HISTORY OF BULLA. by Oswald Daniel
published in The Sunbury News 4 June 1910
The historic Bulla Bridge, built 1869, crossing Deep Creek at Bulla, Victoria
“Bulla derives its name from the aboriginal words, ‘Bulla-Bulla, which mean ‘two round low hills,’ or ‘the two breasts.’ I do not know who gave the district that name, but it must have been named in the early settlement of the colony.
Two of the earliest settlers of the district were Mr Martin Batey (of Red Stone Hill), and Mr George Evans (father of Mr R. C. Evans, of Emu Bottom, near Sunbury), who, with their wives, landed in Melbourne from Tasmania before John Fawkner. When these pioneers essayed their eventful trip across Bass Strait the weather was so rough they had to turn back for shelter, when Fawkner decided that he would not go on, and the first trip was accomplished without him; and he did not come over till the second trip. Mrs Batey was sixteen years of age, and Mrs Evans a year younger.
Other settlers were :- Messrs Page Brothers, Fawkner, Duncan, Grant, McNab, Riddell, Loeman, Dickens, Hunter, and Greene. Woodlands was the residence of Mr Greene, who was a naval officer and re- ceived this section of ground as a free grant for services to the Crown. The sections running northward are now occupied by the Oaklands Hunt Club, Messrs Peters, Quinlan, and Anderson; there were also grants from the Crown to Major Fairbrache, Captain Taylor, and other military officers.
The first church (the present Church of England), which stands on a corner of Woodlands, was built by Mrs Greene, and a right of passage existed until recently for persons attending church to walk along the southern boundary of the land. One of Mr Greene’s sons (Rawden) died of thirst while travelling with stock in Queensland, but his name is perpetuated in the township of Bulla– the street near the Roman Catholic Church being named ‘Rawden,’ and the street on which the Shire hall stands - ‘Greene’ street. The section extending from Mus grove’s corner to the late Andrew Carroll’s was owned by Mr William Wright, who cut it up and sold it about the year 1852, Messrs Musgrove, Johnson, Daniell, Carroll, Tulloch and Waylett were among the original purchasers. Mrs Mary Daniell purchased two blocks of the estate, one of which is still held by her grandson, Mr A. F. Daniel. The adjoining block she sold to the late John Cosgrove, who was alderman and first treasurer of the City of Melbourne. Mr Cosgrove used to cycle out on a ‘bone shaker,’ (a term given to a certain make of early cycles) that must have had an earlier history than the famous machine of the late Professor Kernot, and in his trips from North Melbourne to the farm he used to arrive with such an enormous appetite that one of his standing boasts was that he could eat anything that was put before him, On one occasion a crow was pre- pared, and he was invited to have a meal of crow. After he had finished the meal he remarked : ‘Humph ! I can eat crow, but I don’t hanker after it.’ Mr Cosgrove afterwards sold to Messrs Hunt and Standen. Mrs T. H. Dean, of Moonee Ponds (a daughter of Mr Standen) next possessed the property; then her son, Melbourne; and it has now become the property of the Hunt Club. It is a coincidence that the first run of the Oaklands Hunt Club, in which Mr H. H, Daniel carried the drag, finished upon the very spot where the kennels are now built.
Mr William Wright built an hotel,which was named the’ Bridge Inn,’ on the Deep Creek, but it is now a ruin. He was known as ‘ Tulip’ Wright. The name was supposed to have been given him when he was chief constable of Port Phillip, but, as he had a beautiful garden, and a fine collection of tulips -in which he took a great pride, it is more probable the name arose from the latter source.
Part of the small town of Bulla, Victoria as viewed from the other (western) side of the Deep Creek valley
For many years in the early days of the district, there was no cemetery at Bulla, and a considerable number of those who died were buried on the bank of the creek about Bulla bridge; but in 1863 a grant was obtained from the Government of a piece of land near the Oaklands road, which is now used for the cemetery.
About the year 1842 the late Mr Michael Loeman came up from Moonee Ponds and took up the land which he named ‘ Glenloeman.’ On his second trip he brought up the late Mr John Dickins, who also look up land next to him. Mr Loeman married a Miss Isabella McLean, who was escorted in a long overland journey from New South Wales by the late John Dean, when the New South Wales blacks had become so dangerous that the white settlers had to leave. Although Mr Loeman was one of the very early settlers, when he paid his first visit to Bulla a well known identity, the late William Pender (or ‘ Old Bill Pender’ as he was popularly known) was camped in a tent on the edge of the creek just above ‘Glenloeman’ on land now occupied by Mr James Allen. During the drought of 1868 Mr Richard Brodie, of Helensville, gave Mr Pender the remainder of his sheep, which were in the last stages of starvation, on condition that he took them away, so that he could not see them die A couple of days after Mr Pender left rain came and left Mr Pen der with a fine flock. He used to run his stock along the roads betweens Bulla and Lancefield, which was known as ‘Pender’s run.’
Messrs Hume and Hovell, in their first overland journey, Must have crossed the Deep Creek near BuIla, as the spot where it is considered they crossed Jackson’s Creek is close to Mr A. Randall’s, in Tullamarine Island.
In 1860 the Burke and Wills expedition passed through Bulla, their second camp being at a small waterhole, traces of which are to be seen behind the gorse bushes opposite the Inverness Hotel, which was then kept by Mr Melville.
A meeting was called on 23rd October, 1862, at the Bridge Inn for the purpose of forming a Road Board District. Mr James Macintosh was in the chair. The first “Council was formed and elected by a show of hands at the meeting ; it consisted of Messrs Walter Clark, Michael Loeman, Martin Batey,James Mcintosh, William Bethell, Thomas Branigan, David Patulla, Dugald Stewart, and John Dickins. Mr James Macintosh was appointed first chairman and Mr Walter Clark occupied the chair the following year. Mr Macintosh went to New Zealand, where he took a prominent part in politics, and was Minister of Lands when he died.
At that time the Bulla Road District extended towards Melbourne as far as Woods’ Hotel, and the first ratepayers’ roll was revised at the Moonee Ponds Police Court, and signed by Mesers R. McCracken, T. Napier, and M. Loeman. After holding two or three meetings at the Bridge Inn Mr Frost wanted to charge the Council for the use of the room. ? came to the rescue, and allowed the council to have a room free of charge. After holding their meetings for five years in the places mentioned, the Council built the present Shire hall, in which they held their first meeting on 20th November, 1867.
The Bulla district was the first in the colony in which wheat was grown. Mr Maurice McAuliffe, of Wildwood, gives interesting accounts of the farmers is the early ‘fifties carting their wheat in to Melbourne to Gillespie’s mills, and bringing home their supplies of flour. Mr William Hunter also had a mill on the creek, just above Bulla, the ruins of which are still to be seen. The late Mr Donald Ross was one of the masons employed in the building of it.
The first school in Bulla was built on a piece of land which had been granted to the Church of England, about one hundred yards north of Bulla Bridge, and had for the first teachers the Misses Thorpe. Miss Dickins, Messrs P. Loeman, E. Fanning, and J. Lawlor were among their pupils. This school did service from 1854 til 1870, when the present school was built. The opening of the new school was celebrated by a grand ball, which was held in a marquee opposite the Shire hall, and a special treat given to the children by the late Richard Brodie, of Helensville.
In the early days of the district there used to be a boiling-down works on Glenara, just above old Glencairn dam, and about 1867 a pottery works was started by the Victorian Pottery Company alongside the kaolin deposit at Bulla bridge. These, with the flour mill referred to, were the only manufactories established in the district, and have long ceased to exist.
Since the year 1870 the district has simply been a farming one. With little change or alteration, and very little?history can be recorded for these years. The Oaklands Hunt Club was started in 1888, Mr A. McDougall being the first master. The first show of the Bulla Horticul-tural Society was held on lst May, 1897, Mr A. F. Daniel being presi dent, Mr E. Meeking secretary, and Mr W. Peers treasurer, and now completes its fourteenth year of existence with this show.”
Written by OSWALD DANIEL. (Age, 12 years 10 months).