Early Days in the Burnett.
Dear Sir, – Kindly allow me to space to reply to George Mclaughlan. I regret having to break through my promises not to write again regarding George McLaughlan; but he has trodden on my toes too hard, and he must be shown up in such false statements as he has made.
Now, to start with, he states, in one of his letters, that he was born in 1852, making him the same age as myself, as I was born on Wetheron station in 1852 on 18 of March. I wish to show that I was on Wetheron Station at that time and for some time after that, some four or five years and this was before George McLaughlan was born for I had two sisters born on Wetheron – one in 1849. Mrs. James Powers, now living in Brisbane, was born on the same place at the end of 1850. Mrs. James Powers still lives in Brisbane and is in her 80th year and can confirm my statements. My father got his colonial experience on the Logan on Rindowimba ( this probably should be Nindooinbah) while working for Mr Cartin Collins, and it was there Mr Humphris (not Humphrey as George McLaughlan calls him and Mr James Walker also called him. There was no such man on Wetheron.) knew my father, and the two Lawlesses of Booubyjan, who were also on the Logan, having stock there, at that time; and it was there that Mr Humphris arranged with my father to come to Wetheron. I may say my father was married on the Logan (they were married in Brisbane but were from the Logan) and came to Wetheron with Mr Humphries stock and the Herbert Bros’ (of Ban Ban) stock; they were boxed and travelled together to their destination about 1846 or 47. The lawlesses knew my father well on the Logan and offered him the management of Booubyjan, after Wetheron was sold and delivered by ny father to Messrs Morton and Brock. Now Mr George McLaughlan will tell you yet my father was never manager of Booubyjan, where we were for 9 years.
Before Mr Humphris left for England, he gave my parents a large Bible that he used to read prayers out of every Sunday night, on Wetheron, and in that Bible is Mr William Humphris’ name, and also the names of 14 of the Bushnell family children – the year they were born and where at and the dates inserted in that Bible when the children were christened and by the person that did the christening. Mr Humphris also made my father a gift of two horses; called Coronet and Eclipse. These two horses my father ran at the Gayndah races with success, and one of the horses was never beaten. I think he ran them two different years in Gayndah while on Wetheron. Mr Humphris being at home in England decided not to return to Australia again and offered Wetheron to my father, on good terms. The conditions at the time being unsatisfactory and not seeing his way clear he refused the offer and Mr W.H. Walsh of Degilbo tried to persuade him to accept the offer. (He was a good friend of to my father).
I would like to point out at that time the shepherds on many of the stations were running away to diggings in New South Wales, as they were booming at that time. Wetheron was equally treated by the shepherds; they either left the sheep in the sheep yards or in the bush and cleared off, and the station hands (what were left) had to keep a constant watch on the shepherds, seeing them every day, so my father had a very anxious time for some months and this assisted in his decision not to take on Wetheron, and Mr Humphris deposed of it to Messrs Moreton and Brock through a Sydney agent, Mr Moreton then being in that locality, where he got his first colonial experience.
I would like to mention that the Bible given to my parents is still in the family, my youngest sister has it in Brisbane and it can be produced. (The sister mentioned would, more than likely, have been Mary Jane Bushnell who married William Smith Binnie in 1881.)
I could write many things that my mother told us of, the early days and what we afterwards knew of. George McLaughlan writes about early days and the delivery of Wetheron, and that Mr Humphris had to show Mr Moreton over Wetheron. How could he do so when he was not in Australia, being then in England and this also can be proved so that George McLaughlan’s statements are not to be relied on. It anybody showed Mr Moreton it was my father for he did give delivery of Wetheron to Mr Moreton, and then we left for Booubyjan where we were until 1867. Greaves was never manager in my father’s time, whatever he was in Mr Moreton’s time, after we left Wetheron. Greaves used to live on an out station belonging to Wetheron, called Wyar. Mr Centor Moreton lived there some years after when he bought Brock’s share of Wetheron and became a partner with his brother.
I never heard Wetheron called Ban Ban, they were both separate places; the Herbert Bros had Ban Ban.
Thanking you in anticipation.
May 5, 1930.