Black Springs looks back | A patriot and a post office

SIMPLE: These two advertisements appeared in the 1960s Black Springs Gymkhana program. The Black Springs Heritage Festival will be held on Saturday, October 26.
SIMPLE: These two advertisements appeared in the 1960s Black Springs Gymkhana program. The Black Springs Heritage Festival will be held on Saturday, October 26.

THE Black Springs Community Association will hold a Black Springs Heritage Festival on Saturday, October 26 from 10am to 4pm. The day will include tours of local churches and cemeteries. There will also be a display of historical photographs.

Below is a story which appeared in the Black Springs Gymkhana program of events in 1960.

Black Springs possibly had its beginning when a post office was established in the year 1853 by the son of an Irish patriot, Michael Hanrahan. His father, Patrick, was involved in the rising in Ireland in 1798 and was transported to the colony of Australia shorty afterwards. Fortunately for Patrick, he was befriended by several influential people of the time and was granted a full pardon on his arrival.

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He decided to settle in the new colony in preference to returning to his native land as life was very dangerous at that time for patriots in Ireland. Obtaining a government grant in the Hunter River district, Patrick strived to establish himself in his adopted land. However, as the colony grew, so did Patrick desire to see more of the country. Giving up his grant, he headed for the Bathurst district where he settled on a property which we now know as Tilsbury. Here he reared his family, son Michael being born in 1824.

Michael devoted all his life to the district, and two years after his marriage in 1851, he selected a block of land and on it established the first Black Springs Post Office. The site, which is familiar to many local residents, is situated about two miles west of the present post office. Mail delivery in those days was quite an event, being delivered by horseback.

One such mail run was from Black Springs to Jerrong. This was accomplished once a week - some 30 miles each way. Despite the hardships of the times, supplies by bullock wagons, communications by horseback, the bitter winters, Michael determined to carry on.

A few years after he established the post office, fate struck Michael and his wife a sad blow. His daughter, but a few months old, died. Taking the body of his child on horseback, Michael made a gruelling ride to Bathurst to bury her.

Soon afterwards, realising that here a community was developing, he made a cemetery on his property, so that people who died could be buried in consecrated ground. The cemetery is still preserved today on the property of Mr Ned Arrow. One of the tombstones dates back to 1857.

Michael Hanrahan indeed made his mark in the history of Black Springs. Today in the beautiful Avoca Church at Black Springs a window is dedicated to his memory.

Among the early settlers in the district whose names are still familiar today are Behans, Gradys, Hothams, Stevensons, Arrows and many others.