Times Gone By: The Practicalities of Permanence


ONE of the difficulties of being early in selecting land is that the area had not been surveyed and the government was still deciding which land should be reserved, as had been the case with William Carroll.

He was well established on his selection, however at 40 acres it was a small property and shortly after his settlement the land surrounding him was reserved from sale.

As this prevented him from expanding his holdings he and his family were eventually compelled to move, forfeiting his land.

His brother John also found himself in that position within the village of Brelsford (Coffs Harbour).

John was a labourer and not in a position to purchase land, so squatted in the area.

When the surveyors arrived in 1897, it was discovered he had built his house on High Street (now Harbour Drive), so he had to move his house back to the corner of High and Gordon Streets.

As he remained a squatter, he secured his land by taking out a miner’s lease which incorporated the site of his house and occasionally looked for gold in his backyard to fulfill the lease conditions, which did not expire until 1953, 27 years after his death.

John and William Carrall were amongst several early cedar-getting teams which had followed Walter Harvey into the area after his arrival around 1866.

Born in Nova Scotia, Harvey went to sea for a couple of years before deserting the ship in Australia, in 1863.

He spent time on the Lambing Flat goldfields during the riots before coming to Boat Harbour (Bellingen) and finding work as a teamster.

One year later aged just 20, he purchased the bullocks and worked independently, cutting cedar at Red Hill and hauling it to his camp on the northern side of Coffs Creek, near the showground and opposite Fitzroy oval.

As it was unprofitable to haul logs any further than eight miles, he returned to Bellingen to farm before retiring to Coffs Harbour in 1916.



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