The following information is a copy of JK Stokes data on Mount Barker as contained in her Rootsweb ( Genealogy Website  and has been included here with permission.  No alterations or additions may be made to her information without further permission, although relevant comments and/or additions are welcome to be added at the bottom of each page.  (copied July 2014)

Mt Barker in 1892

The following description of the township and its surrounds is taken from "Our Townships Farms and Homesteads" by E.A. Hallack

"Following on the undulating and anything but straight road towards the old and well-known township of Mount Barker I met that venerable and much-respected pioneer and benefactor, Mr. John Dunn, looking hale and hearty.  He was taking an afternoon drive, and long may he live to enjoy his outings.  Further on Dunn Park was seen.  It, as everybody knows, was presented to the town by Mr. Dunn on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday, and in years to come will keep the donor's memory green in gratitude.  The water windmill pedestal erected on its north-eastern corner near the road and railway line is anything but artistically painted, and is liable to occasion a mild attack of ophthalmia.  My companion mistook it for a huge barber's pole, because of its ribbed colouring.  Nevertheless it is, I suppose, appropriate, as indicating that the grass already planted within its limits will require "cutting" or "shaving".  Mount Barker township is here in view, and as its history justifies a special number it will not be touched upon in this.  To the left of the road leading to is situated the Catholic Cemetery, which is worthy of visitation, as the headstones in it and in its neighbouring "God's acre", the Wesleyan, record the names of several of the district's former inhabitants.  In the Catholic Cemetery the most attractive emblem erected to the memory of those who have gone is a handsome metal crucifix on stone basement over the resting places of the Rev. Fathers Thomas Dowling and James Quinlan.  On other headstones, &c., there are inscriptions, which read as follows:- Catherine O'Reilly, aged seventy-two, A. Whelan, Patrick Mullins, of Native Valley, Michael Kelly, Joseph Earls, Mrs. John McNamara, Lawrence Poole and wife, Adam Coleman, John and Mary Connor, Emmanuel D. Simms, Mrs. William Ritson nee Stewart, John Wilson, Catherine Flood, three members of the Burley family, drowned at Langhorne's Creek, April 27 1878; Thomas O'Neil, Peter Kavanagh, Arthur O'Neill, James Victory, Michael Critchley and wife, Mrs. S. Hogan, James Fitzpatrick, Edward Kavanagh, and T. Murphy.

Further on in the general cemetery, which comprises a considerably smaller area, are W. Barker, aged seventy-three, Mrs. Richard Andrews, Mary Good, the children on R.D. Hawkins, James Love, Hannah Ring, aged eighty-four (who arrived in the Katherine Stewart Forbes October 17 1837), Ann Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Hooper, aged eighty-three and seventy-five, Captain R. Cornelius, aged seventy-one and members of his family, Henry Watson, aged seventy-eight, Mrs. W. Tonkin, aged seventy, W. Walkom, Roderick McKenzie, R. Paltridge and wife, both aged eighty-three, Joseph Toll, aged seventy-four, Moses Wraight and widow, Mrs. J.B. Shepherdson (wife of the then S.M. of Wallaroo), John Hall and wife aged eighty-four and eighty, T. Hall and wife, Mrs. George Patterson, Mrs. William Linthwaite, Mrs. A.W. Richardson, Mr. and Mrs. C. Potter, aged seventy-three and seventy-two, Peter Y. Bell, Mr. and Mrs. T. Prosser, and many others.  Be it recorded to the credit of those remaining that nearly every plot in these two cemeteries is well tended or cared for.  Especially was the care manifested apparent on the day of my visitation (Good Friday), when may relatives were met carrying flowers, plants, &c. to be planted or placed on the graves of those who have gone where the "weary are at rest."

"There are several other places in Mount Barker besides those referred to in the last number which are worthy of special mention.  Private residences assert their claim in this connection, and those of Mr. John Dunn, Mr. R. Barr-Smith, and Dr. Bickle are situated within the township's boundaries, and all savour of  the palatial.  On the outskirts are others which will be mentioned in due course.  The gardens surrounding all the homesteads in and around Mount Barker with the autumnal tints on deciduous trees and leafy climbers were "simply lovely", as a lady from Adelaide remarked when I was there.  As to the frost collected on fencing-rails and on the slopes to the eastward of the railway station on the morning of the Queen's Birthday, it simply gave them the appearance as if "silver had been on the drop" overnight.  The main (Gawler) street of Mount Barker at all times presents a busy appearance, but especially so on Saturday's, when sales of land, agricultural and live stock, &c., are held alternatively by Mr. John Paltridge and Messrs. F.T. Cornelius and Co. on the premises connected with Messrs. Ritson and Wiedemann's Hotels. [Respectively, these hotels are the Gray's Inn (Ritson) and the Hotel Barker (Wiedemann)]

Speaking of business premises generally those occupied by the two Banks, the solicitors, the two auctioneers, Daw, Richardson, and Atkinson, the post-office and telegraph station, the Institute - with is capacious hall and the nucleus of a most creditable collection of mineralogical specimens, hereafter to form part of a local museum - and the Police Station fill up a respectable list.  Nor must the premises of a brother litterateur, Mr. C.M.R. Dumas, who started that very creditable local newspaper, the Mount Barker Courier, with the aid of a boy, be overlooked.  The family has grown, and now numbers nine employees, who were all taught their business as printers here, and are in fact the sons of district residents.

The drives which can be taken from the township are various and beautiful, and as for views of the town, that gained from Windmill Hill and the road at the back of Dr. G. Bollen's new residence are perhaps the best.  The drive to Mount Barker Springs and thence to Wistow was one of the first taken, and is full of attractiveness.  After passing Cro' Nest, built by the late Mr. John Hill, of Dunn and Co., the two cemeteries are on your left.  Then the rifle range, well known and patronised in the middle days of friendly rivalry, stretches from the hillside across the creek along an old district road enclosed by a fencing of gorse.  Close by is Mr. Allan Bell's old homestead, the land surrounding which has recently been purchased by Mr. Justice Boucaut.  Opposite are the splendid flats contiguous to the Mount Barker Creek.  On these are situated the old homestead of the late Mr. Friend Cleggett, with its accompanying orchard, and adjacent are  the old stockyards erected by Mr. J. Boase.  Then the place where some of the world-famed wheat was gown on Bald Hills by Mr. Bell is seen, and above it is a healthy looking wattle plantation, belonging to Mr. T. H. Stephenson, on whose property nearer the creek several well-bred horses and ponies were enjoying themselves; and further on the marble flux quarries, leased and worked by Mr. L.T. Watts, were visited.  Several of his trollies were met with on the road conveying that material to the railway station.  On the road opposite a pool supplied by one of the "springs" is used as a watering-place for travellers' horses, and on towards the Mount near on of the creek's crossings is seen the old homestead of another of the district's former "wheat kings", Mr. J. Frame, whose name as such is graven on the 1851 trophy in our Art Gallery.  Close by is a State school, and what may be called emblems of the prosperity of the past in the shape of two old ruined Chapels [this refers to the Mt Barker Springs Primitive Methodist Chapel and the School nearby], where the yeomanry of "years beyond recall" most did congregate.  Upwards on the slopes of the Mount is the property of Mr. Lang, then to the right and left that of Mr. Miles Cavanagh, both principally used for "miles" for grazing purposes.  Higher still is Judge Boucaut's, situated on the south east fall of the Mount, containing splendid soil, with small plantations of fruit and forest-trees, vines, &c.  Of the Mount it may be said that it from here looks insignificant, an idea dispelled, however, by either climbing to its summit or in viewing it form the shores of the distant lakes.

It may not be generally known now who were the first white men to reach the summit, but from a letter written by Mr. (now Sir John) Morphett, and published in Mr. John Stephens's "History of South Australia" in 1839, it is gathered that he "with four other gentlemen" went on horseback "to examine the nature of the land on the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Range and the neighbourhood of Mount Barker."  After "reaching a river," then unnamed, but now the Onkaparinga, they "traversed its course for four miles," and then made for Mount Barker.  "We rode our horses to the top, being the first Europeans who had ever ascended it."  Sir John's companions on that occasion were Mr. Hack and Mr. Samuel Stephens.

Off the back road is one that cross-cuts to Wistow past Eden Park, the beautifully situated residence of the late Hon. J.G. Ramsay; and to all who drive thither from the locality known as "The Springs" I would advise to turn off the road a little and inspect those of that ilk within the boundaries of Mr. T. Callaby's property.  One in front of his homestead is of special interest, and is situated on a precipitous rise some 30 ft. above a blind creek, where in a small excavation the water rises and flows "on for ever" over its rims, with an accompaniment of cresses and other luxuriant growths.  Besides this there were several others which never cease to weep.  At Mr. Walter Paterson's named by the natives Yunkunga, after one of the springs, I called, and the residence of this old pioneer has its little history. Sheaoak Hill, which in the first instance obtained notoriety through having been mentioned in the well-known novel, entitled "Marian, or the Light of Some One's Home", fronts it.  The ruins of the old habitation in which it was written, under the nom de plume of Maude Jean Franc, are still to be seen adjacent to Eden Park.  Curios manifold are still to be seen at the homestead of Mr. Paterson, who was of a mechanical turn in his more youthful days.  The first specimen extant thereof is an old spinning-wheel with frame and pedestal manufactured of bluegum, form which the material of many a sock was spun after its construction, now fifty years ago.  This, with an old wheel of the same material for turning a lathe - which used to be worked by horse-power - and a reaping machine made by this same mechanical genius, are emblems of his prowess.  As he has been a disciple of phrenology in his later years I casually referred to his bump of constructiveness, and asked him to examine my companion's head, which was done, with results not altogether favourable to the latter.  Had he examined his feet (he was a prominent district footballer) the results might have been more favourable, " 'cos he always kicks straight."  So much for life's game.

Again off the road to the right form that leading to Wistow another pioneer was met with, who left the handles of his plough and his upturned dry furrows to come to the fence for the purpose of conversing with me.  He (Mr. Andrew Little) arrived in the colony by the ship Delhi in the year 1839.  He is a worthy sample of an early settler, scoring on this life's page more than three score years and ten, and was much interested in politics and in the proper representation of the farmer as against the so-called "labour" class.  "Payment of members as a help to district representation has proved a failure," said Mr. Little.  Eden Park it was my pleasure next to visit, and in praise of the residence and its surroundings too much can scarcely be recorded.  At the same time a tingling of sorrow is revived in the reminiscences connected with the death of its former owner, architect, and builder, the lat Hon. J.G. Ramsay.  The residence, "empty for two years," was built by him, and he was his own architect.  From stone raise near by is an excavation which now constitutes a good holding dam in rocky wallage for rain water, pumped to the house by means of a water-mill.  From the tower of the residence a grand view is obtainable of the distant lakes and country intervening, whilst the park-like surroundings have been, and still are, favourite picnicing spots for children and others from the township, the distance intervening being only three miles by way of the direct road to Wistow.  To all visitors from Adelaide I would say - Visit this residence and its well-planned garden plots, tennis and bowling greens, &c., and the view obtainable from its lofty tower will perhaps enable you to join with me in regretting that such a well located and planned country seat, with its fertile surroundings, is still unoccupied.  Host Yates [Morning Star Hotel] was of course called upon, and his hostelry at Wistow I found considerably enlarged and improved since last I was there.  He now combines stockbuying "with other varieties" in connection with the hotel.  The old oaktree nosing the junction of the roads to Macclesfield and Strathalbyn still thrives, and does remarkably well considering its elevated and consequently exposed position.  Fruit-trees, potatoes, and other vegetables are here grown on the slopes by Mr. Yates. In the old inn, which is, or should be, well remembered by those taking a drive from the Mount, there is a photograph which largely partakes of the comical.  It represents one who indulges in sport (occasionally patronised by vice-royalty), to wit, turkey-shooting.  Mounted on a bullock is seated the shooter, William May, of Meningie.  His reins of government (for the bullock) are strings attached to its horns.  His rifle is in his hand; from his saddleback turkeys swing in numbers.  "Good sport," I remarked to a man at the bar. "Yes," he replied, "but we had better sport and harder work with bullocks when 'punching' our way through the first days of this colony's history.  Shy, and different times now!  Don't catch us like those there turkeys."

On the hometrack by way of the road from the Mount to Wistow, or rather vice versa, the Church, with store and post-office, are close by.  Then to the right, on the roadside below Eden Park, is another marble flux quarry.  The material obtained there-from is of like quality to that already mentioned as being situated near the Springs, but with this difference, that the depth or quality of the "cap: soil (10 ft. in places) above the deposit of rock is most favourable for either vine or fruit growing.  From a branch road which joins hereabouts ironstone flux was being carted in considerable quantities to the railway station.  From this onwards to the township one would be inclined to say that fruit-trees, vines, and vegetables would recoup any expenditure incurred in their planting, especially so if those of the first named were of the kind most adaptable for conservation or storage for local sale and probable export.

Old thatched white-walled cottages hereabouts are in many instances surrounded by fruit-trees, and from appearances their owners never had occasion to regret having planted them.  Parkendula also includes some favoured slopes, which on their lower edges are most suitable for the cultivation of tuber crops for man, cattle, and pigs.  Owned by Mr. Peterson, the well known Manager of Campbell House Station, Lake Albert, this favoured locality ought to be turned to proper and profitable account.  Plots of pines, fenced in, and planted by the former proprietor, Mr. Stone, look well, and break the sombre-hued monotony of the everlasting gum, the drippings of rain and dew from the leaves and bark of which "spoil and sour our grass".  Next is noted the grave of Mrs. Walter Paterson.  It, in my humble opinion, is worthy of a monument by way of perpetuation the memory of one who came here and helped "to found a nation".  However, as one of the first residents in this district, it is to be hoped that the little "earthen spot" where she lies will be held sacred by those who now and hereafter plough the field wherein she rests.  Next are the well-known Show Grounds, where within their galvanised enclosure have been seen some of the best exhibitions of riding and jumping anywhere either in the South or North.  Then in Mount Barker South were noted the most comfortable-looking homesteads to be found in the district - some with floral surroundings, others with fruit-trees and miniature apiaries."

"The road skirting from Mount Barker Creek leading from the township to Echunga, was next traversed.  The land on the creek's banks is of the best.  The first residence noticeable from this road is that of Mr. T.H. Stephenson.  Surrounding it is a goodly quantum of that which will help the district along in the future - the soil.  Next on the same fall towards the creek is the steading of Mr. T. Paltridge.  The land encircling it is well farmed and manured with the refuse from his tannery, the so-called "refuse" consisting of "fleshings", hair, and tan.  "We often give this away and are glad to get rid of it from the tannery," said Mr. Paltridge.  The land thus treated is prolific in the matter of marigolds, maize, and hay for cattle.  Some of the former were pulled to show me their size.  I could not accept of one or the other of them offered me by Mr. Paltridge, as the cost of their transport to Adelaide might have strained my purse-strings.  Just above this residence is situate that newly built for Dr. G. Bollen, one of Port Adelaide's medicos, and with the view obtainable there-from overlooking the township is one of the best hereabouts obtainable.  The building seen from a distance resembles a Chinaman's hat or miniature pagoda.  Nevertheless, it is constructed on the latest hygienic principles, and is, therefore, christened "The Sanitorium" [also called Bollen's Folley or The Wedding Cake House].  A plantation of say six acres of fruit-trees of all sorts and descriptions recently planted is situated immediately below it, which with better cultivation ought to and will pay well.  The off road demarcation running 'twixt this and the next is "a regular beauty", said my companion, for on its upper creek boundaries are closures of prettily berried briar hedging, then being cut or trimmed to prevent undue spreading.  A rustic ford spans the creek, which on its course above is framed with trees planted by the late Mr. Joseph May who arrived in the colony with his daughter, Mrs. A. Coleman (the present occupant), in the ship Anna Robertson on September 29, 1839.  I have occasion to remember the date quoted, for the progenitors of the writer of these articles were fellow-passengers with them, and the date of vessel's arrival and his "after arrival" are both chronicled in this family's Bible.  Of trees bordering the upper windings of the creek, oaks, elms, and poplars indicate their variety, backed by the graceful weeping and stringlet branches of the willow, hidden by saplings from the main road.  None of these are seen from the main track, but viewed from the homestead above they, especially when wearing their autumnal tints, fill in a charming perspective and constitute "a thing of beauty."  Uphill-wards, at the corner of the orchard, is one of the first oaks planted on South Australian soil, and now growing luxuriantly a right royal tree considering that some fifty years ago it raised its head from an acorn, only one of many brought to this colony by Mr. May from the dear old mother-land.  In the orchard are fruit-trees which were also planted half a century since by the same hands.  They until last season have always borne well, frost-bitten blossoms are accountable for their later indifferent behaviour.  In addition to them some 600 apple trees, planted two years ago, have done well.  Hay, potatoes, and maize are also cultivated on the flats, and some 140 beehives are kept.  From the latter several tons of honey have been exported to the old country, said Mr. May, jun., but its eucalyptian flavour is not favoured there.  On the other hand that lately consigned to Messrs. T. Christy & Co., chemists, London, has met with better marketable success, and is being sold by them as eucalyptus honey for a curative of influenza, &c.  Just above the homestead is an old Friends' meeting-house, built by the former proprietor of the beautiful estate under notice."


[ JKS - Home ]      last updated 18 October 2005  

Further Information

Additional extracts from "Our Townships, Farms and Homesteads" - by EH Hallack have been compiled by Reg Butler (Hahndorf Historian).  These additional extracts give excellent descriptions of the people and places in the Mount Barker District in the early 1890's and includes the locations of Macclesfield, Woodchester, Hartley, Callington, Kanmantoo, Native Valley, Dawesley, Nairne, Blakiston, Littlehampton, Mount Barker, Mount Barker Springs, Wistow, and Hahndorf.