While researching plans to advance Bingara, Rick Hutton stumbled upon the following report which appeared in The Maitland Mercury on Thursday January 2, 1890.
The rapid advancement we are making was well illustrated by the demonstration at the ceremony of opening the Bingara District Hospital on Boxing Day.
At half-past ten a large concourse of people assembled at the courthouse in the centre of the town, where, headed by the town band, a procession was formed, consisting of the children of the Public and Convent schools marching four abreast, followed by the friendly societies, in full regalia, in the order named, viz. : Druids, Good Templars, Oddfellows, the general public bringing up the rear.
After reaching the hospital buildings, which are pleasantly situated on an elevated site overlooking the Gwydir River, the Secretary, Mr. D. H. Scott, announced that, owing to the unavoidable absence of the President of the Institution, Mr. Hugh McDonald, at the request of the committee, the Mayor had kindly consented to perform the opening ceremony.
The Mayor said, owing to the absence of the President, it had fallen to his lot to perform the opening ceremony. He need scarcely say he was sensible of the honour and privilege of being permitted to do so. The occasion marked an event in the history of the place, and showed we were marching in the van of progress and civilisation.
He sincerely trusted that all who might have occasion to avail themselves of the benefits of the institution would always receive good treatment, with every care and attention.
Here we could all meet on a common ground to assist in supporting an institution that knew no creed, or colour, or nationality, the doors of which would always be open to receive all classes without distinction, to relieve the needs of suffering humanity.
As Treasurer of the institution, he informed them that after paying all expenses in erecting and furnishing the buildings, and making a liberal allowance for contingencies, there would remain a credit balance of £220 to commence the new year with. He therefore had much pleasure in formally declaring the building open, and trusted the institution would fulfill the purposes for which it was erected.
Mr. D. H. Scott then read the Secretary’s report, giving a brief history of the movement from its inception to finish, remarking that notwithstanding the hostility and prejudice in certain quarters, a signal success had been achieved.
Contributions amounting to £40 were then banded in, after which, at the call of the Mayor, cheers were given for the Queen, Governor, and the success of the institution; and, at the instance of the Secretary, cheers for the Mayor and ladies.
The assemblage then dispersed about the hospital grounds to witness the sports held under the auspices of the institution, which passed off without a hitch. The band enlivened the proceedings during the day.
The various events resulted as follows:
Maiden Plate.—Albert Gill, 1 ; L. Duncomb, 2.
All-Comers’ Handicap- G. Parkins, 18 yards, 1; W. Bull, 8 yards, 2 ; T. Connolly, 8 yards, 3.
Throwing at Wicket.-F. Wearne.
Three-legged Race.-D. McManus and A.Gill.
Quoit Match.-Turner, 1; Newman, 2.
Old Man’s Race – Castletine, 1; Neil, 2
High Jump.-F. Wearne, 5 feet 2 inches.
Farewell Handicap,-T. Connolly, 1 ; J. White, 2 ; W. Ling, 3.
In the evening, skating and dancing took place at the Criterion Rink, the Hospital funds benefiting £7 thereby.
Harvesting operations are in full swing ; although touched with rust, there will be an average wheat crop. Pastoral matters never were brighter than at present.
Mining still occupies a number of men in the various localities adjacent to the town. At Hayman’s Rush several parties are on good gold, and the majority are making wages.
Mr. O’Dell has completed his new cordial factory, and also a comfortable cottage adjoining it, in Cunningham Street.
The new Anglican Church is a very handsome edifice of brick, with cement facings: his Lordship the Bishop of Grafton and Armidale is to formally open it on the 5th January.
Mrs. Miller has made further additions to her hotel, and Mawson Brothers have made improvements and alterations in their stores.
Mr. Byrne’s extensive buildings, just finished, are quite an ornament to the town. A magnificent plate glass front of 54 feet in length presents an imposing appearance.
The interior of the stores, which are lofty and spacious, are fitted up on the most approved principles for the conduct of a large general trade. Mr. Gibson’s two-storied building in Finch Street is approaching completion, and various other improvements are projected.
The season is the best we have had for years. As I now write, it is raining steadily.
The Municipal Council is getting into working order. Directly the Government aligns the streets some very necessary work will be at once commenced.
Wishing the Mercury and its readers prosperity for the coming year, with the compliments of the season to all, I now draw these few notes to a close.
Bingara, Dec. 28,1889