Mary Gibbes, the Colonel's second daughter, married Terence Aubrey Murray in 1843 and, four years before her sister, Eliza Dulhunty, set out for Dubbo, forsook the social round of Sydney to take her place beside her husband on his station, "Yarrowlumla".1 An intimate view of the life there emerges from a continuation of S. M. Mowle's Journal:
June holidays found me again at Point Piper with my friend Edmund, who had come home for his holidays. Mr Murray - later the Hon Sir Terence Aubrey Murray - my future best friend on earth - came upon the scene. His home was at Yarrlowlumla1, Queanbeyan, and 180 miles from Sydney. Mr Murray said one day upon a visit to Point Piper, "Would you like to go and see your uncle?" Of course I said yes; preparations were made for my ride, and warm clothes found for me, as the south was a cool climate, subject to severe frosts. As a practice, for I was not a good horseman, Mr Murray took me to Bondi and the horse I rode was called Action. I do not know how I acquitted myself. At school a boy, Darby Chambers, let me have a ride up Oxford Street upon his horse, when a young fellow looked at me - I dare say I did not appear comfortable and said "Many is the good horse you never rode." How I made my adieux to my friends I do not know, but it was in the breakfast room at Point Piper and I kissed them all round. Our start was near Pyrmont at the end of June or the beginning of July 1838 - I and Mr Murray rode, and the groom Manton also rode and led a horse. We reached the north end of Lake George, Ajamatong, one of Mr Murray's stations on the fifth day.
As we were preparing for the last day's ride, 34 or 36 miles, Mr Murray noticed that I was binding up my knees and he was irrepressibly shocked to think what I must have suffered from my unaccustomed ride.
Lake George, so called, had been a sheet of water 12 by 18 miles, but it was now dry and we rode along its former (west) bank for about 12 or 14 miles and then turned into "the bush". We arrived at Yarrowlumla - our haven of rest - in due time, and here in its immediate vicinity I was destined to remain for 14 years ...
This year, l838, was the middle of the great drought of l837, 38 and 39. Water, feed, necessary for stock had disappeared and nothing would grow. My friend, Mr Murray, had to return to Sydney, and he left me in charge of his establishment of about 25,000 sheep and 50 or 60 men, mostly convicts ...
Mr Murray came back and he was sorely pressed to keep his stock from want. We had heard of good grass runs in the Murrumbidgee mountains, which were not far away, but almost unknown, and so we found a guide and proceeded upon our expedition.
The first night we slept among some sheaves of wheat, and strange to say were nearly devoured by fleas. The next, I think we got to Coodradigbee, a beautiful valley, of very high mountains, with the perilous stream of water running through it. Here I searched my clothes and got rid of a host of my phlebotamising companions. This place did not come up to our expectations as a sheep run, however lovely it was, and so we retraced our steps. The next expedition was a more extended one. Our party consisted of Mr Murray, self, two blacks, overseer, six horses, and a pack of hounds. We followed the same track to Coodradigbee, then up to the extensive plains of West Monaroo, called the Long Plain, Yarongobilly down Mount Talbingo to the Tumut River. The nature of the country itself is steep, and rough mountains completely wore out our horses; we arrived at the Murrumbidgee again without one of them and carrying our saddles. The hounds were lost, we supposed starved, for there was no game upon which to feed them. A country afterwards abounding with kangaroos consequent upon poisoning of native dogs.
The years 1840/41/42 were passed with the usual routine farm and pastoral occupation - with us travelling in the mountains, heading out at times in the snow, or finding shelter in a hut, through which it and rain found their way, riding round to stations to see the sheep and counting them out from the folds, giving out rations, in the water washing or looking after men washing sheep, at the shed folding fleeces, galloping after cattle and horses, and riding and driving tandem or four-in-hand with my best-loved friend.
1843 sped along. This year an important event occurred. It was the marriage of my friend Terence Murray with my friend Mary, or as we called her Minnie Gibbes. She was the Colonel's second daughter. I think they came to Yarrowlumla in the Spring. Arrived at Yarrowlumla, Minnie did not settle down with contentment as she had been used to city life and had left all her relatives behind her. But she had joined herself to a man who was devoted to her and was the most chivalrous, noble, and refined man on earth.
Time sped along and with it bad fortune for all connected with pastoral pursuits. The whole colony was in a state of bankruptcy. Terence managed to stave off the monetary troubles with which he was surrounded, and carried on as usual.
In l843 it was the time of the election of Terence Murray to the mixed Assembly ... Terence was elected in due course, and I very foolishly, and I have often thought so, ordered a cask of beer to be opened in the street of Yass in appreciation of the honour done to my friend.
In l844 Leila Murray was born. Captain Rossi was her sponsor and gave her 200 ewes.
With the return of S.M. Mowle from Tasmania with his bride on 28th May, l845, the diary is resumed:
We soon landed and looked up our friends the Gibbes, at whose house we stayed until 10th June, when we packed up and took the mail coach to Goulburn. It was an arduous journey of 120 miles in those days. We stayed a night at an inn, and then located ourselves at the Rossi's. After a few days there our friend Thompson brought horses and vehicles for us and we eventually reached Yarrowlumla where for the present we took up our abode.
In 1846 we spent some time at Queanbeyan visiting friends and acquaintances, the Hayleys and Smiths, and Dr Murray and Mrs Bunn, Terence's brother and sister at Woden. We took up residence at "Duntroon" on 5th July.
In September we drove to Bungendore, to Powell's of Taralla, where we stayed the night. About here were our friends, the Powells of Taralla, Zouch's of Ashby, and the Kings of Gidleigh.
About August 1846, Edmund Gibbes ran away with Miss Simmons, but the elopers were brought safely back from Campbelltown by the Colonel, Edmund's father.
I see by a letter from Terence of 22nd September 1846 that Edmund and Miss Simmons ran away again and were eventually married. He was much scandalized, for he was considered to have married beneath him. (After a lapse of years, 1899, she is again a widow, a Mrs Gadsden, with a fortune from her mother, the well-known old Mrs Simmons, of say £250,000).
Terence writes, 17th August, l846: "Have you heard of Edmund's elopement with Miss Simmons? I suppose you must, as it is a rather notorious affair. It gives great distress to this family". On 22nd September the same year he writes "Eddy is missing again. He did not go to Twofold Bay, and is no doubt lurking somewhere in town. I have been trying to find him so as to have a little conversation with him, but I have not been successful."
They were eventually married and he settled at Boyd Town, Twofold Bay, as Sub-Collector of Customs there. They afterwards sailed for England and he died aboard the ship "Success" and was buried at sea (1850).
1847 Fanny and Matilda Gibbes were at Yarrowlumla and in my leisure I took them out riding ...
I see that my old enemy Dr Bell was fined £100 for an assault by throwing a stone jug at Mr Badgery ...
In the season I ploughed sometimes with horses, and at other times with bullocks. Then came the sowing, the harvest and stack building, sheep washing, shearing and packing the wool, cutting the hay, and carting it to Queanbeyan, thrashing and winnowing the wheat etc, splaying posts and rails, putting up fences, breaking horses, driving tandem or four. I always maintained that agriculture in itself will not give a man a living. Frosts come while the wheat is in bloom and it kills it, also the potatoes and maize - or a dry season, of which we have too many, prevents everything from growing. Favourable seasons come in their turn, and then all the produce becomes so cheap that it does not pay to grow it. I have sold wheat at 1/9 to 2/6 per bushel, and delivered hay 10 miles at £4.10.0 per ton, or perhaps less, £2.10.0.
On 31st January 1849 I went to Terence's there to meet the Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy, and the Colonial Secretary (Deas Thomson). The Governor was very friendly, but not very conversable.
On 31st May in the afternoon 30 or 40 ladies and gentlemen in gigs, dog-carts, carriages and upon horseback went over to Fred King's (Gidleigh) and sat down to a splendid lunch. We returned to Bungendore at sunset and had a dance in the evening at Zouch's. Augustus Gibbes often comes upon the scene - he lived with Terence and Minnie. Terence was a successful angler and a fine sportsman otherwise. There was an extensive library at Yarrowlumla, and the whole surroundings were of a refined character.
1849 - 31st December. The end of the year, and I think I am worse off than ever. I know not where I got a shilling, but as many others are as badly off as I am I must not complain. Wool is improving in price, and the country is in a very healthy state, so that if I can get a few more sheep I may struggle on again. I have been pushed for money all the year, and I fear I shall have much difficulty in carrying on, al1 property but wool being valueless. With all this I was nothing daunted; we worked at everything belonging to a farmer's and seller's life - up early and late, able to accomplish everything - we sang and danced, we visited and were visited by refined and intellectual people, and we cast off the language of the farm and station and all connected with it at our social evenings.
1850 - Hired a man and wife for £30 a year.
17th March - Hot day - Augustus Gibbes was to have dined with us, but that he was expecting Lawrence Dulhunty, a friend of my schoolboy days.
25th March we hired Ellen and Margaret McAuliff for £25 a year. Margaret became Mrs Lee, wife of my faithful servant William Lee, and one of her daughters, I learned in after years, married a well-to-do squatter.
13th May I began to boil down my sheep (I suppose this was the only way to make something out of them). I sold my tallow for £24 a ton.
17th May I cut my knee skinning a sheep. Dr Hayley came and applied 23 leeches to it.
1st October - Fanny Gibbes married today a Mr Ludlam - He is a New Zealand man and called "Old Bricks".
l9th October - Terence and family and Mr and Mrs Ludlam arrived at Yarrowlumla.
1851 - 17th March. My 29th birthday. I must by this time or previously have taken charge of Yarrowlumla on a salary. Terence did not like the mountains and preferred his books and the city life, with all its drawbacks.
Here the Journal ends. Mary Gibbes died in 1857, leaving three children, James Aubrey, Leila and Evelyn. James Aubrey Gibbes Murray (1857-1933) of the N.S.W. Civil Service, had two sons. The elder, Hubert Leonard Murray, C.B.E., was official Secretary of Papua 1916-40, and Administrator of Papua 1940-42, and the younger, Gerald Aubrey Murray, M.B., D.P.H., is the senior Commonwealth Medical Officer of Western Australia.
Sir Terence Murray married, secondly, Agnes Edwards, and her two famous sons, Sir Hubert and Sir Gilbert, need no description here.
1 T. A Murray also used this spelling. (Lett, Lewis, Sir Hubert Murray of Papua, p.19.)