Navigating Rusheen’s Website

Navigating Rusheen’s Website

When doing research on my Byrnes Family of Western New South Wales I found that almost nothing had been done to record the names of those “ordinary” people who had done an extraordinary job in establishing Western and Central New South Wales. I therefore set about collecting snippets of information from the Government Gazettes, Lands Department and newspapers that might help people find out something about their ancestors. This is in no way meant to represent the full development of the area but simply what material I happened to come across that I thought might be of interest.

A large part of my research was originally carried out for presentation on the AUS-NSW-West Rootsweb List which is centred on the towns of Broken Hill, Wentworth, Balranald, Hay, Nyngan, Cobar, Bourke and Walgett; and for the AUS-NSW-CENTRAL Rootsweb List which is centred on Dubbo, Forbes, Wagga Wagga, Cowra, Albury, Deniliquin and Griffith. Major towns in Central NSW such as Bathurst and Orange have been omitted since they have their own separate Rootsweb List sites.  At times I stray further afield, such as to Gundagai, because of personal interest.

I really know nothing about the West beyond what is contained in this website so unfortunately I would be unable to answer queries or provide any additional information.

Due to the massive volume of data and the frequent updates throughout, this website has been structured as a series of downloadable documents in pdf format, collated by topic. The topics are listed below.

RUSHEEN CRAIG   July 2012.


Publicans’ Licences 1865 to 1900 for Western NSW and 1865 to 1870 for some of Central NSW.
– Introduction to the Publicans’ Licences.
– The names from the Government Gazettes of individual licensees have been listed under the hotels for which the Licence was granted. Individual name search is possible.
– Newspaper reports and advertisements concerning the hotels mentioned.

Some of the Early Publicans’ Licences  1848  (1849)  1853  1854  (1858)  1860.

Download ‘Licenses’ Document (21 pages, pdf, 354 kb)


Homestead Leases 1885 to 1914.
– Introduction.
– Homestead Lease Approvals, Refusals, Withdrawals, Forfeitures and Rental Re-appraisals. Listed by year, but name search is possible.

Western Land Leases 1903 to 1910.
– Introduction and Map of Land Divisions to help with location of Leases.
– Western Land Lease Approvals, Cancellations, Surrenders, Forfeitures, Rent Determination, Occupational Licences. The name or number of the original Pastoral Lease or Homestead Lease are provided. This means that when a lease had been mortgaged and thus appeared under the name of the Bank that made the loan the name of the Homestead Lessee before the mortgage might be able to be checked in earlier records.

Byrnedale Homestead Lease No. 1628.
An example of the Homestead Lease information that can be found at State Records, Kingswood.

Homestead Lease Transfers.
This gives the name of the new lessees, the year in which the lease changed hands, and the reference numbers for further investigation at State Records. When a property was mortgaged its lease appeared in the name of the lender. When this mortgaged property was to be transferred it reverted briefly back to the Homestead Lessee until the property changed hands.
-Introduction to Homestead Lease Transfers.
– Homestead Lease transfers in the Districts of Balranald, Bourke, Brewarrina, Hay, Hay North, Hillston North, Walgett, Wentworth, and Wilcannia.
[A work in progress]
–  Form to be filled in under the Western Land Act of 1901.

Download ‘Homestead’ Document (609 pages, pdf, 9.8Mb)
Information on Early Western and some of Central NSW.
Material collected from the Government Gazettes and Newspapers of the day. Much of the information concerns early land tenure. The area under discussion is mainly the Rootsweb defined Western and the (therefore restricted) Central districts of New South Wales. However, on occasions, I have strayed beyond those boundaries to collect items for my own personal interests.

Download ‘Information’ document (337 pages, pdf, 2,430 kb)

People from Western and Central NSW Mentioned in the 1900 Government Gazette.

The listing of these names was started long before the excellent production of CDs that are now available. It was prompted by a desire to pass on a little of the wealth of information that is available to those have access to the Government Gazettes.

Download ‘Gazette’ document (886 pages, pdf, 3,130kb)

Land Tenure in Western and some of Central NSW mentioned in the 1900 Government Gazette.

5859 Items. Name of Holder; Lease type and number, Qualification / Location, Area in acres; Rental or Price; No. of Papers; Type of Papers.

A 1910 map is provided to help give some idea of the location of the counties mentioned above.

Download ‘Tenure’ document (245 pages, pdf, 4,750kb)
Download map (to be available soon)

Inquests in Western NSW and some of Central NSW 1881-1890.
My thanks again to Linda, the NSW-WEST Admin and her Deputy Peter for all their work in placing the Inquests on NSW-WEST.
– Introduction to the Inquests and analysis of some of the findings.

– The Inquests 1881 – 1890.

Some of the Inquests for Western New South Wales for 1891.
Only 119 Inquests have been copied.

Download ‘Inquests’ document (4 pages, pdf, 700kb)

Articles and Books about Western and Central NSW.

The Exploration and Settlement of the Western Plains.
James Jarvis; Read before the Royal Australian Historical Society, 25 October 1955.
The country covered lies between the Macquarie, Murray and Darling Rivers, west of a line roughly drawn from Minore [just west of Dubbo] to Condobolin.

Mudgee as it is. Newspaper article 1875.

Riverina.  Newspaper article 1875.

Wellington. Includes local properties. Newspaper article 1875.

Wilcannia 1875.  Newspaper article.

Reminiscences of an Australian Pioneer, by Robert D. Barton, 1917.
– Some of the names of the properties and people at Boree in the Molong/Wellington District mentioned by Barton. I made no attempt to give information on Barton’s own life.
– Some of the features and views of life in the district as written about in the book.

The Overlanders.
My summary of three works to do with the Overlanding of stock to Port Phillip and to early Adelaide.

Across the Border by The Vagabond; At Wentworth, January 1885.
The Vagabond, a renowned journalist, goes into considerable depth in his discussion of Wentworth the man, and the history and present (1885) conditions in the town of Wentworth.

Settlement of the Darling 1887. Newspaper article.

Notes to go with the 1887 Darling River Sketches, by Kevin Jeffcoat and Sandra Byron.

Exploration and Settlement on the Murray and Murrumbidgee, Presented 1906.
By James Gormley, M.L.C.; Read before the Australian Historical Society.

The Beginning of Silverton, Newspaper article 1887.

Early Broken Hill; A Prospector’s Reminiscences in 1916.
Interview with Mr. J. Lamb.

From Squatter’s Boy to Squatter King, by Sidney Kidman.
The story of Sidney Kidman as told in his own words.
Barrier Miner (Broken Hill), 1 Apr 1908.

A Tour to the South 1872. The Murrumbidgee – Balranald to Wentworth.
Newspaper article 1872.

Deserted Villages of the West, by E. B. Dow.

Wellington Valley and Town of Wellington, Read by H. Selkirk.
Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 1921.

Notes on the Settlement of the Wellington Valley, James Jarvis.
Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 1934.

Bushranging On the Darling  – Newspaper article 1869.

Download ‘Articles’ document (103 pages, pdf, 1,160kb)
Mail Contracts.

Just some for 1885 and 1886.
Only a few Mail Contracts for 1864.
Mail Contacts for Western NSW for 1880.
Mail Contracts for Western NSW for 1891.
Mail Contracts for Western NSW for 1900.

Download ‘Mail Contracts document (69 pages, 690kb)
Balranald Electoral Roll 1869-70.

Broken up into Subdivisions of Balranald, Wentworth, Mitchell (Wilcannia), Oxley (Hay), and Bourke (which results in gaps in the numbers before the names). The remainder of Bourke is listed under The Bogan. 1,693 persons were eligible to vote on the 1869-70 Balranald Electoral Roll.

Download ‘Electoral Roll’ document (76 pages, 750 kb)

1887 Property Holders eligible to vote in:

Menindie (Menindee), Wentworth, Wilcannia, Broken Hill, and Silverton.
Some residents/householders with the same surname as the property holder have been included.


Information on Early Wentworth and Surrounding Areas.
Material collected from the Government Gazettes and Newspapers of the day. Interwoven is mention of places like Menindie (Menindee), Pooncarie, Broken Hill, and Moorna (downriver from Wentworth) – although some of these places are discussed individually elsewhere.

Download ‘Wentworth’ document (392 pages, pdf, 3,120kb)


Natives’ Graves, Wentworth.
An 1863 article concerning the burial practices of the Aborigines and an accompanying wood etching showing: ‘Native Graves, Wentworth, N.S.W.’
Also Blandowski’s impression of the Natives of the Loddon, the Murrumbidgee / Murray and Darling regions 1857.

Download ‘Graves’ document (4 pages, pdf, 120kb)

Adam’s 1858 Plan of the Ground at the Junction of the Rivers Murray and Darling.
Applied for as Site for a Town. First Plan for the Town of Wentworth.
1859 Design for the Town of Wentworth.
Position of Adam’s buildings on Wentworth plan.
Position of Sections, Allotments, Names of original holders of allotments.

To help with the understanding of the position of the features in the 1858 Plan and the 1859 Design. Map of Wentworth, labelled initially as 1859 has been given here. It should be noted that this map contains many features of development that occurred much later than 1859.

Download plan document (work in progress)

1879 Plan of the Town of Wentworth.

Surveyors Philip Francis Adams and Edward Twynam.
These two surveyors were responsible for the layout of the town of Wentworth. These are just a few snippets from their stories.

Download ‘Surveyors’ document (6 pages, pdf, 325 kb)

Wentworth’s First Land Sales and Titles.
Wentworth’s First Land Sales, 16 March 1860.
– Site for the town of Wentworth Gazetted 18 July 1859.
– First Sale of town land for Wentworth conducted by Henry Shiell who was not happy to have to come all the way from Lang’s Crossing (Hay) to perform the task.
– Land that was offered for sale; Allotments that were omitted from the Sale.
– Purchasers at the first Sale of Town Land on 16 March 1860. Size of the allotments they purchased. Purchase price. Summary of the Sale.

Download ‘First Sale’ document (47 pages, pdf, 570kb)

Wentworth’s Second Land Sale, 21 August 1860.
–  Purchasers. Size of the allotments they purchased. Purchase price.

Download ‘Second Sale’ document (9 pages, pdf, 330kb)

Wentworth’s Third Land Sale, 29 November 1862.
–  Purchasers. Size of the allotments they purchased. Purchase price.

Download ‘Third Sale’ document (10 pages, pdf, 175kb)

Wentworth Title Deeds, 1863, 1864, 1865.
– Name of Purchaser; Size of allotment; Appraised value.

Download ‘Land Sales 1863-65’ document (3 pages, pdf, 230kb)

Combined Land Sales in Wentworth.
This is the Main Listing for Purchasers of land in early Wentworth. It attempts to track each allotment in every section from its initial purchase to any early resale. Mention is also made of some suburban Portions and Country Lots.

Download ‘Combined Sales’ document (181 pages, pdf, 1,330kb)

Matching Land Titles to Wentworth’s 1879 Rates Book.
1879 is the first year listed in the Rates Book held by the Wentworth Council. This is an attempt to find out how individuals came to have that land. A work in progress. So far only the holdings of Gunn have been investigated.


Earliest Hotel at the Junction (Wentworth).
A shanty Inn of Thomas Carr??

Early Hotels at the Junction (Wentworth).
McGeorge’s Old Public House; Darling Inn; Junction Inn; Junction Inn/Shearers’ Arms.

Large Hotel shown as existing on 1859 Design for Wentworth.
Located where the Racecourse Hotel opened much later in 1870.

Official Licences of the Hotels in Wentworth to 1900.
Wentworth Inn and Wentworth Hotel; Crown Hotel; Royal Hotel; Duke of Edinburgh Hotel; Racecourse Hotel; Commercial Hotel.

Detailed Discussion of the Licensees.
“Confusion” would be the best word to describe any discussion on the Wentworth hotels. Does “Wentworth Hotel” refer to a hotel in Wentworth or a hotel by that name? Is the Wentworth Inn the same as the Wentworth Hotel; or for that matter are the Darling Inn, the Junction Inn, and the Shearers’ Arms different names for the one building? Opinions of experts have often disagreed about this and even about the names of the publicans.

Download Hotels document (work in progress)


Wentworth Court House and Lock Up. Police Watch House. Police Officer’s Quarters, Barracks and Stables.
1. Money spent by Wentworth on Public Works 1861 to 1880.
2. Correspondence.
3. Lockup declared a Gaol 1870.
4. Wentworth Courthouse & Gaol 1872.
5. Names of Prisoners and their Crimes 1862 to 1889 (No depositions 1878 to 1883).
6. Letters complaining about Gaol Conditions.
7. Improvements to Prisoners’ Accommodation 1877.
8. Wentworth Court-House, Lock-up and Police Station.
9. Wentworth’s New Gaol.
10. Summary of Prisoners 1899 to 1928.
11. Additional Items concerning Wentworth Gaol.
12. Wentworth Gaol today.

Download ‘Law’ Document (54 pages, pdf, 765 kb)

Full details of Prisoners 1899 to 1928.

Crime, Sentence, Age, Place of birth, Ship and Date of entry to Australia, Religion, Occupation, Age, Physical description, ‘disposal date.’

Download ‘Gaol’ Document (51 pages, pdf, 1,800kb)

Wentworth Police Station.
Correspondence Records November 1862 to March 1864. Many of the other records concerning the Police Station are included with the Court House records above.

Download ‘Police’ Document (4 pages, pdf, 150kb)

Wentworth Gaol Staff 1891-1928.
“Register of Prison Staff 1860-1923”. Records for Wentworth start on 5th September 1891 when Sheringham is appointed as Acting Gaoler. The Gaol was disestablished on 1st July 1928 (later than the previously thought 1927). All the staff listed in the Register have been given, but this must be a far from total record of staff involved with the Gaol. The Gaol was disestablished on 1st July 1928 (later than the previously thought 1927).

Download ‘Staff’ Document (9 pages, pdf, 170kb)


– Introduction.
– How the Wentworth National School started.
– Information on the individual teachers who taught at Wentworth.
This section does include a few references to individual students but the majority of the work is about the conditions at the school and the performance of the teachers themselves. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any surviving set of pupil records for the early school.
– Five and a half hour Annual Examination of the non-vested National School at Wentworth on 25 June 1863.
This lists the names of the pupils who gained awards in the various subjects. Patrons and parents attended. Two new replacement Patrons elected. New teacher, Mr. John R. Goold, of Swan Hill selected.
– Annual examination of the district school at Wentworth, July 1864. This lists the names of the pupils who gained awards in the various subjects. Patrons and parents attended. (South Australian Register, Adelaide, 8 Aug 1864.)
–  List of schools by County in the Wentworth area.

Download ‘Education’ document (98 pages, pdf, 1,000 kb)

–  Correspondence concerning the establishment of the Wentworth Telegraph Repeater Station.
– Summary of the original correspondence held by the State Records, Kingswood, March 1865 to December 1866.
– McCauley’s tender of ?2400 accepted, but it was Gunn who did most of the work.
–  Opening of the telegraph line at Wentworth to Adelaide. 11 September 1866.
–  Wentworth Post and Telegraph Offices in one building. Telegraph officers.
“A Tour of the South”, 2 November 1872.
–  Criticism of Post and Telegraph building.
– Mail services with Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide in 1878.
Insufficient time to reply before return mail can result in it taking 14 days to get a reply to Sydney. Also can mean that businesses have to reply on Sundays to get return mail in the dispatch for Adelaide.

Download ‘Repeater’ document (15 pages, pdf, 385kb)

– Sketchbook kept by B. H. Babbage on his surveying expedition 1857-62.
– Sketches of Murray and Darling Rivers Taken in Camp, 1865-66 – H. Forde.
– Where to find Wentworth photographs on the Picture Australia website.

Download Sketches Document (work in progress)

General items of information concerning early Menindie / Menindee.

Download Menindee Document (work in progress)


Download Pooncarie Document (56 pages, pdf, 821 kb)


Lake Victoria Station.
In the far south west corner of NSW. From 1845.

Momba Pastoral Holding.