The First Tango In Moruya – and other news of 100 years ago!


Shire-wide news extracts from the Moruya Examiner of this time in 1914, provided by the Moruya & District Historical Society:

Sir Austin Chapman – member for Eden- Monaro (1901 – his death, 1926)

IRRIGATION – The project of utilising the waters of the Shoalhaven River for the purpose of irrigation and its inevitable results, as propounded by Mr. Austin Chapman at the official opening of the Nowra Show, opens up a vista of immense possibilities that loom up by the application or employment of the same scheme to all the eastern rivers, most of which are cut out by Nature to be simple work for the engineer to dam and utilise for irrigation.

To localise the subject we need only imagine a dam across the Moruya River, anywhere above Kiora, with a main laid on down each side irrigating the futile lands of our river.  We picture in our mind’s eye the abundance of Nature on her broad acres; we see the smiling farmer who no longer reads the weather forecast with a troubled look, or sadly contemplates a windmill working a pump in a dry well, but who joyfully struggles to load his pumpkins with a derrick, and the man with the town water supply on a cart slowly plodding his way from the cross roads is only a half incredulous remembrance.  We can imagine the same results from the damming of the Tuross for Bodalla, and of the Brogo and Bemboka rivers for Bega.p

Whether such work should be carried out by the Government or by the people interested, assisted by the Government, or by joint stock companies, we leave to others to consider.  But one thing is certain – that the rich lands of the eastern rivers is too valuable an asset to be left to the capriciousness of the weather while the facility for irrigation is so conveniently available and the advantages that would accrue from it are outside the bounds of calculation.  7/3/1914

GOOD RETURN – On Saturday last the young Motbeys (brothers and cousin) lodged at the local bank of N.S.W. as ingot of gold weighing 101 ounces, the result of a crushing of 19 ½ tons of stone from their Grasstree Creek, Nerrigundah, mine.  Since these young men struck gold a few months ago, they have taken £800 worth from this mine, the metal being of the highest standard, realising £4 3s 6d per ounce.  In the last crushing the lucky owners put through “everything,” and the shaft is now down 90ft.  Very rich stone is in sight. – Cobargo “Chronicle.”   7/3/1914

The Bank of NSWin Moruya, 1890
The Bank of NSWin Moruya, 1890

“TANGO” – We have received from Chapman’s, music importers of 694 George St., Sydney, a copy of the “Tango Rag,” the new and inspiring ballroom craze.  This firm has secured the Australian publishing rights for this dance piece, which has set fire to the musical world in all countries.   7/3/1914

The Tango craze was sweeping the world in 1914
The Tango craze was sweeping the world in 1914

PLEASED – District residents, more especially those residing in the vicinity of Gundary, are pleased beyond measure that the death of Mr. A. Crapp’s fine draught gelding has now been proved beyond a doubt to have been accidental, and not the work of a human being as was suspected from first appearances.  When he had read the account of the animal’s death in the “Examiner,” and the suspicion of foul play, Mr. John Coppin was so perturbed in mind that he got up at daylight on the following morning (Sunday) with the determination that every spot of the small paddock in which the horse was running would be so minutely examined that if accidental the discovery would be made and the horrible suspicion of foul play removed.  Mr. Coppin’s efforts were, we are pleased to say, fully rewarded, for in the paddock he picked up a broken pickle bottle with  spiked piece attached to the thick bottom of the bottle.  This piece was about the width of a butcher’s knife, about 2 ½ inches long, and as sharp as a lance, had blood and hair upon it, and there were traces of blood alongside the bottle.  Mr. Coppin is perfectly satisfied that this piece of glass caused the horse’s death, and is naturally pleased with his discovery, as is also the public, as it removes all suspicions.   7/3/1914

Sixteen 100 years ago booklets containing articles for the years 1899 to 1913 are available ($5 ea) from the society’s rooms.  Copies of local newspapers from the 1860s to date can be viewed at the society’s Family History Research Centre (Ph 4474 3224) situated at the rear of the Pioneer Museum in Campbell St. Moruya ( 

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