When the Ovens goldfields were in their prime, tens of thousands of cattle were crossed over the river at Albury.
In the early days of the Ovens diggings there were four brothers named Smith (John, William, Andrew and Cyrus) who established large wholesale slaughtering businesses on the Woolshed, Reid’s Creek, and at Beechworth. I had known this family on the Wollombi before they went to the Ovens.
Two of the brothers, William and Andrew, were frequently on the New South Wales side purchasing fat stock, and taking them to their slaughtering yards.
I have seen William Smith run great risks when swimming his stock over the river at Albury and the Murrumbidgee at Wagga. On one occasion William Smith was unhorsed in the middle of the flooded stream at Albury. Smith had on kneeboots and a great coat, and was was being carried down by the rapid current, when one of his companions swam his horse into the river and reached him the end of a whip, and then towed him to the bank.
On another occasion, when crossing cattle at Wagga, I saw William Smith have a narrow escape. I then swam my horse to his assistance, and managed to get him to land. Smith was often reckless when attempting to cross flooded streams.