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Pioneers of Clare, S.A.

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1. Pastoral Pioneers
1. Pastoral pioneers
Edward Gleeson

Edward Burton (Paddy) Gleeson


Edward Burton Gleeson was born in County Clare, Ireland in 1803. 

  • With his wife Harriet and family he arrived in South Australia from Calcutta, India in July 1838 on the ship 'Emerald Isle' where he had amassed a 'handsome competence', including shares in an Indian bank.

By 1840 Gleeson was reported as owning 7,300 sheep, 55 cattle and 24 horses.

  • He initially had land in what is now Beaumont a suburb of Adelaide, a property he named Gleeville.

  • He reported very favourably on the climate of Adelaide to friends back in India, praising the purity of the air. 

Gleeson was adversely affected during the colony's financial crisis in the late 1830s, but remained in South Australia.

  • He moved in 1840 to the mid-north, where he established his property Inchiquin and laid out the town of Clare, named after his birthplace.

  • He also held land East of the Hummocks, Black Point Run, and in the far north, west of Mount Eyre but concentrated upon his property at Clare.

  • He became the first mayor of Clare when it was proclaimed a corporation in 1868.

  • When he died two years later the shops and hotels on the main street closed in his honour.


He was a friend of John Horrocks, a fellow pastoralist in the Clare region and an explorer:

Gleeson undertook to shoot Horrocks' camel which had been involved in the unlucky explorer's death, but was so distressed by his friend's death that he only injured the animal which was then despatched by another man.

Known as Paddy Gleeson, he was the unofficial 'King of Clare' and a popular identity. He was also a stipendiary magistrate and a keen sportsman, interested in horse racing.

He died at Inchiquin, Clare. on February 2 1870, having nearly reached tho age of 68 years.


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John Bristow Hughes

John Bristow Hughes was born in England on 26 July 1817. 

  • J B Hughes was a grazier, developer and politician in the early days of the Colony of South Australia.

  • He arrived in South Australia in 1841 aboard the Porter after arriving in Tasmania in 1840.

  • Hughes married Margaret Bartley on 6 January 1847 at Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide.


Hughes established the property Bundaleer shortly after arriving in South Australia with sheep he brought across from Tasmania.

  • At this time his lease included the adjoining area of Booyoolee and Gnangwea, areas which were subsequently developed by his brothers Bristow and Herbert Bristow Hughes.


Hughes sold Bundaleer in 1854 or 1855 to C. B. Fisher and went to live at Woodville at 'St Clair' where he fully funded the building of St Margaret's Church of England on Port Road (named after his wife).

John Bristow Hughes


John Bristow Hughes (1817-1881)
  • He was a member of the Legislative Council and then the member for Port Adelaide in the first House of Assembly in 1857.

  • Hughes was one of the original founders of St. Peter's Collegiate School in Kent Town.

  • During a visit to the Western District of Victoria John Bristow Hughes drowned at Point Lonsdale on 25 March 1881.

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Bene St Clair - Nursing Home Woodville,

The Stately Home of Bene St Clair - now a Nursing Home at Woodville, SA

George Charles Hawker

Hon. George Charles Hawker

George Charles Hawker was born in London in 21 September 1818 and gained his masters degree from Trinity College, Cambridge before migrating to South Australia with his brother Charles. Another brother James Collins Hawker was already in the colony.

  • They established themselves on land near Anlaby, Nuriootpa but subsequently re-located to the Hutt River near Clare and established Bungaree station.

  • In 1843 James sold his share to his brothers George and Charles.

  • Bungaree was subsequently divided between George and Charles with Charles taking up the portion he named Anama: this was reclaimed by George following his brother's death in 1861.

  • Bungaree sheep became famous as hardy large framed animals capable of travelling long distances to water.

  • The Hon. G C Hawker in about 1867 purchased Carriewerioo, 17 miles west of Port Augusta.

  • He purchased Paralana Station from 1868 and used this  for stock rotation and pasture management in conjunction with his other properties at Carriewerloo and Bungaree.

George Charles Hawker.jpeg

Above: Bungaree Homestead, established in the 1850s


Hawker became a member of parliament in 1858 and in 1860 became Speaker.

  • George was about to be knighted when he died, however the title of "Lady" was granted to his widow, Bessie Hawker.


George Charles Hawker died at "The Briars", Medindie on 21 May 1895 at age 76.

  • Bungaree is still run by members of the Hawker family.

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The Briars, Medindie,

George Charles Hawkers residence, 'The Briars' at 15 Briar Avenue, Medindie.

Mr. Hawker is on the front steps. It became the McBride Convalescent Hospital in 1914

William Loose Beare

William Loose Beare

Beare arrived in Nepean Bay at Kingscote, Kangaroo Island South Australia on the Duke of York (ship) 27 July 1836, as part of the first immigrants to South Australia.

(About six or seven years ago I visited the place of our landing and the impression left with me from that visit was that it was one of the most beautiful pieces of country ever spoiled by civilisation. - Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association)

  • He was then only 10 years old and arrived with his father, Thomas Hudson Beare and mother and three sisters, reportedly one of whom had the honour of being the first person to land on the shore.

  • After 2 years on Kangaroo Island the family moved to Adelaide, and Beare worked on a dairy farm and then on sheep stations as a manager.

  • One property was Ryelands, east of Kapunda and later, Koolunga station.


He then became the manager of the Bungaree station at Clare for G. C. Hawker and at the Carriewerloo run, north west of Port Augusta.

  • He worked as a magistrate at Clare while he was resident at Bungaree.

  • In the early 1870s Beare jointly purchased runs at Mount Serle and Ooraparinna in the far north, near the Gammon Ranges.

  • Lack of success forced him to sell these properties, and he eventually retired to live in his property, "Netley", at Glenelg.

  • Died 16 July 1910, age 84 at Glenelg.

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Beare W L.jpg
Charles Brown Fisher


Charles Brown Fisher

Charles Fisher was born 25 September 1818 in London, the second son of James Hurtle Fisher, the first resident commissioner of South Australia. 

  • The family arrived in South Australia on the Buffalo in 1836.

After a brief interlude as a merchant and importer, Charles Fisher went into partnership with his brother James in pastoral leases.

  • They bought Bundaleer Station near Clare in 1854 (for £31,000) and

  • bought Hill River Station, (one of the great South Australian pastoral properties of the 1800s) near Clare in 1855 after selling large numbers of sheep and cattle to the Victorian goldfields.

  • C.B. Fisher would become one of the biggest pastoralists in Australia with properties in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and later in the Northern Territory.

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Charles Brown Fisher, pastoralist


John Carter

Boconnoc (now Boconnoc Park) was taken up by the late Mr. and Mrs. John Carter about 1859.

  • They came to South Australia in 1847.

  • Mr Carter after having been engaged in business in the city, removed to Kooringa (Burra) in the days when the copper mines were in full swing.

  • Subsequently Mr. and Mrs. Carter lived at Coromandel Valley, and

  • in 1859 they went to Boconnoc, near Clare, where they remained till 1880,

  • Then Mr. Carter retired, and removed to Parkside, where he died in the same year.

Extending from Armagh almost to Blyth, Boconnoc was ideally situated for the breeding of a hardy type of merino sheep.

Boconnoc Park Estate
  • was bought by George Brooks in 1905 from Harry Carter,[3]

  • who had owned it since at least 1885.[4]

  • It had been in the Carter family since 1859.[5]

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John Carter
Boconnoc Estate for sale_edited.jpg

2. Expansion around clare

2. Expansion around Clare

Pioneer Nurseryman W G Lewcock

'Father' of the Clare Railway

From a small beginning by energy and hard work Mr. Lewcock established a large and lucrative business as nurseryman, seedsman, and vigneron, at Hartley Springs, on the Farrell Flat road.

  • Mr. Lewcock was born in 1843 at Sandhurst, Berkshire, England, and received his education at a parish school in Hampshire.


  • Now Mr Lewcock became one of the best known names in the horticultural world of South Australia, and in 1918 he celebrated the golden jubilee of his arrival in the prettily situated northern township of Clare.

  • Mr. Lewcock landed in the State on September 17, 1867, from the ship Berar, and after having worked as a gardener— at 5/ a day of 10 hours, mind you—at Glenelg, he was engaged to proceed to Clare to enter the service of the late Dr. Bain.





To the Editor.

Sir — If an additional argument were needed in support of our long hoped for railway it could be supplied by traveling on the road from Clare to Farrell's Flat. The road is completely ruined with the season's wheat carting.

The teamsters assure me that it is worse than a fallow field.

Readers may judge for themselves from the fact that it takes a team of eleven horses to take a load of wheat to the Flat.

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W G B Lewcock, Clare_edited.jpg


W G Lewcock
Joseph Knappstein


Joseph Knappstein

The founder of Clare's Stanley Wine Company


The Clare wine industry was given its greatest boost in the early 1890s when the foundation of a long-lasting venture occurred - The Stanley Wine Company.

  • They utilised the buildings of the failed Clare Fruit Preserving Company in a new manner:

  • The Stanley Wine Company was set up in the old Jam Factory building in 1894 by four leading men,

Joseph Hermann Knappstein
Mr Mick - the restaurant.jpg
Joseph Herman Knappstein

Joseph Herman Knappstein arrived in the colony of South Australia in 1876 from Germany – he was 18 years old.

  • He was born on 14 Oct 1859 at Soest, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany to Philipp Knappstein and Auguste Berghoff.

  • After travelling within South Australia, taking on a variety of jobs, Joseph finally settled in the Clare area where he set out to become a merchant.

  • He grew fruit at Donnybook and carted this as far north as Crystal Brook. 

  • On the barter system he gave fruit and eggs and supplied a lot of people as far away as Perth and Broken Hill. 

  • He later began a business in Fremantle supplying German merchant ships with supplies of vegetables, eggs etc.

Later he returned to Clare and became the manager of the Stanley Wine Company

  • In 1905 he went to London with his family where he established the first Australian agency for wine.

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Joseph Knappstein
The founder of Clare's Stanley Wine Company

Including (Mr) Mick Knappstein, Tim Knappstein and Tim Adams

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