Henry Dangars diary notes.

A piece of original AACo fence on northern boundary.

 Diary Notes of Henry Dangar as he surveyed the boundary of the AACo's quarter million acre Warrah Station in 1833. 


By Geoff Barwick


Diary notes copied by A.P. Pulver in 1980.


The notes were given to me by Mr Fred Widdis. 

There are some funny spelling of place names. It's not a mistake by me, I've left it as Dangar spelt it. Obviously it's changed over the 180 or so years?


The photos were taken in late April, 2016. A very dry period with almost not a drop of rain since January. However, when Dangar surveyed the Warrah boundary it was also an extremely dry period with almost no water to be found, even in the Mooki River or Warrah Creek.




The southern boundary from the top of the range.

Journal during a Survey of the two locations selected by Sir W E Parry R.N. Commissioner to the Aust. Agricultural. Company, for that Company at Liverpool Plains and Peel's River.


Henry Dangar was to mark the boundarys of a rectangular piece of land 30 miles by 13 miles. 

There are 640 acres in a square mile. So Warrah was to be 640 x 30 x 13 equals 249,600 acres.

A map of Warrah around about the time of the 1912 subdivision.



The Liverpool Plain's Location.....


1833, December 27th.

Mr. Ralfe, Crown Surveyor, and I proceeded to the Station (hut) occupied by Mr. Thomas Parnell, and according to the instructions from the Surveyor General's office measured a line from that Station being a point fixed by the Company, due North 3 miles and 8 chains to the Northern Boundary to ascertain and fix the position of the boundary line we here placed a Stake, from which to run our line East and West as directed. In running the above mentioned 3 miles and 8 chains, we proceeded along the plain all the way from Parnell's hut, to a distance of 1 mile, one quarter and 7 chains, to the foot of the forest hills. The remainder of the line (to the Stake mentioned in the Northern boundary) passed over middling forest hills, reddish soil, box tree the only timber. The stone scattered on the surface apparently Win Stone. The hills very gradual and on Summits very much rounded and almost table land. Occasionally on the slopes rather hasty drops or banks occurred.



From the Stake we ran our line East for the Northern boundary of the location. For one quarter of a mile the hills became rather poor with some scrubby small timber. On our left, or towards the North, the hills terminated in flat land. The surface now showed decomposed Pudding Stone, the hills inferior, no water since starting, every gully dry, at 2 miles we lost the box timber and small sized iron bark prevailed entirely for three quarter miles, then on descending into flat and tolerably grassy land box prevailed again and a few Apple tree and the pudding stone ceased. At about 3 and a half miles we crossed a Creek running to Northward when it is flowing, but now having only here and there a small water-hole. About this we crossed the Road from Warrah to Peel's River. To our right or Southward on this road is Loder's Station, about l and a half mile distant. The line continues ascending again with gently rising forest hills, table land occurring on the top of them and of middling quality only. Timber, Box only. We stopped at 4 miles, leaving a Stake. We measured to-day 7 miles and 8 chains. It was very hot and we were distressed not finding water. Thunder storm in the evening.

Using a GPS we were able to work out where the first stake was placed after Dangars party left Thomas Parnell's hut. 6 miles and 43 chains from the North East corner. This is the northern boundary of Warrah facing east, exactly where the stake went. They were using magnetic North, not true north.
On the Northern boundary at point -31.625627, 150.697743 is a surveyor marked tree. The tree is an old ironbark. The fence is the AACo Warrah boundary.
Unfortunately its not a surveyor mark left by Henry Dangar. Its not the AACo mark and an identical mark can also be found on an internal fence line not on the main Warrah boundary surveyed in 1833. These other surveyor marks were probably made when properties to the east of the current Warrah Station, towards Willow Tree, were subdivided in the 1908 subdivision?
Using GPS and a bit of trigonometry it's fairly simple to work out where Thomas Parnells hut was. This is on 'Warrah Station', looking west towards Warrah Creek. It's Geoff Symonds property through the fence. Not far away, across the creek is the remains of some buildings from the original Warrah station, at 'Old Warrah'. Henry Dangar and his surveying crew headed north from here 3 miles and 8 chain to mark the northern boundary. They were using magnetic north, not true north. I've recorded the GPS co-ordinates as S 31.66394 E150.66063
The north eastern corner of AACo's Warrah. We travelled through Geoff Ingals property to get to the corner post. GPS co-ordinates are S 31.63635 E150.76701 Elevation, 529 metres ASL.
Neil Barwick on 'Warrah's' northern boundary. Looking down into Borambil Creek.
The northern boundary, where today it crosses the Kamilaroi Highway and further away, Borambil Creek. Looking west.
The northern boundary looking east. Today crossing the New England highway.

December 28th Saturday.


Remained at Warrah, sorted and examined our various stores, collected such articles as we determined to leave in the Companies Storehouse there, and others to take with us while Surveying the parallelogram of Liverpool Plains Location and issued rations to the party for the purpose etc. etc.



December 29th Sunday.

Moved our drays etc. about 4 or 5 miles only into the plain at the Northern Boundary Line, to be ready next morning to commence at the Stake in the above boundary line left on the 27th. 3 miles and 8 chains North from Parnell's hut. As we have now thought it best to run from that Stake Westward over the plains first of all.

Looking west on the northern boundary. Warrah Creek plain.


December 30th Monday.


Commenced at the Stake above mentioned and proceeded Westward over grassy hills, the timber box, thin, and reddish soil and apparently win Stone. Descending gradually and further forward in the most gentle manner to the plain which we met at 1 mile 34 chains from the stake above mentioned. At 30 links to the northward of the line at this point, chose the nearby box tree on which we plainly cut in with a chisel and mallet the Cos. initials in this exact form AAC on 2 sides in the direct line we were going (Westward). A few chains farther forward, we cut the northern side, we cut one small tree, of a small clump of trees in the plain. The plain here is 2 miles and 6 chains across, about I and a half miles across, it is rather moist and we observed one small water hole only at intervals of a quarter mile upwards. We placed strong Iron bark stakes being 2 feet in the ground and 3 feet out. On the line joining the forest land again an apple tree was marked in the same way, with the Companys initials. The forest hills now intervening between this point and the next Junction of the plains are 3 and a half miles all but 8 chains in length. The soil is chiefly reddish loam occasionally soft and deep then firmer, tolerably grassy. The timber first of all was box and apple tree, afterwards Box alone then a few pine were scattered here and there (where the quality of the soil became rather inferior) and lastly on approaching the plain again the box prevailed, with a few Apple tree. On joining the plain, a box tree was marked in the same way as above, which was 35 links south of the line. We found the plain here 3 miles and a half and 2 chains across, drove in stakes as above. We observed a small rush in various parts of this space and many small white shells on the surface scattered about but no indications of water.

Looking west on Warrah Ridge road. Up ahead is Big Jacks creek. It is Big Jacks, Little Jacks and Millers creek by this point. Further on is Macdonalds creek and then Pump Station Creek. They all pass through this bit of plain. However in 1833 they would have been undefined. There would have been no creek, they just emptied out into grassland further upstream.

We met the forest land and marked in the usual way a gum 30 links to the South of the line. We ascended now a low range, poor and sandy and gritty soil or a decomposed pudding stone, having Pine and Iron Bark in quantity on it. We stopped here having surveyed 11 miles and 30 chains today. We were now distressed for water but at length succeeded by means of the information of a black boy we had with us. We left the line and went about N.W. 2 and a half miles, slanting across the plain and in a large "bight" fell in with a good size lagoon near where we camped.



Tuesday 31st December.


Our bullocks, although fatigued yesterday and now near fine water, we discovered early in the morning had strayed away and even though several men were sent in search of them they could not be found.


We took the number of men however which we employed daily in the surveying and marking and returned to our line on the forest range above mentioned and continued it to the plain again. The width from plain to plain across the above range is 1 and a half mile and 4 chains. We here marked a box tree in the usual way 40 links to the northward of the line. We drove in stakes as before on the plain, which here is only three quarter mile and 10 chains wide.


A white gum was marked here at the edge of the plain in the usual way, 30 links to the Northward of the line. We now passed over forest hills to the plain again, being a distance of 4 miles 4 and a half chains, where we marked a leaning box in the usual way which was in line.


The forest hills just passed over were poor and scrubby except at the beginning and end adjoining the plains where they were grassy and the soil reddish with box and apple tree and win stone apparently. Pine and Iron bark prevailed over the rest with decomposed pudding stone and some Iron Stone. We now returned to our Encampment near the lagoon. The bullocks were found in the evening, they had strayed round the edges of the forest land towards Warrah.



Wednesday 1st January 1834.


Mr. Ralfe unwell. Went over with the party to Mr. Blaxland's Station "Kilcoolbile" in readiness to resume the line in the morning. Pretty good water holes here.



Thursday 2nd January.


Walked across the plain from "Kilcoolbile” to the forest land opposite or in a direction and resumed our line. We carried it across the plain to forest hllls. At 2 miles and 77 chains we crossed some very slight water holes and ground near quite moist. Before this the soil was particularly dry and the rats' holes numerous. About 20 chains before we reached the forest hills we crossed some good water holes, but there was no decided brook. The same water holes continued all round rather skirting the plain to "Kilcoolbill". We now passed into the quickly rising forest hills in our line, marking a double apple tree at the edge of the plain, which was 10 links to the North of the line there. We found this forest land to be good redish soil deep and in ridges like arable land, the stone apparently Win. The timber box with some small timber baring light silvery or grey foliage, perhaps a species of Mimosa.


We descended gradually into the plain again, making the width of this forest land to be 1 mile and 70 chains. We marked a leaning box Just before leaving the forest land in the usual way and entered the plain once more, We placed our stakes as usual and left off at 1 mile from the forest land, as it rained heavily, having surveyed to-day 6 miles and 8 chains.



Friday 3rd January.


Carried the line forward across the plain to the N.W. corner which is from the forest land just left 1 mile and 53 chains. The plain being very dry, little grass, almost all herbs- and plants of various kinds. We drove in at the north west corner a very stout stake, and cut A.A. Co on 2 sides, one facing East and the other South. At this Stake to determine its situation the better in future in case of it becoming destroyed, we took several bearings to the most remarkable points (as expressed in my field book). We now turned South and measured 5 miles across the plain. At first it.was very grassy, but the remainder was very dry and scarcely a shoot of grass from the late drought, there was a gentle rise of ground all the way from the N.W. corner to this 5 miles point. We now left off, finding no water and struck off towards Phillips Creek and encamped at Major Druitts Station in the spot where Sir Edward Parry encamped on a former occasion. Surveyed to-day 6 miles 53 chains.



Pano shot of the North West corner. Left is looking east towards Windy or Pine Ridge, Right is looking south along the Black lane to Blackville. GPS co-ordinates are S 31.55818 E150.26659 Elevation, 341 metres ASL.
Another photo of the Western boundary looking South towards Blackville. This is midway along the Black Lane. The northern boundary ended up 30 miles long exactly to the foot!
Further along the Western boundary, and next to Black Creek is the old boundary riders hut. Also possibly a gate keepers hut where a toll was collected for travellers to pass through 'Warrah'. Just like the Toll gate at Willow Tree.

Saturday 4th January.


Commenced at the 5 miles Stake in the plain, and Joined the forest land, still flat, marked at edge of it a box tree in the usual manner. This part is rather lightly timbered with box and had a few grey leaved wattle scattered about. We crossed "Omaleah Creek" about One and a quarter mile and 6 chains from the plain. This creek had a considerable bed, but great part is dry here, on crossing was good waterhole. We went through then some flat very grassy area, soil soon became red and a little stoney, then darker soil, we found this part very fine land thickly covered with grass. At the 9th mile it became stoney and in abrupt lumps on the ridges. We were obliged now to leave off as a heavy thunder storm of long continuance drenched us completely. We surveyed to-day 4 miles and 51 chains.



Sunday 5th January.


Moved the Encampment up Phillips Brook to be near the line on Monday morning to begin Surveying. Thunder storm again at night.

Monday 6th January.


Carried on the line, and as the ridges are now so frequent, we determined to take the elevation and depression of them and make the allowance on the spot. We passed over grassy Ranges, occasionally steep and a little rooky in spots to the S.W. corner, the box prevailed throughout. At the S.W. corner we placed a strong stake and built up a large heap of Stones round it. On the nearest box tree, which was 60 links to the East of the stake, we cut in A.A. Co. on 2 sides as usual one facing the North, the other the South. About a quarter mile to the West of this is a high round bluff. We now turned East to run the Southern boundary. During the first mile the soil was red but afterwards became darker, the land swelling or undulating to a creek falling into Phillip's Brook. After passing this the hills are beautiful all the way to Phillips Brook, the soil reddish at first then dark, to the brook, during the 3rd mile we found the compass affected and noticed that it occurred at or on the sides of those ridges where there was reddish soil. The variation ceased when the soil became darker. We encamped on Phillip's brook, the water of which is very good, clear and on a pebbly bottom. We surveyed today 6 miles and 53 chains.


The South West corner. Now the property of Rob and Alan Davies on all sides. This was the most likely spot to find the AACo carved into a tree but unfortunately couldn't find a sign. Lots of old trees nearby but the one mentioned with the carving had died long ago I believe? GPS co-ordinates S 31.74235 E150.22870 Elevation, 518 metres ASL.
Another view of the South West corner. Looking east along the southern boundary. I will mention this later at the end, however Henry Dangar surveyed this south west point 200 metres short. The Northern boundary was exactly 30 miles long. This western boundary was supposed to be 13 miles long. It only measures 12.88 miles. This cut roughly a thousand hectares off the size of Warrah. It also greatly effected where the South East corner was as well as he then surveyed from here to that corner. I can only speculate how they got this boundary so wrong but a surveyors chain was 22 yards long. There was 10 chains in a furlong. A furlong is exactly .12 of a mile? The distance that the boundary was short?
The southern boundary looking east and towards Philips Creek, or Brook as Dangar called it. Cattle creek road heading to the old Mount Parry school.
The now closed Mount Parry primary school, whos front fence is on the southern boundary.

Tuesday 7th January.


From the brook to the 4th mile the land was flat and rich, the timber all Apple tree. Here and there a Wattle was seen. From this to the 6th mile it was all undulating very fine forest, the timber thin.


To Yaremunbah brook it is of the same character, and fine dark soil. On our right or Southward runs the dividing range.

In the 8th mile the hills are steep but grassy and continue to the end of the llth mile. The hills then are low and good to a creek. We encamped here having surveyed 8 miles and 38 chains.

Cattle creek road, looking east. Up ahead is Yarramanbah Creek.

Wednesday 8th January.


From Warran Brook to 16 and a half miles the line passed through a fine valley of undulating and flat land lightly timbered with box and apple tree and extending to the dividing range on our right (or to the south). From this to the 17 and a half miles it became very steep, occasionally little rocky then to Boorahnbile brook, excellent forest land. Surveyed to-day 6 miles and 60 chains.


Macdonalds creek valley. Southern boundary looking west. Angus Sevil's property Curragundi is on the right of the fence. On the left of the fence is Seville Park which belongs to Adam Sevil.
Southern boundary. Fence going through Macdonalds Creek looking East.
Looking east. Towards Millers creek. On 'Tourles road'.

Thursday 9th January.


From Boorahnbile Creek to the 20th mile It was first of all flat then gently rising and very excellent forest land, the same to our left (or northward). Box and apple tree, the next 3 miles the line passes over very steep ridges grassy but stoney at the top. The elevated pointed hill called “Boo" and descends then gradually to a Brook where we encamped. We surveyed to-day 4 and a half miles only, it being very hilly and the drays finding it difficult to join us.



Friday 10th.


Heavy rain till afternoon. Carried on the line however to Warrah Creek 4 miles. We found the first mile grassy and moderately clusted, but afterwards elevated, stoney and precipitious.

Southern boundary looking west to Warrah Creek. The white cabin is the shooters hut on Parraweena Highlands.

Saturday llth.


The first mile or to the end of 28th was grassy to-day but the 2 last making up the 30 miles to the S.E. corner was over sharp ridges and peaks much timber, consisting of forest oak, gum and stringy bark very rocky and precipitious indeed for the last mile, the Dividing Range close on our right. The corner was in a gully where we placed a stake. Returned in evening to Warrah with Col. Dumaresq.


Southern boundary, looking east. Parraweena highlands both sides, but the road is leading to Pete Watts's property up Captains creek. The bald looking bit on top of the range is called 'Bald Hill. It is the highest point of the whole Liverpool Range at 1280 metres above sea level. The South East corner is just a few hundred metres to the north of Bald Hill
Me at the 'Bald Hill' trig. 1280 metres above sea level. If I look a little distressed, I was after the walk up the hill! If Henry Dangar had of not accidently cut roughly 200 metres off the western boundary, This point would have been the south east corner of Warrah.
Taken about a hundred metres north of the South East corner at the top of the range. You can see the southern fenceline running off for 30 miles distant. The Coolah Tops is the Range in the far distance with peaks almost as high as here.
This is roughly the spot of the South East corner. Looking South. Unlike the other 3 corners there is no fence post and there may never have been one. I guessed the spot by lining myself up with the southern boundary, as I could see all 30 miles of it, and the use of a detailed toppo map which showed the corner as being just 20 or 30 metres from the top of the range. Dangar noted the stake was placed in a gully? This spot fitted the description. The trees were all young so no chance of finding an AACo carving and the stake would have perished 100 or more years ago? But as I said, unlike the other 3 corners this one is not exact.
This is roughly the South East corner looking North. I recorded the GPS co-ordinates as S 31.81947 E 150.72882 Altitude was 1226 metres above sea level.

Sunday 12th.


Remained at Warrah. Col. Dumaresq read the Service to

all hands.



MONDAY 13th.


Weighed our provisions. The mens shoes being in a very bad state we were obliged to wait till afternoon when we proceeded to Loder's Station in order to commence the line at the stake at the end of the first days journey in line 2 of field book, viz. 4 miles from the stake, which stake is 3 miles and 8 chains North of Warrah.



Tuesday 14th.


Proceeded to the above mentioned stake, and measured 2 miles and 43 chains to the North East corner, during this distance the line passed over undulating hills of forest land of an inferior quality. At the N.E. corner we placed a stake, and at 20 links N. of it marked a box tree 2 sides in the usual way A.A.Co.


We now turned South to survey 13 miles it being the East boundary of the Location. At 1 mile and 50 chains the line passes through a low part of range between 2 small round hills, one clear of timber and one on the East not. The hills are of poor quality from the North East. corner to the 3rd mile, having decomposed pudding stone and box timber, and badly watered. We left off at the end of 3 miles having surveyed 5 miles and 48 chains.



Wednesday 15th.


The 3rd mile from the North East corner brought us to a grassy valley and creek, with its branches, the land better. At the 4th mile the soil became red, the hills low and grassy box and apple tree. At 5 miles and 33 chains we intersected the road from the peak to Warrah and Peel's River. From this to the 7th mile the land is very fair, then it falls off, the line continues up the valley, the creek also to the west of us, like the valley narrows considerably, and the ridges become higher.


The Eastern boundary. Looking north from the old highway. In the distance is Chilcotts creek, then the railway line and the New England highway.
The Eastern boundary. Press's road. Looking south. The line passes through the saddle at the top of the range on Mount Gregson, then passes through the Pages River catchment till it joins up to the south east corner near Bald Hill. So this part of Warrah, from top of Mount Gregson, through to Bald Hill was in the Pages River/Hunter catchment.
The top of Mount Gregson where boundary passes over. Looking south. The pink arrow show Bald Hill, Maybe another 4 kilometres away? near the South East corner, the direction the boundary continues through the Pages River valley.
Most of the boundary fence has disappeared, however there was this small section right at the top of Mount Gregson still standing. The steel post was probably added many years later? Note the extremely thick bull wire at top.
Photo from the New England highway looking down into Geoff Ingals property. The top left hand corner of the green oats paddock is the North East corner of 'Warrah'. Then you can see the entire 13 miles of the boundary. The two hills Dangar mentioned that the line goes between can be seen, one with trees and one without. Then the saddle in the range further on where the line decends into the Pages, and finally at the back, the peak of 'Bald Hill".




Thursday 16th.


The valley becomes narrower and the line ascends secondary ranges, very grassy, but stoney box timber. The ranges are elevated and rocky. At the 10th mile, it reaches the summit of part of the great dividing range at a round lump, at 10 and a half miles, and decends again along the shelving side of the range. Surveyed today 3 miles only, on account of the ranges being so precipitous.



Friday 17th.


Decended from dividing range into deep precipitous gully which is the source of the Pages River and over the Dividing Range. Ascending dividing range again and closed our work on rocky part of dividing range. Too late to return to tents, slept on Dividing Range.



Saturday 18th.


Returned and proceeded to Kuwerindi, Mr Loder's station on the road to Peels River.



Sunday 19th.


Rested at Kuwerindi.














Using a GPS distance calculator, it's easy to work out the distance between points. It turns out that the northern boundary of Warrah was unbelieveably 30 miles exactly to the foot! However, none of the others were exact. The western boundary was a bit short. 12.88 miles. These were the only two boundaries that could be measured exactly as the south east corner was a guess.


  It turns out that if Henry Dangar had of surveyed the Warrah boundary to the exact specs of 30 miles by 13 miles, instead of being out by a few hundred metres on the western boundary, the South Eastern corner would have, or should have been almost exactly at the Bald Hill trig! The highest point of the Liverpool Range! The Bald Hill trigs GPS co-ordinates are, S 31.82255 E150.72925 If one uses the Bald Hill trig as a pretend South East corner, the eastern boundary ends up as 13.02 miles, and the southern boundary ends up as 29.97 miles.



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Hugh Price | Reply 04.06.2016 09:04

Thanks Geoff, only just found your story, fantastic work, congrats. Really important information, which National Archives ANU may be interested in too.

Geoff Barwick | Reply 10.05.2016 19:55

Thanks for the lovely comments everyone. Much appreciated. I'm thinking I might start to put some more new stuff on here now?

Campbell Copeland | Reply 10.05.2016 14:38

Onya Geoff ........ that's a most interesting and worthwhile exercise. Changed my perception, especially of the south east corner. You've done well. Cheers.

Geoff Barwick 10.05.2016 19:54

Have you read the diary notes while looking at a google earth map Campbell? It certainly makes things clearer.

Helen Copeland | Reply 07.05.2016 14:18

Congratulations, Geoff.You have brought life to Dangar's diaries with your meticulous plotting of his Warrah boundaries and wonderful photos of the 4 corners.

kate Macpherson(Copeland0 | Reply 05.05.2016 12:11

Such an interesting story, fascinating to read the diaries and see your photographs of the exact spots. Congratulations Geoff and fellow explorers.

Neil Barwick | Reply 04.05.2016 17:19

Fantastic account by Dangar. Great research by Geoff Barwick with excellent pictures of all 4 corners and depicting the total distance of 86 miles! Well done.

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Latest comments

12.06 | 20:33

What a wonderful story, enjoyed it very much.

06.06 | 22:53

What great history that now seems to be forgotton. ⚓🦉🐉🦂💙👑

10.05 | 15:31

Takes me back to wonderful childhood days visiting "Merrieton" and "Towarri". At about age 12, I thought Tony (aged about 24) was the most handsome chap around

06.01 | 15:43

Which farm did "Pop Mackelvane" have, I was there during the last part of the second war.

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