Murray family

Posted on Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 by [email protected]

Stanley married Madge Rothery, and they had one daughter, Muriel, and one son, Milton, who still carries out the same operation on the land of his ancestors, only with more modern and larger machinery and assistance of greater technical knowledge.

Milton married Ella Warne, and they have four sons and one daughter.  Through his son he has, hopefully, launched the next one hundred years of the Murrays on the Mandagery Creek.
Some Recollections of Manildra and District Stan Murray June 1973

My grandfather owned and conducted the first store ever opened in Molong.  The exact date is not known for sure, but it would be some considerable time before 1850.

It would appear that he had formed a firm friendship with a Mr Taylor, who wrote a letter of sympathy to him on the death of his father, which took place in 1850, and he was buried at Summerhill Creek, out of Orange.

My grandfather’s eldest son was born at Molong in December 1851, and my father, the late Wren Murray, was born in Molong on 18th April 1856.  Some years after that they moved to Orange and settled on the Meadow Creek below Lake Canobolas.

Then in October 1873 they moved to the Mandagery Creek, where all the family grew up.  The two oldest boys, John Murray and my father took up land near the old homestead.

On 25th July 1881 my father married Mary Jane Wren, daughter of Isaac Wren of Cranbury.  There were seven in our family, three boys and four girls, of whom only three survive, myself and two younger sisters, 83, 80 and 76.

In May 1922 I married Marge Rothery and we have a daughter and a son, also four grandsons and a granddaughter, so it’s fair to say that there will be Murrays about the place for a long while yet.

My first recollections of Manildra are when it was almost all on the eastern side of the Creek, except for the railway station.  Then of course, when Mr Griffith moved his store to the western side, other businesses soon followed.

The first police officer I remember was a Mr Brown.  I think it was in 1903 when Jack Williams built the first public house on the western side, and then things began to move.

I can remember three blacksmith’s shops at one time, two stores, two billiard rooms and at one stage, two butchers and two bakers.

I think it was in 1906 or 1907 when Worrell Bros. moved their flour mill from Cargo to Manildra.

Farming in the early days was pretty primitive.  Our plant consisted of a double furrow plough drawn by three horses and a set of harrows which covered about ten feet.  Seed was broadcast by hand and harrowed in.  Harvesting was done by a stripper drawn by three horses, and when full the load was tipped on a cloth alongside the cleaner, which was turned by hand.  The chaff and grain was dished in by hand, and the clean grain was taken out by an elevator and dropped into the bag, which held four bushels.  Even with these methods there was a lot of wheat grown in this and surrounding districts.

I remember that before the railway came to Canowindra farmers from near Canowindra used to deliver their wheat to Manildra.  I’ve seen teams almost nose to tail going by here.  I have been told that a thousand horses yoked in teams delivered wheat to Manildra in one day, and what a dust, as there were no formed roads in those days, except for a few main roads of course.  There were some lovely teams too, seldom less than eight, and a lot of eleven horse teams.

In about 1898 my father and his brother Dave bought a Pony-Deering reaper and binder.  If I can remember correctly, it cost them a whole £35.  It came packed in cases and an expert, a Mr Passfield, came and assembled it on the place.  I still have a flour bin made from these cases which is big enough to hold at least three 200lb bags of flour.  In those days all bread used on the farms was homemade.  My sister used to bake beautiful bread, of which I have vivid recollections.  It was about 1907 or 1908 when the harvesters first came to the district, and while I was away at the war (1916 – 1919) the header appeared here.

I was one of the first two to get a tractor in 1926.  The late Ted Allen was the other, and in the same year I got the first power take-off header, an International ten foot machine.  My son, Milton, was the first to get a self-propelled machine.

Transport was much slower in my young days, with no motor vehicles.  You either drove a sulky, rode a horse, or you walked, and the latter means fell to my lot on many a time.  I thought nothing of walking to Manildra and beyond, or to Cudal or Toogong.  Toogong was our postal address for a long time, and I often walked there to get the mail.  Then we changed to Manildra when we got a road mail service.

A creamery was set up in Manildra about 1900.  Milk was delivered there and separated.  I think the cream was sent to Molong to be made into butter.  My father got together quite a herd of potential milkers, but the drought set in and we never milked a cow.  The drought didn’t break till April 1903, by which time we were nearly broke too.

The first Anglican minister I remember was Mr Rose, who prepared a number of candidates for confirmation, which took place at the old wooden church at Manildra.

Gus and Claude Miller and two of my older sisters, Jessie and Susan, were confirmed.  I’m not sure what year that was.  The Millers, by the way, were among the earliest settlers in the Manildra district.  The Delaneys of Gumble were probably the first, followed closely by the Angus’.

Manildra also had its bit of excitement when the Post Office was robbed.  Butler Colbran was Post-Master at the time.  No one was ever caught, although a couple of locals were under suspicion.

Other names that come to mind are the O’Donnells, Kellys, Cockrams and Carneys.  Mrs Tom Cockram, who was a member of the Angus family, passed away in Queensland quite recently, at the age of 97.  Jack Cockram passed on a good many years ago.  His son John, after he came home from the Second World War, settled on a place on the Lachlan River below Eugowra.  Williams and Hunt were other very well known names around Manildra.

Bibliography:  Milton S. Murray, One Hundred Years of the Murrays on the Mandagery: October 1873 to October 1973.