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District Council of Yorke Peninsula - History of Weetulta
Weetulta was originally spelt "Wetulta" and in the aboriginal dialect meant "Winter Water"*.
*Governor Fergusson's Legacy. Page 40
It was in this locality where Samuel Rogers, one of the early pioneers of the peninsula, had an outstation for his 32,388 hectare (80,000 acre) property. About 15 kilometres (9 miles) away is Tiparra Springs, a source of good, fresh water in a native well among the sandhills. It was this well whence came the water for the Moonta miners in the 1860's*. *Weetulta-Nalyappa Centenary 1875-1975. Page 2
The rainfall here averages about 42 centimetres (16 ½ inches)* per year and as the population of the district increased, the government built dams to retain the water. There was one built about 6.4 kilometres (4 miles) west of here, in 1890. In the same year Moonta received piped water from the Beetaloo-Bundaleer reservoirs**.
*Weetulta-Nalyappa Centenary 1875-1975. Page 11 *Weetulta-Nalyappa Centenary 1875-1975. Page 8
Another source of water on Cape Elizabeth, which is at that point on the coastline, was at Nalyappa springs on the northern side of the Cape and also among sandhills.
The property containing the springs was once owned by Captain Hancock of Moonta mines fame. He called the property Nalyappa which is said to be aboriginal meaning "water in a circle of hills"*. *Weetulta-Nalyappa Centenary 1875-1975. Page 3
Baker and Grocer at Weetulta - State Library of South Australia - B 21277
Methodist Church at Weetulta 1912 - State Library of South Australia - B 30937
Students of the Weetulta School 1922 - State Library of South Australia - B 30942
Around the Farms. Mr C. A. Brown, of Groseville.
A four mile cycle spin brought us to Groseville, which is the residence of Mr C. A. Brown, and is situated on the southern bouadry of Weetnlta. Standing as it does on an elevated position, with the landscape towards the west, the surrounding country could be seen to great advantage, while away on the horizon a huge steamer, like one of Togo's dark monsters, could be seen pouring out clouds of smoke as she sped over the waters of Spencer's Gulf. The sun had opened the flowers, the piping and twittering of the native songsters could be heard in the groves and the sleek cattle and horses moved listlessly about as, human like, they enjoyed the warm sunlight of Spring tempered by the soft breezes which came up off the sea, some three miles distant. After refreshments, an inspection of the crops was make and, on driving round the fields, we had ample evidence of the fact that the ancient prediction, at any rate, in a material sense, had literally come to pass and that the one time wild and practically useless "desert" has indeed been made to "blossom as the rose," Six years ago this tract of country was almost valueless but with proper cultivation and the use of artificial manures Mr Brown has transformed his holding into a profitable estate. Early fallow, early sowing and early reaping are the rule at Groseville and already the binder is at work on a beautiful crop of King's Early which should yield something like two tons per acre while a fine crop of the Boomerang variety is also ready for the mower. Splendid crops of Marshall's, Gamma, Silver King and Steinwedel were inspected in due course the latter being particularly well headed. A crop of Cape Oats, being rather short for hay, is to be reaped and should certainly give a good return. Taken on the whole the Groseville crops, which are of 700 acres extent, are exceedingly promising and a good harvest is practically assured. About 30 horses provide the motive power on the farm among which are teams which have a fine reputation for heavy waggon work. Mr Brown keeps a nice class of Meriono sheep and generally succeeds in getting top price among local growers for his clip. It might be mentioned that, as is usually the case, his wool was the first from the district this year to reach the market and has already been sold at a satisfactory figure. A vineyard was laid out a couple of years age; the vines are thriving and are now coming into bearing. Melons grow splendidly on the fallow land and turnips are produced wholesale, an acre plot in the field yielding several dayloads this season. Water conservation has had proper attention in the form of numerous tanks and dams, some of which have not been empty for years past. At the homestead are the now usual indications of prosperity in the shape of spacious stone barns, stables and yards, the latter having barb wires fixed on top thus making them practically proof against poultry. A large stone structure, 60 x 26 feet just completed and fitted with running doors is now ready for the new season's hay. A chaffcutter with elevators is in use together with a strong set of horseworks which, however, will probably be superseded by an oil engine at no distant date. A tidy's smith's shop is provided and from work inspected it was easily seen that at the forge Mr Brown is anything but a novice, while the disposition of tools, appliances &c about the homestead showed that the principal of "a place for everything and everything in its place" is rigidly adhered to. Glancing at his poultry it was noticed that the breeds most favoured are Golden Wyandottes and White Leghorns. Mr Brown mentioned that for egg production he has found that the latter, especially, are not easily beaten. The owner of Groseville is a successful competitor at the country shows and for years past has been a prize winner. He has already gained awards for wool, wheat, oats, barley, &c, this season. Mr Brown has achieved considerable success in the cricket field and only the other day was top scorer in a match against a neighbouring team. During the evening, and before leaving Groseville, a game of draughts was proposed when the fact soon became apparent that our hospitable host possessed a grasp of the illusive and intricate board which renders him an opponent by no means to be despised, a remark which equally applies to his good lady whose marked ingenuity is manifested in various ways in and around their comfortable home.
Around the Farms. Mr T. B. Wicks, of Fairfield.
Few names are better known and none more respected among the residents of Weetulta than that of Mr T. B. Wicks, of Fairfield. Tempted in the earlier days by the broader areas and consequently larger scope for farming operations, Mr Wicks and his family originally migrated to this district, selecting land about midway between Moonta and Maitland. The usual difficulties encountered by settlers in a new country had to be contended with but, as time passed by, the land was cleared, fences and buildings erected and tanks and dams provided for the conservation of water. The land, unaided by manures, proved fairly productive, but since the advent of the grain drill splendid returns have been harvested by Mr Wicks and his family. His holding has steadily increased and now, in addition to cultivation on a considerable scale, sheep farming is successfully carried on. In fencing, Mr Wicks has adopted the use of jarrah posts instead of mallee and these with iron posts make a neat and durable fence. We were informed that the former are very little more expensive than mallee posts and at the same time last much longer. The house stands on a nice rise a couple of acres of which has been planted with vines and these apparently thrive well. The vintage this season has been very good and a quantity of the Muscatel variety is being prepared for raisins. A patent bird scarer was noticed which it is claimed proves very effectual in keeping away the feathered pest. This machine, in the centre of the vineyard, automatically fires off crackers at regular intervals and the wary crow and sparrow dreading the sportsman's gun take care to keep a respectable distance from what they seem to regard as an invisible gun. Tree planting has had attention with the result that there are some attractive groves and plots near the homestead. A very nice class of horses, both draughts and baggy ponies were noticed while Merino sheep are most favored on the farm. The sheds, stables, &c, are of a roomy and permanent character and a fine oil engine with the usual chaffcutter, elevators, &c, provide the animals with short feed. Great care has been taken in the selection of machinery and implements with the result that only those of standard quality are to be found at Fairfield. Mr Wicks' two sons have homes not far distant from the homestead. Music, painting, and photography form some of the pastimes of the Misses Wicks who certainly excel in these refining and elevating arts. Mr Wicks is an old and prominent Councillor and his name has long been associated with religions work. A beautiful new church has recently been erected at Weetulta and in the work connected with this he and his family take a prominent part.
Around the Farms. Mr A. Wearing of Wearing Grove.
A comfortable residence, situated on a picturesque rise, with a lovely wooded slope towards the north constitutes Wearing Grove, the home of Mr A, Wearing who is a descendant of the family of the late Judge Wearing, who was lost in the wreck of the ill-fated steamer Gotbenburgh some years ago. Settling on the Peninsula In the earlier days Mr Wearing added his quota to the work of subduing the wild land, and is one of those fortunate farmers who has lived to see prosperous farms merge out of the rugged, timbered, land of fifteen or twenty years ago. Fortunately the spot chosen by Mr Wearing proved to be particularly well adapted for treatment by the use of phosphatic manuers, with the result that during later years the records of Wearing Grove shows some very fine crop returns. This year, in spite of the dry spring, the prospects are decidedly good. One fine field of some 400 acres on the Nalyappa road is extremely promising and unless smitten in the later stages by some destructive agency will give a splendid return. A wire-netting fence around this property proves of great benefit as a check to the rabbit nuisance. Haymaking is commencing on the farm and the cut of hay is satisfactory. The deadly horse disease recently caused great destruction in Mr Wearing's stables, some six or seven fine animals having been suddenly stricken down. Among these were some of the most valuable horses on the farm. The Government Veterinary Surgeon was approached on the matter and attributed the death of the horses to the effects of blood worms. Some very nice horses may still be seen in the Wearing Grove stables. A promising two-year-old colt particularly caught the eye of the visitors. For this animal Mr Wearing secured prizes both at the Moonta and Maitland shows this season. A good class of merino sheep are kept on the farm at the homestead well finished and convenient draughting and branding yards have been fitted up. Pigs are in evidence on the farm and these are of a class which always find a ready market. Proper accommodation in the shape of small paddocks with proper arrangements for watering is provided for these. A good deal of at tention is also given to poultry and an endeavour to still further improve the breeds is being made by the importation of selected stock from the well-known Groseville yards, a remark which also applies to the pigs on the farm. The buildings about the homestead are all of permanent character and include a large stable, chaff shed, shearing shed, buggy shed and accommodation for implements and machinery, which was all of modern type. The water from the spacious roofs is retained in large galvanized iron tanks placed side by side against the building and these being connected by means of piping and stop cocks may each be filled from the other. A cement cricket pitch near the homestead was noticed and it was ascertained that the proprietor takes considerable interest in the popular game having at one time held the position of captain of the Weetulta team and it was understood that in local records some very creditable work stands to the credit of our courteous and obliging host. Mr Wearing, who has been connected with the District Council of Clinton for some years past, is now having Wearing Grove connected by telephone with Anna Villa, the residence of his brother-in-law, Mr J. P. Ferguson, some three or four miles distant, and the means of communication will prove great advantage to both parties.
FALL FROM A HORSE.
Mr. A. W. Wearing fell from a horse he was riding at his farm, Weetulta, on July 31. He was rounding up sheep when the horse's hoof became entangled in loose fencing wire and stumbled. Mr. Wearing sustained a badly bruised shoulder and leg.
Mr. A. W Wearing of Moonta, has donated £500, towards the Tippara Congregational Church building fund.
MR. A. W. WEARING
Mr. Allan W. Wearing, who died at Moonta on March 20, was one of the best-known residents of the district. He was the son of the late Mr. Alexander Wearing, and was born at Cook's Creek in 1864. He went to reside at Weetulta about 50 years ago, being one of the pioneer settlers of that district. For 26 years he represented Weetulta Ward in the Clinton District Council, being elected unopposed on each occasion. He occupied the position of chairman of the council for two terms (covering a period of nine years). During his residence at Weetulta he was chairman of the school committee, and took an active interest in the Tiparra church for 36 years. He was actively associated with the Moonta A.H. and F. Society for the past 25 years, and was president at he time of his death. He was a member of the Moonta High School council and primary school committee; a foundation member of the Moonta Bowling Club (of which he was patron for several years); a member of the Moonta Jubilee Hospital board, of the local branch of the D.T.N.S., and of the Moonta institute committee, of which he was president for some years. Mr. Wearing was a member of the Weetulta Cricket Club for 49 years, and captain and secretary for 25 years. During his residence at Moonta he was associated with the Methodist church, and, as in all other institutions with which he was connected, lent his interest and help. He leaves a widow and one son.
LATE MR A. W. WEARING. GOOD COUNCILLOR AND CITIZEN.
One of the best known and highly itemed residents of the town and district, in the person of. Mr Allan W. Wearing, passed away at his residerice, Caroline street, Moonta, on Sunday' morning, March' 20,- following, a comparatively brief illness. Deceased, who was the son of the late Mr. Alexander Wearing, was born at Cook's Creek in 1864, and came to-reside at Weetulta about 50 years ago, being one of the pioneer settlers of that district, opening up some of the first scrub country on the advent of mullenized farming. He was always progressive in his farming methods, and farmed successfully, having extensive interests in the Weetulta district. For 26 years he represented Weetulta ward in the Clinton district council (taking his seat on the retirement of the late Mr R. EL. Kitto), and was elected unopposed on each occasion He occupied the position of chairman ol the council for a term of four years, and during his long association with that body had worked assiduously and exercised his influence consistently in the interests of the whole of the district. During his residence at Weetulta, he served the school committee as chairman, and took an active interest in the Tiparra Congregational church for 36 years (of which, he was a great supporter), and helped to build the first church there. He was actively associated with the Moonta A., H. and F. Society for the past 25 years, and was president at the time of his death. He was at all times solicitous for the welfare of the society, and his last generous act in that connection was a donation of £50. He was a member of the Moonta High School and Primary school committees, a foundation member of the Moonta bowling club (holding the position of patron for a number of years), a member of the Moonta institute committee, (serving a term as president), a member of the Moonta Jubilee Hospital Board, and also the local branch of the Moonta District Trained Nursing Society (rendering material assistance to the latter body on several occasion). All legitimate sport had his patronage and support (holding from time to time the positions of patron and president of many such bodies), and was a member of the Weetulta cricket club for some 49 years, and served as captain and, secretary for 25 years. During his residence at Moonta (some 14 years), he was associated with the Methodist church, and, as in all other institutions with which he was connected, lent his interest and help. The late Mr Wearing was of a genial, generous, and kindly disposition, and was scrupulous in all his business and private transactions. He had befriended many, and his demise is generally regretted for a wide circle of friends, as well as many institutions. His father was of an exploring disposition, and a well, 70 miles inland from Fowler's Bay bears his name. The late Mr Wearing's uncle, Judge Wearing, was drowned on the ill-fated Gothenberg. There are left a widow and one son (Stow). Mr J. Wearing of Parkside, is a brother, and Mrs J. Mcintosh (Ardrossan), Mrs R. C. Kitto and Miss Wearing (Moonta)' are sisters.
Mrs. A. P. Wearing:
Mrs. Annie Paton Wearing, 70, relict of Mr. A. W. Wearing, died at her home, Caroline street, Moonta, on October 16, following an illness extending over several months. She was born at Salisbury, and was the daughter of the late Rev. J. R. Ferguson, she accompanied her parents to Weetulta when 18, and at the age of 30 was married to Mr. Wearing.
They continued to reside at Weetulta until about 20 years ago, when they took up their residence at Moonta. Mr. Wearing died in March, 1932. They lost two young daughters, Bessie in 1907 (through meningitis) and Amy in 1917 (through drowning), and their eldest son, Alexander James, in 1922 was fatally injured while working a tractor on his father's farm at Weetulta. Mr. A. S. (Stow) Wearing is the only surviving member of the family. Three brothers and one sister also survive, Mr. J. P. Ferguson, Moonta; Mr. A. B. Ferguson. Weetulta; Mr. Hugh Fereuson, N.S.W. : and Mrs. McEwin. Blyth. Mrs. Wearing was a foundation member of the Tiparra Congregational Church, and on taking up her residence at Moonta linked up with the local Methodist Church.
THE LATE MRS. A. W. WEARING
Mrs. Annie Paton Wearing, relict of the late Mr. A. W. Wearing, who was in her seventy-first year, was born at Salisbury, and was the daughter of the late Rev. J. R. Ferguson. When 18 years of age she went to Weetulta to keep house for her two brothers, Messrs. J. P. and A. B. Ferguson, and at the age of 30 was married to Mr. Wearing. They continued to reside at Weetulta until about 20 years ago, when they took up their residence at Moonta. Mr. Wearing died in March, 1932. They were called upon to suffer sad bereavement—losing two young daughters, also their eldest son. Mrs. Wearing bore these sorrows with great spirit and fortitude, which characteristics were also evinced during her illness. Mr. A. S. Wearing is the only surviving member of the family. Three brothers and one sister also survive, viz., Mr. J. P. Ferguson, Moonta; Mr. A. B. Ferguson, Weetulta; Mr. Hugh Ferguson, N.S.W.; and Mrs. McEwin, Blyth. The late Mrs. Wearing was a foundation member of the Tiparra Congregational Church, and, on taking up her residence in Moonta, linked up with the local Methodist church. She was a generous supporter of these churches, as well as other religious bodies, and as the result of her sterling qualities and many acts of benevolence was generally esteemed.
CONGREGATIONAL A beautiful memorial window in honor of the late Mrs. Wearing senr., was unveiled by Miss Wearing, in the Tiparra West church. despite the heat the building was full. The dedicatory prayer was delivered by the Rev. E. J. Stacy (secretaryn of the union), who is also a former pastor of the church.
YOUNG FARMER'S TRAGIC DEATH.
MOONTA, July 18.— Alexander Wearing (18), eldest son of Mr. Allen Wearing, a retired farmer of Moonta, was found dead at his father's farm, Weetulta, at midday on Monday. Mr. Joseph Burnell, proceeding to Kilkerran, noticed a tractor in a peculiar position in an adjoining paddock. He discovered that Wearing, jun., was pinned beneath the motor. The lad had left his home at Moonta that morning to plough a paddock with the tractor, and it is assumed that in attempting to negotiate heavy sand the tractor somersaulted backwards and pinned the driver beneath. Medical examination showed that death was caused by abdominal injuries. Deceased was a bright and intelligent lad, and deep sympathy is felt for the parents, who have had a train of misfortunes, this being the third child who has met death under tragic circumstances.
KILLED WHILE FARMING.
Mr. Alexander Jamts Wearing, son of Councillor Allan Wearing, of Moonta, lost his life on Sunday. Mr. James Burnell was driving from Moonta to Kilkerran during the early part of the afternoon, and when in the vicinity of Weetulta, he noticed a Fordson tractor in a paddock in a peculiar position. He went to investigate, and found Mr. Wearing, who was 18 years of age, underneath it dead. He had apparently been ploughing in the paddock which was sandy, and the plough had got stuck. The tractor had tilted and fallen baok on him. Mr. Wearing was a promising young man, and had recently undertaken the work of farming his father's land. Some time ago his parents lost two daughters, one by drowning and the other suddenly by meningitis.
COUNTRY FATALITIES MOONTA. March 24.
A drowning case occurred at Moornta Mines on Saturday evening, when the only daughter of Mr. Allan Wearing, of Weetulta, farmer, fell into a tank. Mr. and Mrs. Wearing had driven into town with their two children in the early afternpon on business, and were returning. At 5 o'clock they called upon a friend, Mrs. Cuthbert, of Moonta Mines, and were in the house chatting, when a grandson of Mrs. Cuthbert, two and a half years old, toddled in and said "Bessie, water." The parents rushed out to find the child in the tank. The father immediately jumped in to rescue her. Efforts were made without avail to restore animation, while a doctor was sent for. The child was evidently in the tank for ten minutes before the alarm was given. The little one was aged five and a half years, and an exceptionally bright child. The loss has completed prostrated the parents.
Obituaries of the Week. The Rev. J. R. Fergusson.
The Rev. J. R. Fergusson, a retired Congregational minister died on Wednesday 8 at the residence of his son (Mr. A. B. Fergusson), Weetulta, Maitland. The deceased who had reached the age of 81, was born in Scotland, where he received his training for the ministry. After some years of ministerial work in Scotland he arrived in South Australia on Christmas Day, 1864. ln the following year he undertook the pastorate of the Salisbury Congregational Church. He remained in that sphere for 17 years, during a part of which period he also had the oversight of the Golden Grove Presbyterian Church. In 1874 he occupied the chair of the South Australian Congregational Union. In 1882 he retired from the active ministry, having taken up some of the newly surveyed land at Weetulta, where he entered with his sons upon farming pursuits. For many years he rendered valuable assistance to the Congregational Churches at Maitiand, Kilkerran, and Tiparra West. The deceased who was twice married, had been a widower for about 30 years. Three sons and three daughters survive him—Messrs. Hugh Fergusson of Victoria; John and Alexander B. Fergusson, of Weetulta; and Mesdames A, McEwin, of near Clare; Young, of Warnertown; and A. Wearing of Weetulta.
SILVER WEDDING. MR. AND MRS. A. B. FERGUSON HONORED.
A large number of friends and relatives gathered at the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Ferguson, "Bairdslea." Weetulta, on Tuesday, 11th inst,. the occasion being the anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson's silver wedding. The guests sat down to a high tea, served in a very efficient and elaborate manner by Mrs. Ferguson and her daughters.
Mr Oliver Payne (who was Mr. Ferguson's best man) proposed the toast of "Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson," and said Mr. Ferguson was a citizen of the best type. He had always taken a prominent part in those things which were for the benefit of his fellow man. Amongst some of the positions Mr. Ferguson had held were president of the Weetulta football and tennis clubs and Woodlands cricket club, president of the Moonta A. H. & F. Society and of the Moonta Agricultural Bureau, president of the Moonta High School Council and Weetulta School Board, president of the Y.P. Christian Endeavor Union, vice-president of the Weetulta C.E. Society and Band of Hope, and for 21 years was secretary and treasurer of the Weetulta Church Trust. Mr. Ferguson also served Agery ward as a Councillor for nine years, and for over 30 years had been a very acceptable lay preacher. Mrs. Ferguson, although not publicly con-nected with the activities of her hus-band, had, through self-sacrifice and loyalty, worthily supported the good work done by him. Messrs J. Olifent and A. McEwin supported Mr Payne in his remarks, which was followed by the company singing "They are jolly good fellows." Mr. Ferguson feelingly replied. He said he was pleased that reference had been made to the assistance given to him by his wife, as without her co-operation and support he could not have carried on the work he had undertaken.
Pianoforte duets rendered by the Misses Annie and Janet Ferguson songs and choruses by the company, and table bowls helped to pass away a very pleasant evening.
Amongst those who were present were Mr. and Mrs. A. L. McEwin (Blyth), Mr. and Mrs. J. Olifent, Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Wearing, Mr. and Mrs. R. K. Kitto, Mr. and Mrs. D. Morris (Willamulka), Mr. and Mrs. W. Bagshaw, Mr. and Mrs. O. Payne (Frewville), Mesdames J. P. Ferguson and R. C. Kitto, Mr. H. Carmichael, Misses Wearing, M. Kitto, E. Kitto, I. Olifent (Melbourne), E. Morris, Ethel, Marion and Eunice Bagshaw.
Mr. Ferguson, who was born at Salisbury, migrated with his father, sisters and brothers to the Peninsula from Golden Grove, when he was 11 years of age, and for over 40 years has carried on farming pursuits at Weetulta. He is the third son of the late Rev. J. R. Ferguson. He married Susannah, second daughter of the late Mr. R. K. Kitto. They have a family of six—two sons and four daughters. Mr Ferguson is a Past Master of the Duke of Edinburgh Masonic Lodges present Master of the Duke of Edinburgh Mark lodge, and Third Principal of the Duke of Edin-burgh Arch Chapter. He is also a justice of the peace, a member of the Council of the liberal Union, and for 13 years has been secretary of the Weetulta branch of the Liberal Union.
Mr and Mrs J.P. Ferguson and family at their home Anna Villa, Weetulta -
State Library of South Australia - B 21278
Ferguson Family - State Library of South Australia - B 21281
Weetulta- Nalyappa District 1875-2000