Extracts from the Bega Gazette, 1883 - 1899


Some editions of The Bega Gazette and Eden District or Southern Coast Advertiser from 1865 to 1899 became available on line in 2013.  Previously they had been available only on microfilm in Sydney.

The Bega Gazette of Saturday 27 January 1883 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110311672) reported at page 2 on a meeting held on Thursday 25 January 1883:


Rain fell on Thursday at 4 p.m., but 18 people did not fear a little moisture; they drew together inside the Courthouse, and Mr. John Davis, P.M. [police magistrate], was called to preside.

A proposition, by the Rev. D. E. Evans-Jones, to adjourn on account of the rain, was not seconded.

Proposed by Mr. G. Harrison and seconded by Mr. Neilley, and carried: "That the time has come when a Hospital should be established in Bega; and, that a Committee be formed to carry out that object."

A letter from Mr. Harris was read, stating that the writer's feelings were enlisted in the Hospital project, and that he would be happy to prepare plans and supervise the work of building, gratuitously.

A provisional committee, with power to add, was constituted, consisting of all present, viz., Messrs. Davis, Harrison, Scott (A. J. S. Bank), Armstrong, Evans-Jones, Ebsworth, Scott (N. S. W.), E. Brown, Byrnes, Burns, Hanson, Murphy, Asher, Wren, Stiles, Welby, F. Manby, Hughes, Peden, Neilley, Anderson, P. Manning, P. H. Wood, Braine; seven to form a quorum.

Mr. Asher consented to act as Hon. Sec. (pro tem.); Mr. Scott (A. J. S. B.) Hon. Treasurer.

Mr. Peden proposed, and Mr. C. Anderson seconded: "That a subscription list for building purposes be opened." Carried. Mr P. H. Wood headed the list with £25, and several fives and twos were added.

Dr. Hanson wished to know whether a private or government-aided Hospital was contemplated.

Mr. Harrison explained that both could be worked under one roof; and that, upon application, money in aid would be placed on the estimates.

As to a site, Mr. Ebsworth said he had measured five acres overlooking Yarranung, and the Government would give this land.

Mr. Wren said he was anxious that a Hospital should start, and he had gone to some trouble to obtain a suitable piece of land. He had applied for a grant adjoining the Police Barracks, but the authorities objected to part with any of that ground. The land referred to by Mr. Ebsworth would be very suitable for a Hospital, and would cost nothing.

Mr. Peden, with reference to the barrack land, said the Police were stationed at an unsuitable place, and some day their quarters must be moved. It was a crotchet of Captain Battye's to secure a paddock for the troopers' horses, but if the people had not been so supine at the time, the Captain's plan would not have been carried out. It was likely that, at no very distant time, not only the land but the police building might be obtained for Hospital purposes.

Mr. Stiles thought before anything else was done the site should be fixed. People would subscribe to erect a building, but they would naturally inquire where it was to be. He intended to take great interest in the establishment and maintenance of the institution, and he would move: "That the five acres measured by Mr. Ebsworth be the site for the Hospital. "Seconded by Mr. Wren.

The Rev. D. E. Evans-Jones advised a careful decision. The low-lying ground in Bega might be objected to because of the frequent fogs; but it should be remembered that Mr Ebsworth's survey was two miles from the town, and perhaps the distance was inconveniently great. At Albury, Deniliquin, Goulburn, and other places the Hospitals were easy of access. Was it not possible that some private person would offer a more central site, and on easy terms.

Several other gentlemen spoke, and the question was ultimately settled by the appointment of a committee consisting of Messrs. Stiles, Peden, Harrison, Evans-Jones, and Neilley, to inquire into the most suitable position for the proposed building, and to invite the co-operation of Doctors Evershed and Hanson, and of Mr. Ebsworth, as "experts," and advisers; this Committee to report progress at a public meeting to be held on that day fortnight.

The Chairman received a vote of thanks, and a most successful meeting closed.

On Saturday 10 February 1883, the Bega Gazette commented (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110311729):


The use of the Cemetery for a Hospital site has not, so far, been generally and warmly approved; but we think (and Mr. P. Manning is thanked for giving the cue) that a little more inquiry may be made before finally deciding upon two matters, viz., the site for the Hospital that will now be built, and the closing of the Cemetery which must, sooner or later, be done.

Mr. Manning has brought under our notice an Act of Parliament, 44. Victoria, No. XVI., a statute assented to July 12, 1880, and entitled "An Act to provide for the Acquisition of Lands for Public Purposes," under the provisions of which it seems possible to obtain a portion of the Permanent Reserve, for Hospital or Cemetery, or for both.

The Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1861 says that a pasturage common, permanently reserved, shall be deemed dedicated for the purpose of pasturage, and shall not be alienated to other purposes, not even by "Her Majesty."

But clause 3 of the Lands Acquisition Act mentions and repeals "so much of the 1861 Act" as relates to dedication of Crown Lands to public purposes, and is "inconsistent with" the Act of 1880. This latter Act defines, "Crown Lands" as "all lands vested in Her Majesty, whether dedicated to public purposes, or not." Clause 6 provides that when Parliament appropriates money for public works, it shall be lawful for the Governor to resume Crown Land for the public purpose intended. Clause 7 specifies, amongst other Public Work, Hospitals and Public Cemeteries. Some difficulty crops up under clause 8, which provides that resumed lands shall vest in the Minister for Works, as a "Corporation solo," and as a trustee, "with absolute powers of selling, dealing with, and disposing of such lands." But this we leave to professional legal opinion.

There is the Act, and to our mind it appears that under that Act we may obtain five acres of the Permanent Common for a Hospital site, and save £300 to help the building; or fifteen for a Cemetery, which would leave the present Cemetery to be at once closed, and, without disturbing the ashes of those who sleep there, Bega could appropriate the grand convenient site to Hospital purposes — by legal process, of course.

The same edition (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110311729) reported on the meeting held on Thursday 8 February 1883:


On Thursday, the Committee appointed to examine and report upon a site, gave an account of their stewardship.

Mr. Peden read a written report, which spoke of the beauty and fitness of the five acres measured by Mr. Ebsworth, but the distance, 3 miles from Bega, was a fatal objection.

Several blocks of land were then mentioned, and the meeting approved of a 2 & 3/4 acre piece, on the Bega and Candelo road, belonging to Mr. W. Hibburd; for this £300 was asked.

Mr. P. Manning asked if a block of the permanent reserve could not be had. Everyone thought it not possible to obtain a portion of the reserve.

Mr. H. Wren moved, seconded by Mr. Braine: "That Mr. Hibburd's land is approved of as a site for the Hospital." Carried.

Mr. French moved, seconded by Dr. Hanson: "That the Sub-committee be empowered to treat with Mr. Hibburd for the purchase of the land named; the cost not to exceed £300." Carried.

Mr. Peden moved, seconded by Mr. Neilley: "That subscriptions of £4 and over be receivable by quarterly instalments." The mover said many might find it convenient to subscribe in this way, and would make their donations larger than if called upon to pay down a lump sum.

Mr. Braine moved, seconded by Dr. Hanson: "That a meeting be held on Wednesday, March 7, to organise the Hospital management, enrol subscribers, and elect officers." Carried; but first the Rev. D. E. Evans-Jones wished the chairman's ruling as to whether the Committee appointed at the previous meeting, with power to add to their number, was not to be considered a building committee, authorised to go on and provide a hospital? To this, Mr. C. Harrison was clearly of opinion that the committee was only provisional. Mr. Braine, said, that before any building was done, the land must be properly vested in Trustees, the provisions of the Act must be observed, and officers elected in a legal manner by those who subscribed £1 and upwards to the funds. The Sub-committee had been appointed for a specific purpose, to report upon a site, and having so done, their work was at an end. Mr. Scott of the A. J. S. Bank, and Mr. Scott of the Bank of N. S. W. spoke to similar effect.

Mr. Wren wished to explain that now Bega was in earnest in this hospital matter, he was sure the Candelo people would join heart and soul to assist. A meeting was arranged for at Candelo, and subscriptions would be looked after, and the results could be ported to the next meeting in March.

The meeting, presided over by Mr. Davis, then separated.

On Saturday 10 March 1883 the Bega Gazette reported (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110311866) on a meeting held on Wednesday 7 March 1883:


On Wednesday, at 4 o'clock, 25 people met in the Courthouse. Mr. J. Davis, P.M. presided, and opened the meeting by stating that, in pursuance of a resolution passed at the last meeting, those pre sent had met to organise the hospital. Mr. Asher, hon. sec. pro tem., read the minutes of last meeting, and reported that no meeting had been held since Feb. 8, as no quorum had attended. He had a letter from Mr. Levy of Candelo, giving information that a meeting had been held at Candelo, and that promises had been made of extensive support to a central hospital for the Bega District. He also read a letter which Mr. Rawlinson had received, from Mr. H. Clarke, who stated that a portion of the reserve could be obtained for a cemetery and for a hospital site.

Mr. P. Manning said he had taken upon himself the responsibility of making inquiry, as he did not believe in throwing away money to purchase land ; Mr. Rawlinson had written to Sydney, without any charge, and the meeting heard the reply.

Mr. Scott (A. J. S. Bank) reported cash received £87/1/6.

Mr. Fowler said he had £20 from Wolumla.

After some debate as to election of officers, a resolution was carried : "That a memorial be prepared to the Minister for Lands, asking for a resumption of a portion of the Reserve for Hospital purposes."

Another resolution:—"That Messrs. Peden, C. Harrison, and W. Scott (A. J. S. B.), be a committee to prepare the memorial."

The Rev. D. E. Jones moved, seconded by           :—"That the former committee resign, and that fresh officers be appointed." We believe this was carried.

Mr. Levy reported that Mr. Tooth had Promised £100, and that the Candelo list had on it £201, including Mr. Tooth's £100. Mr. Levy explained that a wrong impression had gone abroad that there was opposition at Candelo, and some of the Candelo people had been called "fire brands;" to this he strongly objected, as Candelo was only too anxious to help on the Hospital, but the people there did not like to see money thrown away to purchase land when a site could be had free.

Mr. Wren endorsed every word Mr. Levy had spoken. There had been no dissension.

Mr. J. J. O'Reilly said he was another "firebrand," but the Candelo meeting had been unanimous in wishing to help Bega as far as their means would admit.

Mr. Neilley said he supposed he was being talked at; he had taken his impressions from the Union report, and if he had entertained a wrong view, he was sorry, and he was glad to find Candelo was so willing to aid this movement.

Mr. Scott (A. J. S. B.) was then re appointed Treasurer. Mr. Asher, Secretary. Both offices provisional.

The appointment of a committee was then discussed, and the proceedings drifted into admirable disorder. Nobody appeared to know what to do. A law book was produced, and rival interpretations by various amateur legal lights were placed upon II Vic. No. 59. The meeting was about to break up, when Mr. Stiles proposed:—"That the motion authorising a sub-committee to purchase land be rescinded." Seconded and carried.

Mr. Braine moved :—" That this meeting stand adjourned until a reply as to the site applied for be received from the Government." Seconded by Mr. Stiles and carried.

A vote of thanks to the Chairman closed a very unsatisfactory meeting. The attendance increased to 50 or 60 after the meeting opened.

The Bega Gazette commented on the meeting (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110311862):


Thunderstorms clear the air. The cross-firing at Wednesday's meeting was merely something to be regarded as a passing annoyance; a temporary troubling of the waters in order that the power of healing may follow. The state of puzzle and fog, into which the meeting was carried, was caused, partly, by the breaking of new ground.

The meeting of February 8th separated after having, as was supposed, marked out a clearly defined course of action. A committee was empowered to treat with Mr. Hibburd for the purchase of a piece of land. We all rather jeered at Mr. Manning's proposal to tap the Government for a site; but it has turned out that Mr Manning's supposed "small-beer" was in reality, a good sound brew. The magnitude of the discovery seems to have dazzled us all; hence at Wednesday's meeting, after resolving to petition for a slice of the Common, we ought to have passed a vote of thanks to the Chairman and taken our departure. We are now in the position of having to make a fresh start. Let the memorial committee push along their work; Messrs. Clarke and Garran will not lose any time, in obtaining the Minister's reply; and when that comes back to us, a meeting can at once be convened to elect officers and committee in the regular method as by law appointed.

It is very evident that nothing practical and satisfactory will be done until the site is fixed beyond dispute, and a duly constituted board of management appointed. We believe we are right in maintaining that nobody can have a voice in choosing the officers of the institution except those who subscribe 20s., or upward. And we decidedly advocate the appointment of a paid Secretary as soon as possible. There will be a large quantity of clerical work to do; too much to expect from an Honorary Secretary. Mr. Asher means well; but for several reasons, he is the wrong man for the office of Secretary; and his tenure of office must be regarded as provisional only. It will probably be necessary to invite tenders from those willing to do the work. One more matter. Every man who pays a subscription of 20s. per annum has a voice in Hospital management. We live in the days of the ballot, and the only rank to be respected in a public meeting is that from which comes practical ideas and sound common sense.

Finally, it is evident that our people are in need of a quantity of information to enable them to go to work properly in this Hospital business. There is a prophecy that the movement will "end in smoke." Our impression is that there is a solid fire behind the smoke. Numbers of people are now interested in establishing the Bega District Hospital, and where we have so wide-spread a will, we shall not fail to discover the way.

An interim response to the application to have part of the Permanent Common appropriated for the Hospital was published in the Bega Gazette on 4 July 1883 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110312455#pstart11320053):


Mr. Asher has received the following :—

"49 Castlereagh-Street,

"Sydney, June 28, 1883.

"To Mr. J. H. Asher, Bega,

"Dear Sir,—Enclosed is official reply to my enquiries re site for Hospital. I must certainly say I am disappointed at the slow movement through the office routine, but I will, by more frequent enquiries, try and procure a speedier dealing with the case, I am, etc., J. P. Garvan."

The official letter is to Mr. Garvan from the Department of Lands, is dated June 27, and reads:—

"Sir,—In reference to your personal enquiry respecting the appropriation of land as a site for Hospital at Bega, I have the Honor to inform you that a survey of 5 acres within the Temporary Common has been made for the purpose in question; but an application has been received for the dedication of a portion of the Permanent Common, which is stated to be a more suitable site, and the papers in the case are at present under reference to the survey office. I am to add that the attention of the Surveyor General will be invited to the case, with a view to the action thereon being expedited.—I have the honor to be Sir, your most obedient servant,

Charles Oliver,

Under Secretary."

Progress on getting a portion of the Permanent Common for the Hospital having commenced, a question then arose as to which part of the Common was best for the Hospital.  The Bega Gazette of Wednesday 15 August 1883 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110304126) reported:


Mr. Asher has received from Mr. H. Clarke a letter in reply to a telegram sent about the Hospital site. Mr. Clarke says that the matter of measuring a site on the Permanent Common has been referred to Mr. District Surveyor Betts. Now, Mr. Ebsworth in forms us he has received instructions to measure the site, and he wants to know which is considered the most suitable position. As nobody is in authority at present, we suggested that the Standard, and the Union combine with the Gazette, and that the three papers convene a meeting to be held in the Courthouse, on Monday next, at 4 p.m., for the purpose of appointing a Committee to select the Hospital site. The public will, therefore, please accept this invitation, and meet at the place and time named.

On 22 August 1883 the Bega Gazette reported (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110304168):


Wishing to have something definite to tell the meeting advertised to be held at the Courthouse on Monday, Mr. Asher telegraphed to Sydney on Saturday, and received from Mr. C. Oliver this reply:—"It cannot at present be Stated whether the land will be granted for Hospital site. The papers are sent in reference to the District Surveyor." About a quarter-past four on Monday, a few people met at the Court house ; Mr. Stiles was voted to the Chair, and Messrs. The Chairman, Asher, Scott (A. J. S.), P. Manning, Braine, with the Rev. D. E. Jones, and the local medical men, were appointed a committee to view the ground, and to confer with Mr. Ebsworth on Saturday, September 1st. The committee arranged to meet at the Court house on Thursday (to-morrow) at 3 p.m. and then proceed to select a site.

The Bega Gazette commented on the process of acquisition of land from the Permanent Common for the Hospital in its edition of 25 August 1883 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110304188):

A very general agreement of opinion subsists among those who wish the Hospital to be started in Bega that, if £300 can be saved by obtaining a portion of Crown land for a site instead of sinking the money in the purchase of a site from a private individual, a good thing will be done. Nobody appears to think that there will be much difficulty in collecting ample funds with which to make a generous start in building a Hospital; but an over whelming majority is firmly convinced of the foolishness of spending more money than occasion demands.

It is decided to erect a public institution. The Government initiates this public work by placing money on the estimates, and proceeds by bringing into operation the sixth section of the Act to provide for the Acquisition of Lands for Public Purposes. Under section seven, Hospitals, Schools, Schools of Arts, Post-Offices, Cemeteries, are declared Public Works for which Crown Lands can be resumed, and the interpretation clause of the Act defines Crown Lands as "all lands vested in Her Majesty, whether dedicated to any public purpose or not." We presume the Permanent Common is Crown Land; if it is, surely a five acre portion can be resumed for the Hospital. None can be injured by this ; the land is now used for public purposes—the depasturing of stock; a portion is asked for, to be applied to another public purpose—a Hospital.

But the Common is vested in Trustees; it can not be touched, say some. Certainly there are Trustees, but it is another question if it is said that the Common Trustees are "clothed with possession" or that they have "any immediate fixed right of present or future enjoyment of the land." The Trustees have some power over the use of the land, but they cannot deal with it as, for in stance, the executors of a man's last will can deal with real estate devised in trust. So little control have they, that they cannot lease or let a yard of the Common to anyone. The land does not belong to the Trustees, and being Crown Land, the Crown can deal with it for public purposes.

Our local legal authorities are at opposite poles over this matter; whilst one solicitor is sure that no site can be had on the Common, the other most positively asserts that there can be no second opinion about the power of the Government to grant a site.

In the meanwhile we of Bega will apply for the land wanted, and we may very safely leave the Sydney authorities to determine whether or not our request can be granted.

On 5 September 1883 the Bega Gazette reported (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110304273):

The Hospital

The committee appointed to choose a site for the Bega Hospital did its work, and on Mr. Ebsworth's return from Sydney, he and the acting Secretary, Mr. Asher, went out to look at the spot, which is near Mr. R. Howard's residence. Mr. Ebsworth appears to think the site suitable, and, we believe, sent in his report on Monday. Repeated reference to the "Resumption Act" confirms the opinion that land for a hospital site can be had on the Permanent Common; the ninth section of the Act especially refers to resuming lands for public purposes, (among which are the building of hospitals) and cancels any adverse parts of the Crown Lands Acts. We think we are safe in saying that our obtaining this land is now narrowed down to the mere question of how long it will take the Minister to give his decision.

There then seems to have been something of a hiatus in progress.  About a year after the previous extract, the Bega Gazette reported in its Saturday 6 September 1884 edition (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110306616) on a regular monthly meeting of Council on Tuesday 2 September 1884.  The report included the following:

Ald. Manning moved: "That the Council take steps to procure a site for a Hospital on the Permanent Common."

He understood that Mr. Manby had been employed by some people to oppose a previous application for a site, but the speaker was not aware that the great body of rate-payers was adverse to obtaining this site, whilst the want of a hospital was frequently proved, as there was no accommodation in town for the sick or for those who met with accident.

The Mayor thought Hospital business was not within the Council's province. A committee appointed at a public meeting was, he supposed, still in existence, and it was time enough for the Council to move when that committee came to the Council for assistance. Money had been collected and was held by some one as a hospital fund. Let the Committee decide to dissolve, and then the Council could deal with the establishment of a hospital, if requested.

Motion not seconded.

The Mayor added that he was not in favor of a public hospital; he thought Bega was wealthy enough to support a private hospital over which the subscribers could have full control.

The delay in action lead the Treasurer of the committee to call a meeting on Thursday 23 October 1884 with a view to returning subscription monies. The meeting was delayed to 6 November 1884 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110307052).  The Bega Gazette commented on 22 October 1884 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110306994):


At 4 o'clock to-morrow afternoon a meeting is to be held at the School of Arts. Many pounds have been subscribed for the specific purpose of building a Hospital for Bega. Impediment has been cast in the way of procuring a site, and so nothing has yet been done. The Treasurer feels the absurdity of un-used funds remaining so long in his hands, and if the Hospital is not to go on, the subscribers should receive back their money. The idea now is not to wait until bricks and mortar can be fitted together, but to hire a tenement, supply it with a few requisites, and then Bega will be ready for the humane treatment of the next victim of accident. The establishment of our Hospital has been deferred for too long a time.

It was the following year before more progress was noted re obtaining land from the Permanent Common for the Hospital.  On 14 February 1885 the Bega Gazette (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110307831) noted:


A letter dated February 5th has been forwarded through Mr. J. P. Garvan, M. P., stating that the Department of Lands has been instructed to set apart five acres of the Bega Common as a site for the Hospital. This is the first response to the memorial entrusted to Messrs. Haslingden and Forbes to be forwarded to the Colonial Secretary, and it now remains to be seen how long it will be before the Department enables us to take the next step. A letter to the Lands once a week, and a reminder every few days by Mr. Garvan may enable us to talk about a contract for excavation and stone and brick work at some date between this and Christmas.

The next report in the Bega Gazette was on 6 May 1885 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110308336):


On Sunday, Mr. Forbes received, through Mr. Garvan, a letter from tho Under Secretary for Lands, who states that the site applied for Bega Hospital will be dealt with without undue delay, but notice has to be published in the Government Gazette, and laid before both Houses of Parliament within 10 days after the beginning of the next ensuing session. And so we wait yet a little longer.

There is no more in the editions of the Bega Gazette that have been preserved, until 1899, by which time the Hospital had been in operation on the former Permanent Common site for 10 years. 

However, the Manaro Mercury, and Cooma and Bombala Advertiser reported on Wednesday 28 April 1886 at page 3 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/119057504):

Portion No. 105, in parish of Bega, 5a. on the permanent common, has been re-dedicated for a hospital.

The Bega Gazette of 6 January 1899 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/106457160) reported membership of the Hospital Committee:


President, H. O. T. Cowdroy;

Vice-Presidents, D. Gowing, E. P. Ashdown;

Committee, T. Atkinson, W. H. Braine, J. D. Bathgate, A. M. Cansdell. J. T. Murphy, F. A. Hall, W. Hanscombe, Rev M. Kirkpatrick, J. M. Lee, E. I. Pell, James Rixon, J. W. Twyford;

Auditors, C. H. Baddeley, H. Jardine;

Hon. Treasurer, W. Scott;

Hon. Secretary, J M. Lee;

Trustees, H. Wren, J. D'Arcy, P. H. Wood, G. P. Kerrison, T. Rawlinson;

Medical Officer, Dr. Marshall;

Matron, Ellen Clarke;

Wardsman, B. Clarke