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Uralla has become famous in the eyes of the world as a wool producing district. New England wool, because of its fineness and cleanliness, has held the record price on the Sydney Market for fine wool, on various occasions in the early days and even to the present time.

As Edward Gostwyck Cory travelled in a northerly direction after crossing the Moonbi Range in 1832, he was well pleased with what he found and claimed that area as his holding, camping first at the headwaters of Carlisle's Gully, (on the present Rimbanda property). As he became aware of the good sheep country over the low range on the easterly slopes he moved his camp to the good creek now

known as Salisbury Waters and then finally formed his head station further downstream at Gostwyck with an outstationat Terrible Vale. In 1833 he sold to William Dangar who; with his younger brother Henry, became eminently successful pastoralists. In addition to their assigned servants they engaged large numbers of shepherds and farmers. The land where Uralla is today was a part of Gostwyck when Dangar's farmers grew their wheat on what is now Alma Park and the slopes of Mt. Beef. The grain was taken to their own mill on Gostwyck and made into flour.

Dangars were established more than 15 years on Gostwyck when the gold rush to Rocky River started, but they, recognising the value as sheep breeding country, of the land on which they were squatting, and believing in their sheep and wool as more trustworthy and stable than gold, ignored the rush of diggers except in so far as many of their shepherds and farmers left them to join in the rush. It is this faith in the "Golden Fleece" that is still the wealth of the district and the livelihood of many of the local residents, including the descendants of Andrew Carlon and his wife Ellen Bowen.

In 1854 Henry Dangar imported 28 specially selected Saxon rams as the nucleus of his specialised, fine wool flock which is producing wool of a very high standard. In 1925 it was written that rams from Gostwyck found a ready market among graziers owning small holdings and thus was the influence of acclimatised and well proven wool producers passed on for the benefit of the whole district. Among the descendants of Andrew Carlon are Tony Carlon of "Queenlea" and Carl Carlon of "Ballydine" Studs continuing this tradition of fine wool specialising, with the addition of some breeding from other areas to vary the type. Bernard King of Walcha has, on occasions, produced the prizewinning fine wool fleece at the Sydney Royal Show.

To replace the men who had gone to the diggings, Dangars sought new immigrants who would become their shepherds and farmers. There were many Irish people making use of the Bounty System to come to Australia, seeking a better way of life after the ravages of the iniquitous `Insurrection Act' of 1796 and the tyrannical landlords, and then the potato famine of 1846-7-8. When the bounty system was not operating, there were some occasions when Dangars paid the fare for some immigrants, so great was their need for good workmen to keep their station flourishing. There are so many among the Bourkes, Cahills, Carlons, Donoghues, Egans, Heffernans, Ryans, Shanahans and many others who spent their first few years in Australia as shepherds on Gostwyck, Salisbury Court or Terrible Vale. The earliest work in this area, besides shepherding the flocks and growing what food was possible, was clearing the land of excessive timber, the timber being used for the slab cottages, and, after the Robertson Land Laws, there was fencing the land into workable paddocks. As the squatters fenced their surveyed boundaries there were smaller blocks of land which the shepherds bought and settled on as they were able to do so.

The wealth of Uralla as a wool producing district received a new impetus about 1925 with the introduction of Pasture Improvement (spreading superphosphate and planting different grass seeds and clover). Improved pastures meant improved quality of stock as well as the capacity to carry greater numbers.

Andrew Carlon was left alone in Billuragh, County Fermanagh, Ireland, when his father Stephen took his mother Catherine back to her homeland, Dundee, Scotland. His brother, William had been killed in action at the Crimean War. Andrew sailed on the "Herald of the Morning" which arrived in Sydney 23 June 1858. He found employment as a shepherd on Salisbury Court where he continued for the next seven years.

Ellen Bowen sailed from Plymouth on the "Lady Milton", 8 March 1862 and arrived in Sydney after a long voyage of 112 days, 28 June 1862. She came to live with her sister Mary Jane; whose husband, James Kirkwood, owned a flour mill at the northern end of Bridge St. where the Blue Trail- Garage is now (1984). Ellen was 15 when she came to Australia and three years later, at 18 she married Andrew Carlon on 17 May 1865, and went to live with him on Salisbury Court. Later they moved to Terrible Vale and then to Rockwood until in 1882 Andrew was able to buy a block of the good pastoral land on Salisbury Plains from John Heffernan. Here he built a permanent home for his family. They had seven children at this time but their oldest daughter, Ellen succumbed to Rheumatic fever and died 10 June 1883, aged 11 years. They had six more children born to them but only two reached adulthood. In later years Andrew was able to assist each of his four sons to buy a good block of the Salsibury land so that they each had a home within sight of their parents home. It was their oldest son James, who in 1903 married Hanora King, `the widow of Walter King, who had come back to Uralla with her four small children, in 1900. James made a home for them which he named "Castlebrook" and where his grandson is still living. James and Hanora had three children added to the family. The oldest, Mary Ellen (Molly) joined the Little Company of Mary, trained as a nurse and served in the hospitals of the community at Lewisham, Wagga, Adelaide, Melbourne and is now at Kogarah, where she has been for the past 11 years.

6 October, 1918.

At 9.45 p.m. on Sunday night there passed over the Great Divide, one of this districts oldest and most highly respected residents in the person of Mrs. Andrew Carlon, senior, late of Salisbury Plains. The late Mrs. Carlon, whose age was about 74 years, enjoyed robust health until about three months since, when an insidious internal malady manifested itself. Mr. and Mrs. Carlon came into town to obtain the services of a trained nurse and the best medical skill available. Drs. Harris, Retchie and Stevens being in attendance, but all that could be done was to alleviate the pain and patiently await the end. It was a relief when she finally fell to the last long sleep on Sunday night. In the passing of one who had proved herself a fond helpmate and been companion to her husband for over half a century, and a generous and loving mother to a large. family, there must be deep seated regrets, and although her end was marked to occur in a few days and was expected daily, still the void is there to be filled - and there can be no filling except in the loving memories that steal through shuttered windows and barred doors.

The lady, who was a Miss Ellen Bowen, was born in Tipperary, Ireland, 73 years ago. She was a sister of the late Michael Bowen, an old figure well remembered in the community. She came to Australia at the age of 15 to join her sister, Mrs. James Kirkwood. At that time Mr. Kirkwood kept a store and owned a flour mill on top of the hill opposite where Mr. H. Bower now lives. About four years later the marriage was celebrated to Mr. Andrew Carlon, the celebrant being the Late Dean Lynch. The couple resided on Salisbury Court, where Mr. Carlon was then employed. Later on he selected on Terrible Vale and they resided there for about twelve months and then moved on to another selection at Rockwood. This was sold in the year that the railway was opened, the family came to Salisbury again, Mr. Carlon having purchased his present home from the late Mr. John Heffernan. Mr. and Mrs. Carlon have resided there ever since, and a peculiar incident is that the four boys, who are all in good circumstances on the land, have properties within sight of their parent's home. Of the union there were thirteen children, five of whom died young, four sons and four daughters are left to mourn the loss with their father. The sons are James, William, Stephen and Andrew. The daughters are Annie, Mrs. T. Crowley of Armidale, Kathleen, Mrs. Len Sullings, Bridget, Mrs. A. Donoghue, and Sarah, Mrs. Mat Egan, all of Uralla.

The family is one that is highly respected throughout the district, and that they have the sympathy of the community was demonstrated by the large number of residents who attended the funeral on Monday afternoon. The remains were enclosed in a cedar coffin, and the burial took place in the R.C. section of the new cemetery. Rev. Father McGrath conducted the last sad rites at St. Joseph's Church and at the graveside. Mr. J.P. Henry had charge of the funeral arrangements.

27 April, 1926

On Tuesday last there passed away one of the oldest identities of the district, in the person of Mr. Andrew Carlon Snr. in his 92nd year. The old gentleman has been in failing health for some time, and his end was not unexpected. He had been a resident of Salisbury Plains of many years standing, having been one of the first to select land there. From the comparatively small block then selected and later added to by industry and application the family has acquired several goodly sized blocks. He was a native of Ireland and emigrated to this country at an early age. His wife died several years ago.

The Late Mr. Carlon is survived by four sons - Messrs. William, James, Stephen and Andrew Carlon and four daughters - Mrs. Crowley, (Armidale), Mrs. Mat Egan, Mrs. A. Donoghue, and Mrs. L. Sullings all of this district.

The burial took place in the R.C. cemetery Uralla, yesterday, when a goodly number of relatives and friends were present. Rev. Father McGrath conducted the service at the Church and Graveside, and Mr. J.P. Henry had charge of the funeral.


Uralla Grazier's Disappearance

James Carlon, a wealthy grazier, of Uralla, came to Sydney to attend sheep sales, and on June 18, after visiting his daughter at Lewisham Hospital, he disappeared and has not since been seen.

It is thought that Carlon, who is 64 years of age, may be suffering from loss of memory. He had a large sum of money in his possession.

From "Sydney Morning Herald", June 30, 1930.
He arrived safely at the home where he had been staying the following day. RK.


On Wednesday, 21st ult., was laid to her earthly resting place one of the district's kindliest and most generoushearted women, a faithful and true mother, and one to whom our town and district owes much, and this small tribute is paid to her memory that others may be inspired to follow her splendid example. She, indeed, possessed the finest qualities of a good Australian mother, who firstly taught her children to reverence God, then impressed upon them duty to their neighbours and service to their country. Her only two eligible sons went forth at their country's call and served right through the Great War. These two young men came through and we are proud of them as worthy citizens.

Of a retiring and quiet disposition, yet ever ready with heart and hand, before ill-health overtook her, to assist any in need, Mrs. Carlon thus won the affection and esteem of all who knew her. She was one of those good souls who well observed the precept "Keep thy tongue from speaking evil," for she was never heard to speak an evil word of any.

Stricken with a creeping and painful illness which for the past three years laid her aside, and although it was known she was under sentence of death, she patiently bore her suffering with fortitude and courage, and gravely awaited the end without fear, in Christian faith. She has left her family the finest of all legacies the memory of a selfsacrificing and loving mother and a devoted and affectionate wife.

A very wide circle of friends extend their sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the family and husband the latter being one of a most generous and large-hearted men of our district.

There came one day, to join the angel throng,
A woman bowed through serving oft in pain;
And as she meekly stood, her form grew strong,
And long-lost youthful beauty dawned again,
Yet more was given, for all, with wonder fraught,
Bent low before the sweetness of her face,
Crying "What marvel hath woman wrought
To be thus clothes with sweet mighty grace. "
The one of seraph tongue made answer low,
One talent only hers, a faithful heart;
And she abroad but little could bestow,
So much was needed for her mother part,
And this with love she almost made fair,
That there she was an angel unaware.

Winifred Agnes, second daughter of James and Hanora Carlon was born at Uralla on 3 January 1906 and spent all of her early life on Salisbury Plains, attending the local Public School with her sister Molly and brother Joe. They began walking the three miles to school each day until their father had two horses quiet enough for them to ride and they would go, two on one horse and one on the other until their father bought a sulky and then they could drive in comfort.

When Winnie married Robert (Bob) Carey on 30 April 1929 she went to live in Salisbury Street in Uralla. It was there that their first three children were born and that Winnie nursed her mother through her last illness. Mary Aileen (Molly) Carey was only about seven years of age and her brother, Robert James (Jim) five years when it was found that they had cataracts on their eyes which necessitated long and tedious treatment so the family moved to Sydney, eventually buying a house at north Bondi where two more sons were born, Thomas in 1944 and Paul in 1946.

In 1952 Molly Carey married Robert Porter, a young bank clerk who was born at Lidsey, near Boguor Regis in Sussex, England. They have two daughters, Lorraine (Mrs. Mark Dowell), and Geraldine (Mrs. Michael Gleeson), both now living at Campbelltown. There are five grandchildren, Adam, Hayley and Leanne Dowell and Jennifer and Peter Gleeson.

Joseph Andrew Carlon was the only son born to James and Hanora Carlon and was born 2 March 1908. He attended the local public school on Salisbury Plains and then worked with his father on their home property "Castlebrook". In 1935 he married Elsie Anderson whose
parents lived at Rocky River. Their son Douglas John was born 3 May 1937 and their daughter, Honora was born 7 May 1939.

Joseph and Elsie lived at "Castlebrook" until illness forced Joe to retire to Tamworth where he died 9 September 1980. Elsie now lives in retirement in Uralla.

Douglas lives at "Castlebrook" and is one of the ordained Deacons of the church in Uralla.
Honora (Nora) is married to Neil Menzies whose parents, John Menzies and Doris Streeting live on the eastern edge of Salisbury Plains.

Neil and Nora's older son Andrew, after having worked his way through Agricultural College is now doing pastoral work on Gostwyck, repeating what his great great grandfather did one hundred and twenty years ago, but under what different circumstances and conditions!!! It is still the "Golden Fleece" that is the hope of the district and of the country, and the tangible wealth of many of the local residents.

Neil and Nora have a younger son David thirteen years old and still at school, and a daughter Fiona who is a twin with Andrew.

Bourkes from Summer Hill

2 comment(s), latest 5 years, 5 months ago


John Connor worked in Sydney first, then joined in exploring the area inland from Port Macquarie until he was employed by Captain Rapsey on the old storeship, the St. Michael. Moored at Morpeth, the end of the navigable reach of the Hunter River, the St. Michael was the supply depot for the convicts cutting cedar, the soldiers guarding them, the bush constables and others in the district. As the settlement developed the quantity of stores passing through the St. Michael increased. In 1832 the two steam packets, Sophia Jane and William the Fourth commenced a regular passenger and mail service, plying twice weekly between Sydney and the Green Hills (Morpeth).

Alcorn's Inn stood on rising ground where the old and the new tracks met on the Singleton (southern) side of Fal Brook crossing at Dulwich Farm. This was becoming a favourite place for camping and resting the working bullocks. James Glennie's house was on elevated ground upwards of a mile nearer Singleton. The present bridge at Camberwell is 3 miles in a downstream direction from the site of Alcorn's Inn. On lst January 1832 a Post Office was established at Alcorn's Inn, to be the most northerly inland Post Office in the Australian Colonies. Mail was carried up there once a week by the Mounted Police. James Glennie was the contractor in 1832 for the supply of rations and forage to Mounted Police operating in the upper districts, and rations for the lock-ups at Darlington, Merton and Invermein. At Glennie's store travellers could purchase flour, beef and some other necessities.

Moses Connor married Anne Farrell at Glennie's Creek in 1840 and their daughter Mary Anne was born there 21 March, 1841. Then came John in April 1843 and Michael 22 June 1845. Three more babies were born to them but when John returned from the whaling trip to the Southern Ocean with a group of men from some of the ships that had been trading between Sydney and Morpeth he found Moses and Anne in a sad state. Two of their babies had died and they believed this was due to the bad climate.

They wanted to move further north. John and Moses together procured a horse and dray and began preparations for the journey.

Even then another little boy died and Anne was very distressed. The departure was delayed but Moses felt they must move away from that area. Finally the two men with Anne and the three remaining children Mary, John and Michael set off on the long trek that took them to Ipswich.

Ipswich was the free settlement fifteen miles up-river from Moreton Bay, the former Penal Colony, now becoming a busy port. Ipswich had a newly developed coal mine and was growing as the centre for the large land holdings being taken up in the Brisbane River valley, over the mountains and across the Darling Downs.

It was in Ipswich that John met Mary Murphy, the Irish governess to one of the families he was welcoming to Australia. They were immediately attracted to each other, John felt this was the woman who could, and would as he soon learned, help him to settle down and build a truly Christian home. They were married by Rev. William McGinty who with Father Hanly were the only two priests working in this vast northern section of the Colony. Their marriage was celebrated on 15 August 1854, in Ipswich.

The Connor men were not happy with the work and conditions that they found in Ipswich and did not settle comfortably, so that when they heard of the successful gold findings at Rocky River (Uralla), they once again packed their families and belongings into the dray and travelled south. John having his new bride with him, Mary a little sad at leaving behind her sister, but Ellen was employed in a good family and was content that Mary must go.

The journey would have taken some months for it covers a distance of three hundred and fifty miles or nearly five hundred kilometres. For most of the way the track, now the New England Highway, follows the top of the Great Dividing Range. As soon as they reached Rocky River the men lost no time in staking their claims and then set up their homes.