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Chinchilla 1889 and 1990

prickly pear; Chinchilla fossils; big floods in July 1889 and April 1990; the photo of widening the road bridge was taken in 1920.

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Thursday 10 July 1890, page 3


The area of the land bounded on the north by the Western Railway and on the south by the Condamine River, and extending east to west from Warra to Chinchilla is in all, about fifty-six square miles or 35,840 acres, of these eighteen square miles are selected leaving thirty-eight square miles, or 24 000 acres. About one third of these, or say 8000 acres, are under prickly pear leaving 16000 acres of Crown land to be dealt with. Of this probably one half or 8000 acres, will be found within reach of the water and suitable for irrigation. In addition to the above there are about eight square miles or 5000 acres of good sandy loam forest land on the northern bide of the raílway and adjoining Chinchilla which could be partly irrigated from the river and from Charley's Creek. A large portion of the above area are suitable for irrigation and with a proper amount of water would yield good crops of farm produce vegetables and fruit.

(first mention of prickly pear in 1890!!!!!!!!!)


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Monday 14 January 1889, page 7



A much more abundant collection is found at Chinchilla, about which I take the following from a paper by Mr. De Vis, read a couple of months ago before the Linnean Society of New South Wales. He says : " Of the smaller relics of the wealth of vertebrate life lately become extinct in this portion of Australia, most of those known to the writer have been yielded by the Darling Downs, in the immediate neighbourhood of Chinchilla, a township 200 miles by rail west of Brisbane. The Chinchilla deposits are beds of sand of considerable but unascertained thickness, containing local accumulations of mutilated and, with rare exceptions, unconnected bones, and overlaid by a hard conglomerate of argillaceous grit and gravel, with similar bones embedded, and evidently a lacustrine beach or river bank detritus. The chief exposure of the fossil remains occurs about three miles from the township on the north bank of the river Condamine, where the river in flood has cut into one of those bone beds. Here we acquire the greater part of the knowledge we have of the fresh-water productions of the period--molluscs (Uuio, Vivipara, Melania, Cyclas), fishes Oligorus, Ceratodus, Copidoglanis), alligators (Pallimnarohus), and turtles here mingle with species of terrestrial vertebrates in profusion. And as we may reasonably infer from such commixture that we are upon or near the edge of a once densely populated watercourse or basin, we naturally anticipate that the birds, which may perchance have added their quota to the buried coinage of the past, will for the most part belong to tribes which, for food or drink, haunt the margins or explore the waters of the lakes and rivers of the present day. The expectation has been realised by the examination of the few bird bones brought to light ; few, that is in comparison with the very large number of mammalian and reptilian remains accompanied by them ; not so few considering how scantily, as a rule, traces of birds occur in the rocks, and how rare it is to meet with a bird-bone in the bush. With the exception of a single fragment referred dubiously to a cockatoo (Cacatua) there has not yet been recognised a bone of any bird of a grade higher than that of the old order Grallatores (waders), the majority of them belonging to the Anseres and Rallidae (geese, ducks, coots, etc), with a bone of one large pigeon."

Mr. De Vis has described in the same interesting paper several birds of the families to which he refers, whose bones alone remain to record their former existence in ancient Australia.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Tuesday 29 January 1889, page 7



there is clear proof also that Thylacoleo was a bone-eater Some of the long bones of kangaroos bear across them marks which at a glance might be mistaken for the effects of blows of a tomahawk marks produced by long straight edged incisive instruments which sometimes struck more than once in the same groove… in a word, just the marks that would be left by a pair of shear like teeth worked by powerful muscles " No such teeth are known except those of the Thylacoleo.

Mr De Vis is of opinion that the above beast of prey was in its habits of feeding more like a hyena than a lion This conclusion is strengthened by the form of the class, of which two perfect specimens, together with a third suggesting a feebler species have been obtained from the Chinchilla beds. The mission of the Thylacoleo was that of a scavenger, and therefore it could hardly have been the exterminator of the gigantic marsupials.

(Tasmanian tiger near Chinchilla?)


Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 - 1922), Saturday 20 July 1889, page 5

Storms and Floods. '

A gentleman just returned from Warra has kindly given us some particulars of the state of things in that township. It had been raining there since last Saturday in torrents, over 14 inches having fallen, until the plain became a perfect sea. On Wednesday night nearly all the inhabitants had to move from their homes and take shelter at the railway goods shed, the station master kindly placing it at their disposal. Mr. Best of the local hotel also did what he could for the accommodation of the distressed ones. On Thursday, many of the families were removed in trollies to the hill which is a short distance this side of Warra, where they will put up tents until the flood waters subside. On Wednesday at midnight the State schoolmaster and his wife had to clear out and wade up to their necks in water before a place of safety was reached. The railway Line from Warra to Dalby is under water, and only in a few places can even the tops of the fences be seen. The approaches on both sides of the Cooranga Creek bridge completely washed away, and railway traffic thereupon completely stopped, so that passengers have with some difficulty to cross the bridge on foot.

Chinchilla is also pretty well under water causing similar inconvenience to the residents. Although it had cleared up when our informant left Warra, more rain was expected and there is no doubt that when the Condamine waters came down, which would be early yesterday morning, the flood would be much higher. At Myall Creek all manner of things could be seen coming down the stream, sheep, fowls, pigs, goats, furniture, portions of buildings, etc. Over Gowrie Junction bridge the train travels at a slow pace on account of the bridge being in a doubtful state.


Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Qld. : 1875 - 1948), Wednesday 24 July 1889, page 2

, Tho Floods;

Five inches and thirty-five points' of rain during the last seven days is the record. Of course, for several days the water was all over the country. .The water in the Dogwood-Creek rose high 'above the guide posts of the township bridge on Friday, and fears were entertained as to the safety of the Structure as the iron girder ropes had not been cast off. The Chinaman's garden was inundated, but nothing was carried away ; the engine shed and pump belonging to the railway department were completely covered; and the Taroom mail coach had to be abandoned between Rochedale and Juandah, the mails being 'brought on with horses, and arriving at Miles on Friday evening. Great credit is due to the driver {Richardson) for his exertions. He brought in the bags quite dry. 'The outward mail for Taroom, due to leave Miles on Thursday morning, did not start till Sunday. Several passengers, including Mr. Alexander, P.M. of Taroom,' were weather bound till Sunday.

On Friday constable Hay was sent out to warn the folks at the Condamine township of the heavy floods at Warra, Chinchilla, and along the "Condamine 'river, 'from Warwick downwards, and to, take whatever precautions deemed necessary. Telegraphic messages were also sent on Thursday and Friday to Surat and St. George) for the people there to look out.

At Warra on Thursday and Friday most of the people were camped at the railway station and goods shed. Mr Best, hotel and and storekeeper, with his family cleared out of his premises and camped in tents about two miles away. The station master's house was flooded, and some of the lengthmen's cottages were swept away by the flood. Food was not procurable, until the train arrived from Dalby. The railway line being damaged, caused a complete block at Warra .A goods train arrived, but in a very short time, owing to the rising waters, was unable to either proceed towards Roma or return to Dalby, the bridge on the west of the station not being considered safe to cross and a culvert on the east side having collapsed.

On Friday night great fears were entertained at Chinchilla that the railway line would be blocked at that place, as the water rose about four Inches up the iron| girders of the bridge. Had! the Warwick flood waters reached this district while Cooranga Creek at Warra and Charley's Creek, at Chinchilla, were up, matters would have been very serious indeed.

Fortunately for the people as well as for the Railway Department, the telegraph lines were not obstructed, although for many a mile the posts were surrounded with flood water, in several places, the currents being strong. Up to the present time the Surat and Condamine mails, due at Miles on Saturday morning, has not put in an appearance.


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Friday 4 April 1890, page 2

Chinchilla and District.

A correspondent, writing under Wednesday's date, says: Chinchilla, like nearly all other places along the Western line, has had a fair share of rain and floods this last month. The rainfall for March was about 11 inches, consequently wheel traffic has been greatly delayed. Carriers who started for Taroom over a month ago have not got half-way yet, and others loaded up about a fortnight ago have not got a mile away from town. All the houses in the main street were flooded with the exception of two hotels and one private house. Mr. J. M'Laughlin, of the Carriers' Arms Hotel, has been flooded out twice within the last 10 days. Mr. J. Wilson's cottage is like a ship at sea, it being raised on blocks level with the line. The water is very nearly level with the veranda, and is about 3 feet deep all round. Over a dozen families have had to shift. The residents on the banks of the Condamine have had rather a rough time of it, the present flood there being the highest in the recollection of the oldest inhabitant. Four families were completely surrounded by over a mile of water.

Mr. D. Merritt, Senior-constable Warner, and Constable Pendock went out on Monday morning in a small punt, kindly lent by Mr. Davis, of Miles. They first visited Hess's selection, and there they found 3 feet of water in the house. Pigs were swimming in the stye, and the cattle standing in 3 feet of water. If floods rise any higher these will be swept away, as there is a very strong current running there. Mrs. Hees and children left when the water started to rise. Mr. Hees was away from home, and nothing was saved from the house.

Seeing they could do nothing there, the rescue party pulled down to Hydes's, and there found 14 people (including Mrs. Hess and family) on about two acres of a ridge. They did not remove them, as they considered them quite safe, unless flood rises. In that case they will bring them off.

They then went up the river about 4 miles to Mr. J. Clark's — here they did good service. Mr. Clark, his wife, and child had been on top of the house for 10 or 12 hours. They were removed as quickly as possible, but the punt being small, they could only bring one over at a time. They were, however, got off safely.

Mr. J. Daveney, of Chinchilla station, went up the river about 5 miles, and rescued Bateman's family. Bateman himself refused to leave the house. Great fear being entertained for the safety of Mr. J. Wain (caretaker for Mr. Jessop), who lives on the other side of the river, about 12 miles up, Mr. Daveney and Constable Pendock started with a boat and rations yesterday, but have not yet retained.

A small boat is badly wanted here. Great credit is 'due to the policemen and Mr. Merritt and Mr. Daveney for the manner in which they acted during the flood.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Saturday 9 November 1889, page 5

Inspector Harris has received a telegram from Chinchilla stating that a stockman named John Kean has been lost in the bush at Hell Hole. A search party has gone out with the Chinchilla police.


Moreton Mail (Qld. : 1886 - 1899, 1930 - 1935), Friday 31 May 1889, page 10

A brawny old lady at Chinchilla is in trouble through prodding her laughter with a dinner knife. The young lady had boiled the potatoes with the skins on, whereas her parent wanted them in the undressed state, and after a few riotous observations the aged female cut a large slice off her offspring.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Saturday 7 December 1889, page 5


TOOWOOMBA, December 6.

Yesterday the constable at Chinchilla read the telegram in the Courier respecting the supposed Chinese leper, and shortly afterwards he saw a suspicions looking Chinaman and telegraphed to the Toowoomba authorities. The police here met the train and interrogated a Chinese passenger, and afterwards took him to Dr. Armstrong, who pronounced him to be afflicted with leprosy. The police then arranged for the man to occupy a separate railway carriage and sent him on to Brisbane the same day.


Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 - 1934), Saturday 8 March 1890, page 23


Chinchilla Races are advertised for St.Patricks Day, when about £50 will be run for by local hordes The principal race is the Chinchilla Handicap, 15 soverigns., l and 1/4 miles. Nominations for all handicaps closed on Wedneday. 5th.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Wednesday 16 April 1890, page 5

DALBY, April 15.

A man named Salmon, who was a shepherd for Mr. W. O'Keefe, was found dead by Mr. Bassingthwaight at Jondowie. The police have gone out, and an inquiry will be held.

The weather is fine, and the roads are drying up.

M'Loughlin's Carriers' Arms Hotel at Chinchilla was burnt down last night.


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Friday 6 June 1890, page 5

Fatal Trolly Accident.

The general traffic manager has received information to the effect that a lengthsman named John M'Phail, who sustained serious injuries by a trolly passing over his body near Chinchilla, on the night of the 3rd instant, had died yesterday morning. An inquiry into the cause of the death is being conducted by the police, and the traffic inspector for the district has been requested to forward full particulars to the general traffic manager.


Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 - 1922), Saturday 13 September 1890, page 4


Accident at Chinchilla.— By the courtesy of Mr. Sub-inspecter Graham we have been shown the following telegram from Senior Constable Warner, dated Chinchilla, 11th September: -'John Dean, employed by Mr. Hogg, of Chinchilla, was running in horses yesterday evening when his horse slipped crossing the bridge, fell on him and broke his right light (as published, possibly should read 'leg'?). He is not much injured other wise.''


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Saturday 20 September 1890, page 7


(From Today Government Gazette.)

Appointments- A Walls to be transferred to the position of head teacher of the State school at Chinchilla


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Saturday 21 December 1889, page 6


P. Fennelly, P. Henry, F. Hogg, M. Karl, and D. Merritt, to be members of the Chinchilla State School Committee;

creeks still flooded.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Tuesday 20 May 1890, page 2


{From Saturday's Government Gazette.)

Appointments - F Baxter, to be poundkeeper for the Chinchilla district


Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser (Qld. : 1860 - 1947), Saturday 12 January 1889, page 2


(Pee Provinciai, Press Agency.)

Eidsvold. January 11.

Hogg's coach from Chinchilla via Hawkwood opened a direct line on Tuesday, and arrived at Eidsvold in two days. The road is excellent, and by this route Brisbane is within three days communication.


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908), Saturday 3 August 1889, page 5

Francis Hogg, licensed victualler, of Chinchilla, and Alfred Baldwin, tobacconist, of Brisbane, have both got "broke." Hogg's liabilities amount to £2687, and Baldwin's to £2111.

(he was involved in the gold rush to Hawk wood, and running the coach to Eidsvold.)


Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 - 1922), Monday 28 January 1889, page 3


Dalby Land Court. — Before Mr. Commissioner Warner, on the 25th January, 1889, the following applications were disposed of: — Grazing farms, conditionally approved: .J G, Sheriff, 2,560a., Chinchilla.

Certificates) granted subject to bailiffs report: G. Cuthell, 160a., Chinchilla; W. Clarke, 160a., Chinchilla ; Certificates refused : G. Conroy, 160a Chinchilla.


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