|Present-day view of the Toll-bar cottage.|
Photo John Merriman - flickr.
|Map of One Tree Hill showing the Toll-bar cottage and |
George Sheppeard's original holdings c.1920s
George Sheppheard, it seems, held the lease at Broughton's Waterhole from 1852 until about 1866, while his friend, Thomas Ellison, did the same at 17 Mile Hollow, Linden, for roughly the same period. Both also built inns on land adjacent to their toll bars and tapped extra income from the passing traffic. The toll bar at Linden is long gone, demolished to make way for the railway in 1867, while the quiet, withdrawn position of the Broughton's Waterhole cottage today belies its active past. In those years when the gold fever drove thousands into the wilderness the small toll bar cottage played a central role in the bustling surge of life that moved along the Bathurst Road.
|The Welcome Inn and Toll-bar cottage, early 1900s|
Photo courtesy Macleay Museum
According to the convict records, George was of ruddy complexion and a big man for the time being 5’10” in height, and showing the scars on his face and knuckles that marked him as a man who could use his fists, but been caught by a lucky left jab – he had a ‘missing front tooth right side of upper jaw, scar on right eyebrow and the left side of upper lip, sandy whiskers, two scars back of forefinger of right hand and one on back of forefingers of left hand.’
In December 1841 George Sheppeard married Caroline Victoria Whittle, daughter of Thomas and Victoria Whittle, she had arrived by the ship Queen Victoria in July 1841, and was described as a ‘native of London, domestic servant - plain cook and housemaid, age 28, very good health, Catholic, can read, under care of Surgeon Supt.’ This was a time when young women, usually servants or farm workers, were being actively recruited with low priced 'bounty' tickets to immigrate to NSW in an effort to supply labour and respectable servants, and to balance the ‘unhealthy’ male-female ratio. By 1833 male convicts accounted for 80 per cent of the recorded east Australian population. Among convicts the ratio of men to women was 8 to 1.
Many of the young 'bounty' girls who arrived in Sydney and Melbourne found themselves in a miserable situation, with little but prostitution and crime to sustain them. This was not to be Caroline’s fate, she arrived in July and was married to George within five months. Louisa Ann Meredith wrote of the female convicts, ‘All are certain of marrying, if they please; proposals are plentiful’.
After receiving his freedom in 1843 George was eager to take advantage of the many opportunities for a man with an eye to the main chance and the fists to back it up. George also leased the toll-bar at South Bowenfels. This was situated at what was called McGrath's Corner, near the junction of the main highway and the Lowther-Hampton-Oberon Road. This toll-bar was in existence from 1863 until 1872, when in response to falling income caused by the spread of the railways, many toll-bars were closed. John Delaney looked after this gate and in 1863 married George Sheppeard's eldest daughter Sarah Jane.
|The toll-bar cottage in 1951 during the Blue Mountains Crossings celebration|
Local Studies collection
In 1868 George was declared bankrupt and the Inn was put up for auction:
JAMES T. RYAN has received instructions from Mr. R. H. Sempill, the Official Assignee, to sell by auction, on Wednesday, 8th. day of January next, at noon, on the premises,— The " Old Welcome Inn," known as Shepherd's Tollbar, situated on the Bathurst Road, near Mount Victoria, One tree Hill. The property consists of 40 acres, on which is erected some good substantial buildings. The present tenant pays £60 per year, the tenancy terminating 24th November, 1868.With the promises will be sold the right to receive over from the tenant a large quantity of household furniture contained in the tap-room, dining-room, 6 bed-rooms, kitchen, wash-house, &c., particularized in a catalogue to be seen at the Auction Room, which appears to contain every requisite for such an establishment.
|Early 20th century map showing the footprint |
of the Toll-bar cottage and the Welcome Inn
Local Studies collection
The council report stated that the Trustees of the Mount Victoria Group reserves were joining up with the Urban Committee in the matter. It was decided to let the Urban Committee take possession, at the nominal rental of 1/- per annum.
|The Toll-bar cottage with unknown gent in front, c. 1930,|
photo by AA manning from the Local Studies collection
Today the locality of Broughton’s Waterhole has passed from living memory but George Sheppeard’s toll-bar cottage still stands among the road works, the holiday traffic and thundering trucks just off the busy highway in Mount Victoria. It is one of the few remaining links with that period before the railway when the road was the centre of all activity, legal and illegal, and life on the Mountains was often harsh and remote from the embellishments of civilization.
See also Gov. Macquarie's original proclamation in its glorious Georgian English and even do some text correcting -
"Proclamation, By His Excellency LACHLAN MACQUARIE, Esquire, Captain General, Governor and Commander in Chief in and over His Majesty's Territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies, &c. &c. &c." The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) 30 March 1811: 2. Web. 3 May 2017