Trees that mysteriously shifted location. Sweet and sour grass. The state’s first medical benefits fund. The day the 1 o’clock cannon exploded. The history of Glen Innes is alive with fascinating anecdotes. The histories on this page are adapted from A Short History of Glen Innes, written by A. W. Cameron, 1987.

AboriginesAs far as can be ascertained the Aborigines did not live permanently in this part of the tablelands and it is thought that they came onto the tablelands in the summertime and vacated the area in the winter months as the winters were hard.

In the 1840s there was conflict in this district between the Aborigines and the Europeans and several cases are on record of shepherds being killed by the Aborigines who would drive off the flocks of sheep and have a feast. This led to reprisals by the squatters who went after them and retrieved their stock.

In his report dated January 1846, Commissioner Macdonald had this to say: “During the past year no act of outrage or violence has been committed by the aborigines upon persons or property of the British population.” From thereon, with the exception of an odd isolated case, friendly relations were experienced between the two races.

John Oxley had discovered New England when he set out from the Macquarie River in 1818 to go to what is now Port Macquarie and in so doing, crossed the southern area of New England in the Walcha area.

Twenty years later Archibald Boyd registered the first run in what is today known as the Glen Innes district.

According to legend, before leaving Sydney, Boyd was advised to get in touch with the “Beardies”, Chandler and Duval, who were working on stations north of Armidale. As they were good bushmen they were earning “a few bob” by guiding new chum land seekers to land available to take up as a station. When the “Beardies” guided Boyd’s party into this area, they were so pleased with what they saw that they named it Beardies Plains and the stream which traversed the valley Beardy Waters.

Other squatters were quick to follow Boyd and by 1840 most of the land in this district was taken up and the wave of land seekers proceeded north.

As land settlement far outstripped the Government’s efforts to survey the area, the early runs were defined by watersheds so that all the land which drained water into the valley became the run of that particular squatter. When he thought he had enough country he marked his lower boundary by a feature such as a creek running into the main stream or a line of marked trees. After a few years it was amazing how some of these trees “moved” and there were arguments as to which way the water ran.

Grey Street Glen InnesEarly townships were established at Stonehenge, Dundee, Wellingrove and Deepwater.

Wellingrove made a bid to become the capital of the district and through the efforts of the run holder, Polhill, the first government offices were established there.

J. J. Galloway surveyed the township of Glen Innes in 1852. Prior to this Mather and Gilchrist had established a store on the road between Armidale and Drayton (the forerunner of Toowoomba). As it was on the highway it was apparent that a stream of traffic was passing along the road, whereas Wellingrove was a dead end. With the exception of Deepwater, these early townships have ceased to exist as villages.

It was through the efforts of Archibald Mosman that the town became known as Glen Innes. Major Archibald Clunes Innes was the commandant at Port Macquarie, and had extensive station interests including the station of Furracabad, on which the town of Glen Innes was built. Major Innes changed the name of the station to Glen Innes. When Innes became bankrupt in the depression of the 1840s, the station was taken over by the Bank of Australasia who later sold it to Archibald Mosman (after whom the Sydney suburb was named). When the town of Glen Innes was gazetted, Mosman changed the name of the station back to Furracabad.

Glen Innes continued to flourish and when the Great Northern Railway came through in 1884, it prompted the construction of some of the town’s most substantial buildings which lend character to the town today.

As the town grew, there was a demand for services. Roads were the first priority and for some years only the main thoroughfares were gravelled.

Fuel for the first street lights was kerosene and a lamplighter was employed to fuel and light the lamps each evening. When gas was installed, cast iron posts replaced the wooden ones, and they had a cross arm to rest the lamplighter’s ladder. Gaslights were replaced by electricity in 1922 when the town installed an electricity generating plant.

Many of the early town properties relied on wells for their water supply or tanks supplied by runoff from the roof. In 1918 a steam engine was set up on the Beardy River to supply water for the town.
As demand for water grew, rock bars upstream from the pump were blasted to increase the supply, but it wasn’t long before it was apparent that a dam was needed. Finance proved a problem and not until the depression did the Government make money available for unemployment relief to build a weir on the Beardy.

In 1932, with the weir on the Beardy Waters completed, Council embarked on a sewerage project to cost £76,000 on a Government grant of 50% of cost, Council to pay off their half at 4% over 40 years.

In the early 1980s, Council decided to build a large dam further downstream from the present weir. As the cost would be very high and this would be a burden on ratepayers, an organisation was formed to veto this proposal and to raise the floodgates on the present weir and put in a larger pipeline to the Mann River. A series of court cases ensued which blocked construction of the big dam on the Beardy until the Council election in 1983.

Mining put Emmaville (first known as Vegetable Creek) on the map and in the tin mining boom the population of Emmaville was greater than Glen Innes. Tin also had an important bearing on the establishment of Deepwater. Prior to the coming of the railway there had been a hotel and store there, and tin mining in the area had boosted it into a village. With the coming of the railway it grew as a result of the fact that it was the rail head for Emmaville.

In the early days of settlement, local squatters only had a yearly licence on their runs. In the 1840s the squatters banded together to gain better security of tenure for their runs and when an approach to Governor Gipps was unsuccessful, Archibald Boyd, who was a barrister before coming to Australia, was sent to England to put the squatters’ case to the Colonial Secretary. The outcome was the introduction of The Waste Lands Occupation Act of 1846 by which squatters were granted 8 or 14-year leases of their runs at £10 per annum for a carrying capacity of 4,000 sheep plus proportionate payment for a carrying capacity in excess of that number. It also allowed the squatter to purchase an amount of land at £1 per acre so that he would have security of tenure for his homestead.

As the land was still held in big holdings there was a clamour for land by the growing population and although some small portions of land could be purchased at land sales which started in this district in 1854, this didn’t satisfy the increasing demand for land.

In 1861, the Government passed what was known at the time as the Robertson Land Act or Free Selection Act which introduced the system of Conditional Purchase (CP). Under this Act a person could purchase a minimum of 40 acres or up to a maximum of 320 acres at £1 per acre.

By the end of World War II most of what was left of the big runs had become freehold. The Government wished to implement a policy of Soldier Settlement so they passed an Act allowing them to acquire portions of these large runs which they then split up and made available for Soldier Settlement.

Glen Innes Court House in 1865In 1839, Commissioner Macdonald was appointed to the New England district with headquarters in Armidale. He had six mounted troopers under his command and they were all ex-convicts. Commissioner Macdonald’s main function was to provide law and order and to protect the settlers from the aborigines.

Most of his time was spent visiting the stations in the area and reporting on the state of affairs in the district. Apparently, he wasn’t often called on to use his judicial powers but it is on record that he fined the Chief Justice, Sir Frances Forbes, £5. Sir Francis Forbes had taken up the run east of Archibald Boyd’s and when Forbes’s shepherd strayed over the divide onto Boyd’s run, the latter sued for trespass.

After Macdonald left, some of the local squatters were appointed magistrates (JP’s today), and they were empowered to dispense justice at a Petty Sessions level. A Clerk of Petty Session was appointed to Wellingrove and Court of Petty Sessions proclaimed at that centre with the appointment of a constable. The early constables were appointed from local people and in some cases their appointments ended abruptly when they partook too freely of the amber liquid.

After Glen Innes became established as a town, the Court of Petty Sessions was moved to Glen Innes, with a stone courthouse being built in 1858. This became too small and was superseded by the present Court House in 1874, when Glen Innes was appointed as a place for holding quarter sessions, and the following year a full-time Police Magistrate was appointed.

Frederick Ward, alias “Thunderbolt”, ranged through these parts in the 1860s and was shot at Uralla in 1870.

When the early squatters came into the region, wool was their main source of income. In the early days, the squatters bred their own sheep, and during the Selectors’ era, the Selectors did likewise. However, after the rabbit invasion commenced in the early 1900s, the pastures were plundered by the pests and the best grasses eaten out, so that there was a swing away from breeding and many graziers purchased western wethers (castrated rams) which they sold to people who had crops or better pasture on which they were fattened when their wool growing days were over. Most sheep were sold in the paddock. Local butchers took a few, but the majority were trucked to Homebush for sale.

The advent of the motor lorry as a means of transport opened up new markets after World War II, and the swing to local selling prompted the Municipal Council to build new saleyards and today a large proportion of the sheep and lambs are sold through the local saleyards.

The early sheep in the district were mainly of merino blood but before the turn of the century there was mention of British breeds in Lincoln, Romney Marsh and Cheviots.

The 1950s saw a dramatic change when there was a move to pasture improvement with the use of super phosphate. With the eradication of the rabbit by myxomatosis, there was a swing towards breeding instead of running wethers and also towards breeding prime lambs, which today is a thriving industry.

Most of the early squatters relied on sheep rather than cattle as prices for cattle were low. However, before long it was found that much of the country on the eastern fall was not suitable for sheep and many graziers in that area were forced to replace the sheep with cattle.

At first most of the cattle were shorthorns, but it was found that they didn’t stand up to the hard winters and they were replaced with Herefords and Devons with a few Aberdeen Angus.

Like the sheep, pasture improvement brought great changes to the cattle in the district and today the bulk of the cattle are sold through the local saleyards at an early age. Although various exotic breeds have been tried, Herefords still predominate.

Farm Cutting chaff - Glen Innes 1888The early squatters had very few farm implements. As the markets were so far away, and transport so slow, most of them grew a few acres of wheat which they thrashed by hand and ground into flour.

Early blacksmiths made ploughs and harrows locally and, although their methods were somewhat primitive, they served the purpose.

Oats was, for years, the main crop grown. It was cut and put into stacks from whence it was cut into chaff. Prior to World War II most of the farming in this district was done with horses and what chaff was not used locally was railed to Sydney. Corn was also grown extensively and prior to World War II, it, like chaff, was used for horse fodder. Corn survived longer than the chaff and this was due to the fact Kellogg’s gave contracts for corn to be used in their products.

When America came into World War II there was a demand for Navy Beans. A Navy Bean Board was set up, and crops were grown on contract to this Board. Following the cessation of hostilities, there was a market for peas and carrots and these were marketed in Brisbane until Mr Reg Cahill opened a quick freeze factory in Glen Innes and the vegetables were processed locally.

By the time pasture improvement was introduced in the 1950s, much of the arable land was “worn out” from continual cropping, and some of this land took several years to recover after it was top dressed and sown to pasture grasses. By the use of fertilizer and heavy stocking, this country has improved and is now capable of further cultivation.

Very little farming is done today and most of the oats grown is used for fattening cattle and lambs as green fodder.

Most of the early selectors planted orchards. Money was scarce and they had to live off the land as far as possible so the fruit was made into jam and also bottled. Orchard pests and the resultant legislation for their control led to the demise of most of the orchards and only a few remain today. However, a few surviving fruit trees, mainly quinces, remain to show where once there had been a selector with an orchard.

Emmaville 1st Motor Service 1912The early squatters used bullock drays to transport their goods. At the time cattle were cheap and horses expensive so that in most cases, the squatter or his superintendent were the only ones who could afford a horse.

By the time free selection took place, horses were becoming more easily obtainable and, in many cases, the selectors were able to use horses as a means of transport for them and their goods to market and so horse drawn vehicles became the main transport within the district.

Coaches were operating from Newcastle quite early in the day and as time went on coaches were used to transport passengers to Grafton, Inverell and Emmaville and when the gold rush was on, to Bear Hill and Kookabookra.

As Sydney was so far away, Lawrence on the Clarence River became the port for this district. Wool and other produce was transported to this port and shipped to Sydney and on the return journey the teams brought the station supplies. The coming of the railway in 1884 meant that produce and stores could be shipped to Sydney more economically.

The contract to bring the railway from Uralla to Glen Innes was let in 1880, and the line opened in 1884. No mean feat when one considers the tools at their disposal and also the fact that work was held up with strikes.

In 1901, the Municipal Council adopted a resolution allowing the Woods-Winton Automobile Company permission to run cars in the streets of Glen Innes. At first only a few graziers and a doctor could afford cars, but gradually more came on the roads and passenger service cars replaced the coaches to Inverell and Grafton. Hansom cabs were in use round the town early in the century.

Following World War I, a number of people bought cars and in the mid 1920s motor lorries started to replace the teams as a means of transport for heavy goods.

Just prior to World War II, a light aircraft was running between Inverell and Sydney, which was used by Glen Innes travellers. During World War II, the military established an aerodrome at Clairville, just out of Glen Innes. In 1948, East West Airlines started a tri-weekly service to Sydney, Tamworth and Glen Innes with a seven-seater Anson aircraft.

Glen Innes Hospital front 1927The early settlers had to rely on their own initiative to treat illness and accidents. However, there were doctors at Dundee and Wellingrove before the town of Glen Innes was established, and when Glen Innes was established, Dr Alexander moved from Wellingrove to Glen Innes. From then on Glen Innes was not without the services of a medical practitioner.

It wasn’t until 1877 that the hospital in Glen Innes was opened. The first Glen Innes Hospital was not used for maternity cases and children saw the first light of day in their own homes. It was unusual for doctors to attend maternity cases and the babies were delivered by midwives. None of the midwives had any training and it generally happened that there were several women who were called on as midwives in each area of the district as transport was difficult and they had to rely on someone who was handy.

Child mortality was high. Diphtheria, croup, typhoid fever, measles and whooping cough were the chief killers. Outbreaks of typhoid were sometimes traced to the use of wells which were, at times, contaminated from the primitive sanitary arrangements prevailing at the time.

The influenza outbreak following World War I taxed the capacity of the hospital and at one stage some patients were housed in tents in the grounds until a temporary building costing £200 was erected. The Town Hall was used as a centre for inoculations against pneumonic ‘flu, and it is on record that Dr Wrigley carried out 1,474 injections against the disease. Also in that period there were 60 cases of diphtheria recorded for 1921.

An outbreak of dengue fever in the State in 1926 prompted Council to employ a mosquito inspector as mosquitoes spread the disease. This timely action by the Council probably prevented the spread of the disease to Glen Innes as it was devastating, although not lethal in some districts.

Following World War II, the polio epidemic caused grave concern and Lord Nuffield donated 400 iron lungs to Australia, one coming to Glen Innes to help with respiratory distress of the patients. In 1950, the Council issued a number of leaflets on the dangers of polio and a widespread immunisation programme was instituted.

With the mining boom at Emmaville and the influx of people to the district, accidents were frequent and this caused a mining engineer, Alfred Cadell, to organise a medical benefits fund, the first in the State. There was a flat rate of £1 for people to belong and the proceeds helped to establish a medical practitioner there and brought about the erection of the Vegetable Creek Hospital at Emmaville.

A new hospital was opened in Glen Innes in 1956, a maternity section was added and the private hospital closed down. The old hospital building lay idle for some years until the Glen Innes Historical Society took it over in 1969 and opened a museum there in 1970.

From what we can ascertain, most of the country in this district was heavily timbered when the first white settlers came and only the floors of the valleys were open country. Grass growing in timbered country is sour and unpalatable to stock, while the grass in the open country is sweet. The flocks of the early settlers soon ate out the open country so that ringbarking of the timbered country took place to improve the quality of the grass.

The rabbit invasion earlier in the nineteenth century caused the diminution of the sweeter grasses and it wasn’t until the eradication of the rabbit that these grasses returned in any quantity, helped by the use of superphosphate.

The timber in the district varies according to altitude and climate, so that some trees on the eastern fall with heavier rainfall are good for milling. Also, soil type plays an important part in the varieties of trees.

When the first white man came to the district, the marsupial population was kept in check by the lack of good grazing land, except on the floors of the valleys, and secondly by the aborigine and the dingo. However, when ringbarking started and a fresh growth of grass came, it triggered off a population explosion in the marsupials. This led to meetings among landholders who said their grass was being eaten out by marsupials and in consequence a bonus was offered. During four years in the mid 1880s, a bonus was paid on 239,000 kangaroo scalps with lesser numbers of wallabies and kangaroo rats.

The kangaroo rats made nests of grass. With the limited amount of grass available, their population remained static, but it took off when more grass was available from ringbarking. They were a “sitting shot” in their grass nests for domestic dogs and when the fox was introduced they were easy prey for foxes. By 1920, they had practically disappeared from this district.

Koalas were plentiful in the nineteenth century and old hands reported that 100 could be counted in a 15-mile sulky drive. New Englanders were dubbed “bear eaters”, because it was said they were too mean to eat mutton and lived on koalas. A disease in the early part of the twentieth century practically wiped them out.

In the late 1890s, there was consternation when it was apparent that the entry of the rabbit into this district was inevitable, and when they did arrive it was not long before they reached plague proportions.

The feral pig was the next wild animal to cause concern. For many years they were living in the watercourse country where their numbers fluctuated with the seasons. However, there were none in this district 45 years ago. There are signs of them right throughout New England and although they have not yet reached plague proportions, their numbers are on the increase. It is likely that the clover that was produced with the use of superphosphate has lured them into New England.

The bird population in the district has gone through some changes and there are not the numbers of Eastern rosellas that there were eighty years ago. This is probably attributable to the fact that there aren’t the number of nesting hollows that there used to be and today, the galahs which nest earlier than the other parrots have “booked out” most of the nesting accommodation. Galahs, though prevalent in the west, were not seen in this district before World War II, but today they are here in large numbers.

Crows and whistling eagles are seldom seen today and this is probably attributable to the use of organic phosphates for blowfly treatment of sheep as the carrion eating birds are poisoned when they eat the portions of dead sheep which have been treated for fly strike.

Curlews, once numerous in the area, have completely disappeared and this is probably due to the introduction of the fox which has decimated ground nesting birds in other parts also.

Up to World War I, Murray cod up to twenty pounds (approximately 9 kilograms) in weight were caught in the eastern streams of the district but today they have disappeared. Trout were introduced into these streams before the turn of the twentieth century and fry have been brought in at intervals over the years while in more recent years, red Ffn have also been introduced into the western waters. Eels are still numerous in the eastern water but are not in the western waters.

Emmaville Store in 1890The early squatters had stores on the stations from which they supplied their employees with the essentials of life. As the small villages took shape, the station stores were phased out. It was Mather and Gilchrist’s store that was responsible for the birth of the town of Glen Innes. It was situated at the back of what is now the Coles store. Other stores followed and in the 1870s there were no less than five stores of varying size in the north end of the town between Ferguson and Meade Streets.

John Frederick Utz had originally come to Ranger’s Valley from Germany. After a few years at Ranger’s Valley, he had his own store at Dundee and when tin mining opened up, he was successful in tin dealing in conjunction with his store. He sold the Dundee store in 1879 and went for a trip to Europe where he bought a substantial array of goods for his next store in Glen Innes, and this was advertised in a full-page advertisement in the local paper. It is evident that J.F. Utz was an astute businessman and it was not long before he built new premises on the corner of Bourke and Grey Streets and his shop became the hub of Glen Innes.

A Chinese store, Kwong Sing’s, opened in 1886 on the opposite side of Grey Street, practically opposite Utz’s store. In 1913, Utz’s store changed hands and became M. C. Mackenzie & Sons. By 1920, there were five departmental stores between Meade and Wentworth Streets, namely Warleys, Kwong Sing’s, Mackenzie’s, Doust and Williams and Gissing & Rutherford. Mackenzie’s and Kwong Sing’s expanded and the other three gradually went out of business. By the 1950s, the only departmental stores in the town were Mackenzie’s and Kwong Sing’s.

“Cash and carry” was coming in the 1930s and several small self-service stores opened up and later Mackenzie’s and Kwong Sing’s turned to cash and carry for their grocery sections.

Kwong Sing’s, which had been run by the Young family for over eighty years, is now The Premier Store [2015].

For many years small farmers didn’t have bank accounts but relied on the stores. They would bring their produce to town to the store of their choice getting credit for the goods bought and as the departmental stores had everything the farmer might want, the system worked well for years. In some cases, due to drought or illness, the store would have to carry the client for a period and needless to say the storekeeper was sure of the character of his client before becoming too heavily involved.

The first bank in Glen Innes was the Bank of New South Wales and by the time the railway came through in 1884, the Commercial Bank of Sydney and the Australian Joint Stock Bank were established.

In the financial depression of 1893, the Australian Joint Stock Bank and the Commercial Bank of Sydney were forced to close their doors for a short period but the Bank of New South Wales managed to weather the storm and remained open during the crisis.

Blacksmith Grovers Glen Innes in 1891Blacksmiths were the first mechanics to come into the district as their services were required for shoeing horses and repairing vehicles and other farm machinery. As vehicles became more widely used, blacksmiths turned their attention to the occupation of wheelwright and coach building. When the first motor cars came to the district, the blacksmiths were first used for repairs, but as cars increased in numbers some blacksmiths employed mechanics and gradually the blacksmith shops were phased out. This was partly because of motor cars and partly because farm machinery firms had agents in the district selling farm machinery and spare parts, where in the early days the local blacksmiths had made the ploughs, harrows etc.

One man who deserves mention is J. F. Chaffey who started a coach building business in the 1880s. J. F. Chaffey was a man of great ability and had a hand in the shaping of Glen Innes. His buggies and sulkies had a widespread reputation and when the day of the motor car came, he changed from coach building to a garage with the agency for Ford cars.

A new business arrived with the motor car because it needed fuel. At first petrol came in 4-gallon tins, with two to a case, but as car numbers increased, bulk handling became necessary and the big fuel companies established depots from which they could supply the bowsers in bulk. With bulk handling, the garages, and some stores, installed underground petrol tanks from which the fuel was pumped by hand at the bowsers.

Owing to the distances involved, the early squatters had, as far as possible, to be self-sufficient and as flour was the main ingredient for survival, they had to grow enough wheat for 12 months, which they thrashed and ground on the station. Over time, private enterprise took over and water power was used to grind wheat at Mt Mitchell, Yarraford and Dundee. Edward Grover and Patrick Heron Henderson had steam driven flourmills. J. F. Utz built a steam flourmill in Bourke Street. Trading under the name of Sunshine, this mill won prizes for its quality flour.

J. J. Whyte was a storeman with the railway construction in the 1880s, and when construction continued towards Tenterfield, he started a tannery at Glen Innes, and in 1889 he opened a boot and harness manufacturing factory. This factory specialised in making working boots. These boots met a ready market and were sold overseas as well as in Australia. During World War II, the factory had large contracts for army boots and when the factory, on the corner of Ferguson and Grey Street was burnt down during the war, it was quickly rebuilt as it had a priority under the War Production Act. Unfortunately after the war, the factory closed down through lack of efficient management.

Encouraged by J. F. Chaffey, a dairy factory was first established at the back of his coach building works and when this venue became too small, an up-to-date factory was built adjacent to the railway line in Ferguson Street. So successful was this venture that dairy factories were established at one time at Deepwater, Red Range and Glencoe. However, with changing conditions and better transport, the outlying factories closed down and the cream was brought to Glen Innes. Centralisation and changes in marketing eventually forced the closure of the Glen Innes Butter factory in the 1970s.

Stands of good timber in forests on the eastern fall opened up a lucrative saw milling industry in saw milling. At one stage when transport was difficult, small sawmills opened up in the bush close to the timber, but with better transport and methods of handling, most of these small mills closed down. There are still two sawmills in Glen Innes.

With the upsurge in vegetable growing following World War II, Reg Cahill opened up a quick-freeze factory in Glen Innes. This was later taken over by Pict Pty Ltd and they continued for some years, however, owing to the climate, this district could only produce one crop a year, whereas producers with irrigation in warmer climates were able to produce two crops a year with fertilizer. To keep the factory working to full capacity, Pict had to go further afield for supplies and at the finish they were going as far as Gladstone. Eventually, freight became so expensive that Pict could not compete with increasing competition and the factory closed down.

From the early days of Glen Innes some people gave their occupation as cordial manufacturers and the business seemed to be run haphazardly until Mark Marshall started up in Ferguson Street and continued for many years using bottles with glass marbles in the top.

At one stage, there were two newspapers in Glen Innes, as well as paper offices at Emmaville and Deepwater. The Glen Innes Examiner started in 1874 and at the time The Guardian had been going for several years. Eventually, the papers at Emmaville and Deepwater closed down and the Examiner took over the Guardian in 1924.

When the first squatters came to this district the future for wool looked very bright as John Macarthur had established a ready market for wool in England and showed that Australian wool was equal to the best in the world. The upsurge in pastoral development with the opening up of new country increased sheep numbers very dramatically and by the mid 1840s sheep numbers had reached such proportions that there was a slump in the wool market because the trade couldn’t handle the volume coming forward.

As Glen Innes depended mainly on its primary production, slumps in the price of wool and tin caused financial stress to the town and district and these depressions occurred periodically over the years. One of the worst was in the 1890s when some banks crashed.

Following World War 1, Australia, which depended mainly on wool, was in a relatively good position. Britain had taken the whole of the Australian wool clip during the war, and even after the war, wool prices rose up to 1924.

The effect of the war was starting to be felt and the high inflation in some countries as well as other financial stresses caused a collapse of the New York Stock Exchange. Overnight wool dropped to 10 pence a pound which was uneconomical and the result caused vast unemployment as many companies and private individuals became insolvent.

Urgent methods were required to deal with the situation. The Moratorium Act was passed with the main intention of protecting unemployed people from being evicted from their rented premises. The dole was introduced for unemployed people and young unmarried people were encouraged to go to the country looking for work. The police distributed the dole and travellers had to move on as they were only allowed to draw the dole at a town once. Consequently they had to carry their swags and to save their feet many of them “jumped the Rattler” (riding in railway trucks without paying their fare). As many people were destitute, Churches and other charitable organisations opened up “soup kitchens” where the needy could, at least, get some sustenance.

Glen Innes, like all other towns, felt the brunt of the depression and as the situation worsened, those enterprises which managed to survive made an agreement with their staff that, to avoid retrenchment, single men worked two weeks out of four, and married men three weeks out of four (practically no married women were working at this time).

Councils were hard hit as more and more people were unable to meet their rates and in consequence they shed staff. The local council was so short of money that 12 men of the road staff were stood down until money was available to pay them in 1932, and in 1934 five men were stood down for the same reason.

There were many cases of hardship and although things got better towards the end of the 1930s, the depression didn’t really end until World War II, when those not in the services were found employment in the reserved industries helping the war effort.

When the first settlers came to the district, they could only bring the bare essentials with them and among the equipment there were axes. With these they were able to split slabs for walls and use bark for the roofs. The bark was overlapped on the roof and held down by saplings fastened to the rafters.

Hotels were established in the 1850s at Stonehenge, Dundee, Wellingrove and Clarevaulx. The last named was on the southern boundary of Captain Ditmas’s run, and in close proximity to the Furracabad head station. If the Captain’s employees wanted a drink they had a long walk, but the employees from Furracabad only had a short distance to go.   This pub was burnt down in 1857. Being made of slabs it burnt quickly. The Captain offered a reward of £100 for information, but the reward was never claimed.

These early pubs catered mainly for travellers, but the accommodation was very rough, however as transport was by horse, there was always accommodation for horses.

When the first town lots of Glen Innes were sold, Captain Ditmas established his overseer, Samuel Regan, in a hotel on the corner of Grey and Meade Street, which was first known as the Beverley Arms, but when the telegraph came to Glen Innes, the name was changed to the Telegraph Hotel. James Harris demolished the old building and built a new hotel which he called the Great Central, a name which it still bears. The oldest hotel standing is the Royal which was built in 1874, although, like the Great Central, it has undergone many changes over the years.

When the railway came to Glen Innes, it brought about changes to the hotels as commercial travellers travelled by train and stayed at the hotels. Some of the hotels catered for the commercial travellers and built sample rooms for them where they could display the samples of their goods. To save congestion the sample rooms were booked well in advance, and the interested business houses were notified as to the date so they could inspect and order the samples. Some of the hotels had horse buses which met all the trains and conveyed the passengers to the hotel.

For those who were teetotallers and wanted cheap accommodation, there were boarding houses and they generally catered for people like bank clerks and single schoolteachers who only stayed in the town for a year or two.

Kookabookra Mine 1910sIn 1872, Thomas Carlean discovered tin at Vegetable Creek (later known as Emmaville) and this started off a rush. The gold boom in the south was fading out and disappointed miners were anxious to try the new field to see what they could make out of tin.

At first, the tin ore was taken by teams to Grafton for shipment to Sydney. The road to Grafton was steep and treacherous and after rain was sometimes impassable. With the uncertainty of the Grafton Road, some tin was sent to Warwick in Queensland.

Mining tin was an uncertain occupation subject to heavy fluctuation in price and as water was needed for washing it was, at times, hampered by drought. On one occasion when prices were high and there was a drought, the miners stockpiled the dirt against the time when the drought would break. The drought eventually broke with very heavy rain which washed much of the stockpiled dirt away, and by the time the remainder could be washed and sold, the bottom had dropped out of the market.

At one stage, there were 1,500 Chinese working on the field with the Chinese miners outnumbering the Europeans. There were Chinese stores in Emmaville and the Chinese opened small stores when they followed the rushes to other small fields in the district. They had a joss house at Emmaville and another at Skeleton Creek. The former was burnt down and the latter disappeared when the miners left the field.

The mining boom meant a lot to the town of Glen Innes and much of the goods purchased came from the Glen Innes stores. When the railway came through, it did away with a great deal of the carriage by teams as the ore could be railed direct to Sydney when the line between Sydney and Newcastle was opened up.

As well as tin, other metals were mined, including bismuth, molybdenite, tungsten, silver, wolfram and arsenic at the Ottery mine between Emmaville and Torrington. Gold was mined in the Glen Elgin area in the 1850s and fields were also worked at Oban and Oakwood. In 1889, there was a rush when gold was found at Bear Hill and Kookabookra. Villages were surveyed and a hospital opened at Bear Hill and for a short time a coach run was established. The legend attached to the naming of Bear Hill is that a miner picked up a stone to throw at a native bear (koala) and found there was gold in the stone. These rushes didn’t last long and the villages have now disappeared.

Gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires and zircon have all been found in the area. The sapphires are mainly found in old creek beds along alluvial streams.

A disease known as scab was the bane of the early squatter’s existence. It was apparently highly contagious and as early as the 1840s, squatters were taking precautions, if their flocks were clean, to make sure travelling stock didn’t mix with their own. To combat this disease, a Board was set up in Glen Innes with squatters elected to the Board. Whether the Scab Board eradicated the disease by employing stock inspectors is open to speculation or whether the disease disappeared on its own account is unknown. As scab became less of a menace the Board found other matters to occupy its attention and the name was changed to Stock Board, in more recent times, to Pasture Protection Board and is now the Rural Lands Protection Board.

In 1872 residents of the district signed a petition to have a Municipality in Glen Innes and expressing their willingness to pay rates. At the first election, six aldermen were elected and when they met they got off to a shaky start as they had no clerk to advise them. Their first move, after much debate, was to call tenders for the part-time positions of Town Clerk and Rate Collector. When tenders were opened, Edward Jones, a local auctioneer, was appointed. The next move was to make arrangements with the local bank for a loan of £200. With money to spend now the new Council was up and running but over the next few years they were to have staff problems.

The works committee reported that it would cost £1000 to put the Tenterfield Road in order. Before the Council was two months old, the State Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, was invited to visit Glen Innes to see how bad the roads were, with the idea of getting Government assistance. History doesn’t relate whether Sir Henry came to the party and coughed up, but a rate of 1 shilling in the pound was levied on the assessed value of all property in the Municipal district.

For some years the Council had no permanent meeting place. After the first meeting was held in the Court House, meetings were held in various venues and it wasn’t until the Town Hall was built in 1888 that they had a permanent home.

Before there were many fences, stock could stray where they wished and horses with homing instincts, when ridden some distance from home, tended to make for home and often finished up in the pound. Government Gazettes of the time were full of advertisements from pound keepers advertising a list of horses in the pound and also owners used the Government Gazette to advertise lost stock. As the pound was under the jurisdiction of Council, they were responsible for appointing the pound keepers. Early in the day several of the pound keepers couldn’t account for the money received and one, when suspended, refused to hand over the books.

The 1880s were the golden years for Glen Innes, as the railway came in 1884. Some of the main buildings in the town today stand as a monument to that era. The parks were established and streetlights were set up. The Municipality was divided into wards and this practice was adhered to until 1917 when it was decided to abolish the wards system.

The early names given the streets were haphazard and in 1889 the City Fathers felt the names weren’t appropriate for the growing town of Glen Innes so they made the following changes: Store to Bourke; East to Church; Guy to Macquarie; Soap to Lang; Shilling to Rusden; Hawes to Wentworth; Pond to West Avenue; Wolesley to East Avenue; North to Grafton and Furracabad to Dumaresq. When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, the Council changed the name of Neil Street to Coronation Avenue to mark the occasion. In more recent times, new streets brought about by sub-divisions have been named after former mayors.

The Severn Shire Council came into existence in 1906, following a Government proclamation defining its boundaries, an area of 2,300 square miles, and for election purposes it was split into three ridings. This was changed to four ridings in 1950, when the number of Councillors was increased from six to eight.

Prior to the 1920s, road work was mainly done the hard way with pick and shovel, and during the depression when Government unemployment relief grants were available, picks and shovels were the main tools. Horse-drawn graders in the 1920s saw the first move to mechanisation, and as time went on, kerosene, petrol and diesel supplied the power and saw the demise of the horse-drawn grader and the horse-propelled tip dray. Bulldozers, scrapers and other sophisticated equipment have revolutionised road building and the realignment of existing roads.

Before World War II, there were attempts to have an aerodrome established at Glen Innes, but all attempts failed. However when Japan came into the war, the Shire Engineer, B. S. Marsh, submitted plans for an aerodrome at Clairville, just out of Glen Innes as the R.A.A.F. wanted an aerodrome out of the reach of carrier based aircraft.

The first settlers had to rely on horsemen going to Newcastle to post letters or horsemen and teams going to the Clarence. Inwards mail would have come via the Clarence and for letters within the district by a messenger. In 1867 coaches were running from Newcastle and this made a surer way of delivery provided the coach wasn’t stuck up by bushrangers. Of course when the railway came through, all Sydney letters were despatched by rail. These were the days before penny postage, so if you had a reliable messenger to deliver the letter in person, it would have been cheaper that way than by using the Royal Mail.

The first telegraph line came to Glen Innes in 1862. By arrangement, a signal was sent through at 1.00pm each day. The Council had arranged with a local jeweller, Braithwaite, to fire a cannon when the signal came through. Council objected to this gross extravagance, which cost them £7 a year. To keep the gun firing, a local storekeeper collected enough money for the powder to feed the gun until Council decided on the fate of the 1 o’clock gun. Before the matter had been settled, fate took a hand and the gun exploded, injuring Braithwaite.

When the Telegraph line was extended to Grafton and Vegetable Creek in 1875 and 1876 respectively and to Inverell, it was the Telegraph Master’s responsibility to look after the line. On these jobs he had to ride and carry the necessary tools with him. On one occasion he was checking the line between Glen Innes and Inverell in the rain. While he was up the pole, a clap of thunder frightened his horse which took off and he never saw it again. He was lucky enough to get a lift into Inverell on a passing buggy.

The motor car replaced the coaches to Grafton and Inverell and they carried passengers as well as mail. In the 1920s, Glenister and McKenzie ran a fleet of large Cadillac cars to Inverell from the Brisbane Mail which reached Glen Innes between 5.00am and 6.00am and they came back in the afternoon in time to put the passengers on the Glen Innes Mail about 5.00pm.

The advent of radio to Glen Innes commencing in the 1920s, brought an on the spot news service which gradually improved over the years with commercial and relay stations in country districts. Television also made its contribution, first with black and white pictures and later with colour.

Red Range School of Arts Glen Innes 1910When the first pianos came into the district, it was customary for people to gather round the piano and sing. Another early pastime was spelling bees. However, as time went on and there were halls built in Glen Innes, dances and plays were arranged. In time, halls were also built in small country centres where dances were held and the music for these events was generally supplied by an accordion and a violin. The halls were financed by public subscription and the hall had to be paid off before a piano could be purchased.

As the population grew, drama and musical societies were formed. Roller-skating was also going in the 1880s but over the years it has waxed and waned. A moving picture show (now known as cinema) showed for eight nights a month and a few years later, J. A. Amstead built the Majestic Theatre to show pictures. It was later known as the Roxy and when it closed as a picture theatre it was used for various things until purchased by the firm of Elders Pastoral. Warley’s old store on the corner of Grey and Wentworth Streets was converted into a theatre in the 1920s and for a while Glen Innes had two picture theatres operating. Yardley Bros at one time owned both but after a few years closed the Roxy.

Horse racing and athletic meetings were probably the two earliest sports held in the district. Cricket soon followed and local teams often had to travel up to forty miles to play against their rivals. Competition was keen and on one occasion, when Glen Innes travelled to Glencoe for a competition match in horse-drawn vehicles, Glencoe refused to play them a competition match because they were a bit late getting there. This prompted a terse verse in the local paper.

Before the turn of the century, two English test teams played in Glen Innes. The famous English batsman, Ranjitsinhji, was not very complimentary when he told the press that they played in a ploughed paddock at Glen Innes. In those days, Glen Innes had no concrete or prepared turf wicket and the pitch was the flattest piece of ground available.

Football was also played in the early days, initially rugby union, however when rugby league came in, the locals switched to the new code.

At first, tennis was only played on a few private courts around the district, but it is on record that a local team played Uralla in the 1800s. Following World War II, public courts were put down in King Edward Park. There were two at first and then another two, but as the game increased in popularity they were closed down in the park and new courts constructed on the present site at the corner of West Avenue and Ferguson Street and these have been added to over the years.

Croquet had a short run in King Edward Park beside the tennis courts.

A golf club was formed and a course laid out in the park where the tennis courts are now. A rival golf club started up on Martin’s Lookout but it only lasted a short time. As the Golf Club needed more room to expand, it moved out of town to the present site.

When it was first moved to have a bowling green in the town, a site in the park was suggested, but eventually they settled for the site on the corner of Macquarie Street and Wentworth Street. At first there was only one green, but as players increased, two more greens were put down.

The Glen Innes P & A (Pastoral & Agricultural) (Show Society) staged its first show in 1869. At that time it was in conjunction with Inverell but it wasn’t long before each ran separate shows. In the 1890s, when money was in short supply, they held several shows in conjunction with Armidale. During the war years, shows were abandoned but since the war they have gone from strength to strength and the showground with its beautiful trees is one of the town’s beauty spots.

Wellingrove Church in 1855In 1844 a Presbyterian, the Reverend William Purvis, rode up from Port Macquarie to marry Miss Boyd of Stonehenge to Andrew Wauchope, the first squatter on Moredun. He went as far as Inverell, in those days known as Green Swamp, before coming back to perform the marriage ceremony at Stonehenge. From archival records it was possible to plot his route as he christened children along the way. Like Banjo Paterson’s “Bush Christening”, “men of religion were scanty”. If a couple wished to marry and there was no minister handy, they had what was known as a “scotch marriage”. The bride and groom stood up before witnesses took the vows and the marriage was entered in the family Bible. When a minister happened along, the minister completed the ceremony. On William Purvis’s visit to Inverell he christened two children and married the parents.

As so many of the early settlers were from Scotland it is not surprising that the first minister of religion to reside in the district was a Presbyterian. In 1854, the Reverend Archibald Cameron came to Wellingrove and a little wooden church at Wellingrove was opened in 1866.

As Glen Innes was becoming the metropolis of the district, the Presbyterians opened St. Andrews Church in Church Street in 1870. This church served the congregation for fifty years. When a new Presbyterian Church was built on the corner of Macquarie and Bourke Streets in 1920, it was dedicated to the Reverend Archibald Cameron and became the Cameron Memorial Presbyterian Church. St. Andrews, which was next to the primary school, was sold to the Department of Education and is used as a classroom.

A well-known figure in the Catholic Church in the days of early settlement was Father McCarthy. Stationed at Armidale, Father McCarthy rode long distances to hold services and it is on record in the Armidale paper that he went as far afield as Wee Waa. When Thunderbolt stuck up the mail and took the letters which included the Reverend Cameron’s stipend, the people of the district “passed around the hat” and Father McCarthy was one of the donors.

In the 1850s, Father McCarthy called a meeting of the Catholics in the district and opened a subscription list for the building of a church in Glen Innes and from the information available, it seems likely that the first St. Patrick’s Church was dedicated in the 1860s. As time went by the original church became too small and the present St. Patrick’s was dedicated in 1909.

The first Anglican minister to reside in the district was the Reverend George Charles Bode, who at first had to preach in buildings available in the town. The first part of Holy Trinity was erected in 1868. The original church was used for many years, but thanks to the efforts of Canon Kemmis, the original church was added to with stone from the hospital grounds.

At first, the Methodist minister at Tenterfield visited Glen Innes but in 1877 the people of Tenterfield wanted to go it alone and a new circuit was established, taking in Glen Innes, Vegetable Creek and Dundee. Many of the early miners at Emmaville were Cousin Jacks (Cornishmen) who had a strong tie with the Methodist Church. The Methodist Church in Glen Innes was dedicated in 1886, and since that time alterations have been made to the original building.

The Salvation Army came in 1887, and met with a lot of opposition. It was claimed that their band playing on the street frightened the horses and at one stage they were summonsed for causing a disturbance. However, this opposition soon died down when people recognised the worth of the Salvation Army. Their first home was in what used to be the Temperance Hall in Church Street.

The Baptist Church first sent an evangelist to Glen Innes in 1930 and other visits followed. After using the Oddfellows hall for services, they built their first Church which was opened for worship in Church Street in 1932 and a manse and Sunday school hall were later added.

1899 Army K CompanyIn the 1880s a militia unit had been established in Glen Innes. It was known as K Company and the recruits were “foot sloggers”. When the Boer War broke out in 1899, a number of K Company men joined the colours in South Africa. All those who went to the Boer War were volunteers and in some cases they had to supply their own horse and saddle. As they signed on for a period of time, some of the first to enlist came home when their term of duty was up before the war ended. By this time, however, the back of the resistance was broken and the army was mainly engaged in trying to round up De Wet, the resourceful Boer General who fought on when most of the other high ranking Boers had been captured.

The Australians adapted well to the South African conditions and, being good horsemen and used to bush conditions, they made a name for themselves. As the war progressed, patriotic organisations sprang up to send comforts to the troops. Many of these didn’t reach their destination when the Boers captured and burnt a train carrying these comforts. Altogether, forty-four local members enlisted and three made the supreme sacrifice. A lamp at the corner of Grey and Meade Streets has a marble base on which are inscribed the names of those who went to the Boer War.

Following the Boer War, a Light Horse Troop was formed in Glen Innes and the old K Company disbanded. Many of these Light Horsemen enlisted when World War 1 broke out in 1914 and some went first to Gallipoli as infantrymen.

After Gallipoli was abandoned, those who survived went back to Egypt where some picked up their horses and continued the war against the Turks in the Middle East. The remainder of the Light Horsemen were drafted to France as infantrymen where they joined the ranks of those who had joined the infantry and fought in the trench warfare. The Anzacs had previously experienced trench warfare at Gallipoli. Conditions were hard in the trenches and mortality was high. It is estimated that 1,400 men enlisted and of these 100 failed to return.

On the home front, war was a world away but it was brought home to the people of Australia when the German ship Emden which was raiding the merchant shipping in the Indian Ocean, was sunk by the Sydney at Cocos Island. Horrifying casualty lists began to be published in the papers and this clearly showed the seriousness of the situation to the Australian people.

Volunteer organisations were formed in the town and a women’s committee took over the shop on the southern side of the Town Hall, which was known as the War Time Tea Rooms. Run on a volunteer basis, the profits were used for comforts for the troops and hand-knitted socks and balaclava caps for the men in France who, in the slushy trenches, were fighting in freezing conditions. Following the war, the funds left over from the War Time Tea Rooms were used to build a small kiosk in Anzac Park near West Avenue.

On the land things went on much as usual, except that labour was scarce with so many young men enlisted in the forces. Owing to the German blockade, some goods were hard to get, although there was no rationing in Australia. Cars were few and there were no tractors in use, so the fuel problem in Australia was not acute. The British Government acquired the Australian wool clip as it was in keen demand for the making of uniforms.

After the war, memorial gates were erected on the corner of Bourke Street and West Avenue, bearing the names of those who had enlisted in the war. The park was named Anzac Park to commemorate the men who fought on Gallipoli and elsewhere. The churches in the town each had their own honour rolls and where there were halls in outlying parts of the district, they established honour rolls for those who had enlisted from that area in the district.

At the time that World War II broke out, Glen Innes had a Light Horse troop and volunteer infantry unit. As with World War I, only volunteers were allowed to fight overseas, however men from these militia units formed the backbone of the first division to be sent overseas to protect Egypt against the Italians and later the Germans.

Australians fought in most theatres of war and always gave a good account of themselves on land, sea and air.

When the troops came back from the Middle East, army-staging camps were hurriedly set up at Glen Innes at the golf course, on the Grafton Road, and at the Plumpton Ground. The showground was used as a medical base. As these camps were only used as staging camps, they closed down when the troops moved off to battle stations in the Pacific.

Mussolini had conscripted a large army which was sent to North Africa. When the “heat was on”, the Italians surrendered in large numbers and these prisoners of war became an embarrassment to the allies as they had to be fed from foodstuffs which were in short supply. To relieve this, a number of the Italian POWs were sent to Australia.

With the shortage of manpower in country areas, Italian POWs were sent to work on the land and some came to this district. One farm in this district employed six. While they didn’t want to fight they were also not overly keen to work for their enemy. From time to time an army officer would come to visit POWs and if a man was unsatisfactory to the farmer they would replace him. On one occasion after Japan came into the war, the army van came to a farmer in this district and took away one of the POWs. As this happened quickly, the others wanted to know what it was about. The farmer told them that the man taken away hadn’t been working as he should and in future, any loafers would be taken away to fight the Japanese. The farmer got more work done in the next week than they had done in the previous three weeks.

World War II also caused disruption to the home front. With so many young men in the armed forces, there was a general shortage of labour and the Government had to pass legislation giving it control over manpower. Certain industries were classified as essential and the Government had the right to manpower civilians into these industries. Also, with the building of aerodromes and other projects necessary to the defence of Australia, the Government manpowered a number of civilians into these projects. In the essential industries it was necessary for young men who wanted to join the armed forces to get permission from the manpower officers who were established in the essential industry. Many young men in essential industry used their ingenuity to bypass these restrictions so they could join up.

In this district before the war, most of the farming was done with horses, however, with the shortage of labour, tractors in many cases replaced the horses.

During the war, a home guard was formed of those in essential industry who could not enlist and those too old to serve. The name was later changed to Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC). While weapons were in short supply, the VDC were not properly equipped until near the end of the war. The first rifles issued were old 310 cadet single-shot rifles. When the Japanese came into the war, a detachment of five men, armed with the .310 rifles, was stationed on the Big Hill east of Glen Innes. They were given a crosscut saw and each man was issued with five rounds of ammunition. If the Japanese invaded they were to cut down trees across the road and they had strict instructions not to fire a round of ammunition unless they saw a Japanese.

Following World War II, men in Glen Innes saw war service in Korea and Vietnam as well as in the occupation force in Japan following hostilities.

Men and women from this district served in all theatres of war and their names are engraved on the Memorial Gates at Anzac Park.

Moredun School Glen Innes in 1903 Many of the early inhabitants of the district were illiterate and early registers of births, deaths and marriages were signed with an ‘X’ in the presence of witnesses.

Schooling for most local people prior to the 1870s was out of reach. Where parents could read and write themselves, some of them managed to pass on to their children the ability to read and write. However, under the prevailing conditions, this was not easy.

The Armidale Express on 14.3.1857 recorded this advertisement:

Glen Innes Grammar School


Mr. H. G. Bagot A.B.


Rev. A Cameron

Capt. Ditmas J.P.

J. T. Baker J.P.

Mr Colin Fletcher

Mr Bagot encouraged by the sanction and kind patronage of his friends, and to meet the anxious wishes of the inhabitants of Glen Innes and its vicinity has opened the above DAY SCHOOL, and hopes, by assiduous and persevering attention to the mental and moral training of youth to deserve the esteem and confidence of those parents who may favour him with the tuition of their children.

N.B. Mr B. hopes to have it soon in his power to afford accommodation for Boarders.”

The Armidale Express 4.6.1859 records:

“Our new school house is to be opened next week under the able management of Mr Bagot who has hitherto given universal satisfaction in his capacity of school master.”

It is not certain how long Bagot’s school functioned, but as it was a private school and charged fees, not many local inhabitants could have afforded the fees.

Probably the first school in the district was opened at Dundee as it is on record that there was a school at Dundee between 1852 and 1855.

Apparently there were various private schools in the district before 1874. The Glen Innes Examiner, shortly after it started publication, announced that a new school building was opened in 1874 at a cost of £1,400 including the residence. This building still stands in the present Primary School grounds behind the main school building which was opened in 1892.

Following World War I, there was pressure for higher standards in the Glen Innes School, and by 1922, it was classified as an Intermediate High School. With more people seeking higher education, the facilities of the primary school couldn’t cope with the numbers. A gaol had been built, but was never used as a gaol and for years was practically lying idle. As it was owned by the NSW Government, it was decided to turn it into a High School.

Emmaville was one of the first country centres to have a school as the Examiner records the establishment there of a school in 1875 under Mr and Miss Bourke, and it goes on to say: “Mr W. H. Mingard who has hitherto conducted the whole of the educational responsibilities on Vegetable Creek had determined for reasons best known to himself to relinquish the teacher-ship.”

Pupils at these rural schools often had to travel quite long distances to attend school. Those who could afford it travelled to school by sulky. Some rode and it was not uncommon for three members of the one family to ride to school on the same horse. All these schools had small paddocks for the pupils’ horses. Those who could not afford a horse walked to school.

Motor transport caused the closure of most of the outlying schools and school buses transported the pupils from the outlying areas to school in Glen Innes.

In 1905, W. Reid founded the New England Grammar School in Macquarie Street. When W. Reid gave up the school to go on the land, the school was taken over by H. S. Moss in 1912. As the Macquarie Street premises did not allow for expansion, Moss bought land and moved the school to Oliver Street and it was there when B. G. Lawrence took over the school in 1915. By 1918, the school numbers had risen to eighty, which included fifty-six boarders. Boarders came from a wide area of Northern NSW, and at least one pupil came from Central Queensland. In 1930, B. G. Lawrence became headmaster of the Southport School. During his absence in Queensland, the school was run by J. B. Adams. After B. G. Lawrence retired from Southport in 1935, he again took over the New England Grammar School which eventually closed down at the end of the 1930s, and B. G. Lawrence died in 1941.

From time to time, technical classes have been held on various subjects, and in the 1890s, classes were run on dairying and also cooking. Wool classing was taught for varying periods as well as classes in home science. With the demand for more technical education, the Municipal and Shire Councils jointly purchased land at the southern end of Grey Street and the present technical college was built there.

The first census was carried out in this district in 1841, only three years after the first white man set foot in the district. According to these figures there were 210 people residing in the district and of these, 29 were children, 16 women and 55 convicts.

In 1858 an estimate of 350 people was given for the town of Glen Innes. In 1892, the Census was for the electorate of Glen Innes and this would have included the Shire as well as the town and the total was 8,986. Of these, 662 were Chinese and 55 aboriginals. In 1882 the town and district of Emmaville had a population of 3,398. Today the combined Glen Innes municipality and shire population is estimated at around 10,000 people.