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Updated: Jul 11, 2023

I have already posted a report of the first public trip on the new railway between Chinchilla and Dalby, early in January 1878. Here are some more newspaper articles from the times.

Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Friday 4 January 1878, page 2


(By favour of the Commissioner of Police)


Sub-Inspector Judge, stationed at Dalby, telegraphs to the Commissioner of Police, under date of January 3, as follow:— Senior-Constable McCosker reports from Charley's Creek that a man named M'Laughlin having been reported, missing from Coolum-bulla on January 1, constables M'Nalty and Frazer went in search. They found the dead body of M'Laughlin in a waterhole. The left eye was smashed in, and the skin torn off the neck. There is reason to believe that M'Laughlin has been the victim of foul play. Constable Frazer is in charge of the body, and senior Constable M'Cosker is making an inquiry into M'Laughlin's death."

Railway Extension.— The section of railway between Warra Warra and Chinchilla on the Roma extension was opened yesterday for traffic. No formalities were observed on the occasion.


Dalby Herald 19/1/78



January 8th

The social horizon here seems to have brightened since the line has been opened for passenger traffic; large numbers of people are travelling both up and down, and it is rather amusing, and instructive too, to watch them on the platform. Holiday seekers returning to buckle on harness again, and men who have the appearance of being absorbed in business, hurrying into the carriages to be whirled away to the crowded metropolis and the "Busy haunts of men". But they seem unanimous in growling at the fact, that they barely have time to swallow their tea, after a long journey by the coach, ere they have to undertake a midnight ride, and the possibility of not being able to obtain a bed when they arrive in Dalby, during the small hours of the morning. They seem to think that it would be better; To get a good night's rest, and go down at some more rational hour in the morning; however, I suppose, since they must go, they must wait till they are taken, although it is rather awkward for a person, after a long journey in this weather, and who is consoling himself with the reflection that his troubles are over for the day, to find that the cry is still "onward", he can only sigh "No rest for the weary", and resign himself to his fate.

There is a considerable number of teams making their appearance, and if we only had some rain to give us a little grass, we should have a fair time for the next three or four months, but rain will not visit us; it has fallen all round us within a few miles, but we have not been blessed with any quantity.

The people of Charley's Creek got up some sports on New Years Day in honor of "Auld Yule Tide", which were pretty well patronized, all things considered, but as I have not been favoured with particulars, I can give no information respecting them; the excessive heat seems to have affected the Cricketers also, as we see very little of them now-a-days; I suppose that the Knights of the willow prefer a camp under its shade these days, to the fun of knocking a piece of leather about with a straight piece of its wood.

Messrs Thorn and Bashford are making hay while the sun shines, and going on gaily with their plate-laying, having now some five or six miles completed.

There have been a few minor incidents, but nothing , I imagine, very serious, except the Columbula affair [see above M'Laughlin's death]. Altogether we are having a much heathier season than the last, which is a great blessing to all concerned, except the members of the Faculty. Well as I think I have pretty well exhausted my stock, I will bid you good-bye until next time.

January 14.

There is little of moment passing here at present, although there a great many passing through, more than in fact than the celebrated Cobb and Co can carry away, the last coach that left was crowded and several were left behind.

I see by your last issue that some Traveler has been taking notes. I hope he will allow me to correct one error, we have a school here [his italics] conducted by a lady who seems most attentive to her duties; of course, if parents do not send their children (which seems to have been the case when your informant passed) that is the fault of the parents, not of the schoolmistress. We also have another good waterhole, beside the one drained, as we are not quite so poor in the aqueous department as the world imagines, as there is not a better watered Creek in this district; but grass, ye Gods! It looks as though we should never see any more, and the carriers are beginning to muster pretty strong, are loud in their complaints.

Spite of the weather, the Cricketing world seems to have awakened, as I hear they are to play a match against a station eleven, from Warra and Chinchilla, on the 19th, so I suppose you will have the particulars next time.

Weather oppressively hot, with dry westerly wind, thermometer 110 deg. In the house on Saturday lst, children becoming sickly the last few days.


Dalby Herald and Western Queensland Advertiser (Qld. : 1866 - 1879), Saturday 26 January 1878, page 2


From our own correspondent

January 21st

There is little of moment to be reported since my last, except that we have had rain ; we were favored with a heavy thunderstorm on the night of the 2lst, about 10 o'olock, and it rained for about an hour, as if the flood gates of Heaven had opened. Tho days have been deliciously cool since, forming a great contrast to the previous few days. People are now beginning to dread the advent of their arch-enemy, the fever and ague; we have had several cases already, here.

There have been some changes in our police department, our worthy senior, Mr. Maxwell, has been transferred to Dogwood, and Sergeant M'Cosker has arrived here in his place.

Our school is progressing favorably, all honor to those who have interested themselves in the welfare of the juveniles ; the average attendance is from 35 to 40 scholars, which is very creditable out of our small population.

It is a matter of wonder to many how our eight public houses contrive to find custom enough to keep them awake, but they do so some how…..Some of the navvy world who seem to be au fait with the matter, are predicting all sorts of accidents when the rain sets in; they say that the scrub embankments will then give way, and a train, rushing along in the midnight gloom at 20 miles an hour, will in all probability, deliver its freight in eternity,….. In fact, I think, if those who are croaking the wits out of us, are anyway near the mark, the best thing we can do will be to insure our lives; then our widows and orphans may gain something.

Heavy rain has been falling at night since the-21st inst. and if it continues, we shall have a flood some day. Teamsters, stockowners, and all others are quite jubilant, in fact, that indescribable some thing, the spirits of everyone, seems to have risen 20 degrees since the blessed visitation of rain, and all are busy speculating upon how long it will take grass to grow, so that we may be able to see once more the almost forgotten verdure around us.

I hear that Mr. Bashford offers to convey passengers, mails, &c , per ballast train to Columbulah (17 miles from here), in about three weeks, which will be a consideration to Cobb and Co., and perhaps & little more comfortable for travellers.


Dalby Herald and Western Queensland Advertiser (Qld. : 1866 - 1879), Saturday 9 February 1878, page 3


. From our own correspondent

February 4

We have had a lively time up the line since my last; a large gang at the Baking Board quarry (some 58 or 60 men) struck work on the. 1st of this month, on account of some fancied grievance with the contractor and the ganger; and as a matter of course, idleness being the mother of mischief, drank a lot of beer, and came to the heroic (?) resolve not to let any one else work in the quarry until their demands were satisfied; but, as is generally the way with such demonstrations, the arrival of Inspector Judge with a posse of the guardians of the peace, altered the aspect of affairs. One fellow, who made himself very prominent, by his riotous conduct, to his no small disgust, found himself adorned by steel jewellery, and all his wants cared for by a grim-looking customer in blue, who paid him marked attentions ; whilst, for the others, some thought it best to leave, and as the contractor was firm and supported by the majesty of the law, strongly represented, the remainder quietly turned to " and now all is calm again.

Excepting for the little excitement that I have recounted, things have been fearfully dull here.


Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Qld. : 1875 - 1948), Saturday 9 February 1878, page 3

Dalby. '

From our own correspondent

On Monday afternoon a railway porter named Canty was coupling some trucks as the Chinchilla train was starting, when just as he was getting away the carriage rebounded and he was caught between the buffers, giving him so severe a crashing that it was supposed he had several ribs broken owing to his great pain and difficulty in breathing. Dr. Concannon, who was going by that train, en route for Roma, where his medical services were engaged, attended the sufferer, the train being detained a short time in consequence. He is slowly recovering. On the same day a little boy named Brown, son of carrier, had his leg broken at the Kogan Creek by one of his father's loaded teams passing over it, being a narrow escape of his life. He was brought into Dalby, and is progressing favourably. Again we have a little child named Day about two years of age falling into a burning ash heap and being severely injured, on Overend's section 38 miles from town. He also was brought into town, and is receiving all the attention his sufferings require.

Anticipations of a disturbance up the line appear to have been entertained here by the Police, for on Saturday eight of that body, four from Toowoomba and four local men, headed by Sub-Inspector Judge, took the train hence for Chinchilla, where they were to be joined by other members of the force from the Condamine and the Dogwood. It appears that Bashford and Co. notified to their men last week their intention of reducing their pay from 8s. to 6s. per diem, and reducing the pay for all other kinds of work in proportion. Fountain and Co. followed suit. The men then struck and refused to work at the reduced rate, and as symptoms of violence were observable, the police were telegraphed for, as it was feared they would mob the contractors, and; probably burn down their stores. [Later information brought down by some men from the works is to the effect that the report of the reduction in the wages is not connect, but that the real state of affairs is, that the men have been moved about from navvying to quarry work, and so on, which has caused sufficient dissatisfaction to induce a strike, and the bulk of the men are intimidating those from working who would work.] Quietness, however, is regaining the ascendancy, and the police are expected back by to-nights' train.

A traction engine has just arrived from Brisbane for Messrs. Bell and Sons. It took a trip round the town on Friday, stopping en route at the whim for water, and was a source of considerable curiosity to the native youth. It is intended for ploughing purposes, and steamed out to Jimbour on Saturday morning.


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