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A HISTORY of CROSS CREEK by Kingsley Richards
The Cross Creek area is situated about eighteen miles north-west of,Singleton and joins Goorangoola Creek about six miles on its eastern end. During 1997 four people, Roy Andrews and son; Leigh, Peter Andrews and Kingsley Richards, spent some time trying to piece together the history of the area armed with old Parish maps and references from the Bush Schools book. They knew little about the area except for information handed down from person to person. The community of the 1850/60 period had about seventeen houses, most appeared to be in the western areas of the creek. The Cox family were timber getters in that area, as there were big spotted gums and broadleaf ironbarks in quantity. The saw pit has been located and would have been employment for a few local people.Only occasional trees exist today. When the timber was gone the whole community ceased to function by 1900/10. Most of the building sites were found, also the school which closed in 1891.
William Cooper, who was born there, helped build the Hawkesbury Railway bridge. Two brothers ,Percy and Ralph went shearing as far as New Zealand. Percy came back and bought a farm on the Goorangoola end and went dairying and grazing sheep. Family names included - Andrews, Adam, Cooper, Cann, Edwards, Spinks. The Cann family lived toward the eastern end dairying cattle and grazing sheep. To this day a big brush in the area maintains the family name. This family has spread far and wide principally Queensland, still on the land.
Some reference in old Argus issues gave some reference to the area for example George Andrews sold fruit grown from there in Singleton, Union markets. Up till recent years some of those trees were still alive, figs outlived them all and would have to be in excess of 100 years old.
Three scattered graves have been located - one a teenager, another of a convict in a most unusual situation. Information said he died of injuries inflicted by other persons and was buried on the spot when found. It was a very lonely place and we were surprised to see where it was.
Perhaps the saddest of the three was the death of a woman and two children - about 1860 circa. The woman’s husband was a shearer who went away shearing for a fortnight, came home and found all three dead. This grave was found recently following information as to where it might be. It appears the woman died first and the children probably starved. All names are unknown. Shepherding sheep would have been another of the occupations. Old stone sheep yards exist in the area and dingoes would have been a problem. Wire netting fencing would have been unheard of in those times.
Singleton (Patrick Plains) Council did some roadwork in the area 1860-70, The road through the area would have been an early way to Muswellbrook prior to the rail line going through. It joined the Upper Hebden road just below where the Beh family had a wine shop. Three pear trees from that era are still alive today. The Cooper family had a small dairy, plus sheep, and horse packed cream twice a week to the train at Ravensworth, ten miles away. Cream from the eastern end of the creek was shipped to Singleton through Goorangoola by Greenhalghs, in a van driven by horses. All information gained, however small, fits a little like a jigsaw and seems fairly correct, whatever the source.
The last surviving person from that area, a Spinks, died about eighteen months ago in Muswellbrook. He was 100 years old. His obituary said he was born at Cross Creek and later worked at St. Clair. These people didn't have electricity, no wireless, doctors at least a day away, very little mail, no vehicles, only a horse and sulky or cart, water tanks may not have existed, the only alternative may have been spring water. What a comparison to today’s living standards!