Itali Itali at Richmans Creek, Flinders Ranges South Australia

Itali Itali

The Itali Itali run was first taken up by Henry John Richman in the early 1860s. He erected a homestead and an eating house was established soon after. When run by Angus Nicholson it was known as the Iklee Iklee up to 1877 when he was granted a publican's licence. It eventually became the Itali Itali Hotel. After the great drought of 1862-1865 Richman added the run to his other properties and the whole area became known as Richmans Creek.

The early 1870s were blessed with good rains and as early as 1874 it was reported that beautiful crops were at Mr Richman's Station. Two years later there were 'herds of kangaroos and flocks of emus, which would have excited the intense admiration and wonder of an Adelaide sportsman, but would be received by the farmer with feelings of a far different nature'.

Apperantly, there was no water around in August 1876. On 18 August Henry Bell left nearby Pinkerton for Pichi Richi Creek, but never got there. His body was found by the Port Augusta Police ten days later at Richmans Valley. It was thought that he had died from want of water.

There was enough drink available anywhere else as in October 1877 John McCade died at Richmans Creek from disease and hamorrhage of the liver. After an inquest on his body, it was assumed that death had been caused from the effects of hard drinking. In March 1878 Angus Nicholson was declared insolvent and the Iklee Iklee hotel, on allotment 4, which at that time employed Isabel Bigg, was bought by CB Walters of Port Augusta.

People seemed to have been pleased with the new publican. It was said that he was the right man in the right place and had thoroughly renovated and refurnished the hotel. In one of his newspaper ads, Walters promised that the wants of the public would be carefully attended to, and by attention, civility and supplying the best liquors, he hoped to receive a fair share of patronage.

As the area became more populated with the Closer Settlement schemes, the hotel soon became a venue for public meetings, rather than just a watering hole. Walters kept it for three years before putting it up for sale in November 1881. It was described as facing the travelling stock reserve on the main road between Quorn and Wilmington. The hotel itself had 19 rooms, 16 of which were built of stone and the remaining three of iron.

The improvements of the property included a good well and a 20,000 gallon cement tank. There were also a beautifully laid out garden, stables and several outbuildings. To make it even more attractive, it was stated that there was an immense traffic all year round and takings had been well over 2,000 pounds each year.

Only a few other properties were occupied at this stage. On allotment 2 a blacksmith was doing a good business and there was a dam on lot 6. However there were enough people around, including Herbert Wright, to form a cricket team in 1877. Herbert was also an enthusiastic member of the Richman Creek Tennis club. In his spare time he played the piano and violin. One can only wonder about the talents his brothers Walter, John and George had.

For more detailed information go to HJ Richman.

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