They were of course not alone in their venturing. These years saw hundreds of thousands of migrants arrive in the colonies. They brought with them skills and knowledge that speeded up the country's development and set it on the path of becoming a nation at the forefront of progress in the Victorian era.
The Victorian Gold Discovery Committee wrote in 1854: "The discovery of the Victorian Goldfields has converted a remote dependency into a country of worldwide fame; it has attracted a population, extraordinary in number, with unprecedented rapidity; it has enhanced the value of property to an enormous extent; it has made this the richest country in the world; and, in less than three years, it has done for this colony the work of an age, and made its impulses felt in the most distant regions of the earth."
While David spent years digging on the goldfields, their ultimate destination on the Nambucca was in great contrast to the rollicking and booming colony. Their home and farm at remote Talarm would have had more in common with rural Scottish living than gold fields or the bustle of Sydney or Melbourne.
Eliza supplemented the family income with butter making like many wives but the Welshes are recorded as being, along with the McKays, as at "the vanguard of the shift to dairying". Despite the difficulty of grazing on scrub land they established their dairy with Ayrshire cattle which were more suited. They are said to be the first to install a milk separator and commercial butter maker in their dairy.
An article (abbreviated here) in the North Coast Times describes the Welshes' dairy:
"We were agreeably surprised the other day in casually and unexpectedly dropping in on one of the most wonderful of modern inventions in an out of the way corner of the bush. There in this colonial bush dairy stood before us one of Laval's Cream Separators. Mrs Welsh shortly made her appearance and very kindly supplied us with every information regarding this truly wonder working machine. This milk is taken from the cows and in a few minutes is converted into cream by this simple ingenious machine."
The article goes on to describe the mechanics of the machine that made 90 pounds of butter weekly:
"Mrs Welsh has received an offer from a Sydney produce merchant to take all the butter she can produce by the separator but she continues to supply the Nambucca sawmills every Saturday which consume all the butter she can produce."
The article then sums up the farm's future plans:
"Mrs Welsh proposes economising the horse-power machinery in driving other butter and cheese making appliance which she proposes purchasing. We shall continue to watch the result of her laudable and spirited enterprise with great pleasure with the advice with which we now shall conclude. Go and do likewise."
The balance of David and Eliza's days increased their children to 11 and saw them as driving forces behind schooling and church at Talarm. David died in 1901 and Eliza in 1921. Family histories number their grandchildren at 84.
The Welshes may have had a brush with fame from their acquaintance with the wide-roaming bushranger known as Thunderbolt or Captain Thunderbolt, the "gentleman bushranger". He was known to pass the little settlement at Talarm and was a "good friend" to the families there. Their acquaintance may have arisen from earlier days at Uralla and it is said that when Thunderbolt died his coffin was made by Eliza's uncle.
Part 4 of the Welsh story will follow and round out their legacy. I highly recommend the Welsh family histories of Jennifer Hume MacDougal called Down Vanished Years and The Welsh Ancestry by H. G. Welsh.
This article used the resources of the Nambucca Headland Museum and the books The Valley of the Crooked River by Norma Townsend and Undaunted the History of the Nambucca River Co-operative Society Limited by Carrolline Rhodes.