Henry Aldridge's memoirs
- Published: 16 September 2009 16 September 2009
From Hertfordshire to Australia
*Following is a transcript of recollections that Henry Aldridge wrote about his life. In the original handwritten pages, Henry wrote in a very legible script, but due to the poor condition of some pages with tattered and soiled edges and in some cases missing and torn pieces, it is not always possible to correctly decipher what the word or words are. Place names have been researched where possible and words or part sentences not fully legible have either been hopefully correctly interpreted or left out. Fortunately the greater portion of the original manuscript of 136 writing pad pages are complete with the exception of page 92 which is only in part and page 93 which is missing. Henry wrote without punctuation, and began his many of his sentences with the exclamation of "Well!" In all fairness to Henry, even though he did not punctuate, and used incorrect introductions (ie Me and my partner, myself and wife etc,) his spelling was exceptional for his age, and not all such mistakes in this and the following files are to attributed to him, typographical errors do occur I am sure.
*Notes by Henry's grandson Cyril Coker.
aged about 43.
Having been asked by my son to write a history of my life, I will now try as best as my recollections serve me, as on various matters such as years or dates I may not be too clear. I was born at a village in England called Welwyn, on April 16th, 1844, and was baptised in the Welwyn Parish Church, in the County of Hertfordshire, May 26th, 1844.
My first recollections must have been when I was about five or six years old. My father at the time was keeping a beer house called the "Black Horse" in the High street, Welwyn. I can just recollect going with my father and mother to the Welwyn Railway Station to the opening of the Great Northern Railway. I can also remember at that time, that I was then going to an infants school, kept by a lady named Mills, until some boy threw a stone at me and it cut my head, when my dear mother took me away and taught me herself, untimely (??)
father brought some land at a sale of some Squire Blocks Estate at a place called New Barnet near (2) the Great Northern Railway line where he built a public house and called it the "Leister Arms" where it, being too far from the railway station, he bought another allotment close to the station, and as there was an hotel close by called the Railway Hotel, my father called his pub the name of the "Railway Tavern", where my father carried on the trade of a licensed victualler.
I was then sent to school at a place called "Whetstone" which was three miles from New Barnet, when my father or my Uncle Harry _ I think it was, my uncle _ bought me a shetland pony at Barnet fair, to ride to school until some time in July 1855, when on the 23rd of that month my dear mother died. She was only 43 years old when she died. Well, after my mother's death, everything seemed wrong. I know that I was greatly neglected, and was not kept as my mother kept me. Well, in about six months after my mother's death, my father married again to (3)(a young woman laundress) told in service at Squire Blocks at New Barnet, when everything went wrong after my stepmother gave birth to a son and he was christened after my father William.
I don't know how it happened but my father had to mortgage all his property. He mortgaged it on a mortgage of equity or redemption, which was supposed to have cleared all the mortgage off in 20 years. I know that my father made up his mind to come to Australia. He came in a emigration (ship) called the Glentanner about 1857 or 1858, I know the Crimean War was just finished, and I can recollect seeing the illuminations in London at the time.
|How Brisbane looked in 1860.|
We landed at Brisbane at Moreton Bay and we was all put in the emigration barracks, and I think it was about the second day there, that a big Scotsman hired me for six months to chip round some maize and also at the same time, keep the cows from the corn while I was hoeing. I was nearly (4)(run off my legs). I forget what the Scotsman called his farm, but it was out of Brisbane beyond Breakfast Creek, on a creek called Kedron Brook. I forget what the distance was adjoining the farm of my employer, his name was Alexander Barron, was a farm owned by a man with name of Addset. He used to always come to Barron's place and call me all sorts of ugly names and say to Barron that I must have come from a very low part of England. I just hated this man, but more of him hereafter. Anyway, I served my six months with Mr Barron and I must say that both him and his wife treated me as if I had been one of their own. They wanted me to have stopped longer. They would have given me 20 pounds per year. I would have stopped longer, only for the man Addset.
So, I left and went into Brisbane, and the next day, I got into a stern-wheel boat and went up to Ipswich, where I was met by a carrier, who my father had asked to look after and (5) meet me. I don't seem to recollect much of the journey, only I know I bought a pistol, and was shooting birds on the road up to Toowoomba, the place where my father was working in a sawmill, the owner of which was named Ballard. When I got home to my father's house, my stepmother undid my bundle and took my pistol away from me, but my father got it for me, sometime after, and gave it to me. And afterwards I became a good pistol shot.
My stepmother used to take in washing and she used to make me carry water for her every day from a hole in the swamp about 150 yards (137m) from where she washed, but I fibbed on the work and then my father took me to Mr James Taylor's place and bound me over to serve as a stock-boy on his station, called "Cecil Plains" on the Condamine River for a term of three years. There was then a superintendent named Thomas Perkins and he was very strict with us boys. There was then, six boys on the (6) station, ranging 13 to 16 years old.
I know they made me fight the bully, who gave me a black eye, but I promised him I would fight him again when I got older, and give him a hiding. Sometime in 1859 (10 December), an election took place and separation from New South Wales. Taylor took me down to his place in Toowoomba to go down to Ipswich with him and look after his horses, while he attended parliament in Brisbane, as he was elected member for the Darling Downs. I had good times then, as I was small for my age and the girls at the hotel where I kept the horses to feed after bringing them out of the paddock where very kind and fond of me. When we used to go up to Toowoomba at week or fortnight ends, I used to attend a boxing school kept by a man named Joe Kitchen. He was a Victorian boxer, a lightweight boxer, and he taught me how to box and hit hard, so I would be able to take my own part in any rough and tumble I got into.
I had about nine (Page 7) months with Mr Taylor, when I was ordered back to "Cecil Plains". The day I arrived there, the bully, Johnny Glenden, was thrashing one of the small boys, because he would not bring up his horse. I asked him to leave off, but he then turned on me and said he would give me another black eye. I told him to come and do it if he could. There happened to be some men from Talavera Station who saw fair play and Johnny cried "enough" in two rounds, and he had two black eyes. He did not stop at Cecil Plains long afterwards. He went with a man to look after spare bullocks.
I stayed with Mr Taylor - they used to call him "Big-Headed Taylor" - for nine years and ten months. During that time I had grown big and strong, and could ride anything that foaled from a mare and saw no fear. I kept in prime health all the time I was there. The only time I laid up for about six or seven weeks, when I broke my collarbone, through a quiet horse falling down with me. (8)Taylor was a good master, every boy that was on the station he would give either a cow or calf, or a filly to each boy as a Christmas box, and he also allowed you to run them on his run at the station. Soon after this time, myself and the superintendent by the name of George Bolton - he was a brother-in-law of Mr Taylor - we could not agree, and so I went and caught a horse of my own and cleared out and went to Toowoomba and told Mr Taylor the reason I left. He wanted me to go back to the station, but I would not go back.
About that time, I would say that it was late 1866 (1 May 1867), the railway was almost completed from Ipswich to Toowoomba and I sold my horse to a Mr Robert Ballard, who had come over from England as a surveyor with Peto Brassey and Betts, the contractors for the first railway in the state of Queensland. He surveyed the line over the main range.
Some few years before this, my father died. He was only about 46 years old when he died. My stepmother had married again to (9) a man named John Hall, by whom she had two or three children. After I came to Toowoomba, I stayed with them. They was then living on what was called the Gowrie Road, on a place of land of 5 acres left to me by my father. I sold the land some time after to John Hall for 30 pounds. About this time or soon after the railway extension to Dalby started, and I took a job with a grocer and butcher named Little, to driving a cart and sell meat and groceries. I stopped with Mr Little until the section was completed to Gowrie, when I met a Mr Munro one night in an hotel in Toowoomba, and he was looking for a stock rider for one of the messrs Hall Brothers Stations on the Balonne River, about 15 miles from the township of Surat. The super on the station - "Noovondroo" (Noorindo) - was the name of the station - was a man named Donald Ross, a burly Scotsman he was married to one of the Hall sisters. Now the adjoining station on the other side of (10) the Balonne River five miles away was called "Combarngo". It belonged to the Joint Stock Bank, and the manager was a Mr Bennet - I forget his Christian names - but he was courting a young lady at Noovoondo (Noorindo), a sister of Ross's wife. When Bennet and the lady fell out and the engagement broken off and Mr Ross was very indignant over it and he tried to hurt Mr Bennet all he could.
As it happened, one day while mustering for branding, we came across some calves which had been lately branded with the Combarngo brand, which at that time was the ace of clubs. The mother bearing the Noorindo (Noorindo) brand, which was "CTH". Ross then went for the police and gave Mr Bennet in charge for cattle thieving. And after a hearing at Surat, was committed for trial to Roma, and myself and two other stock riders, named of Ted Howe and Tom Sumers, was called as witness after two day's stay at Roma. There was no bill filed against Bennet but in (11) the meantime, Ross told us to camp out of town, about three miles down the Bungil Creek, but we disobeyed that order and came into Roma, and the consequence was Ross lost his two horses. They did not stray, I think they must have been stolen. The horses myself and mates rode, two of which were station horses, Ross took them and left myself and Howe to get back the 70 miles to Noorindo the best way we could. We waited for night and as Ross left us without any money, we was in a sorry (state), but the publican Mr McEwan came to our assistance and lent us some money and gave us food. We was all right and looked for the horses of Ross's but could not find them.
Sumers, riding his own horse, went home; he was staying on another station, at the time called "Weribone" 25 miles below Surat. Myself and Howe then at night at about 12 o'clock, took our saddles and went outside of the township (12) and caught a horse, I don't know who it belong to, but we put the two saddles on him and we went on foot leading the horse with the saddles to within half a mile of a station called Bungeworgorai" where there was a yard where we lay down to rest, but not to sleep. At day dawn in the morning, I took the horse we had taken from Roma and went up the Bungeworgorai Creek to the station paddock where they being two good looking horses standing at the slip rails. I let the horses out quietly and drove them down to the bullocky yard where we saddled them and rode for home. And as we knew every inch of the country round, I made a bee line for Noorindo, never touching a road until a few miles from Noorindo. It was just breaking day about 4am when we was a half a mile from the paddock, when we took the saddles off and let the horses go and walked to the station carrying (13) the saddles. Ross being an early riser, was at the stockmans' door when we got there. He told us to deliver up our saddles as he did not require our services any more. I then told him that the saddle I got was my own and I asked him to pay me what was owed me and he said he would not, and would summons us for not obeying his orders and not camping on the creek, so I went and caught a horse I had of my own and rode into Surat and took out a summons for my wages which he owed me. About 25 pounds and he also summonsed me for disobeying orders. He got a verdict and so did I, but they fined me all I had to take off Ross but as the magistrate was all friends of Ross and station owners I had no chance of justice. They told me I could appeal.
I think I stayed a few days in Surat and then I rode over to "Combarngo". Mr Bennet having left the station as Ross's sister-in-law had (14) started or was going to a breach of promise action he cleared out and the new superintendent a Mr Stephenson, a very nice gentleman and a good boss, but he did not know much about cattle, and I got the job of head stockman at 35 shillings per week, good wages for that time. I stayed with him at "Combarngo" until the Gympie gold fields was opened in 1867, but during my stay at Combarngo, Ross could not leave alone, being on the adjoining station only five miles away. He was always trying to trap me in doing something. He first of all summonsed me for the price of a saddle which he let a shepherd have. I was to have shown the shepherd out to the station where the sheep was about five miles from Surat. When the man got drunk in Surat and the horse bucked him off and the saddle was lost and I had to pay five pounds for it. Then again the Christmas of 1867, we had no fat cattle on the place and our cook - a nice woman - wanted suit for a Christmas pudding, (15) so me and some of boys went out two days before Christmas and we managed to get a few passable cattle out of the scrub among which was a very fat cow belong to Noorindo, so when I went in to kill the bullock for Christmas, I shot in mistake the cow.
So in about a week after Christmas, the police came and searched the place for hides, but could find no hides only what was Combarngo hides, but anyway I was arrested, the black fellow had informed about the cow to Ross. After about a fortnight the police magistrate came to Surat - his name was Charters, he was stationed at St George's Bridge (?) (and) afterwards Gold Commissioner of Charters Towers. He heard the case and dismissed it without a stain on my character. I then went home to Combarngo and every opportunity I got to get a "cleanskin" from him (Ross) I used to get it and put it into the weaner's paddock. I must have got a hundred or more.
Mr Stevenson was a bit of a sport (16) and we kept a few racehorses. We had one man on the station named Jim Hacket, who we all thought was a "bruiser". The races come on at Surat and we all went from Combarngo, even the cook and housemaid to see Mr Stevenson's horses run. There was a great crowd in Surat from all the neighbouring stations. There was also a band of music. There also was a man he was a great bully; all around the district was afraid of him. Early in the evening I saw (him) knock over drunken men who was not able to help themselves. After the dancing started the man Boyce the bully came round with the hat for the musicians. He was a sheep overseer at Donga on the Donga Creek, a tributary of the Balonne, and being a lot of hands from the sheep stations there he made them give liberally. Whereas myself and three others of our mates was sitting on a sofa when Boyce came to us with the hat but we refused to give when he said "I thought as much" and said the stockman (17) was no bloody good, and the sheepman was, when I, sitting down on the sofa, said: "You mean it the other way, the stockman was the ( missing word??), the sheepmen are duffers." When he turned around and he got hold of a little hair that was starting to grow on the side of (my) face and he pulled it out by the roots. I jumped on the sofa and as he was waving the bit of hair on his hand, I hit him between the two eyes and down he went, hat and money and all over the room. I don't think the musicians got much. When Boyce picked himself up, he shouted out: "Where is the man that struck me?" Hacker our mate said: "You was a fool to hit a man of his size, now you will have to fight him?" I said "I heard you was only waiting to have a go at him, now is you chance to have a go at him, now is your time, take my place for the honour of the stockriders. But he was not on, so I called him a mean coward, and as Boyce was still raging for the man that hit him, I stood out and said : "Here I am". He made a rush for me and I (18) stepped aside and I hit him with my right hand just on the point of the jaw. He must have laid there on the floor for at the least a minute _ I thought I had killed him, when he picked himself up (and) when I asked him if he had had enough, he said: "No, come outside."
All this time, I did not see my mate Hacket, but a little mate of mine named Tom Sumers came to me and said he would get me fair play. Well, a ring was formed, when Boyce came again at me with a rush, but I got my left hand on to his solar plexus, and the right to the jaw, when he cried out that he would not fight no more till the morning, but when the morning came, (he) had cleared out. I saw him again after at Roma, but we met and parted friendly. I might mention that Hacket was very quiet when we got back to the station, and never talked fight again.
At this time, I was courting the cook's daughter - Lizzie Coleman was her name - when something happened (which) I
|Queensland gold diggers in the 1800s.|
did not like, and I broke it off. The family (19) of them went to Melbourne where they had some relations.
Soon after that, the Gympie Gold Field broke out and I wished Mr Stevenson goodbye, and with his cheque in my pocket and an order to get a horse which he left for to me time before at the Kogan Creek, myself riding a good mare named "Barmaid', a well-bred one by Don Cossack, and a pack horse, I started for Gympie and at the Kogan Hotel, while I was getting the horse, Mr Stevenson, gave me, I met a man named Tom Daunt. He was going to Gympie, so we agreed to go as mates. Well we started - I never kept the dates - but I know we made a long stage, and we bought a pick and shovel and dish at Dalby, where we rested a day and Tom started the next day with the pack horses. I stopped till the next day when I had some business to do. I started next day and overtook my mate at Jimbour and he picked up a man called Benjamin Walker, so when I came up, as he was going to the "rush" and we had a ( 20) spare horse, we told him we would give him a lift, so we went into Jimbour Woolshed, and I got some sheep skins and made him a saddle we then started but our tucker bag got low as we did not bring much from Dalby.
Anyway, we thought we could buy on the road but the stations we passed, they would not sell or give us any. They wanted us to take a job on the stations as all their hands had run off to the rush. But at the next station, Walker thought of a plan. He went and asked at the station whether they wanted hands as we was fencers. They did and Walker rode out with the boss. The name of the station was Mount Alexandra. Walker came back , he said it was all right. In the meantime, we had got flour and beef from the storekeeper which me and Daunt had cooked. When night came we cleared out for Gympie and left the job of fencing for someone else. About three days after, one day in December, we arrived at Gympie.
(21) Our first day at the rush was curious. Walker went out of camp on his own and when we came back, myself and Daunt, after putting the horses away, Walker said he was going away prospecting on his own account, but if he found anything good, we should be the first to know. Me and Daunt then took a stroll up the gully on which was a great number of diggers. All the gully which was then called "Nash's Gully" was pegged out in claims from the head to its junction with the Mary River. But towards the river it seemed to spread out in a wide flat but good gold was got on that flat. After looking at Nash, the prospectors claim, where they were working, I saw virgin gold for the first time in my life, and I watched them at work for a long time until Daunt spoke and said it was time to go to our camp. As we walked back down the gully thinking of gold all the time (and) as I watched where the Nashs had been working before they reported their find - in a heap of hoperings (tailings), I saw as I thought a piece of the yellow metal. I stopped to look and picked it up. I saw then it was (22)the right stuff, so I dropped it in my pocket and kept it. The next day we pegged out a claim near the "Caledonian reef", which was just taken up by the Pollock (Polacks?), and we started to sink a shaft. I got the nugget weighed that I had found on Nash's gully. The weight was 7 or 9 cwts - not bad for the first day's work. Next day we bottomed the hole we was sinking and got a nugget of 16ozs beside some small gold. While we was washing, some New Zealand diggers was looking on and they offered us 200 pound for the claim. We asked them 400 pound, which they gave us. Not bad for three days on the field. Well for a day or two, we just loafed. We thought we was very lucky. About a week after selling our claim, Ben Walker came to our camp one night and told us he had struck his "pile" and he had pegged out two claims for us, and to be there early as he was going to the commissioner and get him to mark off his prospecting claim. He could call for us, so as we could go with him and (23)stand by our claims where he showed us the pegs, as a great crowd always followed the commissioner when they thought there was new ground found. But anyway me and Daunt got a good claim each on "golden" or "walkers" gully on which we netted about 2000 pounds each. We also bought another claim on the "White's Gully", where we paid wages to men with a share to work it for us. We cleared a few hundred out of it. About this time the "One Mile Creek" was opened and some heavy gold was got there. Then the rush took place to the "Deep Creek" - they called it the "Deep Creek" (as the gold was the ) deepest yet found. Shafts was from 25 to 35 feet deep, but it was very rich if a claim was on the "lead". I did not go to the "rush" on Sunday, but myself and Tom was there on Monday. We walked down the creek, about half a mile, but it was all pegged from the prospectors to the river. It was then all dense scrub, but me and Tom had (24) cut pegs when within about 150 yards from the river, we came across a claim with no one on, so Tom said : "This will do us", so we pulled the pegs out and threw them away and put ours in their place and marked the trees by the pegs. We then started to scratch and mark out a shaft and wait to hear which way the "leads" was when down rushed a big Irishman and wanted to clear us off . As the claim was now (??) ours "look at the marked trees and pegs", he was satisfied then, so he said his claim must be further down, so he went down and got a claim further down.
We started to sink and we bottomed at 35 feet. It was a very wet claim, but on the bottom of the shaft we had 12 inches of which, which gave a return of 3 dwt (cwt?) to the dish, but at that time heavy rain set in and the Mary River came down in flood and all the one mile township - hotels and stores was under water, some only just showing the ridge capping. So all the claims was under water and (25) Commissioner King granted exemption until it was dry enough to work again. But myself and Tom sold out to some Victorian diggers for 300 pounds while it was under water. When we went back to "White's gully" and gave the men that was working for us equal shares, and we worked together until we had worked out the claim. By this time, I had learnt and had become an expert digger, and with a prospecting rush, there was no digger better or quicker in washing out or prospecting a dish of dirt. At that time I was then backing in a lot of reef claims, which was costing me a lot of money. Daunt would have nothing to do with backing, so he kept his money; I wish I had. About this time a rush broke out at Kilkivan. I went there. Me and Daunt we got a claim on "Italian (Italian?) Gully". We bottomed a "duffer" at 35 feet, we drove "her" one way 12 feet, but got nothing. When I came out of the hole, two young chaps on the "brace" offered us 30 pounds for it, which we took. They started (26) to drive the other way and cut the lead, which paid them well. Me and Tom then went back to Gympie, when another "rush" took place to Yabba, or Jimma (Jimna?) Creek, as the rush was called. I thought that I should have been one of the first there but there was four or five hundred there. The creek was pegged out for miles. We build a hut of logs and thatched it with "milka leaves". They grow very like a palm, very tall, sometimes very large ones are 40 feet. They have no branch or limbs., but they grow the leaves from the top like rhubarb, with a number of white stalks in the centre which make a good vegetable for soup. The outside back covers a thin shell of not more than 3/4 inch. This is very hard but the heart inside of this is only pitch, this taken out which is easy and the tree split down the centre makes good flumes for running away water.
We prospected about for a week and got nothing. On the Sunday as I was reading, laying in the hut, Tom came (and told) me there was a (27) rush on. I said I would not go. Tom went and joined in with another party, and we were no longer mates. Next day, Monday, I took my pick and dish also a tape measure and started for this new find. It was only about one mile from the camp but it was a dense scrub and very wet and damp country. When I came to the creek where the gold was found, (and) after having a look at the prospector, I started to go down the creek, and as I did so, I met three men who I knew in Toowoomba, and we went down the creek together, when we came upon one man trying to sink a hole in the creek. I saw he had too much ground for one man, and I told him so. He said he had mates coming, but I said yesterday was Sunday and they were not here, so I will peg you off. So I told my new mates to cut pegs while I ran the tape over the ground, when the man - his name was James Drain - said as we had tools we could go in with him, so we (28) agreed, so that made five in the party and other four mens ground.
So we started to work to sink a paddock in the creek, the sinking being only 7 feet. We worked all that day to sundown and we could not bottom for water, so as it was very hard work; one of the Toowoomba chaps chucked it, so leaving us four. So next day we went at it again and just before we knocked off work, we got the bottom in one corner of the paddock, when I just managed to get two buckets and dish of the work dirt, and bottom out the sides of the paddock came in and drove us out. So, we then washed our prospects and they yielded well over 1 ounce to the dish, so next day I went down to Gympie to get timber and proper tools for making a Californian pump while they cut timber and made ready for timbering the paddock. I might say before I write further, we was greatly troubled with mosquitoes and scrub leeches. Sometimes our boots would be full of blood and we never knew that (29) they was on us. But the claim was good and we worked the main part out when another man named Dunkin (Duncan) McGregor, a canny Scotsman brought it. He was a good miner and he understood the workings of that sort of well. We got more gold after he came than before. Up at the township of Jimma (Jimna?), there was gold buyers, but their price they was giving for the gold was not, we thought, enough, as it was good looking gold. So I made up my mind and go to Gympie with mine. Some of my mates sent theirs with me. Well, I got on my mare the next day, or rather night, so I rode through at night and we heard there was bushrangers about. Once or twice as I passed some camps, they called out to me, but I put "Barmaid" on full speed for half a mile when I knew they could not catch me. Well, at daybreak, I was in sight of Gympie and I put up at a hotel, I forget the name of the hotel but I know one Murphy kept it. After a wash and breakfast, I went round to the bank of New South Wales with mine and my mate's gold which (30) was beginning to hang heavy in my pockets. After putting the gold of my mates to their separate accounts, as they had given me their signatures, all the gold was sent through to the Sydney mint as well as my own. I just drew five pounds on mine for to have a good time while I was in Gympie. I had a good time and early next morning at daylight I bought some biscuits from Murphy, settled up and I had one shilling to take me back to Yabba, but I was not to see Yabba for a good many days.
But I got started and went to Imbil Station when I called there and bought a piece of steak to roast on the coals when I intended to have a rest and spell my mare for an hour or two. But man proposes and God disposes and I did not get the rest for about three miles from Imbil, while going through a patch of brigalow in a boggy creek, I heard a voice call out : "Stand you bugger or I will shoot you." Looking up I saw a figure with a long shirt out of a blue blanket covering me with a pistol (31) but his hand was very shaky that held the revolver. I turned in my saddle and looked back, when on the other bank a similar figure menaced me with a double-barrel shotgun. It was a muzzle loader and I could see it stood a full cock with caps on the nipples and he was as steady as a rock.
They made me get off in the creek and marched me in front of them off the road. I should say half a mile or better. They had taken my mare away from me and all the
money they got from me was the change I got when I bought the beef at Imbil and the receipt I got from the bank there (which) which I found after where I was tied up. They tied my hands behind my back and made me sit down on the ground by a ... sapling, and because I did not sit up close to the sapling, they hit me on the head with either a stick or the revolver. I was stunned for a time. (32) When I came to myself, I was fast to the sapling and I wanted a drink of water. I then heard footsteps and looking up and saw the man with the gun and his face was uncovered and I saw him very plain. As soon as he saw I was conscious he covered his face with a coloured handkerchief and said : "Oh, you are not dead." Then I asked him for a drink of water. He said he had no time to get me one, but his mate would be along directly.
His mate did come along but he would not give me a drink but he gave me a chew of my own tobacco and said: "If I did not make a noise he would let me go at sundown. This was in the month of June about 10am, but they never come and let me go, but I got away from the sapling just about daylight the next morning with my hands still tied behind my back and legs tied around my ankles.
After a great many attempts to stand - with several falls - I at last succeeded but I was grazed and (33) bruised all over. I started to jump for the road, but I made very slow progress as the country was very rough. I sat down once and tried to cut the string through that bound my ankles but could not suffer the pain. Well, at last I got in sight of the road, when welcome sight I saw four men with swags going towards Gympie. When I coo-ed to them they seemed to hesitate about coming on to me, as I was naked and covered in blood and dirt from head to foot. When they cut the string that bound my wrists and ankles, when I must have swooned away (for) when I came to they was giving me a drink of water and they found me some clothes after washing me in the creek to which they had carried me.
These same four men had been stuck up and robbed the night before. That was the same day as I was. Only I was tied in the morning and then in the evening, they was tied two and two but one of them having lost a finger, his hand was smaller than his wrist. he was able to slip his hand (34) and unloosened the rest. Well, I went back to Imbil with these men and I got there they put me to bed after giving me some beef-tea. As I lay in the bunk I was visited by a trooper and a gold buyer, and as they told me they asked me questions about the rangers, but which I answered, but I had not recollections of doing so. In about a week I was able to ride to Gympie as my mare was found by one of the station hands about a mile from where I was stopped by the bushrangers. My saddle also was found on top of the Yabba range close to the road with one of the blanket shirts the rangers wore. I was asked by the police to go to the courthouse and report, which I did, when the inspector - I think his name was Lloyd - asked me all particulars about the stick up. He then showed an album of lots of photos of men, and after looking a them I came across the photo of the man that I saw his face (35) uncovered, after I came to myself after I was tied up. I then said that was one of the men - the one that held the gun.
The inspector said: "I know him, we shall have no difficulty in getting him captured as he was then keeping a shanty on the road on the Brisbane side of the Yabba (Jimma) range. He also asked me if I saw him and knew him when he was in the hands of the police. About a week after this, I was up in the Jimma township as I had not started work at the claims, as I still paid a man to work for me, when a constable came after me and told me to come and identify the man, but I was not to forget what the inspector told me. The place where they had the police station was about half way between Jimma creek rush and the Sunday gully rush. It, the station, was only bark and slabs, but they had (a) window facing the way he was coming and the constable said: "Look, Sergeant McCarthy has him framed in the window," so I looked up and (36)it was the same face I saw uncovered in the scrub and also in the police album. I then went into the hut and then I heard his name for the first time as "Troden" alias "Podgey". When I was asked by the sergeant whether I knew the man, I said: "no?, I don't know him, I don't think I ever saw him before". Podgey then turned to the sergeant and said: "You can let me go now sergeant", but McCarthy said: "No, Troden, I shall have to take you down to Gympie as the warrant says, and this man - pointing to men - "has to come too, you will be all right." There is one instance I ought to mention, that is when he arrested Podgey, he told the constable that was with him to keep Podgey covered with his revolver. While doing so, the revolver went off and the bullet passed between McCarthy and Podgey, shaving close to Podgey, when Podgey said quite cool: "That was a close shave, sergeant."
Well, after I had squared up matters at the claim - we was still getting good returns, (37) I went down to Gympie, and at the police court hearing, when I was giving evidence, when I said "he was the man", the PM looked at me, but the inspector told the magistrate that he had told me to not recognise him at Yabba as they might have trouble in bringing him down to Gympie. They had another name Blake in the dock with Podgey, but I could not identify him. So Podgey was committed for trial at Maryborough, and I was bound over to appear at his trial. He was also charged the same day with sticking up the other four men that cut the strings that bound me. They all identified both Podgey and Blake, so they was both committed for trial on that charge as well. I cannot remember what month the trial took place or whether it was in 1868 or 1869, but I think it must be the later year. (It was in the month of July 1868 the assault took place, and the court case was heard in Maryborough Criminal Sittings on Saturday September 26, 1868. Case concluding Monday 28th).
I then went back to Yabba and sold out my interest. In fact we all sold out as we though it was worked out. We sold it (38) to some storekeeper at Jimma. They put on wages men to work it. Paid them for a week or two. When they gave it up to the men they had working for them, who made a good thing out of it, getting nearly as much gold out of it as we did, by breaking the bottom of an old dried bed of a gully which was running the same way as the creek we worked. It must have been the old original creek years before and we never though it was worthwhile to try. Well, I now wished them all goodbye at Jimma (and) went down to Gympie, disposed of all my shares in the reefs I was backing in, and went down to Maryborough to wait for the trial.
|Working the Mary River.|
I stayed at the "Steampacked Hotel" Kent Street. Well, the trial took place but I was not called to give evidence, but still had to attend the court and the case of the other four men was called when they all swore to the two both Podgey and Blake. The jury retired and in about 10 minutes returned with a (39) verdict of guilty. When the (judge)looked over at the prisoners and told them that it was lucky for them that they was not on trial for the other case that was mine, so he started to pass sentence on them. I shall never forget his words. The words were: "Prisoners at the bar, you are justly found guilty of highway robbery and the sentence I shall now pass on you will be 20 years penal servitude and as you bound them in bonds of rope, I will bind you the first three years in irons." I went and saw the irons riveted on them at the lock-up and they was then marched down to the steamboat to take them to the Brisbane jail.
Well about this time a emigrant ship arrived in Maryborough with a lot of single girls and I went down in the "Effie" river steamer, that went to bring them up. As I knew the captain of the "Effie" and as he said, laughing, "come and pick a wife," and so I went down and while they were transhipping the emigrants, I went (40) on board the "Maryborough" and I got talking to a young fellow in uniform, and I found he was a good sort and he was sweet on one of the girls, name of Emily Somers, and he said he was going to desert, and would I help him. I told him I would, so he he showed me the girl Emily and also a shipmate who was chums with her, name of Harriet Phillips, and it appears strange that we took a liking to each other at once, so I helps the "Middy" get his clothes aboard. And when we cast off from the steam, we had about 70 single women and about 60 single men and only a few married couples, but anyway the midshipman, his name was William Ackers, he afterwards was an auctioneer at Charters Towers, the firm of Ackers and Ayton. Anyway he got clear from the ship and she sailed without him. I had plenty of money at the time and being in love with the girl, Harriet, and (who) was hired from the depot to (41) the service of general servant at the Maryborough Post Office.
(41)I used to meet her after tea and we would take a quiet walk down the river bank and out to the waterworks. But one night I met Emily and Ackers outside of the Shakespear Hotel, and they asked us to come in and see the dancing and we went in and I being a good dancer at the time, commenced to instruct my girl in the art. When Emily introduced a new young man by name of Joe Noaks, saddler, and he asked my girl, Harriet, to have a dance and he kept with her pretty well all night and I could not get near her. But I got near Noaks at last and I cautioned him to keep away or I would punch his head. Anyway, I saw the girl home and as next day was Sunday, I went to take her out at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Joe Noaks (Noaks? which spelling) was there also waiting for her but when she came out of the gate at the post office, she just nodded to Noaks and put her hand (42)on my arm and we walked away to where Emily and the midshipman was. When we went out on the Gayndah Road to the "Blossom hotel" where we went and had some refreshment and it appeared they was going to stay there, as they intended to get married the next day, which I suppose they did only I never saw them married. At this time the Maryborough waterworks was going on up the Gayndah road near the Blossom Inn. I got a job as time keeper from the contractor whose name was J Conners. His home was in Tiaro up on the Mary River about 15 miles.
Well, after a few weeks as I was very much in love with Miss Phillips, I asked her to marry me, but she said she thought she was too young and the people at the Post Office tried to persuade her not to marry me, so we went and got the Magistrate's consent and was married (June 16,1870) at the registrars office in Maryborough and we went to live at the Blossom Inn where Emily and Ackers was living.(43) It suited me as I was only about 200 yards from my work and Ackers got a job there too. Well, I had a very easy good job and I had some money when the news of the "Stanton Harcourt" find of gold came to Maryborough. The gold fever then again took hold of men, when I chartered Mrs Moody's dray she being the owner of the Blossom Inn and myself and Ackers, a Yankee and another man - four of us in all, and started for this new "El Dorado". After about four of five days travelling me and the Yankee went on, but missed the right track and went to right on the Port Curtis road.
After going along this for some time, we came to a shepherd's hut and he told us where we where. We was wrong, so we had to turn back and we got back to the Stanton Harcourt cattle station. We was then five miles off the rush. The Yankee walked on and as I was knocked up, and the lady of the house being none other than a shipmate of my wife's to whom (44) I was introduced before I was married. Loath to stop, and as the boss had that day gone to Brisbane, I stopped nearly a week to keep the lady company in the role of a brother. Well, I went on to the diggings and I found my mates had got a claim, but it was a duffer. Tried lots of place all around. Could get colours but nothing to pay and as my money was nearly all gone, and I owed Mrs Moody of the Blossom Inn 11 weeks board for the wife, I thought it was about time to get back to Maryborough and get some work.
So me and "Billy" Ackers started back on the track with our blankets on my mare and she was in good fettle after the long spell. We got as far as Broom's Station (on) Broom's Creek, the first day. We tried to get some rations from them but they would not (let) us have any. But they gave us breakfast next morning, of stale damper and salt beef with some strong tea. No sugar in the tea; they said they was short of sugar.
Well, we travelled on after breakfast (45) and got within about five or six miles of "Musket Flat" on the Maryborough & Gayndah road, when we had to camp as I was knocked up. So we made a fire and having some tobacco left, I filled my pipe and had a smoke. Ackers did not smoke - a good job or I should not have any tobacco left. Well, we spread our blankets and turned in. Up at dawn, packed up swags and off for Maryborough again. We had not gone more than 200 yards when we saw the glimmer of a fire, and, as we got closer, we could see two or three me sitting round it. Well, we went towards them and I saw one man that I knew there. Well, they gave us a good feed and they told me - at least Munro who was boss there did - that they was out looking for a mob of over 300 head of fat cattle that had got away from Yengarie owing to the Mary River coming down a banker and some of the fences washed away. He also told me he was empowered to offer 10 shillings a head reward and also told me they was all branded on the off rump (46) with the ace of clubs and to have a look out if I saw any. Well, they started towards Port Curtis and we went towards Musket Flat where we got something more to eat and enough to carry us on towards Maryborough. The publican, one McKewen, I knew also lent me five shillings.
Well, we felt fit and we started on the road again and reached within about 15 miles from Maryborough, when we camped for the night and I was awake by the dawn of day and sitting up I was greatly astonished to see on the open ridge opposite our camp a big mob of cattle and I could see at distant that they was fats. I woke up Ackers and showed him them and I said, I would go and have a look at them. So I put a saddle on "Barmaid" who was close to the camp and rode across to have a look at them.
When the cattle saw me coming they made a bolt, but Barmaid being a good stock horse, I was soon up with them and I rung the leaders round and being good open country, I steadied them without too much difficulty and I then saw they was branded (47)with the ace of clubs and now to get them to Yengarie was the job. So I called to Ackers to get his breakfast and bring me some, which he did. I then told him to start and walk to Yengarie which was then only about 9 miles from where we was, and tell the people there that we only had one horse to keep them as our other ones was knocked up.
Well, he started and was gone about 10 minutes when he coo-ed and came back and told me there was a horse close by in hopples (hobbles) if I could ride that one he could ride Barmaid on top of our blankets. So I agreed, as I did not like to be alone by myself. He went and caught the horse and brought him up to me, a good looking horse, leading him with his scarf. So I put the saddle and bridle on him and Ackers went off to the camp to fix the blankets and make a halter out of his scarf and saddle straps. I got on the horse. He made a few pig-roots and then went all right.
I then headed the cattle towards Yengarie and I got (48) them to move in the right direction and my mate joined me on the blankets in about 15 minutes and we pushed them as fast as we could. To drive 200 head of cattle or over with two men and no whip, is no small job, I can tell you. But anyway we stuck to the job as both was thinking of our wives and wondering if "Mother Moody" had turned them out.
At last we struck a paddock fence of Yengarie and we got on better then as we only had one side of them to look after. Well, about 3 o'clock we came in sight of the big yard and some of the Yengarie hands came out to help us yard them. Young Mr Cran, one of the boss's sons, counted them. There was 220 heads. We put our saddled off to let the horses have a feed and a rest. We went up to the office with Mr Cran and he gave me a cheque for 100 pounds. I said I wanted 10 pounds more, but he said he thought that was enough. Well, we went about half a mile to the Mary River Hotel and got something to eat and drink. When we started to go and get the horse and go on and see our wives (49) and the landlady, but in going by the office in the yard, we saw messrs Tooth and Cran, and they asked us if we got paid all right. I told them what Mr Munro told me that I was to get 10 shillings per head if I found them, so I told them Mr Cran had given me a cheque for 100 pounds, but had not paid me for the 20 more. Those gentlemen said what Munro said was right and they then handed me two five pound notes, one of which I handed to my mate. And we went and got the horses and started to get to Maryborough at once. We got there about half past eight or nine and went straight into the bar and asked for a drink.
Mrs Moody was in the bar and she said: "Yes, if you have got the money." Ackers threw over the five pound note and said: "Here, where is my wife?." but by this time they had heard us and they came running in and put their arms around us and kissed us and told us if we had not come they was to be turned out the next day. So we told them to pack up their boxes and my mate went and brought out two cabs and we shifted into the (50) Steam Packet hotel that night where I was well known.
On the next day, Harriet and myself rented a cottage in Adelaide Street, and we purchased a few articles of furniture with bed and bedding, a couple of cups and saucers, tea kettle, plates and dishes, making a big hole in our money. I then went and saw about some work. Mr Conners who I worked for before, told me I could get a few day's work at one pound per day if I was game to tackle it. I aid I was. It appeared that some Irish bullock driver and timber getters on Bauple Mountain just outside Tiaro owed Conners somewhat about 100 pounds and he got a verdict against them and that the bailiff wanted someone that could ride well and not afraid to seize and take their two teams of bullocks as that was all the property they had. So the next day as luck would have it, we went to Bauple and seized the bullocks and drove them to Tiaro where we put them in Conners paddock in the day time and we locked them up at night in the yard. I stayed with those bullocks about 16 days and I only saw the men once and they said,(51) it was a mean job I was doing. I replied: "Beggars did not have a choice." If I had not done it, someone else would and that I did not let the bullocks starve.
Well the next time they came they brought a letter to me from Eccles the bailiff, to deliver the bullocks to them, which I did and rode back to Maryborough and saw Mr Eccles and Mr Conners and was paid 17 pounds. They allowed the extra pound for the use of my horse, then Mr Conners was starting a butcher's business at Tiaro (and) he asked me if I would take the job at 25 shillings per week, house free and double rations, which I did and myself and wife resided at Tiaro.
We had been there about two months when Emily, Ackers' wife as we supposed until (then), came up on us one morning having walked from Maryborough, and told us her troubles, that Ackers had left her and that she had not married. So as she was a fine lump of a woman, she had plenty after her, and no one knew Ackers. No questions was asked and she got married to a (52) man named Harry Murray, a sailor, but he was working on some of the punts carrying timber on the Mary River and they seemed happy.
After some time, Conners got somehow into difficulties. He had to give up business and I had to look for a billet. About this time my dear wife took bad. I very near lost her and she had a mishap but she soon recovered. Then I went and saw a Mr Nicholas at Owanvilla, 10 miles from Maryborough, and I got a job as a butcher there and I used to have to deliver beef on the river, on various farms.
I used to have to go 9 miles down the river and 6 miles up twice a week each way, besides doing the killing and cutting up. This work was pretty stiff but I stuck to it as I liked the river work and the mistress was a good sort.
I stuck to it for nearly 18 months when a daughter was born on December 16, 1871. I was away after cattle at the time she was born. It was a very curious way that way she got the name of Elizabeth. The way she got the name - I asked my wife what name we should call (53) her. She said she would leave it to me, so I said all right. And as I had to go into Maryborough that day on business, I said I would ask the first little girl I met, her name, after I landed from the boat. I did, and the first girl I met about two or three hundred yards from the river I said: "Are you going to school?" She said: "Yes, sir". I said: "What's your name, my dear?" and she answered: "Elizabeth White". So I gave the little girl half a crown and she looked at me and said "thank you. I said "good morning."
When I went home at night after registering her birth, my wife never liked the name of Elizabeth. After the event of having a daughter, things was all right for a while but heavy rains set in and the Mary River was in high flood (1875?), and the cedar logs came down in hundreds and men went out in boats to catch them and tie them up. I had left Nichols just before and I had bought a boat to go down oyster fishing. I had been down only twice before, but it had paid well. I had taken a partner in (54) with me before this puntman that married the wife's shipmate Emily, Ackers' cast off girl. We done quite well in salvage money, saving the cedar timber, but hundreds of logs got away past Maryborough and out to the bay.
There was another married man living near us at Owanvilla named Fleming and we had some talk about the logs getting to the bay. We thought it possible to get enough to pay us and we would take our wives down to the bay and fix a camp where there was water. My boat was a very big boat, she was a lifeboat belong to the German emigrant ship lost somewhere on the coast and I bought her cheap for 25 pounds, when sold by the underwriters, so we had plenty of room in the boat for all of us. So after putting in a supply of food stuff, we went down to the bay and we pitched our camp on the south of the mouth of the river. There was water there from a blackfellow's well, but the mosquitoes was very bad but then he had nets to fix up at night. Well we (55) had good times at first, we got a good few logs and as I had called at Dundatha Sawmill, 9 miles below Maryborough and got the loan of raft chains, dogs and anchor, on our way down to the bay, so we dogged and anchored them in a bend of the river inside a very snug place for them to be in.
After we had collected as many as we could find amongst the mangroves, we went further down the bay and often we got a log of 100 feet in amongst the mangroves which line the beach to the south, but we run short of tucker. We had no sugar left, only tea; no flour, no beef. We could get plenty of crabs, oysters or fish. We had some pumpkins that I can't look at them for food since that time over 50 years ago.
One day a "bark" came in from Sydney and anchored in the bay, so myself and Harry Murray went out to one of the oyster beds and filled a bag of oysters and took them to the ship and asked if (56) the captain would like them. He seemed very pleased with them and he asked what we was doing and I told him - not forgetting the state of our larder and of the women we had with us.
He gave us 100lb of flour, about 40lb of sugar, tea, coffee and about 7 or 8 tins of milk, besides half a bag of potatoes and half a bag of ships biscuits and some tobacco. So we done all right. He (the captain) was waiting for a pilot to take him up the river with the tugboat. So now we had plenty of rations and we now only wanted a spring tide to take us up the river to get rid of our logs. W hoped we would a good price. We lost some of the logs getting under way as just when we got into the main stream of the tide, a steamer passed up coming down and made a great sea on and drew some of the logs. But anyway we done fairly well and it was a healthy trip, for the children was healthy and the women burnt as brown as a berry. Anyway, I was tired of the river and I gave over the business to Harry Murray as it (57) suited him. I then took a job with a butcher in Maryborough named Kruger, a German a good tradesman and small goods man. I also worked for the Morgan Bros a few months, then went back to Kruger and worked for him until I left Maryborough; when I left the wife in Maryborough and went down by boat in the Lady Bowen paddle steamer, as I had heard of a job as head slaughterman at Godna (Goodna?) at good wages of two pounds 16 shillings a week and tucker and lodgings.
When I got there I found I was going to work for the man I hated as a boy, that was Adset (who) lived close to Mr Barron's farm, where I had done my first graft. He did not know me and I did not make myself known. He had a wife, who looked after our comfort. thee was four of us all together.
Soon after I got there (Adset) went away for about a week or 10 days and as soon as he was gone, the missus took a drop of drink and she would be pretty well half tight. When Adset came home he came after we had gone to bed and I woke with the screams. Mrs Adset was (58) making and I could hear the blows that was striking her. At last I yelled out stop it and he stopped and then the cursing of her was something awful. One of the other chaps told me he often thrashed her like that. I said if ever he done it again while I was here, he would be sorry for it. He said I would have to look out if I tackled Adset, as they all was afraid of him.
I had just drawn a month's pay and sent it up to the wife in Maryborough and she could sell the fowls I had started rearing game fowls and we was getting a good price for them. About a month or six weeks after that Adset went away to buy more cattle, he was away about a fortnight when Mrs Adset started on the drink again, but he came home driving the cattle in the daylight and the missus was not too bad. He had his supper with us all right and then he went out and we all went to bed but by about 11 o'clock we woke by the screams of the missus and I jumped out of bed and went into
( end book 3 commencing page 59 book 4.) the sitting room where he had dragged the missus from the bedroom and he was holding her by her hair and thrashing her with the handle of a buggy whip. He had pulled every stitch of clothes off her and she was naked. he was beating her all over the body. I jumped in and I caught him by the collar and turned him round and took the whip from him and gave him a taste of his own medicine, when he called out for his shipman to come and help him, but they would not come. Then I told him who I was when I worked for Mr Barron, when he said I must have come from a very low place.
When the morning came I packed up my bundle and went to another butcher there named MacFarlane but the place was too rough, so I only stopped about a week
Continuing Book 4.page 59
Book 4. Pages 59 to 70
When the morning came I packed up my bundle and went to another butcher there named MacFarlane but the place was too rough, so I only stopped about a week.
I may mention that while I was with Adsett, I used to deliver meat every morning at 7 o'clock to the asylum. I used to have to drive into the cook-house and leave the meat on a big bench, then a keeper would let me out and lock the gate after me. After (60) I left Goodna, I went to Brisbane to sell all out and come to Brisbane. I stayed at Littleboys Hotel in Edward Street where I had a very good time until the wife came, which was about a fortnight after I sent for her. The day after she arrived, I saw an ad in the morning paper for a butcher wanted for Beenleigh. I went around to the office, there was a lot there before me applying for the job. After asking me a lot of questions, he told me to call round at two or three o'clock. I went around at 3 o'clock and I saw some of the same men coming away from there cursing because they was not wanted and said: "What was the good of me going in, but I said I would go anyway and see him" So I went in and he looked me all over. I said: "What are you looking at"? He said: "I was looking to see if you was all right." So I said: "I don't get drunk and neglect my work" Then he said I had to go to Beenleigh the next day by coach, 20 miles I think that was the distance, to kill and be shopman with one man to help me.(61) The firm I was to work for, Pietzner and Coser, the wages was two pounds 10 shillings a week. I then told him I was married and he told me I could rent a cottage there for about five shillings a week. So I went the next day and I got the wife up in about a week. After we had to start housekeeping again and our dear little baby was keeping good with all the knocking about we had lately. While with this firm, I done very well and my wife being a saving little woman, she kept thing straight while I was in Maryborough, I had joined the MUIOOF (Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows) and as there was no lodge at Beenleigh, I wrote about it to the Grand-Master in Brisbane, also to my lodge in Maryborough, and we got one formed at Beenleigh and I was the first N.G. (Noble Grand) installed. This Lodge increased wonderfully. I cannot say how long I stayed at Beenleigh, but there was a man on the upper Albert River, that used to come too Beenleigh once a week with his cart to take out beef. He would take a side or sometimes three quarters at a time. He said there was a good opening (62) for a butcher up there and if I liked, I could join him as equal partners and start a business on the Albert River at his place. I told him I would think it over. Me and my dear wife talked the matter over and I left Beenleigh, though Pietzner and Coser offered more money if I would stop, but as I had given my word to John Barnard. He was known on the river as Flash Jack.
Everything was done to make a success of the business and at that time I was training at the Albert with another young man for the Coomera regatta which was held at Christmas time at Coomera. I can recollect that me and my mate, the boat puller Buckley, we went and my wife and little daughter (she could just talk then) went over to Coomera in a spring cart with another shipmate of hers, Mr and Mrs Wilson - they got married after they came out but they had no children.
We won the whale boat race, what we was training for. We beat the crack Brisbane McClures team, I think that was,(63) I know I pulled the stroke and Wilson was coxswain. Soon after this boat race, as in business there was not enough for two, as I was not making more than one pound per week, I left the Albert and went ac to the Logan Village on the Logan River 25 miles from Brisbane, and I engaged as a butcher and slaughterman with a Mr Drydan. He also had an hotel there. I was killing a bullock a day there, and we used to carcass meat down the Logan to a store that was on the Logan, where they was building a bridge over the river.
I had a cottage to live in rent free and I got two pound a week and my beef. I also delivered the meat to the store and some days in the week I had to deliver meat up the river to various selectors. One day while I was taking meat out up to one of the farms, as I got near the place I saw the woman of the house, she was among a bed of cabbages. I saw her roll up a bundle in her apron - it was a bag apron- and run (64) into the house. I took her meat out of the cart and carried it up to the house. I knocked at the door, when she told me to come in and put the meat on the table and said: "I have just dropped another joey in the cabbages, get me some warm water out of the kettle on the fire and bring it to me", which I did. then she asked me to call at a house about half a mile away and ask Mrs Swanson to go to her which I did. The next time I went out I saw the child and the mother was looking fit and well.
After that - sometime - it rained in torrents and I was expecting an increase in our family. Every day the Logan river was running high and the Albert too, and the old lady I had engaged to attend her could not come for flood waters. About 10 o'clock at night, in a heavy storm, my dear wife was taken bad and I only had a "hobble-de-hoy" (country bumpkin) of a girl, she was about 17 years old, but she was no good, so I made her leave the room and (65)just at the right time, the old lady arrived and I was banished and my services were no longer required. I asked the old lady how she got over and she said her two sons pulled her over the Albert, and that they had hot horses from a neighbour.
The mother and child (Emily Ellen Sophia, born 20 June, 1876) was all right and I made the old lady as comfortable as possible. I gave her a good nip of 3 star (brandy?) to keep out the damp.
The next day, I think was Sunday and I was able to stop at home after feeding the pigs.
One day after this time, it may have been two or three weeks, Mr Drydan came to me and said you are carrying people home here at night, when you have been to Schafers with the beef - do you charge them. I said No. He said do they give you anything. I said sometimes they do. Well, he said, the horses and wagonette is mine and I want the money you get. I said No, what I can make after dark was nothing to do with him. If he paid me, I told him, the overtime for driving his (66) wagonette he could have what I made. He would not have that, so I told him the best thing I could do was to leave, so I agreed to stop until he got another man.
About a month after, he got a man that was working with me at Cosers at Beenleigh, and I went away to Brisbane where I rented a house in South Brisbane, next door to Wilson who was married to my wife shipmate. he was then engine driving for Mc Gee and Luger at their sawmill where I got a job to look after the rafts of pine, what was more fast at the mill for a long while. Sometimes I would be down getting longs out of the rafts to the lengths required to be cut for that day. As the logs where in various lengths, the logs used to be lifted from the river by means of a steam crane. Power to which was supplied from the boilers inside the mill.
One day, while at work getting up logs, I got struck on the back by the heavy iron dogs what lifted the logs through the crane (67) being swung round too quick and it was supposed to have ruptured the "gall of my live" for I turned quite yellow, and I had to leave off work for a time. Being a "Oddfellow", I had to go on the "Lodge" from which I got one pound per week and the doctor, not much to pay 7 and 6 a week and keep myself, wife and two children.
I was hard up and we got into debt. I don't know what we should have done only the Wilsons' helped us considerable. When I wrote my brother Bill (half-brother) and he came to the rescue and paid off my debts for me.
At last I got better and went back to the mill and started work. Our firm at the time had the
contract for the time to build the Brisbane Exhibition and we was working overtime to get it in time for the exhibition that year. As it happened one night a steamer lay at the wharf alongside the mill. I think it was a Saturday. The engineers of the steam (ship) had blown off the boiler and the boiler was empty. The engine driver to save himself time when he came on board next ... got a lot of small stuff for lighting his fire in the boiler but,(68) by some means it had taken fire and all around the boiler was red hot and the light timber around the boiler was fast taking fire. I was working on the wharf at the time when I saw the smoke coming from her funnel. I thought it strange as I had seen no one go on board of her, so I went to have a look and I saw she was taking fire in the engine room.
I called to Wilson and the other men that the steamer was on fire. Wilson came and one man with him, when I by myself went down into the engine room and the others handed me down buckets of water with which I put out the fire of the wood for if I had put water on the red hot boiler, I did not know what would happen.
In the meantime, all hands was there out of the mill, but only myself and the other two, had down anything towards saving the vessel. The owner Mr Barker now arrived on the scene, it was now about 12 midnight, the most of the mill hands had gone home (and) the fire in the furnace had by this time burnt out and the owner then said to me : "I will stop here now and (68) look after it" and thanking me fore the pains I had taken so as the boiler was not destroyed. I told him I could not have done much only for the help of Wilson and the other man, then he told us to come up to his house in Fortitude Valley and see him about 7 o'clock on the Monday evening.
the three of us went and a servant brought us out some wine and cake, when the owner Mr Barker (I cannot think of his name) and handed to be a roll of notes, with the words to do as I liked with them. So we wished him good evening and thanked him. We then went to an hotel in Queen Street and we divided the money. The amount was just 60 pounds. I kept 20 pounds, and each of the others had 20 pounds.
We went home and the next day there was a lot of talk in the mill about us getting the money and us not sharing it with all the mill hands. It went on for several days, when one of the partners, Woodrow, by name, took it up and said it should have been handed to him to distribute amongst the mill hands and if we did not do so, we was to consider ourselves (70)sacked. The other two, Wilson and the other man, said they would do it, but I said I am sacked. Mr Barker gave me the money to do what I like with it. I am sorry I did not keep the lot. So I asked for my time and I walked away from McGee and Lugers for good. I was not too well at the time, so I got a job with Bains the butchers in Stanley Street, South Brisbane, and worked there for a few weeks but I was not too good.
The doctor ordered me a change one day when I had been to see him, and as I was passing Josh's butcher shop, Mr Josh asked me how I was. I told him what the doctor had told me about a change of climate, when he said he was looking out for a butcher to go and work for Mr Joe Carmondy at Dalby.
So Mr John wired Carmondy and I was engaged, so I went home and told the wife and that I would send for her later.
There was an emigrant ship just come in from England and a lot of emigrant was going up by the same train. I got acquainted with some (of) them and we tried if I could not pass off as a new chum, but it would
(Commencing page 71.book 4.)
But it would not work and I had to pay my own fare up well the Carmodys was Catholics and I was a catholic for a time as that time I did not believe in religion but I got on all right with Joe Carmody and as the extension of the railway was fast on the point of starting from Dalby to Roma Mr Carmody wished me to go out to Warra station and kill there for him and carcass butcher to small to small shops along the line.
I thought that would just suit me as I would now bring my wife up from Brisbane. So Mr
Carmody bought me a large tent and I sent for my wife and she came out to me at Warred Station. The distance from Dalby being 30 miles. The tent was erected well on a frame I think the size was 10 + 8. I know there was plenty of room and we built a bark fireplace . The owner of the station was a Mr Harry Thorn a very nice man who helped to make us comfortable. I was killing about 9 bullocks a week. I used to weigh the quarters at the yard when the butcher used to take them away. I had not been long at this (72) of work when another butcher from Dalby got permission from Mr Thorn to kill in the yard as long as it did not interfere with Mr Carmody. well ! another slaughterman came out to work for Mr Higgins was the butcher's name. The slaughterman was a new chum his name was Harry Dyer he had a wife and one child just toddle they got married just before they sailed from England. Anyway they was good neighbours while we was at Warra.
While working for Mr Carmody at Warra a German woman on the line about 5 miles from
Warra got lost in the brigalow scrub and search parties was out for their tent was right on the line. Well! her husband (said that ) after dinner on Monday she went into scrub to do something for herself when she must have turned round and walked the wrong way and was lost. On Wednesday I went out to have a look for her and I asked her husband who was in his camp what sort of shoes she wore and he told me they was the wooden clogs what the new chum Germans used to wear. I then went into the scrub and picked up her tracks. I led my horse with me (73) intended after I got through the scrub there was an open plain which I wanted to ride round and look for tracks. So I got through the scrub it was it was not more than half a mile until I come (came) to the plain which (I) searched round (and) round and found no sign of her. I then got off my horse and led him into the scrub I went in I dare say about 200 yards in on a bare patch made by the wallabies I sat down to have a smoke when I saw the track made by the clog. I then looked to see which way it had gone. I went that way to another bare patch where the track was again. In the hollows or melon holes they being full of leaves the clogs made no impression.
I followed these tracks on the mounds for about 300 yards when I heard a faint cooee as I
thought from the other search parties when I cooed and the sound had barely left my lips when I got a fright for out of a clump of thick turkey bush the lost woman came out naked her long black hair hanging all round her . I then saw that she had made a bed of her (74) clothes to lay down and die on. So as soon as I could release her hands from around my neck I started to put her clothes on I kept cooing as I wanted help.
When my boss Mr Carmody was the first to hear me and came to me more of the search party we started to get the woman home Mr Carmody told me to take the lead I had a lemonade bottle of water in my saddle pouch from which Mr Carmody gave her a little at a time I then told them to follow me but they said I was wrong but anyway Mr Carmody said I was right and I brought them out of the scrub on to the railway line at the woman's camp a feat for which I was proud of they all said it was a wonderful thing to do and I was thankful I found the poor woman.
Going home towards Warra station he (Mr Carmody) said he was turning over the business in about a month to Mr Thorn as Thorn and Bashford had got the contract for the next section. A few days afterwards (75) Mr Thorn asked me whether I would stop with him or go back to Dalby with Mr Carmody. Well ! as the wife was very happy in our tent camp she preferred to stop at Warra so I stopped with Mr Thorn until his section with Bashford as his partner was finished as far as Chinchilla when he let Mr Carmody and Higgins take over the butchering and they opened at Chinchilla.
At the time I was speaking of at Warra Station in parts of the run it was overrun by wild horses and bulls which Mr Thorn wished to get rid of as they eat a lot of grass which was wanted for his sheep so with another young man named Jack Brown I got the job for the shooting of them. I was to have the hides and if among the scrub cattle I should a fat beast belonging to Warra and could kill it and bring it into the station I was to get thirty shillings for and myself to have the hide.
They was shearing at Warra at that time and Mr Thorn did not like killing too many of the quiet cattle (76) which run close by the Head Station. Well! myself and Brown being fair shots killed a lot of horses and bulls but was a risky business at times it was dangerous I will give an instance
One Saturday morning we made up our minds to go into the Station and have Sunday at home with the wife and has on the creek about a mile from our camp the black ducks were in hundreds and as we had a shotgun with us we saddled up two horses and went up the creek I also took two bullets with me that fitted the shotgun a double barrelled muzzle loader 'Muntun' (or munton) 16 gauge Jack also took his Terry Breech Loader rifle a good weapon only after putting in the cartridge you had to put on a what we used to call a hot cap made in the same shape as a hat .
We had not got far up the creek when we saw a tremendous large bull and we thought we might get him as his hide was a valuable one We dismounted and I drew the charges of (77) shot from the gun and I rammed home the two bullets I had brought with me We first thought of riding ( word hard to decipher) and as the wind was from him to us Jack started to sneak up on him and as the distance was too far from where we were well Jack got within twenty yards of him without being discovered by the bull when Jack at last - it seemed an age to me sitting on my horse in the creek watching Jacks manoeuvres - he rose the rifle and snap went the cap and the cartridge did not explode. The bull jumped around and saw Jack and made for him Jack ran round the tree and the bull made off for the scrub but I was at full speed after the bull which I soon overhauled and ran close in on him and my gun almost touched the bull when I pulled the triggers and the bull turned and got his horns under my horse and ripped him. As the bull got
away I got off and saw a long gash under my horses belly but he had not cut (78 book 5.) the flesh (through) Jack said you missed I said no We then went back to our camp and I got the needle and twine and stitched the wound in the horse he stood the stood the / stitching without a move. Well! I was sure I had hit the bull and I knew it was in a fatal place so I said I would go and track him up and Jack came with me he showed me where had seen the bullets strike the ground. Well! we tracked that bull for about a mile before we came upon any sign then we saw blood on the bushes and again a little further on we saw where he had laid down and there was a lot of blood there he had been heading all the time towards our camp when the tracks took us into a small clump of brigalow on the ridges (where) our camp was we knelt down and we could see the bull laying as cattle always lay his head was towards us and Jack said I will have a shot right into his forehead Jack fired the bull never moved I fired also and no move(79) for the bull had been dead for sometime. The bullet had gone straight through his lungs and he had bled inwardly to death so we skinned the gentleman his hide when cured weighed 98 pounds.
Well! we done fairly well on the station when I got a letter from Mr Carmody to come and take charge of the shop at Chinchilla so I packed up myself and my wife and two girls (and) went off in the cart with three horses for Chinchilla. It was a good sized place then 4 hotels baker and stores at that time I expected another increase in our family Adjoining the butchers where I was employed there was a lemonade and soft drink factory this belonged to Higgins and Carmody so I was a good chum with this man that made the drinks his name was Solomon Bradford I had a drink whenever I wanted one
All the lemonade and aerated water had to be corked so Solomon learnt me to bottle.
Well! I don't know how long I was at Chinchilla but on March 1878 sometime the wife went down to Toowoomba to some friends to be confined and I was still at (80)Chinchilla Well! I went up to the yard one morning and yarded some bullocks to be killed in coming through some bushes that was hanging over the road I felt a sharp sting in the back of the shoulder and in looking round I found I had been bit with a green snake I went to the chemist at Chinchilla and he injected ammonia into the wound and I went and got a bottle of gin and I drank the lot but it did not make me drunk and a man and his wife their name was Woody they was looking after the pigs and tallow at the yard they looked after one all night and would not let me go to sleep but kept making me drink gin At last I got off to sleep when I woke I was all right from the snake but very seedy.
This happened about the 6th April 1878 when I got a wire on April 8th that I had a son when two days and after I went down to Toowoomba I just saw him alive as had
got diphtheria he died about a week after (81) he was born. (Baby was born on 8th April and died on 25th) We stayed in Toowoomba for a short time after this while I saw a doctor who put me right after the snake bite We then went to Chinchilla but I did not work there any longer but went to the Baking Board where I stopped and butchered for a man I knew While he was away for about a month in Brisbane I was glad when he came back as his wife was always after me and she was a fine woman too.
We them went on to Paddy Creek where we started a store with a man as partner the brother of Mr Barker whose steamer I had saved from fire we done all right in the store for a bit but my partner drank too much and my wife did not like him about the place and as the act was just passed for the destruction of kangaroos and wallabies 9d for roos and 3d for wallabies I decided with three brothers named Durham -some of them joined the police sometime afterwards that we would go `scalping 'which we did and I decided to go to go to/ Warra so we started and (82) we had a spring cart and three horses and the Durhams had two spring carts between them So we started on the journey a happy family and on the day we started and had got only about ten miles it started to rain it did rain and no mistake and we was properly stuck up nothing but a sea of water all around us. We was on the edge of `Gog's Forest' and it was a very rotten boggy country and to make matters worse nearly all our party got the `sandy blight' I got it worse than any one else of our party. Now! we had plenty of flour tea and sugar and lots of sauces jams and 'C' (most likely meant for Chutney) but we had no beef There was hundreds of ducks all around us and me having the blight too bad was not able to shoot any.
Well! we was in this camp about three weeks all together when the weather took up a bit and we got the horses up and made a start we only got about five miles the first day as got bogged a good few times and had to pull each other out but next day we got on harder country and travelled all right with no trouble. When we reached Warra Station (83) and I went up to the house and saw Mr Thorn and told him what we had come to do and asked him permission to camp at a place called the `Horse Shoe Lagoon' on the right bank of the Condamine river He said he was very pleased to have us there as he was overrun with animals he had put up miles of fencing to keep them back but (they got) through some way
Well! we pitched our camp and I was chosen as manager Well! next day we started and dug the pits about 7 feet deep about 7 by 8 feet diameter we covered them with boughs that is we laid two saplings ac the holes then we got boughs and laid across so as the butts of the boughs would be on the side of the pit and the leaves would meet in the centre so that when they jumped through the hole in the fence the leaves gave way and they was in the pit. well! we sank a lot but considering there was five of us it was not enough to pay us (84) so we started to build a yard at one end of a brigalow scrub so we built a yard a very large one with a gate to drop when the wallabies were yarded After nearly two months work we finished the yard and we left one end open for a time also the gate and did not go near there for three weeks There was a camp of some 50 or 60 blacks close to our camp and I had got them to get (me) opossum skins I used to give them a bottle of rum and about one pound of tobacco for 100 skins which I done well out of this was my venture (but) the only trouble I had was to keep the weevils out of them
Well! after three weeks one Sunday we prepared a big spread of tucker and invited all the people of Warra to come and at the station to come and help in the drive also the blacks from the camp Well! we started at one end of the scrub about three mile from the yard and about two from the wings as the wings on the sides was about one mile long they (there were) was upright stakes near the yard but thick brush as high as we could reach on (85) each side from the start of the drive to the ends of the wing. There was a man on horseback with a stock whip keeping the animals in the scrub. Well! the line being well across the scrub the drive commenced and the fun began as the wallabies was cornered inside the wings They started to break back The blacks with their nulla-nullas killed scores of them as they tried to break back
The man at the gate from where he was planted saw that if he did not shut the gate that they would come back So he shut the gate and the number of wallabies in the yard (was) 2,700 that was a good haul 33 pounds 15s. Well! I can tell you it was a great slaughter and it was threading the scalps on a string to dry them before taking them into Dalby
Well ! we used to buy a sheep from the station when we wanted meat Well! we only had mutton for our spread after the yarding of our wallabies Mr Thorn being of our number there he said he was greatly pleased at our success to have another drive in about a month We said all right He was going to make a banquet (86) Well! just at this time one of the Durhams fell ill and had to go to hospital and he was not able to come out scalping anymore he went home to Brisbane After that we only had one more drive of wallabies but we got in that drive 1500 It was not bad and after selling the scalps the Durhams left me and went down to Brisbane so there was only myself and wife and my two baby girls in camp besides the blacks I used to go round the pits of a morning sometimes nothing I used to ride out and get a few roos each day
Well! this time I used to get letters from my brother (half brother) William asking me to come to Charters Towers as wages was good there 10/- a day. So I decided to go overland with my three horses and cart and send my wife Harriet and the two girls by train to Ipswich I sent also by the wife about 400 possum skins which I think she got about 46 pounds She also had about 20 pound when she left me at Dalby myself on the road for Charters Towers and my wife and family for Brisbane where they arrived and stayed (87) in rented rooms.
I stopped a few days in Dalby after the wife left and (I met a man) and we got into conversation that he said there was no place just then like the north he was going north I said so was I. I was going to try it overland he said he was too but he would have to get jobs on the road to help him along but anyway we got quite quiet chums and we agreed to go together and a better mate I never had his name was Joe Stokes and he was a bit deaf. Well! we travelled on together and as the horses wanted a spell we took a job of putting flood gates across the `Wide Bay creek at Kilkivan and I used to take my gun and my pony that stood (rifle) fire and shoot kangaroos for their scalp alone that was ninepence pence each I used to get seven or eight sometimes ten before breakfast that helped with the job.
We finished our job with the fencing and to the satisfaction of Mr Mac Tackert and left the station and as Joe wanted to call at Maryborough for letters we went to Maryborough When Joe got his letters and he had to go back to Brisbane (88) as his mother was bad He said he would come to the Towers but I never heard from him anymore Well I decided to sell the cart and harness and horses and I put them in the hands of Hutchings & Co auctioneers for sale Well they was all sold and realised a fair price I then wired my wife to come up to Maryborough and I would have all ready everything tickets and all to go to the towers I think it was on a boat called the Lady Bowen a paddle wheel steamer that took us to Rockhampton where we had to stop for a deep sea boat to take us to Townsville.
We stopped at a pub called the Commercial kept by a man named Tom Marshale (?) We had to wait for about three days for the boat I forgot what her name was but I know it was on a Sunday when we went on board a river boat to go down to the steamer which was to take us to Townsville and when we got down into Keppel Bay she had not arrived so the captain of the tender to pass the time away lowered one of his boats and took some of the passengers ashore on to Keppel Island (89) when (where) we enjoyed ourselves and picked some berries that grew there very much like red coral beads Well we went on board the tender after an hour or two on shore We thought the sea boat was coming as we could see the smoke of a steamer in sight but it was not her. As it was a very hot afternoon I took off my coat and went below and stretched out for a nap that was just after we had tea The wife and the two children stopped on deck I went off to sleep and the first I knew of it was being woke up by my wife that the boat was along side and that we was to go aboard at once So I took my coat from where I had it under my head for a pillow feeling first in my inside pocket to see that my wallet was safe
then throwing my coat across my arm I took my baby girl Emma in my arms and went to cross the gangway to the ship alongside when my wallet slipped out from my pocket of the coat that was on my arm and struck my foot and fell onto the sea between (90) the vessels and I lost all my money There was about 180 pounds in it at the time this was about two o'clock in the morning and very dark and there was no chance of saving it as a strong tide was running out at the time. Well I felt very down hearted as I was in a fix on searching my pockets I found I had a shilling left and two pence Anyway we had a good trip from Rockhampton to Townsville and when we went ashore there was numerous buggies and touts crying out their various hotels
So as I liked the appearance of one of them I nodded to him and I asked him where his hotel was and he told me it was on the beach and the name was the Criterion.
The wife did not like the idea of going to such a swell house but I said it would be all right so we arrived at the hotel and after I had seen the landlord by name of MacKenzie and told him I should be staying a few days until I heard from my brother at Charters Towers I asked what the cost was and he told me for my wife and children (91) and myself 6 pounds a week so I said all right
I then asked the way to the telegraph office where I was going to spend my shilling in a telegram to my brother William at the Towers I also told them at the telegraph office to send the reply to the Criterion Hotel I then went and wrote a letter to my brother and spent my last 2d in a stamp and I was completely broke It took two days to get a letter to Charters Towers that time as it was done by coach so about I waited for about 5 days and I was miserable as I had not got one penny to spend and I thought everyone looked upon me as a fraud So I think it was about the fifth day I was there I thought I would enquire at the post office if there was a letter for me When I got there they handed me a envelope just written across the back "Henry Aldridge call round to Robert Philps office " you may be sure I made all speed and found the place and I told him who I was He asked me a few questions First `did I expect anything from (92) *Charters Towers and also did I know Mr Macdonald' I told him I did and I expected some money He said `how much' I said I did not know as I had not asked any particular sum
He said `how much do you think you will want I said I thought about 20 pounds but he said I should want more than that So he was writing a cheque which he handed to me filled in to the amount of 50 pounds
I said I think that is too much but he said that I could pay back to Mr Macdonald what I did not require So I went to the bank ..............I think it was the bank of...........*
[Note: The above is extracted from *page 92* of Henry Aldridge's Memoirs. The
remainder of this page is missing as also the whole of page 93, and no doubt the contents would cover the remainder of his stay in Townsville. Page 94 commences where Henry and his family had either changed their place of residence , or had commenced their coach journey to the "Towers" and had some `hold up'. I make this assumption from the opening lines of page 94]
...............Criterion Hotel which would have saved me a lot of bother and trouble [It appears that in the missing pages, Henry could have left the Hotel and took up lodgings somewhere else while waiting for the coach.]
Well we enjoyed ourselves for a few days when we got away with the coach and on the first night out we stopped at the Haughton River at an hotel where the bugs nearly ate the girls as they was crying all night and I had to walk about as I could not sleep at last went to the coach and found the driver on one of the seats asleep so I took the other with one of my little ones. We was off next morning at 7 am and came on over the range at Ravenswood craving for dinner anyway we arrived at the Towers about 6.30 pm just at dark when my brother William met me and took our belongings to where my stepmother then Mrs Hall lived and where we stopped for about two or three months while I looked for work I could not get any work them in any of the mines so I tried the butchers and they was all full handed they said but one Sunday morning one of the butchers named Alfred Simpson he was a partner with (95) the firm of Hamilton & Company
He asked me if I could slaughter and I told him I could he wanted a bullock killed and 3 sheep for Monday and asked me if I would do it as his slaughterman was on the spree and he was stuck so I went and done it the slaughterman came to the yard just as I finished and wanted to know who the hell I was so I told him I was asked by Mr Simpson to kill for that day When he told me he was going to have a month off as he was going to Townsville for a spell so I went up town with him and saw Mr Simpson and worked for him The other man did not come back as he got a job in Townsville with the butchers so I got a permanent job with the firm and me and my wife went to the yards to live as there was a very comfortable cottage there
I was there for about a year or over but in the meantime The Boughton field had opened up very rich reefs had been found and the Halls had gone down and opened up a reef and called it The Struggle and wanted me to (96) come down and start a shop of my own so I said I would think about it I talked it over with the wife and she thought we should better stop where we was Well I thought so too as I was with my dear wife's help saving money our slaughter yard was not very far from the race course and sometimes of a morning I would go and have a look at the horses in training and there I took a fancy to a horse named Uncle Tom a rank outsider
Well the day of the races came and I had a holiday one day off and I got a job to look after the saddling paddock gate to keep everyone out that had no ticket My old mate Billy Ackers was in the Towers and was a big bug auctioneer and secretary of the Tower's Jockey Club Well I went and as the tickets on the tote at that time was at the rate of one pound there was a good pool for the winner of a race as there at that time there was no money for a place horse of second or third Well just before the big race of 3 miles I looked up (97) the board and I saw only one on Uncle Tom's name so I was earning a guinea for the day I said I would put it on him as I had seen Uncle Tom gallop of a morning and knew he could stay the distance so I put on my pound and Uncle Tom won the race beating the cracks and I drew for my share on the tote 120 pounds Not a bad day's work. The wife was on the course so I went over to her and handed her the notes well when the races was over I had to go back and get ready for work early the next morning
Well they still kept bothering me to come to The Boughton and Harriet thought I had better John Hall had already built a shop alongside of his boarding house so I went to and left Hamilton & Co They were sorry to lose me I went and saw Mr Charters he was the gold warden and he owned Broughton park and he had a lot of fat cattle and he done a lot of dairying work that his brother Adolfus did the dairying work and I arranged
(end of page 97 last page of book 5.)
HENRY ALDRIDGE'S MEMOIRS (continued)
From Book No.6
and I arranged/ (98). to buy all his fats He asked a stiff price but it was cheaper for me to get them than go further afield for them I had to pay only half cash until they was all slaughtered what I took each time. Well at this time there was also another butcher here further down the town he had the best trade he also owned the only hotel there it was called the Broughton Hotel his name was Palmer The miners and others called him overland Ned So I consulted Harriet and went and got a shop and cottage built very near Palmer's"s and as they were crying out for a Post Office at the time I with Mr Charter's influence got the job as Post Master which also helped the business
as I put a room adjoining the shop for an office and the butchering business got bigger and I had to employ hands to do the work
About this time my wife gave birth to a son on June 28th 1880 Soon after this 'The Broughton' seemed to fail as after the claims got down to sulphate ore
99. [This page is very mutilated and very hard to read] (and) the gold seemed to peter out and the (amount of gold so poor) the crushings came in slowly to (miner's or Palmer's) crushing Plant when some of........?...........crushed a few tons of ore I used to do the .......... amalgamating for him. Well at that time the railway was in course of construction from Townsville to Charters Towers and myself and another man named Walter Simpson arranged to start a (shop) at the Burdekin bridge as soon as the (contract) was let from the Ravenswood Junction to the Burdekin.
In the meantime during my stay at 'The Broughton" the gold commissioner Mr Charters used to get me to accompany him on his periodical visits to the `Cape Diggings' where a great number of chinamen were getting alluvial gold His aide-de-camp Pat Collins used to go with us Collins used to round up the chinamen that had no miners rights I used to weigh their .........gold to the amount of ten shillings and Mr Charters used to issue the miners rights. The chinamen always used to weigh their gold first on their own scales before handing it to me but I always found them correct It was a good outing for me as Mr Charters always (100) treated us well when out with him.
Well the time soon passed and I think it was sometime in 1881 that the Ravenswood junction section of the Towers railway was let to `Bushforde and Burt' so myself and Walter Simpson went and built a shop on the Towers side of the Burdekin about a mile and a half from `Fanning Downs Cattle Station' owned by a man named Hamilton then I went and saw Mr George Bashford as I knew him from Dalby where I was butchering for Mr Thorn and Carmody and I asked him if He would give us guarantee to Mr Hamilton so we could get cattle He said he would and that also he would collect moneys for us when paying his men so when putting on men he used to give them an order on us for beef they charged us 21/2 % for collecting which was not much and it paid us for it saved us a lot of trouble Well we built a room adjoining the shop for Walter and his wife I got myself a large tent 12 by 8 I think and built a bark and iron kitchen adjoining the tent for cooking purposes. (101) Well we done well at the butchering business and we had one man employed at the slaughter yard to look after the tallow hides and pigs. O'Rourke & McSchary contract was almost finished to Ravenswood Junction
and as they had the butchering business all through their contract they had a shop and yards at the Junction but one day I was down at that place and I offered to buy him out He said he wanted 100 pounds for it but it was then under offer to J.Lumbert if he could find the money in a week if he did not I was to get the offer.
However he could not find the money so we bought the business and I went down to the Junction to manage it for a few weeks then we put on Lambert but it did not pay as we hardly got back the price of the cattle so we sold to Johnson & Catting of Townsville for ten Pound more than we gave and we kept half the pigs about 20 of them Just about this time I got a letter from England saying that my Uncle Harry Aldridge was dead and as I was his next of Kin as he died without a will (102) His property that his landed estate came to me subject to 1/3 to his widow. The personal properties was to be divided between my brothers they was my step brothers (Half brothers) William, James and Thomas it was not much about 100 pounds each of us after the lawyers had done with us. Well then myself and wife made up our minds to go to England as soon as the railway was finished We had to remove our slaughtering yards just before this to
the Towers side of the Burdekin Bashford & Co had got the section from the
Burdekin to Charters Towers when at about a mile on the Charters Towers side of the Burdekin a Railway station was built and the place was called "Sellheim" so we went and built a butchers shop at that place where we done very well.
I used to go home of nights to sleep after closing the shop at Sellheim Now I think about this time my wife gave birth to a son on July 20th 1882 and I named him Walter Burdekin I called him Walter after my partner Walter Simpson and Burdekin after the river as he was the first child born on the banks of the Burdekin at that time.
(103) Just at this time tenders were again called for another section of the line towards
Hughenden when Overend & Co got the contract me and my partner then went and built a shop and yards at Sandy creek a few miles out from the Towers and we opened up there We did not have that business more than a few weeks when Overend the contractor wanted to have the butchering trade themselves so they asked us to sell and we sold out to them at a fair price Well we kept our business and shops at the Burdekin and Sellheim going doing a steady trade of about a bullock a day or two.
I had a bit of adventure at this time a blackfellow got a young girl about 14 years of age into the bush where he raped her and nearly killed her there was a blacks' camp between Sellheim and the Burdekin (and) this `abo' had a gin named Polly and she being jealous as the abo did not stick to her (she) to get him caught as all the Towers' police had searched out the district round but could not find him Well the constable what was stationed at Sellheim asked me and my mate to help him arrest him and we agreed (104) His gin got and bribed to coax abo out of the tea tree scrub that is in the bed of the Burdekin at that part of the river Well we went and the gin done her part and the policeman was waiting to grab him but the abo smelt a rat and would not come out close to the gin but he made a bolt for it the Constable fired at him but missed I
ran to intercept him which I did (and) I got hold of him in a billabong amongst the ti-trees but he being naked and wet slipped from my grasp I fired at him and I knew I hit him somewhere
Well we looked for him that night but could not find him the nest morning the constable and my mate found him bleeding from a wound in his shoulder (he) was laying in a fry billabong As myself and Simpson did not want any notoriety over the matter we let the constable have all the honour of the capture This happened about December 1882.
One day while I was in Charters Towers when I was speaking to a lawyer by name of Prichard Morgan when I was telling him of how I thought of having a trip to the old country (105) Morgan said it was a pity I was going so soon I asked him Why? and he told me that they that was himself Mr Thomas Mills and other leading men in Queensland was going to get the government to have an exhibition in England to be called the Colonial and Indian Exhibition and as I was an old miner of Queensland I would have been able to look after the battery and also show the English people how the gold was got with a tub and cradle
Well I told him that I intended to sop in England for a year of two and to write me when they was going to start the show I would take the job Tom Mills and Morgan was very keen on this as they wanted to float their mines Mill's mine was the `Day Dawn Block Extended' and Morgan had the `Disralia' at Rishton 25 miles from the Towers also John Mac Donald owned the `Bonnie Dundee' mine at Charters Towers Well soon after this I disposed of all the business to Walter for which I never got paid in full but no matter I forgave him for his wife's sake and started for England a very different journey now from the Towers to what it was (106) on my first journey of that road
I think it was about the commencement of February (1883) when we left the Burdekin for
England we took the train to Townsville where we had to stop a few days waiting a boat to Sydney I stayed at the same hotel in Townsville as I did when I first landed there but I had money this time at last a boat arrived and I took our tickets to Sydney as that was as far as the Orient Line of steamers came at that time Well we had to stay in Sydney until the second o f March 1883 when we sailed in the Orient Liner "Liguria" During our stay in Sydney they raised the Orient Liner "Austral" which sunk at her moorings I went aboard of her after she was floated paid 3d to go to her but I had to pay 2/- to get back Well we was now off to Old England and looking forward to a good time during the voyage just leaving Adelaide the butcher fell sick and the first mate came down one morning to the third class compartment and asked if there where any butchers aboard after a few minutes of thought I said I was so he asked me to take the job on. I said I would (107) if they would give me my passage money back after a good deal of
argument between the Captain and Purser they agreed and they gave me the money I had then to sign on as one of the crew
That time we had to carry our bullock and sheep alive and kill on board we used to kill early in the mornings and carry the beef below to a ice chamber the beef and mutton kept well there the beef we killed today would not be used for 3 or 4 days after being killed I used to get my orders from the Chief Steward I used to have fowls killed and just take off the feathers with a scald and put them in the chamber until wanted I had a butchers mate to help me his name was Jack Dalton we got on very well together we used to get our food from the first saloon tables so we used to live on the fat of the land and I could also send plenty of tit-bits down to the wife and children Well we had a very good passage and four days after seeing the last of Australian coast I killed the first bullock Well on the 18th of April (1883) we arrived in England after a voyage of
48 days when (108) the wife's mother and sisters met us at the Royal Albert Docks also my uncle Ted Aldridge and my aunt and cousins their names is Westwood
Well after a few days I hunted up the lawyer who had charge of my uncles property and I
arranged matters all right with him and the Landed estate was then transferred to me and I could do as I liked with it well the beer house where I was reared "The Black Horse" I thought I should like to live in it again so I bought out the tenant that was in it and went and had a go of peddling beer at 4d a quart best ale 6d a quart Well I was not satisfied with that (so) together with a cousin of mine James Westwood we went into a produce business (we) sold chaff corn and all other produce Well we had a 4 horse power boiler and engine we used to cut chaff and sell in premises in Welwyn and we was doing fairly well as we had about 4 carts running to London with feed but there became a panic in the produce line and three of the big firms we used to supply went insolvent and they took us with them after selling everything we had (109) barely enough to pay our debts I also joined the first Herts Rifle Volunteers and we had some good times with them we used to have rifle matches and I was a first class shot and it was the first time I ever shot at a target I went to `Wimbelton (Wimbledon) in 1885 and won the "Marksman's Prize.
About this time I got word from Australia that the following year 1886 they would start the
Colonial & Indian Exhibition (Indian and Colonial Exhibition May - October 1886) I was very glad as I was getting short of cash (as) we having to pay rent so early in 1886 I think it was the later end of February we started to erect the battery but did not open till May I was there all the time of the erection of the battery and gold saving plant I was foreman over the labourers and rouseabouts Mr J Longden was chief engineer over all of us About this time My daughter Emma was in the Great Ormon Street Hospital where they had to amputate her leg to save her life My wife and children lived down at Welwyn (and) I used to go down to see them sometimes at weekends It was about June (1886) I think ( pg110) before we was ready for to start the mill on the stone which most of it came from Charters Towers and Gympie my work after the opening was to show with a tub and cradle how the gold was won from the from the gravel and wash dirt I used to show that from 10 am to 12 noon when we used to go to lunch Well at 2 pm I used to drop the stamps and start crushing we had about 300 tons of stone to crush altogether some from Gympie about 20 tons about 50 ton from the `Disralia Reef' at Rishton and about 200 ton from the `Day Dawn Block' and Wyndum and about 20 ton from the `Bonnie Dundee' Charters Towers.
I done well while I was at work in the Exhibition used to get well tipped some times silver some-times gold also lots of coppers which I used to throw into one of the puddling tubs we had a canteen adjoining the battery (which) was run by Spiers & Ponde so when we got thirsty I used to get my labourer Bill Colley to get some coppers out of the tub and go to the canteen for some beer he could slip out by a back door and no one was the wiser the battery was raised about (111) 7 feet from the floor so as to get a fall for the tables so we had a good closed room underneath the feeding stage which was private there was a door on both sides so we could go in from either side
The best days for me was Wednesdays that was half-crown days and we had more swells in on those days the people who visited the battery on those days was gentlemen interested in mining they used to give me some good tips as much as 5 pounds at once the first big tip I got was from the Baron Hirsch he came in one day with Mr London who showed him around J had the battery at work at the time and I was on the platform floor feeding the battery at the time when the Baron was leaving he put some money in my hand I did not look at it at the time but after the Baron left I thought it was two shillings he gave but when I took it out of my pocket to look I found two sovereigns I thought he must have made a mistake (112) he came in again and I asked him if he had made a mistake in giving me sovereigns instead of shillings when he shook his head
and said "no mistake" After that he often came and every time a five pound bank of England note saying no mistake.
Some few weeks after he came first he brought a sample of red rotten looking auriferous earth and asked me if I could get the gold out of it the sample he brought was about 7lb in weight I tried a little and found it very rich in gold as fine as paint so I got a large enamel bucket and I put a sample in with water then I took about 10 lb of mercury with some sodium of amalgam and placed it also in the bucket and stirred it well up and often as possible and kept adding a little more silver after that In a day or two I washed off the sands and dried them I retorted the silver and I had when smelted seven ounces of gold from the sands when I handed (them) to him when he next came also the sands what I took the gold from the sands by assay he had made of them (113) would only give 12 grams to the ton The Baron them wanted me to go out to South Africa to take charge of the property he owned at Johannesburg I would have went as it
was my chance of a life time but my wife wanted to go back to Queensland and as I had an offer to go out to manage a mine called the Mount Morgan Extended as soon as the exhibition closed I took that job the worst days work that ever happened me for I never had any luck since as when I am writing this I am 82 years of age at that time in London I was only 43
Well during the time I was working in the exhibition I had a good time and I became acquainted with a great number of people women and men of the former a woman named Sarah Adams afterwards became my wife (2nd wife) I met her one night in the exhibition while I was running the pans after crushing for the day There was one special day I think it was some time in July (1886) when I got notice that her Majesty Queen Victoria was coming to see the `Gold Digger' well she came as she (114) seemed interested in the winning of the alluvial gold but when I dropped the stampers she clapped her hands to her ears and cleared out While was at the cradle I one `hopper stopper " about 212 ounces of gold which I handed to the Queen and asked her to
accept it from the Queensland Government When the Royal party left the Prince of Wales afterwards King Edward game me a sovereign which I kept for some time but during hard times I had to spend it
(NOTE Page 114 is only as long as above but the following loose pages which I have numbered 114A and 114B appear to follow on from where 114 leaves off)
(114A) I omitted to state at this time in the Exhibition I had quite an adventure I had finished a pretty hard day's work as all the swells ask a lot of questions I intended to go home to my lodgings in `Pond Place' and have a good night but in my way home I met a good looking lady and she asked me to stand treat as she said she wanted a drink badly so being soft I said all right and we was going up the Fulham or Hulham Road to a pub called the `Stag' when passing some mews in Fulham road we passed a 4 wheel cab standing in the mews a little ahead of us was a man and woman quarrelling - so it appeared to me - but as soon as myself and the girl got close to them the lady rushed in between us and asked for protection the man said "she is my wife" and she has got my parcel I saw that the woman had a brown paper parcel which she hugged pretty closely. the lady I saw by that time she was a Lady (and she) he is not my husband but
wanted to steal my parcel he made another grab to get it when I struck out and hit (114B) him on the point of the jaw and I put every weight of my 13 stone with it he went down like a shot into the gutter when the cab that I had seen just before that drove up and dragged him into it and galloped off.
Well the Lady asked me to see her home and asked my name and the girl's I was with so I gave my name to the Lady and told her that the girl was a cousin of mine I told her that I was an Australian that I was a gold digger at the Exhibition Well we arrived at the lady's house I forget the number but it was a large mansion in Onslow Gardens when she rang the bell and a funky in knee breeches opened the door and he said "Oh my Lady" when she asked him why they had not sent the `brougham' for her and then she asked how her husband was his name was Sir Chas Dilks and it was his lady that I stopped from being robbed of her jewels So me and my new found cousin had some wine and cake when we left and I saw my cousin home and we had a good time talking over the matter
Sir Charles came to see me afterwards and thanked me for what I had done
( End of Book 6. and of page 114B)
HENRY ALDRIDGE'S MEMOIRS (continued)
From Book No7.
(Page 114/2) Well the Exhibition closed some time early in November (1886) there was about 70 tons of gold bearing stone left not treated stone that would go about 3 ounces or over to the ton I got permission from the Agent General Sir James Garrick to treat it and I saw the owner of the engine David Paxman of Colchester and he said he would go me halves and find the steam and power to crush the stone but Sir Cunliff Owen some big exhibition man would not let me crush it so I believe all that golden stone was carted away to mend the London streets I have heard since that some specimens was picked up. (115) in some of the streets of London.
Well my time at the Exhibition was a very profitable one for me for I had about 1700 pounds which I transferred to the Joint Stock Bank in Rockhampton the managers name was Robertson this bank is now the Bank of Commerce (1925) Before I left England the Baron Hirsch came and saw me and gave me a cheque for 300 pounds and the Baroness gave me a trinket for a watch chain made of one big `cat's eye' made in the shape of a pipe shewing a compass in the bowl gold mounted This pipe I gave to my son `Burt' it's value about twenty-five pounds.
Well we sailed in November 1886 in a ship of the Orient Line mane of :Chimborazo" Well we had a great send-off what with friends and relatives we sailed from Blackwall we had a good run down the English Channel and the next day was in the bay of Biscay when we got it rough I think most of us aboard was seasick I thought I would eat some breakfast but I found I could not so got a nip of whiskey and got on deck through the engine room (116) as all other hatches was battened down I managed to get up to a seat by the engine skylight where a young scotsman was sitting Behind a rope to keep himself from being pitched into the scuppers I managed to get in behind the rope with him them he told me that (he) was a yachtsman and that he had sailed around the north of Scotland and he never saw it rougher or larger seas and that he also felt squeamish He then produced from his big overcoat pocket two crusts of bread it would take all the sickness away if a person could swallow the crust after chewing the first mouthful he gave me one and I tried it and I managed to swallow it and immediately the sickness left me I eat (ate) the whole of the piece of crust and I felt hungry for more.
Also the scotsman his name was Montgomery felt hungry also when he said I have the best sea-legs I will go below and try and get some more He was about 30 minutes before he got back he could not get no crusts but he got biscuits and cheese and a bottle of stout each and we had a jolly good (feed) (117) and that we should do until dinner time when we went for dinner there was only one lady beside myself and Montgomery I went and had a look at the wife and children they did not want any dinner as they were too sick. Well towards morning we got out of the gale and we had fine weather only an occasional blow we was not allowed on shore either at Port Said or Aden but I went ashore at Suez it was not much of a place but damn dirty things were cheap brought a quart bottle of gin for one and sixpence we waited here twenty four hours for the mail which came overland by Marseilles
Well at last we got away stopped and coaled at Aden after leaving Aden we stopped no more until we got to Port Adelaide I went ashore with the wife and we went and had a look at the botanical gardens we sailed again the same day when some of the children on board also my son Ted got the measles and I had to leave my wife (118) and children at Melbourne as they would not take them further in the ship so I came on as far as Sydney where I trans-shipped to a coastal boat Captain the name of Selmes we had a good run down (up?) the coast called at Brisbane (and) went and found some of the wife's relations name of Clark they were not doing too well so I told him that I would give him work also his son-in-law named Marshall as soon as ever I got settled
When I got to Rockhampton I found an old friend John Morrisey kept an hotel called the Freemasons in William street I knew Morrisey when I worked for Mr Thorn at Warra so I stopped with him while I was in Rockhampton I also had a young man named Hanney who came out with me as my secretary I went and saw Mr Robertson at the Joint Stock Bank and left my signature as I was to pay all my employees by cheque and Robertson was one of the local directors with another man named Robert Ballard who was the man who surveyed the first railway in the colony (119) of Queensland After fixing up matters I went to Mount Morgan Morrisey lent me a mare to ride up a very good one well when within about a mile from Mount Morgan Morrisey called at a house where a Mr H Williams lived and I was introduced and not having a rode a horse for so long I was very stiff and tired and they laughed at me I then asked Morrisey what he would take for the mare he said 15 pound I thought that was too much and Morrisey being a sport and liked a gamble said he would toss me 30 pound or nothing I said all right and he spun up a coin I called right and I won but I had to buy the saddle and bridle
|The Mount Morgan gold mine workings in 1884.|
Well we rode on to Mount Morgan and I stopped that night at the Mount Morgan hotel kept by William Monckton next day I rode out to the mine the Mount Morgan West and found a man in charge name of Welsh so I handed him over my credentials and took over his inventory of what tools and what other things was there I found then (120) they was putting in a tunnel and it looked dangerous I put them to get timber and make everything safe and as the mine looked a good show I wrote to the directors in England and explained matters to them soon after taking charge I got a cable to put on more men and push the mine ahead about a fortnight or three weeks I got my wife and children from Melbourne all well again and they had to rent a house in Rockhampton as I had no place at Mount Morgan until I got a house built for them
Well the local Directors was very extravagant and they would have mining machinery would have a roller mill and all machinery for saving gold before we got payable ore well Ballard was happy and as there was plenty of money and they sent out the machinery from England and myself with Ballard took another lease which we called Mount Ballard and we employed about 20 men prospecting and
(121)as everything seem booming I sent to Charters Towers for my brother William to come and take the management of Mount Ballard all the time I was waiting for Ballard to get it into a company as he said he could and my 1700 pounds was getting smaller as I was finding most of the money for the Mount Ballard enterprise well my brother William arrived from the Towers and he took over the management of the Mount Ballard enterprise and I was not sorry Just before this time a Mounted Infantry Force was formed at Rockhampton Robertson of the Joint Stock Bank was made a captain a detachment of the force was also formed at Mount Morgan which I joined and was unanimously made Lieutenant and I was very proud of the position I had several good outings to camps at Emu Park
Well everything seemed to run smooth and I thought Ballard was doing his level best as to get the Mount Ballard floated well my money was getting very low by this time and besides the keeping up of Mount Ballard I was spending far too much myself at the various pubs (122) at Mount Morgan About this time a Mr Watson came over from Victoria he came over as agent for the Watson & Denny Amalgamating & grinding Pans Ballard purchased two for our Mount Morgan West Company without consulting me or Robertson the other local director I think the price of the pans and the fittings to drive them was as near as possible to 1,000 pounds well I told Ballard and so did Robertson that they was not required and that it was a waste of money and with Mr Robertson's sanction I wrote home to the English directors in London what I thought of the matter
Well about 3 months after this I got a letter from Ballard to go down to Rockhampton to see him he then produced the letter that I had wrote home to the English Directors and asked if I had written it I said "of course I did" and we had it out hot and strong and I told him he was a robber as he only bought the Watson & Denny pans to get a big commission Anyway I got the sack with three months screw in lieu of notice with notice to quit the company house which I lived in well I had not much money (123) left as Mount Ballard had to be shut down my brother William went to work else where and as I going to Charters Towers to see Mr George Cavey who owed me 100 pounds for services rendered him in England in floating a mine.
My brother got me to bring down his son Tom who was staying with his Grandmother at The Boughton I was delayed some time on the Towers owing to the maritime strike of the shipping but i got away at last from the Towers in a boat called the Archer not much better off then when I went Well I had to go to work I got a job with the Mount Morgan Company at deeding the dry crusher then I had a job firing the electric light boilers then from there I went to the lower furnaces as Mr Treneur had come back to work for the Company as they that is Mr Westly Hall and Captain Richards was stuck up as they could not extract the gold from the ore and all the sheds was full to the roof with ore.
Well one day I was working at the furnaces Mr Treneur sent for me and I was put in charge of No 1 battery to crush old bricks old pots and clay which
(124)was a good job and a change to working the furnaces though that was not a bad job while Trenear was in charge but Mr Treneur was a little fond of the glass and a Mr Colins being jealous of him got him the sack and took over his place and I had to go back to the furnaces and hard work as before we had two men to each furnace soon after this there was a gold robbery at No 1 battery some of them got 2 years over it soon after this my wife was taken bad (and) my brother gone to West Australia He is there still (1925)
Well my wife was still very bad and I had Dr McKenzie to her he brought Dr Branagan and then they told me she was suffering from cancer of the womb and there was no hope of her getting better it was only a question of time she suffered great pain and they gave her drugs to ease the pain well after a long illness she passed away and was buried in the Mount Morgan cemetery and I was left with my four children two girls and two boys and I was still working at the furnaces for the (125) Mount Morgan Company After some months I wrote home to England and to Miss Adams and asked her to come out to Queensland to me as my wife was dead well she came out to me in the British Indian Stream Ship "Mackura" and we was married in St 'Paul's Cathedral in Rockhampton the parson's name was Alexander Morgan with my wife's money that she had I went too Bajool and brought a lot of cows from a man named Paddy Smith we used to send the milk into Mt Morgan by my son Ted but we had no luck with milk
selling as the rickets got about among the cattle and we lost some with that disease
I went to work for the Company again at the Sugar Loaf Shaft Ted Easton was the boss there then I worked at the Sugar Loaf until the Mount Morgan Company decided not to go on with the drive to the west having heard a rumour that a scot McClaren had found a very rich reef out towards the head of the Dee I went out to have a look at it as they had just opened it up I went out as I (126) thought it was probably that it was a reef I found myself while out one Sunday turkey shooting but which I had forgot all about it so I went after leaving the prospectors an old mate of mine accompanied me named Ted Askew I found the place again all right and we took samples away with us and they prospected for about one ounce of free gold we then marked off a claim and I looked round for Backers and we got backed so Askew and myself had about 25/- a week coming in enough to keep us in tucker they was still selling milk in Mount Morgan
Some of the backers thought we was not doing enough work so as the Scot Mc Claren reef they called it Struck Oil was doing all right and good gold about 6 to 6 ounces to the ton I called our reef the `Golden Giant' after a play by Maggie Moore who was playing at Mount Morgan I left the Golden Giant mine as there was a lot of people coming to Struck Oil a Mr Sam Heiser had startled to build an hotel and as there was a store built there already kept by a man named (127)John Long I started and opened butchers business I had to carcass butcher at first as they would not give me a slaughtering licence for some time as the Mc Laughlan the Mount Morgan butcher was against me getting it but I got it at last and we started to build a yard about 1 1/2 miles down the Dee as they would not let me have one closer
At that time an old man a good butcher he was very dark we used to call him `Black Dick' his right name was Richard Carr he had a man working with him his name was Alexander and he was nicknamed `Friday' Myself and son Ted was building the shop as we had only a rough shed for a shop at the time at about this time the cattle disease the `Red Water' and ticks and they killed off the remainder of our cows to about five and I sold the house and land at Mundae Creek Mount Morgan to man named Greer who afterwards shot a man at that place This man he shot used to bring drink to his wife and get her to his tent while Greer was at work so (128) he got off I forgot whether they put Greer in prison
Well we done fairly well at the butchering business another hotel was built there by a man named Joyce he called it the `Clarence Hotel' I think somewhere about this time England was at war with the Boers in South Africa (and ) Queensland wanted good riders and good shots to go over and help beat the boers and my son Ted went over as a rough rider The Struck Oil mine was still working but at this time it had ceased to pay dividends so they discharged the Manager name of Myenberg as he was not competent and engaged a gentleman of the name of Trenear a first class metallurgist and he started and erected `free-vanour' or `Tru vanour' (??) concentrating tables I don't think they was much of a success
Well after some time I think it was Christmas holidays they closed down the mine or least they got six months exemption but anyway that company never done any more work on it so after the six months exemption was up the machinery was sold and claim abandoned and Heiser of the Struck Oil hotel came to me and asked me to take over the hotel (129) rent of 10/- per week I t looked good enough and the wife thought it good enough and I went into business and became a Licensed Victualler what with butchering and the pub we done fairly well as Mr Joyce had closed the other hotel and I got caretaking of the Struck Oil Mine until it was abandoned at thirty shillings a week.
The wood carters was round this place getting firewood for the Mount Morgan Company
at this time saving and getting gold from the sands which could not be saved by the battery (but) could be saved by a Cyanide Process so two gentleman by name of Mr Bushnel and Mr Walker manager of the bank of North Queensland at Mount Morgan came out and Interviewed me and asked me whether I would join them in getting and erecting a plant for cyaniding the Struck Oil tailings there was about 1000 tons I should think so I agreed to join them and have a third share in the venture we then arranged that Mr Bushnel should become manager and that he would arrange and purchase the tanks and pumps and boxes we should require for the plant those gentlemen then-(130) returned to Mount Morgan I then went the next day and pegged off the area of land that held the tailings and them I went into Mount Morgan and applied for it over our joint names of Aldridge Bushnel and Walker for a auriferous sands claim and it was granted
to us we sent to Charters Towers and engaged a cyanide expert but he was no expert and he was only working by theory and getting practice at our expense in fact he did not know as much about it as I did myself so at the end of two months we discharged him
George Bushnel and myself then done the technical work and we employed 3 men at 8/4d a shift to do the labouring work and the sands paid handsomely after working the Struck Oil sands we cyanided a heap of tailings on the `Mountain Maid Creek' but they did not turn out too good we them removed the plant to the `Block and Pillar' there was a good amount of tailings held by two Irish brothers and we gave them 80 pounds for them we also gave them much - I forget the amount - per week to supply us with water (131) anyway the tailings or sand paid us handsomely we then dissolved partnership and I purchased the plant which I removed back to Struck Oil and worked the slimes which we had let it paid me very well as I only employed one man besides myself
I had left the Hotel by this time as Mrs Heiser wished to rise the rent and they put in their son in law Mr Bob Ridgeway but he could not make a living so Heiser pulled it down and erected it at Mount Usher on the Crocodile Creek under the name of the Commercial Hotel as the Mount Usher Mine was then floated into an English Company I then opened a butchers shop at Mount Usher but I did no good at it as there was too many bad debts then a man named Millar had a cyanide plant at Unionville and I heard he wanted to sell it so I saw Mr Hannay he was secretary for Walter Ried & Company and he wanted to have a interest in a going cyanide concern we purchased the plant from Millar I think the price was 40 pounds I went down to manage it at 3 pounds (132) per week it paid very well as I had a big plant and I had six 4 ton vats, three
30 ton vats for the sand alone I had one 40 ton sump tank one 5000 gallon mixer(??)
Well my partner was always in Rockhampton as he was working for Walter Ried & Co and when ever I had a clean up I only got my wages as he said - my partner- that he was in some difficulty with owing to some land he had purchased at Emu Park and could I do without my difident ?????( may mean deficit) and I could get it later. Well as I did not want the money as my wage was sufficent for house hold wants I used to let him keep it expecting to get it when I wanted it Well it went on for a good few months and the wife wanted money so I said you had better see Mr Hannay so the went to Rockhampton and he got her 50 pounds soon after this Hannay cleared out of Rockhampton he had done something wrong at Walter Reids firm so he had to clear he owed me about 350 pounds all I got was the plant which I stuck to it perhaps was worth fifty pounds Hannay was supposed to pay for the (133) cyanide and other material we used in the extraction of the gold this Hannay was supposed to pay every clean-up what cash that was left was profit well I was very surprised I got a bill from Walter Ried 7 Co for 300 pounds for the material that we had used I t appeared that Hannay had never paid anything
in regard to the material Well Walter Ried & Co let the matter drop and so did I but I never heard of Hannay since I only heard he had gone to South Africa
Well I done a lot more cyaniding round about the district and I went back out at Struck Oil
called the 'Dee Rush' where some heavy nuggets of gold was got some at 187 ounces there was no fine gold = a nugget or nothing some done well there others came with cash went away empty pockets I was butchering but made a lot of bad debts I applied to get a publicans licence for the rush but as my wife had got into trouble for selling grog without a licence I was refused
soon after this I went down to the diggers mining at Ulam and one some more cyaniding (134) this paid all right I scarcely know how we lived I did a little cyaniding all around with a boy but what I got profit was hardly wages but it was enough to keep my self and wife and little over Well one day Mrs Heiser of the Hotel Metropole Mount Morgan sent for us to come in to Mount Morgan as she wanted to see us it appeared she had brought the Hotel at Bouldercombe called `The Royal' and she persuaded myself and wife to take it at a rental of 0ne pound a week so we went into it and left Struck Oil on January 3rd 1908
Well for a short time we done fairly well but I gave too much credit (also) just shortly after
coming into the hotel I took sick with typhoid fever and I had to go into the Mount Morgan
Hospital I was very bad my temperature was up 108 and I was very bad It was Sunday when I went in and I was unconscious until Thursday next but I enjoyed good health for a number of years afterwards while in the hotel I tendered for the Mail Run between Bouldercombe and Rockhampton twice a week (135) and I was successful and I held that contract for ...?....years Well I was still in the Hotel and paying rent when the Landlady Mrs Heiser died and her son Abe Heiser became the owner of the hotel and he wanted more rent or he would pull it down or build cottages at Mount Morgan or he would sell it to me for 300 pound well I said I would take it if I could rise the cash to buy it so I went to Rockhampton and saw the manager of the Royal Bank and asked for the loan of 300 pounds He told me he would let me have it if I could get `guarantors so then I went and saw W.G. Thompson & Co and he told me that his firm would guarantee the loan for me
So I purchased the Hotel and everything went well until the Great War when I began to get into debt and try as I would I could not help it so from them with a little help from my son Burt who paid the licence for me two or three years we kept going Well on January of 1924 I lost the mail contract and everything them seemed to go wrong any money owing to ( 136) me I could not get in and about January of 1925 my dear wife lost the use of her legs and the doctors said they could do her no good Well we used to do our best to help her about she could walk up the yard with the aid of a stick until the beginning of October when she went into the Rockhampton General Hospital and we thought she was getting well when pleurisy set in and her heart failed her when she passed away on the 23 of December 1925. (End of Memoirs)
ADDED NOTE: It must have been very soon after December 1925 that "Emma" his youngest daughter took him into her own home and cared for him until his death on 13th November 1926 less than twelve months after the death of his second wife Sarah Ann (nee Adams), who was born in the sub-district of the "Abbey Bath" in the county of Somerset England on the ninth of January 1849 (Actual place of birth was No.8. Old Orchard Saint Michael's, Bath. Her father Thomas was entered as a labourer and her mother Maria signed the birth certificate with an " x "
Henry's first wife was Harriet (nee Phillips ) born C1848, died at Mount Morgan in 1892 and was buried in the Mount Morgan cemetery .
Sarah his second wife (nee Adams) born 09-01-1849 Died on the 23-12-
1925 just a few days short of her 77th birthday. Buried in the Rockhampton cemetery.
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