Snowtown's Roads

 
The Stock Route North from Adelaide

 

Before 1875 the road from Port Wakefield to the Hummocks Station Run was just a stock route, a quarter of a mile wide route, which led North to RedHill (then named Broughton) and beyond to Baroota.

  • Horsemen could travel north from Adelaide, but the track was not suitable for coaches, just for slow bullock drays.

  • So the highway we now know as the A1 was then just a 1/4 mile wide track of grass and dust or mud, depending upon the seasons of the weather.

  • Only drovers, their cattle and sheep used the roads north and south of Port Wakefield, then known as Port Henry.

    • Port Henry (now Port Wakefield) was used for shipping copper from Burra and Kapunda.

    • The wool industry in particular was a major product being exported through Port Henry. In 1866 it was second only to Port Adelaide in tonnage shipped.

    • In 1870 a horse drawn tramway was established to service the towns inland from Port Henry to Balaklava and terminating at Hoyleton (then known as Hoyle's Plains).

1875

Surveyor G W Goyder in 1864 reported a 'tolerable road'

from the woolshed at Bumbunga (Station, west of Lake Bumbunga) to Port Wakefield, a distance of about 22 miles. 

From there to Snowtown was a Stock Route.

"A stock route, also known as a travelling stock route (TSR), is

  • an authorised thoroughfare for the walking of domestic livestock

  • such as sheep or cattle

  • from one location to another in Australia.

The stock routes across the country are colloquially known as The Long Paddock."

 

"The reason for this is so that the livestock may feed on the vegetation that grows on the verges as they travel, especially in times of drought." -Wikipedia

 

The purpose of "droving" livestock was the only way that most livestock producers had of getting their stock to the markets of the towns and cities.

Read more:

Origin of Stock Routes

Travelling Stock Routes (TSRs) are networks of grazing routes and reserves 

 

TSRs are thought to have originated from the informal tracks of early European explorers, pastoralists and settlers. 

Because these explorers usually used Aboriginal guides, TSRs may have originated from previous Indigenous traditional pathways,

which are known to have existed for thousands of years before European settlement.

 

Read more:

CSIRO: Origins of Travelling Stock Routes 11 March 2010

 
 
1867

Clare had a 'highly respectable meeting' to ask for a Railway through Black Point and then to Wallaroo, a busy copper mine and successful shipping port.

Nothing happened.

Instead a road was built from Armagh through Blyth and then to Lochiel, the 'Blyth Road'.

Road from Clare to Wallaroo

1870
York Peninsula Roads 7 July 1877 -1.jpg

Roads and tracks carried the colony's produce, and until the introduction of the electric telegraph in 1857 provided the fastest means of communication. 

As farm and mine production increased during the 1840s, colonists demanded better transport. 

Horses were faster and stronger than bullocks, and larger four-wheel wagons carried more than drays. 

But horses and waggons needed better roads.

Barr Smith gets his Road to Wallaroo

From 1870 Robert Barr Smith, the new (and influential) part-owner of the Hummocks Run,

invited surveyors to plan a route to Kadina

for the transport of the Hummocks wool on Elders' ships to England (via Barunga Gap

- surveyed in 1879 and proclaimed as Percyton in 1880).

 

"Great dissatisfaction has prevailed amongst the settlers of the district, since about three weeks ago.

The Surveyor-General, accompanied by Mr. K. B. Smith, owner of the Hummocks Station, was out here, and soon afterwards a surveyor's party, camped near Barunga, surveyed the land..."

(Thu 24 Feb 1870 Page 3 HUMMOCKS, FEBRUARY 21)

  • From 1875 the people of the Barunga Gap and Black Point area (now Snowtown) and of Condowie Plains demanded better access to the shipping at Wallaroo, via Kadina (see below).

 

York Peninsula Roads 7 July 1877 -2.jpg
1880
 
1878
1885
  • By 1878 the surveyors had planned a road and railway to Barunga Gap (on the western side of the Hummocks) suitable for shipping wool and wheat to the port of Wallaroo.

  • In 1879 the road and railway were completed to Barunga Gap, and in 1880 the railway was completed to the newly surveyed town of Snowtown.

In 1885 the stock route from Lochiel North was re-surveyed.

  • A three-chain wide road was planned on the western, (hilly) side of the stock route, and the rest of the width surveyed as 6 acre 'suburban' blocks (see map, lower midddle, above "5"). Very few were sold, due to the lack of water supply.

  • From north of the planned town of Snowtown, the surveyors divided the stock route into 200 acre blocks.

  • This farming land was sold on May 5, 1888 after Snowtown was established.

Farmers of Barunga Gap 16 Dec 1874.jpg

Below: The area around Snowtown surveyed into "suburban blocks" of 6 acres each.

This 1880 map shows

the Stock Route (No. 5) to the South and North of Snowtown, and also

the route of the new railway to Kadina, to the bottom left.

Top Right is the stock route to Magpie Creek and the Bungaree Station. (No 4)
The position of the "4" is the site of the Black Point station homestead, adjacent to a fresh water lagoon.

Snowtown Museum is a new project, and we need committee members and helpers.

We also need a home in Snowtown.

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© 2020 by Jon Ruwolt