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Charles Sturt University Bachelor of Information Studies student Jillian Fearnley has recently completed a project working on the Library's Toganmain map collection.
This project involved processing a collection of maps which are part of a larger collection of material, The Toganmain, Telleraga and Brewarrina Stations - pastoral records, 1835-1986, that were kindly donated to the library by the stations’ former owners, the Robertson family. The collection is distinctive in that it encompasses a vast assortment of items including the afore-mentioned maps, diaries, letters, stock records and accounting records over a period of one hundred and fifty years in rural New South Wales.
The maps predominantly reference Toganmain Station located in the Riverina region which originally commenced as a land grant to the Colonial Secretary of NSW, Alexander Macleay. They illustrate the break-up and re-aggregation of Toganmain Station (now incorporated into another much larger landholding, “Gundaline”, producing cotton, grains, rice and cattle) into a significant pastoral land-holding initially engaged in the raising of fine Merino sheep with the resultant wool-clip transported either by steamers along the Murrumbidgee River bordering the top end of Toganmain station or conveyed by dray to the nearest railway station. Later there were forays into irrigation as evidenced by irrigation plans and maps that make up part of the collection.
The most unique item in the map collection is a hand-drawn map of the Murrumbidgee River post-1897 which, at almost four metres in length, displays landmarks such as homesteads, trees, pumping stations as well as river hazards such as sandbars, snags and stumps. Other items of interest are a bound, folded, photoprint map from 1865 showing the squatting runs of the Murrumbidgee District and a genealogical chart published by E.W. Cox denoting bloodlines for pure-bred Merinos from Spain to Australia. Several other maps illustrate the travelling stock-routes that covered much of NSW allowing landowners to move and graze stock throughout the state; they still exist today as public land although some on the eastern side of NSW are now resumed by suburbia.
“I've shore at Burrabogie and I've shore at Toganmain I've shore at Big Willandra and out on the Coleraine But before the shearing was over I longed to get back again Shearing for old Tom Patterson on the One Tree Plain” - 'Flash Jack from Gundagai' in A.B. Paterson’s “The Old Bush Songs” (1906).
This project was undertaken as an internship with the State Library of NSW working within the Mixed Formats team.
by Jillian Fearnley, intern, Charles Sturt University