Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Hawkesbury memories of Christmas long ago

The following Christmas story was published in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette 24 December 1926, and was compiled by local historian, William Freame who often wrote historical articles on the local area.

‘Tchk, tchk! Gid-up!’ ‘
Hold fast, there!’ 
and down the range we go;
Five hundred miles of scattered camps will watch for Cobb and Co.

"The old mail coach, despite its limitations, was inseparably associated with Christmas holidays - when we were boys…the great lumbering, leather springed coach with three great lamps in front, drawn by four horses fresh from the last change, whose hoofs beat out merry music as we go over the bridge, under which "leaps the wild torrent from chasm to chasm."  Those were the days, the good old days, "when the world was wide" and life was full of adventure. We turn the corner and glimpse the river, like a silver ribbon winding through the valley. Bump! Bump! Over a log; we hang for a minute over the valley, and reach the top and pull up at the Selector's Arms with its menu of lamb, sheep, ram or mutton.

Image: Christmas Eve on the wallaby track.
Pub. Melbourne: David Syme & Co., 1880

We are crossing the flat now…a tiny wreath of smoke loses itself in the timber, a bark hut looms in the clearing and two of its children bestraddle the slip rails, a bundle of newspapers cleave the air, "A Merry Christmas - A Merry Christmas" and their tiny voices are swallowed in the silence of the bush. We glimpse the township, we lose it as the road dips down through a gully, then winds again, over another bridge that spans a lazy creek, and up the street where stands in all the glory of its tin-roof  The Travellers Rest [North Richmond] with  its generous supply of "am and heggs".

We wander o'er the old mail routes and live again the days that are gone; phantom horses and drivers haunt deserted Macquarie Arms [Windsor] and  "Royal Hotel" [Richmond] hide their weather-worn signboards in grey old barns; Diggers Rests delicensed these 30 years or more, have reached decrepit old age, and in their second childhood, dispense hop beer and brandy snaps and in an old slab shed remains all that is left for Cobb and Co. Dusty and rusty, its leather blinds all tattered, but what memories it evokes! Memories of other days and other ways, of friends and scenes long since passed away. They come back again…and once more we are on the road again…

Hark; the bells on distant cattle
Waft across the range,
Through the golden tufted wattle
Music low, and strange

We touch the old coach again. Goodness! How all comes back again. Yes! It's Christmas times again, see the children? There they are, out on the slip rails, they are greeting the aeroplane."


  1. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!
    Bring you Good wishes of happiness.

    Sorry for greeting you earlier,, just don't want miss saying this.
    By the way, I'm clotee. I am blogger too, and now try my best luck to open an e-store. Nice to know you.


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