In 1818 the Surveyor-General John Oxley discovered the Liverpool Plains, that area of rich grazing land, north of the Hunter. It is east of the Great Dividing Range and north of the Warrumbungles, which he named after Lord Liverpool, the then British Prime Minister. Oxley came into the plains from the west and not over the pass north of Murrurundi when on his way to the coast, after changing his plans to go further afield.
There was danger from the existing Aboriginal tribes which were unfriendly. In 1824 they attacked a party led by surveyor Henry Dangar (1796-1861) near Mount Towarri in his initial exploration.
Allan Cunningham, explorer and botanist, discovered a way into the Liverpool Plains from the west in 1823 while on a botanical tour. Then in 1825 Henry Dangar discovered another pass from the Hunter Valley to the Plains. Cunningham crossed the Range in two different places on his journey to and from the Darling Downs in 1827.
William Nowland discovered the pass over the range in 1827, which follows today’s New England Highway, and can justly claim to being the first to take a dray over the Murrurundi crossing of the Liverpool Range.
The Loder family feature prominently in the history of Quirindi and George and Loder Streets commemorate this family today.
Ned Dwyer was a stockman for the Loders, and they laid claim to the Quirindi area in about 1829. George was sent to the Liverpool Plains by the Hawkesbury Benevolent Society to choose 1000 acres on its behalf, which he did, and at the same time, he occupied land on the Quirindi Creek for himself and his brother Andrew.
John Bingle of Scone rode by in 1830 and recorded that he came unexpectedly upon the cattle station of the Loder brothers, with Ned Dwyer in charge. A bark hut and rough stockyards were the beginnings of Quirindi Station.
The name Quirindi, though the spelling varied in the early years, was adapted from the aboriginal dialect of the place. Sir Edward Parry represented the sound as ‘Kuwherindi’. Various meanings have been suggested, and it could well have a connection with water.
White settlement caused catastrophic changes to the lives of aboriginal people. Thomas Mitchell saw natives stricken with smallpox soon after he crossed the Liverpool Range and tried to alleviate their suffering with some of his medical supplies.
By 1827, it was estimated that 10,000 cattle had gone by various routes to the Liverpool Plains, and it was clear that settlement was well underway by 1830. The junction of two creeks at Quirindi, meant that it was a good water hole even in dry seasons, and it was a stopping place for those trekking north and returning south.
The first known business at Quirindi was an inn, kept in the 1840’s by William Roach. He obtained a wine and beer licence for his house at Loder’s Station in June 1843.
At the time of the 1841 census, 18-year-old George Thomas Loder was personally in charge of the Quirindi run. William Telfer, writing of Quirindi in 1846, stated that all the Loders lived for a short time at Quirindi, however as the Loder boys became young men, the family properties were divided among them. George Thomas went to live on a freehold property near Singleton, and Quirindi Station was divided in 1852 between James Mein (then aged 22) who took Quirindi North, and Andrew (27 years) who took Quirindi South or Colly Creek.
The town is a bustling commercial centre, with fine Victorian buildings in the main street. It is a place for the growing of wheat raising of cattle and on the main rail line north and south.
Compiled by Liz Parkinson
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