Moruya and District Historical Society travels back to 1874.
Something is wrong with the controls on our time machine and we have landed in Sydney.
We leave the time machine in Sydney for repairs and board the I.S.N. Co’s. steamer “Kiama”.
On this occasion, the steamer is going only as far as Batemans Bay; on alternate weeks it goes all the way to Moruya.
At Batemans Bay we find there are two coaches available to get to Moruya, Lynch’s and Corrigan’s. We catch Lynch’s coach. The journey ends at the Moruya River and we have to cross it by boat, as there is still no bridge.
The handsome residence for the Church of England minister is almost complete.
We admire the granite built Wesleyan Church, but the other churches are still the original timber buildings. Most of the stores and Ellison’s mill are operated by the same people as when we visited in 1871.
There are four hotels, Meare’s Kildare in Queen Street (building still there), Coxon’s Adelaide and Cummin’s Moruya Hotel and the Criterion, north of the river. The hotels are all full, as the Moruya races are on.
We ride south to see Mr Hawdon’s Koiley Park (Kyla Park) and enjoy the magnificent view.
The next day we go to Mr Ellison’s Mill on Gundary Hill. The owner shows us over every part of it, explaining all the arrangements. He has designed and set up all the machinery himself.
We then go for a ride to the heads and see the steamers’ wharf. The ships still cannot come up the river and the goods to and from here must be transported by punt. A breakwater has been built at the cost of some £6000 but the sea has nearly destroyed it and it is useless.
The next two days we attend the Moruya races. A new racecourse has just been built. This meeting is the most successful ever run here, with a splendid field of horses from near and far.
We decide to try our luck at picking a winner. We follow Mr Mallon’s horse “Nuncio” which is in several races. It wins the Maiden Plate, the Trial Stakes and the District Purse. We also had some luck with Mr Pollock’s “Irish Kate” which won the Flying Handicap and the Jockey Club Handicap. We were not so lucky with our other choices.
We had an excellent lunch in the refreshment tent with the judge James Coman and some of the other officials including William Tarlinton, Thomas Flood, William Harkus and William Flanagan.
That night we attend a concert given for the benefit of Miss Posey Russell who is about to leave the district to join a lady friend in the far west. This concert was offered in recognition of the valuable assistance Posy has given in rendering items at district entertainments whenever she was asked. Posy is a noted and powerful singer and it is said by neighbours that when she sings at her home in Wamban she can be heard at Kiora two miles away.
The following day we take a ride out to Kiora, still owned by John Hawdon but occupied by his son William, and take the opportunity to visit Mr Crapp’s nursery and farm at Kurrajumbra. The nursery has mostly young fruit trees.
Two days later we visit Mr Luck’s estate at Yarragee and later ride up to The Burra. Next day we cross the river on the ferry and wander around some of the farms at Mullenderree and Shannon Harbour, where we meet Mr Thomas Ball, a farmer with a threshing machine which is in great demand by other farmers.
Mr Ball was unfortunate enough to lose his left hand in this machine when it was crushed off by the wheel when it was in full work. Later we go to Mr Collett’s estate at Mungerarie and go round by the silver mines. The machines are not at work but we did meet the manager of the silver mine, Mr William Wearne.
On Friday we visited Mr Stephens on his farm seven miles out of town. He is a fine specimen of the real old English type. We had lunch with him and then he took us fishing in the river which runs past his farm. We were the only ones who caught a fish.
Mr Barton, a local auctioneer, has at great expense built cattle yards for the purpose of holding monthly sales. We attend his first sale and see some fine cattle, mostly from Mcleod’s and Anderson’s herds. We are supposed to catch the steamer back to Sydney but because the weather was bad it is delayed several days. Eventually a coach with passengers arrives from Batemans Bay. Mr Lynch tells us he will return to the Bay by moonlight so we say goodbye to Moruya for the moment and join his coach. At the Bay we get the steamer back to Sydney where we pick up our newly repaired time machine.
More details on Posey Russell can be found at https://ehive.com/collections/5495/moruya-and-district-historical-society-museum (Type Posey in the search box)