Eurelia

Eurelia.

The Hundred of Eurelia was proclaimed in 1871 but the survey was not completed until five years later. The first land for selection became available on 21 November 1876 and some of the first buyers on that day were, Alfred Schramm, Thomas, John and Charles Price, Patrick, Mary, James and Edward McNamara, Michael Edward, Mary, James, Caroline and William Potts, Martin Ryan, Mary Hendry and John Kinnane. Lack of good rains and surface water, an excess of kangaroos, dingoes and rabbits plus the regular short or long term droughts made successful farming very difficult if not impossible.

Map of Eurelia

During 1878 the town of Eurelia was surveyed and the first blocks of land sold on 10 October 1878 for 2 pound ten shillings each. More than 120 blocks were sold that day, mostly to land agents who would later re-sell them hoping to make a good profit. However several locals also bought land including John Fielder, John Hendry and James Potts. John Fielder bought eight blocks and built the Eurelia Hotel. He only kept it for a short time as in April 1880 Martin Kenny became the new owner. Some of the early settlers became related when on 23 June 1879, at the residence of the bride's father, Thomas Sheriff Price and Mary Ann Carter, fourth daughter of J.C. Potts, of Pine Valley Eurelia, were married by the Rev P.R. Dodd.

On 25 April 1879 a large public meeting was held at the Eurelia Hotel to consider the wants of the district. John McNamara was in the chair to establish and maintain proper procedures. M. Manning proposed asking the government for 1,000 for making a reservoir near the town. Water supply was a matter of great concern he said and should be dealt with immediately to take advantage of the winter rains. The motion was seconded by John Kinane who saw the lack of water as a great drawback. The next motion was proposed by T.S. Price who would like to see a much better mail service.

Farmers too had been busy and in January 1880 J.F. Schramm, agent for John Dunn & Co asked for teamsters to cart wheat to Port Augusta. The first shop in town was opened by John Hendry but by 1881 brothers J, M and P Cummings, ran a blacksmith and wheelwright business. The Cummings have been associated with the town from its very beginnings until well into the 1960s.

Thomas Cummins, a ploughman by trade, and his wife Anne Cashen, arrived in South Australia on 25 December 1853 from Ireland, via Southampton, on the Epaminondas which carried 454 migrants. They lived for a time at Lyndoch before moving to Eurelia, by which time their surname had changed to Cummings. During the voyage out Anne gave birth to Patrick Joseph. When he married Eliza Kelly on 12 September 1881, the ceremony was witnessed by John E. Manning, publican of Eurelia and Ellen M. Manning. After a number of poor harvests, Patrick tried his luck in Broken Hill but later moved to Western Australia where he died in 1904, leaving a wife and five children.

Thomas and Anne's second child, James was born in 1855. He moved to the Northern Territory and established racing at Alice Springs. He died in 1911 after falling from his horse on his Ellery Creek Station. His headstone, erected by public subscription reads, "In recognition of his sportman-like qualities and general good fellowship". Thomas and Anne several more children, including Michael, Thomas and George.

On 12 September 1882 George Cummings bought section 33 of 543 acres at $2 per acre to establish his farm. Ten years later he was able to sell surplus stock. During that year George, who was a member of the Eurelia Racing Club, acted as Steward and Handicapper. The Cummings have been involved with horses and racing for a long time. Jim Cummings' son Bart has become a well known trainer. Since 1958 Bart Cummings has had 78 runners in the Melbourne Cup with 12 winners, the last one in 2008 with Viewer. He has also had numerous other important race winners.

In 1894 George was joined by James, Patrick and Thomas who also had their farms at Eurelia. Michael Cummings was still working as a wheelwright in 1894 but John and Patrick had closed shop. Patrick had moved to Western Australia during the 1890s gold rush there and later died at Black Range. During 1914 Bill Cummings went droving along the Birdsville track. George, Joe, Eric and Peter Cummings joined the Eurelia Agricultural Bureau in 1916. Leo, Dennis and Peter Cummings played football for the local team and Carrieton during the 1920s.

The Cummings family was very involved with the local community, and not just with sport. Fred Cummings, born at Belalie North on 17 April 1878 as the fifth son of Henry Cummings, was a member of the Belalie District Council for 25 Years, and chairman for 8 years during that time. He was also a Life Member of the Show Society. Fred's brother, James, stood for the 1937 election but was defeated by William Gustav Bradtke. Their nephew, George H. Cummings was elected for the Belalie Ward in July 1964 and served until his death on 21 February 1972.

The females of the Cummings family also made their mark on the town. Mary Cummings was appointed Monitor at the Eurelia School, to assist Head Teacher Carl Otto Meyer, on 25 September 1898. On 30 March 1919 another Mary qualified for High School and in 1926 won the Miss Eurelia Contest.

In 1881 John Kitson was listed as boot maker, W. Byerlee as storekeeper and John Manning as Hotelkeeper. During 1882 Leopold Judell, storekeeper of Orroroo, opened a store in Eurelia which was managed by Patrick Ryan, who also performed the duties of Registrar of births, deaths and marriages. A few years later, in December 1885, Ryan became the owner of the store when the licence was transferred to him from E.T. Peate. In 1901, Ryan went to the Worturpa goldfields with some of the Eurelia farmers. Being unsuccessful he sold his store to Henry and Ernest Fry in 1904 and left South Australia to try his luck at the recently opened goldfields at Boulder, Western Australia.

Thomas Shepherd was the first Postmaster at Eurelia. R. Wylie was appointed on 26 February 1879. In April 1883 the Post Office was shifted to the railway station and the Station Master, W. Pryor, also became the Postmaster. With the connection to the telegraph in 1885 Pryor also assumed responsibility for its operation. Pryor's wife Harriett Teresa, who did most of the postal duties died in 1897 and is buried in the Eurelia cemetery. After seventeen years at Eurelia, Pryor was transferred to Beltana and replaced by E. Rook.

The Terowie to Quorn narrow gauge railway line was originally planned to go through Morchard and Coomooroo Corner but with the help of several petitions from Eurelia residents Michael Manning, John Stott and Patrick McNamara, the line eventually went via Walloway, Eurelia and Carrieton. The first trains between Quorn and Eurelia were running in 1881. The railways provided much needed employment. When the line was completed a reservoir was constructed, a station master's residence, railway workers cottages, office, waiting room, a goods shed with weighbridge, large overhead water tank, porter's room and platform complete with crane.


Express train at Eurelia

After an outbreak of typhoid at nearby Carrieton in June 1885, several towns including Eurelia were inspected by the Central Board of Health. The Board reported that the town had fairly good sanitary conditions. Its site was a good one, affording excellent natural drainage. Drinking water could be obtained from underground and other tanks, whereas during scarcity water could be had from the railway dam. This dam was constructed in such a way that no surface refuse or drainage from the town could get washed into it. As the town had no wells it would not be necessary to enforce the construction of watertight cesspools.

During the late 1880s Eurelia residents were much interested in the mining ventures which had lately been in the news. Some had made their way to Broken Hill whereas others opted for the goldfields at Teetulpa. Even the ex Postmaster, Thomas Shepherd and his brother Henry had taken out a Miner's Right in January 1888 and ordered the latest mining regulations. However silver was discovered at Eurelia and P. McNamara was actively employed on his property about six kilometres west of the town. Silver was also discovered about three kilometres from the railway station by Wilson, Cummings and Palmer. All were convinced that it would prove The Broken Hill of South Australia!!

By the late 1880s the town's population had grown to about 80 people living in 19 houses. In 1888 the Eurelia hotel was run by J.Palmer, the postmaster was W. Pryor and the Resident Justice was P.McNamara. A year later William Henry Byerlee was the Resident Justice until 1896 when he was joined by Patrick Joseph Ryan and Charles Hall. George F.Smith was the publican from 1889 until 1894.

By the 1890s Eurelia had a population of more than one hundred people. It had now several shops including George Barrett's boot making establishment. The boundaries of the District Council, originally proclaimed in 1887, were changed and Eurelia became part of the Carrieton District Council. In 1900, the Bible Christians, who had been active since 1879, combined with the Wesleyans to form the Methodists and became part of the Johnburgh Carrieton United Methodist Circuit. This served the towns of Johnburgh, Carrieton, Bendleby, Eurelia, Belton, Pamatta and Yanyarrie.

The Methodists were the only religious denomination in town who had a church building which they could call their own. The Catholics of Eurelia were served by the Pekina Parish. Church of England members had to travel to Yongala to attend church services. Later they, and the Catholics used the Eurelia Hall for their services.

The Methodists Church was also used by the Education Department for a short time until it had completed its own school in 1885. Eurelia's first teacher was Gerald Fitzgerald who looked after an average of five students during 1881 which included W. Stott and J. Hamilton. In 1883 the average attendance had increased to eight children under the care of Walter Matthews who resigned at the end of the 1885 school year. From then on the school was served by female teachers. In 1888, the Education Department appointed Mary Cecilia Ryan and Eliza Kildea as Provisional Teacher at the Eurelia School. The last female teacher was Cecilia E. James, who transferred to Beltana in July 1898, to become Pryor's second wife. She was replaced by Carl Otto Meyer.


Eurelia 2008.

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Eurelia Cemetery

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