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Bute - The town, surveyed by H. Jacob in September 1883, was proclaimed on 13 March 1884, deriving its name from ‘Bute Island’ in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, and probably coming from either an Old Irish word bot - ‘beacon fire’ or the Swedish bod - ‘hut’; there is a ‘Buteland’ in Northumberland, England.

The Bute School opened in 1886 and, in 1927, ‘a crowd assembled at the power house of the Border Electric Company, Bute, to take part in the opening ceremony of electric light for the town. Just after eight o’clock the light was switched on by the Chairman of the Ninnes District Council, W.H. Sharman...’

Place Names of South Australia


125 Bute years

1 April, 2009 1:53PM ACDT

By Tom Henderson

Saturday the 13th of March 1884 is a date that lives long in the memory of the tiny town of Bute which is situated in the hinterland north of the Copper Coast.

That is the date of the inception of Bute as a town in South Australia.

And having just turned 125 years old, the town of about 250 people has seen its fair share of droughts but has always pulled through and is known for being home to some of the richest farming land in South Australia.

Hundreds of people turned up for the celebrations in the town that included a school reunion.

The town, situated at the foot of the Barunga Range was planned by surveyor Jacobs who named it after the Scottish isle of Bute.

Initially the land around Bute was allocated to people running stock but as copper mining around Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo expanded, the demand for local produce grew.

"All this land was very poor pasture land," says Bute history author Roslyn Paterson, "it was allocated to people who used it for running stock sort of like a sheep stations but there were no actual houses in our district council area.

"There was a lot of pressure put on the South Australian government to open up this land for farming."

Over the years the town grew to around 1800 people at its peak and was home to the Bute District council which was set up in the old bank building.

That building has now been turned into the headquarters of the Bute History Group which was set by Judyth Bettess.

Mrs Bettess has lived in Bute for 60 years and says she loves the town.

"We have a farm and children here, there's nothing I dislike about it.

"The best thing about it is it's never been known to have a total drought.

"Because of it not being in total drought which is quite different to other areas, we've always been able to survive."

Organising over 100 years of history is no easy task and Mrs Bettess decided to start her history society in 2002.

She worked with Mrs Paterson who is the co-author of the Bute history book "From stumps to stubble" written in 1984 for the centenary of Bute.

And with help from the South Australian history trust they are working out the best way to store historical documents and photographs of Bute.

"I just saw the need for it to be here and no better place than a bank vault," says Judyth Bettess.

The catalogue of history was shown off to the crowds who came to Bute to celebrate 125 years.

A school reunion and cabaret show were just a couple of events that took place and over 200 meals were served on the night as Mrs Paterson explains.

"There were people that came from all over Australia and it was just amazing.

"One man flew over from the Pilbara to Perth to Adelaide, he was the former captain of the Bute cricket team.

"We closed our display here at 5 o'clock and they were still standing around at quarter to 6."

So what does the future hold for this small farming community?

In the last three years, fourteen new houses have been built which is encouraging.
Judyth Bettess is optimistic and says the town is still welcoming new families into the community.

"I'm always optimistic because of the land here and I'm optimistic that things will keep going as long as we get some rain.

"New families do come with small children, we've got a local primary school...perhaps not anywhere near the numbers it used to be...but we also have a very good preschool kindergarten and rural care."

But as new families move in to create their own history in the town, if it wasn't for the actions of an ex-clerk of the Bute District council, there might not be any history to record.

Jack Gibson was the Clerk from 1948 to 1996.

"He was the one who really started collecting the history of Bute from people," says Mrs Bettess.

"He encouraged people to tell him and let him write it down, it's made it a lot easier for us because of Jack Gibson.

"He was such a fountain of knowledge and we did enjoy working with him.

"We would never have done as much in this district if it wasn't for Jack."

Here's hoping the spirit of people like Judyth, Roslyn and Jack will pass on to the next generation so that the people of Bute might be able to celebrate another 125 years.


IN THE MALLEE COUNTRY: No- I.

FIELD TRIAL AT BUTE. A REPRESENTATIVE GATHERING.

Everybody present acknowledged that the! ploughing match at Bute on Wednesday was an unqualified success ; and being the first such event of any moment that has taken place in the vicinity of this thriving scrub township it reflected much credit on those who officiated in connection with the newly-formed Field Trial Society, under whose auspices the affair took place. The morning broke dull and cloudy, and it was considered doubtful whether the attendance would be a good one ; but fears on this score were as quickly disjx'lled as entertained, and at an early hour Bute presented quite a busy appearance. Vehicles of every description streamed into the settlement from every direction, and thecondition of the two and four' horse teams which congregated in the main street showed that they had covered a considerable distance since daybreak. The mallee country was well represented, as at an early stage it was noticeable that farmers and tradespeople were present from Kadina, Wallaroo, Moonta, Ardrossan, Maitland, Kulpara, Green's Plains, the Hummocks, Port Wakeneld, Mona, Lochiel, Alford, Snowtown, Briukworth, Tickera, Condowie, Blyth, Red hill, Clare, Port Broughton, Mundoora, Redhill, and Port Pirie. rarely has such a representative gathering been met with in the north, and as the rain clouds dispersed early in the day those who had undertaken the journey to Bute were not disappointed. It is nearly a year since it was decided to form the 'Northern Yorke's Peninsula Bureau Field-Trial and Show Society,' and those actively associated with the body have every reason to be pleased with the result of their venture. In fact it is one of the most interesting country shows that has been held of late years. When the movement was first set on foot for the holding of a trial of farm implements on the Peninsula, the Kadina Agricultural Society were asked to make the trial a part of their annual show, but they declined to do so. Then a society was formed out of the Port Broughton, Pine Forest, Bute, Paskeville. Arthurton, and Nantawarra, Agricultural Bureaus to carry out the project. These bureaus represented a very large section of the mallee farmers, and they strengthened their constitution by electing a number of representative gentlemen as officers of the society. These were : — Patrons, his Excellency the LieutenantGoveruor, the Hons. J. Darling, M.L.C., J. V. O'Loghlin, M.L.C., Allan Campbell, M.L.C., and P. P. Gillen, M^P., Messrs. H. A. Grainger, M.P., J. W. Castine, M.P., J. MacLachlan, M.P., A. Short, M.P., F. E. II. W. Krichauif (chairman), Henry Kelly (Central Bureau), and R. Ban- Smith ; president, M-. R. W. Bawden (Port Broughtou branch) ; vice-presidents, the chairmen of the Port Broughton, Pine Forest, Bute, Paskevilie, Arthurton, and Nantawarra agricultural bureaus; treasurer, Mr. Alex. Wight; auditors, Messrs. J. ]\f. Inglis and A. Hocking ; and secretary, Mr. T. E. Yelland, of Bute. The main objects of the society were to do away with prize money aud offer certificates, and to have all classes of farm implements and machinery judged in the field instead of ou the show ground. The latter is a step which both The Advertiser and C/mniicfe have long advocated, and the result of Wednesday's competition is sufficient evidence of the success which will always attend such a practice. It is generally acknowledged that a competition with implements on a showground is absurd, but nearly all the country agricultural societies continue to offer awards in this class, the exhibits being necessarily judged on their ap-j pearance and workmanship instead of on their general utility. A plough or stripper may appear to be the acme of perfection on the showground, but when seen at work it may prove disappointing. This was conclusively shown on Wednesday, as in several instances the best-finished ploughs were not placed. Yet in a showground farmers might have been induced to purchase them mainly owing to the fact that they carried the first prize ticket. Last year the Petersburg and Quorn societies decided not tooffer prizes for machinery aud implements, and the result was most encouraging, the grounds beiujr well supplied with exhibits. In fact there are several manufacturers of farm implements who have refused to exhibit in future at country shows unless there is a field trial,1 as they consider that this is the only means whereby their work can be judged on its merits. On Wednesday there were IS entries with stump-jump plouglis, and all of the leading makers of this class of implements in the colony were represented. Consequently it is not surprising that there was a large attendance, and it is estimated that nearly 2,000 people were present at Mr. Norman's property during the day, over 1,000 paying for admission at the gates. The scene of the trial was oneof considerable activity. A sandhill studded with pines afforded ample shelter for the refreshment booths, which 'might otherwise have suffered from the boisterous wind which was blowing from the north-west ; while the presence of a large number of live stock formed a decided attraction. The paddock selected for the trial was an excellent one, the ground having been cultivated for several seasons. A considerable proportion of the mallee stumps had therefore been removed, and the ploughmen were able to keep a fairly accurate furrow. The soil was a light sandy loam, resting on a limestone rubble, and the ploughs made good work with it ; but some of the exhibitors would have preferred a sfciffer soil and rougher country to test the strength of their implements. The ploughing was the chief attraction of the morning, and the majority of those present congregated round the headlands to discuss the respective merits of both ploughs and ploughmen. Altogether 72 furrows were being turned at one time, and it took a very short while when once the lands were struck out to alter the appearance of the country. The ploughs had beeu'at work about an hour before it was possible to form any idea of how the judges would decide. Then it was apparent that they would have great trouble in coming: to a conclusion. Taking the work throughout it was of a verv even character.

This was particularly the case in the three-furrow class, as barely four points separated the five competitors. The maximum number of points was -100, and of this number Mr. J. Edwards, of Paskeville, secured C4£ with a well-constructed plough. It was very simply built and durable, and it jumped the stumps remarkably well. The implement was fitted with medium-sized improved mouldboardsand P-shares were used, as was the ease with all the three-furrows. Mr. Hahndorf, of South Hummocks, was seeond in the class with 63i points. His plough was somewhat heavily constructed, although it met with great favor at the hands of the farmers present. It did good work, and doubtless would be suitable for much heavier country. In the four-furrow section Mr. C. U. Smith, of Ardrossan, was a competitor, and at an early stage it was evident that the well-known Peninsula manufacturer would not be overlooked when theawards were made. Mr. Smith has lived in mallee country for a great many years, aud is therefore fully aware of the requirements of scrub farmers. Having this knowledge he has improved his ploughs every year, and it would now be difficult to find room for further improvement. At shows and field trials on the Peninsula he has taken a great number of prizes, and on this occasion his plough was the subject of much favorable comment. The implement was also well handled by Mr. Wilson, and it may be safely asserted that its work was equal to that of any plough on the field. A great improvement to the plough is a newly-constructed lever, which is a very ingenious piece of workmanship, it being possible for the driver to lift the ploughs out while in motion without leaving his seat either in starting or finishing his Land. It is also fitted with an excellent steering pear, and the ploughs are constructed more on the paring principle, with shares exhibiting a good cutting surface. Bv this means a better furrow was left, and ft gave the plough a big advantage over the others competing. The workmanship was of a high order of merit, and the implement was strongly built. The second place was secured by Mr. W. Blake, of Balaklava, whose exhibit obtained 05 points, or only one point behind that of Mr. Smith. The work of this plough was favorably commented upon by practical farmers throughout the day, and ffc was also noticeable thatthe maker had paid specialattention to durability, side-straps having been added to the beams to make them withstand more readily the continuous strain in rough country. In the five- furrow class there was only one entry, and this was a plough manufactured by Mr. Smith, but owned by Mr. B. G. Axford, of Wiltunga. This plough also did good work, and was constructed somewhat on the same principle as the four-furrow from the same foundry. Great interest was centred in the competition between the six six-furrow paring ploughs, which were allotted a good area on the eastern side of the paddock ; and their lightness of draught combined with the rapidity with which they covered the ground should bring them greatly into favor at no distant date. In light country like the mallee, where deep ploughing is not resorted to, it is necessary to turn over as much land in a day as is possible with a minimum of hauling power, and in this respect the paring ploughs supply what is required. In this class again M-. Smith was very successful, as both the first aud seco V plouglis were made by him ; and the decision of the judges was to the effect that they were the best implements on the field. At all events they secured the greatest aggregate of points, viz., 89i and 89}, while the plough placed in the thfrd position was only credited with C6J points. When it is explained also that the judges did their work independently of each other it will be seen that the work of the Ardrossan exhibitor was of no mean merit. The ploughs, which were worked with six horses, were fitted with many of the improvements used on Mr. Smith's 4-furrow plough, the lifting and pteering gear being practically the same, and excellent work was done in covering the weeds. A special share made by Mr. Smith was used, and the mouldboards were long plates attached by two bolts. Messrs. James Martin & Co., of Gawler, exhibited some of their well-known implements, and the three-furrow stump-jump plough, with 3 ft. 6 in. travelling wheels, j fitted with loose removable boxes, was de- j dared by the judges, after testing, to be the | largest draught plough on the ground. This j plough is niade of spring steel, and is fitted I with the automatic roller draught, which is selfregulating. On each of the bodies is a hook, to which is a strong screw, and by means of ] these the share can be so adjusted to take hard j or loose land. The shares were of wrought ? iron, with steel points aud cutting edges, the i advantage of this being that they can be layed or steeled when worn, thus saving expense. These shares were awarded first honors. This firm also exhibited some patent reversible steel plate scarifier shares, the plates of which were made quite independent of the sockets, and thus allowing the share plate to be reversed so as to present eight different cutting edges, the socket being so constructed to tighten the plate on the tyue without pins or other fixings. These were also awarded first prize in their class. The same firm also entered a seedsower and a new pattern sixfurrow stump-jump skim plough cf different construction to any other on the ground, but through an unfortunate accident it was thrown out of the contest early. Mr. Walter Blake, of Balaklava, was one of the largest exhibitors on the ground, and amongst the implements he displayed was a six-furrow paring plough, which was a very serviceable implement. By making a slight alteration, however, to the mouldboards, which Mr. Blake intends doing, he will considerably lighten the draught, and the plough will make better work. He had also two useful farm waggons and an express buggy on the ground, and the workmanship throughout was very meritorijyis. Messrs. Clutterbuck Bros, exhibited the Massey-Harris spring-tooth cultivator with seedsower attached, which was tried on some turf land and it prepared an excellent seed bed. The Australasian Implement Company made a very creditable display, and great interest was centered in the Alexander cream separator and Evenden's Lightning churn, which were shown at work, the latter producing butter from ripened cream in one minute in fine granular form. There were a number of other interesting exhibits amongst the machinery, which included Dignan's chain-drive stripper, the 'New Model Dutton mower knifegrinder,' and Steed's patent improved conical sieve winnower. The show of horses was excellent, more especially in the draught stock class, and it was patent that a good stamp of farm horses had been imported into the district. Several useful sires were paraded, including Major, a son of Young Major ; Montrose, who was got by Victor IL, and claims relation to Rantin Robin ; and Sir Walter Scott, a very serviceable-looking horse. In the blood class Go Ahead was the most attractive- animal, and the son ,of Gang Forward still displays much of the spirit of his sire. The roadsters were also good type, and it would be a, difficult matter to find a' better lot of horses in any part of the colony. In the evening a concert was given in the Temperance Hall in aid of the local recreation ground funds, and the buildintr was packed to overflowing, the audience even sitting on the platform. Those who contributed to the programme were — Mrs. C. Lake, Misses Davies, L. Davies, C. Davis, and Parnell, and Messrs. W. Angel, R. Rundle, W. H. Daniel, N. Malcolm, Ernest Whitington, Butler, Ganson, Brooks, and the Kulpara Variety Company. Appended is the prize list : — Draught Stock. — Judges — Slessrs. H. Sharman and T. Reed ; steward, Mr. D. F. Kennedy. Entire, 4 years and over, Dennis Bros.' Major ; M. Stevens's Montrose. Mare in foal or foal at foot, J. W. Ingram ; M. McPhersou. Two-year-old filly, B. G. Axford. Team of four \vaggon horses, to be shown in action, J. Commons. Team of six plough horses, at work on the ground, \V. S. Slnggett ; T. E. Heath. Team of five plough horses, W. H. Sharman ; B. 6. Axford. Four plough horses, Schroeter Bros. ; T. Hogarth. B'ood end Koadster Stock.— Judges — Messrs. M. Carter, R. Cowan, and J. Blake ; steward, Mr. R. Whitakcr. Entire, 4 years or over, Dunn and Herbert's Go Ahead. Entire, 3 years old, T. H. Grenf ell's 'The Cloud.' Entire, 2 years old, J. Cronin. Mare, in foal or foal at foot, J. Olds, jun. Pair buggy horses, 15 hands or over, to be driven in harness, J. P. Rocney ; J. P. Rooney. Single harness horse, 15 hands or over, W. H. Daniels ; J. W. Taylor. Weight-carrying hack, up to 14 St., J. P. Rooney ; J. Maloney. Lady's hack, J. P. Rooney ; W. H. Daniels. Pony stallion, 13J hands or under, C. Day. Pony mare, 13J hands and under, C. Green, J. P. Rooney. Ploughs and Cultivators. — Judges — Messrs. W. T. Phillis, \V. H. Binney, G. F. Mills, E. J. Herbert, H. T. Koch, R. Harris, ana E. Allen ; stewards — Messrs. J. Nicholls, J. Mudge, and E. Lanuning. Threefurrow stump-jump plough, J. Edwards ; A. Hatm-iorf. Four-furrow plough, C. H. Smith ; W. Blake. Five-furrow plough, B. G. Axford (C. H. Smith maker). Paring plough, six or more furrows, C. H. Smith ; \V. S. Sluggett (C. H. Smith maker). Stumpjumping cultivator, Massey Harris. Ploughmen's prises — Three-furrows, R. Oehiu ; Hahndorf. Four-furrows, G. Wilson ; W. H. Sharman. Five-furrows, E. Axford. Six-furroivs, Freeman ; F. Sluggett. Machinery and Implements at Work. — Judges — Messrs. H. Freeman and W. H. B. Paterson ; steward, W. Tuck. Ploughshare of any kind shown at work, J. Martin and Co.; M. Hall. Scarifier-share, J. Martin and Co. Seedsower, J. Martin and Co. Corncrusher, J. S. Bagshaw and Son. Milk separator, Australasian Implement Company. Show Implements. — Judges — Messrs. TV. H. Hawke, Henry Kelly, and A. A. Robertson; steward, Sir. S. Bawden. Waggon, TV. Blake. Express bu^gy, TV. Blake. Spring-dray, Hall and March. Butter churn, Australasian Implement Company. Chaffcutter and horseworks, J. S. Bagshaw and Sons. Single-furrow fixed plough, Australasian Implement Company. Double-furrow fixed plough, Australasian Implement Company. Collection of garden implements, Australasian Implement Company. New agricultural implement of any kind thatFthc judges consider will be of use iii the district, E. P. Di^nan. Shod horse, J. Cronin ; J. H. Hopgood.