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Early Hunter Valley Settlers
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Hunter River - Merton - Jerry's Plains - Foy Brook

Settlers on Map 6

Alexander Anderson
James Arndell
Thomas Arndell
James Brindley Bettington
John Henshall Bettington
George Blaxland
Charles Cameron
Peter Cunningham
Cyrus Matthew Doyle
John Hoskings
Rev. John McGarvie
William Ogilvie
James Robertson

Peter Miller Cunningham described this area in Two Years in New South Wales. (1827).............

Mr. Ogilvie possesses here six thousand acres, consisting of alluvial flats and lightly-timbered forest land backwards, bounded by a moderately high ridge. A plain of fifty acres of rich land (without a tree upon it) is situated in the middle of the grant, overlooked by a beautiful swelling hill, equally clear, of the finest sort of garden mould, and covered with luxuriant grasses. The Goulburn enters Hunter's river opposite to the bottom of Mr. Ogilvie's grant, the plains on each side being hemmed in by woody ridges of moderate elevation, toward which the back land gradually rises. Contrary to what is generally found in other parts of the country, the ridges upon the upper part of Hunter's river are almost uniformly flattened at the top, forming little miniature hills and valleys covered with fine soil of moderate depth, and abounding in grass, which makes them the great resort of the kangaroos and cattle in the winter season. Behind the ridge bounding Mr. Ogilvie's farm, at four miles distance, is Mr. George Blaxland's residence, where several flocks of fine woolled sheep and a large herd of cattle are kept. Captain Pike brought out to his residence here, a good assortment of Saxon and Spanish Merinos, which promise to be a great benefit to the flocks on this river, besides the advantages he will individually derive from them. Twenty four miles above this, at Holdsworthy Downs, Lieut. Gibbs, Mr. Carlisle R.N. and the Messrs Little are settled, with Mr. McIntyre agent for Potter Macqueen M.P. Farther on again, several young Scotchmen have taken grants upon some fine clear downs along the banks of a branch of the Goulburn. All these gentlemen possess sheep, and indeed there is no settler of any note upon this extensive river, who is not turning his attention to the production of fine wool.

The name of Jerry's Plains was explained by a correspondent to the Singleton Argus in 1896....

The Jerry's Plains district, or electoral division, was discovered by John Howe and party about the time Singleton, or Patrick's Plains, was lit upon by that little band of intrepid explorers. Indeed, it was by John Howe that the name "Jerry's Plains" was given to the locality. It appears that a servant, whose Christian name was abbreviated to the sobriquet of "Jerry," who accompanied Mr Howe's party, was lighting a camp fire on the plains, where the party had just arrived, and the weather and wood being damp, poor Jerry had recourse to the aid of powder, and through heedlessness in the use of it, effected an explosion, from which he was the sufferer ; and in order to give Jerry some solace to assuage for the price of his mishap, the plains where he distinguished himself were called after him.

-Singleton Argus 30 December 1896



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