James Hill of Inchiquin

1838 - 1920

James and Lucy Hill of Inchiquin.jpg

Above: James and wife Lucy Hill of Inchiquin

James Hill and brother Edward Hill were born at Chard, Somerset-shire, and came to Australia in 1864 on a sailing ship. 

  • James Hill managed stations for C.B. Fisher in the 1850’s and the 1860’s including Bundaleer, before taking a station in southern Queensland.

  • Edward Hill became the manager of Fisher and Hill's Queensland stations when James Hill sold his interest to the Australian Pastoral Company.

Then James Hill became the third owner of Inchiquin, the oldest Clare historic home, which he purchased from John William Gleeson in 1884.

  • Inchiquin then remained in the Hill family until 1938.

Lucy Anna Hill was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stuckey, of Palmer place, North Adelaide.

  • She was born on June 18, 1847.

  • In 1871 she married Mr. James Hill, who was then manager of Bundaleer station, which was owned by the late Mr. C. B. Fisher.

 
 
1841
1854
Bullock Driving -Warren Fahey.jpg
Bundaleer Station

Bundaleer Station was a pastoral lease that operated as a sheep station in the mid-north of South Australia,

  • situated approximately 12 kilometres (7 miles) south of Jamestown

  • and 21 kilometres (13 miles) north of Spalding,

  • and 120 miles north from Adelaide.

  • The property was established in 1841 by John Bristow Hughes and occupied an area of 312 square miles (808 km2).

 

The Head-station was situated north of Clare and well north-east of Port Wakefield.

  • Stock on the run were 72,000 sheep, 300 cattle, and several horses.

  • The head-station and wool-shed were on land on either side of the Bundaleer Creek.

  • The wool was sent to Port Wakefield.

  • The improvements on the purchased  land comprised a dwelling-house, overseer's house, stable, huts for men, kitchen, wells, garden and paddock fences.

  • On leased land — sub-head-station at (Bundaleer) Springs, comprised two huts, paddock, garden, yards, and well, 38 stone huts and yards, stone walling, paddock fencing, and four wells.

 

In 1854, Charles Brown Fisher bought Bundaleer from Hughes for £31,000.[1]

Why?

Augustus Henry Pegler was born at Gloucester, England, in 1837, and was brought out as an infant by his parents to South Australia. His father is accredited with introducing the first threshing machine into South Australia, one of which took Pegler's arm off, when only 10 or 12 years old.

Pegler was with Mr. C.B.Fisher on the occasion of the latter buying Bundaleer from Mr. H. B. Hughes, and states

-- that the deal was brought about through the boxing of some sheep. i.e.sheep not behaving well during droving of the mob

-- This incident led up to Mr. Hughes saying, in a tone of annoyance, that he would sell the place, which, after some haggling, he eventually did, and with it 31,000 sheep and 230 head of cattle. Young Pegler took delivery, and had charge of both sheep and cattle.

After the first shearing at Bundaleer, young Pegler took charge of the wool-carrying teams;

  • six bullock teams and two horse teams, each taking 16 bales of wool, in all about 800 bales, which were shipped at Port Wakefield.

  • In those days there were no roads to Port Wakefield, but it was part of young Pegler's business to find one.

  • On one of these trips south (now over the route of Highway 1), the party camped overnight at Black Point Lake, near the present site of Snowtown. This was part of Paddy Gleeson's Black Point Station.

  • Pegler's tent collapsed under the weight of rain... Read more...

 

  • James Hill managed Bundaleer station for C.B. Fisher

  • By 1864 it was estimated that the property was carrying about 80,000 sheep worth over £40,000.[2]

The Fisher Brothers

In 1855 Charles Fisher married his wife Agnes Louisa, and also in 1855 Charles Fisher purchased the leasehold station or run known as Hill River, in the Clare Valley of South Australia for £42,000,

  • with about 40,000 sheep and 80 acres of freehold, and

  • during the currency of the lease he purchased the freehold,

  • comprising 60,900 acres, at a cost of about £90,000,

  • and fenced in the run (Read about the Stone Wall) and the sub-divisions at a cost of £30,000.

  • James Hill was appointed manager of the Hill River estate, as well.

 
 
1855
425px-Charles_Brown_Fisher.jpeg
hurtle-fisher-ta-237x300.png
1870s

Above: (Left) C.B. Fisher, (Right) Hurtle Fisher

ALTHOUGH keenly interested In racing, the Fishers were tee-totallers, non gamblers and non-smokers. C.B. was always clean-shaven and smartly dressed.

Most of the family were very long-lived (as a result), usually into their nineties.

  • Charles B. Fisher was a great lover of the turf and raced some of the best horses In Australia in those days.

  • He imported foundation sires of the Australian Stud, including Fisherman and Fishook (both appropriately named gallopers).

 

IN the 1870's, when James Hill was manager of the South Australian properties for Fisher Bros., Fisher then sold them off. 

  • The Fisher brothers moved to Melbourne, and Charles sold the Bundaleer station, with sheep and cattle, in 1875, and the freehold lands for about £230,000.

  • Hill River Station, the most valuable in South Australia, was also sold for a similar result. Read more...

 

The Fishers had trouble with the Victorian Government over the size of their pastoral properties, and turned to Queensland, where they entered into partnership with James Hill at Bullamon estate, under the name of Fisher & Hill.

 

In the early 1880s, Melbourne brothers Charles Brown and Hurtle Fisher, who already held extensive pastoral leases in South Australia, Victoria, and the Darling Downs, purchased the leases of various small Maranoa runs totalling over 2 million acres, known locally as "Fisher Country".

 

Bullamon Run

The largest of the Fisher brothers' aggregations in what later became Balonne Shire was Fisher & Hill's Bullamon.

  • Bullamon was an enormous operation, as can be seen from the stock movements of the time:

 
Sheep Sold from Bullamon 15 Oct 1878.jpg
Bullamon and Cubbie Superior cattle sold
Top prices bullocks Sold from Bullamon 8
St George 15,000 sheep to SA.jpg
Wagga 10,000 sheep to Bullamon 31 Jul 18

Hurtle Fisher and James put Bullamon and Cubbie up for sale in 1879, but they didn’t sell and they then sold off the cattle and bought in sheep. 

  • They were still trying to sell the last of the cattle twelve months later.   Stations were a bit hard to sell at this time.

When consolidated in July 1888 Bullamon comprised 42 runs in the Moonie River area and totalled approximately 878,720 acres (355,610 ha).

  • Bullamon Homestead was the head station for this group, with buildings valued at £2,000 in September 1887.

  • Bullamon Homestead offers rare evidence in Queensland of early bush construction technology employing dropped-logs, tree-nails, adzed timber uprights, bedlogs and shingle roofing.

  • Bullamon Homestead retains a substantially intact mid-19th century timber residence and evidence of its associated gardens, including a brick irrigation system, and is important in illustrating the principal characteristics of a remote early head station in southwest Queensland.

  • The small, unpretentious, two-roomed timber house, constructed and adapted in the mid-19th century, illustrates its role as a manager's residence as well as the remoteness of the location at the time of construction.

  • There were two outstations: Nindi-gully on Ana Ninghan East run and Bandy Andy on Minimi.

  • Following consolidation the property was divided, with nearly 780 square miles resumed for grazing farms and 593 square miles, including Bullamon Homestead, retained by Fisher & Hill as leasehold.[1]

Below: Bullamon Homestead at Moonie River, Thallon Qld,

Bullamon Homestead was erected on Gerar, a small sheep run

Bullamon homestead is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register

 
Steward A Disgrace - letter from James H
Bullamon Homestead view from north.jpg
1883
The Australian Pastoral Company

The Fishers had bought into the Maranoa in the early 1880s during good seasons.

  • However, severe drought in 1883-84 followed by widespread depression in the pastoral industry post-1885, forced CB Fisher to float the Fisher brothers' Queensland properties as the Australian Pastoral Company Limited listed in England in 1888, where brother James now lived.

  • In 1881 James' brother, the late Edward Hill, succeeded James Hill at Bullamon as manager, leaving The Levels in South Australia.

  • This allowed James Hill to sell out and he returned to Clare, buying Inchiquin for £8,300 in 1884, at £7 13s and 6p per acre, a tremendous price.

By 1890 the A.P. Company controlled all the Fishers' vast Maranoa holdings:

  • Noondoo (over 790,000 acres (320,000 ha));

  • Cubbie (over 413,000 acres (167,000 ha));

  • Gnoolooma (over 218,000 acres (88,000 ha));

  • Doondi (over 635,000 acres (257,000 ha)); and largest of all,

  • Bullamon, acquired in January 1889,

  • to which was added Hollymount, Burgorah, Weeyan and Wagoo (totalling 1,044,000 acres (422,000 ha)).

  • During the 1890s, the Company ran up to 1,000,000 sheep and operated 7 big shearing sheds and 3 woolscours on "The Group".

  • The general manager resided at Noondoo Homestead, which was more central to the Company's holdings than Bullamon. - Qld Heritage Register

 
 
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1884
Hill family & others at Inchiquin.jpg

Above: The Hill family at Clare, with son Arthur at upper left, and James Hill at upper right.

Inchiquin, Clare

James Hill returned to South Australia in 1884, where he bought Inchiquin, near Clare, and resided there until his death in 1920.

  • In 1884 five men were appointed as magistrates in Clare, including James HiII, who sat on the bench from the year he bought 'Inchiquin' from Gleeson, until he resigned in 1890.

  • James Hill was never a Mayor but all Clare's Mayors were connected with the pastoral industry, as was James Hill.

  • James Hill represented the Armagh ward on the Council for some years.

 

0f the landowners who resided in Clare, both Mrs. Hope and her son Robert of 'Wolta Wolta', and James Hill of 'Inchiquin' maintained their large properties in Clare.

  • The Hill family added a ballroom with waxed, polished jarrah floorboards to the house, and dances were held both in the ballroom at 'Inchiquin' and and in the Town Hall.

  • Pictured at Left: Of the four Hill sisters three were married in the ballroom, and years later, Norah Ohlmeyer, a granddaughter, married local lad, Max Bryant, there.

    • Norah is remembered for her hours of volunteering at the Clare Swimming Pool, which had been built by local man, Frank Phillips, in 1939 opposite the present Bowling Club.

    • Julia Hill (front pictured at left) never married. She kept many pets and one, a kangaroo, used to follow her everywhere, even onto the dance floor. She died early and tragically in a car accident.

  • A former resident of Clare whose brother was secretary of the Stanley Dances committee in the late 1890s alleged that a party of 'the elite' of the town left a Clare dance in high dudgeon because James Hill and family had been 'invited' by his brother, who was friendly with the Hills and had danced at many of their balls.

    • The elite did not approve of Hill who, although a landowner, was not considered socially acceptable.

    • In July 1900 Christison apparently struck HiII for implying that he and Dr. O.W. Smith had appropriated some of the former Clare Agricultural Society money
      - (obliquely reported in the Northern Argus. 28 July 1893).

 
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Four Hill Sisters L-R, Florence, Mary, J
four Hill sisters (not 3) of Inchiquin.
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Above: Four Hill Sisters L-R, Florence, Mary, Julia, Eva

Hill Family

Left: The Hill family at Inchiquin

James Hill was a very good judge and breeder of horses, both everday and race horses to a lesser extent, and he was a big supporter of all equestrian events held in the district. 

  • He was also a good sheepman as well, and his wool won lots of prizes at the Clare shows, and he was a big supporter of the local shows. 

  • There is at least one medal that Hill won for an exhibit at the show in the Clare National Trust Museum, and also a cup that he won at the Balonne Show in Queensland for a horse.

  • Also at the Clare Museum there is a beautiful presentation made to the Hill family by the local people, thanking them for their hospitality.

 

The Hills were at Bullamon in Queensland from 1875 to 1883.

  • The Hills had two children when they went to Queensland – the eldest son known as Arthur and a second son called James Poole, born in 1875. 

  • He died at just over 2 years old at Bullamon in 1877. 

  • The third son, Frank was born in 1879 at Bullamon and he died aged  2 years and five months in 1882. So James and Lucy lost two sons there.

  • There is also a story about the first Hill baby born at Bundaleer and Dr Bain’s bag that he left in Clare – a young rider rode fast from Bundaleer to Clare and back again in record time and the baby was OK. (See below).

    • Lucy was back in Adelaide in 1883 for the birth of a second daughter, the first daughter, Ada, having been born in 1875 at Bullamon, before the deaths of the boys.

    • Running a house  under the primitive conditions that were the norm then was a tough gig,

    • Lucy with small children would have done it tough and I am sure this, and the two boy’s deaths, would have been a contributing factor to them coming back to SA.

  • In fact, it was very unusual for a woman to go and live on a station – they generally stayed in town and the men lived on the stations by themselves, and visited the family when they were able to do so.
     

  • While Hill managed 'Bundaleer' station for the Fisher brothers there are people who still talk about the memorable ride (and act of mercy) so often quoted, to and from Clare by a station hand, Peter McNeil Junior, employed by the late C.B. Fisher.

    • Lucy Hill was taken desperately ill pending the birth of son, Arthur.

    • The famous ride on Compton, a thoroughbred horse from Bundaleer Station to Clare, and back, was to obtain surgical instruments left at Clare by the late Dr. Bain when he went to attend Lucy Hill at the birth of son Arthur.

    • McNeil, a station hand,was called in to get them, with instructions to ride as if the devil were behind him.

    • The rider must have thought a whole tribe of fiends was chasing him, for he bridged the big gap in such an unbelievably short time. He rode the 60 miles (30 each way) in just three hours and twenty minutes, in the dark.

    • Riders with fresh mounts were sent to relieve the hard-ridden mount. McNeil however declined the fresh mounts, and finished the course on Compton, the same horse with which he set out.

    • The animal, though fearfully blown, was never used again.

  • We consider this wonderful effort a masterpiece of horsemanship and courage, by Compton, the thoroughbred horse, that will live long in the annals of Australian pioneer days.
    - Mrs. J.W. Ohlmeyer, of Clare quoted in the Northern Argus (Clare, SA), Friday 28 April 1939, page 8

Death James Hill Argus 2 July 1920.jpg

Above: Two views of the Inchiquin homestead from the Clare museum of the National Trust

James Hill bought Gleeson's property 'Inchiquin' for £8,300 in 1884.

  • As owner of 'Inchiquin', where he died in 1920, he bred horses, sold meat and was a prosperous farmer and auctioneer. There were always two turkeys cooked for dinner, because so many people passing by, called in.

  • In the 1930's depression, there was an unemployed camp at Mrs. Hill's Inchiquin estate.

  • James Hill had also offered 10 to 12 acres of 'Inchiquin' at a peppercorn rental as a showground.

    • The present Clare Golf Links are part of the old Inchiquin Run. The Golf Links were opened by the President, Mr. James Hill, in a few well-spoken words. He expressed the pleasure he felt in placing a portion of his land at the disposal of the Golf Culb for their Links.
      - "The Inchiquin Story", by Jean Schmaal, Clare National Trust.
       

  • In the 1887 Clare District Council Assessment, he was assessed for the 686 acres of 'lnchiquin', and for another 281 acres near Clare, and in the 1890s he planted 30 acres of vineyards.

  • James Hill died on 29 June 1920 at Inchiquin, Clare, at 83 years old.

  • Mrs. Lucy Anna Hill, of Inchiquin, died on October 6th, 1936, at Inchiquin, having thus attained the age of 89 years.

  • The surviving members of Mrs. Hill's family were

    • Mrs. J, W. Ohlmeyer, Clare;

    • Mrs. A. L. Nairne, Sydney;

    • Mrs. L. A. Davies, Adelaide; and

    • Miss Julia Hill, Inchiquin, Clare.

Below Left: Three Hill Sisters and brother Arthur - Below Right: Lucy and James Hill

 
Three Hill daughters with only brother A
James & Lucy Hill.jpg
References
  1. SA history articles - No 18 Clare

  2. Wikipedia - Hill River, South Australia

  3. ALONG THE TRACK With Geoff, Armstrong, Surat - Balonne Beacon (St. George, Qld.) Thu 1 Dec 1955 Page 3 - ALONG THE TRACK

  4. Wikipedia - Bullamon estate

  5. Queensland Heritage Register - Bullamon Homestead

  6. Edward Hill - Balonne Beacon (St. George, Qld.) Thu 13 Feb 1930 Page 7 Late Mr. Edward Hill.

  7. CLARE 1840 to 1900: CHANGING ELITES by Elizabeth M. Milburn BA

  8. "The Inchiquin Story", by Jean Schmaal, Clare National Trust.

  9. Val Tilbrook, Looking back on the Hill family, Northern Argus August 20 2019

  10. SOME PIONEERING REMINISCENCES. By BENDLEBY. No. 1. MR. A. H. PEGLER - The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic.) Sat 10 Aug 1918 Page 4