A three- day ride se­cures city’s fu­ture

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

Miss Ada Del­roy and her com­pany of 12 spe­cially se­lected star artists will ap­pear in the Theatre Royal next week. Miss Del­roy is a sprightly come­di­enne. She will in­tro­duce her new sen­sa­tion as a danseuse, il­lus­tra­tive of the thrilling scene in Rider Hag­gard’s novel She, in which the hero­ine en­ters the Fire of Life un­nec­es­sar­ily and is con­sumed. Mr James Bell, as a ne­gro co­me­dian, is well- known in the North, and is de­scribed as a cham­pion ma­nip­u­la­tor of the bones. Other com­pany mem­bers are — Zeno and Hall, jug­glers; Dr Rowe, in mys­tery and mer­ri­ment; Miss Smith, soubrette artist; Bob Hall, “the Grimaldi” of the age and James Hunter, so­ci­ety en­ter­tainer. Dur­ing the week news came through that Lieu­tenant A H Hog­a­rth had been killed in bat­tle in France on July 18. De­ceased was well known, hav­ing been man­ager of the Ham­p­den con­cern un­til it was pur­chased by the Mt El­liott Co, af­ter which he took charge of the Fed­eral mine, which he con­trolled un­til re­sign­ing to en­list. De­ceased went to Eng­land, where he gained a com­mis­sion in the Royal Field Ar­tillery. The death oc­curred in Bris­bane on Mon­day of a for­mer well­known Townsville res­i­dent, Mrs B M. Doyle, aged 76. She and a sis­ter, Mrs Mur­phy, of the Grosvenor Ho­tel, Bris­bane, came to Queens­land from Ire­land as girls. Mrs Doyle con­ducted ho­tels at Mt Mor­gan and Rock­hamp­ton be­fore com­ing to Townsville more than 20 years ago to take over the Queens­land Ho­tel, which she con­ducted un­til three years ago. She is sur­vived by two sons, Peter ( Townsville) and Jim ( Emer­ald), and four daugh­ters, Mrs Clin­ton Smelt ( Mary­bor­ough), Mrs M McHugh, Mrs Mur­phy and Mrs O’Neill, all of Bris­bane. of Ross Creek for his com­pany, J M Black and Co, a joint part­ner­ship with age­ing Syd­ney ty­coon Cap­tain Robert Towns.

To­gether they held a vast ex­panse of land around the Cleve­land Bay, se­cured since 1861 for graz­ing and agri­cul­ture.

The enig­matic and en­er­getic Black, founder of the Theatre Royal in Mel­bourne in 1855, sur­veyed land along Ross Creek and oc­cu­pied the hill later named in his hon­our well be­fore the ar­rival of gov­ern­ment surveyor Claren­don Stu­art.

In Septem­ber, 1864, Black and Co had ad­vised Bris­bane bu­reau­crats of their dis­cov­ery of a po­ten­tial port site, `` with land high and dry and well­suited for a town­ship and the road to the in­te­rior avail­able for im­me­di­ate use’’.

But Black and Towns were un­happy with the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion in Oc­to­ber, 1864, to es­tab­lish the port by sur­vey­ing and auc­tion­ing town blocks of nom­i­nally Crown land they had al­ready oc­cu­pied and roughly de­vel­oped.

Black re­sponded by fu­ri­ously clear­ing and build­ing along the track that be­came Flin­ders St East, as­sisted from Jan­uary 1865 by car­pen­ter Fran­cis Charles Hodel and 10 South Sea Is­lands’ labour­ers — ap­par­ently from Towns’ Lo­gan dis­trict plan­ta­tion.

In Fe­bru­ary, 1865, when surveyor Stu­art even­tu­ally ar­rived, Black per­suaded him to use the grid pat­tern of streets in Black and Co’s town plan as a tem­plate for the of­fi­cial plan.

Stu­art seems to have gone with the flow, hav­ing found build­ings on al­most all of Black’s al­lot­ments. But Dr Dorothy Gib­son- Wilde sug­gests in her history Gate­way to a Golden Land that Black prob­a­bly bribed Stu­art to use his plan, by of­fer­ing to se­cure him three build­ing blocks at the land sale, sched­uled a few months later.

Stu­art sub­se­quently is­sued the `` Plan of the Town of Townsville, Cleve­land Bay’’, for­mal­is­ing Surveyor- Gen­eral Sir Au­gus­tus Gre­gory’s de­ci­sion to name the new port in hon­our of Robert Towns.

Black ar­rived in Bowen in time for the July 31 auc­tion. He was the lead­ing pur­chaser, still com­plain­ing bit­terly of pay­ing dearly for land he had im­proved, un­moved by the gov­ern­ment’s grant of two valu­able al­lot­ments.

The sale of 69 blocks yielded the colony £ 4139.

`` The peo­ple were Cleve­land Bay mad and were de­ter­mined to pur­chase not with­stand­ing the val­u­a­tions,’’ he wrote later to Towns.

A month later Bowen’s Port Deni­son Times ob­served Townsville had the mak­ings of a thriv­ing town­ship.

Black be­came the town’s first mayor in 1866 and left for Eng­land in 1867, later to forge a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as owner of a rail­way ticket print­ing com­pany.


John Mel­ton Black's res­i­dence, the first house built in Townsville, pho­tographed c. 1870, five years

af­ter its con­struc­tion.

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