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Pyramul Village

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Pyramul (Co. Wellington) 32°53’S. 149°37’E., 33 km W. of Kandos, on Pyramul Ck; Upper Pyramul till 1938; goldmining and grazing; Angl. C. (St James’s) b. 1875 by Foster, and graveyard (59 graves 1864-2003); butter and cheese factory (William Price) 1890; cemetery; fire 1902; PO 1870-1979; quarry; Rom. Cath. C. (St Patrick’s) 1873-2005, defunct, and graveyard (84 graves 1859+); school (Upper Pyramul 1884-1925) 1874-1925 and 1957-97, sold; telephone 1899; TX 1930; pop. 94 (1933), 87 (1947), 100 (1954), 91 (1961)1 .


8 December 1857
The miners at the Pyramul are in a very unsettled state, being continually on the shift, new hands constantly arriving and old hands as constantly departing. At the main diggings some few parties are still making a handsome thing of it, occasionally coming across a patch of ground giving half an ounce to the tub, and in one or two instances as much to the dish; there is, how ever, amongst the main body of diggers here a great deal of dissatisfaction, and there seems an inclination to shift some three or four miles down the creek where some good ground has been opened in the banks, and where most of those at present working are earning good wages; the ground is dry and easily worked. Some have gone over to the Crudine, about four or five miles from the Pyramul, where several parties are said to be doing a stroke; the Crudine, however, has never yet shewn anything out of the common, and we shall shortly see those who have gone thither return to the old ground again. One party of five, who have been out on the Bogy Creek, have given it up, having obtained only an ounce of gold in the course of the week. This, however, can scarcely be called a failure, since it proves the existence of gold in that locality in paying quantities. The sample procured by the party mentioned is of a coarse solid description, and was obtained in "rooting" amongst the slates of the creek, no holes having been sunk by the party. Should the diggings at the Pyramul fail there is a large tract of proved ground in its vicinity which will stand a chance of receiving some attention, and which will be found to be well worth working. From the present workings Long Creek is but four miles distant, and on this creek (although scarcely ten men are at present working upon it), a man can scarcely go wrong in looking for ground in which he can make small wages, the work being easy and the water abundant. A party who were broke set in a week or two since on Pennyweight Flat at Long Creek to "make a rise" and so well did they succeed, that in ten days they had twenty pounds a man in their pockets, and this in ground which had been worked over once. Nuggetty Gully, but a short distance from Long Creek, is another locality 'where a living and a little more may always be insured; and Campbell's Creek is but two or three miles further on, although that creek is hardly a place to recommend, as both it and its inhabitants have a forsaken poverty-stricken appearance which is hardly to be met with in one single instance in the many adjacent diggings. Within ten miles of the Pyramul, are the Devil's Hole Creek, Richardson's point, and the Upper Meroo, on any one of which a comfortable livelihood can be obtained by steady work. The work done on all these places is but an odd patch or point here and there, and these are scarcely half worked. Water for washing the great desideratum on all gold-fields is to be obtained in abundance. In these remarks it is not meant to cry up any particular locality, but simply to point out the fact to those scattered over this colony scarcely earning rations, that a gold-field exists in the vicinity of the Upper Meroo almost limitless in extent, and where ten times the whole number of those at present dwelling on the gold-fields of New South Wales would not only find ample remunerative employment, but would, if in anything like strong numbers, develop treasures far greater than have yet been taken from the places alluded to. In many instances nothing but the bed of the creek has been worked, the banks and points remaining untouched and in every case for every worked point there remains ten untouched, in all probability as rich as those which have been turned over. 1st December, 18572 .


28 October 1937
Gold, Fighting, Tragedy
BELOW we publish a "History of Pyramul" from the earliest days. In forwarding it to the "Guardian" Mr. W. M. Jennings, school teacher of Pyramul, writes:— "Under separate cover I am sending an exercise book containing an account of the history of the Pyramul district which, I feel sure, will be of interest to your paper. This history seems to have been in the local school for many years and apparently is the result of much patient research by one of the past teachers."
Far back, in times before the white man disturbed his black brother in his primitive pursuits, the little creek which passes through the present town of Pyramul to join the Macquarie near Burrindong, was called by the Aboriginal tribe of the district, "Berramal" (or "Booramal") and, even after the advent of the white settler, the name held good, until civilisation secured for us a post office, and the authorities at the head office deemed it desirable that the township should have a more euphonious, or per haps, a less confusing name.
In 1821 James Blackman, accompanied by his able guide, "Aaron," passed through that portion of Pyramul which is now known as the "Cross Roads," and perpetuated the name of his native servant by calling the mountain defile a little further on "Aaron's Pass." Oxley, too, most probably used the same route on this journey to Mudgee. The pioneer settler of Pyramul was Mr. William Suttor, who received (1830) a grant of six hundred and forty acres in the vicinity of the Cross Roads. He stocked it with sheep. Fences being unknown, or very primitive, and the natives rather numerous, sheep-growing had its difficulties in those days of free land-grants. Some of the "old hands" remember Mr. Suttor, and particularly his coat of thick Irish frieze which defied the coldest blast ever blown in this rather cold district, and which never seemed to wear thinner.
Amongst the earliest employees on the Suttor Estate were the Foster family — refugees from the island of Guernsey, who fled to avoid the troubled times of the second revolution. They managed one of Mr. Suttor's estates — and, incidentally, collected quite a number of yellow specimens, the value of which they did not fully appreciate at that time. Prior to the gold rush (about 18??) the only residents of the district were employees of Mr. Suttor, but, when Hargraves discovered gold at Ophir and Turon in 1851, the Fosters re membered where they had obtained their "yellow specimens," and a further investigation re sulted in the "Nuggety Gully Rush" and brought an influx of population. The Pyramul of those days was quite of imposing size — several streets, a population of about four thousand (4000), one-fourth of whom were Chinese. These latter had been brought out by a Chinese capitalist, who clothed and fed them and received all the profits of their labor.
Early history relates that, before long, they were discovered mixing brass filings with the fine gold. They had their quarters, one behind the present recreation ground, and one on the n.w. side of the present town. At this exciting epoch, and with so many thousands of neighbors, Mr. Suttor sold out his land to Mr. William Price (who built a cheese and butter factory thereon) and left for less disturbed pasturage. His managers, stockmen, overseers, etc., in most cases, remained, and opened businesses. The Fosters and Croakes had hotels, the Goddards a store - on the site of the present school. The Goddards were a fighting family, and one of the sons, "Joe," gained the distinction of being “Australia's champion heavyweight." Three Goddards challenged any three brothers in the world to a contest, but no fighting family could bring forward that number, though the Slavins offered two and were rejected. Mr. Robert Wardrop kept a boot-making business just about where his grandson and namesake lives now. In 1920, a pair of boots made by the late Mr. Robert Wardrop were sold at the sale of the effects of the late A. L. Shaw, a Chinese store-keeper, who was a prominent figure in Lower Pyramul in those days, and whose years probably numbered a century when he died in July, 1920. Mr. Price built a commodious store and conducted a post office, the first in the district. Cobb and Company ran a four horse coach, and countless teams plied to and from Bathurst. In July, 1851, two aboriginals in the employ of Dr. Kerr, Louisa Creek, Hargraves, found a nugget weighing 1233ozs. This was taken to the doctor, who purchased it for a flock of sheep and two horses, but gold is rightly termed "the root of all evil." In a very few months the aboriginals, surfeited with rum, to which they were unaccustomed, died. Dr. Kerr and his wife brought the golden treasure in two saddle bags through Pyramul, staying the night in Mr. Croake's hotel, and then pushed on for Bathurst, where the "Turon Nugget" was disposed of, not without some trouble, as the authorities said that Dr. Kerr had not a "miner's right." The doctor protested that it was his by "right of purchase" from aboriginals, who required no "right" or "licence." He, too, was unfortunate. Having gained this case, he made ill use of the money, and, wandering from his home near Peel, he was lost in the bush and died3 .


1 Simpson, Phillip. Historical Guide to New South Wales. North Melbourne, Vic: Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty Ltd, 2020, p. 607.
2 THE PYRAMUL. (1857, December 8). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 6. Retrieved April 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60261416
3 Gold, Fighting, Tragedy (1937, October 28). Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative (NSW : 1890 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved April 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162504541

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