Henry William Harry Underwood, of Mudgee, a senior of the noted Underwood cattle droving family, acted as a pilot to their outfit. It was his duty to locate feed and water for their driven cattle, sometimes with tracks in arid regions of our interior country.
He was a wonderful bushman and his knowledge of country was amazing.
One notable feat of Harry with the Underwoods was the trekking of 8000 head of cattle, in two mobs, from Anthony Lagoon, Brunette Downs and other stations, to Warren on the Lower Macquarie. Other notable trips followed with Harry Underwood in the lead.
Harry was born in 1861 at Thorps Pinch, Hartley, the son of James Underwood and Mary Case.
His bothers were James John 1863, Thomas Case 1870, Ernest Edward 1873, Albert George 1877, Roland Earle 1879, Claude Frederick Augutus, 1884. Harry came to Mudgee at an early age with his parents who settled at Budgee.
When rather young he joined other members of the family in some of the greatest droving trips in Australian history. Following are extracts from the Anthony Lagoon, Barkly Territory in Northern Territory to the Lower Macquarie (New South Wales) trek.
"We left the Coolullah, in the Gulf Country on July 11,1904, with 3000 head of cattle with more to be picked up along the route. At this time Harry was aged 44 years and his father 64 years.
We inoculated the whole lot and made a start for the Macquarie River in New South Wales. Our route lay through Cloncurry, and up the river to Devonport, passing the Top Camp, some year ago a flourishing gold field."
"We are now nearing Devoncourt which is a station managed by Mr. Kennedy and his sons. It is one of the best stockyards in the north. The station holds about 15,000 head of cattle and the property did not suffer from the last drought.
After 30 miles on from Devoncourst we passed through the rabbit fence and enter onto the Great Inland Downs - limitless in extent.
Leaving the rabbit fence we pass the Divide, separating the waters of the Cloncurrry, from the Bourke River, leading away south to the Georgina. Our cattle are now wallowing in 20 varieties of salt bush and wild carrots"
Much later on
"We swam the cattle over the river at Brewarrina and a few miles up the west bank of the Barwon, found the feed much improved.
Another six miles and we entered Yarrawin, a sheep station a property of Dickson Brothers, who have held it for over 30 years, in defiance of floods and droughts.
Later we trekked over Marra Creek, Mr. Green's Mundado Station and onto James Rutherford's Buckinguy where they have just finished shearing 20,000 lambs."
"For another two days we travelled through drought stricken country, and struck the Macquarie River. Here we swam the bullocks over to paddocks knee deep in choice grass, the result of inundations of snow water from Bathurst.
We delivered the cattle to their owners on December 3, inoculated for anthrax the following two days, thus finishing up our journey of 1300 miles."
After retiring from cattle trekking Harry acquired Binghman Station in the Lue District.
It was here was delighted to welcome home his son Lieut. Leslie Underwood who had returned in July, 1919 after three and a half years service on the Western Front in France.
He made a success of this new venture. Harry after disposing of the property resettled in Mudgee. Later he made his home with relatives at Blackheath and was a regular visitor to Mudgee.
Harry died on July 6, 1949, age 87 years and was buried in the Ulan Road Mudgee cemetery, next to is wife Elizabeth, who passed away on January 8, 1937, age 72 years.