We'd like you to
wander around our little town with your eyes open. There are lots of
surprises. And we don't want you to get run over.
We can't offer
you mansions. Sorry, but they're all out of town, built by squatters
who began to move up onto the tablelands in the 1830s. Despite the
climate and the Aniwan tribe they eventually prospered.
A few bark humpies in ragged formation near the creek and the
main road, that was Uralla in the 1840s. Gold was discovered at
Rocky River in 1852, and by 1856 there were five thousand miners,
many of them Chinese, on the goldfields. (See "New Gold Mountain",
an exhibition at McCrossin's Mill.)
So the township was surveyed and gazetted in 1855, and the
highway officially relocated from Queen Street to Bridge Street.
Local hardwood, split, adzed, or pit-sawn into weatherboards, was
used to construct buildings on foundations of adzed tree trunks.
They soon gave way, sometimes literally, to bricks, hand made
from the clay of creek banks, and freely available basalt and
granite. Cedar window sashes and doors arrived by bullock dray from
Maitland, and iron lace from the local foundry.
The pioneering McCrossin family, from County Tyrone, Ireland, had
begun to make their mark. The arrival of the railway in 1882 was
certainly worth the whistle for the 380 residents.