Looking back on a proud history

WHO are we? Where do we come from, and where are we going?

Sad to say, I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but at least I can tell you what we’ve been up to over the last 150 years in the city of Goulburn.

As part of the lead-up to the city’s birthday celebrations next March, we at the Goulburn and District Historical Society have thrown open the dusty archives to let the sun shine in.

All the ghosts of the past are crammed inside, and we’re letting them out to give them a run in the pages of the Post.

It is the first time some of these hoary old tales have seen the light of day for decades.

Over the next three months we’ll publish a series of articles about the colourful history of the “Queen City of the South”. But don’t worry – this won’t be a dry-as-bones history lesson, and there won’t be a test at the end of term.

Instead, we promise to surprise and amaze you with a smorgasbord of intriguing tales.

So! What, exactly, are we celebrating?

The 14th of March 2013 is the 150th anniversary of the day that the town of Goulburn officially achieved the status of a city.

Back in the days of Queen Victoria, a town did not qualify to become a city because of its size or importance, but because it was the “see” (or seat) of an Anglican Bishop.

So when a Bishop was appointed to a new Diocese based in Goulburn, we became a city by Royal Decree. That ornate document, called the Royal Letters Patent, changed the history of Goulburn forever.

It gives us a unique claim to fame, as the first inland city in Australia.

In the meantime, we intend to regale you with stories of our town from the earliest days up to the present. Not just about explorers in pith helmets and safari suits, but also the humble folk who rolled up their sleeves to build the town, from the early convicts to the brick-makers, cobblers, blacksmiths and barbers that followed them.

We’ll talk about our great achievers, our heroes, and our rat-bags and eccentrics. We’ll tell of the triumphs and disasters that made headlines in the Penny Post, which has served the city since 1870, and the best stories from the journals of the historical society, which has been researching our past for nearly 70 years.

We’ll also publish rare historic photos from our archives, and feature some of the interesting items from St Clair Museum.

We are particularly interested in stories of the pioneering families and businesses that have served this community so well. So if you’ve got a good story to tell, please get in touch with the Goulburn Post.

Lansdowne house

EXTRACT from the Journals of the Goulburn and District Historical Society.

Here’s an extract from issue No 1, dated October 1965, by the late Stuart Hume:

“Built about 1828 by William Bradley, Lansdowne was a grant to his father Jonas.

Bradley became one of Goulburn’s most prominent early citizens. He built the old Brewery and Mill below the house in 1836. He founded

“Bibbenluke” on the Monaro and made a lot of money as a “master teamster” - his teams supplying many a Monaro settler.

The house is early colonial architecture and the outbuildings of stone are the best example of convict stonework we have in Goulburn.

He later employed a manager, NC Phillips, who built a summer house representing the stern of a ship. (He had commanded the HMS Alligator).

Later the property was purchased by the Emmanuel family. Jewish services were conducted in the summer house which acquired the name of “the Synagogue.” Its ruins are still known as such.

It was Mr Bradley who gave Caroline Chisholm the right to “draw on him for anything she wanted.”

He owned much of Goulburn’s present site in 100 acre blocks - hence Bradley Street. He held up the city’s development until he died in 1868, by refusing to sell even one acre. Resumption was not practicable in those days.

Lansdowne and its environs are one of Goulburn’s most historic corners.

* Copies of the journals are available from St Clair Museum, 318 Sloane St. Goulburn. The Museum and archives are open for inspection on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Street names

AUBURN Street is believed to have been named by an early inn-keeper, James Futton, after a line from a poem by Oliver Goldsmith.

The township was known in those days as “Goulburn Plains”, and the poem begins with the line;

“O Auburn loveliest village on the plain.”

I wonder if the name of the poem had any significance. It was called “The Deserted Village.”

I know what you’re thinking, but Goldsmith Street took its name from another source. Futton was such a fan, that when he later built a fine hotel, he called it the Oliver Goldsmith Inn.

That twostoreyed stone building still stands beside the Hume Highway at Run-O-Waters Creek. It was a popular watering-hole for Ben Hall’s gang of bushrangers because they could place a lookout in the top storey to watch for oncoming victims or police, while they lazed about in the bar - listening to poetry, no doubt!

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