The Mount Barker Branch of the National Trust of South Australia

Welcomes you to the unveiling ceremony for the Pioneer Womens Memorial on Saturday 20th February 2016 at the corner of Adelaide Road and Dumas Street.

1936 was the centenary year of the founding of the Colony of South Australia.  Many communities at that time used this special occasion to do something special.  In the case of Mount Barker trees were planted along the old Adelaide Road which was at that time the entrance into the town.  Name plaques of the pioneer women were placed at each tree.  These plaques unfortunately no longer exist.

Today not many of these trees remain as a number have been cut down to make way for widening Adelaide Road to cope for the increase in traffic following the extension of the South Eastern Freeway to Mount Barker.  Despite the protests of the locals the trees could not be saved.  There are some trees that can still be seen on Follett Close which was previously Adelaide Road until it was dissected by the freeway.

Pioneer Womens Memorial Plaque  -   Speech 20th February 2016

Good morning ladies and gentlemen and young people.  A special welcome to the Mayor of the Mount Barker District Council, Her Worship, Mayor Ann Ferguson OAM.  Welcome to all of you to this special day when we commemorate the names of some of the pioneer women of this District.  My name is Don Goldney and I am the chairman of the Mount Barker Branch of the National Trust of South Australia.  There have been a number of apologies given for this event but I do not intend taking time reading them.  Today we are acknowledging the pioneer women of this town.  But first let us pause as we recognise the original people of this area.

I now invite Mayor Ann Ferguson to acknowledge the Peramangk Aboriginal Nation.  Thank you Mayor Ann.

After the Mayor has concluded the following occurs.

The number of people present today is really encouraging and I thank you for supporting this event.  It would be good to know who has come the furthest today.  Are there any from interstate. Country South Australia Adelaide Adelaide Hills Mount Barker.


At this point I wish to briefly speak about how we have come to this day.  Over 5 years ago the Branch received a letter seeking information about the Pioneer Womens Memorial Avenue in Mount Barker.  The writer was Richard Mould.  He is hoping to be here today.  The letter was referred to Sue Sautter at the Local History Centre to locate any information available.  One of the volunteers at the History Centre and then Branch member Bruce Hemer did a lot of detective work locating the Christian and maiden names of each lady.  In those times the wives were called by their husband’s name.  Due to the combined efforts of the History Centre and the Mount Barker Branch of the National Trust a complete list was finalised.

1936 was the centenary year of the founding of the Colony of South Australia.  Most communities within the State at that time used this special occasion to commemorate some special aspect of the District.  In the case of Mount Barker, trees were planted along the old Adelaide Road (part of which is now Follett Close) which was the entrance to the town at that time.  The plaques with the names of the pioneer women were originally placed at each tree.   Mrs Mary Paltridge nee Stephenson (President) and Miss Florence Barker (Treasurer) were involved in the formation of a committee to complete this task.  Councillor C E G Nitschke was the Chairman of the Council at that time.  The opening dedication service took place on the 30th August 1936.  Unfortunately the plaques donated by each family at a cost of one pound no longer exist.

There are 74 names on the original list.  It is thought that there may have been other plaques added later but there is no public record so far as we know.  So 80 years later we are recognising those women whose families paid for the cost of the original plaques.  Only a few of these trees remain today.  A number were cut down to make way for the widening of Adelaide Road to cope with the traffic from the extension of the South Eastern Freeway to Mount Barker.  Despite protests from local women of Mount Barker’s Save the Trees Committee, these trees could not be saved.

In order to establish a memorial to the pioneer women a lot of work was required.  One of the major problems that we faced was how to contact the current family members.  So we started with those we knew and then we found out that many of these pioneer families intermarried.  One family linked to Frances and Elizabeth Wedd according to one of their descendants Craig Wedd indicated that the Wedd family were connected with five other pioneer women.  Also Bruce Newman had listed 8 related families linked with these pioneer women . I have been amazed how most family names have been covered.  I have had phone calls from people who were never sent a letter and they received information along the family grape vine.  So the family communications line has truly worked well.  Thank you for helping us out in this way.


It is impossible to talk about all 74 pioneer women today but I have asked our Mayor to share the brief stories of two of these women.  Please welcome Mayor Ann Ferguson OAM.


Well what can you do?  Firstly each family could send notes about the pioneer women connected with them together with any photos to the Mount Barker Branch.  If you have brought details today would you please place them in the large buckets by the information tables?  All contributions regardless of size will be appreciated.  It would be great if you each filled out the information sheet you received today as a permanent record for the Branch and placed in the buckets.

At the information tables you will be able to purchase a Branch publication on “Photographic Mount Barker, Then and Now” produced from a grant from the Centenary of Federation in 2001.  Instead of $20 a copy today we have a special price of $10 a copy.

Also on the information table are some freebies

  • A visitor’s guide to Adelaide.

  • National Trust membership application form

  • Pamphlet on South Australian Heritage Foundation run by the State Office of the National Trust

  • A flyer about National Trust events in our State


I would like to say a few thank yous at this time.

Thank you Mayor Ann Ferguson for being part of this celebration.

I also wish to thank the Council staff for the erection of the plaque and for David Cooney, Council Manager for Open Space and Environment, whom I have worked well with over a long period in connection with this project.  Also the Mayor’s Executive Assistant Sue Miller has been most helpful.

I also wish to acknowledge

  • Casio Light N Sound for the Public Address System

  • Adelaide Hills Party Hire for the chairs.

  • Silvio Masaccio of Lucy Engravers for engraving the plaque.

A big thank you to all the committee and Branch members who have helped to bring this day to a fitting climax.

Today has been an expensive exercise for the Branch and if any of you would like to make a small contribution towards the costs, please place your donation in the buckets by the information table.  Already the Mayor and some Councillors have helped in this regard and we thank them for their support.  There will also be small containers at Auchendarroch as well.

At the close of this ceremony you are all invited to gather at Auchendarroch House for morning tea as our guests.  There will be self service Devonshire tea and coffee.  Please note that we need to vacate the premises by 11:30am as there are two other functions later today.


Now we come to the unveiling of the Womens Pioneer Memorial Plaque.  I am pleased to inform you that Esther Mills one of our Branch Committee Members and a member for over 40 years is going to perform this task.  But first why was Esther chosen.  There are two reasons.  Her late husband Dick Mills belonged to the pioneer family that came to Millbrae in the 1842.  This family has presently reached to the 8th generation.  Dick’s father Alec was Chairman of the District Council for many years and his grandfather was one of the founders of the Country Party.  Dick was the District historian and produced seven books and was responsible for a number of heritage sites being suitably marked and preserved for future generations.  He was Branch Chairman for 20 years.

But Esther’s family were also pioneers of the District.  Her forebear Tertius James Hannam arrived in South Australia in 1852 and came into the District soon after, first managing a cousin’s property at Tungkillo and then taking up land at Mount Torrens, Harrogate and last of all at “Springbank” at Callington in the 1870’s.  His son Charles then ran the property. Later Charles’ youngest son Eric took over the running of the farm. Eric married Millie Skinner and Esther was one of the five siblings of that family.  Esther attended Callington Primary School and then Murray Bridge High School followed by Teachers College.  For most of her life Esther has lived in this District. Esther and Dick had 5 children, Ian, David, Marion, Colin and Judi.

In 1971 Esther re-entered the work force and taught at Callington, then Nairne Primary Schools until retirement in 1983.  Since the 1990’s she has been involved with the special learning programme at Callington School.  Also she has been very much involved with the Callington and Nairne Methodist and Uniting Churches all her life.  From 1984 to the present day Esther has been involved with Mount Barker Care and Share as secretary.  She received a Citizen of the year award in 2010 for her commitment to the Mount Barker District Community.  I believe Esther to be a worthy lady to unveil this plaque today.

Esther is a reserved lady and so to help her today I have asked some of her female family members to help.  Judi is her daughter, grand daughter is Hannah Mills, and great grand daughter is Ela Mills.

So I now invite Esther Mills and her helpers to unveil the plaque.  Could I ask that only the official party initially go to the plaque for the unveiling ceremony?


Don’t forget to purchase a book, place the completed information forms in the buckets together with any donations and join us for morning tea in Auchendarroch.  Thank you so much for coming today.

Womens Pioneer Memorial

In 1936, the centenary year of South Australia, Mount Barker planted trees along Adelaide Road, part of which is now Follett Close.  Families of the pioneer women were invited to pay for plaques that could be attached to a tree.  No plaques remain.  Many of the trees were removed in 1992 with the widening of Adelaide Road.  The names of these women, with husband’s name in brackets, are as follows:


Eliza Allen (William)

Helen Barker (Lewis)

Sophia Barker (William)

Joanna Barr Smith (Robert)

Anne Bell (Allan sen)

Rebecca Bollen (George)

Elizabeth Bowman (William)

Eva Buermann (Carl)

Mary Cameron (Donald)

Elizabeth Champion (Alfred)

Sarah Chapman (William)

Priscilla Cleggett (James)

Caroline Cleggett (Joseph)

Lucy Coleman (Arthur)

Isabella Cook (Samuel)

Rhoda Cook (Walter sen)

Janet Cornelius (Frank)

Agnes Craig (George sen)

Susanah Daniel (Ben sen)

Alice Duffield (Francis)

Ann Dunn (John sen)

Elizabeth Dunn (John jun)

Frances Dumas (Victor)

Mary Dutch (Charles)

Mary Ellis (William)

Eliza Eyles (John)

Eliza Ferguson (John)

Elizabeth Fidler (William sen)

Margaret Fidler (William)

Rosina Follett (John)

Susan Frampton (William)

Mary Freeman (Samuel)

Sarah Gilbert (Thomas)

Maryann Good (Thomas)

Mary Howard (Cornelius)

Eliza Hunt (Henry)

Elizabeth McEwen (John)

Louise Macfarlan (Lachlan)

Mary McKenzie (Roderick)

Emma May (Frederick)

Ann Milne (James)

Harriett Morris (John)

Anne Moss (Simeon)

Mary Mould (Richard)

Elizabeth Paltridge (John)

Mary Paltridge (Thomas)

Hannah Pearce (James)

Sarah Pope (Charles)

Katherine Raison (John)

Jane Richardson (Adam)

Jane Richardson (William)

Mary Ritson (William)

Mary Rollison (William)

Julia Rossi (William)

Catherine Salman (William)

Elizabeth Sanders (Ben)

Grace Sexton (Alfred)

Elizabeth Sisson (John)

Eliza Smith (Frederick)

Mary Smith (Francis)

Sarah Stephenson (Thomas)

Mary Teakle (David)

Mary Thomas (Benjamin)

Jane Thomas (Frederick)

Agnes von Doussa (Louis)

Frances Wedd (George)

Elizabeth Wedd (John)

Ann Weld (Octavius)

Margaret Williams (Trego)

Also Misses:

Ann Barker

Bridgette Gower

Sarah Gower

Christina Macfarlan

Gertrude Sanders.


This plaque was placed by the Mount Barker Branch of the National Trust of South Australia on 20th February 2016.