Current Topic - Living in Molong
- the boom years
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.
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.