ITS BIRTH AND PROGRESS.
A very interesting article by a gentleman who has made a careful study of the nomenclature of South Australia appears in the newly established magazine of the Blackwood Club concerning the origin of the name Coromandel Valley and the
earliest settlement of that portion of the hills. The signature "C.H.H." will readily be recognised as that of one of the most highly estimated and capable officials of the Surveyor-General's Department.
The Coromandel Valley of to-day (he
says) is a small, scattered settlement
situated on the River Sturt, about 12 miles
from Adelaide, on the main road between Blackwood and Clarendon. The principal
buildings are a public school, an institute hall, three places of worship, a post-office and store, butcher's and baker's premises, and a disused jam and biscuit factory. Besides these there are private residences, gardens, and orchards, sustaining a population
of 272 persons. The soil is principally dark loam and clay, with patches of gravel over quartzite rock of great geological age, termed ordovician, dipping at a steep slope towards the south-east. The new road through the valley to Clarendon runs some distance west of the present main road and crosses the Sturt over a stone bridge known as McNamara's
at a picturesque spot, where there is a
flat with willows near - a favorite resort for picnic parties.
Coromandel Valley owes its name to cir- circumstances connected with the ship Coromandel, which sailed into Port Adelaide early in January, 1837. The State had had been proclaimed by Governor Hindmarsh only a fortnight previously, and the survey of the capital, under direction of the Surveyor-General, Colonel Light, was little more than begun. The following particulars, taken partly from Cappers "South Australia," printed in London in early times, and partly from Hodder's "History," which is largely founded on the diary of the late Mr. G. F. Angas, will probably be of interest:
The Sailors of the Coromandel.
The ship Coromandel, 662 tons, under
command of Captain William Chesser, was dispatched by the Commissioners for South Australia with 156 passengers for Adelaide, a general cargo, and a special consignment of Government stores, surveyors' tents, Manning cottages, and bank notes
and specie to the value of £10,000. She
left Deal in September 9, 1836, and arrived in Port Adelaide on January 12, 1837. One of the most important passengers was Mr. Charles Mann, who had been appointed by the home authorities as Advocate-General for the province of South Australia. He was accompanied by his wife and young family.
The crew of the ship Coromandel were so attracted by the accounts they heard of this '"New Land of Promise" that when the time was approaching for the departure of the vessel some of them resolved to abscond and hide in the bush
until after it had sailed. Taking hammocks and a good supply of provisions, they proceeded in a body to the hills above Brownhill Creek, where they formed a camp, situated (according to an authority quoted by Miss Murray) at a creek on what is now Mr. Laffer's property, just west of the National Park. There they slung their hammocks on a spreading gum tree, to be out of the way of wild dogs, kangaroos, and snakes. Probably they moved camp after a little while to Chambers' Creek, on the south side of the River Sturt, and near the place since called Cherry Gardens, for the description given by one of them states that their camp was at the foot of a high hill, the summit of which commanded a fine view of the gulf, and from which, a few weeks later, they had the satisfaction of witnessing the Coromandel pass out on her
return voyage. Search had been made for the missing men, but the only trace found was some flour that had been spilt before they reached Brownhill Creek. How many of these sailors ultimately settled in the beautifully valley, which they romantically named after the ship they had deserted,
is not known to the writer; but there are several families living here to-day descended from other pioneers who arrived
in the same vessel.
No record, however, of the name thus bestowed appeared on any map or official
document until after the lapse of some years. The first post-office in Coromandel Valley was named Sturt, which soon after was changed to West Sturt. A little later the Post-Office Directory contained the names Upper Sturt, Sturt Hills, Sturt Valley, Lower Sturt, Point Sturt, and Village of Sturt. Names so much alike produced confusion and delay, so, at the request of the residents, the Postmaster General (Captain Watts) altered the name from West Sturt to Coromandel Valley,
which it has retained ever since.
"The Cherry Gardens."'
The history of Cherry Gardens is so closely bound up with that of the valley that notice must be taken of it in this article. The name arose, according to Mr. S. H. Curnow, in the following manner:- The locality was first visited by Isaac Jacobs and Henry Field in 1839. They were employed by Mr. Edward Burgess (then living where Clarendon now is) to cut kangaroo grass for hay. Going due east from Happy Valley for several miles, on reaching the summit of the range they beheld before them a beautiful forest of native cherry trees, and they said one to another, "We will call this place 'The Cherry Gardens.' " The names of these men are among the earliest of those whose postal address was Cherry Gardens.
The first man whose name became associated with Coromandel Valley was James Chambers, from whom Chambers' Creek and Chambers' Hill derive their names. About the middle of the year 1837 Mr. Chambers ("Jimmy") took out an occupation and commonage license, entitling him to graze sheep and cattle over two square miles of country. He was the first man to bring a bullock-dray into the neighborhood. It belonged to his brother John, who held a similar license at Sturt Valley, and during the first Government exploring expedition, conducted by Messrs. Light, Morphett, and Hack, from Holdfast Bay towards Aldinga, in June of the same year, Mr. Chambers, by official request, met the party at the top of what is now called Tapley's Hill, with the team and dray, to render assistance in transport. This occurrence is mentioned in Bull's "Early Experiences in South Australia" on page 13. Mr. Dall, who has been a resident of the district for over 60 years, now owns the house and estate of "Chamberlea," which was once held as a run by Mr Chambers. The first settlers in the valley came into possession of their titles