Craik to Merewether, 28 December 1868.
Mr Bettington was washing his
wool very well, better than Dr. Traill, but his arrangements were by no means so perfect, & the superiority of his washing was clearly owing to his excellent water.
Warm water washing in this Colony is evidently a puzzling thing to almost every one as yet, as no one that I have seen has been able to turn out the same number of sheep per day as they could by the old plan and I have seen no one
altogether satisfied with it in all respects. No doubt next year we shall be able to succeed better, but we must have number as well as quality.
Craik to Merewether, 31 December 1868.
I now beg to hand you my usual yearly Report on the A. A. Company's Stock and Stations under my charge from 1st January to 31st December 1968. On the 20th of January the drought broke up to a certain extent
on Liverpool plains. All the creeks ran slightly, Warrah Creek coming down last of all on the 16th February. There has not been sufficient rain however during the by gone twelve months to fill the Dams and Water holes in the Side gullies, only
one of them, that alongside Boorambil Ridge, below my House having got filled. Boorambil Creek has also run several times within the last few months from thunder storms which have been very prevalent in the immediate neighbourhood of this Creek.
On the other Creeks I beg to report as follows.
Warrah Creek. Running slightly
from Old Warrah to new Dam, but evidently drying up fast - Quite dry from Old Warrah up to Lingford's Water hole for 6 miles. From Lingfords to Boundary there are a few water holes all the way up. In paddock at top of Creek water stands well.
Jack's Creek. Nearly dry throughout and Gin Well at work.
Little Jack's Creek. Failing fast, but there is still sufficient water for a small number of Sheep near our boundary.
Onus Creek. This Creek has stood well throughout, there being sufficient water at boundary, and at the middle Station for Sheep. The water however has failed opposite the Green Hill Station where the New Gin is at work
and waters Green Hill and McDonald's Creek sheep.
Spring at back of Onus Ridge, nearly dry.
McDonald's Creek. The water is all but gone in this Creek, as regards the watering of sheep. The Sheep from top Station have to go to Pump Station to water,
and the Sheep from lower station water at Green Hill Gin Well.
Pump Station Creek. This Creek has stood well. There is
still sufficient water for Sheep opposite Martin's Island, and the Spring at the top Station is very strong.
Abundance of water at Line Station but failing fast farther down.
Mount Parry Spring. Still sufficient water for hut.
& Phillip's Creek. Only one good water hole in this Creek opposite Windy Station, which Water hole is now being fenced in. Road Station hand well at work.
Black Creek. Dry
Onus Creek Dam. Dry
Creek Dam. Dry
Windy Point Dam. Dry
Denbigh Point Dam. Dry
Boundary Waterhole. Dry.
I will now enumerate the different Wells which are at work watering stock - namely
Harrison's Gin Well.
Parson's Hill Gin Well.
Brown Ridge Gin Well
Green Hills Gin Well
Jack's Creek Gin Well
New Warrah Hand well (Horses & Cattle)
Pine Ridge Handwell (Sheep)
Denbigh Point Handwell.
Road Station Handwell.
Windy Point Handwell (horses & Cattle)
Island Handwell. (sheep)
Say 11 wells in all, which with some trouble in cleaning out and deepening have as yet stood well.
Although, there has not been sufficient rain to make many of the Creeks run, there has been enough to raise a very fair supply of grass all over the run, except in the East Warrah paddocks, which have been
very bare for a long time. In fact East Warrah as a whole is much, worse off for grass than West, there having been less rain here. So bare were our East Warrah paddocks last Winter that we had to purchase 5 tons of Oaten hay for working horses at $5
per ton delivered.
Upon the whole the past season has been a very dry one, and the heat during the months of October November
and December was intense, the Thermometer often varying from 100 to 108 in the shade. At the same time we have frequently had refreshing Thunder Showers which have kept up a slight spring in the grass and prevented it from being entirely
burnt up. Further into the interior I believe the Country is in a most disasterous state from the devastating drought day after day and month after month. I believe sheep and Cattle are now dying in thousands.
The Cattle have done and are
doing particularly well up to the present date. I have little or no disease now to report in the Herd. Pleuro having almost disappeared. In fact I never saw the Cattle looking better. We lost as we generally do a good few Cattle through Hove
in the Spring, but I have seen very few dead lately except some weak cattle and calves which may have got hurt during the muster.
460 head of the Store Cattle which arrived from Port Stephens on 21st November 1867 were turned out on the run on 18th February 1868 having been carefully herded between the two dates - Among there were 44 inferior cows which I had spayed before turning out
and 16 wellbred cows I kept as breeders by way of showing off the Herd.
We have only got one lot of Store Cattle from Port Stephens this year. This lot consisted of 380 Steers, 43 inferior
Heifers and 55 Yearling Durham Bulls - 478 head in all. These arrived on the station on 3rd April, and were herded till 2nd June when I had 39 of the inferior Heifers spayed and turned out upon the run along with the Bulls and Steers. This would
make 83 Heifers spayed this season by our head Stockman Thomas Young.
Sheep returns, Weaning, Culling and Lambing Lists of 1868 all of which are now in your hands.
Improvements and General Information.
Mr A. K. Smith Contractor for New Washpool arrived here from Melbourne on 5th August, and on the 18th September you took over our new Sheep Washing place from him. I consider Mr Smith rushed on
the work somewhat hurriedly (he being pressed for time) but upon the whole it is pretty faithfully done. As you are aware Mr Smith did not supply the sort of pump he agreed to find namely one of Appold's. I do not profess to know much about these
things but I would have preferred to see the water carried higher so that it could run down into the Cistern instead of being forced up into it as it is now. I also think Mr Smith's Spouts do not act properly being from some cause or other too weak.
I fancy however our two main faults lay in the soak, and in our Engineer. At all events there is no
doubt we did not wash our Sheep properly this year except in the case of few exceptional
Flocks, as in most instances the dirt seemed set in a harsh gluey and dingy form at the roots of the wool, from which it could not be removed. When the fleece was taken off the sheep, in touching its tack the fingers would almost stick to it, and the
roots of the wool all over the Sheep's body were of a dirty grey colour. I find however that all who have tried warm water washing have had their difficulties, particularly as to the numbers of sheep they could do in a day as compared with the old plan.
On visiting the Washpools of Walhallow, Harben Vale, Brindley Park and Collaroy I find that at all these places there were many difficulties
to overcome, so that we are not alone in this respect.
Dr Traill seemed to me to get on with the warm water better than anyone I have
seen as he could do from 1300 to 1500 per day with 5 Spouts in a very creditable manner. His appliances are much the same as ours, and his water appears to me to be nearly as hard - I cannot help thinking however that the difficulty lies as much in the
wool as in the water, as we could wash New England Sheep, and even sheep fed on our own Forest land very fairly with our water, but not sheep fed entirely on the plains. Mr King of Goonoo Goonoo tried warm water but had to abandon it for the old plan.
As you are aware we commenced to wash on 23rd September and we washed in all 36,853 sheep. We could only do from 500 to 1100 per
day with from 4 to 6 spouts, and when we did 1100 it was New England Sheep.
Mr Thomas Shaw Jnr. an eminent Port Philip Sheep manager
strongly recommends the use of Caustic Soda in Warm Water sheep washing. I trust by the help of this, and other chemicals together with the services of a competent Engineer that we shall next Season be able to wash our Sheep both expeditiously and well,
as the get up of wool has no doubt in these bad times much to do with the Satisfactory Sale of it.
Shearing began this year
on 29th September with 30 Shearers and was finished on 4th December with 23. They shore of
The washed sheep produced, Tons. Cwt.
312 bales wool weighing, 46.
4 0 0
The greasy sheep produced
333 bales wool weighing 82. 12 0
The washed sheep were very hard to shear
owing to the gluey deposit at roots of wool.
The greasy wool was sent to the Scouring Establishment of Mr P. Wright of Muswellbrook to be scoured there. From the first samples of scoured
wool Mr Wright sent me I thought he was doing it well, but in visiting his washing place lately and inspecting our wool, I was far from pleased with his work. Our Queensland wool in particular is shamefully done. I am not altogether surprised at
this from what I saw of the wool when washed here on the Sheeps back, as there appears to be a sort of Sand or grit in this wool which- it is most difficult to remove.
I think however the Queensland and Warrah Wool are both, indifferently scoured and I sent you samples of each on Wednesday last recommending you to have the 60 odd Bales still unwashed at Mr Wright's, done in Sydney,
that is if you can get them scoured in a reasonable time. Pending your reply I have asked Mr Wright to stop scouring.
Whether the Water at Muswellbrook is getting scarce and hard, or whether
Mr Wright is trying to do too much wool, and is washing against time I cannot say, but this I can say that I did not see a Single parcel of wool in his premises scoured to my satisfaction, it being all more or less harsh and dingy. I can scour wool infinitely
better here with baskets, and I fear Mr Wright will have to adopt some such plan by another year.
The new dam at Washpool has
been topped up and added to lately. -Since the Sheep washing was over the water has fallen in it 20 inches. The embankment has been enclosed with a two rail fence. There has been a new shingled shed put over Steam Engine. The frame work of the
shed is strong and good but I hardly think the roof is up to the mark and therefore wish you to see it before passing it.
minutely inspected the two miles of wire fence already put up at Northern boundary I am inclined to pronounce it very fair wire, as the fence has a very fine appearance, and appears strong and substantial, at the same time, the wire being in my opinion very
A new Gin has been erected at Green Hill at a cost of about £45. The large well there has been deepened
12 and 1/2 feet at 25/- per foot, and there is how a splendid supply of water there. This well was slabbed afresh.
well at Middle Onus Creek has also been re-slabbed as the old slabbing got burnt to the water's edge.
The hand well at Phillips's Creek,
Road Station, is being deepened.
Two hundred additional feet of Iron Bark Troughing are being laid at Jack's Creek, and 100 additional feet have been laid at Green Hills, at 1.3d. p. ft.
At each place there are now over 400 feet of Troughing. 400 ft. cattle troughing will soon be put at Gin Hut. Sundry other wells gins and troughs have been repaired or added to.
I am informed that another two Free Selectors have gone to the top of Warrah Creek, and that one has gone, to the top of Captain's Creek. Two of these men were formerly shepherding, namely John Porter
& Dan McGrath. Gallagher has also been giving some trouble, and will not allow our sheep to feed up Jack's Creek. Our Jack's Creek Squattage is now nearly useless, and I should recommend you to sell it to Sevil.
Two small parts of our Jack's Creek paddock have been measured off for Gallagher at both ends of Said paddock. A part of our Warrah Creek paddock between Cedar Brush
and Warrah Creek's has been measured off to Shanahan. I believe Mr Andrew Loder is inclined to rent Boorambil Creek for other twelve months if you will let it to him.
Mr Joseph Murrison presently
Overseer at East Warrah leaves next Quarter and Mr Thomas Callender, Storekeeper, and Assistant Sheep Overseer at West Warrah takes his place. I have engaged a young man named Roberts in Callender 's place. Murrison is a very honest trustworthy
man, but hardly sharp enough for an Overseer on a large establishment.
I have just purchased from Messrs. Cohen & Levy,
Tamworth, 30 Tons best new silk dressed Flour at £14 p. Ton delivered. I would recommend you to order 650 or 700 Wool packs from England branded A A as before, but they ought to be sent of better quality than the last, which were far inferior to those
supplied in previous years.
Craik to Merewether, 15 February 1869.
Respecting Hudson I duly appreciate the nice way in which you put this matter to me. In my opinion it would have been far better for the Company, & it certainly
would have been infinitely more agreeable to me had Hudson remained single. In fact I shall feel it as an intolerable bore and nuisance to be bothered with a fine female out there. At the same time since the matter has now gone so far I have no
wish or intention to throw any obstacles in the way, the more especially as you seem to favour it. I beg however you will try & put off the matter as long as possible he ought to wait a year at least. As to making Windy House fit to receive
a Lady, I say if a working Overseer must have the expensive luxury of a Lady wife let him pay for that Luxury as he and he alone has the advantage, certainly not the Company. The Hut however I consider at present barely done up sufficiently even for
a Bachelor. I therefore recommend you to allow Hudson £20 to calico & paper the place, & if you allow him to lay it out himself he will make it go much further than the Company could. I may be wrong but I certainly think Hudson ought
to have applied to you through me about making improvements at Windy, with the view of receiving his wife & I think you ought to tell him so. Am I to understand that Hudson is to get £200 p.a. from 1st January?
Craik to Merewether, 10 July
The Huts at Old Warrah have been rebarked & repaired, one having been taken down & re-erected. A well 5
ft square & 21 feet deep has been sunk along side the Steam Engine. I have contracted for the sinking of another well at a spot near Boorambil Ridge which was pointed out by you when you were last at Warrah. Price 13/6d per foot & all drawing
both of slabs, & water for men while the work is being done, to be performed by Contractors.
John G. Gamack to Merewether, 20 November 1869.
By Mr Craik's desire I send you Mr Martin's Report as to Sheep washing for 18th 19th & 20th Inst.
There have been 36,328 sheep shorn to date as under,,,
Washed Sheep 34,120
producing 297 bales wool weighing 45 tons.
Greasy Sheep 2,208 producing 24 bales wool weighing 6 tons.
321 tons total.
27 Bales washed wool are on drays at Shed door, and will be despatched on Monday. 4 Bales are in Shed.
Mr Craik bids me ask you to send up 4 boring bits 3/16th Inch and not less than 7 inches long. They are for fixing the teeth of new toothed . wheel at Washpool - the Carpenter has a bit the proper size
but too short.
Craik to Merewether, 31 January 1870.
I would take the liberty of particularly referring you to Mr
Bramma's report on our Breeding Sheep, I consider it much to the point, and I endorse all he says and advises with the exception of two of his recommendations. The one is to have a 2nd Combing flock of Ewes, and the other is to introduce Imported Rams.
You will observe that with 169 old Stock of Rams and 96 purchased lately we have only in all 265 Selected Rams to put to our Ewes this Season, but I prefer putting to them a Small number of good Rams, to putting a large number, some being inferior. Having
already got large carcase, I now wish to grow a good "combing" wool.
Sheep Washing commenced at Warrah on 13th September 1869, and was finished on llth January 1870.
We commenced Shearing on 17th September 1869 and finished on 14th January 1870. The number of washed Sheep Shorn was 62,064
Shorn in all
washed Sheep produced 59.1 Bales of Wool, locks & etc. weighing 87 Tons 3 cwt: 2 qrs 10 Ibs: or 3.04 Ibs: per sheep, allowing 11 Ibs for each Woolpack.
The greasy sheep produced 195 Bales of
Wool locks and clippings weighing 50 Tons 12 Cwt. 3 qrs 17 Ibs: or 7.32 Ibs per sheep.
The Warrah bred Stud Ewes
numbering 284 produced 3 Bales of well washed Wool & pieces, Nos. 349, 350, 351, clippings not included, and these weighed exclusive of packs 10 Cwt: 3 qrs: 8 Ibs: giving an average of over 4 1/4 Ibs of wool per sheep. These facts I think speak for
themselves as regards the weight of our fleeces. The Stud Ewe Wool ought to be particularly mentioned when sent to England.
Shearing was prolonged to an undue extent this Season in consequence as I have said before, of our being unable with our present Washing plant to wash a sufficient number of sheep per day to keep 25 or 30 Shearers at Work. Having substituted more powerful
spouts than those supplied by Mr. A. K. Smith the Contractor for Washpool, we found the pump supplied by him would only throw sufficient water for 4 spouts instead of for 7 as originally intended. We this Season Soaked the Sheep in Water at 110°
in which were dissolved 1 Ib Caustic Soda and 11lb Yellow Soap to the 100 gallons. When the Sheep had been 3 minutes in Soak they were passed under the Spouts, and with our 4 spouts we could wash on an average from 600 to 700 Sheep per day. Say
an average of 160 sheep per Spout. I am glad to be able to report most favourably on our Washing this Season. There is no comparison between the washing of 1868 & 1869, the improvement is so great, and this improvement I believe is mainly to
be traced to the use of Caustic Soda, which we used this Season instead of Common Soda. Most of our Sheep were washed beautifully clean, and every one who visited our Washpool, considered that the work was well if not expeditiously done. I therefore
look forward to our next wool Sales with some Confidence. While on this subject I ought to mention that I asked my female servant here on one occasion to wash two towels with a little bit of Caustic Soda, and she remarked that it Softened the water exquisitely,
but the towels on being dried had a yellowish colour. I mention this because I fancied occasionally that some.of our fleeces had more of a yellowish tinge than they ought to have, and I consider it is well to observe everything connected with the important
operation of Sheep Washing. In washing our Sheep we used much less Caustic Soda than which will I fear in some degree injure the latter part of our clip. Still on account of the Washing I consider some delay in Shearing was not only excusable but advisable,
seeing that water was so plentiful, and that we were washing so well.
As you could see when you were here our Sheep were very well
shorn. Improvements & General Information. I shall now give you the improvements in the order in which they were executed during 1869.
there were 203 additional feet of Iron Bark Troughing put to Jack's Creek Gin Well.
Some additional Troughing was put to Windy Road Station, and Pine Ridge Wells, and the last two were deepened.
Repairs were made to various Gins and Sheep Troughs.
195 feet of additional Ironbark Troughing were put to Greenhills Gin Well, and the well
itself was deepened 12 feet, when a fine supply of water was obtained. This is a very important and valuable well, and waters a large number of sheep.
The fence at New Warrah horse paddock
was shifted, enlarging the paddock to some extent, and making the fence in line with the new Wire Cattle Paddock.
A new shingled Mens Hut with Skillion was erected at Windy head Station.
Sundry pieces of fencing were erected at Campion's Island, Road Station, Greenhills, Brown Ridge, Parsonshill, Harrison's and Jack's Creek Wells, inclosing Troughs and Horse Courses.
The dam at Washpool and race to Pump were cleaned out, and the former deepened and topped up to some extent, although the rain came before it could be deepened properly. This dam was dry in March last but there is now plenty
of water in it, it being only about 2 inches lower than when Washing commenced in September last.
371 feet of large Cattle Troughing were laid at Gin Hut near Old Warrah to water Cattle in
case of need, and during Shearing to water sheep coming into shed. The Gin here was also put in repair, and a great many sheep were watered by it during Shearing. We could not have watered washed sheep but for this well.
Two substantial log yards and Gunyah were erected at the junction of Dry and Warrah Creeks. This will now be a permanent Sheep Station. '
The new wire Cattle Paddock
was finished on 28 April.
Some Slight repairs were made to Huts & etc. at Old Warrah.
The well at Jack's Creek was reslabbed and
the Hut and Gin there were taken down and reerected.
A well to supply Engine & etc. with water was sunk at Washpool 5 feet square and 21 feet deep.
A well 6 feet square was sunk 40 feet at head of Yellow Plain, but water was not got. It has again been commenced to about 18 foot, but the sinking is hard and flashing has to be resorted to. When water is found here, it will
enable us to occupy a large tract of beautiful country on which there is not now a hoof.
The wire Sheep paddock No. 1 was finished some time since and 250 ft. additional Ironbark Troughing have
been laid in it.
4 1/2 acres additional have been stumped, enclosed and laid down in Maize at Top of Warrah Creek, adjoining the Warrah Creek, adjoining the Warrah free hold. These 4 1/2
acres you applied to purchase as part of 60 acres but through an informality in the measurement your application cannot be granted till the ground is measured again. On this ground a rough Hay shed is also erected.
400 Lamb proof Hurdles have been made.
A battened yard 70 feet by 70 feet was erected on piles at Washpool, for Washed Sheep to dry on. This is a very fine piece
of work, and answers well in every way. Two stoned yards were made alongside this. In addition to these I have contracted for another substantial battened Sheep drying yard at Washpool to be 100 feet by 70. Price £120 the Contractor
finding everything except haulage. He is allowed use of Engine for sawing, he paying the Engine driver. A new Hut with Skillion and barked has also been erected at Washpool. I should now recommend that a new woolshed be put up at Washpool
so that sheep could go from Pool to Shed on battens, as it is impossible to keep washed sheep thoroughly clean if let out at all in dry weather.
excellent new Gin has been erected at Campion's Island. There are seven good Gin's now at Warrah all in thorough repair, and to protect them from the weather I have just had them all painted with two coats of white lead.
A rough Hay Shed and Stable have been erected at Windy in which is stored 2 or 3 Tons of good bush hay.
The Sheep Wire paddock No. 2 was contracted for by F. Lorentson
at £24 p Mile, Lorentson finding everything except gates and wire. The Stuff for this paddock is all in the ground, and it will be finished in March next. 257 feet of additional Ironbark Troughing have also been laid in this paddock.
A Strong paddock is very much wanted on Warrah to put young Bulls into that come up from Gloucester and Bowman for Sale, so that they might be kept apart from the other Cattle.
Little the Company's Engineer from Newcastle was here from 6th to 30th June, overhauling Steam Engine and fixing 6 new Spouts in Tank at washpool.
Mr Ogden the Company's
Surveyor was also here early last year, laying out new Sheep Paddocks.
The Well at New Warrah has been cleaned out and deepened 4 feet and there are now 21 feet of water in it.
About 8 Tons Oaten hay have been reaped in cultivation paddock at Top of Warrah Creek and 2 Tons Lucerne Hay in paddock at Old Warrah. My neighbour Mr Andrew Loder obliged me by cutting the latter with his reaping
About 5 acres are laid down in Maize in new cultivation paddock at Top of Warrah Creek.
A considerable quantity of Tallow
has been sent from Warrah lately, and I strongly recommend that a commodious shed and loft be erected at New Warrah for Storage of Tallow, Maize, Hay, and for the protection of drays, carts and Station tools. I should also recommend that one or two Small
Coppers be got to boil down the fattest parts of the Sheep that are killed for Rations.
I have purchased 30 Tons fine flour
from Mr. A Brodie, Murrurundi at £12.15/- bags included delivered at Warrah in equal parts quarterly during 1870.
Mr A. Loder agrees to rent Boorambil Creek for other 12 months on same terms
as before vizi: £150 p annum.
I attended the Stock Wool and Agricultural Shows held in Sydney and Singleton last year. The one in Sydney came off on 4 May and that in Singleton on 29th
August. At both I met many men of great pastoral and Agricultural experience, and Saw and heard much that was both interesting and useful. It was not convenient or deemed advisable to send any exhibits on account of the Company to either exhibition
but I trust to do so creditably before very long.
Mr Charles Stead classed our Wool this year as before.I could not go to the
Wool Show held in Sydney on 13th inst. but 1 consider such exhibitions of great use to the Colony.
The Governor of New South Wales The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Belmore visited Warrah on 24 September
and I received him with due respect, and showed him our Sheep Washing and Shearing in full operation. I also shewed him some fine Durham Cows bred by the Company, with which he appeared much pleased.
I allowed nothing at all for Horses either for Draught or
Saddle. During the 8 years I have been here the money I have spent on account of the Company for Horseflesh has been very small, as I have managed with the old Horses, and the few fresh ones I could get from the wild ones. The old horses are now getting done
one after the other, many of them being over 20 years old, and as the Supply from the wild horses can be no longer relied on I think it well to advise you in time that some fresh horses will by and bye be required for Station purposes.
I have now only to remark in conclusion that it is most gratifying to me (as it no doubt also is to you) that I am able to report so satisfactorily
on the A. A. Company's Stations, and on the Stock departments generally. There are few Stations in the Colony in such a flourishing state at the present time as those of the A. A. Company, and I think I can look back upon the last 8 years (during which
time I have been in this employ) with some degree of pleasure and satisfaction, not only on account of the revenue realized but more particularly on account of the improvement which has taken place in the various kinds of Stock under my charge. We must not
stand still however as our Motto must ever be "Forward Forward". Trusting the foregoing Report will answer your purpose and give you satisfaction.
Craik to Merewether, 19 February 1870.
You will I am sure be sorry to hear that Brown has been playing up sadly. He took a Tomahawk and threatened to murder his wife on Thursday night & afterwards rushed at Bob and others with a naked sword & drove them all
out of the house, locking himself in. His poor wife & little ones have had to come up here & I had to send to Stroud for a Constable yesterday. He arrived late last night & has gone down to Browns. This is sad work & has hurt me
much already as I feel awfully for poor Mrs Brown in the state which she now is.
I believe Brown is comparatively quiet to-day but he is quite gone in the head & I could see he was so as soon
as I came here. I don't consider the fits they talk about in Brown's case are anything more or less than Delerium-tremens, brought on by hard drinking - He still keeps drinking & always will so long as he is in the Public House.
I will finish & cut out the Bowman Herd today & will leave here on Monday or Tuesday. Everything get on here well. I am just commencing
to Write Monthly Statements.
Findlay the Constable has just returned & says Brown is again "clothed & in his right mind". Mrs Brown will therefore go back to him once more & I
shall read him a lecture before I leave.
Craik to Merewether, 19 March 1870.
I returned here from Port Stephens on 28th February,
and found things in a very dry State - The Surface water was fast disappearing, and the grass had got much parched
up, since I left on the 4th of February. Before leaving I took the precaution to have all the Wells in order, and on my return most of them were in use. The above state of things continued only up to the evening of the 2nd March, as it began to
rain that night, and came down in torrents all next day bringing down Warrah Creek. Since that time to this date we have not had one dry day, and we have had three successive floods, one on the 10th, one on the ' 12th, and one on the 17th. The
flood on the 10th was by far the highest I have seen during the 8 and 1/2 years I have been at Warrah. The water in this instance came down Warrah Creek like a great wave, and if it had risen 2 inches higher it must have done considerable damage at Washpool,
as the Dam there must have gone. Luckily it did not rise, and the two succeeding floods being 6 inches lower than the first, did little or no harm. The Creek was last night running a banker, and quite uncrossable, but the weather is dry this morning,
but threatening, and the Creek fordable. I will now enumerate the damage done so far as I know, but the plains being so flooded and boggy, and the weather so wet, I have not been able to go over much of the run.
At the Top of Warrah Creek the fence of paddock there in bed of Creek is washed away. Two or three tons of oaten hay that could not be got into shed there, will I fear be spoiled. The maize will
also I think be injured.
Coming down to Old Warrah, the water rose in gully alongside well and kept running into it, so that the well
is injured and a good deal, and threatens to fall in. I have put on 3 men to repair it for £5. The Overseer's old Cottage is also in a deplorable state, the plaster is falling in many places, and the chimney is all but down. Part of
the fencing in Lucerne Paddock at Old Warrah got washed away, and of course all the fencing in bed of creek in Old Warrah Horse Paddock went with the current, as did the wire fence in bed of creek in Cattle Paddock. The water was running very strong
in plain in front of my house and levelled most of the split fence at each side of large gate leading to Old Warrah. At new Warrah there is no damage done at all. The Woolshed stands high and dry and not a drop of rain has come into any part of
it. It is certainly a splendid building as regards strength and substantiality.
At the Washpool there has been less damage done,
than might have been expected, the wings only of dam there having been carried away. At one time matters looked very serious at Washpool as the water ran round Steam Engine and into race immediately below it, undermining the ground on which the Engine
Stood, Luckily however the flood began to fall before any injury was done to Engine, and steps were at once taken to replace and slab up the ground washed away.
I have heard from Mr
Wright that our Wool is all washed but that some of it is not yet dry, and cannot be dried owing to the weather. He says he did not wash the wool sooner in consequence of repeated thunder showers during December and January, which dirtied the water, and he
wished to do our wool well. I have reason to believe that this is strictly true. It might be advisable to send someone to Muswellbrook to see after our wool. I will run down next week, if I can manage it.
I have this moment got a letter from Mr Hudson stating that all goes well at Windy, and that he can manage to get along by borrowing rations till such time as the weather
Taking everything into consideration the Sheep here at the present time are in as Satisfactory a State as could be expected, but as a matter of course they look very miserable after so
I have had a good_many Bathurst Burrs cut, but in such weather as this, they grow as fast as I can cut them so I
have knocked off most of the Burrcutters till the weather changes.
Before 1 left Port Stephens I made all the necessary arrangements about the Imported Bulls, and they looked well and were doing
well, "Lord Beaumont" was very much better of his lameness the morning I left, and I think he will soon be perfectly sound. The two red Bulls had served several cows, and were taking well to the place. I think of putting a fresh Stockman at the
Bowman soon. I send you herewith a corrected account of Bowman Muster, and I think said Muster was a very good one.
Craik to Merewether, 23 April 1870.
Sunday, 24 April. Last night we had the highest flood ever known here. Plain in front of my House an unbroken Sea of Water.
Considerable damage done.
Up mail Stuck at Willow Tree. Down Mail at Colly Creek Main Station.
Craik to Merewether, 22 June 1870.
Shanahan's cattle were I believe impounded
from about Lingfords Camp. Had I been at home I might have arranged the matter differently with Shanahan, but the Young fellows could not, well act differently seeing they have positive instructions to bring all stray stock wherever found on the property
to the yard & in my absence to take them to pound. If I told our Overseers not to see too much, you may rely upon it they would carry out the instruction to the letter, & Warrah Creek outside the paddock would very soon be fully stocked with
our neighbours Cattle & Horses. You need not fear that I shall quarrel with Shanahan, but I shall still keep as strict with him as hitherto.
Craik to Merewether, 29 July 1870.
As regards Sheep Washing I agree with the Directors in thinking that we have not yet succeeded in properly removing the old yolk, and the harshness in the handle of our Wool is no doubt mainly to be attributed
to this cause. I think however that the chemical composition of this yolk and of the dirt contained in the Wool of Liverpool Plains Sheep, has as much to do with our imperfect washing as the hard water. In proof of which I may mention that with Warrah
Water I find I can wash Sheep just brought from New England in a far superior Style to what I can Plains Sheep.
I now come to the Washpool matter. I may be wrong but I cannot help
thinking that this matter has much to do with what I have just been complaining of. We have certainly all along had our little tiffs but for several years they were only such as all men must expect to have in passing through this world. They are
now however becoming far more numerous & disagreeable & I believe that the fact that you believe that I do not throw my whole heart into the Sheep-washing business has much to do with this. Whether such has been the case hitherto, & whether
your contemptuous treatment of me in this matter might not tend to produce this feeling is not now the question, it is what will be my feeling for the future, & what will be the result. There is no use in wasting words so I shall come to the point
at once & make the following proposal namely. That suppose there is sufficient water and the wash-pool is properly fitted up you shall knock one hundred per annum off my salary if I do not get up the wool in a satisfactory manner & if I do you
shall add one hundred per annum to it.
I shall of course do my best under any circumstances, but if you agree to the above arrangement
I will have the satisfaction of feeling that you believe that I mean what I say.
Now as to the work done at Washpool. The
spouting cistern is finished & in its place, two of the spouts are fixed & the others are being fixed. The spouting tank underneath is finished & the landing & draining stages are in progress. The soak & swim are finished (except
the valve) & in their places & the ground is being slabbed up round them. The swim is not rivetted up quite so straight as it ought to have been, as some of the plates got slightly bent in coming up. I told the rivetters yesterday they
must correct this.
Britten says he will finish the sluicing on Thursday when I will take over the work. He will then commence
to clear into & get stuff ready for race into pump. After this he will do showering yards & he will conclude by stopping up dam by a small temporary embankment, say 8 ft wide & 4 ft high. So far as I can see everything will be ready
for fixing of pump by this day week & I have told the men that we wish to commence washing on 5th Sept. & I hope to be able to do so by the 12 of that Month at farthest.
The large & deep hole which was washed out in foundation of Dam is filled up to within 16 in of surface of water.- I measured it yesterday.
Craik to Merewether, 1 September 1870.
You will see that from 23,822 Ewes of all ages 4,986 have been culled for Sale or fattening, 1135 have been marked as Short-woolled or clothing Sheep, 17,158 have been set apart as Breeders, and 543 have been set
apart as a Special or Stud flock from which to breed Rams. The culls are principally hard Short or inferior woolled Sheep, and are in my opinion only fit to be fattened for the Butcher. The Clothing flock consists of Soft but Short woolled sheep, which
ought to have been culled if we could have afforded it without reducing our numbers too much. I hope to do away with the clothing flock another year, and in the meantime it can be turned to account by having the largest woolled Rams marked for it, which
has been done. The 17,158 Ewes set apart as general Breeders are in general well grown symmetrical Sheep, they are mostly free from frill of wrinkle.
The work at Washpool has made good progress since my last report, although the weather has been most unfavourable. The new Soak,Swim, Spout Cistern and spouts are all rivetted up, fixed in their places, and battened and slabbed
round about and underneath , and finished off in a very strong substantial manner. The filling up and Catching pens are finished and the additional showering and receiving yards are very nearly so. The race leading from Spouts to drying yard is
finished and the drying yards themselves were as you know finished months ago. The throwing in Stage with Slope thereto are finished and the zinc is fixed underneath battens of draining Stage. There has been a great deal of work at well for new
Appold's Pump, but it is now finished, and the framing for pump is being put in today.
Mr Winship our Colliery Manager arrived here
yesterday morning and at once went down to Washpool, where he is now superintending the erection of Pump.
Craik to Merewether, 5 October 1870.
So far as I am concerned I took every precaution to have the cattle looked after, & the fences repaired as they were mostly down but the Cattle paddock is still open in bed of Creek below Wash-pool & must remain so for some
time until the water dries up.- I am sorry to say it is very hard to find an honest man in these parts, & as you know we are surrounded on every side by settlers and others bearing the vilest of characters - I am glad to say the' Cattle are upon
the whole thriving very well, a few have died from Hoye.
Craik to Merewether, 14 October 1870.
This cattle business has given me
very great uneasiness, but I cannot reproach myself with any neglect or carelessness in the matter. Young also seems to be very much vexed & has expressed his wish to give up charge of the Cattle at any time. What with Cattle & Sheep Stealers,
continued wet weather & want of Shearers my life is rather an unpleasant one at present, but surely this worry & vexation will have an end. It gives me enough to do to manage a large body of Stock in such a season as this without being racked
and heart broken by dishonest sneaking villains, the scum & slime of the world. By such however we are known to be surrounded, & we have suffered, & I believe always will suffer from their depredations.
The new engine is now safely fixed on sleepers at Wash-pool, or rather the case containing it is & it will be barked over forthwith. I should have liked better
to have seen the price of it in the Company's Coffers, but I suppose this is no business of mine.
Craik to Merewether, 28 December 1870.
finished shearing the Warrah Sheep this afternoon. The number shorn in all, 78,533. 689 bales of nicely washed wool are pressed, & of these 421 Bales have been despatched, leaving now 268 Bales in Shed as per Mr Thomson’s statement herein
enclosed & there are about 6 Bales still to press. I enclose a sample of wool off the last flock of Warrah Ewes which flock was Shorn today being No. 52,or "Clothing" Ewes. The wool was out in all the recent rain for exactly one week so that
it does not look so bad taking this into consideration. The fleeces of these sheep are by no means good as the sheep properly speaking ought to have been culls. If the weather keeps fine I hope to finish shearing the purchased sheep on Thursday
next as I have kept on our staff of washers & shearers. As requested by you I now enclose a list of our wool brands.
Craik to Merewether. 31 January 1871.
I now beg to hand you my Annual Report on the A. A. Company's Stock and Stations, under my charge from 1st January 1870 to date, commencing as usual with Warrah
the Liverpool Plains district the weather in the early part of 1870 was comparatively dry and warm. There had been sufficient showers to raise grass, but the creeks, Springs, and waterholes were much dried up, and wells had to be resorted to for the
Stock. This State of things continued up to 3rd March 1870 when it commenced to rain. And it has continued rainy, more or less, almost every week ever since. We have also been visited by numerous high floods, which repeatedly carried away
fencing, and did other damage. In particular the flood of Saturday evening 23rd April last was by far the highest I have ever witnessed on Liverpool Plains. The plain in front of my house was on that occasion one Sea of Water from side to side,
and Warrah Creek coming down so high caused some damage to the Dam at Washpool, and to the ground on which Steam Engine is placed.
So much continued rain has of course rendered the plains very
wet and boggy, and in some parts they are quite impassable even for horsemen. As a matter of course all the Creeks and gullies are now running Strong, and the Dams, and Waterholes are bumper full.
Grass, herbs, and rank weeds are luxuriant to a fault all over the run, so much so that it is troublesome, in some instances, from their length and density to ride through them. I cut some grass off
the plains lately, and measured it, and found it to be 9 feet 5 inches long. There are also thousands of acres bearing grass this length. Bathurst Burr and other noxious weeds are I regret to say very plentiful. I have had the run burnt in patches,
where it could be done, but the grass is too green to do much in this way. Bathurst Burr is being cut.
Notwithstanding the very
wet season the Stock have done well, both Cattle and Sheep, although the latter are continually getting lost. I have little or no disease however to report among the Stock which is so far satisfactory.
The above 8363 purchased sheep consisted of 8253 wethers bought from Messrs McRae, Bell, Wyndham, and Gallagher, and 110 yearling rams from Messrs George & Charles Cox of Mudgee. The wethers were
fair sized sound sheep from 2 to 5 years old, and have done well since they were put on the run. The rams may be described as medium sized well shaped sheep, well covered with fleeces of considerable length, softness, character and quality, and possessing
a middling amount of density and evenness throughout. I consider they are well suited to cross our Ewes with.
The 14,503 lambs
consist of 11,675 weaned in March from Spring Ewes, and 2828 weaned in September from Autumn Ewes.
Mr Bramma, Dr Traill's Wool
sorter commenced to cull and class our breeding sheep on 19th July and finished on 2nd August. The list of his culling and classing is already in your hands as well as his report on our bleeding sheep, to which documents I would beg to refer you.
You will see that from 23,822 Ewes of all ages 4986 have been culled for sale or fattening, 1135 have been marked as short woolled or Clothing sheep, 17,158 have been set apart as Breeders, and 543 have been set apart as a Special or Stud flock from which
to breed Rams. The culls are principally hard short or inferior woolled sheep, and are in my opinion only fit to be fattened for the Butcher. The Clothing flock consists of Soft but short woolled sheep, which ought to have been culled if we could
have afforded it without reducing our numbers too much. I hope to do away with the Clothing flock another year, and in the meantime it can be turned to account by having the largest woolled Rams marked for it, which has been done.The 17,158 Ewes set
apart as general breeders are mostly well grown symetrical sheep, they are as a rule from frill or wrinkle, and very well covered with wool of medium quality and length.
The 543 Ewes selected
for the Stud flock are almost all very handsomely framed sheep with long soft combing fleeces of medium density. The Rams reserved for our own use' have almost^off soft and moderately long wool of very fair quality. Of the 357 culls I marked 195 which
might be sold, and 60 have been sold, 162 old and inferior Rams I have marked to be boiled down after shearing. In fact all the cull Rams ought to be boiled down when in moderate condition if not sold.
I mustered culled and counted out the Bowman herd on 21st February last, when there were 723 Cattle on the run, being the Register number at that date. I culled 200 from the above, and transferred them
to Gloucester, and with deaths and transfer of Steers and Bulls to Warrah the number of Cattle in the Bowman herd by December Return amounted to 528. Of these about 250 are Cows and young Heifers fit for the Bull, and the remaining 278 consist of weaned
Heifers in Gloucester paddocks, young bulls, Steers and calves. The Bowman herd is now all in paddocks, the Cows and 3 year old Heifers being marked, and divided among the three imported Bulls.
I have much pleasure in being able to report most favourably of all the three imported Bulls. They have now quite recovered the voyage out, and are in what may be termed fine strong store condition.
They are doing excellent service in the herd, which, I have no doubt, from their shape and pedigree, they will improve greatly.
Craik to Merewether, 4 October 1871.
I reported last on 3rd Sept. Since that date up to the present the weather has been most seasonable & very suitable for washing & shearing. We
have had rains two days, sufficient to lay the dust & raised a most luxuriant spring of grass, so that the run now looks particularly well from side to side. We have had two Bush fires adjoining Old Warrah near the track of the washed sheep which
we could have dispensed with, but the rain above referred to has mended matters very much causing a fine spring in the grass on the burnt parts.
The Sheep are all doing particularly well & I have never before had so few deaths & losses during washing & shearing. Up to last night 51,326 Sheep were
washed according to Martin. You have Washing report up to Friday night last. On Saturday 1135 were washed. On Monday 1,305 & yesterday 1342, but these are of course included in the 51,326.
Craik to Merewether, 2 January 1872.
next question I wish to ask is in respect to ringbarking. A man has just agreed with me for 6d p. one. You told me I might ringbark at back of Borambil Ridge in Cattle paddocks Nos. 2 & 3 marked in plan Nos. 13 & 15.
I propose commencing to ringbark at North Boundary on Borambil Ck & ringing up said Creek between said Creek & Crest of Boorambil Ridge 150 yards of Forest being left along Bank of Creek unrung. Do you
Craik to Merewether, 22 January 1872.
As regards my marriage I would never dream of any extra charge on the
Company on that account but I dare say you will remember that you once said to me that when the Company’s net revenue from stock reached £15,000 per annum you would then be prepared to make my salary £800 a year. Seeing however that
the Directors appear to think that my present salary is a "very liberal one" I suppose I need to look for any advance. The additions being made to my House as you are aware are only such as are absolutely necessary & they ought to have been erected
when the House was first built. I have proposed some slight alterations in the matter of servants, but as you do not seem to approve I am agreeable that matters remain in this respect as before.
I quite agree with Mr Busby that Warrah is now only in its infancy as its carrying capabilities have never yet been thoroughly taken advantage of. During the 10 years I have had charge of the Company's
Stock I consider the property would have carried un-enclosed 90,000 (sheep)and 2,000 cattle at least, and when it is all enclosed and additional wells, Dams and water holes made I consider it will carry 150,000 sheep & 2,000 cattle. It is a property
however that ought to be stocked according to the season and at the right time and it is one that can be so stocked in that the slightest risk as regards scarcity of grass as fat sheep or semi fat sheep can always be either sold or boiled down.
As regards the Port-Stephens property it is certainly a 3rd rate one even as a Nursery ground for Cattle at present. The Cattle
on The "Gloucester" & "Bowman" runs are I believe all more or less Fluked & I told Mr Busby so. At least every one I have seen killed for some time past has had live Flukes or flat shaped living creatures in the substance of its liver. And
almost all the cattle bred on Port Stephens are deficient both in size and stamina I believe mainly from this cause. No doubt the property would be much improved by ring-barking & enclosing but I do not know that it would be wise to enclose so very
large tract of Country until we first prove that the pastures are sufficiently sweetened & improved by ring-barking to warrant the great expense,of enclosing. Moreover the fact of the Cattle being so well broke in to the runs renders enclosing less
necessary.- I therefore recommend extensive ring-barking & and enclosing of say 2000 or 3000 acres of the best of the ring-barked land.
As to the removing of the Gloucester Herd to Warrah I would not advise this - 1st because the greater part of Warrah is of too fattening a nature for Cattle to breed well - 2nd because the Gloucester Herd could take up too much valuable fattening
country say 80,000 acres.- and 3rd because with the assistance of Warrah to finish them off, I think the Gloucester Cattle show a very good return now. The Fluke disappears in the Salt-Knob pastures of Liverpool Plains and the cattle there become entirely
different animals in shape size, stamina and condition.
Craik to Merewether. 5th February 1872.
Mr Ogden has finished the surveying and laying.out of the Paddocks on East Warrah, and as requested by you I have
had a tabular Statement prepared. (and appended to this report) shewing what Fencing has been erected on Warrah Since Cattle Paddocks No. 1 & 2 (on Plan (10.11.12) & 13) and Sheep Paddocks Nos. 1 & 2 were erected. Since the completion of
the above towards the end of 1870 the following Cattle Paddocks have been finished and partly stocked namely Nos. 14 & 15. and the Sheep Paddocks finished and Stocked are Nos.3, 4,5,6,7 and 16. Nos. 17,18,19 and Bowden's paddock on East Side of Great
Northern Road are, as you will see per list, well in hand but not completed. With the exception of Bowden's paddock I think the others ought all to be completed by about the end of April. All our Fencing as you know has been erected in the most
strong and substantial manner and (with the exception of damage done by floods) it has stood particularly well since it was erected. Owing to the late dry weather many of the posts, especially on the Plains, have got more or less loose, but I am continually
having the worst of them remmed up and secured. As you will see by the Statement above referred to 70 3/8 miles of Fencing have been completed and there are 17 1/8 miles erected but not wired.
Mr Alexander Busby one of our Directors arrived here on 26th April, and left on 4th May. As you are aware you came up the same day as Mr Busby, and I also arrived here that day from my usual quarterly
visit to Port Stephens. While he was here we showed Mr Busby our principal improvements, Woolshed, Dams, Fences & etc. both on East and West Warrah, and also a good many of our Sheep and Cattle, and we explained to him our arrangements generally,
with which upon the whole he seemed well satisfied. Since Mr Busby returned to England, I have also perused with much interest his Report on Warrah dated 7 May 1871.
In that Report Mr Busby expresses himself as much pleased with this rich and superb tract of Country known as the A. A. Co's Warrah Estate, and he also expressed himself as highly pleased upon the whole with the appearance
of our Stock and with our arrangements generally. He particularises 5 matters however to which I beg briefly to refer.
He says "our flocks with one exception were looking as well as possible". That exception was a flock of Ewe Weaners at Jack's Creek, which were weaned 6 weeks earlier than usual, that the Ewes might be put to the Ram for a Winter Lambing. This
with the wet Season, and the burry run on which they were placed caused this flock to look at the time very indifferently. After a time with change of pasture this flock became quite as good as any of the others.
2nd. As regards our Stud flock. Mr Busby saw it to the very greatest disadvantage on a damp day, when the wool was half grown, (when it is all but impossible to judge of a Sheep's fleece) and before the Ewe Hoggetts and
aged Ewes were culled from it preparatory to putting the Ewes to the Ram. If Mr Busby had seen this flock before Shearing Say in October after 200 Ewes had been culled from it, I feel certain he would have formed a very different opinion of it.
Still I am far from thinking that it is by any means perfect in point of equality as a Stud flock, as that is a matter of time, and can only be arrived at after many years watchfulness and careful breeding.
3rd. Mr Busby refers to our Victorian bred Stud Rams. The same remarks apply to them as to the Ewes. He saw them at an unfortunate time, when their wool was only half grown. These
Rams have deteriorated very much on these Plains, and I admit I am in some measure disappointed with them, and more particularly with many of the lambs got by them. They evidently do not suit these parts so well as Mudgee bred Rams, which has induced
us to put them in the general breeding flocks this year, and procure Mudgee Rams for our Stud flock.
4th. I am not surprised
that Mr Busby was disgusted with the quantity of Bathurst Burrs growing on Warrah, but this a grievance of very long standing which existed long before I came here, and it will not now be easily put down in wet and dropping seasons, as the ground is full of
5th. I cannot help agreeing with Mr Busby that fattening Sheep would pay better than breeding, on the greater
part of Warrah, but a reasonable number of breeding Sheep can I think at the same time be kept with advantage here.
Upon the whole there can be no doubt that Mr Busby is right in pronouncing this
the finest property in New South Wales, as in a moderately wet season it would carry an almost incalculable number of Stock. With a few additional wells, dams and Waterholes, and taking the average of seasons (during the past 10 years) I think when all
enclosed Warrah would carry from 130,000 to 150,000 Sheep and 2000 Cattle.
Out of our 8 Gin Wells for watering Stock
we have only used 2 during the 12 months bygone, and until very recently only one. Surface Water has been so abundant, but it now begins to dry up.
Up to May the weather at Port Stephens was most favourable for Stock, and for the growth of grass. This run therefore in the end of April looked well as did
the Cattle upon it. That is as well as they can be expected to look on a third rate country such as Port Stephens undoubtedly is. The disease known as Fluke in the liver is still prevalent in this herd. It does not usually kill the Cattle
outright, but it tends to keep them low in condition, and to retard their growth, while they remain in the Flukey Country. I am of opinion that ringbarking the Trees is the best means of Sweetening and improving the Port Stephens pastures and in a great
measure preventing Fluke, that is in moderately dry Seasons. In such a wet Season as 1870 Fluke is sure to prevail in such a Country as Port Stephens abounding as it does with Swamps and boggy ground on every side. Still as a general rule the mortality
among the Port Stephens Cattle is not very great, although they are often poor, but with the assistance of Warrah, they soon improve in condition and size. In conjunction with Warrah therefore I think the Port Stephens property pays very fairly.