AS THE country was opened up in the 1860s, before roads were formed, most supplies were brought in on bullock wagons and wool and hides back loaded to Sydney or even to ports such as Jervis Bay.
Up to 1862, north/south travel was via the Combaning, Stockinbingal, Wallendbeen, Yass road but in that year, a shorter route was marked from Bethungra to Jewnee (Old Junee).
That road, then just a track between trees and now known as the Old Sydney Road was developed for horse drawn transport including coaches.
Bullock teams continued to use the Combaning route.
Changes to land laws in 1861 allowed some freedom for individuals to select land with some restrictions and selectors moved onto the Jewnee Run, taking up land of their choosing.
A limiting factor for settlement in the area was availability of water.
A Government Dam was hurriedly built on Houlaghans Creek in 1864 just above the Jewnee Hotel however it washed out in the first flood.
Another was built in 1875 at a cost of 600 pounds ($1200) and this had a concrete cap.
This lasted a lot longer.
A number of small dams were dug in suitable catchments through the district as well as private dams on Houlaghans Creek as settlement proceeded.
Houlaghans Creek was not a permanent stream.
Prices of “local” produce such as wheat/flour and vegetables were quite high in 1863 and might have come from Wagga.
Provisions bought by Hammond’s Jewnee Run delivered into store cost 65 pounds per ton for sugar, crock salt 30 pounds per ton, tea 390 pounds per ton, soap 3 shillings per bar (30 cents).
One pound equated with two dollars before adjusting for inflation.
Some clearing took place and a small crop of wheat was grown by Charles Pratt in 1863.
Much of the area was a savannah type grassland/woodland across the valleys with Eucalypt, Kurrajong and Cypress Pine trees with wattle and scrub in places.
- WANT MORE? You can read more about Junee’s early beginnings online at www.juneesoutherncross.com.au.