The Argus at KellyGang 20/3/1879

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The Queensland aboriginal trooper who fell sick the other day died this evening It is supposed that he caught cold while on the voyage from Queensland .


The fight between Hicken and Toley did not come off to day. It was thought that it would take place at daylight this morning, and the police were on the alert all night. The pugilists and their friends are still in town.



The Royal Commission Lands Inquiry, after sitting at Beechworth on the 5th March, proceeded on their way (March 6th) towards Towong, the north eastern corner of Victoria, going by way of Yackandandah, Kiewa, Talangatta, Cooyatong, Adjie, and Corryong. By traversing this road they cross the Kiewa River, the Mitta Mitta and the Cudjewa and Corryong creeks. They passed through the mountain country of Cooyatong, and had a comprehensive view of the northern slopes of the ranges that run down towards the Murray from the Australian Alps . In returning towards the north-eastern line the commissioners took the road from Towong through Tintaldra, Wermatong, Walwa, Burowye, Thologolong, Hore's Hill, Mount Talgarna , Bethanga, on to Wodonga. The road fellows the course of the Upper Murray nearly the whole distance. The country is well grassed, and watered, fertile and beautiful in its configuration. In some places on the Mitta Mitta, on the Cooyatong Range, the scenery is grand. Up the valleys and creeks there are alluvial flats of great fertility, and the hills are nearly all bold and picturesque. From Beechworth to Towong, and back to Wodonga, at least 230 miles must have been traversed. At various places on the way evidence was taken, of which the following is an abridged report: -


Mr Peter Wright, M L A, the engineer and secretary of the Towong Shire Council was called in. The chairman said that certain statements adverse to Mr Wright had been made at Beechworth by the Crown Lands bailiff, Fitzjohn, and it was only fair that he should have an opportunity of answering them.

Mr Wright said he had not come there to do that, but to give the commission information about the working of the Land Act. The matter referring to himself was not one the commission could settle. It would have to go beyond the commission.

The CHAIRMAN said that was a matter of Mr Wrights own choice, but the references made to him by Mr Fitzjohn were so remarkably personal that it was only thought fair to Mr Wright to give him an opportunity of denying them.

[The reference was to the effect that Mr Wright was a pliant tool in the hands of the squatter council of Towong, and that he lent himself to do their bidding and harass the selectors]

Mr Wright went on to say that it was perfectly well known that he had been elected by the selectors, and not by the squatters, and it would be obviously unwise on his part to do anything that would injure his position with those who elected him. The voting power of the selectors predominated, and on this ground it would be absurd to suppose he would destroy his future chances for present approbation of the squatters. With regard to the laying out of the roads, that rested with him. He had not in any case laid out roads for the purpose of injuring the selectors, but had carried out the work with an eye to the interests of the public. It might happen, and had no doubt happened, that the roads he had made had not in all cases benefited the selectors. Indeed, he admitted that some had inflicted inconvenience, but he had to study public, not private interests. With regard to the road the commission had that day examined, he was of opinion, in spite of the views of the commission, that the upper road-that to which the selector did not object-was not the best.

With regard to the large reservations of land on the Bethanga, Cotton tree, and Jarvis's Creek reserve, held from selection for mining purposes, he admitted the area as a whole was too large, and that the squatter, Mr Finlay had the use of the grass, and that the selectors were kept out, but he had himself suggested a modification of the boundaries of the reserve, which if carried out, would meet the requirements of the mining community, and release much land for selection. With regard to the new mode of dealing with the waste lands, he saw many practical objections to giving fixity of tenure over the waste lands. They could not give a run to every man who wanted one. He thought it would be undesirable to give fixity of tenure against selection. Lands that were not thought worth selecting three years ago were being selected now. The better plan would be to extend the area of selection, and give the selectors grazing rights.

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