Robert Venour Dulhunty, the ancestor of all the members of this family in Australia, was the original pioneer of the Dubbo district.
Soon after his father's death in 1828, his stock appeared to be increasing and he applied for permission to occupy a neighbouring station:
To Surveyor-General Mitchell
Wishing to occupy a station called Eringolla, about 5 miles north of this and once in occupation of Mr James Blackman, I shall feel obliged by your granting a ticket for it, if tickets of occupation are still in force. If not I shall be happy to rent from the Government 1,000 acres of land in that place.
R.V. Dulhunty was informed on 10th July, 1828 that the government had for some time discontinued giving tickets of occupation. Somewhere between 1829 and l833 he occupied country at what is now Dubbo. The station was not occupied when Captain Sturt passed down the Macquarie in 1829, but surveyor Robert Dixon, who was sent to survey the Bogan late in 1833, mentions that he borrowed a dray from Dulhunty.
In the broad outline, the story of one squatter is the story of all. In 1830 it was decided that no more land should be granted for nothing; it was to be sold at a minimum price of five shillings an acre to stop too much being taken up. After 1829, when the government refused to authorize settlement beyond the 'nineteen counties', all outside were 'squatters', without legal title, outside the law; and among these were many of the leading citizens of the colony.
Many stories of the early days in Dubbo, written by old hands who remembered them, are preserved in the Dulhunty Papers at the Mitchell Library. Hubert, a younger son of R.V. Dulhunty, wrote that his father ...
...set out from Penrith with an escort of about 40 half-civilised natives and their chief Mark. He crossed the Dividing Ranges and traveled out into the far west to a place known as Applepie. He made his camp there for a few days and had a look around the country. While he was there he made a pie of dried apples. Before leaving he engraved his name and the date on a tree, and below his name the words "Apple Pie". The name still remains. From there he struck across country until he came on the Talagarah River, and named the place Cobra after a native skull From there he ran the river down some miles and set his camp for a few days to have a look around. During his stay the natives killed a kangaroo and made a stew. He again engraved his name and the date on a tree and called the place "Slapdash" after the stew. That name still remains. He still ran the river down to Dubbo. On his return up the Macquarie River he set his camp again on the river about four miles up. He said to the old Chief, "When I build my home again it will be here." He drove a peg into the ground where Dubbo House now stands. On his return to Sydney the night before he reached the foot of the ranges he camped at Cullenbullen. He later sold Benbullen and retained Cullenbullen as a half-way house between Sydney and Dubbo.
Other settlers followed, and in 1834 a detachment of troops was moved from Bathurst to the Wellington Valley for the protection of these pioneers.
There are several theories about the origin of the name Dubbo. One is that it was the name of an old aboriginal whom Dulhunty employed when he took up the station; another is that the thatched roof of Dubbo homestead resembled the ceremonial headgear, for which the native name was "Thubbo" or "Dubbo".
A correspondent, writing to the Sydney Morning Herald in 1896, described Dubbo about 1836:
At that remote period Dubbo was a trackless sheep-walk occupied by those old pioneers, R., L., and Dr John Dulhunty. No more popular men with all classes could be found in Australia than Robert and Dr John Dulhunty. Lawrence was not such a general favourite. The Dulhunty brothers could have furnished some interesting reminiscences of the early days, when they had more than one encounter with Donahoe's bushranging gang and other 'knights of the road'. Some of the old hands round Dubbo will remember the day that the bushrangers 'Possum Jack', 'Quart Pot', and their gang stuck up Lawrence Dulhunty and took his horse, saddle, and bridle. When asked which of the Dulhuntys he was, he answered 'Dr John', to which Possum Jack replied 'It is lucky for you you are not your brother Lawrence, for we would shoot him.'
The Messrs. Dulhunty, at that period, owned Claremont, near Parramatta, which was the head station. The Dulhuntys also owned Cullen Bullen, and were considered wealthy men, and occupied the leading positions in the colony.
Another narrator tells:
When Lawrence Dulhunty and Maurice Hennessy started down the Macquarie River to take up stations, the blacks were very troublesome and the pioneers had many dangers and hair-breadth escapes to encounter on their first journey. And for some years after they took up stations no one would venture below them. Mumblebone was the ultima thule of civilization sixty years ago. When we consider the facilities afforded for flying round in this age of go-aheadism, and take stock of the dandy conveyances now in use for carrying rations to out-stations, how strangely they contrast with the old pack bullocks driven from one station to another by Bob Young, who was ration carrier for Dulhunty.
When the blacks saw the two Dulhuntys riding across the plain they took to the bush in panic, believing horse and man to be one animal. They watched them, fascinated, from high leafy trees. Returning a few days later in curiosity, they saw cattle lying down, and watched them wonderingly for hours. Later, when the rested beasts moved off for grass and water, the blacks ran down and scratched about in the ground where the cattle had been lying, in the search for eggs, which they expected to find.
Mrs Maurice Hennessy and Mrs John Gillis were, if not the first, at any rate among the first white women who went to Dubbo in l836 or l837.
I am sure the advent of Madame Melba was not looked forward to with more interest than was the first corroboree of blacks held in Dubbo. There are some incidents in a lifetime which, though of little consequence in themselves, yet often stamp themselves on the memory. And the first corroboree held by the Macquarie tribe at Dundullimo will, I am certain, be remembered by Mrs Gillis, senior. She will remember going over one extremely dark night to Dundullimo, with a number of Europeans, to witness a corroboree in which from 600 to 800 blacks took part. And when the painted warriors made their appearance and commenced operations more than one of the spectators wished themselves at home. The same lady could bear testimony to the anxious days and nights passed in the quarry with several of their families including the Lord of the Manor, Lawrence Dulhunty, during what was for many years known as the big flood of 1844.
Other reminiscences run:
In the days of the first settlers along the Macquarie, Her Majesty's mails perforce were carried on the back of a pedestrian, who in some cases would tramp hundreds of miles, and quickly too. Special dispatches were always carried by footmen, a hardy race full of endurance, who would run their fifty or one hundred miles in an astonishingly short time. Both day and night were alike to them, their only danger being escaped convicts, who were invariably shot down by soldiers or freemen.
With these first settlers horses were scarce, and on the stations only the squatters and head overseers rode, Stockmen and drovers did all their work on foot. Bullocks were chiefly used to pack and carry rations to outstations. The head station grew its own wheat, which was served out to employees as flour was later, and every outstation was supplied with a fine wire sieve and a small iron hand-mill bolted to an upright post in the centre of the hut.
Wool and tallow were then the chief productions from the squatters' enterprises. Wool was usually pressed, or packed, into bales in a hole in the ground, with a heavy tree-lever or wooden spade, and the tallow was placed in cow hides, which were sun-dried over a stump about two feet high, drawn into the shape of a cask. These, with the wool, were transported to Sydney on two-wheeled drays drawn by six bullocks, and each dray was in charge of two men. Supplies were brought back with the return drays. The trip sometimes took a whole year to complete, and their home-coming was a great event.
All sheep were shepherded in flocks from 100 rams up to 1,000 mixed sheep, and every shepherd had a hutkeeper, who acted as nightwatchman for the sheep against dingoes and blacks. The blacks were great thieves, although otherwise harmless. An old chief, 'King Mark', stole a piece of soap thinking it was butter and ate it, with the result that he nearly died.
Labour was scarce, and the Dulhunty brothers brought out from Scotland several families of crofters, who arrived in the colony in 1839. These were Alexander Cameron, Archie McVicar, Alan Kennedy, and John McIntyre, and these men have many descendants living in the district today.
Old Mrs McMillan lived at Reedy Corner. This station was then owned by R. and L.V. Dulhunty. The late James McDonald was the overseer. Mr John Gillis, who had just left Sir John Jamison's employ, engaged with the Dulhuntys. Dr Toogood was the first to take up Butler's Falls. Sir John Jamison and Dr Toogood were, I think, some connection by marriage with the Dulhuntys.1
In 1836, Robert and Lawrence Dulhunty took out a license to occupy 'land beyond the limits of location'. In this year the squatters were recognized; the Squatting Act was passed, allowing squatting beyond the settled districts. Every stockman outside the boundary could get a Squatting license for £10 a year. Within three years, the courts were prepared to protect any squatter's run against intrusion. He could bring an action against any person who attempted to trespass on his land. He was not required to show his title he simply said, "I was here before you came."
A faint light is thrown on to an obscure part of Robert Dulhunty's background in a letter written on 27th January, 1838, from Lord Glenelg to Sir George Gipps (Despatch No 69 per ship Maria):
With reference to Mr Hay's letter to Sir Richard Bourke dated 29th December 1833 respecting the annual transmission to this country of Certificate of the Existence of Mr Robert Dulhunty who is residing in New South Wales, I now enclose a copy of letter from the Captain Superintendent of the Royal Naval Hospital at Plymouth stating that no such certificate was received during the last year.
I have to request that you will give the necessary directions for ensuring the regular transmission to the Naval Hospital at Plymouth of the certificate regularly once in each year.I have, etc.
In 1833 Under-Secretary Hay had written to Governor Bourke:
The Captain Superintendent of the Royal Naval Hospital at Plymouth has applied to Mr Secretary Stanley for an Annual Report as to the existence of Mr Robert Dulhunty now residing, it is understood, at Bathurst in New South Wales, and I am directed by Mr Stanley to desire that you will, at the commencement of each year, transmit to him a certificate duly attested of that Gentleman being alive, and in the event of his death, 'that you will lose no time in reporting the same in order that the Captain Superintendent may be promptly informed of the circumstance, the Lease of certain Land by His Majesty's Government at Plymouth depending upon Mr Dulhunty's life.
On 29th April, l837, Robert Dulhunty married Eliza, eldest daughter of Major (later Colonel) J.G.N. Gibbes, Collector of Customs in New South Wales 'The marriage was announced in the Australian on Friday, 5th May, 1837:
On Saturday last by special license at St James Church by the Right Reverend Lord Bishop of Australia, Robert Venour Dulhunty Esquire of Cullen Bullen, to Eliza Julia, eldest daughter of Major Gibbes, N.C., Collector of Customs, of Point Piper.
Robert Dulhunty and his wife made their home at Claremont, Emu Plains, near Penrith. People drove out to parties in their carriages from Sydney, and were entertained well, for Eliza Gibbes had been accustomed to gracious living in her parents home at Point Piper.
On 16th May, 1837, Robert Dulhunty was appointed a Commissioner of Crown Lands, and on 5th December a Magistrate. During the year 1837, he took out a licence for Dubbo Station. In 1839 he built a roadside inn for the accommodation of parties passing to and fro in search of new runs, who would otherwise stop at his station. Named the Macquarie Inn and known as 'Bob's Pub', it was first managed by one of Dulhunty's overseers named Lang. A murder made the opening dramatic:
It was said to be on the occasion of the opening of the Inn that Martin Shanahan was killed - found dead in the stable amongst the straw. It appeared from the evidence at the inquest that Bill Murray's knife was found with bloodstains on it near the dead man. Murray had formerly been a rough-rider for the Life Guardsmen in England, and old hands say they never knew a better judge of horse-flesh. His cabbage tree hat was also found in the stable, and Billy Robinson (better known as Billy the Boy) who afterwards kept a hotel in Montefiores, saw Murray leaving the stable during the early hours of the morning. Murray was apprehended at Big Bill's, where he was partaking of breakfast. He was quite taken aback when Chief Constable Lang made the charge. He admitted the knife and hat were his property. He also admitted having slept in the stable, and having left in the early hours of the morning. He accounted for the loss of the knife by stating that he lent it the night before to a man named Caffrey to cut up a pipe of tobacco and did not get it back. He said that he had taken more drink than was wise, and went with several others to lie down in the stable. When he awoke early next morning very thirsty he went down to look for a drink, and afterwards went on to Big Bill's, where he was taken. Caffrey denied having ever borrowed the knife, and then the evidence of Scotch Bob, who swore that Murray killed Shanahan in self-defence, that Shanahan and another Irishman had taken in hand to give Murray a thrashing; Murray's reply to this was 'Even if this portion of the evidence were true, What occasion would I have to use a knife? Why, I could catch the pair of them one in each hand, and knock their heads together.' Murray was a fine physical specimen.
It was on this memorable occasion that Mr R. Dulhunty, who was on the bench, said, Murray, I find the evidence strong enough to commit you for murder, and I have no doubt it will be found conclusive enough to hang you for the murder of Martin Shanahan.' Murray replied coolly but respectfully: 'Well, Mr Dulhunty, the evidence might be strong enough to hang me; but I am thankful to my God that it will not be found strong enough to damn me, if I am called upon to face a Higher Tribunal for the murder of Martin Shanahan. I am as innocent of this crime as a babe unborn.' Murray was afterwards tried and convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to ten years. Caffrey, three or four years later, was found guilty of a capital offence at either Maitland or Newcastle, and, prior to the extreme penalty of the law taking its course, confessed that he it was who stabbed Shanahan at Dubbo with Murray's knife, and that Murray had neither hand, act, nor part in it. Bill Murray was immediately set at liberty after spending a term of three or four years for a crime of which he was innocent.
On 7th March, 1839, Robert Venour Dulhunty gave evidence on the Squatting Act. He was called after T A. Murray and before W.C. Wentworth. His evidence was in part:
I approve the bill generally, but I think there are many clauses that will prove vexatious unless modified. Very little alteration will however render them efficient. I object to the fifth clause. I think one justice is not sufficient for every purpose in the Wellington district. I should think there must be at least two million sheep without the boundary and 500,000 head of cattle. I do not think that, under the circumstances, any force is required in the Wellington district to keep the blacks in order. I have never heard of a single outrage being committed by them.2
In the same month both Robert and Lawrence Dulhunty were called to give evidence on the Crown Lands Act. They objected to the bill generally:
On 2nd September, 1839, L.V. Dulhunty, as Commissioner of Crown Lands, reported on Dubbo Station as follows: Dubbo (Uloomore) - Person licensed Mr Dulhunty
- Person superintending J. Gillies
- 28 persons above 12 years (on station)
- 18 male convicts
- No females
R.V. Dulhunty built up his flocks at Dubbo and obtained additional pastoral leases. In the l840's he held the stations Ellengerah, Mullingundy, Barbigal, Mount Foster, and Spicer's Creek, each of 16,000 acres - a total of 80,000 acres. At this time the 73 million acres in New South Wales leased for grazing were attended by fewer than 2,000 squatters with average holdings of 30,000 acres.
But with the abolition of transportation in 1840 came the end of easy prosperity. The price of wool fell to half of what it had been, so that instead of the generous profits to which the graziers had become accustomed, a loss was made on every pound of wool produced. The banks were forced to restrict credit; the value of stock fell to almost nothing. As the last straw, a severe drought, which began in 1838 and lasted for five years, destroyed crops, robbing the stock of the food that was essential to their existence.
A curious advertisement relating to Dulhunty's pastoral interests appeared in the Australian on 30th November, 1841, announcing that a station would be given away with each thousand sheep sold.
- 3,000 BREEDING EWES
- 100 SUPERIOR HEIFERS
Mr Samuel Lyons will sell by auction at his mart, George Street and Charlotta Place on Friday 17th December at 11 o'clock precisely, unless previously disposed of at a private sale, due notice of which will be advertised:
- 3,000 Breeding Ewes with lambs given in, namely:
- 500 Maiden Ewes
- 500 3 years old with lambs
- 500 4 " " " "
- 500 5 " " " "
- 500 6 " " " "
- 500 7 " " " "
- 3,000 Total
- 100 3 year old heifers
Highly bred from the late Mr Marsden's breed of polled cattle, crossed by imported Durham and Devon Bulls The above stock are the property of Messrs R.V. and L.V. Dulhunty and are well known to the Sydney butchers as producing the best bullocks and wethers that are brought to the market.
is first rate and always commands the highest price at the London Sales. The quality may be known reference to Messrs Montefiores Breillat & Co. who have shipped it for several years past.
will be given in with each thousand sheep.
The sheep may be seen at the Head Station, "Dubbo", on the Macquarie River, below Wellington, where they will be delivered on the first of January 1842. Terms of payment - a cash deposit of 20% on the fall of the hammer, the residue in approved endorsed bills at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
For further particulars, apply the Auction Mart.
For the first ten years after her marriage, Eliza Dulhunty continued to live at Claremont. Her first child, Blanche Jane, was born on 3rd June, 1838. The arrival of the first son, Marcus, was announced in the Births column of the Australian on 28th May, 1840:
On Monday l8th instant at Claremont near Penrith, the Lady of R.V. Dulhunty Esquire, of a son.
In all, four sons and two daughters were born to "the Lady of R.V. Dulhunty Esquire" at Penrith, John in 1841, Robert George in 1843, Lawrence Joshua in l844, and Alice in 1846.
At the depth of the depression in 1844, the government decided that the squatters must pay for their land. The squatters had long wanted security of tenure, so that they could improve their runs and build comfortable homes without the fear of being displaced, but they could not afford to buy their runs at the government price, raised in l842 to £1 an acre. After much pressure had been brought to bear on the government, the squatters won the day. They were able to get leases, with pre-emptive right to buy the land, from one year in settled districts to 14 years in unsettled districts, at a rent of £2.10. 0 a thousand head of sheep They proceeded to "pick the eyes" out of their runs, purchasing the water-holes, the river-beds, the site of the homestead and so on, so that it was useless for anyone else to buy the remaining land. Although their properties became mortgaged, at last they felt secure, and settled down to improve the standard of station life. The depression was over by 1846, and up to l851 the squatting class were responsible for the prosperity of Australia, Wentworth informing the electors of Sydney in that year that if it had not been for them the colony must have dwindled into insignificance, their magnificent city would have shrunk into a small fishing town, unfamed, and disregarded by European nations,.
A letter from the Colonial Secretary dated l8th May, 1847, was addressed to R.V. Dulhunty at Penrith, which seems to indicate that he had not moved permanently to Dubbo at that date. However, about the end of 1847 he appears to have moved all his family out to Dubbo to reside in a house built apparently about 1840. This historic building is still standing on what was the original Dubbo Station.
The son of Maurice Hennessy, the first schoolteacher at Dubbo, writing in 1893 on the subject of Mrs R.Y. Dulhunty, said:
She came to the old house in the late 1840's, and the carriage that brought her there was the first to cross the Blue Mountains. It had to be taken up the east and down the west side of the range by means of ropes, and the convict gangs were then cutting and blasting and opening what in later years became the greatest thoroughfare in Australia. In 1879 I rode over the same place in the guard's van of a railway train with the man who drove Cobb & Co's coach there for many years. He was then driving the railway train over it, and delighted in telling me the story of his first trip there with Robert Dulhunty's carriage - which he sailed with from England.
Things were different then. Station buildings were mostly constructed of mud, logs and bark, and nearly all hands (with whom there were no disputes about wages - though there were often strikes) were branded with the broad arrow over a number on the arm. Every station had a time bell, and many a flogging post. There were no courts of justice west of Penrith outside the military camps, and a few justices whose dwellings were their courts in the bush. A Police Commissioner was stationed in Wellington Valley with the soldiers and prisoners, and it was his duty to go when complained to by the employer, and judge and flog any offending assigned servant, some of whom were brutes, brutally treated. Indeed, with these unfortunate wretches were few esteemed employers. 'Bob' Dulhunty (as they termed him) however was one, for he erected no 'post' and was never known to use one.
A daughter and two sons were born at Dubbo, Florence in 1848, Hubert in l849 and Alfred Murray in 1851, making in all a family of 6 sons and 3 daughters.
About the year 1847 a bitter controversy began about where the town of Dubbo should be. Jean Emile Serisier, a Frenchman and a free settler, who had carried mail by horseback from Wellington to Dubbo Station, saw the possibilities of trading, and communicated with M. Despointes, a Frenchman of means and standing in Sydney. In 1847, backed by M. Despointes, he arrived at Dubbo Station with Nicholas Hyeronimus with the intention of founding a store. According to Mr Serisier, the Dulhunty menage proved antagonistic, and as squatting was not then allowed, Mr Dulhunty having consolidated his title to the station, the two Frenchmen had to move on. With the help of a schoolmaster at Dubbo Station, a petition was drafted and ultimately sent through Despointes to the Government, setting out the need for the establishment of a village. Mr White, a Government surveyor, arrived about l848, and the town of Dubbo was surveyed as it is now built. About 1850 the first big sale of township allotments took place. Mr Dulhunty, having plenty of land of his own, did not buy any. As soon as the township allotments were sold, the settlement at Old Dubbo broke up, and the settlers moved to the present site of the town of Dubbo.
On 1st September, 1853, Robert Venour Dulhunty, as Magistrate for the district, wrote to the Colonial Secretary:
We have the honour to inform you that we have been requested by many of the inhabitants who are licensed occupiers of Crown Lands in the District of Bligh to apply to you to obtain His Exly the Governor General's sanction to grant a sum of money to be given to this District to enable us to build a punt to cross the Macquarie River between the townships of Montefiore and Wellington, it being absolutely necessary for this large and populous district that such a convenience should be there placed, as when the river is flooded it often happens that many drays loaded with flour and other necessaries of life are detained on the opposite bank of the river for many weeks whilst the people on this side of the river are nearly starving for the want of these supplies. We are of the opinion that this can be effected for the sum of £300. We are aware that sum exceeds by £100 the sum voted by the council for such purposes. We trust that from the urgent necessity of this work being done His Exly will be pleased to allow us this sum to be expended. For several years the sum of £200 has been annually voted for these purposes for each District beyond the Boundariest and we have never expended any of the sums so voted.
Trusting therefore that His ExlY will be pleased to sanction our request. We will more fully explain the manner we intend to appropriate this sum on receipt of your reply to us on this subject.
We have the honour
to be Sir Your Obt Servants
for the bench.
R.V. Dulhunty J.P.
Three months later, on 30th December, 1853, Robert Dulhunty died, at the age of 51 years. The inscription on his tomb at the Old Dubbo cemetery (opposite Old Dubbo House) reads;
The Sydney Morning Herald on 5th January, 1854, reported the death "on Friday the 30th December, after three days' illness, Robert V. Dulhunty Esq , aged 51". His eldest son was 13 years of age at the time.
The Government Gazette of l4th February, 1854, contained the announcement:
Letters of Administration Estate Robert V. Dulhunty of Dubbo applied for - effects to be granted to widow - by John Nepean McIntosh and George Pinnoch, Proctors for Eliza Dulhunty.In the Sydney Morning Herald of 17th February, 1855, appeared a Caution:
All persons are hereby cautioned from buying or removing any cattle belonging to the state of the late R.V. Dulhunty Esq., now running at the Macquarie River, branded R.D. and Cl over CGeo. H. & Arch. B. Cox
A letter from Surveyor-General Mitchell to W.R. Davidson, Surveyor at Wellington, in the Special Collection, Mitchell Library, is marked "Private":
My dear Davidson,
I have just had a visit from two friends of Mrs Dulhunty - on her behalf - stating that it is her wish to have some paddocks - as well as her home and improvements - measured to her - and that it is understood from regulations that if the land does not exceed the value of the improvements this will be allowed - although not the township
. Now, as I am an old friend of Mrs Dulhunty's and the two gentlemen calling on me are entitled to my best attention, I beg you will arrange this business - as much to meet the wishes of Mrs Dulhunty as regulations will allow. The Department is now tossing on a tempestuous sea of trouble and I shall write no further than to assure you that I am always,Yours faithfully.
A list of "Pre-emptive purchases beyond the settled districts up to the end of the year 1856" contained the item:
Mrs R. Dulhunty - Dubbo - 160 acres for £166 - on Mrs Dulhunty's run.
On 9th October, l858, Surveyor Gordon was instructed to mark out 960 acres for Mrs E. Dulhunty.
Mrs Dulhunty struggled to retain her properties, but her sons were too young to control them, and one by one they were disposed of to satisfy the mortgage, which only terminated with the sale of "Old Dubbo" in 1866.
Mrs Dulhunty was 70 years of age when she saw her first railway train.
Watson Steele, in The History of Carcoar, writes:
Dulhunty's Creek, Cullen Bullen, County of Roxborough, The Parish of Dulhunty, County of Ashburnham, Dulhunty Street, Dubbo, Dulhunty Plains near the source of the Logan River, Moreton Bay Queensland 3, and Dulhunty Plains, Dunedoo, are all named after this family.4
When Dubbo's Jubilee celebrations were held in 1951, more faith was placed in clairvoyancy than in historical records to determine who the first settler was. An article appearing in the Sun about that time reported that the organizer of the celebrations would suggest to the executive that they invite the president of the Victorian Psychic Research Society to invoke the spirit of the first settler to open the celebrations. The president, a leading authority on psychic research in Australia, would be invited to Dubbo for Jubilee week. His work would be complicated, ran the report, by the fact that there was a dispute as to who was Dubbo's first settler. It was generally accepted that the first settler was R.V. Dulhunty, but many Dubbo residents denied this, and considered that it was Mr Serisier. It was hoped that the spiritualist would be able to determine who was the first settler at a seance.