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January, 1860

• Le Capelain and Parsons successfully tender to supply metal for the Axedale bridge for £24/10/0. No further details shown and the term "Axedale bridge" does not specifically locate the bridge.

• Axedale Hotel [Axe Creek] proprietor, Michael Costelloe is sued for £10 assault damages, Roach. Despite the assault being satisfactorily proved, the Bench decides that £2 damages is sufficient.

March, 1860

• The Roads and Bridges Office, Melbourne, calls tenders for Works on the McIvor Road between Sandhurst and Axe Creek.

• Michael Costelloe surrenders to his bail to answer charges of violent assault. A remand is applied for so that witnesses currently in Inglewood can attend. The remand is objected to by the prosecutor as unnecessary but, after some discussion, remand is given and Costelloe's £50 bail is extended for the remand period.

• The Land Bill is discussed in the House of Assembly and one of its main clauses is that to do with commonage. It is well known that up to the present, in every portion of the colony, the impounding by the squatters of the horses and cattle of the residents of goldfields and small farmers, is a grievance. The article mentions the Ravenswood Raid, the Axedale impoundings, and the Barnadown difficulty. Regulation changes should please many.

April, 1860

• John Baillie, of the Raglan Hotel, Axedale, writes a letter outlining the unsatisfactory conduct of Cobb and Co. employees. He complains that a letter from his wife, in hospital and not expected to recover, was handed to her brother-in-law who, although not having the 2/6 for delivery, handed it to the driver who threw it on the ground - despite knowing that the money would be paid on delivery at Axedale.

May, 1860

• Mr. Roache, Coroner, holds an inquest at the Axedale Hotel [Longlea], on the body of John Walker. Walker had a few drinks at the hotel and left driving a bullock dray. He was found 'groaning in the road.' items from the dray were strewn over the road. Costelloe arrived and conveyed him to the hotel. Walker died about 2¾ hours later, after having made out a will in favour of his father, William Walker of Halifax. The verdict is that Walker, under the influence of intoxicating liquors, died from injuries received by a dray accidentally passing over him.

June, 1860

• John Stabb is awarded two contracts for 17 chains of road repairs between Sandhurst and Axe Creek.

• The Licensing Bench grants a number of Publican's Licences. Of relevance are: John Baillie, Raglan Hotel, Campaspe; Charles Boyle, Bush Inn, Splitters Creek; A.H. Harrison, Bull's Head, Grassy Flat; Herman Kraft, Plough and harrow, Axe Creek; Edward Kennedy, Clare Inn, Campaspe Punt; Matthew Randel, Ram's Horn, Axe Creek; Henry Pearse, Drover's Home, Campaspe; James Shewan, Traveller's Rest, McIvor Road; Walter Wellington, Farmer's Arms, Campaspe.

July, 1860

• Publican's licences are Gazetted: Michael F. Costelloe, Axedale Hotel; Patrick Drake, Campaspe Hotel, Axedale.

• It is advised that the Sheriff will cause to be sold by public auction on September 4, unless the claim is sooner satisfied, all the right, title, and interest of Michael Costelloe in the following properties: Part of Portion A, consisting of 120 acres in the Parish of Axedale.

August, 1860

• A first and final dividend of the Trust Estate, Drake and Nolan, Axedale, Campaspe will be payable on September 1. [This is the trust associated with the Campaspe Hotel].

September, 1860

• A writer, only identified as 'An Observer', having been an eyewitness to certain activities taking place in Axedale on Sundays and other days, asks what the purpose of Police at Axedale is; if it is for loitering about the camp and amusing themselves in swings and ropes etc., or attending to the benefit of the people in the district? You will find quoit playing and several other games going on Sundays and they generally end in disgraceful scenes with no policeman in sight.

October, 1860

• The public profile of Michael Costelloe, in consort with the Publican Squatter John Harney [Bendigo Hotel and Barnadown Run], and the Axedale Poundkeeper, is increased when a Letter to the Editor, penned by "Bagshot Farmer" and titled "Squatting Rapacity" is published:

Sir,--I beg to bring under your notice another achievement of the publican squatter, Mr. John Harney, assisted by his faithful allies, the Axedale Poundkeeper and his assistants, which throws into the shade all previous attempts to levy black mail upon the unfortunate dairymen who have the misfortune to run their cattle in the neighborhood of the Huntly diggings.

On Tuesday or Wednesday last, the "Baron of Barnadown," the Poundkeeper, and a numerous corps of gully-rakers, made an unexpected raid upon the cattle grazing near the Huntly and Kangaroo Hotels, and with dexterity and skill only to be rivalled by Maori warriors, succeeded in driving off 44 head to that formidable pah - the Axedale Pound.

One of the owners of the cattle being immediately informed of the occurrence, rode after the spoilers, naturally anxious to redeem his property from their hands, but on overtaking them, discovered the fact that he had but eight shillings in his possession. With this sum he requested Mr. Harney to allow him to redeem eight cows which had either just calved or were about doing so, but this was refused, although the sum tendered, one shilling per head, was the trespass money legally payable before the cattle were actually driven inside the pound. The owner then requested him to wait while he rode to the Sandy Creek Hotel, in the immediate vicinity, and procured the requisite cash to redeem the mob. This was also refused, doubtless from a tender regard for the pecuniary interests of the pound keeper, whose fees in this case would have been-nil.

The owner, nevertheless rode to the hotel, obtained the cash, and at once started after the cattle, but they had been driven at such a rapid rate that he was unable to overtake them previous to their arrival at the Axedale Pound, from which they could not be redeemed without paying the Poundkeeper's fees, £9/3/3., in addition to the charge of one shilling per head, amounting in the whole to £9/3/3 ; but this sum does not by any means represent tho actual loss to the unfortunate victim. One of the cows so overdriven, has since given birth to a dead calf, and the whole lot are so much injured as to be almost worthless for some time to come.

Some altercation taking place between Mr. Harney and the owner of the cattle, the Poundkeeper cut it short by energetically remarking, "That were it not for the cattle belonging to him (the owner), he would break his neck."

The dairymen have been in the habit of paying blackmail to Mr Harney, to the amount of twelve shillings per head per year, for liberty to depasture their cattle on Crown lands, but as the Land Bill authorises the Governor to proclaim goldfields commonages, from the first of November next, when, doubtless, the "Baron's" domains will be considerably shorn of their fair proportions, if they are not (as they ought to be), confined to the limits of his purchased land, they demur to make Mr Harney another twelve shilling payment, especially as he refuses to give them a receipt for their money, but a more verbal promise not to impound their cattle. In short, knowing his power is about to pass away, he wishes to extort from his victims, twelve months rent for the few weeks possession he will have of the people's common.

The dairymen very fairly offered to pay three shillings per head, which sum surely should be sufficient to satisfy even a squatter's rapacity. This he refused, and hence this present disgraceful impounding.

I should like to know if it is the duty of a Poundkeeper to scour the country, collect cattle, and drive them to his pound, or to receive them when driven there by other people? Hitherto, I believed pound keepers performed public duties, and were not mere jackals to tho neighbouring squatters. I now see my mistake.

Surely, Sir, these proceedings should induce the Government to lose no time in putting an end to the power of such men as John Harney, Costelloe, Campbell, and who, like the middlemen in Ireland, merely use their position to extort what they can from those over whom accident has given them power, or are these things to last until some of these legal or illegal attempts at robbery terminate in bloodshed. It is almost more than flesh and blood can endure, either to have your pocket picked, or your property driven off before your face. Many persons suffering from these inflictions have paid Government large sums of money for land in this district, and in return they receive a Pound, to be at the disposal of a speculative squatter and an enterprising Poundkeeper, and a trap for every head of cattle those worthies may discover outside the owner's fence.

Sincerely hoping that the race of squatters and speculative pound keepers may speedily disappear from among the holes on the Huntly lead. I remain Sir, your obedient servant, A BAGSHOT FARMER. 30th September, 1860.

P.S, I have just been informed that the "Baron" has summoned the unlucky owner for what he is pleased to call an attempt to rescue the cattle, no doubt with a view of incarcerating him in gaol as a warning to other refractory "serfs."

• John Harney responds with his own Letter to the Editor:

Sit,-In your issue of yesterday there appears a communication complaining of my having impounded cattle off the Barnadown Run. This is so far correct, but I ask you and the public to judge if I was not more than justified in so doing, 1st. Holding as I do the squatting licence to this run, for which I pay an annual fee to the Government; and next having paid an assessment of 3s. per head on all cattle depasturing on the run, including those which were in this instance impounded, the owners up to that holding me at utter defiance, and not paying as much as one farthing for the privilege they enjoyed, though they, as well as others who keep considerable herds of cattle are squatted down on various parts of the run, many of them without an inch of purchased land, and still persisting to use in common, the most valuable and best grassed parts of the run. Under those circumstances, I ask if one man in a thousand would submit to such gross impudence and injustice?

i would not, Mr. Editor, trouble either you or myself by noticing this matter, but your correspondent attempts to place me before the public so unfairly that I wish to make this plain and correct statement, and it shall be the last time I will take notice of anything that may be advanced on this subject. I only regret that I did not long since give the "Bag Farmer" real reason to complain.

By inserting the above in your next paper, you will oblige, dear Sir, your's faithfully, J. HARNEY. Bendigo Hotel, 3rd October, 1860.

• In responding to John Harney's letter, the Bagshot Farmer, says his view has not been diminished by Harney's letter.

Sir,- Mr. Harney's letter in your issue of Thursday last does not in any way affect the accuracy of my statements in reference to the recent impounding case in any important particular. Too many people know to their sorrow that Mr Harney holds a squatting license to doubt that fact. But when Mr Harney seriously asserts that he has paid the annual assessment of 3s. per head for all cattle depasturing on the run, everyone so depasturing cattle doubts the statement. The owners of the greater part of the impounded cattle hold receipts, proving that they have paid Mr Harney very many pounds for the "privilege" they enjoy, and would still have continued to do so had Mr Harney not attempted to extort a year's rent for a few weeks' tenure.

Mr. Harney complains that the cattle eat the best grass. I do not think they are to blame. Saul amongst the prophets was not a greater curiosity than Mr Harney complaining of "impudence and injustice.'' The impudence and injustice surely is in Mr Harney's demand, and not in the refusal to comply with it. As to the owners having no land, Mr. Harney never had any scruple about impounding cattle, whether the owner possessed land or not. Did he not impound Mrs. Boucher's cattle, who owns a hundred acres of land, and did he not also impound Mr Doble's cattle, who likewise owns two hundred acres, both in Bagshot? What Mr. Harney conceives a "real reason to complain" I don't know, the facts are before the public, and no doubt Mr. Harney will get ample justice.

Now for a few words with Mr O'Loughlin, who, according to his own account, merely went on the run with the praiseworthy object of recovering some cattle, his own personal property. I assert again most positively that he and his assistants did actually collect and drive off the cattle in question, and that Mr. Harney left them in his possession at Sandy Creek, and returned to Sandhurst or elsewhere. Does Mr O'Loughlin seriously mean to assert that he and his gully rakers merely went on the run for the purpose of reclaiming his . two "scrubbers" who appear to have rigidly abstained from feeding on the "best grass," and that in driving them they accidentally fell, across Mr. Harney, a boy, and forty four head of cattle, as lucky diggers do on a good patch, by chance? Was it by chance that on tho 26th April, 1858, he camped the whole night on the banks of the Bendigo Creek in company with 37 head of cattle, belonging to Mr, Davitt, of Huntly, which cattle, by a similar chance, found themselves next day in the Axedale cattle trap? Perhaps it was by chance the owner discovered him at eleven o'clock at night, and accompanied them the next day seven miles on the road vainly tendering the thirty seven shillings trespass money to Mr. O'Loughlin, who, after they reached the pound, received something like seven pounds before they were released. Did he not admit to Mr. Davitt that Mr. Harney authorised him to impound? Did not Mr. O'Loughlin, last December, with his rakers, muster Mr. Carmody's cattle in Mr. Harney's presence, in order to ascertain if there were a greater number than Mr. Carmody had paid agistment for? Does this conduct exceed or fall short of his duty as Poundkeeper? Mr. O'Loughlin congratulates himself that for two and a half years he has never been brought before a court of justice for any misconduct, and that he has kept within the letter of the law. He is a fortunate man, but let him not boast. I believe he has habitually exceeded his duty, not neglected it.

Talk, Sir, about keeping "within tho letter of the law," some of the greatest rascals in the world, who have fattened and grown rich by discreditable and disreputable conduct, have rigidly kept to the letter of the law. Did he keep within the letter of the law when he threatened to break the man's neck whose cattle he was driving off. Had the people of Bagshot and Huntly known as much about the letter of the law two years since as they do now, Mr O'Loughlin might have found his poundkeeping career brought to a very unexpected and disagreeable conclusion.

Thanking the Editor of the Bendigo Advertiser for his valuable assistance in exposing the evils of squatting monopoly now drawing to a close. I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, A BAGSHOT FARMER. 5th October, 1860.

November, 1860

The Police Magistrate investigates certain charges made against Mr. G. O'Loughlin, the Axedale Poundkeeper, for illegally driving cattle to the Pound:

The Police Magistrate said that, in accordance with instructions which he had received from the Treasury, he had summoned a full Bench of Magistrates for the purpose of investigating certain charges made against Mr. G. O'Loughlin, the Axedale Poundkeeper, for illegally driving cattle to the pound. The person making the charge was Mr David Carmody, of Huntly, who, in a letter to the Chief Secretary, complained that on the 25th September, Mr. O'Loughlin and his assistants, accompanied by Mr. John Harney, drove off a number of cattle from the lower diggings at Huntly, (which was on the Barnadown Run) and that after they had driven them a certain distance, Mr O'Loughlin assumed the sole charge of the cattle, and in addition to the illegal act, the complainant also included a threat of personal violence on the part of Mr. O'Loughlin to the owner of some of the cattle. The Police Magistrate, in stating that the communication had been referred to him for inquiry, remarked that he had sent summonses to all the Magistrates in the district, but had only obtained the assistance of Dr. Barnett. Mr. Rymer appeared for the complainant, Mr. Lysaght for the defendant. The witnesses were not examined on oath.

David Carmody, a landowner residing at Huntly, stated that on the morning of the 26th September, he released 34 head of cattle, belonging to himself and his brother, from the defendant's pound. He paid £7/3 for the fees. After complainant had paid the fees, Mr O'Loughlin remarked that it seemed as if complainant, his brother, and a Mr. Davitt (whose cattle were also impounded) were bringing themselves forward and doing all the talking about Mr Harney and his run.

By Mr Lysaght: The letter to the Chief Secretary was written by a Mr Ronald, at Epsom, from complainant's and Ronald's dictation. Daniel Carmody, a dairyman at Huntly, the brother of complainant, stated that on the 25th September he saw the defendant, Mr Harney, and two stockmen, driving his brother's, witnesses, and Davitt's cattle off to the pound. On asking Mr. O'Loughlin why he was driving off his cattle, he said he had nothing to do with it, he was to go to Mr Harney. On going, to Mr Harney ho would have nothing to say to him. Witness offered Mr. Harney 8/- for eight head of cattle, but he refused to take it. He went again to Mr O'Loughlin, and told him if he did not release the cattle he would pull him. Mr O'Loughlin told him if he was not driving his own cattle he would break his neck.

By Mr Lysaght: Mr O'Loughlin had a whip in his hand when witness came up, and had it all the time he remained. Witness did not try to rescue the cattle.

Robert Anderson, a dairyman living at Sandy Creek, stated that ho saw the defendant, Mr Harney, and two men driving the cattle across the road at Sandy Creek.

Mr Lysaght, for the defence, said he would be able to prove that on the day in question the cattle were being driven to the pound by Mr. Harney and his men off his run, and that the defendant was out after cattle of his which were in the same mob. The threat of violence on the part of defendant, he would also be able to prove was in consequence of the violent language and conduct of Daniel Carmody, who had attempted to rescue the cattle.

John Harney, the licensee of the Barnadown Run, stated that on the day in question he was driving some cattle that he had found on his run to the pound. Mr O'Loughlin and two of witness' men were with him. Daniel Carmody came up and attempted to rescue the cattle. He was very violent in his conduct, and insulting in his language. Carmody offered some money for the release of his cattle, but it was not sufficient. When about a mile from the Sandy Creek Hotel, Mr O'Loughlin left them, and witness and his boy drove the cattle the remaining distance to the pound.

By the Bench: The day previous to witness going out on the run, he had mentioned to Mr. 0'Loughlin that he was going, and asked him if he would come. Mr O'Loughlin's assistance was not necessary, nor was it used at all in driving the cattle to the pound. Witness told him not to take any part in driving off the cattle. Mr O'Loughlin had told him that one or two of his cattle were on the run which he was anxious to get in. This was Mr O'Loughlin's reason for accompanying witness on the occasion.

By Mr Rymer: Witness had no special reason for asking Mr O'Loughlin to accompany him. Witness' object in going out that day was for the purpose of impounding all the cattle he could find on the run. None of Mr 0 Loughlin's cattle joined the mob until they had passed the Sandy Creek Hotel.

George O'Loughlin, Poundkeeper at the Axedale, explained that his object in accompanying Mr Harney, was to take advantage of Mr Harney being on the run himself to see and collect some of his (defendant's) own cattle. Mr. Harney cautioned him not to drive any cattle off his run without him being present. [Mr. Harney said he had told him this many times previously.] Witness stated that Daniel Curmody's conduct was very violent on the occasion, brandishing his whip over witness' head, when witness told him if it were not for the peculiar circumstances of the case he would thrash him.

By Mr Rymer: The animal of his own he found near the Sandy Creek Hotel. Mr Harney's reason for cautioning him not even to drive any of his own cattle off the run without him being present, was to prevent a deal of talk that might have been made about it, as people might say there was Harney allowing the poundkecper to go on his run and drive cattle to the pound.

The Police Magistrate said that after hearing the evidence in this case, it appeared to him to be the most lame attempt to trump a charge against the poundkeeper, that had overcome before him in the course of a long experience. With reference to the alleged charge that Mr O'Loughlin and his assistants had driven the cattle to the pound, it had been proved by the evidence for the complainant, that Mr O'Loughlin had no assistants, and had never taken any charge of the cattle; that he had not, as it had been alleged, driven them to the pound, but had left them some time before they arrived there, and was there at a certain hour to receive them from the hands of Mr Harney and his man. He recollected perfectly that on a former occasion there had been a charge brought against this man Carmody for attempting to rescue the cattle, and, in colonial phraseology, the case had been "squared." At that time Mr Harney had informed him of the whole of the circumstances. That, however, had nothing to do with the present charge; and the Bench were of opinion that in the present instance there was no case made out against Mr O'Loughlin, and they reprobated the conduct of persons bringing such charges without better grounds. They dismissed the complaint.

After the evidence had been heard, the complainant essayed to offer some remarks in reference to it; but was met by a rebuke from the Police Magistrate, and not allowed to speak, as he was represented by his attorney.

The charges were dismissed.

• Regardless of the outcome of the Magistrates' hearing, the mood of the settlers does not support the squatter system or the ease and frequency at which their cattle end up in the Pound. What are they to do with large tracts of unfenced land?

December, 1860

• The Campaspe District Road Board's area of responsibility is published. Try and outline area in today's terms.


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January, 1861

• Mr. Carpenter brings up a petition in Parliament, from the residents of Axedale, praying for a bridge over the Campaspe River. The Speaker said that a petition praying for a money grant could not be received by the House. Amid groans, Mr. Carpenter points out that it was not a petition asking for money. Mr. Carpenter later asks the President of the Board of Land and Works if any money has been placed on the Estimates for the year 1861 for the erection of a bridge over the River Campaspe at Axedale and is informed that the Estimates would soon be laid on the table, when the Hon. Member would see if anything had been done.

January, 1861

• An area of land is gazetted as a town for the township of Axedale. It is shown as: Axedale, County unnamed, Parish of Axedale. Commencing at the north-west angle, being a point bearing south 1 chain from the south-west angle of Allotment 13, Section 6,; thence south 80 chains; thence east 54 chains 2 links to the Campaspe River; thence by that river north-easterly to a point bearing due east of the commencing point; thence west 79 chains 50 links to the commencing point.

• Two sections of the Parish of Axedale, comprising a number of allotments are proclaimed Farmers' Common.

The first part comprises Allotments 1 to 12, except for Allotment 3, of Section 9, Allotments 6 and 10 of Section 5 and Allotment 17 of Section 2 - all in the Parish of Axedale. Total 2,378 acres.

The second part commences at a point bearing South 45° West 100 links from the South-West angle of Allotment 7, Section 2, Parish of Axedale, thence South 45° West 16,650 links along the East side of a road, thence South 89° 9' East 11,063 links, thence South 83° 30' East 11,158 links, these last two lines being along the North side of a road, thence by a continuation of same on the following bearings and distances - North 80° 43' East 330 links, North 66° 13' East 250 links, North 52° 43' East 230 links, North 37° 43' East 1,000 links, North 53° 48' East 300 links, North 84° 43' East 250 links to intersection with South side of road, thence by South side of said road (which bounds Section 2 of the Parish of Axedale on the South-West) North 43° West 17,100 links to the commencing point. Total 1,488 acres.

March, 1861

• The farm in the possession of Mr. Sagasser at Axedale, and formerly occupied by Mr. Costelloe, is sold to Mr. Kemper, a person from Inglewood. Although it consists of only 209 acres, but it realises £3,000. [This property was probably near the Axedale Hotel].

May, 1861

• The laying of the first stone of a building for the Axedale Roman Catholic Church is performed by the Rev. Dr. Backhaus.

July, 1861

• A meeting is held at the Axedale Inn on 27th ultimo, at which a memorial to the Government for a [new] bridge over the Campaspe is accepted. A petition is presented to the Department of Roads and Bridges. The reply from the Commissioner is that plans for the new bridge are in progress, and tenders will be called shortly. [This bridge is to replace the dilapidated bridge at Axedale.]

July, 1861

• The tender of Joseph Thompson for an amount of £205/6/8 is accepted for fencing the Axedale Police Station.

October, 1861

• The inquest upon the body of Michael Donoghue, who is found drowned in the Campaspe, results in a verdict of suffocation from accidental drowning, accompanied by a rider to the effect that the death would not have happened, had there been a bridge over the river. It is the second fatal accident that has occurred within in a few months, owing to the delay in building the long-promised bridge over the Campaspe at Axedale.

November, 1861

• A reader, "A Victim", living just outside the South-Eastern boundary of the municipality, and a 'professed lover of local self-government', complains of falling into the jaws of the Strathfieldsaye Road Board.

I would pay my sixpence, my shilling, even my eighteen pence in the pound, if not with cheerfulness, at least with resignation. To my misfortune, however, I am just outside the south-eastern boundary of the municipality, and the consequence is that I have fallen into the jaws of the Strathfieldsaye Road Board. Where Strathfieldsaye may be, I have not the remotest conception; I do not believe that there is such a place, or if there be, I am very certain that there are no interests in common between it and me. All I know is that I am assessed at £30 or thirty shillings per annum, towards making roads and bridges for the benefit of some twenty clod compellers and some three publicans residing some eight or ten miles off, none of whom I have as yet the misfortune personally to know, and none of whom in all probability I ever shall know, on this side of that great gulph [sic] beyond which municipal and road board assessments cannot pass.

The civil gentleman who did me the honor to assess me to the Strathfieldsaye Road Board in my absence, was also kind enough to leave a message that the rate would be called for in a week or ten days. He left no printed notice, and I call this procedure cool; and all I can say is, that I wish he may get the money when he calls. Not that I would object to submit to this gross exaction levied upon me and many others to make and maintain, it is for the benefit of the chaw-bacons on the Emu and the Axedale, if I could compound against future annoyance by paying the blackmail of thirty shillings of which I am now about to be swindled under false pretences.

Give the scoundrels a shilling, says pater-familias, on condition that they leave, the street. The shilling is paid, and the street is purged of the nuisance for just five minutes, when, lo. another performer makes his appearance at the area gate, and grinds for another shilling. And so it is with this Road Board nuisance. There are two Road Boards for Strathfieldsaye, wherever that place may be. So I am in this predicament: If I pay Teague his shilling next week, the week after I shall have Williams with his barrel-organ grinding another shilling out of me. A shilling in the pound, I mean

Now, Sir, what am I to do? I look at the Act, and I find that any collector, however seedy, nay, though he be the very captain of the loafing society, may enter upon my premises, make an assessment, calculate the amount, and demand payment of the same forthwith, or in default of payment, defile my household goods, in other words, seize and sell my "sticks."

Of course, I have my remedy, if wronged, by an appeal to the Supreme Court, but upon the whole I think it wiser to submit to have my pocket picked by the two Road Boards to the extent of three pounds, than to let the lawyers rob me of ten times the money under pretence of getting justice done me. I hate a lawyer as much as I do a Road Board, or worse, and therefore, in this predicament I appeal to you, Sir, for advice or, at least, for consolation. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, A VICTIM.

December, 1861

• The new Axedale Roman Catholic church is approaching completion. It has been some twelve months since a movement was initiated which eventuated in a gift of the site and the right of quarrying the stone from Mr. Backhaus of Sandhurst, and the raising of the necessary funds by subscription. The site of the building is well suited, being on the brow of a hill, slightly left of the McIvor road, which crosses the river below the Axedale township by the new bridge now in construction. The situation is a most commanding one and the building, although unassuming in its architectural character, is a feature in the view of almost any point of observation.

The design and construction, which has been entrusted to Messrs. Vahland and Getschmann, has been as effectively carried out as the somewhat limited funds would admit. The building itself is constructed of bluestone of a fine grain, quarried on the spot, with buttresses of freestone, with trussed principles and corrugated iron roof. On the gable end is a large freestone cross. The building is 50 feet in length, 25 feet in breadth, the side walls 15 feet, and the ridge 25 feet. It is lighted by 6 gothic windows (3 on each side), and an ornamental circular window in each end. An opening of a crucial form is also left in the end, the three latter to be glazed by coloured glasses. Mr. Thompson has been the Contractor of the work.

• The Bendigo Advertiser of December 7, 1861 gives some interesting details of the new bridge over the Campaspe River:

"The Government, after many years of importunity by the inhabitants of the locality, and those interested in the road traffic to and from M'lvor, backed by the representations of the loss of property, and even life, which have occurred from the want of a bridge at this point, have seen fit to erect one, which is now making considerable progress, and although in consequence of the contractors having to go much deeper for a bottom, and consequently having to put in much more work, the work will probably not be completed within the specified contract time, yet no time will be lost and it will probably be available by next winter [1862]. By the kindness of Mr. Mason, of Mason, Turnbull and Co., the contractors, we learn that the total span from abutment to abutment is 450 feet, with a rise of 18 inches in the middle. This space is divided info thirteen openings or bays, viz., twelve of 30 feet on the M'lvor side, and one of 40 feet next to the Axedale bank. The piers, which are constructed of bluestone, from the hill on the M'lvor side, are seven feet in breadth at the footings, battering up to four feet at the top, the length in the bottom being 32 feet, battering up to 22 feet, thus giving a clear roadway of 22 feet. The level of the roadway being two feet above the highest flood line. The footings which are taken down to clay, in some instances going down through eighteen feet and twelve feet of black soil, are put in with large blocks of bluestone twelve inches in thickness, each course setting off six inches. The girders will be of hardwood timber 14 inches by 12, with double transverse planking and wooden handrail. The girders will be additionally strengthened by struts and trusses underneath, the piers will be rubble walled, and the cutwaters (angled ends of the piers) in ashlar work. The abutment and three piers are already up to ground level, and with about fifty men, the work is being rapidly proceeded with. The sidling road coming down from the M'lvor side exhibits two sharp nips or turns, which we fear will at some period, be productive of an accident."

[There are two significant pieces of historic information contained in the above article. The first is that the bluestone was 'from the hill on the McIvor side' which indicates that it came from the West slope of what is now Ingham Road at the 90° bend near the Inn ruins. Evidence of stone removal can be clearly seen today. This may have been the start of the quarry that Napthali Ingham subsequently worked at a later date. The second item of information concerns the mention of the 'sidling road' which indicates that this road may have been brought into use at about the same time as the new bridge.]

• The Bendigo Advertiser prints an informative article that details a journalist's journey from the Criterion Hotel, McIvor Street, Sandhurst, to the Campaspe River at Axedale:

Leaving town by way of the Criterion, McIvor Street, and that dangerous pas the Back Creek Bridge, a crazy specimen of how they made (not built) bridges some few years since, by the brick yards, past the Municipal Pound, and up the road lately finished by Government to the top of the hill, where stands the slaughter-yards, and a short distance away a large piggery redolent of perfume, a half mile along a very fair road brings us to the Bull's Head hostelry, and the Grassy Flat reservoirs for the use of the miners of Huntly and Epsom. On through the bush to the Travellers' Rest, and further by bush tracks, and a piece of macadamised road, passing Boyle's Homebush Hotel, to the Axedale Bridge, [Axe Creek] a really presentable bridge of stone, and then to the hotel of that name, once much the resort of pleasure seekers.

The country along the Splitters Creek is very generally under cultivation, and towards the Axe [Creek] appearances assimilate to an agricultural district at home. Crops of various kinds, green or yellow as they respectively approach maturity, wave, in the wind, and in some fields the scythe is being plied by lusty arms, while others turn (or make) the hay. On the left rises a peculiar eminence, called the Sugar Loaf Hill, forming a noticeable feature in the landscape. The little township of Axedale is reached in about sixteen miles, and we were agreeably surprised to find it a town of some pretensions. We noticed in the main street, two hotels kept by Messrs. Drake and Baillie respectively, a wheelwright, two bootmakers, a butcher's shop, a police station, chapel and schoolhouse.

The village generally appears in a thriving condition. At the end of the street is the (at present) series of waterholes and rivulets called the Campaspe, the flats on each side of which present finely grassed and timbered pastures, well sprinkled with contented looking well-to-do cattle. Following up the river we come to some really romantic site, with sheltering clumps of trees, which for picnic purposes would be found incomparable.

Following the winding course of the river, we arrive at Messrs. Heffernan and Crowley's station, once the property of Mr. Ross. This is a sweet place, situated in a beautiful fruit and flower garden, with all the conveniences of a large station, enhanced by the immediate presence of a large and permanent water hole or lake, about three quarters of a mile long by 100 yards in breadth. On this little piece of water are two little boats, either for crossing or recreation. The banks on either side are high and precipitous, and fringed with trees, which give it a most romantic appearance. Fish of various descriptions are to be taken in the various waterholes. The labours of the farm are here being energetically performed, the hay being in course of harvesting, three large stacks of that produce of last year's growth, however, still remain untouched. The new bridge works, near the town, give a lively appearance to the view. Near the old bridge a large quantity of Scotch thistles have sprung up, and are growing vigorously. The plant, if not the true Caledonian species, is but a slight degeneration from it. It is probable that the seed has been brought to the spot with some imported oats.

• Two men are working on the footings of one of the piers on the new bridge, when the dirt and sludge suddenly slips in on them. The men, Thomas Hogg and John McLean are partially buried, while Robert Pringle is buried to a depth of almost three feet. He is lifted out in an unconscious state by crane and found not as severely injured as was expected.

• Mounted Constable Patrick McGrath (No. 874) is appointed to Axedale.


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April, 1862

Axedale certainly had its share of miscreants.

• Under the heading of Superlative Ruffian: One John Kelly, alias Fagan, alias Gatehouse, after serving a month in prison for resisting police and endeavouring to brain Detective O'Neill with a large stone, is released and, on a Saturday, made it as far as William's Axedale Hotel. On the Sunday, he left by the back door, jumped on a horse, rode off, and was pursued by the owner and two other men. He was intercepted at Costelloe's Bridge [McIvor Road Bridge over Axe Creek]. After a serious struggle, during which he hit one of the men in a frightful manner about the face, he succeeded in getting clear. On the Monday, he forcibly broke into the Axedale Hotel and took away a quantity of spirits and provisions. On the Tuesday, he stuck up Charles Musty, a bullock driver, between the hotel [Axe Creek] and the Campaspe, leaving him tied up in the "Gardnerian style" for some hours. Kelly is arrested by Detective O'Neill and Constable McAuliffe in McCrae Street, Sandhurst, at the home of Maria Stamford. In the course of the affair, Kelly drew a carving knife on his captors. Kelly is referred to as "the worst o' cut-throats", an old hand who regained his freedom (from penal servitude) in consequence of certain evidence he gave in the "Price" inquiry.

June, 1862

• The area of land for the Axedale Farmers' Common is increased by 1,680 acres, more or less, by land between O'Briens and Hawkins Lanes.

• By the Government Gazette, Mounted Constable Thomas O'Keefe, No. 189, Axedale, replaces Constable Patrick McGrath as Inspector of Slaughter Houses for the Sandhurst Police District.

July, 1862

• The inhabitants of Sandhurst and its vicinity, interested in the traffic between Sandhurst, McIvor, Lancefield, Kilmore, etc., have heard with surprise and regret that the surplus of money voted for the erection of the bridge over the Campaspe River at Axedale, is about to be handed over to the Municipal Council of Sandhurst. The people feel that the money should go towards repairing the condition of the approaches as agreed, and then, if any money is left over, it should go towards the bridge over Back Creek on the McIvor Road - also as agreed. They notify their dissatisfaction to the Hon. President of the Board of Roads and Bridges. It includes "That your memorialists, in the first place, would call your attention to the state of the approaches to the said bridge, and would impress upon your Honorable Board, that the bridge itself will be of very little use if the approaches are not completed. That your memorialists received a communication from your honorable Board a short time since, that the whole of the money voted for that specific purpose would be laid out under the contract of Messrs. Mason, Turnbull and Co. Your memorialists therefore pray that your honorable Board will cause a special survey and report to be sent to you before you decide on parting with the balance of the vote as yet unexpended, as your memorialists feel convinced that your Board will ascertain, on inquiry, that the entire amount of the vote will be required to perfect the approaches of the bridge;

The receive the reply: The following letter has been received from Mr. J. F. Sullivan, M.L.A., on the subject - Melbourne, 18th July, 1802. Dear Sir, - I waited on the Department of Roads and Bridges with the memorial in relation to the money voted for the Campaspe Bridge. It appears that a promise was given some months ago, that if any money was left after building the bridge and making good the approaches thereto, that such surplus should go towards the bridge over the Back Creek, on the M'lvor Road. All the papers connected with the subject are in the hands of Mr. Harrison, the District Road Engineer. Nothing will be done until he reports on it. J.F. Sullivan, R. Baker, Esq.

September, 1862

• The Government Gazette advises: Governor, Sir Henry Barkly, proclaims that the Axedale Farmers' Common, the Eppalock Farmers' Common, and the Axedale Town Common, shall be a Common under the name of "The United Town and Farmers' Common of Axedale and Eppalock".

October, 1862

• A public meeting of the farmers of the Axe Creek and adjoining district is arranged to be held at Costelloe's Hotel on the 17th at 4pm. All interested in the farmers' commonage are particularly requested to attend.

• Copper is reported in quartz at the Axe Creek, near Acott's crushing machine, Axedale.

November, 1862

• Copper is reported on the surface, near Mt. Ida. It is also reported that Mr. Acott is believed to have taken out a lease in relation to the Axe Creek copper report.

• T. McGrath is summoned by P. McCurry to answer a charge of assault. McCurry is one of the managers of commons for the Axedale Commonage, and on passing by the hotel of Costelloe, at the Axedale Bridge [Axe Creek Bridge] is set upon, kicked, and otherwise ill-used. He is awarded 40/-.


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March, 1863

• Mr. Costelloe requests the Strathfieldsaye District Roads Board to erect a culvert over Hargreaves Gully, near the township of Axedale. [I am assuming this is McIvor Road, at the entrance to Axedale, near the cemetery.

• Rates for the Axe Creek [Axedale] pound are notified by the Government Gazette.

June, 1863

• Several district Publican's Licences are granted: Charles Boyle, Homebush Inn, Splitters Creek; P. Drake, Campaspe Hotel, Axedale; A. J. Harrison, Bull's Head, Grassy Flat; Maria Freeman, Wellington Hotel, Axedale [actually the Duke of Wellington, Strathfieldsaye]; A. Heine, Plough and Harrow, Strathfieldsaye; M. F. Costelloe, Axedale hotel, Axedale.

July, 1863

• At a meeting of the District Roads Board, Mr. O'Loughlin moves, and Mr. Costelloe seconds, the suspension of the standing orders, so that the Board might entertain the matter of having handrails added to the bridge now erecting over the Axe Creek, in the parish of Axedale. The motion is carried. Mr. O'Loughlin then moves, and Mr. Lowe seconds, that the surveyor be instructed to have handrails put to the bridge. The motion is carried. There is also a request for the Surveyor to report on the probable cost of a culvert at Grassy Flat, near the Bull's Head Hotel.

• Mr. James Macpherson, submits a claim for compensation to the Strathfieldsaye Roads board for losses sustained by him by the late floods, whilst erecting a bridge over the Axe Creek. It is referred to the Committee.

September, 1863

• At a meeting of the Strathfieldsaye District Roads Board, "the surveyor was instructed to prepare plans and specifications for the following works, viz.: - Bridge at Grassy Flat, near the Bull's Head Hotel, on the M'lvor Road, at a cost not exceeding £100; repairs to the stone bridge over the Axe Creek, on the M'lvor Road; culvert over the Blind Creek, in between Mr. Grant's farm and the Plough and Harrow Hotel; culvert over Hargreaves Gully, McIvor Road. Also a bridge over the Axe Creek between the Cahill and Lonerigan farms. In the matter of compensation to Mr. Macpherson, for loss sustained by him through the flood of June 5th, 1863, Mr. Black then moved and Mr. Costelloe seconded, "That the sum of £11 be paid to Mr. Macpherson." Mr. Moore moved an amendment, "That no compensation be given.'' There being no seconder, the original motion was carried.

• Mr. Somerville is credited with two Notices of Motion. The first, "That the road leading from Sandhurst to the Duke of Wellington Hotel, Lower Sheepwash, be cleared and side drained, thirty three feet wide, and the holes be filled with metal." The second, "That a bridge be erected over the Axe Creek, on the Government Road, between the farms of Messrs. Cahill and Lonerigan." Both are withdrawn at a later meeting.

October, 1863

• Mr. N. W. Pollard writes a very comprehensive Letter to the Editor, suggesting a railway line connection from Sandhurst to the Chiltern district by way of either Axedale or where the rail line runs eastward towards the Campaspe, and just before it runs northward towards the Murray. [This would be a place a short distance north-east of Goornong on the Echuca line which is under construction at this time and similar proposals will be discussed for years to come.]

• The Strathfieldsaye District Roads Board Surveyor, amongst other things, reports on a site and probable cost of a bridge over the Axe Creek near its junction with the Campaspe. On the motion of Mr. Costelloe, seconded by Mr. Lowe, tenders were ordered to be called for a culvert over Hargreaves Gully, on the McIvor Road, near the township of Axedale. A memorial was received for a bridge over the Axe Creek, near Mr. Lynch's farm, and one for a crossing over the Picaninny Creek. Consideration is postponed until funds are available.

• Tenders are called for a culvert near the Bull's Head Hotel, Grassy Flat, and another over Hargreaves Creek at Axedale, plans available at Costelloe's Axedale Hotel.

November, 1863

• Further discussion on the Ovens Railway connection ensues.

December, 1863

• McIvor Road, the main road extending from the northern boundary of the Borough of Heathcote via Axedale to the eastern boundary of the Borough of Sandhurst, is proclaimed a main road.


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January, 1864

• By Government Gazette, Messrs. James Cook, Jonathan Harris, John Gallagher, James O'Loughlin and G.H. Campion, are appointed managers of the United Town and Farmers' Common of Axedale and Eppalock, vice Messrs. Stephen Bourke, Phillip Nolan, Daniel McCary, Daniel O'Brien, Edmund Sharp and G.H. Kemper, superseded. Article not available.

March, 1864

• By Government Gazette, Benjamin Code is appointed Poundkeeper of the Public Pound at Axe Creek. [The Pound is situated in Code Lane]. Article not available.

April, 1864

• A fine piece of gold is reported found by three men in a fine gully at the head of the Axedale [sic.] Creek.

• Michael Costelloe decides to leave the hotel industry. L. Macpherson and Co. post an advertisement addressed to Capitalists and Parties requiring investments, an important sale of splendid farm at Axedale, with crops, stock, implements, an household furniture. To sell, by auction, that well-known freehold property, the old Axedale Hotel, and choice farm of 358 acres more or less, fenced and subdivided, 150 acres under cultivation, splendid vineyard, and orchard 10 year old, containing 5 acres. Auction sale of the Old Axedale Hotel property, other acreage and a new hotel perfectly ready for occupation and licensed. Also, 1 stack hay, 2 stacks oaten straw, 7 stanch draught horses, 3 milch cows, American Concord wagon, Robinson's reaping machine, drays, ploughs, harrows, harness, pigs, poultry, and quantity of household furniture. Terms at sale. [It is possible that the new hotel, to which the advertisement refers, is what will become the Perseverance Hotel which, according to an 1886 Victorian Railways contract plan, was situated on the North side of McIvor Road, directly opposite the Longlea Lane intersection, on property that was in the name of Michael Costelloe, acquired from the insolvency of Robert Ross.]

July, 1864

• A meeting of the Strathfieldsaye District Roads Board is heard and the Surveyor provides updates on various works. The contract for repairs to the stone bridge near Mr Costelloe's, with the extras, viz, new coping stones, pointing, etc, is nearly finished.

The contract for the construction of a bridge over the Axe Creek, near Mr Quin's, was progressing tolerably well. In this matter, he (the Surveyor) would suggest dispensing with the earthwork approaches, and substituting an additional opening at each end of the bridge . He made the suggestion in consequence of statements made by the ratepayers living in the locality to the effect that in time of heavy floods the current is so strong as in all probability to damage the best constructed earthwork. The report further states that when he took the levels and other particulars of the bridge he was informed by Mr, Quinn that the water which overtopped the banks of the creek was merely backwater from the Campaspe and that all the current was in the ordinary channel of tho creek, and prepared the plans of the bridge accordingly. The alterations to the bridge, expected to cost an additional £60, were not supported, and it is resolved, "That the bridge be completed according to original plans and specifications."

He (the surveyor) had arranged for a pitched crossing over the small gully near the Plough and Harrow Hotel, at a cost of £10. He had also arranged for the construction of a culvert over the water course, near Mr Carr's, with side drains, grubbing, clearing, &c, at a cost of £11. He had also further arranged for a rough crossing with metal, filling in ruts, &c, on the McIvor Road, near the Bull's Head Hotel. The contract for clearing the road from the bridge over the Axe Creek, near The Plough and Harrow Hotel, to the bridge over the Emu Creek, near Mr Bruhn's, was in hand.

Mr Black urged upon the Board the necessity of immediately making some improvement on the road leading through the township of Axedale. Mr Costelloe also spoke as to the present almost dangerous state of the road. It was decided that as the surveyor had already been instructed to prepare plans and specifications for improvements to about four miles of the McIvor Road, including that portion passing through the township, the matter stand over until the Government had sanctioned the proposed improvements. On the motion of Mr Moore, seconded by Mr Black, the surveyor was instructed to cause a culvert to be erected on the road near Mr Kemper's farm, and leading into the McIvor Road, Mr Kemper agreeing to pay one half the estimated cost of £10. Mr Black moved, and Mr Costelloe seconded, "That on condition of Messrs Lonergan and others agreeing to pay one half of the cost of erecting a bridge over the Axe Creek, and guaranteeing the same to the Board, that the Board pay the other half." Carried.

August, 1864

• The Strathfieldsaye District Road Board's Surveyor's report says that the contract for the erection of a bridge at the Axe Creek, near Mr. Quinn's, was going on tolerably well. He had arranged with Mr. Conroy for some small temporary improvements in the township of Axedale, consisting of rough pitching and gravelling. Had arranged for cutting drains, rough pitching, &c, on the road leading to Blake's Bridge, and also for repairing the handrails of the latter, the total cost of which would not exceed the sum named in his estimates. Had also arranged with Mr. Kemper for the construction of a rough culvert on the road passing the Axedale Hotel.

Mr. Holmes, of Axedale, having waited on the Board, complained of a slight inconvenience caused to himself by the manner in which the improvements on the road leading through tho township were being carried out. It was moved by Mr. Somerville, and seconded by Mr. Lowe, "That Messrs. Harris and Costelloe be a committee to visit and report the same." Carried.

Mr Black moved, and Mr Harris seconded, "That the rate, as then proposed, [earlier meeting] be one shilling and three pence in the pound for the current year." An amendment was moved by Mr Lowe, "That the rate be fixed at six pence in the pound," which not being seconded, the original motion was put and carried.

September, 1864

• Members of the Prince Of Wales Light Horse Corps, under the command of Captain Cohn, will proceed to Axedale where they will meet and practice with eight recruits from the district.

October, 1864

• Phillip Nolan, late of Axedale partner in the Campaspe Hotel Trust with Drake] informs "his Friends and the Public" that he has opened the Victoria Hotel in Echuca, which affords every accommodation and stabling.

• The Government Gazette advises that a 4 acre site for the Axedale Cemetery is temporarily reserved.


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January, 1865

• A letter from Mr. Stevenson, Assistant Commissioner of Roads and Bridges is received by the Strathfieldsaye District Roads Board, says that, where it could be avoided, hotels, as places for holding elections, were objectionable; and that schoolhouses or other public buildings would be preferred. The Government had, however, Gazetted for each subdivision, the following places for holding elections: Mandurang, Milkmaid's Flat, Strathfieldsaye, Lower Sheepwash, and Axedale. [It is assumed this is a list of hotels.] Mr. Costelloe is remunerated £2 for expenses associated with the election.

The Surveyor reported that the whole of the works which were in progress at the last meeting were now completed; that two of them were to be maintained by the contractors for six months from the date of their completion, viz, the bridge over the Axe Creek, near Mr. Quinn's, and the improvements on the road between the Retreat Inn and the north-west corner of the parish of Sedgwick. He {the Surveyor) also reported that he had prepared plans and specifications for the works required on six miles of the main McIvor Road; and also design for a bridge over the Axe Creek, near Mr Lynch's, in the parish of Axedale.

• The Government Gazette reports that Thomas Donnelan is appointed a Manager of the United Town and Farmers' Common of Axedale and Eppalock, vice Mr. Campion having left the colony.

February, 1865

Costelloe's Axedale Hotel is again advertised for sale, this time through Bucknall Brothers, as it is announced that the owner is leaving solely to devote his attention to agricultural pursuits. The sale covers "all that most desirable and well-known property, COSTELLOE'S AXEDALE HOTEL, situated on the main road to the Campaspe, Heathcote, Whroo, Rushworth, Murchison, Kilmore, and Lancefield townships. The ample accommodation afforded by the hotel, secures an advantageous and permanent flow of business to any energetic proprietor. The hotel includes bar, bar-parlor, large dining-room, six bed-rooms, cellar, detached kitchen, servants' room, coach-house, stables, stock-yard, cultivated garden, etc., standing on freehold allotment of 2 acres. Title guaranteed. Terms liberal, declared at sale." [The advertisement proves the location of the hotel as Allotment 30A, Parish of Axedale, on the corner of the current Hawkins Lane and McIvor Highway.]

June, 1865

• The Government Gazette advises that Henry Boulger, Jonathan Harris, Stephen Bourke, Thomas O'Rourke and William Doak are appointed Trustees of the Axedale Cemetery.

October, 1865

• Jonathan Harris, Thomas Donnellan, Steven Bourke, Adolphus Witticheibe, James O'Loughlin and John Gallagher are confirmed as Commons Managers.

November, 1865

• The very bad condition of the McIvor Road between the Bull's Head and the Traveller's Rest requires the immediate attention of the Strathfieldsaye Roads Board. Accidents by vehicles running against the many stumps that exist on and at the side of the road are of daily occurrence. The farmers and produce growers, who reside between Sandhurst and the Campaspe have a legitimate cause of complaint, seeing that they are rather heavily assessed by the Road Board.

December, 1865

• The Government Gazette advises that a site of 1 acre, Allotment 11A, Section 8, is temporarily set aside for the Axedale Roman Catholic Church.


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January, 1866

• The District Coroner holds an inquest at the Campaspe Hotel, Axedale, on the body of James Steer, 6½ years old, who came to his accidental death on the previous day from suffocation, through a heavy gate having fallen and remained on his chest and neck, at Axedale. It appears that the child had gone to Mr. Drake's stockyards where his parent's cattle were. A search at tea time, when he is discovered missing, leads to him being found lying dead, under the stockyard gate. The gate had been off its hinges.

February, 1866

• The Strathfieldsaye District Roads Board has some internal matters to sort out in relation to the way they are conducting their affairs. Mr, Westcott, late Clerk of the Board had given one month's notice of resignation, but Mr. Brennan moved, seconded by Mr. Sawers, that the letter be not received. This was probably as a result of a letter from the Roads and Bridges Department, requesting certain return of accounts, that had, apparently, been ignored. The Assistant Commissioner stated that, in the absence of the accounts, he would be compelled to state in his annual report that the Board had failed to comply with the law. The clerk was instructed to answer, explaining the cause of neglect. A resolution was passed, that a committee be formed to arrange the arrears of business, the committee to be Messrs. Sibley, Cook, Brennan and Costelloe, three to form a quorum.

In answer to a question, Mr Brennan stated that he and other parties had waited on the solicitor to the Board, and he said that he was not quite sure that the Board could prosecute the late Clerk, and requested time to consider it. They again saw him, and were told that they could summon him, and he could be dealt with by the magistrates.

The Secretary, in reply to the Chairman, said that he had, since the last meeting, served a notice on the late Clerk, claiming, on behalf of the Board, £66/19/1, giving him the benefit of all he claims, and two clear days to pay the money, and that after that, proceedings would be taken against him, if the money be not paid.

The Secretary read a letter from the late Clerk, stating that he was willing to pay £29/13/7, and requested to know if they were willing to settle it on those terms. Mr. Sawers did not see why the late Clerk should be blamed for being a defaulter to the amount of £250, which was generally understood throughout the district.

A memorial was received from the residents of the Axedale and Eppalock parishes, signed by twenty six persons assessed for depasturing cattle on the Common, and attended by a deputation, who said that at a public meeting held at the Schoolhouse, [Longlea?] on Saturday last, Mr. Jonathan Harris, Chairman of the Managers of the Farmers' Common, had been requested to resign, and in the event of him not doing so, asked them to cancel his appointment. The deputation was then introduced. Mr. Putter, Chairman of the meeting, said that Mr. Harris had committed many irregularities in the management of the accounts, and not letting the public know the times of meeting, and stating that the cattle had been assessed too high. Arrangements are put in place to ensure that Mr. Harris attends the next Board meeting.

The Board resolved that, "The committee appointed to arrange the arrears of business do take steps for the appointment of a Clerk."

Tenders, called for by the Surveyor were taken into consideration, and that of Andrew O'Keefe was accepted, as follows: Metalling, 4s 9d; blinding, 3s 6d; excavation, and 1s 3d per yard and drains, 7s 6d per chain.

March, 1866

• The Government Gazette reports that The Right Reverend J.A. Goold, The Very Reverend John Fitzpatrick, Phillip Nolan, Stephen Burke, and Thomas O'Rourke are appointed Trustees of the land purchased for the Axedale Roman Catholic Church.

April, 1866

• Mr. Napthali Ingham, at this time a resident of Brunswick, Victoria, is granted a licence to open a new public house in Ewen Street, Brunswick. [Mr. Ingham was to become a significant resident of Axedale in later years].

May, 1866

• Henry Bolger, Chairman, Stephen Burke, Thomas O'Rourke, and Patrick Drake, Secretary, advise burial charges and regulations for the Axedale Cemetery.

June, 1866

• At a regular meeting of the Strathfieldsaye District Roads Board, Steven Burke, Secretary of the Axedale and Eppalock Commons, applies for all books and documents, including balance sheet, connected with the Commons. His application is granted. A note is received from Peter Potter complaining of the timber that has been left by the side of his fence from the clearing of M'lvor Road, and requesting it to be removed, as in case of flood or fire. he anticipated considerable damage to his property. It is referred to the Surveyor.

It is reported that the McIvor Road, through the township of Axedale, was in a dangerous state.

The Assessor reported that there are 223 assessable properties in Axedale, with a net value £4,685.

• Mr A. O'Keefe requests permission to address the Board with reference to certain items of his contract which the surveyor has either struck out altogether or reduced, a proceeding which he thinks unfair, as the items so interfered with were the only ones on which he has any profit; the other portions of the work having been taken at a loss, he expected that the profit on the items interfered with would make up for that loss. Mr O'Keefe says he reads the conditions differently from the Engineer, who, he contends, has no power to strike out any item, but he might reduce it, add to it, or alter it. Mr O'Keefe says he has no desire to enter into legal proceedings as he believes the Board would treat him fairly. The matter is referred to a committee consisting of Messrs Cook, Brennan, and Sawers.

July, 1866

• Constable Wright, of the Axedale Police Station, advises the District Coroner that a man named Patrick Quirk drowned when he was attempting to re-cross the Coliban River to his residence, about ten miles from the Police Station. An inquest is to be held at the Raglan Hotel, Axedale.

August, 1866

• An unidentified man, taken to the Axedale Hotel [presumed to be Longlea], in a weak state from starvation and suffering from the cold. He had been found lying under a tree in the bush, with blankets wrapped around him and his feet considerably swollen. He stated that had been wandering about in the bush for nine days, and feeling completely exhausted, had lain down to die. He is subsequently taken to the Bendigo Hospital where, besides being very exhausted, he is found to be suffering gangrene on his toes and it is probable that some will have to be amputated. His name is Francis William Patterson.

• The Strathfieldsaye District Roads Board Engineer advertises for tenders for the erection of a bridge over Blind Gully and another over Sawpit Gully on the McIvor Road.

• The Axedale Pound Poundkeeper, now Benjamin Code, advises some impoundings via the Government Gazette.

September, 1866

• The Government Gazette announces that, after the expiration of one month, the Board of Election will appoint Right Reverend James A. Goold, Very Reverend James B. Hayes, Reverend Francis McCarthy, Reverend Edward A, O'Dwyer, Denis McNamara, James O'Loughlin and John McNamara as members of the Local Committee of the Common School Axedale No. 865, unless reasonable cause be shown to the contrary. They are subsequently appointed in November.

October, 1866

• The Engineer reports that considerable progress with the excavations for the McIvor Road Blind Creek bridge, but some of the timber has been condemned. Little progress has been made with the Sawpit Gully bridge. A man had been employed to clear the drains near the stone bridge over the Axe Creek on the McIvor Road. The bridge over the Axe Creek, near Mr. Lonergan's, had been commenced and a great portion of the timber was on the ground.

November, 1866

• The Government Gazette advises that a further 10,200 acres area is added to the United Town and Farmers' Common of Axedale and Eppalock.


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January, 1867

• Mr. Michael Costelloe apparently has had no purchasers for his Axedale Hotel and advertises it, with two acres of land, To Let. [This is Allotment 30A of 26/08/1862 at the Hawkins Lane/McIvor Highway intersection, Longlea.]

• Jeremiah Nolan is granted a beer licence at Axedale. [This could be Drake's Campaspe Hotel].

• John Mauttman is charged by Patrick Drake, Campaspe Hotel, Axedale, with 4/- from the bar till. Drake had some suspicions that the till was being robbed and he marked seven shillings. Mrs. Drake watched and saw the money being taken. Mauttman is sentenced to six weeks imprisonment, with hard labour.

February, 1867

• Matthew Ryan makes four applications for a total of 80 acres at Axedale and is approved.

• By order of the mortgagee, a valuable farm well watered by the Axe Creek, nearly opposite Messrs. Wittscheibe's vineyard and farm, fenced and under cultivation, Allotment 15, Section 2, containing 77 acres 2 roods 3 perches is advertised for unreserved sale. Also, all of Parish of Wellsford, Allotment 1, Section 1, next to Mr. R. Harney's on the Kangaroo Creek, containing 55a 3r 38p, is similarly advertised.

March, 1867

• The Engineer reports that the bridges over the Campaspe at Axedale had been examined and he suggests that the hand railing be repaired and painted, the approaches on both sides be made up, and the bolts screwed up; the cost being estimated at £25. On the motion of Cr. Sawers, seconded by Cr. Lonergan, the Secretary is instructed to ask the Heathcote Shire Council to co-operate in the necessary repairs.

• William Shaw kills a snake, fully six feet long, at the Five Mile Creek on the road to Axedale. It was of the lead coloured species so common about Bendigo and the goldfields. Snakes are spoken of in most papers as being very numerous and troublesome.

April, 1867

• The Axedale and Eppalock Farmers' Common books of account are brought forward by Cr. Brennan. However, they are in the hands of a Solicitor who refuses to give them up as he has a lien on them. As the Commons have now reverted to the Council, the Secretary is to write to Mr. O'Donnell, the Solicitor, to get them handed over.

• Thomas Johnson, alias Maori Tom is charged by Mounted Constable Wright of Axedale, with attempting to rape Sarah Knapp, on the Campaspe, the unfortunate woman being insane. He was remanded for one week.

• Michael Kennedy advises that he has applied for 80 acres of land in the Parish of Axedale.

May, 1867

• The McIvor Council asks if Strathfieldsaye will pay its share of Campaspe River bridge repairs.

• The Statement of Accounts for the Axedale and Eppalock Commons appears in the Government Gazette.

• Messrs. Heffernan and Crowley advertise for men to grub and burn 420 trees on their farm at Axedale. The property is Marydale, part of land previously occupied by Robert Ross. Applications are received either at The Shamrock Hotel, Sandhurst, or their Axedale farm.

June, 1867

• A letter from Mr. O'Donnell, Solicitor, is addressed at a Strathfieldsaye Shire Council meeting. He asks for a reply to his letter referring to the books of the Axedale and Eppalock Farmers' Common, stating that he had paid counsel's fees to defend Hennessy, the Herdsman, believing the Managers would pay the costs. He also states that the books are of no use to him except as regards Hennessy. The Secretary is instructed to reply to the letter, stating that the Council did not intend taking any steps in the matter.

• Three Axedale and Eppalock Commons Managers write to Council, protesting about the illegal acts of one of their number - Mr. Harris. Cr. Brennan moved, "That Mr Harris be asked to explain to the Council his conduct in reference to the Axedale and Eppalock Farmers' Common." The motion is seconded by Cr. Sutton and carried. Mr. Harris is then called in, and says that he had been chairman of the Board of Managers for twelve months, and on the 16th of May, his term of office having expired, he took the chair, and Mr. O'Brien was proposed as the Chairman for the next twelve months. An amendment to the effect that Mr. Harris be the Chairman was proposed, and, the voting being equal, he gave his casting vote, as Chairman pro tem, in his own favour. One or two of the Managers protested and rose from the table, but did not leave the room. Mr. Gallagher, one of the Managers stated much the same but stated that Harris had not been appointed Chairman pro tem, one or two of them protested and left the room.

Cr Cook moved, in order to settle the matter, "That the present Managers be removed." Cr. Sawers seconded the motion, which was carried. The President and several Councillors expressed an opinion that the new election should be left with the ratepayers. Cr. Cook also moved, "That the number of Managers be reduced to four, if it was legal." Carried. Cr. Sawers moved, "That a meeting for the nomination of Managers take place on Tuesday night next, at seven o'clock, at the Axe Creek schoolhouse, near Code's, and that the President and Crs. Cook and Brennan attend as a committee to superintend the arrangements." Cr. Sutton seconded the motion, which was carried. Advertisements are placed.

• Patrick Murphy advises that he has applied for a licence to occupy 40 acres in the Parish of Axedale.

• The Strathfieldsaye Shire Council receives a petition from a number of ratepayers in the Axedale township, calling attention to the road through the township, which was in a disgraceful state, and requesting that it be put in repair. The consideration of the petition is deferred till next meeting, as there are several other more urgent cases requiring attention.

• At a Strathfieldsaye Shire Council meeting, Cr. Brennan said that he had attended as one of the Council's delegates at the meeting for the nomination of managers for the Axedale and Eppalock United Commons, but that the other two gentlemen appointed by the Council were absent. The meeting, he said, was a very large and orderly one. The Secretary stated that the meeting agreed to nominate Messrs J. Donnellan, R. O'Brien, P. M'Grath, T. O'Rourke, D. O'Brien and D McNamara as Managers of the Commons. Cr. Brennan moved, "That the appointment of the Managers stand over till the next meeting." Cr. Potter seconded the motion, which was carried.

• The Strathfieldsaye Shire Council receives a petition from a number of ratepayers in the Axedale township, calling attention to the road through the township, which was in a disgraceful state, and requesting that it be put in repair. The consideration of the petition is deferred till next meeting, as there are several other more urgent cases requiring attention.

• Cr Brennan said that he had attended as one of the Council's delegates at the meeting for the nomination of managers for the Axedale and Eppalock United Commons, but that the other two gentlemen appointed by the Council were absent. The meeting, he said, was a very large and orderly one. The Secretary stated that the meeting agreed to nominate Messrs J. Donnellan, R. O'Brien, P. M'Grath, T. O'Rourke, D. O'Brien and D McNamara as Managers of the Commons. Cr. Brennan moved, "That the appointment of the Managers stand over till the next meeting." Cr. Potter seconded the motion, which was carried.

• In notices of motion, Cr. Brennan to move, "That the resolution limiting-the number of Managers of the Axedale and Eppalock United Commons to four be rescinded, and that the number be six.

• There are 65 applications for land lodged and almost all are approved. They include: John McNamara, farmer, Axedale, 40a; Thomas O'Keefe, refreshment housekeeper, Axedale, 20a; John O'Brien, labourer, Axedale, 40a; Michael Kennedy, farmer, Axedale, 60a; Thomas Minard, farmer, Axedale, 80a. [Thomas O'Keefe was a Mounted Constable at Axedale. He committed suicide in 1868 at the Axedale Hotel near the Axe Creek.]

• Peter Tierney offers a £2 reward for seven branded lost or strayed bullocks. Apply to Peter Tierney, late Shelley's farm, or Mr. Code, Axedale [The Poundkeeper].

July, 1867

• William Murphy applies for 10 acres of land in the Parish of Axedale.

• Patrick Drake, of Axedale, loses a wheel of his vehicle against a stump near Homebush, and capsizes. He is pitched onto the road and fractures an arm. It is suggested that the Borough Council might do a better job of repairing roads and lighting the town.

• The Campaspe near Axedale was in flood a week ago, being seventeen feet above the summer level. The bridge at Runnymede [Elmore] was seven feet under water. All the lower ground on the bank of the stream was inundated.

• Cr. Brennan retires by rotation and an election is called at the Axedale Hotel, McIvor Road, to elect his replacement for the North Riding.

August, 1867

• Mr. Wittschiebe advertises that he will meet with the electors of Axedale at Mr. Drake's Campaspe Hotel.

• A large list of selectors' applications, recommended to be granted, is published. Among them are: Axedale - P. Murphy, farmer, 20a; P. Gleeson, farmer, 48a 1r 4 and 1/2p; W. Murphy, 5a; J. Conroy, labourer, 40a; B. Code, poundkeeper, 68a 2r 6p (four applications); J.G. Goode, storekeeper, 16a 2r 8p; M. O' Sullivan, labourer, 20a; C.H. Read, butcher, 20a; G. Barker, gentleman, 20a; Thos. Gaynor, farmer, 20a; Augusta Kortum, carpenter, 19a 2r 14p; Muskerry - R. Russell, farmer, 75a 2r 30p (four applications); R. Watson, produce dealer, 19a 2r 33p.

• Candidates for the Strathfieldsaye Shire Council are announced. There are two vacancies, one for each Riding. North East Riding Candidates - Michael Brennan (retiring Councillor), Emu Creek and Adolphus Wittschiebe, Axe Creek; Polling place - Axedale Hotel, McIvor Road. East Riding Candidates - John Colvin (retiring Councillor), Native Gully, and William Greiflenhagen, Axe Creek; Polling place - Duke of Wellington Hotel, Lower Sheepwash.

• The Very Rev. Henry Backhaus is to be appointed a member of the local committee of the Axedale Common School No. 865. Golden Gully and White Hills schools are also shown. He is advised as appointed in an October Gazette.

• William Murphy gives notice that he has submitted an application to occupy 5 acres in Axedale.

September, 1867

• A notice of a pigeon shooting match at Drake's Campaspe Hotel appears with three pigs and two turkeys offered as prizes for the best shots.

• Allotment 8, Section 12, 1a 1r, in the Axedale township, is listed for sale, with an upset price of £10 per acre.

• Mr. P. Ryan, Axedale, and Mr. Ivess, Myer's Creek, both Butchers, open branch stores on the diggings at Myers Creek.

• Mr. Henry Acott, Restaurant-keeper and Miner becomes insolvent. His liabilities are £96/18/8 and his assets are only £30, a deficiency of £66/18/8.

• A letter from Stephen Burke, on behalf of the Managers of the Axedale and Eppalock Farmers' Commons, is received by the Shire of Strathfieldsaye, accompanied by a copy of the rules and scale of fees on stock adopted by them, and requesting the approval of the Council. The rules and scale of fees is approved. A letter from the same Managers calls attention to the excessive scale of market dues at present charged in Sandhurst on farm and dairy produce offered for sale, and hopes the Council will use its influence in getting a reduction. The Secretary is instructed to write to the Huntly and Marong Shire Councils, asking their co-operation in carrying out the object in view.

The Shire Council also receives a circular from tho Shire Office, Yackandandah, inviting co-operation in urging upon the Government the necessity for initiating a new Impounding Bill during the present Mission, the basis to be that all poundkeepers should be paid by salary, and derive no benefit from the impounding fees. Cr. Lonergan moved, "That the Council co-operate as desired." Cr. O'Loughlin seconded tho motion. Cr. Brennan pointed out, that though "gully raking" by the poundkeepers might be objectionable to the farmers, yet if they were paid a salary they would not take the interest they did at present in impounding cattle, and the Council would therefore be losers to the extent of the decrease in the fees, he would not, however, oppose the motion.

October, 1867

• Among others in the outlying districts, Henry Acott's insolvency is considered at a first and only meeting for the purpose.

• W Murphy, farmer, Axedale, applies for 4a 2r 2p. John O'Neill, farmer, Axedale, applies for 80a (four applications).

• Unauthorised Occupation of Crown Land charges are laid by J.P. Gray, Crown Lands Bailiff. Among others are Henry Acott, Axedale, fined 20/- plus 2/6 costs with 7 days default imprisonment; Patrick Hennessy, Axedale, fined 5/- with 2/6 costs. The cases against William Murphy and John Hewitt are dismissed as they had applied for the sale of the land on which they resided and had paid the fees.

November, 1867

• Messrs. Heffernan and Crowley offer a £2 reward to any person giving information that leads to the recovery of a lot of steers that have strayed from the Axedale 'East' run.

• In the Court case of Davis v. Costelloe, Michael Costelloe, ex Axedale Hotel owner and now a hotel keeper in Melbourne, is called upon by virtue of a fraud summons, to show cause why he did not pay a sum of £5 for goods bought from Davis. Costelloe did not appear. Davis states that the debt had been contracted sixteen months previous, and when Costelloe was threatened with a fraud summons if he did not pay, he sent a letter back saying he would pay the amount on the 15th instant. As he had neglected to do so, the present proceedings had been taken. His Honor thought it a hardship to bring Costelloe up from Melbourne, adding that if he could not pay the £5 he would be hardly likely to be able to pay the railway fare. Mr. O'Donnell, for Davis, says it would be a great hardship for his client to have to go to Melbourne to prosecute his claim and suggestions that if Costelloe could not afford the fare, he might have sent an affidavit to that effect. Davis states that Costelloe had formerly been a publican out Axedale way, and added that he was a man who never paid his debts unless compelled. His Honor remarks that he remembered the man, and gives an order that the money should be paid by December 10, with a default of one month's imprisonment. [Note: The debt appears to be a lingering Axedale Hotel debt. The Court case also indicates that Costelloe has sold the Axedale Hotel and is now residing in Melbourne.]

• John McNamara's property, on Allotment 4, Section 8, is announced for sale by the Sheriff, to take place at the Albert Hotel, Sandhurst, December 20, unless the claim is sooner satisfied. [Note: The property adjoins the south boundary of the Costelloe property on which Longlea Station was to stand some twenty years later].


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February, 1868

• John Stewart gives notice that he is applying for a licence to occupy 80 acres of land at Axedale. No allotment number is given.

April, 1868

• Patrick Ryan's butcher's shop in the township of Axedale is offered by public auction. The sale consists of a substantial dwelling house of three rooms, with butcher's shop, three-stalled stable, storeroom with good garden attached; also the unexpired lease of five years in 30 acre paddock, with substantial three-rail fence, a never-failing supply of water, on which is built a new and first-class slaughter yard and piggeries.

• In a Distraint for Rent sale, titled Ryan v. Ryan, notice is given for the public auction of goods seized by Samuel King, the Landlord's Bailiff, consisting of household furniture, horse, bullocks, cows, pigs, poultry, butcher's utensils, salt hides, sheep skins, tallow and sundry other articles. Ryan is listed as an insolvent with Liabilities of £391/3/1, Assets of £82/13/7½, leaving a deficiency of £308/9/5½. [This appears to be connected with the sale of the premises.]

• A detailed list of land applications appears. It includes, for Axedale: John Stewart, merchant, 80a; Michael Murphy, farmer, 4a 2r 7p; Patrick Murphy, farmer, 12a lr 9p.

• Patrick Hennessey is summoned for illegally occupying Crown Lands.

May, 1868

• Charles James Donnelly, a 13 year old boy, is remanded on a charge of stealing a saddle and bridle from John Hannan, an Axedale farmer. The story is that Hannan met the boy on the road and asked him to mind his horse for a few minutes. As soon as Hannan's back is turned, Donnelly mounts and rides the horse towards the Campaspe. Police eventually catch up with him in the direction of the Murray. On being arrested, Donnelly says, to Constable Sheridan, that if he had known that the Police were after him, he would have ridden the horse into the Murray so that they wouldn't get it. Hannan, a Shoemaker residing at Axedale, confirms that he met the boy, whom he knew, near Axedale and left his horse with him for a few minutes. When he returned, the boy had disappeared with the horse, saddle and bridle. The Police Magistrate reduces the charge from horse stealing to stealing a saddle and bridle, for which he imposes a week's imprisonment, at the expiration of which he will be sent to the Reformatory for five years.

• The new bridge across the Campaspe at Clare Inn, north of Axedale, comes in for some criticism. It is reported as still remaining in its unfinished and dangerous condition. On the Goornong side, the approach is good and continues so till you have passed the last set of piles where there is then an abrupt descent of 1 in 10. It is impossible for an animal to walk with safety up or down this inclined plane. People take to the river rather than attempt such a break-neck declivity. The bridge is erected over the site of the old punt, which is now rendered useless, and the consequence is that all traffic is stopped, the traffic going round by Axedale on the one hand, and Runnymede on the other. Here is a piece of workmanship which cost £3,000, erected to facilitate traffic but which hitherto has retarded it. But everything has its use, and this noble structure, being forty feet above the surface of the water, and having a pool beneath it of 15 to 20 feet in depth, could be successfully used as a "lover's leap."

• A report from a meeting of ratepayers at the Campaspe Hotel is submitted to the Shire of Strathfieldsaye, recommending candidates as Managers of the Common. The names of Messrs. T. O'Rourke, T. Donnellan, D. McNamara, D. O'Brien, John Harris, John Gallagher, P. McGrath, A. Whitelock, J. Burke, D. Gleeson, and J. Hawkins are submitted. Messrs T. O'Rourke, T. Donnellan, D. McNamara, J. Gallagher, J. Hawkins and J. Frawley are elected as Managers. The balance sheet of the Managers of the Commons is audited and found correct.

• Under Notices of Motion, Cr. Brennan is to move £25 be placed at the disposal of the Finance Committee to settle the claims of Mr. O'Keefe, on the main McIvor Road contract. Cr. O'Loughlin is to move that two pitched crossings be made on the McIvor Road, one about half a mile east of Boyle's public house, and another West of the same.

• William Akeroyd, McIvor Road, applies for a slaughtering license. It is granted.

• The Strathfieldsaye Shire receives a letter from the Clerk of Petty Sessions, Sandhurst, requesting a cheque for £4/15/6 remuneration to James B. Pounds, and John Betham, for examining Francis Paterson, a lunatic from Axedale, and cost of forwarding him from the Town Hall, Sandhurst to the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum.

• The Shire Engineer recommends that in order to make the road from Axedale township to Quinn's Bridge [current Axedale-Goornong Road as far as the Axe Creek] passable, £70 would be required, the crossing on the McIvor Road, petitioned for by Akeroyd and others, would cost £10. Tenders had been called for, among other things, grubbing and cleaning near Code's, Axe Creek.

• In general business, The Secretary reported re McLean and the Axedale and Eppalock Common that Mr McLean stated he had no ground fenced in outside of his run. Cr. Orr stated that he had brought Mr Hickey to prove that McLean had fenced in part of the Commons. Cr. Sawers thought the matter ought to be referred to the Managers of the Common. The President was of the same opinion, and on the motion of Cr. Brennan, seconded by Cr. Orr, the Secretary was instructed to write to the Managers of the Common, stating that there was a dispute as to the boundary of McLean's run, and that of the Common, and requesting them to satisfy themselves that the alleged statement that McLean had encroached on the Common was correct.

• Council accepts a tender from John McNamara (the lowest submitted) of £24 for grubbing, clearing and metalling near Code's.

• In Notices of Motion, Cr Brennan to move, "That £25 be placed at the disposal of the Finance Committee to settle the claims of Mr. O'Keefe, on the main McIvor Road contract." Cr. O'Loughlin to move, "That two pitched crossings be made on the McIvor Road, one about half a mile east of Boyle's public house, and another west of the same."

June, 1868

• What was it like to enter Axedale from the Heathcote side in 1868? Today, it is via a highway that only requires one to slow to 80kmh through the dip over the bridge and then 60kmh through the town. However, Ingham Road did not provide that level of ease. The reader should also bear in mind that the traffic consisted only of bullock or horse teams hauling wagons or carts and traps, single horses or even pedestrians. A correspondent, in writing a Letter to the Editor, only identified as "A. Traveller", provides an insight into the conditions of the day when he sees reason to highlight the condition of the road and the bridge that is no more than seven years old at this time:

Sir, There can be no doubt that the members of Road Boards and Shire Councils receive a fair share of attention from the grumblers generally, for, in many cases, they are undoubtedly blamed unjustly, while the recognition of any merit is never thought of, or comes so tardily and ungraciously that it is received with the utmost caution as a complaint by our local legislators, or it is treated as a joke in disguise. But though the recognition of the right of any ratepayer or traveller to grumble at the Board or Council may sometimes lead to an injustice, still I think it would be wrong, and anything but beneficial, to curtail that privilege under this impression. I ask you to permit me through your columns to grumble at what I consider to be highly discreditable neglect on the part of the Strathfieldsaye Shire Council. I allude to the disgraceful state of the road approaching the township of Axedale from the Campaspe bridge. Those who have seen the place by daylight will acknowledge that I do not grumble without a cause, and those who have been unfortunate enough to arrive at the dangerous place with a horse unused to the road, after dark, on a wet and moonless night, will be able to enter into my feelings with regard to the difficulties and dangers of that horrid bit of road or rather the want of a bit of road. The traveller in crossing the Campaspe bridge sees two or more lights in the township before him, and when he arrives at the end of the bit of made road which forms the approach to the bridge, it is well for him if he is aware of the danger of making direct for the township lights, as that course would lead to an inevitable smash. And how is a stranger on a dark wet night to avoid it? Who, unacquainted with the place, would think of turning at right angles with the road and the line of the township lights, and follow an intricate track amid an almost endless number of stumps and over deep gutters till they reach an apology for a bridge, constructed of saplings in the form of a gridiron, placed over a deep gully cut out by the rains of recent winters. This bridge is so narrow and ricketty that a driver of a loaded team is almost afraid to trust its strength, and anyone having a horse likely to shy in the least runs a great risk while performing a feat, something like what we read of under the heading of 'Walking the Plank.'

This disgraceful state of things is rendered more reprehensible still by the fact that a most elaborate tubular stone culvert was constructed by the Government before the passing of the Local Government Act. This culvert cost between £400 to £500 and this piece of masonry has served no better purpose than to obstruct the road, because the Shire Council will not expend a third of its cost in making the road over it, which would enable travellers to avoid many difficulties and positive danger. But the Shire Councillors appear to entertain the same idea of compensation in such matters as a gentleman in Ireland, who, on hearing a traveller complain of the badness of the roads, said they are bad sure enough, but they gave good measure to make up for it. This way of compensating a bewildered traveller for loss of time and risk of accident is, however, not very satisfactory, and the traffic on the Sandhurst and Heathcote road is not so limited that the Shire Council can, with any show of reason, attempt an excuse for the neglect of which I complain. I am, sir, yours, etc., A TRAVELLER.

July, 1868

• Vahland and Getzshmann, Architects, call for tenders for the erection of a new schoolhouse at Axedale. Exactly which school is not specified.

• Another round of land applications is printed. Of interest to Axedale are those of Bridget O'Grady, widow, 60a; John M'Grath, miner, 40a; John McNamara, farmer, 20a; Patrick McGrath, farmer, 40a; James O'Loughlin, farmer, 36a 0r 35p; John Kildea, labourer, 19a; and J Reily and Alex Gordon, farmers, 40a.

• The Rev. Mr. Nish performs the wedding of Thomas Strachan and Mary Ritchie in Axedale. Mary is the eldest daughter of Alexander Ritchie, of Axe Creek.

• A notice appears in the Government Gazette, intimating to all selectors of land under the Land Act of 1862, Section 23, and the Amending Land Act of 1865, Section 1, that unless all overdue rents are paid at once, the leases will be forfeited.

• Mr. P. Drake applies for four blocks of 20 acres each in the Parish of Knowsley.

September, 1868

• Mr. P. Drake posts a £4 reward for two strayed horses.

• Among others, a Title Deed is ready for issue to John Wright, Axedale.

• The Axedale Correspondent writes: "We are glad to see signs of progress, as every new bridge and road are the means of helping to develop the resources of the Colony, and we would wish that the construction of roads and bridges were much more rapid than they now are, as it would materially assist in opening up the country. Another feature of progress, which we are always delighted to observe, where the people are settling, is that they have not forgotten the good old institutions of their Fatherland, such as the church and the school. Axedale has had for many years a Roman Catholic Church, and now the Presbyterians have begun what promises to be a very nice church of bluestone, which will be an ornament to the township of Axedale. We understand the ceremony of laying the foundation stone is to be performed by the Rev. J. Nish, of Sandhurst, to whom most of the people of that persuasion belong, but it has recently been connected with the Heathcote district, and the minister, the Rev. D. Renton, also the Rev. J. W. Inglis, of Sandridge, and J. M. L. Abernethy, of Eaglehawk, will take part in the proceedings. There has also been an application to the Board of Education for a grant to a Common School, which will no doubt be complied with, and thereby supply a want much felt in that place, so that before long the township of Axedale will be able to boast of two substantial churches and a common school. The Foresters' Hall has, for the present, been kindly placed at the disposal of the committee, and the school will be opened on Monday next, under the management of Mr. George McKay."

• John Campbell's farm of 120 acres is for sale. [The property appears to be Allotments 11, 12 and 13, Section VI, Parish of Axedale, the property later owned by John O'Neill on which his quarry and, later, the Bendigo Municipal Council quarry in the late 1920s was situated].

October, 1868

• A large number of land applications are submitted and the Commission has considerable trouble in dealing with them, on account of the new regulations with reference to selections beyond the ten miles circle. As far as Axedale is concerned, the application of D Mill, farmer, 79a 0r 2p, is referred to the Mining Department. The applications of J. O'Connor, 40a, D Gleeson, 20a and Stephen Burke, 55a 3r 38p, all farmers of Axedale, are granted, subject to special mining conditions.

• The laying of the foundation stone for the Axedale Presbyterian Church is reported in the Bendigo Advertiser: "On Wednesday last, the foundation stone of a new Presbyterian church was laid at Axedale, by the Rev. J. Nish, of Sandhurst. The building will be a neat bluestone structure, thirty-five feet by eighteen, exclusive of the vestry, the doors and windows will be faced with white bricks, the windows mill be furnished with stained glass borders and diamond panes in the centre, there will also be a circular window of stained glass over the pulpit. The interior will be plastered and the rafters cased with pine and varnished, and seats will be provided for 100 persons. During the ceremony of laying the stone a heavy north-west squall of wind and rain came on, and notwithstanding the drenching rain, Mr. Inglis was asked to address the assemblage. He did so, and in commencing his short but eloquent address, he said he hoped that his remarks would not be considered too dry. They were evidently not considered too dry by his hearers who seemed to forget that they were getting wet through in listening to his discourse. The Rev. Gentleman promised at some future time to pay them a visit and address them at greater length. The building is being erected by Mr. David Mills, from plans by Mr. Joseph Brady.

• An annexed reward of £2 is paid from the Police Reward Fund to Constable Wright of Axedale. He receives it for his services in connection with the arrest and prosecution of John Andrews, alias Fagan, alias Ballarat, alias Gatehouse, alias Kelly who was sentenced to six years for housebreaking.

• John Campbell, whose farm was recently sold, appears in court on a charge of deserting his wife and two children. Mrs. Campbell states that her husband had treated her badly for some time, only giving her sacks to sleep on and no winter clothing. Previously, his wife had brought an assault case against him after which she went home and he gave her two blankets. He had sold his property, and after giving her £2, sent her to Sandhurst, stating he would join her later. She had brought the charge against him, having heard that he intended to desert her.

• Patrick Truth, 20 acres, Michael Hallisy, 80 acres and Thomas O'Day, 20 acres, give notice that they intend to apply to occupy land in the Parish of Axedale.

November, 1868

• The Government Gazette advises that Mr. John Dowling is appointed Deputy Registrar of Births and Deaths for the District of Axedale. It turns out to be an error, which is corrected in January 1869 by the appointment of Timothy Downey.

• Allotments 4 to 7 and 16 and 17 of Section 6, Axedale, are temporarily reserved for a site for Presbyterian Worship and Ministers' Residence.

• Peter Tierney complains about the stoppage of a track by John O'Neill. Subsequently, the Secretary is instructed to write to John O'Neill and require him to keep the reserved track open and fit spring gates or panels at the fences. [This may be the property recently sold by John Campbell. O'Neill and Campbell had their names on Allotments 11, 12 and 13, Section 6, Axedale.]

• Michael Costelloe, having moved to Melbourne, now runs the Sandhurst Hotel at 96 Queen Street, Melbourne. He offers first class accommodation and moderate rates. His advertisement says, 'late of Axedale Hotel, Campaspe', no doubt as a potential added attraction.

• Robert O'Brien and David Mills are appointed trustees of the Axedale Cemetery on the resignation of Mr. Bolger and Mr. Doak deceased.

December, 1868

• Thomas O'Keefe, a Mounted Constable at Axedale some five years earlier, and later landlord of the Axedale Hotel [not in Axedale township], has apparently committed suicide. He had fallen considerably in the world, wrote a letter to his wife, from which it is inferred that he has committed suicide, which he had attempted before. He said that he intended to go to the new rush, but his footsteps are traced to a deep hole in the Axe Creek. An inquest into O'Keefe's death is held and it shows by evidence that he was driven to the rash act by drink and the miserable state of unhappiness in which he lived with his wife. The suicide letter is quite detailed and cites mistreatment by his wife, and her infidelity as the reason for his suicide. Constable Wright, of Axedale, gives evidence. The verdict is death by drowning in the Axe Creek whilst in a state of insanity through drink and ill-usage from his wife, Mary O'Keefe. The complete reported details are as follows:

The District Coroner held an inquest yesterday on the body of Thomas O'Keefe, a beer house keeper on the Axe Creek. The evidence of deceased's wife went to show that for a long lime deceased had been drinking heavily, and on Tuesday morning last be left the house, stating that he was going to the Spring Creek rush, and that was the last time she saw him alive. Witness saw the deceased write the following letter, and, a day or two after, Patrick, her son, took it out of deceased's pocket as he lay asleep drunk.

"Axe Creek, 5th November, 1863. Mr O'Rourke, It is with heartfelt sorrow that I have to leave this statement of my suicidal intention. Before you see this I shall be no more. I am forced to do this by the ill treatment of my lady wife. In the first place I left the police, and was persuaded by her and her mother to sell my cows and buy this 'misfortunate shanty.' I was led by women to my grief. I had cows, and wanted to increase, but my lady would cry when she would be wanted to make the butter up. So now from that time I could not rest till I bought the Axedale Hotel for £256, for which sum I could make a living for ten years. Now comes my grievances. In the first place (Mary Croban) I shan't call her by her married name, for she is not worth it. If I am from the house whatever fellow is in they can pull her about without a rebuff. For the last 12 months I had to wash my own shirts, etc., and patch them, as Mary had the mastering all through. She would hide the bread, meat, tea, and sugar, in order that I should not have any. On the 3rd November, '68, I went to Mr O'Rourke's in order to have some cattle branded, but when I returned, as I did not bring of flour, I was called all the -- and wretches that could be laid hold on by tongue. In fact I can't describe, nor would I express, the abominable language used by my lady to me, as I should not furnish her with dress to meet the boys, and leave me in rags, which I am at present. Now, Mr O'Rourke, I leave you my sole executor to my estate. Dispose of it to the best advantage for the children (3). She says that she is now pregnant, but I deny it to be mine, as I have not slept in her bed for the last twelve months. What I have stated herein are not the one-tenth of my sorrowful state but I pity the poor fellow that she will entrap - a drunken woman can do anything - as you are living down one of the --. By the short detail I have given you of my lady, it is only a brief sketch. It would take a ream of paper to state her ill conduct and inconstancy to me, which the surrounding neighbors can prove, also her children of this, and if they don't lie, they will tell the truth. They are in dread to tell the truth when she is drunk. She often attempted to 'slate' them were it not for my interference, so I will leave the rest to be conjectured how I hare lived for the last 18 months. Thos. O'Keefe."

Patrick O'Keefe deposed that his father before going away kissed him and bade him goodbye, and then went down by the creek. John Reilly, labourer, said he had known deceased for the last twelve months, and had sometimes seen him drunk. Witness advised him against it, but deceased replied that he could not leave off owing to the treatment he received from his wife.

Conrad Wittschiebe, farmer, deposed that on the 3rd instant, as he was crossing the Axe Creek, be found the body of deceased in a waterhole. Deceased was frequently under the influence of drink, and lived unhappily with his wife. Mounted Constable Wright said he had known the deceased for fifteen years, and that he had been a fellow constable. He frequently complained of his wife and witness believed his statements to be quite true.

Dr. Cruikshank made a post mortem examination on the body, and stated that death had resulted from drowning.

A letter written by deceased before he started, and dated 31st November, stated, "I am not going to the diggings, I am going to do what I meant this long time. So you need not look for me for I will move away a bit. Thos. O'Keefe.

The jury gave a verdict: That deceased came by his death from drowning in the Axe Creek, and that deceased committed that act whilst in a state of insanity through drink and ill-usage from his wife, Mary O'Keefe.

• An inquest into the death of George Lane, a labourer, on a small farm at Axedale, is held at Drake's Hotel. The surname is not readable. [The surname in the newspaper article is unreadable but a comparison with Births, Deaths and Marriages index indicates that it is Lane].

• Constable John Wright, of Axedale, advises Constable Moran, of Redcastle, on the identity of the body of James Kenny, found dead in the bush about seven miles from Redcastle on the Sandhurst Road.

• An advertisement for a teacher at the Axedale Common School is posted. Their are 27 children on the roll with an average of 22 attending daily. There are about 50 children in the immediate neighborhood.

• Daniel Kelly, of Axedale, applies to occupy Allotment 2, Section 7A, Parish of Weston.

• An inquest, December 24, is held into the burning of a Brunswick hotel on December 19. The hotel was not insured, was destroyed, and was valued at £150. The landlord and owner of the premises is one Napthali Ingham. The jury states that there is insufficient evidence to show the origin of the fire and that it occurred accidentally.

More land applications are considered and the Axedale entries are: Patrick Truth, 20a; Thomas O'Dea, 20a (Axedale and Wellsford); Michael Hallacy, 80a; and Robert Taylor, 80a.


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January, 1869

• The Shire Engineer is instructed to prepare plans for half a mile of main road, West from the bridge over the Campaspe at Axedale.

• Constable John Wright's contract for supplying food to prisoners in the Axedale lockup is accepted.

• New telegram arrangements come into being. A notice listing the Axedale Post Office as a place for receiving telegrams, contains the following: With the view of affording increased facilities to the public for a more extended use of the telegraphic communication throughout the colony, arrangements have been made at the undermentioned post offices for the reception of telegrams, to be posted to the nearest telegraph station for transmission. Telegrams may be forwarded through any telegraph station in Victoria, to be conveyed to the nearest to their place of address, on payment of the postage rate in addition to the charge for transmission.

• The Government Gazette advises that Mr. Timothy Downey is appointed Deputy Registrar of Births and Deaths for Axedale. The previous appointment of John Dowling, in error, is cancelled.

• The Government Gazette advises that the area of land temporarily reserved for Presbyterian Place of Public Worship and Minister's Dwelling in November 1868, is reduced in size to Allotments 4 to 7, Section 6.

• The District Coroner reopened the adjourned inquiry, at the Campaspe Hotel, Axedale, into the cause of the death of the man known as John Wilson, who so mysteriously disappeared after a row which occurred in a shanty at the Campaspe, on the 9th inst, and was afterwards found dead floating on the River Campaspe. Mr. Superintendent Chomley was present to conduct the case for the Police, and Mr. McCormick appeared to watch the case for the prisoners, Steffani and Ludlow, with whom, it will be remembered, Wilson had the quarrel referred to in Mrs. Avery's shanty, and who, from the suspicious circumstances surrounding them, were arrested pending the result of the Coroner's inquest. After a jury had been empanelled, the following evidence was taken:

William Holmes, owner of the Raglan Hotel, deposed that some ten or twelve days ago a man called at his place and asked for work as a carpenter, stating that he had come from Melbourne to Spring Creek, and had lost everything there. He wanted work to give his feet a spell as they were knocked up through walking. That was all witness knew of the man, and as he had not employment for him he advised him to go to his brother, Edward Holmes, and ask him for a job. When witness afterwards inspected the body of deceased he identified it as that of the man who had come to him asking employment, He, at witness's place, had a glass of beer and paid for it. Witness asked him, as he saw that he was fatigued, to have another, when he declined, saying that it was with his last sixpence he had purchased the other pint of beer. Witness did not see him alive afterwards.

Edward Holmes, farmer at the Campaspe, deposed that he was a Wheelwright and Smith by trade. On the night of the 30th December last a man who called himself John Wilson came to his place, and asked for employment, stating that his brother, William Holmes, had sent him there. Witness employed the man until the 8th inst, when he wished to see Bendigo, and went with witness that day to see the town of Sandhurst. Deceased returned with him that night. He did not seem to be fond of drink. After supper, at eight o'clock on the same evening, deceased said he would go over to Mrs Avery's. Witness did not see him again until seven o'clock next morning, the 9th inst, when witness found him asleep in the forge. When he awoke him he appeared to be quite sober. He ate his breakfast heartily, and then said, "I have sixpence left, and I'll go over to Mrs Avery's and give it to her, and on Monday I'll start work afresh. Wilson was a good tradesman. On that morning, about eleven o'clock, witness went across to Mrs Avery's with some things he had got for her in Sandhurst, and then witness saw Wilson sitting quite sober on the same form with the two prisoners, and Brennecke. Mrs Avery and her man Roberts, as well as a man named William Dunphy, were there. Brennecke was quite drunk, but Ludlow and the man Dunphy were not quite so bad. They were then drinking together. Witness did not see on that day the prisoner Jacob Steffani at all, nor did he see him until Monday, the 11th inst, when in the custody of the police. On Tuesday, the 12th inst, Heinrich Meisen came to witness's place, and at his request he agreed to go, after dinner, to the Campaspe to search for deceased's body, but before he had started Meisen returned, and said that the body had been discovered floating on the surface of the water in the river. Witness at once went to the place, and identified the body as that of the said John Wilson. It lay in the water at the place marked A on the plan produced, ten or twelve feet from the bank, in still water. Witness thought that from the position of the body it floated from the place marked B on the plan. Witness assisted Constable Wright to take the body out of the water, and to convey it to the hotel. When at Mrs Avery's, on Saturday, there appeared to be no bad feeling between the persons present. During conversations with deceased he said that he was fifty-three years old, and admitted that he did not give witness his right name, but he did not fool him what the right one was. He said to witness when coming from Bendigo that he was a married man, and had a grown up family. He promised some day to give witness a history of his life for the past thirty-three years, which would be very interesting, and that ten years ago he was worth £10,000. He had been on Bendigo when it was in canvas. Deceased was a perfectly formed man, and was sound and strong. The first conversation which witness had with Richard Brennecke, who was employed as a gardener, was on Sunday evening, the 10th instant. Witness had asked him what had become of the deceased and what was the row at Mrs. Mrs Avery's shanty. He replied that the quarrel arose through Mrs Avery calling the deceased "a loafer," and would not let the prisoners give him drink. He related the way the fight occurred, and that Ludlow had jumped on the deceased with both his feet. Brennecke remarked in a sadly troubled tone, "I wish I had not been at that shanty when the man was killed, and he thought he would die after having been treated so." On Monday, the 11th instant, Brennecke said, "I might say a little more, but I don't like."

Mrs Avery, shanty-keeper, gave evidence to the effect that, on the night of the 8th instant, both prisoners had remained at her place all night, drinking. On the morning of the 9th instant, the deceased came to her place and got a pint of beer, for which he paid sixpence. He was not sober then. When deceased left the prisoner, Jacob Steffani, accompanied him. He too was not sober. In a few minutes Steffani returned with a black eye, and he said to Ludlow, "Come on, father." Ludlow then pulled off his shirt and went out and witness heard quarrelling. Witness did not know the voices outside and she asked Meisen who was in the place to go out and make peace but he refused to do so until the row was over. To witness' knowledge, nothing else was heard until the body was discovered by Constable Wright, but witness could not recognise the body, although she would not swear that she did not think that it was that of the man, John Wilson. A while alter the row, Ludlow and Steffani returned, but without Wilson. They stayed at her place drinking all day, as she was not able to send them away, Ludlow's wife, who witness had sent for, took him away at eight o'clock at night. Steffani remained there all night until the following morning when he went home to Mr O'Keefe's, where he worked. The two prisoners were there at the time of the quarrel. During the time the prisoners stayed at witness' place, she heard them talking of Wilson, and the quarrel referred to, but she could not repeat or recollect, what they said. She went to bed at about ten o'clock that night, leaving Steffani, Dunphy, and Brennecke sleeping about the bar floor tipsy, as witness could not get them out.

To a juror: At the time of the row, witness did not hear the deceased call out for mercy at her door. She did not see from what direction the two prisoners came after the row. There were no angry words uttered in her bar. It was not until they went outside that they had the row.

To Mr McCormick: She could not say whether Ludlow and Steffani would have had time to go to and return from the waterhole from the time they left until they returned.

Heinrich Meisen, farmer, gave the following evidence: When witness got to Mrs Avery's shanty on the 9th instant he met the deceased and Steffani coming out. Soon after Steffani returned with a black eye, and asked Ludlow to come out and take his part, as he was not fit for him (Wilson). Ludlow said he would take Steffani's part, and after being stripped went out, and witness saw him and Wilson fighting at the part marked on the plan produced. Witness was sitting in the bar, the door of which was open. Ludlow and deceased were alternately on the ground. Steffani, Dunphy, and Brennecke were looking on. Deceased then got through the slip panel at F, and went in a smart, staggering walk to the river, but witness lost sight of him at the part marked G, where the bank slopes suddenly to the river. At the same time Steffani went through the fence at F to the inside of the sapling fence at H, from where he took a stick, which was immediately taken from him by Brennecke, who held Steffani for a little until he broke away from him, running in the direction from whence deceased disappeared. Brennecke also disappeared at the same place, Ludlow being then at the shanty. In about a minute Steffani, followed by Brennecke, reappeared at the place marked I, and they went into the shanty, Steffani remarking "Anybody who gave him a black eye that he would kill him." Brennecke asked witness to go down to the river to look for Wilson, as he might be dead lying in the sun there. He and the others were the worse for liquor. Witness went with Brennecke to the river, but they could not see Wilson, who had not had time to get out of light if he had walked along the bank while he and Brennecke were going down to the river, unless he had laid down among the grass and stubble. After Steffani returned to the shanty he was cursing a couple of words, but witness did not understand his Swiss accent. After looking the reeds on the river witness returned to the shanty. Steffani and Ludlow were still there, and witness remained there for two or three hours, hut nothing was said by them about the deceased. On the 11th instant witness saw the deceased lying on the surface of the water, at the part marked A, back upwards. Holmes went for Constable Wright, and witness saw the body taken out in Holmes's presence, and Holmes then said that was his man. Witness recognised deceased by his shirt. When Steffani and deceased left the shanty together there seemed to be no anger between them. The bank is very steep at C. Witness could not say whether Steffani or deceased ran the fastest. From H on the plan a person could, he believed, see the bank over the river at the footpath, and therefore Steffani and Brennecke could have seen the deceased fall off the bank into the water, if he did so. Whilst the row was going on at the place marked E Mrs Avery sat in the armchair in the bar, and could not see what happened. There was no talking but fighting. Witness would not go out, fearing that he might get black eyes, and he had to attend the police court next day. The three men went in the same direction, and disappeared down the bank of the creek. He could not say what made the deceased run away from Steffani. Deceased could slacken his pace at G, before coming to the water hole.

Richard Brennecke, a labourer, deposed that on the day in question, at Mrs Avery's, he saw Steffani finally come in to the shanty with a black eye, and again go out to fight "Holmes's man." Witness saw him give "Holmes's man" a hit on the side with his shut hand, and next witness saw the man lying on the ground near the fence. Ludlow then came out and jumped on the prostrate man's head with one foot, when he at once got up and went towards the river quickly. Steffani followed him and got hold of a stick, which witness took from him. Witness could not say where Steffani then went, but he came back to the shanty, when he returned to the river with Meisen to look for deceased, but could not see him. He next saw the deceased's body in the possession of Constable Wright in a cart. On Sunday morning Steffani and witness were talking about the black eye, when Steffani remarks "I gave it back to him," meaning Wilson. Witness did say to Mr Holmes that he was sorry to have been drinking in such bad company, but not that deceased was killed. The fight between Steffani and the deceased ceased began by Steffani calling for half a gallon of beer, when Mrs Avery said "Don't give the loafer drink," and then they began to drink.

William Dunphy deposed to having seen the fight between Steffani and deceased, and afterwards between deceased and Ludlow, Witness then saw the man Wilson in going towards the river. On the same day he heard Brennecke say that the man (Wilson) that had been drowned and killed. On Monday, when Brennecko said Wilson had been killed, Tom Kennedy, witness's son, James Dunphy, and others, were present. Witness thought Steffani was also present when the remark was made. Witness did not know who Holmes's man was until that day at the shanty. An hour or two after the fight, witness noticed two men - he did not know them going across Joachim's paddock. Witness was drunk at the time of the fight.

John Wright, Constable, stationed at Axedale, deposed that on the 10th inst, from information which he received of a man being missed, be went to Mrs. Avery's, and after having made inquiries into the case, he arrested Steffani and Ludlow. On the I2th inst, the body of a man was found floating on the Campaspe, which Mr E. Holmes identified as the body of a man in his employ, named John Wilson. The place where the deceased was found was a deep hole in the bed of the Campaspe. If a man pushed off, or ran down the bank, ho would fall into deep water. When witness arrested Steffani, he admitted, after having been cautioned, to having a fight with the man Wilson. The wind when blowing would drift the body to where it was found. When the body was pulled out of the water, there was a large blue lump upon deceased's left breast under the nipple, the flesh was than white.

Mr Chomley then asked for the discharge of the prisoner Ludlow, as he said there was no evidence against him, and the coroner accordingly discharged him. Richard Brennecke was then arrested, account of his prevarication in giving his evidence and the suspicious circumstances surrounding him.

After the Coroner had addressed the jury, they retired for twenty minutes to consider their verdict, and then returned the following: On Saturday the 9th day of January, inst, the deceased John Wilson, so called, came suddenly by his death by drowning in the River Campaspe, and the prisoner, Jacob Steffani and Richard Brennecke, are guilty of manslaughter, in so causing the said John Wilson's death. The jury added the following rider to the verdict: "We would call the attention of the Huntly Shire Council to the necessity for suppression of Mrs Avory's, [shanty] and others such, under their jurisdiction."

February, 1869

• Tenders are called for Plasterers for a church in Axedale, labour only. [The church is assumed to be the Presbyterian Church].

• Allotments 1 to 10, Section 3 and 1 to 10, Section 6, in the main street of Axedale, are offered for sale with an upset price of £8 per acre, along with land on the McIvor Road, Allotments 3 to 6, Section 13, with an upset price of £2/10/0 per acre.

March, 1869

• A daughter is born to Mr. and Mrs. Farigel Boyle.

• Tenders are called for the formation of 26 chains of McIvor Road at Axedale.

• Capital agricultural property, Allotment 15, Section 1, at Axedale is advertised for sale.

• An advertisement appears: Mr. Patrick Rogers, now residing at Axe Creek, Axedale, do hereby give notice, that it is my intention to apply to the Justices sitting at the Court of Petty Sessions, to be holden at Heathcote, on the 2nd day of April next, for a certificate authorising the issue of a Beer Licence in the house which I now occupy, situated at Axe Creek, aforesaid, and which has not been licensed hitherto. [This is a new hotel].

April, 1869

• Mr. J. Marwick, Contractor, Axedale, advertises for Stonebreakers, Pick and Shovel men and Pitchers.

• In Shire of Strathfieldsaye Notice of Motions, Cr. Orr is to move that the Axedale and Eppalock Farmers' Common be united with the Strathfieldsaye and Sedgwick Farmers' Common with one Herdsman. However, there is a public protest meeting against the amalgamation and also for the election of new managers for the next twelve months.

• A reader congratulates the Shire for having money in the bank, an exception to the general rule, and then says they might spend some of it on the dangerous road through Axedale rather than saving it.

• The Government Gazette advises that James Doak, Archibald McLean, David Mill, Donald Munro Mathison and James Hay are appointed Trustees of the land set apart in November 1868 for Presbyterian Church purposes at Axedale.

• An inquest is held upon the body of a stillborn child at the Perseverance Hotel, Axedale. From the evidence of Ann Croker and Bridget McGrath, it appeared that the mother of the deceased, Mary O'Keefe, had taken ill on the morning of Saturday last, and before any medical man or midwife could be sent for, she was delivered of the deceased, stillborn. The mother had received a fright by the bursting of a yeast bottle a day or two before the birth. Dr. Cruikshank deposed that from the whole appearance of the child, there was no wrong doing. [Mary O'Keefe, is the wife of Thomas O'Keefe, ex Mounted Constable who suicided in December 1868. The unborn child was mentioned in his inquest].

• Constable John Wright's tender for supplying prisoners' rations at Axedale is accepted.

May, 1869

• The Government Gazette advises that Jonathan Harris, James White, John Gallagher, James Paton, John Hawkins and Denis McNamara are appointed Managers of the Axedale and Eppalock United Commons.

• The Council Rates Collector attends Holmes' Raglan Hotel, Axedale, and Code's Perseverance Hotel, Axe Creek, to collect outstanding rates and dog registrations.

• Mr. Patrick Drake, Hotel Keeper and Storekeeper, Axedale, complains to the Council that if the McIvor Highway was cut, as planned, his property value would deteriorate by half and customers would not be able to approach within 18 feet of his house.

• A son is born to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Strachan.

• Mr. Manning sues Mr. Boyle for £25, the value of three horses lost by the defendant. Mr Motteram appeared for the prosecution and Mr Rymer for the defence. A number of horses had been put in the defendant's paddock at Axedale, and three of them had been lost through, it was alleged, the bad condition of the paddock fence. The defence attempted to prove that the horses put in the paddock were of a wild and unrestrainable character, having jumped and broken down the fence. His Honor gave a verdict for the plaintiff for £I0, with £8/1/4 costs.

July, 1869

• John Marwick, Contractor, asks for more time to complete his Axedale contract due to the wet weather - granted. John Burke asks for a name change to substitute his own for the recently purchased Mannes property and an assessment reduction from £80 to £40.

• The Engineer advises that he has called for tenders for repairs to the Blind Gully Bridge on the McIvor Road and for construction of a stone crossing and clearing of Sweeney's [now Sweenies] Creek.

• A Notice of a Councillor election, required by the retirement by rotation of Peter Potter, to be held at the Axedale Common School, Axe Creek.

August, 1869

• Colin Stewart is summoned by John Harris for excessive damages on pigs. Mr. Rymer appears for the prosecution and Mr. Motteram for the defence. Harris's pigs, wandering on to Stewart's property at Axedale, were impounded by him. On one hand, it was proved that the fence was not of a nature to prevent the entrance of the pigs to the land, while on the other it was shown that it was impossible to keep a good fence at the place mentioned, as the fences were being continually washed away. The Bench dismissed the case with costs - £3/2/6 - against Stewart, the Bench stating that Stewart had taken the wrong course in the first instance in impounding the pigs, as he ought to have brought an action under the Police Offences Statute, for allowing his pigs to wander.

• The Shire Surveyor reports, among other things, that Mr. McNamara, whose tender had been accepted for repairs to Blind Gully Bridge, refused to sign the contract, and that Mr. Marwick had almost completed his contract at Axedale.

• The Government Gazette advises that, "William Heffernan and John Crowley give notice that the partnership between them, at the Campaspe as farmers, and at the Shamrock Hotel, Sandhurst, as hotel-keepers, is dissolved by mutual consent, as from 12th August. All debts will be received and paid by the undersigned William Heffernan, who will continue to carry on the said business on his own account. Dated 18th August, 1869. William Heffernan, John Crowley."

• Cobb and Co.'s Spring Creek coach meets with an accident at Axedale while on a return journey to Sandhurst. One of the horses becomes unmanageable coming down the hill, a wheel strikes a tree and the coach is upset. Some passengers jump off and escape injury, but Thomas Carmody, an inside passenger, receives injuries that require him to be taken to hospital. No blame is attached to the driver who was severely bruised about the face by being thrown off the box.

September, 1869

• Allotment 1, Section 3, High Street, Axedale, 2 roods, is offered for sale with an upset price of £8 per acre.

• Kate, the only daughter of Matt and Sallie Hayes, dies at the age of two years and two months at the home of her grandfather, William Heffernan, at Axedale Estate.

• George Steane, Surveyor to the Shire, calls for tenders for the construction of a culvert at Axedale and repairs to the Blind Gully bridge on McIvor Road.

• William Powell, Stockrider, is thrown from his saddle near the Homebush Hotel, Axedale, breaking his leg. He is taken to hospital immediately. [Note: this is present day Junortoun.]

October, 1869

• Mr. Patrick Drake claims expenses of £20 from the Shire of Strathfieldsaye in repairing the road near his place. Councillor O'Rourke moves the £10 be given but the President says that the money cannot be voted in that way.

• A site of 1 acre and 2 roods is temporarily reserved at Axedale for Common School purposes.

November, 1869

• Allotments 1 to 6, Section 12, near the Police Camp, are advertised for sale with an upset price of £5 per acre.

• A notice regarding the estate of the late Daniel Kelly, of Axedale, and administration of affairs and probate, is posted by son, Daniel Kelly, farmer of Axedale.

• Patrick O'Sullivan complains that a portion of his allotment is being taken over as a road. The item is ordered to stand over to give the inhabitants an opportunity of expressing an opinion.

December, 1869

• Matthew Ryan is authorised to erect a gate over a surveyed road at Axedale. No other details are given.


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