• Loddon Herald

Buckleys grind the grain



THE BUCKLEY brothers were born in Ireland and made their way to the central Victorian goldfields in the 1850s.

John would establish a flour mill with Edward when the older brother arrived in 1859.

The Buckley Brothers, Sandhurst Flour Mills, partnership was dissolved on November 12, 1864, when John was to continue conducting the Sandhurst mill.

The flour mill was offered for auction in January 1877 but it failed to meet the reserve of £3500.

As the Sandhurst partnership was being dissolved, the brothers were about to form a partnership with Lancaster Bridge so as to establish a flour mill at Newbridge.

Edward had returned to England to purchase all the necessary machinery. The business was known as Buckley, Bridge & Co. Edward Buckley was soon involved with Newbridge Agricultural Society show society, this show being considered only second to what we now know as the Royal Melbourne Show. He was awarded first prize for his bottled Colonial wine and for the best three bottles of wine in 1864.

He also won a medal for merit for his wheat and first prize for 200 lbs trade sample of flour at the Newbridge District Agricultural Society show in March 1872,

GM Boower did likewise at the 1876 North Western Agricultural Society show. He was at some time a judge at the Newbridge and the Bendigo Agricultural and Horticultural Society shows.

Edward Buckley did not restrict his exhibitions to the local shows as he won a silver medal for his wheat at a large exhibition held over summer 1872, a merit for his wheat at the Vienna Exhibition in August 1874 followed by an award at the Philadelphia Exhibition in October 1876 for his wheat and oats, followed by another medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1878 for his sheaves of wheat, however he had died before the latter was to be presented.

The Newbridge partnership was dissolved on January 22, 1866, with Edward Buckley and Lancaster Bridge continuing to trade.

Tenders were called for the supply of up to 80,000 bricks on July 24, 1868. Tenders were next called for masons, brick layers and carpenters to build a five-storey corn and flour store extension for Buckley, Bridge & Co, along with 20,000 feet of hardwood in September 1868. Eventually Messrs Davies and Edwards completed the brickworks whilst Messrs Hamilton and Hutchinson did the carpentry work.

The building was described as having walls 10 inches thick whilst the building was 33 feet square and 40 feet high.

Buckley and Bridge dissolved their partnership on January 27, 1871, at which time Buckley was to continue on his own account. A bone crushing plant and steamer were offered for sale in September 1871.

During 1873 30 tons of Buckley’s Newbridge flour was sold at £ 3/2/6 ar ton, described as not first class.

As Edward Buckley had a stroke in February 1877 the flour mill was eventually offered for sale or lease a number of times from November 1877. This resulted in long-term employee JM Patchell leaving. The Tarnagulla & Llanelly Courier newspaper published a report on the auction of the flour mill on May 31, 1878 but it would appear that the mill must have been passed in at £1400, however a four-roomed brick cottage with out buildings, well stocked fruit trees and gardens was sold for £150/0/0 to a Mr Brown of the firm of Roy & Co, whilst a 53-acre paddock fronting the Loddon river was knocked down to Tarnagulla business man E. Rosman for £10/7/6 per acre, Mr H. Twigg purchased several town lots at £3/10/0 each, whilst the 320-acre paddock at Mysia, with house and out buildings, was sold to W. Tupper of Laanecoorie for £4 an acre.

Eighteen heavy draught horses, eight saddle horses, 20 head of cattle, pigs waggon, a buggy, dray and sundries made various prices. At that time the mill was described as being four storeys high, built of brick, containing five pairs of stones, bone and corn crusher, 22 horsepower engine; a seven-roomed house, with the necessary out houses, twelve stall stable, coach-house, store room, and carpenter’s shop, the whole standing on one acre of land.

It is not known how productive the mill was but the prolonged drought caused the mill to temporarily stop production in January 1886, however, tenders were called to enlarge the mill on August 15, 1888. The flour mill was next offered for auction, on November 23, 1895, at the Newbridge hotel, by the Trustees, Executors and Agency Limited, Melbourne, on behalf of the estate of Edward Buckley.

The Tarnagulla & Llanelly Courier newspaper reported on March 4, 1916 that the plant at the old flour mill was being dismantled by JJ Matthews, it to be removed to Melbourne. At that time it was also reported that the mill had been idle for 40 years.

Edward Buckley, a JP, was very active in the township of Newbridge - a member of the school committee, a judge at the Newbridge Agricultural Show, on the committee for the public reserve on May 17, 1865 when the Morning Star Cricket Club requested the use six of the 70 acres, a keen supporter of building a railway line from Kangaroo Flat to Lockwood, Woodstock, Tarnagulla, Newbridge onto Inglewood in 1862. Buckley was later elected the president of the Sandhurst, Tarnagulla and Dunolly Railway League by 1873.

Although there much agitation for a railway line through the Lockwood and Woodstock area we now know that a railway was built from Sandhurst to Inglewood, currently unused, whilst another line was built from Dunolly to Inglewood, when opened this having four return trains a day but now it is used as a grain line. Most of our readers probably would not remember another line that was built from Maldon to Woodstock West, it to terminate near to the state school and the former little blue stone church. Eventually this line was opened as far as Shelbourne however the earth works were basically completed right through to Blossom Hill road. This line was closed in 1969 when it was burnt out by a bush fire.

Edward Buckley married Margaret Helena, in 1863 and died at Newbridge on April 2, 1878. He was survived by his wife, four sons and four daughters.

Margaret held a clearing auction on March 1891 in readiness to move to Melbourne. Later the old family house was razed to the ground by a fire in 1915, Margaret held an auction to sell the corrugated iron and timber salvaged from the fire.

Lancaster Bridge died on May 8, 1910, whilst wife Ellen died on January 8, 1932.

She lived in Newbridge for over 50 years. The township lost a very staunch member of the local Anglican church as Mrs Bridge was the Sunday School teacher, organist and choir leader.

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