The Southern Highlands of New South Wales
From 1862 early settlers had travelled up the escarpment from Kiama on the coast to the Yarrawah Brush and were impressed with the quality of the rich, red soil. Soon
hundreds of other eager settlers had staked out their claims and the area over time became one of the richest dairying centres in N.S.W. Before all that though, farmers had to
clear the land selected and prepare the land for future use, including building a home for their families. It is very likely that most of the early houses were made of roughly cut
timber slabs with mud filling the gaps between the slabs, similar to the one shown below. Windows were a luxury that many homes did not possess. Note the use of bark and tin
and the ramshackle wooden and stone chimney, leaning precariously away from the house.
This was very basic housing with limited light
inside and dubious protection from rain and
wind. Very good rainfall was one of the reasons
the land provided such lush grazing for the dairy
cattle that were soon covering the cleared
acres. Some houses were simply made of tree
bark fastened to a wooden frame.
Only five years after the first settlers began
clearing their selected land at the Yarrawah
Brush, Thomas Carrick purchased his first two
blocks of land in 1867, Portions 232 and 233 on
the Yeola Road, south of Robertson township.
The purchases were made in the name of his
infant son William.
From research it is clear that purchasing land in
the name of a son or daughter, an alienee, was
a fairly common practice which had occurred
since the early days of the colony. A reading of
the Robertson Land Act (12a) indicates that
conditional purchases could be made "by any
person" and no mention of age is given.
Over the next few years, two more blocks were
purchased in William's name and six in Thomas'
name. This total of 400 acres would have been
in excess of the limit allowed (320 acres) and I
believe the timely sale of some of the blocks
avoided this problem.
The whole purpose of the Robertson Land Acts
was to prevent wealthy people buying up too
much land on their own, to the detriment of
Slab Hut (c.1890-1910), photo by Ralph Snowball, University of Newcastle