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Clare's mystery Mural explored

Updated: Feb 11

Most people have heard of the Knappsteins, but why is E.W. Castine in this picture?

Pictured: Otto Knappstein pours wine with E.W. Castine, 1930

Otto Knappstein

Otto Knappstein (Robert Otto, above left, 1887-1957) was a respected older son of Joseph Knappstein (below), his father was one of the four founders of the Stanley Winery (now 'Mr Mick Winery') in Clare (with Messrs. John Christison, Magnus Badger JP (Clare Mayor), and Dr. Otto Wien-Smith) in 1895.

Otto Knappstein in bowling whites at Grange, with his club Jan 1939, see the full photo in the footer

Otto (left) was sometimes described as the chairman of Stanley Wine Coy, but until 1938 it was actually being run by Elders Trustees for the estate of Joseph Knappstein (pictured below, later on he did become the chairman of Stanley Wine Coy).

The Knappstein family did all the work, but only for wages, not dividends. Otto took care of the agriculture interests.

Stanley Winery founder Joseph Knappstein

Joseph had died early in in 1918 or 1919, aged 60 years, leaving behind a young family - Bill, the youngest, was only two at the time, and Mick seven years old, Jean eight years old;

Joseph left a considerable estate:

  • The winery, a piggery, acres of farming land,

  • 50 acres of orchard, and 200 acres of vines

"Until 1938 Stanley was run by Elders Trustees for the estate of Joseph Knappstein, and went badly into debt, to £45,000" (about the value of the business). Bernie Knappstein was then the acting manager. Read more: Mr Mick History

After the family took over the winery again in 1938, it was run by Fred W. Knappstein, but he unfortunately died on 21 Dec 1938 aged 48. (Fred had also been a Councillor of Clare).

Bernie took over again as wine maker-manager, and later in January 1954 Bernie himself died of a heart attack.

Read more at: Clare Museum|Joseph Knappstein

Have you twigged yet, that the above photo of Otto and Ernest is on a wall in the middle of Clare? - on the side of the Clewers building, opposite the Clare Town Hall.

Painted by Vivian Ziersch (above) who also created the sculpture 'Powerlines' on the Riesling Trail near Leasingham.

Who was E.W. Castine?

Ernest William Castine (1869-1955) was the Chairman of directors of the successful new Mid-North Electricity Co in 1925, and his family lived at the large Penobscot Farm at Watervale.

He was also president of the Clare bowling and golf clubs and chairman of the Upper Wakefield District Council.

After his first wife Selma passed away, Ernest, aged 53 in 1923, took his younger three unmarried children Jack 21, Jean 19 and Molly 17, his sister Gert 45 and father John William 77, on a trip to Cornwall England, then home via Paris and the town of Castine in Maine, USA.

(Read more: Clare Museum|Auburn Historian Col. J.W. Castine)

Ernest Castine with the Clare Bowling Club at Grange, but not wearing bowling white uniform, Jan 1929

Ernest married again, his 2nd wife Ena, while in Yorkshire on that trip to England.

For a time Ernest ran a store in Auburn, then a 1,600 acres (650 ha) property "Penobscot" at Watervale and an 11,000 acres (4,500 ha) grazing property near Quorn. He was also managing director of Andamooka Pastoral Company running 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) and was a partner with Sidney Kidman in Morney Plains Station in Queensland. In 1927 the property was acquired by Ernest Castine for £27,500.

Campaigning for election in 1933, Ernest Castine said he was reared in a political atmosphere (his father, Col. J.W. Castine, was M.P. for Wooroora for 18 years).

Mr. Castine had always been interested in public affairs and he had been chairman of the Upper Wakefield District Council, secretary of the Northern Agricultural Society, and a member of the board of the Clare and District Hospital.

He had travelled extensively and studied politics, and agriculture and other rural pursuits in England, U.S.A., Canada, New Zealand, and all the States of the Commonwealth.

The Mid North Electricity Coy (pictured left) in Clare was a great success and paid regular dividends to its shareholders. It expanded electricity supply through the Clare Valley and nearby townships.

This apparently helped to make Ern popular enough to be elected to the S.A. Legislative Council from 1933-1964.

Journeys with Sidney Kidman

E.W. Castine wrote a series of articles on his journeys with famous cattleman Sir Sidney Kidman with whom he bought the Morney Plains Station in Queensland:

Article - Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931) Saturday 26 June 1909

Article - The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929)Saturday 3 July 1909

Article - Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931) Saturday 10 July 1909

Article - The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) Monday 5 July 1909

Why celebrate with Otto Knappstein in 1930?

Ernest Castine was a constant and successful bowler for the Clare Bowling Club. For Christmas 1930 both Otto Knappstein and Ernest Castine were heavily involved with the bowls competition, and Ernest Castine won the pairs tournament.

Both players also opened their homestead gardens for trips which also included tours of Sevenhills College and the homesteads of Messr. Harmer and Angus (Hill River Station).

Otto Knappstein pours wine for Ernest Castine

Because of the great success of the Xmas tournament, a photographer managed a happy shot of celebrations by Knappstein (left) and Castine (right) in 1930.

Happily, the Clare Regional History Group had a copy, and Vivian Ziersch used it in his mural design of 2014.

For more information of Clare's murals you could visit:

A self-guided journey that takes you around to their art galleries, including some by appointment only, cellar doors with art, sculptures, street art, murals.

Clare township has several street art and mural locations, along the main street in front of Mitre 10, along Ness Street, Burton Street, Gleeson Street and Lennon Street, as well admiring the mosaics on your way into the Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre.

Otto Knappstein, centre back, and E.W. Castine (not in whites) were clearly the tallest of the Clare Bowling Team

Read more: Clare Museum | Auburn Historian Col. J.W. Castine

["Ancient History" 73 Years in South Australia By LIEUT.-COLONEL J. W. CASTINE]


Postscript: Mid North Electricity Coy...

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