Alexandra Times at KellyGang 12/8/1876

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The next station is Barnawartha, a small farming town, which seems to be of great service to the selectors. On leaving here we begin to see small vineyards at every homestead which indicates that we are nearing the banks if the Murray, which is gaining wide respect for its vineyards and its wine. After travelling at great speed for a while, the whistle screams, a bell rings, and every one gets ready to disembark. Another minute an we are alongside the Wodonga railway station which is a very substantial brick building of neat design, with immense goods sheds though not even extensive enough for the traffic in the wool season.

One of the first things l noticed was about half a dozen large omnibuses for conveying passengers and luggage to the townships of Wodonga and Albury, the station being situated at a short distances from the centre of the former. As I wanted to see the place and have a chat with an old acquaintance, Mr John O'Callaghan, storekeeper, I preferred a walk to stretch my legs after being looked in a railway carriage for several hours. The town of Wodonga was settled many years ago, but it has made such progress as I expected to find, although there is a large main street, well laid out, with good substantial places of businesses. banks, courthouse, schools, churches and chapels. Though a very young municipality, it has its shire hall, a good brick building; but the council, like our own, are not happy, as is generally the case when there is no money to expend, for they have only been severed from the Yackandandah shire a few months, and the rates, unfortunately for them, were collected before they "cut the painter." It will, therefore, be January next before they can go into finance. There is only one officer, the shire secretary, who manages all the business. He  said he had no funds and nothing to do, and l advised him to get the council to borrow £5000, with which sum they could open a good trade, and give the councillors and ratepayers an increased “interest" in their business.

The new rush at Bethanga was the next subject on which 1 requested information. It is principally reefs, situated about 10 miles from Wodonga, on the Victorian side of the river. As there was no conveyance running to the diggings, and my time was so short, I had no opportunity of visiting the place, but I was introduced to several shareholders happened to be in town, and received the required information, upon which I can rely.There about 500 miners on the ground, and several good paying reefs. Crushings from some have been very satisfactory - 1oz to the ton. They are how engaged crushing from a new line of reef, which from the show on the copper plates is expected to go 2oz per ton. There is only one small battery working, but four large machines are in course of erection, the proprietor of one of them being our old town man Mr Sabelberg. The reefs are not regularly defined, having much loose quartz, granite, and sandstone between the walls, but the gold is there, and all seem satisfied with their show. One hotelkeeper in Wodonga wanted to sell out to me, as he had a business place on the diggings which required all his attention, but the price was too heavy and I did not close. I was pleased to hear that a large number of our Alexandra and Gobur miners were on the ground, and some of them had shares in the best claims. More power to them!

After a chat with Mr O’Callaghan, who is doing a large trade and is well satisfied with the place, and a look at some of stores and hotels, I hailed an omnibus and took my seat for a short journey of a mile and a half over large swamps and lagoons, along a road with a series o? bridges securely fenced on each side and high above flood mark till we came to the splendid bridge that connects Victoria with New South Wales. This is a grand piece of work divided into two compartments, so that there is no danger of collision, and built of strong, heavy timber., with large iron bolts every few inches.


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