Saturday, November 23, 2019

Record consignment of cattle brought to Monomeith, April 1967

These great photos (the colour ones), courtesy of Neville Clark, are of Hugh Bourke, off-loading cattle at Monomeith Railway Station. They had been sent from Casino in New South Wales. There was an article in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of April 26, 1967, about the shipment.  Neville thought it was 760 head of cattle, the paper quoted 731, which ever is correct, that is a lot of cattle.  I have transcribed the Koo Wee Rup Sun story.

Koo Wee Rup Sun April 26, 1967, page 1

From page 1 - Record consignment of cattle brought to Monomeith
Cattle made the news this week when a record shipment of731 head arrived at Monomeith in a  53 car special train. The cattle had been bought in Queensland by Mr Hugh Bourke and their arrival created somewhat of a flutter in the local community.  See story inside.

Koo Wee Rup Sun April 26, 1967, page 3

From page 3 - Off-loading 731 cattle at Monomeith Station
A record consignment of 731 head of cattle, transported on a special train of 53 stock cars arrived at Monomeith on Monday afternoon. The cattle had been purchased two weeks ago by local graziers, Mr Hugh Bourke and his son, Mr David Bourke at sales in southern Queensland.  The cattle travelled over 1000 miles by the time they had arrived at Monomeith.
It was by far the biggest consignment of cattle to come to this area and was also the biggest one train load.
The cattle were loaded at Casino. They had to travel upwards of 20 miles on foot before undertaking the long rail trip to Monomeith.
It was certainly a memorable sight to see the big diesel pull into the Monomeith station hauling 53 trucks. A large number of people were on the station to see the operation completed.
An inspection of the cattle, mainly Herefords, revealed that they were in remarkedly good condition. 
The cattle were unloaded in three lots, the same as they had been purchased. Each lot was driven up to the Bourke property to begin the term of fattening for the Melbourne market.
Mr Hugh Bourke says the operation of buying cattle in 1967 was quite a business and involved quite a deal of air travel. On this buying trip he had been accompanied by his son David and Mr Stan Teague from Younghusband & Co. Mr Teague inspected all the cattle prior to the sale.
Mr Bourke said that he purchased the first lot of over 300 cattle and left to attend another sale by air. The remaining four hundred odd head were purchased by David.
On the trip the cattle were accompanied by big Bill McCormick and his nephew Mr Peter McCormick from McCormick and Co. Livestock agents from Casino.
Mr Bill McCormick had the touch of the big outback about him, but he was the essence of efficiency and had complete control of the operation.
The Bourke family at Monomeith have landed two prior shipments of cattle from the north at their property. The first was of over 300 head and second one was over 500 head.

The cattle at Monomeith Railway Station April 1967.
Photo courtesy of Neville Clark

The 'big diesel' Monomeith Railway Station April 1967.
Photo courtesy of Neville Clark

The 53 stock cars - Monomeith Railway Station April 1967.
Photo courtesy of Neville Clark

Monomeith Station, April 1967.
Photo courtesy of Neville Clark

Monday, November 11, 2019

A canal from the Yarra River to the Latrobe River via the Koo Wee Rup Swamp

On July 20, 1867 The Age published this letter to the Editor, from J. Wood Beilby of Dandenong. Mr Beilby suggested the construction of a 140 mile long canal from Yarra River to the Latrobe River, via the Koo Wee Rup Swamp and the Bunyip River flats. The canal would be 30 feet wide and four to five feet deep and suitable for stern-paddle wheel steam tugs and barges. The canal was never built.

John Wood Beilby arrived in the Port Phillip District in 1841 and ran stock on the Gardiner's Creek, he then worked on various runs from Flowerdale to the Glenelg River and was an early explorer of the Mallee region. In 1850 he was associated with the Wedge Brother at Corhanwarrabul on the Dandenong Creek and and took over the Tirhatuan run from the Reverend James Clow (1790-1861), also on the Dandenong Creek. He later spent much time contributing to the Press and he died in 1902, aged 83. The Australasian of June 6, 1936, published a short biography of him and other Pastoral Pioneers, in serial form, you can read his story, here.

Sir, — I beg space to draw the attention of the Government and of all interested in the speedy opening up of a ready and economical mode of communication between Melbourne and the Gipps Land Lakes, by means of a canal suited for stern-paddlewheel steam tugs and barges. The route from the Yarra via the Tanneries or valley of Gardiner's Creek, Leman's Swamp, the Brighton Reedy Swamp, with fall to the edge of Carrum Swamp; thence the Teatree Swamp, through Berwick to the Koo-wee-rup Swamp; thence the Bunyip river flats, and across to the Moe Swamp margin, and thence by the Latrobe River to the Lakes, is throughout, with short exceptional localities, through a low-lying country, which would be immensely reproductive if drained. Much of the land is in the hands of the Crown, and if a liberal grant were made to a canal company, and debentures secured upon it, the undertaking would secure much of the capital required. The work would be of immense value to agriculturists and road boards in the districts intersected, in furnishing an outlet for draining operations, and, would yield an immense return to Government in the shape of reclaimed lands available for agricultural occupation, and by facilities for location upon rich lands now shut out from population by want of means of communication. Moreover, cheap freight or carriage, and facilities for landing goods anywhere along the route traversed, would tend more to development of local enterprise than rapid railway transit, to such stations as would be appointed as such on a line of railway. There are an infinity of products, available for increasing city trade and the general commerce of the colony, besides agricultural produce. Timber, bark and gums of various kinds; granite as varied in color and beautiful as any imported for our public buildings; clay suitable for pottery, or brick or tile, and drain pipe manufacture; coal too, and hosts of other mineral products would teem in from every direction. The expense of a canal, thirty feet wide by four or five feet deep, with all locks, fences, canal boats, bridges, &c., has been estimated on the confident authority of a canal engineer to cost not more than £3000 per mile. The distance from the Yarra or Melbourne to a navigable part of the Latrobe river would be under 140 miles. We have but little material en route harder than blue clay to excavate. We require no imported materials (or scarcely any) and the work throughout would enlist the favorable interest of the neighboring population, who would largely avail themselves of, and by increased production would reciprocate to the proprietors the benefits derivable from water carriage, accessible without necessary stations, at their very doors. The flow of water from the creeks and rivers intercepted in the course traversed would amply supply waste by evaporation and locks by the intervention of equivalent precautions. The colony would go ahead on its own resources without further increase of our national debt ; and room, and a suitable sphere of operations would be provided amidst rich arable lands rendered thus accessible and valuable for location of small capitalist immigrants, to whom a wise policy would offer special inducements to resort to our shores. — 
Yours obediently.
Dandenong. J.WOOD BEILBY.
The Age July 20, 1867, see it on Trove, here.