A PASTORAL PIONEEER
MR. T. R. BOWMAN.
SKETCH OF THE FAMILY HISTORY.
Mr. T. R. Bowman, whose munificent gift of £26,400 to 22 Adelaide charities was announced in "The Advertiser" on Wednes- day, is a member of a well-known pastoral family, whose fortunes have been closely interwoven with the progress and develop- ment of South Australia. A sturdy pio- neer of the grand old class who "blazed the track" and opened up for their fellow- colonists vast areas of land and great op- portunities for the acquirement of wealth, he is still hale and hearty, despite the weight of 75 years. At his residence, "Waverley," on South-terrace, where he is living in quiet retirement, and at Campbell Park a property he owns on the Lakes, Mr. Bowman has gathered round him many mementoes of early colonisation. He is an interesting personality a man full of the grit and determination that made for suc- cess in the days of the early pioneers.
Colonists of 1830.
The history of the Bowman family as
pastoralists dates back to the early days,
for Mr. T. R. Bowman's father, the late
Mr John Bowman, emigrated from the old, country in 1830. Those were the days of sailing vessels and uncertain communica- tion, and to ensure their passages Mr. Bow- man, sen., and a number of others had to place all their effects together and make it worth the agent's while to charter a small ship to bring them out. The brig Fame was secured, and after some delay she set sail from Liverpool,
with the little company on board, on October 9, 1830 Mr. and Mrs. John Bowman and their family of six-two sons and four daughters-were among the number. The vessels destination was Western Australia, but on the voyage out she got astray, and after six months' buffet- ing in the Indian Ocean struck Tasmania
instead of the western coast of the con- tinent proper. The passengers were so thankful at the sight of land that when Hobart was reached not one of them was willing to go on and they all landed. This was on March 31, 1831.
Hobart at that time was a comparatively small place and the centre of a penal settle- ment, all roads and public buildings having been constructed by convict labor. Mr. Bowman, sen., however, was prepared to accept matters as they stood, and rented a small farm with a house upon it a short distance from the town. Up to the date of the arrival of the Bowman family and those who accompanied them it had been the practice to give a grant of land to each child of every family arriving from the old country; but whilst Mr. John Bowman was up-country looking for a suitable spot to select, the grant was cancelled. Unable to secure land elsewhere, Mr. Bowman took a farm on the banks of the Big Lagoon, then called Stokle's Lagoon, and there on St Patrick's Day, 1835, the subject of this notice was born. Sheep-farming and agri- culture were engaged in, and the affairs of the family prospered to such an extent that a few years later Mr. John Bowman was able to take up a second farm, "Wood- lands," on the Coal River.
Prospecting for Land.
With a family of sons fast growing up around him, however, the father felt that he must do something more. Land avail- able and suitable for settlement in Tas- mania was limited, and so attention was turned once more to Australia. Mr T. R. Bowman's eldest brother, Edmund, was then about 20, and he was sent by his father across in a sailing boat to South Australia to look for land. This was in the year 1838 two years after the colony, was proclaimed. Adelaide, as Mr. Edmund Bowman found it, consisted of a few scat- tered houses and a number or other erec- tions still more primitive. The "explorer" had an unpleasant termination to his voy-
age across, as the craft in which he sailed from Tasmania was wrecked on the Trou- bridge Shoals, and he lost everything. The passengers were brought to Port Adelaide in a boat owned by the Government, and shortly afterwards Mr. Bowman went with a survey party to the Encounter Bay dis- trict where he spent two months inspect- ing the country. He then returned home to Tasmania; but in the following year came back with a few sheep and horses and took up a selection at Islington
Arrival in South Australia.
Encouraged by his favorable reports, the rest of the family decided to leave their home in the island and to make a fresh start in this State. A frame house of four rooms was put together, and this was
brought across and erected at Islington, whither the family came, leaving two daughters at school in Hobart. Prior to their departure, however, Mr. T. R. Bow- man's two elder brothers-John, aged 13, and William, aged 10-were sent across with a cargo of sheep in a little boat named the Lady Emma. The man sent with them to attend to the stock was neglectful and but for the interest and hard work of the boys the sheep must all have perished from want. At about this time Mr. Edmund Bowman purchased two addi- tional sections at Enfield. Wild dogs were numerous and troublesome to the sheep, which were depastured for some years on the plains from Islington northwards.
When the affairs of the family became somewhat settled Mr. Bowman, sen., erected a substantial home at Enfield, and the family removed to it. As their flocks increased the greater portion of them were removed to Willunga, where they were run for two or three years. Scab was prevalent at this time, and this and the low price of wool-which fell once to an average of 5d. per pound-and the trouble caused by the wild dogs, induced Mr. Kelsh, an old friend of the Bowman family, to throw up sheep-farming in dis- gust. The Bowmans bought portion of his
For about a year the family held a sta- tion property which stretched for about three miles along the ranges to the north of Dry Creek; but the dogs were so trouble- some that the sheep had to be shepherded by day and watched over by night. Farm- ing was mixed with sheepbreeding, and the Bowmans -father and sons -grew some fine crops of wheat and vegetables at Pine Forest and along the banks of Dry Creek on land they rented from the late Captain Bagot. They were among the earliest to use Ridley's reaping machine, steered by a pole. Things continued to prosper, and about the year 1844-5 the family took up more land at the head of the Wakefield River. They also held for a time a station on the Gilbert River, but the dogs were
very bad there. Scab continued to give
trouble, but by systematic dipping and the exercise of other precautions it was ulti- mately got rid of. In one year, about the period, the Bowmans washed, shore, and dipped 35,000 sheep in six weeks.
Purchase of Crystal Brook.
The Crystal Brook station, where Mr.
T. R Bowman and his three brothers launched out as sheepfarmers on an exten- sive scale, was purchased from Messrs. Younghusband & Co. early in the fifties. It comprised 560 miles of country, and was stocked with 25,000 sheep, 3,400 cattle, and about 200 horses. Mr. T. R Bowman and his brothers, John and William, spent about 20 years of their lives on this run, and did well. They had to work hard to improve the property, for very few im- provements had been made. Wells were sunk and dams constructed in the Brough- ton to water the adjoining plains. The lat- ter experiment proved a great success for as the floods came down they deposited a thick sediment over the sandy country sur- rounding, and consolidated as well as made it wonderfully productive. The years 1859, 1866-69, and 1874 were drought-stricken, and the brothers lost 15,000 sheep one sum- mer and 10,000 another year; but they had obtained a good start, and the seasons - although dreadful - did not "break" them financially, as it did many another. On the contrary, when the good times came again they prospered.
Campbell Park and Poltalloch.
In 1873 Messrs. T. R. .and A. P. Bow- man purchased from the late Mr. John Malcolm, of Poltalloch, Argyleshire, Scot- land, the station now known as Campbell Park on Lake Albert. Mr. Malcolm started this place about 1844 and stocked it with Durham cattle of the well-known H/5 brand, purchased from Mr Haldane, a Victorian breeder. The herds were subse- quently added to by the purchase of 200 well bred Durham heifers of the U.R. brand, and Mr. Malcolm also imported sev- eral bulls, and acquired, through the South Australian Company, some of the progeny of the famous ' Booth" blood. From these sources the famous M/7 brand of cattle originated, a breed that have consistently commanded high prices in the Adelaide market on account of their fine beef-pro- ducing characteristics Campbell Park con- tains 25,000 acres of freehold, and in fair seasons will carry 20,000 sheep and 500 head of cattle. In addition, ostrich farming is carried out on a moderate scale, be- tween 500 and 600 birds being kept on the property. For many years Mr. A. W. Sands was manager of the Poltalloch por- tion of the property, while Mr. P. Peterson directed affairs on behalf of the Messrs. Bowman at Campbell House.