Monday, 22 July 2013

Tinkering with the bits and pieces of information in a bid for better understanding....




It is the processing of bits and pieces of information and thoughts and insights which is so much a part of ancestry research and which leads ultimately, with any luck, beyond assumption, conjecture and speculation to realistic theories and sometimes, facts.

The following is a series of conversations between fellow family researchers with useful information for anyone on the same path and so I am posting them on the blog.

Luke wrote:

I think the problems is what did Edward Atkins mean when he said his place of abode was Bundalee. Did he mean Bundaleer Run, Bundaleer North, Bundaleer Springs or Bundaleer? Or did he live in the middle of nowhere and the nearest place was Bundaleer, what ever that was. That is why it would be very good to see if he had any land lease hold or freehold as that will tell us more information. If there are no records it could mean the records is now lost or he never had freehold or leasehold which could also mean he lived on the run with his family. As we now know people or families living in tents on runs was not neccessary a problem.

The other problem with Runs this. There is a difference between where the homestead was located and where the outstations were located. People may have lived on a run, but they were not necessarily near the main homestead and could have worked miles away from it, as long as they had a water supply, but still they stated they lived on a Run.

Kylie wrote:

I was referring to where the Homestead was as well as the time frame of farming starting in the Bundaleer area.  Farming and private ownership didn’t start until just before it did at Gladstone.  Bundaleer was “picked on” in the lead up to the Strangeways act, mostly because of the fact it was one of the best runs.  It was making tremendous money and paying very little in rent.  That’s why I am fairly certain there was no farming prior to 1869 or thereabouts.


This article in very interesting – it is from 1864 but gives you a good idea of how big these stations were.

Booyooloo is VII had 29 huts and yards.  48000 sheep = a lot of shepherds,  1000 horses – that would take a lot of breakers and grooms.

Bundaleer is  XII had 38 huts and yards, 72000 sheep

I understand your point of the outstations,  the shepherds lived in the huts with yards.  I suspect the more outlying places would not have had families in the early days as the aboriginals would have kept the women and children to a minimum. It was a good way to make money though as the shepherd got a good wage but also the night watchman, often the wife’s job, also got about 15 pounds per year.  A nice bonus payment for a family.

Anyway I think the situation would have been the same as Gladstone – if Edward said he lived at Bundaleer in the 1840’s he worked for the station.




 Photo: Bullock teams were vital in the early years of settlement of South Australia. 

Luke wrote:

It can get complicated when people are talking about South Australian geographic positions or locations in the 1800s and especially the early 1800s and I will try to explain the best that I can the point Kylie is trying to make. 
 I will give you an example, because it took me awhile to work out where Cornelius Clavin and Margaret McGuire were living at the time of their marriage to each other. Then you can apply the same principle to Edward Atkins when he said he lived at Bundaleer.

At the time of Cornelius Clavin marriage, the residence of both parties was Alma Plains for Cornelius Clavin and Gilbert for Margaret McGuire.   Trying to find an exact address of where Cornelius Clavin and Margaret McGuire lived, I discover, was impossible because there is no town or village that ever existed called Alma Plains or Gilbert.

 To facilitate the selling of crown land by the South Australian Government in the 1800s all the land had to be surveyed first before the land could be sold off which is (freehold), or before land was rented by the government which is (leasehold). This way the government could decide what was the best land for sale so they could get the best price, or for whatever reasons, the government decided what land they wanted to keep for themselves either as crown land or leasehold.

As a result, at different times throughout the 1800s the government commissioned certain areas of SA to be surveyed and once that was done these surveyed areas of land were then proclaimed and people could move into them.  Counties and Hundreds were established, but only for surveying reasons.  Counties would incorporate number of Hundreds and these areas called Hundreds were further sub divided into smaller areas called Sections. Sections were then divided into lots (I think).

 Land could only be purchased within the proclaimed areas of Counties and Hundreds. However, just because a County was proclaimed not all the Hundreds within that County was proclaimed at the same time. For instance, the County of Victoria was proclaimed in 1857. Within County Victoria different Hundreds were surveyed and then proclaimed. As a result, within the County of Victoria you had the Hundred of Bundaleer which was proclaimed in 1869, but the Hundred of Booyoolie was proclaimed later in 1871. The two best websites that I know, to find the dates, are Barry Leadbeater SA Family history and “Lands Administrative Divisions of SA Wikipedia”

 Once people started to buy land (Freehold), or once they rented land (Leasehold) within a County, towns were then established by the government. When I say a town in some places it may only have been basic governmental services such as a post office or police station etc. However, People then started to buy land around these services and then Churches, shopkeepers, Hotels etc. started to buy land close to these areas to services the needs of the local community. It all started to grow into a town or village. Some were more successfully than others for a whole range of reasons.

As a rule, people would not normally settle in areas which were not proclaimed by the government because the land was still considered crown land and not ready for sale until the area was surveyed. If people did live in unsurveyed areas it would have been considered illegal to do so. However, this did not stop many people from doing this and these people were called squatters. Sometimes the government turned a blind eye to it at other time the government forced people off the crown land. 

  Alma is a Hundred which was proclaimed in 1856 and it is within the County of Gawler which was proclaimed in 1842.  Gilbert is Hundred located in the County of Light.  On a modern map of SA if you look closely you will find a place called Alma and the surrounding area is called Alma Plains located in the Hundred of Alma. (I have been Alma and believe me there is hardly anything there) There was no such village or town called Gilbert in the 1800s only the Hundred of Gilbert.

 Nevertheless, both the Hundred of Alma and Gilbert are located next to each other. As a result, when Margaret McGuire said she lived at Gilbert she just meant somewhere within the Hundred of Gilbert. Thus it is impossible to say exactly where she lived. However, I believed it was near Stockport because when her mother died an obituary appeared in the paper stated “Catherine McGuire of near Stockport” which is located in the Hundred of Gilbert. 
This just show the problems people had when they lived in country areas, but did not live in a town or village especially in the early 1800s and they had to declare they place of residence. All Margaret McGuire could say was that she lived at Gilbert. 

To make matter more complicated District Councils were established with different names and their boundaries did not always correspond with the boundaries of Counties or Hundreds. For instance, in 1869 Cornelius Clavin name appears on a Government petition to separate Alma Plains from the District Council of Stockport and Rhyine. Sometimes the District Council would have the same name of a particular Hundred of County. So when somebody stated they lived in Gawler did they mean the town of Gawler, The District Council of Gawler of the County of Gawler? They may have lived in the County of Gawler, but not in the town of Gawler itself, and not within the borders of the District Council of Gawler.



Now as for Bundaleer what did Edward Atkins means when he said he lived at Bundaleer

Below is a quick timeline:- 
1851: Baptism of Joseph Atkins. Father is Edward Atkins labourer and abode is Clare.
1853: “Dipkosey V Atkins.” Abode for Atkins was Bundaleer.
1854: Baptism of Emily Atkins in Clare. Father is Edward Atkins occupation blacksmith and abode is Bundaleer.
1854: Burial of Joseph Atkins at Saint Barnabas cemetery abode Bundaleer.
1857: Marriage of Edward Atkins and Elizabeth Lewis nee Mashford. Residence, Rocky River. 
As a result, sometime after 1851 the family moved from Clare to Bundaleer, by my reckoning, and by 1857 they were at Rocky River so we have anytime between a possible 7 years when they lived at Bundaleer. But what is Bundaleer? You have Bundaleer Run, Bundaleer itself, (i.e. the place I saw with all the old homes) Bundaleer North, Bundaleer Springs and Bundaleer Hundred. 

So what was around, between the years c1851-1857, called Bundaleer? Bundaleer Hundred was not proclaimed until 1869 so what Kylie is saying (I think) is that the Atkins family could not have lived at Bundaleer because it was not around between the years 1851-1857 But,  if Edward Atkins said he lived at Bundaleer there is no reason why he did not live at the place I saw because that was all the facts I had when asking questions of the historian. If I said he lived at Bundaleer between c1851-1857 she may have said that he could not have lived at Bundaleer because it never existed between those dates.  

As a result, what Kylie is saying is that between c1851-1857 the only place called Bundaleer was Bundaleer Run and hence the Atkins family must have lived nowhere else but Bundaleer Run. 

As a result, there are a number of possibilities that we need to eliminate and that is through the Land Title Office. I do not know enough about the history of Bundaleer Run and the surrounding areas. If Edward Atkins has no freehold or leasehold Certificate of Title in the area of Bundaleer Run then more than likely the family lived as tenants on Bundaleer Run or they lived for free on Bundaleer Run living in a tent, tin, wooden structure somewhere close to a water supply. (Unless they were squatters living on crown land or unless they were tenants renting a leasehold or freehold property close to Bundaleer Run. If they were tenants the Land Title Office would not have a record).

The other problems with Runs is that sometime the Run may be Freehold or it may be Leasehold or it may be a bit of both. For instance a Run and surrounding land where the main homestead is freehold, but hundreds of acres could also be lease hold and when the lease expired the government wanted the land back to sell as freehold. As a result, the areas of Runs have changed over time.

 For example, let’s say that somebody on their birth/marriage certificate might state that their residence was Booyoolie Station. The main homestead is just outside the town of Gladstone so hence you might then say my GGGfather lived on Booyoolie Station at Gladstone. However, Booyoolie Station was much bigger back in the 1800s than it is now and a person’s GGGfather may have lived closer to where Laura is today than let say Gladstone because back when GGGfather lived on Booyoolie Station, the Station had leasehold land close to Laura which the government took back and sold as freehold.  As a result, it can then be misleading to say GGGfather lived at Gladstone. It can all get complicated sometimes.



Kylie replied:

You pretty much have it right.  However before the land was surveyed and sold in small lots the runs were surveyed and leased from the govt.  I know a bit about this type of surveying because the owners of the runs were responsible for it and some employed Thomas Freeman Nott to survey their runs.  He arrived in 1849 so surveyed runs further north . You are right about the homestead being freehold.  They had to buy a certain amount of land and then could lease a proportional amount at a rather small rent.  They could be given just two months’ notice to give up the lease.  They could not cultivate the land (excepting personal food supplies) nor remove timber (which was done under a separate licence, the same applied to minerals), they could only graze it.

This way the land was being productive until such time as enough people arrived to fill the farms.  They also wanted labourers to assist on existing farms for three years before going it along.  Partly to provide labour to existing farms, partly to provide experience to the labourers to increase the chance of success.  This scheme was set up in 1835 by the Commissioners in London.

Improvements on the runs were taken into account in the leasing fee so that it was still worth improving it with stone buildings as doing so reduced the lease fees.  The link to Trove I sent  shows how many huts were one these runs.  Some of these huts would have been very isolated others would have been close to the homestead.  There was plenty of building materials so they would not have lived in tents around the homestead for very long.

As the hundreds were surveyed and released the runs moved further north, until at last they released land beyond the Goyder line.  Most of this land had to be handed back after the first drought  and was leased back to the runs as it was not suitable for cultivation only large scale grazing.  That was the end of the expansion north.  Some of the runs were taken back after the first world war for soldier settlements.  I believe Bundaleer had some of these.

Normal people didn’t do a lot of squatting in South Australia as the land was officially leased to people who would not have put up with it.  They couldn’t risk the work and money it takes to clear the land for cultivation only to be moved on.  Also by putting the runs in first they moved the aboriginals into small communities and made them rely on handouts thus reducing the risk of attacks on farmers.  Most attacks took place on the runs before the farms moved in.

So yes I do think that Edward lived on the run.  You are right about where on the run we will probably never know.  If he was still employed as a smith at this time it is more likely he lived near the homestead.  Smiths were often trained as farriers at this time and looked after the horses as well as built stuff and made the tools that were needed.  Whilst he may have worked over the different areas of the run he was most likely based at the homestead. 

I found another snippet of info that is very interesting concerning Hutt River.  I knew this was an undefined area from Penwortham to the river Broughton running through Clare.  Edward was there very early on stating that as his residence in Jan 1843.  During this time it was inhabited by all the usual suspects, Gleeson, Horrocks, and Hawker and it turns out JB Hughes

Mr John Bristow Hughes, of the River Hutt"
Friday 11 March 1842


So it is possible that Edward was already working for him before his marriage to Hannah and moved with him to Bundaleer when that was set up.

I also have a suspicion that we need to be cautious about the ”labourer, Clare”  Most men would not downgrade their occupation from blacksmith to labourer even if they were only labouring at the time.  This minister couldn’t be bothered putting dates on the records, did he just look at Edward and label him and the same as the place of abode. 
From the email from Clare history group:

BAPTISMS - a James Haynes Atkins in St Michael's C of E Bungaree church in 1862 and his birth is on state records as 2 January 1862 at Charlton which is in the district of Wirrabarra with Elizabeth as the mother. Three others baptised in St Barnabas C of E in Clare - child of Edward & Anne with no name or date shown in 1850 father shown as a labourer, abode Clare;  Joseph baptised 30 August 1851 son of Edward and Hannah, still a labourer and still Clare;  Emily baptised 11 August 1854 and born 10 March 1854, daughter of Edward and Hannah, abode Bundaleer and Edward is now a blacksmith. Rev.William Wood officiated at this last one. The other two were baptised by Rev. Bagshaw. These are from the original church records.

Notice how the two baptised by Rev Bagshaw have so many less details.  The first one has no name and only has a year!!  I would like to have a look at the actual page this is on to see if other entries are as brief. 



Luke replied:

It can get very complicated sometimes but, as mentioned, it is a working progress researching family history and sometime a Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate does not necessary give the full picture and you have to dig deeper and explorer or research the history of South Australia or the surrounding places where a family use to live. 
Getting back to Mary Atkins and her first son Edward Atkins.  You are right, now  knowing when Elizabeth Mashford first went to Gladstone that dear old Edward may not have been around and hence had nothing to do with her pregnancy so that is a good  observation  on your part. Again assumptions were made on my part without having all the facts on hand so to say, but sometimes making assumptions can weed out theories and can lead to the truth. 

This leads onto another assumption on my part and I do not think it has been mentioned before or addressed and that is was Mary Atkins raped while she was living in Gladstone? As a young teenager she may have been a victim of some worker who worked on Booyoolie Station. There would have been more males living at Gladstone at this time than females. 

If she was raped was it reported to the police? If so, does a police report still exist? Or is there a criminal record for the so called father Edward Welsh? I am going to the State Archives this Tuesday so I will make some enquiries into the matter. On the other hand she just may not have any knowledge of sex and consented not fully realising the ramifications of her actions. Who knows? 

If I find out any information at the State Archives I will let you both know. I am going to have a look at the gaol lists and see if there is an Edward Atkins listed for 1840 or any police reports still in existence about the fight he had while he lived along the Para River in Gawler. I will also go the Probate Office to see if there are any wills.

Kylie replied:

 “On the other hand she just may not have any knowledge of sex and consented not fully realising the ramifications of her actions. Who knows?”

Mary was a country girl, you cannot grow up in the country and not know how babies are made.  It is front and centre every day, every year.  It is openly talked about and most children have it all worked out by age five or six.  You know the various gestation periods by heart.  You see the animals mate and you see the babies born.  You cannot be sheltered from it.  No one can tell you that a kiss will make you pregnant. 

If she was raped it probably would have been made known to the relevant people and action would have been taken, not necessarily through the courts.  The resulting discipline was often reported as an accident so that everyone knew the consequences of this sort of behaviour.  So as a result it was not common.  Still worth checking out for criminal records or any records that show an Edward Welsh.  There were definitely Welsh’s in the area so I have always considered the most likely explanation is that an Edward Welsh is the father.  I also think it most likely she just got herself into trouble.

On another subject – I have been thinking some more about Elizabeth buying the 5 lots.  I doubt whether there would have been access to a bank at Gladstone at such an early date.  The government lots may have been done on credit – farms were but I am not sure about the town lots. Bank representatives may have travelled to the town in the weeks prior to the Government sale. However Elizabeth was buying the private side of town.  I would guess it was more likely that it was vendor finance.  It is very uncommon in Australia that the seller supplies the credit to the buyer, but it is much more common in some other countries even these days with banks on every corner.

However it is still done occasionally here as a way of getting a sale that the banks would not approve.  You can put a mortgage on a private sale so there is no risk of loss, the risk is on the buyer rather than the seller as even if you have paid off a lot of the money the seller can reclaim the land under mortgage and resell them including improvements.  They can keep all money outstanding including interest and all costs.  Only the leftover goes back to the buyer. 

So I don’t think that credit would have been such a problem for her if she needed it.  The real question is why did she buy them all herself when John and George were both old enough to own the land themselves.  Perhaps the creek did have something to do with it.  With five blocks with water a garden would have been a real possibility or at least growing a large portion of your own veg.

I replied:

I agree with Kylie here. If Mary had been 'simple' which we know she wasn't then ignorance may have played a part but otherwise, I suspect a lot of these girls were more streetwise than some today.

I wasn't assuming anything in regard to Mary's money and did not mean to give that impression. I simply said that if James died before his mother, which he did,  then his widow, Annie, would not have gotten anything unless Elizabeth specified, which she may well have done. Then again, we do not know if she had a will and if she did not, I am presuming the situation then was the same as now and that her estate would have been divided amongst her living children: George, Elizabeth and Mary.

I don't know enough about the law to know that if Elizabeth had a Will and left her estate to her four children, including James, and did not change it after his death, if it would automatically go to Annie. My understanding of Wills today is that you must specify if it is to be handed down the line from your child, but, as I said, my knowledge of what happened then is seriously minimal.

Kylie replied:

Then as now a lot depends on who is the executor of the will or estate, usually a family member.  He can decide that his mother would have decided to give it to the widow and do so.  Unless it was contested by other family members it was his decision that counted.  If everyone agrees there is no reason to follow the will.  The only time it becomes an issue is if contested.  Even when contested, courts can decide that the literal interpretation of the will is not what the person would have wanted and overturn a perfectly legal will and do the fair thing. 

I just meant that most families would want the heirs to inherit their share so that is what would have happened.  Chances are that they would have been helping her out anyway, her youngest was a baby, she had five kids under ten years old. 

Perhaps that why there were no headstones.  It was considered more important to support the living than glorify the dead.  They may have thought they would do it later but never got around to it. 

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