Page:The History of Ballarat.djvu/44

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9
PRIMEVAL BALLARAT.

called, after the settler of that name there. Another was where the Yarrowee bends under the ranges by the Brown Hill hotel, and the other was near Golden Point. Aborigines built their mia-mias about Wendouree, the kangaroo leaped unharmed down the ranges, and fed upon the green slopes and flats where the Yarrowee rolled its clear water along its winding course down the valley. Bullock teams now and then plodded their dull, slow way across flat and range, and made unwittingly the sites and curves of future streets. Settlers would lighten their quasi solitude with occasional chases of the kangaroo, where now the homes of a busy population have made a city; it was a favorite resort of the kangaroo, and Mr. A. Fisken, of Lal Lal, and other settlers often hunted kangaroo where Main, Bridge, and other streets are now. The emu, the wombat, the dingo, were also plentiful. The edge of the eastern escarpment of the plateau where Ballarat West now is, was then green and golden in the spring time with the indigenous grass and trees. Where Sturt street descends to the flat was a little gully, and its upper edges, where are now the London Chartered Bank, the Post-office, and generally the eastern side of Lydiard street, from Sturt street to the gaol site, were prettily ornamented with wattles.

I often passed (says Mr. Hastie) the spot on which Ballarat is built, when visiting Mr. Waldie, and there could not be a prettier spot imagined. It was the very picture of repose. There was, in general, plenty of grass and water, and often I have seen the cattle in considerable numbers lying in quiet enjoyment after being satisfied with the pasture. There was a beautiful clump of wattles where Lydiard street now stands, and on one occasion, when Mrs. Hastie was with me, she remarked, "What a nice place for a house, with the flat in front and the wattles behind!" Mr. Waldie had at that time a shepherd's hut about where the Dead Horse Gully is on the Creswick Road, and one day when I was calling on the hut-keeper, he said the solitude was so painful that he could not endure it, for he saw no one from the time the shepherds went out in the morning till they returned at night. I was the only person he had ever seen there who was not connected with the station.

The ground now occupied by Craig's hotel on one side of the gully that ran down by the "Corner," and by the Camp buildings on the other side, were favorite camping places in the pastoral days. Safe from floods, and near to water and grass, the spot