Alfred Smith 1831-1917 recollections 1
Some Ups and Downs of an old Richmondite, Mr. Alfred Smith
Chronicled by Robert Farlow.
[For the Gazette.]
Right in the corner of the vacant allotment at the corner of Paget and March streets, there stood a weatherboard house, which had a verandah in front. At the side of the house was a very large cedar tree. When I first remember the place the old man Douglas of all lived there. He would be great-grandfather to the present William Douglas, who we all know today as a good bricklayer in Richmond. In those days we always knew the corner as Douglas' corner, and the big tree at the side of the house as Douglas's cedar tree. I still have a vivid recollection of old Mr. Douglas. He used to wear his hair very long, brush it round behind his ears, and it would hang well on to his shoulders. He had two horses and carts, and hired them out to people who wanted to draw wood. He charged five shillings per day for each horse and cart. He had one very funny saying, which he would use on special occasions. It was this "Bad luck to all informers! You're a liar ! Whether or no too bad. cabbage is no good without pork." He bad two sons, wheelwrights, Joseph and Isaac, and about where Ernest Marlin is living at present there was a skillion, and they had a big workshop there. In this same skillion Ellen Cavanah lived for some time. I think old Saunders, the brickmaker,lived there also. Alderman T. Biddle's father was the agent. Where Mr Sid Paull's residence stands there was a blacksmith's shop kept by Dan Ward. He was a single man and lived with his mother, who we always knew as Granny Ward. I remember three daughters. Sarah married a man named Brett. Jane married a man named Ben Gawthorn, and went to Mudgee to live. I think there are some of the descendants about there now. Phyllis married a chemist named Lester, in Mudgee. Old Granny Ward had a white cockatoo, which could say almost anything, He would call her whenever she was wanted in her little shop. I understood he was 35 years old when Mrs Ward died, and I heard her daughter, Mrs Lester, took him to Mudgee. Outside her family she had a boarder named Robinson, who was a tailor. The old lady was a most industrious woman, and had a big mangle, with which she did a large trade.
Then there was vacant land till we came to where Mr W. Drayton is residing. Here was an old house, used as a school, which was kept by Mr Hogsflesh. Mrs Harrington, a widow, lived there after Mr Charles Hogsflesh kept the school. I think Mr Harrington was killed by the blacks somewhere up Kurrajong. Old Mrs Harrington was a chatty old woman. She often came round to Mr James for advice, as he was a constable. If I were about when she came she would say to me 'Go out !? get out of this!' and away I would have to go. Later she becme Mr. Preystnell, but the union did not turn out a happy one. They did not live long together, and Preystnell told me the reason.
In the course of time the property came into the hands of the Draytons, and is now owned by my old friend Mr W. Drayton. Some years ago he built an up to date cottage on the land, which has improved it so much that only us old hands can have an idea of what it was like in my boyhood days. Next door to this stood the old Horse and Jockey Hotel that was pulled down when the Imperial was built on the corner. The first person I remember living there was Thomas Silk, Harry's father, who kept it as an hotel. His sign was the Lion and the Unicorn. We lads had a song among ourselves which went : ? The Lion and the Unicorn Are fighting for the crown, Tbe Lion beat the Unicorn All around the town.
The first circus I ever saw was in tbe paddock at the back when Tom Silk kept the pub. A man named Croft was the proprietor, and I never forgot Quinn the tight rope walker. We thought it was something wonderful to see a man walking backwards and forwards on a tight rope. Old Mr Joseph Onus lived there for a while. Here he had ' Jerry Sneak,'the racehorse, half brother to the famous 'Jorrocks' The first gold cup run for in the colony was won by ' Jerry Sneak' at Homebusb. When old Mr Crisford and family first came to Richmond it was in this place they commenced housekeeping. Caleb Crisford was only talking to me about it the second last time he was in Richmond. Then a tall man, whose name I don't remember, kept a school there. He had a school also down on the 'Bottoms,' by 'Smashem' Smith's. One night as he was going to Windsor two fellows nearly killed him. The Rev. Father Terry, the Roman Catholic priest, held services upstairs in the big room. Old Mr Brooks also kept a school here, and no doubt some of his pupils are alive to-day in the district. At the time Mr. James Bates took it over to start pub keeping, the building was in a state of great disrepair, and it cost him a large sum of money to put it in thorough order. He was living there at the time of the '67 flood, and I heard it was about half an inch over the counter, but I was up the country at the time and only heard this.
Among others who kept the old place as an hotel will be remembered 'Black' Johnny Gough, ]im Ryan (Toby's son), Tom Hough, George Cobcroft, Tom Young, Campion, Ted Morgan and, after his death, his widow. On the piece of land on which the Imperial Hotel is built was a weatherboard place in which Dan Neil lived. Right on the corner he had a blacksmith's shop. I have been given to understand he was a Government man to old Mr Cox, of Clarendon, and did his blacksmithing. But to his credit, with good conduct and a good record he became a free man, and started black smithing on his own account on this corner.
On this same corner Tom Masters, of Windsor, kept his first little shop. He had been droving, but his health began to give way, and he decided to start in business. On the opposite side of the street where Joseph Ashton keeps his cases there was a little slab place with no verandah. 'Bill' Wilmott a shoemaker, lived in it. While living there he died suddenly. Mrs Morgan, who they called 'Betty,' a very stout woman, was his housekeeper. Next door, only on the same block of land, there stood one room in which lived an old bachelor known as 'Bob the Stockman.' For a long time he made ti-tree brooms, and sold them for sixpence each. He would go out to the Black Swamp and get the good class of ti-tree, cut it, and let it wilt for a certain time before making it into brooms. You would see him coming home with a large bundle of it on each shoulder. Where Mr. S. Orchard's own house stands, and where he kept a store for many years, stood a skillion with no verandah and containing three or four rooms. Here Mrs. Davis, mother of Mrs S. Orchard, lived for some time. Later on Mrs. Davis married Matthew Webb, a carpenter. It was Mr Webb who had the front put on and started storekeeping. Later on he went to St Mary's, and kept a tannery. He died over there. Tom Masters kept a general store there also. Coming down nearer the present day we knew it as a butcher's shop kept by 'Ike' Cornwell. Mr. Orchard conducted a successful business there and a general store for a long time.
What we now call the park, wasn't such a beauty spot when I first knew it, and was called the Market Square. In wet weather water would lie in a few places about the centre. It wasn't quite as level as now. There were a few trees standing, a few logs on the ground, and plenty of stumps. On the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes day, they would build a platform some five or six feet high about where the pavilion now stands, and make a effigy of a man. They had the effigy on show at day time, and large heaps of wood piled up about a a rod away. When night came they set fire to the man and heaps of wood, and great was the rejoicing.
Where the School of Arts and public school stands was the pound paddock. About where Constable Ross has his garden was the pound. The first poundkeeper I remember was old 'Dicky' Lounds.
Returning to the corner where Mr. S. Orchard keeps his present "Railway Stores" I remember there stood a skillion with a small verandah. In this humble, dwelling Charles Chamberlain, the fencer and splitter, lived. On the spot where Mr Orchard's store stands there were several lots of bricks made by 'Tim ' tbe brickmaker. This was the only name I knew him by. Where Mr. F. Gow's places are there stood a weatherboard skillion of four rooms and no verandah, which was occupied by Mr Tafe. He used to grow tobacco, and had two sons, Joe and Dick. After that there stood a brick skillion, where Mr Wade lived. Mr Wade was a gardener to Mr William Bowman. In his spare moments, and with the help of his wife, he used to raise a lot of good vegetables, his wife used to sell them. He also grew tobacco. He had two daughters, Jane, and Harriet. but only one son, I think. He had a tobacco press made out of logs and a long lever to press his tobacco leaf. A man named Province ? 'Ratty,' as he was always called ?lived with him for a long time and helped him with the tobacco.
A brick house stands on the allotment where Mr Guest's saleyards are. It is an old place. I don't remember it getting built, but I don't think it had been up many years when I first knew it. Here old Mr Ducker (Roland's father) kept a shop when they first came to Richmond. Old Mr Ducker was an industrious man and I recollect him driving his team up and down for goods. Mr B. Richards had a butcher's shop in the verandah portion on the end towards Mr F. Gow's property, and sold, mutton only. This was the last place he lived in in Richmond till he built the beautiful mansion 'Kamilaroi.' From here he went to live at the bridge, where he kept public house. Mr Joseph Single lived there also.
I have heard old Mr Martin, who married Miss Henderson (Granny Field) gave it to his granddaughter, who married Charley Price. Charley lived here a good while. Next door, where Miss Fergusson is living, must be a very old place, as it had an old look when I first recollect it. Mr King occupied the whole premises ? late years it has been made into two dwellings. Old Mr King was a nail maker, and consequently was always known as 'King the nailer.' He used to live in one end and have his shop in the other. After Mr King left it, Joe Poole lived there. He ran a one horse coach to Windsor. Nixon, the tailor, lived there also.
Then there was a vacant allotment next in my earliest days. Later on, but standing on this piece of ground is the old two-storey place which has been in the possession of the Price family for many years. The brick work was done by Caleb Crisford and his father. Grand father Price died there, as also did Rebecca, his daughter. It was from this place that Mrs Archie Kennedy buried a son, Donald, and a daughter, Mary, in a very short space of time.
Mrs Parkinson, who afterwards went to England, kept a school there.
Next door we have the old home of the Price family which I don't remember getting built. Old Mr. William Price of all (great grandfather of the two young Prices now living in Richmond), kept the second post office in Richmond in the old place. At the back was the tan-yard. He also carried on undertaking, &c.
Again there was vacant land, but afterwards there was a black-smith's shop erected, and this, combined with monumental work, made it a scene of activity.
I don't remember the house at the corner, owned by William Sly, getting built. The first I recollect living there was 'Joe the wheeler,' a wheelwright by trade. Joe engaged with Mr William Bowman to go to Tunnabutta but he never turned up. He arranged to go by Bell's Line, and some considerable time afterwards the remains of a man were found at the Bald Hill, seven miles the other side of Mount Tomah. As he was never heard of after leaving Richmond it was always thought to be his body.
Dr. Rowan lived there also. Miss Hawsey ? a miss, about 60 years of age ? kept house for him, and did dressmaking besides.
Where Mr Steve Dunston is living plays its part in Richmond's history.The first man I remember living there was James Griffiths. Then old Alexander Gough (father of the 'Johnny' who kept the Royal Hotel) lived there. He was a cooper by trade, and used to make the old fashioned churns, &c, and one of his make I worked many a time when making butter at old Mr James'.
On the same block of ground as John Sly has his house built, only about forty for fifty yards back from March-street, was an old slab place, I think, with a tremendous large vine in front of it. Here lived old Mr and Mrs William Magick. And here it was Mr Magick died at the reputed age of 108 years. I
remember the old man well. He had two bullocks, and with these he ploughed the back paddock of nearly an acre for old Mr George James where he lived. It was through ploughing the paddock I came to know him first. Further down there stood an old weatherboard place. I do not remember its erection. It contained four rooms and had a verandah. Robert Reeves ?'Bob Fatty,' as he was generally called? who owned this block from March-street to Lennox-street, lived in the house and kept a little shop. He sold pipes, tobacco, starch and blue, He died in this place and I saw him when he was dead. Mr. William Sharpe ? young Bill as we knew him then ? married the widow, and I think the old lady died there. At any rate some time after her death, I remember Sharpe marrying old Mrs Onus, mother of the old Joseph Onus, who did a great deal towards the making and advancement of Richmond. The two-storey place next door to where I have been speaking of I remember getting built. Burgess and Shelton kept a store there for a while Burgess married a Miss Dargin, of Windsor, I understood. Thomas Bell, after leaving 'Belmont' came there to live. I sold him many 'possum skins while he lived there. I remember well old Mr Bowen (father of Mr G. B. Bowen, of 'Bowen Mount') living in the two storey house for about two years, It was my work to take them two quarts of milk every morning. They dealt with old Mr George James for butter as well, but he always delivered this himself. Mr G. B. Bowen never forgets it, and always likes to have a chat with me about it. He reckons he was about four years old then. The old house owned by William Sly on the corner will be dealt with when we speak of Bosworth-street, as it faces into that street Where the late Doctor Cameron's grand mansion stands was vacant ground. Next to this vacant block I speak of was a skillion with no verandah, at that time, which belonged to old Mr. Sam Payne, He was grandfather, of the present Mrs. Tomkinson who lives in Windsor street. The first man I remember living there was Thomas Death, a butcher. He was a single man, and was found dead on the floor of his bedroom. They held an inquest, and found the cause to be eating cucumbers. After this 'Long Harry,' the bricklayer, lived there and died there also. I was one who helped to carry him to the cemetery. From there to Bosworth-street was vacant land.
Going down March-street, from the corner of Bosworth-street, toward Mr Charles Guest's there was a skillion standing just past the corner. The front portion has been put on since I first knew it. The first person I have any recollections of living there was John Masters, father of Tom Masters in Windsor. He was a painter and decorator by trade, and a splendid tradesman. He was an artist also, and could paint animals or any other pictures.
Weller, I think, who was a publican of Windsor in the early days, had a sign done by him. It represented a blackfellow and a large lump of gold in his hand.
Sam Nixon, the tailor, lived there also. Nixon's wife was run over by some horsemen while coming home after dark, The accident happened at Seymour's corner (now the 'Black Horse') only in Bosworth-street. In those days they hadn't a Constable Ross to regulate the traffic, and as they were galloping round the corner run over Mrs Nixon.
It was in this house that Bill Johnson was living at the time he got his leg broken in front of my residence, and it was here he had it taken off. Tom Johnson (father of Arthur and Tom) told me that when the doctor was taking off the leg it was like as if they were sawing a baton. He stood the operation without chloroform, and had, I believe, a handkerchief rolled up in his mouth to bite to stand the pain.
[I informed my narrator that my grand father, William Heath, who had been an old soldier, held the leg while the doctor amputated it, and carried it for the doctor who preserved it. Also that Dan Carter saw the handkerchief after, the operation was over, and it was bitten to pieces. ? R.F.]
Where Mr C. S. Guest is living there was a weatherboard house of' about four rooms with a verandah. In it lived a man by the name of Simpson, who was a currier by trade. I went to school with two of his sons Ebenezer and William. Our schoolmaster was good old Mr Charles Hogsflesh.
Some Ups and Downs of an old Richmondite,
by Mr. Alfred Smith
Chronicled by Robert Farlow
Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954)
Saturday 12 February 1910
Saturday 19 February 1910
Transcription, janilye, 2012