Forreston, North Gumeracha, South Australia.


Alexander Forrest arrived in SA on the Thomas Maitland in 1848. In 1852 the Forrest family was expanded with the birth of a daughter, Sarah. They would have a total of six sons and five daughters. Being a blacksmith by trade, Alexander laid out the village of Forreston in 1858 on part sections 1625-26, three kilometres northeast of Gumeracha on the North Gumeracha Creek near Mount Gould.

Sarah Forrest later married John Roden Fisher, who was born in 1846, and had eight children. Some of the other children born at Forreston were another daughter to the Forrest family on 25 January 1862, a son to the wife of E.J. Hastwell on 6 June 1862 and on 27 July of the same year a son to the Edward Day and his wife Mary Anne.

In 1863 Mrs Levi Meakins had a son on 6 March but on 24 September Ellen Hastwell, daughter of E.J. and E. Hastwell died of diphtheria, aged only two years and five months. On 1 June 1864 the Forrest family was expanded even further when they had another daughter.

On 11 February 1865 the wife of Levi Meakins also had a daughter. Levi Meakins, born in Northants, England, arrived in South Australia with his parents Levi and Maria, nee Holloway. They settled at Forreston where Levi senior became a dry-stone wall builder, while 9 year old Levi junior drove his fatherís bullock teams. After his fatherís early death Levi junior left home to add to his own and the familyís income.

In 1882 Levi was employed by George Melrose of Rosebank. He eventually became the propertyís overseer and held that position until his retirement in 1914. The position then passed to his son James.

Storekeeper Edward Day was presented with a son on 4 March 1865 followed by another son, Theodore Ernest, on 7 May 1866 while Mrs Janet Forrest, aged 76, passed away at her residence on 14 September 1866.

Theodore Ernest Day was educated at the Grote Street School, Adelaide and at the age of 16 joined the South Australian Survey Department. He was appointed surveyor in 1893 and was involved in extensive survey work on the West Coast, Cobdogla, Oodnadatta area, Western Australia and the Northern Territory where Mount Theo and Mount Day were named after him. He died on 19 August 1943, survived by his wife Emillie Moore whom he had married on 7 May 1890 at Manoora, three daughters and two sons..

On 31 May 1866 Charles Phillips of Forreston was married to Louisa Philp of Chain of Ponds at its Bible Christian Chapel by the Rev. J. Rock. Nearly a year later, on 7 March 1867, Eleanor Jolly, the only daughter of William Jolly married Olive Philp.

Many of the residents were employed locally. Forrest & Ross soon started a machinery business. It produced reaping machines with the help of Ross and his four sons. G. Harris operated a general store, as did James Eglington until he moved to Terowie. McDonald had a blacksmith and wheelwright shop. Those who could not find work in town were able to find it at the nearby Mount Crawford forest.

Later many of those born at Forreston found work much further afield. Samuel Philp, son of Samuel and Sarah Philip, who had married in 1861, attended Sunday School at Forreston in 1890. By the turn of the century had had moved away and eventually found work at the Yudanamutana mine in the far northern Flinders Ranges. He died there on 7 June 1912, aged 28 and single.

Many of the early residents were burried at the nearby
North Gumeracha cemetery.

During the 1860s the young town had a daily connection by Rounsevellís coaches to Adelaide. In 1862 and 1863 Alexander Forrest was a Councillor of the District Council of Talunga and its Chairman from 1864 until 1869 when Frederick Hannaford replaced him.

Rounsevell 1870 (SLSA)

The town had pooled its money to build a school as well. It even included two living rooms for the teacher. Among the early, mainly female, teachers were, E. Boucher, C.L. Thomas, B. Tims, C.M. Mackie, E. Willow, E. Holden and J. Kernick. Until 1891 its school was known as Gumeracha North.

The old and not so old at Forreston.

Among its claims to fame is the fact that it has the largest and oldest tree in South Australia

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