Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A trip through old family haunts... Gladstone, Jamestown, Bundaleer, Laura, Gawler, Clare and Wirrabarra

Photo: An old house on the White Park Road, Wirrabarra.

Fellow family researcher Luke has just made a trip through the mid-north looking for more information about the Mashford/Atkins family and has sent this report which I shall post for other family researchers.

He also took some photographs which I will include.

Luke wrote:

I stopped off at Gawler to the public library and had a talk to the local historian. I told her about the Edward Atkins who lived along the Para River in 1840. She said that if the assault took place on the property of Ross Thompson Reid then Edward worked for him because that was the only work available at the time in Gawler. She said the early colony was in a state of chaos at the time and I was lucky that the newspapers reported the assault. She said they did not have any records going back that far, but to try the state archives.

I got to the Clare Valley late Monday afternoon. I stayed in Clare Monday night and Tuesday night. Ion the way to Clare I saw St Marks Church, in Penwortham where Elizabeth Mashford and Edward Atkins got married. It is not on the main road and you can easily drive pass it. You have to turn right onto a dirt track as you are heading towards Clare. I drove up and down the main Street of Penwortham before I found the church. The church is up on top of a hill surrounded by tall gum trees, but I managed to find it. I also went to St Barnabas Church were some of the Atkins children were baptized and buried.
 I left Clare Wednesday morning and headed for Jamestown because you have to go through Bundaleer and I wanted to have a good look around.  Bundaleer is an interesting place to visit and I managed to find out a lot of information.  You turn left from the main road before you get to Jamestown. There is a sign that states Bundaleer Picnic Grounds which is a dirt road and it takes you into the Bundaleer State Forest. There is a picnic ground and an oval with a small sporting stadium for the local residents. That told me straight away that there is still enough people living in the area to have an oval and sporting stadium to maintain and use. However, I did not see many modern homes in the area.

Photo: Ruined cottage near Bundaleer.
I have read on the internet that Bundaleer has some sort of festival each year so I imagine it takes place on the oval. If you keep driving up the dirt track you get into the heart of the Bundaleer State Forest. However, what was really interesting is that I counted about seven different old ruined homesteads all within reasonable walking distance from each other and close to the Picnic Grounds and oval.

At some stage, Bundaleer was a small village, but the ruins are scatted. Some of the old ruin homes are right on the road side and others were in the distance. I do not know how many others there were located around Bundaleer because I could just could not see them, or they have now been destroyed. Thus at one stage Edward and Hannah lived somewhere there and they were not isolated from other people, but lived in a small community with other people.
I got to Jamestown to have a look around and it is a nice place and I was surprise by its size.As I was driving around I saw a sign that stated “Jamestown Historical Society” which I have never heard of before. I found the society and the sign on the front door said it was closed. However, the door was open and I knocked. A lady answered and she was the head of the society and she was only there for about half an hour, but she let me in.

I quickly explained I came from Goolwa and was looking for information about the Atkins family who lived at
Bundaleer. She said she did not have a lot of time as she had to get back to farm, but I got her email address and I will email her with some information to see what the society has on the families who use to live at Bundaleer. Their society not only covers Jamestown, but also Bundaleer. She told me that there is no official published history of the Bundaleer area only private research of which she has copies. She said she would send me some copies so I can learn more about the area.

Photo: Ruined cottage near Bundaleer.

What she did say was that Bundaleer was a village in its own right back in the 1800s, but it was a village of scatted farms. There was no church, but there was a school for the children which has long been destroyed. The school was used as a meeting place for the local residence. There is a cemetery (which I knew) and I asked her where it was because I was looking for a record of Hannah Atkins nee McLeod.  She said the graveyard is now in private hands and you need permission to go there.

I told her that Edward Atkins lived in Bundaleer with his family after moving from Clare. She said she would do some research for me. I told her I would send her all the information I had about the Atkins family when they were in the area. She said she did not know of the name Atkins, but there were a lot of families in the area living on their own land. I said that I thought Edward Atkins may have been too poor to own his own land and she said no that may not be true. She said that in her mind if Edward Atkins lived at Bundaleer then he may have had his own land there and hence there may be records available.

  She explained that most of the people who lived in the area were farmers and owned their own land. Most of the farmers had small plots of land where they had market gardens growing all sort of fruit and vegetables and they did not necessary grow large cereal crops. Hence they did not have to have large blocks of land. As a result, poorer people would be able to afford to buy their own land in the area. 

A possible scenario was that If Edward Atkins was poor he would not have been able to afford land in the Clare Valley where land was expensive to buy, but land around Bundaleer was not that expensive to buy. This may have been a reason why he moved to Bundaleer. The picnic area, which I passed, was the centre of the town where I saw a number of old ruins.  She said the way people survived in the area was threefold.

·         They survived on their own crops.
·         They traded with each other. For example somebody may have a few cows and somebody else grew vegetables. The Vegetables would be traded with milk and vice-versa. Edward Atkins may have used his trade as a Blacksmith and traded his skills as a Blacksmith for milk and other food produce and he could have lived in his own house on his own land with his family.
·         However, the people at Bundaleer were also seasonal workers. There was sheep run in North Bundaleer (which we know about) and during different times of the year they would work on the station and would be paid. During peak times the farmers around the Bundaleer area would sell their vegetables etc. to the workers who came from outside areas who were working on the station. This way they made an income.

Photo: Colonial cottage near Bundaleer.

 As a result, there was a large community living in the Bundaleer area. The lady also said it was the same for the people who lived in Bundaleer North and Bundaleer Springs. There was one house in Bundaleer which the SA Forest Department is restoring and I went right on the property. There was a telephone number which I wrote down and I will ring the Forest Department to see if they have any records of the people who lived in the area back in the 1800s.

While I was at the Jamestown Historical Society I had a quick look at the birth records they had and I noticed something which I have not noticed before.

As we know Edward Atkins and Hannah McLeod had at least 5 daughters and one of them was called Sarah Atkins who married Walter James Stacy in 1872 at St Marks Church in Penwortham. They had 11 children (which we know about) and one of they was called Edwin Henry Stacy DOB 31 Mar 1882 Bundaleer Springs  DOD 08 Apr 1882 Bundaleer Spring. He was listed in their birth register, but it his name that really stood out and I have never made the connection before.

Did Sarah Stacy nee Atkins named her son after her father Edward Atkins who was really the ex-convict. Is this just another clue that links our Edward Atkins and the ex-convict Henry Edwin Atkins.  

I arrived in Gladstone Wednesday afternoon. Gladstone was not what I was expecting it to be. I suppose my family talked about Gladstone so much over the years that in my mind I built it up to be something that it is not. Do not get me wrong, it is a lovely town, but Jamestown is bigger than Gladstone which surprised me.
Before I left Goolwa I spoke to a lady called Thea who is a volunteer in the Discovery Centre which is on the main street of Gladstone.  The shop is a mixture of an information centre of the local area, they also sell local produce E.g. jams, wines, books and souvenirs of the Gladstone area, and they are also a historical society. Thea was not there when I arrived, but I talked to another person who showed me a map of the Gladstone Cemetery where everybody is buried.

I went to the Gladstone Cemetery and I found the grave site of Elizabeth Mashford and I took some photos. The good news that John Mashford Lewis has his own tomb stone. (Made out of metal which is shaped as a christian cross, but it is very rusted) Nobody else has a tomb stone, only John Mashford Lewis does.

All of Elizabeth Mashford's family are buried together in the same area next to one another. Elizabeth Mashford, John Mashford Lewis, James Atkins, Mary Ross nee Atkins, Charlie Ross, Elizabeth Cox nee Atkins and her husband Henry Cox are all buried next to each other or in the same grave. I wonder if at some stage somebody brought all the plots at the same time? However, the area is overgrown with some huge bush which covers all the graves except John Mashford Lewis

Photo: Tomb of Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins' son, John Mashford Lewis in Gladstone Cemetery.

The tombstone of John Mashford Lewis states:-

to the memory of
John M Lewis
who department this life
January 14 1888
Aged 37 years
Rest in Peace”

I brought with me the paper work which I got many years ago about the land Elizabeth Mashford bought in Gladstone and showed it to the lady at the centre who told me exactly what it all meant. Now this is really interesting.

I was told that in 1872 Elizabeth Atkins bought not only lot 19, but also lot 20, 21, and 22 along Bondowie Street.  She was the first buyer of the land. The paper work also states ‘Elizabeth Atkins wife of Edward Atkins of Gladstone”This means that when Elizabeth Atkins bought the land her official residence was Gladstone so she was already living at Gladstone when she brought the land. The land she bought was in the private township side of Gladstone. In 1886 she transferred lot No. 19 to her son George Lewis. I gave the centre a copy of the paperwork I had.

I was also told that Mr Moorhouse owned a lot of land around Gladstone including the land along Bondowie Street. Mr Moorhouse started to sell sections of land to people. For political reasons, which nobody really understands now, the SA Government did not like him doing this because he had all the say of who will buy land and will not buy from him. As a result, the SA Government believed he was creating some sort of private township where he had all the say and hence all the power.  The Government did not like this so the SA Government gazetted the crown land they had in the area and called it Gladstone it was later that the two towns became one town called Gladstone.

 I told the Discovery Centre that due to the newspaper report we found  in “The Areas Express & Farmers Journal” about Elizabeth Mashford's death that we know in 1856 Elizabeth Lewis nee Mashford moved to Booyoolee. They said then she had to work on Booyoolee Station because there was nothing around except Booyoolee Station In 1856.

I told them she had two sons and her husband seems to have disappeared and there was no family left in Adelaide. As a result, would she have her two sons with her if she worked on Booyoolee Station back in 1856 because where would she and her sons live? I was told they all would have lived on the grounds of Booyoolee Station along the Rocky River and they would have lived in tents.

After they talked to me for a while things made sense to me. They said more people lived in tents then we realise today. When seasonal worker went to the runs they was no accommodation for them they just brought their tents and families with them and camped close to the homestead along the Rocky River. Runs had fulltime worker, but they also had seasonal workers in the peak times.

Photo: Cottage near Bundaleer.

They gave me this scenario:- Elizabeth Lewis nee Mashford, for whatever reason, saw there was work going on Booyoolee Station. Peter Lewis may have, or may not have been with her. To travel to Gladstone today does not take long in a car, but in the early mid 1800s it would have taken a few days as the roads were not around, and people had to travel along creeks and rivers for fresh water supply for themselves, but also for their horses. As a result, it was not necessarily a direct route from Adelaide to Booyoolee Station and hence it could take a while to get to Booyoolee Station.

If seasonal worker were going to Booyoolee Station they would all have to take their own tents with them and they would all have travelled at the same time. Peter Lewis may have died along the way or he may have died when he got to Booyoolee Station. It was unlikely that Peter Lewis died along the way because it is believed he may have gone to Mt Gambier and died in Victoria.

They said nevertheless even if Elizabeth Mashford was alone with her two sons it would not have been a problem for a widow with children to travel because she would have gone with a larger group of seasonal worker and they would have all left Adelaide together. All the worker would have had their own tents to sleep in on the way and Elizabeth Lewis nee Mashford would have had her own tent.

Once they got to Booyoolee Station they just pitched their tents close to the main water supply which was the Rocky River. If Elizabeth Mashford was some sort of maid there would have been other women around to look after her sons. People helped one another more back then, more than we realise.

Also if we remember about the death notice of Mary Ross nee Atkins that when she first went to Gladstone she lived in tents.

I also have a book at home by Douglas Pike’s called “Paradise of Dissent” it is about the early days of South Australia and a census was taken in 1851 of the types of dwellings in South Australia. Have a look below.

Stone & Brick
Others including Tents

Adelaide 4,321
Country   1,549

People travelled around with their tents looking for work at peak time on stations much like seasonal workers today who take their caravans with them to do fruit picking etc.

I have not looked at Trove yet to see if Booyoolee Station advertised for workers in the Adelaide newspapers around 1856.

I told them that in 1857 Elizabeth Mashford married Edward Atkins at Penwortham, but their place of abode was Rocky River. They said Rocky River could mean two things.

·         The first thing was anyway along the Rocky River.
·          The second was Booyoolee Station.

 They said that if Edward Atkins wife had died then he became the only income provider for his family and this would mean he had to get more income for his family. One possible  scenario was that he took his tent to Booyoolee Station to become a seasonal worker and met Elizabeth Mashford and his family was left behind in Bundaleer under the care of friends. It may not have been the first time he worked at Booyoolee Station.

Or he may have taken his children with him. He just stated his place of Abode as Rocky River when he got married because that was where he was living at the time of his marriage even though he may have based at Bundaleer.

 After the marriage he may then have collected his family and everybody moved to Wirrabara because there was more seasonal work there. Because Elizabeth Atkins became pregnant in Wirrabara and gave birth there the family just stayed there as it was easier for Elizabeth and the family just to settled there. They said if Edward Atkins was a blacksmith and a shepherd then he may have done a circuit between the runs in Bundaleer North, Booyoolee and Wirrabarra.

 Photo: Overgrown grave, Gladstone Cemetery.  James Atkins, Mary Atkins Ross, Charlie Ross, Elizabeth Atkins Cox and Henry Cox are buried here.
In between looking around Gladstone etc. I keep missing Thea, however, she did some research for me and took notes for me. When I came back to the Discover Centre the notes were waiting for me. I think they must have access to council records.

I do not fully understand her notes and between the three of us we may be able to come to some sort of conclusion. I will put exactly what she wrote:- (anything in brackets is mine.)

John Lewis
Atkins E Mrs Occupier and Owner Allotments 19, 20, 21, 22, 18,  Gladstone. (Does the name of John Lewis just mean he was living with her in 1877? If so why are James, Mary and Elizabeth not mentioned?)

Total Value £ 50
Annual Value £ 10
Rate 1/- in the Pound £ 10
Rates paid 3.2.77

Atkins Mrs E Allotment 20 Dwelling Home Gladstone
Allotment 21 unoccupied
Allotment 22 Unoccupied

T.V (Total Value) £ 60
A.V (Annual Value) £ 12
Rates 1/- in pound - £ 12 paid 16/11/77

1979 (I think she means 1879)
Mrs E Atkins Allotment 20 Dwelling
Allotment 21 Unoccupied
T.V £ 60 A.V £ 12 Rates £12 pd (paid) 30.1.79

1880 Atkins Mrs E
Allot 20 Dwelling T.V £ 60 A.V £ 10 Rates £10
Allot 21 unoccupied T.V £12.10 A.V £2-10 Rates £ 2-6
Paid 12/12/79
24/1 80 (I think it means 24/1/1880

1881 Atkins Mrs E Owner & Occ
Allot 20 Wooden Dwelling Bondowie Street
T.V £100 A.V £10 Rates 2-6
Allot 21- open (I am not sure what open means)  T.V £15 A.V £2-10 Rates 2-6

1882 Gladstone Ward Atkins Mrs E.

1979 (I think she means 1879) Lewis George
Allotment 19 Dwelling Gladstone
T.V £60 A.V £12 Rates £12  Pd 29/1/79 (I think she means paid 29/1/1879)
Note:- Allot not on book-later year ( I do not know if this is her notes or whether “Note:- Allot not on book-later year” is on the original records)

Lewis John Allotment 22 –open
T.V £12 Annual V. £ 2-10 Rates  2-6 Pd 27.2.79
Arrears £5-4 Pd 30.7.79

1880 Lewis George – Owner- Occupier
Allot 19 Dwelling Bondowie St Value as above

Lewis John
Allot 22 – Open Value as above Bondowie Street

1881  Hundred of Gladstone
No George Lewis
John Lewis – open Allot 22 Bondowie St
T.V £ 15 A.V £ 2-10 Rates 2-6

Photo: grave site for  Edward Atkins, Wirrabarra. The site is next to the tombstone on the right. 

I have come up with more question than answers.

·         If Elizabeth Mashford was the first person to buy the land where did she get the money from?  My understanding is that woman back in the 1800s were not allowed to have loans from the bank. Am I wrong about this?
·         If back in 1877 the total value of her land was £50 does that mean she brought the land for £50?
·         If she was not to allow to have a loan from a bank was £50 a lot or money back in 1877?
·         If she owned land in Gladstone did she still owe the land back in 1908 when she died. If she did own land in Gladstone when she died, she must have had a will. How do we find out if she had a will or not? I know when I was in my early 20s I managed to get a will of one of my GGGrandfathers, but I no longer remember how or where I got it from, but I know it was from a Government Office or Department. If Elizabeth Mashford had a will and we can get a copy of it, it may be very interesting as to what her net value was when she died and who she left everything too and why. James Atkins had died in 1907, but did his wife Annie Atkins nee Clavin  get anything or did Mary Ross get everything?
·         It seems to me that Elizabeth Mashford lived in a wooden dwelling on Allotment 20 Bondowie St.
·         I went to Bondowie Street and the Discover Centre told me exactly where to go. You cross the railway line and then pass the substation. After the Substation all the land on the right hand side is the land she owned. There are only two homes there today both made out of brick, one of them is quite grand and it seems to date from the 1880s or 1890s and the other is a small stone cottage, but there is a long drive way and the cottage faces sideway so I could not have a good look at it. What I am trying to say is that any buildings that were there have long since gone. Number 19 Bondowie Street is on the other side of Bondowie Street and is not related to any of the land which Elizabeth Mashford owned.
·         George Lewis lived on Allotment 19 Bondowie Street.
·         I am not sure what to make of “Lewis John Allotment 22 –open T.V £12 Annual V. £ 2-10 Rates  2-6 Pd 27.2.79 Arrears £5-4 Pd 30.7.79” does this mean he owned  allotment 22 and lived next to his mother” Does he have a will if he owned land?

I have more questions than answers.

Photo: Grave of John Mashford Lewis. Elizabeth is buried between this grave and the graves of her son James Atkins, where later her daughters Mary and Elizabeth would be buried and where Charlie Ross was buried the year before Elizabeth died.

If Elizabeth Atkins paid her rates then she had to have an income so I asked them what sort of work would she had done consideration she may have been alone with children to look after. I was told that Elizabeth Atkins most probably supported herself with:-

·         Seasonal work on Booyoolee Station.
·         Full time work on Booyoolee Station.
·         Growing her own fruit and veg etc and selling them to the workers.
·         And any type of work she could find around the place.
·        She may have even rented her land so people could put a few sheep, cattle on it or even people living in tents.

I would image that it was her, and maybe George Lewis, who paid for the tombstone for John Mashford Lewis. However, if she had money and left money in her will, or her land was left to Mary Ross and Elizabeth Cox, and they sold the land why did Elizabeth Cox or Mary Ross not pay for a tomb stone for their own mother? Or did they pay for the land where everybody is buried?

If Edward Atkins owned land in Bundaleer or anywhere else how can we find out? I have now forgotten how I managed to get the paperwork I have on the land concerning Elizabeth Mashford land, but I must have got it from the Land Titles Office when I was much younger. Maybe, and only maybe, and it is only a suggestion, If Edward Atkins owned land and there was one hell of a family fight maybe Elizabeth Mashford got the money from Edward Atkins to buy the land in Gladstone. She may have forced him or blackmailed him for the money.

As for other things. When I was at Gladstone I stayed in the Commercial Hotel where James Atkins was stabbed and I think I may have found another photo of James Atkins, but at the Discovery Centre. I could find nothing out about Mary Ross's son Edward Atkins.

I also went to Laura where the Clavin family lived and bought a small book which has Cornelius Clavin's name in it. I also managed to get a name or contact of a women who is the local historian for the Laura Area.

From Laura I went to Wirrabara. I travelled as far as Bangor. I then I took a turn off onto a dirt road called White Park Road. As you both know, Edward Atkins died at a place called White Park. The track went through Wirrabara Forest and I saw a lovely old ruined home called White Forest. There were a number of private driveway with modern homes in the distance called by the name White Park. I got back on the main highway and back to Wirrabara to look for the cemetery and then I found a real unexpected golden gem.

Photo: Derelict cottage Jamestown/Bundaleer area in South Australia.

I stopped at the local Information Centre at Wirrabara, which is a mixture of an information centre, deli, souvenir shop etc. I asked the lady where Wirrabara Cemetery was. I explained to the lady I was looking for the gravesite of my GGGrandfather. She said “go and ask the lady who lives down the road as she is the area historian”.
The lady at the information centre pointed out the house to me so I went down and knocked on the front door of the house. A lady answered the door and I explained who I was and what I was looking for. She invited me into her house which was really lovely. She has the original Burial Register book for Wirrabara Cemetery and she look up Edward Atkins for me. As we know there is no civil record for his death and hence we do not know what he died from, but at the age of 84 it would be a good guess it was old age.

As it turned out the register book had the cause of death and Edward Atkins died of Senile Decay. As a result, we now an official record of the cause of death for Edward Atkins which we have never had before. The other information in the register is as followers:-

No. of Burial: 41.
Name: Edward Atkins.
Age: 84.
Abode: White Park
Date of Burial: November 15th (no year recorded).
Reverend :………..
(We both could not decipher the name of the person who said the rites).
No. of grave: 41
Situation of grave: 12 feet East side of Thomas Godfery, New grave.
Cause of death: Senile Decay.

What a lovely gem to find out of the blue. I asked the lady about some information about White Park. She said the area is still referred to as White Park today by the locals and White Park is along White Park Road which I drove along. She said back in the 1800s there was a homestead at White Park and it is still there today. She said that other people settled in the area close to the homestead and had their own small farms.

I told her about Edward Atkins daughters by his first marriage and she knew of the Puddy and the Pole family. She said she knows a lady who still lives in Wirrabara who is a decedent of Edward Puddy and Emily Puddy and that lady is still in touch with the descents of the Puddy family who live in Melrose. I was running out of time and I wished I could have stayed longer to talk to her, but it was getting dark. I said I would write to her when I got home with all the information I had and could she pass the information on to the Puddy family and ask them if they had any old photos or information.

As a result, I have some homework to do now. I have to write to the Jamestown Historical Society to get more information about who was at Bundaleer and what information they have and I have to write to this lady at Wirrabara with the information I have about Edward Atkins and his family. I also have to write to another two people in the Laura Area about the Clavin and Cassidy family.

No comments:

Post a Comment