Mannanarie, South Australian History

Mannanarie

the first fifty years

Mannanarie, on part section 69, once a private township started in 1877,
is situated 19 kilometres north of Jamestown, in the Hundred of Mannanarie, County Dalhousie.


A tribute to the early settlers

In 1843 Surveyor-General, Captain Edward Charles Frome passed through the area on his way to Lake Frome. On 20 July he took bearings from the top of Mount Lock, an area which was occupied by the Ngadjuri people. Mannanarie got its name from the Aboriginal word for ‘good string or cord’. Near the top of a deep ravine near Black Rock Hills he found enough water to fill all his kegs, enough for men and horses for three days.

When European settlers took up land in the mid north they naturally claimed the well watered plains first, thereby pushing out the local Aboriginal people and the native animals. However some of the Aborigines stayed on and eventually worked for the early pastoralists. During the 1840s, with settlement expanding into the northern areas, the Marchant family, made up of William Lavington, his wife Eliza, five sons and a daughter, had arrived in 1840 on the Fairlie. Sadly, Marchant senior died just 5 weeks later. His son Thomas Balne now took the lead and selected land on which the Mannanarie run was established. They stocked it with cattle but soon changed to sheep.

In 1847 Thomas Balne Marchant, born 4 August 1826, took out an occupation licence to secure his run over an area of 98 square miles and in 1851 changed it for a 14 year licence at an annual fee of £73.10. One of his neighbours, J.E. Hayward of the Pekina run, wrote that year that the five Marchant brothers were ‘smart, active stock keepers with good bush experience and with only a cook as hut keeper. They did all the work themselves and were always capital neighbours to me’.

A year after taking out his occupation licence the area experienced its first large bush fire. It swept through the country and in a few hours crossed the Mannanarie Ranges. In 1851 Mannanarie lease no. 61 was issued to Thomas B. Marchant. Thomas was killed in a riding accident at Burra on 28 August 1852. A new lease was issued in 1854 to William Lavington Marchant, born in Somerset on 30 May 1828. Finally in 1856 the Mannanarie homestead was completed and William married Georgiana Phillips, sister of the late John Randall Phillips of Kanyaka.

Georgiana brothers were John Randall Phillips Jr, who married Eliza Milne, (daughter of Sir William Milne) of Kanyaka and Henry Thomas Phillips, of the Pekina Run. Their mother, Martha Phillips, widow of John Randall Phillips Senior, while living with her son on Kanyaka, died and is buried in the historic cemetery across the creek at Kanyaka with a clear headstone.


W.L. Marchant

In 1864 the homestead was described as ‘the best house I have seen in the north. A fine stone building, with large rooms 13ft high, verandah all round, with stone steps at the entrance. A large haystack off 11 acres of ground, an acre of garden, full of trees, almonds, apricots, etc. and vines with plenty of fruit on them, nicely kept with gravel walks. The homestead and large stockyards are but a short distance from the house’. By this time the run carried 20,000 sheep on 130 square miles.

During the drought of the early 1860s teamsters camped in the Mannanarie Ranges feeding their bullocks boughs from sheoak trees. Teamsters, and later farmers, found Black Hill ‘quite a pull’. After the drought, and with the continuous push for land by farmers, the Hundred of Mannanarie in County Dalhousie was proclaimed on 20 July 1871. This stopped the Mannanarie run from further increasing its land holdings and in fact decreased it. On 13 May 1872 the Mannanarie run was opened up for selection but only about 19,000 acres out of 38,000 were taken up by the middle of August. More land was selected after that time at £1 per acre

It did not take long for some farmers to arrive after they had bought their land at a 20% deposit at the Adelaide land sales. They had no stone houses but lived in temporary dwellings made of iron, a tent or under a tarpaulin. Some of the lucky ones were able to erect a pine hut. Among those early ones was John Reidy. He bought Section 79 of 207 acres on 15 March 1870.

Samuel Clark Robinson, born at Tichmarsh, Northamptonshire, England in 1819, son of Thomas and Elizabeth, arrived in South Australia in 1853. After establishing himself successfully as a butcher and farmer at Mintaro he also bought land on 13 May 1872 when the Hundred of Mannanarie was sub-divided. He acquired sections 19 and 20, a total of 186 acres for £279, on 29 June 1877. He build his home on section 20. In August Samuel bought still more land. He now acquired section 69 of 177 acres for £177, hoping that the much talked about new railway line would pass through his property. He had it surveyed into 55 blocks. At the first sale he made £1,100. On 20 December 1880 he bought sections 16 and 21, a total of 257 acres for £514. His encouraging letters home resulted in some of his brothers and sisters also migrating to South Australia. After more than a hundred years some of his descendants still lived in the Hundred of Mannanarie. Samuel died in 1896.

Henry Symons and his wife left Watervale in July 1873 for their trip north. Upon arrival at Mannanarie they erected two tents which became their home for the next six months. As a blacksmith he soon had plenty of work and was able to employ a few men as well. Within three years he was well established, had his property fenced, and built a stone house. They eventually had five children, one girl, who died when only three years old and four sons. Henry died in 1898.

One of the first children born at Mannanarie was Jane Bishop Cadzow on 21 September 1872. Her parents were James Matthew Cadzow and Selina Thomas Webster. James Matthew, farmer of Norwood, had bought section 55 on 18 June 1877 while Michael had bought section 53. Jane Cadzow later married John Alexander Gibb and died in 1920, aged 48.

Some 15 months later, on 6 January 1874, the Cadzow family was expanded with the birth of son James Matthew. He married Rosaleen Emily Williams and died in 1934 at the age of 60. On 15 October 1876 the Cadzow family was expanded again with the birth of Selina Thomas. She married William Cummings and died in 1969 aged 93. In 1878 there was another daughter, Adelaide Frances, born on 7 March. She also married a Gibb and died in 1900 at the age of only 22.

James Matthew Cadzow had great expectations of the northern country and took up a further 621 acres in section 127 in the Hundred of Walloway at £1 per acre in 1878. It proved a hard battle. After clearing some 100 acres he was just in time to sow but at the end of the season only reaped 8½ acres. In 1879, after having cleared another 200 acres he reaped a total of 1½ bushels of his 300 acres. In 1880 he got nothing and in 1881 only 48 bushels. There wasn’t even enough to feed his stock. During these four years he had spent £1,100 on improvements.

The Cadzow families made quite an impact in the young town. It was not just James Matthew who had taken up residence but also his brother Thomas Allen. He had married Selina Thomas Webster’s sister, Sarah Jane Webster. They had 6 children. The first born at Mannanarie was Ethel on 5 September 1887 followed by Mabel Ellen on 3 December 1889, Nellie Maud on 30 March 1892, Arthur Almond on 9 May 1894, Violet Flossie on 19 September 1896 and Reginald Gilmore on 28 February 1899.

Among some of the other early settlers was A. MacDonald of Tothills Creek who selected 121 acres on section 13. Hugh Campbell, born on the Isle of Skye in 1832, migrated to South Australia in 1858. Having practised his old job of shoemaker, to which he later added that of postmaster, he took up land at Hornsdale, to the south west of Mannanarie.

Progress was slow at Mannanarie. In 1872 it was reported that the township was ‘innocent of houses’ and that the spot chosen did not really seem the most suitable. Eventually some more pine huts appeared and a few small stone houses as well as one or two weatherboard places. The size of the average holding was between 300 and 400 acres although some were as many as 640. No fencing had been erected yet but some farmers were getting posts ready.

Several of the farmers did have some time on their hand as the land had been taken up too late in the season to allow any crop to be put in. They soon found out that the soil was ‘patchy but along the plain it was a good brown clayey loam. However as a whole the land was not as good as seen in some other places. There was also a scarcity of timber. Because of this many farmers removed trees from Crown land which did not impress the Government.

A Post Office was opened at Mannanarie in March 1874. George Edward Swan, a draper from Salisbury, who had bought lot 22 at Jamestown on 21 December 1871 for £8.5.0 was in March 1874 accepted for the position of first Postmaster. He also acted as Assistant Registrar for Births and Deaths. That same year the Primitive Methodist church was completed on section 186.

Another early settler was Patrick Hehir from Kapunda and his wife Mary, nee Noonan. They arrived in 1874 and already had a daughter Mary, born in 1867 and a son Patrick born in 1874. On 15 July 1878 Patrick bought sections 70 and 71 and farmed it with his sons until his death on 20 November 1916, aged 90. His wife died on 6 December 1904 aged 66. They, and later their descendants, lived at Mannanarie for most of the town’s existence.

In 1875 there was much speculation about a new railway, which it was hoped would pass through the Hundred of Mannanarie to Yatina. As most of the settlement was concentrated in the northeast of the Hundred it would be a bonus for them as it could reduce transport cost and provide employment.

By 1875 the little settlement had already a church, store, private school and a post office. During that year Mrs William Morgan opened a school for 40 pupils, J.S. Torr was appointed Pound keeper on 19 August on section 196 and on 4 November William H. Kelly married FJP Campbell of nearby Caltowie. The school gained the appointment of Cecilia Tucker as Sewing Mistress in 1886. However, it lost the help of Helen McL. Campbell who had been a monitor for some time. In 1887 John Tucker was appointed teacher. The shop too expanded its services when A.R. Gosling became agent for the Register, Observer and Evening Journal.

In February 1875, 1755 acres were sold to farmers in Mannanarie. In March a further 873 acres were bought, all at £1 per acre. At the Land auction, held in Adelaide on 11 May 1876, 16 lots were sold in the Hundred of Mannanarie, but suburban to Yatina and 23 Lots in the Hundred of Black Rock Plain. The town of Mannanarie was laid out in 1877 on part section 69 by Samuel Robinson. The settlement now could be called a real town and storekeeper E.J. Tuck became agent for the different newspapers.

Not every farmer was happy with his or her land or the agreement they had signed. During the first six months of 1877 several farmers applied to surrender their agreement. Among them was Patrick Hehir who did so on 3 April, John Reidy on 16 April, Susannah Twigden on 7 May, Cornelius Cleary on 30 May and Thomas Hall on 1 June 1877.


During the late 1870s and early 1880s there was an influx of new settlers as several farmers had bought land in the agricultural area of Mannanarie. Among them were; John Campbell, farmer of One Tree Hill. He bought sections 73 and 74 on 24 January 1877 for £665. On 10 December 1881 John also bought town lots 9, 33 and 34 in Mannanarie. He sold sections 73 and 74 on 15 April 1896 to Samuel Robinson. Thomas Niemiety bought sections 63 and 64 of 476 acres for £714 on 1 October 1877 and Patrick O'Loughlin, labourer of Marrabel bought section 67 on 23 August 1877. Martin Neylan of Kapunda bought section 72 on 9 Luly 1877.

Other buyers were John Moyses, junior, carrier of Penwortham. He bought section 1 of 41 acres for £61.10.0 on 26 January 1877. John Giles, junior, farmer of near Clare, bought sections 2 and 12 of 279 acres on 28 October 1878 and sections 3 and 11 of 360 acres on 17 June 1879. On the same day Henry Giles paid £895 for sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 which gave him a total area of 597 acres. Nearly 18 months later he also bought section 8S of 43 acres for £102.2.6.

Johan Friedrich Laube, farmer of Mannanarie, bought sections 14 and 22 paying £530 for 265 acres on 30 June 1881. Many others took up land as well, among them William Dewhurst, David Thomas, John Reidy, Archibald McDonald, Charles Warnes, John Hortin, William Morgan, Henry Wadge Jago, James Driscoll, Maurice Casey and Patrick Kilderry. Patrick, farmer of Waterloo had bought section 66 of 223 acres at £1 per acre on 22 May 1879.

Towards the end of the 1870s conditions improved even further for the farmers and settlers of the young town. When in 1879 a hospital was opened at Jamestown, Mannanarie patients could go there with their problems. A most welcome addition was the opening of the Mannanarie Hotel. Within a couple of months though it was offered for sale or to let with immediate possession. A year later it was to be sold by auction. In June 1883 J. Morgan became the new publican.

After some good seasons there was a further increase in population and services, including some shops. Landowners living at Mannanarie that year were John Hortin who farmed section 155. His daughter Ann was born on 17 July. William Morgan farmed sections 185, 186, and 187. Henry Wadge Jago farmed section 153 while James Driscoll cultivated section 168. Maurice Casey farmed sections 156 and 178 and Patrick Kilderry section 66.


Methodist Church

In 1880 the Anglicans began building their church and the Primitive Methodists a more permanent one as well. The foundation stone for the Methodist Church was laid on 1 March and the first service held in August. A porch was added in 1901 and regular services conducted until 1966. A special Centenary Service was held on 8 October 1972. The building and other assets of the church were transferred to the Public Hall in 1983.

George Hotspur Murray, an early buyer of many sections in the town put several of them on the market in March 1880. They were lot 3 adjoining the hotel, and lots 8, 32, 38, 46, 49, 50 and 51. Licensees of the Mannanarie hotel during these years were William May from 1880-1882, Henry Newton in 1883 and J. Morgan from 1884 until 1900. The Education Department also tried to make some money from its surplus land. On 1 April 1883 it leased out Section 119 for 14 years to Joseph Ninnes

In 1881, Christmas Day Athletics were held on Patrick Hehir’s land. Even though it was intensely hot, about 1000 people attended. Host Steinthal had a booth as did the Methodists. Among the prize winners were J. Scott, John Sheridan, J. Swearse and P. Murphy. Another one was held in October 1882 when some 600 people showed up. Prizes were distributed in the evening in the school room by Thomas Sandland JP. Among the winners were C. Barret, C. Robinson, G. Keurney, J.H. Scott, A. Hanna and T. Kinane. Among the under 16 boys to win a prize were L. Robinson, M. O’Dea, D. Keough, L and W. Waters, A. and H. Campbell and J. Hehir. Thomas Sandland later joined his brother John in the Auctioneering business at Burra and Kapunda.

In April 1881 it was reported that farmers were busy sowing and praying for rain. Little did they realise that the next few years would be very dry. Business was very dull and prospects anything but bright for any improvements for some time to come. However a shoemaker had started business recently which was greatly appreciated. During 1882 more buildings went up, including a blacksmith, stores and a school.

During these years there were several births and deaths at Mannanarie. Catherine Campbell, wife of John died on 6 September 1882 at her son's residence, aged 68. She had been a true colonist of 45 years, having arrived in 1837. A month later, on 3 October Julia Elizabeth Montgomery, wife of another John Campbell died. She was the youngest daughter of James and Mary Jane Kelly. Although only 36, she left a husband and eight children. Michael McKeough died in 1887. His wife Honorah Flanagan was born in 1827 and died in 1903. Both came from Ireland and were buried at Yatina.

In March 1884 a well-attended meeting was held at the Mannanarie hotel to find a suitable person to represent the electorate of Frome in the coming elections. After much discussion George Lloyd was nominated by Samuel Robinson and seconded by John Campbell. Campbell was a keen farmer and had used two of the first Hornsby strippers in the area. He found them to be much better than the colonial ones. In 1887 John Campbell signed a petition to nominate W.A. Dempsey as candidate for election in 1887.

By 1887 good seasons had become something of the past. Farmers started feeling the effects of another long lasting drought, made even worse by the millions of rabbits. They suffered as much as most other farmers in South Australia. To improve their conditions the SA Farmers’ Co-Operative Union was formed in 1888 with Charles Jones and James Lloyd becoming the first original shareholders from Mannanarie. That year also saw the election of the First Councillors to represent Mannanarie at the Caltowie District Council.

After 21 years of farming John Reidy leased out his property to Thomas Ninnes on 1 March 1891 for a period of seven years, which was later extended by another six years. In 1905 it was leased to William Brereton and finally sold to Angus Campbell on 4 March 1912. The property would remain in the Campbell family for a long time. When Ernst Bradtke died on 9 April 1898 he left his estate, including the land, to his wife Ann Eleonore. She sold the land to Otto Ernst Bradtke on 11 May 1899.

Mannanarie had grown steadily during these years and in 1887 it had a solid population of farmers and tradesmen, among them P. Hehir, P. O'Loughlin, James Smith, M. Naylor, Thomas Holland, Gustav Bradky, J. Morgan who had the hotel, G. Cummings, F. and Charles Jones, H. Robins, Michael Carmody, D.T., S., C., D.C. and James Robinson, Thomas Allen Cadzow and his wife Jane, W. Buckerfield, John Campbell, Owen and James Clarck, T. Handley and John Reidy.

Although times were hard, the town still managed to form a Racing Club in 1891. That same year Angus Campbell started farming at Mannanarie on a leasehold property while his parents Hugh and Isabella farmed at nearby Hornsdale. A year later the town had some major problems when 16 cases of diphtheria were diagnosed. Five cases proved to be fatal. In July 1893 a cricket match was played between the Mannanarie and Yatina teams which was won by Mannanarie with H. Campbell scoring 12 for 33. There was a replay a few months later which was won by Yatina. In 1896 the Church of England was demolished due to a lack of support. The Mannanarie Hall was built on its site.


Mannanarie Hall

During the fifty years which had passed since Thomas B. Marchant had taken out an occupation licence to secure his run, there had been great changes, not only in the landscape but also in the number of people depending on the land. Many would-be farmers had started out with high hopes, only to see their crops, and money, wither away. Would the next fifty years bring any better prospects?

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The next fifty years


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