Tallong Twitterings | How the town was named

As we approach the festive season, the Tallong Community Focus Group have been busy organising the Village Christmas Party and the opening of the Jim Watling Memorial on December 3.

Plans are also underway for a celebration next March to mark the 200 year anniversary of the first official explorative survey, which opened much of the district lands to European settlement and first recorded the Aboriginal place names which, although Anglicised, are still used today.

WILD COUNTRY: An old photo of the Shoalhaven River in the Tallong region, which shows how steep and impassable the country was in the time of European settlement.

WILD COUNTRY: An old photo of the Shoalhaven River in the Tallong region, which shows how steep and impassable the country was in the time of European settlement.

In 1818, Governor Macquarie –  wanting to expand the early colony of NSW to the south west – commissioned Deputy Surveyor James Meehan to lead a group of experienced bushmen to find an overland route for a road from the Cowpastures near Camden to the coastal settlement of Port Jarvis. The expedition was to draw enough provisions for 12 men to last five weeks of exploration in uncharted bushlands. The party included a 19 year-old Hamilton Hume and Charles Throsby, who brought along his employees Joseph Wild and two Aboriginal trackers Broughton and Bundle. The numerous calculations, measurements, log books, correspondence and the journals of Throsby and Meehan recorded the lands they encountered that were suitable for agriculture. Also recorded were the communications with local natives via Broughton and Bundle.

The expedition left Camden on March 6, 1818 changing their planned route several times on account of wet weather and swollen waterways. On March 17 they approached a flooded river (named after Saint Patrick) that the party was unable to cross until the 21st when they passed through an area the natives called “Urangaalaa” (Throsby). By March 23, the explorers camped in the vicinity of “Bumbaalaa” (Meehan) and progressed through lands suited to farming at “Tallawoo” (Meehan) before entering an area where steep sided rivulets ran into the Shoalhaven Gorge described by Throsby as “very rotten, stony, poor country”. Then on March 24, travelling in a westerly direction, they suddenly sighted “a beautiful piece of fine forest called Moorooaulin” (Throsby). On the morning of the 25th the natives told Throsby of a large area free of trees to the west (thought to be the Goulburn plains). It was evident that they could not cross the ravines of the Shoalhaven Gorge and so on the 26th they divided into two parties to take separate routes to Port Jarvis. Meehan’s group travelled further inland to discover Bungonia and Lake Bathurst while Throsby retraced their steps to a point where he could cross the Shoalhaven downstream. In Throsby’s journal dated April 7 in the vicinity of Port Jarvis there is a letter Throsby wrote to “Dear Meehan” on the chance that he would reach Port Jarvis, suggesting a native pass with two creeks to cross, one called “Taalong” and the other “Boondoondooroo”.

By 1820 Macquarie had placed Charles Throsby in charge of a roadway through to the south west, calling the county Argyle and named the new centre Goulburn. Immediately after the survey the prime farming lands identified by the expedition were settled upon by people known to Throsby: his stepson George Barber at Glenrock, his physician Patrick Hill at Caoura and his associate Robert Jenkins at Bumballa and Tallowa. A full and referenced account of this fascinating story is printed in the TCFG publication ‘Tallong: a heritage’, which is available at the Midge, Tallong.


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