Some Ups and Downs of an old Richmondite, Mr Alfred Smith.
Some Ups and Downs of an old
Richmondite, Alfred Smith.1831-1917
Chronicled by Robert Farlow.
[For the Gazette.]
Mr Joseph Douglas (grandfather of William), lived on the Heights and kept
an accommodation house. Many of the Sydney aristocrats came up and spent
their holidays at the old man's place. I remember them coming up to stay before
trains ran in the colony. Richard Ridge many a time brought them as far as the
river while I was there. Mr Douglas used to meet them there with a one horse
conveyance and take them up to his house. I remember one in particular
coming up for the good of his health, a Lieut. Lethbridge. The change in that
man's appearance after he had been up there about a month was something
wonderful. Mr Douglas kept a good house, and it was always looked upon as
a grand place to stop at. I remember a lawyer named Want driving two splendid
horses up to the Heights in his own carriage from Sydney and staying at Mr
Douglas' house, He told me they were the pair of horses which ran away and
killed Lady Mary Fitzroy at Parramatta. Mr Douglas' house sheltered another
distinguished personage, Sir John Young.
He stayed a night at Douglas', and next day he and his officials rode out on horse
back as far as Mount Tomah for a look round the mountains. Old Mr Douglas'
daughter, Sarah, married Cuthbert Cowling. Cowling owned the property where
Arthur Powell lives. He kept a boarding house there, and it was a fine, place to
stay at. He had many other city aristocrats staying with him on different occasions.
Among Mr Douglas' boys I knew John (William's father) who was droving for
many years. He drove for Mr Cope for a long time. John married a Miss Keenan,
from the Mudgee district, and kept a boarding house where his father kept it.
His wife was a great business woman and managed the boarding house while he
would be away on the roads. When John started the boarding house he made
large additions to his father's old home, and he was well repaid. He sold the
property to Mr George Bowman, and it was up there the medical Doctor Cameron
died. The last time I saw John Douglas was at Riverstone, where he was staying
with his daughter, Mrs Charles Kenny, and where he died. Many a time I have
been travelling on the roads in the company of John Douglas in my droving days.
There was another boy named Joe, but I didn't know much about him.
Then there was Mrs Sherwood, "Granny" Sherwood as she was often
called, who lived up there. I knew her very well. It was nothing unusual for her to
walk from the Heights to Richmond.
From Richmond she generally went to Mrs Faithful's and stayed the night. Mrs
Faithful thought a lot of the old lady. I knew Mrs Sherwood's two sons, Tom and
Jim, both good sawyers, and I often punted their loads of timber. Jim married a Miss
Gosper, of Colo. He has been dead many years, and the widow married a man named
Brown and is still alive. Tom married and went to Mount Tomah and kept a
boarding house for many years out there.
He had two sons, and he and the boys used to meet the drovers and help them
over Bell's Line. This was convenient for drovers, and Tom and the boys made
good money at it. A pound a day was the charge. Jim died up on the Heights,
and I have seen his grave in the garden close to the house.
Mick Hennessy, an old Irishman, lived on the Heights and owned a lot of land
about there. He had some sons, and I remember one of them used to drive a
bullock team, and among them they did sawing.
Then there is "Northfield,' which the late Mr Comrie owned, and where he
lived for so many years. I put him over the river when he went up to have a look
at the property with the view of buying.
I put him and his wife and her brother, Mr Jennings, over many times afterwards.
Mr Comrie was a good fare, for no matter what silver coin he happened to pull out
it was always 'keep the change.'
Any reference to Kurrajong would not be complete without a mention of
the Wilson family, truly a large one. A great many of the younger
generations I am not so well acquainted with. I knew the old Mr Wilson and his
wife very well, and many a time I have put them over in the punt, Mrs Wilson
was a sister to Mrs Barwick. Among the old couple's family I remember the
boys Simmie, Ned, Job, Tim, Jack, and Tom, the youngest. They were great
men with the pit saw, though I don't think Simmie did as much as the others.
The Christian names of the girls I didn't know, but I remember one was married to
George Davis, another to Joe Hawkins and a third to Dan Neil. Simmie married
Betsy Horan, who was a daughter of John Horan, at one time lockup keeper at
Windsor — in the early days of course — and afterwards kept a pub, the Donny-
brook, Wheeney Creek. Old Donnybrook then belonged to 'Grandfather' Town,
who died in Richmond. I knew Simmie's wife before she was married. Ned married
a Miss Riley, and I knew her father and mother. Tim married a sister of Ned's
wife, and I knew her also before she was married. Jack married a Miss Barwick,
who I knew very well. I put Jack and his wife over the river when they were
going away to get married. Tom married a daughter of Mr James Douglas (another
son I had forgotten of Mr Joseph Douglas'). I knew her also before she married.
Close to old Mr Wilson's place lived George Davis, who was a great sawyer,
and I have put a deal of his sawn timber over the river.
Close to George Davis, his brother John lived for some time. He farmed a little
and grew a lot of potatoes. He also took wattle bark occasionally to Richmond.
When he left Kurrajong he went to live on Griffiths' old farm (now Mr John Cupitt's)
and farmed. While there he had a son drowned in the river. Close to the Davis brothers
Mr John Barwick lived, and on his property grew a great lot of potatoes. He
had an old grey horse and old-fashioned cart with which he took his potatoes to
town. I used to put him and his loads over the river. He died at Kurrajong
many years ago.
Close to Barwick's. old Mr Moston lived and he too was a great
potato grower. He died over there. His two girls married Mr M. Riley and
Mr. Charles Pittman. His son John married Susan Dean, a niece of my wife. Both
this couple are dead. Jim, another son, had a bullock team and carted sawn
timber, a few sheets of stringy bark occasionally, and potatoes. He married a
daughter of Thomas Case, of the ' Donnybrook.' I put Jim and his intended wife
over the river the day they were married at the Richmond Church of England,
The Rev. Mr Elder married them. The last time I saw them they had a selection
at Apple Tree Flat, ten miles this side of Mudgee. John Lane was a sawyer, and
lived near the Mostons. His wife was a hard working woman, and I have often
put her over the river very early in the morning with a load of potatoes for
Windsor. Jack could sing well and sang at my wedding. He told me that when he
was a lad he used to sing in the choir at Parramatta in Parson Marsden's time.
He went to the diggings, and his wife died on the Turon. He came back while I
was droving, and had a hut at Norwood, and was sawing as I came through with,
sheep. He was great company, and after I gave up droving he stayed a few days
with us. Another man lived close to these people, called Josh Bushell. He did a
little farming and sawing. When the diggings broke out he started carrying
with his bullock team. Alfred Brown was another old man about there and
a carpenter by trade. It was he who built the house where Mr John Pitt lives,
for old Mr John Town. He built another large, place with stables and
kitchen three miles this side of Mount Tomah for Thomas Sherwood, I put
him over the river occasionally. I knew his son Ned, who lived on the Heights
for a long while. While living there he used to meet cattle drovers and help them
over Bell's Line. One of Mr Brown's daughters married Sam Dean, of Orange, a
nephew of my wife. Another married William Irvine, a wheelwright, and a
third married a Mr Hand. John Pittman, Charley's father, lived near Brown's. He
lived for years with the Mr Cox, of Clarendon. He owned a lot of land up
there and years ago had some cattle. I knew his sons Henry, John, George, and
Charles. The latter is still among us. He had two daughters. Hannah died
many years ago. Mary married William Peck, and she, too, has been dead a long
On many a Sunday I put the late Rev. Elder over the river as he went up to the
old church at the foot of the Big Hill to preach. This side of the old Anglican
church Mr McMahon lived for a long time. He was father of the late Michael
and Cornelius, and Mr Thomas McMahon, who is still hale and hearty and much
respected at Comleroy. There were three girls. One had the sad misfortune
to be burned to death. One married William Eather who was drowned with
her five children in the 1867 flood. Another married the late Mr Philip
Maguire and lived many years out Pitt Town way. She is still living and resides
There was an old man we knew as Bell the gardener who lived about there and
had a farm of his own. He had an old horse and cart and took his fruit to
Windsor. Paddy Riley lived adjoining Bell the gardener. His son Mick had eight
bullocks in his team with which he used to bring sawn timber to Richmond. Mrs
Riley made a deal of butter and took it in to Richmond. I only knew their son
Mick, and the daughter, Mrs Michael McMahon.
(To be continued.)
SOURCE: Windsor and Richmond Gazette
Saturday 20 August 1910
Transcription, janilye 2012