THE Bega Pioneers Museum was this year given the bound copies of the Bega District News. In the various issues in 1945, issue, a correspondent "Halby" reminisces about Gipps Street, its history and its characters.
SPENCE'S Lagoon's planting of English oaks must surely be libelling our more beautiful evergreen trees,such as kurrajongs. The old lagoon has lost much of its picturesqueness, but I told a flock of wild ducks swimming on its surface, that they were, I thought, taking a risk.
However one can't argue with ducks. It is a long weary span back to 1881, when the additions, including the verandah, to the old 1865 courthouse and gaol were erected.
The burly-bearded stonemason protected from the weather by a crude bark shed on the corner of Gipps and Carp Streets, each morning persistently complained that his chisels and tools were hidden or missing and the chiselled large holes in the blocks of sandstone were filled with refuse from the street.
One afternoon the gaoler, Constable Cochrane, arrested on suspicion Tom Harrison, (the pioneer painter, Walter's son), Charlie Sonderman and myself, and locked us up in one of the ancient cells.
However, our yells and screams soon brought sweet liberty, and the big stonemason was never worried again.
Just again let me slip into the past a kindly thought for Constable Cochrane's successor, Constable Noonan, whose wife was a sister of Mrs Ferdinand Beck, a wealthy pioneer landowner, who lived at Fairview. Cochrane's children were Tom, Jack ("Cracks"), Maggie and Mary.
Then there was old Mr Davis PM, whose wife was one of the pioneer Dawson family.
Before he was elevated to PM, John was Bega's first Clerk of Petty Sessions in 1865, and Messrs Edward Haslingden and Henry Wren were probably the first JPs. Mr Haslingden, who died in 1886, lived at and owned "Coohamatta", near Bega.
His kindly and charitable wife went to her rest in 1918, aged 102. In some historical records it is asserted that Mrs Haslingden was the only Bega resident to top the century.
This is wrong. I remember at last three others - old Mrs Howard, who lived out near the hospital (mother of Dick, John and others), "Cocky" McLean, who was exported to the Colony in the "Red River" in 1815, and died early in this century and pioneer Mrs Britten, whose death took place in Auckland Street about 25 years ago.
As a kid I almost mortally feared John, who would persistently chase me brandishing his walking stick, as he each evening trudged past my house to his on top of Chapel Hill.