, and the horses to be changed, which gives time and opportunity to get dinner, which is ready waiting for . us « by the time we arrive. ;We disposo of dinner in a,quarter of an hour or .twenty minute?, as thero is nothing very tempt ing on tho table, but the landlord has some Ba38*fl beer in primo condition, so we punish the bread and cheeso and beer to mako up fo* what we missed in the shape- of meat and vegetables. After this wo re-Xight . our pipes, mount tho coach, and proceod on our way rejoicing. . '' ' ' . ' ,.

Soon our road leads again too near the Great Dividing Range to be pleasant travelling, or to

speak more correctly, the Great Dividing Range 1 hassentoutalittle branch at this place, much like that at Bolivia; and; we have v to cross this branch, "Wo are bravo and fearless after dinner, a bottle of Bass and a smoke, so wo laugh to scorn tho ruggednoss of tho way over this branch range, which really is not of very much consequence; not half so bad as Bolivia, and not affording anything liko such beautiful views. Wo soon cross over and descend on tho

other sido into country which gets more lightly ! timbered as wo proceed, until wo reach tho

Reedy Ponds bpforo mentioned, soon after i which wo cross tho Beardy River by a bridge, ! and- all ; beyond, as- far. as tho eye can reach, is open plain-rich black soil plum

.whero the farmers and free selectors lmvo

commenced cultivation in earnest, and with; every prospeot of success. Here, on Beardy Plains, < as they aro called, wo saw gonuiue green turf for tho first time since leaving War wick, nearly two hundred miles away. The grass was greon after crossing Beardy River bridgo, and the country looked bettor alto gether than any wo had previously passed. Cultivated farms wero passed, and here, for tho [first time in Australia, wo saw the English

swcot-briar growing wild in tlio fields and

around the fencca.

Glen Inncs is situated at the upper end of the Beardy Plains, and "we soon became aware of our approaching a town, by the traffic on the road, the character of the cultivation, and the extra care bestowed on the roads. At last we

turn round a corner, pass over a swelling knoll, and there is Glen Innes straight before us, al though it ib somo two miles away yet. But they are two very pleasant miles, although the sun is fearfully hot and theblacksoil is scorched arid cracked in great rents, showing that here, too, the drought has told heavily, although not

at all so much as it has further behind. The

highway gradually and almost imperceptibly merges into the street, until at length we are evidently in the main street, by the continuous rows of houses, 6hops, hotels, and I stores, and. wo pull up in another minute

in front of the Commercial Hotel, and just opposite is the Court House, Post and Telegraph Office, and a little further back is the Masonic Halli Tcmperancc IlaU, Roman Catholic' Church, and other public buildings. Glen limes is a place of some importance, let me inform you-and the people of that town are quite aware of the fact.

(To be continued.)