An early history of Moss Vale by AVJ 'Jack' Parry was run in the local Southern Mail during 1948 as a series of 26 articles. At the time Parry was Bowral's Deputy Town Clerk and served on numerous committees. His many interests included general and local history. He was meticulous and had an elegant turn of phrase.
This column, over successive weeks, will present extracts from his Moss Vale series, starting here with the first part, being a general overview, published on May 21, 1948.
"For the student of history and economic development, and the march of civilisation, the Berrima district offers scope for research unrivalled probably anywhere in Australia. Perusal of contemporary literature and old records presents a picture of an era of dour endeavour, pioneering determination, colourful chivalry, human travail, and virgin bush, which, with all the hardships attendant upon the growing pains of a colony, stand in grim yet, in many ways, attractive contrast to our modern streamlined age.
All parts of the district have points of outstanding interest, but attention has been focused recently on the Moss Vale portion by recent 'Back to Moss Vale' celebrations.
Nearly 146 years ago, on June 13, 1802, the convict transport ship Coromandel reached the infant colony of NSW carrying, as surgeon in charge, Dr Charles Throsby, who was a native of Leicester, England, having been born in 1771. Shortly after his arrival Throsby was appointed to the colonial medical establishment, in October going to the Castle Hill settlement as assistant surgeon and magistrate. He was transferred in August 1804 to the penal settlement established shortly before at Kingston (now Newcastle), subsequently, in April 1805, being appointed commandant, succeeding the first commandant. There he administered the settlement with zeal and acumen until 1809, when ill-health necessitated his resignation and retirement to a grant of 500 acres at Glenfield, near Liverpool, made by Lieutenant-Governor Foveaux and confirmed by Governor Macquarie.
There had been prior exploration of the Berrima district in 1798, and Hamilton Hume had been in the district in 1814 and 1815, but Dr Throsby is generally credited with being the 'official discoverer' of the Southern Highlands area.
Governor Macquarie, in March 1817, requested Hume to accompany Throsby and Deputy Surveyor Meehan to the 'New Country,' as it was then known, and the trip, Throsby's first attempt at exploration, took place between July 28 and August 13, 1817, the end of the journey having been somewhere in the vicinity of Sutton Forest. Subsequently Throsby, in the course of numerous explorations, proved himself a fine bushman and made many valuable discoveries, and, with Joseph Wild, after whom Wilde's Meadow is named, was the first settler in the Bong Bong-Moss Vale area, although Surveyor-General John Oxley appears to have had cattle at Bargo in 1815, which were later moved by his superintendent, Fletcher, to 'a station where Mr Cordeaux now lives near Berrima'.
Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who was famous amongst other things for his establishment of new settlements and the erection of lasting buildings, took steps in September 1819, to form a settlement in the Wingecarribee area and granted Throsby and nine other free persons victualling orders on the stores at Liverpool, Throsby agreeing to supply rations of 'animal food from his own herds for both New Settlers and the Working Party for the Roads'. Throsby was in charge of the settlement from October 1819, and, actually, only five settlers had gone out originally.
Throsby was granted 1000 acres (Parish of Bong Bong) for his services. This area was laid out, with other grants, by Surveyor William Harper about 1822. Throsby had already erected a cottage on the estate in 1820, when, on October 18, Macquarie passed through the property, and named it Throsby Park.
Throsby died early in 1828, aged 51, in tragic circumstances, and, being without issue, his original lands were taken over and expanded by his nephew, Charles Throsby. This Charles Throsby had 17 children, and was the progenitor of the present Throsby family, whose members have been so notably connected with the progress of Moss Vale and the district."
- Berrima District Historical and Family History Society - compiled by PD Morton. Part 1 of a 6-part series. To be continued.