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Ninnes, Hundred of


Thomas Ninnes, an early landholder whose name is also perpetuated by Ninnes Plains on section 40, Hundred of Ninnes.

General Notes

A dinner at Clare in honour of Thomas Ninnes is reported in the Register,
18 August 1865, page 3.

An article on settlement in the area is in the Advertiser,
24 October 1884, page 6b; it includes information on Mr George Ormsby, "the pioneer settler"; also see Chronicle, 17 June 1899, page 19a.

It is now some five or six years since this land was first taken up and to show the great progress that has been made it may be mentioned that although two years ago there were only about 5,000 acres cropped, this year nearly 13,000 acres have been cultivated. The pioneer settler was George Ormsby, who besides having freehold and leasehold land, is also the postmaster at Ninnes....
A school of this name opened in 1886 and closed in 1933.
Historical information on the district council is in the Observer, 17 October 1914, page 22b.

The discovery of Ninnes Plains was recounted by Thomas Dunstone:

A party [was] formed to blaze a track through [from Clare] to Kadina. Thomas Ninnes, Fred Hannaford, Jimmy Wright (who in the early days conducted a shoemaker's business...) and a licensed surveyor named Archer composed the party, being accompanied by two bullock teams, on which were about two tons of flour, together with their camping outfit... Going through Armagh to what they named "Hannaford's Hill'' [they] took their bearings for the Hummocks, near Salt Lake, now known as Lochiel, but from here it became more difficult.
There was no water from this to Kadina and about 20 miles of dense mallee scrub... About ten or twelve miles distance towards Kadina there appeared a piece of open country, which they decided to make for, so they made a start from the foot of the Hummocks. It was slow work... Some two or three miles from the start ...the water was exhausted, so there was nothing for it but to send the teams back to Lochiel and secure a fresh supply. This camp they named "Wright's Plain'' in honour of Jimmy Wright. From here they pushed on towards the small plain seen from the Hummocks... after some days of hard work the open space was reached, which proved to be a fair-sized plain with good soil, well grassed, but no water. This they named "Ninnes' Plain'' ...

Kadina and Wallaroo Times (SA : 1888 - 1954), Wednesday 10 August 1910, page 3


The Ninnes District Council has been in existence just over a quarter of a century, the Hundred of Ninnes having been proclaimed a district council on July 16, 1885. The first councillors appointed by the Governor were Messrs H. D. O'Hallaron (chairman), G. F Mills, G, F. Ormsby, W. A. Stevens and W. H. B. Paterson, MrPaterson, the only one of the oringinal members who is still resident in the district, with the exception of one term has sat continuously as a councillor, and during that time has rendered good service to the district. The late Mr G. F. Mills for many years sat as councillor, did a good deal for the promotion of the interests of the district. Mr T. H. Rodda, now a resident of Kadina, as auditor and councillor, also rendered good service. These gentlemen with their colleagues experienced all the difficulties and disadvantages associated with the opening up of a new district, and with bad seasons found it no easy task to get roads formed and other work carried out. Near where the first wheat was grown on Ninnes Plains (or as the Crown Lands office terms it "Ninnes Town") on a water reserve, was a building formerly used as an accommodation house for travellers on the old Clare track. This, by permission of the Government, was used as a council chamber and office, also for a time as a school. Six years later the Education Department had a school erected. In the course of time the old council building became so dilapidated that it became necessary to make better provision for the meetings of the council, and after a good deal of careful consideration it was decided to build a District office and hall at Bute, which is how a thriving town, as is evidenced by its up-to-date buildings. When Ninnes was first declared a district, the site of the town of Bute was simply dense mallee scrub, known as 18-mile siding, with one dwelling owned and occupied by Mr J. T. Schroeter. The addition of the Hundreds of Wiltunga and Tickera to the Ninnes District Council made it one of the largest and most important local government bodies in the State. The first councillors for Tickera were Messrs Butler and Kelly and for Wiltunga. Messrs Axford and Jones. A fair amount of progress has been made, by the townships of Alford and Tickera, both in Tickera Ward. This must be gratifying to the pioneers of this district, and especially, to Cr. A. D. McDonald, who for a number of years has represented the Tickera ratepayers in the Ninnes Council. Mr R. Heath in the earlier history of the council also rendered good service. The present councillors are Messrs W. H. Sharman (chairman), and M. McCormack (Wiltunga Ward), A. D. McDonald and A. H. Bruce (Tickera Ward), W. H. B. Paterson and Walter Gardner (Ninnes Ward).

In the persons of Messrs R. Cowan (clerk) and G. Heath (overseer), the council have two very Competent officers. All through the history of the council representatives of the Kadina and Wallaroo Times have attended as press reporters, and the late Hon. David Bews, Minister of Education, and the late Mr D. Taylor (late editors of that paper) evinced the keenest interest in the progress of the district.

Less than thirty years ago the Hundred of Ninnes was mostly dense mallee scrub occupied by kangaroos and wallabies, which fled at the sight of man. The plains in season were good spots for observing numbers of wild turkeys, guarded by their sentinels. Now they are only to be occasionally seen, so the close season is not the only reason for the silence of the sportsmen's rifles. The marsupials are only to be found now in the hills, but in their place are to be found large numbers of rabbits, many foxes, myriads of sparrows and other bird life. Whilst Ninnes Ward cannot claim to have built a town, and it is easy to count its public buildings, it is not backward in otherthings. On every hand there are to be seen well and substantially built and commodious homesteads, many of which are handsome, surrounded by gardens, with the necessary stables for the housing of horses, and outbuildings in which are to big seen motor engines and most up to date implements, and on one farm in Ninnes there is a motor traction engine for farmwork. It is the outlying districts which suppor and maintain the towns, and Ninnes is enjoying prosperity, which is the outcome of good seasons, assisted by fertilisers and the reticulation of the district from the Beetaloo water scheme.

ln the earlier days of agricultural settlement in Ninnes much hardship was endured by the settlers owing to bad seasons and scarcity ofwater. In those days it was no uncommon occurrence for a team to be absent all night procuring sufficient water for the requirements of a small family for 24 hours. Sometimes the water was procures from dams at the foot of the Hummocks and there have been occasions when it had to be brought by train from Balaklava. In the course of time came the reticulation of the district from Beetaloo and Bundaleer, which has considerably added to the prosperity of the district, by enabling farmers to carry more stock on their holdings. The young folk of the district and new comers, who to-day enjoy the privilege of having water laid on to the back door and in the bathroom cannot realise what the earlier settlers had to put up with. When, as they travel over the well-metalled roads they are passed by a fine motor car, or a well appointed hooded buggy, drawn by a pair of high stepping horses, they can hardly realise that hit is not very many years ago when the proprietor of that up to date car, or of that fine pair of horses, fit to be exhibited in any show ring in the State, might have been seen in a spring dray drawn by a wheaten chaff-fed horse to the nearest store for goods for the household. Men may come and they may go, but it is the hope of the writer that the prosperity of Ninnes may go on for ever.

Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), Saturday 17 October 1914, page 22


From G. E. MiddJeton, Salisbury:—"In The Register of October 7 a paragraph appears from your Kadina correspondent concerning the death of the late Mr. W. H. B. Paterson, of Willamulka, which states that in 1887 the newly formed District Council of Ninnes was established. This is not correct. The District Council of Ninnes was gazetted in 1885, the first meeting took place at Mr. G. Ormsby's residence on Ninnes Plains, and the first council chosen comprised Mr. H. D. O'Hal-, loran (Chairman) and Messrs. Moroney, Paterson, and Mills as Councillors; and the district comprised only the. Hundred of Ninnes. Two years later Tickera and Wiltunga had to join on to Ninnes, and the gentlemen named by your correspondent represented Ninnes Tickera, and Wiltunga respectively. The late Mr, Patenson was one of the first settlers in Ninnes, having selected a large area of land in 1881, when the stumpjumping implements were first introduced. Prior to that he was farming at Lower Light and. Barunga Gap. He was one of the founders of the Wilamunka Bible Christian Church, which was built on his property in 1884, and the Rev. G. Varley was the minister of the Kadina Circuit at that time.

Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), Saturday 10 October 1914, page 42

Mr. William Henry B. Paterson.

Oar Kadina corresponded*; writes:—"The death of Mr. William Henry B. Paterson, of heart failure, which occurred in Adelaide on Oct. 2, removes one of the oldest and best liked members of the Ninnes Dis-. trict Council. Mr. Paterson, who was in the city on business, was subject to occasional fainting fits, but the news of his death, during sleep, come as a shock to his family and friends. The late Mr. Paterson was born in Adelaide, of Scottish parents, and received his education at Norwood.

His father died early, and the boy was largely under the care of an uncle. After some years of contracting work, he took up farming at Willamulka, and resided there ever since. In 1887 he became one of the Councillors of the newly established District Council of Ninnes, the personnel then being Messrs. W. H. B. Paterson and G. F. Mills (Ninnes Ward). W. H. Kelly and James Butler (Tickera), Axford ana Young (Wiltunga). Bute was included subsequently. Deceased held the position of Councillor for Ninnes Ward continuously for 27 years, one year being omitted because of an error in the nomination.

Be was a fine personality, genial, well informed, and one of the ablest men in the council, and although 71 yearn of age, vigorous and energetic. Mr. Paterson has left a wife, three sons, and four daughters.

A family history of the Bond and Cassidy families

According to the headstone Caroline Francis (Evans) died on Nov 18th 1881 aged 78 yrs. Also buried in the same grave at Kulpara is Mary Ann Ormsby, daughter of Caroline who died on July 24th 1903 aged 61 years. In addition to the original headstone there is a more recent bronze plaque and a second modern headstone in memory of George Francis Ormsby the husband of Mary Ann who died on 21st may 1916 and was interred in Adelaides West Terrace cemetery. The inscription on this stone goes on to say 'first pioneers of Ninnes Plains'. The couple seem to have lived in the Kulpara-Ninnes are for most of their adult lives as eight of their nine children were born in the area:- in order her children were Caroline Elenor b1865, Norwood; George William b1867, Wallaroo; Caroline b1869, Franklin Harbour; Francis Edward b1871, Ninnes Plains; Thomas b1873, Ninnes Plains; Alfred Henry b1876, Ninnes Plains; Beatrice Dora b1878, Ninnes Plains; Matthew Charles b1880, Ninnes Plains and May Rebecca b1881, Ninnes. It would seem that the grave had been restored and the later plaques placed by the local Historical Society or Council as a few kilometres away at Ninnes there is a plaque and an information board giving something of the history of Ninnes. It seems to have come into existence as a settlement after 1862 when a new route for bullock teams was pioneered between Clare and the copper mining towns of Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo further to the west. It was recorded that George Ormsby had established and operated a wine-shop at Ninnes in the mid-1870's.

GA1914 - State Records of South Australia

Hundred of Ninnes School

Date Range: 1886 - 1933 Inventory of Series Description

The Hundred of Ninnes School opened in January 1886, with Margaret Cowan as the teacher. The school did not have teacher's residence attached.

In 1933, despite protests by local families, the school closed due to the fact that the average daily attendance at the school was less than 6. The remaining students transferred to other local schools or became students of the Correspondence School. The Hundred of Ninnes School building was transferred to Ardrossan School.

Contents Date Range Series Date Range Number of Units Public Access Series Id Series Title

1886 - 1927 1886 - 1927 1 Open GRS/6774 Admission registers - Ninnes School