Moss Vale History
The history of the Moss Vale township from 1824 up until the late 1800's.
The land that Moss Vale stands on was granted to Charles Throsby. Much of the land in this locality was granted or bought by the Throsbys, uncle, and nephew. The Throsbys held about 8000 acres around Moss Vale and they still hold land now.
The elder, Charles Throsby lived in Glenfield near Liverpool but went to reside at Throsby Park after his marriage in 1824 to Eliza Broughton. The house at Throsby Park was said to be built in 1834 and is still standing but Thomas Walker who travelled through the district in April 1837 refers to the extensive property and the just finished fine mansion.
Eliza or Betsy Broughton as she was usually called had quite a history. She was daughter of William Broughton the Commissary of the colony for many years. She left aboard the Boyd in 1809 that was returning to England via New Zealand where it had to load timber and spars. Betsy was being sent to England to be educated. The Boyd made the harbour of Whangoroa where Maoris attacked them three days after their arrival. Four people escaped including Betsy and they were rescued by the City of Edinburgh in December 1809. In January 1810 the vessel left New Zealand in continuation of the voyage to the Cape of Good Hope. Betsy became ill at Callao but recovered and reached England to carry on her education. Charles Throsby, her husband died in 1854 but she did not die until January 1891.
From 1868 to 1872 the Earl of Belmore, Governor of New South Wales spent sometime in Throsby Park house. He leased it as a country residence and in February 1872 some of his effects were sold in an auction.
In the early 1870's HE Southey conducted a school there for a short period of time. In 1882 E "late of Kings College, London and Trinity Hall, Cambridge" opened a school at Throsby Park that he called St Georges College.
Thorsby's daughter married Captain WWS Bridges, a captain of the Royal Navy, and they lived in the Old Mill. Sir William Throsby Bridges, a son, went to Gallipoli in command of the AIF and was shot by a snipers bullet on the 15th of May 1915 and died 3 days later.
The Mill was opened as a Convalescent Home by the Red Cross in February 1916 and was used for that purpose during World War 1.
Cattle grazed on the grounds around Throsby Park for over and towards Sutton Forest for 30 years or more with fields of wheat providing grain for the people of Sydney. Not much traffic travelled over the roads of the district but with the opening of the Yarrawa Brush and the coming of the railway the scene changed.
In 1864 a subdivision of land near the present Moss Vale station began with the sales advertisement referring to Moss Vale. The town was named after Jemmy Moss, a herdsman employed by the Throsbys who lived in a hut not far from the present station.
In May 1853 Joseph Lansdowne arrived in Moss Vale described the town as having 5 slab and bark huts and wheat growing on what is now the town site.
In June 1867 a land sale was held with lots going for up to £31. Most of the land in the auction had 99 years leases. From 1867 more land sales were held in and around Moss Vale. Land was sold on account of W McCourt in 1881. Ten lots in East Street were bought from 10/- to 21/- per foot, with allotments in Yarrawa Road were bought from £37 to £54. Under instruction from PH Throsby lots opposite the courthouse and railway line were offered for sale as well as suburban blocks from 3 to 5 acres with 99 years lease. Land in Argyle and Railway Streets were put up for sale and was offered on 99 years leases. Approximately 700 acres of the Throsby Park Estate were sold for £5196. Town lots were bought for £6 per foot with suburban lots being sold for £25 to £61. The Bong Bong subdivision had 60 lots owned by Hon. SA Stephens were offered for sale in May 1895 with 22 lots being sold for prices varying from £15 to £33 per acre. In July 1924 a sale was held at Mack's Royal Theatre for land held in the main business section of town. These lands were subject to the leases, which had from 8 to 65 years to run. Included in the list was the Royal Hotel, Shire Office, Bank of New South Wales sites and 22 other business and residential sites.
Martin Larkin had a licence for the Moss Vale Hotel in 1866 and it was most likely licensed a year or two earlier. Larkin also had a license for the Briars at Bong Bong before coming to Moss Vale. The Moss Vale Hotel stood on the site where the present Hotel Moss Vale is situated. It was known as the Terminus Hotel in 1869 and later it became the Royal.
The railway was first known as Sutton Forest but the post office was known as Moss Vale. In 1869 for a short time the post office was called Sutton Forest North but within a month the original name was reverted to.
The Taylor Brothers opened the first store in Moss Vale in 1867 and the firm was in the business for many years. A store was built for a man named Smith in 1872 who also had a business in Picton. In 1877 Thomas Cosgrove, a local storekeeper, opened a butcher shop and in the same year Mrs Birmingham established a drapery store. In 1871 the population was 134 and ten years later it was 570.
Moss Vale was described as a rising township. 16 rooms had extended the Commercial Hotel. Argyle Street was being improved and ballasted and metalled throughout by the Works Department and buildings were being improved. Thomas Cosgrove had bought a quarter acre block for £350 where he was building a Hotel. Four years earlier the site, which "Elm Court" stands on, was bought for £10 per acre. William McCourt, the owner of the newspaper built a new building in 1878. In this year the old Commercial Hotel was leased as a temporary Courthouse and lock up. During 1878 the western end of the town had many new buildings.
In March 1884 it was reported that among the people who had helped to promote the interests of the town was Hon. A Campbell MLC who erected "Elm Court" and other building and shops. In 1884 the principal buildings were the Courthouse, two banks, "Elm Court"(a boarding house), the school and three churches. There were 3 solicitors in the town Messer's Gale, Goodwin, and GR Nichols. James Cullen, JP MacIntyre the Royal, T Hood the Tattersalls, and JJ Hanrahan the Commercial owned the family hotel. Villa residences were used as boarding houses or occupied by Sydney gentlemen. E Ross Fairfax rented Throsby Park. In 1884 Moss Vale was referred to as one of the most prosperous and go-ahead townships on the southern line.
Many houses were empty and up for sale in 1889 but there few buyers. This was most likely due to the depression in the late 1880's. In 1895 it improved with numerous inquires for furnished cottages and apartments.