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History of the late John Dick ESQ. of Hampton Hall, Quirindi

thankyou: Lisa Bissett-Dick

Written by his daughter Ada in 1968 just before she died in 1970 age 86 History of the late John Dick ESQ. of Hampton Hall, Quirindi John Dick was born on 28.2.1841 near Morpeth on the Patterson River. He had three sisters, Sarah, Martha and Mary Ann. His mother kept a general store in West Maitland and supplied all the lying district with goods of all descriptions, she had to employ a carrier to take out the trading. Her husband William Dick died when her son was only 12 years old, her three daughters had married very young, they had been educated at Maitland as also was my father. After a few years she married again to a Mr James Horan and he had a couple of teams of wagons and horses, so he then took all the deliveries from my grandmothers store and my father at the time was still going to school so he took my father from school to go with him on his trips into the country, but my father did not like that sort of work so he got his mother to help him go to the country in search of land. He was wanting his own land and make a way of life for himself.

So eventually he went to Quirindi and Wallabadah district, he then met my mother Mercy Catherine Edward’s, her father kept a Hotel at Wallabadah, so eventually they were married and kept a Hotel at Flaggy Gully. My mother was educated at a young girls boarding school at Murrunundi. Her sister Amy Edward’s was married to Mr Joseph Abbott of Paradise a little way out of the town of Murrunundi and they lived their all there lives.

My mother had only one sister and 5 brothers. Her people all went to the Queensland Country, some to Gympie, Bunndaberg, Maryborough and other parts, so my mother had her sister Amy close to her. My parents got on very well and lived at Flaggy Gully for a number of years, but my father was ansious to get on the land and at last he took land in Liverpool Plains.

The AA Company (Australian Agricultural ) were taking up all the land they could get for their big organization, it was known as the Warral Estate, so my father got a nice piece of land adjoining their land which was down at Hampton Hall, so from then on my father went in for his first big herd of sheep, cattle and horses, it took him a few years to his property fenced and a home built and their were 12 children born to them, 8 sons and 4 daughters, 2 little ones died in infancy.

My fathers mother sold her business in Maitland and also came to live with us at Flaggy Gully, she had 2 sons and a daughter born to her from her second marriage. The sons names were William, James and the daughter Harriet Horan. Now about the time my parents were in the Hotel at Flaggy Gully, the first Nun’s of the Dominican order came through to Tamworth and a priest also who’s name was Father Foran and they stayed at my parents Hotel.-(1875- Thunderbold killed -F Ward).

At that period Thunderbolt the bushranger was very busy and also Starlight and Gentleman Dick, that was the year 1876. It was not long after that , that they moved to Hamilton Hall. But the night the first Dominican nun’s came through to take up their residence at Tamworth, my fathers young step-sister Harriet was very ill and the Rev Mother Regis asked to see her and at once she told my mother that she was dying, so they got the priest to give her her last sacraments and before morning she had passed away, so needless to say how happy my father was to think his young sister had the last sacraments given to her otherwise she would have passed away without them, the nearest priest being 40 miles away. It was not long after that that my parents went to Hampton Hall and my father and his mother brought many blocks of land in the town where Quirindi is today. They owned all the land from the railway right up to where Gresons store was and the block where the Catholic Church and convent are now and many blocks in Henry Street up to the gap, but in time sold them and from what my mother told me almost gave them away. However in the early days of Hamden Hall my father kept on a married couple to help on the property as my brothers were very young and in time when they were experienced more fully in looking after the stock and the crops and other things that required attention, they were quick to learn about farming, so my father brought a big scope of land at Mookie Springs for my 3 oldest brothers and they built themselves a little home on it and started out their own, in time they were in very good circumstances and they eventually married but after a time they sold out and each one went their own way. They started out managing big properties for the AA. dangar and also my brother Jack managed Myall Creek for many years and they became good shearers and went away out west every year and earned big money so by this time 3 of my brothers got married and they shifted away up North. Now I must give the names of my brothers, William John, Patrick James, John Charles, Arthur Henry, Charles James, Ratcliffe Dominic Christie, Earl Leo, George Bede.

William John married Margaret Prior from Wallabadah. Her parents were among the oldest pioneers in the district. Patrick James married Hannah Wolfenden of Nundle, who’s father was a great old miner working a claim of his own at Hanging Rock near Nundle for many years. John Charles married Fanny Mason of Quipolly her parents were farmers and very old identities of the district. Aurthur Henry Joseph never married , buried at Yass. Charles James married Hannah Granthman of Sydney. Ratcliffe Dominic Christie married Annie Goodwin of Red Range near Glen Innes, her father was very well off as he owned mines in Kings Gate and he had a big scope of land at Red Range and went into breeding cattle.Earl Leo married Ada Goodwin. George Bede married an Englishwomen, late in life. Ada Mary and Ida Mary, other sisters Kate and Harriet died in infancy.

Now to go back to my young days, when my brothers were young there was no school for over 7 miles away so for a time they traveled on horseback, so at last my father decided to get them a good teacher for them, he got a French Professor for them and he was a will learned man and they got on well under his tuition and when my sister Ida and I were old enough to go to school my parents got us a governess, then the nun’s came to Quirindi and when they had accommodation to take boarders my sister and I went there to school, we were among the first 6 boarders. The parish priest was Father Galvades and our bishop was Dr Torniainne the first bishop so we were all confirmed at the same time, there being a mission on at that time given by the Redempist Fathers and my parents and brothers used to drive in, in the horse and buggy for 10 miles from Hammed Hall to attend it.Many times the nun’s came out to our home and stayed the night and my brothers would drive them to all the places where they gave the Catholic instructions and the priest would drop in anytime and stay a couple of days.

My parents were loved by everyone far and wide and no one passed buy from Hamden Hall with out there tucker bags full of food, all the traveling salesmen and hawkers knew where to make for and have a good camping place and rest in Johnny Dick’s big wool shed. If old Anthony or Frank were alive today they would tell you about it all.A son of the Sobs is now Father Sob in charge of a parish in Sydney. Well now our dear father passed away on 31.8.1895 and was buried in the Catholic portion of Quirindi Cemetery. After my father died my mother had a big battle to fight, there were only the younger brothers to try and help and we had 3 years drought at the time and my mother had 100’s of sheep, 14 lovely draught horses and all the milking cows and no rain to bring on the crops on so you can imagine what a trial she had, so then she let some of the land out on a share system, the first 2 years were not bad, but then another 2 years of drought came on and she decided to sell the old home and go up north and try her luck there. Three of her married sons were up there and advised her to come up that way. So the old home was sold and all our lovely good old days were gone but our mother had a brave heart.So that when our mother took land in the Furracubad estate the first year was wonderful, but the next year too much rain rotted the crops, so we eventually went to Inverell and we had pretty fair luck and then my sister Ida and I met men and we were to marry, so in 18 months after meeting them we married. Then our mother clung to her 3 youngest sons and they went to Sydney then of course the war broke out in 1914 and 9 nephews went and my youngest brother George Bede.

However my dear mother died in 1915 and is buried in the Catholic Cemetery at Woronora, Age 68 years, sect K88 also her son Charlie is buried in on top of her. Now I was married, first my husbands father had a gold mine at Captains Flat, but when all his sons left to make their own way in the world he sold his mine qw ii would not pay him to employ labor. My husbands name was Alfred Charles Lweis, he had contract work in the Howleel mines where we got married. My sisters Ida’s husband William Joseph Green also had contract work there too. They were married in 1908, the mines closed and my sister and husband went to Sydney with their daughter Jessie Therese, born 1911. But we stayed around the Tingha and Emmaville district. My fathers 3 sisters married very well off, the eldest Sarah married William Christy, a surveyor and a very talented man, he helped to survey the railway line from Sydney right up north. The second sister married a Mr Parnell who’s parents had come from Ireland in the early 1830’s and they had taken up land in the Liverpool Plains in 1832 and later in the year the AA Company took up all the available land they could get, my auntys husband came from a very rich family and they had many shares in the Curlewes Coal Mine and had built a stately big home, but in years my uncle Parnell died and my aunt married again to a Mr John J Poole who was a widower with 5 grown children, he also had shares in the Coal mines, so that my aunt became very rich and she had her sons educated at the Christen Brothers Hunters Hill Sydney and her daughter at a Convert in Sydney.

My fathers youngest sister Mary Ann was married to a carrier with 3 big wagons who did all the loading for the outer stations and took their goods to the railway for transport, so we did not see much of them in the later years, but my mother always corresponded with them for many years, but sometimes some of them came and stayed at Hamden Hall for a holiday. My father had many uncles and cousins on his fathers side also many uncles and cousins on his mothers side, she was a Henry and had 5 or 6 brothers and 4 or 5 sisters and they were scattered all over NSW, some of them in Armidale, Greta and around the Maitland district one of her sisters married Lord Bruin of Bundarra and one of the Henry boys became a priest and one of my eldest brothers daughter became a nun, Sister _____ at present teaching at the Mercy Convent at Malabar, Sydney, She has been a nun for nearly 50 years and one of her brothers daughters is a Mercy Nun at Mercy Convent Goulburn. My mother had 5 brothers and 1 sister, here parents came out from England in the early 1830’s and settled in the Manning District and then to Wallabadah and Quirindi district and managed Goonoo Goonoo station and from there into Wallabadah hotel and when my mothers father died, her mother went to Queensland where all her sons had gone, her sons names were John , Joseph, William, Thomas and Charles and 2 daughters Amy and Mercy Catherine Edward’s. My fathers step brothers names were William, James, and a sister Harriet Horan. The Horans brought land in the Liverpool Plains district not many miles from our home, only on the Boramble side of Spring Ridge.