Wednesday, September 23, 2015

If it is for England and we must be prepared to make a sacrifice

The City of Playford underwent little change from white settlement until 1940.  A rural community, with farms spread over the flat plains, the farmers would have all shared their lives with each other.  WWII changed all that, as the Government wanted land to build a Munitions factory.  The life they knew was going.  How did it affect the local?  This is an interesting article on the changes that Penfield was about to encounter.

old Penfield school

Old Stone Barn to Go
MEMORIES FOR PENFIELD By "The News" Special Representative

The big stone barn at Penfield will disappear under the acquisition and clearance of land in the Salisbury-Penfield Smithfield area for munitions works-but not the memories of romance and enjoyment that the old barn has created for nearly every one of the settlers for miles round.
For many years the barn has been the scene of dances and social evenings,  get together parties, the meeting place of couples and of families. Married couples and their families spoke today with lingering thoughts of the happy times spent there-thoughts that would not permit them to visualise the industrialisation of large slices of the rural charm they have known, in some cases throughout their lives. They recalled that young and old had been in the habit of gathering at the barn from miles round from Smithfield, Virginia, Salisbury, Angle Vale, Bolivar and even some from Adelaide.
"They can take away the barn if they want to, or use it in their works programmes, but they cannot take away the memories that the barn holds for most of us. "That sentiment expressed by Mr and Mrs J. J. Thompson in the Penfield area was echoed by many others.

Philosophic About Change
All are quite philosophic about the change that is taking place. During a tour of the area I talked with many of those who will see a lifetime's work scrapped for the needs of the hour. They are in the midst of the transformation. The surveyor and the builder are already at work.  Small new buildings, totally different from the rural barns and cowsheds, dot the landscape.  Pegs here and there indicate others to come.  But the biggest buildings, so the local gossips say, are yet to be started. It is natural that the majority should wish that some other spot had been selected, so that they might pursue their peaceful production.  But they realise it is a case of national necessity, and appreciate that the large area of flat country 6000 acres have been selected and a further 4000 acres may yet be acquired -lends itself to the project in hand. Salisbury for instance, is only half an hour's run by train from Adelaide with all amenities, such as water and electricity, in addition to road rail, and ship transport, near at hand.

Turning to the Future

The first shock of the imminent change in their lives and surroundings having passed, most of the landowners are turning their attention to future activities, but few care to discuss that aspect until they receive notice to quit.  Some still hope to remain in the district.  Two of those affected will lose their homesteads but retain large sections of land-unless, of course, this is acquired at a later date. They are Mr. J. J. Thompson and Mr. Len Pederick. "My house and 40 acres have been acquired, but I still have 320 acres on the other side of the road," said Mr. Thomson whose late father took up land in the district 50 years ago. "I suppose I shall have to build another home and dairy, but I don't like the thought of it after the work I have put into this one.  "Still, I am better off than Mr. Pederick. My sheds are on the land that I will retain, whereas Mr. Pederick's sheds and home have all been taken over. Only recently we installed a milking machine, and brought our diary up to date. All that will have to be taken down and rebuilt on another site."
Herd of 20 Cows Sold
Mr. Pederick has already made a start in readjustment. Yesterday after noon he sold by auction his herd of 20 cows and several horses. "If I have to move quickly I shall not have to worry about milking sheds for the time being." he said. His properly was taken up by his wife's parents-the Pattersons-about 80 years ago.  His wife was born on it 50 years ago, and Mr. Pederick has been in occupation for 26 years.  He will have 240 acres left after losing 80 acres and the homestead. Mr. H. E. White, one of three brothers whose properties are to be acquired, was busy preparing Meringa Derby, Chrissie Derby, Little Eva, and Barcarolle for the forthcoming trotting season. "I took over this property from my sister only in July." he said. "I erected these stables and congratulated myself on having a nice private trot ting track in one of my paddocks. If was only a few days after I saw things shaping nicely that I received notice that the property was to be acquired for defence purposes. "Still I have my stables at Payneham, and can take my trotters back there. But it is not the same as having a training track at your back door and a good track, too." he added, pointing to it.

Settled There in 1848
His brother,  Mr. H. J. White, will lose the 300 acres which he bought 30 years ago. The family settled in the Salisbury district in 1848. "I'm certainly not going to pioneer another section now," said Mr. White when asked his future plans. It is not unlikely that he will build a home in Salisbury township. The general store and post office, alongside the old barn, is doomed under the scheme. Mr. and Mrs. Dunstone have been in charge there for eight years, but are undecided whether they will build another, business. "If it is for England we must be prepared to make a sacrifice," said Mrs. Dunstone. "At least we will be compensated and that is more than is happening  to many of those 'who are losing their homes and businesses in England."

£200 Spent on School
Penfield is proud of its school.  That is to go. The irony of it is that it is only a couple of years since £200 was spent on it. It has an average attendance of 14 children, although in its heyday when Penfield, before Salisbury, was the hub of the district, it had an attendance of 26. Future school facilities will depend on the needs of the new population that may surround the works. Salisbury business people are watching the transformation with interest but not with alarm. They have experienced a steady trade over many years and expect it to continue maybe expand. There are the optimists, of course, who are already visualising the transformation after the war of the huge munitions works to peace-time production of anything from meat hooks to motor cars, and say this will be brought about by British capital. The realists are content to hasten the reaping of what they have sown and talk of the happy times spent at the old barn.

News (Adelaide) Friday 11 October 1940

Monday, September 14, 2015

Crossings over Gawler River

Early settlers to the area, had to navigate their own way across rivers.  At time of heavy rain, rivers could be flooded and dangerous to cross.  Movement of produce for market could be tricky and hazardous.  It was no wonder one a permanent structure across a river would be an important asset to the local community.

After the gold rush era as prospectors began returning home, there was more time and money to invest in ensuring reliable river crossings, rather than the fords. 

For some considerable time, three district councils (Mudla Wirra East, Mudla Wirra West and Munno Para) maintained several crossings on private land over the Gawler River.  In a short distance around Angle Vale there were several crossings.
·       Wingate’s crossing became Crispe’s crossing (between Virginia and Gawler bridge section 92)

·       Wood’s crossing (section 50)

·       Burford’s crossing (Esau owned section 7588, 7587, Alfred, John Bastow storekeeper at Angle Vale owned 7589) Angle vale bridge built on 7589 and 89 Mudla Wirra

·       McCord crossing .  Samuel Dawkins junior brought McCord’s property in 1876
When funds became available to build a more permanent structure, there was much contention amongst the locals as to where it should be built.  Each landowner wanted it as close to their property as possible.

Many wanted to build a bridge at Peter Rowe’s property, others wanted it closer to Gawler at Wingate’s crossing.  Burford’s initially was the preferred location, as it was more central, convenient and could be constructed cheaper than if it was at Crispe’s.
At a community meeting convened at Mr Cripe’s farm at Angle Vale held in 7 August 1874, there was lively discussion on to where a bridge should be constructed. The 140 people attending voted on their preferred location, a show of hands showed those in favour of a bridge at Day’s (3), Wood’s (3), Crispe’s (30), and Burfords (46). 

A deputation a year later presented a memorial to the Commissioner for Public Works for the erection of a bridge over the Gawler River.  The memorial gave Crispe’s (section 92) as the preferred location.  The site was the only place on the river where cross roads lead in all directions. It would be convenient for those on the north side of the river could easily reach the Smithfield Railway station with their produce.  They pointed out that Wingate’s was their preferred site, but in order to meet the wishes of those in favour of Burford’s crossing they would support one at Crispe’s.  The Angle Vale Bridge was constructed at Burford’s crossing.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Private Alexander Howard Blencowe KIA

100 years ago today.

The Blencowe family lived for many years in the One Tree Hill district. Alexander was born here on 6 May 1887, the youngest son to Robert and Isabella Rankin Connell.

Robert’s father John, was born in 16 December 1798 at Brackley, Northamptonshire, England. He settled in One Tree Hill and worked as a wheelwright and painter. He married in 1821 to Mary Drinkwater who was born at Brackley in 1802. Robert married Isabella in 1865. They had the following children;

Arthur Robert born 21 May 1873 at One Tree Hill
William Francis born 24 April 1875 at Kersbrook
Edith Maud born 26 Oct 1877 at One Tree Hill
Ernest John born 16 June 1880 at One Tree Hill
Henry Hurtle born 11 April 1884 at One Tree Hill
George Alfred born 20 Jan 1886 at Para Wirra
Alice Annie born 28 Feb1888 at Sawpit Gully, Para Wirra.

Alexander became a farmer, and was farming with his two elder brothers on their property called the ‘Olives”. He enlisted in the AIF as a 28 years old on 2 September 1915, and was appointed to 48th Battalion, D company 2nd Depot Battalion, A.I.F. 

The 48th Battalion was raised in Egypt on 16 March 1916 as part of the “doubling” of the AIF. Roughly half of its new recruits were Gallipoli veterans from the 16th Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 16th, the men of the new battalion hailed mainly from regional South Australia and Western Australia. The new battalion formed part of the 12th Brigade of the 4th Australian Division. It became known as the “Joan of Arc” (the Maid of Orleans) battalion because it was “made of all Leanes” - it was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ray Leane, his brother was the adjutant, and several other relatives were scattered throughout the battalion.

He sailed to the Middle East on 11 January 1916 and disembarked at Suez from the “BORDA’’ and taken on the strength at Tel-el-Kabir. He then proceeded to Alexandria and from there to Marseilles, France. He was then in the 48th Battalion. 

The 48th’s first major battle on the Western Front was Pozières. Here, it was tasked with defending ground captured in earlier attacks by the 2nd Division and entered the firing line on two separate occasions - 5 to 7 and 12 to 15 August. During the former period the battalion endured what was said to be heaviest artillery barrage ever experienced by Australian troops and suffered 598 casualties.

He fought in France until he was seriously wounded in action from multiple gunshot wounds and fractured legs. He died of wounds in No.3 Casualty Station on 1 September 1916. In June 1916, just before the opening of the Battles of the Somme, the 3rd and 44th Casualty Clearing Stations came to Puchevillers. Plots I to V, and almost the whole of Plot VI were made by those hospitals before the end of March 1917. Puchevillers British Cemetery contains 1,763 First World War burials.

He was buried in Puchevillers Cemetery 19 kilometres north-east of Amiens, France. His effects and plaque was at first sent to his mother in 1923 and later it went to the eldest brother Arthur Robert of Claremont Street, Mile End, Adelaide.

He was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 19114/15 Star. Alexander’s name is listed on the One Tree Hill memorial.

Photograph from One Tree Hill Institute Memorial

Research by Local History volunteers Pam & Dave Gallery