[Editor: This article, about an early mining settlement, was published in The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), 8 July 1876.]
Although I read in your journal communications from the Vegetable Creek, I have observed that this place is only incidentally mentioned; therefore I take the liberty to let your readers know something of what I have no doubt is to many of them a terra incognita.
The Y Waterholes, as the name indicates, are a chain of lagoons forming the semblance of the letter Y. They are situated four miles from that great tin-producing district, Vegetable Creek, and on the direct road from there to Glen Innes. They take their rise in the range of hills dividing Tent Hill Creek from the watershed of the Severn River, into which they fall. Their length is about four miles, and they run through a country which has been found to be rich in tin.
Starting from the head of the watercourse, the first claim is held by Mr. Martin Kenua and party, who employ about twelve men and six horses, using to raise water for sluicing purposes a Californian pump requiring two horses to drive it.
Next we come to Messrs. M’Gorley and Cubis, who employ from 18 to 20 men, with a proportionate number of horses, &c. This claim, held on tribute from Moore, Speare and Co., and most ably managed by Mr. Frank M’Gorley, is proving itself highly remunerative. A late arrangement with the proprietors, who have granted an extended area and two years’ lease, has given the holders encouragement to proceed with the erection of as much more pumping gear as they at present possess, which, when finished, will cause a demand or double or treble the labour they now require.
Adjoining the above is Mr. Fraser’s claim, regarding which the foregoing remarks will apply. I must here state that this gentleman has, sometimes under most discouraging circumstances, shown the greatest perseverance in developing the resources of this part of the creek, and it is to be hoped that he will reap such a reward as his energy deserves.
Two or three miles further down are three claims (leasehold), held respectively by Messrs. Burke and Co., Hope, Cecil and Co., and Gibson and Ryan, all, I understand, doing well.
To show the opinion business people have of the stability of this place, we have a butcher, blacksmith, store, boarding-house, and shortly there will be opened another store and boarding-house, which are in course of erection. Three sites have been granted on which are to be built public-houses, one of which is for Host Donohue, of the Vegetable, whose urbanity and attention will doubtless bring him a fair share of patronage.
We have forwarded a petition signed by 100 residents, praying for the establishment of a post-office.
We have had the most dastardly and malicious cases of dog-poisoning ever heard of. During the night some one passed round our camps laying the poison within a few yards of our very doors. Next day our four-footed friends right and left were either gone or going to the “happy hunting grounds.” In vain we listen for the joyous bark, and the tails that used to wag a cordial welcome when we return from work vibrate no more. The blessings that were heaped on that unknown were a caution. Invective, as well as tin, was plenty that day at the Y Waterholes. A meeting was called to take the feeling of the residents on the matter. The chairman (Mr. Harding, who represents Moore and Speare here) in a few pithy and appropriate remarks explained the object for which they were convened, and it was proposed and unanimously agreed that a reward should be offered for the conviction of the perpetrator of the outrage. Twenty pounds were at once subscribed for that purpose. To add, if possible, to the feeling of indignation, it was stated that baits had been laid within five yards of the door of the boarding-house and discovered when a mother went to pick up one of her little ones, who was close to it.
“Rome was not built in a day,” and time will tell whether this p1ace will become of any importance or not, but at any rate recognition by the Press goes a long way towards that end by giving publicity to the existence of small, hard-working, ambitious communities.
The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), 8 July 1876, p. 51
Messrs. = an abbreviation of “messieurs” (French), being the plural of “monsieur”; used in English as the plural of “Mister” (which is abbreviated as “Mr.”); the title is used in English prior to the names of two or more men (often used regarding a company, e.g. “the firm of Messrs. Bagot, Shakes, & Lewis”, “the firm of Messrs. Hogue, Davidson, & Co.”)
Press = the print-based media, especially newspapers
terra incognita = (Latin) “unknown land”; an undiscovered, unexplored, or unknown area, land, region, or territory; in common usage, may also refer to an unexplored field of knowledge
urbanity = the quality or state of being urbane: to show civility, courtesy and politeness in social situations, in a charming, polished, or smooth fashion, also displaying confidence, experience, sophistication, and suaveness in social situations (usually used regarding men)