Beaufort, Vic. Trove Detective: Diary of Samuel Young, 1902.

A Journey from Beaufort, Victoria to

Bombala, New South Wales.


In 1902,  Bombala was one of many sites being considered for Australia’s new Federal Capital. Trove has a marvellous collection of 46 photographs by E.T. Luke from the ‘Tour of the Senators’ who inspected and reported on these sites.  Another great Trove find was the Diary of Samuel Young which considers the dubious virtues of Bombala’s case for becoming the site of the new federal capital. (State Library of NSW’s manuscript Collection Ref. MLMSS 2419). On pages 24-25 it reads:

The land passed through now is splendidly fended with occasional creeks carrying good water. It is all station property used solely for grazing purposes. We pass the Aston station homestead and see a herd of red deer grazing behind a fence 12 feet high. Logan’s from the Geelong district own this station. A few thousand yards there is a small gently sloping hill known as Lord’s and this is the centre of the anticipated capital. It is hard to realize that this is a selected spot because there is not a house in sight, and very few trees but simply a great expanse of undulating country without vestige of improvement save the splendid fences. The land is the property of Messrs Campbell and Stevenson station proprietors. Then it comes home to us more vividly after seeing the place in its virgin aspect what a grand mistake it would be to spend millions in erecting a capital in this sparsely settled district simply because of jealousy between the two leading states of the Union. Though Victorian we would rather see the capital fixed at Sydney than a white elephant in this locality. 

Samuel Young’s Diary is a short but delightful read of over 30 pages and has a few black and white illustrations with the front page telling us that ‘the Child’ in the story is Samuel Young and ‘the Boy’ is his younger brother, William Dennis Young. The SLNSW catalogue entry mentions that Samuel Young became a solicitor in Beaufort, Victoria. Later, if given copyright permission it might be possible to include some of the brother’s adventures and escapades together with their tales of the interesting characters they encountered along the way. There is no picture of the two brothers, I wonder whatever happened to them? Does anyone know?

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