Pioneering Days by Thomas Murray

The following article by Wyong Creek pioneer, Thomas Murray was printed in the Gosford Times on 3 December, 1915.

Pioneering Days.

Interesting Reminiscences.

[By T. Murray, Wyong Creek.]

It gives me great pleasure to recount my experiences of pioneering days. To-day is significant to me, it being the anniversary day of our arrival in Brisbane Water district 33 years ago, our date or arrival being 27th November, 1882.

My father decided to try his fortune in this district, so, like ‘Dads Wayback,’ he with his wife and a family of ten children, set out from the old wharf, East Gosford, in the horse waggon of Mr Jules Sohier to trek to Wyong Creek. The road from Gosford was only a bush track, consequently slow travelling. Jerks and jolts gave us the impression that father was landing us in some wild and unknown region frequented only by dingo, kangaroo, wallaby, and native bear.

Our first halt was Blue Gum Flat (now Ourimbah). The town consisted of a pub, a store, and a butcher’s shop. Since that time Ourimbah has advanced rapidly, its people being maintained not only by timber as in olden days, but also by up-to-date orchards and dairies. On the track from Ourimbah we were confronted by the big hill, Kangy Angy. How pleased we were to reach the top, but how depressed when we elicited from the driver that he had 10 miles more of this wretched track before we reached our selection. On the northern side of Kangy Angy was the old home of Mr Joe Lees, who traded in timber and kept a butcher’s shop. At Cobb’s Hill, a little further on, on the side of which was one house and a school. Where the children came from it was difficult to say, but it was only one of the many landmarks which our early legislators’ forethought gave to the rising generation.

The travelling was rough and wearisome. We were now within a few miles of Mr M. J. Woodbury’s wine shop, and there we made a halt to rest and partake of the good things which this old hostelry always provided. “How far now, Driver?” “Just five miles,” and with his usual shout, “Gee up Darlin,” (the leader’s name) away we set off again for our destination. What a dreadful place – out of the world!

Drawing of Woodbury's Inn on the Old Mitland Road near Wyong Creek crossing. [Published in the Illustrated Sydney News, 15 March 1884.]

Drawing of Woodbury’s Inn on the Old Mitland Road near Wyong Creek crossing. [Published in the Illustrated Sydney News, 15 March 1884.]

A few miles on we came to Fanning’s old place, where Mr W. A. Trigg then lived. This is now one of the best dairy farms on the Wyong district, owned by Mr Ebbeck. It was previously owned by Mr John O’Neill, one of the early Pioneering families of the district. The homesteads on the track were Jack Linnerton’s, Tom Gam’s, Alec Boyd’s, and the nearest to our selection, Harry Lovett’s. There was a very small mill run on primitive lines.

Our selection lay on the northern side of Wyong Creek, and presented an almost insurmountable scrub. There was nothing for it but the endurance and pluck which characterised the early pioneers. The usual selector’s hut was our first effort, then into the scrub we went, but suffered severely, for we were not used to axe work. However, these difficulties were overcome, and I am pleased to record that although the trials were many, I have reared a family and established an orchard and a comfortable home, and in no way regret the experiences of a pioneering life. Our Wyong Creek district has now a public school, saw mill, post office, Church and an up-to-date Literary Institute.

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 Sources: Wyong Museum & Historical Society ArchivesTrove Digital Newspaper Archive.

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