Alexandra Times at KellyGang 18/8/1876

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I have often promised myself a trip to Wodonga and Albury, the two great border towns of Victoria and New South Wales, and a look at that grand inland river, the Murray, more especially as so many of our old acquaintances have migrated to those parts, nearly all of whom are doing well, and I now give it short account of my travels: As it is my first attempt at this, I trust that all imperfections will be excused.

On the11th July, after having secured s good captain to take charge of my business 1 started about five o’clock in the cold and frosty morning from Gobur to Longwood, a distance of about 21 miles over the Black Range. I reached the railway station about 8 o’clock after a fair run of three hours, had a whiskey tot a Paddy's hotel, arranged for stabling my horse in my absence, secured a ticket for Wodonga - distant about 100 miles – took my seat, the whistle blew, and at 9.45 we started for the terminus of the North-Eastern line. The first station we stopped at Euroa, a small place wonderful1y improved of late through the large stores of grain, wattle bark, &c, received there from 30 miles around to be forwarded to Melbourne. Our next halt was at Violet Town, a very acceptable place with a good show of buildings, although the country, at any rate near the line, seems very poor and scrubby.

We then reach Benalla, a very old town and one of the best on the line, a lively looking place, with very good land and fine water. We stop here ten minutes for refreshments, and as I was inclined for something warm I made for the refreshment room where I met Mr Robert Anqueted, who kindly asked after the good folks of Gobur and Alexandra; we finished our couce royal a shake of the hand with R A, and we were again travelling at the rate of 25 miles per hour to Glenrowan, a small village which has sprang up since the formation of the line.

Our next halt was the well known town of Wangaratta. A few years ago every one thought this would be a flourishing place, but I was informed by Mr H Perkins. The proprietor of the Rubicon Hotel, that business is very dull. l have no doubt however, that this part of the country will keep its good name of being one of the best agricultural districts in Victoria. I may state that at this station you change carriages for the new line to Beechworth, which will be opened for traffic in a few days. After a delay of 15 minutes we are off again, our next stopping place being the Springs, a small place similar to Glenrowan, but with much better land. Then comes Chiltern, a fine township, with good substantial buildings, neat gardens, and everything seeming very homelike. I could not help looking round this part of the country, its it is some 18 years sine I was there – before the opening of the Indigo Rush in October, 1858 - and what a wonderful change!

Then nothing but bush country, very little settlement, and no cultivation to be seen; at that time we had to pay sixpence for a tin bucket of water brought from the Black Dog Creek. Now as far as the eye can reach you can see cultivation on every side substantial farms and homes, flour mills, large and well fenced paddocks enclosing hundreds of old shafts, the only trace of the early gold diggings. I could not help thinking of the hardy old miners, who did so much work in prospecting and opening up the colony, and  who are so little thought of at the present time. Let us always express our respects to the old pioneer digger, wherever we may meet him, for I will never see his like again.


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