A Trip to the Gold Diggings #10: Warwick to Drayton

Warwick to Dayton

‘Beautiful country,’ ‘lovely scenery,’ such were the continual exclamations I found myself uttering while passing from Warwick to Drayton, a distance of fifty miles. Of my companions this day I shall be silent, partly because a residence in the colony has taught me that a man does not get all the credit for honesty of conduct that he deserves, and further, because I have no wish to trouble your readers about myself. I left a friend, who was travelling to Balbi’s, near to a sheep-yard, and pursued my way alone. I had heard of Glengallan, which is a beautifully situated homestead, standing on a small hill side, from which point the traveller may see over many miles of open country. I had no reason even there to bestow a paragraph in favor of generous offers, although to some person, evidently some one in authority, I gave a gentle hint that a pot of tea would be acceptable. Glengallan, to any one possessing a love of nature, and more so if that love had been kept from satisfaction by close office confinement, has all the charms of which future Australian poets will write. One might well imagine, while passing the place, that they were in the good old country, and that fortune had cast them where graziers resided.

Glengallan Graveyard

Rounding the fence the traveller, on his way to Drayton, passes a fenced burial ground, in which there are mementoes of the departed. A grand place to slumber the last sleep in, if the mind living has sympathy with the poet who expresses his wish for burial in a solitary spot where nature has sway and there is no want of space - where the grave-digger plunges not his pick into a skull in excavating to make room for other dead humanity, which scene is more forcibly represented than any living writers can pretend to in the grave-digger’s conversation with Hamlet, when that churchyard functionary was preparing for Ophelia’s burial. There is something solitary about a bush graveyard, which I leave to some Australian Harvey to treat upon; be mine the living, moving, present.

I cannot describe more forcibly the journey than by saying, now the way was through glades and scenery equal to parks - then would appear a plain of three or four miles in extent; again lightly timbered glades, then plains again. Clifton was seen in the distance, and towards evening Eton Vale was gained, from which place, in the shades of the evening, I finished the journey of more than fifty miles from Warwick to Drayton.

It is not my intention to say anything of Drayton, as it has a local paper and local writers to advance the claims which are not easily perceptible to the mere passers.

Meehan's Hotel in Darling Street, Drayton, ca. 1856. (Qld State Library)

With Toowoomba, four or five miles distant, I was well pleased. There seemed both spirit and enterprise, and the hotels were well kept and respectable in appearance. The mill I have previously mentioned I caught sight of, as I did also of the site for the proposed lock-up. Toowoomba is, verily, a fruitful spot, and the people generally seemed contented, happy, and prosperous. As I know there are men better able to furnish particulars of the two last mentioned places than my short stay will allow, I make my way through the toll-bar, over the Range, and find, by the teams on the road, that I am on the main line of road in the colony.

Passing Dr. Dorsey’s station I am soon at the creek near to Gatton. Just before reaching this place I passed an encampment of blacks who were preparing for a fight on the morrow. The battle was to have taken place on the day that I passed, but the blacks from the other side of the Range were waiting for some reinforcements. One of the divisions which the upper country blacks were waiting for I had passed, laden with spears for the encounter.

Gatton

Gatton is a delightful spot, situated on an eminence, and commanding an extensive view on all sides. At present the buildings consist of an hotel and police station. At the first named a traveller may spend a comfortable night. I cannot answer for the second. Gatton is about forty miles from Ipswich and thirty from Drayton. A township has been laid out and the sale of allotments will shortly take place. The site is well chosen, and Gatton will, in a few years, be a respectable and thriving place.

I linger not; I want to be done with the trip, lest I weary you, so I leave Gatton, see Laidley Creek, over which a good bridge has been erected, and find that a township, to be called Laidley, has also been laid out and that the allotments will shortly be in the market.

Over Liverpool Range a good road has been made; and it will shortly be made better; enough has already been effected to remind the traveller that he is on a main road. A short distance brings the traveller to Bigge’s Camp, where he will probably find time to haul up for dinner. Four miles further on is the township of Alfred, with a public house known by the same name. If the village is as noble as was Alfred the King it will become famous in Queensland. A few miles on and the traveller comes to another public house called ‘The Rising Sun,’ where a good glass of ale may be obtained, and while drinking it the traveller may hear of another township called ‘Rosewood.’ Now on again and the line of road bears evidence that something good is intended for travellers.

And now I hear that I am nearing Ipswich. I pass the ‘North Australian’ public house, and soon hear the merry voices of the bullock-drivers camped outside Little Ipswich. Safely in I lay down my vocation of ‘your special correspondent’ and make ready for the journey to Brisbane.

If in my ramble I have been tedious, or given offence by word or deed, I pray of all to be ‘to my faults a little kind;’ and beg that, in judging, all may 'Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice', and so, farewell.

The route described by the author of the ‘A Trip to the Diggings’ reports,
Moreton Bay Courier, 1859. (C. Dawson)

The complete 'Trip to the Gold Diggings' series: 
  1. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #1: Gold Fever at Brisbane
  2. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #2: The Fields From Timbarra to Tooloom
  3. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #3: Ipswich to Fassifern
  4. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #4: Fassifern to Koorelah Range
  5. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #5: Tooloom 
  6. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #6: Scenes From Tooloom
  7. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #7: Tooloom to Flagstone Creek
  8. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #8: Flagstone Creek to the Condamine
  9. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #9: Warwick
  10. A Trip to the Gold Diggings #10: Warwick to Drayton