Mannanarie, South Australian History

Mannanarie

the second fifty years


Little remains after 100 years of hard work and struggle.

Around the turn of the century the population of Mannanarie had stabilised. Very few new settlers arrived to boost the population. From now on it was only the local birth rate which kept the numbers going. On 9 May 1894 Arthur Cadzow was born but on 9 June 1906 Helen Cadzow died.

Regardless of fewer new settlers at Mannanarie, the numbers of farmers actually increased. In 1901 farmers listed were Thomas Cadzow, Angus Campbell, Matthew Clark, Jane and J.W. Cummings, Andrew Hans, Harry Hall, Patrick Hehir, James Harvie, Frederick Kupski, T.A. Smallacombe, Alf Williams, Frederick Jones, J. Keheler, J. McKeough. Thomas Ninnes, P. O'Loughlin and Henry Robinson. Thomas Ninnes died 3 March 1901, aged 72. He was the husband of Mary Jane who died 2 September 1937, aged 82. Both were buried at Tarcowie.

In July 1903 the Jamestown Star reported that not withstanding the series of dry seasons, which had proved so disastrous throughout the northern areas, Mannanarie had for the past eight years yielded crops of a profitable nature. However the last year only averaged three bushels an acre. A few months later it stated that after a spendid fall of rain prospects of the season at the present time surpass all previous ones and a record harvest is confidently looked for.

However in November they had more rain than they and the town could cope with. In fact they had the biggest flood ever. Rain fell for hours and rushed in torrents to the low lying parts taking many tons of hay away, while hundreds of tons were saturated. Numerous fences were washed away but fortunately the wheat crops had suffered little damage. In February 1904, when the harvest was finished farmers on the whole were well pleased with the results.

In 1907 many of the farmers were still there and new farmers included A. Baldwin, W. Brereton, W. Burton, Ed Cock, George Cummings, J. and P.N. Funch, J.G. and J.M. Harvie, Alf Hazelwood, P.L. Holland, Matthew McCallum, P. McKeough, J. Oake, D.T. and Thomas Robinson, T. Victory and I. and W. Young. One of the reasons for the increase was no doubt the use of fertilizers which had started in 1898. Fertilizers made it possible to improve impoverished soils and even bring into production some marginal lands.

Still, there were enough people at Mannanarie to support local community activities. In August 1894 the Coursing Club held its annual meeting with H. Campbell acting as slipper. H. Campbell was involved in other activities as well. He was a stalwart of the Methodist Church and regularly represented it when needed. On 14 October 1895 he was part of the festivities to celebrate Mr and Mrs. D.C. Robinson's Golden Wedding, when some 50 people attended.

The Robinsons were married on 13 October 1853 and took up farming at nearby Black Springs where they stayed for the next 21 years. From there they moved to Mannanarie with their six daughters and one son. After their retirement they lived with their son D.F. Robinson. They were now in their mid-seventies. During the celebration a few speeches were given, including one by the Rev. S. Wellington.

The Methodist Church was very active in Mannanarie and a porch added to the church in 1901. There were regular services until 1966. In March 1907 a Bazaar was held in the local Institute by the friends of the Methodist Church. It was officially opened by J.G. Harvie who was introduced by Mrs D.T. Robinson. There was a splendid display of goods which were readily sold. Cakes were provided by Mrs Kennedy and Mrs MacCallum. The total proceeds for the day amounted to 44 which would be used to furnish the Manse.

The Church of England had very little support. Its building was demolished in 1896 and on its site the Public Hall was erected with the Foundation stone laid on 26 July 1912.

In July 1899 the local Institute members had their meeting at which it was reported that cash in hand amounted to the respectable amount, for that time, of 16. The Library contained nearly 200 books. When a new committee member was needed, A. Campbell was elected from those who volunteered.

At its July meeting in 1905 twelve members were present. Officers elected for the ensuing year were treasurer H. Jones, president Alfred T. George, long time teacher who lived with his wife and young children in the house attached to the Mannanarie school and vice-president P.T. Holland. Among the committee members elected were H. Hall, M. Clark and A. Campbell. At the same meeting it was decided to form a Literary Society as well. It became the Literary and Debating Society which in 1907 had record attendances. In May 1911 J.G. Harvie was elected president and Misses Jones, Campbell and Stella Hall committee members.

As in most country towns sport played a large part in bringing the locals together and interaction with those of surrounding towns. Cricket, races, football and athletics were major drawcards. In August 1903 the Cricket Club held its annual meeting at the hotel which resulted in the appointment of J. Funch as Captain and H. Jones as Secretary. That same month the Methodist Sunday School held its annual picnic. It turned out a beautiful day with young and old enjoying themselves. Races, games and other sports were indulged in and a cricket match was played against Yongala.

From now on Mannanarie's population slowly but surely started to decline. In 1907 D. Fletcher ran the hotel while Mrs E. Tucker had the post office. The town still had the need for a blacksmith and this service was provided by W.H. Tucker. Its only store was operated by D. McNaughton. Two years later Francis Marrion had the hotel, and A.M. Baseby the store. One familiar face who was still there was Alfred T. George who had been teaching some of the local children for all of their schooling.

During 1909 the town experienced a few setbacks. Miss Ruby Robinson, youngest daughter of D.F. Robinson was thrown from her horse and broke her arm while T. Hall, eldest son of H. Hall was admitted to the Jamestown Hospital for his second operation. The town also had a major bushfire and although some 200 people rallied to fight it, they couldn't prevent it from burning through Adolph's and Campbell's properties.

Five years later, life became a little easier for Mannanarie's 272 inhabitants when the first telephone was installed at the post office where J.H. Cundy was now the post master. Other changes which were particularly noticeable were those at the school. Long time teacher Alfred George had left and was replaced by James A. Ritchie. The hotel was run by Frances Marrion, Mrs M. Sparrow had the local store but long time farmers Thomas Cadzow and Angus Campbell were still at their farms. Although the population had declined the town still had three Justices of the Peace. They were D.T. Robinson, M. McCallum and Patrick Hehir.

Mannanarie was also affected by the horrors of WWI. Local farmer Thomas Henry Hall, aged 24 who had married Ellen Isabel Florence, enlisted on 29 February 1916. He embarked from Adelaide on HMAT Aeneas on 11 April for the Western Front where he was killed in action on 16 August 1916.

In 1928 Mannanarie still had a population of 270 people. Its primary school was still open with Mrs C.G. Swift as teacher. The Institute was also still functioning with J.M. Robinson as secretary. However few of the original settlers and farmers were still there. Among those listed in 1928 were, C. Beaven, C.H. Bradtke, Mrs M.A. Campbell, P. and Matthew Clark, the Crawford brothers, C. Cummings, F.M. Frost, Leo Gerke, the Green brothers, H. and S. Hall, W.J. Harding, J.M. Harvie, James and Patrick Heier, A.L. and Herbert Jones, James and P. McKeough, William Oake, P. O'Loughlin, C.A. Richardson, B.H. and J.M. Robinson, T.A. Smallacombe, A.T. Symons, W.H. Tanner, John Thomas, G.J. Tohl, the Wehr brothers, E.J.C. Williams and G. Young.

Among its labourers listed for that year were, E.C. Bain, O. Brereton, E. Butcher, W.D. Campbell, John Cautifund, Colin Crann, G. Lawson, Thomas Neil, T. Quinn and R. Stevens. Postal Services were provided by Mrs E.J. Cundy and H.J. Cundy was the blacksmith and Coursing Club secretary.

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