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Pioneers of Snowtown, S.A.

Pastoral pioneers

(Captain) John Ellis, pioneer of the Hummocks


Captain John Ellis (c. 1803 – 22 March 1873) was granted the first South Australian pastoral Occupation License in 1845.

  • Ellis was a speculator and pastoralist with great resources.

  • John Ellis arrived in South Australia from England on the Buckinghamshire on 22 March 1839, in company with his brother George Ellis.

  • He had big leaseholds north of Adelaide

In 1867 John Ellis returned to England but one of his sons remained to manage his South East properties but the Hummocks runs were sold.

John Ellis, Pioneer of Benara SA.jpg
"Paddy" Gleeson pioneer of Black Point

"Paddy" Gleeson held the 'Black Point' lease around Snowtown, and the 'Gleeson Eastern' lease running across Condowie Plains.

  • Gleeson developed the Clare township and became the first mayor of Clare when it was proclaimed a corporation in 1868.


Gleeson's Pastoral Leases

The official return of the pastoral leases taken out between 1851 and 1864 shows that he held

  • 41 square miles of country east of the Hummocks,

  • and 117 square miles west of Mount Eyre.

  • and by the 1850s he had acquired leaseholds on a massive 150,000 acres and turned his family into something approaching local aristocracy

late E. B. Gleeson Inchiquin Clare.jpg
John Hope & the Hummocks


In about 1856, the Hummocks and Bumbunga leases were taken over by ‘Hope, Moorhouse and Company’, which was a group comprising

  • John Hope,

  • Dr Matthew Moorhouse (who had relinquished his post as Protector of Aborigines) and lived on the run as manager,

  • Francis Faulding,

  • Joseph Fisher and

  • Anthony Forster. The Hummocks carried about 25 000 shee


By 1860 Lease 124 comprised the two properties of Hummocks and Bumbunga, which covered 100 square miles or 64,000 acres.

  • Another two leases, 492, 467, above were also West of the Barunga Range, towards nowadays Port Broughton.


John Hope 1860's.jpg
Robert Barr Smith, creates a pastoral empire 


Probably the wealthiest man in South Australia, this Grand Old Man of Australia was largely interested in pastoral properties,

  • and identified with many public, patriotic, and philanthropic movements,

  • to which he has given most liberally,  including notable gifts to the State of SA, Adelaide University, the Anglican church, and many institutions.


In 1869 the SA Government sold the leasehold lands of John Ellis' Hummocks and Barunga runs to a partnership between Robert Barr Smith and John Maslin.


The Hummocks was a well-established station carrying about 25,000 sheep when it was sold

  • John Maslin was the resident manager for a period and lived in the Barunga homestead.

  • In 1886 Mr Barr Smith alone took over the Hummocks Station run from John Maslin.

Robert Barr Smith (1824-1915), by Townse
The Michael's properties near Snowtown


One of the original families that purchased land around the Hummocks Range (in 1873) was that of Mr. John Michael.

  • He selected land along the Barunga ranges south west of Snowtown in 1873 on the foothills of the Barunga Ranges which was part of Hummocks Station.

  • The original farm was 250ha and three Kilometers south of Snowtown.

  • Later the family gained 4000 acres of land west of the Hummocks.

  • Today Leahcim is the home of one of the world’s most advanced sheep breeding flocks.

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