Sat 14 Jan 1922 The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) Trove

By REV. ROBT. KELLY, of Ivanhoe, Victoria.

The excellent series of views of Central and Southern Yorke Peninsula published by the PIONEER Office brings to mind characters and events connected with the early days of settlement by the farming community. My first acquaintance with Yorketown was in the beginning of the year 1874. It was then known as " Weaner's Flat," and the post office kept by Mr. Edward Jacobs at his general store bore that designation. I do not think there was as much as a chain of macadamised road south pf Moonta at that time. Bits of the original forest remained in the as yet unformed streets of Yorketown, and the track to Editbburgh and other centres was something to be remembered. The boghole at Sheehan's Well, near the " Seven Roads," was a particularly lovely spot. Another treat was the "Peasey Swamp" on the way to Warooka, a town not then even named. Years aftewards I saw the results of the District Road Board's work from end to end of the Peninsula, and better roads could not be found anywhere. In the early 'seventies the old names were in common use. We had Salt Creek, Diamond Lake, Oyster Bay, Gum Flat, Yorke Valley, Kalkabury, and Parara. All these have been re-christened. Yorke Valley, of course, still describes the magnificent stretch of country extending from Urania to the north of Maitland. Many of those who took up land came from the districts south of Adelaide. There was a general movement just then. The northern areas were opening up as well, and there was a widespread desire for larger holdings and better opportunities. Stories were told of attempts to discourage the influx of the farmers. It was impossible to grow wheat, said those whose interests lay in other directions. The same thing was said of the North, but enterprising men were determined to try for themselves, and the issue was satisfactory, especially later on when scientific methods of cultivation were introduced.


The old regime was coming to a close, squatters' runs were being cut up, and in 1874 the surveyors' tents might be seen at Minlacowie and about. Mr. J. W. Jones, if memory serves, had charge of one party. He had previously carried out similar work on the Broughton. Mr. Leonard Giles occupied Penton Vale, and his lieutenant, Mr. Paddock, managed Gum Flat Station. Mr. W. Fowler's Moorowie station was in charge of Mr. Geo. Phillips, whose gracious hospitality I shall never forget. Mrs. Phillips was only one of many bravehearted Australian women who have faced the solitudes of the back country and pioneered for civilisation. The Polhills were at Tucock Cowie, Charles Gall at Orrie Cowie, Samuel Rogers at Yorke Valley, and the native mission station at Pt. Pearce was under the care of the Rev. W. J. Kuhn. The Bowmans reigned at Parara, and the copper mine of that name was managed by Capt. Tregoweth, a burly Cornishman with the best qualities of his race. All there was of Ardrossan was a few score of whitie pegs among the tussocks, but less than four years it became a solid-looking little town with excellent prospects. Wauraltee Plain was a hunting ground for the kangarooers, among whom Charlie Parenton was reckoned chief. At the 10-Mile Hut (Koolywurtie) an old shepherd named Glass had his headquarters, and at Mount Rat another called Rusbridge held the outpost. I knew these old chaps, and they had romances of their own and a history worth listening to.


Of Yorketown itself I can recall readily the names of some of the early residents. Jacobs kept the store, Rossiter the hotel, and Alden hoven the mill. The Newlyns and Geo. H. Heaney supplied the sadd lery, Jaehne was the blacksmith (this worthy citizen was accidentally killed by a fall from his horse). When the National Bank opened Mr. H. J. Hood was installed as mapager. Dr. Vonnida resided a little way out in the direction of Lake Fowler. Clergy were scarce. For 12 months or so I had the field to myself right up to Moonta and was called to Maitland and other distant parts to celebrate marriages etc. Presently, however, the Rev. J. Nancarrow (still active, I am glad to know) came on the scene in the Baptist interest. Father Church the Roman Catholics, and the Rev. J. H. Corvan the Anglicans. The i salt industry was in its infancy. Mr. Tocchi was working a lake near the township and something was being done at Lake Fowler, There was only faint promise of the big proportions of later years. There was a little friendly rivalry between Yorketown and Edithburgh as to which should claim to be the commercial centre of the district. The problem, I suppose, has been settled long ago.


But it is interesting to call to mind a spot that made some pretensions to the position of intellectual centre. Diamond Lake (now known as Honiton) was the Boston or the Athens of S.Y. P. Its " Institute '' and library, and periodical lectures and what not were quite a feature in the life of the early 'seventies. Mr. Robert Caldwell (afterwards M.P.), and his family connections, with the Daveys, Corrells, Algies, and a number of others kept this side of hfiman interest going, and thus helped to brighten existence for those who had their full share of toil and responsibility as new comers away from the more easily accessible lines of traffic.


Edithburgh always had its advantages as chief seaport, and it was blessed with a few enterprising men whose motto was " advance." Gottschalck and Klem were the pioneer merchants of the place. Names have changed but progress continues. Salt Creek (Coobowie) had a school of its own under Stephen Carter, but was noted chiefly as the harbor for the IUC sailing vessels " Edith Alice " and " Sailor Prince," which brought at first most of the goods for the settlers and did practically all of the passenger traffic. The Spencer Gulf steamers " Royal Shepherd " and " Lubra " used to call on their way, but a distinct stage was marked when the " Glenelg " was put on for the Peninsula trade. Her master, Captain Brimage, was highly popular, and deserved to be, j for no one could have shown greater consideration for his passengers, The "James Comrie " and the " Warooka " came later. My own experience of the gulf trip was gained early in 1874, on the small sailing boat "Sultana" (Captain Martin), and a dismal experience it was, only equalled by a two days' sail in the " Young St. George " a few months later. Unfortunately, it is easy to remember the painful things of life. It is usually the lot of the pioneers to do the rough and tumble work, and the new generation does not always appreciate the self-sacrifice of those that went before it.


Some who were young men in the 'seventies have distinguished themselves in public life or given son's and daughters to uphold the honor of a worthy name. The Hon. W. Kendall, M.L.C., of Victoria, was an enterprising farmer at Minlacowie. The Hon. D. J. Gordon, M.L.C., was a boy in Ardrossan who had proved the truth of the old Scotch saying that it is a great thing to have " guid forebears." The Rev. C. G. Teichelmann, who spent the years of his retirement in the vicinity of Stansbury, left children who filled a worthy place. A man of unusual parts was Mr. Jas. Gellert. the schoolmaster of Diamond Lake. A Jew by race, he was a christian by conviction and a man whose mental outlook was superior and striking. His descendants are represented in the world of literature. A quaint old Devonshire man was Lambert F. Bawden, of Hardwicke Bay, squatter and farmer in a small way a saint of the good old school, a musical enthusiast, and a mechanical genius in the particular art of manufacturing fiddles of all sizes, especially the bass viol Michael Kenny was an outstanding character, suggesting in some ways the great Daniel O'Connell, and an authority among those of his own nationality. Many of the first settlers have passed away, but those who are still with us remember them with respect. The pages of the PIONEER are liberally sprinkled with names that were familiar on the Lower Peninsula 48 years ago Evidently the children are satisfied that the fathers made a wise choice when elected to build their homes in such such a pleasant part of the State. They might easily go farther and fare worse-


Sat 4 Feb 1922 The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) Trove

BV REV. ROBERT KELLY, OF Ivanhoe, Victoria.


By " Northern " I mean the agricultural settlements to the North of Minlaton. The North and South ends of the Peninsula were occupied about the same time—in the early " seventies.'' The mid - portion came a little later. In 1874 there was a long lonely stretch from, say, Lake Sunday to the lower end of Yorke Valley. One might follow that track and see no one except the station people at Gum Flat. It was the same if you took the track from Mr. Williamson's just out from Moorowie. Occasionally a surveyor or a hunter might be met. At the 10-mile hut Mr. Glass would probably not be at home. The understood rule in that case was "Go in and help yourself." This primitive hospitality was seldom availed of, though the spirit of it was much appreciated. One of the beauty spots on the journey was the passage through the belt of mallee that separated the marly land of Wauraltee from the Urania plain. The scrub just here was taller and finer than the average, and the bird-life more plentiful than usual. It was always a pleasure to renew acquaiutance with this bit of nature. One seemed to find companionship, and it was like a welcome to a new region.


Certainly Yorke Valley was attractive. The evident richness of the soil, the massive tussocks of "blade grass." and the parklike appearance of the slopes, dotted over with sheoak (Casuarina), and 'on the East side particularly, with a larger growth of eucalyptus, suggested that this was quite a different country from what had just been left behind. No wonder that there was a rush for this, promising land. Men bought at £6 and more per acre. It turned out to be an excessive price, and it was a relief to many when the Surrender Act was passed, which allowed of repurchase. There was much criticism, however, at the time, and some felt that Commissioner Catt's concessions went too far. Anyway a number of settlers who saw difficulties before them were able to get on to their feet, and the prosperity of the district became assured. By 1876 Maitland was taking shape as a township, though in winter the streets were veritable bogs of sticky black mud. Mr. J. O. Tiddy had opened a store, Mr. Driscoll a hotel, and among the other tradespeople were Stevens (blacksmith), Woods (wheelwright), Harper (butcher), Lacey (blacksmith), Swann & Simeon (carpenters and builders), C. Hick (mason), and J. j Weidenbach (storekeeper)'. A Bank agency was opened with Mr. F. A. Braddock in charge. The want of a medical man was felt, and provision was made by public subscrip--tion. Dr. Baly, a young English doctor with first-class qualifications, was secured. He was followed by Drs. O'Grady and H. Ross Brown. A second hotel (Pearce's) was built, besides churches and other public buildings. The principal water supply was the " Well," situated near "Ynoo," Mr. S Rogers' head station, and adjarent to the home of the late Mr. H. Lamshed, M.P. The business of Mr. Tiddy was taken over by Mr. Albert Waterman for some time. As I am dependent largely on memory for details some names may have been lost sight of.


Kilkerran was settled early, the Hydes, Millers; Wards, Moodys, Elliotts, Clifls, Gordons, and Dutchkes being names that come readily to mind. A brave attempt was made by Mr. Robert Hyde to establish a vegetable garden in the scrub at Kilkerran. A likely spot was chosen, and, in spite of all the difficulties, the old gardener (Mitchell) achieved surprising success.

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. Port Victoria also was coming on and among the first business men were Messrs. Hincks; Feltus, and Harrington. A few sections were occupied at Weetulta and Kalkabury, Messrs. Kitto and T. B. Wicks settling at the first, and Messrs. Colliver Murnane, Crosby, Triplett, Winzer, and Cook at the second. There were many others, of course. Among the happenings of this time were the wreck of the '' Agnes "' off Point Pearce in October, 1876, the opening of the telegraph to Maitland on June 13,1877, and the first lighting of the Tipara Light on Auguat 20, 1877. This lastnamed event I witnessed from the Tipara district.


Minlaton at this period was moving and there was a good demand for township lots. In 1876 among the new arrivals were Messrs. F. Baker, Long, Wilson, McKenzie Bros., D. Teichelmann, Foulis. and in Koolywurtie, Messrs J C. Tonkin, Rickaby, and C. Maple. Wauraltee life centred around the store of Messrs. Leonard. In the district were Messrs. G. Illman,. Duthie, Bowey, W. and J. Kelly, Fraser. Crocker, J. Williams and nearer Port Victoria, Messrs. C. Edson, and C. Hoffrichter. About Mount Rat there were Messrs. T. C. and W. S. Reade, A. Joyce, Evan Davis, and Humberstone. These again are only a few names that easily come back after a long lapse of years. I cannot speak intimately of later developments, having been up to 1898 only an occasional visitor, but I can say that the pioneer settlers throughout the Peninsula were a fine, sturdy set of people, men and women alike, who did not mind working hard and roughing it until returns began to come, thus rewarding their enterprise and self-denial.


Sat 1 Apr 1922 The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) Trove


By REV. ROBERT KELI.Y, of Ivanhoe, Victoria.

In 1874 the mails were carried by the vessels that traded to the southem part of the Peninsula. On my first visit we left Glenelg in the ketch Sultana (which, I believe, was known as the "mail boat") about 8 o'clock on Friday evening:, January 23, of that year. The boat was crammed with passengers, all more or less ill. We landed at Sultana Bay in the morning, and after refreshments at the Captain's house (Capt. A. Martin) I left on horseback for Weaner's Flat, accompanied by George Klem, who carried the mail-bags before him on his saddle. I think Gottschalk & Klem (George's brother Otto, now of Corny Point), had the contract for the mails. It was a rough ride— stones, dust, and heat making it very uncomfortable after the night's tossing on the water. Later on additional mails were sent from Adelaide overland. Mr. Scott, of Lake Sunday, had the contract for these; and- drove a buggy and pair twice a week to the Hummocks. I cannot say exactly when this began, but in June, 1875, I had an experience of the trip. I was the only passenger, and we left Kulpara at 4p.m. It was bitterly cold, and the roads were flooded. About Kainton and Kalkabury we drove through long stretches of water, reaching nearly to the axles. The road was narrow—a mere cut in the mallee—so that one could not get off the track. Occasionally the horses stuck up. and had their places changed. Now and then the driver slept and I took the reins, At Kalkabury post-office (farmhouse) we had coffee about 11 p.m ; at Maitland, about 1 a.m., made some tea in a back room at Driscoll's hotel, reaching the 10-mile hut at Koolywurtie about 9, Gum Flat 10-30, and Yorketown after 2 o'clock. I don't know how much Scott was paid for his work, but I am sure it was well earned. The overland mail must have been running for some time before this, because late in April, 1874, it was robbed, and many people suffered loss on account of this. I forget who had the contract at the time. If memory serves correctly the mailcart ran from Green's Plains at this earlier date—I am not certain on the point. Mail bags were found after the robbery, but I think there was no conviction. With the advent of more regular steam communication to Edithburgh, Stansbury and Ardrossan the whole system of mail transport was changed for the better.