History Of The Kerang Pioneers Weekly Times, Saturday 11 May 1929... - 3 weeks ago
History of the Kerang Pioneers
Weekly Times, Saturday 11 May 1929 - by Frank Whitcombe (Edited)
Laid out in a checkered pattern with green umbrageous pepper tree avenues of generous growth and flanked by bright flower gardens and snug, comfortable homes, is suggestive of past effort -Yet, prosperity has been acquired at the price of much pioneering work, and going out into the wilderness, when all the beauty of the Mallee and joyous life around the lakes with their teeming wildfowl and sparkling waters, could not wholly dispel the knowledge of the hazard of the venture and inevitable waiting before the dream's realisation.
For years the squatters occupied the country, dealing with immense areas and vast herds and flocks, filling the gap of time before the advent of the selectors who, had they in those back years been given their small holdings, would have lost themselves in the immensity of their surroundings. The squatters are by many looked upon as ‘first robbers,’ but their reign was from many causes of short duration, and in the early stages of settlement they were necessary advance guards; at the worst they merely monopolised the land to the exclusion of others of their own class.
When Squatter Mr Joseph Maxwell came to Kerang in 1872, Reedy Lake station was owned by John Oliver, who had purchased it from Fenton Brothers and his overseer was W. Gale, whose son lives at Lake Charm. Gannawarra station was owned by C. B. Fisher, whose manager was Alex. Cormack. Lake Meran station was owned by Donald Cameron, known far and wide as Good Old Man Cameron. Tragowel station was owned by Booth and Holloway. Bael Bael station was owned by Salathiel Booth and Richard Goldsbrough, who also owned Gunbower and Mount Hope stations, and the founder of the firm of Goldsbrough, Mort and Co. But, these worthies had been preceded by such men as Edward Argyle in 1843 who took up Duck Swamp Station, now known as Durham Ox, a name attributed to the O.X. brand of his Durham cattle; Curlewis and Campbell of Reedy Lake Station; Andrew and Peter Beveridge of Tyntynder Station (the first named killed by the blacks in 1846); James Cowper, of Pine Hills Station, in 1845; and George Coghill in 1848; George Campbell, Benjamin Rochford and C. B. Fisher, successive holders of Gannawarra Station; Robert Campbell and William Splatt, who occupied Reedy Lake Station in 1849; Edward Bradshaw (1846), and Abraham Booth (1850), of Tragowel Station; William Attenborough, William Rutherford, Stephen Lintot, Stanbridge and Waugh.
Kerang, created a district on 8th July, 1862, after losing considerable areas severed to create Gordon, Mildura and Castle Donnington Shires, and changed its name from Swan Hill Shire to Kerang Shire on 31st December 1898; and again in 1922 lost territory which was constituted Cohuna Shire.
Early Business Men From an issue of the Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette published in 1879 it appears that: — J. Jorgensen, builder, undertaker, furniture dealer, iron and timber merchant, Nolan Street, kept a varied stock, including colonial ovens and barrow wheels and tanks to order — of any size. J. R. Hopkins, of Mitchell Street, likewise wanted it known that he had purchased R. Wilkinson's stock of timber, iron, hessians. paperhangings and varnishes, which he was prepared to sell at reasonable prices. T. Buzza kept the Gannawarra steam saw-mills buzzing 50 years ago, turning out redgum of all sizes and lengths for building, as well as unlimited supplies of pickets, blocks and shingles. J. Hollingsworth acted as his local agent.
The Kerang Hotel was kept by John Cullen; the Commercial Hotel by J. W. Taverner. D. Mclntyre was the proprietor of the Bridge Hotel, Upper Kerang. David Hawthorne (now Hawthorne Bros.) notified the opening of his "large and commodious" store in Victoria street, inviting inspection of his stock of groceries, drapery, ironmongers, tinware, lampware, crockers', boots, shoes and patent medicines. Hoping for a share of the support of the public, he directed their attention to his address, opposite Taverner's Hotel, Kerang.
Thomas Littleton kept a general store opposite the post office and declared himself to do business on the most advantageous terms to the public, making a liberal allowance to cash customers. In addition to his varied assortment of drapers', boots, groceries, crockers', hardware, he conducted a circulating library and kept a choice selection of meerschaum pipes and white moleskin trousers.
G. Taverner, supplied racing saddles. J. H.Uren, fashionable and anatomical bootmaker, kept his National Cash Boot Store in Scoresby Street. T. and M. Martin, in their opening announcement as butchers in Kerang, particularly called attention to the fact that having ample grazing ground at their command, all cattle slaughtered by them would be specially fed.
James Calvert was manager of the National Bank of Australasia, and Henry W. Francis, of the Bank of Victoria, in Kerang. Henry Alger opened a large and commodious boarding house in Wellington Street, next to Heathcote's Livery Stables, for farmers and others, at a low tariff. Gilbert P. W. Heathcote, of the Kerang Livery and Bait Stables, opposite the District Survey Office, lent out buggies on hire by the day or week, and quiet horses for ladies and gentlemen, the scale of charges (strictly moderate) being: Feed of hay, 1/6; feed of corn, 2/6; stabling by the night, with hay 4/, ditto corn 6/.
James Day, wholesale and retail butcher, Wyndham Street, asked for a continuance of public patronage. George Adams, of the Furniture and Paperhanging Warehouse, Kerang, intimated his ability to supply harvesting machinery and fencing wire to farmers. A.Bowman manufactured aerated waters and cordials in Kerang. G. W. Rastrick opened his chemist shop in Scoresby Street (next the post office). Singleton and McDonald started business as bakers and pastry cooks in 1879.
The travelling public had to rely upon horseflesh: — Cobb and Co.'s Telegraph line of mail coaches (Robertson, Wagner and Co., proprietors, and John Robertson,, manager), left Cullens Kerang Hotel at five o'clock every morning except Sundays for Swan Hill, returning daily at 11 p.m. except Saturdays. Gibson's line of mail coaches left for Echuca on Mondays and Fridays at 4 p.m. returning on Wednesdays and Saturdays, at 8.30 a.m., J. W. Taverner being the agent.
J.W. Patchell, J. P., born at Moneymore, County Derrv, Ireland, in 1833, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, was a son of a naval surgeon and spent his first four years in Victoria on a station, and at the Ballarat diggings, between I854-58, when he opened the first store in Kerang and kept the first post office. He was appointed a member of the old Road Board, and built the bridge over the Loddon River, and eventually became president of the Swan Hill Shire Council. He grazed 700 acres of land under irrigation.
The New Kerang - In the very early seventies what was known as Kerang was that now known as Old Kerang. In view of the railway line passing through the site of the present township the business people and residents of Old Kerang folded their tents and trekked over to the new township two miles distant. The start of the modern Kerang was made by Patchell Bros., Edward and W. J.W Patchell, who had a hawker's depot, and built the bridge over the Loddon, known as Patchell's for many years. They also built the Kerang Hotel and stables for Cobb and Co.'s horses at Kerang, also a large two-storeyed brick building which for many years served as the Post Office and afterwards as the Lands and Survey Office.
The first postmaster was O'Connell in 1872. They also built a dwelling house in Fitzroy Street, now the site of Hughes' garage, a blacksmith and wheelwright's shop in Nolan Street, and, almost touching Kerang on the south side of the Loddon, a farm which is claimed to have brought about the start of irrigation in the north. They cultivated maize, oats, wheat, fruit of many kinds, vegetables of the finest quality, on land which is to a great extent absorbed by building allotments, whilst the remainder on the east side of the railway has become the property of Mr W. A. Milvain. They afterwards opened a general store, which for many years existed. When Patchell Bros, dissolved partnership, W. J. W.Patchell took over the whole of the business and left the hotel to the younger brother, James. W. J. W. Patchell was several times president of the shire.
A worthy resident of that day was Peter Waterstrom, who in later years managed Patchell's store. It is related of him that he drove bullocks during 20 of his younger years, and hardly ever, if ever, used an unseemly word in making his wishes known to them. Patrick John O'Donnell was the contemporary constable, and a very capable man, whose son, John, attained to presidential distinction, and played a very useful role in the progress of the town.
The needs of the district were supplied by two carriers. George Marshall and James Henry Bell, who called every six weeks and gathered up kangaroo and goat skins for return cargo. Marshall died, a retired man, in Bendigo and Bell acquired the Commercial Hotel, Swan Hill.
A man named Cousens occupied a hut where the National Bank stands, and he carried on as a shoemaker - onthe south side of the town were three stations, occupied respectively by John Cullen and his wife and James Booth and his wife and family, and Townley and his wife. The support of the town was due to the number of men employed in fencing two of the stations and the number of stockmen hutkeepers and shepherds at work, which ensured plenty of money finding its way to the settlement on pay days.
John Cullen acquired the Kerang Hotel in 1874 and handed over the management to his son John, who became a shire councillor, and represented Gunbower for some twelve years in the Assembly. Cullens Lake was named after John Cullen senior, who resided there. His daughter Bridget married Thomas Wilkins, of Swan Hill, owner of the White Swan Hotel. She was a most charitable woman, and would never allow anyone to go away hungry.
When George Adams completed the building of the Shire Hall, council meetings were held in Kerang instead of in the old town. Charles E. Albrecht who had arrived in Kerang in 1868 was the first secretary and engineer, and took a part getting the railway line extended to Kerang. The first rate collector was Edwin S. Maxwell, and after a number of years he was succeeded by J. J. O'Connor. Thomas Littleton was a shire councillor and opened a store at the corner of Scoresby and Victoria Streets, about 1874. David Hawthorne and his wife started a store in Victoria Street in 1878, and later acquired from the Presbyterian Church the land on which their large emporium stands, for £400, showing the latent possibilities of those days. In 1874 Donald Mclnnes removed his store from Old Kerang to the site adjoining the Shire council Chambers in Victoria Street, and now occupied by E. Pay.
Another removal from the old township was that of Alex Fraser, whose saddlery connection is carried on by his son in the original stand in Fitzroy Street. He brought over with him a fine baritone voice, which was in constant demand at church and charitable concerns held in the Shire Hall, which was the general meeting place for divine service until the Methodists joined in the exodus and removed their building to the new town. A.Bowman regarding the original town site as no longer a fit place for his cordial factory, transferred his bottles and plant to Nolan Street and stiil carries on.
Mr Joseph Maxwell relates how when a boy, he used to hear the grown-ups talking about the township blocks they had purchased and boasting of the fortunes that would be theirs in after years from the unearned increment. When he said he wished he could have a block also they somewhat unfeelingly told him that by the time he had money to invest the blocks would be worth thousands of pounds: and the irony of it is that today he owns the whole of the land, some 54 acres, that was included within the old town's boundaries. When the place was denuded of its buildings and deserted by the new township he bought it all and now has it as a farm. It is not every day that one meets a man who has purchased a complete township and owns his own cemetery. Mr Maxwell was for a time assistant to the shire secretary, and rate collector until in 1876, he selected land, and alter three years in Queensland returned and became a grain buyer in Kerang and took a prominent position as trustee of the Mechanics' Institute.
Edward Hollaway, J.P., born in Warwickshire in 1842, son of John Holloway (a very early pioneer who came out from England in 1853 and with Abraham Booth took up country known as Tragowel Station) was engaged as manager of a station in New South Wales for his father and in 1878 returned and purchased the Tragowel Estate. With N. H. Drake as a partner, he carried on until 1899 when he retired into private life.
J Richard Ward, born in Devonshire in 1836, started a foundry in Kerang. In 1877 finding a market for his Implements as far away as New South Wales and Queensland - Henry Alger born in London in 1839 arrived in Sydney in 1855. He worked in Bendigo as a baker, built the Crown and Anchor Hotel, Lock-wood in 1861. In 1874 he kept the Weighbridge Hotel, Kangaroo Flat, and in 1879 built the Farmers Arms Hotel, Kerang.
James McCarthy, in 1879 took up 400 acres of land at Kerang and established a butchery business after 36 years of farming experience in other parts of the State. David William Williamson, native of Manchester, who arrived in Melbourne in 1858 opened a general store in Kerang in 1883 besides farming 400 acres of land in the vicinity. David Grant Rattray, born in Ballarat in 1855 removed to Kerang in 1875 and farmed until 1883 when he became secretary of the Swan Hill Shire Council, which then embraced the shires of Gordon, Castle Donnington, Mildura and part of Wycheproof shire. Later he became secretary of the Kerang Shire Council and Waterworks Trust, and manager of the Kerang-Koondrook Tramway.
Henry Pfau, born at Wurtemberg in 1847, arrived in Brisbane in 1858 and after roaming about the country for 2 years, settled in Kerang as a tailor - James Wait, born in Kent in 1852, built the Exchange Hotel, Kerang, in 1884. - Robert Crawford established himself as a baker in Kerang in 1884 having previously acquired a farm on the plains in 1879 - Alfred John Jones began life as a lawyer's clerk in Melbourne, which profession he abandoned to become g saddler in Fitzroy in 1873 and ten years later removed his business to Kerang and carried on mixed farming on 300 acres within three miles of the town - James Day, a native of Mansfield, England, established himself as a butcher in Kerang in 1878 - George Drummond, born in Scotland in 1843 arrived in Melbourne in 1855 and opened a business as a blacksmith in Kerang in 1885.
Alexander Fraser, saddler, arrived with a fellow craftsman in Kerang in 1864, during a tremendous drought and they had to feel their way along the water courses to get there. At Quambatook their horses gave out. After working on stations, Mr Fraser settled in Kerang and the business he founded is now carried on by his son John, born in 1873.
John Fraser' s grandmother was the first white woman on the Gannavarra station in 1853, who landed there at the age of nine by bullock dray from Melbourne at the end of a month's journey.
John James Cadusch came out from Switzerland in 1873, and after cheep farming on the Loddon on 320 acres, purchased by him, he bought the Commercial Hotel, Kerang in 1886. Joseph, his brother, after sheep farming experience on the Loddon sold his farm of 320 acres and acquired the Shire Hall Hotel, Kerang.
John Jose born in Castlemaine in 1838 learned the trade of a blacksmith at Maldon and in 1881 settled in Kerang. Je bought a farm, and in conjunction with his partner, Hall, established a coachbuiiding and blacksmith business - Donald Mclnnes, arrived in Melbourne 1852, settled down as a general storekeeper in Kerang in 1872. And finely of these worthy pioneers, Henry Charles Moorhead, born in Talbot in 1863, bought out Hales butcher's shop at Kerang in 1885.
Photo: Wellington Street, Kerang - State Library Victoria.