When I arrived at my destination the only place I had to go into was a tent, and about a foot of dust for a floor." ill fortune followed in their path. The writer continues: "We were ruined there from drought. I think it was about 38 years ago we lost 10,000 sheep, 30 head of good working bullocks (worth £12 per head at that time), and as many horses. Besides all this my husband got a "very severe sunstroke. He was ill for many months and then we were obliged to leave on account of drought."
The next place of pilgrimage was Port Augusta West, where the husband opened up some country and he was the first man to find water there. "It was a very lonely place," is Mrs. Mackintosh's description, and she adds, "I didn't see a white woman for 12 months.
The Port Lincoln blacks were a good bit of trouble to us; they were perfectly savage: and we had to sit up many a night to watch them. My poor husband suffered many hardships from heat, thirst, and exposure. He opened up several new sheep runs in the north and after that he was overseeing for a short time. When the country was resumed by the Government and cut up the couple took a piece of land in the north-east, where they still live.
But hardship and exposure had proved too much for the old man, and his health gave way. For twelve months he was ill and unable to work, and he then went to the North Terrace Asylum, for three months". In January, 1895, his wife came to town and took him home again. "I kept him and myself," she says, "on the produce of a few cows until they all died from the drought about 18 or 20 months ago. My two horses died also and I have nothing left now but the bare land and of that I am not able to pay the rent.
It is nearly three years behind now. If I can keep it I might be able to get someone to work it with me when rain comes. I have no sons. We lost three in the north. We are both in destitution now. I cannot get the common necessaries of life for my poor husband, who is very weak and delicate, and seldom leaves his bed now. I am sorry to say that my health is failing me fast, but I might do a little for myself if I was at liberty. But I cannot leave my husband night or day." The old gentleman is now 76 years of age, and Mrs. Mackintosh places herself at 64 years and 6 months.
This letter was responded to on Monday 14 March 1898,
A WOMAN PIONEER.
"have taken a practical interest in the case of Mrs. Alexander Mackintosh, of Oodlawirra, because from what I know of her she is a typical woman pioneer. The letter which she wrote was simply in reply to an inquiry of mine for information with reference to her husband's claim to be put on the Register of Pioneer Colonists. It was not written for publication but being impressed by the simple dignity of her narrative with typical Scotch self-reliance. She did not ask for pecuniary assistance, even in her dire distress I obtained your kindly sanction to publish it.
Mr. and Mrs Macintosh have in their role of pioneer colonists done good service, and endured great hardships and greater disappointments.
The Old Colonists' Association, unassisted as it is now, cannot help them until the end of the year, because the funds voted are expended, but if you will receive contributions from those who appreciate the situation I hall be glad to forward them to the faithful wife who has worked shoulder to shoulder with her husband during the ups and downs of colonial life for something like half a century, and who, like the hardy woman pioneer that she is, is now doing her level best to keep their heads above water. I may add that Mrs. Mackintosh has not made the appeal".
[We gladly comply with the request.—Ed.]
Alexander and Caroline, nee Batchelor, were around Melrose when their daughter Alexandra Christina was born on 2 April 1866. They were at Bendleby when another daughter, Laura Lavinia, was born on 23 September 1868. Alexander Mackintosh died on 1 August 1901, aged 78 and was buried in an unmarked grave at Oodlawirra. That same month they had flooding rains in the north.
If you would like to find out more,
to HOME PAGE for more information.
Thank you for visiting Flinders Ranges Research,
We hope you enjoy your stay and find the information useful.
This site has been designed and is maintained by FRR.