Station Life in the Early Days: Part 1
Fifty years ago, in the year 1882, the Bland was a day’s journey from Young.
The very rare trip into Young was a day of joy for the children of the old Curraburrama homestead.
All of the supplies would travel by bullock wagon.
Those were the days of prolific seasons, and the waving grass of some places on the Bland would completely hide a horseman.
Sometimes bushrangers would appear on the scene and once a month there was a church service at Morangorell.
In the following reminiscences of her early life Mrs. David Hawkins tells of those early days on the Bland, which she says “were very, very, very happy days.”
Mrs. Hawkins writes:
I was born at the old Burrangong Homestead in 1862. My parents lived at Curraburrama, then a cattle station containing 30,000 acres.
The distance from Lambing Flat was 50 miles and we drove there in a sociable (a seat in front and two at the back facing each other). It took us a day to do the journey.
I remember my father pointing out where the diggers were winding up buckets of earth and working with picks and shovels. On this visit we stayed at the Great Eastern Hotel.
I remember a walk with my father and eldest sister across a paddock to Mr. J. R. Edwards’ home, where Mr. Forsythe now lives.
We journeyed from the Bland each year to see the Burrangong races. The buildings were just rough sheds, where refreshments were served. Mr James Roberts, of Currawong attended in his carriage, and later on Mr W.J. Watson also had a carriage.
Ladies rode on horseback (side saddle), their riding habits were either navy blue or black, with tight fitting jackets and long skirts, and they wore high hats, with long gossamers. Parties took lunch and spread the tablecloths on the grass, but what horses raced I do not remember. Mr James Roberts was always successful with his.
At Curraburrama for many years there were good seasons, and the Bland plains were covered with wild flowers. In some parts the grass was that high that a horseman riding through it was completely hidden.
Emus and kangaroos were numerous and there were plenty of wild fowl and fish. Blacks would come to the homestead with fish strung on green rushes, and ask for food and tobacco in exchange.
They were rather numerous then and wore possum skin rugs held together with wooden pins. They carried their war weapons and always had a number of dogs.
Our new house at Curraburrama was built in 1868, and is still used as the station homestead there. It was built of slabs, hand sawn, also the flooring boards.
The house had eight rooms and a wide verandah. The roof was covered with shingles, and there were two brick chimneys which cost £15 each.
The bricks were made at Young and the bricklayer came from Young to build them. His name was Thompson. A big kitchen, store, schoolroom and other necessary buildings were erected a little later.
To be continued.
From an article in the Young Chronicle, November 4, 1932.
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