Map from 1865, from "Bailliere's South Australian Gazeteer
and Road Guide which shows Booyoolie Station where Elizabeth Mashford Lewis worked and probably met Edward Atkins..
In painstakingly putting together the pieces of the past in order to put together a more accurate picture of our ancestors the latest small 'sherds' to emerge from the dust have come from fellow researchers Luke and Kylie.
Booyoolie, which was obviously a challenge for the times, unused as they were to non-English names, was an Aboriginal word said to mean 'boiling up the smoke cloud' or 'foggy place' which pretty much amounts to the same thing.
It appears in records in a fantastical assortment of phonetically inspired spellings including: Bouelee, Beauewele, Boyley, Booyooloo. The original spelling was Booyoolee but it ended up Booyoolie.
Luke found the latest death notice for Elizabeth in the local Gladstone newspaper for 1908:
"We have to record the death on Monday last, at the residence of her
daughter, Mrs Ross, of Mrs Atkins, one of our oldest residents. The deceased
arrived in South Australia on March 17th, 1847 in the "Princess Royal" and
went to Booyoolee Station in 1856. She leaves one son Mr George Lewis and
two daughters Mesdames Ross & Cox. The old lady was nearly 90 years old."
The interesting thing is that it gives us a date for Elizabeth's arrival in the Gladstone-Booyoolie area. As Luke writes:
It would more than likely that Mary Ross nee Atkins gave the information to
the newspapers. Most of the above information we already know. However,
knowing that Elizabeth Lewis nee Mashford moved to Booyoolie Station in 1856
is revealing I think. She must have applied for a job on the station as a
maid or domestic servant. (Just as well they did not do Police check in
those days as she would not have got the job as a result of her two days in
I assume Peter Lewis was not around when she moved to Booyoolie Station, and
she would have to had taken young George and John with her. It is more than
likely that she met dear old Edward Atkins at Booyoolie Station. It would
not surprise me if he worked there as well knowing his trade as Blacksmith,
Bushman and Shepard. Of course they were married in 1857 not long after she
Knowing she moved from Adelaide to Booyoolie Station fills in a bit of a
mystery for me because I wondered about how the two of them must have met if
Edward Atkins was up north and Elizabeth was in Adelaide.
The other thing about this article is that it lets us know exactly where
they may have lived before moving to Wirrabara. On their marriage
certificate their place of residence was just listed as "Rocky River" I
always assumed that it must have been somewhere along the Rocky River near
Wirrabara because that was where Elizabeth, Mary and James were born. If
their place of residence was Booyoolie Station, when they got married, I
would think it would have been listed on their marriage certificate as place
of residence. May be they lived outside the boundaries of the station
somewhere along the Rocky River outside of Gladstone?
The other interesting thing about this article is that there is no mention
of Edward Atkins. A lot of the time the papers would state something like
"wife of the late Edward Atkins" or "a relict of the late Edward Atkins" The
omission of this is not prove itself that there may have be a split in the
families of Hannah McLeod and Elizabeth Mashford, but in conjunction with
all the other clues, that there may have been a split, I think it adds more
And I can only agree. The omission of Edward's name, given the times, is strange. We can explain the omission of Elizabeth's name from his death notice because it was put in by the children from his first marriage but to have no notice given by Mary Atkins Ross, to her father, when she 'writes' her mother's death notice, suggests there is a mystery here which is yet to be solved.
Perhaps as Luke has previously suggested, the 'bastard' child which Mary had while still a teenager may have been the result of incest and the reason why Elizabeth moved to Gladstone with her children.
Kylie responded with the map seen above and some of her own thoughts:
I have been trying to sort out who owned what and where
each lease was. I have begun to realise that following the Hughes family
may give us some extra information on our family.
It is likely that there was an outstation named Rocky River at the time on
Booyoolie Run and that is what is referred to on the marriage certificate.
From other research I have done I have worked out it was likely Booyoolie
had about 36000 sheep on it and that each shepherd looked after 2000-3000
sheep. The sheep were taken out each morning and brought back into a yard
at night where a night watchman looked after them. So there would have been
at least a dozen different shepherds plus the night watchmen spread over the
Run. (which fits with the 12 wells and dams below) I have worked out the
Run went up to Wirrabarra area. Laura was excised out of the Run to
establish the town.
The family seems to have had a fairly consistent connection with the Hughes
family. Edward, George and James definitely worked for them. I think John
Lewis may have also. George went to Nockatunga station that JB Hughes owned
in Queensland in 1875. http://www.pastoral.com/nockatunga.html .
This site raised my curiosity: http://mc2.vicnet.net.au/home/jhgen/web/lewis.html . I have emailed the page owner but have had no reply. There was either two George Lewis's up there, including a brother John, or he is mistaken. I know my George was up there as one of his children was born there in May 1875, so I am wondering
if this guy is correct. I also know that as a boundary rider my George
would have been an experienced fencer so it fits that he would be sent there
for a fencing project.
I am guessing the reason that Edward left Bundaleer is that HB Hughes sold
it in 1854 and moved to Booyoolie. Charlton/Wirrabara was owned by HB
Hughes' father-in-law, before he established White Park. I suspect that
Edward always worked for the family and the sons got their jobs with them as
soon as they were old enough.
Elizabeth moving up in 1856 fits with the suspected death I have for Peter
Lewis in 1854.
Anyway this is the Bailliere's entry on Rocky River:
Rocky River (County Frome and Victoria) is a fine stream rising in the S. of
mount Remarkable, near Melrose, and flowing in a S. direction through
pastoral country into the Broughton River, on its N. Side. In the
neighbourhood of this river are belts of finely timbered land, wooded with
large gum and pine. The country is very fine and forms magnificent sheep
runs. A singular variety of the wild duck has been observed in the
locality, being only half web-footed, and having the power of perching on
the boughs of trees. There is a resident magistrate in this neighbourhood -
H. B. Hughes, Esq, J.P.
[so it was not a single place in 1865]
The entry for Booyooloo Run:
Booyooloo Run (county Victoria) lease No. 38: occupier, H.B. Hughes; area
194 miles; grazing capability, 50,000 sheep or 255 per mile; old rental and
assessment: Pounds 502 5s 11d,; Mr. Goyder's valuation, Pounds 2716,
excluding improvements valued at Pounds 2387. This run is situated on the
Rocky river and on the N. road via Clare, 20 miles E. of Port Peri (Pirie) - the
shipping port, 45 miles N.W. of Clare, and 130 miles N. of Adelaide. It
contains about 7000 acres of good purchased land, and consists of well
grassed undulating and hilly country with gum flats. It is watered by the
Redbank creek, the Rocky river, and 12 wells and dams, and has good roads in
So we now have a date for Elizabeth's move from Adelaide to the mid-north and an ongoing connection with the Hughes family. John Bristow Hughes had been born in England in 1817 and arrived in South Australia around about the same time as Edward Atkins. Although Hughes would go on to have a far more notable career.
He went first to Tasmania however, in 1840 and then came on to South Australia the following year. He married In 1847 at Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide where Edward and his first wife, Hannah McLeod had been married and where Elizabeth Mashford would marry Peter Lewis the same year.
Hughes and his wife moved north to Bundaleer shortly after their marriage and his lease also included the Booyoolee and Gnangwea areas. His brothers Bristow and Herbert Bristow - Bristow clearly an important name in the Hughes family - developing these areas.
In 1854 Hughes sold Bundaleer and moved to Adelaide to live. He lived in Woodville, where my husband's family settled and was a member of the Legislative Council and then a member for Port Adelaide in the first House of assembly in 1857. He became treasurer shortly after but resigned within a year to return to England - under medical advice.
He returned to Australia two years later, no doubt cured of whatever ailed him and was back in Adelaide by 1875. He was one of the original founders of St. Peter's College - a school my son would attend many years later. He died in 1881, drowning at Point Lonsdale while on a visit to his Victorian properties.
Edward Atkins would outlive his former employer by ten years and would die in the mid-north of South Australia where he had worked for so many years and no doubt, had grown to love.
Luke went on to explore further on Rocky River:
The map started me thinking about Rocky River as an outstation. I had a look on
Trove and found that the newspapers referred to Rocky River as a river
EG near the Rocky River or along the Rocky River. However, they also
referred to Rocky River as some sort of place. Below are a few
TENDERS. Post Office. May 27th. 1851.
Scaled tenders will be received at this office until Tues day the 17th
of June next, at noon, for the conveyance of Her Majesty's mails, once
a week, between Clare Village and the Police Station at Mount
Remarkable, passing through the stations of Messrs,…at Rocky River,
and of the Messrs. White at Charlton, for the period from the 1st July
to 31st December, 1851, both days inclusive.
South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA: 1839 - 1900)
Friday 30 May 1851
A dividend of twenty shillings in the pound will be payable on and
after Saturday, Dec. 6, to those creditors of George Gosling, late of
Rocky River, stock keeper, deceased, who have proved their debts. A
dividend of seventeen shillings and sixpence in the pound will be in
course of payment on.
South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA: 1839 – 1900
Friday 5 December 1851
BIRTH. On the 6th instant, at Boeulee(varied spellings for Booyoolie), Rocky River, the lady of
Herbert Bristow Hughes, Esq., of a son.
South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA: 1839 - 1900)
Wednesday 16 May 1855
The nearest Magistrates are Mr. Herbert Hughes, of Rocky River, about
thirty-five miles; and Mr. Grant, northward of Frome, twenty-seven
South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA: 1839 - 1900)
Tuesday 4 November 1856
ROBBERY IN A BROTHEL.-Three girls of the town, named Copley, Saqe and
Brown were charged with robbing William Murdock Mackinnon, in the
employment of Mr. Stephen King, of the Rocky River
The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1858 – 1889
Wednesday 22 February 1860
Herbert Bristow Hughes; Residence, Rocky River
South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1858 - 1889)
Tuesday 26 April 1864
It seems clear that Rocky River was some sort of place especially if
Mr Hughes was a Magistrate there. However, I cannot seem to find a
place called Rocky River. Do you think that Booyoolie Station was
called Rocky River before it was called Booyoolie Station? Or did
people called Booyoolie Station unofficially as Rocky River?
Also the papers referred to a spot or a crossing on the Rocky River
where people could cross it and there seems to be some sort of housing
around this crossing.
Also do you both think that it may be worth while to write to the
present owners of Booyoolie Station to see if they have any old
records? With George Lewis, Elizabeth Mashford and James Atkins
working there, and more than likely, John Lewis and Edward Atkins
working there, some old records or even old photos may still exist.
How we would find an address for them I really do not know. Would you
two have any ideas on this?
I am also thinking about this because there may be a private cemetery
on the station and it could be where Hannah Atkins nee McLeod could be