Extracts From Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles 1840 - 1874
|The following are copies of miscellaneous newspaper clippings over the period 1840 to 1847 collected by Reg Butler (Hahndorf Historian). These give an over-view of the happenings within the township of Mount Barker and district within that particular time frame.|
SA (Southern Australian) 16/4/1840 - The proprietors of the Mt Barker Estate (the first special survey taken in the Province of SA) lose no time in announcing that they have withdrawn from public sale and competition in the colony, the whole of the above property, with the exception of a certain number of allotments in the township of Mt Barker, which are still open to the colonists, and the particulars of which will be detailed in future advertisements.
Register 16/5/1840 - The proprietors of the township of Mt Barker have the pleasure of informing the public that one of the plans of the above township is now ready for inspection at the sale rooms of Messrs V & E Solomon, Currie St. Several copies of the plans in preparation, and in the course of the next week, will be in the hands of the other principal auctioneers and land agents of Adelaide.
In addition to the reserves left for Sale in England by Captain Grey, numerous allotments have been purchased during the last week, and as the number remaining is limited, all persons who desire to secure for themselves a most pleasant Summer residence, or a profitable investment, will do well to make early application.
SA 20/5/1842 - It further appears, that a conveyance has been started for the carriage of passengers, letters and parcels between Adelaide and the district, in connexion with the post office. Mr Deacon, of Adelaide, is the spirited proprietor of this scheme. The fares for passengers, considering the state of the greater part of the road, are remarkably moderate.
SA 7/2/1843 - James Lawrence respectfully informs the public that he has started a conveyance to the above township, passing by Hargrave (late Crafer’s), Balhannah, the Cattle Company’s Station, Mr McGowan’s Academy, Watergate, and Macclesfield. Time of starting - 9am precisely, on Tuesday mornings, from the Auction Mart Tavern, Hindley St, and will return to Adelaide on Friday evenings.
SA 10/2/1843 - Armitage Farm, Mt Barker. WB Dawks.
SA 11/8/1843 - We understand that the progress of settlement at Mt Barker during the last season has been very rapid, and that a considerable number of labouring men who had saved money have joined in taking sections. They do all their own work, and hire themselves to the farmers in the neighbourhood at times when they want money or have completed their own operations. It is estimated that this year the increase of cultivated land in this district will be no less than 2,000 acres.
Observer 2/9/1843 - Mt Barker township seems to be well laid out; but town land speculation must have a revival, and the country become more thickly settled, before the real streets make their appearance. There is a court house, where the Magistrates of the district meet once a week, a small police station, a Post-office, from which the letters are forwarded to Adelaide weekly,and vice versa. Mr Lubasch, of Hahndorf, is the present contractor, conveying the mails to and fro every Tuesday. At the entrance of the town a school house has lately been erected, and near its centre is a small but comfortable Inn, conducted by Mr Gloag, from which may be seen the pleasant residence of Mr Duncan McFarlane Esq, as also the large barn of that gentleman, whose ample floor frequently resounds with the measured, if not musical cadences of the flail music of some half-score German threshing girls. The crops are looking well, with the exception of a few late patches; and the land under cultivation will be about 200 acres more than last year. Near Mr Symer’s is the public pound, as also a blacksmith’s and wheelwright’s shop.
Register 19/11/1845 - A Mt Barker correspondent complains of the ravages committed by the wild dogs, which are so serious as to amount to a positive nuisance, particularly to sheep farmers, and suggests that the sporting gentry of the colony would at once find a fine field of sport, and do some good to the neighbourhood, by giving them a good hunting.
SA 19/12/1845 - John Dunn begs to return his sincere thanks for the liberal support received from the public since he commenced business. He has now the satisfaction to announce, that for the quicker dispatch of his customers’ work, he has attached to the powerful engine in his mill another pair of best French burr stones, besides extra drawing gear, just received per Symmetry, for his cleaning and dressing machine and pearl barley mill; and also a pair of colonial stones for crushing pigs’ food, malt, etc; … Flour on sale as usual at the mill, at 10% below Adelaide prices. JD has also on sale at very low prices - groceries, draperies, earthen and tin, ware, for cash or in exchange for wheat, gum, dairy produce, tallow, hides etc.
SAG 18/7/1846 - In addition to the English Church … about to be erected in the district, the preliminaries are far advanced for the erection of a commodious and substantial Presbyterian place of worship in the township. … The meetings are held at the Mt Barker Inn, the landlord of which, Mr Gloag, deserves great praise for the able assistance he has afforded in the business.
Register 30/12/1846 - On Monday last, a numerous and respectable company assembled at the residence of Mr Lambert, Mt Barker, to view the progress which a few of Mr Bonnar’s pupils had made, during a six months’ course of private tuition. Mr Welch, of this district, a gentleman in every way fitted to undertake the office, kindly consented to examine the children - and the result was such, as not only to give complete satisfaction to the parties present, but to reflect the highest credit on both teacher and pupils. Mr Bonnar has for some time back been engaged in teaching privately in Mt Barker, but it is his intention, we understand, to keep a day school in the township, after harvest.
Register 13/1/1847 - And for the face of the country, it becomes more like a British country, covered with royal forests, aristocratic estates, thriving farms, and flourishing gardens, than a wilderness lately reclaimed from savages, too few to occupy, and too ignorant to improve it.
Register 27/1/1847 - Mt Barker township and its immediate neighbourhood, with its Devon-like climate, as referred to, its picturesque appearance, its extensive view, its rich land, and abundance of excellent water, is not to be equaled in the province. … There is a large Scotch church, the last stone of which was laid on Saturday. It is substantially built of freestone, of which there is abundance close at hand … Pisé walls and mud huts are giving way to more substantial buildings. There is a conspicuous stone-built tavern rapidly progressing, a grocer’s and a draper’s shop nearly finished, which somewhat correspond with the castle-like appearance of the flour mill. … There is under actual engagements and to be finished immediately, a neat brick chapel for the Primitive Wesleyan Methodists, a house for the minister, of the same material; and the Rev’d Mr Storr is to reside there, and make it a branch mission station. A tanner and currier will be in full work in four months, and a practical gardener has engaged two suburban lots, ten acres, with a view to growing European fruit and vegetables for the more abundant supply of the Adelaide market. The greatest check to this thriving town and neighbourhood is the want of proper approaches. The roads are few, and of those some, being over precipices and water-holes, are often hardly passable. Take one, for instance. There are three long sections, from end to end, then a narrow road, which a good stock rider dare hardly venture on horseback; then three long ones again, which makes it upwards of three miles, not a fit road for the people to get to their place of worship.
SA 9/2/1847 - In the township of Mt Barker, great improvements are also taking place. A new church is being built by the members of the Church of Scotland, which will be a great boon to the numerous settlers in that neighbourhood. Our respected old host, Mr J Gloag, is proceeding in the erection of an excellent and extensive building, wherein to exercise the functions of a publican; and recently, from the increased traffic, a new licence has been granted for the township, successfully carried on by Mr Low.
SA 16/4/1847 - On Monday 12/4/1847, a considerable number of sections, comprising a portion of the Mt Barker Special Survey, formerly the property of Mr Dutton, of Sydney, but now in the hands of Mr Walker, of the same place, were let at the residence of D McFarlane esq (which became from the nonce a complete mart of business, being crowded with persons - competitors for the land), at the rent of £60 per 80 acre section. The lowest rent for unfenced land was £40 per section. Captain Finnis, another large proprietor of some of the very best land in the Survey, has this year advanced the rent of his tenants, from 6/-, to 12/-, per acre; or at their option, a corn rental of 3 bushels of wheat per acre.
SAG 1/5/1847 - Scottish Presbyterian Church, Mt Barker. This building, which was commenced a considerable time since, and the walls thereof carried up to their height, but has apparently been neglected for some months past by the Committee of Management … Messrs Lambert, Little, Richardson and Bonnar elected trustees.
SAG 12/6/1847 - In the centre of the district stands the Township of Mt Barker, which may now be termed the ‘big brother’ of the numerous unpretentious hamlets which dot the surrounding country. No site, throughout the wide range of SA territory, could have been more happily chosen for a town than this-for the salubrity of its position, beauty of aspect, and for its capabilities as being the centre of the great provincial corn district. Strange it is to think that this unrivaled site, with all these advantages, should have been allowed to stand till within this short time comparatively desolate - almost as left by the surveyors, with hardly any other evidence of a township than rows of innumerable weather-worn pegs, marked with the nearly effaced names of streets, squares, and parades …
But what a change has the lapse of a short time brought. Solitude no longer reigns triumphant; she has rendered up hew sway to the bustle and life of the steam-mill, the anvil and the saw. New buildings are rapidly starting up, almost weekly; and the best town allotments are at 100% premium. In short, it would seem that Mt Barker Township is destined, at no distant date, to hold that position in SA which Paramatta maintains in NSW - the Capital of the Interior. The want of a few steady good tradesmen is severely felt in the township, particularly a blacksmith, with the means of carrying on an extensive business, one of two good shoemakers, brickmakers etc, not to say that we are at present destitute of such, but the constant influx of settlers renders a reinforcement of handicraftsmen absolutely necessary.
SA 27/7/1847 Mt Barker 24/7/1847 - Since Wednesday last, the weather has been most tempestuous; storms of thunder, lighting, and rain, such as has never been experienced since the foundation of the colony, attended with very considerable damage. Amongst the property injured by the storm, we have to enumerate the residence of Duncan MacFarlane esq, the chimney on the weather end of the house being blown down, and the wall being much injured. About 8-10 other houses in the neighbourhood have been completely destroyed. Several persons attempting to cross the creeks have had a narrow escape from drowning. The whole of the agricultural operations have been completely suspended and all the low lands are under water. … Parties who have had pisé buildings and dwelling in fancied security on the flats or near creeks, have suffered considerably, and much good land, and considerable quantities of fencing, have been carried away. … During the same storm, several large trees were blown completely out of the ground, and one of them falling upon a valuable bullock belonging to Mr Allan Bell, the animal was killed on the spot.
SA 28/9/1847 - We are happy to find that Mr W Freeman, who ran the mail cart last year, will - in future - leave Strath with a commodious spring cart and pair every Monday morning early, and Low’s Hotel, Mt Barker township, at 10am.
SA 28/12/1847 - Mt Barker Town School. This school which was commenced in April last by Mr John Bonnar, at the earnest solicitation of a number of the respectable settlers in this neighbourhood, has progressed with much success … upon the Monitorial System. The first public examination took place on the 17th inst.
12/4/1849 - Sale of 50 John Finnis allotments. Nathaniel Hailes to do the selling immediately after the annual Show. The plan on show at Hailes’s Auction Mart.
SAG 24/3/1849 - Captain Finnis is known to have secured the most valuable portions of the township, and his determination at this moment to sell, affords an opportunity to those tradesmen and capitalists who have arrived since the apportionment of the capital, scarcely if at all inferior to that enjoyed by their predecessors.
SA Meeting in Mr Bonnar’s school to form a Total Abstinence Society.
SA 23/11/1849 - A portable saw mill has just commenced operations at Mt Barker. It is the property of our old fellow colonist, Mr JB Shepherdson … We have seen specimens of shingles, palings, battens, quartering boards, and posts and rails, manufactured by it, which are certainly superior to anything we have before noticed. It is of 4 horsepower, and in addition to circular saws, works a set of upright saws, with an auger for boring posts, and is capable of producing 1,200 paling per day, and about 500 posts and rails per day. Robert Shepherdson invented the machine, which was made at G & H Wyatt’s foundry, Adelaide.
1/12/1849 - Britannia Lodge opened in November at Gloag’s Inn. The 14th in SA. Oddfellow’s Lodge.
Register 9/1/1850 - The wheat crops in the Mt Barker District are looking well. The golden hue which shews them ready for the sickle is fast approaching. The wages paid to reapers are 10/- per acre without rations, which are charged at 1/- per day. The supply scarcely equals the demand for labour.Register
22/1/1850 - It is surprising to witness the advance of the Mt Barker township under the fostering care of one spirited proprietor, in especial, whose periodical visits are hailed with delight by the bustling inhabitants. A soap and candle manufactory has been established, with every prospect of a flourishing trade … and as the long-awaited title-deeds are now forthcoming, the value of town allotments is inconceivably advanced. It is said one holder of town lands is asking for choice allotments prices equal to £240 per acre. This is an advance of 800% in the course of nine months; but during that period, the increase of population has been surprising.
Adelaide Times 18/2/1850 - The foundation stone of a new RC Chapel was laid at Mt Barker, on the allotment of land granted by Government for that purpose by the Right Rev’d Dr Murphy, assisted by the Rev’d M O’Brien, on Thursday last (14/2/1850). Such a building was very much wanted in that populous district, and from the number, influence, and zeal of the Catholic inhabitants, it is confidently expected that the Chapel will be completed in the course of three months.
Register 6/7/1850 - Susanna Barker, the Scotch Bella of Mt Barker, appeared on her recognizance, charged with using obscene language and being disorderly at the Wesleyan Chapel, on Sunday, 23 ultimo, during pubic service. She denied the charge and said that she was merely singing with the rest of the congregation, when she was rudely hauled away by a policeman and lodged in the cells at the barracks. James Greenfield was called in support of the charge, and stated that the accused was very uproarous, and that he, at the request of several parties present went for the police, who removed her. Fined £1.
SA Gazette 4/1/1851 - On Friday 24/12/1851, the day after the Show, the gents of Mt Barker mustered pretty strong in the township, for the purpose of attempting to combine pleasure and business, in first attending the cattle and horse sale by Mr Emmett, and afterwards trying what could be done in the Turf line in that district. We fear the business part was rather a failure, as the settlers seemed uncommon shy of the bidding. The racing succeeded rather better. A committee having been appointed, they proceeded to collect funds, which shortly amounted to about £16; and then, to find a course. This was a more difficult affair, as what with the fences and the creeks, good ground was hard to find; however, by removing a few panels of the worthy landlord’s fences, a pretty fair course of about a mile was obtained. … By this time, the shades of evening were closing round, and an adjournment took place to an excellent collation provided at the New House. We heard several gents on the course express their willingness to subscribe £5 each towards making the race an annual affair; and from the known energy of the Mt Barker settlers, we have no doubt that it will be done, and in good style too.
Register 7/4/1851 - On Friday last, an inquest was held at Gloag’s Hotel, township of Mt Barker, on the body of Mr Gillott [Daniel Gillett], landlord of the Nairne Arms, in the township of Nairne, who was found dead in the large room at Gloag’s on that morning. It appeared that deceased had arrived there during the previous day, and having indulged too freely, was laid on the sofa, in his clothes, in the expectation that in the morning he would be found all right. When first seen by the servant in the morning, Mr Gillott appeared to be fast asleep, and she would not disturb him, but some time after she discovered he was dead. A post mortem examination was deemed necessary, and from this it appeared that death was caused by suffocation, and a verdict was given in accordance with the medical testimony … 10/4/1851 Suddenly, on Friday the 4th instant, Mr Daniel Gillett, of Nairne, Mt Barker.
SA Gazette 10/7/1851 - Great complaints have been made of the treatment of travelers at Gloag’s Hotel. These we are quite willing to believe are founded in truth; and we shall certainly aid, as far as possible, in having this fellow deprived of his licence, as not having taken the caution given him by the Magistrates at their March meeting., he must be made an example of.
Register 15/6/1852 - Mt Barker steam mills lie 22 miles from town, in the direct route to Mt Alexander, and parties proceeding overland to the Diggings, in purchasing their supplies of flour and bran of the undersigned, will not only save cartage of the heaviest portion of their loads over 22 miles of very rough road; but will also gain a decided advantage in price, as we will engage to supply them with flour and bran of the very best quality and in any quantity from one to 100 bags, at 20s per ton less than the Adelaide prices.
Register 31/1/1853 - Mt Barker township once more exhibits the gratifying signs of rapid progression. The erratic spirits have nearly all returned from the goldfields, and many newcomers having cast in their lot with the former denizens, the population now exceeds the previous standard. Besides the new steam flour mill, which is in course of erection, there are seven other good buildings in progress, and some of them approaching completion. Other buildings are shortly to be commenced.
Wednesday 26/1/1853 - A public meeting pursuant to notice, was held at Gloag’s Crown Hotel, at which Dr Rankine presided. The object of the meeting, as stated by the Chairman, was to consider the propriety or otherwise of bringing the DC Act into operation in the Mt B District. After some discussion, in which Mr Tallant Bee figured as Mercurius, the meeting was adjourned to the first Wednesday in March.
Register 4/1/1854 = In pursuance of notice, the Chairman and Clerk of the Council attended at the Crown Hotel, Mt Barker Town, precisely at 10am, this forenoon, to receive the votes of the ratepayers. A strong rivalry has for some time existed between the Mt Barker Township people and the settlers of the district, as to their respective local interests. Some time since, the honest townsmen of Mt Barker, in a burst of civic ambition, resolved to strike a blow for freedom, and actually applied to have the township brought under the provisions of the Municipal Corporation Act. The blow must have been very gentle, however, indeed, for neither Mayor nor Aldermen parade the streets of Mt Barker. Afraid, then, lest the interests of the township should be compromised by the Council unless composed of a majority of that same, a keen canvas and strong contest were kept up till the clock struck 4.
Register 17/6/1854 - Meeting at the Crown Hotel, Mt B, on 14/6/1854, to discuss establishing a market at Mt Barker.
Captain Hart - So far from injuring the market at Blakiston, he believed that if the two markets were held at intermediate periods, both would benefit. He hoped before long a grain market would be established in Adelaide, so that prices might in some degree be fixed.
J Dunn - A market would be beneficial to both buyers and sellers, who at present had to act in the dark. A market in Adelaide would do much to rule prices for the week, and that ought to have been the first established. … He believed that markets at Mt Barker, Gawler Town and Willunga would attract buyers from Adelaide and Pt Adelaide, and thus a supply of stock and grain would be ensured.
Mr Crutchett said he was one who had urged the insertion of the notice in the Observer,and he had understood Mr Dunn to say he would give a piece of ground for a market place.
Mr Dunn said he had set apart a piece of land for the purpose on an adjoining section which he was laying out as an extension of the town of Mt Barker. Perhaps the best way would be to let it at a nominal rent for 3 years, with a right of purchase. It was rather more than an acre of land and at present worth £300. The people of Mt Barker had long ago proposed to get up a market, but unfortunately, they could not get a piece of land. There was some difficulty about the title. (‘That’s the case with all the Mt Barker land’)
Mr Manton - He was rather disappointed, therefore, and so were many of the purchasers of land, in the new township, upon hearing that a price was to be put upon it. He … considered the market reserve as much the property of the public as the streets that were laid out. They thought, in fact, that in paying for their allotments, they were ensuring the right to the market place.
Mr Crutchett had exerted himself for the formation of a market upon the full understanding that the market place was a free reserve.
John Hamilton - The position of Mt Barker was central for a market; and it must be remembered, too, that the ranges of hills divided there, and it was evident that the great bulk of the produce lying east and south of Mt Barker would go to the rising market of the Goolwa and Pt Elliot, from which latter place much of it would be exported direct to Victoria. He therefore considered the establishment of the proposed market of the utmost importance so as to ensure the current prices and at the same time to avoid the bad and hilly roads between Mt Barker and Adelaide.
Mr Dunn was willing to take the £30 and convey the land to trustees, upon the understanding that it was for ever to remain a market place.
Mr Dunn, who returned with a map, said he had only been anxious to ensure the continued use of the land as a market place. He had known an instance of a church which had been turned into a store for want of such a precaution at the first.
The Chairman then, by Mr Dunn’s consent, placed his initials upon the reserved market place in the plan.
Mr Hooper said that as Mr Dunn had run from his word, he would give an acre, which he had bought in the new township, for the purpose of the meeting. This offer appeared to be taken as a joke, as the persons present continued signing the subscription list.
Adelaide Times 10/8/1854 - A resolution was passed to dissolve the Company, and dispose of the mill, machinery etc by public auction. The buildings are rapidly approaching completion, and the material, for the most part, is on the ground. When finished, this mill will surpass any other of a similar kind in the country districts for size and construction. It is the general belief that when sold,the shareholders will be reimbursed nearly to the extent of their shares. The sale is fixed to take place on the ground, on Friday 8/9/1854, the day following the Mt Barker Ag Association’s annual ploughing match at Woodside.
Register 12/8/1854 - The Primitive Methodists at Mt Barker opened their new chapel on Sunday 6/8/11854, under most favourable auspices. In the afternoon and evening, the congregations were so large that many persons were unable to gain admittance. The collections during the day amounted to £161 12s 11d. On the Monday evening, a tea meeting was held in the Chapel, of which about 250 persons took part. After tea, a public meeting was held, presided over by Mr John Dunn Senr. … The tea was gratuitously provided by the ladies of the congregation, and upwards of £30 was promised to the anniversary collections.
Register 9/9/1854 - Several parties more immediately resident in this district being desirous of holding a ploughing match, a sub was opened accordingly, and within a week upwards of £30 was collected for the purpose. It being too hurriedly got up, a meagre display of competitors was the result. When we see the many other matches advertised to be held, it becomes a question if it would not be infinitely better to coalesce the funds of such and offer prizes worthy the trouble of parties coming some distance to compete … The ground selected was perhaps as good as could be got, but a sorry place at best; there were but eight entries, and we must sympathise with the Willungers in the fact that at this match there should have also been more prizes than ploughmen. … The company then adjourned to the Crown Hotel, and sat down to as fine and ample a dinner as mine host George Uphill ever provided.
SA Weekly Dispatch 4/11/1854 - Your committee has the satisfaction to state that the amount already exceeds £200. They found that a strong feeling existed that the increasing size and population of the township and district rendered it highly expedient that the erection of a church, on the piece of ground reserved for that purpose, in the centre of the township, should be no longer delayed.
Chairman John Baker - A piece of land had been given by Captain Finnis and Mr McFarlane, adjoining the Scotch Church. He had made enquiries with regard to the title and conveyance of the land, and he had hoped to have produced the draft conveyance, but the lawyers had been unable to prepare it in consequence of a press of business. There was a great desire on the part of Captain Finnis to have the land surveyed without loss of time. There would be some little difficulty in doing so, because of Mr Dutton being a minor. It would therefore be necessary to make an application to the Supreme Court; that application being made a perfect and good title would easily by obtained. He had been assured by Messrs Gwynne and Lawrence that there would be no objection to the conveyance, and it would be forwarded in a few days.
Rev’d J Fulford - There might be doubts in the minds of some as to the necessity for the erection of a church, and two places of worship already existing in the township, the present would look something like opposition; but this was not the case. It was to provide against the contingency of bad or unfavourable weather preventing the attendance of persons at the church at Blakiston. …
There was no probability at present of this township being able to support a resident clergyman, and Blakiston was in the same position, and this showed the necessity for unity to secure a benefit to both.
Register 30/11/1854 - On Wed morning, Robert Foot and Isaac Prater, both of Mt Barker, called at our office and left two large stones by which they narrowly escaped being killed a short time previously. They stated that they were coming to Adelaide from Mt Barker with a two-horse team; in the dray were Mrs Foot and her infant, and another woman and child. On passing a quarry, which they were informed belongs to Mr Nicholas James, they heard an explosion, and immediately saw several pieces of rock flying in various directions. One stone struck a rail in the road-side fence and cut it in two, and several pieces of rock fell on the road. The stones brought to our office fell from a great height, as our informants state, close to them, and still closer to the head of a valuable horse, while as may be supposed, the terror of the females was very great. Such a practice, dangerous near any thoroughfare, is particularly so in the locality referred to, as even where the stones may not actually strike ‘man or beast’, they may frighten the animals and cause them to run away. The number of accidents that have occurred on that part of the road from runaway horses and capsized vehicles is so great that we think the DC is bound to prevent any practice that may, by augmenting the chances of such occurrences, seriously endanger travelers on the Great East-road.
Register 4/1/1855 - The Mt Barker mail cart will leave the Sturt Hotel, Grenfell St, every afternoon at 2.45, at which place passengers may be booked. A passenger cart will leave the Crown Hotel, Mt Barker, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 8am, returning from the Southern Cross and Sturt Hotel every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, at 12 noon. Passengers and parcels may be booked at any of the above places. Donald Gollan.
SA Weekly Dispatch 3/2/1855 - Mt Barker Market. Notice is hereby given that the land originally intended by the proprietor for a public market, is now furnished with cattle yards, drafting yards and sheep and pig pens; also, extensive sheds for dead stock, such as grain, dairy produce etc; also, an office for transacting business - all free from any charge or toll whatsoever. To be open to the public on Wednesday, 14/2/1855, being full court day at the Local Court, and every Wednesday after, from 10-12. The Clerk of the Market will be in attendance every market day, to render any assistance, and to give all the information required by the regulations. Auctioneers, may, free of any charge, take a stand and sell. William Hanniford, Clerk of the Market.
Register 20/3/1855 - Mt B DC meeting 12/3/1855. Richard Cornelius, late landlord of the Great Eastern Hotel, applied for a publican’s general licence for a house now in course of erection opposite the Court House, Mt Barker, to be called Gray’s Inn. The application was supported by a memorial signed by nearly 100 of the neighbouring settlers. A counter memorial was put in by Messrs C Low, and George Uphill, opposing the application on the ground of the unfinished state of the house, and that the two existing houses supplied ample accommodation for the requirements of the neighbourhood. Corporal Searcy also opposed on the ground of the unfinished state of the houses and because there was no stabling. Mr Cornelius said he had secured temporary stabling until his own stables were completed. The Council thought a licence could not be granted to the house in its present unfinished state; and on the application of Mr Cornelius, agreed to adjourn the further consideration of the matter to Monday 2 April.
Storekeeper’s licences to Henry Hooper and Alexander Low of Mt Barker.
Register 18/10/1855 - The old sawpit in the street near Mr Uphill’s to be filled in. A footbridge, with handrails, to be erected over the creek in Stephens St, Mt Barker, and the Cameron St bridge to be repaired and some metal laid on it.
Register 27/10/1855 - Mt Barker Female Immigrant Depot. This establishment has now been open something more than a month. 71 girls have been sent up by the Govt, out of which number 48 have already met with suitable engagements, leaving 23 at present in the depot. We are happy to learn those who have been engaged have generally given great satisfaction, and we have little doubt that as the busy season is now approaching, the demand will increase. Ten have been hired within the past week.
Register 8/11/1855 - The inhabitants of this township, after exhausting their patience in endeavouring to move the cumbrous Central Road Board to carry the Great Eastern Road through the township by the least expensive and most convenient route, have kicked the Board overboard, with its maps and preliminaries, levels, orders and counter-orders, and its everlasting twaddle, and opened the road at their own expense with a very limited assistance from the DC.
Years have elapsed since a grant was set aside for the opening of this line through the township; and now only a few of the pegs laid down by Mr Chauncey remain - weatherbeaten and decayed - indicative of what, in days gone by, was intended for this important line. The property intersected by that line could then have been purchased for a comparative trifle; now a large sum would be required to purchase the road. And after the hundreds already spent in surveying, mapping and reporting, it is now entirely abandoned - not for a better, or a shorter, or more level line, but apparently for no other purpose than asserting their right to squander the funds under their control.
The opening of the line has again been agitated of late by two opposing parties - one having openly and fairly recommended that it should lead through the centre of the township, as being the most level, the most economical, and of most public benefit, and suggesting that an impartial survey should be made of the best line chosen; whilst the other has unceasingly tormented the Board to have it their way, comprising a pleasant variety of swamp and sandhill.
A comparative survey was accordingly made; the result is that the Central Board, … have determined to please nobody, and have fixed on an intermediate line, of which the main portion is black bog land, relieved by an abrupt ascent to make which available will be enormously expensive. But that don’t signify.
The public, unable to tolerate any longer such absurdity, have put their shoulders to the wheel; and the road most useful to the public being now open, through the munificence of Captain John Finnis (to whom Mt Barker mainly owes its present position) and the energy of the people, I trust the CRB will see that the cash long since in their hands would have been better spent in making or opening a road most useful, than by remaining in its coffers to be expended at some future opportunity in making the road, as is still proposed, over the picturesque hills and valleys, disdaining the nearly level way chosen and now opened by the people.
Register 8/11/1855 - Much credit is due to Mrs Frankpitt, the Matron, and to her husband, for their good management and for the caution exercised by them in their endeavours to satisfy themselves as to the characters of applicants for servants as well as to secure for the girls judicious engagements.
Register 7/12/1855 - On Sunday and Monday last, the district was honoured by a hasty visit of HE the Governor and suite, who attended the service at Blakiston Church on Sunday, and on Monday visited Mt Barker, inspecting the Female Immigrant Depot and the public offices. HE and Captain Freeling entered the Court House, and took their seats on the Bench with Dr Walker JP who was on that occasion presiding in the absence of the SM, Captain Davison.
Register 20/12/1855 - Mt B Court 12/12/1855 Charles Low, of Low’s Inn, Mt Barker, appeared charged by Sergeant Searcy with neglecting to clear his taproom and close the outer door thereof, and every other door of his licensed premises, at 10pm in the evening of Saturday, the 8th inst.
I was taking my usual round at about 20 mins to 11. Was standing talking beside the new store opposite Low’s. Heard a woman say, ‘I’m going to get a drop of the creature’. Saw something under her arm like a vessel. She went to the corner door, which was closed. She then passed on to the side door in Gawler St. Saw her enter. Before I got up, saw two men going out. I followed the woman into the back of the bar. She was waiting at the door as if to be served. Mr Low appeared to be rinsing something. At the side room leading from the inside of the bar, I saw about 8 or 10 persons; they were chiefly lads and young men of the township playing at bagatelle. There were, I believe, one of Horsell’s sons, James Barker, one of Manton’s sons, and others. Samuel Freeman was sitting on the sofa.
Fined £5 and costs.
Adelaide Times 21/12/1855 - 1st lecture in connection with the Mt Barker Mechanics’ Institute held in Mr Low’s Long Room on Tuesday 11 Dec, at 8pm, by the Rev’d RC Flockart, Mr George Crutchett being in the chair. To form a Mechanics Institute and library. Mr Flockart ‘Without knowledge, man was below the brute creation, and the way to be happy was to get wisdom’. Only 60 persons were present. Met later in Mr Dumas’s schoolroom to approve the rules. Dr Chalmers, George Crutchett and Lachlan MacFarlane the trustees. George Crutchett Chairman, J Hamlyn vice chairman, H Linde, W Dodd, J Barker, Simeon Moss, C Dutch included on the committee.
B & F Bible Society at Mt Barker formed on 3/3/1856.
Adelaide Times 14/3/1856 - Yesterday was the day for the Mt Barker Ag Show and the day was very dusty. … The weather was warm, and with the exception of the dust, beautiful, and everything combined to render the day as pleasant as the occasion demanded. From an early hour, in the morning, carts, vans, drays and vehicles of all descriptions came streaming in from all the various roads which run into the central position of the township. Nothing could be more lively. Parties dressed in their holiday attire, whether in cars or on horseback, wonderfully variegated the brilliant scene. It was a rural scene and such only SA could witness, since something more than contented agriculturalists or mere agricultural industry was displayed. … The more detailed portion of the Show was in a large tent erected at the back of the Crown Inn, and opposite the Court house. It was a neat building and was finely decorated in the interior with green boughs and flowers. … We noticed farmers from every district, even remote ones - Nairne, Langhorne’s Creek, Wellington, Macclesfield, Strathalbyn, Echunga, and all the neighbouring settlements sent in the numerous cartloads of gay and smiling faces to bear testimony to how good a pursuit farming is in this country. HE the Governor also attended. He left town on Wednesday night, and reached Hahndorf at a late hour, where he stopped for the night. The inhabitants of that place seemed much gratified at having the Governor among them, and testified their pleasure by hoisting as many flags and streamers as their township could muster. Governor Macdonnell then went to the Court house to hear an address of welcome from the leading inhabitants of Mt Barker. ‘I have long appreciated the importance of the agricultural interests of this province, in the development of which, this favoured district has been pre-eminently remarkable, having at the Great Exhibition of 1851, in London, won from the rest of the world the prize for the finest sample of wheat. … I may mention that when the works now in progress at Government House shall be sufficiently advanced to permit of her Ladyship’s return from the south, it is her intention to carry out a long-intended excursion to your district, of whose beauty and fertility she has heard accounts, which, I venture to say, she will find not to have been exaggerated. A dinner and entertainment at Low’s Inn.
Register 15/3/1856 - This Society’s annual exhibition of farm and dairy produce, live stock, horticultural productions etc was held on Thursday last, at the township of Mt Barker, on a vacant space of ground contiguous to Uphill’s Hotel. The pavilion was of capacious dimensions and was tastefully decorated from end to end with branches of the oak and the hawthorn, with other foliage. … We observed some fine specimens of maize, a collection of very large Swedish turnips, several samples of raw silk, two or three bags of bone dust, some very large pumpkins, specimens of mulberries and Spanish chestnuts, some singularly formed specimens of the kickerie or snake melon, a quantity of parchment manufactured in the township, a small fire-engine manufactured by Nitschke of Rundle St, and several other articles of colonial growth and manufacture. HE the Governor, who had previously intimated his intention to be present, arrived at the pavilion with his suite at 1pm, and on his entrance, the brass band immediately announced the circumstance by playing the national anthem. The public were shortly admitted on payment of 1s each. The attendance of visitors during the afternoon was very large, and included a considerable number of visitors from Adelaide and other distant places.
At the dinner, JT Bee remarked “in future, ladies should be admitted to the dinner. The recommendation was considered a very judicious one, and will probably be acted upon.’
Register 6/9/1856 - Notwithstanding the strenuous attempts of the CRB to keep the Mt Barker main line of road in at least passable repair, the heavy traffic and the winter rains render those attempts abortive. At the present time, there are numberless holes along the line, each of which is deep and large enough to swallow up a load or two of metal. At some places, vehicles are driven over the broken stone stacked by the roadside; at others, fresh tracks are made through the scrub; whilst the new line at Cox Creek, through possessing such superior gradients to the old, is to a considerable extent forsaken for the latter. Broken poles, the bogging of drays, capsizes and similar accidents, are of frequent occurrence. The Woodside branch is not so bad as the former, but on this line there lies at the present time, near Mt Charles, the carcass of a horse, which was recently smothered in a quagmire existing there.
29/8/1856 - Meeting in the Crown Inn to urge a railway to the Murray River to go through Mt Barker.
Adelaide Times 29/11/1856 - Great fire in George Crutchett’s shop on Wednesday 26/11/1856. He accidentally tipped over a hanging lamp when trying to put it out after trading at 9pm ‘Looked up immediately and saw the lamp falling down. One of the chains was unhooked; but how it became so, I cannot tell. The camphine falling on the floor, burst into a flame, and ran round the shop. Tried to extinguish it, when the flame caught my arm; burnt my shirt sleeve, my neck, and my hair. I immediately ran to Mr Kemp, the watchmaker next door, to assist me, and told him the shop was on fire. … The whole place seemed on fire. … The time I returned with Mr Kemp, a number of people rushed in, and tried to put out the fire, and remove what goods they could. It appears to me the whole of the stock is burnt or damaged, but I cannot say what the amount of damage is.’
Alfred Holland ‘Last night, I was standing in Mr Low’s bar. Heard some people calling out Fire very loudly. Went and called Mr Hooper and several others from the lower parlour, telling them there was a fire. I and Robert Low immediately ran and got what buckets we could. When I got there, the shutters were falling; one of them fell on me. Saw the fire raging in the left-hand corner of the shop on the shelves. I had a bucket. Threw the water, but it did not break the panes. Smashed the panes with the bucket, and then threw water in, as it was brought to me. Did my best with others to extinguish the fire. The goods were burnt - some partly singed. They were wearing apparel and hats.
Police trooper Francis Oliver ‘Last night, while at the station, heard the noise of windows breaking. Thought at first it was fighting. Went and got my handcuffs. Found it was fire. Met Mr Lorimer, who desired me to assist in bringing the fire engine out of his yard, which I did. When I got there, the shop was filled with smoke, and the goods burning in the left hand corner. Assisted in extinguishing the fire, and getting the goods (wearing apparel) out of the shop. Found a great number of people there, who were all doing what they could to put out the fire. Threw water over the goods that were brought outside. I stopped all night with some others, to see that the fire did not break out again, and that nothing was removed.
The Coroner … thanked the promptitude and activity of the numerous persons to whose exertions Mr Crutchett and the neighbourhood were indebted for the preservation from total destruction of his and the range of buildings connected therewith. We hear that the amount of damage done is upwards of £1,000, but that Mr Crutchett is covered by insurance in the Imperial - the building in £700, and the stock in £1,000.
Register 29/11/1856 - The Mt Barker DC interested in helping to put a road between Mt Barker and Echunga. To go between Sections 33716 and 3718. The hours for burning stubble in the district between 1/12/1856 and 15/3/1857 were fixed to be from 1-8pm.
Register 23/3/1857 - On Wednesday evening last, the new iron store of Messrs Dunn & Son gave way from the lateral pressure of about 18,000 bushels of wheat, which was stored in it without bags. The event was not unanticipated by some, who, from an acquaintance with the principles of statics, were able approximately to estimate the pressure to which the walls were subjected. About one half the building is down, and an immense quantity of wheat exposed, but fortunately the weather has so far been propitious and from the great number of persons employed, it is to be hoped, if the weather hold up a little longer, the grain will be placed out of harm’s way.
Register 3/4/1857 - Mt B DC 31/3/1857 - The Clerk informed the Council that in accordance with their request, he had waited upon Mr Dunn, who had kindly marked upon the map of the township three pieces of land, and left it to the Council to choose which they would accept as a site for a district school. The Council, availing themselves of Mr Dunn’s generous offer, selected the place situated in Stephens St, being part of Allotments 31 & 32.
Adelaide Times 1/10/1857 - On Tuesday afternoon, the foundation stone of the proposed Cong Chapel at Mt Barker, was laid by the Rev’d TQ Stow, in the presence of a considerable number of the inhabitants of the district. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the company proceeded to the Presbyterian place of worship in the township, where tea was provided. The new chapel will be erected from the design of Mr James Macgeorge, of Adelaide. Was he a son of RF Macgeorge?
Register 29/12/1857 - Monday morning, the 28th inst, was ushered in with shooting and banners flying from the most of the merchants’ places. The morning looked rather cloudy, and about 10am, the rain came on and continued all day. Arrangements had been made, and the whole of the children in the district were invited to meet on a section belonging to Mr Dunn MP, near the township, where some tents were placed for their accommodation. A bullock, a gift from Mr Friend Cleggett, was to have been roasted whole, but owing to the inconvenience of this method of cooking, it was cut up and roasted in pieces. The lunch, which was to have been taken on the ground, was, owing to the inclemency of the weather, laid out in Mr Thomas Brakenridge’s new store, where upwards of 500 men, women and children partook of it. The meeting was enlivened by some fine music from Mr Paltridge’s band. After the tables were removed, there was some dancing, and about 3pm, in spite of the rain, the whole turned out, and were augmented by a considerable number of those who had not been at the lunch, and proceeded by the band, marched to the ground allotted for the sports.
Register 8/1/1858 - The people of this district have held several meetings to consider the propriety of forming a line of electric telegraph between Mt Barker and Adelaide, by means of a private company. They consider the answer of the commissioner of public works to Mr Krichauff on the subject very unsatisfactory, and they are determined to do something for themselves, and Mr Hardy has offered to join, and held out inducements to the people of Mt Barker which will greatly facilitate the carrying out of the undertaking. … Mt Barker is the nearest and most practicable route to the Murray, it having been ascertained by survey that a quarter of a mile of tunneling is all that will be required in going through the Mt Lofty Ranges, and the distance from Mt Barker to the Murray being 27 miles. It is to be hoped that that Government will not act like the dog in the manger - if they will not do anything for this district, that they will not throw any impediment in the way of the people getting it done for themselves.
Register 17/3/1858 - Mt B DC 8/3/1858 A letter was read calling Council’s attention to the bridge in Peg’s Lane.
Register 24/4/1858 - Mt B DC 19/4/1858 Letter was read from the present Clerk, informing the Council that the 12 months for which he took office had expired, and requesting Council to appoint another Clerk at their earliest convenience. The present Clerk consented to carry on the duties of the office till the 17th May, and was instructed to advertise for tenders for Clerk and Collector to Council.
Register 18/6/1858 - In a district purely agricultural, it is not to be wondered at that the prosperity of this important township is materially affected by the success or otherwise of the farmer. Our township is one of the oldest in the colony, and although its progress has not been so rapid as that of some other of our provincial towns, that progress has, nevertheless, been steady and sure. We have two steam mills, a foundry, two or three tanneries, a parchment manufactory, watchmaker, engraver, builders, cabinetmakers, coopers, shoemakers, butchers, bakers, surgeon, chemist, and auctioneers; with drapery, grocery, and ironmongery establishments, both numerous and respectable. We have five schools, four chapels, police station, local court, two solicitors; and last, although far from least, we have a printing and publishing establishment, from which is just about to be issued one of the largest works which our provincial press has produced. A weekly broadsheet, too, has been more than talked about, and will doubtless before long, become a great fact. And before the end of the year, we expect the redemption of the promise by Government of telegraphic communication with Adelaide.
Register 14/7/1858 - Meeting at the Crown Inn, Mt Barker, on 10/7/1858. Mr Dunn MP The consideration of complaints about the finger post at the junction of the Nairne branch with the Mt Barker Road, at Guerin’s Corner. He never before saw a finger post where the branches so differed. This board on one side had four or five names, on the other but one. One one side, he observed ‘The Murray’. A traveler would suppose that would be the Government crossing place at Wellington. There had been very petty jealousies against Mt Barker, and unworthy efforts to retard its progress. See article for more detail re Chauncey’s Line.
Register 23/7/1858 - The Scotch Church built here several years ago, and for a considerable period desecrated by being occupied as a wholesale store, has lately been fitted up plainly, but substantially, for its legitimate purpose, and the Rev’d Mr Gordon, of the Free Church of Scotland, recently arrived from Britain, and now, with his family, settled in this township, has become its regular minister. He has held divine service here the last two Sabbaths, and his very acceptable and talented ministrations are likely to draw large congregations. I believe most of the sittings in the church have been already taken. Inducted formally on 4/8/58.
Register 28/8/1858 - Matters connected with the Congregational interest here appear to be somewhat out of joint at present . A chapel, designed in an elegant and somewhat costly style of architecture, was commenced some months ago, and the walls were nearly completed when misunderstandings and disappointments arose in connection with funds supposed to be forthcoming, but which could not when required be rendered available,and the works were necessarily suspended, with no immediate prospect of being further proceeded with, subjecting the promoters to the unpleasant reflection of beginning to build without being able to finish, in addition to serious pecuniary responsibilities.
Advertiser 6/12/1858 - Crown Hotel, Mt Barker. Alex Low begs to thank his friends for the large support which has hitherto been extended to his establishment, and to inform them that the extensive additions to the hotel are now completed, making it one of the most commodious establishments in SA. He would inform his friends and customers that the hotel is entirely separated and distinct from the bar and retail departments. The bedrooms are elegantly furnished, all being newly fitted and decorated and well ventilated. The sitting rooms are spacious, with special apartments for private parties, when required; and the stabling and stockyards are all that can be desired.
Advertiser 11/12/1858 - Messrs Lamb and Gallard’s monthly sale was held at Mt Barker on Monday last, 6/12/58, when upwards of thirty head of great cattle, several horses, a reaping machine, and a large miscellaneous collection of property were sold. The prices obtained were said to be very good, considering the present depressed state of the times. Also at Woodside, Balhannah, Mt Torrens, Kanmantoo.
Advertiser 26/5/1859 - On 24/5/1859, the Mt Barker volunteers drilled and wore their new uniforms. Marched along the streets of Mt Barker to the Globe Hotel, then to the Scotch Church, where they fired a feu de joie in good style. There was also independent firing and volleys, both standing and kneeling. The company having again marched to the Crown Hotel, and fired another volley, thought it time to adjourn, to drink HM health in a bumper, with some of Host Freeman’s very best wine. Then marched to Host Uphill’s, to drink the health of Lieutenant Bonnar. Paltridge’s band played the Nat Anthem and other airs. The day was rather wet with frequent showers. Gathered at the post office first.
Advertiser 8/7/1859 - On Monday 4/7/1859, the annual election of District Councilors took place at Low’s Inn, which caused some excitement on account of the townspeople and those residing round in the district being each dissatisfied with the way in which repairs to the streets and roads have been done. The townspeople thought at one time of leaving the district and having a corporation similar to that of Gawler Town, but thought the expense would be too great, and finally determined to take the management of the DC by having a majority of men holding property only in the town as Councilors.
On Monday evening, the 4th, a meeting was held at the Crown Hotel, for the purpose of inviting Mr Torrens to a public dinner, and to give a lecture on the workings of the new Property Act. Although very little notice was given, there was a very large and influential gathering of the freeholders resident in the district. It was unanimously agreed that the thanks of the whole colony was due to that gentleman for so able a measure,and the Mt Barkerites could not do less than invite him to a public dinner. A large Committee was formed for the purpose of carrying out the affair in first rate style. The dinner will be announced on a day to be named as soon as Mr Torrens has been written to, and stated the time that will suit him.
Advertiser 15/7/1859 - On Thursday 7/7/59, Mr J Rundle, our new host of Gray’s Inn, gave an opening dinner to a very large company, the house being full from the best room down to the kitchen. The eatables were all that could be desired, being really first-rate, and the wines of the very best class. Mr B Gray most ably filled the chair, the vice chair being filled by Mr R Cornelius. Paltridge’s band enlivened the evening.
Advertiser 27/7/1859 - Mt Barker was decorated similarly with Hahndorf; the walls of the town were covered with placards descriptive of the occasion; and both business and pleasure appeared to culminate in the one grand idea of an enthusiastic demonstration in favour of the Real Property Act.
Lunch was provided at the Crown Hotel, for those who chose to partake of it; and the long room at Low’s Hotel, at the other extremity of the township, was cleared out for the lecture; which was very wisely arranged to come off before dinner. The room was densely crowded in a few moments; and probably a still greater number of persons were waiting outside, hoping (though in vain) that as others left the room, they might take their places. The chair was taken by Mr Shepherdson, who was supported by the various gentlemen from Adelaide, Mr Bee of Nairne, and other gents. The audience consisted principally of landed proprietors and farmers of the locality, comprising most persons of standing and influence in the district. … Mr Torrens was listened to throughout a protracted oration with the utmost attention; and that at its close various questions were proposed and replied to.
The dinner was held in a room improvised for the occasion over the stables of the Crown Hotel. The roof and walls were profusely decorated with evergreens, but the intense cold of the evening was a drawback to the pleasure of the occasion, at least so far as regards those who were not inured to the temperature of Mt Barker. Upwards of 100 gents sat down to dinner, amongst whom we noticed Mr Bell, Mr Frame, Mr Paterson, Mr Cornelius, Mr Good, Mr Stone and we were informed that the principal residents at Mt Barker and in its vicinity were present … The guest of the evening and the other visitors from Adelaide, being seated at a cross table which flanked four others running the whole length of the room. Paltridge’s band was in attendance and enlivened the proceedings with some excellent music; and various gents in the company filled up intervals with songs. … The night was unusually cold, and next morning a thick white frost covered the ground, and every surrounding object.
Advertiser 20/8/1859 - The poles from the Mt Barker telegraph are at length being laid on the line; the inhabitants are astonished at the length of time that has elapsed before commencing to put the line in working order.
Advertiser 14/10/1859 - On Sunday last, as a horse and cart, with a man and his wife and three children were proceeding from Adelaide to Mt Barker, the horse shied at the black end of one of the telegraph poles lying by the side of the road near a place known as Old Charcoals, and ran over the bank into the creek, capsizing the cart and children into the water and bruising the woman and one of the children rather severely. It is high time such dangerous places were fenced in, to prevent more serious accidents. The place over the road is 20’ high to the bottom of the creek.
Advertiser 22/10/1859 - A report is current that the National Bank is about to open a branch at Mt Barker; also that the Manager of the SA Bank was here looking for suitable premises for the same purpose. I have not the least doubt but a bank would do well, and as the busy time is coming, the sooner they open the better.
Advertiser 27/10/1859 - That in the opinion of this meeting, the late alteration in the postal arrangements in leaving the Nairne mail at Hahndorf instead of Mt Barker is productive of great loss and serious inconvenience to the southern portion of the Mt Barker district.
Dr Bollen. By the old system, a letter posted at Callington would reach Mt Barker the same day, and if necessary, go on to Strath; whereas now it would have to stop at Nairne all night. Then the next day, it would come three miles further, and stop again another night, and then the next morning, it would come within half a mile of Mt Barker, and go on towards Adelaide four miles and remain till the Adelaide mail picked it up in the evening.
At their request, Mr Andrews and himself (Mr Dunn) had waited on the Postmaster-General with the memorial entrusted to them, and he was sorry to say that they met with such a reception as he had never been awarded him before; in fact, the Postmaster would not hear anything about it, and was most excessively uncourteous, taking the memorial out of their hands and throwing it on the table without even looking at it.
Register 11/11/1859 - The Mt Barker Institute was inaugurated on the 1st instant by an eloquent lecture by the Rev’d James Gordon on ‘The pursuit of knowledge’. After the lecture, a public meeting was held, when business connected with the Institute was gone into. It is a fact worthy of notice that three of the hotels in this township have changed hands within about as many months, and the other not very long before. This township is very much improving in appearance, several new buildings being up or putting up and the footpath of nearly the whole of Gawler St is flagged with stone from the Willunga quarries.
Advertiser 8/12/1859 - It appeared from the tenor of the meeting that the Mt Barkerites were determined not to let the Woodside people have the Association go there, but recommend the Woodside people have one of their own, which was not entertained by them, as they contend that they had as much right to the Association as the Mt Barker people; and as the Association had from its formation gone in rotation from Mt Barker to Woodside, thence to Nairne, and back to Mt Barker, and as the Woodside and Nairne people could not agree to the Association being held permanently at Mt Barker, it was thought best to dissolve the Association altogether, and to commence afresh. The Mt Barker people, with the assistance of Macclesfield, Echunga and Hahndorf, have already commenced by calling a public meeting for that purpose. It is thought there will be a first rate Show in Mt Barker in March next and every effort will be used to bring the Society up to the Adelaide Society, in promoting general information for the benefit of agricultural and horticultural pursuits.
Register 8/12/1859 - I attended the meeting of the Agricultural and Hort Society yesterday evening, but the battle of conflicting interests ran so high and personal recrimination was so prominent, that the proceedings would hardly bear reporting. I therefore send you only a digest of the business done, from which you will see that the old Society is defunct, and that a new one is to be formed, in which the principle of alternate exhibitions at Mt Barker, Nairne, and Woodside will not be acknowledged.
Register 6/1/1860 - I hear it again rumoured that the Episcopalians are about to become the purchasers of the unfinished chapel commenced by the Congregationalists some two years ago. I trust it may be so, for independent of the accommodation it will afford to the members of the Church of England in this neighbourhood, it will remove the unpleasant feeling which an unfinished place of worship always suggests.
Register 20/1/1860 - On Monday night, a little boy named Kerrison nearly met with a serious injury through standing on the step of Mr Rounsevell’s omnibus. He was thrown off with great violence and stunned; but Mr Richardson, chemist, near whose shop the accident happened, soon restored him and he was able to walk home. Parents cannot be too strict in forbidding these gratuitous rides..
The foundation stone of the new post and telegraph office will most probably be laid on Wednesday or Thursday next. It is expected that there will be some public demonstration on the occasion, and that the stone will be laid by the Masonic body.
The Advertiser 25/1/1860 - On Friday evening, Mr C Pleiness, our new host of Low’s Inn, gave his opening dinner to a very large company of his friends in the long room of the above inn; Mr James Johnston of Oakbank Woodside in the chair.
The Advertiser 16/2/1860 - On 13th instant, Gawler St presented an unusual busy scene by the gathering of the volunteers, who were expecting Captain Biggs to arrive for the purpose of swearing them in, their intention being to give him a hearty welcome; but the mail arrived, and no such person as was expected made his appearance. Many thought the captain would not come that night, and under that impression left for the country. At length, a cloud of dust was seen on the Adelaide road, and the expectations of the new recruits rose; when, however, they saw only a gig with a gent and lady, their hopes were once more doomed to disappointment. The gig passed many of the volunteers in waiting and put up at Low’s Inn. In a short time, the volunteers ascertained that the object of their search was the gent in the gig. No time was lost; enrolment commenced forthwith, and continued until the number of 64 had been sworn in. We are told this is the largest number ever enrolled at the first enrolment in the colony, and to all appearances, the number will soon be 100 strong. A Chambers MD is appointed captain, Mr JJ Bonner 1st Lieutenant and Mr AW Richardson 2nd Lieutenant. The uniforms are to be silver grey, trimmed with black. A brass band is to be attached to the Company, also a trumpeter.
Register 24/2/1860 - The telegraph office if now being carried up rapidly, and we expect shortly to be placed in telegraphic communication with Adelaide.
Register 1/3/1860 The foundation stone of the Wesleyan mission house was laid on Monday morning, at 8am. The ceremony of laying the stone was performed by the lady of our much esteemed minister, the Rev’d Spencer Williams, and was altogether of a very interesting character. After which, the Rev’d James Gordon remarked that to witness the ceremony of laying the foundation stone, for the first time in his life, under such pleasing circumstances as the present, was peculiarly fortunate … It was only a few years ago and Wesleyan Methodism was unknown in Mt Barker. The present movement spoke well for their liberality …
Register 9/3/1860 - The annual exhibition of farm, dairy, and garden produce, live stock etc, in connection with this Society was held on Wednesday last, at Mt Barker. An extensive and commodious pavilion was erected for the purpose on the open space near Low’s Hotel. The day was unclouded; but the temperature was rendered tolerably pleasant by the refreshing breezes of the south. There was a large number of visitors present, which gave to the township an unusual amount of animation. So large a concourse of persons of both sexes from a distance has not, perhaps, been seen in Mt Barker on any occasion since the exhibition of last year.
The interior of the pavilion was arranged so as to exhibit the various articles sent for exhibition to the best possible advantage. A wide double table extended down nearly the entire length of the centre, upon which were displayed the fruits and some other garden productions. Side tables were also provided for the exhibition of vegetables and dairy produce, whilst ample space was still left on either side of the centre table for visitors to peruse at their leisure.
The samples of grain were arranged at the farthest end from the entrance, and near to these were placed the potatoes, onions and other bulky articles. …
The vegetables were, upon the whole, remarkable both for quantity and quality. They consisted of potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips, cauliflowers, French beans, green peas, celery, Jerusalem artichokes, spring radishes, horse radish, and some others in a high degree of perfection. There were also some very fine beetroot and mangold-wurzel shown.
Register 31/8/1860 - Mt Barker Conveyance Company - Geo Freeman begs to inform his friends and the public that the volunteer omnibus will commence running daily between Mt Barker and Adelaide on Monday 27 August, leaving the Crown Hotel, Mt Barker, at 7am, and the Freemason’s Tavern, Adelaide, at 3.30pm, the same day. Every attention and civility, combined with the best accommodation, will be found by passengers who favour this conveyance with their patronage. Parcels etc carefully attended to.
Register 10/4/1860 - Mt Barker Coaches - W Rounsevell begs to thank the inhabitants of Mt Barker and its vicinity for the very liberal patronage he has received since he has been on the road, and to inform them that his new select mail omnibus, built expressly for that road (and to replace the one recently destroyed), will commence running on the 16th instant. Fares 4s. The fares by the other omnibus, which starts at the same time, will remain at the present reduced scale viz 3s.
Register 18/4/1860 - Mr Tydeman - It was very provoking to start for town at 6am, pay for a breakfast at Crafers, and not have time to eat it. The horn would blow a minute or two after you had taken a seat.
Register 20/4/1860 - We have one serious drawback here in the new Telegraph and Post-Office, which should have been an advantage to the storekeepers on account of the labourers employed, but has unfortunately proved otherwise. The work has been favourably progressing until last week, when it was stopped for want of funds on the part of the contractor, by which all engaged were thrown out of work, and what is still worse, are in a fair way of losing their wages, in some instance coming near £20. The contractor’s liabilities due to the workmen amount to some £230, and these men owe some £200 to the shopkeepers here for stores etc, which amount may be considered lost for some time to come. Proceedings were commenced against the contractor on Saturday, but he has not yet been heard of. The sureties arrived on Monday, and the work has again commenced.
On Monday evening, the town turned out to see Mr Rounsevell’s new Mt Barker conveyance. It did its first trip in fine style, drawn by six greys, with postilion. The entrance to Gawler St was very attractive, Paltridge’s brass band playing some very lively airs as they proceeded through the township. The whole scene was one of life and activity,and for the time, our main street would have borne favourable comparison with Rundle or Hindley St at noon. The coach is called the Royal Mail, and is capable of carrying 17 passengers; it has a double break, which gives great safety, and being very light at top, may be considered a very suitable bus for the hills; its weight is fabulously small, considering the size, being only 8 and half cwt, and it is of very easy draught.
Register 20/4/1860 - 2/5/1860 - On Tuesday morning as two of the masons and a labourer were at work on the scaffold in front of the Telegraph Station and new Post-Office, the centre of the scaffold gave way. The masons fortunately held on by the wall till released from their unpleasant position, but the labourer came down with the scaffold, and its contents knocked down one of the arches in the porch, as they descended. Fortunately, there was no serious damage done, if we except the fracture of the poor man’s in-expressibilities, which seemed to be the great drawback to so rapid a descent to his mother earth; for on being asked by a consoling bystander if he would not go over to the public-house opposite and take a nobbler, with a most rueful countenance, and an application of the hand to the tattered garment, he exclaimed, ‘I cannot. I’ve cracked my breeches’.
Register 18/5/1860 - 16/5/1860 - The telegraph office will soon be completed and when finished, will be a decided ornament to the township, as well as a considerable acquisition. The wires are now in their proper position, and we expect to be able to use our electric messenger in about 10 days. Trade continues very dull, and customers are like angels’ visits, few and far between. There is some talk about an early closing movement here, as well as a shortening of the credit system to within the limits assigned by the Adelaide merchants on the 10th of February last.
Considerable unease is occasioned to passengers to and from here to Adelaide, through the reckless manner in which the conveyances are driven. As an instance, on Tuesday, there was a race between the Mt Barker and Nairne omnibuses, each being anxious to take the lead of the road; and so regardless of life and limb, were the drivers as not to abate their speed in going down the Windmill Hill, one of the most dangerous parts of the road from town to here. During this mad chase, one of the buses canted over on one side; the driver seeing the danger immediately pulled up with such suddenness as to jerk a child out of the mother’s lap into the arms of an opposite passenger. Mr Rounsevell has very recently placed two new buses on this road, and in other ways has shown his determination to give every possible comfort and accommodation to travelers, and I am sure we shall not again have to complain on this head.
Register 8/6/1860 - 31/5/1860 - SM Captain F Davison sent a message of greeting to Governor Macdonnell at 1.45pm. He sent a reply at 2.10pm Sir Richard Macdonnell rejoices that Mt Barker and its productive neighbourhood have been at last brought nearer the capital by telegraph. A Nairne connection towards the end of July.
Advertiser 28/8/1860 - No fewer than 3 coaches started for Mt Barker on Monday at the same time, all of which belonged to separate proprietors. Rounsevell’s conveyance for the occasion was a new one of unusual appearance, drawn by six fine horses. It passed through the streets with the inspiring air of a cornopean, extremely well played.
Register 5/10/1860 - 3/10/1860 - The mails were delivered on Monday at the new Post-Office and Telegraph Station for the first time, and though we have every reason to be proud of so handsome a building, considerable disappointment was occasioned to many, as no letters were issued after 6.45pm. Folks being ignorant of this early closing moreover had to wait for their letters till the morning. That portion of the building used for the telegraph is kept open till 8pm, Saturdays excepted; and, as our Telegraph Clerk is kept on the premises till that hour by his telegraphic duties, it does not seem unreasonable that the good people here should wish to be able to have their letters any time before 8pm.
Register 19/10/1860 - 17/10/1860 - The Roman Catholic bishop arrived here on Saturday afternoon, accompanied by the Rev’d Father O’Brien and an escort of about 50 horsemen. Early on the Sunday morning, several other Catholics arrived on horseback, on foot, and in drays, some bearing the appearance of having traveled through the night in their anxiety to be present at the services of their church. About 30 were confirmed and an exhortation was given by the Bishop.
Register 2/11/1860 - 30/10/1860 - The farewell dinner to Dr Colthurst held recently. Large quantities of wattle bark are being ground and bagged here for shipment home by the Messrs Paltridge.
Register 23/11/1860 - 21/11/1860 - On Tuesday, I am sorry to say, a little lad named Knight, in the employ of Mr Greenfield, met his death whilst bathing in one of the waterholes near the township. … Efforts were used for his restoration, but without success, and the body was carried to Low’s Inn. After some time, it was removed to Blakiston (two miles from here) where his mother resides and an inquest held, Captain Davison acting as Coroner. The Jury returned a verdict of death by drowning, and affixed a rider, suggesting the propriety of instant relief from the Board. The lad appears to have been the only means of support that the poor woman had, having been deserted by her husband. A short time ago, she lost a daughter by drowning. She has four small children left, the eldest being about eight years old. A subscription list is now lying at Mr Waddy’s, for the purpose of assisting the woman, and he will be most happy to receive anything on her behalf.
Advertiser 11/12/1860 - 8/12/1860 - On 6th, celebrated the anniversary of the Britannia Oddfellow’s Lodge. At 3pm, the Brothers moved in procession from the Crown Hotel, up Gawler St and Adelaide road, to Brother Uphill’s, where the Rev’d J Standrin delivered an eloquent lecture on Man, Physically and Religiously. I find it impossible to give you anything like a description of the lecture; but, suffice it to say, it was listened to with marked attention, and was loudly applauded at its close. The lecturer, indeed, quite took the meeting by surprise, as no one present ever dreamed we were about to have so able and talented a discourse. The lecturer briefly alluded to the Institute in Mt Barker, and thought it a disgrace that such a town should be without a proper Institute; he would be most happy to do all in his power to further such an object, and considered it one of the greatest blessings of the age to see and hear tradesmen and farmers studying and delivering lectures on any given subject. The reverend gent was loudly applauded throughout the whole of his address. The procession having reformed, returned through the principal street, to the Crown Hotel, where a first-rate dinner was prepared by Host George Freeman.
Advertiser 31/12/1860 - The new reaping and mowing machine recently patented by the Messrs Tuxford & Co, of this city, and the invention of Messrs Robinson & Co, of Melbourne, was tried at Mt Barker on Friday and Saturday, 28 and 29 December, in presence of a large assemblage of practical farmers and others interested in the progress of agriculture. The trial took place on the farm of Allan Bell esq, Dalmaney Park, Mt Barker, and, as stated in our notice of the first trial of the implement, which came off at the Sturt, about a week previously, was got up for the purpose of dispelling, if possible, a doubt which had been raised as to the capacity of the machine to work in hilly country. The trial was also arranged at the desire of several farmers in the district, who were desirous of witnessing the performance of the machine. There were on Friday about 150 persons present, and on Saturday about 50, and great interest was manifested in the operations. The crop to be laid was a very fine one, remarkably strong, standing about five feet high, and situated on a hill side, behind Mr Bell’s house, sloping to the westward with a gradient of about one in 12. The machine was started shortly after 11am, and was drawn by two ordinary farm horses, driven by Mr Alfred Wilson, of the Sturt. The work was continued for five hours, during which time eight acres were reaped and laid in sheaves ready for the binders’ hands. The horses did not appear at all distressed by the work they had performed, although the day was extremely hot. Indeed, as is stated in the complimentary letter which we give below, the weather was such as to render it almost impossible or at lest unsafe for hand reapers to have taken the field. … It was purchased by Messrs Allan Bell and Friend Cleggett for £90. The trial on the Saturday was but a short one, the machine reaping about five acres, to do which it was worked about three and a half hours, but was every few moments stopped to be examined by the curious who were present. Mr Dickson, manager for Messrs Robinson, was present, and gave eery information to parties on the ground. So soon as the purchase of the implement was made known, several farmers engaged it to reap their crops, and Mr Bell expressed his willingness to let it out after his own harvest was gathered. Letter as well with valuable information.
Advertiser 5/1/1861 - Sad complaints are being made here of the red-tapism of our Post-Office since it has been removed to the Telegraph Station. Parties have to wait sometimes more than 40 minutes after the arrival of the adelaide mail. Then, again, the mail closes at 10pm, but does not leave till next morning at 6.30; and people ask why not let the bags remain open till 6 in the morning? On Saturdays, the Post-Office is closed at 7pm sharp, causing great annoyance to the farming part of the community, who have to come from a distance. As it is harvest time, and dark before 8pm, it would be a great convenience if the hour were changed to 9pm on Saturday, and a still greater if this district were favoured with a proper Post-Office.
Advertiser 8/1/1861 - In my last communication, two words were omitted from the paragraph with respect to the Post-office. Instead of ‘a proper Post-office’ is wanted here, it should be ‘a proper Post-office letter-box’. The hole in our present letter-box being so small that it is impossible to post the Chronicle or the Observer, without rubbing the address off; then the shape is such that without proper care, the letters fall outside.
The National Bank has opened a branch here, but at present in rather an out-of-way place. There is some talk of a removal into Gawler-street, two first-rate places for business having been offered. The National Bank is very popular.
Advertiser 9/2/1861 - 7/2/1861 - On Monday afternoon last, about 4pm, our quiet town was suddenly alarmed by the cry of ‘fire’, and the smoke and flame soon informed the inhabitants of the spot where their assistance was required. To the credit of the male inhabitants, they worked most manfully, although it is but fair to state that some of the females were by no means behindhand in their exertions.
The fire was at the back of Mr A Waddy’s, a stable in the occupation of Mr Waddy and a shed belonging to Mr C Bode being in flames. Mr Waddy’s stable was built of slabs with shingle roof, and contained about a quarter ton of hay. Mr Bode’s shed was open, and had a quantity of loose hay in it; the wind was fresh at the time, and blew the fire about, much to the danger of the whole of the back premises in Gawler street. For some time, no hopes were entertained of saving Mr William Hooper’s house or Mr Crutchett’s stable; but the plentiful supply of water, and the cheerful assistance of the population, succeeded in saving a large amount of property. An inquest was held before Mr F Davison SM, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Good was foreman. After examining several witnesses, whose evidence is unnecessary to repeat, the Jury returned a verdict that the fire originated at the partitioned slab between Mr A Waddy’s and Mr C Bode’s stables, but how there was no satisfactory evidence to prove. The amount of damage done is about £30.
Register 22/3/1861 - The site selected for this the second Annual Show of the new H & A Society of Mt Barker was on the open piece of ground between the Crown Inn and the residence of Mr Dunn - an excellent spot for a gathering of the kind, and one which presented a most animated appearance when the real business of the day commenced. With the wooded hills in the distance, the various handsome stone buildings of the township scattered around and a sky unusually slof and blue, even for Australia, stretched above, the scene was one well worth travelling some distance to witness. The white canvas pavillion erected for the Show and ornamented with gaily coloured bunting, was opened to the public about 2pm, at which time the surrounding neighbourhood was everywhere alive with well-dressed people, either hastening to the pavillion or sauntering in groups around the places devoted to the show of stock. Mounted and on foot, farmers and farmers’ wives and daughters came in from all directions, until it looked as though the country had taken possession of the town, and poured, not only its fruits and vegetables, but all its other strength and beauty into the very midst of the streets.
Amongst dairy produce, the cheese and hams attracted deserved notice; but strange to say, no producer had thought it worth while to save his bacon for exhibition at this Show - a fact which indicates that there is very little cured at Mt Barker or that it is cured badly.
During the afternoon, about £26 was taken for admission to the Show, and at 4pm, the doors were thrown open free to all comers; but it was difficult to understand the object of this, unless it was to make people sorry that they did not pay to come in earlier, for as soon as the free admission commenced, the glory of the Show departed. The musicians disappeared from their green bower, the tables were recklessly stripped, and agriculture became mixed up with horticulture in a state of the most jolly confusion.
Mr FR Hunt stated that a lot of members of Parliament had not been invited because the Committee had no funds to spare. The speaker concluded by expressing a hope that Mt Barker would soon have a permanent building of its own for an annual Show, and stated that the Mt Barker Society was well in funds at present, and hoped to improve in that respect.
JT Bee He might say that the old Show would have been held permanently at Mt Barker if Mr Waddell, a Mt Barker gent, had not voted against it.
Register 15/5/1861 - 14/5/1861 - About 10pm on Saturday night, after a day or two’s heavy rain, we were visited by a flood which bids fair to be of serious consequence to many in the neighbourhood. Some living in houses near the creeks had to quit them at a few minutes’ notice and seek shelter under the roofs of their more fortunate neighbours, leaving their property to the mercy of the stream, which had overflowed its banks in some places by many yards, carrying along with it posts, rails, trees, bags of potatoes, melons, and all kinds of produce; in fact, nothing that was in any way moveable, from a wheelbarrow to a dray, was able to withstand the force of the current. Several yards of live fencing (planted six or seven years ago) shared the same fate. On the hillsides, a great quantity of grain is washed out of the earth, and the ploughed fields present the appearance of a smooth, unbroken piece of land.
Register 12/10/1861 - 10/10/1861 - A large meeting was held here on Wednesday, for the purpose of taking into consideration the proprieties of apportioning a sum of money from the district rates towards the erection of a school at the Springs. Two propositions were laid before the meeting - that a special rate of 3d in the pound should be levied, and the other that £100 should be apportioned to that purpose out of the funds of the district. Both propositions were negatived by overwhelming majorities. The meeting held at Low’s inn.
Advertiser 18/10/1861 - 15/10/1861 - The new Primitive Methodist Chapel is to be opened next Sunday. There is some talk of a Church of England being built in the township, and a public meeting is announced for the consideration of the matter. The Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist Chapels are filled to overflowing, and it is thought that another place of worship might also be supported.
Advertiser 25/10/1861 - 23/10/1861 - On Wednesday, the wife of Mr J Dunn MP, met with a sad accident. As she was crossing the road near Mr Low’s, her foot slipped and she fell. On being examined by Dr Walker and Dr Herbert, of Strathalbyn, it was found that her hip was dislocated and the cup much injured.
JAMES, Nicholas died on 23/101/1861, of injuries sustained after a spring cart overturned on Germantown Hill. The cause of death was effusion of blood on the brain, caused by the injuries received. Three men hired a spring-cart from Edwin Deacon, landlord of the Brecknock arms Hotel, King William St. J Simmons mining captain, Mr Dawes and Nicholas James. Mr Dawes got into the Nairne mail coach while they were still on the plains, as too many people in the cart. ‘We left about 2.30pm. Overtook the mail near Glen Osmond. Stopped at Crafers and fed the horses. We got there before the mail. The mail passed us there. We caught up the mail at Cox Creek. The Nairne mail started first, the Mt Barker mail next. We started again. When over the hil, the horses started ahead. The driver called out to the Mt Barker mail to clear out of the way. They pulled on one side. We passed them there. The driver could not pull the horses up. We then got thrown out. We must have been going 15-20 miles an hour.
J Dunn on the Mt Barker coach. I saw the dog-cart come on, at the least one-third faster than the ‘bus. I supposed it was the driver called out to clear the way. The driver pulled out of the way. They nearly touched the ‘bus as they passed; the horses then started into a gallop. I felt sure that would never reach the bottom of the hill; when near the Quarry, I thought they would go over the wall. When we came round the corner, the cart was bottom up. One horse was stone dead; Mr James down over the hill a long way. The mail pulled up, and we conveyed him to Mt Barker. E Nott drove the Mt Barker mail. (Likely Ebenezer Nott, who died in 1868, aged 31) James Armstrong was the mail guard.
Register 10/1/1862 - Mt Barker Show Society Committee met on 23/12/1861 at the Oakfield Hotel. Some considerable time was taken up in discussing the propriety of altering the name of the Society for the purpose of distinguishing it from another which is similarly called. Ultimately, the Committee decided to add the word ‘permanent’ to the name of the Society.
Advertiser 27/1/1862 - During the last month, trade has been fearfully bad; the oldest tradesman here never knew it so bad before. The harvest is nearly all gathered in, and from all accounts, it is sadly below the average of former years. Cases in the Local Court to sue for bill and rent payments.
Advertiser 8/2/1862 - Telegraph master Mr Drew to leave for Pt MacDonnell early in March. Miss Gower of Woodside to replace him.
Register 5/4/1862 - 4/4/1862 - Governor Daly slept at the Crown Hotel while on his way back to Adelaide from Strath on Thursday night.
Register 23/4/1862 - Letter A labourer - It is a known fact that the Mt Barker Council has not employed me this year, excepting one old man a few days ago as overseer, at 5s a day … It appears very strange that the wages through the colony are to be regulated on the miserly opinions of the members of this Council, and the only Council that had presumed to dictate to the Board. They appear very economical of the public funds, a wonder they have not more macadamised roads, after the thousands expended for the last eight years. … Never will they have work done properly when they are so partial the the 4s a day. I hope this will be the only Council in the colony to attempt injuring the poor man; and I think the members of the Central Board are intelligent enough not to be dictated to by the solitary District Council of Mt Barker.
Register 26/4/1862 - Mr Frame’s farm.
Register 24/5/1862 - Some time ago, the Rev’d WB Andrews commenced alternate Sunday evening preaching in a small room here. As the congregation increased more convenient premises were occupied, and such is the estimation in which the reverend gent’s ministrations are held, that steps are now being taken to establish a branch of the C of E here on a more prominent basis.
Advertiser 25/8/1862 - 20/8/1862 - The reading room and library of the Mechanics’ Institute was fairly started in Mr Moss’s shop on Friday last. At a meeting of the subscribers, Mr J Dunn MP was elected President, and Mr Gower, solicitor, vice-president.
Advertiser 13/9/1862 - I have been shown through a glass that destructive pest, the grub in the wheat. They resemble very small beetle insects, so small that you cannot see them with the naked eye. They are doing great injury in some parts of our district.
Register 15/9/1862 - Mt Barker Ag Ass Ploughing match held near Woodside, on the road to Craigdarroch. The land selected was a piece of virgin soil, and with the exception of its being too thickly timbered and in some places rather stony and clayey, it was pretty well adapted for the purpose. The soil for the most part was a brown loam. Its situation is very beautiful, and the surrounding scenery is seen to the utmost advantage at this time of the year.
Advertiser 27/11/1862 - 25/11/1862 - On Monday, the 25th, our town was quite enlivened by the election flags, which were hoisted at all the principal places of business. Crowds of well-dressed persons of both sexes thronged the streets all day, very great interest being taken on account of the southern part of the district attempting to put in two members of their choice; but the greatest excitement was occasioned in consequence of the Rev’d Fr O’Brien having the previous Sunday denounced Mr Dunn at the chapel, and threatening to curse his people should they vote for him (such was the report). However, I myself saw and heard the reverend gent at Mt Barker and Macclesfield urging his people not to vote for Mr J Dunn. But his advice was not so meekly taken. In some instances, the reverend gent’s co-religionists boldly wore the colours of Mr Dunn’s party in defiance of the expostulations of his reverence. Thus influenced, scarcely a man at this end of the district but turned out and did all in his power to put Mr Dunn at the head of the poll. This was successfully achieved by a majority of 130. On Tuesday, our volunteers with their band and election flags formed a procession and paraded to Mr Dunn’s mansion, where they reformed, with Mr Dunn in their midst, and proceeded round the town, halting at Gray’s Inn. Here, Mr Dunn addressed the electors, thanking them for having for the third time returned him as their rep.
Register 15/1/1863 - A JG Ramsay reaper won the Mt Barker reaping match. Thomas Mellor grumbled that his firm’s reaper received poor treatment. ‘I have refrained from all argument in favour of the depreciated Mellor’s reaper or the Godlee patent comb, as I conceive the testimonials in your advertising columns to be the best and most proper medium.
Register 24/1/1863 - Mr Mellor’s letter impugning the Judges’ decision at our late reaping match created some little sensation; but one of the frequenters of the Court declares that he has often to hear the losing party grumbling even at the wise decisions of our learned Bench.
Register 6/2/1863 - The two Mt Barker Show Societies amalgamated. Shows alternately at Mt B and Woodside.
Register 16/2/1863 - On the evening of 4 Feb, our volunteers assembled for moonlight drill, making, I apprehend, the last of a series of evening drills during the present term of enrolment … These moonlight drills seem to be much enjoyed by many of our volunteers. Blank cartridges being served out, firing and light infantry drill is the order, not of the day, but of the night, and to our townsfolks, the repeated discharge of rifles has a peculiar effect - rather exciting.
Advertiser 6/2/1864 - Scarlatina has been making sad work among the children of the district since my last. Many deaths have occurred; but one thing has been proved, that homœpathy, as practised by Mr G Bollen (who has made it a study for some years) has been most beneficial and successful in preventing the fatal consequences which have befallen those who have been treated allopathialy. Out of about 36 cases treated by homœpathy, only one died, whereas nearly all treated by allopathy proved fatal; and one case, that of O’Brien’s child, which was given up by the allopaths, is now fast recovering under homœpathic treatment.
Messrs Cornelius & Stone held their usual monthly sale of landed property on Saturday at Gray’s Inn, where good and fair prices were realised for the properties submitted for competition.
Money having been voted for a new Court-House at Mt Barker some time ago, it was thought by the Magistrates and attorneys that it would have been commenced long before this time, the Government knowing the inconvenience of the present Court; but as the Attorney-General was up on Wednesday last, it is to be hoped it will be proceeded with without delay, he having seen the great necessity for the building. The present room for the clerk and five attorneys, with tables and chairs, is only 6’x12’.
Register 10/2/1864 - Mt Barker Hotel, late Low’s Inn. Mr and Mrs Rendall, having taken the above-mentioned premises, beg to call the attention of Commercial and other Travelers to the Comfort and Accommodation provided them. Private Rooms for Ladies and Gentlemen. The Lecture room, seated for 150, with first-class Instrument and Music, available at all times for Public Meetings or Concerts. Wedding Parties provided for on the shortest notice. NB Good stables; best Hay and Corn.
Advertiser 15/3/1864 - Rumours have been very rife this last week that Mr J Dunn MP had offered his splendid mansion and beautiful grounds as a residence to HE Sir D Daly. Should HE accept the offer, I am sure he would find the air and scenery equal to any part of Australia, and the Mt Barkerites most loyal subjects.
For some weeks, our town has had a very lively aspect, drays with wheat being continually thronging the streets. The inhabitants have also been much struck with the immense stock of wheat at Mr J Dunn & Son’s mill. On enquiry, I am informed that 100,000 bushels have already found its way into their hands more than last year, and on account of the cheapness of cartage, they have been able to give within 3d a bushel of Adelaide prices.
Our townsman, Mr JG Ramsay, agricultural implement manufacturer, is determined not to be behind the times in the manufacture of agricultural implements, he having just completed a new reaping machine, for which he thinks of taking out a patent if time will permit before the Woodside Show; the difference between his new improvement and those already at work in the colony being that the near comb is of extraordinary width, causing it not to sink in sandy ground or slide on the side of the hill, and requiring one horse less power to work. By a novel construction in the rack the comb is kept in a horizontal position, the advantages being the moving of the front plate in connection with the comb. There also are improvements in the thrashing power by which the grain is not broken or cracked, and the thrashing power is not diminished.
Advertiser 9/4/1864 - Primitive Methodist ministers, the Rev’d JG Wright and S Raymond, to Salisbury and Saddleworth respectively. More than 200 partook of tea, the chapel being twice filled. The tea was kindly provided by the friends; and the profits, which amounted to £20, were handed over to the chapel fund. It appeared that since the Rev’d JG Wright had been in the circuit (two and a half years) six new chapels had been erected and two enlarged, at a cost on the whole of £2,000; and that over £2,000 had been raised for chapel purposes, and expended in paying off old debts and in erecting new chapels. The debt of the mission premises at Mt Barker had been reduced this year from £430 to £200, and over 200 new members had been added to the Society. They have also commenced a new chapel in Hutchinson St, which they expect to be able to finish in a few months, and which will hold 300 persons. It is 46’ x 31’, and 19’ high. The meeting was one of the pleasantest held here for some time, and was well attended, the Rev’d JG Wright having won the respect and esteem of all denominations in the district.
The Church of England are again about to commence services in the town, having been stopped for some time on account of the ill health of the Rev’d WB Andrews. The school in connection therewith is in a very prosperous condition, and has been carried on by Mr FC Smith for the last two years. From the numerous Episcopalians in this district, there can be no doubt but a Church can be formed.
Advertiser 14/5/1864 - I have just been shown a monster pear in the seed shop of Mr W Chapman, said to be the Twedale St Germein. It measures 18 and a half inches round, and 22” the long way, and weighs 3lb 11oz. The graft was sold by Mr Chapman, nurseryman, three years ago to Mr H Hampton, of Echunga diggings, and grafted on an apple stock, on which both apples and pears are growing this season.
On the 30th April, Mr J Dunn gave all his employees a supper to commemorate the majority of the mill, it being 21 years since the mill was started at Mt Barker. Mr Dunn gave the young men some good advice on perseverance, instancing his own example in starting the mill. He had kept it in his own hands, without stoppages, except for repairs, for 21 yeas, and had won two prizes from the Exhibition of All Nations in London, and another at Melbourne.
Register 25/7/1864 - In a financial point of view, the affairs of the Institute were not in a very flourishing state; and that, unless some effort was made towards a revival, the Committee would be unable to keep it open beyond one quarter. By way of making it more attractive and holding out an inducement to persons to join, it was decided to expend at once £5 in books, which were named at the time; the works of Mr Dickens being the most popular. It is to be hoped that the settlers in this district will take advantage of the Institute, which the Committee seem determined to make popular, and not let it fall through, which would be anything but creditable to them.
The new Primitive Methodist Chapel, the foundation stone of which was laid recently by our worthy member Mr John Dunn, is going up rapidly, and will be an ornament to the township, besides a great convenience to that body who find their present chapel much too limited for their congregation.
The foundation walls of the new Court House are down, and we may hope to see the work in full operation shortly. The new bridge on the proposed line of road through Mr L MacFarlane’s paddock still remains in an unfinished state, although most of the material seems to be on the ground and the masonry completed.
Register 8/8/1864 - 46 people signed a memorial to the Mt Barker Council protesting against a road to go between Sections 4471 and 4469.
Advertiser 18/8/1864 - Last week, the foundation stone of our new Court-House was laid by Mr J Dunn, MP, and the greatest exertions will be used to complete the building as soon as possible.
The Rev’d Mr Watsford made an affecting reference to the Rev’d J Dunn, son of the Chairman (Mr J Dunn MP) having left every comfort and a profitable business for the love of Christ, to point the poor Fijians to God.
Register 20/8/1864 - The work of cutting down the bank and raising the road between the new bridge and the Telegraph Station has been commenced. The Council ought to have been at pains of putting a substantial plank across the creek when removing the old bridge, instead of a split log, which was washed away whenever we had a heavy fall of rain, thus obliging all passengers to climb up the approaches or walk across an unfinished platform, and get down the best way they could.
Register 29/9/1864 - The lady members of the Church of England in this neighbourhood are busily employed in preparing for the coming bazaar in aid of the Mt Barker Church Fund. It is to be hoped their efforts may be crowned with success.
The making of the road across the flat leading to the Telegraph Station seems at a standstill, although the road is passable for drays.
The work upon the Court House does not appear to be much more forward than it was a month ago.
The outside work of the new Primitive Methodist Chapel is approaching completion. The roof has been put on, and the men have begun to point the front, which gives it a very neat appearance. A very good bell has crowned this edifice, and some boys, from motives of mischief or vanity, are constantly assuring the good people that ‘it is all there’.
Register 3/10/1864 - Onkaparinga, Nairne, Macclesfield DC Chairmen met to discuss Hills main roads. A map to be attached to each of the memorials; that the cross country main line be put on the schedule, connecting Mt Crawford with North-Eastern Main Road leading to Mt Pleasant, by Blumberg, Mt Torrens, Charleston, Woodside, to Nairne, Blakiston, Littlehampton, Mt Barker, Morning Star, Macclesfield, Meadows, from there to some point to intersect the main lines of the Southern District; thus connecting the whole of the main lines at present on the schedule.
Register 21/10/1864 - The work upon the new Court-House, which since its commencement, has been of a rather intermittent character, has at length come to a deadlock, and nothing is doing. It appears that there is a growing disinclination on the part of working men to engage upon Government contracts in the country. Many here have a lively recollection of the way in which several poor men were done when our Telegraph Station was built. Consequently, they have been very shy of the present contract, so that the contractor has had a difficulty in obtaining men here.
The new Primitive Methodist Chapel is now ready for use, although not quite finished, and we may congratulate that body upon having an excellent chapel, which is neat and commodious. The opening services were very successful in spite of the unfavourable state of the weather.
Register 15/11/1864 - The contract for the masonry for the Episcopal Church about to be built in the township has been let, and we may expect to see the work commenced very shortly.
The Oddfellows’ celebrated their anniversary in Mr Dunn’s large paddock in first-rate style this year. They had an excellent day for their fete, and the ground was well attended. Dancing was kept up with great spirit and was in great favour. The foot, hurdle, and sack races caused great amusement, as did also the archery matches, several of the fair sex carrying off prizes in the latter. ‘Kiss in the ring’ also had its admirers, but one could not help pitying some of the less favoured players who stood there hour after hour in the fond hope of having the handkerchief dropped behind them. … The day’s festivities closed with a dinner at Host Rundle’s,which was in all respects a complete success.
Messrs Cornelius & Stone’s monthly sales draw a great number of persons into the township, and at the close of the sales, the place presents the appearance of a small fair day.
The bathing place alluded to by Mr Gray at the Institute lecture on Friday evening is a large waterhole at the bottom of Walker St, and well-adapted for the purpose. I understand it will be under the direction of the District Council, and that a paling fence with seats will be erected round it. The narrow neck through which the water at present escapes will be filled up several feet so as to give a good depth for swimming; the hole to be cleared of any logs or snags which may be there at present, and a private covered in bath for the ladies and children. This is an excellent sanitary movement which we wish every success.
Register 2/12/1864 - Winemaking cannot always be carried to the perfection which could be wished, owing to the difficulty in this cold district of getting the grapes thoroughly ripe.
The contractors (Messrs Burgess & Watts) have been engaged during the past week upon the foundation walls of the Episcopalian Church.
The Institute has been removed to a larger room at Mr Chapman’s, which is a great improvement on former ones. Great complaints have been made at the removal of English periodicals immediately after their arrival by some of the members. The Committee have given notice that a repetition of the offence will lead to the expulsion of the offenders.
Messrs Cornelius & Stone’s monthly sale, on Saturday last, was well attended, and a large amount of stock disposed of, as many be seen from the following: 270 head of cattle, 1,000 sheep and lambs, and about 50 horses.
Register 24/1/1865 - Our new Court House is no further advanced than it was months ago. While on this subject, it is a matter of conjecture why we are limited to so small a building as the new one very little exceeds the old Court-House in size. Some persons assign as a reason for the delay in proceeding with the building that, from representations made to the Government, they have decided that as very little has been done to the walls, to pull a portion down and proceed with the work upon an enlarged plan. Should this prove correct, it will give great satisfaction to the people here.
The roads in the district are in an excellent state of repair and will bear comparison with any in the colony. The new road on the southern side of the township leading up to the Telegraph Station is now completed, and is a great improvement to the appearance of the township, besides a boon to those settlers who have felt the want of such a road into the township.
The bathing place is now almost complete and a fine sheet of water is the result. The whole has been surrounded by a strong paling fence six feet high. At whatever time one passes, he is sure to find some one enjoying the luxury of a plunge and swim. The place is more especially frequented early in the morning and after 6 of evenings, when the shouts of laughter and the hum of voices fully testify of the number there and of the fun going on.
The farmers have commenced to deliver wheat and certainly the prices now offered in the township 8s 3d per bushel - is sufficient to induce them to sell. During this morning, there was a continual stream of wagons loaded with wheat wending their way to the mills.
The Committee of our Institute, wishing to encourage a spirit of mutual improvement amongst its members, have granted the use of their room on Friday evenings for that purpose. This will no doubt add to the strength of the Institute by increasing its members.
Advertiser 17/2/1865 - On Friday evening, the 10th instant, a lecture was delivered by W Cavenah esq, at the Mt Barker Hotel, for the benefit of the Institute, the subject being The life and tenets of Mahomet. … Between the parts of the lecture, some excellent music was discoursed from the powerful harmonium belonging to the hotel.
Register 10/3/1865 - Considerable progress has been made by Messrs Burgess & Watts in the erection of the Episcopalian Church, and we may hope to see it roofed in before winter.
The Court-House still lies in an unfinished state, and is a most unsightly blot as it now stands - a heap of ruins.
We have had a remarkably dry season in the hills, not having had two hours’ steady rain for four or five months. Many of our old residents say that they have not experienced so long a drought since their arrival in the colony.
Register 6/4/1865 - The bazaar in aid of the building fund of Christ Church, Mt Barker, was held in Miss Fickling’s schoolrooms on Thursday, 16 March,and two following days. It was more a complete success than even had been anticipated, and on the Thursday particularly, the rooms were crowded from the time of opening to the close – from 10am-10pm. The rooms, though large, were not sufficiently commodious so that many were unable on the first day to gain admittance. The Circus Band had been engaged and continued to play at intervals throughout the day, and which no doubt attracted many. The stalls were well arranged and abundantly filled with a choice assortment of useful and ornamental articles. … Those things which remained unsold were put up to auction, Mr F Stone kindly giving his services on the occasion. The amount raised will come to nearly £250.
Register 6/5/1865 - 2/5/1865 The building of the new Court-House is being proceeded with at last. If the work had been recommenced on an enlarged scale as it was rumoured, more satisfaction would have been felt; but as it is we are glad to see the work go on, limited though it be, rather than it stood still. The work is in the hands of our fellow townsmen Messrs Burgess and Watts, who will no doubt complete the work in as short a time as possible.
The Episcopalian Church has been so far proceeded with by the same contractors that it has been waiting for the carpenter, Mr Levi Ward, to lay the beams and put on the roof. I notice that a start has been made with this portion of the work today.
I am happy to state that Mr Richard Cornelius Junr, who had three of his fingers taken off about 10 days ago by the fall of a stone at Messrs Hart & Co’s mill at the Port, is progressing favourably.
Register 19/6/1865 - It may be interesting to mention that the new church in this township is roofed, and the carpenter, Mr Levi Ward, is proceeding with the work rapidly. The building, when finished, will be a credit to those who have exerted themselves in carrying out this much-desired object, and will be an improvement in many respects to the township.
Advertiser 8/7/1865 - Things in the township are rather dull just now as very little wheat is at present forthcoming, although there must be a large quantity still in the hands of the farmers; the prices remain just as they have been for some time past. The butchers complain of fat cattle being both scarce and dear. Dairy-fed pork, and in fact all dairy produce is also scarce and dear, more so, I believe, from the great demand and high prices now obtainable in the Adelaide markets.
A few cases of diphtheria have appeared in the district, chiefly among the younger branches, two of three of which have proved fatal.
Advertiser 17/7/1865 - Our election for 3 Councilors to fill the vacant seats in the Council Board took place on Monday 10th instant, which, although the weather was very wet and stormy, caused no little stir in the township, owing to a little party spirit generally manifested on those occasions. Upwards of 140 ratepayers mustered to record their votes, and no doubt each had their favourite men, as 13 were nominated. Messrs T Paltridge, A Bell and William Hannaford were returned, the two former being re-elected.
Two of our butchers, Messrs Hannaford and Wraight, being anxious to obtain some first-class beef for the district, yesterday waited on one of our large farmers near the township, who has for sale four stall-fed bullocks, and for which they made the noble offer of £90, which was refused, the lowest price I understand being £100. Now this, I think, is worthy the notice of farmers generally, and it is believed - and the above fully bears out the argument - if more attention were directed to stall-feeding cattle, and growing root crops as a change, they, the farmers, would find it even more profitable than a succession of wheat crops.
I understand the well-known coach proprietor, Mr W Rounsevell, has just purchased a small farm of Mr Higgins, between Mt Barker and Nairne, for the sum of £940, or something like £7 per acre.
Register 7/8/1865 - The work of the new Court House has so far progressed that Mr Hendry and his men have been for about a week busy fixing the timbers for the roof. As far as I can judge, the building when finished, will not be an ornament to the town.
Messrs Cornelius & Stone’s monthly sale on Saturday last was well attended and brought a great number of persons into the township. Excellent prices were ruling. A number of horses were sold at good prices. … The same gents also sold on the same day several landed properties,which realised satisfactory prices. I might also observe that this market seems now to be pretty well established, and will no doubt prove not only a benefit to the township, but to all the agriculturalists in the district.
Register 6/9/1865 - 4/9/1865 The Court-House is approaching completion, and certainly looks better than it promised; but all the plaster which can be put on to it will not make the place larger or increase the scanty accommodation. … I may remark that the average of business done at the Local Courts of the colony, which appeared in your columns a few days ago, shows that the amount of business done by our Court is exceeded by few Courts in the colony.
The Church is so far forward that I understand it will be opened some time during the present month.
I would call the attention of the DC of the person who may have charge of that portion of the Adelaide road, near the house of Mr William Tonkin, to a very heavy dead limb of a tree which overhangs the road in a dangerous manner. It may come down any day, and should it do so when for instance, the mail is passing, it is to be hoped the occupants may have made their wills.
On Saturday afternoon, a number of gents visited Mr Dutch’s shop for the purpose of seeing his model of an improved steam-engine at work. Those who were capable of forming an opinion on the subject expressed themselves highly pleased with the principle, and complimented Mr Dutch upon his inventive talents.
Advertiser 14/9/1865 - Our new Court-House is getting near completion; it is a neat little building, but far too small even for present requirements; and it is generally thought we ought to have had, by better management, a place nearly double the size for the same amount of money.
The new Episcopalian Church is also nearly finished, or at least so far as to be opened for Divine Worship next Lord’s Day, when the Lord Bishop is expected to pay us a visit.
Register 23/9/1865 - 12/9/1865 On Sunday last, the new Episcopalian Church in this township was opened by the Lord Bishop. The morning looked threatening, but eventually cleared, and a finer day could not have been wished for. His Lordship went through the usual consecration service, after which he performed divine service, assisted by the Rev’d WW Ewbank. Three services were held during the day, at each of which His Lordship preached excellent sermons before crowded congregations. The amount of the collections on the occasion reached £22 7s.. The church is not yet finished, but is sufficiently so to allow of service being held in it. I cannot say that it is an ornamental structure; the roof having been carried out overhanging the walls gives it a barn-like appearance. Upon closer inspection, it has a more pleasing aspect, and promises, when ceiled and plastered to present a handsome interior. The accommodation provided is such as to meet the wants of the congregation for years to come. Great credit is due to the Building Committee for the manner in which they have exerted themselves in erecting the building.
Register 23/10/1865 - Christ Church, in this township, is sufficiently complete now to allow of service being held in it. It is not the intention of the Committee to proceed with the plastering for some time.
Advertiser 2/12/1865 - Reaping commenced on a limited scale near the Bremer on Tuesday last, and report says we shall have new wheat brought into the township for sale about the end of this week. The business of our township, owing to the high price of all farming produce, seems to be in a healthy state, and the anticipation of having the approaches to the Bremer completed, and the opening of Chauncey’s Line to Wellington, together with all hands willing to work being in full employment, quite enlivens the place.
Several Sunday-school anniversaries in the neighbourhood have just passed over, and large and social gatherings have assembled around the tea tables to countenance and support these beneficial Institutions.
Register 9/12/1865 - Farmers and tradesmen are beginning to be alive to the advantages which accrue from the monthly sales which Messrs Cornelius & Stone hold here. Their last sale was most successful. The street was thronged all the morning with stock-buyers and sellers. There is at least four times the usual amount of business done in the township on the Saturdays on which these sales are held. Stock to the amount of £1,400 was disposed of at the last sale.
There is every appearance of an abundant supply of hay here this season. The price ranges so high that wheat which looks at all doubtful is consigned to the scythe for hay. Reaping-machines are beginning to take their walks abroad from Mr Ramsay’s foundry, which may be looked upon as premonitory of wheat harvest.
Fruit promises to be exceedingly plentiful this season. The frost we had one night a few weeks ago has injured the potatoes very much.
Register 25/1/1866 - 22/1/1866 - On Wed the 17th inst, we were visited by a heavy fall of rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning. After the excessive heat of the preceeding days, this was a most agreeable change. It continued to rain for several hours so heavily that the streets were flooded, and I understand scarcely a watertank in the township remained unfilled.
The National Bank is about to erect new premises on a corner allotment of land opposite the Telegraph Station, and adjoining the Scotch Church. This, no doubt, will be an ornamental addition to the township.
The contractors have made a start this week to complete the out-offices of our Court-House, which we hope to see opened shortly. As that portion of the building allotted to the public will be insufficient when there is a numerous attendance at the Court, it is to be hoped that an extensive verandah will be erected for the protection of those not fortunate enough to get inside.
The discovery of gold at the Bremer has created a slight stir in this neighbourhood, and we learn from our Callington friends that it has given a great impetus to business in that township.
Register 31/3/1866 - The remainder of the land in this township belonging to the original proprietor was sold by public auction last week but one. The prices obtained were upon the whole such as to give satisfaction to all parties concerned. I understand that more than one of the buyers intend erecting places of business upon the allotments bought by them. Messrs Hannaford and Ramsay, for instance, intend building in the main street. This will fill up a vacant space and very much improve the appearance of the township.
Mr Edward Teague, the contractor for the Bank new premises, is proceeding rapidly with the work. A young man named Walter Watts, when engaged in quarrying stone for the new Bank, met with an accident in blasting last week. It appears that he put in the usual charge and retired, but after waiting for a longer time than usual for the explosion, he went to see if the fuse had gone out. He had no sooner approached it than it went off. He received part of the charge in his face, and it was feared that he had lost his eyesight, but I am happy to say that he has so far recovered as to be able to follow his employment again.
A meeting for the purpose of devising means for opening up a new and more direct road to the Murray took place on Monday morning last. A large number of our most influential settlers were present. No doubt seemed to exist as to the practicability of the undertaking. It was stated by the Committee who have taken in hand the management of the affair that the Nairne DC had guaranteed £300 towards the object if the Mt Barker people would raise £100. As the new road is out of this district, that amount could not be taken from the rates, but subs to that amount have, I understand, been collected. The new track will be via Mt Barker Springs. The distance said to be saved will be about 7 miles; it is through a well-timbered country, which would furnish fuel for the furnaces at the mines. If this project should be successfully carried out, it will give Adelaide the nearest cut to the Murray, and the advantages which must result from a large traffic through this district are incalculable.
It is contemplated to publish a weekly paper in this township at no distant period. Situated as Mt Barker is, in the centre of a large and very populous district, embracing not less than 20 townships within a radius of 20 miles, it could hardly fail, if properly conducted, to obtain a large constituency.
Sickness is very prevalent in the neighbourhood, many of the young being laid up with a description of low fever.
Register 31/5/1866 - A good public school has long been a recognised want in this township. The subject is at last likely to meet with the attention which it deserves. A deputation of the inhabitants waited upon the DC a few days ago, pointing out the disadvantage the township was under from this want. The members fully concurred in the remarks made, and promised that a meeting should be called upon the subject at an early date.
It is felt to be a great hardship in the country that the Postmaster-General should this year have thought fit to make no alteration in the arrival of the mail. The farmers are particularly loud in their complaints, and very justly so. Many of them come in before dark, and have to stand ‘kicking their heels about’ in the cold until the arrival of the mail, and then have to go home in the dark over wet and muddy roads. I understand that it is the intention of the residents here to memorialise the PG upon the subject. One has been prepared and numerously signed in Littlehampton. If the PG will look at the matter in the right light, he cannot but see that there is great reason for the complaints which have been made.
The new road to Callington has been gone over by the DC of Nairne and the Mt Barker Committee, and has been approved and pegged out. The party were much pleased with the proposed route, and found the gradient much better than might have been expected.
The places of business in the township were closed upon the Queen’s birthday. The day passed off in a very quiet way.
Register 21/7/1866 - Practical jokes are being carried to an intolerable degree in this neighbourhood. Should any person presume to commit matrimony without giving largess to the roughs, the house is surrounded and the inmates annoyed by the din of tin boxes being beaten in lieu of drums. Only a few weeks ago, the roughs, taking advantage of the absence of the police, surrounded a house, and finding that the noise did not bring the people out, they tied the doors and threw stones at the roof and windows. A short time ago, some heavy logs were piled against a man’s door, which had it been opened by a child would in all probability have caused its death. Fortunately, the inhabitants went out by the back door and so escaped the impending danger.
The late sale of land in this neighbourhood has caused a great improvement in the appearance of the township. Blocks that had before lain open or but indifferently fenced are now ploughed and well fenced.
The DC have men employed in making the street leading through the township. They are also taking about three feet off the rise near the old Court-House, and raising the road from the bridge.
The new building for the Bank is now roofed, and the men are plastering.
Register 15/9/1866 - The DC deserves credit for the improvements which they have effected lately in the township. The north approach has been raised, and a portion of the bank near Gray’s Inn removed, making the gradient very much easier. The paths, too, have been formed and the main thoroughfare macadamised.
Register 21/9/1866 - On Tuesday 19 September, the Mt Barker annual ploughing and digging matches and show of entire horses took place in a paddock lately the property of Mr Joseph Rundle, of Mt Barker, and now belonging to Mr Carl Dolling. The paddock in question is situated on the Adelaide road, about half a mile distant from the township of Mt Barker.
Register 22/9/1866 - I understand that Mr Dixon, Resident Surveyor to the Central Road Board in this district, has succeeded in clearing a good track through the scrub on the Chauncey’s Line of road to the Murray. It is to be hoped that those gents who may be contracting for carrying the mails to the South-Eastern district may visit this line of road, and see the advantages which it possesses over its rivals. The distance by the present line of road via Strath to Wellington, is about 67 miles, while by Chauncey’s Line it is only 58 miles.
Register 27/10/1866 - Messrs Teague and Ward, contractors for the new Bank in this township, have completed their work, and in such a manner as to do themselves and the township credit.
Advertiser 30/10/1866 - The anniversary services of the Sabbath School in connection with the Primitive Church in Hutchinson St, Mt Barker, were held on 21 and 22 inst. Two impressive sermons were preached by the Rev’d WT Dean, Superintendent of the Circuit, to large and overflowing congregations. The recitations of the scholars were highly creditable to themselves and their teachers. Although our beautiful and commodious new Church, recently built to meet the growing demands of this neighbourhood, on this occasion was found too small. Many remained outside, many went home greatly disappointed. On Monday, the children met at 1pm, and were conducted through the township by their excellent Superintendent, Mr Alfred Champion, and three teachers. Returning to the church, the centre of attraction, the tables being richly laden with the bounties of Providence, the children fell to in earnest with the good things provided by their kind instructor. Being all well satisfied and happy, three hearty claps were given for our gracious Queen and three for the teachers. The little folks having got clear of the tables, each one got a good supply of lollies and away to enjoy themselves at various innocent sports, which they did to their hearts’ content. The tables being again spread with the good things of this life, were surrounded by the young, the aged, and the gay, and so the good things were discussed with a zest until nearly dusk, when the tables were cleared for the night’s service. The meeting having been opened with singing and prayer, our esteemed friend Mr William Hannaford was called to preside. … In conclusion, I would call attention to the very improper conduct of some of the young men in the township, who are in the habit of congregating about chapel doors and insulting respectable females. I hope this hint may deter them from such conduct in future.
Register 6/11/1866 - A Cricket Club has been formed here, which at present numbers about 20 members. Mr Henry Bellingham has been appointed captain, Messrs Bellingham, W Wedd, and James Waddell Managing Committee, and Mr JR Graham Treasurer and Secretary.
Register 17/12/1866 - The first of a series of monthly sales was held at McFarlane’s Yards on Saturday. The auctioneer, Mr William Harper, was very energetic, but owing to a rather thin attendance, not, I fear, very successful.
Register 19/2/1867 - A distressing accident occurred on Sunday 22 ult, which resulted in the death of a little child of Mr Lawrence, of this township. It appears that the child, in the temporary absence of its mother, sat down on some hot ashes, which ignited its clothes, and the poor little thing was so dreadfully burnt that it died on the Monday following. Dr Robertson was promptly in attendance, but, I believe, gave no hope from the first.
Register 11/6/1867 - Last night, this township was visited by a very heavy thunderstorm. The lightning was very vivid; at times the clouds were one sheet of flame, and the artillery in the sky was very violent. About 9pm, there was a very heavy thunderclap, when the electric fluid struck the residence of Mr R Cornelius, entering the roof near the chimney, striking through the ceiling, smashing a chimney glass into a thousand fragments, sending the ornaments flying all about the room, bursting open cupboard doors, stopping the clock, then forcing its way through the frame of the back door, and leaving the house full of smoke, with a strong smell of sulphur. I, with many others, visited the house this morning, and all agree that it was a mercy no one was hurt, as several members of the family were in the rooms at the time of the shock. Mr Cornelius’s daughter had just left the fireplace when the lightning struck. I have not heard of any other damage being done by the storm.
Register 20/6/1867 - Last Friday morning (14th), some excitement was caused when it became known that Jesse Bray (the man suspected of sheep-stealing) had arrived in this township in charge of Police trooper Rollison. It appears that Mr Rollison had quite an exciting chase after the fugitive. He overtook him in Victoria, about 40 miles on the other side of Bordertown. He was examined before Captain Dashwood SM, and committed to take his trial at the next Criminal Sittings in Adelaide.
Register 14/9/1867 - The reopening of the English Church took place on Sunday the 8th, the edifice being completely filled both morning and evening. Collections were made on both occasions, and realised far more than was anticipated. A tea meeting to commemorate the event followed on Tuesday, and upwards of 190 partook of the bountiful spread, provided by two bachelors and several ladies, in the grain store, lent for the occasion.
Register 2/11/1867 - In the evening, the large bonfire on the Quarry Hill was ignited, and burned splendidly, most favourably contrasting with its more elevated neighbour, the Mount bonfire, which seemed to burn very languidly - a fact which was noticed and remarked on by the dwellers in Kanmantoo, Callington and adjacent parts.
Register 9/12/1867 - Mt Barker DC 2 Dec. The reply from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh to address was received and read. Resolved that the address and reply be copied into the Council’s minute book. Later, John Dunn suggested that the address and reply should be framed and copies hung in the Council Chambers and Institute.
Register 20/4/1868 - Monday the 13th was the Wesleyan Sabbath school anniversary. The school marched round the township, attended by the musicians of the Band of Hope playing lively airs. It being a general holiday, the attendance of visitors was very numerous, so much so that the provisions were well nigh exhausted.
On Thursday, 14 April, a fatal accident happened to a little boy, Charles Lawrence, son of Mr Lawrence, formerly driver of the mail. The poor little fellow was holding a horse, while another lad was letting down the rails to turn it into the paddock. The child thoughtlessly wound the halter round his hand and wrist, and the falling of the rails startling the horse, it bolted along the road, and no doubt death must have been instantaneous.
The Advertiser 20/4/1868 - We have had another very serious accident in our town. On Wednesday morning, 15 April, about 10am, Mr John Rundle was leading a horse to the smithy to be shod, and just before he got to the shop, the horse plunged forward, and seeing Mr Rundle holding the rope, he kicked out at him. His hoof struck Mr Rundle’s head on the left side, and laid it open nearly from the nose to the ear. Dr Wilson was at once called in, but gave very little hope of his recovery. It was only the morning before that Mr Rundle rendered so much assistance in carrying home the boy who was killed and in fetching the father, who was several miles from home.
Southern Argus 9/5/1868 - Once in three years, the excitement of a general election agitates the otherwise peace and quietness of the district of Mt Barker. On this occasion, the struggle between the Mt Barker end and the Strath end of the district, as to which shall have the advantage of sending in local men, has been particularly severe. Mr Cheriton was first introduced and the Mt Barkerites followed with Mr John Dunn, but the Strath not liking that gentleman, brought forward another local man, Mr Rogers, and formed a coalition Committee to secure the return of the two. Mr Dunn was unfortunately not in the colony, but he had an able expounder of his political ideas in the person of Mr Thomas Paltridge, of Mt Barker. Cheriton and Rogers won the election. Complimentary dinner to Mr Dunn at the Oakfield Hotel on 28/5/1868, at which 120 men sat down to eat.
Register 7/9/1868 - New poll for Mt Barker electorate. Dunn only 2 votes behind Cheriton, 613 to 615, Rogers 585. Court of Disputed Returns had declared that irregularities had occurred in the voting at Milang. At midnight on the 3d instant, the news from Strath arrived, announcing the state of the poll, and the return of Mr John Dunn Senr, as a rep. That gent was immediately chaired and carried in state through the streets, preceded by a gent vigorously playing the bagpipes. Mr Dunn addressed the electors in front of the Telegraphic Office. It was wonderful where such a number of persons could have sprung from at such an unreasonable hour. He was carried home attended by a large concourse of people, where he delivered another speech, and the proceedings terminated with the usual amount of cheering. On the 4th, Mr Dunn was conducted home through Macclesfield, Echunga, and Hahndorf to Mt Barker, escorted by eight or ten carriages filled with gents, and a considerable number on horseback. Bouquets of flowers were thrown to him by the ladies on his entrance into the town. A halt taking place, the horses were instantly removed, and preceded by the band of the Band of Hope, the carriage containing Mr Dunn was drawn by the electors. Another stop was made at Gray’s Inn, where Mr Dunn addressed the audience from the balcony, and the result of the polling was read by Mr Bollen. The procession again was reformed, the carriage was drawn round the township amid immense cheering, and was then taken home. A Court of Disputed Returns which sat for a week in October declared that electors had been bribed by Dunn and his supporters.
Southern Argus 7/11/1868 - Another poll on 2/12/1868, at which William Rogers of Sandergrove was again elected. Dunn did not stand. Opposed by PB Coglin of Adelaide. The electors of the electoral district of Mt Barker will surely become proficient in electioneering matters, for during the last six months, they have on three occasions had to return reps to the House of Assembly, and it is to be hoped that the election on Thursday will be the termination of this political struggle through which the district has not been fully represented during the present parliament.
Mr W Rogers - They had done good service by exposing the many abuses which had been practised, not only to the district, but it would be a warning to all candidates for parliamentary honours … They had shown that they would not be overidden by a man of capital, and he could not help saying that Mr Dunn would not have been returned had it not been for the way in which the money was spent.
Advertiser 24/4/1869 - Complimentary dinner to Dr Wilson, who was leaving Mt Barker for Callington. He had been in Mt B while Dr Robertson had visited Britain. Dinner at Gray’s Inn.
Register 27/4/1869 - The Bald Hills had been worked 26 years, yet last year, they had turned out 24 bushels to the acre.
Register 7/8/1869 - 5/8/1869 - There was a small snowstorm on Sunday and two smart showers of hail, which drifting into corners two or three inches deep, enabled youngsters to manufacture with celerity balls, which coming violently into contact with the cheek produced a sensation somewhat similar to that felt from a brickbat.
Southern Argus 18/12/1869 - Wedd’s Mill burnt down at about 2.30am. Trooper Nalty helped to put out the fire. But all efforts to stay the course of the flames proved futile, and in a short time, nothing was left but the bare walls. The mill belonged to John Winzor of Adelaide, and Mr John Ledger has just taken the premises on a lease, and was getting the mill in working order for the forthcoming season. SA Insurance Co £850. Inquest showed no reason for the fire to begin.
Register 17/1/1870 - 15/1/1870 - Complimentary dinner to F Goddard, Clerk of the Mt Barker Court for many years. At Gray’s Inn. Many veiled bitter remarks about Parliament. William Tydeman, who replied on behalf of Mt Barker traders to Mr Goddard’s toast said that times were very bad.
Register 9/7/1870 - 7/7/1870 - Meeting to discuss the division of the Mt Barker DC into wards. T Paltridge was satisfied, though the town people were more highly assessed than the country. He paid as much for his tanyard as many country people did for extensive farms. They were highly assessed from the top of Windmill Hill to the township - were bled regularly every year, and got nothing. The feeling was against wards.
Register 30/9/1870 - A Mt Barker ploughing match dinner at The Mt Barker Hotel. JGRamsay had become an MP. John Dunn was MLC. Mr Dunn said ‘Mt Barker ought to be honoured, as few villages had a member in both houses’. Mt Barker was first or second out of Adelaide, had led a gypsy life in the early stage, but was now settled, and contrasted favourably with any but the city. The time had come to erect a substantial building for their exhibitions, and effort should be made to do away with expensive calico shanties.
Southern Argus 7/1/1871 - 4/1/1871 - On Monday, the annual subscription ball was held at the Assembly Room, Mt Barker. There were fewer present than last year, but notwithstanding, a good sprinkling of the youth and beauty of the district were there. Dancing was kept up till late, or rather early. In the course of the night, some evil-disposed person threw a large stone through one of the windows, nearly striking a young lady present. It is pretty well known who the offender is, so he will no doubt be dealt with according to law.
Register 23/1/1871 - On the afternoon of Friday, Mt Barker had a veritable hailstorm. About 5pm, thunder was accompanied by a high wind and a fall of large hailstones, some of them measuring between three and four inches in circumference. … The wind blew over a wagon loaded with barley belonging to Mr F Cleggett Senr. The loaded vehicle was coming along the road from the Bald Hills, when three of the shafts were twisted off, the side of the wagon was broken in, and one horse was thrown down, but escaped without serious injury.
Register 24/5/1871 - A subject frequently mooted lately is the necessity of an alteration in Germantown Hill, which, as most travellers are aware, is a very dangerous place for traffic, this road being probably second to few of the trunk lines in the colony in that respect. People question the judiciousness of the Government in proposing to spend £5,000 on a road in close proximity to a railway, instead of disbursing £1,500 in making safe a hill where accidents are of such frequent occurrence, and life has been sacrificed.
Register 7/8/1871 - The main line to Mt Barker is unexceptionally good … To such the four hours which the journey to Mt Barker then occupies are not too tedious, the road being picturesque - in places bordered with cottages, with here and there a village, which in the case of Hahndorf approaches the dimensions of a town. Parkindula, the residence of Mr Stone, lies just two miles beyond Mt Barker … with timber in the background, we are struck with the parklike appearance, and the perfection of the site for a country house. A garden, exquisitely kept, though seen to disadvantage in its winter state, cattle grazing in rich grass, sheds for cows, stables for horses, and all the associations of country life, prove the tastes of the proprietor …
Register 24/6/1872 - 20/6/1872 - On Thursday evening, an entertainment was given in the Assembly Rooms to a crowded audience on behalf of the Church of England funds. Readings were given by Lady Charlotte Bacon, the Rev’ds HJ Poole and S Green, interspersed with vocal and instrumental music contributed by resident amateurs, whose services have often been mentioned. The programme was a marked success.
Southern Argus 26/7/1872 - 23/7/1872 - On Friday last, a very interesting social gathering was held in connection with the Wesleyan Chapel … The Rev’d G Lee explained that the object of the meeting was to bid Godspeed to Mr G Bollen, who is leaving here for the purpose of visiting some homœopathic institutions in America …
Southern Argus 2/8/1872 - The weather has been very wet and cold for some time, and the ground is so thoroughly saturated that wherever there is the slightest hollow, you will now find a pool of water. Notwithstanding this, however, our streets are in very good condition, thanks to our District Council, who are now graveling side-paths etc where needed.
31/10/1872 - Rev’d Thomas Playford Selina Augusta Starling m Philip William Jones sharebroker Adelaide d 29/6/1934.
Southern Argus 22/11/1872 - The weather continues very unsettled, … no signs of rust … nor of locusts to any extent, the great plague of this district being snakes, and scarcely a day passes but you may hear something of them, either they have been seen or destroyed.
Register 21/2/1873 - On Monday night, 17 Feb, Mt Barker was visited by one of the most severe thunderstorms that it has experienced within the recollection of its oldest residents. Several parts of the town were submerged to an extent which rendered traffic for the time impossible, and some cottages near the creek were so inundated that children had to seek safety by clambering on top of tables etc until assistance came. The roads have suffered so much that the macadam in several streets has been entirely removed from its foundation. Many properties were injured, especially the tanyards and curriery of Mr T Paltridge JP, which premises for some time formed one large sheet of water, the flood carrying away timber, several working appliances, and doing damage to the stock and plant to the extent of about £100.
Southern Argus 2/5/1873 - I have much pleasure in noticing the advent of a new branch of industry at our local foundry, where they are now turning out chilled plough shares, which for quality are, I believe, quite equal to any imported. This must be highly satisfactory both to themselves and also to our friend Wapstraw, as I hear that there is likely to be great difficulty in obtaining a supply of the imported article, in consequence of the great demand in the home market.
Register 26/7/1873 - An inquest was held at Gray’s Inn, Mt Barker, … on the cause of death of Daniel Robinson and Alfred Howlett, who were found dead that morning. Mr W Barker was foreman. It was stated that Robinson was employed at Mt Barker Foundry as a smith, was 22 years old, and had been only a short time in the town; also that Alfred Howeltt was 16 years of age, and the ostler at Gray’s Inn. On Wednesday night, they retired to their bedroom in good health and spirits. They had a stove made of an oil tin, and filled with charcoal, burning in the apartment, but this Howlett was positively ordered to put outside before they closed the door. He did not do so, hence the sad result. The Jury unanimously returned the sad verdict - That the deceased, Daniel Robinson and Alfred Howlett, died from inhaling the fumes of charcoal left by themselves burning in their bedroom. No blame attachable to anyone.
Southern Argus 31/10/1873 - We are informed that several gents formerly connected with the Wesleyan Church at Mt Barker are establishing a Baptist Church in that township. The Rev’d S Mead MA preached two sermons on Sunday last, and arrangements have been made for a supply of ordained ministers from Adelaide for three Sundays in the month who will conduct services for the time being in the Temperance Hall. There are now seven religious sects in Mt Barker.
Southern Argus 2/1/1874 - Cornelius & Stone sold JT Walker’s boot and shoe shop in Gawler St for £192 on 20/12/1873.
Register 9//1/1894 - The premises of Mr TH Stephenson storekeeper in Mt Barker had on 6/1/1874 a narrow escape from destruction by fire. Mr W Daniels has recently erected a blacksmith’s shop, adjoining Mr Stephenson’s garden fence, which is of furze, and a spark from the furnace must have fallen on the grass behind the shop. The herbage caught fire, and the flames, which immediately communicated with the hedge, ran along the line with great rapidity. A great number of people were soon actively engaged in trying to stop the flames from reaching the outbuildings near Mr Stephenson’s premises, but their efforts would have been of no avail had not some person set the other end of the furze boundary on fire, thus burning away from the sheds. While the hedge was still blazing fiercely an adjoining cottage of Mr Paxton’s was seen to be on fire, and at the same moment, Mr Pearce’s dwelling also caught alight. But for a plentiful supply of way, and the fact that a number of Messrs Ramsay and Co’s foundrymen were just passing to dinner, and rendered great assistance, no doubt both houses would have been burnt to the ground. If Mr Stephenson’s outbuildings had once got on fire, the blaze would have soon communicated with his store, and then with the whole of Gawler St. The only losses, however, have been of fencing and hedging, a summer-house, and some small buildings of slight value. Several trees were badly scorched, and their fruit cooked by the intense heat.
Register 27/2/1874 - 25/2/1874 On Saturday, Mr J Paltridge held his periodic cattle sale at Buffham’s new yards, prior to which about 80 persons present were invited to partake of a lunch, which was served in excellent style by Host Buffham. The toast of the occasion was proposed in eulogistic terms, the speaker praising the auctioneer for the manner in which he had, during his first year’s career in business, given satisfaction. … Mr Paltridge afterwards secured a change of owners for every head of cattle offered, except one.
Southern Argus 20/3/1874 - 12/3/1874 - On Friday, the 6th inst, as is usual after the Show, a gathering of about 25 of the ‘good men and true’ assembled at the Mt Barker Hotel to partake of a lunch capitally provided for the occasion, when the successful competitors who were present received the awards so well merited. Mr JG Ramsay MP occupied the chair. The usual loyal and congratulatory toasts were done ample justice to, as also was the excellent champagne provided by Host Buffham. … The number of persons, young and old, that entered the pavilion during the day amounted to close upon 1,300, and strong hopes were entertained and spiritedly supported of the Society, for future exhibitions, having a ground of its own, on the same principle as that in the metropolis.
Register 1/5/1874 - The building of the new Baptist Church is proceeding rapidly, the walls being almost finished, speaking well for the energy of the contractor Mr A Hendry.
Southern Argus 4/6/1874 - The 1st entertainment of the Mt Barker Young Men’s Literary Association and Mechanics’ Institute held in the Assembly Rooms, Mt Barker, to a crowded audience, on Monday evening, 1 June; but prior to the commencement of the same, a public meeting was held in another part of the building (Host Buffham’s) to consider the desirability of erecting Mechanics’ Institute in Mt Barker.
Southern Argus 2/7/1874 - 29/6/1874 - This evening, a meeting of subscribers to the proposed Institute took place at the Mt Barker Hotel to take into consideration the tenders of sites for the building. The Hon J Dunn MLC was unanimously voted to the chair. L MacFarlane offered a site next to the Oakfield Hotel, fronting the main road, and £10 towards building costs, if the site acceptable. J & JG Johnston’s offered a site next to the Mt Barker Hotel, facing Gawler St and a right of way at the side. Mr L Von Doussa stated that the Building Committee were unanimously of opinion that the site offered by the Messrs Johnston was the most desirable, as it was more centrally situated, and with the right-of-way would possess all the advantages of a corner allotment without requiring two frontages. Votes Johnstons 118; MacFarlane 55. 60 people attended the meeting and over £400 has been donated so far.
Advertiser 10/7/1874 - Our new mail contractors, Messrs Allen Brothers, have set an example which it would be well if the authorities carried into law; that is, driving their large bus, drawn by 5 horses, in at the Franklin St gateway at the GPO, stopping at the office to deliver the mailbags, and out by the eastern gate into King William St near the Criterion Hotel. Having occasion to go to town a few days since by that coach, I thought, with others, that it was far better to deliver the mails in such form than stopping in King William St and having the bags sent round to the office on the shoulders of Dick, Tom and Harry. On enquiry, I was informed that it had been said to be an impossibility to accomplish such a feat as that which I have referred to.
Southern Argus 30/7/1874 - 28/7/1874 - On Sunday morning last, Mrs Buffham of the Mt Barker Hotel, on rising about 7am, noticed a large volume of smoke proceeding from the inner parlour, and in terror of fire, she proceeded on, coming into the bar, where to her amazement and horror, she saw the flames pouring from the cellar into the bar. The alarm was at once given; Mr Buffham was immediately in the cellar, and not one minute too early to remove the burning wood from the top of a rum and brandy cask which had descended from the bar above. It appears that on the Saturday night, Mr Buffham feeling desirous of seeing the bar fire out (being the first time one had been there for the season) went and poured water over it to ensure its safety. Thinking all was right, he retired to bed. The piece of wood was found to be partially hollow, and no doubt an inner spark kindled a fresh flame. The log rolled upon the wooden floor, burning sufficiently to fall through. Fortunately for Mr Buffham and the Insurance Company, it was one of the old colonial stringybark floors, or the whole mass of building must have fallen a victim to the flames hours previously.
Register 17/8/1874 - There is a probability of the Institute not being erected on the piece of ground offered by Messrs J & AG Johnston, as they have made certain conditions as to how the building is to be placed, and as the Committee feel they cannot comply, there is a likelihood that the structure will be reared on some other site.
Southern Argus 3/9/1874 - Not long since, when the Institute mania was carrying the palm as the all-absorbing topic, a meeting was convened to fix a site for its erection, which resulted in accepting the liberal offer in the centre of our principal street of a piece of land from Messrs A & J Johnston; but owing to an alleged misconstruction some of the members of the sub-committee appeared to put upon the wording of a letter subsequently received from those gents … the opportunity, however, was made of … giving up the land and seeking another spot. Through the intercession of the Hon John Dunn MLC and Mr JG Ramsay MP, a block situate between the post office and the police station was granted by the Government. … The two positions were duly proposed and submitted to the operation of the ballot, resulting in favour of the Government offer by 163 votes against 116.
Southern Argus 8/10/1874 - The architect was appointed, plans and specifications were drawn and approved, tenders called for, and every preliminary arrangement made for its construction; but alas! the liberality of our Government resulted in a myth. The Hon Secretary being requested, prior to the commencement of more extended operations, to make application for a title, was informed by the Government that ‘the necessary documents could not be furnished, the property not having been transferred to them’. Hence, it appears, with all praise to their liberality, they were presenting that which they could not possibly deliver … It is to be hoped the next Ministerial gift will be of a more substantial and unshackled nature. Other meetings must now follow, and the matter of fixing a fresh site must again be opened up anew …
Southern Argus 15/10/1874 - The splendid edifice, which has just been erected at a cost of about £1,300, is announced to be opened on Sunday next, when sermons will be preached.
Southern Argus 22/10/1874 - A public meeting was held at Host Buffham’s Mt Barker Assembly Rooms on Saturday evening last, to consider the Murray Railway question. … The attendance was pretty fair, but not so large as might have been had a longer notice been given and the evening more convenient. … The opposition and arrogance taken upon themselves by some in the North was something monstrous.