To Mr C. F. Juchau who was born in Murrurundi in 1844, who has resided there ever since, and who was the first Mayor
of the Municipality, the writer is indebted for much information regarding the early history of the place. The original site of the town was at Mabyn Vale, about a mile nearer Blandford than the present town, and the original settlement consisted of an hotel
and store, both of which were run by the same man, a blacksmith's shop and two cottages. The Government township was about a mile away. Hero there was a blacksmith and wheelwright, named Wilson, next to him Sullivan, a shoemaker, and then Harnett's place.
Next to this was the domicile of Sterritt, the carpenter, then that of Farrell, while opposite the shoemaker was a butcher's shop, kept by Usher Saunders. The White Hart Hotel, which now presents an imposing appearance was at that time a rough, wooden structure,
kept by Mrs. Wightman. The brick portion, added to it in about 1850 is still standing. Next to the hotel was the store, kept by Mr. Juchau's father. Then came in succession an old shoemaker, named Reardon, Mr. Shanahan, and Ben Hall, butcher. Up to the latter
end of the "Forties" these were all the buildings on the Blandford side of Arnold Bridge. which spans the Page, some distance below the present Post Office.
In the opposite side of where the bridge
now is, was a wooden building occupied by a man named Wilson, then came John Ross's place, and next to that a hotel, part brick and part wood, kept by Mr. O'Neil. It was called the "Travellers' Rest." The license for this place was allowed to lapse some twelve
years ago, and it is now occupied as a private residence. Next to the "Travellers' Rest" was the official abode of McGivnev, the chief constable. Then came J. B. Rundle's store, now used as a private residence, and then—a blank, the wild bush.
Murrurundi was at a standstill for many years, but some time before the advent of the railway, it progressed steadily, though slowly, and during the time that it was the terminal station of the railway it boomed.
It was a very busy town when all the traffic from the North and North west centred there on account of the railway communication. but when the line was extended to Quirindi, Murrurundi experienced another die-back. and was at a standstill again for a considerable
The first place of public worship constructed in Murrurundi was a slab structure, about 30 x 20 with shingle roof, erected by the Catholic denomination, close to the site of the present church.
It was visited by a priest from Maitland every three or four months. A new building of stone—the present one—was substituted some 40 years ago. The first Church of England services were held in the old Court House, where the lock-up keeper now
lives, a clergyman visiting the place about once in three months. Some 48 years ago a wooden church was built, but that has long ago been replaced bv a lime stone structure. The Presbyterians followed the adherents of the Church of England, and their first
services were held in a wooden structure near the loco sheds. It was, however, shut up for many years, and the building was eventually sold and removed to Quirindi, where it was utilised as an auction mart. The present Presbyterian church, a wooden building,
occupied a position next to the School of Arts. Forty years the Methodists had a wooden chaple erected. It lasted for 20 years at the expiration of which time the structure, also a wooden one, was built on the old site.
The Murrurundi School of Arts, a stone structure, in which the Murrurundi Council are domiciled, was erected in 1873. It has a fairly large hall, which was used for public - meetings and entertainments until the Superior Oddfellows hall (Manchester
Unity) was built in 1897. The School of Arts has a fairly extensive library, which is largely availed of by the townspeople, and there are two billiard tables.
Banking institutions were represented
by branches of the Commercial and Joint Stock Hanks, but the former only remains the latter having closed some time ago.
There are four hotels in Murrurundi, all efficiently managed and providing good
accommodation for man and beast; and several boarding houses.
There is an excellent park, rejoicing in the euphonious title of Paradise, duo to the fact that it constitutes a portion of the original
Paradise estate. And another attraction is to be found in the Timor Caves, which lie in a north-easterly direction, about 24 miles distant from Murrurundi. These present many interesting and beautiful features and are occasionally visited by tourists. It is
said that portions of them were, in the olden days, the haunts of notorious bushrangers, who found in them good shelter as well as a sale retreat.
Tho Murrurundi Hospital, which occupies a central,
and at the same time pleasant position in the town, was established about 17 years ago. It has accommodation for about a dozen patients, and is managed by a matron and two probationers.
The area of
the municipality is about two square miles. The first meeting of the Council was held oil the 27th May, 1890, and there were present: the Mayor. Ald. C. F. Juchau, and Ald. Moxham, Morrin, Pritchett, Brodie and Gately. Ald. Morrin was appointed acting-council
clerk. It was resolved, among other things, to call for tenders for the position of Council Clerk, the remuneration not to exceed £50 per annum. Ald. Pritchett offered to place £50 to the Council's credit to meet immediate expenditure, and
the offer was accepted with thanks. At a special meeting of the Council, held in the School of Arts, on the 6th June following. Mr. Thomas Sims was appointed Council Clerk, at £40 a year, and Messrs. Radridge and McNair were appointed assessors.
About six years ago the Council inaugurated a street lighting system by means of naptha gas, the lumps being supplied by the Best Lighting Co. of Sydney. There are in all 22 lamps and the annual cost for
attention, naptha and mantles is a little under £150. There are 8 miles 40 chains of roads, metalled, gravelled or ballasted, 5 miles of roads, formed only, and 2 miles 40 chains of roads, cleared only. There are 6 miles 60 chains of footpaths gravelled
and 1 mile 20 chains of footpaths kerbed and guttered.
Within the municipal boundary there are 325 houses approximately and latterly those have been increasing at the rate of about 25 a year. At the
present time, owing to the establishment of the oil works, there are seven houses in course of construction, and the building of others is in contemplation. A new Masonic temple has just been completed.
Council, as at present constituted, consists of the Mayor, Ald. G. B. White, and Alderman C. F. Juchau, D Harkin, W. A. Wilson. G. Dove, S. H. Wood, D. G. Teys. H. G. Stuart, and J. Holt. Mr. S. J. Stone has been Council Clerk and sanitary Inspector for the
past four years. Mr. T. Gogartv is foreman of works.
The population of the town of Murrurundi is 1640, and of the shire outside, 959, the population, within the police patrol being thus 2611. The Warrah
Shire area, adjoining the municipality, is 606,570 acres, the unimproved capital value of which is computed at £1,196,200. This at Id. in the £ yields a rate of £4000 odd. The Warrah Shire being a first class one, no government endowment
is received. Last year the Council had a nett credit balance of £167/3/2, and its assets, including freehold land purchased as a site for offices and chambers were valued at £367/3/2. Mr. R. Simson is the Shire Clerk, and Mr. S. Gallaway
the engineer, the present constitution of the Council being present. Wm. Greer, Councillors, H. M. Ogden. E. H. Sevil. H. Hall, H. K. Reid, and J. P. Carey.
The area under cultivation within the police
patrol, is 1061 acres—wheat 311 acres for a yield of 5080 bushels, maize 87 acres, yield 889 bushels. Other grains, 18 acres. Last year the district contained 2200 milking cows, while the number of all others, including calves was 15,913, and there were
305,128 sheep, including lambs. 8644 lb. of butter were made, and $2501b. of bacon and ham cured during the year.
As indicated above the advent to Murrurundi of the British Australian Oil Company,
formed last year, will give a neat impetus to the town and district. There is a limitless supply of shale from which the oil is to be extracted, and it is understood some 15 by-products will be dealt with. The work may be said to be still in the progress of
construction, but by the end of August next the work of production will be in full operation and permanent employment will be given to at least 100 men. For the purpose of conveying the shale from the mines to the works, an aerial ropeway is being 'constructed
three and a half miles long, the first contrivance of the kind introduced to Australia. It is a German patent and is being set up by German mechanics, specially sent out for the purpose. The saving in the transit of the shale by this means, will be enormous,
and will add materially to the profits of the company. The company have been obliged to establish their refinery in Newcastle, as they could not, in justice to the shareholders pay the apparently extortionate rates demanded by the railway department for the
carriage of refined oil. The oil in its crude state, will therefore be sent to Newcastle for final treatment. One would think the Government would assist, rather than retard, the development of the countries resources. They certainly cannot be said to be assisting
this enterprise which may mean much for New South Wales.