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Martindale Hall Story: 2

The first Edmund Bowman

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Edmund Bowman (senior)

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Notes from the book "The Bowmans of Martindale Hall", by Elizabeth Warburton.

 

From 1851, as their pastoral leases around Auburn expired, the Bowman family secured their Martindale property with purchases at the price of one pound per acre.

On their Upper Wakefield run, Edmund purchased eight sections for permanent settlement. An 1854 letter mentions the purchase of six more sections, totaling fourteen in the Hundred of Stanley.

The township of Mintaro grew on the edge of their Run, as a stopping place for the bullock teams from Burra on their way to Port Wakefield, at the other end of the Wakefield River which ran through their property.

Before long, two sizable freehold runs were secured on the Wakefield River,

  • the Martindale estate and leaseholdings on the upper Wakefield River, and

  • the lower Wakefield River freehold and leased lands around Werocata, now known as Balaklava, and nearby Bowmans, a freight station and wheat storage location.

 

Werocata Station (Balaklava)

In 1860 Bowman put the property up for sale, but resumed ownership as mortgagee in 1864. (see story, below left by 'Denisbin' of Flickr​).

Edmund Barton told a Parliamentary Commission in 1865, that with hindsight, he had made a mistake to buy into the lower rainfall Balaklava area:

  • It carried less stock than they had expected

  • crops had been destroyed by hot winds

  • it took eight  years to find enough bore water to make summer grazing possible

  • hay supplies disappeared during a drought

  • It had been a costly investment: 
    "I have been induced to built six huts, a wool shed, sheep yard, fenced a paddock of 40 acres, sunk eight wells, burnt 50,000 bricks for walling the wells sunk, and purchased two sections of land on the run".(page 26, ibid)

Notable features of the interior (below) comprise two magnificent marble fireplaces from Italy,  one of black, heavily carved, and the other of multi colored inlaid marble, with the fireplace of rich colored tiles. The over-mantle is deeply carved, forming a design of ancient musical instruments.

 

Right: Werocata homestead. Built by pastoralist Edmund Bowman in 1864 and extended by Edmund Bowman junior in 1883.

The Bowman brothers leased this land in 1845 and took out a pastoral lease in 1847.

The property then became a stopping point for bullock teams travelling along the Wakefield River from the Burra copper mines in 1850 on their way to Port Wakefield.

This traffic ceased in 1857.

The Bowman brothers purchased sections of land here in the 1850s, when land was first surveyed, in order to build up a large freehold estate in addition to the leased pastoral lands.

In 1860 the property was put up for sale and purchased by Samuel Sleep who purchased thousands of bricks to build a major residence on the property but after the droughts of 1863-64 he sold the bricks and he defaulted on his mortgage.

This mortgage was held by Edmund Bowman and the property reverted solely to Edmund Bowman and not his brothers in 1864.

Werocata homestead. Built pastoralist by Edmund Bowman 1864.jpg

Register (Adelaide, SA), Monday 15 September 1924, page 11 - Mr. John McCoy.

In 1852 Werocata Station was situated in a dense scrub of mallee, native pine, and teatree.

  • The pasturage consisted mainly of spear grass and kangaroo grass.

  • Great herds of kangaroos and wallabies and flocks of emus, cockatoos, and parrots roamed or flew through the almost impenetrable thicket, and made the forest alive with their deafening cries.

  • The animals were hunted for their skins, which were stitched into warm rugs and caps after undergoing a rough tanning process with the bark stripped from the wattle groves.

  • Kangaroo tail soup was a favourite delicacy, and provided a pleasant variant on the eternal mutton.

The arrangements of the station were of the most primitive kind— wooden huts, with shingle roofs, for both masters and men.

  • The shearing shed consisted of a long alley of boughs bent over to form a shelter from the weather.

  • About 10,000 sheep were shorn at Werocata and Two Mile Stations. They were of a superior merino strain, and the wool commanded the highest price. 

Mr. Edmund Bowman had a small one-storied residence at Enfield, which was afterwards followed by a turreted mansion, and is now in the possession of the Salvation Army.

 

Below: Edmund Barton's Enfield Mansion, Barton Vale or also known as Vaughan House for Wayward Girls. The house with its 39 rooms was sold in 1995 to private owners who restored the furnishings and decorations inside including the grand ballroom which is 40 by 30 feet with two marble fireplaces.​

 
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Above: Mr Edmund Barton (senior)

Below right:  Gothic style Barton Vale at Enfield.

Home of Edmund Bowman 

House built 1850 but extended 1881.

Barton Vale and Edmund Bowman senior.

When Edmund Bowman arrived in SA in 1839 he took up farming land at Enfield and Dry Creek. He soon had pastoral properties along the Wakefield River near Manoora and near Black Springs and the Tothill Range.

He then acquired leasehold properties, Werocata and Pareora, along the lower Wakefield River with his brothers.

With his brothers he took out the major leasehold run of Crystal Brook but Edmund was very much a businessman and spent much of his time living in Adelaide and the other part of his time at Werocata and Pareora.

From the time of his arrival Edmund lived at Enfield in a mud, brick and thatch cottage but in 1854 he married Elizabeth Hackney and as newlyweds they moved into the first stage of Barton Vale Gothic mansion – 11 rooms and a central portion of the grand house with a tower.

Edmund had built the Gothic mansion between 1850 and 1852. 14 months later his eldest son was born in April 1855, Edmund Junior, who was to inherit all of Edmund’s acquired properties when he turned 21 years of age.

Edmund’s other sons were William Charles born in 1857, Walter born 1860 (died 1861), Hubert Bowman born in 1863 and three daughters -Clarissa 1861, Alice 1862 and Jessie 1865. 

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Mr McCoy injured at Werocata

Register (Adelaide, SA), Monday 15 September 1924, page 11 - Mr. John McCoy.

Mr. McCoy was employed as a shepherd and lived with another man in a lonely part of the scrub. 

The (indigenous) blacks appeared in great numbers in those days, but although dreaded by the shepherds, they gave no trouble as they were treated with invariable kindness.

As many as a hundred were regularly fed at the station, and numbers were employed as boundary riders and trappers.

They soon became daring and expert horsemen, never declining the most vicious mount.

The wild dogs were a very serious menace, killing hundreds of sheep and lambs.

The shepherds had to keep their charges in a rough kind of yard, sleep in boxes, and keep fires burning around.

But in spite of these precautions the dogs frequently entered the enclosure and destroyed an animal before the men could intervene.

Mr. McCoy had the misfortune to meet with a serious accident while assisting in the stable.

A particularly vicious horse was tied in one of the stalls, preparatory to being broken.

The manager told Mr. McCoy to put the bridle on the horse and lead him out. The ill-tempered brute turned on the man, kicked him on the legs, broke his jaws, and went for him with open mouth.

The cries of the unfortunate victim drew to his aid a carpenter who chanced to be working near, and who drove the infuriated beast away with a pitchfork.

 

Mr. Edmund Bowman had McCoy taken for medical treatment at first to Clare, and then to Adelaide.

  • Not satisfied with the result, he sent him to the Old Country by the ship Lincolnshire.

  • The patient was taken to Madame Stephen's hospital, in Dublin, and operated upon by a Dr. Collis.

  • While in hospital he had a very kind letter from Mr. Bowman, enquiring after his health, and assuring him his place was always open for him.

After three months' stay in hospital he returned to the Two Mile Station, so named from its distance from Port Wakefield.

Tragic Death of Edmund Bowman

The most tragic incident in Mr. McCoy's recollections was the untimely death of his employer and benefactor, Mr. E. Bowman (August 15, 1866)

Near the Two Mile Station a rough footbridge, consisting of a single plank, had been constructed across the River Wakefield, for the convenience of the shepherds and other workmen. Some she-oak trees at each end helped to steady the passage across.

On the day of the fatality the men under charge of Mr. Thomas Bowman, were on the other side drafting sheep, very strenuous work in those days as the animals had to be seized in the hands and thrown bodily into the yards.

A Mrs. Howard, living near one end of the footbridge, saw Mr. Edmund Bowman cross to her side to the woolshed and return, the water at that time being only three feet in depth.

Shortly after the heaviest flood known in the Wakefield occurred, and the river rose some six or seven feet, so that the frail footbridge was just awash.

 

Mr. Edmund Bowman attempted to cross a second time, but when about the middle of the stream overbalanced and fell into the swirling torrent.

Mrs. Howard ran along till opposite to Mr. Bowman's house, and called out, "Mr. Edmund is drooned." The woman got a long pole with a hook fastened at the end and managed to recover the body.

When Mr. T. Bowman returned to the ford and saw the state of the river he decided to camp for the night. He found Mrs. Howard weeping bitterly

'What's the matter, woman?' 'Mr. Edmund's drooned.' 'What my cousin (brother) drowned?'

Thereupon the six horsemen plunged into the rolling flood, and with difficulty reached the further bank.

They found the Magistrate, doctor, and police at the house.

A man was dispatched to Crystal Brook to convey the sad news to Mr. William Bowman.

He was warned to take every precaution in crossing the Broughton, where a man had been drowned the night before.

 

Next a call was made for a volunteer to go to Martindale, near Mintaro. McCoy at once offered to undertake the perilous ride.

The Magistrate told them all the bridges had been carried away. Mr. Bowman made McCoy take his (Bowman's) horse the best in the stable.

 

It was the middle of the night, raining, and pitch dark, but the voluntary messenger had often before been over the ground.

He tried to cross at Whitwarta, near the Salt Lake. On the other side were camped a number of teamsters who were conveying stores to Wallaroo Mines.

In response to McCoy's halloo a burly Cornishman ran to the opposite bank.

'Are you mad? Neither you nor the horse will ever reach this side.'

'Drowned or not, I mean to try. Mr. Bowman is drowned.'

Soon the whole camp was astir. The teamsters got a long rope, to which they tied a large wooden float. After one or two failures McCoy, wading up to his waist, managed to seize one end, which he tied in a loop around the horse's neck.

By great exertion, and after being nearly entangled in a wire fence, horse and rider reached the opposite side.

The kindly teamsters gave the horseman a hot drink, and insisted on his going to bed till his clothes could be dried.

They also fed and groomed his gallant horse.

But the faithful fellow was impatient to deliver his message, and at the earliest moment resumed his perilous ride.

Dashing through the Seven Mile Scrub he lost his hat, and half-dazed knocked at the door of Mr. McDonald, to whom he delivered a letter. McDonald was thunderstruck at the news. (The messenger next roused the police.]

He crossed the Skilly Creek without mishap, and reached Martindale about daybreak, to find that cousin Mr. William Bowman had gone to Black Springs.

The ladies were terribly upset at his message.

A boy was sent to cousin Mr. William Bowman, and returned with instructions that Mr. McCoy was to ride to Mr. Forrester, at Bowman's Block.

McCoy had been so exhausted by his ride that he had fallen asleep in the stable beside his horse.

Funeral

By night more than a hundred horsemen were riding hard for Whitwarta. Here McCoy found men and horses lying about near the banks.

The horses refused to face the threatening stream. McCoy was put on another mount and led the way, the others following in Indian file.

 

The funeral started the same day. Hundreds of settlers and working men from Mintaro, Black Springs, Port Wakefield, Crystal Brook, and the country about came to pay the last marks of respect to the deceased, who was highly and deservedly esteemed by all who knew him.

The hearse with the coffin was met at Virginia, and the procession went on its way.

'Never was a funeral attended by more sincere mourners' wrote the Advertiser, '

'All who knew him being affected by a feeling of heartfelt sorrow that, in the very prime of life, the earthly career should be closed of so worthy and useful a colonist, so kind a friend, and one so exemplary in every relation of life.'

 

"The burial took place at Enfield in a cemetery since smoothed into a 'Pioneer Park'. The large Bowman vault of grey Mintaro slate and the white marble tombstone have been removed to the North Road Cemetery but at that time, the intimate local burial ground was the natural place to take him.

Newspapers describe the hearse being followed to the grave 'by two hundred gentlemen on foot' and many others congregating at the cemetery.

His two older boys walked with his brothers and three cousins: Thomas and William Bowman, managers of the Wakefield runs, and Edmund Parnell of Kadina.

Among the two hundred were names of parliamentarians, professional men, pastoralists and others of note in the colony." (ibid, p. 61)

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA), Tuesday 21 August 1866, page 2

Mintaro, August 20.

'The death of Mr. Edmund Bowman has thrown a gloom over the inhabitants of this district, and all seem to feel that they have lost a friend.

He was one who would sympathize with us, and assist us in any matter — either religious or secular — and forbearing to those who had dealings with him.

Having by labour and industry risen to his position, he could value others as they deserved it.

A strong feeling of respect will long exist in the hearts of the inhabitants here towards his memory.'

INQUEST ON THE LATE EDMUND BOWMAN, ESQ., JP.

Adelaide Express (SA : 1863 - 1866), Saturday 18 August 1866, page 2

On Wednesday, August 15, an inquest was held at the Wakefield head station, on the body of Mr. Edmund Bowman, stockholder, of that district, who came to his death by falling into the River Wakefield.

A respectable jury were empanelled, and Mr. Turner, J.P., officiated as Coroner.

The jury having viewed the body, various witnesses were examined with regard to the melancholy occurrence.

Mrs. Howett stated that she saw Mr. Bowman going towards the unfinished pine bridge which crosses the river at that part.

She saw him walking on one of the pines, and observed him fall into the river as she thought on his feet.

She ran down to the bridge, and saw part of the body come in sight. It floated a little way down to the opposite bank, and there remained for some ten minutes, during which time Mr. Bowman never attempted to raise his head, nor was there any struggle.

She was afraid to cross the pine logs herself, but called out loudly for assistance. Unfortunately, the men were not very close at hand, and as the wind blew in a contrary direction, they did not hear her.

At last assistance came, but the body was then out of sight. After considerable searching about, one of the party caught sight of deceased's coat, and the body was then immediately brought to shore.

Further evidence was given by George Howitt, Clifford Sage, John Colton, and Thomas Bowman, detailing the means used to restore animation, and at the conclusion of the evidence, a verdict of " Death by drowning" was returned.

We hope to obtain a few additional particulars for the Advertiser on Monday morning.

Family and Business

Edmund Bowman was also a director of the Union Bank and a member of the Central Road Boards.

Edmund only enjoyed two years on the Werocata property which he visited from his Enfield house called Barton Vale because he drowned on nearby Pareora estate in August 1866 which he also owned.

Edmund had married in 1854 which was when he had built Barton Vale.

So when he died in 1866 he left a young family of three sons,

  • Edmund Junior,

  • Charles William and

  • Hubert and

  • three daughters, Clarissa, Alice and Jessie.

  • (Another child had died shortly after birth).

 

Edmund’s properties and shares were kept in trust until Edmund junior reached the age of 21 years in 1876.

The properties were managed by Bowman relatives with Werocata being managed by one of Edmund senior brothers.

The estate had grown into a 25,000-acre freehold property with a further 10,000 acres freehold on nearby Pareora estate.  

There are 8,500 acres in Pareora, situated about 10 miles from Balaklava and four miles from Port Wakefield.

Edmund junior was suddenly a very wealthy man in 1876.

 
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Above: William Charles Bowman, 1855, An Old Colonist

(lived from1830  – 23 February 1879) and was born at Cheshunt Park, Tasmania.

He acquired Crystal Brook station, which consisted of all the land between the Broughton River and the sea, and incorporated the Napperby, Nelshaby and Broughton runs.

Below: William Bowman

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