Kangaroo Island in 1905
Kangaroo Island, discovered and named by Flinders over a century ago, has played an important part in this State’s history. From there that intrepid, yet afterwards unfortunate navigator, and named the crowning point of Adelaide’s charming hills circlet Mount Lofty. That was in the year 1802 long before Adelaide was founded. Within the sea-girt shores of Kangaroo Island was cradled the State’s first settlement, Kingscote. But little is known of the Island by people on the mainland, and for this reason these articles are (by request) republished. As to its prospects agriculturally, they are excellent, whilst for fruit growing, the old mulberry tree at Kingscote, and Mr. John Buick’s orchard, American River, are striking and convincing evidences of its capabilities.
Many years ago the late Dr. Whittell referred to Kangaroo Island as “Adelaide’s Sanatorium,” and of the appropriateness of this title I am convinced; the longevity of the residents is ample proof of its salubrious climate. They want not up-to-date dictators nor exponents of the i/is germs or microbe tribe. They mayhap have lived longer without their acquaintance, “Heaven’s blessed breezes and exercise having been their preservators.” The visit to the Island of our first Governor (Captain Hindmarsh) is recounted in these pages. It is to be hoped that on the unveiling of the canopy, shortly to be erected for the preservation of the historic Frenchman’s Rock, at Freshwater Bay, Kangaroo Island may be honoured by a visit from our popular representative of King Edward VII., Sir George LeHunte.
MY FIRST VISIT.
One of the most healthful and interesting trips which can be taken from Adelaide during the summer months is that to Kangaroo Island. Until recently the means of transport have been far from up to date; consequently but little is known of what may eventually become one of our principal summer resorts. Many years ago, when the late Dr. Whittell was engaged in one of the largest practices in this city, he was of the opinion that the island would be an ideal place for the establishment of a private hospital, whither he could send certain classes of patients to convalesce. With that object in view he communicated with the late Mr. T Willson, asking him to take records of the temperature, etc, on the island. This was done with results that were considered eminently satisfactory ; but the want of direct and regular communication debarred the worthy doctor from carrying his proposal into effect. Now, however, and only comparatively recently, regular communication by steamer from Port Adelaide with something like decent accommodation enables the island to be reached in about seven hours from Port Adelaide, or from Glenelg some two hours less. The trip proved to be exceedingly pleasant; for, although on starting it was very hot, we were met by a lovely southern breeze before midday. Of passengers there were many. The greater i)proportion were visitors, women and children predominating. Of the sterner sex some had come to spy out the land for agricultural and grazing purposes. Nearing the bold and corrugated headlands adjacent to Cape Jervis there is much to occupy the visitor’s attention. In the vicinity of the lighthouse Backstairs Passage is crossed and we landed on the shores of the little bay where the celebrated French navigator Baudin disembarked more than a century ago.
—The Hog Bay District.—
The title or this euphoniously named bay is tempered by the township having been called Penneshaw, but the porcine appellation is still the most favoured. Its derivation is attributed to the fact that in the early days, when the island was inhabited by whalers, pigs were introduced from Sydney and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania); and, being allowed to roam at large, they increased and multiplied. The result was that other places in the vicinity were littered with. names savouring of the swine, notably “Pig’s Head Flat,” ”Morepork Gully,” and “Porkey Flat,” and the localities thus baptised have retained their names unto this day. The recently constructed jetty at the bay is a monument to the zeal of Mr. Tucker, M.P., and in contrast to the old landing place at Christmas Cove, where passengers and cargo were pulled to and from the shore in boats, it is a distinct improvement. The township of Penneshaw is beautifully situated, although as a township there is not much of it. From nearly every part of it a beautiful sea view is obtainable. It faces north, so that when hot winds are busy on the mainland they are, as at Robe, tempered by blowing over many miles of water before reaching the island. The name Penneshaw, is after Dr. Pennefather, private secretary to the Governor of the day, and Miss Shaw, the noted Time correspondent, who was a guest at Government House when the new township was proclaimed. The land to the south of the township is undulating, and rises gently to a rounded saddle, which is studded here and there with tea-tree, sheoak, and mallee. The greater part of slopes and valleys is used for the cultivation of barley. The quality of that grown on the island is justly favoured for malting purposes. When in Melbourne recently I paid several visits to the premises of S. Burston & Co., Limited, who are one of the largest maltsters in that city and it was a pleasure to learn that no other samples of barley received by them were better favoured than those from Kangaroo Island. During our visit the harvest was nearing completion: and it was a goodly sight to note the horse and bullock teams with loads of grain wending their way to the jetty; albeit the season’s crop has not been quite so heavy as is usual, owing to a wet winter and a comparatively dry spring.
Of the buildings in Penneshaw, there is a new and commodious hotel, situated on a point above the jetty, over1ooking Backstairs Passage. On the other side of Christmas Cove are the Church of England, the State schoo1, two stores, which are open only part of the day on three days a week, the Wesleyan Church, a blacksmith’s shop, a wool and grain store, the post office (but no telegraph, or even telephone, office as yet), a district council hall, and last, but not least, a most, comfortable and cleanly boarding house. From almost everywhere beautiful sea views are obtainable, and the variations in the colour of the water caused by passing clouds are pleasant to look upon. All the steamers and vessels trading between Ports Adelaide and Pirie and the eastern States pass close by. Then, again, at times shoals of fishes may be noticed on and near the surface of the water, with porpoises and seabirds playing an attentive accompaniment, and in the distance Mount Lofty can, in clear weather, be distinctly seen with the naked eye.
The chief objects of interest in the vicinity of Hog Bay are the places visited and named by the early navigators— Flinders and Baudin. After leaving Cape Spencer, Yorke’s Peninsular, Flinders sought shelter from a storm, which obliged him to “lay his ship under the land on the south.” In doing so he rounded a point, which he named Point Marsden. He then anchored in what he named Nepean Bay, and from there he saw and named Mount Lofty. This was in 1802, long before Adelaide was thought of. A little to the west of Hog Bay is Kangaroo Head, where Flinders first. Landed in March 22, 1802. He then saw “a number of dark brown kangaroos, feeding upon a grass plot by the side of the wood, and our landing gave them no disturbance. …..I killed 10, and the rest of the party made up the number to 31 ; taken on board during the day. The least of them weighed 69 lb., and the largest 125 lb. . . A delightful regale they afforded us after four months’ privation from almost any fresh provisions. . . . In gratitude tor so seasonab1e a supply I named this southern land Kangaroo Island.” The exact spot where Flinders was supposed to have landed is a little west of the point of Kangaroo Head, and some day it is presumed that this site will be marked by a monument, as was done at Botany Bay, Sydney, to denote the place where Capt. Cook landed and planted the British flag. Other points in the vicinity visited and named by Flinders were Antechamber Bay and Cape Willoughby. Next to Flinders, the first to visit the island was the French navigator, Baudin, who, after his meeting with flinders in Encounter Bay called at what is now known as Hog Bay, which on at old map is entitled Freshwater Bay. A little to the east of the jetty is a sandy beach, on which is an excellent fresh well. This supplies all the cattle in the township with drinking water during the summer months. Close to this beach is the celebrated Frenchman’s Rock, on which is an inscription pricked out in French, recording Baudin’s visit. A canopy, to be built over the rock for the purpose of its preservation, is now contemplated. and for this purpose the residents on the island have subscribed liberally.
—-Other Places of Interest.—
A little east of the bay is a place marked on the map “Alec’s Lockout,” so named after an old-time whaler, who used it to spy out what then constituted the harvest of the sea. Again, within a few miles are the gem fields, where claims are being worked by an Adelaide syndicate for tourmaline, with a possibility of diamonds and other precious stones. A drive to the south leads to the Hog Bay River, or Willson’s River, and thence on to the south coast is interesting, especially to botanists. Front the road the yacka is met with, the gum from which is largely exported. After the traveller has passed some sections of land cleared for cultivation the river is reached. Two of the brothers Willson reside there, and are engaged in agricultural pursuits and sheepbreeding. The banks of’ the river are steep, with a plentiful supply of boxwood, now in bloom, adorning its course. The stream of fresh water in the river is diminutive at this season, although evidences of floods in winter are not wanting. Watercress was growing in goodly quantities, but that wholesome vegetable does not seem to be appreciated either by residents or by visitors. The telegraph line from Kingscote to Cape Willoughby traverses one of the steadings, and the south coast is only a few miles distant. A good view of Prospect Hill, locally known as Mount Thisby, is obtained from the road. It is one of the highest landmarks in the district.
Many old residents stil1 live in the vicinity of Hog Bay and their longevity attests the healthiness of the climate. Meeting with them is always a pleasure. One of their number who may claim to be the oldest on the island is Mrs. T. Willson, sen., now in her ninety- third year.
She arrived in this State in the year 1848, and has been resident on the island for 43 years. She is the proud mother of several worthy sons and daughters, who reside in the district; and she can also lay claim to 30 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren; In spite of her advanced years, she is able to get about with the aid of a staff; she is a splendid conorsationa1ist, and is in the possession of practically all her faculties. Failing eyesight is her only regret, as she is very fond of reading. To see her as I saw her with a bonny little great-grandson, about 11 months old, kicking and cooing in her lap, was one the prettiest sights observed for years. Being a native Lincoln, she takes pride in having named her residence after that cathedral city, and also from the fact that Capt. Flinders hailed from the same place.Another o1d identity is of great interest to all visitors. Although over four score years of age, he can carry a bag of barley from the heap to hit dray, and was ofttimes seen driving his team with a load of grain to the jetty. His dress is unique, and the oldtime blue shirt is still favoured by him. His continuations are buckled with leathern straps below the knees; but his hat, of all his habiliments, is the most appropriate for place like Hog Bay, where flies are attentive and persistent. It is of felt, and the back rim is ensconced in a netted veil. From the front, however, pieces of rounded cork resembling thick buttons are suspended, which just reach his eyelids; so that when flies would insinuate themselves in the region of his optics he merely shakes his head and the corks do their work effectively. “I call it a labour-saving machine,” said he, “and am thinking of having it patented as a fly persuader.”
Another old resident is Mrs. W. Seymour, aged 72 years, who was the first born on the island. Ret father was the late “Nat” Thomas, who in the early days was employed as a whaler, and was at Hog Bay long before the foundation of the State;
AMERICAN RIVER, AN ANGLER’S PARADISE.
American River, so called, is an arm of the sea running from Nepean Bay to within a little over a mile & the Southern Ocean, from which it is divided by a sandbank. It was in the first instance exploited by the indomitable Flinders when on his second visit to the island. He then by means of his boats reached Prospect Hill, which he ascended and named. He also discovered Pelican Lagoon, so styled from “the flocks of old birds sitting on its beaches.” During the trip he “saw some kanguroos and emus,” but it appeared “that the kanguroos (that is Flinders’s spelling of the word) were much more numerous at our first landing place near Kanguroo Head.” A view of the landing place is contained in the first volumes of his account of his voyages. The original from which it was copied was executed by Westall, the artist, afterwards a Royal Academician, who accompanied the expedition. The river was named in later days after an American whaler which was anchored in its waters for a considerable time. It is, perhaps, better known to Adelaideans than any other locality on the island, and may he justly termed an angler’s paradise. All sorts and sizes of the finnv tribe abound, and catches or “takes” are abundant. The eastern shore of the river, ‘opposite to Buick’s Point, consists of a splendid sandy beach, which extends for some miles. It is literally covered with cockle and other shells. Adjacent to this shore is a Government township named Sapphire Town, after the sloop in which a former Governor (Sir William Jervois) arrived. Some of the survey pegs denoting the boundaries of allotments are still in evidence, but of buildings there is none. Sapphire Town is now practically held by one gentleman—a much-respected resident of the island, Mr. John Trethewey, who, I was informed, would be glad to give any one an acre of land provided it was built upon. The land, although sandy, is good enough to grow fruit trees, as evidenced by a small orchard just without its boundaries, and fresh water is obtainable at shallow depth at the footfalls of the sand dunes.
A trip to American River from Hog Bay either by sailing boat or on wheels is a host enjoyable outing, and constitutes a most pleasurable picnic for visitors. We journeyed thither twice in wagonettes, and the drive, with occasional glimpses of Nepean Bay, was much appreciated. The narrow-leafed mallee which is the most favoured in the manufacture of eucalyptus oil, was seen in profusion, while such as the silver wattle pines, and the montary or native apple were not uncommon. The country traversed by the main road is undulating until after the descent of a steep hill, when the only piece of flat land seen during our visit was traversed. This at one time was used as a racecourse. Adjacent is the farm of Mr. Charles Willson, another of the Willson family, where the cultivation of barley is extensively engaged in. The cattle observed on this farm would not disgrace the “fats” in the sale yards in Adelaide on any market day. Several Wells, from which water is raised by means of whips into iron troughs for watering stock, were noted on each side of the track. The roadside from this point is dotted intermittently with substantially built limestone-walled cottages and homesteads. One nearing completion is fronted by a stone wall of about 8 ft. in height, and some hundreds of feet in length; intended by its bachelor owner (Mr. McKinley) as a breakwind for an orchard and garden. It is the most extensive piece of masonry on the island. The last residence on the track before the turn off to the river is that of Mr. E. Bainbridge, who has the contract for the conveyance of mails from Hog Bay to the American River, and an up-to-date four-wheeler is used for the convenience of passengers. Mr. Bainbridge is a relation of the English tourist of that name, who lost his life during the eruption of Mount Tarawera (New Zealand), a monument to whose memory, erected by relatives in England, is on the roadside near to Rotorua.
Further on the main road is left, and a rough track is followed along the shores of the river to a point near to Sapphire Town. Pelican Island is passed en route, which at one time, was leased by Messrs. A.W. Sandford & Co., and from which many tons of guano was shipped to Port Adelaide. The only other object of interest noted was the ruin of the house occupied by the last long ago resident medical officer. Part of the walls and chimney and remnants of the garden are all that remains to mark the spot.
—A Hardy Norsman.—
On the shore. opposite to the much surveyed but uninhabited Sapphire Town, is the primitive yet comfortable residence of Mr. N. Ryberg, whose birthplace was Sweden. He, when barely in his teens, was floated early to play--or rather fight— the battle of life. All his worldly goods and chattels then were contained in a sea chest. After sailing “the ocean blue” to here, there, and everywhere, he came to Glenelg, married, and subsequently settled on the shores of the American River. Having purchased a boat, be traded successfully from the latter place to Glenelg and Port Adelaide. Being an expert fisherman he and his seven-ton cutter soon became known to the disciples of the gentle art in Adelaide; so that now the accommodation afforded by his house and boats is frequently over-applied for. We were fortunate in arranging with him to spend a week on the river, especially as two ladies and two children were numbered in our party. A right royal time we had. Our first evening meal consisted solely of the freshest of fish, daintily cooked, and the majority of after-meals were ditto. Our first trip on the river was to a place called Rocky Point, where, under the shelving rocks there is a natural aquarium. In starting, complications arose. The tide was out, and the dingey which was to convey us to the cutter was very much so. Included in our party was an elderly gentleman, whose weight was “in the suburbs” of, say 17 st. The hardy Norseman offered to carry him pick-aback, and he did so for nearly 100 yards, amid the smiles of the onlookers. He was safely deposited in the dingey, and was devoutly thankful that his companions on shore had forgotten to bring their cameras, for, to use his own expression, he constituted the largest human parasite ever seen. A pleasant day’s outing eventuated. The fishes seen in the aquarium were of all sizes and beautifully marked, and before returning the ladies were very successful with their fishing lines: In fact, they became so enamoured of the sport that they were out every day for a week, and on one occasion hooked over 50 large whiting in a little over and hour. The comparatively elderly one of the party, however, cared no more for boats and boating, pick-a-back was not his forte. Nevertheless, he enjoyed himself to his hearts content under the shade of a magnificently shaped and umbrageous eucalypt then in full bloom and named by friend Ryberg “Whitington’s Tree.” While seated there it was a pleasure to see and listen to the warblings (of such as could warble) of the native birds. Included in their number were magpies, black magpies, wattle birds, thrushes, robin redbreasts (remarkably tame), perky little wrens, some of gorgeous plumage and—crows.
—A Grand Old Couple.—
During our sojourn at the American River I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. John Buick, who is the second oldest , white resident on the island. Mr. Angustus Reeves, of Kingscote, has the claim to that honour and distinction, but two years only represents the residential difference between them. Mr. Buick was born in Montrose, Scotland, in 1822. He is therefore in his eighty-fourth year. And a wonderful of activity he is.
Our first introduction to him happened on the beach near to Sapphire Town. He had just rowed the Church of England missioner (Mr. Morton) across the river—-a distance of about 500 yards—in a dingey built by himself 30 years ago. He stood in the water along side the bows of the boat while conversing with us. A cold wind was blowing, but he did not seem to mind it,“ always having lived in the open air,” to which fact, and to temperate habits, he attributes his excellent health and activity. Mr. Buick arrived at Port Adelaide in time ship Malcolm, in January, 1844, and went to the island 51 years ago. After visiting Hog Bay, Willson’s River, Kingscote— and, in fact, sailing all round the island—he determined on settling where he now resides. He was accompanied by his good wife, now in her eightieth year, who arrived in this State in the ship Lloyds, Capt. Garrett, on December 1, 1838. After landing they built a brush house, which, with a tent formed their abode in the first instance. Then a wooden dwelling was built; and, finding that his wife, who was in delicate health, was so much benefited by the climate, Mr. Buick decided upon making the island his home, and they flour occupy a comfortable stone residence on a site not far from that where in the first instance he pitched his tent.Life on the island in the early days was exceedingly rough; and the mails contained in flourbags, and consisting principally of newspapers, were delivered only once in six months. Being a shipwright by trade, Mr. Buick was, two years after hi arrival, commissioned to build a cutter, which was appropriately named The Kangaroo, of 36 tons. The timber used for the frame of the craft was cut by him from the shores of the river and the cutter may be well remembered by old Portonians as a regular trader to Yankalilla and Second Valley. “Since then,” said Mr. Buick, “by dint of hard work I have managed to rub along pretty well.” The land which he originally cleared, farmed, and grazed, is now occupied by two of his sons. Close to the house is an orchard of two acres, containing mostly apples, pears, plums, and apricots, and young orange trees are also represented. All the trees were planted by the worthy old pioneer, and since then he has been, and is still, their sole attendant. The two acres are dug by him once, and some portions, twice, a year. The apple trees, which include the best varieties, are now in full bearing; and the crop of fruit is so heavy that the branches of the trees in nearly every instance were supported by means of wooden props. All the fruit is disposed of to islanders who come for it.
These worthy octogenarians live entirely by themselves. “We raised a large family,” said Mr. Buick, “and 11 of them are now living. Eight of them were born on the island, and six of them are still resident here. ‘W e also number 33 grandchildren, and I think the Government ought lo grant us a bonus for our aid to population,” he added, with a twinkle in his eyes. A most agreeable forenoon was spent in the company of this fine old couple. They do all for themselves, without any assistance from outside, “and to that we attribute our general good health; we have no time to be ill, and a doctor would starve over here in so far as we are concerned,” was the final remark of this worthy old island pioneer.
On my return to Hog Bay I met a son of Mr. Richard Marshall, after whom the well-known and popular wheat called Marshall’s No. 3 is named. He informed me that, after inspection of land on Cygnet River, 8,000 acres had recently been purchased by two of his younger brothers, Messrs O.G. and W. F. Marshall, for the combined purposes of cultivation and grazing. The Messrs. Marshall have a high opinion of quality of the land for utilization as indicated, which is situated eight miles from Stokes’s Bay, the nearest shipping place. There is plenty of timber, which can be turned to profitable account, and other land in the vicinity of their purchase was pronounced well worthy of inspection and occupation. “At the same time,” remarked Mr. Marshall, “it is not a poor man’s country, as it requires a little capital for clearing.”
-A Want of Hog Bay.-
Although there is a twice a week steamer service to Hog Bay, there exists one great want in the matter of Communication with Adelaide. The nearest telegraph station is at Cape Willoughby, distant about 18 miles, the transport of telegram from which costs the sender in Adelaide 1/ per mile prepaid. This, of course, is a considerable handicap. It was mentioned in the previous article that the telegraph line from Kingscote to Willoughby is only eight miles distant from the bay, and all that the residents ask is that a telephone line shall be erected between the telegraph line and the local post office. The cost of the line suggested would he infinitesimal. The revenue therefrom would assuredly pay expenses. Business is exceedingly brisk at the bay during harvest time, and by every steamer during my stay the arrival of either representatives of mercantile houses, land agents, stock salesmen, and members of the 1ega1 profession was noted. Itinerant dentists are also occasional visitors. Their nickname on the island is “Gummers”
An awakening, profitable alike to the residents on the island and those who do business with them, is, I believe, at hand.
A visit to the little cemetery on the rise above Kangaroo Head was interesting. It is unknown to this deponent how long it has been in use as such, but the impression made was that the islanders are slow to die, as the graves do not number 30. The first headstone noted was that erected in memory of Mr. T. Willson aged 80, who was in his day justly termed “the father of the Island.” He was the first appointed Resident Magistrate there, and from him many sought assistance and advice in business and other matters, which was never denied them. A splendid illuminated testimonial presented to him by the island residents, now in the Possession or his widow, testifies to his general worth, and these lines inscribed on the headstone are appropriate:—He hated falsehood’s mean disguise, And loved the thing that’s just; his honour in his actions lies, And here remains his dust. Another stone marks the resting place of Mr. David Weir Buick, aged, 64, brother of the pioneer at American River. A marble slab bears this inscription, which speaks for itself: —“in memory of George Bates. Born at Old St. Luke’s, London, April 30, 1800. Died in Adelaide, September 8, 1895. An old colonist, and for 71 years a settler on Kangaroo Island, previous to which he served in H.M. Navy, 1811. Erected by a few old colonists.”
Mr. Tom Coward was mainly instrumental in obtaining funds for the purchase of the memorial. The above were the principal inscriptions noted, but in the internally pretty little St. Columba’s Church is a handsome baptismal font, on which is the following: _”Erected to the glory of God and the memory of Archdeacon Morse, who started church work on Kangaroo Island “ The church work of today is in most capable and energetic hands. The gentleman to whom it is entrusted is Mr. Frank Morton, a young Church of England missioner, whose experience as such in the old country eminently fits him for itinerant duty on the island, besides which he is a most capable and attractive preacher. This was testified on the evening of harvest festival day, when the little church was crowded, and quite a dozen people had to stand near the doorway. Another who takes a lively interest in all things pertaining to the welfare of the island is Mrs. Stow, the State school mistress. She it was who some little time since manipulated the flashlight signals from Christmas Cove, in answer to those of Mr. Magarey from the summit of Mount Lofty.
Of exports besides that of barley from the island, yacka gum forms a considerable item. It is purchased for exportation to Germany. where it is used for the manufacture of varnish and as an ingredient in smokeless powder. Wallaby skins are not plentiful, albeit they are still quoted in the Adelaide market. In the opinion of many this marsupial should be protected for two or three years; otherwise total extermination is assured. Rabbits are absent from the island, but pests have goodly representatives in sparrows, starlings, and crows. The export of mallee wood and roots is engaged in only when ketches are not employed with other freight, but now that this valuable fuel is becoming so scarce on the mainland the practically unlimited supply obtainable from the island will assuredly command more attention of the near future.
In conclusion, the uniform kindness and hospitality of residents to visitors added much to the enjoyment of the trip. By some the island would he deemed slow, from the fact that your entertainment is left largely to yourself and Nature; but to others, hailing from the busy haunts of men, who need what is called a “rest cure,” a better place could not be wished for, especially if their lines were cast in such a pleasant place as that of the writer—to wit, a farm boarding house, where butter and cream are made, and milk, eggs, mutton, and bacon are numbered as products. These, together with fish caught when required, proved to be appreciable adjuncts to the enjoyment of a holiday. Only another word to intending visitors:—There are no mosquitoes, but flies are numerous in summer time; consequently netted veils and gossamers will he found to be useful—at least until the celebrated hat fly persuader shall be patented.
MY SECOND TRIP.
Note,—-I revisited the island early in March, when summer was yet with us, for the purpose of writing a few notes concerning this State’s first settlement—Kingscote.
—KINGSCOTE, THEN AND NOW—
“Of all the islands belonging to the Australian system Kangaroo Island is second in point of size,” wrote the late Professor Tate-—Tasmania, of course, is the first—and these two largest were, in the opinion of other geologists, one anti the same in long past ages. Their history in relation to the earliest settlement is unfortunately alike in the matter of “deeds that are dark;” and, strange to say, although Kangaroo Island retains no traces or proofs of being able to claim any aboriginal inhabitants the bones of “the last of the Tasmanians” are buried there. The account of the discovery and naming of Kangaroo Island by Flinders has already been printed, as was that of the visit of Baudin in the same year. The third visitor was Capt. George Sutherland, who sailed from Sydney in the brig Macquarie to obtain a cargo of sa1t, seal and kangaroo skins. He landed there on January 8, 1819, and did not leave the island until August 12 of the same year. To the glowing account he afterwards furnished of its climate, suit, and suitability for purposes of occupation and settlement may be attributed the fact that to Kangaroo Island the attention of the South Australian Company was directed. The first ship chartered by that company for the transport of emigrants to this State was the Duke of York, and they were landed at Kingscote on July 27, 1836. The locality which constitutes the first town site in this State was named Kingscote, after Mr. Henry Kingscote, who was appointed a director of the company on October 15, 1835. He was also the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the South Australian Banking Company. Included as passengers in the pioneer ship were Mr. T. H. Beare and Mr. Samuel Stephens, the first manager of the company in this State; and it is related that one of the passengers he was the first to land. He afterwards met with his death from a fall from his horse while riding down Beaumont Hill, just above where Sir Samuel Davenport now resides. After their arrival it was found that the island was tenanted by a few nomads, who had either deserted from vessels which had previously called there or had come in boats from Tasmania. Their histories need not here be recounted. One of them, who enjoyed the sobriquet of “Wally” (correct name Robert Warlans), was said to have arrived from Tasmania in 1819, bringing with him two aboriginal women named “Puss” and “Bet.” He assumed the title of Governor of the island. His subjects were all either runaway sailors or escaped convicts from Tasmania. However, after the arrival of Mr. Stephens, “at a meeting of a few scattered inhabitants, the self-elected Governor was called upon to abdicate, which he did magnanimously.” Mr. Stephens then purchased “all his stock and crops on his squatting farm on the Cygnet River, about 10 miles from Nepean Bay, since known as ‘The Farm.’
Soon after the arrival of the Duke of York the clearing of land and building of houses, stores, &c., were vigorously proceeded with; so that when the late Mr. W. Giles, the third-appointed manager for the S.A. Company, arrived at Kingscote by the ship Hartley on October 16, 1837, the buildings in the settlement “consisted of a boarding house, a large wholesale store, and workshops, whilst building materials of every description, boats, casks, and machinery were lying about in all directions. Then a little further on up the cliff were the retail store and a row of cottages for the workmen; and in the distance two or three stone and brick houses were visible, with some really excellent framed wooden ones that had been brought from Tasmania, besides sundry tents and bush huts.” Provisions of all kinds were excessively dear; vegetables were fairly plentiful, and milk was obtained from goats, and butter made from it. The method of goat-milking was curious, and from a most interesting little book published by the late Mrs. Alfred Watts, daughter of Mr. W. Giles, entitled “Family Life in South Australia,” I quote concerning the operation :—“The goats were caught by a Teutonic man servant and placed on a kitchen table and milking operations were then performed to the infinite amusement of our children.” Further on she states that on the date of her father’s arrival “provisions of all kinds were excessively dear. The first fresh meat dinner, consisting of a joint of young pork barely sufficient for the family’s consumption, cost £1 7/, a peck of peas that accompanied it 5/, and everything else was in the same proportion”
—The First Governor’s Visit.—
Old-time Kingscote can lay claim to several firsts in other matters beyond that of having been the pioneer settlement in South Australia before the proclamation of the province. After the latter event our first Governor Capt. (afterwards Sir) John Hindmarsh, paid a visit to Kingscote, which is thus recorded in The Register of June 10, 1838:—”On Sunday morning last the inhabitants of Kingscote were on the quivive occasioned by the arrival in the beautiful harbour of Nepean of H.M.S. Pelorus, 16 guns, commanded by Capt. Harding, R.N., having on board His Excellency the Governor (Capt. John Hindmarsh) and several officers of the Colonial Government. They landed on the following morning under a salute from the shore and the ships in harbour.” The Governor was received by Mr. W. Giles (manager) and other officers of the South Australian Company, and conducted over the extensive establishment at Kingscote, afterwards the site of a new custom house, and other Government buildings were fixed upon. In the afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Giles entertained His Excellency and party at dinner, which was held in their new and hospitable mansion at Beare’s Point. The description of that dinner, as contained in the interesting “Family Life” by Mrs. Watts, is most interesting; but, as it was printed for private circulation only, it cannot be poached in this instance. It is to be trusted, however, that those for whom it was written will have it published for general circulation.
—The First Geologist.—
Most clever men are eccentric, and so was this State’s first geologist (Mr. John Menge). His history here began at Kingscote, and he may lie justly termed the father of mining in South Australia. Mr. Menge graduated as a student of mineralogy in England, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Ireland, and Scotland. It was his hobby, albeit he a most distinguished linguist; and after his travels in Europe as a student of mineralogy he opened an academy in the Mile-End road, London, for teaching Hebrew and Oriental languages generally. In this occupation he continued until 1835, when lie was offered the chair of professor of Hebrew and Greek at the Oxford University at a salary £1 000 per annum. This he refused, wishing to plunge once more into mineralogical investigation; and after the South Australian Company had formed in London he accepted the appointment of mineralogist in connection with it at a salary of £200 per annum. On arrival at Kingscote he was commissioned by Mr. McLaren (then second manager of the company) to find water, which he failed to do, though immediately after he left the island for the mainland the precious fluid was found just in front of the door of the cottage he had inhabited. While on the island his spare time spent in teaching Hebrew to Mrs. Giles and two of her elder daughters. A disagreement with Mr. McLaren was the cause of his resignation. He then came to the mainland, where he lived in a hollow tree in the district of Barossa, and, continuing his mineralogical researches, was the first to find gold in this State. On the discovery of the celebrated Burra Mine he predicted that it was a hugely rich bubble of copper resembling a nodule of malachite, which, had in past ages, been thrown up by thermal waters. He made a most interesting collection of minerals, valued at some hundreds of pounds, which was lost during its transmission to a jeweller in Adelaide. Subsequently he left for Victoria when the gold fever was at its height, and died on the diggings at Forest Creek.
—The First Benefit Society.—
From an old number of The Register is gathered the fact that “a benefit society was established at Kingscote on July 27, 1837, being the anniversary of the landing of the first emigrants per Duke of York,” and it was named after that good old vessel.
— The Settlement’s Decadence.—
Kingscote, after being able to by claim to a labouring population “ numbering from 250 to 300 persons,” nearly all of whom had been brought out by the South Australian Company, was within a few years almost abandoned. The company, after having spent many thousands of pounds on its buildings, whaling ships, and assisted immigrants, resolved to transfer its affections to the mainland. Kingscote bad, previous to the arrival of the founder of Adelaide Col. Light, in the brig Rapid, been a regular port of call by all the earlier ships arriving from England. Shortly after the advent of the gallant colonel ‘‘no ships touched at the island, save one or two on their way to England or the other colonies;” and so it came about that “the inhabitants had nearly all left for the mainland, and after “severe losses orders came from the head manager of the company that the place was to be abandoned,” which was done. A few caretakers only were left to take charge of the company’s property and superintend the transference of the wooden buildings to either Port Adelaide or Holdfast Bay. The island then suffered a severe relapse into the condition which prevailed when the self-appointed ‘‘Governor Wally” held his sway. It was a rendezvous for whaling vessels, which anchored there in order to escape harbour and other dues at ports of call on the mainland. But to evade all such their boats were sent there for supplies, “the chief part of which consisted of grog.” According to the late Mr. Alexander Tolmer, ex-Commissioner of Police, the island was in 1843 “an asylum for the offscourings of Australian convicts, including escaped convicts and deserters, with whom were aboriginal women brought from Tasmania, Cape Jervis, and Port Lincoln.“ Subsequently Kingscote was used as a port of call by the P. & 0. mail steamers when en route from King George’s Sound to Melbourne, and in later days (1884) the gallant officers of our militia chartered a steamer and anchored in Antechamber Bay, where they bade farewell to Australia’s first contingent, then in transport to the Soudan,
—KINGSCOTE AS IT IS.—
Kangaroo Island can lay claim to a concentration of more places and objects of interest within a limited area than, perhaps, any other locality in Australia. Specially does this apply to early navigators and those who came afterwards to und a nation. Regarding the former, the first object of interest on landing at Kingscote is the obelisk erected to commemorate the arrival of Flinders. The inscription thereon is ”Erected to the memory of Captain Matthew Flinders, who, sailing in H.M.S. Investigator, landed upon and named Kangaroo Island on the 22nd March, 1802. Unveiled on the 22nd March, 1902.” The obelisk is of freestone, and stands on Beare’s Point, close to the site of the house, long since demolished, in which the late Mr. W. Giles entertained our first Governor — Capt. Hindmarsh. The site chosen might have been better, as there is plenty of room on that old historic point. Its immediate surroundings are somewhat peculiar. Behind it are three commodious police cells. These are mentioned to denote the march of civilisation, an 800 gallon water barrel having been used as a lockup or “jug” on one occasion in Kingscote early days, and the chain connected with the prisoner’s handcuffs was made fast through the bunghole. Fencing or some other external protection for the obelisk might be useful, if only to save it, from the inscriptions of the vandals who visit it. Just another word or two concerning the gallant Flinders. He, like Capt. Cook, always gave most appropriate names to places he discovered; and it is related of him that when leaving Kangaroo Island the opening he discovered between there and the mainland leading to the Southern Ocean reminded him of the entrance to one of the large ancestral halls in his native county – Lincolnshire - and to that resemblance is attributed the name of “Scraper” to the shoals (near to its ‘entrance) of “Backstairs” Passage, then “Antechamber” Bay on its island side, and the “Pages” to the rocks which stand as sentinels at the other end of the passage.
Leaving the obelisk for a drive of about a mile the site of the original settlement of Kingscote is reached, and many objects of interest connected with the State’s first town site and port of call are observable. All the original buildings are demolished, but their situations may be identified if you know where to look for them. The point on which the first buildings were erected by the South Australian Company is now known as Reeves Point, after Mr. Augustus Reeves, whose obituary notice was published in these columns recently. Nearing the point, three houses on the top of a hill, all of uniform size, constitute perhaps the oldest buildings extant, but they were erected subsequently to the abandonment of the settlement by the South Australian Company. They were known by the sobriquets of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Appropriately, as concerns the future of the island, Faith and Hope, now iron roofed, are still in occupation. Charity, however, like some of its sisters on the mainland, his been “long suffering,’’ is evidenced by its roof, which is well ventilated, having long since been bereft of its shingles.
—Our First Cemetery.—
Further on is a spot of special interest, known in Kingscote as “the old cemetery.” It contains the first grave covered by a vault in this State. That vault, like the first buildings, has crumbled away; but pieces of the bricks (imported from England) of which it was built are still apparent. It has recently been replaced by another. The inscription thereon is surmounted by the family crest, engraved in marble, of our worthy and much-respected pioneer Mr. Thomas Hudson Beare. It reads as follows:-“In loving memory ‘Of our mother, Lucy Ann Beare, wife of Thomas Hudson Beare, who died 3rd September, 1837, aged 34 years. Arrived by the barque Duke of York, 27th July, 1836.”
Four headstones only denote others who were buried in this historic acre. Of these three are of more recent date— Harriet Granger, wife of George Granger, died October 27, 1862, aged 40 years; Ada Emily Daw, 9th November, 1862; Charlotte Ann Calnan. December 1, l859; also John Calnan, 30th October, 1858. At the lower end of the cemetery is one which records the following:—”Sacred to the memory of Samuel Giles, died 18th February, 1839, aged 9 years. Also Edward H. Giles, died 18th July, 1839, aged 8 mouths. This stone is erected by their brothers and sisters, 1882” They were children of the late Mr. W. Giles, and the burial of the first-mentioned—who died from the effects of sunstroke while bathing—is thus described by his daughter (Mrs. Watts):—“Late on a summer afternoon, when the sun was setting and the shadows falling, the funeral procession wound slowly up the hill to the churchyard overlooking the sea, and there in that wild spot his father held a service for the dead, committing to the grave the mortal remains of his own son.”
—Our First Orchard.—
On the other side of the road, below the cemetery, may be seen the site of the first and last residence of Mr. Giles and family, their new dwelling at Beare’s Point having been otherwise occupied. None of the walls of the old building is now visible, but its site is denoted by an excavation on the slope of a hall overlooking what at one time constituted their garden, “with its white gate.” The boundaries of Kingscote’s first garden are now indicated by a wire fence, and, with shame be it related, the oldest living fruit tree assists to support the wires of the said fence. Yes, that grand old mulberry tree, still fairly well foliaged and bearing fruit every year, happens on the boundary fence of a district road leading to the well which the unfortunate Menge failed to discover. The leaves on its lower branches are apparently much appreciated by the cattle travelling thitherward, and its fruit perhaps more so by the youthful Kingscoters. In fact; it is snapped alike by cattle, kiddies, and tourist photographers. Oh, ye District Councillors of Kingscote, all that is necessary to preserve one of your most interesting mementoes is a crinoline in the shape of a barbed wire fence erected around this old monarch of former days, with a notice prohibiting the picking of its leaves, which are annually taken away as “souvenirs” by ruthless visiting vandals. Other relics of this, our first orchard, consist of four ancient almond trees—three just alive, and the other kissing the goodly soil from which it obtained its sustenance for about 70 years. Adjacent is the first fresh water well, which contains an abundance of water.
Further on, to the right of the point, is the site of the first pile jetty, the timber for which was obtained from the self-constituted Governor’s (“Wally”) farm on the Cygnet River. Only a few of its piles are now extant, but each of them is of interest, as they are all that is left of that on which passengers and cargo were landed after the establishment of the settlement. A little to the left of the well are the ruins of the old post office, built after the secession of the South Australian Company. Beside it are the relics of what was a grand old tea-tree, the stem of which ha been destroyed by fire, but the stump and upper branches remain. To the late Mr. Reeves I am indebted for the loan of an excellent print of the old post office and this tree.
This denotes the site of the first cultivated land in this State. It is about eight miles from Kingscote, on the banks of the Cygnet River, and it was purchased from Wally by, Mr. Stephens for the South Australian Company. There was then but one horse on the island, and that was engaged on ‘The Farm.” How it was brought, or whence it came deponent knoweth not, but most probably it, like “Puss” and “Bet,” was an importation front Tasmania. An inspection of “The Farm” proves that “Governor Wally was a good judge of land, for in its vicinity is some of the best on the island for purposes of cultivation; while the sugar-gum timber adjacent is of the highest quality. After its purchase by the company the first sawmill was started and from the timber sawn there the old jetty at Kingscote was built and the sleepers used in the construction of the Port Adelaide and Gawler Railways were also subsequently obtained thence. The only building elected by the company, which has withstood the ravages of time is the old manager’s office. This hut-like structure is very quaint, with it walls of sawn timber, roofing of broom brush, and capacious fireplace, with chimney stack built of bricks imported from England. It can now lay claim to be the oldest building in this State. A little distance from it are the old saw-pits, bur the sheds and machinery with which they were surmounted have long since been removed.
—The last of the Tasmanians. —
During an interview with Mr. Augustus Reeves, the oldest resident on the Island, which took place only a few days before his death, I was supplied with much information of interest. The old gentleman, ill as he was, brightened considerably when recounting early island memories, and in spite of his weakness was fond of a joke. “He had never been to Government House, Adelaide, yet he had the honour of having been personally acquainted with the self-constituted Governor of the Island.” Then, when referring to the sable concubines of the latter, he informed me that “the last of the Tasmanians is buried on Kangaroo Island, at a place called Springy Vale, near Stokes’s Bay. The popular idea is,” continued Mr. Reeves, “that the last of them was buried in Tasmania somewhere near Hobart to which all then living were deported, but that is incorrect.” (Mr. J. Buick, of Buick’s Point, American River, has since corroborated this assertion, and says that there were three living on Kangaroo Island after these at Oyster Cove, near Hobart, had gone the way of all flesh.) Mr. Reeves also well remembered the story of the unfortunate four, who, in the year 1838, being weary of the voyage, left the ship Africaine at a place now called Harvey’s Return, adjacent to Cape Borda, with the intention of walking overland to Kingscote. “Only one of the four turned up, and he was a Russian, and it was the general belief some tragical mystery was attached to the affair. The doctor of the ship, Fraser by name, was one of the four. His gun was found and identified long years afterwards by Mr. Richard Chapman, still resident on the island, and it is now in the Adelaide Museum. The story of swimming the channel which constitutes Backstairs Passage is all nonsense. The facts are that a lubra, who was kidnapped from Encounter Bay by some of the old wretches of whalers, attempted to swim across, but was unsuccessful, and when recaptured was soundly thrashed for her trouble.” Mr. Reeves concluded a most interesting chat by remarking that “one of the great wants of Kangaroo Island was a lighthouse erected on the point of Cape Couedie. Had one been there it might have averted four comparatively recent shipwrecks, including that of the well-remembered Loch Sloy.”
— Kingscote or Queenscliffe.—
Until recently our first settlement was threatened with a loss of its identity. Early in 1883 a new township was surveyed by Messrs. Sanders & Packard immediately to the south of Beare’s Point, and was named Queenscliffe; and on May 29 of that year the allotments contained therein were offered for sale by public auction in the Adelaide Town Hall, when nearly all were sold. Subsequently the present post and telegraph office was erected on Beare’s Point on (as nearly as can be ascertained) the exact spot where Mr. Giles’ house stood, and where he entertained our first Governor. The cable which connects the island with the mainland was landed there, and until lately both the post office and the telegraph station went by the name of Queenscliffe. Happily, however, several old inhabitants still reside there, notably Mr. Arthur Daw (Chairman of the Kingscote District Council) and Mr. S. Hudson, the principal storekeeper; and through their instrumentality the original name of Kingscote has been retained. Of Kingscote and the island generally I venture to predict that its near future will he brighter than anything it has yet known. For had the good old (yet much abused) South Australian Company spread a little further afield (say, into what now constitutes the Hundred of Menzies) the island might not have been so soon abandoned by them. However, they “paved the way” with losses sufficient to send any company of to-day into liquidation. It only now remains to he seen what can be done, and in fact is now being done, to prove that Kangaroo Island is far more productive than the generality of the farm lands in the Golden West, or even in the Holy City of Zion, of which, as of New Australia, many on the island are now regretting they had ever heard.
ON WHEELS THROUGH MENZIES.
Landing at Kingscote when I did would give one the idea that “Resurgam” was now its motto. The jetty, doubly railed, is capacious, and the trucks standing on those rails were laden with 300 odd bags of barley and about 30 containing yacca gum. This constituted portion of the cargo for the steamers. The other and sometimes the larger portion is picked up by boats here, there, and everywhere from and between Stokes and Antechamber Bays. At the land end of the jetty were noted stumpjumping ploughs, scarifiers, and cases containing sheets of galvanized iron. Besides all these there was a huge pile of sugar-gum logs, cut under contract by Messrs. Olds & Daw, for transport by ketches to the Moonta Mines. The jetty dues for this timber amount to 1/ a ton, and those for mallee firewood to 6d. a ton; and, as the present contract with the Moonta Company is for anything up to 15,000 tons, this jetty should constitute one of the most reproductive public works in this State. The township is situated on or near to Beare’s Point, which is of limestone, with limestone-walled buildings and splendid limestone roads; but too much limestone, and the whiteness thereof, cause a refraction which is very trying to one’s optics. The only relief from it is contributed by the foliage of the eucalyptus, which most of the residents have wisely preserved. The population of Kingscote is about 80, resident within a mile of the jetty. The township’s buildings consist of a post and telegraph office, police station, two churches, two stores, and two boarding houses—both good, I believe. There is also one hotel, which is the largest building in the township.
— The District of Menzies.—
“Try and take a trip through the Hundred of Menzies,” was the advice of the Surveyor-General (Mr. Strawbridge), “where you will see some very good country.” 1 did so, and am thankful to him for his suggestion. After we had made an early start from the stables, where excellent horses and traps are obtainable, the land adjacent to Reeves’s Point was in the first instance inspected. On the road sheaoak is growing, and fallowed paddocks contain chocolate and Bay of Biscay soil. Others were covered with barley stubble and slight splashes of stinkwort where it had been cropped. In the paddocks used for grazing wild oats were plentiful; in fact, those growing in the old cemetery are over 3 ft. high, and are proof of what the land will grow after having been cleared. The soil also gives one an idea that it would be most favourable for the growth of vines for wine of the Burgundy type. That is, when barley growing for beer shall have had its day. Regarding its adaptableness for the growth of fruit trees the old mulberry and almond trees are evidences. Then on a subsequent occasion I was driven from Kingscote across to smith’s Bay, named after the second officer of the ship Hartley, where the prize barley and oats at the last agricultural show at Adelaide were produced. The day was perfect, and so was the road - eminently suited for cycling.
En route thither, Mr V.H.F.Cook’s smithy and wheelright’s establishment is passed, not far from the township. Mr Cook is a Jack-of-all Trades. Besides being the village smithy, he is a first-class amateur photographer, and a lay reader of the Church of England, and he shows versatility in other directions also. Further on is the farm recently cleared and cultivated by Mr James Olds, formerly of Tickara, who cultivates also the section on the other side of the road, opposite to his residence. Leaving the latter, a splendid view of the valley of the Cygnet River near to its month is obtainable. Further on a capacious dam is passed on the roadside for use by horses and cattle. It was excavated in stubborn limestone by time district council; and, like that at Tarcoola, is on a rise, gaping to the heavens to fill it, which is a big handicap, considering that the annual rainfall is only a little over 20 in., and waterspouts are unknown. The view hence is very interesting. The Bay of Shoals is to the right; two small salt lagoons, with accompanying samphire flats, are in front; and hills running from what is known as Retties Bluff are in the distance to the left. In the descent leading to the lagoons Mrs. Price’s steading is passed. This is managed by her nephew, Mr. John M. Davis, whose practical experience in America and Canada has already produced good results. When seen from time road Mr. Davis was, with four other young men, hard at it with long-handled billhooks “scrub-cutting after rolling, previous to burning,” as he termed it. One would have thought it was a game of golf, as we witnessed it from the road.
—From Limestone to Ironstone.—
On the flat nearing time lagoons and the Bay of Shoals landing place an old orchard is passed, and at time bend of the road is a magnificent sheaoak tree. The late Mr. Charles Price, of Hindmarsh Island, was wont to remark that “where the sheaoak grows yon can grow anything.” This he proved in after years by growing fine mangolds to feed his noted herd of Hereford cattle and Shropshire sheep. As we continue the sheep-proof fence of the property, once owned by the late Mr. Thomas Graves, and now occupied by his son, is skirted on the left and a closer view of the hills, which are continuations of Retties Bluff, is obtainable. Their summits are surmounted with sugar gums, and the slopes are some of the best grassed to be seen anywhere on the island. The soil on each side of the metalled road is indicative of its quality—a rich chocolate loam, upon which the natural grasses, wild oats, &c., are growing in abundance. Further on, at the foot of the hill slopes, and adjoining the property of Mr. Graves, is that recently purchased by Mr. McCourt, of Millicent. Then over undulating country, well grassed, with here and there well-grown sugar gums, is reached Wisanger, owned by Strawbridge and Co. Mr. W. H. Strawbridge is a son of the Surveyor General, and one of the company is Mr. Partridge, a grandson of the late Mr. W. Giles, and Mr. Josiah Partridge, one of Adelaide’s first solicitors. Wisanger, as denoted on the map (it should be Wishanger), is so named after the family estate of the late Mr. Partridge, near to Bisley, England. An experienced farmer from Bordertown, Mr. Jellett, sen., who, with his good lady, I met at Kingscote, thought that this estate was “the pick of the lot.” The three properties just mentioned are used for sheep, for which they are well suited; but the land is good enough for anything, as evidenced by an old orchard and a small patch of sorghum growing near to the Wisanger homestead. This broad-leafed wattle has also been planted there, and its bark has been stripped and exported. About three miles from this point is the Government township of Maxwell, on the shores of Emu Bay, which is Wisanger’s shipping port. Thence on towards Smith’s Bay excellent agricultural land is passed—good enough for either grain, vines, or vegetables. At Smith’s Bay I called on Mr. Turner, of Messrs. J & A. Turner, and saw the paddocks from which the prize barley and oats have been reaped for some years past. Their house is fronted by fruit trees, and at the back is a small wattle plantation, but what perhaps strikes a stranger most is the abundance of turkeys. “We never feed them or give them any special attention: the hens steal their nests and bring the youngsters home,” said Mr. Turner.
On leaving Wisanger we took the road—or rather partly road and partly track—leading to the Cygnet River, and thence to the pastoral leases recently under offer to the Government In so doing we went round the other side of Retties Bluff. About three miles to the west of it is the eucalyptus oil factory, now in the possession of Mr. George Barnes. The factory, with the dam of water alongside, much resembles a quartz-crushing battery house. Last season four tons of oil was made, all of it having been consigned to Messrs. Faulding & Co. About 11 men are employed in cutting, carting, and working the factory. The residue from the narrow-leaf eucalypt, after the extraction of the oil, is a valuable fertilizer. Inside the building the aroma is pungent. Near to the manager’s residence is a stack of oaten hay grown on the property, and sunflowers were blooming galore. The dam, the water in which has never been known to fail, is a useful object lesson in water conservation.
Leaving the factory, we were advised to “hug” a wire fence with iron staples, and we did so for a considerable distance. This iron fencing is safer and less expensive in the long run than the wire fences with wooden posts. The mallee country, after being mullenized previous to cropping, is burnt, with results suggested by Mr. Davis—”You may lose chains of fencing, should the firing get away from you.” Onwards towards the island’s principal fresh-water stream, the Cygnet, stalwart, straight- stemmed sugar gums were noted, marking the course of the first of its tributaries met with. They were with their green foliage indeed pleasant to look upon, after the dinginess of the mallee. By and by the gates of what is aptly termed Cygnet Park were opened, and there and thereabouts is seen some of the best-watered country on the island. Too much so, perhaps, for after the rivers overflow the soil must be somewhat “cold.” The park is now held by Mrs Florance who was in the paddock superintending the burning of barley stubble.
—Land Under Offer to the Government.—
After one leaves the park the first of the pastoral leases now under offer to the Government for repurchase is seen (the repurchase has since been refused). There are several of them, held by different lessees, and they run for miles back to the Southern Ocean. Their boundaries there are defined as extending front between Cape Linois to the east, to a little beyond Vivonne Bay to the west. The first and largest block is that held by Mr. J. Dewar, of Millicent, whose son informed me that his father had not been long in occupation, but that since March last year they had “logged down” 150 acres. Previously they cropped a small portion with wheat and barley, with results so satisfactory that they have since cleared considerably over 100 acres for planting this season. Kohinoor Hill is on this property, and a quartz reef or leader, named after the hill, is said to be yielding payable results. We only skirted Mr. Dewar’s land. The surface soil of which is light with clayey subsoil. On the back track to Kingscote the timber bordering the Cygnet was on our left, with mallee country on our right, the transition from heavy to light timber being very abrupt. The felling of the former for the contract with the Moonta Mines was witnessed, then a stack of 60 bags of Yacka gum was seen. Four men are employed to do the gathering and bagging.
—Another Island Pioneer.—
On a pretty bend of the Cygnet River stands the post office, kept by Mr. John Wickham Daw, whose age is 78, and who arrived in this State by the ship Winchester in September, 1838. He came to Nepean Bay 45 years ago, and has resided on the island ever since. Mr. Daw was the first Chairman of the Kingscote District Council, a position which he occupied for nine years. He it was who agitated for the Hundred of Menzies being opened up. It is named after Lord Menzies. He well remembers the late Col. Light, the fire at his house, when all his plans and papers were destroyed, and also the death and burial of the gallant colonel in Light Square. He helped to solder the leaden coffin, made by his father, the late Mr. William Daw, in which the remains are buried; and he has in his possession one of the soldering irons used on that occasion. Mrs. Daw, whose age and length of residence in this State are about the same as those of her husband, is another excellent sample of our sturdy pioneers. After had left the post office the main road leading to Kingscote was taken. On the right is the Kingscote Racecourse, and better “going” could not be wished for in a racing track. Then the river is crossed. An embankment has been constructed of logs and mud near the river mouth to keep the fresh water in and the salt water out during the summer. Why not have a barrage similar to those at Buckland Park, which can be raised or lowered at will ? Between the river and Kingscote is the Government town site of Brownlow. There is only one house within its boundaries, and that is occupied by Mr. Charles Snelling. To the left of is the farm of Mr. Bell— all first-class barley and grazing land, and adjacent are six blocks held by blockers, each of about 20 acres. The holders have no occasion to complain of the quality of their land, though the residential clause is not apparently insisted on. One house only represented the lot.
—A Settler from Canada—
After my 12 hours’ drive through Menzies I interviewed two of the most practical of the new settlers in that hundred. The first was Mr. John M. Davis, who was born in Gloucestershire, went to America 15 years ago, and travelled all through it, including Canada. “I kept my eyes open,” said Mr Davis, “specially with regard to land, farming machinery, and appliances. The seasons in Canada, I found too short for agricultural purposes, on account of the frost and snow. After giving it a fair trial I came to Kangaroo Island to manage the estate owned by my aunt, Mrs. Price, which consists of 4,000 acres, a small part only of which had been previously farmed, the greater part having been used as a sheep run. On arrival here I had a good look round, and travelled through the Hundreds of Menzies, Haines, and Cassini, where some of the land is very good and some poor; but the latter with the use of phosphates might be turned to profitable account.” He them “tackled” Mrs. Price’s estate, thinking that the major part of the 4,000 acres was capable of yielding a fair crop, and he has certainly worked with a will. The scrub was mullenized in the first instance, then it was burnt off, and the land was ploughed. After the crop is reaped the stubble is fired, which kills the after-growth from the mallee roots for a season. Like treatment is necessary for three consecutive years, so as to make the land fit for grazing or future cropping. After that, where the alluvial is of shallow depth, it requires only (say) two years’ rest, during which is can he profitably utilized for grazing. The scrub land cleared since his arrival for the growth of barley had yielded an average of 20 bushels for three seasons, “and this is from land which might be considered too poor for anything when covered with its natural growth.” The indigenous grasses, “although perhaps wanting in substance, are very good; the Hog Bay end of the island, where the land has been longer under cultivation, is a proof of this, horses, sheep, and cattle of first-class quality being raised there, and by and by the middle portion of the island will, I think, prove to be equally suitable for the purpose indicated.” In conclusion, Mr. Davis remarked that he “is quite satisfied with his future prospects. It is of no use coming here and then sitting down and looking at it—you must work to make it a success.”
—A Settler from Yorke’s Peninsular.—
Another man of the right stamp is Mr. James Olds, jun., from Tickara. His father, Mr. James Olds, sen., now living in retirement at Kadina, purchased the first of the selections in the last-mentioned hundred, which at that time was covered with scrub. In the clearing of it his son assisted. The latter, after experiencing seven bad seasons on the peninsula, was thinking of going to the west, when he was induced to pay Kingscote a visit. Liking the appearance of the country, he became licencee of the hotel there for 12 months only. “My object was,” said Mr. Olds, “to obtain further information about the land, crops, &c., previous to making a fresh start, and when I started I thought I could from past experience teach them something.” He began operations on the Cygnet River, and subsequently purchased 113 acres of land, which, as seen from the road, might be considered of very indifferent quality. “Only 20 acres of it was then cleared, but within 18 months I had the whole lot mullenized and prepared for sowing; and last season, bad as it was, my harvest averaged 12 bushels of barley and the same of wheat to the acre, which I consider a very bad crop as compared with what the land will eventually produce. However, the same here as everywhere, you have to walk before you run; but I think we will hop by-and-by as the kangaroo did before us,” concluded Mr. Olds, with a chuckle.
NEW SETTLERS—DOWIEISM—THE HUNDRED OF DUDLEY.
In an earlier article mention was made of the fact that Messrs. O.G. and W.F. Marshall, sons of Mr. Richard Marshall, after whom the well-known “Marshall’s No. 3” seed wheat is named, had purchased 8,000 acres of land on the Cygnet River, in the vicinity of Stokes Bay. I regret that I was unable to visit the locality. However while at Kingscote we witnessed the departure of an instalment of their teams, brought by steamer from the mainland. It was landed at Kingscote because the steamer was not going on to Stokes Bay, which is the nearest shipping place. The consignment under notice consisted of a German wagon, laden with chaff, to which were attached two splendid draught mares, and also a spring dray, laden with sundries, drawn by a sturdy mule in the shafts, with a medium draught horse as outrigger. The latter team was worthy of a snapshot. Three men accompanied the teams, besides Mr. Evans, farmer of Yorketown, who had come over for purposes of land inspection. Their advent was hailed with delight by the little work-a-day world of Kingscote. Other new settlers on the island are Mr. G. G. Ayliffe, son of Mr. G. H. Ayliffe, of the Central Board of Health, who holds 5,000 acres of land at Western Cove; Messrs, W. E. Hawke, formerly of Ardrossan; T. Bottcher, Blyth; A. W. Kester, Nailsworth ; A. Brennand, Lochiel; Seppelt, Seppeltsfield; A. von Wiadrowski, Richmond, near Adelaide; G. Foggo, Ardrossan ; Jephcott, Brinkworth; T. C. Gubbins, Mitcham; G. Schultz; and W. Hartland Strawbridge, Port Elliot; and Messrs. James Olds, Tickara; T. McCourt, Millicent; and the Messrs. Marshall.
When travelling through the districts adjacent to Kingscote one is struck with what until recently constituted this State’s hotbed of Dowieism, and it may be safely asserted that, so far as population is concerned, the arch-prophet and his satellites gathered relatively more adherents on Kangaroo Island to his nonsensical doctrines than in any other part of Australia. Among these guileless islanders he and they found ready listeners—-afterwards adherents, then full-fledged Zionists and deacons, and all that kind of thing. What hereinafter fol1ows cannot be refuted, as the facts are obtained first-hand from the relatives of those who went. Their experiences have been truly blistering, and to-day Dowieism on Kangaroo Island is dead, albeit its obsequies have proved somewhat expensive to its misguided zealots. When the gospel according to Dowie was first preached there, Mr. H. Partridge became a disciple or an adherent. Subsequently, being possessed of somewhat of this world’s goods, he was appointed deacon, in which capacity he preached the gospel of Zion, advising his listeners to sell out and go there, advice which was acted upon by several of them. After seeing them safely dispatched, he—true to the noble cause—did likewise. His sale realized something over £900 in cash, which, with his wife and family of five, he took with him. On arrival at the “Holy City” he was allowed to retain the title of deacon, but his money was put into land for the purpose of assisting in building the walls of this recently created earthly Zion. Shortly afterwards, when he was listening to the immaculate prophet in the tabernacle, the latter asserted that “Christ didn’t know everything.” This assertion raised the ire of Godfearing Mr. Partridge, who wrote to Dowie asking for an explanation. The letter was referred to one of the prophet’s minions; but, as no answer was vouchsafed, Mr Partridge tendered his resignation as deacon and everything else. This was not accepted; but, to quote from Mr Partridge’s letter to a relative “I was kicked out.” Now al1 that remains of that hard-earned £900 is within the walls of Zion, but he and his sons are without, working at anything they can get to pay their passages back to this State. He has only this consolation - that, having been “plucked.” his treasure is laid up somewhere in Zion, but that it will not be redeemable under 20 years. After the departure of Mr. Partridge others were advised to sell all they had and go over and help on the goodly cause. I met with one such. She had sold her estate, which adjoins that of Mr. Thomas at Point Morrison- one of the best properties on the island. Shortly after the sale advices were received from her relation by marriage, Mr. Partridge, saying in effect—“I have been there; you’d better not go.” She did not, and when I met her she was busy making enquiries about land at Kalangadoo and Kybybolite - in fact, anywhere upon which to settle her sons other than within the portals of our earthly Zion.
—Preserve the Landmarks.—
This concludes the account of my visit to historic Kingscote and its surroundings. To me that visit was one of more than pleasure. To its district council I would say “Preserve with jealous care the many interesting memorials contained within the boundaries of this State’s first township in order that a like pleasure and interest may long be afforded to others as was enjoyed by me, ‘A Native’ ”
“Love thou thy land, with love far brought
From out the storied past, and used
Within the present, but transfused
Thro’ future time by power of thought.”
—The Hundred of Dudley.—
On my return to Hog Bay I was—thanks to Messrs. Fred Buick, T. and M. Willson, S. Neave, and John Trethewey - enabled to travel through the whole of the Hundred of Dudley, which extends from the American River on the west to Cape Willoughby on the east. The rainfall in this hundred, as recorded by Mr. T. Willson during the past three years, is as follows:—-1902, 20.42 in.; 1903, 25.97 in.; 1904, 23.40 in. This constitutes about the average rainfall on the island, but, nearer to Cape Borda and its highlands it is perhaps a little more. Dews are heavy, especially near to the coast—so heavy this summer as to handicap the burning of scrub in some localities. My first trip was to Mr. T. Willson’s comfortable home at Hog Bay River, eight miles from the bay, where two most pleasant days were spent. His and his brother’s (Mr. Martin Willson) farms adjoin on the banks of the river. In their vicinity both the soil and the timber are good, and from one of the orchards apples were being picked and stored in cases betwixt layers of dry grass to preserve them from the persistent attentions of the rosella parrot. From here I was driven to the south coast over a somewhat rough road. From the summit of a limestone ridge en route one of the best landscape views on the island is obtainable. Thence onward huge sand-dunes and drifts, blown up from the Southern Ocean, were skirted; and at a point between Cape Hart and False Cape the steading of Mr William Lyall is situated. Its owner may be just1y termed one of the hardest workers on the island. From here a glorious view of the Southern Ocean is obtainable, extending to the two capes previously mentioned, with Flour Cask and Pennington Bays in the distance. The country traversed to this point is inhabited by wild goats and wild sheep, which “run like wallaby” through the dense thickets of scrub when disturbed. These, with iguanas “lazing” in the sun in the middle of our track, lent additional interest to the trip.
The country just traversed is where five persons have at different times been bushed, but happily were found, after most trying and, in one instance, somewhat comical experiences. Pennington Bay is named after Mr. Pennington, Associate to the late Chief Justice Hanson. The unfortunate gentleman was on a holiday trip, and wandered inland from the bay to a place called the White Lagoon, about 9 miles distant from where he was last seen. There part of his thighbone, portions of his ribs, all charred by bush fires, and one trouser button were revealed after many years. That brass button and the name stamped thereon were the only means afforded for the identification of his remains. The second case was that of thee little girls, not then in their teens, daughters of Mr T.Willson. They, in the month of February, the hottest time of the year, left home one Sunday afternoon, and walked along the track leading to the sandhills for the purpose of gathering the dainty montaries (native apples). A nightfall search was instituted by their parents and other relatives. On the Monday and Tuesday it was continues by them and all the few settlers then resident there, but still without success, their tracks only having been discovered in the vicinity of one of the sand dunes not far from the beach. On the Wednesday morning the eldest of the trio was found, almost dazed, and wandering aimlessly not far from the road leading to Cape Willoughby, several miles from where their tracks had been “picked up.” About three hours afterwards the two younger ones were discovered. They were thoroughly exhausted. Their clothing was in ribbons, caused by the all but impenetrable scrub, and their shoes were in tatters. They had nothing to eat save wallaby bush, and not a drop to drink, during those three blistering hot days; and the wonder was that they were still able to stand. The third adventure, which now savours somewhat of the comical, is that in which none other than Sir R. C. Baker and the Right Hon. C. C. Kingston were the heroes. It happened many years ago, when they were passengers by the Governor Musgrave, then on a cruise. The steamer anchored in Antechamber Bay, and the stories of wild goats In the vicinity provoked sportive instincts in the bosoms of those two hon. gentlemen. A day’s wild-goat stalking seemed likely to be a novelty to them—and so it proved to be. With guns shouldered, an early start was made, hut before 1ong they were hopelessly bushed: and, wandering on through many miles of thickets of prickly acacia and dense mallee, they at about nightfall happened on Mr. . T. Willson’s homestead. Tired and worn, they were hospitably received and entertained by Mrs. Willson. It is asserted that the expenditure of blue lights and rockets fired from the Governor Musgrave during that memorable night established a record.
—Cape Willoughby District.—
A drive to Cape Willoughby was taken with Mr. S. Neave, whose farm is about half a mile from Mr. Willson’s. Near to his house is the largest grape vine growing on the island. Its branches trellised overhead, form quite a bowery. On the track a little distance from his farm is a favourite haunt of the wallaby. Snares for catching them were numerous on each side of road. I had the pleasure of partaking of the delicious flesh of these delicate little marsupials. Further on Chapman’s River, which empties itself in Antechamber Bay, is skirted on the left. The land and timber marking its course were of the best. On its banks is situated the farm of Mr. T. Lashmar, who is a well-to-do and over-applied-for bachelor. Further on the river spreads and constitutes Lashmar’s Lagoon. In the distance to the left the manager’s house on the gemfields is just discernable, and below the lagoon Antechamber Bay is a pleasing picture. Hereabouts is where the late Mr. Alexander Tolmer and his men made their headquarters when in search of the notorious Gilkes and another equally noted criminal. The site of the late Nat Thomas’s house, were he captured one of them singlehanded, is pointed out. There it was that the historic Nat died and is buried, and there the Russian sole survivor of the four who left the Africaine afterwards resided. When on the visit just mentioned Mr. Tolmer discovered a bitumous pitch, which “oozed from between the rocks.” It had been found and used previously by Mr. Frank Potts (afterwards of Langhorne’s Creek), when engaged in boatbuilding on the island. The gallant Tolmer was so impressed with the importance of the discovery that he, in after years, revisited the locality, under the guidance of Mr. Nat Thomas and his daughter (Mrs. Seymour). Three mineral leases were applied for in his and their names, but nothing profitable eventuated. Nodules of this pitch are still found there. Its molten condition when first discovered by Messrs. Potts and Tolmer is now attributed to the heat of the sun’s rays. Further on to the right is the extensive property of the Messrs. Simpson, which is used principally as a sheep-run—only a small part of it for the cultivation of barley. Thence we bowled along the main road to the lighthouse, where we were hospitably entertained by the head keeper (Mr. G. Angus) and his kindhearted wife. From the somewhat giddy height of the balconette with which the uppermost portion of the lighthouse is encircled a view probably second to none in this State is obtainable. It includes Backstairs Passage, the mainland, Cape St. Albans, The Pages, with Ports Victor and Elliot and the Murray Mouth in the dim distance. To the right are the blue waters of the Southern Ocean and the rockbound shores of the island, upon which, alas! to many vessels have been dashed to atoms.
Cuttlefish Bay was the next place of call, where, after a pleasant drive with Mr. Ernest Buick (on the termination of which, by the way, the writer just escaped being deposited in a fresh water tank), Mr. J. Trethewey kindly took me in charge. His homestead is prettily situated, overlooking Backstairs Passage, with Cape Jervis and its lighthouse in the distance. At Mr. Trethewey’s barley and sheep are the principal products. The horses seen there were first class; in fact, this latter remark may be justly applied to most of those on the island. Better-boned, better-conditioned, and surer-footed animals (and this in spite of the fact that shoes are unknown to the majority of them) could not be wished for. Behind two such I took my seat with mine host, his daughter, and two of his lady friends for a drive to the gemfields. The main road to Willoughby was in the first instance traversed. In so doing the residence of Mr. W. Howard was passed. The best cattle-proof fencing seen on the island was here observed, marking the boundaries of Messrs. Howard and Trethewey’ properties. At the gem workings the amount of work done under the management of Mr. Andrew testified to his energy. The “country” in which the excavations were made is of white material, equal in value, it is asserted, to the celebrated Cornish china stone. The claims and plant have been recently purchased from the original company, with a view to the disposal of this stone.
The kangaroo, which in the days of Flinders was so abundant, was until recently in danger of total extermination. Thanks, however, to Professor Stirling and others, it is now protected, with results so far satisfactory; but, while the almost equally valuable (commercially) wallaby remain unprotected this one-sided protection is handicapped this way. The young of the kangaroo are as liable to be snared as are the wallaby, and when one happens in a snare it rests between the man who plants the snare and the kangaroo, and then, well—hic jacet—”joey.” That interesting little animal the echidna, commonly known as the native porcupine, which made history for the island in the world of science, is still plentiful on the south coast. One of them was brought to Mrs. Stow at the schoolhouse by one of her pupils during my recent visit. A description of this most interesting little animal, kindly: furnished me by Professor Stirling (Director of the Adelaide Museum) may be of interest:—-“The echidna is oviparous—i.e., hatched out from eggs like birds and most reptiles (a peculiarity shared by the platypus). The egg has a tough parchment-like covering instead of a little calcarous shell. In the echidna the eggs are incubated, and the young retained for a time in an abdominal pouch, which is developed in the female only during the breeding season. The oviparous nature of monotremes had long been suspected by zoologists, but it was not until 1884 that the fact was conclusively demonstrated. In that year a damaged egg was discovered in the pouch of a native porcupine from Kangaroo Island by Dr W. Haacke, then Curator of the Adelaide Museum. This was exhibited at a meeting of the Royal Society of South Australia on September 2 of that year. The same fact was, on the same day, announced to the British Association for the advancement of Science, then sitting in Montreal, Canada, by telegram from Mr. W. H. Caldwell, of Cambridge University, who had been independently investigating the subject in Queensland. Dr. Haacke’s specimen is still on exhibition at the Museum.”
—The First-born on the Island.—
The oldest identity and best known on all the island is Mrs. William Seymour, a half-cast. Oldest is written advisedly and without fear of contradiction, for she was born in the Hundred of Dudley, and is now in her seventy-second year. Of a bright and happy disposition, she is a most entertaining conversationist, and withal extremely apt at repartee. Her husband was the late Mr. William Seymour at one time manager of the South Australian Company on the Island. She is a daughter of the late Mr. Nat Thomas, and they were married in one of the first houses built at Antechamber Bay. The officiating clergyman was the late Ven. Archdeacon Morse. Her father died subsequently to her marriage: and her mother, an aboriginal of Tasmania, survived him for 10 years, and died at Cape Borda, where she is buried. Mrs. Seymour was educated by Mrs. Cawthorne, wife of the first appointed head keeper of the Cape Willoughby lighthouse, notably in writing. The old lady has one son and two daughters, besides several grandchildren.
The one want of Hog Bay still remains unsatisfied. That want, a telephone line of only eight miles to connect it with the line running from Kingscote to Willoughby, was intensified during my recent visit. The steamer Kooringa, by which the ordinary mails are dispatched from Adelaide, arrives at Hog Bay, as a rule, a little after 4 p.m. on Saturdays, when the islanders for miles distant either come or send for their newspapers, letters, &c. The former constitute their Saturday night and Sunday’s reading. On the occasion under notice the steamer broke down, and her place was supplied by the Warooka. The company to which both steamers belong have a dual mail contract—the one to Edithburgh and the other to the island. In this instance Edithburgh was the first place of call, and the detour delayed her arrival at Hog Bay until after 11 p.m. A very few waited and got their mails; others did not, and went home without. Some of the passengers, too, were in sore straits, as there was no one to meet them; and had it not been for the kindly offices of Host Marinovich they might have been compelled to camp out under the grateful shelter of boxthorn bushes. Of course, the people of Kingscote were all right; they, having been advised by wire, avoided the wearying and watching occasioned by the seven hours’ delay.
It was a pleasure to note the awakening that has recently taken place with regard to the island generally. Visitors from the mainland were plentiful, and so were enquiries for land. One Adelaidean, by notice posted in the Hog Bay Hotel, announced himself as a buyer of freeholds from anything between 200 and 1,000 acres. But there is no occasion for boom prices at present, as there is plenty of land. A branch of the Union Bank has just been opened at Kingscote. Pleasure parties were in evidence, notably that of the Mayor of Port Adelaide (Mr. J. W. Caire) and several members of his council, who were spending a pleasant and health-giving holiday at the American River. Mr. H. J. D. Munton’s yacht Alfreda II. was also there, and he and his family were then finishing a several weeks’ cruise.
After this, my second visit, I am more than confirmed that the island will ere long prove to be a fine sanatorium for us mainlanders, as the late Dr. Whittell predicted it would be long years ago. Its bracing breezes are ever grateful and health-giving. Its many places of historic interest will, or should be, always attractive; and, perhaps better than all, its utility in the matter of productiveness is only now in its infancy. Finally, my best thanks for assisting in obtaining information are due to Mr. and Mrs. T. Willson, Messrs. R. C. Thorpe, M.C., Fred Buick, John Trethewey, Martin Willson, S. Neave, A. G. Daw, Hartland Strawbridge, James Olds, jun., V. H. F. Cook, and C. H. Hartwig.
E. H. Hallack
Mounted Constable R. C. Thorpe