Gulgong History P.4
Henry Lawson in Gulgong
One of Australia's most famous poets and short-story writers, Henry Lawson, once lived at Eurunderee on the Henry Lawson Drive, Mudgee, where the remains of his house are turned into a memorial, but Henry has been claimed by Gulgong, which celebrates his life at the Henry Lawson Festival on the June long weekend every year.
Henry lived at Gulgong for 12 months as a young boy (1871-72), arriving from Grenfell on their way to the goldfields at Eurunderee.
Henry features Gulgong and Mudgee in many of his stories and poems, many of them most uncomplimentary. Stories such as Water Them Geraniums and Brighten’s Sister-in-Law depict the post goldrush region as ’wretched’, ’dreary’ and ’dismal’, which was certainly how Henry found his life at that time.
Details of his writings and life will be found in the Henry Lawson section, to be published on this website soon.
Sam Poo was a Chinese bushranger who robbed people on the Gulgong-Mudgee road, always meeting his victims on foot.
Nicknamed ‘Cranky Sam’, he was unpopular with his own people as well as the rest of the inhabitants of the district.
Sam Poo was armed with a pistol and a shotgun. He first robbed 10 of his countrymen on the Gulgong Mudgee Road, then attacked and raped a settler’s wife.
Gold miners at Talbragar (then Denison Town), the nearest settlement, were outraged, but not sufficiently to stop their prospecting and chase him down.
Trooper John Ward was the sole law keeper, trying to capture Sam Poo on his own. Ward caught up with Sam Poo at Barney’s Reef, where they had a cowboy style shootout, dodging behind rocks and trees, shooting all the way. Ward was shot in the chest and later died. He was married with five children.
Sam Poo was sentenced to death by Judge Edward Hargreaves at Bathurst in 1865.
News snippets on Gulgong
The Mudgee Guardian and Gulgong Advertiser writes:
Friday 13 January 1978
Days When Gulgong Was Hub of the World
One hundred or so years ago, the streets of Gulgong were the busiest, rowdiest and most crowded in Australia.
At its peak, in the spring of 1872 Gulgong had a population of 20,000.
Contrast that today with the town's 1600 inhabitants.
In the wake of the discovery of gold; people of all nationalities flocked to the new field.
Close on the heels of the miners came men seeking the gold of another kind, the storekeepers, butchers, bakers, hotel-keepers, chemists, doctors, newspapermen and dance hall proprietors.
The credit for the discovery of gold at Gulgong goes to a shepherd Tom Saunders.
In all, Cobb and Co coaches took away 483,170 ounces of gold from Gulgong and nearby fields between 1870 and 1880.
Gulgong was the boyhood home of Henry Lawson and the town is immortalised in his poems and writings.
Henry was the son of Peter Larson, a Norwegian seaman who left his ship in Melbourne and later changed his name to Lawson, and Louisa Albury, daughter of Harry Albury, a rural worker in the Gulgong district and his wife.
Henry was born in a tent on the goldfields at the Grenfell gold fields in 1866. His father had no luck on the diggings.
When gold was discovered in Gulgong he tried his luck there.
Henry moved from boyhood to adolescence while the family lived in the Gulgong district - a period encompassing the "roaring days" to the winding down of large scale commercial mining.
Lawson’s best known poem The Roaring Days, was written about Gulgong (Tis' the palmy days of Gulgong - Gulgong in the Roaring Days).
Tuesday May 10 1988
The $10 note: The fight is on
A small delegation armed with thousands of petition signatures and hundreds of letters will meet Treasury officials next week in a desperate bid to keep Gulgong on the ten dollar note.
The local outrage caused by the Treasury's plans to erase the Gulgong streetscape and Henry Lawson's portrait from our currency has snowballed and is gathering momentum as it rolls towards the Treasury's steps in Canberra.
Just as one Gulgong person said, the ten dollar note "is the best travel brochure ever made".
Mudgee Guardian journalist Mr Frank Halloran was mainly responsible for Gulgong being featured on the $10 note.
Mr Halloran was an avid Henry Lawson enthusiast who suggested Lawson and Gulgong be featured on one of the notes when the Federal Government sought themes for the new decimal currency in the sixties.
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The Home Rule Hotel during the gold rush.
Street signs today still show the heritage of the Gulgong Gold Rush.