Australian Town and Country Journal at KellyGang 13/4/1872

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A Tour to the South;



ALBURY is a very thriving township, and it ia pleasing to hear tho oldest inhabitant talk of its rise from the time when there were gum trees in the principal streets, and an old shanty near the bridge. The present population of the municipality is over 3000.

On a pleasant morning last month, Mr T. H. Mate kindly commenced the task of devoting several days to show me Albury, the town he is justly proud of, being the centre of a district that he resides in and represented in Parliament many years. We first went down to the Hume River, and I was there shewn two monuments. The first was a monument in marble on granite pedestal, and surrounded by an iron railing. The monument bore the following inscription:- 'This monument was erected by the inhabitants of the Hume River, in honour of Hamilton Hume, Esq., to commemorate his discover of this river on the 17th November, 1824. The other memorial is a large white gum tree bearing the following inscription, out in the wood, 'Hovell, Nov. 17, '24.' When we were about leaving the latter an old but hale looking gentleman, walked briskly down to the tree to pay it a visit, after an absence of nearly half a century. It was Captain Hovell himself, Mr. Hume's follow explorer, who out the inscription, and wished before he died to see it again and the rising township. It wanted but the other old explorer, Mr. Hamilton Hume, who is still alive and hearty in Yass, to be present to complete the scene.

Just above these memorials there is a wharf, and above that again a noble bridge spans the Murray, crossing which you are in the colony of Victoria, that wonderful result of British enterprise-a territory which a few years ago was uninhabited and unknown. The bridge is a most substantial one in two divisions, so that collisions are avoided. The receipts from the excessive toll charges here collected, is divided equally between tho two colonies, as the bridge was erected at their joint expense. Turning towards the town past a few hotels and private houses, we came to a large wool store, which held 3000 bales of wool last season. It is built on stone foundations, with walls and roof of galvanized iron, and is about 150 feet by 50 feet dimensions.

On the same block a little further up the street on the same side and having a frontage to another street, are a number of buildings, where the mercantile business of T. H Mate and Co. is carried on. On the opposite side of the street is a well conducted hotel, by a jolly host, Mr J. H. Kirkpatrick. We are now in a good wide street, called Townsend-street, The storekeeping establishment of Solomon Brothers, who are seemingly doing a good trade, is passed ; and that huge building above, but on the opposite side is Lewis Jones's Exchange Hotel, with its forty rooms, its concert hall and theatre, the only one in Albury. Those large stone buildings beyond are the stables of the Exchange.

In the same street and on the opposite corner, is the Commercial Bank, under the management of Mr J Skinner. It is a large building of stone with a porchavy entrance. Above the Commercial on the opposite side is the opposition bank, a very creditable building also of stone, two storys high. It is a branch of the Bank of New South Wales, and is under the management of Mr J W Jones.

Turning up a street past the Commercial Bank we found ourselves at a plain brick building and manse, the former being the Presbyterian church. Adjoining this are the Catholic buildings, and a glance gave strong evidence of the wealth and numbers of the members of this denomination in the district. We were courteously received by the Very Rev Dr M'Alroy (Vicar-General). He informed us that during the past three years tho Catholic community had subscribed over £10.000 in the district.

The Roman Catholic Church now in course of rapid completion will be an ornament to the town. Situated in a commanding position, it has also a frontage to two main streets. The design is cruciform in a Gothic style of architecture. The building will be of granite with slated roof. The presest dimensions (for arrangements are being made to enlarge it if necessary) are as follow:- Total length 150 feet, length of transepts 80 feet, length of aisle 50 feet. Eight fine pillars arranged on a new design, being supported by inverted arches, rise in majestic order in the interior.

While the walls are of the best granite, the window lintels, niches, &c, are of a beautiful rare stone having a purple colour, and only to be obtained from one quarry in the colony, viz., on the Table-top station, the property of Mr James Mitchell, about fifteen miles from the town. We were shown a most artistic miniature of the church when finished, and judging from that, it will combine grandeur with ornament to a remarkable degree. The cost will be about £8000, and it will accommodate about 1500 persons.

We next visited the convent, which is a short distance from the church, and is another instance of the energy and zeal of Dr. M'Alroy. The convent is acknowledged to be the prettiest in the colony, and was erected at a cost of £5000; possibly borrowing the idea from the bees in an economy of room, yet preservation of elegance the design is capital. It has a tower and from three of its sides wings branch off. Two of these wings are completed. The tower is hexagonal, and seventy feet high, containing three stories.


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