WHEN CRYSTAL BROOK WAS SHEEP RUN
Kangaroos Were Driven Into The Sea PIONEER'S STORY
By Our Travelling Staff Representative
CRYSTAL BROOK August 29 Mrs. David Heaslip. who is 88, is a real Crystal Brook pioneer. As a girl of 15, she came to this district to the Bowman's Crystal Brook head station.
Bowman's Crystal Brook head station which also included Napperby, Nel shaby and Broughton runs. The boundaries or this huge stretch of country, owned by John, William, and Thomas Bowman, were the sea and Broughton River. Mrs. Heaslip came back today to attend the reunion cele brations in this town. Yesterday Mr. Harold Heaslip motored me across to Gladstone, where this remarkably well-preserved woman lives. She gave me a vivid account of life in the days when people enjoyed the romance of moulding the destinies of the State. Mrs. Heaslip was bom at Willunga in 1844. Her grandfather, Stephen Paris, was among the earliest arrivals in South Australia, and her parents subsequently resided at the Burra and Mintaro. Her mother died when she was 12 years of age, and at 15 she was engaged by Mrs. Bowman at Crystal Brook station until she married Mr. Heaslip at Mintaro in 1882. Her husband came up to H. B. Hughes's Boovoolie estate at Glad- stone, where for three years he broke in horses for Indian remounts. They then went to live on Nelshaby, Nap- perby, and at the Bowman's head sta tion until the northern areas were opened up and Mr. Heaslip bought a farm at Hughes Gap, a portion of Boo- yoolee. Mr. Heaslip had one of the first contracts to fence Crystal Brook run. He also had the contract to sink the first railway dam at Warner- town—a huge catchment two or three chains long. It is silted level now. Fighting Drought And Pests "The season was very good when we went to Crystal Brook, but in 1865, I think it was, there was no water and nearly all the stock were sent to Nel- shaby." Mrs. Heaslip told me. "All the calves and foals were destroyed. Most of the sheep were shorn at Nap- perby, where more than 50 shearers were engaged at the big shed. The wool was carted to Bowman's jetty at Port Pirie. "During the drought the springs went dry, and they had to sink wells. It was shearing time, but when they went out one morning to get a tank of water they found that the well had been filled with sand overnight. It was nearly dinner time before they got sufficient water." Mrs. Heaslip recalled the big kan- garoo hunts when all the men and dogs from the three stations mustered the marsupials, and drove them into the sea. She spoke of the hundreds of wild cattle, which in drought times stampeded down from the Beetaloo and Napperby hills to the sea, drank the salt water, and perished; the huge wild pigs on the Broughton which were quickly despatched because they killed the lambs. ""I wonder how these pigs got there in the first place," Mrs. Heaslip re- flected. "They must have escaped from a ship. Emus were like flocks of sheep in those days between Crystal Brook and Napperby. I have seen blackfellows stalking along behind a big bough and spearing them." An Old Station Cemetery Although she has not seen it for many years, she remembered the old cemetery on Crystal Brook Station, in which are buried Crystal Brook and Lillian May Bowman, son and daugh ter of William Bowman; Walter Broughton Bowman. Catherine Helen Kelsh, whose sister Mr. T. R. Bowman married; Joseph Tomlin, who died suddenly in June, 1865, and whose two children 2½ and 6½ years respectively, died within a month of each other in July of that year. I inspected this old cemetery yesterday, and found that Mrs. Heaslip's memory was as fresh as ever. In the same hallowed ground, bor- dered by a stone wall, are a number of small mounds without headstones. "A lot of men were killed about the station and were buried there," Mrs. Heaslip said. "One boy was sent out to shepherd sheep. He dug a cave in the bank of the creek; it collapsed and suffocated him." The late David Heaslip took up a section of land at Hughes' Gap when Booyoolee was first subdivided. He had to cart water from the creek until he sunk a dam there. Until the rail- way was constructed the wheat was carted to Port Pirie. One could often see long processions of bullock teams drawing loads of grain in summer and winter. Mrs. Heaslip remembers having seen Mr. Goyders survey camp when he was working out his famous line of rainfall. Jubilee School Exhibition results on Page 17