'Back to Clare' - 1928

Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954), Friday 24 February 1928, page 7




A public meeting to consider the proposal of a 'Back to Clare' week was held at the Clare Town Hall on Friday evening of last week.

There was a good attendance, presided over by the Mayor (Mr. J. Bails), J.P. (illustrated at left).


In his opening remarks the Mayor said 'A Back to Clare' movement had been spoken of for some time past, a suggestion with respect to it having appeared in 'The Northern Argus' some few months ago.

After giving the matter consideration the Corporation had decided to call a public meeting.

The Clare Corporation was inaugurated on September 1st, 1868, and therefore would celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, and it was thought the present year would be a fitting time in which to hold the celebration.

The first meeting of the Corporation was held in Smith's Hotel, and later meetings at the Institute, and afterwards at the old town hall.

The movement at this time he felt sure would appeal to all.


Almost every town in the state of any size and importance had held 'back to' movements. He referred to movements at Port Lincoln and Kadina which had been very successful.


He had been at Kadina when the 'back to' movement was on and everything had been splendidly arranged.

  • He had since obtained information on the matter kindly supplied by the Town Clerk of Kadina.

  • The object of their meeting was to launch the movement, and in the first place to nominate an executive.

  • They could afterwards appoint subcommittees and thus distribute the work.

  • They wanted to make the affair a success, and must take it in hand in good time.  

  • A suggestion bad been made that the movement be held in show week, but that would rest with the meeting to decide.


The preparation for the event would entail an enormous amount of work, and he was pleased to be in a position to state that Mr. S. H. Ayers (illustrated at below left) had kindly consented to act as secretary (applause.)


The business people and townspeople generally would be called upon to give the movement a start, and he expected they would make a big success, of benefit to the town.

Apologies for non-attendance were received from the Rev. C. W. E. Swan, Messrs. P. H. Knappstein, T. P. Gillen, and J. W. Ohlmeyer.

Mr. A. E. Smith proposed that

a 'Back to Clare' week be held in 1928.

Mr. R. H. Tilbrook seconded and the proposition was carried unanimously.

A discussion then took place as to when the movement should be held.


Mr. J. C. Dux (president of the Clare A. & H. Society) said that he would like to see it held during show week.

It would fill in one day, and show how productive the district was.

He proposed that the movement be held in show week.


Mr. R. R. Carmichael suggested that the opening day of the movement be on a Saturday.

  • Mr. C. Pink asked If there was my likelihood of the show being held on a Saturday, to which Mr. Dux replied that it had never been mooted.

  • Mr. J. D. Gilchrist asked if daily programmes were to be provided, to which Mr. Sails replied that each day would have its own programme.

  • Mr. A. C. Jeffrey seconded the proposition that the movement be held in Show week. It should get a good 'kick-off' on Show day.

  • Dr. A. A. Smith thought the movement should be held later on, about the third week in November, when the district would be at its best, and added attractions would be bowls and tennis.

  • He proposed an amendment that the opening day be Saturday, November 17.

  • Mr. J. Victorsen seconded.
    Show week would be a busy time in any ease, and bowls and tennis would be great attractions.

  • Mr. H. W. Moss supported the amendment.

  • Mr. Dux said that at that time country people would be haymaking and reaping, and if they had started harvesting would not attend.

  • Mr. E. Victorsen said October was a busy time with gardeners, and there would be more likelihood be risky to hold the event in October.

  • Mr. A. J. Bowley thought it would be risky to hold a week in October.

  • The Rev. A. H. Rentier, Messrs. R. H. Tilbrook and W. H. Whitney expressed opinion in favor of November.

  • On being put ' to the meeting it was carried that the opening day be Saturday, November 17.

  • Mr. S H. Ayers be appointed secretary. Mr. P. T. Brebner seconded, and the proposition was carried unanimously.

  • Mr. Ayers expresed his thanks for the honor conferred on him, and would do his utmost to carry out the duties satisfactorily.

After discussion and proposition and amendment, the amendment was carried that the executive consist of

the Mayor, Councillors of Clare Corporation, and Town Clerk, the chairman and clerk of the Clare District Council, and the Chairman and Clerk of the Hutt and Hill Rivers District Council, and Mr, S. H. Ayers.

Sub-committees will be appointed later. Members of the. executive are requested to note that their first meeting will be held on Monday, March 5. 

Bails_john Clare Mayor.jpg

Above: Mr. John Bails, of Port road, Beverley, was Mayor of Clare during the 'Back to Clare' celebrations in 1938.

He was a store keeper in the town for 30 years.

Earlier he had worked for many years on the trading vessels Queen and Pyap, on the River Murray.

A justice of the peace for about 40 years, Mr. Bails was a life member of the Justices' Association.

He was educated at Prince Alfred College and was the oldest surviving old scholar. His son, Mr. Gordon Bails, was Mayor of Clare in 1940-45.

Mr. S. H. Ayers, of Clare was recently elected secretary of the Clare Racing Club.

Mr. Ayers is also a member of the Amateur Turf Club committee. He acted as honorary totalisator steward at Cheltenham on Saturday.

He is a son-in-law of Sir Sidney Kidman, and is a life member of the Port Adelaide and Amateur Turf Clubs.


Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), Saturday 25 August 1928, page 18



I.—By the Rev. R. Kelly.

There is not a choicer 6trip of country in South Australia than that which extends from Auburn to Bungaree, say, 25 miles north and south. It was an un-' -erring instinct that led men like the Fishers, the Hawkers, E. B. Gleeson, and John Hope to settle in such a charming district. It used to be held by a certain class as almost a crime on the part of others that they "'picked out the eyes of the country," but when the whole country was open to them and inviting occupation,-was it likely that men of enterprise wiio bad come to this new land,, prepared to endure the hardships of pioneering, would select the least suitable spots for their pastoral and other experiments?

" Bungaree, on the Hutt River, and Hill River, with the stream of that name cornsing across its wide spaces, were the very sites that would appeal to men of the intelligence of those early residents already named. Water has always been an important consideration with those who have endeavoured to push out Into new fields, j As far back as the days of Abraham, the j fact has been noted by historians, and in countries like South Africa and Australia,

where the supply ia uncertain, a perman-] ent stream is of immense value ifici waterwayb of the Clare district did not, quite come up to this description, hut they ; were neav chough to it to satisfy the new- j

comers. _ . _

E. B. Gleeson and John Hope, a pair of stalwart Irishmen, ipsde their headquarters in Clare itself, the first naming Lis home "Inchiquin," after I*rd Inchiquin," while Mr. Hope chose \Volta Wolta," a native name, for bis lovely home nestling between the hills on the immediate west of the township. Both of these gentlemen had large pastoral holdings far. Jher afield. • . ,

Visitors to Clare, who have previously known little or nothing of its topography. Lave been surprised to find so far north ®ueli beauty of scenery and such prolific vegetation. The view northward with the /'Never Never" Ranges in the far dislance, is a picture the imagination delights to dwell upon, thp prospect from the western hills, especially when the plains were covered with dense mallee,-. was as it - «ne were looking across a wide stretch of

sea to ihe ranges beyond, and .the magnihficent expanse- eastward, as viewed from the Hill River "gap," before the great wine plantations had somewhat obscured it, was something to dreim about. Mim,y » time, in childhood, haye I tried to take in the scene—boundless it seemed to be— with its' marvellous blue and green tints. It was an impression that preserved one s mind from narrowness and, moreover, :t

was indelible.

Beauty and Interest.

Coming to local detail there were, and arc -still, opportunities for walks and, ddveV such as arc rarely found m or around our country t?wnship8. The botanist can enjoy a-^radise, and the^gc

logist an interesting field for his enquaiy. There is no coal mine to blacken the akv and no gold or copper to tempt the despoiler of the landscape. Once or twice rumours of gold discoveries have been heard" and a few miles out, a reputed - copner "show" was timidly worked, but

the absence of mineral wealth liaa c0IP® j to be taken as a.wise limitation on the the part of Providence, in view of the riches of the surface soil. You

Lave everything, and from the first it was «ecn that in Clare and its surroundings

ihere was enough to justify the prophecy, that it would one day blossom into a beautiful garden. "It has come to be, as foreseen and if there is sometimes a failure Li the shape of markets, or the want of them, it is not the fault of Nature, for she has been sufficiently generous. In former years a considerable . quantity of wheat was grown in the district, and flour ™ Us existed at Clare.- Penwortliam, "Watervale and Auburn. Of most of these liardlv a stone remains. This may seem like decline, but the wlieatgrowor has turned his attention to the plains, and railways have earned bis produce in otl er directions, leaving tbe students of m

tense culture to provide other liecessaues | of life from the smaller and superseded

areas. j

Founder and Population. ' * . j The real founder of Clare was Mr. Gleeeon. who not only named it alter li s native county, liut' christened its suburbs Honuybrdok aud Armagh, for reasons 110 doubt dear to his heart. fhe populatioii of earlv Clare, say, from the middle fifties onward was quite a representative one. Of English folk there was a fair P[°>,or; tion and among the farmers , on Stanley Flat there might lie heard «>me

round dialect from the midlands. Spi.ing Farm supplied a fine west country contingent ill the devout Cornisli people, who migrated from the Burra about the time when the famouse mine drew '^arfxliaus

tion point. Scotchmen were fairly numerous In the White Hpt and Hill

Town " itSfibn tllo- Highland clans, foregather, and so ' important an rlemeitft were they that they secured f'om Ecotlanil a pastor, the Rev.

call to minister to them in their own Vernacular. Irish people settled in large numbers/ especially about Sevenhills and Armagh There was a good sprinkling of Germans, and in the vicinity of Mintaro, but still looking to Clare as their bueines^

ce" a law colony of. Polish folk found - homes. Like the Gaelic colonists,, thet

were provided with a pnest of their own race Father Rogalski, who was a member uf the stiff of Sevcnliills College, a con

venient meeting place for

flock. On one Good I-riday I, as a lad,

listened to him in i&fc the

ilrefwinc Ins own folk, -cud# Uiouj? ,

fi«e strange, the action and the - tones of voice conveyed much, and the

memory of it all has lingered to this day. At that time a trip to Adelaide seemed a fairly big undertaking. The Jommey was a rough one until Git trareiie

touched the railway at Kapunda or "'slice Clare was an important outpost.

It marked the northern boundary in the itinerary of the fine body of commercial travellers who, -with buggy and pair, did the round month by month. The next township northward was Melrose, a hundred * miles away. . On the intervening "areas" survey work was going on, and the names of Mr. J. W. J ones and Mr. O'Reilly are suggested in this connection Port Pirie was a swamp, the Barrier Ranges a desolate region, wber eswagmcn perished of thirst, the Wallaroo mines had just been discovered, and the mule teams that carried ore from the Burra to Port Wakefield had not long disappeared. In 1802 Mr.' Gleeson and other horsemen

went out toward Bungaree to meet a party who were bringing in relics of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition, and about that period there was a day when, in the dinner hour, the school children went down' the long main street to sec Mr. J. M. Stuart and his band of explorers, who were camped on a vacant spot neatly opposite the present Victorsen


Trains of Vehicles.

Clare was on the great highway of traffic to the far north, and I well remember the long trains of vehicles that passed through carrying the material for the overland telegraph. On account of sts

situation, Clare ..was the entrepot for the. many sheep stations that spread out for hundred of miles into the interior. About the' beginning of the 'sixties the electrictelegraph line was laid between the Burra and Clare,' and it was a memorable day where Mr. J. M. Belcher, of the former town, came-over to introduce the new invention to the residents. Instruments were fixed in a room at the old Sham

rock and-Thistle Hotel, and the present writer was among a curious crowd of youngsters who pushed their way in to get a sight of the scientific marvel. In those days we depended for news of the outside .world on a monthly mail. To 6eud a letter to England cost sixpence, and the weekly newspaper from the city was a literary luxury for which young and old looked with the greatest interest.

From its earliest history Clare had among its people those who placed importance on the cultivation gf the mind, and endeavoured to keep abreast of the doings of the larger world. In 1867, there was formed a "mutual improvement society"with some 60" members. \ It had a prpsporous' run, and on : special, 'occasions crowded the town ball, a' favourite elocutionist being Mr. E. Lipsett, who came from the Burra to assist. ■ The Mechanics'

Institute.was established about'that time,] with Mrs. Chandler as librarian. This] lady was' one of .tlie -first to" open" a day school. Other .teachers were Mrs. and Miss Hawker. The lastnaincd died a few

months ago at a very advanced age. Her j name was closely identified with the his-' tory of Clare from its beginning. Of-the first generation in the teaching profession were Messrs. W. Moyses, T. Stephens, R. Graham,. R. Willsliire. A. Motley, L. W. Stanton, and Miss Steele.. The Misses Lipsett came a little later, Mrs. Hope for. several years conducted a Sunday school jn her home at Wolta Wolta.

Newspaper Enterprise.

A decided step forward was taken when about 1869 Messrs. • Clode & Tilbrook brought- out The Northern Argus, a | weekly broadsheet, which had as one of j its earliest editors Mr.' C. L. Walshe. The present writer followed him in the office, and was succeeded by liis father, the_ late Mr. W. Kelly, who occupied the

position for many years. An opposition • paper, under the late Hon. E, Ward, had a short run, but the local constituency was not large enough to support 'two

enterprises of tlio kind. Tlie .printer of tlie second journal, Mi:. Alfred Waddy, kept on Ilia business fin: some--tiine, and eventually withdrew for the same reason. One literary venture of .about that date was the publication of a book by Mr. J\ Eiffe, of Armagh... It jvas entitled "The Three L's—Lawyers, Landjobbers. and Lovers." It dealt - with- political affairs of time, and especially with problems of land settlement. The book interested some aud auTuscd others. Whether it was -a success financially I cannot say, but the author put much time and thought into it, and ^earned a fair reward. Several preachers -«d politicians, have como out of the district;, among the latter may.be mentioned the .Hon. T. PascOe aud the late Hon. P. P. 'Gillen. Tliese names belong to early -Clare, though the public activities associated with tiicm arc connected with a later period.

(To be continued.) ' . ]