Bundalong Village Settlement
Many of my TAYLOR ancestors took up settlement blocks at Bundalong. This article gives me a great insight into their farming and community life. I hadn’t realised that children from the area went to Esmond School, as stated in the article. So, I now have my next research focus – to look up the Esmond School records.
Ovens and Murray Advertiser, Saturday 2 July 1898.
On Thursday of last week Mr. Thomas, the head of the Village Settlement Branch, accompanied by Mr. Bowser, M.L.A., and Mr. Williams, steward, visited the village settlement at Bundalong for the purpose of allotting additional land to the settlers there.
When the Minister, Mr. Foster, visited the place two years since, he promised to increase the blocks, and this was done, the married men getting fifteen and the single ten acres. These have been so well improved that the member urged for an extension by five acres more each, where possible, and also that when any settlers abandoned their holdings these lands should be divided between the most improving settlers and those likely to become permanent residents. These claims were conceded.
The visitors drove round the settlement and found the families fairly comfortable in their little homesteads, and almost every available acre was under wheat. The land is good and 1000 bags of wheat were taken off 200 acres last year, no settler having more than 15 acres. There are now 60 of these settlements in Victoria and Mr. Thomas remarked that nowhere has he seen a more promising village.
Full inquiry was made into the claims of the settlers, who were found busy on their holdings, some clearing, others ploughing, although over most of the land a fine braid is already above ground. The children — and many of them very young — have to travel three miles to the Esmond school, and as there is a neat church on the settlement, and the children numerous enough to entitle them to a school, there is no doubt, but that a teacher will be provided for them.
Other matters having been attended to, the party returned to Yarrawonga, and in the evening the blocks were allotted in such a way as to do justice to those settlers who had less than 20 acres of land. This is the maximum area allowed under the act as it at present stands.
The success of this settlement is due to the excellence of the land and a good system of farm management introduced by one of the settlers, (Mr. Lee, ) who is progressive and prosperous. Another factor is that the settlers and their sons can get work on the farms round about, where they see (at Messrs. Hogan Bros, especially) how a good farm should be managed.
Then many of the farmers —like the Messrs. M’Kenzie — have large areas of wheat land across the river, and they send the men over to work there. In these ways, work is provided, so that the settlers are able to pull through the season between ploughing and harvest. So far little effort has been made to provide for social improvements and entertainment, but these will come. The Rev. A. Rivett, assisted by Mr. Morey, some years since, built a church there, which is used for service of the Congregational Church, and for the Band of Hope. This should form a good building in which to place a book case for a library