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Martindale Hall Story: 4a

Martindale House pre-WW1

Martindale Sketch 1880.png

Kapunda Herald (SA), Friday 3 November 1905, page 1



It was a pleasant sunshiny day in September when the writer drove over to Martindale, the homestead of Mr. W. T. Mortlock. Right from Manoora the trip was enjoyable, the landscape rejoicing in its spring-tide of rich, luxuriant greens. Through the property of Mr. D. H. Power, the grass was coming on well, and the scene was enhanced from a spectacular point of view by the sportive lambkins frisking 'neath the shade of sturdy gums or picturesque peppermint trees.

Martindale House

Martindale House has so often been described that repetition of its history is quite unnecessary. In compactness, its solidity and architectural beauties make it one of the most imposing private edifices to be seen in the state. This can be seen in our illustrations, among which will be noticed the stables, which were, perhaps, the most advanced and complete erected in the state.

Martindale House
Kapunda Herald (SA) Fri 3 Nov 1905 Martindale Hall.png
Kapunda Herald (SA) Fri 3 Nov 1905 Martindale's W T Mortlock.png
Martindale Estate

Martindale Estate

The Martindale Estate, now in the hands of Mr. Mortlock, is devoted mainly to sheep grazing. About 9,000 were to be shorn this shearing, which started on October 5.

The sheep are chiefly of the type embraced by Mr. Bowman, the original owner, and have been kept to that, with the exception of a percentage, which have been worked in with the Vermonts.

Thus, two distinct stud flocks are kept up, one the true Bowman, and the other with the Vermonts.

To aid the evolution of the latter case, Mr. Mortlock imported a Vermont ram, which cut 32 lbs. of wool the first year and 28 lbs the second. Then the the animal unfortunately died. Before the third year, however, the effect was gained, and the desired result attained.

Mr. Mortlock states that he likes the quarter-bred Vermont very much.

One of the latter cut at Yudnapinna (Mr. Mortlock's station, northwest of Port Augusta) last year 27-1/2 lbs. wool, comprising 23 lbs. fleece 4 1/2 lbs. belly. Another ram cut 18 lbs. of wool without the skirtings and extras.

The proprietor has a liking for good horses, which are bred chiefly on his west-coast property, the area of which runs into thousands of acres, and are brought over as convenience dictates. Ponies and blood stock are good.

Kapunda Herald (SA) Fri 3 Nov 1905 Martindale Water Conservation.png
Water Conservation

Water Conservation at Martindale

The Upper Wakefield River runs through the estate, immediately below the homestead, and the idea of beautifying the place by the acquisition of a large body of water, and securing at the time an unlimited volume of water for irrigation purposes suggested itself to Mr. Mortlock.

He acted on it, and dammed the river so that a sheet of water half a mile long, estimated at 63,000,000 gallons, has been conserved from the flood waters, which would have otherwise been lost in an insignificant addition to the waters of the St. Vincent's Gulf.

The water is utilized for irrigation of lucerne, of which there is 600 acres.

Two hundred of them have been flooded by the surplus waters, which all the winter through have been pouring in a limited, though endless, stream over the country in immediate proximity to the natural course of the stream.

Cape Barren geese and other aquatic birds are quite at home on the waters.

As an experiment 35 rainbow trout, which were secured through the state Government from New South Wales, weore placed in the reservoir last year.

Lucerne grows well when irrigated, and is of great value for fattening purposes. To facilitate irrigational works a 11 1/2 h.p. engine is being imported. which is capable of throwing 37,003 gallons of water per hour.

15 July 1926 Mortlock Estates Examined.png
28 Apr 1900 Birthday Jack Mortlock.png
Members of the Adelaide Hunt Club B-62984.jpeg

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA), Tuesday 9 August 1898, page 7


(By O.B.)

'The roseate hues of early dawn' had just begun to peep shyly over the Mount Lofty range as a train with a goodly number of hunting men on board steamed out of the Adelaide Railway Station on Saturday.

An bour earlier the hunters had been trucked with anxious care and made at comfortable as circumstances would permit.

Time passed swiftly as we discussed the numerous advantages of a country run in comparison with tho cramped galloping space near the city.

A kind invitation from Mr. W. T. Mortlock, M.P., had tempted us from the dull drudgery of business life.

At Mintaro Mr. Mortlock met us with a variety of traps, into which we packed ourselves.

After a smart drive of four miles through this beautiful estate, Martindale Hall was reached, and a further welcome was extended by Mrs. Mortlock and a large house party.


Martindale Hall is one of the loveliest country residences to be found in the colony.

Standing as it does on a considerable elevation above the surrounding country, it commands a far-reaching view.

Far away to the horizon stretches fertile plains with occasional clumps of timber, which lend a charm to the landscape.

Closer at hand the metal path of the 'screeching demon' speaks eloquently of tho near approach of civilization.


A switchback against low hills clothed with she-oaks, pines, and dwarf gums seems to slumber peacefully in the flood of sunshine.

A roaming herd of cattle and a few scattered sheep give life to tho scene.

Close on the banks of the creek which flows through the estate are paddocks tinted with the delicate green of young lucerne.

Immediately at one's feet is a sweeping lawn, bordered by a well-kept shrubbery, brightened by a harmonious blending of flowers.

An excellent luncheon received marked attention from all of us.

After homage had been paid to 'The Queen', Mr. Mortlock proposed the Master's health.

Adelaide Hounds at Martindale
13 Aug 1898 Hunt club.png
Members of the Adelaide Hunt Club out with the hounds PRG-280-1-21-110_edited.jpg
Master of the Adelaide Hunt Club SA.jpg


He was delighted to welcome tho Adelaide hounds at Martindale Hall, and hoped that it would become an annual fixture. (Cheers.) They were such a jolly good lot of fellows that he would like to see them twice, yea, even thrice, a year, and if they did not come they had only themselves to blame. 

He had once been a follower of the hounds, and intended to be in the field that day. (Cheers.)

The Master, Mr. J. Tennant Love, in reply, said hunting was a splendid training for young man, as it taught them to keep a cool head, cultivate a strong nerve, and scorn fear. (Cheers. )

He therefore thought all young men should follow the sport. (Cheers.)

Mr. Love then proposed the health of Mr. Mortlock. It was, he remarked, difficult for many of the members to leave business for a whole day, or the field would have been larger.

He hoped the local riders would join in the chase. All appreciated the host's generosity in inviting tho club to hunt over his beautiful estate. Mr. Mortlock was a thorough sportsman, and as fearless a rider at had ever followed the pack.

He trusted that this would at least be an annual fixture. A few minutes sufficed to attend to tho adjustment of leathers and girths, then glancing around I found the field to consist of

  • the Master. Mr. J. Tonnant Love, on Steeltrap,

  • Mr. W. T. Mortlock on his favourite polo pony Vanity,

  • Mr. Harry Bickford. who led the field as Master in 1884, on O.B.,

  • Messrs. A. J. Boase on Bluelight, H. L. Smith on Sneaker, S. Blue on lmon,

  • H. C. Cave on Darkie, C. Bray on Little Lass, F. S. Toms on True Maid,

  • D. Waite on Lubra, Bertie Barr Smith on Secret, C. Buxton on Tickers,

  • L. Henderson on Satanella, J. Kain on Eagle, W. Kain on Rocket,

  • W Nolan on Yarra, and H. Williams on Hotspur.


"My love shall hear the music of my hounds—

Uncouple in the western valley. Let them go."


Collins does let them go, and they race at a big cap (capped rail fence), which is cleared without a blunder or fault by all.

A swing to tho right, and we gallop at stiff timber, where Bluelight gets rid of his rider with neatness and dispatch. A good two-railer crosses the trail and brings a local horse to earth.

A neatly trimmed hedge, which forms a double over the carriage drive, takes crossing. A splendid exhibition of jumping is witnessed by the large crowd of road followers as the field clears a close double.

Now over tho creek, away through sodden turf, and crossing a hedge we land in a ploughed paddock. Round the woolshed we travel through prettily timbered country, jumping at intervals, and one forgets the sordid cares of life.


The whole field races at a stiff double, where the pony Vanity fences beautifully. The hounds load us up and down a succession of gullies thickly strewn with rough stones.

A mile or two of this and we are checked by a wire fence.

It is evident that the hounds have forsaken the good old aniseed (lure) and followed a hare, so we retrace our steps.

On the scent again, we traverse nice timber through shea-oak country, and then jump a creek, and take with a rush a delightful combination of hedge and fence before we 'check' at the training stables.


Stables at Martindale Hall, Mintaro B-59830.jpeg
Martindale Stables

Elizabeth Warburton explains,  
(p.94)  that wire fences suited the hounds, but not the horses, so the Martindale fences were capped with gum saplings for five panels or more, at intervals of about 300 yards

Refreshments having been fully appreciated, again we remount and follow the Master over the creek, as the hounds breaking forth into melody proclaim a strong scent.

Over good going the pace freshens, and a rasper puts a couple in trouble.


A difficult double on a stiff gradient tests the ability of the steeds. Scrambling up a considerable rise we catch sight of tho spotted beauties away in the lead. Then old Steeltrap sets to work and strings out the field as we cross a scrubby paddock.

An awkward double, and we tear down the hill and flounder in mud at the foot. A 'cap' off the road stops two or three. 'Crab-holes' are now plentiful, so caution is necessary. Re-crossing the creek we head for the hall, jump a close double, race down the lucerne paddock, take the initial jump of the day. and 'kill.'


A tribute of praise must be extended to the man who capped the fences in such excellent style. though he was careful to place them high in the air.

Finally we adjourn to the hall, where afternoon tea is dispensed by our fair hostess, and right welcome it is.

The evening was passed pleasantly with music and dancing, the scarlet coats of the huntsmen and the dresses of the ladies forming a brilliant spectacle.

Amongst those present were

  • the house party, consisting of Mrs. Hammond, Misses Bickford, Haigh, F. Love, M. Love, and Law Smith, Messrs. Harry Bickford, H. Law Smith, J.T. Love, S. Blue, H. C. Cave. J. A. Love, D. Waite. and

  • from the neighbourhood Hon. J. Lewis. Mr. and Mrs. Tothill. Mr. and Mrs. F H. Weston and Miss Weston, Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Maslin, Mrs. Yeatman and Miss Yeatman, Miss Bowman.

The party broke up on Monday morning, many having to reluctantly leave by the morning train, feeling deeply thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Mortlock for their hospitality. All will long remember the glorious day spent at Martindale Hall.

Below: Adelaide Hunt Club at 'The_Brocas', Woodville SA


Journal (Adelaide, SA ), Monday 18 August 1913, page 4




The death of Mr. William Tennant Mortlock, which occurred at Martindale Hall on Sunday, has removed a conspicuous figure from the pastoral activities of South Australia.

The deceased, who was born at Port Lincoln on May 18, 1858 was one of the largest holders of station property in the State, his runs having aggregated about 2,000 square miles of country.

Mr. Mortlock was educated at St. Peter's College, and later, at Jesus College, Cambridge.

He afterwards read for the law at the Inner Temple, and returned to South Australia after an absence of eight years in England.


He did not pursue his legal studies, but instead went on to the Yudnapinna Station, belonging to his father (Mr. W. Ranson Mortlock), to seek experience in pastoral pursuits.

Upon the death, of the father in 1884, the son succeeded to the Mortlock estates.

Like the parent, who had represented the distinct of Flinders in the House of  Assembly during 16 sessions of Parliament, Mr. W. T. Mortlock decided to seek political honours.

  • In 1896 the Flinders electorate made him its choice, and he served that district in the Lower House until 1899.

  • Again in 1901 he was selected to the same seat which, on that occasion he held for only one year.

  • Mr. Mortlock was one of those who worked hard to secure the federation of the States and the establishment of interstate free-trade.

He was a large employer of labour, and held that every assistance should be given by the Government to enable industrious persons in the community to secure homes for themselves.


The deceased gentleman was an ardent sportsman and a consistent- supporter of the (Adelaide) Hunt Club and the turf.

  • He was particularly interested in the racing clubs of Martindale and Port Augusta.

  • He was one of the founders of the Martindale (Racing) Club, and a great deal of the credit for the present important position of that body is due to his early connection with it.

  • He raced horses at odd times for many years. Perhaps the best was one of his own breeding, Yudnapinna, raised on the station of that name.

    • It proved one of the finest hurdle-racers of recent years in this State,

    • and captured the A.R.C. Grand National Hurdle Race in 1911 (when he beat Destinist) and

    • the Oakbank Hurdle Race in 1910.

  • Yudnapinna and Kalioota—the latter of which was also bred by the deceased, and is out of the same mare, Ulva, as the former—raced in Mr. Mortlock's name in the Grand National Hurdle Race at Victoria Park on (last) Saturday.

He was an enthusiastic fisherman, and had at Coffins Bay two motor launches and the yacht Whynot.

  • He entertained large parties of sportsmen during the Christmas holidays. 

Among the properties controlled by the deceased were—

  • Mount Arden. Yudnapinna, and Euro Bluff stations, 1,600 square miles;

  • Coffin Bay, 200 square miles;

  • Angoritchna, 100 square miles;

  • Yalluna and Strawberry Hill, 13,000 acres;

  • Warratta Vale (purchased in 1897), 26,000 acres; and

  • Martindale Hall 10,000 acres.

The last-named was the main station, and the fine homestead upon it cost £20,000 to erect.


Mr. Mortlock returned last November from a visit to England. His health failed shortly afterwards, and his last illness was of about six months' duration.

The deceased has left

Death of Mr W T Mortlock
Kapunda Herald (SA) Fri 3 Nov 1905 Martindale's W T Mortlock.png

25 Apr 1896 - 28 Apr 1899
House of Assembly: Flinders 

08 Jun 1901 - 02 May 1902
House of Assembly: Flinders

He took a lively interest in the political affairs of his adopted country, and sat in the House of Assembly for Flinders for over 15 years. 

In the House Mr. Mortlock acquitted him self creditably, his intimate knowledge of the country being of value in legislative matters connected with pastoral affairs.

25 Sep 1913 Mr W T Morlock's Estate.png

Next page: MY Yacht 'Martindale'

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