Monday, 15 September 2014

Opening of The Blacktown to Richmond Railway


OPENING OF THE WINDSOR AND RICHMOND RAILWAY.


The branch railway from Blacktown -on the Great Western
line to Windsor and Richmond, was officially opened
yesterday, is a preliminary to the opening of the line
for public traffic, which will take place to-morrow, the
1st of December. As the first train from Richmond will
start at an early hour in the morning, it was considered
the more convenient course for the line to be formally opened
two days before the regular traffic commenced. In order that the
gratifying and auspicious event might be fittingly celebrated,  
invitations to be present at the opening had been sent to his 
Excellency the Governor and suite, the Ministry, the members of the
Legislative Council and of the late Assembly, a number of  
Government officials, and other gentlemen. Spirited preparations
had been made, both at Windsor and Richmond, for  
the reception of the visitors, and generally for the celebration of
the opening, showing that the inhabitants of the Hawkesbury
district properly appreciated the advantages they are about to  
derive from railway communication with the metropolis.
Before proceeding to report the formalities at the celebration,
it may be desirable to give a few particulars respecting the new
line. The residents in the Hawkesbury district had, for several
years agitated for the construction of a railway to Windsor ;
and in 1858, the subject having been referred to a select committee
of the Legislative Assembly, evidence was taken, and  
they reported that the traffic on the line would give a paying
return on the cost of construction. The first public intimation
that the wishes of the Windsor people were to be complied with
was made at the dinner given to his Excellency Sir John Young,
on his visit to the Hawkesbury, three years ago, when Mr. Cowper
announced that the Government had, the previous day, come
to the determination to place a sum of money on the estimates    
for a railway, or a tramway, to Windsor and Richmond. The
announcement as might be expected, gave great satisfaction ;
and shortly afterwards the Government fulfilled the promise by
placing the sum of £60,000 on the estimates for a horse
railway to Windsor and Richmond." Some opposition was    
effected to the vote when the estimate was submitted in the    
Assembly, chiefly on the ground that, being a branch railway, the
inhabitants of the Hawkesbury district might, if it promised to
be a remunerative undertaking, themselves raise the money to
construct the line. The formation of a horse railway was also
objected to as a retrograde movement, but it was promised that    
the works should be made sufficiently heavy to carry locomotive
engines if that description of traffic should be thought desirable,  
and the vote was agreed to. The construction of horse railways  
appears to have been a pet scheme of Mr. Arnold's, and as    
Mr. Whitton had reported very strongly against the experiment
it was determined that it should be carried out  
under a new and distinct branch of the Works Department.
Accordingly in carrying out the resolution of the  
Assembly, the Government advertised for "a competent
engineer having experience in the formation of horse railways to
take the superintendence of the works." There were several
applications for the appointment, Mr. W. Weaver was  
commissioned to carry out the works ; the arrangement being that
he should receive a commission of 5 per cent, on the sum voted,
and a further commission of 10 per cent. on the estimate - Mr.
Weaver acting as engineer-in-chief, and also as manager of the works.
The first sod of the Windsor and Richmond Railway was
turned in January of last year, Messrs. Randle and Gibbons
having taken the contract for the earthworks to Windsor, and
Mr Gwynneth for the continuation to Richmond. In the mean-
time the intention of the Minister for Works had undergone some  
change with regard to the character of the line, and he stated at
the dinner given to celebrate the commencement of
the works, that horses were not to be used upon the
line, but a light kind of locomotive. Both Mr. Arnold
and Mr. Weaver expressed themselves upon that occasion in    
favour of horse railways for certain kinds of traffic ; and their
abandonment of the principle, as applied to the Windsor line,
was stated to be owing to the experience of the satisfactory
working of a locomotive that had recently been introduced by
Sir M. Peto and Co.'s agents for use on their works ; the    
engine in question having frequently drawn a load of from thirty-
five to forty tons up on incline of one in twenty. Consequent
on this alteration in the views of the Minister, alterations
were made by Mr. Weaver in his plans ; designs for stronger
bridges were prepared, and works generally of a more substan-
tial character were prepared for.
It was promised, at the starting of the works, that the railway
should be opened for traffic in twelve months' time. The carrying
out of the works was, however, interrupted by various  
causes. Messrs. Randle and Gibbon failed before they had done
their contract, which had to be completed by their sureties. The  
first contractor for the South Creek viaduct declined to proceed
with the work, and considerable delay occurred in calling for
fresh tenders. A still greater obstruction was erased by the  
disastrous floods in July last, which washed down the embank-
ments in some places and carried away portions of the banks at
South Creek. The floods were known to have been higher than
any that the district had experienced for the last forty-five years,
and they were consequently to that extent higher than the
levels given to the engineer in setting out the line.
The new line branches from the Great Western Railway at the
Blacktown station, and, leaving the Blacktown road to the left,
passes at the back of Quaker Hill and ascends the Quaker Hill
Range at a gradient of one in thirty-five for a distance of fifteen
chains ; it then runs for some distance parallel to and on the
northern side of Eastern Creek, passing through the farms of
Mr. David Pye and Mr. Schofield ; after traversing the Riverstone
estate, the property of Mr. A. H. McCulloch, for a distance of
three miles, at the end of this property, opposite to a point known
as the Vineyard, the line ascends, by a gradient of one in forty
one, the Dividing Range, which runs from Prospect to McGrath's
Hill on the Western Road. The line keeps to the high table
land of that range, passing through Mr. Williams' and several
other farms on the Richmond Hill Common, which it crosses
about a mile to the left of the old Windsor Road, at McGrath's
Hill, and crossing South Creek at Mr. Cunneen's. The viaduct
across South Creek is a very substantial structure ; it is twelve
chains in length, and has an opening over the main creek ninety
feet in the clear, spanned by a laminated arch. After crossing
South Creek, the line passes close by the extensive farm buildings
and boiling-down establishment of Mr. R. Fitzgerald, and  
enters the town of Windsor immediately at the back of the old
Government poor-house, the station being on the property of
the late Mr. Cope, facing the main street of Windsor, and adjoining  
the Presbyterian burial-ground. After leaving Windsor  
the line takes at first a considerable course to the westward,
and then proceeds in an almost direct course to  
the town of Richmond, passing through the estate of Fairfield,
where it crosses the Chain of Ponds - a formidable
watercourse at flood times - and also passing through the Windsor    
racecourse. Across the Chain of Ponds there is a timber viaduct
sixteen chains in length, with twenty feet openings. The steepest
gradient on the line is 1 in 33, but in no case is this gradient
adopted for more than a quarter of a mile in length. The sharpest
curve on the line is one of thirteen chains radius, at the junction  
with the Great Western Railway ; in no other case does the curve
exceed twenty chains radius. The gauge is the same as that of
the other railways. The rails are T shaped, and their weight is  
55 lbs. to the yard ; they are placed three feet apart, and rest on
iron bark sleepers. The entire line is ballasted with fine gravel,
obtained from the Richmond Common ; it is firmly packed under
the sleepers for a depth of eighteen inches. The length of the
line from the junction, at Blacktown, to Windsor, is fourteen
miles, the entire length to Richmond being a little over sixteen miles.
The works have been carried out under tho immediate supervision
of Mr. J. Moore, who has acted as Mr. Weaver's agent.    
It is generally known that a few months since Mr. Weaver left
Sydney for New Zealand, and was appointed Engineer-in-Chief
tor the Province of Auckland, It was expected that he would
have returned to Sydney for tho purpose of finally passing the
line before handing it over to the Government; he has, however,    
been unable lo leave Auckland, and in his absence Mr. Moore has
Certified that the works were properly finished, and that the line
was ready for opening It is understood that the line will be
placed under the Railway Department, and that Mr. Whitton
will make an official inspection of the works, which he has not
yet done. It would be at present premature to pronounce as to
the success of this experimental cheap railway. The traffic now
about to commence will soon test the character of the works, as
well as the adaptation of the line to the requirements of the
traffic; it will also be shown whether there will be an actual
saving in the construction of lines of a less substantial character
than our trunk railways. In the meantime, it is right to state
that the Windsor and Richmond railway has cost considerably  
less than £5000 per mile, while the cheapest of the main lines has
not cost less than £8000 per mile. So far as the opinions of the
visitors could be gathered from the general appearance the line,
those expressed yesterday were decidedly favourable. The station
buildings at Windsor and Richmond were much admired for  
their tasteful design and for their internal adaptation. The steady
motion of the carriages was also remarked, there
being a comparatively little oscillation. The small
locomotives (manufactured for this line by Messrs.
Manning, Wardle, and Co, of Leeds) were regarded
with much interest ; they are tank engines and have six wheels,
all coupled. Those who inspected the line somewhat carefully
remarked the occasional steep gradients and sharp curves,
travelling on which it was thought might be attended with
danger unless much care were exercised in driving. We learn
that it is not intended to drive the trains on the new line at a
greater speed than twelve or fourteen miles an hour. The sum
originally voted for the Windsor and Richmond Railway was
£3000 per mile, which was exclusion of land and stations. By
the alteration of the plans in order to adapt the line for locomotive
traffic, an additional outlay of more than £500 per mile was  
incurred, one-half of which was caused by the heavier weight
of the rails, as compared with those which would have done for
horse railway; the balance was expended in giving extra    
strength to the viaducts and other portions of the works The
sum of £15,000 was placed on the Additional Estimates for this
year, and was voted by the Assembly ; of the above sum about
£5,000 was for three locomotive engines, and the remaining  
£10,000 was for the additional cost that was entailed in altering the
line from a horse railway as at first intended to a locomotive
railway. The excursionists started from Sydney by a special train yesterday morning
, shortly before ten o'clock, and arrived at the Blacktown    
Junction about twenty minutes to eleven o'clock.  
Amongst the company were his Excellency and Lord John
Taylour ADC. ,the Hon. J. B. Wilson acting Secretary for
Public Works, E. Deas Thomson, the Hon. J.H. Plunkett,      
Sir William Manning, the Hon. Charles Cowper, Mr.
Piddington, M.L.A.; Mr J.E.Cunneen, M.L.A ; the Hon S.D.
Gordon, M.L.C.; Mr. Macpherson, M.L.A. ; Dr. Lang, M L A. ;    
Mr. Hart, M.L.A.; Mr. Hay, M.L.A; Mr. Sutherland, M.L.A.      
Mr. William Elyard, Mr. Whitton, Mr Lane, Mr. Leary, Captain Scott,
P.M.; Mr John Rae Commissioner for Railways,  
several of the aldermen of the city, and many other
gentlemen resident in Sydney and its immediate neighbour-
hood. When the train arrived at Blacktown it
was divided into two portions, one part preceding
the other on the new line towards Windsor and Richmond, at a
tolerably rapid pace; sufficiently slow however, for the excur-
sionists to see much of the country through which they  
were passing. The forest land to the right of
the branch line first engaged their attention where well
conditioned cattle were seen depasturing in the thickly growing grass,
startled from their habitual apathy by the steam train whistle and the
unwanted rumble of the carriages as they swept for the first time past. Then
the train wound its way between numerous gentle eminences whereon the
trees were less numerous than before, and the herbage more and
more infrequent. Long reaches of level lands came next, where
the swamp oak, mingled with the eucalyptus and bush scrub,
showed the land was swampy and poor as if all the goodness
had been altogether washed out of it. Here for a while, were
chains of ponds by the roadside, and substantial, lofty wooden
bridges, spanning sluggish and insignificant looking creeks
known from past experience to become suddenly formidable  
after a heavy shower of rain. Then a fine rolling country once more,
some in its natural state and some cleared and under cultivation.
Snug little farms with their green peach orchards, their gardens and
their haystacks - the well pleased owners and their families runn-
ing out to give a welcome to the steamhorse and all that horse draws
after it - rich land where the alluvial deposit of the disastrous floods
has already been fertilised under the hands of cultivators of the
agricultural district of Windsor. More farms, more gazing rustics,
startled cattle, wooden bridges and straggling gum trees;
then a long via-duct from which the first view of the town became
visible, and so the first railway train came at last into the Hawkes-
bury district and was received with loud shouts by the assembled
population of Windsor. The people of Windsor were all on the
qui vive under the impression that the steam-horse would stop there,
give himself a little breathing time, let them see the Governor, the
members of parliament, and the other celebrities that had come up from  
Sydney to visit them, and for whom the good townsmen had made all 
due preparations.
Numbers of them were quite ready then and there to ride on to Richmond
and visit their neighbours in the first train but they were doomed to
to a slight disappointment. Whether the iron horse had got excited 
and unmanageable withhis first run along the road or whether he had 
been driven so fast that he could not be pulled up, was left an open question. 
He did not stop at Windsor, but rushed on with unabated speed to Richmond. 
The change in the general appearance of the country, on leaving 
Windsor, was observed with much pleasure by all the excursionists especially 
by those to whom it was altogether new. Here there was
for the most part, open country, and a wide extent of  
alluvial land under cultivation, comfortable English looking
homesteads, with adjacent shady trees and distant mountain
scenery. These various local features (the distinguishing    
characteristics of this portion of the district) were severally
observed, and pleasantly commented upon, until the train
came into Richmond at about half past eleven o'clock.  
As the train came in the population welcomed the visitors with
loud cheers, as at Windsor- the quiet, pretty little village of
Richmond having obviously turned out en masse on the occasion.
Upon landing on the platform at the Richmond Station, his
Excellency was met by several of the residents of Richmond,    
when Mr George Bowman read the following address to the
Governor :-
"To the Right Honorable Sir John Young, Bart, K C B ,
K C.M G , Captain General and Governor in Chief of New
South Wales
" May it please your Excellency, - I have the distinguished
honour, on behalf of our committee, and of the inhabitants
generally, this day most cordially to welcome you to Richmond.
An event, we believe of vast importance to the prosperity of our  
District has now taken place, and we beg to congratulate your
Excellency on being the representative of our beloved Queen on
this auspicious occasion. We trust that your Excellency may long  
be spared to occupy your exalted position, with as much honour
to yourself, and consideration for the benefit of the colony as have  
hitherto characterised your government.
Further, it is our earnest wish that this line of railway, now  
opened, may be often used by your Excellency and Lady Young,
in visiting our lovely rural town, which lies so close to the banks
of the bountiful Hawkesbury, and the foot of the invigorating and
health-giving Currajong.
" I have the honour to be, your Excellency, on behalf of the
Committee, your Excellency's most obedient servant,
" George Bowman, chairman of Reception Committee "    
His Excellency replied to the address as follows -  
"I have the honour to acknowledge, with all thanks, the address
which, you have presented to me as the representative of our
Most Gracious Sovereign
"I rejoice that railway communication has been opened between
the metropolis and this charming district, and I hope the opening
will be followed by all the advantages and facilities which can    
possibly be desired or which may have been looked forward to "
His Excellency, after receiving the address, visited the residence
of Mr. William Bowman, and drove through the village,    
which presented a gay and festive appearance. On
the green the tall wiry yeomen and shapely bright
eyed lasses of the Kurrajong district, mounted on
their rough-looking fast-going horses, collected in large groups,
watching the other holiday folk, who were gathered round a  
cleverly roasted ox, exchanging their ideas on the fete day of the
railway. Many of the excursionists visited the quaint brick
church and the picturesque churchyard. Some rode off to the
Kurrajong, and some, less sentimentally disposed, looked after
that refreshment which they began to require. Several found all
they could require at a comfortable inn not far from the station,
where a " spread " had been prepared that would be a credit to
any place, and where the familiar face of a well known garcon
ensured prompt attention and civility. Others, less economical,
went to the breakfast, which was commenced with when the
Windsor people arrived by the return of the train.
Shortly after twelve o'clock His Excellency and suite, and  
several others of the visitors from Sydney, were Invited to an
 excellent breakfast laid out in the goods shed, supplied by Mr.Cripps, of Sydney. 
The walls were hung with flags and deco
rated with evergreens. Between fifty and sixty gentlemen were
present. The chair was taken by Mr George Bowman , on his
right were his Excellency Sir John Young, the Hon E. Deas
Thomson, M L C , the Hon Sir William Manning M L C , Lord
John Taylour, and Dr Lang, M L A , and on his left were the
Hon, J B. Wilson, the Hon Charles Cowper, M L A, Mr
Hay, M LA, the Rev J. Cameron There were also present the
Hon J Campbell, M L C , Mr Piddington, M L A., Mr, Cunneen
M L A , Mr Walker, M L A , the Commissioner for Railways,
Mr, Whitton, Mr W Bowman, and Mr G M Pitt. The    
band of the Hawkesbury Volunteers was in attendance, and
performed during the conviviality.  
Justice having been done to the viands, the usual loyal toasts
"The Queen " and "The Prince and Princess of Wales " were
drunk with all the honours.
The Chairman then proposed " His Excellency the Governor,"
The toast was drunk amidst prolonged and enthusiastic cheering

His Excellency responded as follows: - Mr Bowman and
Gentlemen, - I shall take the liberty of mentioning publicly what
I have just ventured to state to Mr Bowman in private, that I
never in my life heard of after-breakfast speeches before , not
even in Ireland which is a demonstration-making and speech  
making country, did I ever hear of after-breakfast speeches.
(Laughter ) However, at no time of the day, early or late, should
I be backward in acknowledging the obligation under which I
am to the present company for the reception they have been pleased
to give me. I am the more flattered by it because I cannot  
consider myself entirely a stranger in these parts, having  
visited this district on several occasions before, and having made
the acquaintance of many of the gentlemen whom I see around
me at this table, I was glad to meet them again on an occasion  
like the present, when the completion of the railway, uniting the
metropolis with this charming and fertile district, offers a fair subject
of congratulation. I have no doubt that the attractions which
struck me so forcibly in these localities will also strike others,
and that they will bring many visitors from Sydney to the towns
of Windsor and Richmond. On the other hand, the facilities and
advantages which railway communication with the metropolis
affords will no doubt, make themselves felt, not only in the
influx of visitors, and in the means of drawing the supplies that
must be drawn from the metropolis, but also by the residents and
producers of the district in sending their produce to the best
market. The diminished cost of transport may fairly be said to
give increase of value to the produce of the land, or as equivalent
to an increase of income to those who send their produce to  
market for sale, as well as to those who draw their supplies from
the market. And, according to tho accounts that haves been
placed in my hands, this railway has been constructed at very
moderate terms - at wonderfully moderate terms, if we take into
view the high price of wages which is said to prevail,
and the only Inference that can be drawn from this is,
that if the rate of wages has been high, the workmen, the
navvies, and all concerned have given good work and ample value
in return (Cheers ) There is, however, one matter that gives
me particular interest in this railway. At the time I came out  
to this colony, it was bruited about that tramways were to be
constructed to be worked by horse power. That was a plan that
was quite out of date, discarded, disapproved of by all the    
practice and by all the intelligent experience of the mother  
country. I brought out letters from Captain Galton and other
gentlemen of high and unquestioned authority, and those  
gentlemen all pointed out that this fact had been proved - that
wherever it was worth while laying down rails at all it was
better and cheaper to use steam power than animal power. So
that I think I may say I had some little share in this railway
in forwarding the representations which had weight in causing
this railway to be worked by steam power. (Hear, hear) But
in congratulating you upon this possession, I hope
you will bear in mind that your railway is one with light rails and
with light locomotives, and that it is not calculated for those high
speeds and for those great loads that may be safely attained on  
highly-finished and expensive mainlines. The same authorities
that I have quoted urged upon me to mention that the speed
attained on a line of this kind should be limited to something like
fourteen miles an hour, otherwise they say that the great wear
and tear upon the rails would be greater than light rails could
bear, and there would be, consequently, not only greatly in
creased expense, but also the liability to serious accidents,  
accompanied perhaps serious loss of life. Now, if you keep within
these limits - and I hope you will keep within them - and restrain
your acquirements to the calculated capabilities of your line, it
will throw open to you all the advantages and facilities which can
be expected from it, and I hope that you will draw from it all  
those benefits, and that the population of the country may one
and all of them have for many years the full enjoyment of all
that the railway can give them. (Cheers)  
Mr G M Pitt proposed as the next toast, " success t0 the
Railway "
The toast having been drunk, calls were made for
Mr. Wilson, who was cheered on rising to respond. He said
he looked upon the toast of "Success to the Railway" as of  
similar import to "Success to the Hawkesbury district." He
believed that that was the light in which it was generally looked
upon, and that if the railway succeeded the Hawkesbury district
must progress. He had no doubt that the railway would succeed,
and that the Hawkesbury district would progress. In every
point of view the railway would give a stimulus to the people
which they could not otherwise receive, its effect would be to
make them become more frugal, because there was nothing  
valuable that they could produce but what they would be able to get
a fair price for in the Sydney market. He sincerely wished that  
the railway might succeed, and that the Hawkesbury district
might become one of the most prosperous and enterprising in the
colony. (Cheers)
Mr Druitt then proposed " Lady Young and the ladies of the
colony."
The toast having been drunk,  
His Excellency responded on behalf of Lady Young and Mr,
Pitt responded on behalf of tho ladies of the colony.
The toast of "The Chairman" was then proposed by his  
Excellency, and appropriately responded to.
The train plied to and fro between Richmond and Windsor
several times during the early part of the day, and, a free passage  
being given, many availed themselves of the opportunity. A
large proportion of the Sydney excursionists went back to
Windsor after the dejeuner, and sauntered about the little capital    
of the Hawkesbury district until the afternoon wore away and the
dinner hour approached. In the open space near St. Matthews'
Church a large crowd of persons were found to have assembled
under a booth, where a roasted ox had fed the
hungry lieges. Some, too, had here assuaged their thirst,
without fear of any future headache. A greasy pole, surmounted
by a hat, was also observed to be standing near the roasted ox, a
prize to the adventurous climber who might be enabled to reach it.
A short time before the hour fixed for the dinner, a number of
influential residents of Windsor assembled in front of McQuades
hotel for the purpose of presenting an address to the Hon Charles
Cowper. Mr Ridge read the following address, which was signed
by sixty or seventy gentlemen -  
"To the Honourable Charles Cowper, M L A.
"At a public meeting of the Liberals of this town and district,
held on Monday, the 28th November, 1864, the following address
was unanimously resolved upon
'"We, the undersigned Liberals of the town and district of
Windsor, desire on this the occasion of your visit to Windsor, at    
the opening of our railway, to express our sense of indebtedness
to you and your Government for obtaining for us this great
benefit, likewise for the great interest you have always shown in
the wants of our district, as evidenced on all occasions when our
requirements have been made known to you  
"We would also beg to offer you our congratulations on the  
success which has attended the Liberal cause during the present
elections, showing that the country fully agrees with the majority
of the late Assembly, that the Martin Ministry are not worthy of
the trust which has been reposed In them.
"'We also hail the result of the elections, so far, as the harbinger
of your again returning to that honourable position in the  
Government of our country, which you are so pre-eminently
qualified to occupy
"'Trusting that the Supreme Ruler may, of his great goodness,    
preserve you to us for many years, and that this fine colony        
may continue to receive the benefits of your great experience and
wise counsels,
" We have the honour to be, &c, &c. "  
Mr Cowper, after expressing his thanks for the kind attention
he had received from his friends, read the following reply :
" Gentlemen, - The opening of a railway to the towns of Windsor
and Richmond is a subject of congratulation not only to the  
inhabitants of your fertile, and beautiful district but to the whole
colony.
"The undertaking was commenced by my colleagues and by
myself, and was far advanced towards completion before we left
office. We have a right to take the credit of this great work,
for which we had, as a Government, to contend against those who
occupy our places as Ministers.
"'The problem is solved that railway communication can, at a
comparatively cheap cost, be made available to localities which
it was considered could not have the great advantages of such
means of transit. Of these advantages it is impossible to overrate
the benefits, whether social or material!  
"Fourteen years ago I commenced the railway movement,
aided by some far-seeing and patriotic fellow-colonists. We
were then ridiculed, and even maligned, for considering that the
colony, with its limited and scattered population, could have a  
boon which was believed to be suitable and available only to
communities more advanced and more thickly peopled. The
I success which to this line has been mainly the result of our
exertions shows that even in our lifetime this large and rapidly
extending colony need not despair of having railways constructed
to its most distant districts.
"I return you my most grateful thanks for your congratulations
on the result of the elections, so far as they have gone during the
present general election. The Liberal cause has undoubtedly  
obtained a signal triumph. But the battle is not yet won. The country
electorates must follow the example of their Sydney friends, and
all will be right. It is now manifest that the present Government
never had the confidence of the Parliament or of the country.    
Their clinging to office after the ignominious defeats they    
have suffered is calculated, if anything they can do can    
produce any effect, to make responsible government contemptible.    
As regards the future, I can only pray that He who overrules  
all for the good may guide and direct you and your follow colonists
in the choice of these legislators who have yet to be chosen, and  
whether in office, or out of office, all the abilities I possess and  
all the experience which I have acquired in the administration
of public affairs, shall be devoted to the advancement of the best
interests of our common country "
The dinner took place in the School of Arts, at the lower end
of the town, and was well attended. The viands were provided
by Mr Cripps. The chair was taken by Mr. Walker, the member for
Windsor, to the right of whom sat his Excellency the Governor.
On the left of the chairman sat the Hon J B Wilson, the Acting
Secretary for Works. Next to Mr Wilson sat Mr Cowper, Lord
John Taylor, and Mr George Bowman. To the right of the
Governor were Mr Plunkett and Mr William Bowman
After due justice had been done to the dinner,
The Chairman proposed the health of her Majesty the Queen
- a toast to which the loyal people of Windsor were always
happy to do every honour.
The toast was drunk with all the honours.
Air "God save the Queen"
The CHAIRMAN next proposed the health of the Prince of
Wales and other members of the Royal Family. The Prince of  
Wales bad already obtained a place in the history of the country,  
and had distinguished himself as a worthy son of his lamented
father - the late Prince Consort
This toast was duly honoured as before.
Air "Prince of Wales March"    
The CHAIRMAN said that the next toast he had to propose was
the health of a gentleman whose name he was quite sure would
be heard by them with sincere approbation - it was that of his
Excellency Sir John Young. (Loud and long continued applause)
This was not the first time that Sir John Young's        
health had been drunk in that district, and drank with loud  
applause. He felt it was quite unnecessary for him to expatiate on
the great merits of this distinguished gentleman who represented
her Majesty and was that day their visitor.
The toast was drunk amid enthusiastic applause
Air - "The Fine Old English Gentleman"
His Excellency, who was enthusiastically cheered on rising,
responded as follows - Mr Walker and Gentlemen, -I thank you
for the plaudits and for the cordiality with which you have  
received the mention of my name. Your excellent chairman has
just reminded me that this is the second time that I have  
responded to the same compliment this day I spoke in answer to
it this morning at the breakfast at Richmond I did then what I
had never done in my life before, and that was - open a railway
and make after-breakfast speech in the same day. (Laughter)    
As the compliment now given was then as warmly paid, and as I
see very many gentlemen in this company who were also present
at the breakfast, I must endeavour not to repeat what I then said.  
To repeat himself, and to preach the same sermon, is a privilege
limited to hard-worked clergymen who are obliged to officiate two
or three times to different congregations, and at churches distant
from each other. (Laughter) Now I shall endeavour not to
say exactly the same things that I said this morning, although it
is difficult to take up different topics. For then I dwelt at tolerable
length on the advantages and facilities which a railway  
must confer on all who live in this district, as well as on many  
who live in Sydney. It will enable you to send your produce on
easier terms to market, and to bring supplies on easier terms
from tho metropolis, at the same time that the beautiful features  
of this locality will draw many visitors from Sydney,
either in search of health or recreation. These are  
the topics which naturally offer themselves on this occasion,
and I shall not attempt to dilate upon them, further than this,
that I was very glad indeed to be able to open your railway.
(Cheers ) And, without entering into details I congratulate
you very much on having your railway worked by steam
power instead of by horsepower as I believe was originally    
intended. Now the policy of the extension of railways
has been doubted in some quarters, it has been supposed  
that it plunges the colony into debt. No doubt,  
that may be the case, debt is incurred , but I believe that the
returns will be found amply remunerative nothing has more
convinced me of that than the observations that I recently made,  
during a late visit, upon the road over the Blue Mountains to
Bathurst, I there saw large quantities of goods being conveyed
along the road, causing great toll and great suffering, both to the
animals and to the people driving teams. The road itself is
not in good condition, owing, in my opinion, to the softness of the
materials employed preventing the road from ever being of that  
good condition that befits a great leading thoroughfare. The animals
suffer great distress in dragging the loads, and I was told by a  
person who had long observed them that many of the teamsters
die from hardship and exposure, and break down or become
decrepit almost before they reach the years or the full stature of
manhood. Now I was told by a person who had watched that
road that along every twenty miles of it there passes each day
each way fifty tons of merchandise. Perhaps a less quantity
than this passes from Bathurst to Sydney.      
Now goods can be carried by the railway at 6d per ton per mile,
so that the same goods might be carried from Bathurst to Sydney,
or from Sydney to Bathurst, at £3 per ton. If you take the fifty    
tons a day, and calculate three hundred working days in the year,
the saving of the difference between £3 and £8 per ton will
amount to a saving of £75,000 a year. (Cheers) Well, sup
posing this calculation to be a moderate one, you may say that  
this £75,000 is a fund added to the capital of the colony - added to
that capital that may be employed in employing labour, and
which may be considered fairly as an addition to the productive
power of the country. But if you multiply this on the line to
Goulburn, to Bathurst, and to the north, it will give a
great saving- a saving that in itself would compensate the amount 
laid out in railways. (Cheers)
It would not, I admit, pay the interest on the cost of the railways,
but it would be so much money saved and placed in the pockets of  
the people, and would tend to promote employment in other
ways. You may say that if the railway carries those goods, the
men at present employed as teamsters will be thrown out of
employment. But that is not the case even in England.
It has been found that railways have greatly in
creased rather than diminished the employment of
labour, and that the carriers have been employed in carrying
goods to and from the railways. I firmly believe that it will be
the same here, and that upon the extension of railways the
carriers will obtain as constant and remunerative employment
as they now have , and that they will be employed much nearer
home, and will be much less exposed to hardships. (Cheers)
I think there can be no doubt that every addition to
the power of intercommunication contributes to the national
prosperity and to individual comfort. (Cheers) [His Excellency  
proceeded to refer to the prosperity of England and also of
America as attributable, to a great extent, to the excellent means
of internal communication possessed by those countries. In  
my mind the prosecution of railways in this country
is indispensable to the maintenance of its industry in a proper
condition, and to placing it on that footing which it ought to
hold in relation to the countries in open competition in the
markets of the world. And this question of railways, their care
and management, though perhaps a less exciting and
less brilliant question than many of those theoretical
topics that are suggested to them are, I believe more
deserving of the vigilant care and the patient consideration both
of the people and of the representatives. (Prolonged cheering)    
The CHAIRMAN then proposed " Prosperity to the Windsor and
Richmond Railway," and in doing so congratulated the company upon
the happy result now obtained. He would, with their
permission, read a rapid sketch that he had drawn out
of the history of this line; it was as follows:
"The subject of a railway to Windsor as an enterprise for private    
capital was mooted as far back as 1846, when a public meeting
was held at Coffey's Hotel, on the 18th of July of that year, to  
consider the subject of railways generally for the colony, the
notice calling the meeting was to the following effect : - 'Railroads. 
A public meeting will be held at Coffey's Hotel, Windsor,
on Saturday, July I8th, I846 at 1 p m. All parties desirous of
favouring the introduction of this most beneficial mode of transit
into the colony, and especially the residents and proprietors of
the Windsor and Hawkesbury districts are requested to attend. '
Robert Fitzgerald, Esq , occupied the chair, and the meeting was
addressed by Mr Scarvell, and Captain O'Connell, M.C (who
spoke at some length, and as the representative of the
company started in Sydney), Mr Joseph Cope, Mr,
George Bowman, Mr J. A. Betts, Mr. F. Beddek, and other
gentlemen. Though only youth at the time, I was present,
and communicated the particulars of the meeting to the Sydney
Herald. A subscription was entered into for a preliminary
survey of the line by Mr. Moore. The railway to Parramatta
was afterwards commenced, and, as all are aware, the company
which had been formed had to suspend operations, and the matter
of railways was taken in hand by the Government. At all the  
elections which followed this, the candidates at Windsor were
made to pledge themselves to advocate railway communication
to Windsor, but It was not until after the first election under the  
New Constitution Act, in April 1856, when Mr. Bowman was
re-elected (beating Robey, Ross, and Redman) that the subject
was energetically taken in hand A public meeting was then
held at the Fitzroy Hotel, and a petition drawn up by myself was
adopted, It was signed by 1600 persons, and was presented by
Mr. Darvall, Mr. Bowman, Mr. Fitzgerald,
Mr, Scarvell, and myself to the Governor, and by the members to
both Houses of Parliament. Nothing, however, was done in the
matter until after the return of Mr. Whistler Smith (in December, 1857)
as member for North Cumberland. In July, 1858, Mr.  
Smith moved for, and, after some opposition from the Government
of the day, obtained a select committee to report upon the
desirability of a railway to Windsor. The previous question was    
negatived by 26 to 9. Mr. Smith was indefatigable in his labours.
Numerous witnesses were examined, and In January, 1859, a
report was brought up of a highly favourably character for our
railway. After this Mr. Dalley was returned member for Windsor
and held his seat for a short time, when he resigned. I
was elected to succeed him in 1860, and, at every
opportunity, I brought under the notice of the
House and the Government the propriety of giving
effect to the report of Mr Whistler Smith's committee.
Accordingly, in the Estimates for 1861, under Mr Robertson's
Administration, the sum of £51,000 was set down for an
extension to Windsor and Richmond. The House, however,
was dissolved on the Land Bill, in November, 1860, and
the Estimate was never brought under consideration.
On the occasion of the Governor's visit to Windsor in
1861, advantage was taken of the visit of the Ministry
to Windsor, and a promise was then obtained from them that  
provision should be made in tho Estimates for 1862 for a railway
or tramway to Windsor. The Government kept their promise. A
sum of £60,000 was submitted for a horse railway to Windsor and
Richmond. After a severe fight for it, and a sitting up all night,
at an early hour on the morning of the 13th December, 1861, the
Estimate was carried by a majority of 26 to 7. The first sod was
turned by Mr. Arnold on the 15th of January, 1863. The plan
was changed from a horse railway to a locomotive, and the result
now has been that the Windsor and Richmond Railway has been
completed."
The toast having been duly honoured -
Mr. Wilson was called on to respond, and enlarged in eloquent
terms on the great advantages secured to countries by the formation
of railways. He instanced the State of Ilinois, in America,
which had incurred a debt of thirteen millions for railways, and
had since been enabled to clear it off from the great prosperity
which those railways had brought about. Illinois was now, in
consequence of these railways, the wealthiest state in the Union,
A great loss had been conferred on the people of the Hawkesbury  
district, and he hoped that now that they had obtained their rail-
way they would assist the representatives of the people in obtain-
ing the same boon for other districts. (Cheers )
Mr. WILLIAM McQUADE (the Vice-chairman) proposed the health
of Lady Young and the ladies of the colony.
Sir JOHN YOUNG returned thanks for Lady Young, and Mr
S. SCARVELL and Mr. LEE responded for the ladies.
SIR JOHN YOUNG proposed the health of the Chairman and  
Vice-chairman.  
This toast was suitably acknowledged, the band playing an
appropriate air.
A desire was strongly expressed by several of the guests that
the Parliament of the country should be had in due remembrance,
and accordingly
The Vice-CHAIRMAN proposed "The Parliament of the
colony.'
The toast was drunk amidst loud and general cheering, which  
lasted some time.
Air : " There's a good time coming."
Mr. COWPER responded to the toast. He thanked them most
sincerely for the enthusiasm with which they had drunk to the
Parliament of the colony. Some had said that the Parliament
was not in existence, but there were several members of it in that
room. He was one of these, and as the member for East Sydney
he felt proud to respond on behalf of the toast. He had taken a
deep interest in the promotion of , railways in this
colony, and had done so as long ago as 1846. In  
1848 he had been desirous that a railway should be commenced,
connecting the Hawkesbury and Sydney, but the wealthy
people of the district were then averse to the project. He might
truly say they owed much to him for the progress of railways in
the colony, and their special extension to that district. Railways  
were absolutely necessary to tho development of the resources of  
every country. He was happy to find his friend the Minister for    
Lands (Mr Wilson) was now a convert to this opinion. Once, if
he remembered aright he and his colleagues, Mr W. Forster  
and Mr Faucett, had entertained a different opinion, and had
voted against that very railwav. However, they would let bygones
be bye-gones. (cheers )  
This terminated the proceedings at the dinner.
His Excellency and many of the guests then proceeded to the
railway station and returned to Sydney.  
There was a ball at Cadell's Brewery, in one of the cross
streets, at which Mr W. Clark acted as Master of ceremonies.  
Dancing was commenced shortly after eight o'clock and kept up
until a very advanced hour in the night.

Source: OPENING OF THE WINDSOR AND RICHMOND RAILWAY. (1864, December 21). 
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved September 11, 2014, 
from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13108864

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Mayor's Speech at the unveiling of the Yarramundi Memorial in Macquarie Park

Delivered by the Mayor of Hawkesbury City Cr Rex Stubbs on 27 March 1999


Australia is a hostile continent. It has been the home of Indigenous Australians for over 50,000 years. Here they perfected an environmentally sustainable society tens of thousands of years before Western civilisation became even vaguely aware that it was desirable.

Australia is also an island continent. This relative isolation protected Aboriginal Australia from outside intervention. That isolation ended in January 1788 when England established a penal colony at Sydney Cove. The vast majority of the new settlers were here against their will. Many were political prisoners who had fought for Irish independence.

The European settlers had little understanding of the nature of the country. Food shortages became crucial. Expansion of the settlement to Parramatta and Toongabbie soon occurred but these settlements were unable to supply an adequate food supply for the colony.

The Hawkesbury region of course is the home of the Darug people.

Governor Phillip explored the Hawkesbury River by boat in July 1789 reaching as far as an area now known as Yarramundi Falls at the junction of the Grose and Nepean Rivers. He planted crops on Richmond Hill before returning to Sydney.

Governor Phillip returned to the Hawkesbury by foot in April 1791. He was accompanied by Captain Watkin Tench who recorded in his journal the first meeting in the Hawkesbury between Europeans and the Darug people. The party met and stayed overnight with Gombeeree, Yellomundi and Deeimba at Bardenarang Creek. Tench's accounts shows the beginnings of understanding between the two peoples but also just how little was actually known about Aboriginal culture.

Settlement of the Hawkesbury by Europeans first occurred in January 1794 when twenty two families were granted farms on Pitt Town Bottoms, them known as Bardenarang. One of those twenty-two settlers was Joseph Wright from whom I am descended.

Conflict between the natives and Europeans was inevitable. The Aboriginals were being expelled from part of their land and found their traditional food supply diminishing. The Europeans were in a unaccustomed environment. They were struggling to overcome a shortage of food and supplies.

The farms on the Hawkesbury were essential to the European settlement's survival. Without food from the Hawkesbury the settlement would have had to be abandoned.

The Hawkesbury has been described as being in an open state of war between 1795 and 1805.
Captain Paterson reported on 15th June 1795, stated:

The number of settlers on the banks of the Hawkesbury, with their families, amounts to upwards of four hundred persons, and their grounds extend nearly thirty miles along the banks on both sides of the river. They have for some time past been annoyed by the natives, who have assembled in large parties for the purpose of plundering them of their corn; and from the impossibility of furnishing each settler with firearms for his defence, several accidents have happened. Within a few weeks five people have been killed and several wounded. It therefore became absolutely necessary to take some measures which might secure to the settlers the peaceable possession of their estates, and without which, from the alarm these murders have created, I very much feared they would have abandoned the settlement entirely, and given up the most fertile spot which has yet been discovered in the colony. I therefore sent a detachment of two subalterns and sixty privates of the New South Wales Corps to the river, as well as to drive the natives to a distance, as for the protection of the settlers.
It gives me concern to have been forced to destroy any of these people, particularly as I have no doubt of their having been cruelly treated by some of the first settlers who went out there; however, had I not taken this step, every prospect of advantage which the colony may expect to derive from a settlement formed on the banks of so fine a river as the Hawkesbury would be at an end.
After investigating complaints against the natives by a settler from Portland Head, Governor King reported, on 20th December 1804, to Lord Hobart
Wishing to be convinced myself what cause there was for these alarms, three of the natives from that part of the river readily came on being sent for. On questioning the cause of their disagreement with the new settlers they very ingenuously answered that they did not like to be driven from the few places that were left on the banks of the river, where alone they could procure food; that they had gone down the river as the white men took possession of the banks; if they went across white men's grounds the settlers fired upon them and were angry; that if they could retain some places on the lower part of the river they should be satisfied, and would not trouble the white men. The observation appeared to be so just and so equitable that I assured them that no more settlements should be made lower down the river. With that assurance they appeared well satisfied and promised to be quiet, in which state they continue. 

Hostilities again occurred in 1816. By this time further grants had been issued in the Hawkesbury and in the District of Upper Nelson as the result of the emancipation of more convicts and the increasing white population. This again resulted in the displacement of natives from their traditional lands.

As a direct descendant of one of the first twenty two European families to settle in the Hawkesbury and as Mayor of the City of Hawkesbury:

I acknowledge that the land on which we stand is traditional Darug Land and that the Darug people have a long proud history, culture and heritage in which we, as residents of the Hawkesbury, should all take great pride.

I acknowledge that European Australians have not fully appreciated or understood the true significance and value of Darug culture and heritage and that as a result the Darug people have suffered greatly.

I am sorry for that lack of understanding of Darug culture and heritage and commit myself to working towards a true understanding of Aboriginal culture by all citizens of our country.

I am sorry for the loss of the land by the Darug people resulting from past events in our nation's history. I am sorry for the death and suffering which occurred as part of those events.

I am sorry for the "stolen generation" and other events, which came about as the result of the failure to understand indigenous culture and heritage.

The events of the past cannot be changed but they do need to be understood.

Let us commit ourselves today to acknowledge the injustices of the past; to work together to develop a full appreciation of Aboriginal culture by all Australians; and to walk together as one people into the Twenty First Century.

References

  1. H.R.A. series 1, vol. 1, p.499
  2. H.R.N.S.W. vol. 5, p. 513

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Trove Tuesday: Windsor Bridge

WINDSOR BRIDGE.
THIS structure, which has been raised to the extent of eight feet, is now fairly completed, and Mr. Jas. McCall, who has had charge of the work, is to be commended, not only for the excellent manner in which he has performed his duties, but on the expedition which he has used. When the work was projected, it was contended by some local folks that it could not be completed under a twelve month, yet we find that Mr McCall has not been more than seven months over the task. The raising of the structure by eight feet will prove an immense boon to those who have bean in the habit of using it, and more particularly to our agricultural community. Complaint in time of flood was frequent to the effect that communication with Windsor by means of the bridge was cut off long before the roads on the Wilberforce side were sub merged-but the cause for all this objection has now been done away with. The approaches on either side have also undergone a complete change, for the two pinches have been considerably reduced, thereby being rendered less difficult of ascent with a load. On the Windsor side, where there is an embankment overlooking the wharf, a railing has been erected, and the safety of travellers has been conserved in every possible way. Altogether a most satisfactory job has been made of the whole affair, and there should now be no reasonable cause for further complaint on the part of the population. It is a matter for congratulation that Mr W Morgan, M.P., was able to secure a grant of money from the Government sufficient to enable this very necessary improvement to be effected with so much expedition, and there is little doubt that those interested will remember his efforts on their behalf when the proper time arrives. The Windsor Bridge is now a credit to the district, and too much praise for the efficient manner in which the work has been effected cannot be bestowed upon all concerned.
The construction of a temporary bridge was commenced on September 9, 1896, this bridge to, carry traffic during alteration to permanent bridge. The temporary bridge, which was 460 feet long, was completed and opened for traffic in six weeks. The main bridge has been raised 8 feet, by placing 8 feet cylinders on top of old ones; new capsules were fixed throughout, all corbels and girders re- fitted, and those that were unfit to be used again, were replaced by new ones. A new pier and abutment has been erected at the Wilberforce end, and the bridge lengthened by 20 feet. A new 4" tallow wood deck has been laid diagonally, new ironbark kerb log 12x12, new iron hand-rails, the stanchions having balance weights, whilst the rail can be disconnected into four sections, so that one man can lower and raise in flood time. All that remains to be done now is the painting, which, it is expected, will be finished about the end of this week. All plant and gear will be cleared away early next week. The average number of men employed weekly was 25, except when the approaches were being made up, when over 50 men were employed, in addition to some 20 horses and drays. The total cost of the work was about £4000, about one half of which has been spent locally in wages, carting, &o.
Source: WINDSOR BRIDGE. (1897, April 3). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved June 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72551524