Chapter 181818413

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Chapter NumberVIII
Chapter TitleFROM ARMIDALE TO BENDEMERE. from the Week of Saturday last.
Chapter Url
Full Date1878-03-30
Page Number20
Word Count3461
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 - 1934)
Trove TitleThrough New England. A Holiday Trip
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/Continual from the Week of Saturday last.)

I COULD only stay in Armidalo for a fiin^le day,which.was, not enough, only about one fourteenth partof enough, time to BOO the town and district. A fortnight flight-seeing every day. is quite little enough, if Armidalo people arc to be believed, to enable one to get some faint idea of all its attractions. I regretted all the more that a'fortnight could not be taken for the purpose just then, because the chance may never again occur, and many of the eights mentioned were just finch as I am particularly partial to, and rarely get the opportunity of enjoying. Thevisittostate and denominational schools, of -which there are several, was given up without one p?mg of regret. I know of no more exquisite pleasure than to mix among large crowds of children,.when they are enjoy ing themselves, and you can join in the fun and help it on. A man or woman who does not like children, and is not ready under rea sonable provocation to be a boy or girl again for an houror two, is far too refined and digni fied for any appreciation. But whoever saw children enjoying themselves at school during school hours ? Now and again it may bo possible to detect some little fellow pretending to enjoy himself over his lessons, but tho chances are a thousand to one that he is a little cad, and a sneak, who, having a good memory, or less than the average amount of animal spirit", is inwardly chuckling over the mean trinmph he will by and bye achievc over tbe classmates whom ho envies but cannot emulate on the play ground. There is an hospital at Armidale, also one of tlio "sights" of the place which there was not time to visit, and this was given up without much compunc* tioni Some people take great pleasure in vifiting hospital?, mad liounns, "workhouses, or benevolent asylums, and gaols, but I camio^

conscientiously say; t!mt my tastes lie in that direction. Tho sight of physic;il or mental suffering, abject and hopeless destitution,- or Bcoundrelism trapped and: caged,. alwayB gives me pain and not pleasure. Pain that is simply

pain, and which leaves no refining or elevating * feeling behind it, but only a heavy heartache at my utter helplessness to alleviate tho suffer ing I see, or reform the low-browed cunning rogues who form tho large majority among tho gaol-birds. As a mutter of duty with Bome practical object to bo achieved iu tho cud, I would not hesitato for a moment to visit any of these places, and do all that in me lay to accomplish tho tusk which X had taken iu hpnd; but for pleasure, or out 'of more curiosity-no, thank you I

The two Bishops of Armidalo aro highly spoken of, both as good men and good prea chers, but they were left unheard and unseen also without much deep sorrow. I saw the Anglican Bishop's carriage in the main Btreet, with a number of remarkably well-dressed ladies in it, whom I judged to bo Mrs. Bishop and tho Hisses Bishop. Taking the - carriago and its occupants as a sample, I should say that the Anglican Bishop of Armidalo is fully im pressed with tho importance of maintaining the social dignity of his high nnd sacred oftice. Tho sample submitted by chance to my inspection abundantly satisfied me, at -all events. Our

own good Bishop, Dr. Hale, seems to have a . different theory as to the proper mode of main j taining the dignity of an Australian Bishop. .

'; ; But the things I did really regret . not being .. able to see were, first of all tho Dangar-falls on the Saumarez Creek* about 'fifteen miles from Armidalo.- These were described as being. COO

feet deep, and well worth a visit. Then there ..< were tho Mihi: Falls,; Tilbuator Ponds, and "some of the finest mountain scenery in all .New England," within easy drives or.rides of the town. And the farms in: the district had to bo passed unvisited. - Farming,,

especially arable fanning,: -is .my,- par-., ticulnr weakness; Practically, I know..very.' little about it, and what I do ktio\y fully con-; vinces me that T was never made to earn, my . living by that particular industry. Noverthe-. less, I do thoroughly enjoy poking and ^potter-. j ing about where there is cultivation going on,

and fruit trees, and flowers, and . horses, cows,

' pigs, poultry, and all that sort of thing.around:*

The !only, opportunity < I had /of ;-per- i sonally examining the producing' capa

bilities. of the land around Armidale -

was by a -visit to " Jakes'a 'Orchard."

A good Samaritan, a perfect strangor to me, .. .was kind enough to drive my wifo and ! out to Jakes's orchard as tho only show place within reach, seeing that I was determined to

start for Tamworth the next morning. After . lunch and a " bange," the buggy came round' to our hotel, and wwerc soon on the way to this orchard. It is about five or six miles from town, on tho Uralla roadj and the road being a good one,; tho., drive-f-itself was very pleasant. My Jiewly-found. friend was thoughtful, and kind enough to put in the buggy a vory excellent binocular fiold glassand as there are somo splendid views to be obtained at different poiuts of tho road, we went leisurely along, smoking and chatting, and stopping as occasion required, to admire

the scenery. The earth was fearfully parched . and dry. We crossed a deep and wido river,

or what is one in ordinary seasons, by a bridge* . but thero was not a drop of water to bo seen. There was rot a blade of grass visible any where. The only green tiling within view waff tlio sweet briar-tho English sweet briar. That seemed to stand the drought better than tho wattles, gums, and othor indigenous trees nnd shrubs. For some miles it Imwl the road, and made a dense and glorious hedge on either Bide, growing.with a wild luxuriance wonderful to behold, nnd rather ono's national vanity, when rightly con&idorcd. Was not this sturdy old English favourito a type of the people who brought it here? "Was it not taking the place of the indigenous plants and shrubs, and filling the air with'-a moro delicious fragrance thau they could produce, just as the Briton had taken tho place of tho aborigiual native, and put tho land to a better use? At all events, this, or something liko this, was what I observed to my friend at tho time; but as he was an Irishman, and a bit

of a rebel at heart, as I fancied, ho did not.

regard the matter in just the same light as I > did. In fact, he went so far as to observo tlmt the sweet briar .was regarded by the farmers and graziers about Armidale as a sanguinary nuisance, a thousand times worse than tho whole family of tho wattles. It was not worth, while to enter into any controverhf on the sub ject, so it was allowed to drop, and I contented 'myself with silently chuckling over the success of the sweet briar, in usurping the place of the wattle, as it was most

unmislakcably doing on most of the uneiil- . tivatcd land we passed. It made hedges along the road, as has been before mentioned; it sprung up in big bushes away back du every spot that wa& available. There seemed to bo

hundreds of acres of it.

On arriving at Mr. Jakes'h house, wo learned that tho muster wsis in Armidalo, and my friend was not known to the lady of the house.

; This, however, was only a temporary obstaclo,

for I found, that sho was tho sister of Mr. Clog-horn, tho printer, of Adelaide-street, Brisbario, an old friend of my own ; so, after about two minutes' explanation, our party .of threo had free leave granted to go over the place whoro AVO thought' woll.. "Wo went over, walked about, and eat applos, plums, and damsons, until wo wero nearly ill, and quite fagged out with-the heat and tho exortion. That orchard was a Bight worth going moro than iivo miles to see. It is about seventy acres in extent, all planted with apples, pears, plums, damsons, cherries, and other English fruits-the apples, pears, and cherries being far tho most numerous; On about fiftoon or twenty acres of this orchard the trees aro in full bearing. On another twonty aeros, speak

ing* at a rough guess, the trees aro just coming i , into' bearing, and tho remainder have only I

heoa planted a year or two. Tho cherry

-harvest was ovor, which was so much tho J better for Mr. Jakes-and probably for his visitors too. Tho pears were not ripe, and the best of tho plums,* tho greengagos, egg plums, ? and othor favourite varioties, wero only just

getting ripe, while the damsons were in a still more baokwardstato. Buttheapples, on tho part tho orchard-that was in full bearing, wero a glorious show. It is no exaggeration to sa}' that somo of the treos carried more apples than leaves. Great rosy-chcoked fellows, much larger than full-sized crickot balls,- of delicious flavour, and as thick as they could stick on ovory- branch and spray, tiomo' of the trees were bent down with tho fruit, until tho tips .f tho branches touched the ground all round and inado tho trees rosomblo enormous um brellas. I had been told in Armidalo that during the season.apples, were sold thcro at a shilling the largo bucketful, and I no longer doubted the fact, .when in this orchard. The crop on the bearing trees was something to see before it could bo fully boliovcd, and there' must hare been several dray loads of fruit mnder tho trees-" wind-fallings," as thoy uscd fro call them in South Warwickshire, Worcester-. ahire, Hertfordshire, and tho other cider counties of England, ^rmidalc soemod to be the only market for tho sale of all this fruit. When alh the trees como iuto full hearing, and indeed long beforo that timo, Mr. Jakes will havo to ' deviso some modo of turning his fruit to profit able account. Tho making of cider and perry . was tho first thing that suggested itself to mo

that afternoon, because tho thought came with irrcsistiblo forco-How delicious would bo a mighty jug of good old cider or perry, just at , * that particular time; However, tho most pro

fitable mode of disposing of the produco was a question . which concerncd : the proprietor much more than me, and as he was nob on tho spot to answer for himself, I let it pass, and contented myself with admiring the beauty of tho scene. All tho trees .in each separate section of tho orchard aro much about the same size,: and,wero evidently planted at the same time. Thoy. stand in long straight avenues, and the general effect on looking down or across the plantation is altogether pleasing. As beforo stated, we all ato as long as we daro, then Mre.. Jakes camo out and . found us a heap of still «»oro choice . specimens to carry away with :us as a sample, and ., wo harnessed up and started on ; our way

back to . town, -which wo roached just beforo sunset. Tho drive out and in was very enjoyable, and almost tempted me to stop at Armidalo and havo some moro of such drives. .

But the temptation was resisted, and noxt morning we started for Tamworth, not until seven, however, which was a more reasonable hour than f» o'clock. We p'asscd over tho samo road wo had travelled tho . previous afternoon . gavo a .farewell glauco of admiration at tho . solf-inado sweetbriar hedges by tho roadside,

and tho clumps.which so thickly studded the low-lying portions of tho wasto lands on either side. Wo again passed Mr. Jakes's orchard, and gavo a farewell glanco of admiration at that also, noticing for the first time that his orchard fenco is covered with the English blackberry, which is just now one mass of whito blossom all over. And away-, for- milos and miles beyond, until we came to Uralla» there aro blackberry hodgos with their crown of whito blossoms, promising an abnndaut crop of this delicious fruit, in spite of tho consum ing drought. If somebody would acclimatizo tho hazel in tho same way that the sweetbriar and blackberry havo been acclimatized, and to tho saino extont, it would bo worth a trip to Armidalo to have a day's nutting and black berrying. hut, perhaps, it would not. It might bring .hack painful thoughts of the com panions with whom these glorious excursions ^ore undertaken forty y'oars ago, and a host of other disagreeable reminiscences. "Let the dead past-bury its dead." .

Uralla, fourteen miles from Armidalo, is a considerable town on the Kooky rivor, the souroo of which is onlj' about two miles distant to tho - eastward, for. tho road again crosses the

great Dividing Kungo, and tho town is just over on to its western sido. Thoro arc three or four

churches or chapels hero,'as many public-houses with an adequate nunibor of storeB and privato dwellings. Urallais tho first stage from Armi dalo, whero tho horses are changed,'and tho

malo passcrigors get down, light their pipes, Btretch their legs-and aBk tho coachman whether lie prefers "pale" or "dark," with soda, or "straight?"' TJralla is a pretty place, judging it from tho road, and tho drive from Arinidnlois a pleasant one; tho scenery being exceedingly picturcsquo and varied over the


After a short spell and tho refresher above alluded to, wo Btartcd afresh, and had a little more pleasant travelling, but as we got down to tho flat country further away from the range, the pleasantness diminished very rapidly. "NVhen wo roachcd Kentucky Ponds, unless I mistook tho name, the coachman got down and filled his water bottle, remarking that thero would bo nomoro chancoof getting a drink of any kind that stago. This sounded orainouB, but not worse than the result proved. "We went further and further westward from

the great Dividing Rango, and tho country not only became, if possible, moro barren and desolate, but every now and again we got un mistakcablo puffs of a hot wind. These puffs became more frequent, until, loug beforo we reached tho end of tho stage, it was a steady blnst as from a furnace. And after this tem porary stoppage,still proceeding south-wes terly, tho road was ono mass of. white dust, whioh rose tip to welcomo us in dense clouds. Auy ono wlio has travelled the Breakfast Creek road at race time, between the bridge and Iho Hamilton, after a long Bpell of- dry woather, may form somo faint idea of what the road WJIS like between Kentucky Ponds and Bcndcuicer wlien I passed over it. But oven the Breakfast Creek road at its very worst would requiro twonty times tho quantity of dust to tho square -foot, and a tearing, scorching hot wind, to convey an adequato conception of the road we travelled over that day. "Wo reached Bendemcer at 2 o'clock, where wo changed coaches, and had dinner.- The Armi dalo coach only goes as far us Bendemcer, and then turns back, and another coach and coach man convoys passengers on to Tamworth. The coachmau told mo it was fourteen miles from Armidale to XJralla, thirty miles from Urulla to Bendemcer, and thirty-four miles from Bcn demoer to Tamworth, which makes eighty eight iniles altogether. By tho time we arrived at Bcndeuicer it seemed to me that the road was

longthoning out-expanding with tho beat and drought-to an illimitablo distance. .

Bendemcer is a postal town on the Mul nerindio River, ovor which there is a long and imposing-looking wooden bridge, but we did not require to use-it. Tho stream, which in ordinary seasons must bo as largo as tho Bris bane abovo tho Bremer, junction, had entirely disappeared, and tho river bed was as dry as the road wo had been travelling,; so wo.took a short cut into town; and did not trouble to go round by the bridge. This seems to be an inland town-of fiomo pretentions. There aro three hotels, a post aud tolegraph office; a Court of Petty Sessions isheld hore, and there is a steam flour mill. It is also a favourite camping placo for carriers between Armidalo and Tam worth, and indeed-from all portions of the Liverpool Plains.- Bendemcer is on thoso far famed plains. Thero were some twonty teams camped in tho township when I passed through. Tho scats and top of tho coach, tho luggage, and tho passengers' clothes were all one uniform grey colour with dust when wo reachcd tho stopping placo, and thero seemed to be no ac commodation for washing the dust out of one's eyes and / mouth beforo sitting down to dinner. Then it seemed to mo that tho table and furniture, crockery aud viands in tho dining room were coveted or permeated with tho saino intolerable dust, and the hot wind was as merciless as ever. People who pass thoir days 011 this portiou of Liverpool Plains inu9t liave to ,eat-many pecks of dirt beforo Ihcy dio. I tried tho quality and did not like it, so determined only to take in what I was obliged to broathe. Our now coachman con soled us with tho. assuranco that tho dust between Bnndomcor and Tamworth was far worso than that . botweou Bendemcer and Uralla. I don't think wo found it any worso. It seemed to bo of about; tho same quality but thoro was a groat deal inoro of it to the sqturo yard on tho latter portion of. the road-. Tho tea brought on to tho dinner table was too cold to bo pleasant, tho . bottled boor was too warm to bo pleasant, and laudlord, land lady, and servants, seemed to bo so utterly prostrate with the hot wind and tho dust, as not to caro a raj) how their visitors furcd. Thoy could ecarcoly summon up energy enough to collect tho inonoy for the dinners which by a legal fiction wcro assumed to have boon eaten by our company.

It is no exaggeration to say that I was dis appointed with Bondomccr. Years and years ago I road in Tom Mooro's story of tho veiled Prophet of Khorassan that

There's a l»ower of roses by Bemlemoor's stream.

And tho nightingale sings round it all tho <lny long "NVhon,therefore, I found that the road to Tam worth was through IlciiilciiiebVi tho lino from Mooro's poem occurred to tno at onco, and of course raised my,expectation. Iam fond of rosc8,- and mado up my mind to keep a good

look-o*t for this celebrated " bower."

Is it to bo wondered at that I should be dii«

appointed when, on reaching this stream, or rather the place where it used to flow, I found a dry and parchcd river bed. Instead of roses by it there were rowa of horso and hullock drays, and the poor brutes which had dragged thorn thither seomed to be waudering about in. a disconsolate manner seriously contemplating suicide. As to nightingales, why the . very sight of the place would break any nightin gale's heart, unless they are very different birds now from what they wero when I know tlieni twenty or thirty years ago. I have no hesitation in saying that it is nothing less than a deliberate falsehood and a baso fraud to assert that thore aro any roses by Beiidcmecr's stream, either in the form of a bower or isolated plants, and if the late Mr. Moore had been at. the hotel, with me that afternoon I should have told him so in very plain terms. It seems to me to be utterly des picable on the part of any writer to attempt to mislead confiding and simple-minded pcraooy in this way. 1 have no doubt Bcndemecr and its " stream," when it happens to have one, aro bad enough under tho most favourable circum stances, but it is simply wicked to make them worse by raising hopes which are ? sure not to bo realised. Thero is no doubt, tho statement respecting the exceptional luxuriance of the roses by Bendemcer's stream mado me doubly disgusted with tho place when I saw it..

... , ( continued.)