Extracts from "Early Experiences of Life in South Australia"
by John Wrathall Bull (1804-1886)
Edited and annotated by Reg Butler, Hahndorf
These edited extracted experiences of Bull’s reminiscences compiled by Reg Butler concern Bull's arrival and earliest days in South Australia during 1838, his dealings with the colony’s German immigrants (principally at Hahndorf) and his farm at Balhannah from 1839.
The edited and annotated text of JW Bull’s Early Experiences is taken from the 1884 edition.
Selection has been made from Book 1: Chapters 7 & 9; Book 2: Chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 11.
These reminiscences concentrate on Bull’s arrival and early time in South Australia during 1838, his dealings with the colony’s German immigrants (principally at Hahndorf) and his farm at Balhannah from 1839.
Early Adelaide and The Adelaide Hills Cattle Trade
On the 30th April, 1838, the second year after the proclamation of the colony, from the good ship Canton, I landed with my family in the colony. The ship was at first anchored off the present site of the Semaphore Jetty, at an easy distance; on board were a large number of cuddy passengers as well as intermediates, about 300 emigrants, besides horned stock, sheep-dogs, and swine, and a large cargo.
At the time Captain Hindmarsh held the rather ambiguous position of Governor. In addition to my wife and two children and a brother and sister, I had three young men under my charge, and one maid-servant. The captain, with consideration for passengers who had a large party on board, invited me and three male passengers to accompany him in the first and only boat going to land that day. Although the tide was high, our boat grounded half a mile from the beach. The captain, being heavy, selected the stoutest Jack tar. I had a very lively young fellow under me, who made good headway.
I looked back when we had made about half-way, and perceived that the captain’s carrier was allowing him to sink nearer and nearer the water, and that he would soon be dropped (as I was afterwards told, intentionally). With my usual impetuosity, I ordered my bearer to drop me with my feet downwards, and return to the skipper’s assistance, forgetting I had on a tight pair of Wellington boots. I never the less felt pretty comfortable whilst wading the remainder of the distance to the shore. Then came the climb over the sand hummocks, then the drag of three-quarters of a mile through sandy scrub and flaggy plants, and occasionally bog.
At length we made the side of the creek, and discovered on the opposite bank a bush shanty and a few wurlies, these erections constituting the old port. On crossing to what was then, with some propriety, called Port Misery, to our great joy we found we could get good beer at the moderate price of two-and-sixpence per bottle, of which we partook freely. A gig then, I think, the only one in the colony, was waiting for the captain, but we, to our grief, had to tramp the seven miles, and now something like the skinning of my feet commenced. The country appeared most charming, as we walked over a plain which had been swept clean by a bush fire a few weeks before we landed. The fire had been followed by copious rains, and the surface over which we travelled had the appearance of carrying a fine, early wheat crop, presenting a prospect so cheering, that my discomforts were nearly lost sight of.
On approaching the North Adelaide hill, my attention was drawn to a crowd of, say 200, people surrounding a large gum tree. I cold not at first observe what had attracted them, until a sudden stampede took place, many rushing away in all directions with yells and cries, and then I saw an unfortunate man suspended by the neck from an outstretching limb of the tree. By one of the stampeders I was coolly told that it was a regular and legal affair, that the hangman had only bungled his business and bolted, followed by the execrations of the spectators, and that the sheriff, in mercy, was finishing the poor wretch. This was the explanation given me at the time, but on further inquiry I was informed that the constables quickly caught the escaping hangman, who was brought back to complete his revolting task, and that so far as Sheriff Smart was concerned, he was horror-struck and completely unnerved. With this explanation I was satisfied I had adopted a country where civilisation was known and practised.
I crossed the River Torrens, at that time a tiny stream, neither so wide nor deep as now, and the bed generally green with grass and reeds, under which surface I believe the main part of the stream was then percolating out of sight through gravel. In London, I had seen a plan with a fine sheet of water, with vessels at anchor, under Government House. I was limping sorely, and soon got my boots off by unseaming one side of each, in one of the primitive refreshment booths in a small canvas town, on the ground now occupied by the present railway station.
We heard before we left the old port that the ship was ordered to return and anchor in Holdfast Bay, and then knew that we had no chance of getting on board that night. The accommodation and comforts I was able to procure on this my first night in the colony were not cheering or pleasant. My bed was formed of a couple of bags stretched across two side poles, lodged on four corner forks fixed in the ground, without blankets or pillows, in an outer canvas shed. I sought out and found an old friend who had landed some eight months earlier, and he kindly chartered for me a bullock dray to take me the next day to the beach at Holdfast Bay, to bring up my living charge and baggage.
By noon next day I found all safely landed at the mouth of the bay creek, on the corner sand hill near a native well of fresh water, from which we took copious draughts, and were thankful. A few reed huts had been erected, but the township was not laid out. The authorities had decided to reserve at this landing place a section to be at a future time formed into a township. Before this was done a land order was tendered at the land office, and a claim put in for the section; after some hesitation on the part of the Commissioner of Crown Lands and the Surveyor-General the grant was made. The following are the names of the fortunate speculators: - Messrs. O, Gilles, Mat Smith, WR Wigley, and W Finke.
I was told that my wife, sister, and children, had been carried as I had been, from the boats to shore by the sailors. The fact was we were a very jolly party, and the roughness of things we took to be amusing. A pleasant ride across the plains, in defiance of many heavy jolts over wombat holes and logs, and we at length reached what is known as South Terrace, and found our friends’ encampment near the spot where now stands St John’s Church. Our tents pitched, we were invited to a sumptuous repast consisting of kangaroo stew and parrot pie, relieved with ship pork and biscuits and colonial damper; of course no vegetables were procurable. The freshness of the atmosphere, the brilliancy of the sky, and the extreme verdure of the plains and hills satisfied us, and with grateful hearts we passed our first night in our adopted country under canvas.
In the early days of the colony, grumblers were ashamed to open their mouths. On rambling about one curious feature for a new country was discovered around the tents and shanties, and in spots a few miles away in the bush, viz., congregations of empty bottles here and there, and plentiful too in their emptiness. Perhaps these might be fairly taken to account for the general joviality of the people; nevertheless, I am persuaded that much of the life and animation so universally exhibited, by the ladies as well as the stouter sex, was genuine, for we all felt we had come to a fine country as pioneers to found a kingdom, but then, like the young donkey frisking about, all out trials had yet to come.
I should mention that on one of the first acres which was taken possession of and occupied, two brick pillars, imposing by their ugliness, had been erected to form a gateway, through which to approach a wooden shanty of two or three rooms, and on one of the pillars was a board giving notice that any person found trespassing on these grounds (ie a bare acre) will be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law. This, also, was comforting, as a forward step in civilisation.
Shortly after our arrival, our gracious Queen’s birthday was commemorated by a ball at Government House, to which we had the honour to be invited. We were still under canvas; the ladies were in distress; trunks had to be unpacked, etc, etc; and, worse than all, no conveyances for hire had yet been introduced, and the line we had to travel to Government House was diagonally across the then forest city, with no clearings or even direct tracks. The pressing difficulty was overcome by a kind neighbour offering us a ride in a waggon drawn by three horses in chain-harness, and driven by a real waggoner, with his long whalebone whip, all just imported from Tasmania.
Well, the ladies soon got over the difficulties of such a conveyance ... such as the want of seats, steps to get in and out with, and such usual carriage belongings as were absolutely indispensable, by suggesting that the side rails should be clothed with railway rugs strapped on, a carpet on the bottom, and a high chair for steps. The ladies being young, lively, and energetic, the ascent was accomplished with our assistance, and without accident or ruffle. Our pace was necessarily slow, as our driver walked by the side of his team, driving with a gee-up, and stopping with a loud whoa at the government porch ...
On entering the ballroom, our eyes were dazzled by the brilliancy of the scene, to which we formed a striking addition, thanks to our military friends. Such a display of elegantly-dressed ladies could hardly have been expected to emerge from such confined and temporary dwellings as those in existence at that time. Dancing was kept up without flagging, as although the guests were chiefly married people, they were endowed with the spirit and energy necessary for early colonists. The entertainment was in all respects a success, and kind and hospitable Governor Hindmarsh and his charming family everything that could be desired ...
We departed early, and did not see any other vehicle, although there must have been some half-dozen or so coming and going at other times during the evening. We were afterwards kept in countenance by hearing that one lady, a special beauty and highly connected, had been conveyed from her home to the vicinity of the vice-regal residence in a bullock dray.
The trifling deprivations now experienced, and of which we hear such grave complaints, rather amuse the old settlers ... Before chimneys were built, and cooking was performed out of doors, it was not an unusual thing to see in showery or even in sunny weather a lady watching the kettle, camp-oven, etc, under an umbrella at a log fire.
After a time, substantial stone buildings having been erected, the colony has had a low average of visits from the fire-king, except when he has come and travelled in his bush invasions, of which, unfortunately for myself, I have had considerable experience and heavy losses.
I once met a grand conflagration in the Tiers, or stringy bark forest - which I fortunately escaped with singes only - when coming towards town with a mob of fat cattle on a hot day, a strong north wind blowing. After crossing the Onkaparinga by the Echunga road, I met clouds of smoke, indicating a fire at some distance ahead of my course, but as I mounted the first hill, it seemed to be raging to the south ... and so I kept on. The cattle were travelling at a good pace. On attaining the next summit, I found the fire had crossed the road at some distance ahead, and was rushing down a gully to the right of me, carried at a flying rate by the north wind.
In my endeavour to head the cattle, they rushed off to the right, towards the approaching fire, and charged a thick belt of green cherry tree, which, being dense and high, somewhat obscured the flames. Before the cattle reached this shelter, as they expected to find it, the fire had overtaken it, and the green foliage was soon burning and crackling about them and over their heads. They could not, however, stoop or turn in their impetuous rush, but dashed through the flaming hedge. As I was close upon them, I followed over burning brushwood which had been a good deal trampled out by the bullocks, and passed on, over smouldering grass and bushes, at full gallop after the cattle, trees on all sides being on fire to their tops, and falling branches crashing in all directions, but was soon safe on the track again, on to which the cattle had turned; and soon after safely yarded them at Crafers.
This was the only time I ever met and charged an approaching fire. I have on other occasions retreated, and started a fire to meet and contend with the one approaching when such an occurrence was met with clear of a stringy-bark forest ...
Mr Emanuel Solomon arrived in the Lady Wellington, the back of which vessel was broken on the bar at the entrance of Lights Passage. The wreck was bought on account of a Sydney firm, and was got off and towed up towards the Old Port. I afterwards, as agent for that firm, sold her to the Governor, Colonel Gawler, for £800. As she was quite taut above and below, she was for s short time used as a Government store ship ....
Mr E Solomon ..., seeing the great influx of population, and that nothing was being done to produce the staff of life, made a good speculation in purchasing a cargo of flour, immediately on its arrival, from a Mr Russell, then a merchant here, part of which he shipped to his brother in Sydney, and offered the remainder of the same to the Government here at £30 a ton, well aware of a scarcity in New South Wales and Tasmania. The Government refused to buy the flour, and to prevent reshipment of any of the small stocks in the colony of flour and rice, an export duty of £100 a ton was immediately put on breadstuffs. The flour Mr Solomon had shipped to Sydney realised to him £50 a ton, and the price in this colony soon reached £100 a ton, under the protection of the prohibitory export duty.
Mr Solomon and his firm suffered heavily in the crisis, and during the period in which the colony was recovering from the severe depression, which was so severely felt by all when the Government stopped payment, but more especially by those of the early settlers, who had expended their means and energies in first settling in the land of their adoption. It must with justice be recorded of Mr Emanuel Solomon that he has left his mark upon our now progressive and beautiful city. At a very early period, he erected our first and capacious theatre in Gilles Arcade, so named when no arcade existed, or has since appeared.
But the previous ... theatre must be mentioned; it was a small wooden structure at the back of the Black Swan public house, on North-terrace ... I must declare that I was never within its paling walls, either as a spectator or a performer, but I remember being told that a man named Bartlett was one of the performers - a bullock driver, whose deep bass voice was often heard in our timber ranges, and afterwards on his section at Balhannah.
The inhabitants of the young city were promised by the first manager that the tragedies of the immortal Shakespeare would be exhibited in this building. I do not know what characters Bartlett attempted, but his deep sepulchral tones were peculiarly adapted ... to the part of the ghost in Hamlet ... All old colonists who heard his extraordinary voice will agree with me, that it was one calculated to make a deep and lasting impression on any human audience as well as on his team of bullocks.
Some considerable gatherings ... used to occur in the neighbourhood of the Gilles Arcade. Mr Solomon there had his wooden store, and there were wooden cottages occupied as offices by the Treasurer, the Resident Magistrate, and one was the dwelling of Judge Jickling. On the other side of Currie-street was the Southern Cross Hotel - a wooden structure brought out in frame from London - kept by F Allen, where generally in a morning would be seen a number of people. It was a ... place of meeting, and when no Court or other business occupied ... those present, idlers would indulge in practical jokes....
This brings to remembrance ... the opening of the town of Glenelg, on which occasion a splendid lunch was provided for a numerous invited company, to take place under a ... collection of tents ... At the Bay were a few huts, two of which were licensed public-houses - one kept by Henning and Fenden. This building was formed of pines, thatched with reeds, and was ... about 30 feet long by 10 feet wide and 8 feet high to the eaves ...
The lunch was given by the proprietors of the township, viz, the Treasurer, OH Gilles Esq; the Resident Magistrate, WR Wigley esq; Matthew Smith and W Finke esquires. The morning was fine, the company as numerous as the tables would accommodate, the provisions abundant, if not exhibiting any great variety of viands, but as to the supply of drinkables, that was as choice, abundant and various as was ever seen on any table of the same picnic character even in the Old Country. Mrs Gawler having honoured the occasion with her presence, the entertainment was graced and enlivened by a large number of ladies in most elegant attire.
Every available vehicle the settlement afforded was pressed for the occasion, but few covered ones, unfortunately being obtainable ... It should be mentioned that the road between the city and Glenelg was then not formed, and very few of the sections between the two places were fenced; mere tracks over the natural surface of the ground were used. I had driven my wife, and two male friends with their wives, down in an open waggonette. The morning being so fine umbrellas had, in too many instances, been left at home.
When the arranged toasts had been nearly exhausted, the downpour of rain became very heavy. Before this, it had been sufficient to prevent the retirement of the ladies ... At length, as no cessation of the heavy rain appeared likely soon to occur, the ladies determined to defy the elements.
Mrs Gawler’s carriage was first at the opening of the tent, and she was conducted and sheltered to the door of her carriage by Mr McLaren, the Manager of the South Australian Company. The ground had become so slippery that this polite gentleman fell down at the feet of the Governor’s lady ...
On the same day, it was proposed to launch a cutter, to be named the OG, which was built on the banks of the Pattawalonga Creek, by Henning and Fenden. To add to the calamities, the tide in the creek did not rise so high as to float the first vessel built in the colony ... The cutter was, immediately after this unpropitious day, privately christened and launched, and was for a long time usefully employed as a coasting vessel ...
The free settlers, as well as Government officials, were obliged to employ banished men (not asking if they were expirees or runaways), who had been well trained to work as convicts, and were skilful splitters, sawyers, pincers, and builders of huts. High wages were paid to them. The port being free at first, drinkables abundant, and licences granted indiscriminately, even to bush huts, the ... ex-convicts, free from restraint, with plenty of money at their command, had only to take an occasional rest to spend their earnings in debauchery, and then resume work for a fresh supply.
Captain Hindmarsh had a small party of marines left with him from Her Majesty’s Ship Buffalo, some twelve or more in number, with a corporal; but up to this time no police force had been organised. A serious riot having occurred, got up by the drunken old lags, the Governor ordered out the marines, with loaded muskets ... to ... fire with ball cartridges. Some of the rioters were wounded, and a few taken into custody, and sentenced to short terms of imprisonment. Shortly after this, the Government Store was broken into, and fire arms and ammunition, besides other goods, were stolen.
The Governor had appointed S Smart esq, a legal gentleman from Tasmania, as sheriff. This gentleman entered on his duties with commendable zeal, and as he knew most of the Vandemonians, as they were called, was also well known by them, and marked for death. His hut was attacked after dark by three men. It was not difficult to make an entry into tents or even the temporary huts then in use without giving previous alarm, and as such dwellings were very small, a pistol presented from the door would be but a yard or two from the person aimed at. One of the ruffians instantly fired, the ball missing Mr Smart’s head, but the powder singeing his ear. As he did not fall, the intruders immediately bolted, as he had fire arms at hand .... The alarm was given, but the men escaped; and it may well be supposed what fear was experienced by the few surrounding inhabitants that night. The next day, no time was lost. The Governor called for volunteers to come forward to be sworn in as special constables. A few loyally responded to the call, and very shortly two of the men who had made the attack on the sheriff were taken and committed, the one who fired the ball (viz, Magee) was afterwards found guilty and sentenced to death, and was hung (sic); the third man, Morgan, escaped, and was afterwards reported to be lurking in the neighbourhood of the recently formed whaling stations at Encounter Bay. The Governor, on receiving this information, requested three of the special constables to ... bring in Morgan, dead or alive, and they undertook the task ...
Mr BG ___ arrived from India with his family and a large retinue of Indian servants. He left the greater part of his capital to be realised on and to follow him. He purchased improved sections and a house near Adelaide and joined the author as partner in a business to introduce stock, in the year 1839. Several herds of cattle passed through their hands with good profit, a cattle station was formed on Bull Creek, on which overland cattle were fattened, and the city of Adelaide supplied with beef, and settlers with stock; several flocks of sheep also were received, chiefly from Tasmania; these were disposed of at an average price of 38s a head. Mr BG ___ was anxious to begin a breeding sheep-station, but ... the author ... declined ... and left his partner to invest on his own private account.
Once, the writer and his wife ... were returning from the cattle station on Bull Creek, after a long ride through the Mount Barker district, and called at Hahndorf, at the coffee shop kept by old ex-sergeant Lubasch, for rest and lunch. Whilst the frugal meal was preparing, they took a turn in the recently formed garden, and as they were returning to the cottage, four men on horseback alighted ... and rushed into the room where the ordered lunch was spread, which three of them, without ceremony, appropriated, in spite of the landlord’s remonstrances. The fourth gentleman (Mr Stephens, the active and energetic first manager of the South Australia Company) left his companions, and mounting his horse, galloped towards Adelaide. The writer and his wife, also displeased at the action of the intruders, followed his example at a smart pace, but not sufficiently to overtake him, although occasionally hearing the hoofs of the horse ahead of them.
Having to call at a cottage on the Glen Osmond section, they passed down that spur and so lost the sound of the horse’s feet, Mr Stephens having taken the more direct and easy Beaumont Spur, the one most in use, on which half-way down he was soon after found lying insensible; his horse had fallen, and as the unfortunate gentleman had fallen on his head, he did not recover consciousness or survive many hours. The whole of the few inhabitants of the colony felt the deepest regret for such a sad termination of the useful career of one so universally esteemed.
The Foundation of Hahndorf
In the months of November and December in the year 1838, the ship Zebra, Captain Hahn, and the Prince George arrived from Hamburg with German families, under the pastoral care of the Rev Mr Kavel, who was truly a shepherd over them, not only administering to their spiritual wants, but also acting as overlooker to a great extent to their temporal affairs. The community of useful colonists whom he brought out had been assisted to a great extent by Mr GF Angas, formerly of London, and late of Lindsay House, Angaston ...
This wealthy and beneficent gentleman never made a better use of his money than by affording to this body of Lutherans the means to migrate to this colony ... He was not only one of the committee who struggled to obtain our charter; but when his funds and presence in the colony were so much needed, he further made large investments, and a few years later, took up his residence here among us, and spent the remainder of his valuable life here, and thus set an example which has not been always followed by those who have made their fortunes here; too large a proportion of such fortunate individuals being now absentees, who draw their incomes to be spent in other countries, untaxed by us.
Shortly after arrival, Pastor Kavel called upon me and explained the circumstances under which this large body of immigrants had arrived, viz; that they were generally poor but industrious and honest; that they had been, by the assistance of a loan, enabled to make the passage, and that they required cattle and other things, including land, which they must to a great extent procure on credit, and asked me if I could oblige them with cattle. Some few amongst them had money, and might pay with cash; some could pay part of the purchase money, and those who required full credit would pay instalments at certain fixed periods. I did not hesitate to comply, and was soon visited by a number of his people.
First came a small capitalist who wanted a pair of oxen, and exhibited his small bag of sovereigns with some pride. At the time, the stockyard was full of cattle brought in for sale. He pointed out to me on the outside of the yard a hand-truck to which he had fixed a long slight pole, and gave me to understand that he wanted a pair of oxen to attach to that vehicle to take his luggage, with which it was loaded, over the hills, pointing to Mount Lofty. He had a companion with him who could speak a few words of English. I knew nothing of German ...
As I was much puzzled what to do with him, I shook my head to imply that his system would not answer with our cattle ... His friend said How much? , pointing out two bullocks. He was told £42 the pair. One was the wildest and wickedest beast in the yard, and the other a good match for him ... Finding I could not make myself understood, and that the intended buyer had worked himself into a violent passion, implying, as I thought, a charge that I wanted to cheat him, I walked away to my house, leaving him violently gesticulating to my men. I had not been long away when I heard a great noise of roaring bullocks and men’s voices, and returned to see what was the matter. It appeared after I left he had tendered to my foreman the money named, which was the price fixed for the pick of unbroken bullocks in the yard. My men wished for no better fun, so ... they roped up one of the beasts, which ... became quite furious, and was roaring and dashing about in such a manner that the German was frightened enough, and met me, begging for his money which my man had received. I ordered the rope to be cut, when the beast rushed at and cleared the fence, and made off. A man on horseback was sent after him, and the bullock was found on the banks of the Torrens, where he had tossed a constable and seriously injured him, and was quickly shot by one of the troopers.
As the German had been so obstinate and had caused so much trouble, I refused to return his money, but desired him to call on me with his pastor. Before he could leave, the man returned with news of the damage done. The German’s whole family were now present. His wife had in the meantime been handling the quiet milking cows in the milking yard, and now they petitioned me to let them have two quiet cows in place of the bullocks, with which I complied, and the whole family went off with their newly-acquired live stock, highly pleased ...
Some of the family yoked themselves to the truck, which was such a one as two large goats might have drawn; and after making several journeys ... they managed to get the whole of their goods over the hills. It must not be forgotten that at the time this was done, no road had been cut or formed, and the greater part of the goods of the community was carried on backs and shoulders to the village named by them Hahndorf in honour of Captain Hahn.
I have given the above account of my first transaction with these people to show how little they were acquainted with colonial matters. I had subsequently many dealings with them, and invariably found them punctual and honest. I continue to relate what difficulties this community had to experience and overcome in acquiring land on which to found their settlements. One they formed at Klemzig, where Pastor Kavel lived for years.
Owing to our land system not then admitting of purchase on credit from the Government, the Germans who arrived in the early days, instead of paying £1 to the State paid long credit prices and heavy interest to private speculators. For the Hahndorf land they had to pay £7 an acre. I do not know what interest they were charged, but I daresay 10 per cent. Now this land was part of the first special survey taken up by Messrs Dutton, Finnis, and McFarlane, at a cost to them of £1 an acre, and was not by any means the pick of their land; so no favour was shown in this essential arrangement with the strangers, who, I think I may say, were taken in.
They had to pay off the principal by annual instalments. The quantity of land was 240 acres, which cost them £1,680. Then, through the pastor, they obtained credit for provisions etc, to the amount of £1,500, until their own crops were realised on. Their seed wheat had cost them £1 a bushel, and they had to procure working cattle at no less than £40 a pair. Up to the time of their arrival, the inhabitants of Adelaide had been insufficiently supplied with vegetables and dairy produce, and these at an exorbitant price - butter at 2s 6d a lb, and eggs 2s 6d a dozen.
The Germans very soon began to carry into the city for sale small supplies of butter, and, within a few months, vegetables, generally on the backs of the females, and in the same manner taking back their supplies of rations. After a time, a string of matrons and girls would be seen wending their way to the capital in their German costume. Before the end of their first year of residence amongst us, they furnished the townspeople with a good supply of vegetables etc, realising to themselves a good profit. At their first harvest, their little handmills were set a-going; and they soon cleared off all their debts, and purchased from the Government 240 acres of land for cash, at £1 an acre, contiguous to their township.
Their implements were of their own construction, and primitive enough, after the forms which had been in use in their native country for hundreds of years. For some time after their arrival, we would see funny rigs attached to one of their small ploughs or wooden harrows - say a woman with a strap over her shoulder with a rope to a swingletree, a necessary advantage given to her in length, and at the other shorter end a small bullock, cow, or a pony, the husband or father holding with one hand the one-handled plough and with the other a long pipe, which he was deliberately smoking - the wooden plough light enough to be carried on a man’s shoulder.
It was not long before we saw them in better circumstances, with their pairs of fine and fat horses, kept and treated in a manner which set an example to the settlers amongst whom they had come.
At an early period, old Lubasch (who was a sergeant in the Prussian artillery at the battle of Waterloo) opened in the village of Hahndorf first a coffee-shop, and soon afterwards a licensed house, and ran a pony mail-cart, much to the accommodation of the small population then settled in the district. Many a hard battle of words have I fought with the old sergeant, but never succeeded in convincing him that the battle of Waterloo was won before the arrival of old Blücher. Lubasch claimed to have been with the advanced detachment of guns which unlimbered and fired the first volley, and save, as he maintained, the English army.
At the first shearing of sheep after their arrival at their village, the community at Hahndorf contracted to shear a flock for Mr D MacFarlane; and as I witnessed their peculiar mode of performing the work, I will relate what I saw. The shearers were principally young women, who were waited on by men of the village, who, when called on, caught and carried the sheep to the shearer who was ready. The sheep was carefully laid down on its side; the young woman, without shoes and stockings, had a piece of thick soft string tied to one of her great toes, the other end was then tied to the hind foot of the sheep; the girl’s leg was then stretched out to extend the legs of the sheep; he knee or left hand was pressed on the neck or shoulder of the animal, which was then left to her charge, and she commenced her clipping work, most carefully avoiding any snips of the skin. The number shorn by one never exceeded thirty a day. At first, I was inclined to laugh, but I was soon pleased to see how tenderly the sheep were handled. The wool was not taken off very close. The whole party worked with a will, and the amount they earned went towards the payment for their land, as Mr D MacFarlane, the owner of the sheep, was one of the original proprietors who sold the land to them.
This first and successful experiment in the introduction of German immigrants was followed by several other shiploads, some, as I am informed, assisted also by Mr Angas, and many others who have been aided by their friends who had preceded them and been successful. The influence of Pastor Kavel was very great, his personal exertions on behalf of his country-men were untiring, and with a perfect forgetfulness of self, so that he could not fail in establishing a community remarkable for probity and respect for our laws. Mr Kavel was universally beloved. He had married a wife of an alien nation, viz. English, shortly before his arrival, and, in this respect departed from the general actions of his people, amongst whom they had settled.
It has been objected to these German immigrants that the colonists do not derive any direct benefit from their labour, but this is not a liberal view to take, as they rent a good deal of land from English proprietors, and when not engaged on their own holdings gladly take work from the adjoining settlers. By the untiring industry and rigid frugality of the inhabitants of Hahndorf they soon paid off all their debts; and although most of those who arrived here and are still alive, remain in their original location, many of the younger branches have taken up land on their own account, and are becoming amalgamated with the English population. At all events, they all, young and old, prove themselves good and loyal subjects of our gracious Queen.
On some occasions, I attended the services of the Rev’d Mr Kavel, and, without notice, on his observing English hearers present, he would address us in our own language, apparently to the gratification of his own people. He early suffered the loss of his wife, who was buried at Klemzig, and the good man seemed for a time almost bowed down with grief.
He procured the publication of a neat pamphlet, containing statistical accounts of the colony, with a lithographic print of the city and a map of the colony, with letters from German settlers containing glowing descriptions of the success they had met with. This little work was extensively circulated in Germany, and no doubt has led numbers who have left their own nation to join us in this antipodal region.
The following German villages were early formed, viz: - Klemzig, Hahndorf, Lobethal (in which our first woollen factory has been established), Bethanien, Langmeil, as well as several other smaller settlements, and now as fresh arrivals come, they are more dispersed abroad than when the first communities arrived. From the Harz Mountains and Saxony, we have not had the number of miners and smelters that could be desired, such workers being specially adapted to obtain and smelt our minerals.
Pioneer Farming at Balhannah
The Resident Commissioner and the Surveyor-General, in opening the work of the new colony, had first to order and arrange the survey of the City of Adelaide and the preliminary districts, extending from the city down to Cape Jervis, in which the preliminary land orders (mostly held by absentees) might be first exercised. No other country land was open for selection until near the end of the first quarter of the year 1838, which was over two years after the colony was proclaimed. The size of all sections surveyed up to this time was to suit the preliminary land orders, viz: - 134 acres.
After the best sections had been chosen, the rejected ones had to be cut up into 80-acre sections, and green slips as they were called; and then the 80-acre land orders might be exercised. As was natural, all the best sections as to quality of land, supply of water, or locality, had been absorbed by the representatives of the preliminary land-order holders. The authorities had no power to place bona fide farmers, or others having 80-acre land orders, on sections, although purchased and paid for in England, until after preliminary selections had been made ...
The South Australian Company and a few fortunate private individuals took advantage of the preliminary sale in England, and thus was created an absentee proprietory. These preliminary sections near the capital cost only 12s an acre with one town acre thrown in to each, as I have already stated. I do not desire to cast blame on these fortunate purchasers who came forward to invest their cash in a speculation which was treated by the authorities as a wild scheme, but to explain the primary mistakes which resulted in the unfortunate crisis of 1839-1840.
The early settlers who had invested their capital in legitimate pursuits suffered great losses. The delays I have recounted which took place in obtaining suitable land for agricultural purposes caused many who had come out to embark in farming to adopt other pursuits, but when the crisis approached, and after flour had obtained the unheard-of and famine price of £8 and £10 a bag, many of those who had any means left, returned to the occupation they joined the colony to embark in, although in most instances with greatly diminished means.
I myself closed my town business in 1839 at a great sacrifice, and made arrangements to occupy and reside on my sections, only recently selected, which were situated about twenty miles to the east of the city. I had the first choice in the first special survey after the 4,000 acres had been selected. It may be as well here to give a description of our first experiences in this line.
Having sent on men to prepare timber for building and fencing, I followed as soon as temporary shelter was provided. I give an account of our journey as a fair specimen of what early settlers had to experience. I first despatched two bullock teams with our furniture and fixings as early in the day as possible, and followed some hours afterwards with my family in a roomy waggonette, to which were harnessed three horses, one in the lead and two wheelers - a dangerous rig for the rough and hilly track we had to pursue. In the trap, I being the driver, I had my wife, sister, two sons (three and four years old), one female servant, and our youngest boy in arms; also a man to assist me on the road in procuring timber drags, and in fixing them on to the hind axle of the carriage before I ventured to drive down the steep hills which we had to pass - in those days, screw skids had not been invented.
This great improvement in skids over all other plans which had been previously used in easing loaded vehicles down hills was shortly after invented by one of our earliest colonists, viz:, Mr Stephen Hack. The first one which was constructed on his suggestion was made by J Adamson. To pass over the Mount Lofty Range at that time was no easy task. The first ascent to be made was by either of the spurs between Beaumont and Glen Osmond. I fixed on the one nearest Greenhill, as being most used and having more space for making tacks.
I had a staunch team, and with many zigzags I surmounted this first difficulty, my man following behind with chocks to stop the hind wheels when necessary to ease the horses. On the top of the brow, to my surprise and annoyance, I overtook the drays. The day being very hot, one of my best leading bullocks dropped, and could not be got up again. I had in consequence to leave my man to assist in yoking up one of the body-bullocks as a makeshift leader in the place of the fallen one, and to continue with the drays to assist the disarranged team; and I had no alternative but to go on the best way I could, without help or the use of drags.
My next serious difficulty was Breakneck Hill, rightly named, as I can speak from experience of broken-necked bullocks in descending, but on this occasion, I had to surmount it. I afterwards got on pretty well, down moderate and short pinches, having an excellent leader who would turn to the right or left as sharp as required with slack traces. When I came to the steep and longer descent at Cox Creek, on which spur trees had been felled and split into palings and shingles, the stumps of course left standing, and sundry rejected bad splitting pieces of timber lying about, I felt I had arrived at my worst trouble.
I pulled up and looked on each side hoping to find at hand a suitable timber drag, but was disappointed, and with much trepidation, I started the team at a foot’s pace, but when, without skid, the pressure came too heavy on my wheelers, they began to trot in spite of all my efforts to hold them back, and at length they broke into full gallop. By the sagacity and obedience of my leader, I was able to clear the stumps and logs without an accident. The females and children fortunately did not scream or utter a word. At the foot of the hill, on pulling up, I found two men on horseback, who had paused in astonishment at seeing us make such a flying descent...
We continued on the track over the natural surface, now steep sideling, now sharp rise or fall, and reached the Onkaparinga River without accident. The crossing was too rough, and here one of our back springs gave way, after having stood all the heavy jolts and jars we had previously encountered. A cross-bar cut and fixed, we again passed on, and reached the station at sundown. After a picnic supper, we turned in on beds of dry grass, as the drays with begging and food did not arrive till next morning, when we had a sumptuous breakfast. Poultry and dairy cows had been sent up some time before with a small flock of sheep ...
Before I arrived at the farm with my family, some preparatory work had been done in fencing and building. For some time, an overlander - ie, a lag of the name of Tom Fuller - with his mate, had been employed in sawing timber for buildings and in splitting posts and rails for fencing, and his work went on until late in December ...
The kitchen and dairy being finished, we soon had our usual comforts. And now the work of fencing was continued, and grubbing trees, and preparing land for corn. An orchard and garden were trenched, to be ready at the right season for planting. I had purchased seed wheat at 15s a bushel, and having to pay that price for seed, and so much to do in clearing, fencing and erecting farm buildings, I did not crop more land this first season than what I thought might yield me seed for the following year and enough for domestic use.
At this time, 1840, on the first farms established, the proprietors, some of them quite unused to manual labour, might be seen undergoing the heaviest work their powers would admit of; their wives and children engaged in unaccustomed employments totally unsuited to their strength - a boy of eight or ten years of age driving bullocks at harrow, occasionally a young girl driving bullocks for her father at plough, or with a sister cross-cutting logs for fencing; then all had to help at odd times of the day, early and late, at log burning. All this toil was necessary, because labour was scarce and wages high, or money wanting; and so a variety of hard shifts had to be adopted to accomplish indispensable work...
My first experience in giving employment to the natives in a regular way was after I left Adelaide and commenced farming in the Mount Barker district. They picked up and bagged potatoes and did other farming jobs. On one of these occasions, after work was finished, I was talking to them at their camp in the dusk of the evening, on the side of the hill above my premises, when a large meteor appeared (the largest I ever saw), which came from the east at an apparent slow pace, showing larger and larger as it approached. I supposed it fell to the ground at or on the east side of Mount Lofty proper, but I was informed it had been seen crossing the plains of Adelaide.
At the camp were a large number of blacks, many of them employed by neighbouring settlers. They no sooner saw the meteor than they cast themselves with their faces on the ground, uttering one combined and long-continued hideous yell. When the meteor had vanished, all I cold say did not pacify or relieve them of their fright; they persisted in saying it was devil-devil, come to kill blackfellows.
On rising early the following morning, I was greatly surprised to find the camp entirely deserted, nor did I see any of them till months afterwards, when some of them again visited me. They told me in distressing tones that many of the tribe had died through the coming of the big one fire. They undoubtedly had been suffering from some kind of fever, for those who had survived came in a most pitiable state of emaciation. They had suffered far away from the help of white men. I may mention that I have often given them medicine, which they were always eager to take, and so made excellent patients; the more nauseous the taste, the more they approved of it.
This tribe belonged to a piece of country on the banks of the Murray, called by them Wall. We called their chief King John, and the name of his chief lubra was Monarto, which was considered so pretty a name that the whites never changed it. King John and Monarto often paid me a visit, and I set apart a small hut for them. He was a very good workman, and kept good order when I had a number of them employed ... He and the wreck of his tribe subsequently fell on my hands to procure for them the annual dole of blankets and a few necessaries. The tribe is now extinct, the few remaining alive having joined another diminishing tribe ...
At the 1839-1840 harvest, I had good crops on my small patches of wheat and potatoes; my seed wheat, which had been raised on town acres, had cost me 15s a bushel. I had a few bushels of this, my first harvest, beyond what I required for domestic use and seed, for which I got 9s a bushel. We now obtained our flour by the use at home of a handmill, which some neighbours had also used,and so commenced independence as to bread-food against imported flour. To turn this mill was a change of work, either before or after ordinary long hours of daily labour.
I will give an account of my own experiences in the harvest of 1842-1843, and in conveyance of the crop to market. Prices had fallen considerably and buyers were scarce. My crop was in condition for hand-reaping before the end of December, but I could not procure reapers before the 24th, as men had been earning large wages on the plains. Harvesting hands had been so scarce that the soldiers had been allowed to lay down their arms and take up sickles, and many soft-handed gentlemen had also turned out to give their doubtful but well-intentioned assistance in the emergency.
On the 24th December, 1842, I was able to induce five men to accompany me, and I conveyed them to the farm. I did not allow them to work on Christmas Day, but they had Christmas fare. I engaged to give them 15s and one bottle of rum an acre, with rations, for hand-reaping. The crop was dead ripe, the heads drooping with the weight of the plump grain. On the 25th, a fiery hot wind was blowing, and continued on the following day, when I expected the reapers to start work, but they were missing. I found them at the nearest grog-shop. After some trouble, I got them away to start work the following morning. Before a sickle was put into the crop, the loss in shed wheat was over one bushel to the acre, and a further loss necessarily followed in harvesting.
Immediately on my return, I took one of the men, the most sober of the lot, to see the over-ripeness of the crop, and by what transpired, it will be seen how providentially, out of the difficulties of my situation, the idea flashed upon me as to the possibility of thrashing a standing crop of wheat, and which idea, on being worked out, has since wrought such a beneficial result for the colony at large ...
I afterwards lost no time in exhibiting a rough drawing to many of my neighbours (some of whose certificates I hold), but I got no encouragement, but from my oft recurrence to the subject was sometimes told I had lost my senses.
The crop was reaped, and the reapers were settled with, and allowed to return home.
Before carrying and stacking was undertaken, I had to consider how I could get over the thrashing, as a thrashing machine was not procurable, and the price asked for hand-thrashing was a shilling a bushel, cleaning and bagging extra.
Many months before this harvest, I had anticipated a great fall in price, as well as the other troubles I have described, and had procured a large number of store and breeding pigs. I decided to have the grain beaten out of the heads of the sheaves only, without unbinding them, and engaged several German women from Hahndorf, with their curious flails, and a number of blacks to supply the thrashers with the sheaves, to remove them as so partly thrashed, and to place them on frames around a large contiguous pig-yard, to be ready to be thrown to the pigs in fattening them. The sheaves were left out in shocks in the field, and were carted into the unskilled thrashers as required, and so the expense of stacking was saved. I counted the cost by this novel process of thrashing, cleaning and bagging, to be about 6d a bushel. In the absence of a winnowing machine, I had the assistance of natives, and got up a good sample by casting the wheat against the wind.
Next came the carting the wheat to town over the hills on the natural surface, with very little improvement from the hand of man. Now, bullockdrivers demanded ten shillings a day and expenses, so I undertook to drive one team myself, and started with a driver to conduct a second team. This was my first attempt to pilot a team of eight bullocks over such a chain of hills. I could comfortably handle a four-in-hand team of horses, but I was not up to the skilful management of a team of eight bullocks, although I had, as a matter of course, the handiest cattle for myself.
The first rises accomplished successfully, in going down a steep pinch, my polers fell, and Larry, a favourite beast, sticking his horns into the ground, went heels and body over head, and his neck was broken. The next job I and my man had to do was to prepare and dress the carcass, to avoid a total loss, and then to seek purchasers amongst the nearest splitters, to whom I had to dispose of the beef at a nominal price, although the bullock was in prime condition. He cost me £20, so my loss was considerable. With this delay, we were unable to reach Adelaide that day. In making other trips that season, I had sundry other accidents, but shortly afterwards, improvements in the roads were made.
Immediately the thrashing was over, the fattening of the pigs on the partlh thrashed sheaves commenced, and so the preparation for the knife and salting trough began. The pigs had water at hand, and whilst feeding themselves were doing good work in treading their bedding into a macerated bulk, as a valuable return to the land for crop taken off ...
I sold my wheat of this harvest, part at 4s, and remainder at 3s and 6d a bushel. I estimated that about one-third was left in the sheaves and given to the pigs.
It was not long before I commenced to kill and cure hams and bacon, and used a smoking-house. When I had about three tons ready for the market, I carted the same to Adelaide, where, on going wearily from store to store, I found I could get no offer for the whole lot, and less than 4d per pound for small quantities, and to take part out in stores. I declined these conditions, and when at a loss what to do, I met Mr AL Elder,who, on hearing of my unsuccessful attempts to obtain a customer, ordered me to take the lot to his small warehouse, then in Hindley Street, and gave me 4d a pound, cash, for the lot, which he shipped to the Mauritius. I was glad to hear from him some time afterwards that the shipment met with a good market.
---- The End ----
ADAMSON, James (1790-1864) - A Scottish wheelwright and agricultural implement maker, J Adamson operated a factory in Hanson St (the southern portion of present-day Pulteney St), Adelaide, after arriving in SA during 1839.
ADELAIDE - On Christmas Eve 1836, SAs first Surveyor-General, William Light, walked towards the tent of one of his assistant surveyors camped beside the Torrens River. Light suddenly realised that this was the perfect spot for the capital city. He named the settlement Adelaide, after the consort of King William 1V, on the British throne at the time.
ANGAS, George Fife (1789-1879) - Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, GF Angas worked in the family coachmaking industry there until his father’s death, the moving to London, where he took a great interest in banking and insurance. Later, Angas became one of the prime movers in the formation of the SA Company set up to promote the colonisation of the new province of SA. A Baptist by conviction, Angas sympathised with a group of persecuted Prussian Lutherans and lent them money to travel to SA in 1838. GF Angas and his wife moved to SA permanently in 1851, where he spent much time enlarging his business interests, belonging to the SA parliament and fostering various religious and charitable movements.
BARTLETT, Samuel - A Waymouth St carrier in 1840, the year that the Royal Victoria Theatre opened. Samuel Bartlett opened the Balhannah Inn during March 1840, and also cultivated an acre of potatoes nearby.
BEAUMONT - Samuel Davenport laid out the village of Beaumont on Section 296, Hundred of Adelaide, in 1848. The origin of the name is uncertain, but perhaps to do with Davenport’s mother, who had Christian names of French origin.
BEAUMONT SPUR, The - Perhaps Samuel Stephens came down what is now known as the Beaumont House Spur from Gleeson’s Hill, between the plains and the Adelaide Hills. Gleeson’s Hill is north of the Glen Osmond Spur.
BETHANIEN (BETHANY) - Twenty-eight German refugee families from the ship Skjold founded Bethanien against the Barossa Ranges in early March 1842. This was the first township to be established in the Barossa Valley. The land was an outlying portion of the extensive Special Surveys taken out by Charles Flaxman on the floor of the Valley proper. Pastor Daniel Fritzsche walked regularly between Bethanien and Lobethal to minister to his scattered flock. From 1918, the name of this settlement became Bethany.
BLACK SWAN - Known as the Hotel Centralia since 1940, the old Black Swan premises are the oldest continuous hotel on North Terrace (No 65), Adelaide. A John Shand opened the hotel in 1845. Probably he is to be identified with John Shand the brewer on the Torrens River, near Klemzig, who declared insolvency in 1843. An 1844 spring flood washed the brewery building away. For many years, a black swan etched onto the front facade made the hotel a well-known landmark.
BREAKNECK HILL - Several remarkably steep hills by this name exist on various roads in the Adelaide Hills. On the Mt Barker Road, Breakneck Hill is the long grade leading up to Crafers from the Adelaide side. From the late 19th century, the name Measday Hill supplanted the older name. William Measday and his family operated their Dunrobin general store clinging precariously beside the main road.
BUFFALO, The - A three-mast ship built in Calcutta in 1813 and called the Hindostan. The Royal Navy bought this vessel in the same year and re-named it the Buffalo, for use as a storeship/timber carrier. Captain Hindmarsh had the boat fitted out at Portsmouth for the long voyage to SA in 1836. The Buffalo came again to Australia in 1840 with convicts for Hobart Town. Soon afterwards, the ship took British troops to New Zealand, but unfortunately was wrecked off the South Island while loaded with kauri spars bound for England. The wreckage is still seen occasionally when sea conditions allow.
BULL CREEK - A short tributary of the Finniss River, a few kilometres south of Meadows. While seraching for stock pastures in the Adelaide Hills, John Bull spent one night camped on the site of the present Strathalbyn, in the company of Stone, a notorious horse thief. As a recompense for not having revealed his identity to the authorities, Stone guided Bull to an ideal location further to the south for fattening cattle. In this lush, sheltered river valley, JW Bull and his partner, EB Gleeson, conditioned stock after their long overland journey from NSW, in preparation for sale at the Adelaide market. To JW Bull’s understandable annoyance, Charles Flaxman’s Meadows Special Survey of 31 January 1839 displaced him from his prime spot.
BULL FAMILY - JW Bull brought his wife, Mary, nee Brant, and two sons, John Junr and Robert, ashore with him from England. JW Bull’s brother, Joseph, and sister, Lucy (later Mrs TH Beare) also accompanied the family.
CANTON - A three-year old three-mast ship when the Bull family sailed in 1838. In 1840, the boat brought convicts to Australia, and another group of emigrants to SA in 1846. Captain - J Mordaunt.
CAPE JERVIS - The tip of Fleurieu Peninsula received its name from Matthew Flinders on 23 March 1803. Admiral, Sir John Jervis, had been appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and created the first Earl St Vincent in 1801.
COX CREEK - A small tributary beginning near Bridgewater and flowing into the Onkaparinga River not far from Hahndorf. Hahndorf’s miller, FW Wittwer, operated a water mill at the junction during the early 1840s. The name is a corruption of Robert Cock’s surname. He was an early explorer and farmer in the Adelaide Hills.
CRAFERS - David Crafer opened his hotel, the Sawyer’s Arms, beside the Mt Barker Road in March 1839. The public house soon became known familiarly as Crafer’s place. Two sub-divisions, Crafers Park and Crafers Summit, were laid out in 1880 by Richard Searle and Edward Ashwin, and RA Patterson respectively.
CUDDY - Another name for a ship’s cabin. The Register listed only 35 cabin and 100 steerage passengers on board the Canton. Bull put the total number much higher.
CURRIE STREET - Named after Raikes Currie, a wealthy British banker and member of Parliament, who combined radical thought with a tendency to gamble money as well as ideas. He became a foundation member of the SA Association set up in 1834 to instigate the formation of the colony.
DUTTON, William (1805-1849) - Born in Hanover, where his father held a diplomatic post, WH Dutton emigrated to Sydney and then Adelaide. He brought some stock overland and more by sea. In January 1839, W Dutton took out the colony’s first Special Survey with two partners. Too many business interests in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to exercise efficient supervision led to WH Dutton’s bankruptcy in 1841. Eventually, William’s only surviving son, Henry, inherited Anlaby Station near Kapunda, established by William’s bachelor brother, Frederick.
ECHUNGA - In 1849, Jacob Hagen laid out Echunga in the Hundred of Kuitpo, a few kilometres south of Hahndorf. Three years later, the quiet agricultural hamlet became the scene of South Australia’s earliest gold rush.
ECHUNGA ROAD - The Echunga Road which JW Bull mentions left the Old Mount Barker Road in the vicinity of the Crafers Inn and crossed the Onkaparinga River just beyond Mylor. Joseph Hawdon forded the first cattle to come overland from NSW across this point in 1838. The ford itself became known as Warland’s Crossing, probably after William Warland, who ran the nearby Wheatsheaf Inn. During 1844, a well-publicised flood washed away the bridge which had just replaced the ford. Again, the ford served alone until the more durable Hack’s Bridge appeared c1848.
ELDER, Alexander (1815-1885) - Scottish-born Elder arrived in SA during 1840, aboard his father’s vessel, the Minerva, which was loaded with merchandise to begin a commercial firm in the young colony. Gradually, the business developed into the well-known pastoral enterprise, Elder, Smith & Co. Alexander Elder returned to England in 1853, where he acted as the London representative for the firm he had founded in the Antipodes.
ENCOUNTER BAY - On 8 April 1802, the British maritime explorer Matthew Flinders in the Investigator met a French ship, the Geographe, off the SA coast west of the Murray Mouth. Both vessels greeted each other civilly, a remarkable event, because their two nations were at war in Europe. Flinders gave the bay its name as a result of this exchange. In the late 1830s, the SA Company established whaling stations on the shore of Encounter Bay.
FENDEN, Francis (1810-1892) - A shipbuilder, F Fenden established one of Glenelg’s first hotels, the Reed Hut, in 1838. This establishment became The Glenelg in 1839. His partner was Francis Henning. Fenden bought a number of Pt Lincoln allotments when that township was laid out in 1839. Later, Fenden grew vines and farmed near Salisbury.
FINKE, William (1815-1854) - A Londoner, W Finke arrived in SA during 1836, aboard the Tam O’Shanter. He obtained a clerk’s position in the Colonial Treasurer’s office and early owned property near Gilles Arcade in Currie St, Adelaide. In time, W Finke became a prosperous sheep owner. During 1854, William managed James and John Chambers’ inland exploration expedition. His deputy, JM Stuart, named the Finke River after his former boss, while leading his own Northern Territory expedition during 1860.
FINNIS, John (1802-1872) - Finnis first came to SA in 1838 with Captain Sturt, in charge of overlanding cattle. He established a station on the present site of Hahndorf for fattening beasts for market. Early the next year, Finnis joined with WH Dutton and L McFarlane in the purchase of the First Special Survey, which included the Hahndorf station. The first Hahndorf settlers worshipped in one of Finnis’s stockman’s huts. During the 1840s, he captained vessels trading passengers and goods between Britain and Australia and New Zealand; later, his ship took SA miners bound by sea to and from the Victorian gold diggings.
FIRST SPECIAL SURVEY - GF Angas, Chairman of the SA Company, had insisted on the inclusion of Special Survey land sales in the SA land regulations issued in 1835. However, Governor Gawler was the first person to put this idea into action. He sold the First Special Survey to Messrs Dutton, Finnis and McFarlane on 11 January 1839. The partners paid £4,000 in advance for the survey of 15,000 acres in the vicinity of present-day Mt Barker; these men had the first choice of 4,000 acres and the rest was sold to the public at the uniform price of £1 an acre. Nearly forty Special Surveys were made until Governor Grey successfully urged the abolition of the scheme.
GAWLER, George (1795-1869) - SA's second Governor, his term of office (1838-1841) both began and ended amid high controversy. It was during Gawler’s time that permanent settlement of the Adelaide Hills began with the founding of Hahndorf. The Governor highly valued the province’s new German settlers, but the British authorities disallowed their May 1839 naturalisation oath.
GAWLER, Maria (Nee COX) - Born in Derbyshire, in the English Midlands, Maria Cox was a daughter of John Cox of Friar Gate, Derby, and his wife Mary, a niece of the noted English novelist Samuel Richardson. A very religious person, Maria married George Gawler in September 1820. As elsewhere wherever George happened to be based, Maria did much evangelistic and charity work in Adelaide. She insisted on the whole Government House staff’s attendance at morning prayers and relied on formal dinners for entertaining - dancing and cards were out. Only five of Maria Gawler’s twelve children survived to adulthood.
GILLES, Osmond (1788-1866) - SA's first Colonial Treasurer, O Gilles had many business interests in land and commerce, and was reputed to be the wealthiest of the early settlers. Whenever Treasury funds ran out, he lent his own money to keep the Government running. Of very excitable temperament, Gilles made many enemies in official circles, yet he was extremely philanthropic. Numbers of prominent SA localities honour O Gilles.
GILLES ARCADE - A narrow lane between Currie and Waymouth Sts, where many important businesses operated and famous people lived. The Colonial Treasurer, Osmond Gilles, owned the land on which this development took place. Emanuel Solomon built the Royal Victoria Theatre there in 1840.
GLEESON, Edward Burton (1803-1870) - Irish-born from Co. Clare, Edward Gleeson took his family to Calcutta, where he had extensive commercial interests. In 1838, the family moved to SA. Here, Gleeson went into a stock partnership with JW Bull. Before the Glen Osmond Road to Mt Barker was built in 1840, people travelling to and from the Mount Barker District used Gleeson’s Spur, which came down to EB Gleeson’s property, Gleeville, now part of suburban Beaumont. Somehow surviving his 1842 bankruptcy, Edward laid out the township of Clare in the 1840s and ended his days there, revelling in the affectionate nickname, the King of Clare.
GLEN OSMOND - Osmond Gilles laid out Glen Osmond on Section 295, Hundred of Adelaide, c1857. The village lay at the entrance of the long gully through which the Mt Barker road began its steep ascent into the Adelaide Hills.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE - Governor Hindmarsh lived in a humble reed-thatched home on the site of the present Government House. On 12 February 1841, Old Government House caught alight and burnt to the ground. Inspector Alexander Tolmer tried unsuccessfully to rescue the Governor’s great chest containing many irreplaceable Government records. Suspicions fell upon a certain idividual, but no prosecution was made through lack of direct evidence.
GREENHILL - Colonel Light named Green Hill Rivulet, now First Creek. Henry Nixon, one of his surveyors, bought land at the foot of Greenhill, the spur immediately north of Gleeson’s Hill (qv). During the mid-nineteenth century, a house called Greenhill House stood there. Much of modern Greenhill is the Cleland Wildlife Reserve.
GREEN SLIPS - The twenty-six acres of land remaining from the survey of two adjacent eighty-acre sections, out of which 134 acres were taken to fulfil one preliminary land order (qv). On the survey maps, these remainder acreages were coloured green - hence their name.
HACK, Stephen - The younger brother of well-known JB Hack, both of whom lost out badly in many commercial ideas for investment in SA. The Hack brothers arrived in the province from Van Diemen’s Land in 1837, bringing with them stock for a North Adelaide dairy and market garden they called Chichester Gardens, after their birthplace in Sussex, England. S Hack operated as a Hindley St merchant for a time, before returning to Britain to marry. Once more in SA (1842-1844), he farmed at Echunga with brother John, but finally went back to Europe again for good.
HAHNDORF - Captain DM Hahn negotiated with the three landowners in January 1839 to obtain the site of the present township of Hahndorf for his Zebra passengers to settle. They named their new home after the captain who had done so much for them. Between 1918-1935, Hahndorf was known as Ambleside. Bull states that the Hahndorf pioneers bought 240 acres for £1,680, on which to establish their village. The 1840 purchase agreement between these people and the three proprietors mentions 150 acres at £7 an acre ie £1,050 for the total purchase price.
HARZ MOUNTAINS - A mostly forest-clad high plateau land covering much of the border area between the traditional German provinces of Brunswick, Hanover and Prussian Saxony. Many of the wild legendary tales of German literature have their origins in the Harz Mountains. Great mining towns such as Goslar, Osterode and Zellerfeld formerly created prosperity from copper, iron, lead and silver deposits; alabaster, granite and marble quarries; and tree felling. Numbers of Harz miners and their families emigrated to SA in the 1840s and early 1850s to find employment in the recently-established colonial silver-lead and copper workings.
HENNING, Francis - In partnership with Francis Fenden, F Henning established one of Glenelg’s first hotels, the Reed Hut, on the corner of what is now known as Colley Place and Anzac Highway, in 1838. Renamed the Glenelg a year later, this hotel had a rapid turn-over of publicans until the business closed in 1859.
HINDMARSH, Captain John (1785-1860) - SA’s first Governor (1836-1838) shared power with the Resident Commissioner of the SA Company. Hindmarsh quarrelled badly with Fisher and also with Surveyor-General William Light. Never-the-less, the Governor bought numbers of allotments in Adelaide and on the Fleurieu Peninsula and continued to keep in touch with SA affairs during his lifetime. After SA, Hindmarsh became Governor of Heligoland (1840-1856). In retirement, John lived in Brighton (Sussex) and London.
HOLDFAST BAY - Surveyor-General W Light gave Glenelg’s harbour this name, after his survey ship, Rapid , had safely ridden out two days of storm there in September 1836.
JACK TAR - Nickname for a British sailor, especially in the nineteenth century and beforehand.
JICKLING, Henry - Arrived with Governor Hindmarsh on the Buffalo in 1836. Jickling practised as a barrister in Gilles Arcade (qv) until the mid-1840s, when he removed to Gawler Place. In time, he became Master of the Supreme Court of SA. For a short while after Judge Jeffcott drowned in a boating accident at the Murray Mouth in 1837. H Jickling was Acting Judge of the colony.
KAVEL, August (1798-1862) - Born in Berlin and one of the earliest pupils in the new University there, A Kavel later became a Lutheran pastor in Klemzig, Brandenburg, south-east of the capital. Dissatisfied with a Protestant Church union which the Government forced upon the country, Kavel at last received permission for him and his congregation to emigrate to SA during 1838. He was the pioneer pastor in Klemzig and Hahndorf, and in the end settled at Tanunda, where he died. Fluent in English from working for several years in the London docks, Kavel often represented his people in dealings with the Government and private British settlers.
KLEMZIG - Refugee Prussians established Klemzig in December 1838, on two sections of land belonging to GF Angas on the banks of the Torrens River upstream from Adelaide. The settlers and their spiritual leader, Pastor Kavel, named the place after their homeland village in Brandenburg. The spot soon became an important source of fresh vegetables for the people of Adelaide.
LADY WELLINGTON - Built at Falmouth, Cornwall, England, in 1813, this brig came to SA in 1838, where it remained for Van Diemen’s Land trading until becoming wrecked off Pt Adelaide.
LANGMEIL - Langmeil was founded by German farmers and gardeners from Klemzig, who settled on strips of land on both sides of the North Para River from 1843 onwards. Only after a Lutheran Church had been erected in the district in 1846 did Pastor August Kavel shift permanently to live there. Gradually, the area became merged with Tanunda, laid out adjacent to Langmeil in c1848. Langmeil-Tanunda formed the central township of a region the pioneer Germans termed Neu-Schlesien (New Silesia).
LIGHTS PASSAGE - The entrance to the Port River from Gulf Saint Vincent. Governor Hindmarsh named this spot in a Government Gazette notice of 3 June 1837. It is likely that the Lady Wellington grounded in Light’s Passage, while on a voyage between Pt Adelaide and Launceston.
LINDSAY HOUSE, Angaston - Built by Henry Evans, a son-in-law of GF Angas, near Angaston, Lindsay House eventually became the property of GF Angas himself after he arrived in SA during 1851. The Evanses moved to nearby Keyneton. Now, the property enjoys renown as a horse breeding stud.
LOBETHAL - Ferdinand Müller, a German shepherd employed by the SA Company, found the township site while seeking new pasture for his flock. Eighteen families from amongst his fellow emigrants, who had arrived in the Skjold in late 1841, established themselves there. Their spiritual leader, Pastor Daniel Fritzsche, named the settlement Lobethal or Valley of Praise, on 4 May 1842, the day the founders took over their property. Between 1918-1935, the town was known as Tweedvale.
LUBASCH, Gottfried (1789-1856) - A native of Brandenburg, Prussia, Gottfried Lubasch had served in Napoleon’s army in Russia in 1813, where he saw the burning of Moscow. Twice married, Gottfried had a family of five daughters, all of whom eventually came to live in SA. The Lubasch family emigrated aboard the Zebra to the colony in 1838. Gottfried was Hahndorf’s first hotelkeeper, mailman and policeman. Later, he farmed between Hahndorf and Balhannah.
MAURITIUS - A small tropical island in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Madagascar and continental Africa. From 1815, Mauritius was a British colony. During SA’s early colonial times, vigorous trade occurred between the two places. In fact, during February 1843, one of the first exports of SA wheat was made to Mauritius. FR Nixon, who surveyed much of the Mt Barker District and had the windmill built on the watershed between Hahndorf and Mt Barker in 1842, lived in Mauritius after he left SA.
MacFARLANE, Duncan (1793-1856) - Duncan MacFarlane arrived in SA in late 1838, aboard the brig Parland with WH Dutton and his family. Together with J Finnis, who had arrived with Charles Sturt’s overlanding stock, these men took out the Mt Barker Special Survey in January of the following year. The township of Mt Barker was established on Duncan MacFarlane’s cattle station within the Special Survey, during 1840. In time, Duncan bought land in what is now Glen Osmond, on which to rest cattle coming down from his hills property. After further pastoral adventures at Wellington in the Lower Murray, MacFarlane retired to Glen Osmond.
McLAREN, David (1785-1850) - Scottish-born David McLaren early varied a prosperous accountancy business with Christian mission work in the numerous ports along the Clyde River. Through this activity, he met GF Angas, who arranged his appointment as an emigration agent at Glasgow and Greenock for the newly-established colony of SA. Almost immediately afterwards, David secure the important post as second Resident Manager of the SA Company. He moved the firm away from shipping and whaling, instead to concentrate on stockraising on extensive Special Survey lands the SA Company bought in the Onkaparinga and Torrens River valleys. Under McLaren’s supervision, the firm did so well that he accepted the London management of the company in 1841 and so left SA for ever.
MONARTO, Queen - The last recorded Queen of one of the local Murray River Aboriginal tribes. By the 1860s, German farmers from Hahndorf had begun to grow wheat in the Hundred of Monarto, through which the former main road between Mt Barker and Murray Bridge passes. During the 1970s, a satellite city called Monarto was planned for the area.
MORGAN - One of three runaway Van Diemen’s Land convicts, who tried to kill Sheriff Samuel Smart in his tent one night. Police captured two of the three, but Morgan escaped to the Encounter Bay coast, near two whaling stations where other ex-convicts from Van Diemen’s Land worked. Guided by a blacktracker, a small party of troopers eventually captured Morgan. On the subsequent return journey to Adelaide, he proved too obdurate to move and so the police left him handcuffed firmly to a young gum tree some distance south of the Onkaparinga River estuary. A relief party found the man still handcuffed to the tree, but he had suffered dreadfully from prowling wild dogs, mosquitoes and flies, while his flesh was badly cut from attempts to cast off the handcuffs. At his subsequent trial, Morgan was sentenced to transportation for life.
MOUNT BARKER DISTRICT - For South Australian colonists in the 1840's, the old Mt Barker District stretched from approximately Macclesfield and Meadows in the south to Mt Torrens in the north. The District’s eastern borders were the Bremer-Scott Creek headwaters, while the New Tiers directly across the Onkaparinga River marked the boundary to the west. Mt Barker township lay strategically in the centre of the region.
MOUNT LOFTY - Captain Matthew Flinders named the highest peak in the Southern Adelaide Hills, a feature on the way to Mt Barker. He could see the mountain from his ship, Investigator, anchored near Kangaroo Island on 23 March 1802. Government survey teams erected a trigonometrical cairn on the summit in 1840 to aid in the survey of land in the neighbourhood. Quickly, the point became a landmark for seamen.
NEALES, John Bentham (1806-1873) - Reared by the influential political philosoper, Jeremy Bentham, JB Neales emigrated to SA aboard the Eden, in 1838. Mixing from the first in powerbroking circles, JB Neales became involved in many business interests, principally in banking, mining and real estate. Between 1851-1870, he was a member of one or other of the two Houses of Parliament, or of the nominated Legislative Council. JB Neales took part in many property deals in the Adelaide Hills, as he lived for a period at Woodside soon after its foundation in 1849.
NORTH ADELAIDE - Colonel Light laid out North Adelaide on a hill across the Torrens River from the main city of Adelaide. North Adelaide quickly became popular as a residential area for the colony’s prosperous professional and merchant classes.
O.G. CUTTER - Most probably named after Osmond Gilles, the Colonial Treasurer, who was also Treasurer of the Glenelg syndicate.
OLD PORT, The - An arm of the Port River near the ocean. Also known as Pt Misery (qv).
ONKAPARINGA RIVER - Rises near Mt Torrens in the Adelaide Hills and flows out to sea at Pt Noarlunga. While at Balhannah, JW Bull lived by one of the many tributaries of the river. Its name is a Kaurna Aboriginal word meaning the women’s river. Many of SA’s earliest productive farmlands were developed along both the upper and lower reaches of the stream.
PATAWALONGA CREEK - Discovered by Colonel Light in 1836, this waterway was first called the Thames. However, the present name gradually superseded it. Patawalonga is Aboriginal for swamp of snakes. The Patawalonga flowed out to sea at Glenelg.
PORT MISERY - The old Pt Adelaide, abandoned because the water was too shallow for ships to berth close to shore. Passengers had to go ashore by small boats through mangrove swamps. Such difficult conditions for loading and unloading vessels gave rise to the nickname Pt Misery.
PRELIMINARY LAND ORDERS - Under the terms of the 1835 SA land regulations, 130 land buyers purchased land in SA before surveying had even begun. The surveyors in the province by 1836 had to complete the survey of this property before any one else could obtain land. Many unforseen difficulties arose in trying to carry out this policy.
PRINCE GEORGE, The - The Prince George was built in H Wright’s dockyards in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, during 1828. Ten years later, GF Angas chartered the vessel to bring portion of the Prussian Lutheran refugees he was settling in SA. Some two-thirds of the passengers established Klemzig on the banks of the Torrens River; the remainder joined the Zebra passengers to form Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. The Prince George had already been to Australia with a complement of convicts in 1836. On 21 July 1841, the ship was wrecked during a storm in the China Seas and not recovered.
QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY - Queen Victoria celebrated her nineteenth birthday on 24 May 1838, her first birthday since succeeding to the throne. Governor Hindmarsh held an afternoon levee and evening ball at Government House to commemorate the event. At the time, a significant number of prominent people, led by the Resident Commissioner, James Fisher, stayed away, because their quarrel with the Governor was at its height. Exactly a month later, news of the Governor’s recall to Britain reached the colony.
RESIDENT COMMISSIONER - Under the terms of the 1834 SA Act, local control of the province had to be shared between the British Government’s representative, the Governor, and the Board of Colonisation Commissioners’ nominee, who was known as the Resident Commissioner. The other Commissioners lived in Britain. Their first representative in SA, James Hurtle Fisher, quarrelled bitterly with the first Governor, John Hindmarsh, which made the division of power unworkable. As a result, the British Government combined the two positions in the one person - the Governor of the day. After the financial disasters of the next Governor, George Gawler, the system of Commissioners was abolished and the province administered like any other British colony.
RUSSEL(L), John - A Rundle St merchant, who advertised his imported stock freely in the local press. It appears that by the mid-1840s, Russell had become an accountant.
SAINT JOHN’S CHURCH, Adelaide - St John’s Anglican Church, Halifax St, Adelaide, opened for public worship on 24 October 1841. Because it was in what was then such an undeveloped area of Adelaide, the building was known as St John’s-in-the-wilderness. Some of its prominent pioneer members included William Bartley, the SA Company’s solicitor; Dr Benjamin Kent, who founded the Kent Town brewery; and Alfred Mundy, the colony’s first Colonial Secretary, who married Governor Hindmarsh’s daughter, Jane.
SEMAPHORE JETTY - Semaphore was selected as a signal station and landing place c 1837. The first buildings of the town of Semaphore were not erected until 1850.
SMART, Samuel (?-1865) - Appointed SA’s first sheriff on 18 May 1837. A solicitor, he owned a farm at what is now Cowandilla, but later died in Melbourne. One evening, a Van Diemen’s Land ex-convict named Michael Magee tried to shoot the sheriff dead in his tent. After Magee’s trial and conviction, his bungled execution took place on 2 May 1838 under a tree in the Park Lands near the Colonial Store.
SMITH, Matthew (c1793-1858) - A solicitor from Co. Durham, England, who arrived in SA aboard the Africaine in 1836. He had his offices in Gawler Place, Adelaide. Later, Smith was a squatter for a time on Poonindie Station, near Pt Lincoln. Besides Glenelg, M Smith also had important links with the foundation of Pt Lincoln and Pt Pirie.
SOLOMON, Emanuel (c1800-1873) - London-born brothers, Emanuel and Vaiben Solomon, were transported to NSW in 1818, as youthful clothes stealers. During 1838, Emanuel arrived in Adelaide, where he became a Currie St merchant and financed the colony's first theatre - the Queen - in 1841. During these early colonial days, Emanuel traded a great deal with his brother, Vaiben, still in Sydney. The brothers were in business together in Adelaide from the beginnings of the 1840s. In 1847, Emanuel established an auctioneering firm, which specialised in city and metropolitan properties. From the early 1860s, until shortly before his death in 1873, E Solomon belonged to one or other of the two colonial Houses of Parliament.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN COMPANY - GF Angas was the prime mover in establishing the SA Company on 22 January 1836, with a subscribed capital of £200,000. The firm pledged to provide the comprehensive commercial infrastructure required to make the new colony of SA succeed. By the 1850s, the company had lost most of its commercial power after a decade and more of vital assistance to the pioneering province. At the turn of the century, the firm began to sell off its considerable farm lands, rented out to tenant farmers, in the Adelaide Hills and the nearby Adelaide Plains. In 1949, all the Company owned was some twenty-one Adelaide town acres between East Terrace and Pulteney St, out of an original city holding of over 1,000 acres, or one-sixth of the total city area. The SA Company went out of existence on 17 March 1949.
SOUTHERN CROSS HOTEL, Adelaide - Fred Allen took over the Southern Cross Hotel in 1838. A very popular innkeeper, he quickly made his premises the gathering place for businessmen in the vicinity of Gilles Arcade both for business deals and convivial chat. Several passenger and mail carts bound to and from Pt Adelaide and Glenelg used the Southern Cross as their city terminus.
SOUTH TERRACE - The southern-most street of Adelaide, laid out by Colonel Light during late 1836 - early 1837. In colonial times, the district was mostly a fashionable residential area.
STEPHENS, Samuel (1809-1840) - Son of a London clergyman, Samuel Stephens came to SA aboard the Duke of York in 1836, as the first Resident Manager of the SA Company. After the voyage out, he married Charlotte Beare, a fellow passenger, whose father (Thomas Beare) was the Company’s Assistant Manager. Extremely energetic and popular, the young executive was buried in the West Tce Cemetery, alongside the colony’s first Anglican (Rev’d CB Howard) and Methodist (Rev’d W Longbottom) ministers. Samuel belonged to Mr Longbottom’s congregation.
SURVEYOR-GENERAL - Colonel William Light was SA’s first Surveyor-General, the person in charge of Government surveying in the colony. The post still exists.
TIERS, The - The old name given to the western slopes of the Mt Lofty Ranges particularly around Mt Lofty. Here, the ridges rose in distinct rows covered with dark, silent stringybark forests. Soon, the area rang to the sound of log cutters, many of them Tasmanian ex-convicts, who felled masses of timber for building and fencing.
TORRENS RIVER - In 1838, the Torrens was Adelaide’s main water supply. People washed themselves and their clothes in the river, as well as using the stream for drinking and cooking purposes.
WALL - An area beside the Murray River, some ten kilometres south of Mannum. John Baker, a prominent pastoralist and politician, leased the property as a sheep station from 1853, which he retained until his death in 1872. The name itself is of uncertain origin.
WELLINGTON BOOTS - High riding boots said to have been brought back to England by the Duke of Wellington, who wore them in his military campaigns against Napoleon.
WIGLEY, Henry - Landed with his wife and children in SA aboard the Shah in 1837. He almost immediately became Stipendiary Magistrate for the District of Adelaide and held several other important legal appointments. Henry also had the luck to be one of the syndicate which applied to found Glenelg. However, H Wigley died in obscurity at Grünthal (now Verdun), near Hahndorf. JW Bull and many others confused the father with the much more prominent son, WR Wigley, who became a Member of Parliament and Mayor of Glenelg. WR Wigley was only ten years old when the family arrived in SA.
ZEBRA, The - Built in 1818 for JN Dede, a merchant from Altona, in Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark. By the 1830s, ownership had passed to F Nicolaus Dede, a ship-building materials merchant, who engaged a fellow Dane, Dirk Hahn, to captain the vessel between 1836-1840. GF Angas chartered the boat in 1838 to take portion of the Prussian religious refugees he had sponsored to settle in SA. It was these people who founded Hahndorf in 1839 and named the settlement after Hahn, who had done so much to see that the emigrants had a safe journey and settled down as well as they could in their new land.