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Boconnoc Pioneer, John Carter

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Boconnoc Park

Boconnoc Park is a village in the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Region of South Australia and has a population of 21 people.

Boconnoc Estate homestead, near Armagh SA

Boconnoc was taken up by the late Mr. and Mrs. John Carter about 1859

  • John and his wife Mary Ann née ROBERTS 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 is ideally situated for the breeding of a hardy type of merino sheep.

  • To this purpose John's son, Mr. Harry Carter and Sons devote their energies. although a certain portion of the land is cultivated for the production of wheat.

  • Crops of Majestic, Marshall's No. 3. Viking, and King's Early were flourishing on the slopes towards Clare, and if present appearances go for anything, will yield up to six bags of grain to the acre.

A town site was surveyed there about 1850, just at the place where the Boconnoc Park homestead stands. It was named Cutawatta, and one house was built upon it.

  • Ultimately, as the township failed to draw townsmen the site was merged into Boconnoc Estate, and the cottage erected by the unknown man became the nucleus which has expanded into Boconnoc House.

Historic Boconnoc Park is now a modern day working farm of several thousand acres of cropping land and award winning Merino sheep on the lower slopes of the west side of the Clare Valley.

This fine property, which was under offer for sale, is situated about a mile and a half from the Blyth railway station. The property contains 3,300 acres, sub-divided into 33 paddocks, and watered by two running creeks, 3 windmills, tanks, troughs, dams, &c.

  • About 300 acres are suitable for apple or currant growing, 1,700 acres good farming land, and the balance first-class grazing.

  • The homestead, of which a picture is shown, is replete with every convenience. It contains 17 rooms, coach-house, stables, men's quarters, woolshed, barn, and other buildings.

  • The general appearance of Boconnoc shows that the place has been carefully looked after. It is now in perfect order, and is one of the ideal properties of that part.

  • 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]

Harry Carter arrived in Clare, a small boy, in 1859, with his parents.

One of the finest homes visited around Clare was that of Mr Brooks, " Boconnoc ". This fine old house is gloriously situated on a hillside, overlooking beautifully kept flower and vegetable gardens. One peculiarity of the soil and climate was here noted, namely, that the fruits and shrubs of both hill and plain did equally well.

  • North of Clare township is Stanley's Flat, a rich alluvial spot, five or six miles long where the luxuriant growth is very noticeable.

  • Turning to the left, after a short run past wheat fields, the Armagh orchards come in to view.

  • A couple of miles onward the road to Boconnoc was reached, and ...

The top of the range (Brook's lookout) revealed the Boconnoc homestead snugly ensconced in a clump of pines and willows down in the gully, while sloping away to right, and left were the extensions of the hill on which I stood.

  • The scene was enhanced by the winding road, with Aleppo and Remarkable pines flourishing on the lower side,

  • while down the gully the waters of Carter's Creek meandered silently and in a thin stream, until it vanished from vision on the Kybunga Plain.

Brooks Lookout

Brooks Lookout is acclaimed for the stunning views over the Blyth plains and is a must for the photographer. 

  • Situated in the hills between the townships of Clare and Blyth.

  • Please note the car park adjacent Brooks Lookout is closed during the fire season.

  • The panoramic view from these hills is considerable, and on a clear day the waters of the gulf beyond Port Wakefield can be seen, with the Peninsula hills as a background.

Brooks Lookout (above) was opened in 2001 and gives visitors to the Clare Valley the opportunity to picnic at one of the big Australian panoramas.

  • Sited 400 metres above the patchwork of wheat field's of the Blyth and Wakefield Plains, from the lookout you can see 90 kilometers to the southwest to Yorke Peninsula.


Dwarfed by one of the state's largest Moreton Bay Fig trees, is a historic cottage is in the gardens of Boconnoc Park Homestead.

Brown’s House is a cottage in the hills just West of Clare. Named fondly after the Brown family who lived there and worked for the Brooks family for many years. Typical of the era Brown’s House was one of three pressed tin cottages built on the property in 1910.

  •  Located about 15 minutes outside of the Clare township, down a dirt road and opposite a sheep paddock surrounded by huge trees.

  • It is a cosy cottage that sleeps 4 that focuses on the finer details to make your stay a unforgettable one

  • locally sourced breakfast provisions, big comfortable beds, a huge tub bath, open fire and even a carafe of port.

  • Gail has set the cottage up like a home away from home and every one of your needs is catered for.

Sheep Breeding

The Boconnoc flock was established in 1862 by the late Mr. John Carter, and improved by selection and breeding by the present proprietors, is steadily making a name for sturdiness of frame, symmetrical form, density of wool, length of staple and quality, characteristics which every sheep-breeder aims at.

It is impossible to say definitely the original blood which constituted the nucleus of the flock, or had the most influence in developing those traits for which the Boconnoc sheep are known, as sheep were obtained from various sources before earnest efforts were made to build up a stud flock.

  • That the sheep are equal to anything bred in the district is evident from the success which has attended them at shows. Since 1889 many prizes have been secured at Snowtown and Clare, including some champions.

  • This year was the first in which sheep were exhibited in Adelaide, and Duchess, the ewe which secured second prize in its class, and narrowly missed the championship, was honored with the admiration of sheep-breeders who viewed her.

  • The characteristic of Boconnoc sheep, length of staple, was evident in her fleece, which was 4¾ inches in length. This length, however, has been eclipsed by other sheep in the flock, with an average length of staple of 5 inches.

  • The value of length of staple as compared with short dense wool, is great, as there is a bigger percentage of clean wool, so that, the lost by scouring is not so great, and as a natural consequence the wool is more valuable.

Some weights cut from Boconnoc sheep are interesting, as they show to what extent the improvement in fleeces has been of late years.

  • Wrinkley, a ram, when a 2-tooth. cut 20lbs as a 4-tooth, 23½lbs, and as a 6-tooth 27lbs.

  • Kitchener, as a 2-tooth. cut 19 lbs, as a 4-tooth, 25lbs, as a 6-tooth, 25lbs, at 4 years. 25½lbs, and at 6 years. 26lbs.

  • Duchess, the ewe already mentioned, cut 22½lbs. of wool this year,

  • while a pen of prize ewes at Clare show averaged 17lbs, and 108 2 and 4-tooth ewes averaged 141bs.

  • The shearing was completed about five weeks ago, the average, rams and lambs excepted, equalling l0½lbs.

  • The robustness of the sheep was exemplified at the Clare show, where. a pen of wethers was shown, in which the average weight of the animal in wool was 76¾Ibs.

Copper Mining

Some months ago (1910) Mr. W. Windred secured from Mr George Brooks 225 acres on the Boconnoc Estate, known as the mine paddock, near Blyth, for the purpose of copper mining, and a company has now been practically floated to work the property.

  • In an interview on Wednesday Mr. Windred stated that not only was there a good copper proposition at Blyth, but there were plenty of good shows in various parts of the State.

  • All that was required was a little money to convert them into payable concerns.

  • He said:- "Some 35 years ago a considerable amount of rich copper ore from the Boconnoc estate returned many thousands of pounds, but as the expense of cartage was heavy, only the richest ore could be handled.

  • The railway-station is four miles from the mine, and there is plenty of timber and water in the vicinity."

Carter Family

CARTER John, Mary Ann née ROBERTS arrived by 1847

Parents of child born 1847-11-18 named Louisa Maria at Adelaide

Parents of child born 1851-11-28 named Susan Catherine at (TMu)

Parents of child born 1854-03-24 named Harry at Coromandel Vy

Parents of child born 1857-05-26 named Eliza Jane Roberts at Coromandel Vy

Death - On the 19th September, 1890 at his residence in Parkside, John, the beloved husband of Mary Ann Carter, late of Boconnoc, Clare, aged 68 years. Colonist of 43 years. —CARTER

Mrs. J. Carter, widow of Mr. J. Carter, of Boconnoc, near Clare, died at her residence, Parkside, on Tuesday, July 17 1906, at an advanced age.

  • She was a sister of Mr. T. Roberts, of Kookynie; and of Lieutenant Colonel Roberts, of Kybunga. Her son, Mr. H. Carter, resided at Muttama, New South Wales.

  • Mrs. Carter, who died at Parkside recently, was the widow of the late Mr. .John Carter, of Boconnoc, Clare.

  • Her death occured at the advanced age of 81.

  • She came to South Australia in 1847 with her husband, who, after having been engaged in business an 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, when Mr. Carter retired, and removed to Parkside, where he died, in the same year.

Mrs. Carter has left a family of four

Mrs. G. Atkins, an old and highly respected resident passed away, at the Riverton Hospital on May 11th, 1931, at the age of 83 years. The deceased lady was born in Adelaide and at the age of 11 she, with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Carter, moved to Boconnoc Park, near Clare.

On the 9th June 1936, at Mosman. N.S.W., Harry, son of John Carter, late of 'Boconnoc.' Clare. S.A., aged 82 years. — CARTER.

  • Mr. H. Carter, who sold his Boconnoc Estate, near Clare, had removed with his family o New South Wales, where Mr. Carter bought Muttama Station, near Cootamundra, and reports having had a good season there.

  • Quite a number of other South Australians are settled in the same district.

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