Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bygoo, Barellan, Ardlethan : local histories from the Wagga Wagga City Library local studies collection

The Wagga Wagga City Library local studies collection has a number of local area histories, which I often highlight on the blog, and the following cover  neighbouring areas around Wagga Wagga.

Bygoo and beyond, by Rob Webster, 1985 

Rob Webster  (also the author of  The first fifty years of Temora, which you can borrow from the library) has written a history of the Merool district, the Indigenous name for the creek that runs between the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers. Interestingly there is an entire chapter on anthrax, which was prevalent through Grong Grong and Ganmain in the 1880s, to name but two stations affected by the disease at the time.

Map of station boundaries 1889. From Bygoo and beyond 

Early days in Barellan and district : compiled by V P Carroll, R G Sutton, C J Irvin ( Barellan Show Committee) circa 1975

This book consists almost entirely of extracts from Gow & Gow's Quarterly Gazette, which was a magazine/paper produced by George and Annie Gow of Barellan in the 1920s. George Gow was a station manager, then real estate agent, then stock and station agent, finally becoming a property owner in 1917. There is a brief history of Mr Gow and his family at the begining of the book, 
then the magazines are reprinted in full with photographs of the time. George Gow wrote most of the "articles" under pseudonyms, with a literary style endeavouring to match the character he took on, like Old Timer, Greybeard, or even "Sourdough". It's an entertaining, if sometimes historically or factually inaccurate, read.

Above : detail from Early days in Barellan and district

Poppet heads and wheatfields : a history of Ardlethan and district, South-West NSW, compiled by the Book Committee of the Back to Ardlethan Week Committee, edited by Roy H Taylor, 1985

This book covers nearby Mirrool Creek, Moombooldool, Beckom, Bygoo and Ariah and their agricultural beginnings as stations, as well as focusing on Ardlethan's story. The official start of Ardlethan as a village was in 1908. There were diverse businesses in the town's early days, including a brickworks - of which, according to the authors, there is little known about it's history- only the ruins remained. The genealogy of the London Inn is also mentioned.

Detail from Poppet heads and wheatfields : Charlie Freeman and family crossing the Mirrool Creek

As always, these books are available to view within the library - spend a few hours time travelling with these interesting local histories.

Above: from the Wagga Wagga Advertiser, November 1907


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