Martindale Hall Story: 3
The inspiration of Martindale Hall
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The Martindale Hall Story
Edmund Bowman (senior) - Notes from the book
"The Bowmans of Martindale Hall"
Pictured at Right:
Below: 15 minutes Video
Dalemain Estate owner Jane Hasell-McCosh explores the deep connections between her own family home and South Australian treasure Martindale Hall.
The Bowmans of Martindale Hall
Elizabeth Warburton writes (p.28) that:
"A succession of Bowman cousins arrived in the 1850's ready to work, marry, rear children and cast in their lot with the pioneer colony."
"Several nephews of both parents filled a need at Barton Vale and the sheep-runs.
William Bowman, who appears to have been Mrs. Bowman's nephew, was an early arrival
He became a stalwart in the lives of the first and second Edmund Bowman(s) as manager at Martindale" (still an estate)
After four or five year's experience he was given charge of Martindale in 1857, when a trusty overseer was needed.
"For more than thirty years he worked with the Martindale sheep stud, earning a tribute from the book Our Pastoral Industry, which made particular mention of his able management in bringing the flock to its high standard.
He and his family took an active part in the life of Mintaro
Nephew William and his brother Edmund Bowman took care of the Holm Hill end of the Martindale estate.
"Thomas and Parker Bowman, sons of another Edmund Bowman, visited the Victorian diggings in 1855, but then joined their relations at Barton Vale (Enfield).
This Thomas Bowman became overseer of horses at the Crystal Brook Run, then manager at the Werocata estate.
In 1873 when the Yorke Peninsula was opened for agriculture, Thomas bought a farm, where he remained until his death at 92, being the last of the pioneering Bowman.
Parker Bowman, worked on the farm at Barton Vale (Enfield) until the end of 1856, when his cousin Mary Anne Bowman (of Forest Hill, Cumberland) arrived to marry him.
They moved to Ardrossan, Yorke Peninsula, where they lived out their years raising sheep and cattle in a combined enterprise with cousins who became butchers in the three mining towns of Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo.
Edmund Parnell and Stephen Bowman, nephews of Mrs Mary Ann Bowman, became butchers in a lifelong partnership at Kadina and Wallaroo.
They were joined at times by Richard and yet another Edmund Bowman, son of Stephen."
"Thomas Bowman, of Crystal Brook, described the business arrangement from his family's end:"
'At one time we had 3,500 cattle on the (Crystal Brook) Run, most of these were sold to Bowman and Parnell Bros. at Wallaroo.'
'My late brother (William) and Mr. Patrick McAnaney cut the first road through the scrub from Mundura Bay to Wallaroo, and over this back track all our cattle travelled.'
"Supplies of sheep and cattle also came from the Martindale and Werocata runs for many years, shown by ledger entries for large sums paid by Parnell & Bowman into the estates of Edmund Bowman's sons during their minorities."
Poltalloch Sold to the Bowmans
Flickr user 'Denisbin' records:
In 1873 the freehold and leased land of Poltalloch was sold to John Bowman and family of Martindale, Holm Hill, Werocata, Bowmans, Crystal Brook and other runs.
From 1875 John Bowman re-established Poltalloch as a sheep station, building a huge stone shearing shed in 1876 and a grand two storey Italianate mansion in the same year.
The property was developed quickly by the Bowmans into a small village with station store, pump houses, carriage sheds, workshops, workers cottages, shearers’ quarters, overseer’s house etc.
There is great architectural cohesion between the buildings as almost all are built of local limestone.
The main house is surrounded by an historic limestone wall. The garden has huge Moreton Bay Figs planted around 1880.
The homestead has wide verandas, dressed pick faced stone, extensive use of Australian cedar, and a wide front door of cedar.
The verandas have extensive wrought iron work and such features are carried over into the carriage shed and on top of some of the stone walls.
The house and shearing shed are on the Register for the National Estate.
Descendants of John Bowman still live on the property and run it with sheep. The property also has its own small jetty
Founder John Bowman dies
Founding father John Bowman became frail, and in 1857 came to the end of his life and effort.
"His sons John, William and Thomas Bowman spent nearly twenty years (1856-1875) at the Crystal Brook run.
Financial rewards were considerable, but by no means constant.
In the 1866 drought they lost 14,000 sheep on Crystal Brook and gained only 9,000 lambs from 30,000 sheep.
'It was our worst greatest loss' he said.
Having stored up enough capital they were able to survive, unlike many another less cautious pastoralist.
In 1862 brothers Thomas and John travelled to Europe, then the Lake Country and Cumbria.
Following this period, their Government leases ran out at Crystal Brook.
"For the reputed price of £170,000 they bought the lake property of Poltalloch, which they divided in two for Thomas and John."
"Thomas reconstructed the house at Campbell Park,
John built the beautiful Poltalloch homestead, (illustrated above).
William and John bought estates in Tasmania, among them Mount Vernon and Cheshunt Park, which were inherited by two of William's sons.
After William died in 1879, John married his widow and became head of the combined family.
Portalloch was inherited by his only son Keith, who enlarged it from 25,000 acres to 45,000 acres.
This was one of the show places of South Australia, where Thomas Bowman at the new Campbell House entertained two royal Dukes.
Keith Bowman at Poltalloch received the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
They were 'All good, steady boys.'"
Lakefront property Poltalloch
Young Edmund Bowman
"The younger Edmund Bowman was a lively boy, strongly built, confident, important at home and recognised outside;
Brother Charles, born two years after him, was a constant companion."
The three Bowman sons studied at St. Peter's College, Adelaide, then left for universities in England.
Edmund and Charles arrived together in 1875,
Edmund studied at Clare College, Cambridge,rowing for his College, and within a few months of arrival winning its silver-gilt cup for athletics,
This trophy is now kept by the National Trust at its Ayers House museum.
Charles read history at Exeter College, Oxford, and graduated in 1879 as Bachelor of Arts.
Edmund's father had apparently plans to build a mansion at Martindale, and Edmund junior arrived in England with the intention to build that house.
He gave specifications to architect Ebenezer Gregg in 1878.
Edmund in England
Edmund’s uncles had returned to visit Cumberland at the beginning of the 1860’s but though attached to their history the memory of the place had begun to outshine the place itself and the visit depressed them.
‘It gives one a melancholy feeling’ Thomas Bowman wrote, ‘to return to the deserted home of one’s forefathers…even the old houses showed the hand of time in their moss grown walls and dilapidated roofs.
They used the word bleak more than once to describe the county their forebears had inhabited and the ‘returning exiles’ were glad to leave.
So, encouraged by his family but perhaps daunted by these accounts of previous visits Edmund only made his first journey north towards the end of the Autumn term.
His journey had been long and he was coldly received by the butler, whose silent opinion of those who would emigrate to Australia was low.
Edmund meets Fanny
Sir Edward Hasell bought Dalemain from the Layton family in 1679, and it has remained in his family ever since. His son, Edward, built an impressive Georgian front to the rambling house in 1744.
When Edmund visited, Major Hasell, as the master of the local foxhounds had been out hunting all day but Frances Hasell, known to her friends as Fanny, received him and Bowman was 'lost'.
Spellbound by her charms he continued to visit Dalemain for the rest of his time at Cambridge, encouraged by Fanny and (his thoughts) rarely returning to Australia.
She was older than him, a natural artist, she was given to practical jokes and loved his visits which provided a diversion from the otherwise constricting structure of day to day life in a large and drafty house.
They would wander peaceably over the fells, exploring the places which his ancestors had given up.
As he left Cambridge he made the pilgrimage north once more and with the sole desire of bringing her away with him as his wife. It was not to be.
Intrepid explorer though he was, her fear of the unknown paralysed her. Australia was too far away and she more in love with the house she had grown up in than with him.
But... Fanny told Edmund that she would never leave Dalemain.
He vowed to build her a house of such magnificence and splendour that she would happily leave Cumberland one day, if not that day, to live with him when it was finished.
On his return to Adelaide he immediately begun building the house that he had painted for Fanny in his imagination.
It was built just outside Mintaro in the centre of the Martindale Estate on a piece of land of such beauty that his father had held it up as one of many ‘grand inducements for people to come to a new country.’
Edmund Bowman Returns to SA
The Adelaide Observer wrote in their Christmas 1880 edition:
'Among the fortunate young men whose lines have been cast in pleasant places is Mr. E. Bowman, a young South Australian sheep farmer, who has succeeded in to a princely inheritance, and seems to possess the power of administering it judiciously.'
'Most young men of twenty-three having command of even less than £140,000 in hard cash and real estate to a higher tune would be tempted to lead a life of luxury and ease in other climes;
but Mr. Bowman is of a different stamp, and to his credit he has decided to settle in South Australia, where his wealth was made, and continue the pursuit of sheep-farming with vigour and energy, proving that he is of sterling stuff.'
Martindale's Mansion (Martindale Hall)
'He has had built upon his estate of Martindale—about two miles south of Mintaro, eighty-two miles north of Adelaide —a magnificent mansion, which has cost little short of £25,000.'
It is said, but disputed that Edmund imported 50 highly skilled English tradesmen to help build the mansion on gently rising ground that commands wide views across the countryside.
The tradesmen (from Melbourne?) installed
imposing black and white marble floors,
chiselled the mansion’s stonework, and
hand carved a magnificent Tasmanian blackwood and oak staircase in the house
with metre-thick walls and five-metre high ceilings,
Finally, in 1880, Martindale Hall was ready, complete with a private polo training track and stable, a pack of foxhounds and a cricket ground for entertaining English cricketers.
Built in 1879 – 1880 for Edmund Bowman Jr. at a cost of £30,000 it has some 32 rooms and boasts a large cellar of some 7 rooms.
Edmund surrounded the home with a polo ground, a racecourse, a boating lake and a cricket pitch where the English 11 played at least once.
The mansion, which is situated upon a slight eminence facing the east, is surrounded by a park-like expanse of undulating country, and as far as the eye can reach, the land belongs to Mr. Bowman, so that it is a grand estate fitly completed by a grand mansion.
The plans of the building were obtained from England, and were drawn by Mr. E. Gregg, of London.
To some tastes the house is almost severely simple in its exterior, but it is a most substantial and admirably built place.
The style is pure Italian, and regard has been given more to thorough solidity than to elaborate ornamentation.
Over 40 Rooms
The mansion, which is nearly square, being 90 feet long by 75 feet wide, and of proportionate height, contains over forty rooms, and is built of a fine light buff coloured stone, a sort of bastard granite, obtained from the hills close by.
The dressings are of freestone from the Manoora quarries The sharp cutting of the stone, and the accurate way in which each block is fitted show the perfection of workmanship.
The front of the house is rather imposing with its massive entrance, tall, deep windows, admirably designed architraves, latel beads, and stone carving; while this effect is increased by the wide terrace and massive stone steps, flanked by large and gracefully formed vases of carved stone.
The sides of the building have the same solid appearance as the front, but with less carved stonework.
The top is surmounted by a beautiful balustrade in keeping with the other ornamentation, and giving a finish to the whole structure which makes it remarkably handsome as a piece of architecture.
The interior of the building is replete with almost every modern convenience, luxury, and artistic decoration that refined taste could suggest and unlimited command of capital purchase for a gentleman's residence.
All the windows are fitted with Venetian shutters, and also inside shutters of wire gauze or landscape wire, sliding smoothly into the wall instead of opening outwards.
The basement measures 75 feet by 40 feet and 12 feet high, arched upon iron girders.
In the basement are separate cellars for ale and wine;
the larders, storerooms, milk-pantry, and rooms for other purposes all fitted with every needful appliance that modern experience suggests, and built in the most finished fashion.
Furniture - all of it from England
Elizabeth Warburton estimated that the furniture cost £6,000 and was shipped from London from November 1879 to June 1881, on a series of 11 ships to Port Adelaide. Without rail transport to Mintaro this shipping would have been impossible to realize. The furnishing was thus accomplished in one sweep so the decor was a set piece.
Furnishings were selected by W.H. Brooks and his wife, he was a step-father to Edmund Bowman, and many details were in the charge of his wife, who arrived with furniture on the freighter India in early 1880. With her was bedroom furniture, curtains, linen, huckaback, carpets, wallpaper, dinner services, glasses and tumblers.
The Adelaide Observer reported that
'The drawing room is furnished exquisite taste, and the ornaments are such that only wealth can command.
Most of them are magnificent Japanese bronzes, and beautiful specimens of of chinaware.
The mantelpiece is a most elaborate piece of workmanship in statuary marble, and cost over 120 guineas. It is the one that took the prize at the Paris Exhibition (of 1878). The shelf is supported by two exquisitely executed classical figures, and the fender is marble, with encaustic-tile hearth. The whole is surmounted by a magnificent mirror and clock to match of surpassing excellence in workmanship, and very costly.'
The china was of Royal Worcester.
In one service, the colours of pink and brown dominated.
In another it was blue, known to the family as the exotic bird pattern.
A third service was of plainer design, supplied for everyday use.
Included with these were large tureens, sauce boats, covered dishes, comports, and tea and coffee cups.
A fine collection of wine glasses and other items supplied by the well-known firm of Edward Webb.
Upstairs the reporter of 1880 saw bedrooms 'spacious, handsomely furnished, ... attached to each was a bath and dressing room, with every luxury that taste can attest.'
These rooms had tip-up basins in veined marble tops. Two bathrooms had copper baths, enamelled sea green inside, with hot and cold water, pull-up standing waste and overflow' surrounded by mahogany frames.
THE RESIDENCE OF E. BOWMAN, ESQ.
No greater evidence of the progress of a country, and the cultured taste of its inhabitants, is afforded than to
observe substantial and handsome erections rising in various directions, indicating the residence of wealthy possessors,
who have lavished their capital thereon, and
laid out grounds which materially add to the beauties which here and there nature has so bountifully bestowed.
In few parts oi South Australia can a more elegant or commodious mansion than that just completed for E, Bowman, Esq., at Martindale, near Mintaro, be found.
If our illustration portrays correctly the beauty of its external appearance, written description of the internal arrangements can but faintly convey their completeness, utility, and handsome character, or do justice to their varied excellencies.
The building was designed by Mr. Greg, architect, of London, and the contractors were Messrs. R. Huckson and Co., whose workmen commenced operations in January, 1879.
It is in the Italian style of architecture, is 75 x 90 feet, built of Manoora freestone, with rock-faced ashlar walls.
The approaches are handsome, the effect being heightened considerably by stone balustrades and columns surmounted by large vases.
There are 30 rooms in all, 12 of which are on the ground floor.
Most of the latter are very capacious, the dining, drawing, library, and billiard rooms being 28 x 18, and 16 feet from floor to ceiling.
All are finished in the most elaborate manner ;
the mantelpieces are works of art, and formed of statuary marble.
The bedrooms are lofty and well-ventilated ; their size is 18 x 22, and 14 feet 6 inches high.
All the Modern Comforts
The comfort of residents and visitors has been studied throughout, baths of hot and cold water are always ready, and the water for drinking purposes is filtered before entering the 20,000 gallon tank, from which it is supplied.
Electric bells and speaking tubes are novelties not often met with even in modern built houses, but these are visible here in every room.
There are spacious arched wine cellars on the basement, together with large storerooms, larders, and other out offices.
In addition to the large supply of water just mentioned, there is adjacent to the establishment a reservoir of 90,000 gallons ;
the abundance thus at hand being readily available should a fire occur in any part of the premises.
A water-main with hose is here to be found, and would form a valuable adjunct on such an occasion.
The stables contain four stalls and. eight loose boxes;
and there are also two coach-houses, groom's room, forage store, and all the necessary appurtenances of a first-class residence.
The surroundings of Martindale are very picturesque, and the grounds, though newly laid out in the form of terraces and grass plots, will ere long add to the imposing effect, as they are thoroughly irrigated from the reservoir before mentioned or the River Wakefield.
It would be well for the colony generally if others of our wealthy colonists would follow the spirited example which E, Bowman, Esq., has set them in erecting this magnificent mansion.
He is not one of those who believe in absenteeism, and instead of, as is too customary with many of our large landholders, residing in England, and drawing rents from our soil, he believes in investing his money in South Australia — the land of his adoption.
Colonial coachbuilders have learned many valuable lessons from our American cousins, but the four-in-hand drag is of purely English nationality — it is par excellence the English gentleman's carriage, and is the highest effort of even English coachbuilders.
The handsome drag which Messrs. Duncan and Fraser have just executed for E. Bowman, Esq., of Martindale, is built in accordance with the style and finish that obtains in first-class English establishments.
There are four seats on the outside and two inside, accommodating 16 persons; it is fitted with strong lever brake, operated from the front seat, and there is also a shoe-brake which can be used when des-cending steep inclines.
The boot is fitted with every convenience for picnic and lunch purposes, comprising —
bottle and glass racks,
ice chest, hamper for provisions,
Underneath the body is carried a jointed iron ladder, the utility of which is evident, as it affords easy access for the ladies to the roof seats, which would otherwise be difficult for them to climb ;
as it is only from the outside seats the full pleasure of a spin with a four-in-hand coach can be derived, this adgunet is especially desirable.
The carriage is painted in Mr. Bowman's colour
— claret, and picked-out red —
and bears his crest on the door panels ;
the mountings are all in brass, except the pole hook and leading-bar mounting, which are of polished steel.
It is trimmed with claret cloth and silk lace, the windows being fitted with spring blinds in crimson silk, thus presenting an harmonious and agreeable aspect.
The lamps are drag pattern, and were made in the colony by Messrs. W. and T. Rhodes, of Rundle-street.
It is a most conclusive evidence of the full development of coach-builders' art in South Australia that a work of this description has been produced, bearing full comparison with aught made by the English coach-builders ; and it is highly creditable to Mr. Bowman that he has shown such confidence and liberality in our colonial manufacturers as to induce him to place the order for this drag in the hands of so competent a firm as Messrs. Duncan and Fraser.
Marriage to Annie Cowle
"Martindale was four years without a mistress, but there came a time when Edmund Bowman met the handsome Miss Annie Cowle, and ended his bachelor days.
Annie's father, Charles Tobin Cowle was sent out as the first manager of ES&A Bank in Adelaide in 1878, and both father and son-in-law Edmund joined the Adelaide Club in that year. (p.110)
The marriage settlement included the Holm Hill station of 1,600 acres. (p.122)
In January 1884 they married at St Peter's Cathedral and set off on a tour of New Zealand.
Suited by temperament and training to the role of hostess, the young Mrs. Bowman managed the formal side of Martindale with style.
Kept now by the Art Gallery of SA are some of her formal gowns, mainly in delicate tones of pink, peach, cream and green.
Their children were:
A son named Edmund Donat, three daughters: Vera, Eunice and Patricia, another son Charles Sholto Leroy, and finally Jocelyn Eleanor, known from marriage as Jocelyn Evans", who supplied many of the photographs for Elizabeth Warburton's book.
Left: Annie Lewers nee Cowle, wife of Edmund Bowman c.1885
Below: Edmund Bowman (1855-1921) with his wife Annie, and their six children: their eldest son Edmund, three older daughters Vera, Eunice and Patricia, and the two youngest - Charles and Jocelyn.
Bowman's Youthful Expansion
"When they came of age in 1876 and 1878, Edmund and Charles Bowman inherited roughly 16,000 acres of land on the upper Wakefield River, and 25,000 acres of the Lower Wakefield.
Where possible their trustees had leased the farms and grazing paddocks and had carefully managed the sheep and cattle, so that at the end of the term a handsome trust fund had accumulated.
In established Bowman style, the brothers determined to employ their fortunes in new country, carving out a second pastoral empire.
"In the early 1880s Australia was swept with an air of robust optimism.
A new sense of nationalism was fed by expanding development works in irrigation, and railway construction, and by new enterprise in the (gold-rich) cities." - (Kidman, by Jill Bowen, p.46)
Men of daring were needed to risk themselves on an enterprise of national importance: colonizing the northern half of the colony.
Development of the outer regions of SA was to be expensive, but "why then, should deserts not bloom at the touch of man?"
Farming interests watched jealously as graziers prepared to occupy the driest region of the driest colony of Australia."
'Buoyed up by confidence in the industry which above all had made Australia rich, the push to the North began. Sir Thomas Elder and other respected capitalists gave the lead.
On the security of their Bowman properties along the Wakefield, the ES&A Bank agreed to a short term loan of £240,000 at 6% interest.
The Union Bank financed their first purchase of north-west country. Thus these new runs were interlocked financially with their established property.
The riskiness of their loan is obvious from the following property holdings
Summary of Properties:
Freehold / Acreage developed
Mt Bryan 25,136
Holm Hill 1,600
Werocata 25,616 (worth £80,000, i.e. £3/acre)
Forrester's Farm 595
Sundry Sections 1,000
86,234 at say £3/acre = £258,702
(New) Leasehold / Square Miles undeveloped
Euro Bluff 173
3,679 sq. miles for £240,000 + expenses
Bowman's Marked Contraction
"As early as 1885 the Bowmans knew they were in trouble. They were under-capitalised, and they were burdened by interest charges on loans totalling nearly £300,000.
To meet overdue interest they sacrificed Werocata, valued at £80,000. But only the best of the station was sold for £45,447, leaving Charles with Pareora (Two Mile) station, and a half-share in Martindale.
There was a hard struggle to keep Martindale in the family, even seeking an offer from uncle Thomas Bowman of Campbell Park, but he turned it down.
In December 1889 the Melbourne Bank manager replied bluntly that
'The Bowmans were a year behind in their interest and the 1890 wool clip was already pledged to pay the interest to September 1889.'
In March 1890, the bank memo went out:
'The business accounts of E. and C.W. Bowman, and Bowman & Co. are inoperative'.
An auction of Martindale and Forrester's Farm produced no result.
Robert Melrose of Rosebank offered £33,000 for it with further offers for sheep and occupancy, but the deal was not completed.
The bank wanted Any Offer and on 16 March 1891, the brothers signed over Martindale to W.T. Mortlock for £33,000.
The Holm Hill property and the adjacent Wirrilla run remained in Bowman possession, and the Edmund Bowman family withdrew there.
Charles Bowman remained at Mount Bryan as manager for the mortgagees.
Hubert became manager at Hill River
Cousin William Bowman, for 35 years the manager at Martindale, removed to Cairnbrook, a farm of his own at Auburn.
Two Mile station was sold to the Gebhardts, a well-known pastoral family
Wirrilla was sold in 1900, then again in 1924, and the present owners named it Betlan Park.
Next page: The Mortlocks at Martindale Hall