History of Warrah and the AACo

Warrah station, carting wheat, early 1900's. Charlie Shuttlewood is the usual driver of the engine and is behind the steering wheel. Other workers standing are unknown. Photo thanks to Quirindi's heritage cottage museum.

BY Mrs Helen Copeland - Dec,1985.


Her father, George Copeland had intimate knowledge of the property as he was on the staff of the Australian Agricultural Company for 43 years, 31 of which were spent at Warrah.

The Copeland family outside the "Warrah" homestead. 1940's.



Start of the A.A. Co

The idea to form a public pastoral company in infant NSW was the brainchild of a group of English politicians and businessmen in 1824.  They could envisage great benefits to both the colony of NSW and the shareholders by the establishing of such an industry.  Commissioner John Bigge had conducted a royal commission into the affairs of the colony in 1819, and the results of this indicated the colony’s future lay in its primary industries.

So, using this report as backing for their idea, the businessmen approached Lord Bathurst, then the British Colonial Secretary, suggesting that a grant of land in NSW be made available to them.

Consequently, a royal charter of 1,000,000 acres of land of their choice in the new colony was granted to them by King George IV, and £1,000,000 was quickly raised by the sale of 10,000 shares @ £100 a share.

An extra £350,000 was raised by the sale of subscribed capital shares.  The majority of shareholders were British residents, but colonials, John MacArthur, his son James, his nephew Hannibal and his son-in-law Dr James Bowman in NSW were also permitted to buy into the company.

A framed copy of the original Royal Charter hangs in Calala House, Tamworth and in part it states that the company agreed to spend £1/acre on the 1 million acres grant.


On Christmas day 1825, two tall-masted ships, the York and Brothers, arrived in Sydney Cove loaded with an odd assortment of cargo; 25 men, 13 women, 40 children, 720 Merino sheep of French and Saxon blood, 12 head of “choice” cattle and 15 blood horses, consisting of 1 stallion and 14 mares.

Mr Robert Dawson, who had been appointed first Superintendent of the A.A. Co was in charge of this cargo.  Having moved his menagerie from Sydney Cove to the lush pastures of the Domain, he delivered a letter to Governor Brisbane.

The contents of the letter, revealing the before-mentioned Royal Charter, came as quite a shock to the Governor, as it was his first knowledge of the existence of the A.A. Co.

On the advice of the colony’s Surveyor-General, who at the time was the explorer John Oxley, Robert Dawson took up a million acres of land on behalf of the company in the Port Stephens area and made his headquarters at a site which is now Carrington.

He requested and was granted 100 convicts from the Governor, and within 2 years, a township with a population of approximately 250 people had sprung up.  More than 2,000 sheep, 1,000 cattle and numerous horses were grazing in the vicinity, while cotton, sugarcane and tobacco were being grown experimentally.


500,000 sheep.

Dawson was instructed from London to increase the sheep herd to ½ million.  He established the present town of Stroud as an outstation, but in vain he endeavoured to carry out his Director’s instructions.  The odds he faced proved too tough-unsuitable pastures, drought,  illicit grog and fancy-free ‘ladies’, the latter of whom came in droves from Newcastle, and caused havoc among the Company’s shepherds!

In 1828, John MacArthur, a shareholder and director of the company, arrived at Port Stephens on an inspection tour.

He was so dismayed at the sorry state of the Company that he suspended Dawson and advised London that the Company should be disbanded.


Newcastle Coal Fields.

The other directors however disagreed with him, and came up with a new idea.  This was to gain control of the Government owned coalfields in the Newcastle area.

To further this idea, the Company appointed a new Superintendent, the Arctic explorer, Rear-Admiral Sir William Edward Parry who arrived in NSW armed with another Royal Charter with which he confronted the new Governor Bourke.

He was granted access to approximately 2,000 acres of coal-bearing land at Newcastle, and the Company reaped the benefits of an absolute coal monopoly for the next 31 years, producing up to 15,000 tonnes of coal annually.

Drought conditions and the realisation that the land around Port Stephens, (much of which was described as worthless, sandy scrub) was not really suitable for the raising of sheep and the fattening of Cattle, finally pressed the A.A. Co into action. 


Henry Dangar (1796 - 1861).

Early in 1831, Superintendent Parry despatched Henry Dangar, the Company Surveyor from Port Stephens in search of two tracts of land suitable for Merino sheep breeding, these to replace half of the 1,000,000 acres granted to the Company at Port Stephens. Dangar, following instructions from John Oxley, crossed the Great Dividing Range in July of that year near the headwaters of the Mooki River. Opening before Dangar’s eyes was the most beautiful panorama of slopes and plains.

Parry personally inspected this area in 1832, approaching it through the gap in the mountains now known as Ardglen. He selected 249,600 acres of land to be called “Warrah”, meaning ‘place of many showers’.


Goonoo Goonoo

The second tract of approximately 360,000 acres was selected and settled in 1834 on a river later known as the Peel. The selection was called “Goonoo Goonoo”, and the settlement became the foundation of the present-day city of Tamworth.

Two Company employees, Charles Hall and William Telfer were sent from Port Stephens to squat on the selection at “Warrah”, and in March 1833, Governor Bourke was instructed by the British Colonial Office to grant the A.A. Co immediate possession of the selections at “Warrah” and “Goonoo Goonoo”.


Extract from Town & Country Journal, Oct 28th, 1871.

“Warrah”. This fine tract of country originally taken up by several small squatters, when the A.A. Co, led by the agent Sir Edward Parry exchanged 249,600 acres of land at Port Stephens for an equal quantity at the head of the Mooki; for it had been objected that their occupation of the whole coastline by the sea, so the Company gave up a ¼ million acres of worthless, sandy scrub for an equal quantity of the best land in NSW, the aforesaid small squatters being removed to make room for them.

Mr Henry Dangar, the Company’s surveyor who selected this small section, 30 miles long east to west by 13 miles wide north to south, was no mean judge of land for almost every acre of it is first class soil, sound, strong and deep, lightly timbered on the sloping ground and abounding in open, well-grassed plains, with a climate well suited for either sheep or cattle.

Many tributaries of the Mooki will water the estate, and a splendid view of the property is obtained from the “Pinnacle”, a trap rise about a mile from “Old Warrah”, where the country almost as far as the eye can see belongs to the property, which is bounded by the Liverpool Range, the bold, unequal summits of which are seen in the blue distance to the southward, while the easy spurs that head north from that range die down in open black soil plains in the centre of “Warrah”.

These plains, which can be distinctly (and indistinctly) seen from the Pinnacle, are watered by the following creeks, commencing east and glancing westward: Chilcotts, Borambil, Warrah, Jacks, Little Jacks, Millers, McDonalds, Pump Station, Yarramanbah, Phillips, Cattle and Black creeks.

By 1834, the A.A. Co, with over 400 convict shepherds and station-hands, 36,615 sheep, 2,803 cattle, 384 horses, and coal mines had become the greatest single power in Australia. The wool clip that year was 270 bales. It was shipped directly to London and fetched up to 33 pence per pound, averaging 28 ½ pence. A school, church, shopping facilities, a hospital and military garrison were established at Stroud, and Rear Admiral Parry even had a water-powered timber and flour mill erected there.

The A.A. Co continued to move from strength to strength, building up its primary industry might, which then included free and leasehold properties in NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. Cattle breeding and fattening and farming however replaced sheep breeding as the most important industries within the Company.


Warrah’s Development.


As it was chartered in 1833, the deeds to the property did not come through until 1847, and it was imperative that settlement be made at Warrah immediately.


In mid 1833, William Telfer and a team of shepherds moved 6,000 breeding ewes from Port Stephens up the Hunter Valley and over the Liverpool Range to Warrah, making their initial settlement at the present-day site of Old Warrah. During the trek, only one sheep was lost.


However all did not go well at Warrah. Neighbouring sheep were infested with a disease known as ‘scab’, so to prevent the Warrah sheep from contracting this complaint, the new Superintendent Colonel Dumaresq ordered that all sheep be moved from Warrah to the Goonoo Goonoo estate.




Very little appears to have been thought of this ¼ million acres of freehold before 1862, for it was let to a squatter for £300/year; but in this year, Mr E C Mereweather was appointed General Superintendent for the Company, receiving at the same time £30,000 to improve and stock the Warrah estate which had already been done to a great extent.




Merinos in 1871


The sheep which numbered 3,700 in 1861, mustered 84,000 at the washpool last season (1870) and amounted to 70,000 sheep and 16,000 lambs for the present season. There are 400 rams, mostly of Mudgee extraction from the celebrated flocks of Messrs Riley, Bayly and Cox, ten of which are of high quality for stud purposes.


A merino stud was established at Warrah in 1872 on a selection of ewes bought at the dispersal sale of C C Cox’s Brombee flock, at that time one of the leading flocks in the colony. From time to time, high class sires were introduced including Vice President, a grand champion at Melbourne sheep show in 1895.


The Warrah merinos are fine framed, well made, comfortable-looking sheep, well covered with wool of good combing quality and character, the average fleece weight being 3 pounds 3 ounces. It has much of the Mudgee style about it, but struck me as being somewhat inferior in fineness and elasticity; however it differed considerably on different sheep, some of them exhibiting wool of prime quality.


The first shearing shed on Warrah was built on Jacks Creek, the area now being part of “Talawanta”, owned by the Rowe and Badgery families. During the early 1860’s, the present and second shed was erected.



Warrah woolshed during shearing, 1870. Photo thanks to Quirindi's heritage cottage museum.

The woolshed which stands on rising ground close behind the head station at East Warrah (as distinct from the first settlement at Old Warrah) , is not remarkable for size or pretension, but it is a cool, serviceable shed, well-built and has a good, roomy shearing floor.


It was shingle roofed, this being covered with corrugated iron in 1894.


Thirty pairs of shears undressing 30 fleece-bearers make a busy scene; an average of 5 minutes of rapid clipping elapses before the first sheep slips about the floor seeking a way out.


Each fleece is removed to the sorting table and classed.


There are no less than 30 bins for classification of the wool, which is divided into first, second and third combing, super, locks and pieces; skirts and black wool of which the latter is about one bale every season.


The press is a good old rack and pinion, capable of turning out dozens of bales a day, averaging 3 cwt and branded AACO. The highest price realised for last season’s clip (1870) was 23 ½ pence, being about the average. But the Warrah wool is deteriorated by burrs and seeds which go home with it. For the generous nature of the soil is much imposed upon by Bathurst Burr and seeds of weeds which have taken forcible possession of the ground.


The percentage of lambing stands unusually high. For 1871, it is 99%, several dry ewes being included.


The sale of store sheep annually amounts to 15,000 and the consumption on the property being 2,700, the average of deaths is 2%.

Old photo of the Windy woolshed.

44 Stands at Windy.

The shearing shed at West Warrah, later known as “Windy”, was built in 1901, with 44 stands. Accessory equipment including stretchers, bedding, kitchen and eating utensils for the shearing personnel was always sent to Windy for the shearing session there, at the conclusion of shearing at Warrah.

Shearing rates in the 1860’s were 2/6 per score, or 12/6 per 100. Today [December, 1985] they are $106.89 per 100—approximately 86 times more than in the 1860’s.

Steam powered machines were introduced for shearing in 1894. Prior to that, up to 200,000 sheep were shorn with blades.

In 1938 electricity took the place of steam at Warrah. Helen remembers many hours of fun as a youngster, playing on the beautiful steam engine which was still on site but not in use at the Warrah shearing shed-it was affectionately named as “Kate”.

Sheep were always washed prior to shearing to cleanse the wool of excess grease and foreign matter. The first wash site at East Warrah was on Warrah Creek, just above the present site of Warrah Creek Hall.


The Warrah sheep wash. "The Wash Pool". If you look very closely, you can just make out the steam engine in the shed at rear, slightly to the left, under the smoke stack. Photo thanks to Quirindi's heritage cottage museum.

In 1867, a new and very much larger sheep wash was established west of and adjacent to Warrah Creek approximately 2 miles from the East Warrah shearing shed. Here 16 men could wash between 1,400 and 1,500 sheep per day in a large soak tank filled with a mixture of soap, caustic soda and water at a temperature of 110°F. This was renewed 4 times a day from 2 hot water tanks standing alongside the engine shed which housed a 16 HP Clayton and Shuttleworth locomotive engine used for pumping the water.

Improvements were constantly made at Warrah. A new site was chosen for the estate’s headquarters, moving from Old Warrah to East Warrah, the present site.

The homestead on "Old Warrah" before it burnt down. Workers huts are to the left and still stand today.
While the homestead burnt down, a few other building still remain at the original site.

Homestead Burnt.

The homestead erected there in 1862 met with an unfortunate accident in May 1896. Boys burning cobwebs under it succeeded in completely destroying the home, but by December the same year, a new timber homestead had been built on the same site and along the same lines as the destroyed home. (Samuel McNair was the builder).

The property was completely rabbit-proof fenced by 1889, and a school was in operation that same year. Additions were made to the shearing shed in 1891, and numerous workmen’s cottages, work-sheds, sheep, cattle and horse-yards and marvellous cobbled stables were erected. The township of Willow Tree on the eastern boundary of Warrah was founded, with all the usual town amenities.

The first Beef Shorthorn cattle stud in Australia, established originally at Port Stephens, was moved to Warrah in the mid 1800’s, and both Thoroughbred and Clydesdale horses were bred from the finest stock.


Warrah is regarded as the fattening station for cattle, mobs of which came overland from Gloucester every 6 months to recruit exhausted nature, brought low by a course of treatment of sand mingled with salt air.

It usually takes these frames from 6 to 12 months to cover their bones with Warrah fare, but some have fared so badly that they are compelled to leave the bones to cover themselves.

At Gloucester, the Company have at present 528 pure-bred Durhams, and 9,478 reported to be three parts bred, the best bulls being Red Gauntlet, Red Beaumont and Baron Mantolini; there are also about 1,200 wild horses on the run.

At Warrah, the cattle number about 3,000; the cattle and horse brand being C with a point in the middle.



Since the turn of the century, Warrah has slowly been passing out of the hands of the original owners. The first subdivision took place in 1908. The following notice appeared in the Quirindi Gazette on Tuesday July 5th 1910; ‘Resumption of Warrah’. By telegraph, Sydney- Saturday, 10:50 am. ‘With reference to your article in yesterday’s issue of the Quirindi Gazette-a Government Gazette supplement issued yesterday afternoon contains a proclamation announcing the Government’s intention of resuming 61,000 acres of Warrah.

One person to take advantage of the Government’s resumption was Mr J H O’Brien, father of Mrs Barbara Plunkett, who, from 1910 to his death in 1919, rented several Warrah blocks from the Government for sheep grazing. He in turn leased some of his blocks to MR J M Allison of Coomoo Coomoo.

In 1923, a further 40,000 acres of Warrah was sold, with 3 more subdivisions in 1935, 1958 and 1967. The remaining 5,784 acres of the original East Warrah site was sold to Messrs W Carter and C Henderson in 1972, leaving only “The Highlands” and “Windy” (West Warrah) of the original 249,600 acre grant to the A.A. Co. The Highlands has since been sold to the Cobcroft family of “Parraweena”.


However the A.A. Co lives on and is the oldest surviving pastoral company in Australia.

Helen, in concluding her address, mentioned a few interesting anecdotes involving Warrah.

The first resident employee at Warrah was Doughy Roberts, a shepherd and baker of some note, who for a long time was the only A.A. Co representative on Warrah.


Tales of cattle duffing in those early days have been told, one classic story being recounted by Mr J H Fairbairn, whose uncle had been manager at Warrah from 1874 to 1909. The incident took place in the early 1870’s. The head stockman on Warrah at the time was Bob Kay, who was a church warden and appeared to be above suspicion. He was sent down to Gloucester to bring 800 very valuable heifers back to Warrah. Halfway to Warrah he arranged to meet an accomplice, who set out for the Queensland border with 300 of the heifers, while Kay continued on with the remaining 500. He timed his arrival at Warrah with 400 just before dark, so that by the time the manager Mr Hudson had counted them it would be too late to count the other 400 (actually 100) which Kay said he had left behind on good feed and water to bring in next day. Hudson told Kay to take those he had counted out to a distant paddock.

Next morning Kay took the counted mob some distance away, and leaving them, took the 100 to the paddock to which the 400 that had been counted were supposed to go. The first mob then returned to the yards to be counted again by the manager, who never knew that he counted the same mob twice, and gave Kay a clean discharge! Many months later after a muster, the 300 were discovered missing and were never traced.


This would have been during the period when the Warrah sheep were moved to Goonoo Goonoo. The Warrah district at the time was apparently infested with sly grog-sellers, escaped convicts and bushrangers, among the latter of whom were the Jewboy Gang, who had their headquarters behind the Warrah Pinnacle. 

Doughy's grave, right, with Jim Davis's on left. Photo taken 1951.

 Doughy played the illicit liquor manufacturers off against the bushrangers, apparently with great success, as he lived to the ripe old age of 78 years. As a child I used to visit Doughy’s grave, which was situated on the ridge between the second Warrah sheep wash and the present “Joselands”.


A Warrah bred thoroughbred mare was sold to the Rajah of India in 1926 for polo-playing; another horse became the hack for one of Australia’s Governor-Generals; and many Warrah bred horses saw action in the Boer, First and Second World Wars.


The most famous ex-pupil of the Warrah School, which operated for 50 years, was undoubtably Pilot Officer Rawdon Middleton V.C.. He was the great-nephew of the colonial explorer Hamilton Hume. In 1942, when returning from a bombing raid over the Fiat works in Turin Italy, his plane was so badly damaged that after getting back over British soil, he ordered his crew to parachute to safety. Then rather that endangering the lives of innocent English villagers by crash landing, he turned his plane out over the English Channel where it crashed and he was lost. His V.C. was awarded posthumously.

Pilot Officer Rawdon Hume Middleton, VC Rawdon Hume Middleton. 100641 Date of birth: 22 July 1916 Place of birth: Waverley, NSW Date of death: 29 November 1942 Place of death: English Channel, England

Another ex-pupil of the Warrah school and who was present at the presentation dinner is Mr Alex Chad, an inaugural member of the Quirindi and District Historical Society.


In 1899 when a site was being chosen for Australia’s Federal Capital, Warrah Station was nominated for that very honourable position. Who knows what we might all have been doing now had that nomination been acted upon!




Helen Has also supplied this later info.





Interesting history, works and statistics taken from information about WARRAH Station  at the Butlin Archives, A.N.U., Canberra, 2011.


1880:  employees on Warrah Station Payroll  Ledger and other  inhabitants of Warrah.

       ANNIE LEWIS – born 1866, 1st child of Daniel and Mary Lewis

       DANIEL LEWIS – b. 1843-d. about 1897    Father of Annie and George

       GEORGE LEWIS – b.1868

       GEORGE FAIRBURN – Superintendent



       THOMAS ADAWAY  ( I ,Helen Copeland, nursed Faith Adaway in Quirindi Nursing Home in 1984, probably Thomas’ daughter, as she was nearly 100 years old)









 W. and J. HIGGINS







 GEORGE SMITH ? shepherd

A.      and R. TANNER



WAGES 1880…..1st April to 30th June.  “ Superintendence”


       G. Fairburn, Superintendent @  500 pounds p/a  …..122.10.00

       Jas. S. Hough , storekeeper  @ 60 pounds p/a  ……..13.07.01

       D. Lewis ,  waterdrawer..@ 55 pounds p/a…              13.15.00

       T. Baker,  horsedriver  @  50 pounds p/a                    11.10.09

        M.A. Baker,  Superintendent  Hulk  @ 30 pounds  p/a  7.10.00

       A. Harrison,  storeman  @ 30 pounds p/a  …                6.05.00

        G. Lewis,  mailboy  @ 7/ 6 per week    …                    4.17.06

        G. Shoobert, work in cultivation  pdk. 45 pounds p/a         17.03

        A. Wilson,..bullock driver  ..@ 15/-  per week                3. 07 06

        W. Dempsey,  pressing hay..@ 10/- per ton                 25.12.00

        Annie Lewis,  stockmen’s cook…@ 25 pounds p/a         6.05.00


WAGES  Cattle,  March 1880


         John Palmer, @    20/- per month….                                   1.00.00


WAGES  Sheep,  March 1880


         John Palmer   .. boundary rider..@ 50 pounds p/a                 8.15 10


SHEPHERDS…..Feb/march 1880  @ 10/-  to  12/-  per week


         E. Wells

         W. Parker

         E. Collins

         P. McGuinn

         P. Freel

         D. McDonald

         J. Davis  ( grave in Washpool Paddock)

         I.J. Roberts….overseer  @  120 pounds p/a                          10.04.04

             ( ? Doughy Roberts, grave in Washpool Paddock)







5000 maiden ewes – Dry Creek, Mountain and Borambil Paddocks.


Bathurst Burrs : huge problem in Green Hills, Emu, and Harrisons Paddocks.

    Burr erradication started in worst paddocks in 1893…350 to 500 pounds spent, including rations.


Sheep : Shropshire rams used with some ewes.

            Ewes in 1895 totalled  43,000,  in lamb or with lambs.


Cattle : bringing 4.18.07 pounds to 6. 02.09  pounds per head at sale


Weathers :  bringing  7/ 9  to 8 / 8  per head at sale.


  1898 ;


Stud rams:   sold at Sydney Sales  averaged 11/16/ 6 pounds, highest  22 guineas ,  lowest  5 guineas.


Mr. Bramma ,  Sheep Classer,  stated  about the special stud ram, “Vice President”…” I know no sheep like him “


Area of West Warrah  evident as being known as “Windy” in 1898


Sheep shorn in 1898…over 145,099 plus 30,000


Bales of wool pressed and sent to Newcastle….2528 plus bales for the extra 30,000 sheep.


Statewide severe drought conditions December, 1898.


  1899:   Improvements;


New Blacksmiths shop erected at Old Warrah.


Suckering and horehound cutting attended.


New dip built at Jack’s Creek with yards.


Superintendent’s house re- roofed and ventilated at a cost of 120 pounds…? Old Warrah homestead.

   “ Vast improvement”, said Mr. Fairburn.


December , 1899


  Farming and haymaking at Jack’s Creek…48 acres


  Outbreak of pleuro. In cattle..same inoculated  DISEASE BROUGHT IN FROM OUTSIDE PROPERTY.


  Rennovation of carpenter’s cottage.




  Typhoid fever among 3 families living adjacent to the slaughtering yards at Head station…taken to Murrurundi Hospital.

   New yards erected.




 “ Windy “ homestead roof lined with felting and ceilings and gables ventilated.


 Erection of milking yards at New Warrah


  New sleeping room at Storekeepers Cottage by Company carpenter.


  Bridge by contractor, Mat Murphy, completed over Borambil Creek on road to Willow Tree (? Near present Rodeo grounds)


  Flats at Willow Tree farmed with Lucerne and/ or wheat for hay.   90 acres in total here and at Jack’s Creek for hay.


1901:  January


  Commencement of timber cutting/ sawing on West Warrah for erecting of Shearing / woolshed there  ( Windy)


   Rabbits more evident on West Warrah..Mr. Ogden asked  ( by Mr. Fairburn ) to “ have the ground searched and any suspicious holes dug out “.


  April, 1901:


  Company’s sawmill unable to handle amount of timber required for new woolshed, so timber also milled at Narrabri and Curlewis.


   Work continuing well with woolshed and work on men’s quarters.  Covering shed commenced by W.B. Rixon, Contractor.  Quote…153.00 pounds.


August: 1901


  Mr. Fairburn  “ With the exception of the…machinery and internal fittings, the Windy Woolshed and subsidiary buildings may be said to be completed”.

“ The Hydraulic Power Corps. Emgineer is now employed at the former ( machinery shed)


 A cottage with kitchen being erected at Old Warrah.


October, 1901


“ The machines were started at Windy on 7th instant with about a dozen indifferent shearers, which number has since been increased to about 35.


Shearing at East Warrah “ difficulty confined to scarsity of shearers  45 on the roll and 20 more booked to arrive “


 November, 1901  George Fairburn to Jessie Gregson..


  Fencing, well sinking, tank installations, windmill erections, and installing of drinking troughs continue each month all over the run.




  Completion of new quarters for Shed Officers…82 pounds 10 shillings, and new shearers’ quarters.


1903      February.


   Burrs..huge problem…men employed to eradicate..East Warrah..156 ,  West Warrah  ..187  Total  343.




 West boundary of Lower Washpool Paddock re-erected and 9 miles of other fencing done.




“Highlands” ( name appears) fenced between Mr. Doyle’s and Warrah Creek…3 miles and 3 chains…91 pounds. 3 shillings and. 2 pence.




  Water laid on to the head Station from 2 centrally situated 10,000 gallon , corrugated iron tanks gravitating through underground pipes to the Woolshed and every inhabited building on the place.  Water  is pumped into the tanks from a well on the edge of the plain by means of a 16 foot aermotor.

  Water previously supplied by watercarts.


  Suckering and ring barking and fencing continued..30 men employed..




 50 Shropshire rams purchased from Mr. Weston of “ Mintaro”, South Australia.


!904 ..July


George Fairburn to F. Livingstone Learmonth, Esq, Newcastle..General Superintendent.


Rabbits increasing.  Netting fencing attended on some boundaries and internally.  11 miles on western side of Cattle  Lane.   Rabbits worse at Windy.




4 room cottage built at Old Warrah for the Engine Driver.




 80 English Leicester rams bought in New Zealand.


15 /7/1906…


 Death of Stud ewe, “ Countess of Bellevue”, on the same day as her breeder, Hon. James Gibson, died at Bellevue.




Drafting races for ewes and lambs constructed in covering sheds at Warrah shed.


 Mt. Gregson  rabbir proofe fenced with barb on top around boundary.




Local Government Act of 1906 advises State to be divided into Shires under control of Councils elected by landowners…with 3 divisions…Ridings A  B  C  , each with 2 Councillors.

Mr. Fairburn elected in A  Riding, which is briefly Warrah west of cattle Track and bounded on south by Liverpool Range.


Good road from Head Station to Willow Tree Railway Station, completed by Superintendent for 196 pounds, 15 shillings.


On Police orderd, a recommendation that better lighting be fitted to Shearers Quarters at Windy.


Horses:  7 saddle horses purchased for 120 pounds from Mr. Cook, Turanville.




19 men still employed on Mt. Gregson, suckering and ring barking.   Burr cutting completed at a total cost of 1000 pounds.


Dingo causing trouble at Windy poisoned.


1908    July


Members of the Closer Settlement Advisory Board visited Warrah and were to recommend resumption of from 60,000 to 80,000 acres.




Sawmill from Windy moved to Warrah.


1909:  March


Cattle:  1000 head sold to Hon. John Morrissey of Melbourne @ 10 pounds per head, delivered on trucks from Willow Tree.  These consist of Wollomumbi bullocks and Wallabadah and Warrah breeds.


George Fairburn to F. Livingstone Learmonth


Horses:  7 draught mares for breedingpurchased from Colly Creek Stud @ 35 pounds for 4 per head, and 30 pounds for 3 pounds per head.

4 bought from Hebburn Colliery.

Draught colt bought from New Zealand Stud for 100 pounds, by N.Z. sire, “Lord Roberts”, to replace older stallion with ringbone.


1909;  July


New cottage built for Boundary rider at the Highlands.


New quarters erected for men at Old Warrah.


Superintendent’s house re- painted.

Diversion fences between Haydons and Mt. Parry and Yarramanbah renewed..


1909:  September.


Pens for shorn sheep at East Warrah- eastern side of shed-  renewed.


Ladies bathroom, under your instructions, has been built at the Superintendent’s residence.


1909    October.


  East Warrah…79,929 sheep shorn.   Ewes and lambs remain to be shorn at Windy with machinery.


1909      November.


 Shearing at Windy particulars.

“A” clip..sheep shorn..grown..57, 013……lambs..shorn..22, 916

Bales of wool:  1514 (grown wool)  to London;     2 bales lamb’s wool  to Sydney

Net weight. ..587,485  lbs.


“B” Clip  ..grown sheep  shorn:  56,355…..lambs shorn…9,643       

 Bales of grown wool…1584    sent to London       

Net weight:  648,920 lbs.


Grand total of sheep shorn ( including lambs):  145,927

    “     total of bales ( including lamb’s wool)  :  3,100

    “     total  net weight :  1,236,405 lbs.


All round average wool clip from grown sheep :   10.18 lbs.


1909    December :


 “ Noxious animals”


“ As the number of Marsupials killed on Warrah since the beginning of the year may afford some interest, I am giving the information.”

                                           Rabbits            Hares            Foxes


East Warrah                             74                 375                 2

West Warrah                            89                 278                 1


Total for month                        163                 653                  3


Annual kill “ Others”      Kangaroo rats      Paddy Melons      Wallabies        Crows        Wombats


East Warrah                     3890                  26,996                   2627            685                3

West Warrah……………….1513                    3,153                   1122            298                -


Totals for year :                5,403                   30,149                   3,749           983               3


1910    January :


 Hot/cold water  service has ben installed at the Superintendent’s home at a cost of about 100 pounds.


1910       July :


A new cottage is “on course of erection “ at Willow Tree for the Boundary Rider  ( ? Frank Palmer’s cottage) near Railway station.


Ironbark Paddock  cultivated for wheat.


Border Leicester lambs mentioned.


1910  December 31


Mr. Fairburn acknowledges to the A.A. Co. his resignation and “ last Report I shall ever be called upon to furnish”.

To be followed by Mr. Henry as Superintendent.


1913    February.




New Warrah Hut, Old Warrah Hut,  Stewart’s Camp/Gang


Employees:    P. Murphy ( Stewart’s gang)


Sam Johnson

A.C. Whalan

Mrs. Henry ( 28 lbs potatos)

R. Beale

Adlam and Clarke

F. Buckmaster

E. Burdett

T. Peelly

? Wratten

T. Jackson

G. Humble ( 1 bag sugar)

N. Steele

 ? Saunders (James well)

Thos. Kelly

 Mrs. Henry ( ¼ potatos)

I.H. Wratten ( 2 bars soap @ 9 pence—1/6)

? Humble  ( 28 lbs. potatos)

P. Murphy  ( suckering)  1 pkt. Matches   6 pence.

G. Humble –6 lbs. onions @ 2 pence/lb..1/-


New Warrah Hut…March 10, 1913.   150 lbs. flour, 90lbs.sugar, 7lbs. tea,17 lbs. plums and currants, 1 bag rice, 1 bag potatos, 14 lbs. onions, 3 vinegar, 2 tins baking powder, !/2 soap, 1 mustard powder, I pepper, 2 tins golden syrup, 2 coffee.

R. Ballenden


E. Eastburn

Ian Saunders.

Saunders..James Well, 4 March, 1913.

1 jar spirits of salts, 5 Pink, 21/2 pkts.Trimmers rivets,  28 lbs tin, 28 lbs. lead, 14 lbs. 3/8 rivets, and 14 lbs.  washers for same.

A. Alcorn..Washpool…312 flour, 78 sugar, 9 ¾ tea.

Rations for Irwin, Snr. Jack’s Creek…208 flour, 61/2 tea, 52 sugar.

H. Dodds…rations

E. Dwyer..Warrah Creek

W. Cooper..crutching

G. Lewis on a/c rations..116 flour, 13lbs. tea, 104 lbs. sugar, the whole lot bar 2 bags flour.

A. Mitchell

Old Warrah Bachelors..6 sugar, ¾ tea

Hunter Ham…208 flour, 52 sugar, 61/2 tea.

E. Burdett ( Wallaroo)

W,Walsh  ( shearer)

 Phil Mullins ( Old Warrah) , I. Donaldson (Old Warrah),  Morgan and Lampin ( Old Warrah0

P. Calloll

? Mallon

? Eipper

? Farmer

H. Wratten

A. Mitchell

Silver Farm, Willow Tree  25 March…1913…B. Beale..2 cartons sunol 3/1  ( ? tobacco), 1 box matches 6 pence.

31 March 1913..I. Dowd..new farmhand..1 c. sunol 1/6

April 2  1913..I. Fogarty…fencing tools.

April 1913.. Burr Camp.. Walters  Nolan Dam.

Burr Camp, Parsons Hill.

Bussells Burr Camp

May 7 1913..William Walter,  I. Pope

May 20 1913..M. Power.. Jack’s Creek yards.

?. Bellenden

J. Stapleton

E. Burdett

D. Lampen


June 2  ? Crane

S. Matthews

Farm Camps…June 20..P. Carroll  61/2 tea, 52 sugar

July 14      G. Lewis..1 bag sugar

July 16     J. Palmer  4 lbs tea

Silvers Camp…Farm A/c Wallaroo.


Chargeable goods only.

26 July…B. Beale…1 bottle peppermint cure

15 Sept. 1913…C. Hepburn,  A. Bramley


5 March 1914  ;  C. Lobsey, I. Hunt, ?Eipper, Alin Seckold


Man in Welsh Camp..4 c. sunol,  1 box matches

1916….EMPLOYEES…reason / cause for leaving..taken from Warrah records in Butlin Archives, Canberra.


R.E.Bourke : dipping..sacked for laziness

H. Bourke…general..left own accord ( no good )

Robert Bussell..cook…left dipping camp in the lurch..thirsty

Jas. Barr…cook’s offsider..own accord..objecting giving meals a all hours…thirsty

E. Jenkins…dipping…dipping finished  ( half cranky )

T. Jackson…sheep..1916 August 23..left to go on shearing…good worker, but surly, resents reprimand.

M. Johnson…general..August 31, 1916 to December 31..sacked…lazy, no good.

W. James..general..1916  November 16 to November 20…gave notice, drinking, no good

Wm. Lobsey…sheepwork…enlisted for War

Wm. Lewis..general..left 16 December, 1916..Left because told to cart manure to Caroll. Said to be a W.W.1 man.

C. Taylor..Webb’s offsider..own accord..drinking

Jack Toomey…wanted more than 25/- p/week and overtime to bail out Nowlands new well.

W. Thompson..general..1916 June 19 to August 14..sacked…useless…stole pair of trousers belonging to W. Lewis when leaving

C. Thom..general..!916  Sept.13 to Oct.11 ..left under Compulsory Training System….no good.




Archie…..1/4 s. h’lock

Frog……..1/4 s. h’lock

Rowdy……1/4 s. h’lock

Fenton…1 writing pad,  1 envelopes

Ranclaud…1 pr. Reins

Ranclaud…80 c. salt,  1 petrol drum


1917…A ? Duval car purchased for the Station.




27/8/17  Ah Foo…1lb.d. h’lock, 12 vestas

15/9/17  Gins….4 sticks tobacco,  2 boxes matches

1/10/17..Blacks…4 figs tobacco, 14lbs. flour, 11/2 tea, 4lbs. sugar

 Prince Henry..5 lbs. flour, 2 lbs. sugar, 1lb. tobacco

 Ah Foo…4 tins sardines

 Clayton..1 dress, 1 handkerchief,  1 pkt. Cig. Papers, 1 tin capstan tobacco, 1 pair socks.

30/12/1917…Toby..1 shirt,  1 handkerchief

  Clayton..shorts and trousers


WAGES…Cash for Rabbit, etc. destruction .      Hares @ 1pence each        Foxes @5/- each

 25 September, 1917.      

T. Wratten………                                                                                         6…….1 pound 10 shillings

Henry Palmer                                                                                              13 ……3 pounds 5 shillings

Jethro Palmer                                                                                              15…….3 pounds 15 shillings

Oscar Dodds                                                                                                 3…….15 shillings

Geo. Lewis                                                            7…7 pence


28 December, 1918      F. Middleton….2 hunting dogs………..10 shillings

31 December, 1918    Reid Bros. “Millers Creek”..share of bonus paid for scalps of

                                                   5 wild dogs @ 2 pounds…..10. pounds

                                                  13 pups  @ 20/-                  13 pounds

Destroyed in paddocks adjoining Warrah.


27/3/1919….P.P. Board, Tamworth.

Hire of poison carts and drivers in Warrah Creek paddocks    4 days @ 27/6 p/day  ……   5 pounds


DIFFERENT JOBS allocated to Employees and paid as such


1917…Driving traction engine….Chas. Shuttlewood

          Teamster…..Arthur Neely


          Farmer…Victor Silver

          Bridge Builder…Robert Peake

          Sheep work…Michael Power

          Cook’s assistant…P. McLoughlan

          Assistant gardener…Jas.McNaughton

          Sawmill hand….Sydney Smith

          Boundary rider…Robert Smith

          Plumber…W.S. Tatton, Willow Tree.

1918…Groom…John Morton.                 

1919…Suckering…I. McLean, 

          General hand…John McKenzie,

          Bore contractor…I.P. McGinnity, Quirindi

          Fencing…Dan Prior,  L. Prior, Owen Prior, William Prior.

          General hand…William Smith

1920…Dipping …H. McLennan

          Chinese gardener…Sam Hop

          Superintending cattle on adgistment at Kempsey…John Silver

          Shearing….Grazcos Co Op

          Crutching   Chas. McKenzie

          Looking after AACo. horses at Stroud…P. Smith

          Carrier…A. Squire, Quirindi

          Piece picking and crutching…W. Sullivan

1921…Sawmill hand…W. McLennan

           Road constructor….E.T. McGuirk,  Willow Tree

1922…Burr cutting…V.S. Scott, M. O’Malley, I. O’Connor


STORES…Boundary Gully A/c


28/12/22…Paddy….1 G.B.D. pipe

20/8/23…A.Jones….Telegram…1/ 4,   telegram…2/ 8

15/9/23….J. Dempsey…quinine capsules

A.      Robertson…bottle of fever mixture



WAGES end Month July 31st, 1931           Pounds, shillings, pence


R.Palmer                                                     8 – 16 – 8

Mark Palmer                                                12 – 6 -  0

Harold Palmer                                               9 – 16 – 11

Eric Palmer                                                  12 – 6 – 0

Jethro Palmer                                                 9 – 14 – 3

Henry Palmer                                                 9 – 19 – 11

Frank Palmer                                                  8 – 16 – 8

E.W.Palmer                                                   13 – 6 -  7

R. Holland                                                        3 – 1 – 0

G. Lewis                                                          9 – 9 – 11

Jethro Boyd                                                      8 – 16 – 8

S.Boyd                                                             8 – 14 – 9

D.A.Cameron                                                   25 – 0  - 0

D.A.Cameron                                                   59 – 4 – 10




This completes the notes I took at the Archives…..much, much more to be looked at.        


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Heather Hile | Reply 18.12.2020 17:53

Thank you so much Geoff, love the photos our 4 sons will have a great time going through all of them. Wonderful memories.

Heather Hile | Reply 18.12.2020 14:10

Thank you so much Helen has been great to catch up. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Will try Willow Tree now and then. Take care.

Geoff Barwick 18.12.2020 15:00

That was quick Heather. Well done. I've tagged you in a few things. Hope you enjoy it.

Heather Hile | Reply 16.12.2020 22:20

Thank you Helen, would love to be able to get one. You have done a great job putting all this history together. We left Warrah when I was 4 but often came back

Geoff Barwick 18.12.2020 14:03

This website getting too expensive to run. All my history is on that facebook group now.

Geoff Barwick 18.12.2020 14:00

Just sent Heather your email address Helen. I know some people dont like facebook, but give it a try. "Willow Tree now and then".

Helen Copeland 17.12.2020 17:18

It has been great speaking to you, Heather. I'll ask Geoff Barwick to send you my email address. Meantime. Merry Christmas and Safe, Healthy and Happy New Year

Heather Hile | Reply 15.12.2020 22:21

No I can’t remember the organ. Would love a Warrah Cookbook, are they still available to buy? Our son is doing a family tree so is interested in this history.

Geoff Barwick 18.12.2020 13:58

I've downloaded the whole warrah cook book onto the "Willow Tree now and then" facebook page.

Helen Copeland 16.12.2020 11:46

Book was compiled by Judy Marheine and Trish Greer, printed by Newey & Beath Printers Pty. Ltd.(049)614507 in 1983. Maybe reader of Warrah site has spare copy

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Latest comments

25.09 | 09:36

Absolutely delighted to come across a part of my direct ancestors history about which I knew very little and shall endeavour to find out more
Thank you Prof. A.

23.09 | 22:23

Very interesting Kelaher family history. Impressive number of trained nursing sisters. Jack lent the Copelands a cream horse, Playboy, in 1950's, ridden by Kate

09.09 | 17:58

Wonderfully informative. Thank goodness for Jane and John Atchison's work

06.09 | 14:33

I am Jack Kelaher and I am proud of my pop, dad and ancestors.

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