They wished upon a star : a history of Southern Cross and Yilgarn by P.T. McMahon.
Did you know that ‘MIRRABOOKA’ is the aboriginal word for Southern Cross???
On that ancient sea bed of Yilgarnia, one of the oldest land surfaces in the world. Yilgarnia, timeless and mysterious, a land of such antiquity, that figures alone are beyond the conceivable.
Charles Laseron wrote in the Face of Australia: “It was here…….. before there was any living thing either on the earth or in the sea” The Yilgarnia has remained almost unchanged geologically for seven hundred million years and its solitude may well have remained virtually undisturbed but for the gold in its rocks
This excellent book has very little information on it, even on the State Library web site. It was published in 1972, 45 yrs ago. If you are interested in the Southern Cross and Yilgarn area you will find it very interesting. In the foreword by the Hon Lionel F Kelly, he states ‘This book is a historical gem, it would be difficult to find a single important event that has not been included. It is a true story interspersed with records which has resulted in a first class story which is easy to read.’
The book is dived into ten sections entitled:-
Discovery of the Yilgarn Field
Frasers and Yilgarn Group
Wheat an Pastoral Activities
“Little Rats, A Hermit and Hoppers”
“Oil Hoax, Migrants and Murder”
There are only a few photographs in this book but some I have not seen before, such as the following one showing the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses by the uncle of the author, Owen McMahon, who was also one of the districts first farmers.
From the ‘Biography’s’ section I would lie to share with you two that I found interesting:-
He unsuccessfully tried to ‘Jump’ the Fraser’s Mine, he was brother to a doctor who was practising in Kalgoorlie at the time. He amassed a substantial wack out of ‘Long Reef mine in a Lennonville mining deal, but he was a born gambler. He once set out on a trip back to Tipperary with £800 in his pocket but stopping off in Perth he decided to put the whole lot on a horse with the result that he had to borrow his fare back to the Murchison.
Born in Glasgow Scotland in 1902, he came to Australia in 1910 and first settled in Bruce Rock. He came to Southern Cross in 1923 and he established a farm of 1000 acres, six miles north of the Cross. By 1929 he had 400 sheep and was well on the way to success when the depression struck. Most of the other farmers around abandoned their properties but he held on a battled through. In 1969 he had 15,000 acres in crop and 5500 sheep. He also built a fine modern shop in the main street of Southern Cross called ‘Yilgarnia’. His son became a champion shearer.
Some well known names feature in this section such as, Warden Michael Finnerty, George Spencer Compton and Daisy Bates.
Should you wish to read this book you can only access it in person at the State Library as they only hold two copies and both, unfortunately, are ‘Not for Loan’. I am happy to look up any names in my own copy.
The ISBN is 095980580X