Early Days on K. I.

In the Kangaroo Island Courier of 1910, there appeared a series of articles, chiefly written by Harry Bates (1846-1932) and then some resulting indignant correspondence in which some local identities were struggling to determine historic truth, even the truth of recent events. Although these accounts could well be edited for brevity, it has been decided to republish them in their entirety.

It started off innocently enough, with an interview by the Courier with Mary Ann Calnan:

Early Days on K.I.


[born Mary Ann Williams, in Wales on 25.2.1833 married to Charles Calnan born 26 Dec 1826 London, son of Jeremiah Calnan]

Mrs Calnan, a resident of Kangaroo Island since the year 1850, was interviewed recently by a representative of this paper, who gathered some interesting information in connection with the Island, which will serve to explain away many erroneous impressions which exist amongst the majority of people here at the present time in reference to places of interest. 

In 1836 Mr J. Calnan [Jeremiah] and family landed on the Island from the ship Africaine, under engagement as manager to the South Australian Company [sic], but his first impressions of the place were so discouraging and disheartening that he made up his mind to resign the position, and at the earliest opportunity started for Adelaide to hand in his resignation, leaving his family on the Island. On the way be was taken seriously ill and shortly after reaching Encounter Bay he died. The family remained on the Island and started sheep - farming, living comfortably until the land was surveyed. The conditions becoming unfavorable after this took place the majority of the few settlers threw up their holdings and returned to the mainland and sealing and trapping became the chief occupation of the remaining few. 

After Mr Calnan's death Mr S. Stevens took over the management of the South Australian Company [sic], which at that time held property at Cygnet River and to the north of where Kingscote is now situated. The seat of operations was in close proximity to Reeves' Point, the whole of the corner where the mulberry tree stands being at that time covered with stables, blacksmith's shops, and other buildings, and on the road leading past the old cemetery was a row of houses called German Row. On a point further along the Shoal Bay Beach was where the flagstaff was erected and was known afterwards as Flagstaff Hill. After Mr Stevens left Mr Giles took over the management, and afterwards the farm at Cygnet River was abandoned, the stock roaming at large on the Island. 

An impression that most people here are under is that the three cottages (Faith, Hope and Charity), were built by the Company. This is a mistake. The Company's cottages were closer to the beach and have long since gone. The three houses on the hill were erected by the Calnan family after their return from the diggings in 1853, five years after Mrs Calnan arrived on the Island. 

SLSA [B 693]. Old log building, originally a saw mill, on Cygnet River, Kangaroo Island, taken in August 1921.

Harry Bates weighs in, and sets off to serialise his reminisences, under the same title "Early Days on K.I." :

Early Days on K.I.

(By H. F. Bates.)

In your issue of May 7th I noticed an article under the heading of "Early Days on K.I.," written by Mr A. S. Chapman. Mr Chapman seems to have forgotten the name of the vessel by which he made his first trip to K.I. some forty years ago. For Mr Chapman's information I may inform him that the name of the vessel was the Kangaroo — a small cutter built by Mr John Buick at American River. I think she was built for a Mr Randford, of Port Adelaide, for the K.I. and Yankalilla trade, but, of course, Mr John Buick, of American River, would know, as he built the boat, which was sailed by Tom Cheeseman. The Kangaroo, in those far-away-days, was considered a rather nice boat, and sailed fairly well, but the boat was generally felt to be too short, and her owners had her cut "amid-ships," made longer and rigged a topsail schooner, but she was not then a success as she was too long and narrow, and a poor sea boat. I knew Mr and Mrs Tom Cheeseman well, and I also remember Mr A. S. Chapman making the voyage which he speaks of, as he stayed a while at Hog Bay and went on to Creek Bay with the Bristowes. Speaking from memory I should say Mr Chapman was, and may be now connected with Elder Smith & Co. 

Mr Chapman says that in 1861 Kingscote belonged to the Calnans' and the Reeves' family. I don't think that statement is strictly in accordance with the facts. In 1861 I believe Messrs Mike and Charles Calnan did own land at Kingscote, but I don't think the Reeves family owned any portion of Kingscote in those far away days, although they may have hired some of the Company's land. I was at Kingscote years before 1861, so am not speaking from hearsay. I had sheared for Calnans prior to 1861. Mrs M. Calnan was at that time looked upon as a delicate lady. I am pleased to know that she is still alive and well. I think the last time I saw Mrs Calnan was somewhere about 1863. I believe Mr Mike Calnan was the first person to purchase a piano on K. I., and kept a governess to teach his own and Mr Charles Calnan's children music, etc., but I think the hiring of the governess was a joint affair between the brothers Calnan. There was also a sister (Miss M. A.Calnan) who married a sailor by the name of Gilbert Clark, a fine, stalwart fellow. Mr C. May should recollect him.   

Now, coming to the late Mr Bill Chapman. I may inform Mr A. S. Chapman that Mr Bill Chapman was, together with Mrs W. Chapman and Mr George Grainger, drowned in the Bay of Shoals near Kingscote. I was carrying the mails to Kingscote at the time. The following are the facts, as near as possible :— Mrs Chapman had been to Adelaide with the year's produce, and, I think, returned to Kingscote by The Three Sisters (Captain Scherer) where she was waiting for Mr Chapman to come for her, to take her home to the North Cape. It was a Sunday and blowing hard from the the nor-west. I had beat up from Hog Bay with the mails and we had had it pretty rough. Just as I was off Old Jerry's Jetty I saw Chapman leaving Kingscote Point for home. Mr Charles Calnan had a long 6-oared Tasmanian whale-boat, turned bottom up on the beach. About half of this boat was in the water. I distinctly saw Mrs Chapman creep along the bottom of this boat, and get into their own boat, but before I reached the Point Chapman had left for home. His boat was a long wall-sided whale boat, rather narrow, but high-wooded. She was considered a fairly safe craft. I believe, however, this boat had drowned Mr Chapman's brother-in- law (Mr Ross) at Glenelg some years before. 

Early Days on K.I. (1910, May 21). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 6.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191635896

Late in the afternoon I went out to see how Chapman was doing, as there were some heavy squalls coming down. I saw him a long way up the Bay entering a heavy rain squall. This was just before dark.

I did not wait to see Chapman come out of the squall, as it looked like a long one, and I did hot feel anxious about him, as he was a most experienced boatman — up to every turn of the game— and a man that could be trusted with a boat. Well, Mr Editor, this was the last seen of Chapman and company — while alive. 

On Monday morning I left with the mails for Cape Jervis via Hog Bay. I made the trip right through to the Cape and back to Hog Bay the same day. On the following Wednesday it was blowing hard from the westward, and myself and old August (a fisherman now at Kingscote) were in the Boat Harbour doing some repairs to one of my boats, when Mr John Christie came down to say that he thought there might have been a boat accident somewhere, as he could see a piece of sail sticking up out of the water, with the bow of a boat showing up at times. I went up on the bank and had a look and saw what Christie said was a fact. I then decided to make an effort to go to the rescue. 

Men able to pull in a rough sea were scarce, but Mr Christie was a boatman and he hunted up Cranky Bill, so I took my four-oared whale-boat and (myself in charge), Mr Olsen, Mr Christie and Cranky Bill pulled out to the rescue. We had a hard tug to get out to the boat — about two miles out to sea. When we did reach it I at once saw that it was Chapman's boat, with the stern split open down to the keel, but the mizzen-mast was standing, with the sail (very much torn) attached. After some risk and a lot of trouble we succeeded in making fast to the boat. She was down level with the water. There were no bodies in the boat but the fact of the sail standing was a pretty sure indication of an accident. After a long, hard pull we succeeded in towing the derelict into Hog Bay Boat Harbor, where she was hauled up — high and dry — on the beach. 

I then at once acquainted the late Mr Thomas Willson (who was Receiver of Wreck at the time) with the facts, and Mr Willson at once dispatched one of my sons to Cape Willoughby with a telegraph message to inquire if any accident had happened to Mr Chapman, at the same time giving the Kingscote trooper the facts of my finding the boat under the conditions named. A message was received stating that nothing was known of any accident to Chapman or his boat, but a messenger had been dispatched to North Cape to inquire. This messenger reported that the house was shut up, and it appeared that no one had been there for a week, also that Chapman's boat was nowhere on the moorings, nor anywhere to be seen, which fact looked suspiciously like an accident. 

On the Thursday it was still blowing hard from the westward and August and I were in the Boat Harbor doing some repairs to the boat and talking about Chapman, when I happened to look across the harbor, and saw something on the beach, just in the wash of the surf. I said to August—"It may be Chapman." We   walked round and found it was Mr Chapman's body, washed up on the beach. We then got the old sail, and carried the body to Mr Chapman's boat and covered it with the Union Jack. I then acquainted Mr Willson, who was a J.P., with the circumstances. 

An inquest was held, myself being the chief witness. Jack Scherer (master of the Three Sisters) was brought over as a witness. I forget the exact verdict, as it is so long ago. However, the body was respectfully interred at Hog Bay. Mr R. Chapman was too late to attend the funeral, as he lived out at the Harriet River, and could not be got to Hog Bay in time. Mrs Chapman was never seen again, but Mr Grainger'a body was found on the beach near the Red Banks, about two months afterwards. He was still grasping the stern sheets with his right hand when found, and it was evident that he had never let go his hold of this, and it floated ashore ten or twelve miles from the place where the accident happened.

Early Days on K.I. (1910, May 28). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191634381

In your issue of April 16 I noticed a chat with Mrs M. Calnan under the heading of "Early Days on K.I."  With all due respect to Mrs Calnan I would like to correct her statements in reference to Mr Goodyer and the Cygnet River sawmill. Mrs Calnan says Mr Goodyer was the manager of the sawmill at Cygnet River. This is not correct, as Mr Goodyer was the contractor, aud Mr H. Boxall was the manager of the mill and works at the river, with Mr H. Stenning as working foreman. The hut referred to as Goodyer's office, as a matter of fact was not Goodyer's office as, to my knowledge, Mr Goodyer's office had disappeared in 1868, and as I built the office in 1859 I think I might claim to know something about it. Also the sleepers were cut for the Gawler Railway, not for the Port Adelaide, in 1858 and 1859, the quantity being 120,000— cut and shipped in 15 months. 

In 1858 [at the age of 12] I was working for a man by the name of Job Maslin at TapleyHill, and it was at this place that I got my first lesson in Australian bullock-driving. At first I could not manage it very well, as the bullocks took but little notice of me, but I watched the boss pretty closely and I noticed he did a lot of swearing and whip cracking, and the bullocks took it all in good part and hauled their load along without much trouble ; but mine would not budge. The boss came back and said "Why don't you swear at them," and he at once gave me a lesson in swearing and driving. I had no trouble with bullocks after this, and I noticed swearing seemed to be a part of the bullock driver's daily work. I found it the same at Cygnet River later. 

I may here mention that Mr Maslin sent two loads of firewood per day to Adelaide and Glenelg, so I had plenty of axe and crosscut saw work at this place. Mr Maslin was so well satisfied with me that he decided, after I had been working for him for three weeks, to give me a half holiday on Saturday afternoon, I took advantage of this and walked in to Adelaide. I steered for a pub in King William Street called the Southern Cross. I found a rough and ready lot collected at this pub, and by the amount of swearing going on I took them all to be bullock drivers, and they nearly all claimed this honor, I found I was a poor hand at bullock language alongside these good-hearted lusty fellows, so I decided to give Maslin and his bullocks best. 

After a while I fell in with two  sturdy-looking "bullockies" by the name of "Bullocky Bill" and Ned, and as they were both sailors we chummed in. Bill was a lame man, having fallen from a ship's mainyard to the deck — a distance of 42 feet — breaking his thigh in two places. They were two splendid men with the whip. They told me they were going to Kangaroo Island to drive bullocks for a man by the name of Goodyer, stating that if I could use an axe and saw I would be able to get work, Mr Goodyer was at the Southern Cross hiring men, and after, a little sparring, I engaged with Mr Goodyer for 12 months to go to Cygnet River to cut sleepers and do any work that was goiug. He told me to be at the Southern Cross on  Monday afternoon and sign the agreement, which I promised to do. 

I walked out to Maslin's that night, and in the morning I told Mr Maslin that, as I did not seem to understand the bullock-drivers' language too well, that I would leave. Mr Maslin very kindly allowed me to stay all day Sunday and Sunday night and, on Monday morning, I picked up my sailor's bag and tramped to Adelaide, and found Mr Goodyer at the pub waiting for me and some others. I duly signed on for 12 months and found there was about 20 other men (mostly married men) who had done the same thing. We were told to be ready to sail on Thursday from Port Adelaide in a sturdy little fore-and- aft schooner named the Eclair— in charge of a man by the name of Turpy. [I believe old Jerry Martin wrecked this boat at Normanville many years later.] 

We sailed on a Thursday — about 20 men — besides women and children. Mr Goodyer was with us. We had very light winds down the Gulf. We had to call at Myponga and Second Valley jetties. We reached Second Valley on Friday about 6 p.m, after a very hot day, and after we had been at the jetty about half-an-hour, a regular southerly buster came up and it did blow too.  However, we were mostly old sailors and did not fear, and, of course, some knew nothing and feared less. We "snugged down" the sturdy little boat, and by dark we were standing away to westward in a fair drift of wind, and as we could not look up to Kingscote it was decided to keep her off the wind a couple of points, and let her travel for the north coast of K.I. 

About 1 a.m. we found ourselves under the lee of the Island, in smooth water close to the land, but the wind was a regular "snorter" and was blowing off the land in fair drifts. As there were so many women and children on board Captain Turpy decided to drop the "mudhook" and wait for daylight. When daylight came we found we were in Emu Bay. The wind was then sou'-west and blowing very hard, but at 4 a.m. the anchor was picked up and we slid away from the North Cape with a fair wind. As soon as we rounded the Cape of course we had it it in our teeth again and the sturdy little schooner did make some "soapsuds" as we beat up for the mouth of the Cygnet River. Here we dropped anchor about mid-day, no regrets being felt that the voyage was at an end. There must have been 50 people in the little boat, and the accommodation was very poor. The women and children suffered very much and were exceedingly glad to get on shore again. 

Early Days on K.I. (1910, June 4). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191635986

Now we will not be long before we come to what this article is leading up to. The cargo boat was hoisted out and the women and children landed at once. Food was taken ashore and the billycan was boiled and tea made, and the women and children enjoyed a square meal and made themselves as comfortable as circumstances would allow. As soon as the meal was concluded Mr Goodyer called the "bullockies" together and they walked up to the mill, and the bullock drays were down at the mouth of the River next morning by 7 a.m. Of course all hands camped at the mouth that night and at 8 o'clock on Sunday morning we were all away for the sawmill, where we arrived in time for dinner, which was served in the men's hut (a farm-like structure) by the manager's two sisters (the Misses Fanny and Emily Boxall). [see Emily and Fanny Boxall were Norrell]

Everyone was very kind to us and did all they could to make us comfortable. In the large hut the married people had to make shift for a week or two, as there were no houses for them until they were built. The single men camped in a shed for a few days, but all hands fed in the big hut at one common table. 

Let me here describe the mill and buildings as they were in 1858. First we come to the mill — a large structure running a number of vertical saws— no circular saws. It was situated close to the river — right on the north corner of the Big Bend, or Horseshoe Bend. Now go a hundred yards or so towards No. 1 Lagoon and you come to the blacksmith's shop and brick kiln (the bricks required for the mill were made there). A few yards on and you come to the men's hut, referred to above. About 200 yards further and close to the Lagoon you come to the manager's (Mr Henry Boxall's) house, a 3 roomed slab structure. Beyond that again there was a two-roomed hut. This did duty for two families. It had a partition across the middle, a door at each end and a window in each room, the glass of which was white calico. At one end of this hut lived Mr Marto, the mill carpenter, and his wife, and at the other end, Mr Walter Norman and wife. Right on the corner of the Lagoon was situated a three-roomed slab structure. Here resided the foreman (Mr Henry Stenning) and his wife and family. Mr Goodyer had all these huts constructed. There was one other hut down near the garden, and just opposite to what was known as the Company's paddock. The building above named was the only one erected in 1853, and this time Mr Goodyer had no office at the mill. Neither had the Company any vestige of a building on their land near the mill, but a little later on we shall hear about Mr Goodyer's office and I am going to show that the old hut referred to is not Goodyer's office. Neither is it the Company's. But I will try to show that it is the hut that Mr Stenning (the foreman) lived in. If this is not so it can only be a portion of the men's hut. Goodyer's office and all other buildings except Mr Stenning's hut and a portion of the men's hut had disappeared when I visited the site of the mill in 1868. 

Monday morning came at last and Mr Boxall called all hands together and allotted each his task. I with six others, was sent up to the farm at old Bob Walley's place (now Cygnet Park) to cut and make the hay. Mr Goodyer had a large quantity of hay grown at this place, and three men were put on mowing hay, cutting at the rate of about 4 acres a day. It took them about a fortnight. It was a good crop and the wheat went 30 bushels to the acre. The men doing the mowing were — the late Mr E. S. Bates, a man by the name of Philip Kigens, and an old chap known as old George the Ostler. The last-named said that at one time he owned the Thatched Cottage— a pub at Brighton — and that he had sold it for £1 per week for as long as he lived. I forget his right name. In time the hay was duly and properly stacked, and by that time the wheat was ready to reap. This was carried out by the same men. 

We were then recalled to the mill and as I was pretty handy with the carpenter's tools Mr Boxall told me to take two men and knock up a hut for the double purpose of a store and Mr Goodyer's office. The hut was 18 by 12 ft. Mr Goodyer occupied one end of this hut for his office, and it was known by the name of the office or store. It was built right alongside Mr Boxall's residence — between that place and the men's hut — but when I visited the place in 1868 the office and Mr Boxall's residence had both disappeared. A part of the men's hut was still standing. Stenning's hut was also standing, and in good repair, 'The late Mr George Grainger, with his wife and family, was then living in Stenning's house. This shows clearly that the old hut referred to by Mrs Calnan must have been one of the above huts. I may mention that Mr Goodyer only visited the mill about once in four or five months and would only stay a couple of weeks at a time. He was a surveyor, and Mr Boxall an engineer, and rather a clever one at that. He was liked fairly well by all hands. After building tbe office I was told off to go with Norman and Wally Tate up to No. 2.

Early Days on K.I. (1910, June 11). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191630399

At No. 2 Lagoon we had to cut logs for sleepers. No log must be less than 10 inches at the small end. These were carted to the mill and sawn into sleepers. All large logs had to be sawn in square sleepers, but the ten inch was only sawn down the middle. This is how the game was played. 

There were three men in the gang. The first performance was to take the axe and carve the trees, that is, cut a gap in the side the tree would fall, and perhaps after two or three days of this work the three men would take the falling saw and get to work, two men on the little or cutting end of the saw, and one on the big end. The big end had a handle like a shovel handle, and the small end had what they called a box handle for two men, and could be slipped off the saw and the saw then withdrawn, and the tree wedged over. Then of course there were jinkers and bullock teams and three horse teams carting sleepers the the mouth of the river. The bullock teams would make one trip every day, each dray carrying 52 sleepers, and the horse drays would make two trips a day, and carry 32 sleepers at a load, so it was a busy time in those days at Cygnet River. 

The sleeper cutting and carting rattled along at a good rate while the dry weather lasted, but by the end of June the roads on the Cygnet plains became so bad that it was found impossible to cart right to the mouth of the river, as had hitherto been done, and this checked the carting somewhat. Mr Boxall called a council of war to consider the new position, the result of which was that a survey of the river was made from the mouth up to a sharp angle in the stream — to a place called Bugsby's Hole. This place is a deep hole, about two miles from the mouth of the river. Drays would get to this place fairly well and the sleepers were stacked here in thousands. Now, the trouble was, how were they to be placed on board ship from here. As a means of solving this problem it was decided to build a barge to carry 300 sleepers, and a raft to carry another 300 sleepers. Men were set to work (myself included) to build the barge with timber sawn at the mill. This was constructed at the river mouth. It did not take long to complete this task as any kind of shaped timber could be sawn at the mill. By the time the barge was constructed a quantity of softwood arrived from Port Adelaide, and a raft capable of floating 300 sleepers in the river was put together. Everything being in readiness, Messrs Walter Norman and W. Tate, and myself, were drafted out from the whole gang to work these barges. This is how operations were carried out. With the flow of the tide two men would get into the barge, each armed with a long pole, would walk forward, stick their poles in the ground, push and walk aft along a plank on the top of the barge. This, of course, would force the barge along and, with the help of a strong tide, it did not take so very long to reach Bugsby's Hole. The raft would be in tow, I, with a long pole, pushing and steering. We carried a small boat on the raft, for anything she might be wanted for, such as running lines etc. Five drays constantly carting from the mill were adding to these huge stacks of many thousands of sleepers, which met our gaze on arriving at Bugsby's Hole. Having "made fast" alongside the bank, the play would start and I can assure you, Mr Editor, that it was no child's play loading these barges in wet, cold wintry weather. The sleepers were green, heavy and slippery and bad to handle. A plank was laid from the bank on to the barge, and each man would 'up-end' his sleeper, put it on his shoulder, carry it on board and place it in position, until the barge was loaded. This was bad enough in winter, but loading the raft was worse. The same process was carried out, only as soon as you stepped on the raft you were nearly up to your knees in water, which was not at all pleasant in the cold weather, when it was raining and blowing hard. The only redeeming point was that our wages were increased und Mr Goodyer allowed us as much ' squareface' as we liked to drink. This was ' all right' on cold, wet nights, and I may say here that Mr Goodyer did not stint us of this 'squareface,' We could have all we wanted.

Early Days on K.I. (1910, June 18). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191638226

Now Arthur Daw protests:


Sir.—I have been reading with great interest the articles of H. F. Bates on the early days of K.I. Now, personally, I do not profess to know anything about these as I was quite a child when I landed here with my parents in 1860 but I would like to mention to him that before he contradicted other people's statements (viz, Mrs Calnan's) he should be sure of his own ground. 

With regard to Goodyer's office, if Mr Bates built this in 1859 he must have been a very young architect as he then could not have been more than fifteen years of age [he was actually 19] and there were still several buildings standing in 1872 and the one that was then used as a school was known as Goodyer's office as far as I can at present remember.

He says that the accident to Mr and Mrs Chapman happened on a Sunday and that it was blowing hard from the N.W. As a matter of fact it was a Monday afternoon. Then again he says he saw Mrs Chapman creep along a whale-boat upturned on the beach, to get aboard their own boat. Instead she left Mrs C. Calnan's (in company with a Miss Calnan, who is now my wife) to go to Reeves' Point to join her husband and Mr G. Grainger, so that it was impossible for him to witness such an incident. Such statements as these are very misleading and annoying to his readers.

Now, with regard to Mr Willson notifying the Kingscote trooper as to the finding of the boat, I am willing to pay £10 to any charitable institution if Mr Bates can name the then Kingscote trooper. Again, Mr Grainger's body was certainly found near the Redbanks but whoever made the statement that the right hand still grasped the stern sheets suffered from an optical delusion. In finishing I might say that it would make very entertaining reading to old residents if Mr Bates would name some of those twenty or more comrades of his besides Bullocky Bill and Ned. 

I am, Sir, etc., 


EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, June 11). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191630412


Sir, — In your issue of 11th June, 1910, I notice Mr A. Daw has made a weak attempt to correct statements in "Early Days on K.I," and yet in the same breath he 'gives his own show away' by exclaiming that personally he does not know anything about these facts as he was only a small child in 1860. Now, for goodness sake, Mr Daw, give us something you know of your own knowledge and none of your hearsay yarns. You must know that your statements are only secondary statements and have but little value, whereas mine are statements that have come under my own knowledge. I doubt if Mr Daw was born in 1858. Most certainly when I went to the Bight of the Bay in 1858 there was no Mr Daw living there at that time. 

Mr Daw says he does not pretend to know anything of the facts and yet in the same breath he would like to mention to me that I should be sure of my own ground before I contradict other people's statements. Quite so, Mr Editor, but I may inform Mr Daw that I am sure of my own ground in this matter and know perfectly well what I am talking about. Then, Mr Daw goes on to say that if I built Goodyer's office in 1859 I must have been a very young architect. Is this another of Mr Daw's funny sayings ? Now, Mr Editor, I have looked through my writing, and cannot find that I have in any way claimed to be an architect. Neither do I claim that honor now,but I do claim to be handy with the carpenter's tools and I can assure Mr Daw that I, with the assistance of two men, built this rough structure called Goodyer's office in 1859. If Mr Daw wishes very particularly the names of the men that helped we I am pleased to tell him Mr William Humby was the man that helped to erect the slabs and Mr John Essie was the man that cut the rushes and did the thatching. These men were known at the mill by the name of Jack Essie and old Bill Humby. Jack was a bit of a boxing card and came out from Liverpool in the good ship Melbourne in 1858. 

Now, Mr Editor, it seems a bit strange that Mr Daw has only just discovered the hut is Goodyer's office and yet I have seen it stated in the Courier more than once that the hut was the Company's office or supposed to be. Mr Editor, I repeat that Mr Goodyer's office had disappeared in 1868. I have seen a picture of an old hut in the Courier which is supposed or was supposed to be the Company's office. I am sure that is not Goodyer's office. Mr Daw says there were several huts in 1872. Quite so, Mr Editor, but neither was Mr Goodyer's office. Mr Daw says there was a school in a hut known as Goodyer's office. There was a school, as stated by Mr Daw, but it was not in Goodyer's office. He says it was known as Goodyer's office, but who knew it to be so. It seems to me to be a case of "you know when you know you don't know." 

Now, as to the accident to Mr Chapman, Mr Daw says it was on a Monday, and my log tells me it was a Sunday, but whether it was Monday or Sunday that does not alter main facts as stated by me. I here repeat to Mr Daw that I very distinctly saw Mrs Chapman on the bottom of Mr C. Calnan's upturned boat at Reeves' Point.  Mr Daw says this could not be so, because Mrs Chapman left Mr C. Calnan's place in company with a Miss Calnan to go to Reeves' Point to join her husband and Mr G. Grainger. Quite so, but, Mr Editor, this helps to bear out my statement, as having arrived at the Point Mrs Chapman got on the bottom of Mr Calnan's boat to get into their own boat dry-footed, and I was only a few hundred yards away at the time, and was beating up to the Point with the mails, but Mr Chapman left before I got to the anchorage at the Point and was never seen again. 

As Mr Daw doesn't seem to quite understand I will go a little further. On the Sunday, a week before the accident, I was lying at anchor at the Point. It was a very fine day, wind light N.W. Mr Chapman came down alone in his boat. He came along side my mail boat, got on board, and passed his boat astern of my boat. It was dinner time and I asked Mr Chapman to dine with me, which he did, and he did not go on shore at Kingscote that day. Mr Chapman explained to me that he had come down to see if the Three Sisters had arrived from Port Adelaide, as Mrs Chapman was in Adelaide and she was coming down by the Sisters. He said Mrs Chapman had gone up to Adelaide with the year's produce, and he expected her every day, and as I told him the Sisters had not arrived he stayed a couple of hours and then started for home with a nice light wind from about N.W. This was the last time I spoke to Mr Chapman. It appears that the Sisters came in during the week, and, according to Mr Daw, Mrs Chapman must have stayed a while at Mrs Calnan's place, but this does not show that I did not see Mrs Chapman get into their own boat which, as a matter of fact, I did, and Mr Daw will not convince me to the contrary. 

Mr Daw goes on to say "such statements as these are very misleading and annoying to his readers." Well, Mr Editor, all I can say is that Mr Daw is not the first or only man that has been annoyed at hearing the truth spoken. 

Now, Mr Editor, I will try to clear up the trooper business so that Mr Daw can hand that ten pounds to the Penneshaw Institute funds. At that time K.I. was in the police district of Yankalilla and the trooper (Mr Rumble), resided at Yankalilla, but he was as much a Kingscote trooper at Yankalilla, as Mr Thorpe was for the whole of the Island. Mr Thorpe was generally referred to as the Kingscote trooper, but this was not strictly correct as he was the trooper for the whole Island, which is not so now. The late Mr Willson said he had reason to think that Trooper Rumble was at Kingscote on patrol duty and he would wire him at Kingscote the particulars of the finding of the boat, and the messenger was to wait at Cape Willoughby, and in the event of Mr Rumble not being at Kingscote the wire had to be sent on to the trooper's residence at Yankalilla, and as it turned out Rumble was not at Kingscote, so the message had to be sent on to Yankalilla to his residence. I believe Mr Willson also wired the special constable (Mr George Snelling) at Kingscote, the particulars of the finding of the boat. 

Now, Mr Editor, on looking the correspondence up I find in a note to me the late Mr Willson says "I have wired the trooper at Kingscote the facts of your finding the boat under the conditions named and Mr Bates is to wait at the Cape for a reply." I have Mr Willson's note to go on, and the late Mr T. Willson J.P. was a man not given to telling lies, therefore I rely upon his note as being the truth. Now as the trooper was not at Kingscote he had to come from Yankalilla. In the meantime Mr Willson had arranged to hold an inquest on the Saturday, and I was summoned to attend as a witness. It was mail day but Mr Willson said I must not leave until after the inquest was over which was held some time in the afternoon. Mr Rumble, the trooper, came over by Mr Christie's boat in time for the inquest, and now, as I have named the trooper I would ask Mr Daw to kindly hand over that ten pounds to the Penneshaw Institute funds as it will be very acceptable. 

Here let me state that in writing "Early days on K.I," that I have no ill-feeling towards Mr Daw or Mrs M. Calnan, and I believe Mrs Calnan made her statements in the best of good faith and I believe Mr Calnan would be above making a misstatement if she knew it, but in speaking of the Cygnet River sawmill Mrs Calnan certainly made a mistake and also in those far-away days Mrs Calnan could have taken but little notice of the mill workings on Cygnet River. I am sorry Mr Daw has written in the strain he has. There is no need for him to do that. I may say that I knew the late Mr Charles Calnan years before Mr A. Daw did and the worst I can say for Mr C. Calnan is that I found him to be one of the most kind-hearted and generous men that ever stepped on K.I. I am sorry Mr Daw has let his valour run away with his discretion. 

I am, Sir, etc. 


EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, June 25). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191637653


Sir,— In reply to Mr Bates' letter of the 25th, I should like to give him to understand, as I said before, that, personally, I do not know much about the early days, but with regard to the drowning fatality, well, that is only comparatively recent, and in the memory of many others on the Island. 

      Now, Mr Bates, to use one of your own colloquialisms, with a slight alteration, I'll tell you I know, that I know what I do know. I told Mr Bates that I was born in 1859 and landed here with my parents shortly after, in 1860, so his own common-sense ought to have told him I could not be at the Bight of the Bay in 1858. It is evident that he does not like compliments, for when I compliment him on being a very young architect, he throws that up to me as a funny saying. 

      As to the accident that happened, as stated before, on a Monday afternoon, and if Mr Bates' log says it was a Sunday, well that log is not giving correct dates. As to it not altering main facts, an historian should be most particular as to the correctness of his data. With regard to Mrs Chapman creeping along the whaleboat to get into their own dryshod, was that possible when the whaleboat was high and dry and the two boats were a hundred or more yards apart. Rather a long step, Mr Bates. 

      It is very good of Mr Bates to go a little further and explain things. Will Mr Bates explain if his log is responsible for his statement that the name of the ketch was the Three Sisters, when instead it was the Gambler Lass. This is not hearsay yarns, Mr Bates, as I happened to be a fellow passenger with Mrs Chapman at the time. 

      With regard to the trooper controversy, I am sorry I do not see my way clear to present the sum of £10 to the funds of the Penneshaw Institute. In the first place it is a public building, not a charitable institution, and also the matter is a problem that can only be solved by the proper authorities, and I do not think a trooper stationed at Normanville (or at Yankalilla) could be styled the Kingscote trooper. If Mr Bates has the right bower I think I have the joker. Another funny saying, Mr Bates. 

      As Mr Bates is thoroughly conversant with all things that have happened he will no doubt remember the inquest held over the fire that almost totally destroyed the property of the late Mr Henry Stokes and also recall to memory the trooper that came down to investigate the matter in which the late Mr Chapman was one of the witnesses. This is not hearsay yarns, either, Mr Bates, as I happened to be one of the jury. Another little matter Mr Bates has omitted to clear up is the finding of Mr Grainger's body and the incorrect statement that the hand still grasped the stern sheets. 

      In conclusion I would like to say that had Mr Bates, in the first place, treated Mrs Calnan's statements with courtesy and instead of flatly and publicly contradicting her gone on with his narrative in his own way giving his own personal facts as known to himself without mentioning the writing of other people and trying to appear more intellectual and of greater memory power than they, nothing of this would have happened, and all uncalled for insinuations would never have been written and Mr Bates' history would no doubt have been read with pleasure and interest. 

      I am, Sir, etc. 

      A. DAW.

EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, July 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191630519


Sir. — In your issue of July 2nd I noticed a long rambling letter over the signature of 'A. Daw' which shows his ignorance and want of knowledge of certain things that happened at Kingscote some 30 years ago. Mr Daw says in the first place that he knows nothing of Early Days on K.I. of his own own knowledge. Having said this much, then why does he try to correct me who do know of my own knowledge some thing of Early Days on K.I. Then Mr Daw goes on to say that "I told Mr Bates that I was born in 1859 and landed here with my parents shortly after, in 1860." Now, Mr Editor, I will not say that statement is a deliberate lie, but it is positively contrary to the truth, as Mr Daw never told me when he was born which your issue of June 11th will show. Now, Mr Editor, what does that statement of Mr Daw's show. Why, either that Mr Daw has made a deliberate misstatement, or else his memory is exceedingly bad, and is not to be trusted to for fifty days, let alone fifty years. I am inclined to take a charitable view, and put it down to a defective and bad memory, and if his memory is not to be trusted for fifty days, how can it be trusted for fifty years. Mr Daw is evidently not a careful reader of his own writings in the Courier.

      Now, Mr Editor, as you have closed down certain correspondence I will try not to touch upon that matter again, but I must point out to Mr Daw, without any ' beating about the bush,' that he was not even present at Kingscote at the time, and he did not see the departure, but I did, and I can prove it by others who were present in my boat at the time. I have already shown where I got my information about the Sisters. Mr Daw says he cannot pay that £10 to the Penneshaw Institute funds because it is a public building, and then he goes on to say that the matter is a problem that can only be solved by the proper authorities, and he does not think a trooper stationed at Normanville could be styled the Kingscote trooper. Mind, Mr Editor, Mr Daw only says he thinks. He does not say positively such is the case, and yet Mr Daw says "I know that I know what I do know," and yet he shows that "he knows that he don't know, don't'cher know."

      Now, Mr Editor, as I have pointed out before Kangaroo Island was in the police district of Yankalilla, and Mr Rumble was as much the Kingscote trooper as he was the Yankalilla trooper. There was no other trooper for Kingscote at that time, and Mr Daw ought to hand over that £10 to some charitable institution, but my own opinion is that that £10 was put up for a gag, and Mr Daw, thinking again, thought that I did not know the circumstances, and so would be bluffed off. Again, Mr Daw says if Mr Bates has the right bower I think I have the joker (thinking again, Mr Daw). Now, Mr Editor, thinking you hold the joker does not by any means show that you will win the game (all euchre players know that) because while you are thinking you get euchred.

      Then again Mr Daw makes a rambling statement about a fire which did Mr Stokes considerable damage. For goodness sake, Mr Editor, what has this new matter to do with "Early Days on K.I." which I am writing. Mr Daw here shows that he is like a little dog, continually running ahead barking and looking for something that I have not yet come to. Have patience, Mr Daw, and you will grow, if only older.

      Now, Mr Editor, I was not present at the inquest mentioned by Mr Daw, but as Mr Daw says he was one of the jury he should know the name of that trooper, that is if his memory is not quite all gone. In that case, if it will be of any use to him, I will give the trooper a name without thinking over the matter. I may here inform Mr Daw that during the time I carried the mails to K.I. I also carried a good few troopers, parsons and doctors to Kingscote, and with all Mr Daw's knowledge and thinking he can't name half of them, or what they went to Kingscote for. Just think again, Mr Daw, and let me know if you can name any of the gentlemen. No, Mr Daw, you can't do it for certain, and yet I could turn to that despised log and give you all their names, dates of sailing, and what they went to Kingscote for.

      Mr Daw goes on to say practically that if I had written in a strain that would have been agreeable to him (but you are not the only reader of the Courier, Mr Daw) no thing of this would have happened (but then, Mr Daw, errors would have been handed down to future generations which would have been bad in itself), and all uncalled for insinuations would never have been written (mind you, Mr Editor, Mr Daw says uncalled for). Now, as Mr Daw says these insinuations are uncalled for, why in the name of goodness did be write them, and as he says they are uncalled for he certainly could have no grounds for writing them. Now, Mr Daw, as to my being a young architect, I may tell Mr Daw he knows nothing of the architect's work whatever, and I could leave him miles behind at that game if he cares to pit himself against me. Mr Daw is a landsman pure and simple. He would have made his fortune on the mainland as a novelist, but on the Island he is thrown away.

      — I am, Sir, etc.,

      H. F. BATES.

P.S.— The exact words of Mr Daw (June 11) are : "I landed here with my parents in 1860," but he does not say when he was born. Now, Mr Editor, I know people on the Island that landed here when but small children with their parents, and yet the parents had been residing on the Island upwards of 30 years, but no, Mr Daw resided at the Bight of the Bay in 1858. This shows that his parents were not on the Island in '58.— H.F.B.

[Joseph Henry Frederick Bates 1846-1932. Arthur Daw 1859-1949 arrived K.I. aged 9, married Clara Calnan 1891]EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, July 23). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191634109


Sir, — In reading ' Early Days on K.I.' by Mr H. F. Bates, some of it is very interesting, but mostly not so, as I do not think it is true to fact. As these wonderful things Mr Bates relates happened such a long time ago it is remarkable how the narrator remembers details, even which way the wind was blowing on a certain date over 50 years ago. I should like Mr Bates to inform me through the press which direction the wind was blowing on September 19, 1859, at 10 o'clock in the morning. The above information will help to clear up a mystery. 

      With regard to Mrs Chapman arriving at the Island just previous to the boating accident in the 'Three Sisters' I think Mr Bates has made a mistake as I always understood that the name of the ketch was ' Gowry Lass' and not the 'Three Sisters' and that Mr Daw was also a passenger and the wind was S.W. as that was why the ketch was ten days overdue. Re the trooper business I have always heard that Mr P. T. Bell was the only special constable on the Island about 50 or 60 years ago but not having written it down in my log at the time I am not quite sure of the fact.

      Hoping we will have some more ' Early Days on K.I.' to read. 

      I am, Sir, etc.

      ANOTHER OLD ISLANDER. [Who didn't want to be identified. See Bates' angry response below]

TO THE EDITOR. (1910, July 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191630518


SIR, — In your issue of July 2, 1910, I notice an absurd rambling letter over the signature of "Another Old Islander." He seems to belong to the "I always understood" clique, and his letter proves nothing and shows nothing but his own ignorance. He is not man enough to sign his own name to his feeble letter. He prefers to be a coward and strike in the dark. That suits his kidney better than coming out into open daylight and signing his name like a man should do. "Old Islander" reminds me of a parrot repeating what he is told to repeat, and he seems to have taken to his lessons pretty well. Here let me state that "Old Islander" is not the only reader of the K.I. Courier

      "Old Islander" says he thinks my writing not true to facts, and yet he gives no valid reasons for thinking so or saying so. He asks me if I can tell him which way the wind was blowing on Sept. 19, 1859. This, Mr Editor, is a most absurd question to say the least. What has this to do with the working of the sawmill in 1858 or 1859, but I shall be pleased to answer the question to the best of my ability if he will be a man and sign his own name, and not poke around in the dark. 

      He goes on to to say "I think Mr Bates has made a mistake," and he also says "I also understood that the name of the ketch was "Gowry Lass" and not the ''Three Sisters," and that Mr Daw was a passenger and the wind S.W. "Old Islander" also seems to remember the way the wind was blowing some thirty years ago. My dear Mr Editor, is this some more of the parrot repeating business on the part of "Old Islander ?" He seems to have learnt his part pretty well.

      He then goes on to say "I have always heard that Mr P. T. Bell was the only special constable on the Island 50 or 60 years ago, but not having written it down in my log am not quite sure of that." Now, Mr Editor, what does that absurd statement show? Why, nothing, only that "Old Islander" has always heard what is not a fact. Then again, Mr Editor, a special constable is not a police trooper, therefore Special Constable Bell has no thing to do with the trooper business in question. Let me here state that "Old Islander" knows nothing of the accident to the late Mr Chapman, neither does he know anything of the working of the Cygnet saw-mill in 1858. If he did he would sign his own name to his own letter. 

      Mr "Old Islander," your letter is too thin. You were not on the Island 50 or 60 years ago, and you are only trying a little chaff which is cheap and of not much value when it become (as your's has) "musty." Mr "Old Islander," you letter savors of the man that made a fiddle out of his own head; you seem to have wood enough left to make another. 

      Now, Mr Editor, just fancy a heavy ketch like the 'Gambier Lass' being 10 days overdue from Port Adelaide owing to the wind being S.W., and yet I was able to carry the mails from Cape Jervis via Hog Bay in a boat 32 feet long while this lumbering hulk of a keteh was taking ten days to get to Kingscote from Port Adelaide. The thing is absurd. Then again S.W, would be a fair wind to North Cape but as you have closed that correspondence I will not touch on that question farther.

      — I am, Sir, etc. 


EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, July 16). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191640852


Sir, — Reading several letters headed 'Early Days on K.I.' I would like to state that I fail to see where the early days come in, as the incidents mentioned happened in our own time. And in fairness to Mr A. Daw I would like to confirm his statement with reference to the sad accident which happened to Mr and Mrs Chapman and Mr Geo. Grainger. I might say I have lived at or near Reeves' Point for the past 30 years, and the disaster is quite fresh in my memory. It happened during the month of May and I was present at the Point when Mrs Chapman joined her husband. With reference to Mr Calnan's whaleboat, which was certainly upturned and was high and dry (fully 200 yards from where Mrs Chapman got into their own boat) it was absolutely impossible for Mr Bates to have seen Mrs Chapman creeping along the boat as stated. 

— I am, Sir, etc., 


Kingscote, 1/7/1910. 

[While the drowning disaster, which certainly forms portion of the history of K.I., dealing as it does with the sudden loss to the community of three well-known members, is open for discussion as the younger residents are naturally interested in the early days and leading features in connection therewith, still, the matter has now, with this issue, been sufficiently discussed, and our columns closed to any further controversy on this particular subject.  [But this was not to be, as we shall learn below.] Mr Bates has given his version, and Mr A. Daw and Mr Arthur Reeves their's, and as they are all well-known residents the public can judge between them. — ED.]

TO THE EDITOR. (1910, July 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191630517

[H. F. BATES continues with his memories of 1859, er hem, unabated ...]

Having loaded the barge and raft, and the tide being on the ebb, the same method of propulsion was used to get to the mouth of the river again. Having arrived at the mouth it was one man's work to run a line with the dingy and take a turn around a solid post, and the barges would swing in till they grounded opposite the stack of sleepers. Here they were left until morning and as soon as daylight came we would have to unload the barges. Most likely the barges would ground six or seven yards from the bank and, the mud being soft, the unloading was a task not to be envied by anyone. The sleepers had to be all carried on to the bank of the river and stacked ready for shipment, and carrying sleepers weighing from 190 to up wards of 200lbs., up to one's knees in soft mud, was a pretty sure indication that we were not made of wax. This was carried on for months in the dead of winter, night and day, according as the tide might serve. 

Over 50,000 was taken to the mouth in this way. The shipping was carried out by two large cargo boats that would each carry about two and a half tons, and would generally sail one way, either in or out, as the wind might be. All things come to an end if we wait long enough and in due course the dry weather came round again and the drays were able to cart to the mouth, our party of three being recalled to the mill to take to the axe and saw. 

By this time the sleepers were being so urgently required by the Government that the mill could not cope with the demand and to remedy this evil it was decided to split all ten inch logs and, after being split, to adze them. I was then given the adze and it was my duty to follow a pair of splitters and dress the sleepers as they were split. Of course there were a lot of other men similarly employed and at the end of twelve months we had cut and shipped 100,000 sleepers, so we did not do so badly in those days. 

After the mill had been running for a couple of months and there was a good quantity of wheat on hand Mr Boxall thought it would be a great saving to grind this into flour for the men and their families. We did not possess a flour mill, but we had with us a millwright, an old chap named Mexen, who came out from Liverpool in the ship Melbourne in 1858. He said he could make a pair of mill stones if he had the stone. The necessary stones were procured at what was known as Beare's Point (now Queenscliffe). In a short time we had a flour mill running and secured all the flour needed. Mr Boxall also rigged a corn crusher and machine to crush turnips and man gold wurzels. This was fed to the bullocks in chaffed hay, and they were kept in good condition. A silo pit was also dug out — 9 feet square and 12 feet deep. Turnips were boiled in a 400-gallon iron tank, put in this silo pit and fed to the pigs. Wild pigs were plentiful on the river and the method was to catch as many young wild pigs as were needed, shut them up in the sty and feed them well, and they would soon grow into fine fat pigs, so that bacon and pork was very plentiful at the mill and cheap. 

In December, 1859, all hands were much surprised to find one day that Mr Goodyer had landed 380 goats,which were brought to the mill. I had the work of shepherding them up about No. 2 Lagoon for about 3 weeks until a shepherd could be brought down from Port Adelaide. This was the first introduction of goats to those parts but a man by the name of Brecknell brought a large team of goats, with a phaeton, to Cygnet River, some 6 years later. I think he tried ploughing operations with them, but the results were not satisfactory. I think the goats eventually cleared away to the coast and ran wild.

Early Days on K.I. (1910, July 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191630507

I may here mention that after I had been working some months at the mill Mr Goodyer decided to pay Vivonne Bay a visit as he had heard from the black women that there was "big one plenty timber alonga river" at that place and close to the beach and Mr Goodyer thought it worth while to go and have a look. The blacks also said that there was gold at that place and close to the beach and Mr Goodyer thought it worth while to go and have a look. As I was pretty well grounded in trigonometry and understood the measuring of heights and distances by right - angled trigonometry and had been surveying with Mr Goodyer he decided to take me with him. He supplied me with a prismatic compass and plan of the Island in case of accident. One of the horse drays took us up into the hills. We called at the farm (Walley's place) and went somewhere where the line goes up that long hill. After we had gone up to the high land the dray returned home again and we tramped along "on our own." We generally made for some conspicuous mark, having arrived at which we then found the course and distance travel led by right-angled trigonometry, generally making our base fine 100 links to make the calculation easy. In due time we reached the Bay and Mr Goodyer inspected the timber at that place and said it was no good for sleepers. We found the country very thick with scrub all the way, but Mr Goodyer was a good bushman and in due time we reached the mill again, both tired and weary. We saw no signs of any kangaroos on the journey. 

Referring again to the farm I may here mention that Mr Goodyer had a resident farmer there—a young married man. This man did the ploughing and other work with a pair of splendid bullocks, working them in harness just like horses, only that the collars were upside down. All his spare time was put in carting hay down to the mill, as all the bay was grown up at the farm. Here ia an incident I will relate which will go to show that we had some fun in those far-away days. There was a man by the name of Snellgrove on the works. He claimed to be a Mormon and said that he believed he ought to have just as many wives as he could get; no matter about whether he could keep them or not. He said if he had enough of them they might keep him which would be better than keeping them. There was, however, no chance of his securing a wife on the river, as there were only three single ladies at at the mill, and they did not care to be included in the lot. 

Well, Mr Editor, ' Snell ' was considered a bit ' soft' and was continually talking about the wives he was going to get if the chance offered. "Snell" could neither read nor write, so the men thought they might have some fun to liven things up a bit. One day old George the Ostler came home with a yarn from the skipper of the old Gem (one of the boats carrying sleepers) that he could get him one wife at least, and told ' Snell' where to write to the woman, and as he could not write himself he got the late Mr E. S. Bates (who was in the' know' and was one of the carters to the mouth of the river) to do the writing for him. Of course Mr Bates also got the answers and read them to '' Snell' . In a very short time a letter came to Snellgrove saying that the lady would be down by the 'Gem' next trip. Mr Snellgrove instructed the carter to bring her along as soon as the boat arrived and after two or three days it was said the boat was in and the lady would be up to the mill with old George's dray. 

Now the fun started and I daresay, Mr Editor, you have guessed that there were no women in it, for a wonder, as they generally take a hand in a little bit of fun. Well, the teamsters arrived at ''Snell's" hut just after dark and "Snell' had prepared himself with a couple of bottles of "squareface" to treat the hostlers and bullockies. At last old George came along with his dray, and seated in it was a lady wearing a large hat and veil. If one listened he could hear tittering from different parts of the bush, and things did not seem to be quite "on the square," and poor "Snell" could not see what there was to laugh at. He thought he had the best of the deal, at any rate, and was pretty liberal with the 'squareface'. He would not give anyone a chance to hand down the lady from the dray. He remarked on handing her down, that she seemed to be a strong lusty woman, (more squareface and tittering from the bushes). As soon as "Snell" conducted the masculine lady inside the house he wanted her to remove her veil so that he might have first kiss. This, of course, the young lady would not allow before all hands. "Snell" tried to remove tbe veil but the young lady seemed to be altogether too strong for him. At last the veil and hat fell off and the young lady turned out to be the late Mr E. S.Bates. On making this discovery it would have been, quite possible to have knocked poor Snellgrove down with a crowbar. 

Early Days on K.I. (1910, July 9). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191632673


Sir,— I have noticed recently in the Courier statements made by Mr H. F. Bates headed 'Early Days on K.I.' I can give you a few facts about the buildings on the Company's Section, Cygnet River. I will begin with my childhood. I was born in England in 1853 and in 1856 my father left England with his family. We started from England on the 14th February and arrived at Port Adelaide in May, where my father was engaged to go to the Island to work on the sawmills. 

      Now, Mr Bates says in 1859 he helped to build Mr Goodyer's office. I do not know how that could be, when the mill had ceased working before that date, and my father and Mr John Wright senr. went to Cape Borda to help build the lighthouse in 1858. I do not see how they could have been cutting sleepers then. 

      Now I will endeavour to explain the situation of the different buildings. I will start at the old hut that is still standing. Mr Stenning lived there. It never had 3 rooms as stated by Mr Bates. My father built the third room about 37 years ago, going north. The next was a 3-roomed structure where Mr Boxall with Mrs and the Misses Norrell [see Emily and Fanny Boxall were Norrell] , Mrs Boxall, and the brother and sisters lived, afterwards used by my father for carpenter's shop, skinhouse, and mill room etc. Then the office used in our young days as a school. Then the men's hut afterwards used as a barn. Mr Bates makes a mistake in his statement that when he visited the Company's Section in 1868 Goodyer's Office, and all other buildings with the exception of Stenning's hut and a portion of the men's hut, had disappeared. 

      Now these places that I have mentioned disappeared during the time that Mr Melvelle held the section about 12 years ago. Now, going on from the men's hut a short distance you come to the mills, then on a bit further you come to the tent that we lived in for a time. This was close to the river bank near a large red gum tree called Billy Decker, named after a half-caste that was working on the mills. Then on a sandy rise a short distance from the river stood a 2- roomed hut where Mr John Wright senr lived for a short time after he left what is now known as Cygnet Park. Next a 3 -roomed hut just outside the eastern boundary close by the river, where my father was living when Mr Wright and his family left the Island in 1859. Then the next 2 were on each side of the road that now runs between Section 23 and the Section that Mr Boettcher is living on, just about where that clay siding is. The four last named huts with the sawmills, my father and Mr Chapman pulled down and sent to Adelaide by the Company's orders. When my father first rented the Company's Section the long forms were standing around the inside and the long benches for tables up the middle of tbe men's hut. Old Mr E. S. Bates lived on the corner of what is now Section 26, a short distance from the fence, facing the Company's Section. I well remember Old Bill Humby, George Tester Gordy Osborne Mr J. Chambers who married Miss Norrell. Mr Granger's name is spelt without the "i". 

      I am, Sir, etc. 


TO THE EDITOR. (1910, July 16). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191640850

[again, an anonymous correspondent, See H.F. Bates indignant response below].



SIR, — In your issue of July 16, I noticed a letter over the signature of an 'Eye Witness' in which she makes an exceedingly weak attempt to correct some of my statements in 'Early Days on K.I.' Now, my dear editor, Mrs "Eye Witness" is right in some things but utterly wrong in others. Mrs "Eye Witness, in describing the huts at the mill I started at the other end of the ship, but I will now start at your end. 

      First Stenning's Hut, which in 1859 did contain 3 compartments, but about 36 or 37 years ago the late Mr G. Granger built another room of what they called wattle and dab. I know all about the building of that room. Let me here mention that ''Eye Witness," according to her own showing, could only be a child from 3 to 5 years of age in 1858, and her memory must be pretty good to be able to give such details after a lapse of 52 years, and although her statements may be given in good faith still the most vital parts are utterly wrong. What could a child of that age know or recollect of the working of the Cygnet Sawmill in 1859, and I repeat most positively we did cut 120,000 sleepers and other timber in '59 and '60 and also that in December 1858 the mill was not at a standstill as stated by "Eye Witness" which only shows her ignorance of the facts.

      Now, Mr Editor, let us get on with the washing. It is true the late Mr Granger and the late Mr Wright did go to Cape Borda and I can name 5 or 6 others that went to that place from the mill. Mr Goodyer built the lighthouse, and also the Adelaide gaol. Of course be had a partner, but I think that lighthouse was built before 1858. At any rate I saw it alight in November 1858 when I was in a sailing ship about 20 miles W. S.W. from it and passed close to it in the night. Mrs "Eye Witness" says I could not have helped to build Goodyer 's office in 1859 as the mill was not working at that time and we could not be cutting sleepers owing to that fact. This statement of "Eye Witness" is positively contrary to the truth and if betting were allowed I would stake fifty pounds to a shilling that the mill was cutting sleepers in 1859 and a portion of 1860. Now, Mrs "Eye Witness," as you are so very sure that the mill was not cutting sleepers in 1859 I make you this offer. If you can prove that the Cygnet River sawmill was not working and sawing sleepers in the year 1859 I am willing in that event to make the Kingscote Football Club a present of £10— providing that if you are unable to prove that statement you will make the Penneshaw Institute a like present of £10—.

      Now to continue with the description of the huts. "Eye Witness" says, going north, the next was a three roomed structure, (Boxall's). Mrs "Eye Witness," you are at sea here, because the next was a hut with a partition in the middle, and here lived the mill carpenter (Mr Martoo) and his son-in-law (Mr Walter Norman). Then comes Boxall's house. Goodyer had no office at the mill in 1859, and "Eye Witness" has taken Martoo's hut for Goodyer's office. "Eye Witness" says 'Going a short distance you came to the mills.' Here again, "Eye Witness," you are wrong, for the first place is the blacksmith's shop and brick kiln, and then the mill. It is quite true that Mr Granger did, after being paid off, live in a tent for a while as he had no house to spare for Granger. He wanted them all for his own men, "Eye Witness" says 'there on a sandy rise stood a two-roomed hut where lived Mr Wright for a while.' Just so, but Wright lived there before I arrived at the mill. Can "Eye Witness" say who lived in that hut in January, 1859 ? If not I can. Then the two huts were on each side of the road according to "Eye Witness". Now one of these huts was built in 1859, and a Mr Philip Keggins lived in one of them. Now, Mrs "Eye Witness," what about that house that was some distance away from the mill on the road to the mouth. If you know anything about it (but of course you don't) you will find that a Mr Humphris lived there. He was the head sawyer and axeman in the forest, and I may tell you he was cutting sleepers in 1860 at the Cygnet. No mistake about that, "Eye Witness."

      Now we will deal with Granger. He never worked at the mill in my time, but he went onto work for the Calnans at Kingscote and lived at that place, but Mr Wright left the Island in '59, but he did not take all his family with him, as he left one daughter (now my aunt, Mrs J. H. Bates) with old Mr and Mrs Bender. "Eye Witness" says she knew Bill Humby well. Perhaps so. Now, Mr Editor, I have been speaking to a lady to-day who lived on the river for many years and knows all the Grangers like a book, and also knows who they married. My statements about the mill and sleeper cutting in 1859 and 1860 can be borne out by a man living in Kingscote at the present moment and who lived on the Cygnet River for many years and was there in 1859. "Eye Witness," when you say the mill was not sleeper-cutting in 1859, it shows that you have not learnt your lessons well, Again, in 1859 there was no Gordy Osborne at the mill. Neither was there any J. Chambers at that time there, but there was a man by the name of Gordy Osmond (not Osborne) shepherding for the Calnans, but he was not working at the mill although "Eye Witness" might think so, Osmond died at Hog Bay. The lady referred to above says there was only two huts at the mill 36 years ago. I here state positively that Goodyer's office or store was the last structure built by Mr Goodyer in 1859 and that I had the job to build it. I can assure "Eye Witness" that she was at the mill in Jan. 1859 and lived in that hut a little while but none of the Grangers visited the mill in my time after they went to Kingscote which would be in Jan. "Eye Witness" would be too young to know what the mill was doing in 1859.

      I am, Sir, etc,

      H.F. BATES.

P.S.— When "Eye Witness" writes to your valuable paper and says the Cygnet sawmill was not cutting sleepers in 1859 it shows that her statements are absurd and absolutely unreliable and that "Eye Witness" knows but little about it as "Eye Witness" was only a small child at the time. I can give the date I left England, also the ship I came out by, number of days on the journey to Port Adelaide, and date of arrival at port, and not be ashamed to sign my own name to it. In conclusion I may say there was no Billy Decker at the mill in '59 but there was a Mr Martoo and Walter Norman. Norman went to Cape Borda previous to '58 to work there, but "Eye Witness" seems to have forgotten their hut, if she ever knew it. Can "Eye Witness" answer this question : — Who was the man first appointed to take charge of Borda light and did he take charge or not, and if not, why not. Also can you tell me the name of the carpenter doing the carpenter's work at the Borda Lighthouse. Seeing that you would be only about 3 or 4 years old at the time surely you can remember. Also can you tell me the year that Borda lighthouse was built in, and also when the light was first lit up, and then compare it with your statements in Courier of July 16. The next time you make absurd and unreliable statements in the Courier kindly sign your own name and not poke around in the dark.


EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, July 30). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191635448

After a few days things quietened down again, and ran smoothly, and the work rattled along at a good pace, but after a couple of weeks Mr Snellgrove commenced to get restless again, and a good deal of winking and nodding tarted amongst the men. They appeared to be on more than usually friendly terms with Snellgrove and one and all said they were very sorry for the shabby trick they had served him. This ought to have put ' Snell' on his guard, but it did not. Poor ' Snell' was all smiles and was always talking about his Mormon wives. One fine day something seemed to be moving and at dinner time a verbal message was brought up from Kingscote, from the late Mr C. Calnan, informing Mr Snellgrove that a young lady from Adelaide was at his place waiting for Mr Snellgrove to come and take her away. She had come over by the s.s. Corio, a mail steamer (in those times the English mail steamers called at Kingscote) and this message coming from the late Mr Calnan, (which it never did as a matter of fact) quite put 'Snell' off his guard as he asked Mr Boxall to let him off at 4 p.m. so that he could walk into Kingscote to get this young lady. 

Mr Boxall agreed to let him off at 5 p.m. and ' Snell' cleaned himself up, took his flute and set sail, for Kingscote at about 6 p.m. He had a nine mile journey to Kingscote and reached Mr G. Calnan's house at about 9 p.m., and inquired for a lady. Of course Mr Calnan saw the joke at once, and, being as fond of a bit of fun as most folks, told Mr Snellgrove that the lady had become tired of waiting and had tramped off out to the mill. Bat 'Snell' did not seem to quite 'hoist this in,' and he pulled out his flute and tramped round Mr Calnan's house playing 'Come, love, come' and a few other choice ditties. Along towards midnight it appears Mr Calnan got tired of  'Come, love, come,' and wanted to go to sleep. As 'Snell' would not take the hint and go Mr Calnan 'shied' a big jug at Snellgrove and caught him on the ground hop and I heard the late Mr Calnan, while having a hearty laugh over the matter, say many times that if Snell was not wet inside he appeared pretty wet outside. At any rate be took himself and his flute out of that in quick time. I well recollect, although it is 52 years ago, seeing Mr Snellgrove just as though I could see him now, pass the hut I was living in at 6 o'clock the next morning. He looked wretched and careworn. Thus ended the romance of wife No. 2. 

Poor "Snell" did not seem able to weather this lot. He was chaffed so much by the men that be decided to ask the manager to cancel his engagement and let him leave, and the manager thought it was the best thing to do, as Snellgrove began to talk about ounces of lead for somebody. Finally, he packed up and cleared off by the next boat. Thus ended his days on K.I. In fact his end on this fair earth was far nearer than anyone thought or expected, and came in a most unusual way and many expressed regret later on at the tricks they had played on poor Snell. However, they would not have played those tricks only that Snellgrovo had one wife in the Adelaide hospital dying from cancer at the time, and these rough and ready fellows thought he deserved all he got at the time. There is no doubt they were a good hearted and kindly lot of men at the mill and I never heard one quarrel during the fifteen months that I worked there, and, with the exception of two cases I never saw anyone drunk or disorderly, which speaks volumes for the class of men who were at the mill. Rum and squareface was plentiful but was used in moderation, and one could go about and not meet a drunk. I never saw a man drunk at the mill, the two cases mentioned being at the mouth of the river. Just fancy, Mr Editor, in those far away and bygone days, in the heart of a dense forest and scrub, those lusty, goodhearted Britons delving away iu peace and happiness, carving homes out of the wild bush—no unions, no quarrelling, but everyone certainly looked healthy and comfortable and well-fed. 

In due time Snellgrove reached Adelaide and had a 'squaring up' with Mr Goodyer, but after being in Adelaide a few days he met his death in the following manner. One day he went into an eating-house and tried to swallow a piece of meat in a hurry and he was choked before any assistance could be rendered to him. This sad mishap cast quite a gloom over the mill-folks, especially to those who cause out in the same ship in 1858. Mr Snellgrove's wife had died in the hospital, also Mr Jack Essie, so that, neither of these men saw their wives after they sailed from Port Adelaide for Cygnet River. Essie had a family of five or six, but Mr Snellgrove had none. 

The mill and sleeper-cutting, however, rolled cheerfully along until Christmas time, which was kept in the good old style of those days of long ago,and we were all looking forward to receiving our cheques about as big as blankets (we had cut and shipped 100,000 sleepers in twelve months) when news reached the mill that Mr Goodyer had contracted for an other 20,000, and Mr Boxall asked all the men to stay on and cut this 20,000 as it would be so much expense for Mr Goodyer to bring fresh men down for the work. Besides we were all used to the place and work, and Mr Goodyer had only three months in which to do the work. One or two who had large cheques and seemed anxious to reduce their size left and went to Adelaide for that purpose, but the majority, who liked Mr Goodyer and his manager remarkably well, signed on again for another three months, and the time seemed to roll by all too soon, every one working with energy and willing to do their best for their good and kind old boss. There can be no doubt about it Mr Goodyer was kind to his men and so was his manager (Mr Boxall.)

Early Days on K.I. (1910, July 23). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191634081


Sir, — I have read with much pleasure and interest the articles now appearing in your valuable paper, written by Mr H. F. Bates,- and headed 'Early Days on K.I.' The articles are well written and afford very interesting reading to the majority of your subscribers, who are always most anxious every week to secure their Couriers in consequence. I think the writer should be commended for the great amount of time, study and thought he must have given to the subject in order to enable him to set out in so clear and interesting a manner the events that occurred over 50 years ago. Instead of this, however, I regret to notice that a few persons have endeavored, through the columns of your paper, to cast discredit on the truthfulness of Mr Bates' narrative. But I am pleased to notice that the writer of the articles was equal to the occasion, the result of which now is that the people are now anxiously waiting for £10 to add to the funds of the Penneshaw Institute. 

      But alas ! I am afraid they will have to wait, for I notice Mr Daw now says the question is one for the authorities to decide. But he does not say what authorities— whether local, police, or government authorities. Therefore I have no doubt he means his own authority. No doubt this is why be did not offer another £10 in connection with the naming of that young trooper who some years ago visited Kingscote for the purpose of making enquiries as to the origin of a fire that did considerable damage at Stokes Bay. But, even on this occasion I notice Mr Daw says he has got the joker. But Mr Editor, what's the good of that when Mr Bates has all the other cards. He would only be euchred again. 

      Now, Mr Editor, in conclusion I would be pleased if Mr Daw would correctly answer these questions through your paper:— 

      If Mr Daw will be good enough to answer these questions the public will be able to judge as to the correctness of his memory, and the truth of his statements generally, for I am sure this matter must be still fresh in the minds of the old settlers of Kingscote. 

      — I am, Sir, etc., 

BEFORE THE MAST. [What is it with these nom-de-plumes? This looks suspiciously similar to the style of H.F. Bates himself!]

TO THE EDITOR. (1910, July 23). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191634108


Sir,— Re "Early Days on K.I." I would like to point out to 'One who was an Eye Witness,' that Mr H. F. Bates had ample opportunity to assist in helping to build Goyder's office, as the Cygnet River sawmills were in full swing cutting sleepers and other timber during the year 1859 and longer, and not closed down as ' One who was an Eye Witness' (supposed to be one who was present) states. 

— I am, Sir, etc.,

G. J. BATES. [George James Bates is Harry Frederick Bates's brother.]

Kingscote, July 19,

TO THE EDITOR. (1910, July 23). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191634107


Sir, — With reference to the article ' Early Days on K.I.' by Mr H. F. Bates, as you have closed the correspondence re the drowning fatality of Mr and Mrs Chapman and Mr G. Granger, I will not ask to be permitted to touch on that matter but would simply like to point out that, as the time, I was employed by Mr H. F. Bates in assisting him to run the mail from Cape Jervis to Hog Bay and Kingscote and on that particular trip when the accident happened Mr Bates remained at Hog Bay and I, with two other men, delivered the mail, but on account of rough weather did not arrive at Kingscote until about 3 o'clock on Monday afternoon and well remember Mr Chapman's boat going out soon after I arrived.

— I am, Sir, etc.



Kingscote, .luly 22, 1910

EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, July 23). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191634117

Sir. — In your issue of July 24 I notice a letter over the signature of August Olsen, fisherman, in which he makes statements which positively have no foundation in fact. Mr Olsen says that at the time of the the accident to Mr Chapman (but as you have closed that correspondence I will touch upon the matter as little as possible) that he was then in my employ. This statement is not true, as at that particular moment he was not employed by me, and as I was the contractor I ought to know what men were in my employ, and when be says that I stayed behind on that particular day he also says what is not a fact, and when be says or im plies that he had charge of the mails, be also says what is not a fact. 

      It is true Mr Olsen did work for me for a little while as a general knock about hand, but not as a master mariner, and he no more had charge of the mails during my contracts than he has at the present time charge of the Karatta and mails. Mr Olsen is one of the last men I would think of putting in charge of the mails, and he never had my confidence to a sufficient degree to warrant my giving him charge of the mails at any one time, and he never had such charge. During the time (seven years and three months) that I carried the mail to the Island I had several different men employed at different times and I never found Olsen extraordinary even at boating. In fact he always impressed me as being a timid boatman and I repeat he never had charge of the mails or boat as he would like to imply. 

      I know perfectly well the trip which he alludes to and I hold Mr Lawton's receipt for payment of that trip, and without calling upon my memory to assist me the date of that receipt speaks for itself. Olsen never even had charge on this occasion. I did on one occasion employ one of the S.A. Fishing Company's boats to do a trip for me, and I believe Olsen and another man was sailing this boat but Olsen did not have charge of the mails, as I sent my trusted chief Mr Travers in charge of the mails and I may hear say that Mr Travers had my fullest confidence and was a man in whom you could trust your life to with confidence. Travers was a man that did not know the meaning of the word fear in a breeze. Even on this trip Mr Travers told me that Olsen failed to reach the Boat Harbour owing to timidity and a good stiff breeze, but says the boat ought to have gone to the harbor as the wind was not too strong for that purpose, but as Olsen would not go Mr Travers had to land the mails at a place called the Fishery, about 4 miles from the Cape Post Office, and was kindly taken to to the office by a passenger named Harry Price. As Mr Travers is still on the Island and a subscriber to the Courier we will see if he will contradict my statements in this matter. Also Travers is a man miles above stooping to tell a lie. 

      Then again there was Messrs Harry Chenoweth and Harry Thornton, both of whom were seamen and boatmen of the very first water and had my fullest confidence in every way, and I also had the necessary guarantee for these three men, and Chenoweth did have charge of the mailboat on more than one trip. 

      My dear Mr Editor I am not making those statements in a half-drunken, sotted state, with a pint of beer in my hand. Mr Olesen seems to forget that there is such things as receipts for wages which bear dates, and may be produced at any moment. The late Mr Chapman left the Point about one p.m., and was last seen about four p.m. well up the Bay. Some timeago when Mr Olesen was trying for  an Old Age pension he sent me a message by my sons asking me to write him and let him know the year that he was working for me, as he had quite forgotten, as it was so long ago, but he said I would be sure to know as my books would most likely show it. I am only making this statement to show, Mr Editor, that Olesen could not remember when he worked for me, which, no doubt, is the truth.

      I am, Sir, etc., 

      H. F. BATES.

EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, August 6). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191637776

Sir,— It was not my intention to enter into the controversy now going on in your paper re "Early Days on K.I." till I saw a letter signed 'August Olesen,' which I consider calls for some comment. Now, Mr Editor, if there is a spark of truth in what this old fisherman says, I would like to know why it was that he did not give evidence of what he saw at the inquest held at Hog Bay in connection with the drowning accident. 

As one of the jury I know the coroner was most anxious to obtain all evidence possible from those persons who last saw the late Mr Chapman alive. But the fact remains, he did not do so, nor was he even present at the enquiry. But Mr. H. F. Bates was, and did give evidence, as did also several other persons from Kingscote, which all tends to bear out the truth of what Mr Bates has said in his narrative relative to the matter. 

August Olesen says he arrived at Kingscote about 3 o'clock on the Monday aftemoon and well remembers Mr Chapman's boat going out soon after he arrived, which, if true, would make the time of Chapman's departure about four o'clock And yet I remember quite well, at the inquest, all the witnesses from Kingscote stated he left about one o'clock in the afternoon. 

This, I think, Mr Editor, is quite enough to show that this old fisherman does not know what he is talking about and must have been dreaming when be said he was engaged by H. F. Bates to do this particular trip, with two other men, leaving Mr Bates at Hog Bay. It would be interesting to know if this old fisherman can so accurately remember the details of any other trip he made to Kingscote with the mails. I am afraid not, and feel convinced that his last letter would never have been written had he not been influenced by others to do so, for truly Mr Editor, it is plain to be seen that, whilst the voice may be the voice of Jacob; the hand was the hand of Esau. Further comment is needless.

— I am, Sir, etc., ONE OF THE JURY.

TO THE EDITOR. (1910, August 6). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191637775

Sir — I have read with great pleasure and interest the articles in your paper by Mr H. F. Bates entitled ''Early Days on K.I." The thanks of the Islanders are due to him for the able manner in which he has written the articles. I am sorry to see that some writers who cannot remember the facts contradict Mr H. F. Bates.

      "Eye Witness" says the Cygnet River sawmill had ceased working before 1858 and that Mr Bates could not have been cutting sleepers in 1859 etc. Now, Mr Editor, I will prove to you that "Eye Witness" has made a mistake in the dates. I was born in England in 1848 and left in the "Melbourne" in 1858 for South Australia and eat my first Xmas dinner in Port Adelaide in 1858. My father signed to work at the Cygnet River sawmill for 12 months and we arrived at the mouth of the Cygnet River early in 1809. There were with us Philip Keggins and wife, Wally Tate and wife, Snellgrove and wife, Megson, wife and family and J. Hussey and family. These persons I remember well and Mr Snellgrove's wife died at the sawmill. I was living at the sawmill in 1859 and a part of 1860 and can assure you that all Mr H. F. Bates has stated about the sleeper-cutting and shipping is a positive fact. The mill was working for all it it was worth in 1859.

      I notice that "Eye Witness" says nothing about Mr Marfoo's hut or house, the smithy brick kiln and other huts that were built in 1859. The store was close to Mr Boxall's house and I was there many times for stores of all kinds. I remember seeing Mr Goodyer occasionally at the mill with a tame white cockatoo perched on his head. Mr Granger left the mill for Kingscote when we arrived at the mill and did not return while I was there. I remember Mr Norrell and Fanny and Emily Boxall. Emily, who was younger than her sister Fanny, served in the store. I never heard Fanny and Emily Boxall called Norrell.  [See Emily and Fanny Boxall were Norrell]. I well remember the Snellgrove incident and Mr Bates handled that with skill. If the whole facts were given it could scarcely appear in print.

      I hope Mr Bates will continue "Early Days on K.I."

      — I am, Sir, &c.


EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, July 30). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191635481


Sir, — I must really congratulate Mr Bates on the concisement of statements (it seems such a pity to accuse me of rambling statements), his expressions of goodwill are so exceedingly choice and polite, and the odour is redolent of the man himself that I heartily compliment him for his courage in using up two columns of space to try and explain matters that could be adequately expressed in a dozen lines. Mind, he almost calls me a liar. Dear, dear, Mr Bates, you evidently forget yourself. He says any memory cannot be trusted for fifty days, much less fifty years. Well, I haven't got a log to go by, have I, Mr Bates. He says I was not present at the departure. That's back in your teeth, Mr Bates, I was at Reeves' Bluff at the time in company with Mr Wm. Hamilton, He says he did see it. How ? Mr Bates. In the face of Mr August Olesen's letter which states that you were at Hog Bay at the time I repeat — "How?" He corroborates the statement of Mr Reeves and myself that you did not see these things. Eighteen miles is a long way to look, even with a telescope, backed by an imaginative mind. I am afraid that you will hand down a good many incorrect statements, Mr Bates, unless you revise that log of yours. With regard to the trooper business, if Mr Bates can prove his claims I am quite willing to fulfil my promise but, to use one of your favorite expressions, Mr Bates, "For goodness sake don't consult that log again. "

--I am, Sir, etc.,


P.S.— With regard to Mr Bates' question re gentlemen's names and business, I could answer this, Mr Bates, without thinking, but I usually mind my own business unless called upon to interfere.

EARLY DAYS ON [?]. (1910, July 30). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191635480

Sir, — I, like many others, have always taken a great interest in matters connected with the early history of our State, and especially K.I. To the majority residing on the mainland, there is little known of K.I. They know that there is such a place, and where it is situated, and that's about all, but judging by the number spending their summer months here in recent years, K.I. is fast becoming a popular summer resort, and might rightly be termed as "The Tasmania of South Australia," and I think that it is the duty of every Islander to do his best to advertise it more. 

      I appreciate Mr H. E. Bates attempt in his ''Early Days on K.I." to give us younger generation an idea of how life was spent on K.I. in the early days, compared with the present time. I feel sure that the majority of readers of the "Courier" have taken an interest in reading his accounts, but, Sir, I think that it is a pity there are some who are always eager to have a 'peck' at one, when he makes an attempt to enlighten folks. I myself am not a personal friend of Mr Bates, or of his critics either, but I can always overlook a mistake or two on one's part if it is not being done intentionally. 

      If there is any ill feeling felt between our writers why not settle it elsewhere ; not through the columns of our valuable little paper for the eyes of the world to scan. Let bygones be bygones. I for one am not looking for one's faults, but for the history of Kangaroo Island, and am looking forward,to your future issues dealing with the subject.

I am, Sir, etc.,


Penneshaw, K.I, 3/8/1910.

TO THE EDITOR. (1910, August 13). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191642660

Sir. — In your issue of July 30 I notice Mr Daw has again fired his own imaginary great gun with, I suppose, the intention of blowing me straight out, but he has again failed to make a "bull," in fact his shot is a rank outsider, for he has now clearly shown that he was not present at the departure of the boat from the landing place at Kingscote point (called by some Reeves Point) by saying that he was at Reeves Bluff, which is a half mile or more away from the landing at Kingscote, and one could not be at Reeves Bluff and be present at the departure at one and the same time. He could only be in one of these places and Mr Daw says he was at the Bluff. The boat did not take her departure from the Bluff but from Kingscote Point at the proper landing place. It would be impossible at the Bluff to see a boat on the beach at the landing-place, owing to dense scrub and other obstacles, and at that time you could not see the Post Office from the landing-place, and the office was only 50 yards or so away from the landing-place.

      Mr Daw doesn't appear to know the meaning of the words "to be present" at the departure, when at the same time, he was more than half a mile away and could not see the boat on the beach or who was there at the time. Again, he does not appear to know the difference between correction and contradiction. It does seem strange to me and many others that if Mr Daw and Co. were at Reeves Bluff as stated, that they did not see the sad accident and yet it must have been plainly visible to any person looking out into the bay from Reeves Bluff.

      Then again it is strange that such men as Messrs Daw and Hamilton did not give evidence at the inquest if their statements have any truth in them. No doubt they, like Olesen, would say the boat left at or near 4 o'clock, whereas it is in evidence "on oath" from residents at Kingscote that the boat left about 1 p.m., wind strong from N.W. boat last seen about 4 p.m. well up under the Cape. Now this evidence was given at the time and being under oath is reliable and I repeat that Mr Daw was not present at the departure of the boat. He says he was at the Bluff, which may be true. Daw and Co. may have seen tbe boat out in the Bay,

      Mr Daw says he has not got a log. Perhaps that is why he makes such mistakes. Again, referring to my log, I very much prefer to believe it in preference to Mr Daw. I also repeat that Mr Reeves was not present at the departure of the boat. To be present means one must be at the place of departure and not at Reeves Bluff, or some other place.

      I have named the trooper and it is Mr Daw's place to prove that I am wrong or pay the ten pounds. Mr Daw says be could answer questions re gentlemen's names and business, but I say he cannot do so or he would be glad to do so to prove that log's error. I will give Mr Daw 12 months to name two of the police and then he will fail. Of course I mean a certain two, not any two of them, but they shall be two that went in my boat to Kingscote. Mr Daw says he minds his own business unless asked to interfere. Well, who asked him to interfere. I did not. Facts annoy Mr Daw. Now Mr Daw came up in the Courier, issue June 11; with great bombast, and tried to deliver the solar plexus, but he failed, and the young architect's light is still burning brightly, and refuses to be put out even by Mr Daw's 70ft. whistle or trumpet. When he blows his own trumpet it is his own boat that stops, not mine.

      In replying to "One Before the Mast" Mr Daw says in answering one he answers us both, which means H.F.B. and O.B.T.M. are oue. Here Mr Daw is mistaken again. Whether Mr Snelling can do so or not is nothing to do with me whatever. Now I have in my possession as good written testimonials (and I think better) as either Oleson or Daw (I don't mean ordinary ship discharges) I mean testimonials bearing the marks of age to show that they are genuine. Mine are written by men in a higher station of life than either Messrs Olesen or Daw, and they cover a range of from 10 to 20 years. If you, Mr Editor, care to be the judge, I will forward not less than three testimonials if Olesen and Daw will do the same. They must be genuine and not written within the last five years, to show they have nothing to do with this controversy, and must not be written by Kangaroo Islanders, or in any way faked. They must be in each person's possession at the present moment, and must have been written by gentlemen above suspicion. They must show honesty, reliability, and straightforwardness of the party in possession of the testimonials. If you, Sir, will notify me that you will act as judge, I will forward mine immediately on receipt of such notice. I can assure Messrs Olesen and Daw that mine will bear the daylight. In conclusion, Mr Daw seems to interfere when not asked, in addition to doing so when asked, and I repeat he knows nothing of the working of the sawmill in 1859, and when he next makes for the solar plexus, make sure the mark is open, or he will be blocked again.

      I am. Sir, etc.,

      H. F. BATES.

EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, August 13). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191642667


Sir. — Your interesting little Courier of 30th July reached me today, and is, as usual, up to its general standard of excellence, containing most interesting Island news. I look forward to the arrival of each copy. I look forward every summertime to my holidays at Kingscote, the home of the weary and worn-out brain worker.

      I have been somewhat amused at the howling tangle which the writer of "Early Days on K.I." has got him self into, and I am of the same opinion as some of his critics — and think he is going a bit too solid — to remember every item of detail so clearly after over half a century. Why doesn't Mr Bates come straight out into the open and let people peruse his alleged log, which, as he says, contains all the information he is now serving out to us hot. Surely it must be a journal and not a log to contain all the incidents depicted in his articles, he seems to have quite a happy knack of making statements, and quoting conversations word for word which happened 52 years ago — and cutting hundreds of thousands of heavy sleepers when but a mere boy— without there and then verifying it all as he goes along— which omission can only make his readers swallow it all with a bag of salt and make his unbelieving critics jump on him with both feet. I, for one, would not like to even suggest that he is "drawing along bow," because he may not be able to fiddle. Still, be would make his readers feel more with him, if he would not "spar" so much.

      For instance, in his article of 30th, July ' Courier' he says "Mrs Eye Witness" is right in some things, but utterly wrong in others". Well, why don't he state which is right and which is wrong. This is tantamount to admitting that he is right only in some things, of which he is writing about. We, the readers, are the judges as to whether the articles on "Early Days on K.I." are to be taken with or without salt. Then he blunders along and says "We did cut 120,000 sleepers" (ye gods, this frail boy) and who the dickens are We? Why not give their names for our information and judgment? He still thoughtlessly rambles along and says, "It is true the late Mr Granger and the late Mr Wright did go to Cape Borda, and I can name five or 6 others" (then why the dickens don't you?) He goes on to say—"Mr Goodyer built the Lighthouse at Cape Borda, and the Adelaide gaol." Doesn't the Log Book state what time of the day it was in 1858 that the foundation stones were laid (an oversight perhaps). He continues on "I saw the (Cape Borda) light in November 1868 when I was in a sailing ship about 20 miles W.S.W. from it"— (Oh, how you do exasperate me ! What ship was it ?) Perhaps it was a phantom ship with blue wings. And pray how was the wind at ¼ to 5 p.m that night ?

      Now please clear me Mr Bates — "How do you reconcile this statement. You say ' I think' (no log entry) 'that Lighthouse was built before 1858. At any rate I saw it alight in November 1858, when I was in a sailing ship about 20 miles W.S.W. from it, and again passed close to it in the night.' You surely do not call 20 miles from Cape Borda out to sea 'close to the Lighthouse.' What does that little piece of firewood — I mean your log— say. Does it give the exact time of the day, or night, when the Cape Borda light in 1858 first smiled upon you, or did its golden and ruby rays first kiss your youthful eye- brows while you were lying, cuddled up in a coil of rope after just parting, in sorrow, with your pickle-pork and biscuit tea.

       I hope to take a run down to Kangaroo Island in the summer if only to have a look at this "man of memory" who can remember every little detail, every incident, in fact, every minute of the days over half a century ago. Even to every conversation word for word. Jehosophat ! its marvelous ! After he has waded knee-deep through all his "Early days on K.I." I hope he will treat us to his "Later days on K.I.," which should prove very interesting reading for us Mainlanders, and particularly to you Islanders who are better acquainted with the gallant writer.

      The article of Mr Bates' in the "Courier" of 23rd., July last is his masterpiece For a good memory it takes the proverbial "Bun". He remembers, although 52 years ago, the men be worked with who nodded and winked, and smiled on a particular day. But oh ! I say, isn't this a bit thick ? No : I don't care. I'll believe it even if it chokes me. I suppose all the characters mentioned in this article are all defunct, too. Dash it all, it is very unkind of them all to die. Some of them would be a great help just now to prove to all the disbelievers that everything which has appeared in "Early days" is gospel truth. Mr Bates also says that poor old Snell played on the flute "Come, love, Come," but he does not appear to have entered it in his log whether poor Snell's love did arrive. However, in the gospel according to Bates, poor Snell swallowed a cat — my mistake, I mean a piece of meat — and got choked, I'm thankful it wasn't Mr Bates who got choked, and that he at least is left to us to tell the tale of the early 50's.

      His critics, the unbelieving ungrateful people, must have thoroughly enjoyed the articles, the same as I and others have done, only that they won't own up. Really I have enjoyed it all as much as I en joy my Mark Twain and Josh Billings — only that Mr Bates' articles are much more original and reliable. I am prime Salt Beef now, I have used so much salt to digest the articles appearing from time to time.

      In conclusion, I may be a suspicious sort of beggar, but its my nature, but let your readers compare the letters in the Courier of 30th July last under the nom-de-plum "Another Eye Witness," and also in the issue of July 23rd last under the nom-de- quince "Before the Mast," then place them beside the articles "Early Days on K,I." and if there isn't a similarity in the composition, and more particularly to the continuous use of the phrase "Now Mr Editor," well I am mistaken. But I hae my doots aboot it. Now, Mr Bates, having nearly finished, the articles anent your "Early Days on K.I." I hope you will follow them up anent your "Later Days on K.I." Don't take any notice of your unbelievers, they don't remember what they had for breakfast at 3.10 a.m. on Thursday the 20th November, 1858— the dull fellows. Pass the mustard please — thanks.

      — I am, Sir, etc., ANANIAS XI.

      - Adelaide, Aug. 2nd, 1910.

P.S. — If A. Daw tackles you again give him Beans. — A. XI.

EARLY DAYS ON K.I. (1910, August 13). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191642673

Sir, — I must crave your indulgence for a little space in reference to the "Early Days on K.I." I have carefully perused the correspondence on this matter and also made many enquiries and found absolute proof that H. F. Bates, the narrator, has made many statements that are ridiculous in the extreme. He speaks of matters of which he knows nothing, and that never happened. He deliberately contradicts people who were on the spot, and saw happenings when he was miles away.

       He quotes a log as his proof. How is it then that H. F. Bates' log says an accident happened on a Sunday, when it has been proven conclusively that it happened on a Monday afternoon. I could give many other instances of these mistakes and contradictions, but it would take up too much space.

       I must say it was very bad taste on H. F. Bates' part to so violently attack those writers who merely pointed out these mistakes to him. An historian should always he ready to accept fresh facts. H. F. Bates thinks, evidently, that he is the only man on the Island that has any knowledge on these matters, but I don't think so. I and many others have come to the conclusion that H. F. Bates is wrong, that his cherished log is but a dream, and his imagination is far more fitted for the creation of historical romances than the building of timber huts.

      I am, Sir, etc.,


TO THE EDITOR. (1910, August 13). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191642677

Early Days' Correspondence.

We would like correspondents to note that the present controversy on ' Early Days on K.I. closes with this issue — for obvious reasons. This is final— Ed.]

EARLY DAYS' CORRESPONDENCE. (1910, August 13). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191642685

Early Days on K.I.

On July 30 we announced that the Open Column discussion on ' Early Days on K.I.' would be closed down after Aug. 13, further controversy being unprofitable and useless. This week we have received further letters and documents bearing on the same subject, but we see no reason to depart from the stand taken. If allowed to continue, the present argument, or series of arguments, would probably last for another twelve months, and no good end be achieved.

Early Days on K.I. (1910, August 20). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191641039