Bark Hut

...Fruit trees will grow practically wild as instanced at Bark Hut by the luxuriant and healthy growth of trees that for years were not pruned or dug round. They produce pears and plums of the best quality. ...

KANGAROO ISLAND AND ITS FUTURE. (1908, January 18). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.

... The first farm visited in the Hundred of Cassini ...was Mr N. Brennand's Bark Hut, which is distant 18 miles from Kingscote and is on the banks of the Cygnet River. When Mr Brennand first took this country up, under four years ago, it was practically a wilderness, but is now one of the prettiest farms on K.I. Two hundred acres of rough scrubby country has been cleared, and what land is not at present under cultivation is now one stretch of green grass and herbage. All the stock are "rolling" fat, and the horses coats are as sleek and shiney as stable fed and groomed horses. Around the homestead, fruit trees viz.—Plum, apple, apricot, peach and loquat, appear to be fairly "jumping" along, so quickly have they come on since planted. They certainly look splendid. Vegetables, such as rhubarb, carrots, cabbage, cauliflowers, onions, and potatoes, could not look better. The soil is most suitable for onion and potato growing on a very large scale, being of a light chocolate nature. The flower garden is simply a blaze of color, roses and flowers of all descriptions growing luxuriantly. A permanent supply of good fresh water in a well 9 ft deep is in the garden. There are 60 acres of wheat, 38 acres barley and 6 acres of oats (for hay) all looking really well in spite of the dry season.

A Trip through the Yacca Country (1907, November 23). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.
Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 21 May 1910, page 5

Kangaroo Island Farms.


As certain interested parties on the mainland have been busily engaged, of late, depreciating Kangaroo Island land, on the trains, on the trams, or wherever they may be travelling, for what reason is best known to themselves, and conjectured by the writer, it has been deemed advisable, in the interests of a community which has received anything but ' fair play,' to visit the different farms, whenever possible, and throw a little more daylight on this much slandered district, even although the time thus taken up cannot easily be spared. With this idea in view a representative of the 'Courier' left Kingscote early in the week for the Hundred of Cassini, travelling the good old track that used to lead people to the Koh-i-noor Mine. After having passed the 'smithy,' where the anvil was being vigorously 'pounded' by the genial V. H. F. [Cook], a brisk canter considerably lessened the distance between Cassini and 'The Cliff.'

Along the road a familiar figure was met with in the person of Mr Tom Margrie, busily engaged ''cutting leaf,' for the eucalyptus oil industry is not by any means an unprofitable occupation and, no doubt, as the years go on it will increase in value. After a short chat with Mr Margrie, the next stage brings one to the pretty crossing at the Cygnet River where Mr Boettcher has taken up his abode. Here there is some splendid land which should grow anything. In addition to a fine show of vegetables on the river flats near by, the delicate green shoots appearing over newly ploughed ground show that the cultivation of cereals has not been overlooked. Passing Mr Geo. Ayliffe's and Mr Ted Burgess's properties, one notes that these well-known Island residents have not been idle, and it is to be hoped their efforts will be well rewarded. Then one passes in brief review, the rich timbered, river flats of Cygnet Park (the property of Mrs Florance), and follows a bush track to the right of Birchmore, until the foot of the Koh-i-noor Hill—where silence now reigns— is reached.

Crossing the Branch Creek, which is well studded with gums, one cannot help being impressed by Nature in one of her calm moods — the only sound to break the all pervading stillness being the harsh cry of a black macaw which suddenly rises from a leafy bough overhead and flies away down the creek. Over the hills and across what is known as the Long Waterhole — in the vicinity of which there is some good land— and uphill again for a short distance. Ascending there is a fine backward view of the country— of hills and valleys, the course of the Cygnet being traced by means of the gum trees growing along its banks.

Another fifteen minutes and the traveller has gained the top of a rise and, incidentally, a view of the Bark Hut homestead. It would he difficult to find a more prettily situated farm anywhere than that known as Bark Hut, at one time the property of Mr Norman Brennand, but 18 months ago purchased by Mr E. W. Castine, whose brother (Mr C. C. Castine, of The Springs) is now managing it. At the first glance it appears to be entirely surrounded by hills. Descending the rise the traveller notes that the Cygnet River threads its winding way through the property, and the homestead nestles close to the banks of this stream which is here heavily fringed by sturdy gum trees, from the heights of which a programme of music, provided by feathered songsters, greatly enhances the attractiveness of the surroundings. Columns of blue smoke ascending skyward in leisurely manner denote the fact that clearing operations are being proceeded with.

Entering the gate leading to the homestead, the observer notes that substantial stables, outbuildings and yards have been recently erected, showing that Mr Castine has not allowed the "grass to grow under his feet" since he acquired the property. Over the creek a splendid growth of green barley and rape is observed, and, having noted this, the traveller finds himself crossing a bridge, which leads to the homestead. Mr Castine and his two assistants are hard at work — as it happens to be the dinner-hour — and the folk who live on a Kangaroo Island farm do not require any sauce to stimulate their appetites. But it does not take long to ' dig him out,' and in a short time, both new arrivals — horse and man — are partaking of the kindly hospitality dispensed by those who live 'Out Back,' — and discussing the season's prospects and the chances of a railway. Afterwards a stroll in the vicinity of the homestead is indulged in.

Amongst other items of interest noted is the fact that beekeeping, conducted on a small scale at present, forms part of the programme of life on the farm. From the four hives of bees observed by the visitor, 50lbs. of honey of first-class quality was recently taken, and fully that quantity was left in the hives. A remark that the property was well stocked with good solid timber lead to the information that 50,000 sleepers were taken from this part of the Island for the Port Augusta railway in early days.

The Bark Hut Farm takes in 3,000 acres of country, 500 acres consisting of rich chocolate soil which will grow anything. On this land, in times past, malting barley and oats, standing over six feet in height, has been grown. ' Burning off' operations were being conducted on an area of ground where it was intended to sow perennial rye. Mr Castine has a fine show of barley and rape mixed, also of rape, oats and barley which, he considers, makes splendid fodder. One hundred and fifty acres have been cleared ready for cultivation — 100 acres being under fallow. The soil at Bark Hut, just now, is in splendid order for ploughing. At The Springs (Mr C. C. Castine's property, some six miles away) they are putting in 40 acres of paspalum, rye, barley and spear grass mixed, to make a fodder. Fodder growing on this property has been attended with highly successful results. There will never be any danger of the disastrous results following on a drought at Bark Hut (or anywhere else on K.I. for that matter). The land adjoining the river gets a flooding every winter. Later on it is intended to stock the property with several hundred sheep— as every farmer on K.I. who knows his business believes in mixed farming.

After bidding farewell to his host the visitor leaves Bark Hut farm, having spent an enjoyable and instructive time, his last impression being that Mr Castine has splendid material to work on from which to evolve — by an expenditure of brains, energy and capital— a very fine property viewed from the commercial standpoint — and, from the aesthetic outlook, a lovely retreat from the busy whirl of the outside world.

Kangaroo Island Farms. (1910, May 21). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.

The Mohair Industry.

By the Warrawee last Saturday Mr C. C. Castine received a shipment of Angora goats (a flock of about 30) which be has taken out to Bark Hut. He considers they will do well in the scrub country.

THE MOHAIR INDUSTRY. (1910, May 28). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

Mr M. Brenand [sic], who disposed of his Bark Hut property some time ago left for the mainland on Monday last, in company with his wife and family. Mr Brenand has not decided what his next ' move' will be but in all probability he will return to K.I. in a few month's' time, after he has had a look round and a good holiday.

PERSONAL. (1909, April 24). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

[Norman Valentine BRENNAND b. 22 Jun 1863, Kensington, SA, d. 04 Feb 1936 (aged 72) Kensington, SA. Married Louisa Scholastica GREEN 14 Feb 1888 Gawler, SA. Louisa was born 19 Jan 1863, Templers, SA and died 13 Apr 1935 (aged 72), Kensington, SA. Children - six girls - Margaret Adelaide (married at Bark Hut 1907), Helen Mary, Dorothy May, Viola Veronica, Florence Annie, Jessie Mavis]

Clement Claud CASTINE

Clement Claud CASTINE was born 24 Jan 1876 in Auburn, SA and died 09 Aug 1938 in Magill, SA. He married Charlotte HOWITT 14 Dec 1912 in Magill, SA. She was born 12 Jul 1878 in Magill, SA and died 20 Aug 1958 in Beulah Park, SA, daughter of Charles HOWITT.

Other events in the life of Clement Claud CASTINE
Military: Boer War, Lance Corporal
Residence: BET 1908 & 1912, The Springs, Hd Cassini, Kangaroo Island

Children of Clement Claud CASTINE and Charlotte HOWITT:
i. Claire Howitt CASTINE was born 11 Jan 1914 in Adelaide, SA and died 08 May 2002
ii. Kathleen CASTINE was born 25 Mar 1915 in Adelaide, SA and died 05 Jan 1972

Wanted— A Post Office and Polling Place.

The need of a post office and polling place is keenly felt by the residents of Cassini. At the present time the people in that hundred have to travel a considerable distance for the purpose of posting or receiving letters by mail. For instance there is Mr C. C. Castine (Bark Hut,) Messrs Marshall Bros., Foggo Bros., Geisler and Schultz, Seppelt, Ewens Jaffrey (Seddon Development Company,) Noske and others. A weekly mail service is a necessity, and a post office at Bark Hut homestead (which is central and near the main road) would meet the case admirably. If the case is placed before the Deputy Postmaster-General and the position clearly stated, there is little reason to doubt that the required postal facilities will be obtained.

WANTED—A POST OFFICE AND POLLING PLACE. (1910, June 11). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

The Cygnet in Flood.

On Tuesday last the Cygnet was a fine sight as, owing to the heavy rainfall, particularly severe out Cassini way, the river came down ' a banker.' At Mr Castine's, Bark Hut, the stream, which was running with considerable force, rose above the bridge there and, as the residence is on one side of the stream, and the stables and men's quarters on the other, Mr C. C. Castine ( Robinson Crusoe like ) was ' monarch of all he surveyed' on one side while the rest of the community at Bark Hut foraged on the other side. Now and again a big log drifted down-stream like a miniature torpedo destroyer. A most pathetic sight was that of an unfortunate turkey which 'roosted,' wet and forlorn-looking on a tree in the middle of the stream, apparently uncertain as to which was the best direction to move. Descending the hill towards the Long Waterhole the swollen stream moving on its swift way below the tall gums presented a fine sight. Here the water was swirling against the parapet of the bridge. At Mr Boettcher's and other places crops and vegetables were submerged. One good feature of these floods, however, is that they recede rapidly but those who have only seen the Cygnet in its normal state have to witness it before they can credit the depth and force of the river in flood.

THE CYGNET IN FLOOD. (1910, July 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

Bark Hut , upper reaches of Cygnet river

Research by Geoffrey Chapman

Named after a small one roomed small bark hut was built possible by wallaby hunters in the mid 1850 to60’s, and by the early 1900’s it was just ruins. At that stage it was just a small clearing with a well near the creek.

Reference : personal discussions with William Chapman 1950’s

In early 1860’s there was a bridle track from Cygnet River to the North Coast via Bark Hut where Henry Snelling walked to Middle River and William Chapman walked leading a horse to from Cygnet River to Cape Borda via Bark Hut & to the north coast.

Reference Snelling’s and Chapman’s Family history

From about 1903 to 1909, Bark Hut was owned by Mr Norman Brennand. Contained 3,000 acres with about 500 acres cleared rich river flats which grew cereal crops such as malting barley and oats.

The Brennand’s built the one roomed corrugated iron hut and planted the fruit orchard which included apples, pears, peaches, apricots, loquats plums. He was reported to have grown vegetables, such as rhubarb, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, and potatoes.

Reference: KI Courier dated 23rd Nov 1907

In June 1909, it was sold to Mr E W. Castine, whose brother, Mr C. C. Castine, of “The Springs” managed it. During the Castine’s occupation, extensive buildings were erected such as stables, implement sheds, a hay barns & chaff room, a shearing shed and stock yards.

Reference KI Courier dated 21st May 1910

It is recorded that a Mr Allan Forsyth, farmer was living at Bark Hut in Sept 1916

Reference KI Courier dated 23rd Sept 1916.

In 1919 William Chapman purchased a large parcel of land in the hundreds of Cassini which was known as “Bark Hut’, in the upper reaches of Cygnet River. William used to send his sons out to Bark Hut to live after they left school. In the 1950’s Bark Hut was sold to a W.E. Chapman [no relative]. Bark Hut was later sold to a “Ozzie” Arnold and then to Terry and Thelma Bennett on 3rd December 1965.

In 1905 Long Water Hole and the area known as Branch Creek was not part of the Bark Hut Property. In the early 1900’s the area was owned by Messrs J G H Geisler and Schulz. Near Long water hole there was a tin hut used by wallaby hunters and was used by the Telegraph Surveyors in the mid 1870’s and also by John Wright while erecting the telegraph poles and line from Kingscote to Cape Borda in 1876.

Other bits

In the early 1920’s two Italian lads also worked out at Bark Hut for several years before returning to Italy. The young lads were left to “batch “for themselves, living basically on wallaby and kangaroo stews. Life was extremely harsh, work was tough and the only "fun” was playing sport. From stories that have been told by many of William’s children, their father was a ‘tough task master’ and all the son’s had to spent time living and working at Bark Hut. From 1924 to 1933, Richard “Clem” Chapman lived and worked at “Bark Hut” from 14 years until his he was about 23 years, and in 1934, Jack Chapman was sent to Bark Hut to live and work. To the north-east of Bark Hut, William Chapman purchased additional land the 1920’s which was called “Blacks”. This land was later sold to Eric Buck on 21st.February 1950 and he changed the name to “Buckland Downs". In 1947, it was recorded in the KI Courier that Mr Seppelt had a large block of land near Bark Hut, at Long Water Hole.

Geoffrey Chapman 3 Aug 2021