Lambing Flat Folk Museum (Young, NSW)

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Young, as it was in 1887

Posted on November 24, 2015 at 7:30 PM

In about 1884 a fierce and wordy conflict arose between residents of the East and West portions of the town as to the best site to erect the railway goods-shed. The then Mayor, Mr. Sharp, decided to resign and test the feelings of the ratepayers. The west-enders accepted the challenge and opposed the return of Mr. Sharp. Mr. Forsythe was their champion; and after a keen contest the west-enders were defeated. But at the 1885 elections Mr. Forsythe was successful and in 1887 was elected Mayor.


The town of Young is situated in the centre of a large pastoral and agricultural district and owes its existence to the discovery of gold in 1860-61. Of late years the mining industry has been at a stand-still owing, in the case of alluvial mining, to the scarcity of water, and, in the deep sinking, to the rotten nature of the ground and the great difficulty with coping with the water and drift.

The mining industry has been succeeded by farming and grazing, the land around Young is well adapted to wheat growing, in fact almost all cereals do well, although it is generally too dry for maize. Owing to the uncertainty of the seasons, fruit growing is not carried out to any great extent; although Young is well adapted to vine culture. As for wool and sheep, Young stands very high, and can boast some of the finest pedigree sheep in the colony.


The town of Young was incorporated in 1882 and in 1886 had 400 on the roll. The estimated capital value of rateable property for 1886 was £290,860. The annual value upon which rates are struck is £20,964. There is thus a revenue of £800 per annum in the shape of rates. The total revenue for the Borough in 1886 was £10,000. There are about 50 miles of streets in the borough, 30 miles which are classified as made. Tree planting has received a fair share of attention; and the trees planted in Burrowa, Lynch, Cloete and Main Streets, as well as along the creek and on Camp Hill are doing very well. Recently a site for a park or recreation ground has been secured on the Burrowa road, and already a sum of money has been promised by the Government for fencing it in.


The absence of a water supply scheme is much felt. Some years ago an officer sent to Young by the Government, selected a suitable site some distance above the town, and a report was submitted to the Government; but beyond that nothing further has been done in the matter.


The town of Young boasts of some fine public buildings such as, the courthouse, gaol, post-office, railway station, public school, mechanic’s institute and hospital.


The town and district support two flour mills, two breweries, a tannery, soap-works and numerous other industries. Young can boast a racing club, a cricket club, a football club, a Highland society, a poultry, pigeon, and canary society, and a very strong Pastoral and Agricultural society.


There is also a strong volunteer corps which has won in Sydney twice, the bayonet exercise against all comers. There are four churches, viz., Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan, besides a branch of the Salvation Army.


The present Mayor of Young, Mr. John Forsythe, was born in 1850 in Sydney, and began in business as a general storekeeper. In 1882 he arrived in Young and started business as a general storekeeper. He has built up a large and prosperous business and had made hosts of friends. His first entry into public life in Young was as president of the Phoenix Debating society; and within two years he occupied a prominent position on most committees in town, including the Mechanic’s Institute, the Hospital and the Progress Association.


From an article in the Aust. Town & Country Journal, 27th August 1887.

Footnote; John Forsythe’s store was on the eastern side of the Town Hall where Crawford’s Cherry City Disposals are now. He was Mayor on two occasions, 1887 to 1888 and 1889 to 1890 and was Alderman on four separate occasions. John Forsythe stood unsuccessfully for the Legislative Assembly in the seat of Young, his opponent was Mr. J. C. Watson , who was successful.

John Forsythe passed away in 1936, his wife had passed away in 1929. Both are buried in the Presbyterian portion of the Young cemetery.

Forsythe Avenue, which was previously known as Commons road, was renamed in memory of John Forsythe.

Young Historical Society - Brian James.

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