The Battle of Doughboy Hollow.
MURRURUNDI, the sleepy hollow of
the Hunter, lies in a fork of the Valley of the Page, immediately under the Dividing Range, and two miles from the Gate of the North-west. Years ago, before the coming of the railway left it a mere tide mark of progress and civilisation, Murrurundi was a place
of some importance. Long strings of jolting horses and bullock waggons came down the winding road from the pass, wool-laden and camped on the flats about the town. Carriers, with station stores, on their way back up country, entered from the other side. It
was the narrow way through which all the traffic to the vast north western country had to pass before it spread out across the plain to the Darling, the Macintyre, the New England, and Queensland. On red evenings the gold escort would rattle down the two mile
hill, guarded by stalwart troopers and bearded sergeants, and there was ample need of an ample guard. These rugged mountains of the Upper Hunter "bred fearless horse men", reckless riders, brumbies, wild cattle, and not a few of these wildest of wild cattle,
the daring men who made bushranging a lucrative profession, from the "forties" to the early" sixties." Thunderbolt" was here about, Wilson shot Peter Clarke where the monument now stands on Warland's Range. Escaped convicts from down the river made lairs for
themselves up the wild, vine-covered creeks behind Mount Murulla.
When you stand upon the summit of the range, just where the road is level for 20 yards between its east and westward slopes, you are
upon the top of the watershed of two great territories, the coastal, with its wealth of agricultural, pasture, mining, and the western, with its limitless expanse of grazing principalities, of barren deserts, of undeveloped artesian water beds, and all their
mighty possibilities that are yet to come, with its gold, its tin, its copper, its lead, its silver. Down below us is Doughboy Hollow, now, by the stupidity of some departmental dullard, labelled " Ardglen.".... " Ardglen," forsooth. Why not call Sydney "Stoneville”?
But it is only when you address a letter to the Hollow that you need use the postal name, it still slumbers peacefully as Doughboy Hollow In the minds of those who live, or have lived, about its shady sides. There are many varying legends to account for
this peculiar name, and they are more extraordinary than the name itself. As far as the writer can make out, the most probable way of accounting for it is by supposing that some pioneer made his evening meal upon the creek on a mess of the filling but weighty
and dyspeptic "doughboys." They are still made as weightily and dyspeptically. Many of the names about are strangely happy. There is Bother Jimmy Mountain, Who'd-a-thought-it public-house, Come by chance public house, Campo Santo station. But whencesoever
it’s name, here is Doughboy Hollow in the western foothills of the Dividing and upon the skirt of the Liverpool Plains, and its most interesting story is related in the next paragraph.
Years ago there lived on Warrah, one Roberts, fortuitously nicknamed " Doughy," because he was a baker. For a long time "Doughy" was the only representative of the A.A. Company on Warrah, that is to say, he was the sole legal occupant
of 200,000 acres of some of the finest land in the Australias. At that time the law did not reach out its arm beyond the nineteen Counties. If you went over the ranges, well and good, but you were not to expect police protection or assistance from the
Government of' New South Wales. You were to look after yourself as best you were able.
Now, the Warrah country was infested by sly grog sellers, escaped convicts, and bushrangers, and the Jew-boy
Gang, a powerful combination of the latter who had their head quarters behind the Warrah Pinnacle, a basaltic peak that rises from the Yellow Plain close to what is now Warrah head station. There were also, in the hill country, an enterprising person who manufactured
bad liquor illicitly, which he would after wards hawk over the ranges and sell to the thirsty souls living withing the pales of civilisation. Hearing that the Jewboy Gang was soon to return to their fortress, the grog vendor came to " Doughy" Roberts, and
asked him for permission to leave a large quantity of his stock within the hut for safe keeping. " Doughy" being evidently a person of lax moral principles, cheerfully assented. The whisky-man went away, the Jewboy Gang arrived. "Doughy" invited the whole
gang to his hut, and there entertained them at a tremendous " jamboree," which was, no doubt, very welcome to the freebooters. Upon the departure of the gang for a fresh expedition, and the subsequent return of the owner of the whisky, the guileless " Doughy"
informed him of what had taken place, reminded him that there was a reward for the apprehension of illicit distillers and asked him what he intended to do. And so the matter was dropped.