History of Ardrossan

Ardrossan is after the beautiful seaport of the same name in Ayrshire, Scotland. It contains the Gaelic roots "ard," a height' and " ros," a prominent rock or headland.

ARDROSSAN. Early in 1877 land about Ardrossan and northward was selected, quite a strong contingent from Gawler being among the newcomers. Shops sprang up and a fine flour mill was erected by Mr. Freeman. The steamer "Amy" regularly traded to this port.

Ardrossan as a port of shipment for the Hundred of Maitland, Tipara, Clinton, &c. will always be a place of some consequence to farmers and the trading community, while it also possesses seaside attractions to visitors from the metropolis. Its principal buildings are two churches, a State school, Freeman's mill, Darling's grain store, and Smith's and Francis's hotels. The last named is a handsome structure of 20 rooms, which will be completed and finished about a month hence, at a cost of nearly £4,000, and is intended for the accommodation of families. The jetty at Ardrossan is a source of great annoyance to the inhabitants, because it requires an addition of more than a thousand feet to enable the steamer to get alongside on all occasions.


Sat 12 Mar 1864, Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)

—Some months ago we made reference to the fact of a man named Silverthorn leaving his home—the Parara Station, on Yorke's Peninsula—in a state of nudity and of great mental aberration. The police were immediately on the alert; but in spite of the strenuous exer-tions of Police-trooper Moriarty a cloud of mystery for a long time hung over the poor man's fate. The secret of his death, however, was revealed last week by the discovery of Silverthorn's body, shrivelled and discoloured like that of a mummy, suspended by the neck from a mallee-tree. Information was at once conveyed to the police, who cut the body down and bore it to the Exchange Hotel, where an inquest was held, and a verdict returned "That the deceased hanged himself while in a state of insanity."


Sat 12 Mar 1864, Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)

Kadina. March 7.

A most melancholy case of suicide in the bush has been brought to light during the past week. A man named Silverthorne ran away from the Parara Station, belonging to the Messrs. Bowman, in a state of nudity and madness, about three months since. On intelligence being conveyed to the police, Police-trooper Moriarty was immediately dispatched in search but his efforts, which occupied some considerable time, were all unavailing, and the poor man's fate remained doublful until the morning of Wednesday last, when Mr. John Elliott, a brother of Sir. Elliott, of the Clinton Hotel, while proceeding to the beach in company with another person, discovered the body of the unfortunate man hanging to a mallee tree. It was nearly dried up, and bore a great resemblance to a badly-preserved mummy, being nearly blackened in parts by exposure to the weather. It is more than likely he must have been nearly worn out by hunger and fatigue as well as lay the fearful malady under which belaboured. The following are the particulars of the inquest which was held by Mr. J. B. Shephenlson, S.M. and a Jury, of whom Mr. Moore was Foreman, at Moyle's Exchange Hotel, (whither the body had been conveyed), on Saturday, the 5th inst. After the Jurors had viewed the body, John Elliott was sworn and said—I am a boatman at Clinton. I have seen the body which the Jury have just viewed. I and Mohrdrick discovered the body about 11 o'clock on Wednesday morning last, about three miles to the south of Clinton, on the edge of the bank, and hanging to the branch of a mallee-tree. It was suspended by the strands of a rope. The feet were only about an inch from the ground. I recognise the body as that of the shepherd who was lost about 11 weeks ago. His name was Seth Silverthorne. I saw him about 14 or 15 weeks ago. He came in the boat to the steamer, and told me he expected his wife up by it. He came to the public-house at Clinton with a dray to take his wife. He was living at Bowman's station at Puara, 20 miles to the south of Clinton. He appeared to he quite sane when I saw him at Clinton, I saw his wife when she came about a fortnight after. There had been a still near to where he was found, and there were bits of rope there. He was quite naked when we found him. He had evidently hung himself. Claus Mohrdrick deposed as under I am a boat man at Clinton, and have seen the body viewed by the Jury. I saw it hanging to a tree while with the last witness on Wednesday morning. I could not recognise the body to swear to it. I saw Silverthorne at Clinton with a bullock-dray more than three months ago. The last witness discovered him first. He was hanging straight up and down to the branch of a tree; the feet were an inch and a half to two inches from the ground. It was near the beach. At that place there is a mangrove swamp and a bank about 60 feet high. He was close to the bank. I have no doubt he hung himself. There was close by an old bit of sail with a piece of rope like that with which he hung himself. I did not see any appearance of struggling. My mate said, "That must be Silverthorn ; he is quite naked." John Joseph Cobbin said—I identify the body as that of Silverthorne. whom I knew. I saw him on the 7th or 8th of November last at Tintenani. He was then quite sane, and said he was expecting his wife and family. Tintenani is about half way between Parara and Clinton. Police-constable Doyle said—I proceeded to Clinton on Thursday night. Police-trooper Woods cut the body down and I took charge of it at 5 o'clock yesterday morning. Examined the body and found no marks, only that of the rope round the neck. The branch to which the body was suspended was about seven feet from the ground, and the piece of rope was nine inches long from the noose. There is a still about seven yards from the tree, which seems to have been abandoned years ago. It is a matter of notoriety that Silverthorne became mad and ran away naked in the scrub, and Police-trooper Moriarty was in search of him about three months ago, but could not find him. The Coroner then briefly charged the Jury, who, after a few minutes' consultation, found "That the deceased, Seth Silverthorne, in or about December last, destroyed himself near Clinton by hanging, while insane, lunatic, and distracted." Police-constable Doyle experienced considerable difficulty in conveying the body from the spot near Clinton to Kadina. He started in company with two other men late on the Thursday evening in a spring-cart and two horses, one of which on the return trip became very iil. Those who were with Mr. Doyle tried everything available, but in spite of their efforts the horse dropped, and died in the road near the reservoir, leaving them to perform the remainder of the journey with the single horse. This delayed their arrival at the Exchange Hotel until midnight.

The sporting members of our community are now busy getting up a race fund, and have already opened subscription-lists, which are being well filled. They intend, if possible, to raise some £200, which will be divided into suitable stakes. The races are to come oil'on Easter Monday and Tuesday, and will be open to everything and anything in the colony with the exception of one event to be named the District llace, which will be open only to horses owned by residents in the district. The ground fixed on for a course is situated about half way between Kadina and- the Bay, and is well suited for the purpose, being a line open plain of some extent.

On Wednesday last one of the miners at the Moonta Kline was tamping a hole when the charge exploded, throwing the tamping-bar against the man's arm aud hand, breaking and lacerating the limb in a frightful manner. Dr. Chambers was speedily on the ground, and set the arm, which is now getting better; but I understand it is feared one of the poor fellow's eyes will become useless fom the effects of the fire.

Since my last I find the exploring party have returned from Mr. Burridge's discovery, and say the hard nature of the country will not admit of a Company with limited capital coping with it; so that they have discontinued any further search for the present.

The weather during the week has.been very fine indeed; in fact, there has seldom been experienced such a mild summer in this part of the province.


Fri 12 Aug 1838, Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA : 1901 - 1940)

Celebrations from 13th August to 21st August, 1938 . Early Days of Ardrossan

Mrs. Wentworth Morgan writes:— "Many of the pioneers came to the Peninsula from the Gawler District. In those days only sailing boats came to Ardrossan. The boats would bring three families on each trip. Furniture or stock had to be brought overland in drays or wagons." "The boat on which our family came from Port Adelaide was named 'The Fleetwiiig.' On account of the weather being so calm it took us" about five days to cross. There was doubt even that the ship's st«ck of provisions would last. Ardrossan then consisted of about half a dozen houses, a flour mill, which Mr. G. Freeman had erected, Mr. Smith's hotel, and a post office, which was a small room where Mr. S. Polkinghorne's store now stands. The country around was covered with mallee ti-tree and Kangaroo bush. For many years before it was surveyed and cut up into farms, Mr. Parker Bowman had it as a sheep station. Where one of his shepherd's huts stood in the township, the residence of Mrs. S. Bowman now stands. "For many years we had neither Church nor Day School, so our pioneers decided to hold Church, and Mr. G. Webb lent his living room to be used for services in the room was too small to accommodate the congregation they held services under a large pepper tree near the house. After a few years Mr. Freeman lent his Mill for the holding of Church services and Sunday School until we had our Church built. The old Mill stood where Freeman & Dunnet's garage is now, and Mr. Freeman lived in the house adjoining. This house was later the parsonage.

Mr. Tom James and Mr. Wm. James were the earliest Sunday-school superintendents whom I can remember. They were followed by Mr. James Ward, father of Mr. Irwin Ward. "The first choir conductor was the schoolmaster, Mr. John Griffiths. Rev. W. A. Bainger was our first minister." Mrs. Wilson writes—

"When Mr. W. H. Wilson settled near Ardrossan in 1876 there was no Methodist Church. Messrs. T. Hogarth, G. J. W. Freeman, Allison, Allison, jnr., Harvey, Webb and Wilson called a meeting and decided to build the Church. The farmers carted stone, sand and lime. In 1877 the walls were complete and roof on. The people decided to use it in the rough state for some time. Local preachers held services three times a month, and the Maitland minister preached one Sunday each month. The Church was completed, and we opened it in August, 1878."


Fri 5 Oct 1928, Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA : 1901 - 1940)

By Rev. R. Kelly.

I notice that the Ardrossan Church has been celebrating its jubilee, and it occurred to me that a few additional facts concerning its early history might not be unwelcome.

In 1874 I was stationed at Yorketown, then known as Weaner's Flat (Troubridge Circuit). My area included the whole of the Peninsula south of Moonta, and all the travelling was done on horseback. The only roads were of the roughest kind, mostly bush tracks. Looking up notes of the period, I find that my first visit to Ardrossan was on April 13 of the year mentioned. There were no buildings in the township. White pegs could be seen among the tussocks. Mr. Parker Bowman's station lay a mile or two to the south, and the Parara Copper Mine was being worked in a gully a little to the north.

I preached in Captain Tregoweth's house with his family and a company of Cornish miners as a congregation. I stayed the night and descended the shaft the next day. It was some time before settlers began to arrive, and being stationed then at Maitland, I visited the locality on March 6, 1877, and again a month later. On June 2 a meeting was held at Mr. Webb's house to consider the purchase of land for a church.

The next day (Sunday) I conducted a service at Mr. Webb's, in the open air, at which 60 were present, and afterwards held a class meeting with 14 members, mostly people from GawIer Circuit. We, made temporary arrangements for stewards.

On June 23 I visited the settlers and held a trustee meeting in Freeman's Mill, when it was resolved to build a church 40 ft. x 28 ft. x 18 ft.

The day following I preached at Mr. Webb's (open air), and again there were 60 present. On July 29 the first service in the township was held in the Mill. We had 80 present, and used bags of grain for seats, and a bale of cornsacks for a pulpit. On August 18 a trustee meeting took place, followed next day by a service in the Mill, with 60 hearers. I preached there again on September 9, and on the 12th the foundation stone of the church was laid by Mrs. Bowman. There was a tea meeting, and in the evening a lecture on "Crotchety Grumblers," by the Rev. J. G. Simpson, then minister at Gawler.

I visited the place and held services regularly after that. On November 4 it was decided to begin a Sunday school. Many promises were made by the people to cart stone, etc., for the new building, and on December 6 I spent the day in connection with that business, making 15 visits. Through Mr. Freeman's generosity the Mill was still used for services, till on March 3, 1878, I preached in the church at 11 a.m., and at Mr. Arnold's in the Hundred of Cunningham at 3 p.m.

The official opening of the church took place on Sunday, March 24, when I had the privilege of preaching twice to large congregations. On the Tuesday following a public meeting was held, with Mr. Webb in the chair. The speakers were Mr. Chas. Miller (of Kilkerran), Mr. Nicholls and myself. Leaving the circuit a week or two after that my association with the church ceased, and the Rev. T. E. Thomas, M.A., took charge. I have agreeable memories of the families of Allison, Webb, Lodge, Bowman, Gordon, Rowe, Freeman, Jno. Lock, M. Tiddy, W. D. Tremewen, and many others.

These notes are a litle belated, but may be of interest to some who still remember the early days of Ardrossan.