A PIONEER'S STORY OF SOUTHERN YORKE PENINSULA
by GEORGE THOM, WAROOKA
FROM ABERDEEN TO ADELAIDE
IN some ways forty-four years seems a long stretch out of a man's life—but it all depends upon what filled the days and months of those years!
Sitting here in my homestead on southern Yorke Peninsula, inside my 900-acre block of country, I've been thinking with a pen in my hand. Not for the purpose of trying to get publicity for myself, nor to make out that I've done anything that any other ex-Digger cannot do in a 44 years' battle with Nature on this bit of Australia.
I'm writing this because a rough story of what I've learned since I landed at Marion Bay in January',1909 (just-after my 18th birthday) may help those who are to get the blocks of country which our Government hopes to open for soldier land settlement in the near future. My main idea is to give a kind of patchwork outline of my own life, and the experiences and lessons that I've gained from a life in this Yorke Peninsula scrub country. There must be many others with the necessary grit who can do what I've done, and perhaps far better.
Home for Family
Such people could rear their families on an area such as mine, and may be encouraged to try it once they've read my personal story. Let me say at the start that I've never owned land in Australia except this southern Yorke Peninsula scrub country on which I now live with my family.
Before you could judge my story with a balanced mind I'll have to take you on a long journey back across the globe, to Aberdeenshire. in Scotland, where I was given the privilege of birth, in January, 1891. In wild, mountainous country, with few people on it, our little farm held my father and mother and their eight children in this community of farming folk who lived on land that was mostly poor and subject to a severe climate.
From the time I could toddle cows played a very important and necessary part in my life. My father was a hard-working granite mason, and his long hours of toil away from the little farm home made it necessary for most of the farm work to be carried out by the elder children as their turn came.
Yes, we children were reared on two thingsplenty of hard work, and porridge! These were supplemented by potatoes and milk, and we youngsters developed a means of varying the menu by "gaudling" for trout in the burns and rivers. At a very early age we learned how to catch game, including one very amusing method of providing pheasant for dinner.
Catching Game with Whisky!
A supply of oats was taken and soaked in home made whisky, and this was carefuly placed where the pheasants could enjoy it until they became intoxicated. Then it was a simple matter to pick them up and prepare them for the cooking pot!
We found that ducks were also very susceptible to whisky soaked oats, and they became very comical after they had lunched well on this form of food. When I became 14 years of age, our home being crowded, it was necessary for me to seek a position on a farm. From then until I left for this country nearly four years later, I worked hard for my living on different farms, mainly in dairying, and on two principal farms one of which ran 40 head of milkers, and the other more than 60 milking cows.
Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea for us to look back into that period, at the start of this 20th century, in those rugged highlands of Scotland where I learned to work without thinking of a clock.
Up on those farms work began at 4 a.m., and went on generally until 10 p.m this programme including Saturdays and Sundays. Holidays were an unknown thing, but every fourth Sunday I got a half-day off from my work, which enabled me to get home and see my parents and the family. There was one real holiday every year—the day that was given to us freely to enable us to visit the agricultural show. This was a "day of days," and well do I remember having the opportunity of inspecting some of the world's best livestock at this exhibition Speaking of this annual show reminds me that among the friends and acquaintances of my boyhood there, I could count the Duthie family of Collynie, world famous for their Shorthorn cattle; also the; McCombies, of Kemnay, who evolved the Aberdeen Angus breed of cattle. Yes, I can remember particularly Mr. McCombie, for we sat in the pew behind theirs in the parish church, and he always provided a supply of peppermint lollies to keep us children quiet during the long Presbyterian sermons! In spite of the peppermints I fear that I usually went to sleep during the sermons.
I could name many other famous breeders, including Lady Gordon Catheart, who had a well-known Shorthorn and Highland cattle stud. I had access to these studs, and some-times was given a job of work on them.
Coming back to my jobs, on those dairy farms; the eighteen-hour day of work included the milking of the cows three times daily. Mainly there were only two of us, hand milking, of course, for machines were unknown; but occasionally we had the assistance of a third hand.
Besides milking, feeding the cows, and cleaning out the sheds, there were numerous other tasks to be performed, these varying according to the season of the year. In summer the cow sheds were cleaned out twice daily, and hosed down once each day. When the bitter winter months came round it was a case of feeding four times in the day, cleaning sheds three times, and washing the cows down at least once.
All this work had to be done "at the double," to use a military term, and nothing easy-going or lackadaisical was tolerated. Behind everything else lay the jobs in the fields of the farm—turnips to be carted in for feeding the cattle, and the milk to be prepared for transport in the milk cart to the city of Aberdeen.
Hard work and all the people of those parts were a grand lot, whose only equals, in my opinion, were those stalwart people who pioneered this part of the continent when it was the colony of South Australia. That was my early life up to 1908, when, in spite of all the attractions of my homeland and my family, I decided that my best prospects of advancing myself in life, and of securing some land for cultivation, lay in migrating to a new country.
A Decision Reached
After thinking it out carefully, my decision led me to migrate to Australia, even though I did not know a single soul in the whole vast continent. The result or the decision was that I landed at Pt. Adelaide in January of 1909, just before my 18th birthday, with the capital sum of sixpence in my pocket.
Leaving the ship I quickly got on the track of a job to be had at southern Yorke Peninsula, Marion Bay. My first night ashore as spent sleeping on top of a truckload of wheat on the wharf at Outer Harbor from where I was to be taken to Marion Bay next day. I must confess that I did not enjoy a very comfortable rest in my first "bed" in South Australia. Especially also because I was awakened and questioned during the night by a policeman, suspicion of my intentions. However when I told him that I had secured a job to winch I was proceeding the next day, all was right in that quarter.
Next day, in the company, of about thirty men. I embarked upon a little tug boat at the Semaphore Jetty, and so was on my way to Hasell's gypsum works at Marion Bay on the southern end of Yorke Peninsula. The thirty others as passengers were a mixture — Swagmen, miners, lirmen, and sailors, and they comprised Norwegians, Germans, Swedes and Russian Finns.
The voyage across the Gulf of St. Vincent on his little tugboat was vastly different to my voyage across the world on the liner, aboard which I had been well, and never dreamed of sea-sickness. On the voyage to Marion Bay in the little tug I suffered some very cruel moments of sea-sickness.
I must have found it difficult to feed the fishes for I still clung tenaciously to my only coin, the six pence. In those days I had not learned of the fact that the best method of preventing a Scotsman from becoming seasick was to make him hold a sixpence between his teeth.
Daybreak on the Saturday found the little tugboat arriving at Marion Bay, where we landed. Next morning early the manager of the gypsum works called for a gang to prepare the scene of work, so that a general start by all hands might take place on Monday morning. I volunteered for this preliminary job, but the manager put me aside in a very kindly way, remarking that I, as a lad, had better let the mature men do this job.
On Monday morning, when given the choice of two different methods of working, day labor or piecework, I chose the piecework as against the then ruling wage of 6/- per day and "find yourself."
As a result of my decision of my first days earnings on AustraiIan soil amounted to £1 5- making me feel no end pleased with myself. My pleasure was short live,. for the manager immediately announced his decision to cut down the rate of pay for piecework! ln spite of the reduction however, at the end of my first fortnight of work when pay day arrived I found myself drawing the greatest amount of pay of the whole of the workers, getting £1 10 - in excess of the next highest on the pay list.
Which all goes to show I suppose, that neither age nor appearance can be safely taken as infallible guides to capacity. A little later on I was selected as the only permanent hand to carry on through the winter months, whilst following summer saw me appointed as ganger.
We lived simply, and in the open, camping where we chose, which was generally behind the most sheltered bushes one could find, using ti-tree tios for a mattress, and any blankets we might possess. Apart from such living conditions, and the inability to cook food (cooking being something outside the ken of all Scotsmen back home) found wandering in this bushland little different to wandering across the mounains, moors, and glens of my homeland—my favorite pastime as a lad.
My knowledge of agriculure, horticulture and the handling of livestock was probably equal to any such knowledge available in the land of my adoption. I had mated up with a Russian Finn, and two others joined us for meals, but our attempts at cooking were truly pathetic, and my attempt at the making of bread is worth relating
Cooking is Women's Work
I could dimly remember having seen our womenfolk back in Scotland cooking some flour mixture wrapped in a cloth and boiled. So I set to work, mixed flour and water, tied it in a towel and looked round for a cooking utensil. The only thing in sight was a billy-can, so I stuffed the mixture inside the towel into the billy, and put it on the fire—with tragic result. The mixture swelled and ejected all the water from the billy, and I ended up with a billycan burst and burned, a towel destroyed, and a large black cinder which should have been our bread.
An old sundowner found out our plight, and took pity on us by passing on some of his damper for our evening meal. Later on he came over to our wurlie to demonstrate how to make a damper in the hot coals and ashes of the right sort of flour.
No doubt my training in Scotland contributed to my deficiency in the art of cooking, because there cooking was emphatically considered to be purely women's work. I had been reared in a land where the mere male would not condescend to take the slightest interest in such a menial task as cooking.
Of course, the Scotland of my boyhood made no line of demarcation as to where women's work began or ended. They did the cooking, shopping and all housework. In addition, they milked cows and also accompanied the men into the fields and laboured hard, especially during the busiest parts of the year.
In spite of all this, work was never the cause of any acrimony, but appeared to be the main source of pleasure and satisfaction to all. The daily round of work was generally the main topic of conversation, linked up to discussions upon livestock and agricultural practices. Those features of Scottish tradition were in every way magnificent, entailing the fact that through their everyday life very much important knowledge was handed down for posterity.
Origin in Scotland
Studying the evolution of livestock feeding and agriculture in almost every land, one finds it possible to trace some of the latest of knowledge and most skilful of practices back to heir origin in Scotland he Scots of my early boyhood had something in common with the early settlers in this country, and heirs was a type of Christianity too great to be enclosed between the of a book. It is only covers to be discovered in the human heart.
Many of our working group were men who had not enjoyed the privilege of living close to Nature, and they had much to learn from the surroundings in which we were placed. Several days after our arrival at Marion Bay my Finnish mate left our camp for a wander, but it was not long before he returned in a state of wild excitement, panting for breath.
We calmed him down gave him time to regain his composure, and then listened to his tale of adventure.
"Oh," he said, "I encountered a terrible and ferocious looking reptile with two heads!" Its body, he said, was thicker than ones' arm and the monster by accident had turned upon him with a wide open mouth and showing fight. Thereupon he had immediately turned round and fled back to the camp.
Upon hearing this story we had no option but to go and investigate the situation, but the great difficulty was to persuade our Finnish friend to direct us to the spot. He kept well in the rear of the party!
Finally, pushing our way through a patch of scrub, we came face to face with the monster which had put our friend to flight—a big, fat, bob-tailed lizard! Little diversions like that incident and the experiment in cookery helped to break the monotony of life, for we were all working very hard at our task of getting the gypsum (the rock crystal variety) out of the lake in the Marion Bay area in the heat of mid-summer.
For this first few weeks all went along quite smoothly, and then suddenly came a series of torrental summer rains borne on an easterly wind. It rained constantly for a week, and there was no shelter anywhere in our vicinity excepting an open shed, which was enclosed merely on the western side.
This driving rain from he east penetrated to every corner of the shed, and everything that was inside the shed remained saturated for many days. However, the men took it all as a matter of course, in spite of their growls and rumbles.
Being about 50 miles from any form of civilisation, and without any transport except our legs, was perhaps largely responsible for the men realising the futility of trying to better their situation. They set themselves to make the best of things, especially as the rain brought other troubles to us.
When the clouds cleared we found water everywhere, the spot in which we were working being knee-deep, resulting in the price for raising the gypsum being advanced 1/- per ton truck
A couple of weeks later that particular operation was closed for the season, and we were put on to bagging and stacking seed gypsum, as it was then called.
This was put into fourbushel bags, the average a weight when filled being 330 lbs. My own weight then was about 10 stone, and with a 15-stone Norwegian I was put on the task of a lumping and stacking the bags in sheds, carrying them up until they reached the level of 22 bags high from the ground. With that job finished, a long a and weary walk faced most of the members of the gang, who were paid off, and had to set out on a 50-mile hike to the nearest centre — Yorketown.
I considered myself fortunate to be kept on permanently, and I was transferred to a dolomite or "pipeclay" claim my employers were interested in at Daly Head, on the western coast of the Peninsula. Here it was necessary to perform a certain amount of work each year in order to hold the lease. I was given the task of carrying out this work, and was provided with a new mate for the task—an Australian aboriginal named Charlie.
A Good Mate
This black man was at heart certainly one of the "whitest" men I have ever been privileged to know and work with. Throughout my life I've had the privilege of being associated with some wonderful comrades, but this aborigine was as good a mate as any of them. Not only was Charlie a firm companion to me, but he was a splendid instructor in the ways of the bush, and the skills of his forebears in the arts of hunting, fishing and living upon bush animals.
Together we had some grand sport, spearing fish with a ti-tree stick or mallee stick and its fire-hardened point. Up to a point the exchange of knowledge on such matters as hunting was fairly even and mutual, for I was able to hand on to Charlie a few wrinkles that evidently his ancestors had not disovered.
I remember a look of admiration when I caught some fish in a pool by hand, using the skill gained as a boy in the trout streams and rivers of Scotland.
One night, at the dolomite workings near Daly Head. Charlie and I were returning to camp in bright moonlight minus fish for our supper, when, looking down into shallow water we were passing. I saw a number of small bream scuttling under the rocks as we approached. This was where I put into action some of boyhood skill of "gauding," catching in this way very quickly several dozen of the bream by hand.
This caused my surprised aboriginal companion, the good Charlie, to say: "I've often been told that one can learn something—even from the greatest of idiots!"
Knowing Charlie as I did, accepted what was obviously meant to be a generous compliment, for it came from one of Nature's finest gentlemen.
Until the winter rains came we camped and worked and walked together; we raised, dried and bagged dolomite.
(Next instalment of the story will carry through from Charlie, to give you legends of the native aborigines of Southern Yorke Peninsula.
A PIONEER'S STORY OF SOUTHERN YORKE PENINSULA. SOME NATIVE LEGENDS
Fri 11 Sep 1953, The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) by GEORGE THOM, WAROOKA Trove
SOME NATIVE LEGENDS
Native legends concerning the life and doings of a race of cannibal dwarfs on Southern Yorke Peninsula are outlined in this, the second instalment of Mr. Thorn's story of the pioneering days.
MY EXPERIENCES with aborigines of Southern Yorke Peninsula, and the tales that have come to me from many angles during my life in those parts, induce me to pass on to you some of the stories I've heard regarding these original inhabitants cf the country before the days of the white man.
There are many interesting legends relating to the aboriginal natives of Yorke Peninsula, mainly handed down from native sources, of which I learned from three early residents of the Marion Bay district. One of these embraces the belief in a tribe of dwarf aborigines who were said to have lived in the big mallee scrub between Cape Spencer and Pondolowie on one side, and between Pondolowie and the rocky range which stretches from Mount Phillip to Fort George.
Most of this latter section was then, and still remains, an almost impenetrable jungle of mallee and dense undergrowth—the sort of country that one could only tackle on foot, and even then with the utmost reluctance.
The coastal fringes of the Peninsula were then in habited by the average type of aborigine, whose remnants we still see today, exemplified by such fine specimens as my friend Charlie. According to the old tales, there were in those days three distinct and separate tribes, including the dwarfs, then holding their distinct areas of country and watering places.
Place Names from Watering Places
The area of one particular tribe can still be defined by the place names in the area, by the terminal syllable of "owie" (meaning "watering place). From this syllable or word "owie" we can trace many of their watering places, such as Minlacowie, Bublacowie, Tukokowie, Pondolowie, Oiriccowie, and at least three waterholes in the Marion Bay area, called Mutborowie, Bubladowie, and Hilterowie.
During portion of the year these natives resided in belts of ti-tree and sheoak country, living mainly upon kangaroo, wallaby, emu, and similar game. When the billy buttons came into flower in the spring these natives read it as a signal from Mother Nature that the time had come for a "walk-about" to the sea coast.
For this also was the time when the butterfish make their way into the shoal water along that part of the coastline for some months. This latter fact I checked up by personal observation, and can fully confirm.
As the butterfish moved out to sea again their place along the coast would be taken by shoals of mullet, which the natives followed from Marion Bay light along Investigator Strait to Troubridge Point.
As the normal-sized tribesmen came back from walk-about to their southern end of Yorke Peninsula, the dwarf tribe was forced back into the safety of it dense scrub country. Here they depended upon supplies of water which they had stored in deep rock holes during the previous winter months, for they and the normal-sized natives were continually at war with one another.
This never-ending war between them was said to be based upon the cannibalistic tendencies of the dwarfs, they being reputed to not only eat their own dead but to also feast upon the bodies of enemies killed or captured during their tribal fights.
Another reason for their retirement into the denser scrubs was said to be that, having no fear of the intense darkness that most natives dislike, they were thus able to make periodical raids by night upon the outside tribes. In such raids they sought to carry off the tribal young women and piccaninnies, who were considered by the dwarfs as the outstanding delicacies for culinary purposes.
However, there came eventually a run of drought years, producing a water shortage in the scrub country. This drove the dwarfs out into the more open coastal country in a desperate bid for the water vital to their continued existence.
The opportunity then came to the stronger and larger outside tribes, who completely exterminated them in battle. So ended, according to this old legend, the extraordinary tribe of dwarf aborigines.
The fishing nets of the natives of lower Yorke Peninsula were cleverly woven from fibres stripped from sword grass that grows there, and fibre from the bullrushes which abound in the coastal sandhills. Their spears were made from those hard and very tough black mallee shoots, the points being hardened by fire in the customary aboriginal fashion. From suitable water-worn granite pebbles and gibbers. which may be found freely along parts of the coastline, they shaped their stone hammers and axes.
Place of Death
One very important piece of history of these primitive inhabitants refer to a spot called Muldarby, which means "the place of death" and which is is the Tukokowie area. It would appear that, in the earliest days of white settlement of the Peninsula, a great many of the natives died very suddenly and mysteriously at this place. One assumption suggests that the natives stole and ate poisoned four from the early white settlers, but apparently the real truth surrounding the tragedy was never brought, to light.
However, this tragic incident marks the sudden ending of almost an entire tribe, the scene of the tragedy being ever shunned by surviving natives, who gave it the name of Muldarby (the place of death).
These few aboriginal legends handed down through generations of the aborigines and the earliest white settlers of lower Yorke Peninsula have been recorded by me exactly as I received them from my contacts. Just how correct or truthful the stories are is beyond my power to judge, for I have no means of checking them; but I firmly believe that my informants passed on to me the facts that they themselves had picked up at first hand.
These accounts of mine, very briefly related though, they are, may perhaps serve as a basis for a more full and authentic record being sought for by some qualified investigator. In this connection I am able to point out the location of quite a number of the old native camping grounds, shown to me during my long residence there.
In addition, I am able to show any enquirer the principal localities reputed to have been the strongholds and the retreats of the legendary dwarf tribe. In the early days of settlement those parts matters such as I have related were accepted as commonplace facts, whereas now they are fast becoming mere legendary tales.
Still, it is not yet too late for some qualified and interested research worker to use these fragments of old legends which I have set out in a brief way as a basis upon which to reconstructing some interesting native history.
Leaving the history of these aborigines, come with me now to a continuation of the history of a young Scotsman in the same land, picking up the thread back at Marion Bay, my headquarters for the winter.
CLASHES WITH KANGAROOS
Sheep thieves and wild kangaroos sometimes created problems, and excitement, in the early days. In this, the third instalment of Mr. Thorn's story of the pioneering days, we read about some of those encounters.
With old man 'roos, and should like to tell you of two of these affairs which still live very vividly in my memory.
Hide and seek with "Old Man" Roo
One of the occasions was when I was on foot cutting track through the heart of the dense scrub. My dog baled up a very big "old man," and I went to the dog's aid, armed only with light axe that I was using. As soon as the 'roo spotted me approaching the scene he abandoned hi it and against the dog and came towards me with all the eagerness of a long-lost friend.
However, not deceived by his eagerness and apparently friendly intentions, instead of shaking his extended paws, I made a swipe at his head with my axe.
Ducking like a flash of light, he made a lunge and crabbed me before I could attempt a second swipe a; him. After a desperate struggle I managed 10 scramble free and dash into dense patch of under growth and scrub— minus my waistcoat, my trousers, and most of my shirt.
For a time we played hide and seek in and out of that patch of scrub until I was able, in a sudden break, to make for and climb a sheoak tree nearby. The old "roo. apparently disgusted at my cowardice, then took out his spite on the poor dog, which he attacked and killed Then, having apparently satisfied his blood lust and his victory, he hoped quietly into the timber.
Imagine my feelings, stuck in that tree miles away from the homestead in dense scrub, my dog dead my body practically naked and a pugnacious old man 'roo probably watching through the dense foliage for the opportunity to pounce on me if descended. Eventually I had to pluck up courage, risk tile descent, and make my way back to the homestead, registering a vow ? never again to tackle such an adversary without the aid of a rifle.
The second of these two outstanding "duels" with "old men" 'roos might very easily have been more serious than the first, exept that I had my repeatng rifle with me. Again I as out on foot, in fairly open country this time, searching for surveyors pegs and marks as the preliminary to fencing some of the boundary of the property.
The area was just about N.E. of Lever Well, and bout two miles from that watering point. As I was searching for "the line" my dog started barking excitedly in the distance, and I guessed that he had an "old man" baled up. I set off to give the dog a hand in the encounter and got about 300 yards of the bail-up when the 'roo sighted me.
He had my dog gripped but immediately let him go and started towards me in that deliberate manner that cannot be mistaken. I hadn't the slightest doubt that he intended to "clean me up," so that I felt glad I had a fully-loaded rifle in my hand.
Waiting until the 'roo was about a hundred yards from me, I opened fire on him with the .32 Winchester, using explosive bullets. I could hear the thud of the bullets hitting him, watching him flinch or occasionally stagger as each bullet made its mark. Still he continued to come on with a strong and determined pace. When he was only twenty yards from me I momentarily considered the idea of plunging into cover.
This encounter, however was being staged in area almost completely devoid of scrub, with no cover of any value within reach. I continued to pump bullets into him until he dropped dead just about one last hop from me. When skinning him I found no less than nine bullet holes in his carcase.
That "old man" 'roo was the only one I ever ran up up against that attacked from such a distance. It was at the very least a distance of 300 yards, illustrating the courage and determination of the animal. Sometimes I wonder if he was singular in being determined to attack from such a distance, or it there might have been others as determined.
After the lapse of many years it would be foolish to hazard a guess at his weight or his proportions, but I do remember that, when I was holding up one end of his skin, I could not lift the other end off the ground, which indicates a full height of about 7 feet.
When my boss saw the skin that I took off this old roo, during a later visit, he remarked: "Why, this looks more like the size of a bullock's hide rather than a kangaroo skin!
Who said "wallabies? Yes, until about 1912 there were great numbers of wallabies in evidence all through that mallee country and in the swampy ti-tree country of southern Yorke Peninsula, creating very destructive pest from the point of view of the settlers.
For some quite unaccountable reason, these wallabies vanished completely from the area in a very short period, as suddenly as though a plague had just wiped them out in a swoop, or just as though someone had driven them into the sea in a great mass.
If they had died in the bush from disease, or if number of foxes had killed and eaten them, some evidence in the form of skulls bones, and other remains would have been seen here and there. They were there such great numbers and over a wide area that it is quite unlikely any such happenings as suggested could have occurred simultaneously in such a brief period of time.
Almost overnight these wallabies seemed to vanish from the landscape. The last track of a wallaby that I saw was on Dry Bone Lake, near the present township of Inneston. The result of this disappearance of the wallabies was quickly reflected in the pastures, grass becoming more plentiful and clover (principally mellilot) spreading over most of the country, even into the heart of the scrublands.
Had these wallabies been wiped out earlier, such during the period prior to the introduction of superphosphate, when settlers were attracted to other parts of the State, it is possible that much of southern Yorke Peninsula would have attracted new settlers.
The earlier settlement of the area would have been stimulated by the disappearance of the wallaby pest, and because of the important fact that excellent supplies of pure water can be obtained at shallow depths almost everywhere round the coastal fringe of the Peninsula.
The Big Fire
After the wallabies came the "big bush fire of 1913" —an event that also brought great changes in its trail. This great and destructive fire started up somewhere about eight miles northwest of Swivel Hut, in the direction of Constance Bay, but its origin was never unravelled.
It burned fiercely for several days, with variable winds fanning its flames, until it stretched across the foot of the Peninsula from Spencer to St. Vincent Gulf. Then there came into the picture northerly wind, which is usually succeeded by a westerly change. Anticipating such a westerly change forced me into decision to muster the sheep, and commence to move them out of the locality. I had reached Mount Phillip with the sheep by the time the fire was sweeping the Swivel Hut country from which we had moved. Next day, from the top of Green Hill (on the road to Port Moorowie), I could look back and see the fire coming across Mount Phillip, and through Point Yorke.
In that way I ravelled the stock out of the pathway of the fire, always just one day's travel ahead of it. Had I hesitated at the start or at a later point of t he journey, none of the stock could possibly have survived.
Several days after the fire had burnt itself out I left the stock in safe quarters and rode back to surey the scene. What a picture of utter desolation met my eyes! The whole area from Marion Bay to Sandy point, and from Brown's waterhole to near Daly Head, was a blackened landscape, with all signs of life missing from it. Following on the loss of feed for the creatures of the area, the kangaroos and emus became so weak from starvation that a man on foot could run them down with ease.
Roos Chew Boots
To illustrate the after effects of such a happening, and the effect on the wildlife, I'll tell you of an enounter with two swagmen whom I met when camping on the night on the track that leads west from Point Yorke. They told me that the kangaroos had become so ravenous that the animals had actually eaten he uppers from their boots as they camped for the ight.
Even though they produced their boots as evidence, and swore to the truth of the story, I was quite disinclined to swallow their story and told them so. Then they said to me: "Well, all right. You go a few miles further along the track and you come to our old camp fire. There you'll see two dead kangaroos lying close by. We had to kill them as we could not drive them away."
Sure enough, when I reached the site of their camp, and the ashes of the camp fire, I found the two dead 'roos described by the swaggies!
There's an ancient saying. '"Tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good." This was definitely borne out by the great bush fire of 1913 that the winds blew through that country. This sweeping fire opened up the dense scrub, and the rains that followed in its trail made feed for many starving sheep and other stock which was brought there from "up country" during the drought of 1913-14.
'Kangaroo Hunting Yorkes (sic) Peninsula', August 18, 1850. Edward Snell. B55781 State library of South Australia
A PIONEER'S STORY OF SOUTHERN YORKE PENINSULA by GEORGE THOM, WAROOKA
Before the days of World War I, mustering on Southern Yorke Peninsula was a job that required a good dog. Here, in the fourth instalment of Mr. Thorn's story, are tales of a good dog, and more of his experiences in the scrub country.
Until the war of 1914-18 burst upon the world my whole life seemed very deeply tied to Southern Yorke Peninsula, the days and months being filled with unending and interesting work. My jobs were all very lonely ones, so far as human contacts were concerned, especially when was acting as stockman over most of the Hundred of Warrenben, and outside of that area as well.
For weeks and months on end I might go without seeing or talking with other people. I lived by myself with only the saddle horses and dogs as my companions Of all the dogs I had there was one above all to member with undying affection. His name was "Johnson." But you might as well have the whole story of him while I have it all so clearly in my mind
This dog "Johnson" was one of my greatest pals and an untiring helper. He was possessed of really outstanding sagacity, being easily the best sheep dog. or dog of any sort, I ever owned. His name was jusi plain "Johnson," and he was pitch black, the name being given to him because just at that time the world was ringing with the victories in the boxing ring of the famous American negro heavyweight and world champion, Jack Johnson.
My "Johnson" was a short-coated black kelpie, and the best dog I ever saw at pushing large flocks of sheep through the narrow buggy tracks of the dense scrub which covered so much of the Peninsula. He would make his way quietly alongside the mob in such tracks, until he was just a few yards behind the leaders.
Then he'd give a few short barks to send them forward with a rush, turn quickly, and then repeat the performance at intervals all down the line of the sheep. In this way he could put a mob of sheep, through the densest place in short time, and all by himself.
Knew his Job
His powers of observation and reasoning can be judged by the fact that if I planned to go out muster ing sheep I had to leave my rifle at home. If I took the rifle with me he would not so much as look at sheep, but chase and bailup an old-man kangaroo without delay.
On the other hand, if he saw me mount my horse without the rifle, he knew at once that the job ahead was the mustering of sheep and on these occasions he wouldn't so much as look at a kangaroo.
When I went out on fishing expedition he would select a pool inside the rocks where small fish could be seen, and would a make repeated attempts to catch them by diving into the water. While thus engaged he would keep one eye on me and my fishing activities.
Each time I hauled in a fish and took it off the hook he would come over and haul it by the tail across the rocks to some shady spot that I had selected. There he would place the entire catch, one by one, as I landed them. In between my catches he would continue his own attempts; he never caught a single fish as a reward.
One of my regular jobs was the laying of hundreds of baits for foxes, and "Johnson" always accompanied me on the job of laying these baits, as well as when I later went out l to pick up the poisoned foxes. I never muzzled him, and he never made any attempt to touch a bait.
Perhaps his greatest job was the tackling of oldman 'roos, his average being about one per day. When they bailed up he wouldn't leave them. If they tried to break away he would dash in, grab them by an arm and throw them. I have known him to bail up kangaroo and hold it up for more than 24 hours at bay or until the pangs of thirst compelled him to leave it and seek a drink.
On many occasions walked through the scrub in tilt dark for miles night to teach him and kill the bailed-up 'roo for him. If the night was very dark I would generally wait until daylight before setting out, but always found him holding the situation, quite often the old 'roo and "Johnson" both sitting down looking at each other. He always told me when he needed me by his barking, and thus guided my steps to the locality where he was.
Perhaps one of the most adventurous nights staged by "Johnson" for me was set in extremely dark conditions, and provided a succession of encounters. This was on a night that followed a fairly hard and very long day of work. After finishing my evening meal and then clearing up. I picked up the sound of his barking coming from about two miles away.
Taking pity on him, I picked up my rifle and set out, with the intention of dispatching his kangaroo so that he could come home with me to the enjoyment of some well-earned rest. The night was so densely dark that I couldn't see more than a couple of yards ahead of me, but eventually I managed to make my way through dense scrub to the point of the barking.
Bowled by 'Roo
Sneaking quietly along towards the sounds, I suddenly heard the "roo very close to me. The next instant I was bowled over and my rifle sent flying into the darkness by the animal's attack. Picking myself up. I groped round in the dark and eventually found the rifle, then discovering that I had entirely lost my bearings. I had lost all sense of direction, not having the faintest notion as to the direction in which my quarters lay.
Again I could hear "Johnson" barking about half a mile away, where he had gain bailed up his 'roo; but I was now unsympathetic to his barking, being completely wrapped up in my own difficulties. Eventually I wandered for a time, coming on to some rising ground, from which I could see the reflection of the Athorpes lighthouse in Investigator Strait.
The direction of the light seemed to me to be all wrong, but after sitting down and thinking it out, I convinced myself that the light was right and my first was judgment was wrong. Having made my decision I set off towards where my quarters should be; but this was a night of misadventure, right enough! Before I had made much headway on the homeward track I stumbled over something large, which came to life with an angry bellow.
I was sent flying again and my rifle disappeared into the outer darkness. It dawned on me that I had fallen over a wild steer, real old "scrubber," which had been asleep there. This time all my searching in the dark failed to reveal my rifle, so I made for the hut, which I reached at the hour of 1.30 a.m., my pitiful adventure having lasted 5.5 hours. From the far distance came the faint sound of "Johnson," still barking a" his 'roo somewhere out in the dark scrub. Next morning, after breakfast, "Johnson" made his appearance, and any one of you could picture the look of contempt he directed at me. He gave me a look that seemed to say, "I never thought you would let a mate down in that fashion!" After all that— well, wouldn't it? Time and time again had gone out by night and killed his 'roos for him, often in the very middle of the night. Under these circumstances I really thought he might have excused me for letting him down just that once! Some years after that event, when I enlisted, I left him with Alf McDonald, who was then acting as a shepherd for Charlie Phillips, of "Yaroo" station, but apparently my old boss, Mr. Davey missed him when muster time for shearing came round, so he borrowed " Johnson" from AH.
It appears that at that time poison baits had been laid around the district freely, and several of Mr. Davev's dogs had taken and died. He therefore put a muzzle on "Johnson," feeling a strong sense responsibility for his safety. The placing of a muzzle on him was an unpardonable insult to the intelligence and dignity of Johnson." He became sulky and insisted on following of the men around the homestead. This man was using a tip-dray in cleaning out the stables.
During that day he disappeared very suddenly. This sudden and complete disappearance remained complete mystery until some time later, when the manure heaps were being dug out and spread. Underneath one of the deep pile of manure they found the remains of "Johnson." The rand old dog had quite evidently been caught completely unaware as a drayoad of manure was tipped out, thus becoming completely hidden, and was smothered.
In that unpleasant way in circumstances which did not at all reflect the high quality of his life, the end came to my dear old friend Johnson"—one of the most sagacious and tenacious dogs that I or anybody else ever knew.
Search for Gypsum
During the year 1914, while I was camped at Brown's Hut, on the Pondolowie run, two gentlemen pulled in with their buggy and pair one afternoon, and they camped with me overnight. During our converation they asked me if I new of any gypsum deposits in the locality, apart rom the claims held by A . Hasell, which had been the scene of some of my early labours on the Peninsula. I told them of a patch of gypsum which was showing in a ti-tree swamp at a place called Dry Bone Lake, near Cape Spencer This patch I knew quite well, for I had camped at the very spot for some time when carting wood with the bullock team.
My plans for the next day were taking me in that direction for the mustering of sheep. All that Pondolowie and Cape Spence country then belonged to my boss. J. V. Davey. These two men accompanied me in their buggy as I rode alone on my horse to show them the way. Reaching the locality. I pointed the spot out to them, parted from them, and got to work with my mustering job.
That night they returner to the hut, camping with me again, and left in the morning, after thanking me for my help and for the trouble I had gone to in looking after them. As they left, one of them threw a half-crown upon my table. After 38 years. I still have that identical half-crown in my possession!
Some time later I again saw them when they were at the spot I had shown them, and they were testing the depth and extent of the gypsum deposit. That was the initial happening and meeting out of which grew the chain of events responsible for the present town of Inneston coming into existence, with its industry founded upon the gypsum deposits my eye had seen originally. My half-crown is a metallic and historical link with the cause of Inneston's existence. That was in 1914, and the following year I enlisted in the A.I F. coming back five years later to find work in full swing at Inneston, which locality had previously been known as Dry Bone Lake.
When the war broke out in Europe in 1914 my immediate impulse was to offer my services, but an accident put me on one side for a time, as I had one of my feet crushed through the fall of a horse. It was therefore well into 1915 before I was fit to join up. Even then I found that the making of a decision to enlist was not as easy as one might think. Mr. Davey offered me his property upon a share basis if I would remain and keep it going. This included a farm at Honiton, together with all stock and implements and a financial agreement that I should pay as I could manage it. This was a very generous offer and one that made me give deep thought to the suggestion. However, I felt it to be my duty to be in the Army.
A PIONEER'S STORY OF SOUTHERN YORKE PENINSULA
by GEORGE THOM, WAROOKA
War, and Back Home
War-time travels during 1914-18 and his efforts at reestablishment on the land after discharge from the A.I.F. are related in this instalment, the fifth, of Mr. Thorn's story of pioneering days on Southern Yorke Peninsula.
To carry out my plan of joining the A.I.F. I left Swivel Hut, Marion Bay, on a Saturday morning in September of 1915, by buggy and pair, for Mr. J. V. Davey's homestead at Honiton, thence travelling on to Edithburgh, where boarded the ship for Adelaide, arriving in the metropolis on Monday.
I lost no time in carrying out my plans, enlisting immediately I entered the city, and being sent straight away into camp at the old showgrounds the same night. That first night of Army life was spent sleeping upon a blanket spread over the "clinker" floor of a pen, above the door of the pen being pointed in great white letters the sign "Stud Rams."
These labelled quarters were somewhat embarrassing for a shy young man from the remoteness of the bushland, especially when visitors came around. Fortunately, I was only to spend a few nights in that pen before being moved out to the luxury of sleeping and camping upon the seats of a grandstand at the Morphettville racecourse.
Light Horse Regiment
Eventually I was drafted into a reinforcement to the 9th Light Horse Regiment, and was shipped away to Egypt in a ship loaded with horses for the light horseman who were already over there. On arrival we went into camp at Tel-el-Kebir, where, hearing a call for volunteers to form a Camel Corps, I joined in with the many others anxious to see some active service.
As it isn't usual for one writing a story of his life to enlarge upon the details of his war service, I'll content myself by slating that served in the 11th Company of the Imperial Camel Corps until we crossed the desert into Palestine, where the corps was eventually disbanded.
My unit was incorporated into the 15th Australian Light Horse Regiment, with which I fought through the campaigns on that front until the end of the war, at which time we were at (Homs sometimes called Hems), in Syria.
Eventually our horses and arms were taken from us, and we were sent into demobilisation camp near the Suez Canal. In 1919, t whilst we were still there, occurred the Egyptian rebellion, which caused us to be again provided with arms and mounts. Back to a further period of active service in the Nile Delta, where we had to maintain peace.
Leave in Scotland
From that location I was given special leave and a free journey to my home in a Aberdeenshire, Scotland, A travelling through the Mediterranean by ship to Otranto, in Italy. From there by train through Europe to Calais, where another ship took me aboard th a o for the famous town of Dover, in England.
Up by rail through the length of England and Scotland to my home county of Aberdeenshire for a six weeks' holiday amongst my relatives and friends. When my leave ended I reported to headquarters for return to this adopted land of mine, taking ship eventually from Southampton for Adelaide where, after all the usual formalities, I was eventually discharged.
Return to old job
To fill in the time profitably whilst waiting for a farm which the Repatriation authorities had adjudged me eiligible to receive, I returned to my job of management for Mr. J. V. Davey at Marion Bay. quickly discovered that I was not the same man who had gone off so eagerly to enlist back in 1915, but I battled along for about two years before my health finally broke down.
The next phase was a spell of some months in hospital, the result of which proved the necessity for abandoning work such as I had been performing at Marion Bay. It also emphasised the need for me to live closer in to medical attention and civilisation.
The next move I made was to get a team together and commence share farming on a property adjoining that of Mr. J. V. Davey, at Honiton. The farm I desired to procure through the Repatriation authorities failed to materialise. They certainly did give me the option of taking up a small area for grape growing somewhere in the Murray Valley, but as that would have meant cashing in and giving up my team and plant, I could not accept it.
The share farm which I was then working turned out to be too small to give a return for "shares," and it lacked supplies of permanent water. To cover living costs, I was able to earn some money by the regular carting of salt to Edithburgh, but the coming of mechanical transport put our horse teams out of business in that industry.
After spending just on ten years of plugging along just holding my own, and no more, I gave up that share farm venture and moved back to the Marion Bay area on another share farm. Certain circumstances that were out of my control, and of which I had earlier been completely unaware, caused me once more to move, after only one year in this Marion Bay concern.
Now I moved across to the Tukocowie district again as a share farmer, but on to a block of mallee country, with which was involved the clearing of an area of fresh country. This move was made in the "depression" period, when economic conditions had become almost humanly impossible for owner-farmers let alone share farmers.
However, the venture gave me the means of holding my team and my plant (which were my principal assets) through providing plenty of work at clearing land for others, so I stuck it out. The farming side of this venture contained no prospect of any gain, due to the fact that grain value, were at their lowest ebb, and grain was the only source of revenue from share farming in that locality.
Then I was given the opportunity of renting the property (from where I now write) and jumped at the chance without even looking it over. My conviction was that if any person could knock a living out of it, through the dearly bought experience I possessed. I was the one to do it. Having fixed up the lease, I made a full inspection of the property, moving in a few weeks later
I still kept on with the best of the shafe farming that I'd been engaged upon just about four miles away reasoning that one job would act as a means of balancing the other.
Fortune smiled upon me this time, for it was then that the manganese deficiency in those scrub country soils became generally known, and trace elements were introduced. As I sowed my second crop on the rented property I used a ton of the mixture in which the trace quantities of manganese had been introduced, drilling in the mixture along with barley, round for round, through portion of a 200-acre paddock. (The final chapter of this biography will be published next week.)
Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954), Saturday 9 February 1918, page 2
Private George Thom, recendy of Marion Bay, has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery. At present he is a machine gunner with the camel " corps in Palestine. At the time of writing he had been two years with the corp without a day off.
A PIONEER'S STORY OF SOUTHERN YORKE PENINSULA by GEORGE THOM, WAROOKA
The Farm that was Hopeless
Introduction of trace elements and their contribution to agricultural and livestock production is described in this, the final episode of Mr. George Thorn's story of early days on Southern Yorke Peninsula.
The resultant harvest was amazing, the yield being eight bags an acre from the area on which the manganese-super mixture was drilled, whereas from the area on which only superphosphate had been used the yield was practically nil. That solved the graingrowing side of the whole proposition; but there still remained the complete impossibility of rearing calves and lambs on that country —the impossibility of even maintaining sheep or cows on the pastures for any length of time, and without giving them a change of country. As I possessed no other country I was very much up against a dead end problem with my stock. For a time I tried out plan of buying old ewes, fattening them quickly and turning them over without delay. In this I had little success. But I discovered that it was impossible for any lambs young sheep to survive on that country for more than a few months.
Cobalt and Copper
Then I read, with keenest interest, of tests which were being carried out by our Department of Agriculiure upon sheep at Kangaroo Island, where success was being obtained through the use of two mineral elements, cobalt and copper. Just then I had on hand about 100 hoggets which I had purchased as a "spec," and these were just commencing to become "coasty" and die.. I first got the wool off them, and then requested a chemist to get me a small supply of cobalt and copper, which I used as indicated in the departmental experiments. This proved a great success, all the hoggets still alive making a complete and rapid recovery. this including some which, for a period, had even been unable to stand upon their legs. This was an uplifting turning point, and from the time that I commenced drenching the little flock with the minerals they began to fatten, so that within six months all were sold to the butcher. During that period of treatment they had no change ol country, nor was feed of any sort brought to them from elsewhere. These young sheep fattened on the original pastures, upon which they had been dying prior to being drenched with cobalt and copper in accordance with the instructions issued by the department It was just about this time that the owners of the property I was renting placed it on the market foi sale by public auction. At the auction there was no bid for it, so I tried to negotiate a purchase on terms. They were adamant, however, in wanting to sell for cash only.
The Barley Board had come into existence with that harvest, and was only paying growers about 1/ per bushel against their grain, which left me without capital to work on, as banks were not prepared to advance against the security of grain only. However, two very good friends came to my assist ance, jointly guaranteeing the necessary amount of advance through a bank, end lodging the deeds of part of their own propertie, of supporting security required by the bank. Thus was I enabled to become the owner of the rented property —that property which is my home today, a property which had been looked upon by most people as the most hopeless in the district. Thanks to the knowledge which I had gained through t he splendid experimental work of our Department of Agriculture, ar.d which I had followed with desperate interest, I now knew the full value of this place even if nobody else did. The result of the reversal through scientific knowledge was that I made rapid headway, and I was thus able to relieve my guarantors of their responsibility to the bank in less than three years. That shoi". story of this particular property all goes to show the possibilities that lie behind the march of scientific knowledge and the constan fine experimental work oi such bodies as our Department of Agriculture. Until 1939 I had battled along, through all sorts of ups and downs, as a single man. In that year I married my present wife who was then a widow with three sons. These three boys have since crown up and out into the worlr. Two of the three havj gone into the service of oui nation in tl«- armed forces, one serving in the R.A.A.F and the oilier jr. \he Armored Corps. From my marriage we have been blessed v.'th thrc young children, comprising the eldest, a daughter now aged 9 years, and two sons who are 8 years and 5 year.s of age respectively. About the middle of 194tj I became quite unable to ccntinue working this property, being crippled and in continuous pain, due to a spinal trouble which had handicapped me more and more ever since my discharge from the army at, the end of World War I.
For a time I made an attempt to carry on the farm lMa s with hired labour, but this proved a failure because my health prevented me from moving around and supervising. My next move was K to try letting out the crop b ping rights on shares, a year at a time, but this was also a failure due to my inability to look after sheep or other animals, the grazing rights being the responsibility of the land owner. My crippled condition finally brought about the final decision to rent the whole of my property to others, withholding an area of 30 acres in the vicinity of the homestead for our own exclusive use. On this we keep two cows, which my young daughter has helped to milk ever since she was five years of age. Between the lot of us we maintain a good home garden, and now my wife and I are going along steadily, looking forward to the time when our children will be old enough to take over and work the whole of this property of just on 900 acres. Perhaps I might now look back over my nearly 44 years of Australian citizenship, added to the 1" years of preparatory training in the hard school of the Scottish Highlands, and so wind up tlvs epistle
Coast Disease Conquered
Casting my mind back to a purchase I made—in 1939 I think it was—when drought conditions in the northern part of the State brought cheap sheep on to the market, I was then enabled to secure 300 casi-'lor-age s'.u'l ewe. of
hears, at 2/6 per head, delivered here. I purchased merino rams, mated them and secured a return in the form of more than 200 lambs in their first year the ewe lambs, I on through that little flock for four generations or more. These sheep never moved off the property, excepting that on one day in the year they were taken to be put through a neighbour's dip Over a period of nine years I never had one "coasty" or worm-infested sheep. The story of my struggle on this property should prove beyond doubt that the "coast" disease has been definitely conquered, provided the usage of cobalt and "opper is properly carrie>i out. I consider that, if these two minerals are jTroperly mixed with salt into balanced "lick." which then placed near the watering places in wooden troughs all sheep and especiallv those lambed and reared on "coasty" land) will automicaily help themselves V the quantity required to maintain robust health. When one estimates the results obtainable from thi.-action, it will soon be found that very' little work o outlay is involved, particu larly when taking into account the resultant absence oi worm infestation in the iight class of country. Advance of Science We must adnfethat it is chiefly due to the advance of anplied science in agriculture, and through experimentation by our own Department of Agriculture that closer .settlement lands previously considered worthless now becomes pos sible on a wide scale. Realising that the main source of our nation's wealth lies in the numbers as well as the quality of its inhabitants, I am most anxious to do all that is possible for for encouragement of the settlement of southern Yorke Peninsula by th» right sort of men. I am confident of the success of a closer settlement scheme on a basis of oneman holdings of sufficient area to enable all farming sidelines to be carried on, more particularly in those areas likely to suffer from late frosts. Over most of that scrub country there lies an Inexhaustible supply of pure water, obtainable at shallow depths. I believe, therefore, that in many locali ties lucerne roots would reach the water-table and give a flourishing result on the surface. House gardens for vegetables and flowers are thus assured of success, while milch cows will do as well there as in most localities if they are properly handled and cared for. Drought risks are very greatly lessened by the availibility of this abund ant and good water, which Is so easily tapped. Finale My absolute finale to this account is to put on record my very grateful remembrance of the really paternal affection and deep friendship extended to me over the years by those earliest of the pioneer families at Marion Bay, Honiton and Corny Point. These very generous and warm-hearted old-timers all treated me a? though I was an actual son of tlie family, even introducing me to visitors in that paternal fashion. Before joining the A.I.F. in 1915 my jobs were all very lonely ones, as I often went lor long weary month without seeing a human being, being solely in the company of my horses and dogs. In spite of that isolation I developed a love for this bush land in its primitive condition, then almost untouched by the hand of man. Its solitude, and the immense grandeur of the countryside, appealed deeply to me, and I felt as though I were the undisputed monarch of all I surveyed. The close communion with the bushland and its native creatures caused me to feel and appreciate the sentiments which had inspired the early bush poets of Australia. Often my thoughts would wander far away to the land of my birth, and I would express my depth of feeling in singing an old song of the Scottish emigrants, the following part of which I quote, with apologies to the writer of the words: Though the ocean divide us, we seem ever near To the frien's that arc far, far away Far across the sea, oor hearts still warm and free, The auld hoose at Hame for ever in our view, The bonny purple heather, and the hilltops clad wi' snow. My heart is aye in Scotland, tho* its far, far awa't
(Published by arrangement with the author and the 'Adelaide Stock and Station Journal.
Some facts on ... The Finding of Artesian Water
by GEORGE THOM, of Warooka
ONE of Southern Yorke Peninsula's pioneers, Mr. George Thorn, of Warooka, writes from his own experiences with artesian waters, their origin, mineral impurities, and methods of locating. Mr. Thorn, who has made a private study of geology, mineralogy and associated subjects, has prepared this article with the object, he says, of assisting new settlers on undeveloped land, and to counter what he considers are erroneous beliefs on the subject. Many readers will recall Mr. Thorn's earlier articles dealing with his pioneer experiences, which appeared in this paper on September 4th, last year, and in subsequent issues.
EVERYONE knows water will not flow uphill or for very far unless it is supported by an impenetrable substance or in great volume, or on land already waterlogged.
By observing the action of water on the surface one must expect the same behaviour underground, modified, of course, by the nature of obstructions encountered.
When rain falls, it immediately begins to soak downwards in an attempt to find it's level, and comes to rest on the impervious layer, or water table.
If it falls on an impervious substance it will flow from there to reach a porous area, or lie off level or in a basin until used by animal life or evaporated.
If soaking downwards it comes to rest on an impervious substance, it forms a water bearing strata the depth of which is governed capacity of the locality.
The deepest part of the water being strata and the strongest supply of water can usually be tapped at the shallowest depth near the spot that is the lowest on the surface of the ground.
SELECT LOW LEVEL.
Therefore the first and most important factor to observe when searching for subterranean water is to select the most, low-lying spot with the best drainage accruing from surrounding rising ground.
Natural springs are found only in hollows adjoining mountainous country. They are fed by storms which are more numerous on mountain tops or from melting snow.
Mountain surfaces are usually broken or porous and water from these sources finds its way as for down as the impervious strata forms the water table throughout the locality.
Ultimately there is a pressure built up from the continuous supply of water from higher levels and outlets are forced in nearby low - lying areas. Thus springs are formed and kept flowing so long as the supply from higher levels maintains the necessary pressure.
When man pierces the earth's crust and taps the artesian basin, the water may rush to the surface due to this pressure.
If contained in a pipe reaching vertically the water would continue to rise until the level of its parent body was reached.
Many people have noticed that animals instinctively know where water is to be found, if it is anywhere at all in the vicinity.
This implies the development of a sense which very few humans possess to any marked degree.
When they do possess it, they do not understand how or when they began to use it. They may credit Instead certain devices used by them of finding water, instead of developing this natural instinct.