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Historical Information for your interest


Current Topic - Living in Molong - the boom years

The following information are in paraphase (except where quoted) of news item written in 1857 and 1871 to encourage new residents to Molong.

Molong, a town for beauty of scenery, fertility of soil and genial climate. No wild bushy appearance just a green spot with sufficient timber to give the appearance of fine parks in old England. There are several stores a first class store recently opened by Mr Petherbridge, from Bathurst. A new Wesleyan chapel is being built and a Protestant Church is being commenced. "A good blacksmith or blacksmith and wheelwright, might here obtain full employ, and with prudence, secure a snug homestead in a very short time; there is no one of the trade here, and one is much wanted." Men of sufficient moral courage encouraged to settle.

Molong in 1871 is shown below (some names have been added where the original article did not state them). Also some facts about Molong from a Post Office diretory in 1872 - there was an English Church and a Wesleyan Chapel with a Roman Catholic chapel not yet erected but services were held in the court house, 2 Bailiffs and 2 Police Constables, 1 Poundkeeper, 4 blacksmith's shops and wheelwright, 1 Bootmaker, 2 Butchers, 4 Carpenters, 4 Carriers, 4 Fencers, 1 Gardener, 1 Road Contractor (not John Cotter), 2 Mail Contractors and 2 Mail men, 3 General Stores, 1 Tailor, 1 Doctor, 2 Millers and 5 Inn Keepers (four public houses).

In 1871 Molong was described by a correspondent to the newspaper "Empire" as a rising little town situated on the left bank of the Molong Rivulet in a valley or hollow surrounded by ranges not of any significant height with the exception of Copper Hill. The formation around Molong is transitionn limestone, but granite and free-stone is in the immediate area; the soil in the flats is black alluvial, while the hills and ridges is red diluvial; the timber is gum and box, with oak along the banks of the river. The district is a first class wheat-growing country with maize, oats, barley potatoes and esculent plants thriving well. There are vineyards, orchards and nurseries, the Cardington vineyard seems to take the lead.

Copper Hill was described as being a "bold hill to the northwest of the town". The population of Molong included five families with approximately fifty children. The district was reported to have about 3,000 or 4,000 inhabitants. The town plan had been laid out as early as 1850 by Surveyor Nicholson on the slope of the hill to the west of the Rivulet, the principal street being Bank-street which contained several stores. One of the extensive stores mentioned in the "Empire" article was known as the "Australian" and owned by Mr James Haslam.

There was a post-office, the Church of England, the Wesleyan Chapel and a Branch Savings Bank. Molong was stated as being twenty-two miles from Orange and forty miles from Wellington. There were several hotels such as the Freemasons (licensee was John W Smith known as "Jack" Smith), which was described as a homely looking place of one story, deep shaded by a broad verandah and was considered the favourite house of the squatters.

Further up Bank street as the writer stated there "stands the Sea-shell Cottage - a pretty little villa, the property of our much, respected Mr Henry Lewis, better known as Jessy." Other hotels mentioned were the Royal Hotel (operated by Jules Thomas in Riddle (sic) Street), a "capacious building"; also the Criterion (John Cotter's hotel), "another commodious building, situated at the extremity of the town, both of which are well conducted."

Molong also had a public school and the head teacher then was Mr David Patterson with an assistant Miss Wilson who was described as a highly accomplished teacher from Sydney. The number of pupils counted on the roll was eighty-seven with an average attendance of sixty. The education included writing, drawing, Latin and geometry. It was noted the discipline was good.

In the centre of Molong there was a steam flourmill owned by Mr Charles Blakefield and a short distance from the mill was Mr Andrew Parker's saddler shop that seems to be in constant work. To quote from the article "At a distance of about one mile from the most important part of the town on the main western line of road to Bourke, and what is generally termed the West End, is the residence of our worthy leech, or Esculapius; also a short distance further on the same line of road, comes the residence of our lately appointed C.P.S." It can only be presumed from the comment "our worthy leech, or Esculapius" the writer was referring to Dr Andrew Ross as he was the medical practitioner. As to the clerk of petty sessions, this was reported in an earlier issue of the "Empire" to have been Thomas Finch. According to the writer the court of petty sessions sat weekly on a Thursday.

The Church of England minister (Rev James Stack) was noted as being a resident and his ministry covered an area of forty square miles.

John Cotter, innkeeper, had recently opened a freestone quarry about two miles west of the town. The hills of Molong being described as chiefly composed of beautiful fossil limestone. Mr Cotter gets a mention for his having made a serviceable road in a portion of Market-street and this would have been very close to his hotel. The writer termed the road as being "Cotter's-road" and the government should recompense "our worthy citizen" for continuing the upkeep of the road and making it a serviceable road where before it was difficult for a person to walk over with the huge lime stones. One could be cynical and say the upkeep of the road was of a benefit to Mr Cotter's business as well as the passing public but it can also be said without these early efforts the town probably would not have improved as quickly. Apparently the Government road took a different route and went up the hill detouring the direct route. The Municipality of Molong was not formed until February 1879 though incorporation was attempted but was cried down by those who could not or would not see the advantage of a corporate body in town.

The racecourse was one mile east of the town and the Molong Annual races of 1871 were held sometime at the end of March, early April.

Molong Historical Society (Inc.)

20 Riddell Street (cnr Riddell & Gidley), Molong, NSW, Australia.
PO Box 119, Molong, NSW 2866, Australia.

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Last updated 14 June 2016

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Data researched from The Molong Historical Society files.