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2 corrections, most recently by Spearth - Show corrections


Mr. J. Carruthers. A Romantic Career.

Mr. John Carruthers, sen., oi Narravan, Gippsland, who is in his eighty-second year, is visiting Adelaide, and is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. K. F. McBain. Botathen.

Bridge street, Kensington. Mr. Carra thcrs 'is the second son of the late John Carruthers, wine and spirit merchant of this city many years ago. The old cellars were at 51 Rundle street, near Birks's chemist shop. As a 10-year-old boy he went to Mrs. Hillier's school at Brighton. Mr. John Hillier was on The Register staff. Part of the old school still stands, and the dormitories were originally an old chapel. Leaving Hillier's school, Mr.

Carruthers attended Mr. J. L. Young's school. School friends of his were W. and R. Robertson, Patrick Auld, Charlie and Paddy Kingston, Augustus Davis, Stephen King (who was subse- quently associated with John McDouall Stuart in his exploring expeditions), Isaac Little (now manager of Austral Downs Station, Queensland, and who many years afterwards, when Mr. Carruthers was sur veying in those parts, rode 30 miles to visit his old schoolmate), 'Frew, of. Frcw ville. and Cherry (formerly Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages). As boys many of them walked from Mitcham to school, through farm and scrub lands nearly all the way. Mr. Carruthers finished up at Whinham College, North Adelaide. His first employment was with Stilling & Co. (shipping agents for the Orient and other important lines). He changed, and went to Letchford (now Shuttleworth & Letchford), after which he was clerk of works and timekeeper at the Government railway carriage and locomotive works. Mr. Sorrell was the engineer, and Mr. H. C. Mais engineer-in- chief. During the 1860 drought he was retrenched, owing to the amalgamation of the two departments and the severity of the times. Adventures in New Zealand. Many young men during the drought years were unable to get employment; some of them, frienda of Mr. Carruthers, humped their swags and tramped to the other States. Mr. Carruthers decided for New Zealand, and walked to Mel- bourne, where upon arrival he received a wire from the Government asking him to return. He refused, and set sail for, the land of adventure- New Zealand. 'He was disappointed to find things nearly as dis- tressing there and the Maori war still in progress. On landing he was sworn in for compulsory constabulary duty, but saw no active service, as soon afterwards hos- tile activities ceased, excepting for a few spasmodic outbursts in isolated districts. His first occupation was on a New Zea- land flax farm near Dunedin. Mr. Carruthers and two other men decided to seek work ot Waikermiti. and carrying their swags they started through primi- tive forest to reach their destination. The track made by the Maoris on foot and horseback wound .through impene- trable forest. They were well treated by tho Maoris, taken to the meal tent, and seated iu a raised dais, where they fared sumptuously from tin plates. Their swags were opened by the women, and scissors and a gold ring which Mr. Carruthers's   mother had given him and articlea from his housewife's outfit were taken. A Government interpreter, who was sent out to the camp, retrieved Mr. Carruthers's gold ring, and told them that they had run a ter- rible risk tramping through that coun- try, as the Maoris would have toma- hawkcd them if they given them the least offence. Mr. Carruthers has in possession a proof print of Gilfillan's famous picture of a Maori camp. Sacked for Sunday Washing. After leaving the Maori camp, Mr.Car- ruthers's mate became quarrelsome, and   accused his companion of not knowing the way, but Mr. Carruthers, who was a true and sure bushman, brought them sate!y through, to find that work was just as scarce at Waikerwiti, and getting rid of his quarrelsome companion he received em- ployment with a Scotsman on a potato farm. He rose at 5 a.m. and worked until dark, but was dismissed for doing his washing on a Sunday. He walked back to Dunedin, and took a position in a wholesale store as shipping foreman in the firm of Boyle & Co. Again he changed, and was foreman at a flax mill, and helped teach the employes at night school. From there he had charge of   the horse on a horse whim over a coal mine. .

Return to South Australia.   At the age of 25 he returned to South Australia. On arrival he interviewed the Surveyor-General (Mr. G..W. Goyder) and entered the service in 1873, under Mr. Charles Wells as head chainman. His first work was at Wirrabara. He was then appointed assistant to' Mr. Dayid Lindsay, soon promoted to the position   of surveyor, and his first work was in the south-east, surveying for educational blocks at Wirrega. From there to Kan- garoo Island he cut up the Hundreds of Haines and Cassina for farms. Then he went up the Murray to the Hundred of Pyap. The communist settlers arrived when he was there with no food, blankets, or lights. They appealed to him, the poor women beintg in much distress, and they practically used up and ate all his stores. From Pyap he went to Lyrup, thence to Waikerie. but before he had started at Waikerie he was called away in 1885 to complete the boundary line between tho Northern Territory and Queensland to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The next pioneer ing work was the triangulation of the great north-west, the Musgrave and Tom- kinson Ranges, aud Deering Hills to the western boundary. After many trials and dangers he returned to Adelaide; and retired at the age of 49 to a beautiful property he had bought ' previously at Narracan, Gippsland. and managed by   Mr. George Bayneton in his absence. Tribute to 'Larry' Wells.   Mr. Carruthers speaks with the highest praise and affcotion of Mr. ''Larry" Wells. who was with him through the completion of the line to the Guif of   Carpentaria, where together they fixed the last milepost at highwater wark of the     gulf about 650 miles from the twenty-   sixth parallel of latitude. Cutting the last post was a ceremony. A paperbark tree was felled and Mr. Carruthers gave the last stroke of the axe. Tho post was eight inches square. Erected and carved in deep letters on one side was the word Queensland, on the other Northern Ter- ritory, on another side latitude and varia- tion of the. needle, and on the last side     the names of Mr. Carruthers and 'Mr.   Wells, and the all-important date of the great achievement, Mr. Carrutbers cut the last figure.