AUBEN G. GOSPER
I was born on 11 January 1894 at Hornseywood, a property selected by my father Reuben John Gosper adjoining the Parkes – Orange road, about 28 miles from Parkes. Hornseywood adjoined a property owned by my uncle, Herb Atkinson. The homesteads were practically on the boundaries and were only short distances apart. They were on the highest part of the Bumberry Range. The railway line crossed here.
The little township of Manildra was the meeting place of several creeks and the name Manildra is supposed to be associated with the native’s name for meeting of the waters. It was the connecting of the Gumble Creek, Garra Creek and the Flash Jack from Gregra. It was called Flash Jack because of the suddenness with which it could flood after a heavy storm. After those waters joined up the water became very brackish and so hard when the creek was low that it wasn’t much good for homestead use.
Before the railway was built from Orange to Parkes all transport was by road from Manildra. There were two routes. One road went through Boree to Borenore on to Orange; the other was by Garra and Molong to Orange. Between Parkes and Manildra the Bumberry Range had to be crossed. The road was cut into the sides of the hills leaving a steep drop off the sides.
Before the Gospers came to settle the very rich land between Molong and Cudal through Boree was taken up by the Smith, Rutherford and MacSmith settlers by selection of Government grants.
Manildra, when I remember, was on the Orange road across the bridge; also across the rail line which had then been built through to Parkes. It consisted mainly of a general store, post office, police station, hotel, blacksmith’s shop and Catholic church. The Church of England was on the Molong Road, also the school. I suppose there was a bakery, but can remember where George and Charley Paddison ran a butcher’s shop. My wife’s father, George Griffith had a General Store opposite the railway station and the business was gradually transferred in about 1900. That year being remembered for one of the worst droughts and the heaviest snow storms late in November causing a heavy loss of sheep.
My wife Gladys’ great grandfather, Jacob Muller, had his property at the junction of the Meranburn and Gumble creeks. His two sons Christian and Charles Miller each had a portion by the Gumble Road, and each adjoining the Meranburn Creek with two permanent water holes.
Meranburn was the next centre on the Parkes road. It consisted firstly of a hall. Built by community effort, it was used as a school, a church and general social functions. My father used to tell of the concerts they used to put on, that generally ended with a dance, music being a concertina or violin. The ladies provided suppers, with a big fire for boiling the tea. These dances often went until daylight, as the roads were mostly forest tracks.
The families I remember in the 1900s might be of interest living along the Parkes Road and on the Meranburn Creek. The Creek and the road making contact in the creek, many twists and turns. The Charley Millers were at the junction of the Meranburn Creek, Charles Hallwell had a small farm. Then Henry John Gosper, and that joined Will Williams and his two sons Herb and Will jnr. On the Parkes Road from Manildra to this point in the creek and road met McGuinness had a small store and Isaac Mostyn had a property and home on the first hill.
John Cole had a saw mill there too, but I am not sure if that was at a later date. Major Eagleston lived next. The creek at this point took a sharp turn to the north east and a home on the bend there; I can’t say who lived there, but Fred Wenban’s family moved from Red Hill to that property soon after. The Herb Mortons were next on the road and creek. The Ezzy family were next. They later moved to Millthorpe. I think to Charlie Gosper jnr bought that property after he came back from the Boer war. Following the creek, Uncle Ernest, Dad’s brother, had his farm joining that. Uncle Charlie, Grandfather Richard’s brother, had his unofficial farm. The next up the creek was Uncle George Gosper’s original farm. Up at the head of the creek Herb and Arch Gosper, Jack and Jim Attenborough, Bill Townsend and Coles (back to the Parkes Road).
Uncle Jim and Aunt Jane’s farm was later bought by Andrew Anderson. John Gosper was a cousin of Richard’s. He had married one of the Greentree girls. The other Greentree girl, Mary, married Will Wenban and lived at Spring Hill, Millthorpe. They did not come over the mountains with the first Gospers. The farm of Uncle Jim Gosper was watered by a permanent shallow spring. The homestead was roofed with shingles. Andrew Anderson later had the roof covered. Uncle Jim was a professional wheelwright and builder.
Further up the Parkes road was Grandfather Richard’s – The Downs. The original homestead was built near a permanent shallow spring. I don’t remember it or the brick house that had been built; it must have been fairly roomy to have accommodated Grandfather’s first family: Earnest, Reuben (my father), Ephram, Clara, Anna, Emily and James. Still on The Downs, next to the Red Hill Hall was a cottage. I don’t know if it was a section bought by grandfather or if he had it built. Uncle Arthur married Aunt Emily; Aunt Em lived in the cottage but Uncle Arthur did not farm any of it. Aunt Em was later moved to Molong where she did sewing, as she was a very good needlewoman.
During the 1900 drought the cows and horses had to be taken to the creek for water once a day. The spring at Hornseywood would only supply the house and the shop. Hornseywood country was a mixture of heavy red soil and light loam. It had been growing corn and wheat and had a fair portion cleared to plough by 1900. The wheat was cut and stacked and steam engine threshers would do the rounds of the different farms. Most of the work was done by the neighbours, all except for the chaffy as he called; he was paid 1/- a day.
For further information see Manildra Memories folder at Manildra Library