Overland Corner on the River Murray South Australia

Overland Corner


&
The Brand Family

Eight years after Charles Sturt came down the Murray River in his whaleboat, and two years after the first migrants had settled in South Australia, stock from New South Wales was overlanded to the new colony by Joseph Hawdon and Charles Bonney. They were followed later by Charles Sturt and Edward John Eyre. Within a short time Overland Corner, on Cobdogla Station, became an important camping place for other overlanders and their cattle. Drovers would rest their stock and let them graze on the extensive and lush river flats before continuing the journey to Adelaide.

The same site had been used by Aborigines for thousands of years. They camped in this area, built wurlies and lived on the resources provided by the river. Large numbers of them had died after the first European contacts were made and diseases spread down the river. The Aborigines also had obtained some good quality ochre from the cliffs and a regular trade was carried on. The ochre was later used by the kitchen staff of the hotel for reddening the fireplaces. Many artefacts have been found in the area as well as burial grounds and canoe trees. When Corporal William Wickham and Constable John Carter tried to use one of the native canoes in 1847, it capsized and both men drowned.

When gold was discovered in New South Wales in 1851 there was a large movement of people from South Australia to these goldfields via Overland Corner. Two years later the first paddle steamers used the Murray River to supply settlers in the interior, goldminers in both Victoria and New South Wales and return with wool for Goolwa. Paddle steamers needed large amounts of wood for their boilers and William Brand later maintained a large woodpile at Overland Corner. As a result of increasing population in the area, a few cattle duffers, escaped convicts and the odd bushranger, the South Australian government established a small police post at Overland Corner in 1855. Police Commissioner P. Egerton Warburton was convinced that 'such a facility would be a good thing'. It was built by Edward Bate Scott and its first occupant was Corporal Hooker.

Although some other buildings had already been erected at Overland Corner, it was the building of the Hotel in 1859 which proved to be the most important and longest lasting of them all. The building was financed by John Chambers, who with his brother James, owned Cobdogla Station and several other nearby stations. They also owned a number of pastoral properties in the far north such as Moolooloo, Wirrealpa, Stuart's Creek and Pekina. Chambers never lived at Cobdogla but had it managed by James Trussell, who had arrived as cabin boy and surveyors' assistant with William Light on the Rapid in 1836.

Cobdogla, Cobby to the locals, provided most of the horses used by John McDouall Stuart on his expeditions. Stuart in fact was good friends with the Trussells, often helping out with mustering and shooting wild bulls. He later gifted them several rifles and other personal articles. According to Glenn Trussell, a great grandson of Highfields, Queensland, he in fact willed most of his worldly possessions to the Trussells. After his death the Stuart's sisters opposed the will from Scotland and the will to the Trussells was never proved.

The Trussels were to have a long association with Cobdogla Station. James managed it until 1895. During these busy years he still managed to get himself married and and have four daughters and two sons. One of these, Charles, was later employed as stationhand and married Emily Henry who was born in 1883. When Cobdogla was proclaimed a town on 1 May 1919, the main terrace was named Trussell Terrace. During the early twenties C.P. Trussell operated a business in Rowe Street.

The hotel at Overland Corner was built by two of the four Brand brothers, William and Henry. They used the fifteen million year old limestone from a nearby quarry, which also supplied towns as far away as Mildura, to construct its fifty centimetre thick walls and red gum for some of its floors. Soon the hotel became a staging place for mail coaches on the run between Wentworth and South Australia. William Brand held the first publican's licence from March 1860. When he arrived at the hotel with his new wife, nearly three hundred Aboriginal women turned up to see this 'white fellow gin'.

The Brand family had left Hertforfshire, England on the Amazon on 25 November 1851 and arrived at Port Adelaide on 18 February 1852. The family consisted of William, aged 50, Sarah aged 42 and their four sons James, William, George and Henry. Hearing all about the gold discoveries, the head of the Brand family joined the general exodus from Adelaide to Victoria and did well before returning to South Australia in 1853. They now talked their children into moving and a few months later the whole family was at the diggings where they remained until the end of 1854.

By the mid 1850s there were enough children in the neighbourhood for Anne Witcher to conduct a school. During the summer of 1860 James and Henry Brand drove a mob of cattle from Chambers' Cobdogla, Pyap and Chowilla stations to Wirrealpa station in the northern Flinders Ranges. Later Henry drove a mob of eight hundred head of cattle to Angepena where he met John McDouall Stuart, who also worked at times for the Chambers Brothers as surveyor. James, who never married, drowned at Blanchetown in 1874.

On 27 May 1861 William's son William, born in 1835 at Norfolk, married Martha Hobbs and eventually had ten children. Martha's parents had arrived on the Coromandel in 1837 and on 30 October 1840 Martha was born. Martha's father had a few hotels and after his death Martha and her mother ran the Old Colonist Inn at Norwood. After their marriage, William and Martha ran hotels in Adelaide, and Port Lincoln before returning to Overland Corner in 1870. They became the local storekeepers for the next thirty years. William died on 3 July 1902 whereas Martha lived until 12 January 1927.

After his marriage to Hannah Teasdale on 1 November 1864, Henry, the third son of William and Sarah, built a solid stone house near the hotel. In 1865 he bought the Blanchetown-Wentworth mail contract which naturally had a stop over at Overland Corner. In 1877 the contract was held by Sidney Kidman. During these years many other buildings were added around the hotel, including a wheelwright and blacksmith shop and post and telegraph office. After some farming outside Goyder's Line, Henry and Hannah moved to Morgan. Hanna died on 28 September 1908 at the Kapunda Hospital and Henry died in December 1918. They had eleven children.

By the mid 1860s excellent grapes and garden produce grew on the rich alluvial river flats. Henry Brand now also ran a coach service between the hotel and Blanchetown and an Aboriginal station provided some handouts to the native population of the area. Cobb & Co coaches stopped at the hotel and business was booming. In 1869, William Hone, stockkeeper at Overland Corner married Sarah Marey of Alberton. During 1875-1876 a new post and telegraph office was built and a new police station in 1877. The contractor, S Trigg completed the jobs for just over one thousand Pounds.

As was usually the case with isolated hotels, it has seen many births, marriages and deaths during its long history. Charles Katekar married Emma Hale at the hotel in 1883 and C.H. Katekar was born there in 1886. Several of the Brand children were also born at the hotel. Overland Corner holds many graves. Behind the hotel there are some graves, one of them holds the remains of Fred Schell. A few hundred metres up the hill there are the graves of a family group of four. In the official cemetery, about a kilometre back, by the side of the main road to Morgan, there are several generations of the Brand family buried. William and Martha Brand, and one of their children, are among them.

George Brand, born in 1840, was the youngest of the four sons of William and Sarah. He ran the Overland Corner Hotel from 1862 until 1874 when it reverted back to John Chambers. He married Henrietta Jane Clarke, daughter of William Clarke hotelkeeper, on 11 July 1870. In May 1874 George and Henrietta moved to Port Augusta where George leased the Northern Hotel for the next five years. George became a large landowner with properties in Adelaide, Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Quorn, Hawker, Morgan and Noarlunga.

During the 1880s sheep were still overlanded from nearby properties to Adelaide. In January 1884 five thousand of them passed through Overland Corner on their way to One Tree Hill. A total of 125.000 sheep had passed the Corner since August 1883. By the 1890s many of the pastoral properties were cut up for farming. Village and irrigation settlements were created in the area and many of the new settlers who took up land were of German descent. Overland Corner now began to lose its importance. The police station closed in 1894 and Trooper Schmidt, the last resident policeman transferred to Renmark. Three years later the hotel also closed. Purchased by the National Trust in 1965, the hotel, steeped in history and one of the oldest buildings in the Riverland, has survived several major floods and is open for business once again.

By the turn of the century Catherine Pickering ran the Post Office but later, after the birth of her son Claude, moved to the Village settlement of Holder. Although the population at Overland Corner had declined, there remained enough children for the school to remain open for some years. Numbers were made up with children of surrounding farming properties. William David Marshall, born at Ramco in 1904, cycled fourteen kilometres everyday from Devlins Pound to gain an education.


1956 flood level.

Overland Corner Cemeteries

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