A TOUR TO THE NORTH-WESTERN INTERIOR.
[BY THE SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT TO THE TOWN AND COUNTRY JOURNAL]
WELLINGTON TO DUBBO
FROM Wellington to Dubbo the distance is 32 miles by the old, and 36 miles by the new road. We left Wellington late in the afternoon, and after passing over the bridge proceeded through some pleasant country for several miles. Two or three hostelries were passed during the first hour's drive, and the Macquarie River was occasionally discerned to our left. About dark we met the mail coach from Dubbo, and found that we still had four miles to go to the place where we intended to stop for the night. Our horses, however, again put on a spurt, and we soon got to the Murrumbidgerie Inn, 22 miles, in less than 2½ hours. Here we put up for the night, and considering the crowd going to the races and show, our host Bowen made us very comfortable. At dawn of day we were again on the road, and five miles from Murrumbidgerie, and nine miles from Dubbo, we came to the celebrated Emulga Vineyard, the property of J. E. Serisier, Esq., the most extensive in the north- west, and having the largest cellars in the colony, excepting only Fallon's, at Albury. The Emulga Estate consists of 4000 acres of land, 1000 acres of which are purchased, and the remainder leasehold. It has a frontage to the Wellington road of a mile and a quarter, and extends back fully two miles. The soil is chiefly a volcanic formation, and varies from the richest red to chocolate and black, or alluvial deposit in the Emulga Valley. The highest point of the estate is marked in the map as the Emulga Hill, 120 feet above Dubbo. This hill form is the surveyor's point of observation for the country, within a circuit of 40 or 50 miles. The vineyard is on the eastern side of this hill, and terminates in the valley, through which flows a good stream of water. The proprietor of this fine vineyard, J. E. Serisier, Esq., J,P. is a gentleman well-known throughout the western districts for his indomitable energy and success in this and other enterprises. The formation of this vineyard on the Emulga was attended with all the disappointments and troubles that fall to the lot of those who make experiments. Unfavourable seasons, scarcity of labour for the peculiar kind of work required, and failure of certain descriptions of vine were chief among the losses and annoyances. I need hardly say that much painstaking, energy, and enthusiasm are required in carrying out a work of this kind.
The Emulga vineyard is now beyond question a great success. The area of the ground under vines is 40 acres. The rows are formed in lines running due north and south. The different divisions of vines consist of ten varieties ; the principal of which are Reisling, Burgundy, Hermitage, Muscat, Shiraz, Maderia, and Verdeilho. Altogether, there are upwards of 50,000 vines planted, and, with the exception of the Verdeilho, all are thriving, and remarkably healthy. The vine-yard is drained naturally and artificially. Through the vine there is a central avenue 30 feet wide, 12 feet in width of which is paved, and on it a tramway laid down, leading to the cellars. I was told that during the vintage season the animals drawing the trucks along this tramway have bells on their harness to give notice to the gatherers to bring out their laden baskets of grapes from the rows of vines as they pass by.
The wine cellars at Emulga are well worthy of inspection. The building is an immense one 160 feet in total length, and 35 feet in width. Since my visit I see by the local paper that Mr. Serisier intends to add 60 feet more to these cellars. As some discussion has arisen on the subject I may here mention that the dimensions of Fallon's wine cellars at Albury, are 170 feet in length, and 66 feet in width. The wine press at the Emulga cellars is a first class one, and embraces all the latest improvements. It is constructed of hard- wood and cedar, and worked by a 5-inch screw. There is also a smaller press attached to a machine for separating stalks from grapes. The cellar of course contains immense vats capable of holding 1000 gallons each, and piled around the storing rooms are huge casks of wine. Mr. Serisier has already stored upwards of 11,000 gallons of wine of the vintages of the past three or four years. Connoisseurs speak highly of some of the wine made at Emulga.
To resume the account of my journey. We arrived in Dubbo, 14 miles from the Murrumbidgerie Inn in good time for breakfast. I learnt the following facts with respect to the origin of this thriving town:—About 45 years ago Robert Verner (sic) Dulhunty "took up country," or "sat down" as it was then generally termed, on the northern bank of the Macquarie river, 226 miles from Sydney. The station was called Dubbo. [I should be much obliged to any of my Wiradhuri aboriginal friends if they would furnish me with the meaning of the word, I promise them on my next visit "a bob" or "wee- julderie" (glass of grog) which, probably, will be more satisfactory to them than thanks.] From Mr. Dulhunty the station passed into other hands, and in 1849 a township was surveyed about a mile and a half below the station, which thenceforth rejoiced in the title of Old Dubbo. When Mr. Surveyor White laid out Dubbo he had the good sense to make every street a chain and a half wide, and to leave extensive reserves for public recreation and commonage. The streets running parallel with the river were called after the Governors Macquarie, Darling, Gipps, Brisbane, Bourke, and Fitzroy; and the cross streets running east and west chiefly aboriginal names: Cobbora, Wingewarra, Talbragar, Myall, Bultge, &c. There were also Macleay, Church, and Erskine streets. The first land sale of Dubbo town allotments took place in 1854. For the first ten years the town does not appear to have made any marked progress, for in 2864 there were only two public houses and two stores in the incipient township.
Now, in 1874, the population exceeds 1000; there are ten hotels, many well-built stores, and other places of business, two banks, a fine church, a good public school, a hospital, post and telegraph office, Exchange hall, court house and gaol, and one of the finest bridges in the country, spanning the Macquarie. The industrial works consist of a capital steam flour and saw mills, soap and candle manufactory, a tannery, and a soda-water manufactory. The town is incorporated, and the municipality is one of the best in the colony. There is a Jockey Club and an Agricultural Society, and a well-conducted newspaper.
Dubbo in the West, and Wagga Wagga in the South are generally regarded as the leading pastoral townships in the country districts of New South Wales. I do not know any other towns where so much liberality, and so much spirit are shown in all matters affecting public interests. Where squatting interests predominate, it must be admitted that though the population is not so dense as in agricultural districts, there is a larger number of wealthy people. Dubbo is in every respect a progressive township. It has all the outward signs of progress, and I was shown sufficient during my stay, extending over ten days, to convince me that in the district there are great resources, in an agricultural as well as a pastoral sense ; and that there are men in the town and district who know how to make the most of these resources. This latter element shows that half the battle is gained ; and I cannot write too enthusiastically of men of this stamp. A district fortunate enough to possess such men must progress.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)