Saturday, March 31, 2018

There’s a track winding back : Gundagai’s rich history

The Wagga Wagga City Library local studies collection has a number of histories about our neighbouring towns, and Gundagai has a varied and quirky history that is super appealing. It’s a great place to visit and naturally the Gundagai Library is the best place to start when looking for information on their local history. However if you would like to read up on their history before you visit, here are four books about Gundagai history to pique your interest. 

Gundagai Album , with an introduction by Peter Quartermaine

The photographs in this album were first discovered in the 1950s in a house in Sheridan Street in Gundagai. Originally in negative and glass plate form, the photographs were given to the National Library of Australia who reproduced them in this book. They estimated the photographs were taken between 1890 and early 1900s. The photographs are so lovely - a mixture of people and place that give a clear sense of Gundagai at this time.

Above : from A Gundagai Album

This is a good general history that divides Gundagai's history into different topics including floods, bushfires, the bridges, education, roads and transport and more. There is also the story of Yarri, the Indigenous hero who was a Wiradjuri man, who saved many people during the 1852 flood using a bark canoe. An entire chapter is devoted to the Dog on the Tucker Box story.

Above : detail from Gundagai : A track leading back, showing the Cobb & Co coach

Primarily a biography of Thomas Lindley, a convict sentenced to transportation to Australia in 1832. His first years were as a convict assignee and he was granted freedom in 1840. Married in 1844, to Hannah Sophia Anne Stewart, they settled in Yass, where Thomas Lindley became a publican- and this was just the start of a wide ranging career and life.
This is a particularly well researched and written history featuring detailed documentation, and is a compelling read. 

Above: from Early Gundagai

Above :  from the Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser 

The Watermen of Gundagai was originally a study called Old Gundagai Project - Conservation management plan volume 1 & 2,  researched and written by Brendan O'Keefe and Michael Pearson for the Gundagai Shire Council. Biographies of early townspeople were provided by Marcia MacIntyre. The most startling information for me was the fact that most of Old Gundagai was "almost entirely swept away in the 1852 flood" (p.1, chapter 1). It's hard to imagine the scope of the 1852 flood until you read accounts of what happened that night. 
Another beautifully written and easy to read history with a focus on particular aspects of Gundagai history - really comprehensive information on the Wiradjuri connection with the land, a handy chronology of Old Gundagai, and a section on the Old Mill are just a few highlights.

Above: from : The Watermen of Gundagai

As always, these books are available to view within the library- ask any of our friendly staff for assistance. It's also worth visiting Gundagai - and having a look at these histories will enrich your visit. 

Above :  from the Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser 

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