For some time I have been trying to locate the first homestead that was set up by John Coppock when he arrived in 1846. He had spoken with Robert William Von Steiglitz (the second son of an Irish Barron) and discovered that the Hindmarsh Run boundary was the 36th parallel later to become the location of the netting fence in 1895. John asked what the land was like to the north and Von Steiglitz replied that he didn’t know as he had never gone up there having arrived on his run only a few months earlier. It was agreed that Coppock would leave his stock at Hindmarsh while he explored the land to the north. It appeared a suitable location with the north end of lake Hindmarsh included inside the boundary and another unnamed lake to the north. Coppock named the northern lake Albacutya a name the aboriginals used for it and named his squat Albacutya Run. He settled at the northern end of Lake Hindmarsh and established a homestead but ended up in an argument over what side of the 36th parallel he had built on with Von Steiglitz. After some debate that was at a stalemate Coppock moved his homestead north closer to Lake Albacutya. I have been searching for the first homestead for some time and had been told that I would know it when I found it as either Coppock or his companion Egerton had planted almond trees on the site. I tend to believe it was probably Egerton that planted them as he returned later to his own run at Mount Egerton near Buninyong and Coppock never planted nut or fruit trees at the new homestead. Local rumour was that the home was on a sand dune ridge close to lake Hindmarsh so I have been looking around and had located what I thought would be a likely site but could not get to it until after the harvest as it was surrounded by crops. I was discussing the location with Trevor Petschel a local that was born in the area, who told me he thought he new the site I was looking for, but was unaware of how it got there and agreed to take me to see it. It was on the sand dunes I was going to explore and indeed there was a number of almond trees surrounding the site as well as imported peppercorn trees. It puzzled me as to why John Coppock would pick this location but trevor pointed out that it had two advantages. The first was that it had a soak close by. (This was a hole at the bottom of the rise that collected water that would slowly seep from the sand dunes that held it after rain providing a waster supply of drinkable water near by. The other was that it had two higher sand dunes that served at lookouts for passing travellers etc. I was delighted to find the location but had not taken my camera with me and to make things worse we were followed by an eagle that hovered very close above our heads as we walked over the dunes but I couldn’t get a photo. Yesterday 30 December 2014 I took my brother to see the site but discovered that the dunes all looked much the same so we wandered through the sand for some time and to my excitement we not only found the homestead site again (which by the way was 27 minutes north of the 36th and therefore Coppock was right he had built on his own land) but the eagle was following us again just as it did the first time I went there, only this time I had the camera. A hawk decided to also join the party but was not hovering like the eagle so I didn’t manage many pictures of it as it darted around. You will find more of the photos in the photo pages under Albacutya.
Out west of Rainbow, there is a quaint little settlement of Pella. Not much there you might say but if you look behind the curtain of mallee trees there is an experience to be had that may surprise you. This settlement was built by German immigrants circa 1900. Most of them came from South Australia to take up selections and developed their own community centre. After driving along a dirt track through the bush you will discover a church, school house and a home all built from the local limestone with cement made in the local limestone kiln that you will find a little further down the track. The village is located on the west side of outlet creek which has been affectionately named the Rhine as the locals refer to the community as being across the Rhine. At the back of the limestone kiln you will find another building hidden from view that is referred to as the mystery house as its purpose was unknown for many years and except for the investigatory of Constable Bill Miller back in 1935 it may have remained a mystery. In the Pella pages you will find the stories of this community as I discover more of this fascinating location. I have included Pella on my history tour and they proudly open the church and school for visitors. For those interested in history this village has a lot to reveal.
In Pella we discover the story of an early aeroplane enthusiast who with the help of his brother designed and built his own plane and discover the story of its demise.
Over the next few weeks I will add some of the stories of Pella and its people.
Go to the History, Mallee, Pella for these stories
I finally finished gathering the information for Dawns Story. It was published over 9 weeks in the local paper 20 years ago and follows her life up to the age of 16. Dawn arrived in Rainbow a short time after my mother left with her family and Dawns first job was behind the counter in the local café in the same job mum had vacated a short time before.
You can check out Dawn’s story in the Mallee history section.
Tuesday 2nd December 2014
While attending a tourism meeting of the Wimmera Mallee committee in Dimboola, We were taken for a look at the print Museum that is soon to be opened in the town. It is almost complete and it was amazing to see all of the equipment fully operational. some of the pieces are over 100 years old, one has been in a building that was burned down and it is restored and fully functional today. We were privileged to be shown through the display by a man that had apprenticed in the business eventually becoming the owner and then selling it to retire. He is still a very capable operator and surprised all as he started up each machine and operated it. Some of these were powered by a peddle that he pushed with his foot as he placed the sheets of paper into it and then removed it again on the next cycle as he placed the next in to be printed. (It reminded me of a person rubbing his stomach while patting his head but with the added piece of pushing a peddle with the foot at the same time.)
As you pass through this building you walk through the history of the local newspaper industry in these towns and see how much effort it took to produce a newspaper. The picture of the fireplace in the photo section is where he worked every Saturday morning melting down the lead from the past week to form the ingots ready for the next print run. He filled hundreds of ingot moulds with the molten lead each week.
Monday the 1st December 2014
I had made an appointment to visit a David Livingston in Jeparit in search of the Hindmarsh Run homestead as it was a bit of a mystery as to where it was located. David’s family goes way back to the beginning of Jeparit and as it turned out he was living on the very spot where the old station homestead was and even lived in the old house while building his home and dairy on the site.
It was a great afternoon as David is a walking encyclopaedia of the location. And I came away with enough material to write a book. I still need to spend some time in their archives to collect some more pictures before starting the Jeparit page in the history section. But I will add a few pictures in the picture album to get it started.
The site was on a bend of the Wimmera River and had the water on three sides. It would have been a picturesque spot sitting on the rise with a view of the river on three sides. However today the rise is covered with houses but there is still a lovely view of the river from the Livingston garden.
Hindmarsh Run Homestead in the late 1800’s