In search of the first site of the Albacutya Run homestead

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.

Coppock almond trees 2 Eagle 7

6 thoughts on “In search of the first site of the Albacutya Run homestead”

  1. I have a family connection through John Coppock so have been very interested in your post! The information is great !

    Have enjoyed reading details about the Station which was so far removed from his family origins of Manchester, UK

  2. My husbands family member Arthur Scott, B about 1845 in Yarmouth Norfolk England, died 1863 Victoria ? it is said, lived at Albacutya Station, but I cannot find proof of this. His daughter Mildred Caroline (Mary) Burchell Scott was born in Ascot Vale Victoria 31/3/1874, died Ararat, Victoria, in 1937. Her mother was Sarah Wise, B 1848.

    1. In 1863 John Coppock had many workers working as shepherds in pairs. Each pair had a flock to care for. There were also workers around the homestead that did chores about the Run such as delivering supplies to the shepherds, cooking etc. Unfortunately there are no records of those employed. Some were Itinerant workers (swaggies) who came through at shearing time etc.

  3. Was John Coppock a transported convict or not? I am researching the history of the “Travellers Rest” at Little River where John (or George Coppock) was the first licensee in 1839 before he went to Mt Edgerton. Some claim he was a free immigrant and if so why did he change his name to George to take over the licence of the hotel. Read “Yaldwyn of the Golden Spurs” for another view of the man.

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