Craik to Merewether, 26 March, 1872.
I write to say that a man named Donahoe has applied to me to rent the piece of land
at North boundary between Namoi & Gt Northern roads. He wishes to build an Inn & would rent the land or part of it for 7 years and would take part of it on Building Lease. That is in the latter case he would put up an Inn which would be
the Company's in 7 years. I simply told the man to write to you & said I thought you should prefer to rent the land. The man is a very respectable person & he wishes the place for his mother who now keeps the Burning Mountain Inn called
Highland Home. She is also a very respectable person I refer of course to the piece of land not rented by Borden & Wallace
I have now the pleasure to inform you that East Warrah is all enclosed
up to the East Side of the Merriwa Road, except the small rugged portion of the property stretching up to, and going partly over the Liverpool Range towards the Watershed of Page's River. Agreeably to your instructions Mr Gamack has taken some trouble,
and made out an account of the Fencing done to this date, by which you will see that 133 3/4 miles of fencing have been erected and completed on East Warrah for which I have paid here the lump sum of £5352:16/-, but this does not include the cost of
wire, cost of Survey, nor the payments made for carriage of wire & etc. at Newcastle.
In addition to this there have been 13 miles of fence erected along West
Side of Merriwa Road, and about 9 miles of these have been wired and completed. The payments and advances on this fence amount to £275:ll:8d.
not say more in respect to fencing as Mr Gamack's account speaks for itself, and I trust it will give you satisfaction, as he took great pains with it. As explained by Mr. Gamack owing to so many different contracts and other arrangements it is difficult,
in fact almost impossible to form a perfectly correct estimate of the different sorts of fence, especially the one with top rail No. 1. However the last contract for this sort of fence (Britton's) amounted to £53:6:8d per Mile for clearing line,
getting stuff, drawing, erecting and wiring, but this of course does not include wire, carriage of wire, gates, blocking up gullies & etc.
Among the other improvements
carried out during the last 12 months may be mentioned an addition of two Wooden rooms (22ft x 15 feet each) and two skillion rooms (11 feet x 8 feet each) to my Cottage here at a cost of about £150, and the Cottage has been enclosed with a rough
paling fence, which cost £20 more.
The Dam at Washpool has been topped up at an expense of £43:10/-. This Dam sustained some very slight damage by the October
floods, but it has all been repaired sometime. The Waterhole near North boundary below Harrison's Sheep Station has been much enlarged and deepened at a cost of £50.15/-, and there is a fine sheet of Water there now.
The Dams at the back of Borambil Ridge, and also that in the plain, below this House (all in Big Cattle Paddock) also sustained damage from the October floods, which has all been repaired and the dams strengthened.-
They are all well supplied with water now.- A new Dam has been formed on Ridge near Little Jack's Creek in Paddock No. 7, but & I regret to say it has never got filled; the ground about the Dam does not seem good for holding water, as it Soaks away.
This Dam cost £21:2:6, and it has lately been topped up.
Sundry Small Dams and Waterholes were made during the Winter in Cattle Paddocks Nos. 13 and 14 which
were of great Service to the Stock.
There is abundance of Water now in all the Creeks, Dams and Waterholes.
A Well (8 feet x 10 feet) has been sunk 23 feet at the North end of Parsonshill at a Cost of £13:10/, and a new Gin has been placed over this well at a Cost of about £20. There is water in this well but it
will require to be deepened to procure a sufficient supply for Sheep, and I mean to have this done at once. Another well has been Sunk 86 feet at Borambil Creek gate near South boundary (6 feet x 6 feet) without obtaining water at a cost of £64:9:3d.
On getting down 86 feet we abandoned the sinking and had an old well on the same creek 80 feety deep cleaned out and repaired at an expense of say £15. I am about to enter into a contract for another large well at Red Ridge (8 ft x 10 ft).
Owing to so many mining Speculations men are not so plentiful now as formerly. I am at present having a good many Bathurst Burrs cut and I have had raise BurrCutters' wages from
12/ to 15/ per week.
I have paid my usual three visits to Port Stephens during the past 12 months, and I am glad to
say we have never had a finer season throughout in these parts than the past one, from the 1st January last to this date. In fact there has been rather much rain, especially during the last three months of the year. The Cattle on the Gloucester
Run now look well, and have done well during the 12 months by gone. As well in fact as we can ever expect them to do on this Swampy flukey country. When at Gloucester in May last I saw some evidence of Cattle Stealers having been on the run at
Bouliac and Walk Ivory, and told Kay to keep a strict watch.
Craik to Merewether, 28 February 1873.
I did not much care for the piddling Tamworth show - & feel that I am far better engaged.
Craik to Merewether, 20 March 1873.
The Cattle paddocks are now all covered with a rich thick
green sward from side to side, and I never saw the stock in them doing better or improving faster. On 19th Feby: John Higgins Jnr, delivered 447 Store Cattle at Warrah, consisting of 420 Gloucester
Steers, and 27 very inferior wild cows chiefly from the Mountain Brushes. The latter have all been spayed. Higgins was only 3 Cattle short of the number started with. The above 420 Steers are well grown animals about 2 years old, and are
improving very fast, as you could see when you were here in the beginning of this month.
On 22nd Feby, Thomas Britton delivered 112 Yearling Bulls, consisting
of 62 pure and 50 3/4 bred from Port Stephens. These are fine coloured well bred beasts, but very low in condition at present. They will not be fit for sale for about 12 months.
I have put our Superior Colonial bred 4 year old Bull to 28 of the oldest and fattest of the purebred heifers here, and I think of putting some more to him, so that they may not get too old
and fat to breed. We want the two fresh Imported Bulls here for the pure bred heifers by August next, and as the Importation of Cattle may be stopped soon, I think it would be very advisable to ship these Bulls in England at once, so that a telegram might
be sent at once to England to this effect with great advantage. We sold our last lot of Cattle at the right time, as they are now down 10/ a head in price.
I note that the Directors are not quite satisfied with the number of Cattle fattened off during the last year, and you ask for an explanation. I may mention that the Bullocks sold last year were chiefly the drop of 1868, when
you will see we only branded 1381 calves so if you allow half that number as heifers to keep up the Gloucester herd and 5% for deaths during four years you reduce the number branded considerably. Then again as you know in 1872 the Cattle on Warrah did
very badly up to September owing to the comparatively dry Season. So that the Small number of brandings in 1868, and the 9 comparatively dry months of 1872 would be sufficient reasons for a falling off in the sale of fat stock in 1972. Still on
looking over the Returns for the years 1872, 1871, 1870, 1869 and 1868 (when our purchased Cattle may have been supposed to be cleared off) I find there were more fat cattle sold at Warrah in 1872 than in any of the four previous years. I am therefore
somewhat at a loss to percieve why the Directors picked out last year to comment upon in this respect. If this year continues as it has begun, we ought to clear of a much larger number of fat stock than last. As I consider there are about 150 spayed
cows, and the same number of Bullocks now nearly ready for market.
I am glad to be able to report most favourably of the Sheep runs, and paddocks, and of the Sheep upon, and in them. As a whole the Sheep could not be looking better or doing better.
Bathurst Burr again appears very much all over the run, though it has been cut down twice in most places, but we go on cutting it.
Mr Arthur Hodgson paid us a visit on 6th Inst. and spent the 7th here, we shewed him as much as we could in the time and he seemed much pleased with our Stock, and with our arrangements and operations generally.
Gloucester and Bowman
I have good
reports from Port Stephens. The Gloucester Run is in fine condition, and the Cattle are doing well, and looking well. The same remarks apply to The Bowman. The imported Bulls are doing good since, and are being well cared for by Penfold.
As to the removal of the Bowman herd to Warrah, we discussed that fully when you were here, so I need not say any more on the point, except that the whole herd could not be removed here, without in some measure interfering with the Sheep, and the only
suitable place I see for the main body of the herd, with permanent surface water, is by the side of Lingford's Hole in Warrah Creek.
The fencer is getting on slowly with fence at the Bowman and if he erects a two rail fence as he has agreed to do, it will certainly be a cheap one.
Craik to Merewether, 27 June 1873.
My old jail bird has taken the Windy wells, and I fear I shall have to give him 25/- or more
to finish Washpool well as the men now at work are not doing much good. The rock is very very hard.
to Merewether. 8 July 1873.
I reported last on 9 June.- From that date up to the end of the month we have had
almost continued rain with a succession of floods to a greater or less extent. All station work was in consequence nearly at a standstill and the roads through the run for some time quite impassable. In fact it is only within the last week
that wheels could move here at all and the plains are in many parts still heavy and will be so throughout the winter. It has not rained however since Sunday 29th June, the weather having been frosty at night and raw cold and gloomy during the day so
that I do not think the rain is over. Grass and herbs are now very plentiful all over the run and we are right for both„grass and water for the next 6 months under any circumstances.
We have had much trouble with our Sheep during the past month, as owing to the boggy state of the plains from the continual
down-pour and the flooded creeks it was impossible to look after the sheep properly, as a shepherd might be in his Hut tonight and then prevented by a swollen torrent from going to it tomorrow, seeing our Sheep now all camp out and are not brought home to
the back of the Hut as in old times. The consequence was that in the wet weather a considerable number of the sheep outside the paddocks got boxed and mixed up, but we have now got them all adjusted again, and with a little dry weather they cannot fail
to do well as the sheep runs are now, the middle of winter, almost in Spring condition.
Craik to Merewether, 5 August 1873.
Mr winship left Warrah this
morning. He unfortunately met with an accident to his arm in coming up in the Mail, but it was not such as to prevent him doing the needful at Washpool. He went down with me yesterday to that place and I took down to his dictation (he being unable
to write) most minute memoranda in respect to the carrying out of further improvements, I consider his valuable assistance and advice will be of very great service to us and he certainly spared no pains in trying to further our views and improve our works,
as his elaborate memoranda, (which he will no doubt read to you) will I think testify.- I may further add that he inspected the fixing of the New Steam Engine, and I arranged for him to see it go to work for the 1st time. I think he will tell you
that Brock deserves some commendation for the way in which he has fitted up this Engine.
I have not been able
to see any of the Sheep since my return from Port Stephens but the overseers give most charming accounts of them. It is wonderful how Sheep pick up after a continuation of wet, when dry weather again sets in. I believe during the past month the
Sheep have improved very much and have altogether a different appearance to what they had a month ago when they were wading in mud up to their bellies.
which you have made with Mr McElhone for 10,000 wethers @ 15/- and 2,500 cull Ewes @ 12/- I consider a very fair one, seeing the number of sheep sold is large and the time of delivery (end of August) short. Mr McElhone has removed and paid for 2000 wethers
but I have not yet heard that his Drovers have gone for another lot. If you do not receive his cheque, a Drovers recpt. in time for this Mail I presume it will do for you to draw upon him for the whole number of Sheep he ought to remove this month.
One of the last Imported Bulls ("Redgauntlet") will be sent to Warrah for sale as soon as the three new Bulls arrive, and at the same time the pure bred Heifers not served at Warrah will be sent down to Port Stephens to be
started by the 3 new bulls above referred to.
Merewether, 31 August 1873.
Yours of 29th I received last night and as this is Sunday I shall only reply briefly.
have no doubt you would have liked to have been at home when the Bulls arrived. Seeing you were not, if it had been at any other time I should have taken it upon me to have gone down and see them landed safely, but as you know it was quite out of the
question at present. I am most anxious however to hear all about them & I hope to have a long letter from you p. Tuesday's mail.
Craik to Merewether, 2 October 1873.
Agreeably to your instructions I accepted W.
Jas. Sevilles offer of 12,000 4 & 5 year old wethers @ 9/- each subject to approval delivered in October and November. On 7th September I met with you and approved of the 1st 6,000 which I consider upon the whole a superior lot of Store sheep and an excellent
bargain as times go. The New England Squatters are now asking 9/- for shorn wethers much younger than Sevilles, delivered in New England 2 or 3 months hence. Now Sevilles wethers I consider worth at least I/ or 1/6 more - I will approve of Sevilles 2nd
6,000 wethers in a week or 10 days when shorn.
Merewether, 24 December 1873.
I regret to say the Native dogs have appeared to some extent on Warrah and Jack's Creeks in the paddocks at the foot of the main
range and they continue to bite a few of our Sheep in these paddocks occasionally. I have had a great deal of poison laid and some Domestic Dogs have come to grief but none of the wild ones have been seen dead as yet.
Craik to Merewether, 31 December 1873.
note that there are only 51 deaths in the Herd this year being 2.09 per cent which is the smallest percentage of deaths we have ever had, and speaks well for the healthy state of the Cattle. In conclusion I am happy to say that I mustered and counted
the herd to a beast in the end of this month. We have room for a good many more cattle in the paddocks.
The 26270 Sheep were sold as under,
Mr John Christian. 3000 fat cull Ewes 2000 fat Wethers
Mr A Loder.
30 cull Rams
Mr I. McElhone. 2500 cull Ewes and 10000 fat wethers.
Mr James Sevil. 3000 fat cull Ewes and 2000 fat Wethers
Mr W. Dumaresq. 240 Cull Rams.
18 old and very inferior Rams were boiled down.
We have now got clear of very Ram on the place except those we want for our own use, and about 10 lame ones not able to travel away. These I will have killed for their pelts.
The 2102 Sheep killed for rations consisted of light and inferior cull Ewes and Wethers from the different fattening flocks. There were only 153 Sheep lost during the year. These were dropped coming to or returning from
Shearing, or got away among the Mountains from time to time, and were destroyed by dogs.
I regret to say the Native dogs have made their appearance during the
past 6 months in the paddocks at the tops of the Creeks towards the Main Range. They have Killed a few sheep, but chiefly lambs, and continue to bite a sheep or two occasionally. They have not done any serious damage as yet, but they will not take poison
although it is laid all over their beat.
I saw Mr C. F. Clive lately, and he has kindly given his consent for Mr Bramma to class our Sheep next year as usual for
which I thanked him very sincerely. I say Mr Clive gave his consent, as he has now charge at Collaroy, as you are aware poor Dr Traill died of paralysis followed by a Shock of Apoplexy on 16th August last. In his death I lost a kind friend and
the Company a most obliging and excellent neighbour.
We commenced to Sheep Wash this year on 2nd September, with a full compliment of good men and finished on
22 November. We began to shear on 6th September with 30 excellent Shearers, and finished on 27 November. The weather throughout was upon the whole most favourable for washing and shearing and I consider the wool was particularly well got up.
I have kept back 24 fleeces Stud Ewes which l thinking of showing at the Sydney Exhibition in April.
We shore in all 89530 Sheep which produced 772 bales of Wool,
Locks & Pieces, weighing 127 tons 6 cwt 2 qrs 14 Ibs. Or 3 Ib: 1 1/2 ozs of very clean spout washed wool per sheep all round. Underneath I give Shearing list.
64185 Warrah bred Sheep averaged, 3 6 wool per sheep
25345 Purchased Sheep 2 5 23/25
636 Rams 3
274 Warrah Stud Ewes averaged 3 1 2/3 p sheep
368 Mudgee Stud 2
2403 Winter Wether Weaners 3 4 1/3 3
2358 Winter Ewe Weaners 3 10 3/4
Spring Wether Weaners 3 7
4006 Spring Ewe Weaners
3 13 1/5 (burry)
1876 Cull Ewe Weaners
3 1 1/3
89530 Total Sheep of All Sorts 3 1
From the above list you will see that the Warrah bred sheep all round averaged 3 Ibs 6 ozs of clean spout washed wool mostly free from burr. I
may add that I weighted a dozen fleeces from the Warrah bred 3 year old Wethers and they averaged 4 Ibs 2ozs. The Spring Ewe Weaners averaged 3 Ibs 13 1/5 ozs. but this great weight is partly owing to clover burr. The purchased Sheep averaged 2
Ibs 5 23/25 ozs.- The above facts speak for themselves.
The Washers and Shearers this Season were an excellent lot of men, and everything went on very pleasantly
and expeditiously. The Washing and Shearing rates were the Same as last year namely from 3/ to 4/ per day for Washers and 3/ per Score of sheep for Shearers with rations. Mr A. G. Martin had charge of Washpool as before, and Mr C. Stead did the
Wool Sorting as usual.
Shanahan, Carrier contracted to take all the Wool to the Train at Murrurundi, and to bring our goods out @ 9d p. cwt: each way, and
the last of the Wool left the Shed on llth December. It would have gone sooner, but the heavy rain delayed the last two loads. During Shearing I sent by your desire a small box containing samples of our Warrah Wool, washed and in grease for the
purpose of being forwarded to the Directors in London. I should be glad to have their opinion of the Wool.
I had all the Sheep mustered and counted in the
end of this Month and (like the Cattle) I am glad to say they come out correctly. This is certainly most satisfactory to me, seeing I am aware that several of our neighbours have, of late, suffered severely from the depredations both of Cattle &
Sheep Stealers. One Settler in particular on the Mooki River had 500 Sheep Stolen and never found either them or the thief. As you are aware our Sheep are hardly every yarded now a days, even those that are not in paddocks, but are allowed to run
at large, and to camp where they like at night.
Improvements & General Information.
In my last yearly Report I explained to you that the fencing of East Warrah was completed up to the Miller's Creek public road. And I gave you as far as I could the particulars, and expense of the same
in a separate Statement. I have now to inform you that the West line of fence along Miller's Creek Road (14 1/2 miles) has been completed, which forms a lane of the road in question 1 1/2 chain wide. The accommodation Paddock of 1500 acres has also just
been finished, and a Small Dam made in it. and as desired by you I am about to let it for 12 months to Mr James Seville @ £150 per annum.
We have thus
only our Western boundary (13 miles) and about 11 3/4 miles of our North boundary to fence, and the Wire has now arrived in Murrurundi for that purpose. I have contracted with a Carrier to draw it to West Warrah @ 2/ p. cwt:
I have not yet been able to let any of the remaining fencing, as the men ask £40 p. mile which is £5.6.8 p mile more than was previously given. Labour is not quite so cheap or plentiful as it was some years ago but I shall endeavour
to let the remaining fencing as soon as possible. We have now got 112400 acres of land entirely enclosed (not reconing the 1500 acres in Accommodation Paddock) which acreage is divided into 17 Paddocks - 13 of these paddocks are for sheep and contain 82600
acres & depasture. 56815 sheep being scarcely 1 1/2 acres to a sheep. The remaining 4 Paddocks (29800 acres) are for Cattle and at present contain 2387, being 12 1/2 acres to a beast.
Mr C. Mair
who was sent out here by the Directors left the employ July last. Samuel Rowland took Mair's place.
Craik to Merewether 18 February 1874.
The fence along the South boundary of the property will soon be finished, but I am afraid we shall have to pay
higher rates for our next fence contract as Labour is less plentiful than it was all over the Colony. Two small new Huts are in progress at the Washpool for Washing Overseer & Carpenter and a new gin is being erected at West Warrah. It is gratifying
to be able to state that during the recent floods (which were pretty high) all our dams stood well as they had been recently topped up. They are now all well supplied with water & what slight damage was done to them will be repaired at once.
I will endeavour to enter into a contract for the remainder of the ring-fences around West Warrah with as little delay as possible.
I had the Warrah herd mustered and counted when you were here, and I am glad to say there was not a beast missing. As you could see, the Cattle all
look particularly well, and are rapidly getting into saleable condition. Mr Warby has removed and paid for his 300 bullocks, and I expect Mr McElhone here today to approve of other 300 which you have offered to him @ £8.5/ per head, delivered by
end of May. As the Bullock's left by Mr Warby are young and light (not much over 3 years old) I doubt if Mr McElhone will care to take other 300 at the above price. If he offers £8 per head for 200 I think it would be good value for them, and as
he seems wishful to buy I think he will at all events make this offer.
The 20 purebred Heifers retained here by the wish of the Directors will I believe nearly
all prove in calf. In fact 13 of them have already dropped calves, 3 of which I regret to say were calved dead, as I believe from the mothers being too fat. I have now removed these Heifers from the rich plains to the forest land up Warrah Creek,
as I feel satisfied that part of the run is better suited for breeding cows than the plains. The 83 pure bred Heifers which came from Gloucester on 3rd January last are improving rapidly in size and condition.
The 67 Bulls & Bull Calves, left over from sale, have done well since, but, except about 20 the remainder are too young and small for sale. These 20 you have offered for sale privately @ £35 a head. We have
also 50 or 60 very small spayed cows fit for market.
As you could see in riding over them, the sheep runs and
paddocks are at the present time in a very rich and luxuriant state, and all the sheep are in prime condition. We
could now put 20,000 more sheep upon the run with the greatest ease.
A new Gin has been erected at West Warrah for the purpose of sinking a large well on Windy
Ridge, which will be much wanted especially when the paddocks are completed.
I am in treaty with Contractors for the completion of our West boundary, but we shall have to pay them a higher price for it, as Bush
labour, at the present time is decidedly scarcer than it was, and higher rates are demanded. (I hope however to get the work done at the price sanctioned by you at £38 per mile or £3.6.8 more than the price paid the last contractor.) I have agreeably
to your instructions advertised for men to complete the ring fence round Warrah, and should like to see it finished this year. The wire has all arrived in Murrurundi, and is now being drawn to Windy head Station @ 2/ p cwt:
I have also advertised for men to erect a new Overseer's Cottage at Old Warrah, as the present one is as you know very old, and so much out of repair as to be beyond repair - it is in fact literally down. James Martin & Robert Britton have taken
the Contracts which you sanctioned at New Warrah as under vizt.
Addition to Woolshed £120
Addition to Shearers Hut £25
New Hut for Rationcarrier £25
The whole work to be finished by 1st August next, and the Company to find and draw all material.
Brock our Engineer is now busy sawing stuff for the different new buildings, battens for fencing & etc. We find the Pine or Cypress on Warrah Ridge is a most useful wood, and there is still a fine forest of it left.
Our Sawbench is of unspeakable service to us.
Mr James Sevil has rented the Accommodation Paddock at Miller's Creek for 12 months from 1st April next @ £150 per annum, and a Hut will be put there as soon as
I can get labour.
I have duly received the tracing paper you promised to send me, and Mr Gamack will go to Murrurundi on Saturday and take the Section of ' Great
Northern Railway passing through Warrah and through Britton 's property, when he has finished it I will send it to you.
"Gloucester & Bowman"
I visited these Stations on 4th February last and remained at Gloucester till 14th February. . I meant to have visited them in January as usual, but was prevented by high floods, and had to return to Warrah
after I got as far as the Karruah River. Even when I went in February the rivers were high, and the country in a very wet state. However I managed to brand, conditionally cull, and arrange the Purebred Herd, and I expect Mr Sparke from the Richmond
to go through this Herd with me after the Sydney Exhibition in April next. Of course I made up and counted this Herd when I was at Gloucester, and it corresponds with the Register number.
As regards the Gloucester and Bowman Runs, the grass upon them is altogether too long and rank,particularly in the paddocks where it is so long and rough that you can only ride through it with considerable inconvenience.
Upon the whole, the Cattle look pretty well though they would have looked better had there been less rain. Even now the Overseer writes me that the rain and floods continue, so that everything must be in a very boggy or swampy state.
All the Cattle I have seen killed at Port Stephens have been more or less flukey, and in one killed when I was last there I found an immense number of small worms adhering like leeches
to the substance of the Stomach inside and the Overseer informs one he has killed several in a similar state.
Mr R. Wiseman our new Overseer at Gloucester seems
to take great interest in his work, and though I do not consider him such a good Stockrider or Bushman as Kay, yet I think he will suit us very well.
Overseer's Cottage at Gloucester is very old and in a very delapidated condition so that agreeably to your instructions I am now in treaty with Carpenters to build a new one, and I have drawn out plan and specifications for them to work by. I will let
you know what their tenders are when I receive them.
All the Six Imported Bulls continue to thrive well, particularly the 3 last imported. You will be pleased
to hear that "Duke of Oxford 24th" has already served (apparently most effectually) about 50 cows and Heifers, the greater part of them being those Heifers sent from Warrah to meet him on his arrival in the Colony. This Bull is certainly turning out
a noble animal, and the Directors were quite right in asking us to suspend our judgement of him until he was here for sometime. The improvement which has taken place in him since his arrival in the Colony is something wonderful especially when you take
into consideration the large number of cows he has served. I have now no doubt whatever but that he is the grandest Bull in the Colony, as he has got a blood-like style about him, a mellow touch, and a richness and silkiness of coat which must at once
strike anyone accustomed to high bred Shorthorns. The two yearling Bulls have also improved greatly since their arrival. They have served some of the Heifers sent from Warrah but I believe not very successfully, as the Bulls are of course too young,
so I do not mean to use them much until next Spring, when they ought to be of some service to us. The white Bull Baron Bright Eyes" I like very much better since his arrival, but I never can approve the colour altogether.
I hope to meet you at Port Stephens in the end of April, when we can finally decide on the various improvements which are to be carried out there.
Craik to Merewether, 9 April 1874.
I have entered into a written contract with one named William S. Thorsby for the erection
of the new Overseer's Cottage and Kitchen at Old Warrah sanctioned by you, price £120 for labour alone exclusive of materials. He agreed at first to do the work for £115, but owing to a small alteration and addition I had to give £5 more.
Thorsby has also agreed to erect and paint the two shingled weatherboard Verandah Huts at Greenhills and Brown Ridge for £26 each, the Company finding sawn stuff and shingles, as well as paint. He seems to be a decent man, and to know what he is
about. Our Shingles cost 25/- per 1000 at the Stump. Brock, our Engineer continues busy.
A bull with the 6 brand has just been found in the possession
of a cattle stealer on the Collaroy side of the range. The man's name is Phillips and he had over 40 stolen cattle with defaced brands on his place belonging to Mr. Pringle and other neighbours of ours. The S Bull was among the other cattle but
he is not claimed by anyone so I have claimed him on the part of the Company and will see him in Maitland in the hands of the Police on Friday. He may not be given up to us until after Phillips's trial he having been committed. I heard of this
Bull a good while ago and told the Police about him. He must have disappeared 7 years ago before the run was paddocked - I know this from his description and brands.
Craik to Merewether. 11 May 1874.
In my last report, I mentioned that Mr R. R. C. Robertson of Wellington Vale had 6000 four &
five year old Wethers for sale @ 8/9, and I fortunately met him at the Sydney Exhibition, when I closed with him for 5000 more or less the pick of these, subject to approval. I have just heard from our Approver and Drover Mr John Blain that he has picked,
started and given his receipt for 5350 good framed healthy wethers. When in Sydney I also closed with Mr Robertson for 4000 aged Ewes @ 6/- subject to approval, and 10 per cent to be thrown out. I instructed Mr Blain to approve of these also, and
in the event of his not doing so I told him to make another offer. After a good deal of bother, he is, I believe, to be allowed to pick 3000 Ewes from 4500 @ 6/6, and they are to be delivered at Tamworth. They must pay us very handsomely at the
above low price. We have thus purchased say 8350 Store Sheep, and agreeably to your instructions, I have told Blain to make the number up to 10,000 if he can. Mr Blain has been long known to me, he has had a good deal of experience in buying and droving
Sheep, and may safely be trusted to act for us. As you are aware there are still sdveral small lots of Wethers on offer to us in New England, which Blain will inspect.
I am much obliged for account Sales of the first of Clip 1873, which I duly received last night, and I am extremely gratified at the high prices obtained. I am also particularly pleased to find that we have beaten the P.R.L. & M Company, and
most of our other neighbours. These results I think speak for themselves. While on this subject I may mention that though our washed wool did not get a prize at the Sydney Show, it compared favourably with the prize samples in colour and quality, but
it was somewhat dry and harsh in feel as compared with them. This arose I believe from the rich pastures on which the sheep were fed, and from the very hard water in which they were washed.
Craik to Merewether 9 June 1874.
I find that there is a very great difference in the
quality and condition of wool off plains fed sheep, as compared with wool off sheep fed on forest and ridgey land, even supposing the two lots of sheep were of precisely the same breeding. I never saw this better exemplified than it was this year, when
with your permission I lent 14 of our worst rams to Mr Martin our late Overseer to put to his Ewes on his Mountain Station. They were returned to be classed when Mr Bramma was here, and notwithstanding that they had done double duty their wool really appeared
finer, softer and in far better condition than the wool of the majority of our best rams, which had been feeding on our rich plains. This therefore is my explanation of the broker's remarks, as I believe the very best bred sheep will deteriorate in fleece
on a rich alluvial country, I am therefore quite prepared to hear that that some of our parcels of wool will surpass others.
A great many Bathurst Burrs have been
cut up and burned during the past two months. Burrcutting, as you know is a heavy item on this Station.
Craik to Merewether, 3 August 1874.
I have very little fresh to state under this head (improvements). The work at the Woolshed is finished.
Craik to Merewether,
27 September 1874.
I am happy to inform you that the scoundrel, I Bruce is now in the Murrurundi Lock up on a charge, a pretty clear one, of Horse Stealing -This is the
man who is supposed to be connected with our wool. It rained heavily here yesterday.
Craik to Merewether,
1 October 1874.
I regret to say 93 wethers from flock No. 29 were found shorn on West Warrah on or about 8th September. I at once, on having the matter reported, went to Murrurundi and informed the Police,
getting at the same time search warrants for two suspected Free-selectors. We could not bring the guilt home to anyone, though I believe the guilty party is now in the Murrurundi lock-up, on another charge, namely, horse stealing. I am glad to
say however the intended wool-stealer did not carry his points, as after a week's diligent search, by the police, and our own people, the missing wool was found packed in a bale and concealed among the ridges at the top of Yarraman Creek, and it is now safe
in the Warrah wool-shed. Surrounded as we are by so many known notorious stock stealers, I am only surprised that we have escaped from their depredations so long. Much praise is due to the Police for their perseverence in tracing out the wool, and I have handed
them a gratuity of £10 as directed by you.
Craik to Merewether, 7 November 1874.
Yours of yesterday is this evening to hand. The Buggy will be waiting for you at The Royal on Tuesday. In fact Perry the Sheep-Drover drives it in to Murrurundi tomorrow with
poor Maggie our House-maid who appears seriously ill. He goes with the poor girl to Maitland on Monday and will come up in the same train with you on Tuesday and will then drive you out here.
Craik to Merewether, 23 November 1874.
As to staying on with the Company of
course I am prepared to do so for other 12 months from 1st January next and I do not know that it is worth while to propose any alteration in the terms of my agreement for this short time especially as you are to be in office.
I have now carefully considered the matter and if the Company wish me to go on for other 2 years from 1st January next I can make my arrangements accordingly but I shall certainly expect an increase of salary. I therefore leave it to you to recommend
whatever you deem best and am prepared to receive from the Directors any proposal they see fit to make to me.
So far as Mr Gregson is concerned I cannot possibly
have any bad feeling towards him and I do not know that it matters much to me who is appointed to succeed you, so long as it is distinctly understood that I am not to be interfered with in the management of the stock any more than I have been under you, as
I could accept of the appointment in no other understanding. Of course you know very well that there is no jealous feeling on my part towards Mr Gregson in respect to the position to which he now aspires, as I have told you that I feel I am not cut out
for it nor could I accept of it if it was offered to me tomorrow with 3 times the salary. I will only add that I think I have done the company considerable service under you since I have been here, and when I do retire I candidly admit that I have an
expectation of receiving some consideration at their hands. If you can see your way to put this to the Directors I am not too proud to object to it and I may yet write a letter through you on the subject. Their Stock Department was never before
in the position in which it now is, but it is of course for them to say whether it may not be put in a still better position by another. For my part I do not care a great deal how the matter goes and I certainly think you are quite right in not forcing
my services on your Successor whoever he may be.
Craik to Merewether, 27 December 1874.
As the Overseer has leave of absence for two weeks I have heard nothing from Gloucester lately. My last accounts however were satisfactory as there has been more rain at Port Stephens
than on Liverpool Plains. The cattle stealer Robert Breeze to whom I referred in my last monthly Report has been convicted for stealing 8 of our cattle and was sentenced to 5 years hard labour on the roads. The 8 cattle I received and sent them
back to the Gloucester paddocks. I hope to meet you at Gloucester about the 14th of next month.
to Merewether, 31 December 1874.
93 wethers were Stolen early in September from flock No 29, but they were afterwards put back on the Run, minus their fleeces! I
at once put the Police in motion, who with the assistance of our own people, found the Wool packed away in a Bale in an obscure Gully, near the foot of the main range, on the "Yarraman" Run. Had we not followed up this theft pretty quickly we should
certainly not have recovered the Wool, and the chief person whom we suspect as connected with this robbery, has recently been committed on a charge of Horse stealing. We are surrounded on every side by very bad neighbours and I consider it is fortunate
that we have escaped hitherto, as well as we have done.
We commenced Sheep Washing on the advertised day 1st September, and it was finished on 21st November.
We had a very good lot of men and the work was done upon the whole, evenly and well, especially after the first two weeks, which were bitterly cold, causing the men to knock up. After the first two weeks, and especially after the introduction of "Sharps "eight
patent Sheep supports" from Melbourne in the end of September we got on much faster and better with the Sheep Washing. These supports are a very great improvement indeed, they consist of two revolving cylinders fixed into stands, and they save the men
much labour, and cause the Sheep to be washed much more evenly, effectively and expeditiously. Since the introduction of these we can in moderately warm weather wash 2000 Sheep per day, which is 500 more than we could do before, so that, I think, no
large station ought to be without them.
In accordance with your instructions, I had additions put to our Woolshed, and Woolshed yards this year, at a cost of £160,
by which additions we can house in wet weather 500 more Sheep. I had also an addition put to Shearers Hut, which accommodates 8 more men, and this with a new hut erected at "East Warrah" for Ration carrier, costs in labour £50 more. Two other new
weatherboarded Huts, have been erected at "Washpool" one for Washing Overseer, and the other for our resident Carpenter at £17.10/0 each.
The extension of
the Great Northern Railway from "Murrurundi" to "Tamworth" was commenced early this year, and the works are now going on, on that portion of the line passing through the North east corner of the "Warrah" property and passing the Willow Tree Inn.
As you are aware it is decided to have a Railway Station House, on our property, on the great Northern Road, about a quarter of a mile north of the Willow Tree Inn which station will suit us exactly for the delivery
of our Wool and other Station produce. A Mr William Wakeford is the Railway contractor, with whom I have had one or two conversations, and from all I can learn the Government are likely to meet our views in respect to Gates, Bridges, and Railway crossings.
I have obtained a Tracing of the section of the line, passing through "Warrah" and have gone over the ground along with you more than once, and I am aware you have made the Company claim to "Government", for the value of the land taken up by Railway and for
severance which claim I think very reasonable.
This closes my Report on "Warrah" which I am glad to say was never in a finer position in every way, than it is
in, at this moment.
Robt. Kay our late Cattle Overseer left "Gloucester" at the beginning of this year, and Mr R. Wiseman has been in charge ever since.
He has not had Kay's experience as a Bushman, or in managing Cattle, but he gets on very fairly and seems anxious to give satisfaction. Some old fencing has lately been burnt at "Gloucester" but it was of no great value. We have not yet been able to
get men to erect the new Paddock decided on at Lamon's Flat, but the high rate now offered (3/6d per Rod) for a two rail fence, drawing included ought to tempt them.
I regret to say, that as in the case when Mr Cobb took charge at Gloucester some years ago, the Cattle Stealers have again attempted a raid on this herd defacing our Brands and rebranding our cattle. Early in the morning of the 18th November last
a Policeman brought me a Telegram that some of our Cattle with "Faked" Brands, had been offered in "Maitland" for Sale. I of course started down the Country at once and found 8 steers had been offered, with "Fake" or defaced Brands by a man named McPherson,
who had bought them from a small settler on a tributary of the "Manning" river named Robert Breeze. After consulting with the Police, and Mr R. W. Thomson the Lawyer I got a warrant for the said Robert Breeze, who was committed to take his trial for
stealing our Cattle on the 3rd and was convicted on 7th December and sentenced by Mr Judge Bowling to 5 years Hard Labour on the roads. (I then took possession of the 8 steers and sent them back to Gloucester where they have been again branded for the Company.)
The result of this trial will I consider be of great service to the Company, in detering others from doing likewise. The G brand was defaced. I believe there are some more Cattle with defaced brands at Breeze's place which I have sent our men to see
after, and I will also go and see after them myself, on my visit to Gloucester next month.
..... These Three Bulls and Lord Beaumont are of course all the
Bulls now left for service in the Herd, but they are ample for our present requirements and, I have this Season marked and set apart for them cows as under, for,
"Baron Bright Eyes"
"Baron of Raby" 32
"Duke of Oxford"24th
of which they have already served the following, namely:-
"Duke of Oxford"
"Baron of Raby"
"Baron Bright Eves"
Craik to Merewether, 18th Jan 1875.
As you are aware "West Warrah" is now all enclosed, with a substantial ring-fence, so that the whole property may now be considered enclosed. In fact it is so, with the exception of some 4,000 acres of almost inaccessable
and useless mountains on the Liverpool Range.
The New Cottage for the Overseers at Old Warrah is now quite finished. The work has been done in a most
creditable manner, in every way, and it is in fact one of the best, if not the best building on the Property. Our Engine man Brock, has again commenced to saw Timber for sundry new Huts, for which I have with your sanction contracted on different parts
of the run. I have set several parties of men on to ringbark in the two mountainous specified by you Nos. 17 & 19 @ from 9 per acre.
Gloucester & Bowman.
I met you at Gloucester on 12th inst. and on the 13th went with you to The Bowman, where we saw a good part of the Pure bred Cattle including
the three imported Bulls, "Lord Beaumont" "Baron of Raby" and "Baron Bright Eyes". The Bowman Paddock and run look well, and the cattle are in very fair condition.. The two young imported Bulls at this station are in particularly good order, and have
evidently been well cared for-both are growing fast.
As you are aware we have lost several of the "Duke of Oxfords" Calves, but the 21 that are still alive, are
very promising, though it is hard to say how a young calf will turn out. As we have sold the two old Imported Bulls "Baron Mantalini" and "Redgauntlet", we have now only Four Imported Bulls left, which however are ample for our present requirements.
They have this Season already served the following cows. "Durk of Oxford" _34_. "Baron of Raby" 19. Baron Bright Eyes ??. old "Lord Beaumont _16.
in the Liver, and worms in the Paunch are still very prevalent in both these herds, as I never have a beast killed of any kind, or from any part of the run, that is not so affected, in a greater, or a less degree with both so that I firmly believe there is
not a beast of any advanced age, free from them, and 1 do not say this without good proof. The maladies however do not appear to be dangerous, or deadly in good seasons, only keeping the Cattle back in condition. I expect Mr Bruce the Chief Inspector
of Stock, for the Colony, to visit me here on Wednesday evening, and as he is well up in all such matters, I mean to have a Ration Cow killed, when he is here, that I may submit her paunch and Liver for his inspection and opinion.
You will note that there were a larger number (9) of cattle killed at "Gloucester" for rations last quarter then usual. This arose from a great deal of Beef being sold to outsiders, such as the
Barington settlers and others. About Four cattle in all were so sold.
The man Breeze who stole and rebranded some of our cattle, was duly convicted in "Maitland"
and got five years hard labour on the roads. The Eight cattle identified by us, I got possession of, and sent them back here. This morning I started Mr Wiseman and all our Stockmen to Breeze's place, as some more cattle bearing our Brand defaced,
are believed to be still there. I propose starting tomorrow to join the men and I shall bring back all Cattle bearing the Companys Brand, faked, or defaced, and shall again Brand them for the Coy. I should strongly recommend that a Stockman be placed
at the place known as "Bob Deeds", to protect that part of the run from the depredations of the small Settlers on the "Manning River".
I expect to start over 100
Bull calves for "Warrah" this week.
The weather continues intensely hot,and dry here, and the whole country for some distance round the Head Station is now on
fire. The Heat is consequently almost unbearable, while the smoke partly obscures the Suns rays, and almost suffocates you. The old dead Trees, are falling and crashing in every direction, and a great deal of the undergrowth and dead logs, are
being burnt off, so that the Run is getting a thorough clearing, which was much wanted. Some old fencing has been burnt, but it was not much loss. All we want now is a weeks rain, to make the whole country like a wheat field and it is to be hoped we shall
have this before the Winter sets in.
Craik to Merewether, 5 May
I attended the opening of the Railway Tunnel yesterday and gave the health of Miss Wakeford who fired the final shot. We had lunch in the bowels of the earth
and it was a very good affair, and we all walked right through to Doughboy Hollow.
Craik to Merewether, 23 June 1875.
As arranged with you when you were up here I have written to Messrs Bayly, C.C. Cox, and
Rouse, respecting the purchase of 10 Stud and 50 ordinary rams. And I now enclose their replies. You will see that Mr Bayly has no ordinary rams to sell and I doubt if he would part with Stud ones that would suit us except at a very high figure.
As to Mr C. C. Cox, seeing he sold off all his sheep so comparatively recently, I doubt if any of his rams would be up to the mark. Mr Geo Rouse is therefore I think the most likely person to get suitable sheep from, though I think £5 p. head too
high a price for rams for ordinary flocks - I think it is very likely however that we can procure 10 good Stud Rams from some of the above breeders @ per £30 to £40 p. head. Will you kindly give me your views on the subject, and say if you would
wish me to go to the Mudgee show in 21 July or would Mr Gregson prefer going. If I am to go it will of course knock on the head all the arrangements I have made about Gloucester and as to visiting my place at the Paterson on a certain day but of course that
cannot be helped. Would you kindly write or Telegraph to me tomorrow on receipt of this if you wish me to go to Mudgee as I.have sundry arrangements to make connected with the Company and my own private affairs before I start. If I go I think I should
try and get Bramma to go with me, and I should start for Gloucester early next month.
You have said nothing about the matter in your recent communications, but
I presume it is understood that I leave the Company's service at the end of the year. With my best wishes to Mr Gregson and wishing him every success in his new career.
Craik to Merewether, 3 August 1875.
The Cattle paddocks on the plains, are now
luxuriant with trefoil to a fault and from what little I have seen of the Cattle since my return I can see they are improving in condition rapidly. From my own/observation and from what Rowland and Fairbairn tell me, I am of opinion that 500 Bullocks
and 200 old Cows might be offered for sale before the 31st Deer., say 200 Bullocks to be delivered early in November, and 300 bullocks and the 200 Cows at end of Deer. The above number of cattle will not I consider be ready sooner. For the Bullocks
I should ask £8/10/~ and for the old Cows £6 per head. The latter will be old light and shelly.
I am now sorry to have to report that about 40
head of good cattle have died of "Hove" during the past month. 28 of these I regret to say died in 24 hours after the Cattle were camped for Mr York to pick his 200 fat ones from. One of our best 4 yr old Bulls which has been serving here I regret
to say also died yesterday from the same cause. We nearly lost him last year, but by speedy use of the probe he was saved as he was observed in time. In connexion with this subject I may also mention that since I last reported, a mob of Store Cattle
belonging to Mr McKay passed down the Millers Creek lane towards Singleton, and out of this mob 29 died in one day, but I believe not from "Hove", but from eating that plant with yellow flower well known as the plains Bachelor Button and which I have frequently
pointed out to you.
With respect to "Hove" I remember the Directors last year suggested yarding and starving the Cattle as a remedy. Before receiving this
suggestion I tried it on a small scale, and the result was the Cattle on getting out being hungry ate so greedily that they burst worse than ever. And this was also exemplified on the last occasion when the cattle had been kept some hours on the Camp
while being drafted by Mr Yorke. Nothing therefore in my opinion can be done but to let the Cattle remain as quiet as possible where they are, or remove the whole Herd into the Ridge paddocks, which are as yet bleak and comparatively bare. By this
plan we should of course lose 3 or 4 months of the best part of the year and we consequently should not be able to sell fat stock. Rowland informs me that for the past few days the cattle have not been dying very badly.
On the plains the Sheep runs are in excellent order while
on the ridges, (especially on East Warrah) they are only in middle fettle. The Sheep are all doing particularly well however, and on the plains the fattening sheep are of course improving rapidly. The Lambing I am glad to say gets on most satisfactorily.
The cold rain of Monday last Mr Fairbairn informs me killed a good few lambs, but he still thinks he will cut 95%. I myself am not quite so sanguine but hope it may be so. The Native Dogs are still about both on East and West Warrah, but by the liberal
use of Strychnine (of which I require a fresh supply) there has been no serious damage done as yet.
Craik to Merewether, 31 August 1875.
As authorised by you I attended the Annual Show, of the Northern Agricultural Association held in Singleton on the 18th inst. The exhibition was undoubtedly a very fine one, and I saw and heard
there much that was of use to me in Stock matters. The Cattle were the best show, although I do not think there was a Durham Bull on the ground, equal to our" Duke of Oxford".
Craik to Merewether, 22 December .1875.
I now send
you my usual Monthly Report in the A. A, Company's Stock and Station's under my charge, which will be my last one, as you are aware I leave the Company's employ at the end of this month.
I sent you my last report on 24 November. From that date up to the present the weather
has been similar to what it was the previous month only we have had less rain and strong North westerly winds have prevailed. The run in consequence' begins to look dry and parched on many portions of the plains, while in the forest land and towards
the tops of the creeks leading from the Main range the grass is now fresh and green. In fact there cannot be said to be any lack either of grass or water as yet except it may be in the small paddocks for station Horses which are very bare indeed and
we consequently have to use some Hay for the Working Horses.
As regards Pleuro it is my opinion that the latent seeds of it are in every Herd in the Colony and it only requires favourable
circumstances as regards season and pasture to develop them, and from time to time they will be developed in a greater or less degree. You are of course aware that Inoculation is the only remedy recommended for Pleuro in the case of Cattle running at large,
but Public opinion is by no means unanimous as to its efficacy, although I believe the majority are in favour of it, and I confess I myself am rather inclined to go with the majority.
In accordance with your instructions I have men now at work erecting an inoculating lane in the Old Warrah Stock Yard and it will be finished by the end of the year. I believe however you have decided not to commence the operation
under any circumstances until after the Bull sale which will come off on 5 January next. In this I think you have acted wisely.Notwithstanding pleuro and the rather dry season, you are of course aware, that besides the 200 Bulls we have some 300 or 400
fat cattle ready for market which we cannot sell at present owing to the dullness of the times. The whole of the cattle on Warrah have just been mustered and counted and I am happy to say they came out correctly.
The sheep runs are all in fair fettle as yet as regards both grass and water
although the grass is some places gets rather parched and dry. The sheep all look well however up to date, though they cannot be expected to improve much more until it rains. As it is we have over 20,000 fat sheep ready for market. Like the
Cattle however they are unsaleable at present owing to the glutted state of the Fat Stock Market. I attribute this glut to the fact that Stock Holders are beginning to consider a dry season imminent and are therefore rushing their stock into market.
Those who can hold on (as we only are doing) must reap an ample Harvest before very long.
We finished shearing on 25 November last when 92,413 washed sheep had
been shorn producing 923 Bales of Wool Locks etc. These 923 Bales weighed in all 136 Tons 18 cwt 3 qrs 8 Ibs gross. Allowing 11 Ibs for each wool pack we should then have on average off each sheep all round of 3.20 Ibs or 3 1/5 Ibs nearly.
This I consider a very fine average seeing that a great many of the sheep were purchased from different people and many of their fleeces were extremely short, light and inferior. The Warrah Bred sheep all round averaged 3.40 Ibs. (against 3.29 Ibs last
year) and some of the young sheep went as high as 3.69 Ibs. The purchased sheep averaged 2.54 Ibs all round against 2.42 Ibs last year. These facts I think speak for themselves, and for further particulars I beg to refer you to Wool List already
in your hands. Besides the Washed wool there is one Bale of greasy off crawlers and sundries weighing 6 cwt 19 qr 10 Ibs. The washed wool of course all went to Sydney for shipment and the last of it left the Station on the 10th inst.
In concluding this my 168th Monthly Report, I have now only to express a hope that the Company's Stock and Stations may show as much advancement prosperity and profit during the next 14 years as they
have done during the 14 years bygone. If they do I humbly think that neither the Directors nor the Shareholders will have much cause for complaint.
Craik to Merewether, 31 December 1875.
I now beg to enclose Sheep Return in Duplicate for Deer, with proof. I further enclose Cattle Muster Horse Muster
and Lists of all Tools Drays and Station supplies the property of the A. A. Co at this date for which Mr R. Hudson has given me his receipt copy of which is also enclosed.
The Cattle Return for Dec. I will make
out and forward from- Gloucester after I brand up there.
Mr Hudson advises me to remind you that you kindly promised to allow him on the part of the Coy. £50 during the present quarter."
I mention this in case you wish to enter it in your accounts at once as mine are closed and in Mr.Corlette's hands so I can draw no more cheques.
This is the last
official Letter which I shall have to write to you seeing our engagements both expire to-day. It is now 1/4 past 12 o'clock noon so mail time. I can therefore only say that I trust the very many unpleasantnesses which have occurred between us will
be forgotten and forgiven by you as they are by me. I dare say there was faults on both sides but between us I do not think we have done badly for the Company rows and bickerings included.
The mail-man carried my bag past the Willow Tree last night so I had nothing from him. I may hear today and will reply if necessary tomorrow. You can write me next to Gloucester if you wish to do so where I hope
to be sometime next week - about Wednesday or Thursday I think. I leave this tomorrow.
I have got on most pleasantly with Hudson in taking over - in fact
everything has gone on as smoothly as a glove. I was presented with a Claret Jug and Silver Salver last night.