Out among the People
SOMEWHERE about one hundred years ago the first white men stood on the summit of Mount Barker, and a correspondent has sent me an extract
from the "Life and Letters of Sir John J Morphett." in which there is given one version of this historical happening, but in the "Extracts, Jottings and Memo randa of William Finlayson." to which reference has previously been made in this column, the claim is made that it was Robert Cock. Valentine Wyatt, George Barton, and William Finlayson who comprised the first party. Sir John Morphett's Version THE following extracts are from a letter dated December 6, 1837, and was written by Sir John Morphett to Mr. Samuel Wendy, a partner in the legal firm of Wesse, Wendy and Morphett of Chancery Lane. London:— "A few days back I went with four gentlemen over the Mount Lofty range of hills with a view to looking at a river, which was said to run from N. to S. About six miles on the other side of the mountain ... we ascended the stream for three or four miles, until we came to where it bifurcated. . . . The guide said he had never crossed the river, nor did he believe that anyone in the colony had .. - . this deter mined us upon crossing the river -- - After we had left the river behind us six or seven miles, upon crossing the peak of an eminence we saw Mount Bar- ker about four miles ahead; to push on to this was the object which interested us, and after some time we all rode our horses to the top, being the first Europeans who had ever ascended it." Three of John Morphett's companions were Mr. Hack, Mr. Stephens, and Mr. John Wade, from Van Diemens Land. (The letter is printed in full in the "Life and Letters of Sir John Morphett"). William Finlayson's Memoranda A FEW days ago I told the story of the naming of Cox's Creek from William Finlayson's Memoranda and his nar- rative follows from then on to the ascent, of Mount Barker. His narrative reads:— "In the morning (December 26. 1837), we started, steering our course by com pass, in the direction of the Murray. About dinner-time we arrived at Mount Barker, so named by Captain Sturt after his friend Captain Barker, who was killed by natives at the Murray mouth and which hill can be dis- tinguished from the Lake. We ascended to the top and partook of dinner, trust ing to commemorate the fact of our being the first white men who had reached that point, set up a flagstaff, with the tail of Mr. Cock's shirt for a flag! Long after this, his wife was astonished when we told her this, for she had often wondered how the lower part of his undergarment had disap peared. We wrote our names, and the date and put the paper under a pile of stones. It was found some time later by a party of overlanders with cattle from New South Wales. They blamed us for not noting down the direction of Adelaide." The Naming Of The Bremer "AT the anniversary of the colony, then an infant of one year, we dis covered a river, a chain of pools to which we gave the name of the Gover nor, but there being already a Hind marsh River, he changed the name, call ing it Bremer, after some friend. I sup pose," the Memoranda continues. "We followed it down some way, but seeing it led to the Lake, we crossed, filled our two kettles and started for the Murray. That was a day to be remem bered—the scrub was in many places so thick that we had to clear a way for our packhorse, and his packs were con tinually being torn off. Footsore, weary, and parched with thirst, we journeyed on and on, hoping in vain to see an opening in the scrub. We did not know that this kind of country stretched away scores, even hundreds of miles. In the afternoon we came to the resolution of. turning back, but we did not go back on our tracks but made for the Lake, and just as the sun was going down, its last rays were reflected, to our glad eyes, in a long pool of glit tering water. We had had two small kettles of water among four men on that long summer day. We bathed in the Lake and I suppose we were the
first white men to bathe in its broad waters." Cox's Creek 'IN your interesting paragraph last week, you gave William Finlayson's version of the naming of Cox's Creek.' writes "Bridgewater." "In view of the unveiling of a historical memorial tab- , let at Bridgewater on January 1 com- memorating this event, it is worth while remembering that there are two other versions. "Mr. Robert Rankine. writing to the Mt. Barker Courier' of January 6. 1893., says that he was one of a party sent out by the South Australian Cattle Com- pany to find a suitable run lor the com- pany in 1838. He says that in crossing a creek one of the party asked their leadcr. Mr. Cock, the name it was known by. When he said he did not know it was then decided to call the stream 'Cock's Creek.' Mr. John Dunn. sen., in his memoirs, which appeared in the 'Mount Barker Courier in 1886, says that the name was applied sfter Cock's bullock waggon be-' came bogged in the creek for 10 or 12 days. This is probably the origin of the local story that it was named after a bullock driver. Cock at this time was a farmer carting his produce to market from Oakbank. "All three versions were written many years after the name first appeared. It is probable that William Finlayson's is nearest the truth." ' Robert Cock's Descendants MRS. D. MORRIS, of 15 Hughes street, Mile End. writer:— "I was interested in your column this week when your correspondent sought to get into touch with the descendants of Robert Cock. Miss Cora Lamb, who is mentioned in your article, was my first cousin. The Robert Cock spoken of was my father's (Mr. James Cock) uncle. Cora Lamb's mother was my father's only sister, her parents having died at Sema- phore. Robert Cock afterwards migrated to Mount Gambier, where he is believed to have died. Incidentally my maiden name was Emma Cock. My father's | mother was buried in the Balhannah cemetery, date unknown, but the grave can still be found. I have a photo of Cora's youngest brother Jack when he was quite a lad; another, Captain Rob ert Cock, my father's brother, died in Fiji. The two brothers. Robert and James, were nephews of the Robert of Bridgewater. I hope those few facts will assist Mr. Walters in his investiga- tions."' Will Ogilvie At Penola "FROM your recent paragraph readers might conclude that the late G. T. Dickson, of Maaoupe station, near Pe nola was instrumental in bringing Will H. Ogilvie there, but that is incorrect." writes "M.N.A.F.'' from Western Aus- tralia. "It was through a brother of the late John McConchie, manager of Maaoupe at that time, that W. H. Ogil vie got the position as overseer. Re garding Spen Williams being on the sta tion as jackeroo, his work was done in the wooshed at shearing time. It is right to say that "Spen" Williams slept in the same room that Will Ogilvie had used, for that part was the bachelors' quarters but I can state that Will Ogil- vie was a quiet, unassuming man, and he wrote no poetry or bright ideas on the wall." The Late Major Watt WHEN I met Major F. C. Siekmann yesterday, he said: —"I was asso ciated with the late Jock Watt in the Exhibition camp. One aftsrnoon no leave was permitted from the camp and the two of us were talking, facing the Frome road entrance, when two sergeants <one a politician), noticed us. and they slipped round the oval to the north, evi dently hoping that they had not been seen. We intercepted them and Jock said. -Have you two men been out of camp? Don't vou know that there is no leave this afternoon? Because you are sergeants you need not fancy you I can eo out when you like. Where have you been?' Sergeant Denny replied, 'To the Grand Central, sir. for a drink. The Major snapped back. "Well, next time you go, call for your officers.' "