Forty Tears Reminiscences on Southern Yorke's Peninsula.
By Mr. W. Correll
In the early part of the year 1870 Messrs James Brown, George Hoare, Thomas Correll, James Davey, James Dugan, senr. and jnr , came to Southern Yorke's Peninsula to settle on their selections near what is now known as Seven Roads in the Troubridge Agricultural Area. They had taken up land under the Strangways Land Act.
These pioneers, who have now gone to their rest had a hard time at first, as their selections had been fed off until not a bite of grass was left. It was difficult to get supplies, as their was only a small sailing craft trading about once a fortnight. Stock had to be fed on sheoak. The pioneer farmers received a weekly mail overland from Adelaide through the courtesy of Mr L . H . Giles, the manager of the Pentonvale station. A district council was formed and roads were cleared. A small jetty was built at Point De Mole now called Edithburgh. Steamers trading to Wallaroo called in and storekeepers and tradesmen came and settled in in the village. In a few years the seasons became more dry and red rust made its appearance. The kinds of wheat then grown were not so rust resistant as those now used. The farmers grew wheat year after year on the same land until the land began to grow sick, oats and barley were then tried but low prices and not much -demand soon put an end to that. A large industry was worked up with hay and has been maintained till the present. At one time bricks were made near Lake Fowler but the clay turned out to be unsuitable. Before the farmers came the owners of Pentonvale station had had the salt from the many lagoons bagged and carted to the seaboard but as there was no market for it, the salt was left there until the bags rotted away. The salt trade was afterwards taken in hand by Mr Thos. Woods, then followed Henry Berry & Co. who put up refineries at the various lakes. Now, as is well-known, the refining of the salt is all done at Edithburgh where the factories work day and night. The Gypsum ( sulphate of lime) which there are thousands of tons round some of the lakes has become a trade of considerable extent and gives constant employment to a number of men and teams. In the eighties we had a run of late and dry seasons, many of the settlers and tradespeople left the district. The farmers tried pig raising, poultry and sheep. At that time very little wheat went to market and at one time sheaved hay had no commercial value, the pick of a yard of horses could be bought for £10 or £12. The run of dry seasons had some redeeming features. In the seasons when the winter rains did not come till about June the salt on the lakes considerably increased in quantity and the cockspur which had overrun many farms, died out the years were too dry for it to mature its seed. The farmer of to-day owes a good deal of his success to those gentlemen who have spent so much of their time in cultivating and selecting new varieties of wheat of good milling, good yielding and rust resisting qualities. Better kinds of grain in wheat, oats and barley, together with the use of phosphates have made the farmer prosperous in a way he never knew before. For quite a number of years the lambing trade has been good and barley for malting purposes has been largely grown with good profits. At one time the losses of cattle from dry bible was so great that farmers were compelled to turn to the goat for the milk supply. Lime burning is an industry that has been steadily increasing since the early days of the farmers. The first kilos were worked at Edithburgh and now large kilns are in many places along the coast. During the last 20 years we have a had variety of weather conditions. Some years we have had many days of south east winds in the summer months and other years hardly any. Then again we have had some vears when thunder storms were freque and cloudy days and very little rain, and others plenty rain with very little cloud. I have noticed that the years when very little south east wind blew in February and March, were dry years. Much south east wind early in the year, say January, was mostly followed by too early rains and then dry winter. Some years we have had two -layers or strata cloud moving in different directions or in the same direction at different speeds—with these conditions we have had thunderstorms and good rain. It does not appear to be the want of cloud, but the want of the necessary electrical conditions to precipitate the moisture, that causes the dry seasons.
In the Early Days On Southern Yorke Peninsula.
Mr. W. Correll of 18 Ascot Avenue, Dulwich, writes:—I saw by the PIONEER your reference to the early pioneer farmers visiting Yorketown Show, also your clipping re the stumpjump plow. As l am the oldest one left of those who on me with the five first selectors a reminiscence might be of interest. I will give the names in the order the selections were made under the Strangways Act, 1869 : James Brown, Alma Plains ; George Hoare, Alma Plains ; Thomas Correll, Hurtle Vale; James Davey, Angaston; James Dugan, Penwortham. The selections were all made between Seven Roads and Diamond Lake, and each one was on his selection in March, 1870. Messrs. Brown and Hoare were single men. These selectors have all gone to their long home. Mr. Brown had a shepherd's hut on his block ; others had to live in tents for a while. The selections had good feed on when they were taken up, but none when we came to work them. Sheaoak had to be used for feed, and it was difficult to get chaff. We had good early rains, and feed soon grew. We received a mail overland once a week, which came in Messrs. Anstey & Giles' mail bag to Penton Vale. Mr. Harry Stockings came with Mr. Davey, and brought his family ; Messrs. Dugan, senr. and jnnr., also brought their families ; my father brought me and a younger brother. As there was plenty of clear land on all the selections the plows were got to work at once, a 2-furrow being the largest plow on the settlement. I plowed over 60 acres with a single-furrow plow. There were no seed sowers or drills in those days— all had to be sown by hand. We had a good season, and our crop went bushels per acre. The results of our first harvest brought a lot more selectors. Many of them had to clear the timber off first, which by hand grubbing was a slow game. As there were a number of bullock teams about the trees were pulled out by the roots. A long strong chain or a wire cable was fastened up as high as possible, and 6 or 8 bullocks soon had the tree down. The chain sometimes broke, but that did not hinder the work long, for the teamaster wound into the two end links a small coil of fencing wire, and soon had a link stronger than the one that had broken. It was a bit lonely at first, but Mr. Davey had a mason building a house who was a Methodist local preacher, and he held service in a large tent. This brought the settlers together, and relieved the monotony. After the first harvest, when the fresh settlers had settled down, a small building was erected at Honiton which served as a school (Mr. S. Carter as teacher) and also as a place of worship. The pioneer settlers were a fine lot of fellows. They arranged picnics, which were enlivened by songs and recitations. A Mutual Improvement Society was formed, and those who had books donated some and formed a library at Honiton. I look back with pleasure to the evenings spent there. We had a few good seasons, then a run of dry ones, and as we cropped the same land year after year with wheat Takeall made its appearance— but it did not take the wi!d oats or coakspor—and red rust was prevalent. Some change had to be made. Farmers began to keep a few sheep, and these soon lessened the cockspur pest, and fallowing was practised Thanks are due to such men its Messrs Marshall, Farrow, Gluyas, King, Steinwedel, and others who raised new varieties of early ripening and rust resisting wheats. Hay was cut largely for some years until it became of little commercial value. The early settlers had communication with Port Adelaide by means of a small vessel called the Omeo, sailed by a jovial old skipper, Alex. Raid. This boat was the regular trader for the stations, and was also the pub. Amongst the second year's selectors were a number of Germans, who enlivened the district with brass band music. As the selectors got settled a District Council was formed and roads were cleared. Storekeepers and tradespeople came. Mr. E. Jacobs opened a store near the corner where Erichsen's store now stands. The township was then called Weaners' Flat, it being the station lambing paddock Mr Jacobs was also the first post-master Mr. Wm. F. Friebe, Mr. H. Till, and Mr. H. Newlin had shops at Seven Roads as bootmakers and harness makers. A township was surveyed there, but it was considered too near Edithburgh, and after a time Messrs Friebe and Newlin removed to Weaners Fiat, now called Yorketown. The shipping place for some time was at Salt Creek, now called Coobowie and in busy times teams had to wait sometimes all day to get their load of wheat off, as the boat had to unload as well as take wheat. Two ketches were added to the trade—the Sai or Prince (Captain Reid) the Edith Alice (Captain Heath). A small jetty was made at Edithburgh. It was only wide enough for a truck, ran out to where the boat steps are at present, and had a platform and a derrick at the end. Mr. A. Martin ran a cutter called the Sultana until a syndicate purchased a small steamer, the James Comrie then regular service was established. By this time a good many settlers had made homes in the adjoining Hundreds of Dalrymple and Warooka ; and a lot of their trade passed through the Troubridge area. It may be news to many to know that bricks were made by Mr. T. Wood from the clay of a small lagoon north of lake Fowler, but the clay being unsuitable the bricks cracked in the burning, and the manufacture was stopped. One of the redeeming features of the run of dry seasons in the 70's and 80's was to incease the quantities of salt on the lakes, and the easily gathered salt did much for the salt industry. News of a new kind of a plow got among the settlers, and soon one was brought into the district. I went to see it at work near Wattle Point. It. was a cumbersome affair, with the plow bodies bolted to long heavy beams hung by the head to the front part of a square frame, so that the plow body could be lifted as on a hinge. When at work the beams and plow would sometimes nearly stand on end and come down on the back bar of the frame with a clank that could be heard sections away. It ran on four small wheels, and was kept in the ground by the weight of plow bodly and the heavy beam and weight. This plow which we will call NO. 1, had only a short innings, as they were made much lighter and kept in the ground by what is now known as the bridle draught, the draught being attached to a lever on the front of the plow, then to the plow body by a bridle. These plows did good work, but, the bridle being attached to the plow body, caught all stones and rubbish. To obviate this a horn was attached to the underpart of the beam. Some makers put the horn in front of the king bolt, come directly under it; but the best p!ace was found to be a little behind it. Most of the blacksmiths began making this No 2 pattern plow. There was diversity of makes—some made them with weight oni as well as bridles, some with long beams and the plow made movable, aud some farmers would put the plows as far back on the beams as they could get them, and then wondered why the plow would not go in the ground but hang up when it came in contact with a root or stone. No amount of arguing would convince some of them that the further they put the share point back from under the king bolt the further they were getting away from the leading principle of the jump plow. Some makers did not seem to understand the principle of the bridle draught and sent them out with weights on, which were mostly thrown away. Some made no extra holes in the draught lever so that more leverage could be put on for hard ground Others made a good implement, but spoiled it for good work by a badly set mouldboard. To bring the dif ferent makes together a plowing match was arranged and held near Oaklands, and makers from far and near had plows there. Amongst them Mr. C. H Smith, of Ardrossan, came with No 3. make, and scooped the pool. The frame of his plow was ; carried by two large wheels on a cranked axle and had a smaller wheel in front which ran in the furrow. Other makers soon got to work making this No. 3 pattern plow. The late Mr. S. Bracegirdle, of Edith burgh, sold a well-made 3 furrow, which did good work, for £22, and I had one of them. At first these plows had the pull-out lever at the back of the plow: if the reins were not to long ones you had to let them go to pull the lever down. I altered mine to a more convenient place, and, as far as I know, was the first man to put a seat on a stumpjump plow. The principle of the plow brought out by the late Mr. C. H. Smith has not been altered except in minor details for convenience or fancy. Some like them with spring pressure, but I prefer the bridle draught. There is still room for a little improvement in the way of making the team pull the plow out of the ground. Attempts have been made to do this, but as they were not on the right principle they did not work well—but still it can be done. The stumpjump plow has proved itself to be one of the best inventions for the man on the land, and has enabled many thousands of acres to be cultivated that could not otherwise have been done. Yorke Peninsula is the home of the stumpjump plow.
Mr. William Correll, who died at Fullarton, was in his 84th year. He was a brother of the late Mr. E. Correll, of Minlaton, and was the oldest of those who came with the first five settlers to Southern Yorke Peninsula in 1870. Mr. Correll was a successful farmer in the Edithburgh district. About 16 years ago he left to reside at Dulwich. His wife predeceased him and the surviving members of the family are.— Mrs. E. L. Hart (Fullarton), Mrs. Hocking (W.A.). Miss E. M. Correll (Melbourne), Miss Ethel Correll (Rose Park). Mr. F. M. Correll (Port Pirie), and Mr. W. Correll, of ihe Adelaide Milling Company.
Mrs. Thomas Correll, whose death re-cently occurred, was the younger daughter of Mr. Robert Stevenson, of county Tyrone, where she was born in 1831. In 1849 she came to South Australia, and in 1851 married the late Mr. Thomas Correll. They settled on a farm at Hurtle Vale. In 1871 they went to Yorke Peninsula, where she remained until the beginning of 1919, when she left on account of failing health. She died at the residence of her son, Mr. Robert Correll, at Fullarton. Mrs. Correll, who was left a widow in 1892, was held in high esteem by all who knew her. Six sons and four daughters survive. Gardening was Mrs. Correll's hobby, and she pursued it with characteristic thorough ness till she reached her 88th year.