Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Tintinara Woolshed

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

This magnificent historic 16 stand shearing shed was built in 1865 on land near the present day Tintinara, South Australia.

It was built by pioneers William Harding and George Bunn who followed the first settlers to the area, namely, The Boothby Bros.

The shed was built at the site of the Tintinara Homestead. The Boothby Bros. had purchased a lease of 165 square miles and formed a station known as Tintinara - a name derived from their Aboriginal workman, Tin Tin, a member of the Coorong tribe. Both the shed and the homestead are classified by the National Trust.

The shed features 80cm thick limestone walls and supporting Oregon timbers, almost 11 metres long, which were carted from Kingston by bullock drays.

Below is an extract taken from Shut Six Gates: A History of Tintinara, Culburra and District by Elizabeth Nicholls.

William Harding and George Bunn took over the 'Tintinarra Run' and proceeded to build the stone homestead and the 16 stand shearing shed in 1865. The imported Oregon timbers for the woolshed branded 'H & B' were carted inland from Kingston on the coast. The timbers measured 7 inches x 3 inches and 35 feet long and were apparently brought out in kit form, as each junction of the main frame had roman numerals stamped in the timber for matching during construction. Sheep pen fittings and gratings were made from sawn red gum carted by bullock teams from Bordertown.

Take a close look at some of the stonework here above the door. These supporting beams have no doubt been put in in more recent times.

Come on in! Take a wander around inside with me.

The old table used for wool classing and sorting.

The wool press and other old machinery.

The stamped 'H&B' mentioned in the extract above.

An heritage rose growing around the exterior walls. It has been identified but I am yet to source further information on that.

I can't help but see this building as a working shearing shed, imagining it as it would once have been a hundred years ago and more. However in recent times it has been used for parties and gatherings. It would be magnificent to see life in here again in whatever form. Perhaps someone will restore and use it. Could it be a B&B? A tourist location? The shearer's quarters and kitchen are nearby.

So why am I telling you all this? Because William Harding was my great great Grandfather. I am just a teency bit proud of him and what he achieved in his life of only 50 years. His wife Mary must also have been a very strong woman. She remained in England with her young children while her husband sailed to the other side of the world in search of something "greener" I imagine. After William's death, she packed up most of her family (including my great grandfather Joseph) and headed north from Tintinara. She left South Australia and headed for Queensland, only she stopped on the way and made her family a home near Moree, New South Wales which is where I grew up and my mother still resides to this day. Mary's daughter, Emma, married a Hack and resided in Naracoorte from where she wrote many letters to her family in New South Wales. So this journey was one of tracing my ancestors footsteps, with good intent.

The Tasmanian Blue Gum seen beside the grave of William Harding about was planted by William in the year that he died, 1874.

Harding is known in the community of Tintinara as being one of the pioneers of the town. It was great to talk with local shearers and hear that one or two of them were in the 'Harding' team for their local school sports. There they were barracking for my great great Grandfather, or so it might be construed ;)


David said...

I've been waiting for this post Cee :)

Thank you for the wonderful reminder of our South Australian ancestral accomplishments, and the beautiful photography to go with it!

Love you.

Homestay Mama said...

Oh, Cee. In a very small way, I feel connected to your history, too! Only because I was born and lived the first 23 years of my life in Oregon! Those beams look like Douglas Fir--an evergreen that grows very big, very tall, very straight and in abundance here in the Pacific Northwest! My neighbor has three Dogulas Fir trees towering in his backyard.

Isn't it fun to find out about your ancestors--and walk where they used to live? My great grandfather homesteaded in Nova Scotia--that's why I like going back there to visit. His and my great grandmother's graves are there and the wharf where he used to bring in his fishing vessel. He too, died in his 50's from appendicitis.

Very interesting post, Cee! :-)

ayelet(nishale) said...

so beautiful! thanks so much for sharing!
and I want to invite you and the girls to a special giveaway at my blog! so come on in!

Cee said...

Dear HS Mama,
That is so wonderful! You are now fuelling my desire to visit Oregon now. So many many wonderful people seem to come from that place and of course some timber too! It is interesting that my brother was very interested in the Oregon connection. I never would have dreamt that the timber would have been such a drawcard for you both.

Feeling a little closer to you!

Cee said...

Ayelet your giveaway is very sweet and I will set to work to see what we three girls come up with.

Thanks for your invitation.

The Handmaden said...

Hi Cee, what an interesting post. I grew up on a farm just outside of Lucindale, so I'm pretty familiar with the area. There are so many things I miss, the beautiful stone buildings, the gorgeous gardens, the vineyards. We holiday on the limestone coast every so often, we love the untouched ruggedness of the ocean.

Cee said...

Thankyou Handmaden. The Limestone Coast is indeed beautiful as we now know. This was our first trip down that way!

Anonymous said...

Having recently returned to Qld from visiting Tintinara homestead, woolshed & the grave of William Harding, I decided to do some more research and stumbled upon your blog. William Harding was also my great great grandfather - Joseph is the brother to my great grandmother, Edith May. Very exciting!

Cee said...

Hello Gill!

That then makes us cousins doesn't it! I am very curious to know how you tracked your history back to Tintinara.

Would you like to connect a little more? I have family in Qld and northern NSW altho we are now still further south in the ACT.

Please feel free to email me:
cjrlewis (at) gmail (dot) com

Looking forward to hearing more about your trip too.


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