Combined Extracts from The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser
Dated: 27 September 1951, 4 October 1951, 11 October 1951, 18 October 1951, 15 November 1951, and 22 November 1951.
Includes historical information by Mrs E. MacLeod on Mount Barker Springs, Mount Barker, Littlehampton and Blakiston.
Our Hills History (By P.W.)
An eminent political figure in the British House of Commons one day expressed the opinion that he took little notice of recorded history. Apparently he was, in his gifted intelligence, enabled to observe, and had doubtless proved, how such records might be intentionally erroneous in their factual statements. And did he intend to refer to any particular portion of the historical data. Be this as it may, we in this young commonwealth should be enabled to possess quite a reputable and authentic survey of our short history, for there have been many worthy scribes, and historically able enthusiasts who have set down the essential data to produce in their collective form a most valuable story of our past, short in matter of time though it be. In our own state of South Australia we have had from the early days those admirable characters who thought fit that it was worth while to set down truthful records of the times that were then passing and which we of this later period know as the early days. We have only to take from the shelves of our library such volumes as the "Early Experiences of Life in South Australia" by John Wrathall Bull, who, by the way, was the real inventor of the reaping machine which revolutionised the cereal farming industry to acknowledge our in debtedness to such early pioneers and recorders of the happenings when the conditions were vastly different from what they are today. As the yearspassed others, maybe more scholarly than such as Bull, laboured to produce more elaborate and exhaustive books relative to our history; but the contents of those earlier records may never be ignored, for they are the thoughts and memories of the old inhabitants, and if one wishes to come by a story of historical value regarding any particular village or town the best person he can approach is an old inhabitant who has no self-interest to consider when he dilates upon the birth, growth and happenings of the locality in which for more than the allotted span he or she has made their home. It was with such a feeling that the writer approached many old residents of the Hills at the time his friend the editor of the 'Courier' published a series of articles in his journal entitled "A Jewel Casket" which the exigencies of space and the paucity of newsprint forced him to curtail by the substitution of shorter articles. One of these days, let us hopethe restrictions we now have to endure will be of the past and the provincial journals of this state be unhampered by the enforced rationing of newsprint and its spiralled cost. For there are those who do appreciate something more than the sensational in reading matter and the historically interesting memories of the aged members of any community come within that category when set down in the printed word. For proof of such contention, the Arts Sub-Committee of the South Australian Jubilee Committee is conducting a local history competition for the origin and development of country towns in South Australia. Prizes are offered as follow:— First £50; Second £25; Third £15 and Fourth £10. The competition is open to individuals or groups but it is recommended that only one entry be submitted from each town. Prize money will be paid in cash and its disposal will rest entirely with the winning entrants. Entries are to be lodged with the State Executive Officer, Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations, care of the Government Tourist Bureau, King William Street, Adelaide. When the writer read of that wonderful offer the thought could not but obtrude in hismind — "So much for so little!'
A whole £100 for an army of persons providing a history of the towns of the state of South Australia! "Money certainly is not everything in this world of ours, and patriotism is most admirable, but the prizes most certainly seem paltry, more especially when currency values are so deflated, and when the ordinary common onion is selling at two shillings and six pence per pound, potatoes at fivepence a pound, eggs over three shillings a dozen. And over the air of a night may be heard in the advertising of some soap or other spectacular prizesbeing offered and won by answering a few questions.
There surely seems that thefixation of the monetary prizes for that history competition was conducted by a wily scot or an impoverished jew. Nevertheless, the writer wishes the promoters well, and if they are successful they will sure get something dirt cheap.
One of those attracted by the very liberal (?) prizes offered in the history competition was a correspondent of the writer in the person of Mrs. E. McLeod of Hampden Road, Mount Barker, who, upon my suggesting that her memories be published in the 'Courier' simultaneously with her submitting them in the competition, sent the manuscript to him, and he has done what was possible to meet her wishes. The name McLeod or MacLeod may he traced far back to the very early days of the then Colony of South Aus tralia, and one of the highlightsof the history of the family is Loudon MacLeod, who was the first to settle and open up the Tatiara country. His father, a member of an old Scottish family, had come as one of the earliest settlers to the new province, bringing with him his own stock, farm implements and servants, and taking up land in the Mount Barker district. His son Loudon heard from the blacks that there was good country away to the south, and, in 1844 he set out on horseback to ascertain for himself if the statement was true. He proved the veracity of the dusky tribes of the Hills and to make sure that he was not forestalled in securing his land order, he rode throughout the night back to Adelaide to lodge his claim with the authorities, his reason being that he learned at the Wellington Hotel that there was a party having dinner who were also desirous of acquiring the good pastoral land that might be available in the Tatiaraarea. The word, or name "Tatiara" in the black's vocabulary meant 'good land.' Loudon MacLeod opened up the country at Nalang Station and spent manyyears in improving his holding. When however, the pastoral leases, taken up in 1846, expired the then Commissioner of Crown Lands tried to evict the owner in 1868. That drew attention to the fine agricultural possibilities of the country in that portion of this state. After a fierce legal struggle MacLeod became financially involved and away in Kensington, Adelaide, he passed away, and his remains rest in the Kensington church yard far distant from the old station he had pioneered. Nalang Station subsequently passed into the hands of George Riddock, then to H. K. Aird, and was later held by a Queensland financial company till it was purchased and cut up as a land speculation. But we must get hack to the memories of Mrs. E. MacLeod. Her reminiscences open with an historical story of Mount Barker Springs and we will imagine her delivering a lecture upon that subject and later another address upon Mount Barker, Littlehampton and Blakiston. There is naturally much detail that is absent from her review and names that are recorded historically but the stories are as she remembers them or as she has learned in her life time, and they are here passed on in the knowledge that they will be read with great interest by a large section of the community of the present day.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. MacLeod —
Mount Barker Springs
"In opening my address uponMount Barker Springs I would go back to the years ensuing from December 1836 when the first white people began to arrive in South Australia and many small parties of migrants sailed forth from England in such ships as the Buffalo, Investigator, Endeavour, Buckinghamshire and the Marianna. Some of those early settlers migrated from Sussex and Yarmouth. The voyages from England occupied six months ocean travel and sometimes longer depending upon the elements and the condition of the vessels in which they sailed. With the landing and settling of these migrants in Black Australia, it thus set out on its way to be come known as White Australia. Those migrants became the pioneers of the vast unknown country, for, when they landed it was not the well mapped out area that it is today as dense scrub and forest prevailed. Some of the pioneers took different tracks, but transport was difficult as primarily, it was a matter of walking and at the outset there were but two horses in the colony, one owned by the South Australian Company and the other by Mr. (later Sir John) Morphett. They followed the blackfellow's tracks and some of the present day roads are surveyed on those native pathways and towns upon their one time camping grounds. A small party wended its way to one of the most historical town ships, Mount Barker which had been first sighted by Captain Charles Sturt when he had readied Lake Alexandrina on his historical voyage down the mighty Murray in 1830. He thought it was Mount Lofty. In 1831 Captain Collett Barker, on his way from King George's Sound in Western Australia where he had been employed was directed by the Governor Gulf where he arrived in April Of New South Wales to call at 1831. His object was to findEncounter Bay in St. Vincent's some communication, if any existed, between Lake Alexandria and the Gulf. Finding none, he penetrated in company with Mr. Kent as far in land as Mount Lofty and from that height they saw before them the beautiful plains on which Adelaide is situated. They again examined the ground and crossed the country east ward to Lake Alexandria. When they had gone this far they made their way to the channel through which the river Murray flows into the sea. Barker thought it was about a quarter of a mile wide and decided to swim across it in order to take some bearings from a sandhill on the other side. His companions waited, after he had crossed in safety; they waited for hours but he did not return. Fires were seen all around the sandhill he had ascended. They returned to their ship and went to Kangaroo Island where they procured the aid of a black woman and two sealers. They at last learned that Captain Barker had been speared by the blacks who were in great numbers where he had landed. And Mount Barker perpetuates the name of that intrepid explorer.
As the years passed many parties ascended Mount Barker among which may be mentioned those led by John Morphett, John W. Bull and Hawdon when he brought the first mob of cattle overland to Adelaide. Also there was William Beavis Randell the father of the town of Gumeracha who had that town surveyed and sold the blocks as he had purchased the area. He had been at the outset employed by the South Australian Company in discovering the best grazing land in the young colony and upon his reports the first Mount Barker special survey was taken out. It was claimed by J. B. Shepherdson in 1892 that on Christmas Day 1838, he and W. B. Randell were the first to climb Mount Barker after Captain Collett Barker. The blackfellow's name' for the Mount was Womnia MuKurta and the name of the tribe was the 'Peramgha.' The language of the aborigines differs in each tribe and also there is a variation in their corroborees. Those aborigines were primitive in their way of living, but were fairly intelligent. They never stayed in one place for very long because they were ignorant regarding the cultivation of food and what is more they had no cereals as we know them to harvest. There was a large camp at the foot of Mount Barker on the Springs Reserve. A large water hole and gum tree marks the spot where they lived in their native homes, called Gunyahs which were made of mud and branches of trees. It was estimated that at about that time there were four million blacks in Australia, far exceed ing the white settlers. Now the pendulum has swung in the other direction. The first settlers arrived at Mount Barker Springs on September 11th 1837 and the first white people to arrive camped along the creek and made houses of wattle and daub and slab huts. The roofs were formed of boughs of trees and dried grass. Some of the present day houses are built on the exact spot where those aborigines camped, such as 'Burnhank,' 'Harper's Corner,' 'Spring Head' and many others. There are quite a few springs at the foot of the Mount and that is how it came by the name of Mount Barker Springs. Among the aborigines there were no such things as calendar dates or records. They referred only to 'many moons.' Half a moon was about two weeks. The pioneers of the early days had to be as it were hypersensitive and know the difference between sincerity and technique as one never knew if a black fellow was sincere or hostile. They had as it were a dual or split personality.
In the early days Mount Barker Springs was a cattle run and the names that are recalled in association with such activities are McFarlane, J. B. Hack, Dutton, Fenn, Jones, Captain Finnis,Bourchxer, Scott and Milne. About 1838 in February what were called the "Overlanders" came from New South Wales bringing about 400 head of cattle for the people to feed and milk. The settlers carried the butter they had made, and also the eggs all the way to Adelaidein baskets on their backs if they were not possessed of a bullock waggon. The names of a few of the settlers I recall are Messrs Bell, Bonython, Blight, Collins, Cleggett, Callaby, Frame, Harper, Hendry, Kavanagh, Paterson, Hall, Mould, Morphett,Finnis, Lang, Neagle, Oborn, Rider, Stokes, Stephenson, Snell, Shepherd, Champion, Teakleand Webber. With these men were their wives and children.
They also brought with them seeds and vine cuttings. Stephen Page came out in the Buffalo in 1836 from Yarmouth. He was a master plasterer and builder. His main work was the erection of public places such as banks, post offices and churches, some of his most skilful work work being the erection of church spires. The EchungaChurch of England was erectedunder his supervision and it was built by volunteer labour. Alfred Champion was one of the first organists at Mount Barker Springs and also conducted the choir. The baton used for the choirs is still here and also the first bible used in the Mount Barker Springs church. Most of those people I have mentioned before were skilled craftsmen in their various trades such as carpenters, cabinet makers, builders, foundry men, tanners, miners, etc. Food and clothing being the main problem, and production one of the main objectives for the first few years. The fundamental, uses of the material provided by nature was greatly appreciated by those pioneers and full use was made of the 'Springs'after which the district is named. Almost all of the homesteads had springs in their vicinity. A Mr. Mould, a cabinet maker used the natural woods, for the making of the furniture - sheoak, wild cherry and mountain gum that he obtained from the Mount. He also made all kinds, of wooden implements euch as ploughs, flails, etc. They were all hand made and the timber was pit sawn. Someof that old furniture made by Mr. Mould is still in use. He was over ninety years of age when he died. The excellence of the craftmanship of those pioneers died with them and no one but the pioneers themselves know the privations and desperate straits through which they passed. Determination and faith in God and themselves assisted them to pave the way for those who followed, and they did not possess the labor saving implements of the present day. And many moons passed, still no dates, and so did some of the pioneers. As conditions improved and the population increased activities and interests developed, and the district widened to a radius of three miles. It was in 1847that the population received an increase by the opening up of the Callington mines . A new road, which followed the track up Harper's Hill was opened, thence up Bonython's old road through the property now owned by Blights and down across thecreek. One of the pillars still stands which formed the bridge over creek; the other one was washed away by floodwaters. Then the road proceeded past a stone wall which was built by the settlers, and along to the Flying Fox. A few old walls and parts of old mud houses still stand as relics of the activity of men long since passed away. Men who once worked the mines which are now full of water. Mr. Harper was the Captain and Messrs Bonython, Snell and Collins were pitmen. There are old houses in Mount Barker Springs that are still being used viz, Hendry's old house, built of stone in 1852 and Patterson's, built in 1854, now owned by Mr. Carr. The other is at Harper's Corner, built in 1842.
The churches of the district provided quite a history of their own, notably the Blakiston church which is the third oldest in the state, built in first years of the fifth decade of the nineteenth century; and services are still preached in that church every Sunday. Mount Barker people were christened and married in that church. The remains of many old church buildings still stand. They are situated on the old road known as Blight's road, Hender's road and Mould's road. Many of the Pioneers such as Collins, Henders, Bonython and Snell are buried in those church yards and some of their tombs are still existent. Mr Hender and Harper were the founders of the churches. Mr. Harper, being a preacher on Sundays, always wore a top hat and swallow-tail coat. The church at Lang's Hill stands on the ground donated by Mr. Lang and was built in 1842. The Springs school was erected in about 1862 and at the same time services were held there on Sundays. It is strange to recall that fifty years ago pine trees were planted around theschool on Arbor Day. At theschool at that time were ?Kavanagh, Winnie and MaryKavanagh, Darcy, Cliff and Don Wollaston, Mitchell, Cleggett, Choat, Neagle, Harper and Frame. The teachers were Mrs Stow and Mrs. Morgan. In 1870Mr. Harper taught in the schoolwhen other pedagogues werenot available. In 1864 Mr. Evans was brought from England also a Mrs. Tresyse, Mrs. Stow, Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Madigan. The ground for the school was given by Mr J. Frame the second. The schoolwas bought by Mr. J. L. Frame. Some of the descendants of those persons are today well known citizens, viz, Bonython, Mrs. Madigan, Messrs Paul and Cecil Madigan. Paul Madiganwas a well kuown explorer, the son of the school teacher Mrs Madigan. Sir Langdon wasand Sir Lavington is well knownas a patron of the Adelaide University. Sir Langdon, a part owner of the 'Advertiser' and'Chronicle' newspapers was educated at the Mount BarkerSprings school and was taught,until he was thirteen years of age by Mrs. Harper. Mr. Lang drove him in a bullock dray toAdelaide to get a job as an office boy in the 'Advertiser' office where in later years he became the owner of that paper.
Just across the road used to be Callabys old slip rail where many a yarn was swapped by the sundowners and the swaggies as they were termed. They wore mole-skin trousers, bow yangs with their swags thrown over their shoulders and a billy-can in their hand. Thus they travelled the bushlands of Australia. Mr. Harper had a store and kept the post office at theSprings in 1851. He was a well educated man and a preacher and teacher. His ancestors were Harpers of Lloyds ofEngland.
Mrs. Harper and Mrs. Collins were the first two people to possess a horse and cart inthe district to take their butterand eggs and cheese to Adelaide and bring back goods for themselves and their neighbours. There was a lime kiln on Stephenson's Hill from which thepeople obtained their lime to build their homes — homes in which some people live at thepresent time. Two notableachievements of the Springs were the prizes won for wheat in the immediate area and at Burn Bank owned by Mr. L. J. Frame of the fifth generation of that family. The other wheat was grown at Dalmany by Mr.Bell and was shown at the London Royal Exhibition winning the champion prize.
Some of these old pioneers lived in hope and died in despair. Others lived on the humanitarian's generosity and faith. To celebrate the 100 years centenary, a road was made up to the top of the Mount. From it may be enjoyed one of the most picturesque views for miles distant. The Mount Barker creek windsits way around in the bottom of the valley and it is a delightful experience to go for a hike along it amid the beautiful spots made in nature's own way. Those scenes are quite equal to any American grand canyons. The creek winds its way to the Bremer river and there are some lovely waterfalls in its course. And then on to the great lakes of Alexandrina and Albert. Nowadays many people in their modern day motorcars drive to the summit of the mountain, and those who set out upon a tour should nevermiss the enjoyment of a panoramic view thus obtainable asit stretches out into the illimitable distance. In 1939 anothernotable centenary was celebrated and upon that occasion trees were planted, each one bearing the name of a pioneer. They are placed on the main Adelaide road leading to the town for about a mile on either side.
It was not until 1839 that activities and interest developed and the Mount Barker area widened as it were, the people becoming involved in some of theindustries possible in the MountBarker township and in thoseof nearby districts when roadways linked up one settlementwith another. Bullocks as ameans of transport were slow but strong, and until about a I quarter of a century ago Mr.Tom Milligan still hauled logs of wood from the other side of the Mount with a bullock team and waggon. It took about four days in the old times to transport by such means a load from Mount Barker to Adelaide.
The township of Mount Barker was surveyed and cut up into acre and half-acre allotments with reserves for schools and churches. At first there were only two people in Mount Barker: they were Mr. John Gloag and Mr. Warner. The latter afterwards had a farm and kept cows and horses. The population gradually increased until, in ten years there were 819 people in the district who had to be fed and clothed. The ladies wore long dresses with bustles, crinolines and panniers: the men bowler hats, moleskin trousers and boyangs and swallow-tail coats: the boys, shorts, three quarter trousers till they left school. Such were the garbs of these pioneers who paved the way and provided those who moulded the infant nation of Australia when the gateway of the Southern Hemisphere had opened. One of the first industries started was the flour mill, food being the main problem. A mill was erected about a mile and a half from the town on Windmill Hill, but it did not work very well so they started another. The mill was built in 1842 by a Mr. Nixon. Over a period of 86 years it was sold to different people, and in 1928 was donated to the public by a Mr. Braendler and is now an historical land mark of great interest and sentiment to many a passer-by and is pointed out to tourists as they pass in the modern means of transport of the present times. The other flour mill was built by Mr. Dunn in 1845, and known as Dunn's Flourmill. It was worked by wind and steam. Up to that time there were no bakers. The women baked the bread into shape with a fire top and bottom. After a time there came the old brick oven, and there is still one in Hender's old house which is still in use and well over 100 years old. Then came the camp oven, an iron one with three legs and a lid. These are still in use and one there is that baked the best bread ever. The old mill is not used for milling wheat now, but gives service in the Tannery for drying glue. Mr. Dunn lived in a wattle and daub hut when he first came to the township. He lived to an old age and died in 1894. The mill is situated in Cameron road. It has a great woodenwheel to mark its historical and sentimental value to the town.
The Tannery is also situated in Cameron road, opposite the mill. It was about the third industry in Mount Barker and was established, in 1864, being then owned by Messrs. Sam and Tom Paltridge. At that time there were but three men work ing there, viz, Messrs Harry Bugg, Ellis and Harrop. In those early days plenty of wattle trees were available for use in the tannery. About two years ago it was burnt down and at present is being rebuilt as one of the most up-to-date factories of the type. It is situated on two or three acres of land and electricity is generated on the site where glue is manufactured and the hides tanned into leather. There are now some seventy men engaged and the trade is large, but wattle bark is not so plentiful as it used to be and thebark has to be purchased elsewhere at present. In the old days, as has been stated, the transport was by bullock waggon and a journey to Adelaide and back occupied about six days, but today, with the motor lorries the time has been cut to five hours with a load of leather. So here's to the emblem ofSouth Australia — the golden watttle, for the wattle tree is fast dying out owing to the sheep and cattle killing the young trees and no one cultivating them.
The foundry was the next industry and it was started in Commercial road in about 1851 by a Mr. Ramsay, who I made ploughs and harrows and all kinds of farm Implements and household irons. Some of the irons he made are built in McMahon's place across the railway line and there are Ramsay shields at the back of the fireplaces. There are those who state that in the old days there might be seen ploughs, harrows, binders and rakes half way down Commercial road. Part of the wall of the old foundry still stands on Mr. J. Walsh's place where it was used for manufacturing tyres for the wheels of the now ancient equipment. The foundry employed, about sixty men, some of whom started foundaries of their own.
A Mr. Salmon had one by the station. In those days there were few reapers and strippers and every inch of the land had to be cleared before any method of farming could be engaged int and the work was all done byhand. In about 1875 Mr. Champion produced a mower to cut the hay for the farmers. In 1884 the stripper which John Wrathal Bull had invented and Ridley put into practice had madeeverything connected with such, labor easier, but not as perfect as it is today.
It was not until about 45 years ago that raking of subterranean clover was started. There was not much seed of that type in the early days, and I remember seeing it growing in an old tin and a washdish. Later the seed was brought out by a Mr. Howard who was about the first clover king, and Mr. Hargrave started, then nearly all the people around these parts caught the craving and still have it, as a matter of fact.
Speaking of modes of transport, coaches were about the next means of travel after bullock waggons, and they were certainly more comfortable and much faster. Mr Mould made most of the coaches for the people around Mount Barker. They were of wood and iron, the iron coming from Ramsay's foundry. The coaches had four wheels aud seated six to eight people. There were few bicycles in those days and they were of the penny-farthing type. The railway from Adelaide to Mt. Barker Junction was opened on Nov. 28, 1883. Later it was extended right through to Strathalbyn and opened on Sept. 15, 1884. It was a great boon to the towns and everything then went by rail passengers, mails and goods.
The Mount Barker Post Office was established in the year 1842 and was conducted in the building now used as a residence by the Postmaster. The present post office was completed in I860. In the early days the mail was delivered to the post office by mail coaches. Mount Barker was one of the first towns in the State to have letters delivered to residents. Now there are two outward mails and two inward. Eighteen men and eight telephonists at present work in the office. At one time a school was conducted there. There used to be a mail carried by a Mr. Alec Craig travelling on horse-back in rain or shine and always being on time to catch the town mail. He used to start out from Wistow, then over to the Springs, into the township and back again. The Wistow post office was at the "Morning Star," and there is one at the store today. Mr. Mould went one way on those mail journeys and Mr. Craig the other.
The town gradually expandedand shops were built and employed quite a few people. Murrays had a bakehouse in Hutchinson St. in 1884, and Cope had a tailor's shop where Claremont tea rooms is now. Mrs. Anderson had a shop where the kindergarten is situated. Mr. Peake had a store where Mr. Heinrich now does business. A butcher's shop was started and a butcher's cart made the journey all the way to the Springs, down to Jubilee and out to Wistow, while in the township Mrs. Morley drove the cart, Mr. Morley still answers the roll call. A baker's round was also started, going on the same route.
The first religious service held in Mount Barker was conducted under a large gum tree on the bank of the Creek in 1842 by the Rev. Robert Haining of the church of Scotland. The Church of England foundation stone was laid on Sept. 15th, 1865, and there have been quite a few rectors. There were several churches in the township: one was called the Primitive Methodist Church, where the Masonic Hall now stands; it was erected in 1851. Mr. Harper used to he the preacher, and Mrs. Dan Davis played the organ when she was 18 years of age. Her maiden name was Miss Mitchell. One of their favorite hymns was "Jesus Lover of My Soul". There are two humorous stories told of when Mr. Harper was preaching. On a particular Sunday the maidhad been left on her own to cook the dinner, and at that time there was a large tribe ofblacks about and they were very hostile - and always seemed to know when the menfolk had gone from their homes. Andthe blacks came to the house with spears, and so frightened the young maid as she was using flour that she got it allover her. She rushed from thehouse and on through the bush to Mr. Harper at the church, which she reached in a breathless state, and could only gasp —"the Blacks!" When Mr. Harper and the family returned home they discovered that the blacks had taken all their flour. That young maid a few years later married a Mr. Scully. The other story refers to a lady who was left at home on her own while her husband went to Adelaide in a bullock waggon. She shut herself in in the slab hut, realising that the blacks always knew when the men had goneaway. At night she became very nervous, and imagined she could see the evil eye of blacks peering through the slabs. By the time her husband returned home she was almost petrified with fear. After her husband had investigated she was relieved on his finding that the evil eye was only that of an owl.
About this time the Wesleyans amalgamated with the Primitive Methodists, building their church in 1884, and the Baptist Church was erected some time later. The Presbyterian Church was built in 1853. Ministers were scarce in those days and they had to be brought out from England. Mr. Harper led most of the preaching in those days and he officiated at such places as Wistow, Zion Hill, Blakiston, Mount Barker Methodist, and the Springs. The Methodist Lecture Hall, as it is now called, had its 100th birthday in August. In 1884 the Methodist "Dunn Memorial" Church joined hands with the Wesleyans and built the Methodist Church.
In those days there were several hotels in the township, more in fact, than now. There was one where the R.S.L. rooms now stand; this afterwards became a doctor's residence, Dr.Brown first living there, and then Dr. Weld whose family later on sold the property to the R.S.L. The inn, known as Gray's Inn, derived its name from a Mr. Gray who once lived there, and it will always be known as Gray's Inn; it is situated at the southern end of Gawler Street. Hotel Barker came next, and the saleyards were at the back of it. Then there was the Lord Wilson on the Wistow Road, the Morning Star at Wistow, Bugle Inn, the old Coffee Palace (the chimney of which still stands). There were five or six hotels, one on the Adelaide Road. The Wheatsheaf, on the Echunga Road, then the Oakfield was an overland hotel, and belonged to Mr. McFarlin. It was bought by Mr. Barr Smith 80 years ago when he came out from Scot land. He changed the name to Archen Durrock, which is Gaelic meaning "Field of Oaks." This building is now the Methodist Rest Home. In the main hall is a tablet in memory of the Rev. W. J. Mortimer, who founded the Rest Home in 1922. The inscription on the tablet reads— "To the glory of God, and in grateful remembrance of a life and service of the Rev. W. J. Mortimer, who, in the name of the Methodist Church founded the Rest Home in 1922." It is a big asset to the town, both physically and financially, and employs a staff of 15 women and 8 men. The Home itself has about 40 spacious rooms, artistically designed, and including those for guests, a lounge, and a dining room, all of which are clean and comfortable. The surrounding gardens are very beautiful, just recently a moving color film was taken of the Home and its farm. Three other color films were taken of "Bollen's Folly" (owned by Mr. W. O'Halloran Giles), the "Laurels" owned by Mr. J. Walsh, and Mrs. Shepherd's house at Littlehampton.
The first school in the Mount Barker area was opened at Mt. Barker Springs, and, when the township expanded, one was built in Hutchinson Street, opposite the Masonic Hall. Also a primary school at the Post Office. The school is now situated on the Adelaide Road on Dutton Place, and was not opened until Sept 14, 1877. It was opened by the then Minister for Education, the Hon. E. Ward, fifteen years after the Mount Barker Springs School. During the week following 163 children were enrolled, and that number has since increased to 250. It was built and designed by Mr. E. J. Wood on the old English style. The original cost of the building, including the residence was £2611/10/-. The first HeadTeacher was Mr. T. W. Walters,the present teacher (1951) is Mr. Hudson. The children now enrolled number 350, their ages ranging from six to 15 years. As they pass from Grade 7 they usually proceed to the High School.
The Institute was built in 1862, and was opened with a Gala Day, and a procession of old-style decoration, and one of the most spectacular displays seen in the district, and one that will probably never be seen again. The procession started from the Wheatsheaf Hotel and continued to the Institute.
A staff committee of eight men, two Sisters, the Matron, and many nurses, together with a cook and several housemaids, formed the list of those associated with the conduct of the Hospital. The returned soldiers of World War I built and established the Memorial Hospital, which is one of the most up-to-date and well-equipped of hospitals. It caters for the towns nearby, and a new Maternity wing is now in progress of erection, and will be opened in the near future.
The newspaper of the town and district of Mount Barker is the "Courier." It was established and the first edition printed in the year 1880 by Mr. C. M. R. Dumas and was sold later to Mr. T. H. Monger; subse quently it was purchased by the present proprietors Messrs E. L. Perry and H. Edmondson. From its office in Gawler Street, Mt.Barker, the 'Courier,' whose complete title is "The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser," the journal emerges weekly to be read with interest not alone in the Hills areas, but much farther afield, for it contains besides a cover of local Hills social and sporting activities, articles of interest that appeal to the reading public. The 'Courier' office in its printing office is also greatly patronised by those who desire all manner of general printing, besides beingthe medium of advertisements in the paper's columns for increasing trade to its patrons.
As regards the Fire Brigade and Ambulance in Mount Barker much progress has been made and the town is now well equipped. The fire brigade station and Ambulance shed are situated at the foot of the Triangle. The building was erected by subscription from the people. T he fire alarm was erected in memory of the late Mr. T. G. Symonds, and has many calls throughout the year, with volunteers for both the brigade and the ambulance. The men of the Mount Barker Fire Brigade won the first prize in the fire brigade contest at the Adelaide Show in 1950 once again this year. Both the fire station and ambulance owe their existence to public subscription.
Opposite the fire station the Bowling Green is situated, andtheron the members of the sterner sex engage in their favourite sport on summer evenings. Alongside are the ladles' croquet lawns which are owned by the C.W.A., and next to them is the children's playground where the youngsters play while their parents enjoy their gamesof croquet and bowls. Back ofthese playgrounds is the Mount Barker creek along which is the Fred W. Ellis Walk and here young trees were planted, three years ago by the primaryschool children on Arbor Day. The walk is maintained frommoney Mr. Ellis left when hepassed away. It was his favourite walk in the daytime and extends from Prince's Highway around past the playground.
The Country Women's Association is a very interestingbody to which to belong. Its handicrafts sections make all manner of rugs, baskets, bags,etc, these activities being conducted by Mrs. L. Walkom. The president of the association is Mrs. Robertson, of Blakiston. A large amount of good workis done by the association for progress of the town. The committee meets on the fourth Friday of each month or that preceding the social meeting every fourth Tuesday in the month. Other social bodies hold their meetings and social gatherings there, such being the Mothers and Babies, the Caledonians and birthday parties and wedding receptions. This C.WA. was formed some 18 years ago, the meetings at first being held in various places until a block of land was donated by Mrs. T. G. Symonds, and rooms were built about 1936. The building was the gift of the Misses Dianne and Annie Paterson, one of the sisters laying the foundation stone for the building and the other that for the porch in the year 1939. Between them they donated quite a considerable amount of the money required for the building of the C.WA. One of the pastimes of the lady members of the C.W.A. is croquet, and several of them have won games in contests with those of other towns in the state.
The Mount Barker Council chamber was at one time situated in Gawler street, but the new chamber is now across from the C.WA. building, being erected about 16 years ago. The foundation stone was laid by the late Mr. John Frame in 1939 who was a member of the council for many years and one of the oldest members of the council at the time. Mr. McG. Cameron was district clerk at that time and held office for a number of years. The present district clerk is Mr. A. Bowyer.
The Jacobs Dairy Produce Co. Ltd is one of the highlights of industry in the Mount Barker area and in a prospectus issued by the company, it plans extensions at Macclesfield, £ 50.000 5% debentures being offered to the public. The meat factory of the company was started much earlier than the milk factory which came into operation in 1936 about 100 years after the first settlers came to the district. It is one of the most up-to-date industries of the present day and employs some 90 hands, both men and women. The company produces butter, cheese, lard, dripping, pork, beef, lamb, fritz, ham and various other smallgoods which are sold to the butchers in Mt. Barker and other towns throughout the state. Just recently amoving picture was taken of the employees at work making cheese and butter, and of the activities in other work in and around the factory.
The first agricultural show in Mount Barker was held in the year 1847 at the rear of Gray's Inn, opposite the present sale yards. It was held there for a number of years and then extended, and the society purchased a piece of ground from Mr. J. Honest in 1878. The pavilion was erected in 1884, being a large galvanised iron structure. When the shows are held it contains quite a large number of exhibits. The other building is the grandstand where the show patrons sit and watch the events that take place in the arena. Beneath the stand are the tea rooms, dressing rooms, store rooms, etc. Two large tanks supply water that is required for the making of tea and other culinary purposes, and suitable coppers are available for use. In 1947 the show society held its centenary, 100 years having elapsed since the first show was held in Mount Barker. At times there have been two shows held a year. Entertainments are also arranged on the grounds, such as picnics, rodeos, Christian Endeavour functions, etc. During the world war II the grounds were utilised as a soldiers' camp.
Eden Park was built by Mr. J. G. Ramsay, who came out from Scotland in 1837. Being a builder and foundryman, he erected quite a number of houses. He was very popular among his workmen and often treated them to picnics and entertainments. The Eden Park house was built in the old English style and was known as the house of many bells, the house of many servants and also, as the "ghost house." I often wonder does the maidservant remember being found prostrated after she had seen the ghost, and was in bed for a week. When Mrs Ramsay passed on, Mr. Ramsay returned to Scotland on a trip with his daughter who married and went to India. He came back to Australia and started a business in Adelaide in Currie Street with his two sons. He was a big man andalways wore a bell-topper hat and swallow-tail coat to work. He came to a tragic end in a railway accident, a kerosenelamp exploding and setting fire to the train compartment in which he was travelling. His property was later bought by Dr. Hynes who married a Bowen. Then a Mr. McCullock purchased it and it was subsequently sold to the Salvation Army who made additions and renovated it. They gave it the name of Eden Park Boys' Home. It is situated between the Springs and Wistow on the corner of Lovers Lane. There are between 100 and 200 boys at the Home at a time, most of them being orphans. They are well cared for and are well behaved, and some fine citizens have emerged from the Home which is not a reformatory, All manner of useful occupations are taught the boys, such as farming, in conjunction with their school lessons and upon leaving they are quite experienced for contact with the out side world. Pigs, fowls, cows and horses are kept and crops of wheat, oats, barley, peas ; and other vegetables are raised, the whole of the activities of the Home being an outstanding credit to the christian work of the Salvation Army.
The Mount Barker Convent is a boarding school and was built in the early days by Hill and Co of coaches fame. They used it for a summer residence. The part that was called the "Crows Nest" was the coachmen's quarters. It is situated on top of the hill overlooking the town, from the eminence one is enabled to obtain an excellent view and that was the reason for it being called the "Crow's Nest." It used to be the depot stables and change-over of horses was made there in Hill and Co's coaching days. With the advent of the railway, coaching travel lost its popularity and the property was sold. When the Convent purchased it, they re-built and renovated the buildings and inaugurated a boarding school for girls . It was a very healthy spot for a school, being high and dry and scholars came from all parts of South Australia and also from Victoria. The scholars had the advantage ofa full education, including music, singing and elocution. The Nuns and the Priest are supervisors of the school.
As the years passed, monuments were erected, one of the first being in memory of Captain Collett Barker, which is situated in Commercial road, alongside the Boys' club house. Another is the Soldiers' Memorial monument, erected by the R.S.L. in memory of soldiers who gave their lives in 1914-18 of World War I. That monument shows a soldier standing erect and facing Gawler street on the Prince's Highway in front ofthe Methodist Rest Home. Close by there is the monumenterected to the memory of Louis von Boussa, a patriotic towns man. The edifice faces a triangle which was used for the cemetery in the old days, thetriangle being at present, a wellkept garden with a lawn in the centre . Not many people know that some of their grandparents were buried there, some of those old ancestors being Smith, Finnis, Cameron, Robinson, Ellis, Champion, Cloag, Page, Anderson and many others. Some of the streets are named after those early settlers.
The potentialities of Mount Barker are such that when the proposed water scheme, spoken of by Mr. Shannon, M.P., if it ever eventuates and is brought from the river Murray via Mannum, Mount Barker will rank among the most progressive towns in the state, with industries that will make it self-reliant. Then again, a large reservoir would not cost as much, and perhaps the water would be purer, it remains to be seen. Mount Barker is an attractive town, with prosperous mixed farmers within the area. Pigs, fowls, horses, cows sheep, etc., with annual crops of wheat, oats, peas, barley and all kinds of fruit and vegetables are among the means whereby those with holdings exist in comfortable livelihood. There is a fairly good rainfall and the climate, as some of the pioneers contended, is much like that of old England. And to think that starting out with but two families, the population is much over the 2000 mark illustrates what might eventually be a much larger community. In the early days, as the scrub was cleared, the settlers planted from one to two acres of wheat, oats, barley, peas, maize or potatoes: now they plant 40 to 60 acres of the various kinds of seeds.
When one looks back and ponders on the time this country belonged to the aborigines, one must, as well as being proud of our pioneers, recognise that we owe a duty to those aborigines. We are easily able to hark back to the time Australia became White Australia, but with the memory of those original inhabitants and ownersof this vast land, it would be fitting that we how our heads in shame for our scurrilous treatment of those natives and the disastrous results to them of our manhandling of them. On a most conservative estimate there were 300,000 in Captain Cook's time in South Australia and four million in Australia, while today they number but some 50,000, not reckoning 27, 000 half castes. Thus, in 150 years their contact with us has resulted in a loss of five sixths of their population. From actual facts, it can be confidently stated that the aboriginal can never increase. They need not die out if they had the same faith in the future as we have for ourselves.
Littlehampton may be said to be included in the Mount Barker district. It has a few activities such as Foggitt Jones' small goods factory, a well-established firm, employing approximately 40 people. There was a factory established in 1865 by Mr. Alf. Monks, it being one of the first areas Mr. Monks relinquished of such to operate in the Hills business some years ago. The railway passing through the town is one of the main objects in its industries which linked it on to Mount Barker in 1886. A brick kiln was started by Mr. James Coppin who was born at Sittingbourne, Kent, England, on May 31st, 1849 and arrived at Port Adelaide with his parents on June 1Oth, 1856 in the ship Gamelza. On arrival inthe colony the family wended their way to Littlehampton where Mr. Coppin began business as a brick maker. He died 10 years later and the responsibility of carrying on the business fell upon his son James Alfred who was but 16 years of age. When a young man, he married Miss Lucretia Watts, a member of the old pioneers of that name at Littiehampton.
Mr. and Mrs. John Watts came to South Australia in the ship 'Coromandel' in 1836 and were at Kangaroo Island when South Australia was proclaimed a province by Governor Hindmarsh after whom so many places are named. The Alfred Coppin family consists of one son and one daughter, Mrs. Ernest Cleggett, of Littlehampton. Mr. Coppin carried on the brick works until 1924, when he turned over the business to his son who continued it until his death in 1937, when the brick works were closed. Mt. James Alfred Coppin died on March 6th, 1940, aged 90 years and 10 months. Seven years later in 1947, hiswife passed away at the ripe old age of 84 years and 11 months. The brick industry that is still carried on by theLittlehampton Brick Company and upon which the surrounding country depends in the building of their homes is in full activity and a vast number of bricks are manufactured daily.
At one time there was a brewery at Littlehampton and the name Brewery Hill still persists. The brew was a good one but was supposed to be powerful, two sips and you were dead drunk. The settlers in the surrounding districts as far afield as Wistow, Mount Barker and Hahndorf obtained the yeast required in their bread making and other uses from that brewery. Many a pumpkin pie was put in the mud oven after the bread had been baked. And we must not forget the damper. Usually the settlers went once a week to the brewery for their supply of yeast. The Great Eastern still retains its popularity, situated on the Prince's Highway the road to Murray Bridge and Melbourne. It is not to be supposed that it sells the house brew of the old days. Respecting the potency of that old brew, a story used to be told in Mount Barker of a joke played upon three young bloods of the day who used to ride out on horseback and partake of that home brew. Hotels were open in those days until II o'clock p.m. and, in the coaching days, some of them remained open all night. One of those three horsemen had a white horse, the other two owned bay mounts. Well, on one particular night they had imbibed freely all the afternoon and far into the night. The ostler at the hotel surreptitiously mixed a tin of whitewash and, with some help, managed to whitewash the two bay horses. And when the three youngbloods emerged rather the worse for liquor, all they could see was three white horses. Dead men tell no tales, and that joke of 60 years ago remains still mystery so far as to who was the culprit.
In Littlehampton they have thepioneer carriers of the district Mr. Cleggett having started it. They blazed the trail back in the bullock waggon days. Nowadays it is possible to proceed to the city and back in a few hours. "When horse teams came in, one thought that the progress of a century had began, but lo! now we observe motors and big transport lorries and trailers. One wonders if flying saucers will be the next means of transport to supersede the aeroplane and helicopters.
Blakiston is also included in the district of Mount Barker. It was founded and named by Captain Francis Davidson who arrived in South Australia in the ship "Cliveland" on December18th, 1839 and settled at Blakiston in February 1840. He named the town after the place his family lived in in the old country. Mr. Davidson owned sections Nos. 4431, 4435, 4438, 4445, 4471 and 4436. The first wool grown there and shorn brought eleven pence a pound unwashed. Two years later it fetched only eighttpence a pound. The first wheat was raised on the property in 1742. With axes, spades and forks, the ground was cleared, dug and planted. At that time there were 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 acres of wheat 15 acres of oats, 1/2 to 1 acre of maize and 1 acre of potatoes in the district. When the time arrived the settlers had to cut the crops with a sickle and clean it with a flail. After the grain had been won, it was carted to the mill to be crushed into flour,bran and pollard. There is an old story regarding a supposedly simple person who was minding some pigs near the mill and a man came along and thought he would have a joke and take a rise out of the simpleton. He asked him what he knew and what he did not know, where upon the simpleton replied — "I know that the miller's hogs are fat, but I don't know who's corn fattens them!"
Another settler who was inBlakiston in 1840 was Mr. John Rivers who held section No.4434. He cleared the land andput in 2 1/2 acres of wheat, half an acre of oats, one acre ofmaize and one acre of potatoes. The land being virgin soil grewsome exceptionally large vegetables and one of the outsizeturnips weighed no less than 31pounds and was 4 feet in circumference. The potatoes also were the largest ever seen.
Atone time there were two hotels in Blakiston district, viz: the'Blakiston Arms' owned by C. Kingston and the 'Dublin Castle'. The first named was built in1847 and continued until 1851. The 'Dublin Castle' was built in 1852 and did business until 1869. It was owned by T. Dounahoue. t the present time the hotelbuildings are the residences ofMisses Howard, whose father became the subterranean cloverking.
One of the most historical places in Blakiston is the Church of England. The land for the erection of the churchwas given by Mr. Francis Davidson who also contributed £400 to the endowment fund on November 17th, 1845. The foundation stone of the church waslaid by Mrs. Davidson on October 3rd., 1846. Mr. Benjamin Gray drew the plans and acted as architect, contractor, builder and clerk of works, etc. A considerable portion of the workwas done by volunteer labor. The church was opened by Dean Farrell on April 28th, 1847 and was consecrated by Bishop Short on April 28th, 1848. St. James church is the third oldest church in the state and it is still in use. There is naturally much sentiment attached to that old religious edifice with the memory of all who were christened, married and attended services and Sunday school within its walls. But the pioneers who attended to worship have passed on and their remains have found a resting place close by.
Australia needs to he proud of those old pioneers and such a fundamental fact is often forgotten. ut of the virgin soil and forest they laid the foundation of the structure, which, if properly handled, could show the world the way to Progress and Peace. They were those pioneers, of a sturdy, honest stock and bore no convict strain. They were all free men. And so we must bow our heads to the immortalpioneer. Their names will live on, for in our ancestors wetruly have a noble heritage. As unknown, and yet well knownas dying, and behold they live. So be it, 1837—1951 A.D., 115 years.
And here there is brought to a conclusion the history of theHills as remembered or acquired by research by Mrs. E. McLeod of Mount Barker, who graciously allowed the writer to, as it were, sub-edit it and ask the editor of the 'Courier' to publish it in the columns of his estimable journal. Mrs. McLeod, it is understood intends to submit the little history for competition in the local History Competition being held in conjunction with the Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations. The present scribe wishes her success and he feels sure the editor of the 'Courier' will join most heartly in those good wishes.
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Thursday 20 December 1951
Subsequent information submitted in response to above articles.
Who Were The First ? (By P.W.)
Mention was made in the articles "Our Hills History," of early settlers in the then Colony or Province of South Aus tralia who first ascended to the summit of Mount Barker, and Mr. J. B. Shepherdson's name was given as one of them. In proof of the statement that very early settler in the Mount Barker district, when a controversy on the subject was rife and an article was published in which upon the authority of a letter of Mr. (late Sir) John Morphett it was stated that that gentleman, Mr. Hack and Mr. Samuel Stephens were the first white men to reach the summit of Mount Barker, and that they rode their horses to the top, Mr. Shepherdson replied as follows:— "On Christmas Day 1838 the late Mr. Beavis Randell and myself rode to the Mount, but could not reach the summit on horseback. We left our horses in charge of a servant of Mr. Randell's, and then reached the top on foot. On several subsequent occasions I have ridden to the top of the saddle between the two hills, but never to the summit of the Mount. If I am not mistaken Captain Barker was the first European of whom we have any record who ascended the Mount. After we had left the Mount on the occasion I have mentioned some six or seven miles we came upon a beautifully grand flat where we started two kangaroos almost hid in the long grass where the village of Hahndorf now stands. Mr. Randell was delighted with the country that he determined to establish a cattle station there for the South Australian Company, under whom he held the position of stock manager. After we reached Adelaide he engaged splitters and fencers to erect stockyards there soon after the completion of which the first Mount Barker Special Survey was taken. This included this part of the country, and my friend's object was defeated at the expense of the work done. The stockyards were erected about the spot where the present hotel stands on the West side of the road."
At the time he set out his contention, as stated above, the late Mr. J. B. Shepherdson was a resident of Wallaroo. William Beavis Randell arrived in the Colony in 1837. John (afterwards Sir John) Morphett removed from Kangaroo Island to Holdfast Bay having landed at the former area of the Colony in 1836 from the barque "Cynet" on Sept. 11th of that year.
In 1837 the Government and the SA. Company established new encampments at Holdfast Bay and Port Adelaide. It is stated in authentic records of the early history that there were only two horses in the Colony at that time — one owned by Sir John Morphett and the other the property of the S.A. Company. William Beavis Randell was initially engaged by tbe S.A. Company, and as the Company had one of the only two horses in the Province in 1837 he would be able to ride it, as contended, to near the Summit of the Mount. But he must have had another animal upon which Mr. Shepherdson rode upon the memorable journey related by the latter gentleman. Then there was the servant with whom they left their horses while they walked to the Summit of the Mount. Did he have a horse also? Maybe more horses had been imported into the Colony within a very short period. But such queries arise in one's mind when reading what is recorded history. Mr. Shepherdson, however, seems very definite in his contention that Beavis Randell and himself were the first white men to ascend to the top of Mount Barker.