Squatters in Arcadia

The First Explorers

The first white men to pass near Arcadia would have been Hawdon and Bonney when in 1838 they drove a mob of cattle from the Old Crossing Place at Mitchellstown along the Goulburn and Murray rivers to Adelaide.

The following is taken from the book “Murchison” by W. H. Bossence

W.H.Bossence in his book “Murchison” is adamant that the group travelled along the left or west side of the Goulburn river, Bossence goes on to say :

… it is certain that from Mitchellstown to the Murray the party remained on the left bank of the river, and that at no time did they cross to the east side. On 29th January they reached the junction of the Goulburn and Murray Rivers, which no white man had seen before, and on 1st Feburary they came to the sight of present day Echuca.

Taking this account as being accurate, (other historians have suggested that the party travelled on the east side of the Goulburn and camped one night in the area that is now Shepparton) we assume that Hawdon and Bonney and his party passed near the present township of Arcadia, but on the west side of the river.

The First Squatters

Close upon the heels of the explorers came the squatters, W.S.James in his book “History of Shepparton” 1838-1938 went on to say:

Arcadia and Noo-rilim Pastoral Runs.

The squatters right to occupy land in the District of Port Plillip ( later to become Victoria ) was granted and came into effect on July 1st 1838. The license that was issued at that time expired on December 31st of that year and cost five pounds ( $10 ).

Notice that was printed in The NSW Government Gazette on June 18th 1838

The present parish area of Arcadia was occupied mainly by parts of two pastoral runs – the Arcadia Run occupying land on the east side of the Castle Creek and Noo-rilim occupying land on the west side of the Castle Creek, both runs being bounded by the Goulburn River on the west, the Molka Run may also have occupied a small portion of the south east corner of the parish.

Gregor McGregor was the first occupier of the Arcadia Pastoral Run. In the NSW Government Gazette of Sept 30th 1840, he is listed as having obtained a license to occupy land beyond the limits of the location of the Melbourne and Geelong settled areas.

The District of Port Phillip outside the settled areas was divided further on July 1st 1840, these were called Western Port and Portland Bay. The Pasturage License was applied for each year and came into effect on July 1st of that year. The year 1841 saw Gregor McGregor listed in the Government Gazette as having obtained a license, also mentioned for the Western Port area were John Livingstone, Archibald McMillan and Frederick Manton.

Mc Gregor is again listed along with many other squatters who had obtained de-pasturing licenses in 1842.

List of squatters who obtained depasture licenses August 30th 1841

Then on September 13th 1843 the Governor of the Colony Sir George Gipps decreed that the area outside the settled areas of Port Phillip would be divided into four districts, Gipps Land, Murray, Western Port and Portland Bay. The Arcadia Pastoral Run then became part of the Murray District.

The Arcadia Run was an area of 80,000 acres and extended from Arcadia in the south through parts of Kialla to the Broken River then through Pine Lodge to near Katandra.

In 1843 William Snow and Henry Clifton took over the run, it’s estimated capacity for grazing at that time was 6000 sheep, in 1845 there were seven people working on the run. By the year 1848 the Cliftons were grazing 4427 sheep and 25 cattle on the run.

On Jan.21st 1858 William Snow Clifton applied to have the Arcadia Run divided in to two equal parts with the Broken River as the dividing line, the area north of the Broken River to be called Pine Lodge and the area south to retain the name of Arcadia. In 1859 John Burkitt was the occupier of the Pine Lodge Run. The successive occupiers of the Arcadia Run were: 1864 John White Pearce; 1867 Archibald McMillan; 1869 The New Zealand Loan and Finance Co.

The Noo-rilim Run was much smaller than the Arcadia Run having an estimated 44,320 acres, it was first taken up in 1840 by Frederick Manton, then in 1844 after being in the possession of two occupiers, Joseph Raleigh acquired the Run and remained there for a number of years, he was succeeded by James Rae in 1851 and then by William Webster in 1854.

In May 1858 William Webster divided the Run retaining the area of the home station as Noo-rilim, the area of the run between the Muddy and Castle Creeks became known as Noorilim East with an estimated area of 17,000 acres.

In 1864 James Miller became the occupier of Noorilim East, his home station was situated beside the present Arcadia township on the banks of the Goulburn River.

James Miller (Squatter)
Mary Miller
James’eldest son William and his wife Mary (nee Bowden)

The graves of James Miller (Squatter) and his first wife Ellen at the Murchison Cemetary

Maps showing some of the Pastoral Runs in the Shepparton area.