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Who knows what about Clare's Links with the Past?

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

  • LINKS WITH THE PAST: Articles 1 to 2, of 13 articles published in the Northern Argus and the Blyth Agriculturalist:

  1. Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954) Sat 30 Aug 1941 Page 5 WHAT DO WE KNOW OF OUR OWN TOWN AND DISTRICT?

  2. Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954) Fri 12 Sep 1941Page 7 Links with the Past! AND THEIR RELATION TO CLARE'S CENTENARY OF 1942.



Links With the Past


Article 1 [By 'Clarion.']

Prom time to time, both over the air and in the Press generally, we are reminded by questionnaires of difficult' problems associated with our own country and other places within the Empire and the world at large.

It is surprising, therefore, to find that many items of historical significance in our own local towns and districts, although constantly before us — ever and always reminding us of the spirit of the pioneers — more often than not indicate how quickly their day and generation can be forgotten. The affairs of men and women of the past, unfortunately, too often, 'are relegated quickly into the Limbo of Forgotten Things.

Only very vital facts, outstanding and startling events and vivid personalities are conjured back to the fast-moving world in which we live. For it must be remembered that 35 years ago — even 30 years ago—

  1. motor cars were not in use.

  2. There was no wireless;

  3. the wonders of X-Ray were only dawning;

  4. locomotive traction was slow and cumbersome;

  5. there were no aeroplanes, gliders, balloons or parachute troops.

  6. Talkie pictures were unknown.

  7. The red ray of photography was not in vogue.

True - the Spinning Jenny and the Bell Telephone had been invented; steam engines were no novelty; anaesthetics had been used with success.

The lives and homes of the masses had only just been brightened by the advent of electricity and regaled by Edison phonographs and records. The Press was only in the adolescent stages of its mighty world-wide power and propaganda.

From 1914 onwards however, modern Diesel engines; fast contact over vast distances by means - of wireless telegraphy; rapid advances in the science of medicine and the use of the surgeon's knife; big developments in the range, power and. destructive force of modern artillery; new and fresh values in the dissemination of food according to chemical analysis; scales of rationing and calories in relation to malnutrition; problems of engineering advancement and the play of steel for the uses of mankind wrought in fiery industrial furnaces -- all these things added to the world's scanty knowledge as a primary factor attributable to Armageddon — the first 'Great' war of 1914-18.

  1. Music, literature, art — all have been turned to account in what we call the modern world of to-day. But what of the Past?

  2. Do we value and appreciate what the giant intellects of the past have done for us?

  3. Do we value the sacrifices made on our behalf by thousands of men and women since the days of the Crimean war.

  4. The days of Florence Nightingale; Kitchener of Khartoum; Roberts and Clive of India; the days of Abraham Lincoln and the fall of blackbirding and slavery; the flights to the Polar regions of Scott, Amundsen and Peary; the sacrifice of Edith, Nurse Cavell, or in our own Australia, of the explorations of Burke and Wills.

  5. Turning to our own state, our own town and district of Clare! Do we ever think much of, or ponder over the efforts of Explorers Edward John Eyre or John Ainsworth Horrocks and all the pioneer men and women who blazed the trails to Clare over mountain range, through dense forests and trackless bush, carrying their swags on their backs and there lives in their own strong hands?

Explorer John Ainsworth Horrocks in military uniform
Explorer John Ainsworth Horrocks

They were the forerunners of our vaunted civilization as we now enjoy it — they were the vanguard who

  • built the roads and homes,

  • fenced the paddocks,

  • harnessed the streams and rivers,

  • tilled the soil,

  • husbanded the stock,

  • experienced fires and floods and droughts.

With stout hearts they padded the hoof down the far horizons. They placed the Union Jack, along with religious thought and political freedom, high upon the pinnacle of life, so that generations then unborn might benefit.

Do we value these efforts?

In an endeavor to trace some of our earlier history— — -we must remember that Clare, next year in (1942) celebrates its centenary after 100 years' of its existence.. .......Have we yet started anything that will fittingly celebrate such a period?

The world-war fills our thoughts, to-day, day and night, mostly to the exclusion of everything else. Should the war continue, however the call of patriotic duty and the flow of men and women to the battle fronts must continue. They must be fed, looked after and equipped, body and soul, by those who are left on the home front.

Plans for Clare's centenary of 1942 should be commenced as soon, as the patriotic carnival is over on Sept. 20th, and the Clare Show over on Oct. 18 — and unless a speedy termination of the war is realised, no doubt the central motif of Clare's 100 years will have a patriotic objective.

Flood water over the road in the Clare Valley SA
Clare Valley flooded street

So that thoughts may be stimulated towards the centenary and the history of the past, set out below are three questions which deal with local history. Anyone and everyone is invited to supply either verbally or by letter, what they consider the correct reply.

  1. Who Built the Stepping Stones in Burton Street, Clare? Give the date of erection; the Mayor or Councillors in office; who were the workmen? How many Stepping-Stones are there to-day?

  2. Great Stone Wall at Hill River—This wall, running North and South, is said to have been built by Shepherds in the early days. Give name or names and quote any' authentic history in which references have been made to its erection. Who authorised it? In what year or years was it commenced and finished? Who paid the costs? What was the reason for its erection? and how many miles did it orginally extend ? How much of it exists to-day ? and Where?

  3. Who named Karooma Railway Siding? — Since the advent of the Spalding — Clare — Riverton railway in the year ? — a siding sign has been erected - and called 'Karooma,' opposite Mr. Les. Jarman's, at White Hut. Who authorised it to be named so? Who decided on the site ? Is the name of native origin?

Every reader of the 'Northern Argus' is invited to collaborate in elucidating and re-enacting items relating to the above or other similar features. Correspondence sent to 'Clarion' will be gratefully acknowledged and carefully considered. You will thus be helping towards initiating a fitting centenary of Clare's first 100 years! It is a call to your local pride and patriotism. All items will be welcome.



Links with the Past!


The first article entitled 'Links with the Past,' which was intended to be the first of a series leading up to and dealing with next year's celebration of 100 years by the Town of Clare and district, has brought forth so many expressions of good-will, that next week, the plans underlying such a series will be amplified more generally.

A number of pertinent questions relating to little known items — yet at the same time being famous associations — in Clare's history, were asked.

The response to these requests has been most gratifying.

  1. So far as I know there is no recorded history of the inauguration of the Clare Stepping Stones in Burton Street;

  2. little if any data has been available as to when and how the Stone Wall at Hill River eventuated;

  3. and some people do not even know that the Riverton — Clare — Spalding Railway was built in two sections.

As a result of splendid answers, next week in this column you will be given what is considered to be authentic information about

  1. Who built the Stepping Stones: the Mayor in office and the workmen who carried out the job and even the name of the quarry and the man who carted the stones.

  2. Regarding the Stone Wall at Hill River, most reliable evidence has been adduced to show at least one person who was paid £1 a chain to build part of it. Where this man lived and his descendants still live, will all be recorded next week.

  3. A prominent Councillor of the Clare Corporation will also tell about his vivid recollections of the first motor car and first motor truck that ever came to Clare.

Famous Australian writer Clarry C J Dennis
C J Dennis Writing

Still another interesting 'link with the past', will tell you that little Marie and Denis Denis, a brother and sister of the late Clarry (C.J.) Denis, famous Australian poet and author of 'The Sentimental Bloke,' lie at rest in a churchyard within the town's boundaries.

If there be any items relating to people of Clare; of incidents and historical data of the past 99 years worth calling attention to in this column from time to time before the advent of the centenary year — only a few months away now — all you have to do is to communicate with 'Clarion' c/o. the 'Northern Argus' office and your views will be carefully considered, and compiled.

I feel certain that the data already in process of compilation for our next issue will be of absorbing interest to people in all walks of life, and to Clareites generally far or near. And your co-operation in this historical survey is cordially invited.

I am grateful to the patriotically minded citizens who have already made available to me four different volumes dealing with the Early History of South Australia; the explorations of Edward John Eyre on his early journeying through Clare 100 years ago; and two volumes of the explorations of Captain Sturt, together with maps of his route. Data from these is being sifted and got ready. Will you help?

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