Angepena Station South Australian History

Angepena Station.

Angepena Station is hidden away in the Northern Flinders Ranges in country varying from a parkland appearance to some very hilly country covered by shrubs, native pines, black oak and mulga. Depending on the season, it can be very cold, even frosty at night, or very hot and dry. Long dry periods are often broken by heavy rains and flash floods.

In 1854 John Baker applied for the Angepena and Pernunna leases. The Angepena lease was taken up a year later and managed by John Stewart. A hut keeper, employed to look after the animals was murdered by Aborigines in 1856. Baker wanted police protection, which was granted, and a police station opened that year with four troopers, using some of Baker's huts.

Being one of the most northern stations at that time and also the most isolated, the station was soon used as a staging point for inland expeditions or by surveyors. In 1857 it was visited by Goyder while surveying the country north of Mount Serle. In 1859 he was back with A. Selwyn, looking for gold and other minerals. A few months later, on 28 October, it was the Governor of South Australia who called in before his inspection of the nearby Mochatoona mine the next day.

The Commissioner of Police, P.E. Warburton, was pushing for a well to be dug at Angepena to make sure that both the police and their horses would have a constant water supply. One of the first to be stationed at the police post was Corporal Coward. By 1861 there were enough people in the area for the opening of a regular postal service, but a letter written by James Williams to Miss E. Wheeten of Angepena was listed as undelivered in January 1862. The end of 1861 and the start of the new year was celebrated with a race meeting attended by more than 130 people, providing a healthy profit for I. Verrinder of the John Bull hotel at Stirling North who came up to man the publican's booth.

From July 1862 Angepena was serviced by a fortnightly mail run which was extended in September to Blanchewater. Conditions at Angepena had greatly improved during the last few years and both the number of station hands and shepherds employed had increased. Enough people passed through the area, including several mail contractors, for Corporal Wauhop to suggest that an eating house should be built near the police barracks at Angepena.

From 1863 William Carruthers carried the mail from Angepena for Mount Margaret every fortnight, whereas that for Yudanamutana and Blinman went every week with a mail driver employed by William Rounsevell. With the onset of a severe and prolonged drought, lasting in several places until 1866, the mail runs in the north lost thousands of dollars each. Most of it was carried by the firm of W. and J. Rounsevell.

As most of the north was now taken up by pastoralists it left few places available for the Aborigines to live of the land, and the drought only aggravated this problem. Several sheep had been killed by them already to supplement their food supply. In July 1863 Warburton ordered a Corporal and two troopers from Angepena to proceed north to protect the life and property of white settlers. In April 1865 John Jacob of Paralanna reported that John Walter Jerrold, a shepherd who tried to protect his sheep from being killed by Natives, was himself murdered near Mount Fitton.

By this time it had become impossible for the police to to anything at all. Their horses were all 'knocked up and without food'. Oats and horse shoes, which had arrived at Port Augusta months ago, could not be transported to Angepena as a result of the relentless drought. It was not until May 1865 that Police trooper Skermer arrived at Mount Serle with fresh horses from Mount Remarkable. It was to be several months before Trooper Skermer could return. In 1866 it was decided that both the post Office and Police station at Angepena should be closed.

From 1870 until 1875 Angepena was managed by Henry Baker J.P. Baker was not only interested in the pastoral industry but also in the mining industry. He owned shares in several companies including fifteen in the Sliding Rock Mine. Baker was replaced in 1875 by James Warwick. From 1879 until 1889 the station was managed by Tom Davies for John Whyte. Tom's daughter Eva married David Noble on 26 March 1896 when he managed Angepena.

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Tom Davies and Family at Angepena Station in the 1880s.

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Angepena Cemetery

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