The following is an interview with Henry Ball dated 2nd August 1892. (Henry would have been 66 years old.)
From the correspondent: Mr. Veritas, ''Monaro Mercury" 1892 (Perkins MS 936/1/20)
Adaminaby is 15 miles from Mrs Harnetts Station ( Eucumbene ), before the door was a large lake swarming with wild fowl: approaching the town, there are some nice farms, among the most attractive is that of Mr Henry Ball, whose wheat fields, pretty cottages and hay stacks showed amidst a cluster of trees.
Mr Henry Ball, one of the oldest residents of Adaminaby, who is comfortably domiciled about half a mile out of the township on the Kiandra road. In our search for news we gladly availed ourselves of a chat with one who had been described to us, as possessing the capacity to relate a few reminiscences of the days of early Colonial life with a vividness which would deprive the incident of little of its zest.
Accordingly on the morning of the 2nd of August (1892) we rode up to Mr Ball's residence and found him busily engaged in the manufacture of a stock whip.
We duly accosted him, and having explained our mission, which, by the way, required little explanation, the event having cast its shadows before. We were invited to a pleasant fireside, and Mr Ball began:
Well, I came into this country in 1853. The first place I came to was "Wambrook". The first job I got after I put a bit of wheat in there, was gathering cattle. There were 1500 head been sold, to be delivered from Wambrook to Coolamon*. Of course I was not up to much among young horses in this country. They told me that if I got on a young horse he would throw me. Well, I risked all that and got on one, but he did not upset me. When they found out that I could stick to him they gave me plenty of riding.
On the first trip from Wambrook to Coolamon my horse knocked up and I had to crawl into a big log to get out of the road of native dogs. The consequence was that when the cattle were delivered, I had to take charge of Coolamon and look after them. In the latter end of June 1857, I saw seven feet of snow fall in one night between the hours of 11 and 7 o'clock.
Looking for the cattle on one occasion, I ran across some sheep. I did not know whose sheep they were. But I found out afterwards who owned them.
I went to Mr Graham at Dry Plain and reported the matter to him. I could not bring them in, in consequence of the rivers being high. I kept the sheep until the rivers went down ( from June to September ) and when I told Mr Graham about them, he told me that he had bought them all off the owner, and that he would give me 20 pounds for my trouble.
The day I was bringing then in, 21 native dogs tackled me in my shirtsleeves, at Port Phillip Gap, between here and Yarrangobilly. For nine weeks the sheep never saw grass, nor did the cattle on the run. When the snow went away I found to my great surprise that the cattle had been walking upon 15 feet of snow. I found remains of a bullock's horns in the limb of a tree 15 feet high. The native dogs were found just in the same way. I remained 12 months at Coolamon.
I came in then to "Island Lake" and went to Sydney with a load of wool, having broken in a team of bullocks while I was there.
When I came back to Melbourne with 1500 head of cattle, we delivered every head.
There were three amoungst them that used to go out of the camp every morning. The consequence was that when a man took watch we had to point out these three head, but in the morning before daylight they would be out of the camp. Never mind, we delivered them. We came by water to Sydney.
When we came back, to our great surprise, those three bullocks were on Monaro. They had made it back.
I then came to Adaminaby and took charge of the station.
Mr. Cosgrove was then the owner. He gave me instructions to kill all the "wild" bulls. There were some bullocks, which to my great surprise, had horns eight feet from tip to tip. You would wonder how they got through the scrub. They used to run ˜sideways. It was laughable to watch them. Some would fall and not be able to get up again in consequence of their horns sticking into the vines and into the ground. If they did happen to get up, you had to stand clear! They would stand, daring you to come near them.
In 1857 we started with a mob of cattle for Buckleys (Dalgety). We were two months gathering them. Their final destination was Gippsland, but they were to be paid for at Buckleys. The man was there with his men, but the money was not. He offered to pay us with a B.N. but Mr. Cosgrove would not accept it. The man was indignant at this, as he maintained that it was good for that amount.
Well. In order to prove his bona fides, a wire was sent to Gippsland, enquiring whether it would be safe to accept the bill for the amount. The reply came back that there was ˜no such man known at the Bank.
I left Cooma for Buckleys with the intension of bringing the cattle back, and Mr. Cosgrove went to Billylingera.**
I started with them for home, and got the first day, as far as Cottage Creek***, then we put the cattle in the yard. As I was in full charge, I had to stop up and watch them all night. I was lying having a smoke, when I saw something like a white horse, but could not tell whether anyone was riding him or not, as I could not hear any voice, and it was very dark, I said: \"who goes there?\"
Mr. William Cosgrove replied: "Its me"! He had Tom Brown with him, "Bullocky Tom", as they would call him. The cattle were sold to Mr. Brown.
Mr Alex Montague**** backed his Bill, and they went straight to Gippsland^^. I came back to the Station.
When I first came here (Adaminaby) there were only two storekeepers huts. There were three stockmen stationed here. There were three different 'brands for the station cattle; no sheep here then, but there were some, ten miles back. John Cosgrove, Henry York and Charles York of Emu Plains were the owners of the Station then.
There were other ˜brands mixed in with theirs, a number of other peoples cattle running with theirs, making about 16 or 18 brands. There was some difficulty in drafting them and gathering the calves.
I saw twenty-one of us going out gathering cattle. We had to go through Kiandra as it was breaking out ( 1860 )++
I saw men there with a pocketknife and a pint pot, getting gold out of the crevices of the rocks, three in a mob. They would get a pint pot full in a day.
During our trip to Melbourne, we had a young fellow named James Chippendale with us, but he started for home when about 150 miles this side of Melbourne, with some of the spare horses. We had seven horses altogether.
When we came back from Melbourne, they told us that he had been home, but that he had brought no horses with him, and that he had now taken the old mare that we used to draw water.
Thomas Chippendale, his brother, came home from Gippsland, at the same time we arrived from Melbourne.
Next day, after coming home, they started out for young Chippendale, but could get no tidings of him. In nine days after they started out searching, they picked up the remains of the horse that had been taken away from the Station with the saddle on. There was four feet of snow at the time, but no trace of Chippendale. The horse & saddle were found in the Big Range at Nungar, on the Tangangarra track.
Some time in December, two neighbours around here, went out gathering cows and calves and going along the track, they observed a mans boot. They got off and examined it. The grass was growing high all round. They came in and reported the matter to the Chippendales. Twenty-one people gathered up to go in search of the remains. There was one blackfellow with them: "Bony Jack". They searched three days and found two thigh bones, two joints of the backbone, and the saddle cloth that should have been found with the horse.
They told the blackfellow to gather up all the remains he could find, and bring them in.
You could not drive a horse & buggy to Cooma then.
I have seen a mile and a half ^*of water on Adaminaby Station.
The time Kiandra broke out++, it was all under water. The diggers would meet the carriers with their teams, 15 miles out of Kiandra, and give them ten pounds for a bag of flour. They then brought it into Kiandra on horses.
I knew of one team being three weeks, going from Adaminaby to Kiandra, and working all day, and perhaps at night, cutting the road.
The seasons have greatly changed since first I came here.
Why, nine years ago, there was four feet of snow at my back door, and no ˜drift at that. '
Please note codes:
Coolamon* Now called \"Coolamine\" ( a grassy plain, north of Kiandra )
Billylingera** The Cosgrove family Homestead, near Bredbo.
Cottage Creek*** Small creek with ford crossing, north of Dalgety NSW
Alex Montague**** Well known local identity, cattle breeder, landlord and later Magistrate in Cooma
to Gippsland^^ Another account of this sale ( 27th May 1855 ) mentions there were 803 head
broke out++ The Kiandra Gold Rush 1859 “ 1861
mile and a half^* Possibly Eucumbene flood water inundating close to Adaminaby Station flats
Part of Ball Family History 1850 to 1950
Compiled by Ross R. Ball 2006