Resources for Worlds End research:
The People of the Meroo, 'Worlds End' Mudgee 1985 by Marjorie Sutcliffe.

Material and excursion of the area by Colin Atkins

'The End of the World' by Diane Simmonds, Mudgee Guardian 8/7/2002.





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Meroo Creek, Worlds End

  

True to its name, World’s End is at the end of the world, far into the back of the Mudgee hills, into the Never Never. It began life during the gold rush, but has now slowly faded into the past. Among the parade of colourful characters who populated the now forgotten part of the world was a Chinese man, Sue Chun, who lived to be 102. Now this isolated spot is home to just a few people who love its rugged peace and beauty.

World End is in the mountains between Grattai and Yarrabin. It was once an important gold field mined mostly by Chinese, who gave the place its name. It is now a wild bushland with wrens, kookaburras, magpies, pee wees, top knot doves, echidnas, kangaroos, platypi, giant tortoises, goannas – and a resident ghost.

Meroo Creek starts below Triangle Swamp at an elevation of 776m and ends at an elevation of 342m flowing into the Cudgegong River. It drops around 434m over its 95.6kms length. The Meroo Creek also flows into Lake Burrendong (342m) on its way to the Cudgegong, with the Gulgong Creek, Grattai Creek and Merinda flowing into it along the way. The Meroo Creek is 12 miles short of being called a river.

The road into World’s End is a doosey – a horse track of 4WD or 4 hoof mountain climbing. The road travels into the mountains for about 13kms, through locked gates (phone for permission to enter), over boulders and rocks and chasms, through streams, up mountains and down valleys until you reach Bindarie – an Aboriginal title meaning ‘abandoned country’. But when you get there – WOW!

In 1851 gold was discovered on Wallerwaugh Station near Louisa Creek, World’s End, on Dr Kerr’s property, by an aboriginal man called Danny. Three large nuggets were found on the southern tip of the delta of creeks which drained into the Cudgegong River, and then to the Macquarie River, just south of Tucker’s Hill. The largest nugget was called Kerr’s Hundredweight.

Dr Kerr was one of 3 doctors in NSW at the time. He arrived on a convict ship in the 1830s. Kerr farmed wool on Wallerwaugh. He married Elizabeth Sutter and settled in Bathurst. Elizabeth was a descendant of George Suttor, who came to NSW in 1800 and farmed at Parramatta, growing oranges.

George established Brucedale, 320 acres, between Sofala and Bathurst. He built it up to 4,904 acres, and kept building up his holdings, including the land Pyramul now stands on, stretching to Wellington and Merindee on the Yarrabin Road. His son William Henry Suttor inherited Brucedale

Once Kerr’s hundredweight was discovered, the gold rush to Meroo was on. More than 500 miners flocked to the field. George Cox and company began fossicking in the Meroo Creek, which soon proved unsuccessful, however, a strike at Maitland Bar soon gave new hope.

The Maitland Bar field was described as being like a ‘potato patch’, the gold was so prolific.

In 1857 there was another rush on the lower Meroo, where a town called Merende grew. Merende is now covered by Lake Burrendong.

 

The Chinese:

As many as 700 Chinese men worked the Meroo goldfields. The first recorded death of a Chinese was in January 1857. He was buried at the Sofala Episcopalian Church cemetery. There were also many chinese buried at Moonlight Gully, Tambaroora, Windeyer cemetery, but Chinese agents have long since taken the remains for reburial in Ancestral grounds in China.

 

 

Chinese Pudmills:

Remains of Chinese pudmills still grace the banks of the Meroo at World’s End. There are remains of Chinese pudmills South of Willow Bend, two on the northern side and one on the bend of the Meroo between Cadzow and Finland Stations.

The pudmill was used to separate gold from clay-based soil. The mill was a round trench, about 4 metres wide and 77cms deep, with an island in the centre containing a pivot post with a long pole.

A horse or mule was harnessed to the pole, pulling it around the trench, sluicing the clay and water, allowing the gold to settle on the bottom.

Top dirt was removed and replaced with more gold bearing soil and eventually, the pudmill emptied to the few centimetres on the bottom, which would be worked through a cradle or panned to collect the gold.

The pudmill separated gold from the clay based dirt. It was a circular trench about 4 foot wide and 30 inches deep with an outside diameter of about 14 feet, resulting in an island of about 6 feet in the centre. A post was set in the centre of the island, with a pivot carrying a long balanced pole. The end of the pole trailed a triangular harrow through the circular trench. The system was driven by a horse or mule harnessed to the other end of the long pole, walking round and round the outside of the trench, allowing the gold to settle on the bottom.

After some hours, during which time the top dirt was removed and more gold bearing dirt added, the trench would be emptied and the bottom few inches of dirt worked through a cradle or other gold separating equipment.

 

The Chun Family:

A 16 year old boy, Sue Chun, came to Australia in 1846 from Yung Sam, Canton, in South China. He died at World’s End in his little hut aged 102 in 1932. Sue worked for the Suttor family before buying his own land at World’s End. A Chinese girl, Moye, aged 14, came out from China about 1875 and married Sue Chun in 1891 at Mudgee. They had 9 children at World’s End, Henry, Bill, Tom, Bert, Herbie and others.

About 1860, Sue took a selection of 1280 acres and bought 100 acres, together with a 15 acre gold lease about 1860. The gold lease eventually was leased to the Finland Station, owned by Sam McColl, Ross Poole and Winton Higgins.

The Chun family brought their supplies in about once each year, flour, sugar, etc. along their road, the remains of which can still be seen on the side of the road on Finland Station facing east. The Meroo had plenty of fish, but since the 1930s, fish have been scarce. The family grew their own vegetables and fruit (apricots, figs, cherries, quinces, oranges, pears, grapes) and killed their own meat, mostly sheep.

An Orange tree still standing on Chun's property.

When water was short, Moye Chun took the washing to the creek and washed in a small pool beside the large river oak. She also walked to the top of the Lofty Ranges to ‘Highland Home’ above the Bullock Flat to do the homestead washing and ironing. Her house was made of galvanised iron, the roof lined with calico made by the Chun girls.

 

With 7 river crossings to face, horse riding and carts were the best means of transport. Even today, a 4WD struggles to combat this road. Sue’s sons, Henry, Bill, Tom, Bert, Herbie, had cars, but they proved impractical. The young ones went to dances o Saturday nights, often returning home by daylight the next morning. The dances were held in a big barn, with musicians playing the fiddle, accordion and mouth organ. Dances were also held at Yarrabin.

 

The Chuns sold their property to Mr de Kralzy in 1937, then it sold on to the James family, then Frank Whale, the Atkins and in 1955, the Edwards family. It was put up for auction late 1960s and bought by developers Stephen and Richard Walsh who put a new road in, with 3 bridges (only one left now, at the Woolshed). The developers sold the land in their original blocks.

Bill Chun married Alice, who lived on Thistle Station.

 

Tom Chun was born near Willow Bend. There was a cottage there near the pear tree on land eventually owned by Sheila and Mick Harvey and their son Michael.  They called the place Tarnagulla (Nordick for Lake).  The Everingham family eventually built at Willow Bend, then Liz and Glenn Hamilton owned it, calling it Cadzow, after their ancestral home in Scotland. They eventually built another home at the entrance to World’s End.

On the flat near Old Heck’s place, Tom Chun, his wife and son lived in a place originally built by Frank MacGrath. Tom lived there until the 1930s. An orange tree and some grape vines still remain.

The original block of land where the Chun family lived became the property of Marj and Frank Sutcliffe and their son Geoff. They named it Bindarie, aboriginal for ‘abandoned country.

Frank Sutcliffe later lived in a hut that was built in the 1920s for Sue Chun when he was about 100 years old. It is made of mud, clay and small stones. The original kitchen was separate from the house and had a large fireplace at one end with seats on either side and a large table to seat 20 people. On Sundays, family and friends came to race their horses. There was a race track that ran past the old apricot trees, turned right and up the gully for two furlongs. At the end a gate with a slip rail was left open so riders who could not stop could run into the next paddock.

The fireplace had seats on either wide.

Frank Sutcliffe was still living in Sue Chun’s old house in 2002, a nephew living nearby.

Frank at the section leading to the original Chun house.

 He had added extensions to Sue’s old home, including a sunny verandah, where Mr Sutcliffe could sit on his rocking chair and look over the mountains. Frank Sutcliffe bought Bindarie in 1974. He retired from automotive engineering in Sydney and moved into Mudgee township, but just six weeks later, his wife Marjorie died. Mr Sutcliffe moved to Worlds End shortly after and has lived there ever since, claiming it was the ‘best place in the world’ to live, his company, his dog ‘Yarra’, a flock of racing pigeons and his horse, ‘Whispers Gift’.

Frank Sutcliffe sat on his verandah

Whispers Gift has a lovely story. Her mother, Whisper, was a beautiful Palimino, who took to the hills when she began labour, but rolled into some rocks and could not shift. Another horse came down to the house and screamed and whinnied until Frank Sutcliffe came out and began to follow her. She led him up into the mountains to where Whisper lay, trying to give birth. Whisper was saved, and Whisper’s Gift was born.

There was also a rifle range up the gully beside Finland Station and Bendarie. Competitors shot at distances of 300 and 600 yards and 900 yards from across the river. There were less trees then, so a clear view up the gully was had.

A tennis court also stood between the apricot trees and the house, near the orchard. And an age old oleander tree still flowers near the ruins of Sue Chun’s house.

 

 Jimmy Hoy:

At the junction of the Grattai and the Meroo, there is the remains of an old cabin, once owned by a Chinese named Jimmy Hoy, a vendor who sold a wide range of goods to the district. Jimmy was killed, pinned under a horse at Merrindee Station.

 

Old Heck:

A Chinese man named Old Heck lived on the reserve adjoining Finland Station. He grew vegetables and sold them to families along the Meroo. He died in the 1920s and was buried on the reserve, just above the bamboo, near his house. Nearby a garden of irises marks the Chinese grave, a traditional Chinese grave marking.

Old Heck's burial site.

A deep waterhole nearby was known as Heck’s Waterhole.

Old Heck's Waterhole

There are some remains of plants, instruments and crockery in Old Heck’s place. Many locals are convinced Old Heck still walks the hills and valleys of World’s End. Many claim to have witnessed Old Heck’s ghost – the flickering of candles, a slight movement of air as he walks past, a heavy musk fragrance with no explanation. Colin Atkins said he was riding a very quiet horse near Punch’s Waterhole when his dogs began to bark and howl, running back to him. His horse stopped, pricked up its ears and refused to go another step. The Banks family said when they first came to the area, they dug up an old red hobnail boot down near the river. When they uncovered it, they felt really strange and decided to cover it up again and leave it. They were camped in a caravan and during the night, a loud banging woke the family. The sound came the next night again and the family went home. Six months later, they returned, only to be woken by the sound again. Old Heck lives on...

The spot where the old hobnail red boot was found.

Remains of Old Heck's market garden shovels.

 

Other residents:

Some of the names associated with World’s End residents include: Brown, Harvey, McColl, Adams, Poole, Higgins, Parker, Boyd, Joy, MacGrath, Everingham, Hamilton, Cadzow , da Kratzy, Sutcliffe, Walsh, Caldwell, Watson, Atkins and Edwards.

Bill Brown snr and his brother came to Australia from Kirkaldy, Scotland, just before WWI. They joined up for the war and after it ended, returned to Scotland. Bill returned Australia with his wife, Elizabeth and daughter Alice, who was 18 in 1919. They came back to World’s End in 1930 with 3 children, Alice, Bill jnr and Hector. They camped on Sue Chun’s property near the orchard for about a year, then moved to Thistle Station, further up the Meroo toward Hargraves.

In the Great Depression, some families mined for gold, aided by government payments of 10 shillings for alluvial mining and different amounts for reef mining and tunnelling.

The Browns worked at Merrindee about 1935 with the manager, Bert McGrath. Alice Brown married Bill Chun and lived on the Meroo. The men rose about 6am, set rat traps in the cellars and stables, and rabbit traps. The children walked 5 miles to school at Yarrabin, the teacher Athol Lees, who later b ecame headmaster at Springwood school,. After school the children set rabbit traps once again, cut firewood for the stove and fireplaces, fed the dogs, horses, milked the cows then did their homework and ate tea. Dad and Dave was popular on the radio. Then to bed about 7pm.

Alice and Bill Chun lived at Forbes in their 80s (about 1985), and Bill Brown and his wife Mary returned to their property at Eugowra.

 

Atkins/Edwards

Colin and Elsie Atkins, Vi and Aub Edwards once owned all 4,000 acres of World’s End.

Colin and Elsie lived at Tryon and used to camp at Chun’s house, and the Edwards lived near the Meroo River at the bottom of Mt Lofty. They came in 1965 and left in 1974 after Aub Edwards died of a heart attack unexpectedly, aged 50 and Colin could not manage by himself any more. Colin and his stepfather raised sheep and some cattle in the area.

Colin has a million tales to tell of life at Worlds End. Like the skeleton of the horse that lay out on the side of a hill that old Sue Chun shot after it bolted and refused to be caught.

“It used to stand out on that clearing and whinny at him,” so old Sue Chun got his rifle and shot him dead,’ Colin said.

The skeleton remained there, laying up the side of the hill for many years. Eventually someone took the skull and made it into a gatepost light.

Colin recalls how the rough country of World’s End conquered the aims of many motorbike enthusiasts to ride through the terrain. Colin said one group, at Punch’s Waterhole told him their bikes could do anything his horse could do.

‘So I took off the saddle and swam my horse across the 30 foot deep waterhole to the other side and said, Yeah, let’s see you.”

Colin said any horse that could not jump up a 3 foot cliff in the mountain country was not worth having. He remembered riding his horse in snow on the bridle track above Chun’s house on slippery black ice, when the horse slipped and slid down the mountain, sitting on his hooves all the way to Chun’s house, sparks flying everywhere. Both horse and rider were unhurt.

 

 

 



diane simmonds: need help with old photo

Do you have any old photographs that might be helpful to this site? Please email the author, Diane Simmonds, by clicking here. Or, Phone 02 63722189
The author may be able to restore your photographs in return for use on this site. (Photos on this site are produced at low resolution for web use only.)

 

 


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