Printer Friendly

Figures in the landscape: the experience of the least visible workers on a New England pastoral station, 1850-1900.

Until the last quarter of the twentieth century Australia's history in the colonial and early-Federation period was examined through a predominantly Anglo-centric and almost exclusively male lens. (1) The overstatement and over-simplification which resulted was nowhere more evident than in the depiction of life in rural districts, where references to women, children and non-European workers were uniformly slight, subordinate and peripheral to the particular historian's theme. This heavily-male imbalance was reinforced by the publication, between 1958 and 1973, of successive reinterpretations of the colonial period. While each author gave different reasons for the colonies' socio-economic development, from Ward's itinerant bushmen and Blainey's determinative 'distance', to 'squatterdom's domination' (Roberts, Kiddle and Waterson) and the influence of Clark's 'men of the Enlightenment', all agreed on the overwhelmingly male character of Australian society. Nor, later in the 1970s, did the emergence of innovative feminist historians like Miriam Dixson, Ann Summers and Beverley Kingston substantially alter this interpretation of rural society. While each concentrated upon women's unacknowledged agency in Australia's socioeconomic development, they paid scant attention to their low profile in rural history. (2)

However, from the 1980s, the established 'white-male' historiography came under further challenge from a disparate group of social historians, many of whom were both female and feminist. Concerned to correct the long-established imbalance, they explained the significant contribution of each of these groups of workers to the development of rural Australia in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. While Maree Murray focused upon the ubiquity of children's labour, Patricia Grimshaw, Marilyn Lake and Katrina Alford described the crucial importance, from the mid-1860s, of the unpaid 'outdoor' and 'indoor' labour of free-selectors' wives, unmarried female relatives and children. This 'family economy', the subject of a recent detailed study of the Dungog district in the late-nineteenth century by Glenda Strachan, Ellen Jordan and Hilary Carey, was thus as essential to small-holders' survival in north-eastern New South Wales as it had been in pre- and proto-industrial England. (3)

Other revisionist historians, including Kathryn Cronin, E.B. Swanson, Roger Millis and, in particular, Maxine Darnell, have traced the origins and living and working experiences of the shiploads of cheap bonded labourers whom desperate squatters imported from Amoy in southern China between 1848-49 and 1852. A larger group of revisionists, including Henry Reynolds, Dawn May, Alison Howard and Peggy Brock, has examined the vital, widespread but long-neglected contribution which, until the 1960s, Indigenous people made to Australia's rural economy. Researchers into Indigenous history agree that the nation's original inhabitants were relegated to the lowest-paid, most menial casual or seasonal employment. However, some, including Ann Curthoys and Clive Moore, Kay Saunders, Ann McGrath and I.C. Campbell, argue that rather than remaining purely passive and 'acted upon', Indigenous people, when given the opportunity, exerted a degree of active agency in their negotiations with incoming European settlers, exchanging labour for continuing tenure of their traditional 'country'. This was certainly true of Ollera's dispossessed Banbai people, who lived and worked on the station until the second half of the twentieth century. (4)

This study which examines the lives and work of women, their children, single Chinese males and Indigenous people in the colonial period on Ollera Station, a pastoral 'run' north-west of Guyra on New South Wales' Northern Tablelands, supports and extends the revisionist historians' case. It does so by providing evidence of the successful operation of the traditional pre- and proto-industrial 'family economy' on Ollera-Tenterden both prior to and after the advent of free-selection in 1866, and of the substantial amounts earned by the families of rural labourers on the station throughout the colonial period. The station's highly detailed records provide valuable insights into the significant contribution all these hitherto largely unacknowledged workers made to the economic and social success not only of European workmen's families but also of the paternalist squirearchy on which they worked. However, their efforts were hidden, with references to them in the journals, account books and personal letters written by the station's owners at best terse and almost always indirect. Although a few women and girls were paid separately, it is only by reading between the lines of the male workers' quarterly wage settlements that the supplementary earnings of most of the European women and children can be ascertained and their economic contribution accurately identified. Further detailed and valuable insights into the daily lives of these largely unacknowledged people are provided by the almost complete sequence of station diaries kept by Ollera's long-serving superintendent, James Mackenzie, between 1862 and 1887. (5)

Ollera Station: Patriarchy and Paternalism

Ollera Station was founded in 1838/39 by George and John Everett in a partnership that, with the arrival in early 1842 of their youngest brother Edwin, remained unbroken until the latter's death in 1907. Well-educated, high-minded and with excellent colonial connections through George Wyndham to the Hunter Valley 'establishment', in 1839 these dedicated-Evangelical scions of the English landed gentry transported to the frontier of settlement a modified version of the patriarchal management system they considered their birthright. In doing so, they were following the example set by 'one of the Dangars' at nearby Gostwyck. The surviving records of this historic station, though less comprehensive than Ollera's, show that the system continued into the 1870s. Though far from the norm in other pastoral districts in the colony--where relationships between management and labour were commonly conflicted--the network of 'family and friendship' ties linking many New England squatters, like their similar socio-political backgrounds, enabled paternalist practices to be established successfully and, with modifications, to persist throughout the colonial era. (6)

The Everett brothers' skills as resident managers and long-term planners are exemplified by two crucial decisions the siblings made during their 20 year joint residence in New England. Between 1840 and 1861 they brought more than 50 assisted immigrants to Ollera from the countryside around their father's Wiltshire estate. Successive generations of these 18 shepherd and labouring families, many of whom free-selected land on the station after 1866, formed the nucleus of the Everetts' permanent and remarkably stable workforce.

John Everett paid no less attention to the provision of managerial labour. With characteristic caution, in mid-1857 Everett delayed his return to England by almost a year as he confirmed the suitability of Ollera's new superintendent, James Mackenzie. (7) Mackenzie's appointment proved vital to the venture's long-term success. For 30 years until his death in late 1887, this honest, hard-working Anglo-Scot was the linch-pin which held the increasingly prickly, long-distance partnership together. A member of the Wyndham-Everett network of 'kinship and friendship', Mackenzie consolidated his position in New England's landholding elite when, in 1860, he married the daughter of E.G. Clerk, of Clerkness near modern Bundarra, and within a decade was appointed to the regional magistracy and Anglican Synod. But Edwin Everett's presence at Tenterden, the station on Ollera's western boundary which the sibling partnership purchased in 1861-62, and where Edwin based himself from 1864, meant Mackenzie's position in the station's hierarchy, which matched that of an English steward, remained equivocal. Overall responsibility for the daily management of Ollera-Tenterden was his, but ultimately, decisions about the greatly-enlarged station's direction were the province of his resident and English-based employers. (8)

Mackenzie's wife's position was perhaps even more ambivalent and only obliquely 'visible'. Anna-Maria Clerk Mackenzie belonged to one of the district's highly respected and influential founding families. With Edwin Everett remaining a bachelor, Anna-Maria was de facto mistress of Ollera-Tenterden and Mackenzie's diaries record the diligence with which she fulfilled her responsibilities as a colonial 'lady of the manor'. Accompanied by her husband or by a trusted male employee, she visited constantly the isolated shepherding stations and selections on the vast run, aiding and comforting ill and injured men, women and children; consoling the recently-bereaved; attending at child-birth and generally fulfilling her benevolent duty to these families. On medical visits to station families she was accompanied by Jane Farrell, the station's veteran nurse-midwife. On primarily social visits, Mrs Mackenzie was accompanied by Miss Wright, Ollera's long-serving children's nurse/ lady's companion and by one or more of the children.

Anna-Maria Mackenzie's other responsibilities included entertaining a constant stream of visitors to both head-stations to evenings filled with whist or chess, music and dancing and in the 1880s, as her older children reached adulthood, by amateur theatricals. She organised and presided over fund-raising bazaars and Christmas Trees for the Anglican and Presbyterian churches in Armidale and, after 1876, for the construction of Ollera's beautiful little church which was dedicated to both denominations. From the early 1880s she organised the 'Harvest Home' service which, followed by sports in the afternoon then dancing and fireworks at night, was a highlight of the station's religious and social year. She also monitored the conduct of the teachers and students at each of the five secular, Sunday and evening schools which were functioning on the station by the 1870s, overseeing examinations, prize-givings and school picnics. (9)

However, the inherent ambivalence of Mrs Mackenzie's position and the consequent demands upon her time are most evident in her responsibility for the smooth running of two households. The diaries record the frequency with which the busy mother of ten children was called down to Tenterden where she installed new servants, 'house-sat' in Edwin Everett's absence, and with her adolescent daughters, generally spruced-up the interior. Although the diaries contain no hint of Anna-Maria's reaction to the demands of her aging and increasingly wilful employer, years of unwilling compliance may explain the depth of the strained relationship between the recently-widowed Mrs Mackenzie and Edwin Everett in early 1888. Grieving and clearly reluctant to leave her home of almost 30 years and move to Stratton, the 2,000 acre selection Mackenzie took up between 1875 and 1884, Anna-Maria obstinately stayed put, refusing to acknowledge her increasingly impatient ex-employer's need to house his new superintendent. Although tensions eventually eased, and Stratton's sheep continued to be shorn, at a price, in Ollera's shed and her sons worked seasonally on the station, Edwin's marked coolness towards her persisted. (10)

Domestic Service

Despite the diaries' circumspection, repeated references to the constant turn-over of household servants at Ollera head-station suggest that repressed resentment may have made Mrs Mackenzie a difficult and demanding mistress. Governesses proved increasingly difficult to retain, posing a continuing problem. Only Miss Wright, who was employed between 1864 and the mid-1880s, remained for more than a few years, evolving from children's nurse into lady's-companion. Between 1872 and mid-1887 seven governesses, five of whom arrived between 1880 and 1887, were employed at Ollera. (11) By contrast, in the preceding eight years, when responsibility for the education of up to seven of the ten Mackenzie children made the governess' workload greatest, both Miss Nisbet and her successor, Miss Toole, remained for around four years. Though almost certainly incomplete in Miss Nisbet's case, the records show that during these years she received payments of 29.11s.2d [pounds sterling], while the apparently more skilled, experienced and almost-certainly harder-worked Miss Toole was paid a total of 88.4s.2d [pounds sterling]. The records suggest that age, experience and the number of pupils determined each governess' salary. In 1880-81 Miss Buckley, who was teaching six or seven pupils, was paid 15 [pounds sterling] per quarter (63 [pounds sterling] per annum). In 11 months from mid-December 1885 to late October 1886, Miss Elliott, with only half as many pupils, was paid 7.5s.0d [pounds sterling] per quarter. A cryptic note dated 1887 which appears at the end of her 1885/86 'settlements', suggests that she may also have been paid extra for piano lessons: '1887: Miss Elliott has had up to date on her Piano: 12.0s.0d' [pounds sterling].(12) She apparently left Ollera in the first half of 1887 when the diary records the arrival of her replacement, Miss Soares.

Household servants proved no easier to retain than governesses. The regularity with which kitchen, house and nursery-maids and especially cooks came and went at three-, six- or, in a few cases, 12-monthly intervals suggests that more was involved than the difficulties of serving a large family in still primitive conditions. For example, between May 1874 and April 1876 at least eight different adolescent girls worked as domestic servants at Ollera's head-station. (13) Like Tantiock, Sammy and Jimmy Morseman, the Chinese shepherds who, with at least one Indigenous workman served as cooks of last resort, most of these women and girls were recruited, often at very short notice, from the families of the station's employees. Female cooks such Mrs Jane Farrell, Mrs Mitchell and the recently-widowed Mrs Beazley, each of whom worked frequently for the Mackenzies, earned 15s.0d a week. Housemaids received 6s.0d or 7s.0d a week; nursery-maids 4s.0d to 5s.0d. Washerwomen earned 7.10.0d [pounds sterling] a quarter. At about 5s.9d a week this was about the rate at which boy-labourers were paid. (14)

Service in either of the head-stations offered important opportunities to young women who could cope with long days of hard work for an apparently demanding mistress. Those who persisted could acquire training in a variety of highly valued household skills. But, for women and girls alike, the chance to contribute to their families' income was almost certainly a greater, more immediate incentive. Between May 1879 and October 1883 Carry Carpendale earned 82.3s.6d [pounds sterling] as she rose through the ranks from nursery-maid to cook. With her sister, Mary Ann, who in the nine months she worked at Ollera House in 1882-83 earned a further 8.1s.0d [pounds sterling], Carry contributed significantly to her family's income. Their father, Thomas Carpendale, earned 40 [pounds sterling] per annum for shepherding a single flock. His daughters' combined earnings of 92.4s.6d [pounds sterling] therefore represented more than two years of his wage. It is possible that Carry's financial contribution influenced Carpendale's decision to free-select 100 acres of land on Ollera in late 1879. (15)

Mrs Jane Farrell made an even greater contribution to her family's income. Residence on Ollera since the early 1850s, possession of valuable nursing and domestic skills and marriage to the station's long-distance bullock-driver combined to make her the Everetts' most frequently mentioned and thus most clearly 'visible' female employee. Until the northern railway reached Tamworth in the late 1870s, shortening her husband's absences from home, for ten to 14 weeks each year Mrs Farrell had sole day-to-day responsibility for her growing family and the opportunity to earn independently. In addition to her duties as the station's nurse-midwife and regular and varied service in the Mackenzie household, Mrs Farrell also cooked, washed and sewed for the station's shearers and for several single male employees, earning 128.18s.9d [pounds sterling] in the five-and-a-half years between December 1866 and May 1871. This sum comprised 58.6s.3d [pounds sterling] earned as the superintendent's and the shearers' cook, 11.14s.0d [pounds sterling] for housework and 52.10s.0d [pounds sterling] for laundry work for the Mackenzie family, and 6.8s.6d [pounds sterling] washing and sewing for single workmen. The importance of Mrs Farrell's earnings is clear when her husband's wage is considered. During these years Garrett Farrell was paid 1 [pounds sterling] per week for his work as a bullock-driver and 15s.0d (40 [pounds sterling] per annum) as a shepherd for the remaining months, giving him an estimated annual wage of 43 [pounds sterling]-45 [pounds sterling]. (16)

Nor was Mrs Farrell the only other contributor to the family's income during these years. Between 1868 and 1871, when the name 'J. Farrell' appears in the record of her earnings, one of her sons (James or John) earned a further 111.3s.9d [pounds sterling]. Probably about 12 years old when first employed in 1868, the lad earned 10.17s.6d [pounds sterling] in the first year, 29.11s.3d [pounds sterling] in the next, 54.15s.0d [pounds sterling] in 1870 and 16.0s.0d [pounds sterling] in 1871 for his work at lambing time, as a rouseabout in the shearing shed, and as a drover and general labourer. Thus, in the five-and-a-half years between 1866 and July 1871, during which she earned 128.18s.9d [pounds sterling], Jane Farrell and her adolescent son contributed 240.2s.6d [pounds sterling], or the equivalent of almost six years of Garrett Farrell's earnings, to their family's income. (17)

Women, Children and the Pastoral Family Wage Economy

Only the combination of particular skills and the greater independence which resulted from her husband's frequent long absences made Jane Farrell a direct, and thus more immediately obvious, member of the station's paid workforce. In every other way, the Everett brothers' best-paid female employee was typical of the increasing number the stations' women and children who made similar, though less 'visible', contributions to their families' budget. Nor was their experience a recent development. Since the early 1840s, and particularly after 1847, the paid, supplementary employment of the families which the Everett brothers settled on their 'run' had been an important element in their station's management. These families, many of whom were newly-arrived assisted immigrants from England's impoverished rural south, were encouraged by their new 'masters' to become at least partially self-sufficient. As a result, most shepherding stations were soon fringed with quarter- to half-acre plots of cultivated land on which various cereals, potatoes, vegetables, fruit and hay were grown. Poultry, a couple of farrowing pigs, and one or two cows and horses were also kept. (18)

The scheme, a modified version of the traditional 'family (or cottage) economy' which characterized England's rural society until the 1760s, benefited both 'masters' and 'men'. As dedicated paternalists and convinced Evangelicals, the Everett brothers may also have been influenced by the success of the recently-introduced allotment system in improving the living standards and tractability of those fortunate southern English rural labourers who could access them. Whatever their motivation, the increased self-sufficiency which all three Everetts encouraged in their workers increased employee-satisfaction and stability and reduced the high cost and difficulty of transporting bulky, perishable foodstuffs on the long haul up from Maitland or from Lawrence, the port on the Clarence River. (19)

At Ollera the assumption, by shepherds' wives and children, of the male hutkeeper/watchmen's duties replaced the domestic spinning and better-paid field work that had been the traditional source of supplementary employment for women in rural Britain. Unlike their female forebears and their increasingly employment-deprived English contemporaries, at Ollera and Tenterden women could not only add to their families' income but were performing work usually reserved for men, for which they normally received about half the male wage. Moreover, in times of dire need exceptions were made. When labour scarcity peaked at the height of the Rocky River gold-rush in the early 1850s, both Mrs Maria Canning Bryant and Mrs Sophia Wilson were employed for several months as shepherds, earning 15.9s.3d [pounds sterling] and 23.0s.0d [pounds sterling] respectively. Significantly, each was paid independently, and at the full male rate for such work. (20)

But except for occasional, specific tasks like laundry-work, sewing and cooking for sheep-washers and shepherds during the shearing weeks, almost all the money earned by Ollera-Tenterden's women and children was hidden within their male breadwinner's wage. Careful 'unpacking' and some historical imagination must therefore be applied to the quarterly or half-yearly 'settlement' records of these workmen to reveal the important contribution made by their family members. The first clue lies in the traditional division of labour within the 'family economy' and later allotment systems and which was maintained when these families became free selectors. Women and pre-adolescent children supplemented the family finances in several ways. They assisted during the busy, five-to-six week lambing period, reared poddy lambs and calves, kept poultry, ran the dairy and raised a few pigs; produce which, in large part, was then sold to the station. The following examples are typical. In 1863 Mrs Cameron earned 5.8s.6d [pounds sterling] for the sale of 138 lbs of bacon to the station store, while in seven of the ten years between 1866 and 1876 Sam Dudman's wife Mary received a total of 18.3s.5d [pounds sterling] from the sale of bacon worth 15.13s.5d [pounds sterling], another 10s.0d for a suckling pig and a bonus of 2.0s.0d [pounds sterling] for milking. (21)

However, the small acreages they cultivated were by far the steadiest, most rewarding sources of supplementary income for Ollera-Tenterden's families. Although the preparatory 'spade' work was done by their menfolk, women and children planted, cultivated and helped harvest the growing crops, though their input was unrecorded. But how, without the consistent labour of their families, could full time 'general labourers' and shepherds of single or double flocks of 1,000 to 2,000 sheep have regularly supplied the station with quite considerable quantities of wheat, oats, barley, corn, potatoes, onions and hay? For example: at the quarterly settlements in spring 1863 John Matley was paid 35 [pounds sterling]; consisting of 16.1s.0d [pounds sterling] for shepherding a double flock and 18.19s.0d [pounds sterling] for corn, while his fellow shepherd J. Macintosh received 34.8s.3d [pounds sterling], at least half of which came from the sale of corn and potatoes to the station. Between 1862 and 1864 their workmate James Jackson earned 26.16s.0d [pounds sterling], about an extra nine months' wages, from the sale of 49 bushels of oats (20.6s.0d [pounds sterling]) and a ton of potatoes (6.10s.0d [pounds sterling]). In the six years after 1862 the shepherd Tom Dawson earned an extra 58.7s.3d [pounds sterling] from the sale of corn, wheat, oats, butter and poddy lambs to his employers. (22)

Close examination of the payments made to the farm labourer Thomas Cotterell, between 1866 and 1883 (see Table 1, below) reveals the consistency and significant value of these supplementary earnings. During these years, while Cotterell continued to work as a farm labourer on Ollera-Tenterden, his wife Martha sold produce worth 182.9s.9d [pounds sterling] to the station. By 1879, to their master's chagrin, the childless couple who had arrived at Ollera as penniless assisted-immigrants from Wiltshire in late 1848, possessed '450 acres of improved land, 2,000 four-year-old sheep and a prelease'. (23)

Though impressive, these supplementary earnings were surpassed by those of James Mackenzie's immediate subordinate, Donald Stewart. Within three years of his employment as a labourer at Ollera in 1860, the young, self-funded immigrant Scotsman became the station's overseer, a position for which, for the next 20 years, he received from 100 [pounds sterling] to 120 [pounds sterling] a year. (24) Although the station's sheep were his principal responsibility, for a decade beginning in the mid-1860s Stewart appears also to have managed the agricultural outstation at Tangley on Sandy Creek, south of Ollera's head-station. Two separate entries strongly support this suggestion. In 1862, James Reeves had also earned 100 [pounds sterling] 'by farming and attending to the Ollera farm for one year without rations'. (25) Table 2, below, details Stewart's sales of produce to the station in the decade after 1866. Evidence that, for the first five years Donald Stewart received exactly the same wage as Reeves for his oversight of the station's flocks and management of the farm at Tangley, suggests that unlike Reeves, he had little 'hands on' involvement with the farm. This, with male help at peak periods, would have been the province of his wife and younger children.

Mrs Catherine Stewart and her children would therefore have contributed 813.8s.5d [pounds sterling], or almost half of the 1,907.9s.2d [pounds sterling] her husband earned during these years. The family's successful operation of the station's modified 'family economy' labour-system enabled Stewart to purchase Tangley from Edwin Everett between 1872 and 1875. The fertile 320-acre farm formed the base from which, in the following 15 years, Donald Stewart acquired a further 3,421 acres of adjoining land. 1,400 of these 3,741 acres were selected under Stewart's name, a further 1,250 were taken up in the names of four of his children and the remaining 1,091 acres were acquired from two adjoining failed selectors, Archibald McFarlane and Charles Willis Jnr. The sheep-overseer-turned-pastoralist continued in this manner until, by 1902, he held 5,693 acres on Ollera run. (26)

Chinese and Indigenous Labour

With close scrutiny and 'unpacking', the station's records can thus tell us much about the lives and work of the women and children on Ollera-Tenterden in the colonial period. However, they contain far less information about its Chinese and Indigenous employees, despite the fact that Chinese shepherds had worked on Ollera since 1852 and its Indigenous people, the Banbai men and women whose traditional territory the Everetts had claimed, had worked continuously as shepherds, stockmen, lambers, shearers, sheep-washers, teamsters' off-siders and general 'hands' on the station since its foundation in 1838/39. (27)

Whilst all six of the Chinese men who arrived from Amoy as indentured labourers at 7.4s.0d [pounds sterling] per annum in 1852-53 had apparently left the station by 1860, at least 20 of their compatriots were employed on Ollera-Tenterden between 1862 and 1868, a presence which continued into the mid-1880s. Though most of these men worked at the station for between a few weeks and two years, some spent more than a decade on the station. They included Untion, Tonyang and Tantiock, who with Young Sam did several short stints as the Mackenzies' cook, and also Loo Sue and Jimmy Morseman, both of whom died at their shepherding stations. But by far the longest serving, most valued Chinese shepherd was Old Sam who, until his death in the 1880s was one of the station's 'Old Pensioners'. Though the size of their flocks is not given, by the mid-1860s each of these men was being paid about 40 [pounds sterling] a year, at or just under the wages paid to shepherds of a single flock. For example, between November 1864 and January 1865 Young Sam was paid 21.0s.0d [pounds sterling], from which 9.4s.9d [pounds sterling] was deducted for purchases at the store. He earned 6.15s.0d [pounds sterling] for helping at the lambing, 3.0s.0d [pounds sterling] for 12 days sheep-washing, 2.0s.0d [pounds sterling] for work at the woolshed, 2.5s.0d [pounds sterling] for two weeks and one-and-a-half days spent haymaking and 7.0s.0d [pounds sterling] for unspecified work on Mackenzie's account. Three Chinese shepherds who worked for six to nine months in the mid-1880s were hired at the 'going' rate of 36 [pounds sterling]-40 [pounds sterling] per annum. (28)

The lives these men led must have been almost unimaginably lonely. All appear to have remained single, the diaries' only reference to a married Chinese man being to a doctor who was on his way to treat 'a Chinaman's wife at Tingha' in the late 1860s. (29) Isolated geographically, linguistically, culturally and by intra-national differences, the Chinese shepherds often fought among themselves with fists or knives and at least one unfortunate man attempted suicide by hanging. (30) Bishop Turner recorded the evidence given by 'Song', a Chinese shepherd who, having witnessed the burning down of a hut by two unidentified compatriots, pleaded for protection from another of his country-men, a violent extortionist. Song's garbled narrative concludes: 'Plenty Chinaman like brother--I not like all Chinamen--some good, some bad'. (31)

Although the low-paid labour of its Indigenous people had contributed greatly to Ollera's survival in its first two difficult decades, and although Banbai people were employed on the station until the mid-1980s, they have left only faint traces in the records. A few highly-skilled Banbai men worked full-time as stockmen, shepherds, drovers and bullockies' offsiders and several others were employed seasonally during spring and early summer as lambers, sheep-washers, shed-hands, harvesters, threshers and bark-collectors. For example, for 20 days spent sheep-washing in November 1886, Charley 'Blackboy' earned 2.18s.6d [pounds sterling], from which 2.16s.0d [pounds sterling] was deducted to settle his account with the store and 2s.6d was paid in cash. At an average of 2s.11d per day, Charley was paid considerably less than his European counterparts, who earned 3s.6d-4s.0d a day if they worked with dry sheep and 4s.6d-5s.0d for working 'in water'. (32) However, most of the Indigenous men and women whose cheap, anonymous labour was recorded were employed casually and for the most menial tasks. Table 3 reports the account entries from 1869:

Most of these Indigenous men would probably have been infants or not yet born when the Everett brothers and their Halhed partners founded Ollera-Tenterden. The detailed records of their purchases at Ollera's Store show that, by 1851, their traditional culture had already been seriously eroded by their increasing integration into the local European lifestyle and economy as a result of their frequent (though almost always casual) employment on Ollera and Tenterden. Those who were not issued with rations regularly bought small quantities of beef, flour, sugar, tea, tobacco, soap and apparel. For example, between 26 October and 17 November, 1857, 'Charley the Blackboy' spent 12s.6d on a 'garnsey frock or shirt' costing 8s.0d and a regatta shirt worth 4s.6d. During the same weeks, Jacky Jacky was charged 15s.9 1/4d for a pair of moleskin trousers (10s.0d), 2 oz tea costing 5 1/4d, 1 lb sugar (10d) and a regatta shirt, while Crooky Tommy paid 5s.1 1/4d for 2 oz tea, 1 lb sugar, 3 1/2lbs flour and 6 lbs beef. European clothing was always popular, the cost of a variety of 'trowsers' and shirts, 'garnsey frocks' (Guernsey smocks?), 'sleep vests', braces and boots, being the most frequent deductions. (33)

But the three young Indigenous men whose serious offences in the 1860s and early 1870s are described below, provide an even more telling sign of the destructive impact of the dominant European society upon the mindset of the generation of Banbai who had been born at or soon after first-contact. Though each was employed on the station and was identified by his victim, only the last and least serious miscreant was apprehended. It is surely indicative of increased inter-racial tension that, despite long, well-publicised and thorough searches being undertaken, and despite district newspapers' publication of detailed descriptions of one individual who was fully clad in good-quality European clothing, no trace of either rapist could be found by any of the district's skilled Banbai trackers. (34)

Child Labour

Children under 12 made perhaps their most valuable contribution to the family economy in the busy lambing period when each successive 'drop' had to be confined within, cared for and moved through the maze of hurdles which developed around the hut at the selected lambing place as the season progressed. (35) The reason for a payment made to Tom Dawson, who as shepherd of a double flock earned 17.10s.0d [pounds sterling] per quarter in 1862, shows the extent of his large family's involvement: 'All hands lambing down the strong mob, 14.8s.0d' [pounds sterling]. (36) During the next two years Ralph Clough's 'little girl' earned 4.12s.0d [pounds sterling], or almost one-quarter of her family's supplementary income of 20.6s.0d [pounds sterling], for her work during the lambing seasons. (37)

Thus, when 12-year-old boys began paid employment as their fathers' assistants at a little less than half the male wage, they already possessed some knowledge of the skills they would hone during several years' on-the-job training. From menial tasks such as picking stones, cutting burrs and 'following after the plough and the harvest', they progressed to assisting at the wash-pool, in and around the shearing shed and at the hay and grain harvests. Older, more experienced boys worked as sheep washers, shepherded newly-shorn sheep and herded and drove sheep and cattle over long distances. Then, as the youths neared full strength, they were employed, at 17s.6d per week, either as farm labourers or as shepherds of a small flock of about 500 animals. Adolescent boys were in particular demand during the lambing weeks to assist those shepherds who lacked the three or four family members needed to care for the three separate mobs of lambs (birthing, 'green' or new-born, and 'strong' or older mob) and at least three of ewes (peri-natal, nursing and 'dry') through which successive batches of ewes and lambs progressed. During the lambing weeks, Mackenzie's diaries are filled with his efforts to recruit and transport boys whom their families could spare to distant parts of the station. (38)

The following examples reveal the variety and value of the work undertaken by Ollera-Tenterden's boys. In 1863 young Billy Matley was paid 6.3s.4d [pounds sterling] for 26 days' work at the washpool and in the next year his brother Edward earned 2 [pounds sterling] at the lambing and 2s.6d cutting burrs. In 1866, for 35 weeks' work as a shepherd, one of Isaac Spicer's late-adolescent sons was paid 33.2s.0d [pounds sterling] and another younger boy earned 3.15s.0d [pounds sterling] for six weeks' work, at 12s.0d a week, as a shepherd and 3.12s.0d [pounds sterling] more for minding newly-shorn sheep. In 1867 the boys received 13.0s.0d [pounds sterling] for six months' work shepherding, 15s.0d for washing James Mackenzie's sheep, 3.0s.0d [pounds sterling] 'for lambing down the strong mob' and 9.13s.9d [pounds sterling] for 'shepherding, haymaking and work at the woolshed'. In two years, Spicer's sons had contributed 66.17s.9d [pounds sterling], just exceeding their father's annual wage as shepherd of a double flock. The quantitative elements of the modified 'family economy' were thus important warp in the fabric of women's and children's lives on Ollera-Tenterden in the second half of the nineteenth century. Their living conditions and experiences formed the qualitative weft of that fabric. (39)

The Quality of Working Life

Before discussing the quality of their lives we must first determine the number of women and children who lived and worked on Ollera-Tenterden in the four decades from its foundation in 1838/39 until the station reached peak prosperity and its greatest extent in the late 1870s. Drought, economic depression and insecurity of tenure meant that, at the end of its first decade in 1849, only eight females were among the 55 people named in Ollera's accounts. Better seasons and the 14 years' security of tenure after 1847 which underpinned three successive importations of assisted-immigrant families from Wiltshire in the 1850s meant that by 1864 with the purchase of Tenterden completed, the names of 224 people were entered in the greatly-enlarged run's books. Of the men, 167 out of 186 were European, nine were Chinese and at least ten were Indigenous, leaving 38 women, most of whom had children. When Mackenzie took the census in April 1871, his diary shows that 226 people were present on the two stations. There were 61 men and boys, 68 women and girls, and 97 children under twelve. However, his more-detailed record of the next census, in July 1874, shows that the station's population had risen to 353. Sixty-nine were women and 182 were children under 12 years old. But, as Table 4, below, shows, these figures included free-selector families and those living at Wandsworth. They also show that only ten more males had been employed full-time on Ollera-Tenterden in the preceding three years. (40)

While the raw figures for 1871 and 1874 are the only census information contained in Mackenzie's dairies, the frequency with which entries refer to different individual women and children in the next decade and a half testifies to their increasing presence on Ollera-Tenterden.

Like much of the station's infrastructure, most of the houses in which these women raised their families were rebuilt in the mid-1870s. Despite the increased use of nails, the new huts were still slab-sided and roughly-built. However, they were enlarged to two rooms and a skillion, possessed windows with moveable timber shutters and were roofed with shingles or galvanized-iron instead of bark. The slab walls were lined with calico against the inescapable draughts, straw-filled paliasses topped with sheepskins formed the bedding and kangaroo-skin rugs warmed the roughly-sawn timber floors. But perhaps the greatest improvement was the new hut's external brick chimney. Dominating the main room, the big fireplace housed the roasting jack and camp oven with which the women cooked for their large families. For example, the Kelly family contained 13 children, the Dawsons had 12 and both the Judge and Skinner families had eleven. (41)

Food was not only plentiful, but for most of the families, quantities of beef, flour, sugar and tea were components of the shepherds' and long-term farm labourers' hiring contracts. The base-rate for rations varied according to the type and length of each recipient's employment, his marital status and family size and according to the heavier workload and participation needed during the lambing and shearing seasons. Table 5 shows the various (standard) quantities issued.

Despite their monotony, the reliability and intrinsic value of these rations contributed considerably to the recipient's wage. In 1860 their prices at the station's store were: beef 3d per lb, flour 8d per lb, sugar 9d per lb and tea 3s.0d per lb. Each of the three families whose details appear below differed according to type and continuity of occupation and family size. As Table 6 shows, the full-time shepherd, John Matley, and his two sons received the same quantity throughout the year, while the amounts received by the multi-skilled and diversely employed Tom Dawson and his large family varied markedly. Those supplied to Mrs Farrell differed during the three months her husband was away from Ollera. During this time she spent a total of 9.14s.10d [pounds sterling] on these items at the station's store.

The detailed records of individual employees' purchases contained in Ollera's Stores Issue Book 1845-57 provide glimpses of living standards on the station and of the availability and comparative cost of various necessities. Table 7, below, details Mrs Sophia Wilson's purchases from the store during the summer of 1856-57. Between March and November 1857 a total of 10.19s.4d [pounds sterling] was deducted from Tom Cotterell's wages for purchases of clothing, boots, household items, suet and condiments. As always, footwear was the most expensive item, 6.10s.0d [pounds sterling] being spent on four pairs of men's and one pair of boy's boots. Next came five pairs of men's 'trowsers' costing 2.10s.0d [pounds sterling]; one moleskin, one cord[uroy] and three of 'duck' (heavy canvas). The remaining 1.19s.4d [pounds sterling] was spent on two rugs (16s.0d), eight yards of calico (5s.4d), 47 1/2 lbs suet (15s.9d), a bottle of vinegar (1s.9d) and 1/2 lb pepper (6d). (42)

Well-paid supplementary employment, a guaranteed supply of staple foodstuffs and adequate, albeit often cramped and basic, housing were essential strands in the fabric of station life. However, other, often less tangible, components were equally important. These elements included continuity of permanent and seasonal employment (much of which was multi-generational), the consequent development of a strong and deepening sense of community, and a general 'civilising' of everyday life. As each of these components resulted from and depended greatly upon the increased presence of women and children on the station, here again the family economy system that the Everett brothers had encouraged since the late 1840s was fundamental to their development.

Church, school, team sports and local and colony-wide celebrations provided the 'social glue' which created and consolidated community bonds. Although, given the gender imbalance of the station's workforce and the period's mores, women were restricted to a passive and supportive role in community activities, their contribution was nonetheless important. They prepared the after-match 'feasts' which followed cricket and football matches against teams from neighbouring stations and the wider district and applauded the frequent 'scratch' or pre-arranged intra-station games that were a hallmark of life for men and boys on the station where 'no good cricketer was ever refused a job'. (43) Women and older girls also spent days preparing for the annual picnics for pupils of the station's secular and Sunday schools. On Boxing Day the families of both 'masters' and 'men' celebrated Christmas and the end of shearing with horse-races at Wandsworth, returning to the townlet on Limestone Creek for the New Year's Day sports' carnival. Like the annual Queen's Birthday cricket match, each of these occasions concluded with 'fireworks at night'. (44) Whole families must also have looked forward eagerly to the regular, though infrequent, arrival of Ashton's Circus in the village and 'all hands' also turned out for weddings on the station. Women were actively involved in preparing for the bazaars and Christmas trees which raised funds for the completion of Ollera's church in the 1870s. But the most memorable occasions were probably the ball held at Ollera in 1874 for 120 of the station people, the harvest festivals which were celebrated at each of the head-stations in the 1880s and the functions, a week apart, at which workers on Ollera and Tenterden commemorated Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887. On each of these gala occasions, if appropriate, a church service was followed by cricket and/or 'sports' in the afternoon then food, fireworks and dancing at night. (45)

However, despite these collective celebratory experiences, life on the station remained difficult and all too frequently painful or anxious. Deaths, accidents and illness were a persistent and recurrent threat to each family. Between 1862 and 1887, Mackenzie's diaries record the deaths of 75 people on Ollera-Tenterden. Thirteen of the 36 deceased adults were women. Only three of these females and three of the 23 males, two of whom were Chinese and one Indigenous, were described as 'old'. Although the particular child's name, age, or gender was seldom noted, Mackenzie's terminology provides a rough guide to the life-stage reached by each of the 38 deceased children. Three of the six newborns who died were stillborn. One of the five deceased 'infants', Donald Stewart's two-year-old son, Finlay, died of snake-bite and another was a victim of infanticide. The cause of death is given for only three of the 29 'children'; the exceptions being seven-year-old Bella Ramage who also died of snake-bite and Tom Carpendale's son and daughter, who succumbed to diphtheria. The remaining 23 children under 12 probably fell victim to the recurrent bouts of 'croup', the upper-respiratory tract infection which, like measles, returned each year to threaten the adults and children throughout the long, cold winter. However, the ever-present threat of smallpox was greatly reduced when the vaccination of the station's children began in 1868. (46)

Several of the 14 children whose illnesses were recorded in the station diaries were accidentally injured. They included two of the superintendent's children, adolescent (Charlotte) Ethel Mackenzie, whose face was badly cut by a glass bottle and 'Baby' (Herbert) who was kicked by a horse. While the most common childhood accident was a broken arm or leg, three boys also cut themselves badly enough to need medical attention, two were run over by their fathers' wagons, one was scalded, another survived serious burns and yet another was bitten by a snake.

At least six women suffered injuries that required police involvement during the 25 years between 1862 and 1887. In 1874, Mrs Marsh, the Tenterden shepherd's wife who confessed to deliberately drowning her little son, was imprisoned for two years. At least one, and possibly two, shepherds' wives attempted suicide: Mrs Wright, who '[threw] herself in the creek' at Tenterden in 1881 and, more questionably, Mrs Austin, who 'accidentally shot herself' in 1866. (47) In the same year, Mrs Simpson spent several hours lost in the bush which surrounded her family's shepherding station, before being found by an Indigenous tracker. On two separate occasions in the first half of the 1860s, a young woman from a shepherd's family accused a young Indigenous man of rape. Almost ten years later two more girls were terrified but otherwise unharmed when, late at night, a third Indigenous man broke into the hut in which they were sleeping. Despite well-publicised warrants being issued for each man's arrest and long, thorough searches being conducted, only the last and least serious offender was caught and charged. (48)

While in each of the above episodes the women was regarded as a victim, three women, all of whom were married to shepherds on Ollera-Tenterden, were either associated with, or were actively engaged in, criminal activities. Mrs Simmons first came to Mackenzie's attention in early 1866 when her reasons for a stranger's visit to her isolated hut were met with frank disbelief. When their husbands joined the bushrangers who robbed Ollera's newly-restocked Store on Christmas Eve 1867, then 'bailed-up' the farmhouse at Sandy Creek a week later, Mrs Simmons and her sister, Mrs Ramage, were both charged as accessories to the crimes for which Simmons' husband received a long sentence. The last woman to be accused of a crime was Mrs Sarah Jane Grey, who was charged with sheep-stealing in 1882. However, despite having been caught literally 'red-handed' as she skinned the animal, she was later acquitted. (49)

Several women coped poorly with the anxieties induced by the loneliness and not infrequent robberies that characterized life in the isolated huts on colonial Ollera-Tenterden. An apparent 'nervous breakdown' meant that, in 1883, one of Ollera's many cooks, the 'mad, Lord-Be-Praised Woman', had to be restrained and taken away by the police. (50) In 1877, two searches, the second of which lasted three days, were made for small boys whom their anxious mothers had mistakenly reported lost. Each child was later found hiding in his family's barn. In 1870 and in 1884 two further, long searches were conducted for genuinely lost little boys, who were found several miles from their homes. The first search took three days and the second, involving 37 men from neighbouring stations, took five days.

But perhaps the most telling evidence that life could be as difficult for the station's children as it was for their parents can be found in diary entries from the early 1880s. The first, and possibly most touching and explicable, concerned 'Ryder's boy' who ran away from his family's selection near Sandy Creek six months after his mother's death. Two incidents involving children from the Orchard family have less obvious causes though, significantly, each occurred during the busy lambing period, when 'all hands' worked all day and into the night. Could it have been overwork, or perhaps harsh parenting, that caused at least two of the shepherd's children to run away from his out-station on Tenterden in October 1883, only to be found several miles away near the Washpool on Ollera head-station? Something was clearly amiss in this family, for, almost exactly 12 months later, 'Orchard's boy ran away from home again'. (51)

Yet, as young Ryder's sister, Mrs Janet Ryder Avery, recalled nearly 60 years later, these experiences were almost certainly exceptions to most children's lives on colonial Ollera-Tenterden. Returning to the station on which three generations of her family had lived since the 1850s, 73-year-old Mrs Avery described one of the five schools which had been provided, at a cost of about 1s.6d a week per child, for the station's families during the 1860s and 1870s. Schools were first established at each head-station and at Limestone Creek/Wandsworth, then at Brushy Creek and, as Mrs Avery remembered, 'near the store and ... a few residences' at Sandy Creek. Housed in 'a large canvas tent' and presided over by young Miss Gallaher, who had recently arrived from Sydney, Sandy Creek's school contained 'desks, a press for books, blackboards, maps etc'. Mrs Avery also remembered that, as she and her younger siblings trudged three miles home to their father's selection, they would meet their older brothers who, after a day spent shepherding, 'were on their way to night school'. In providing 'evening' lessons for adolescents who, at 12, were old enough for full-time work, the Everett brothers were following yet another traditional English practice. (52)


The aim of this detailed examination of the nooks and crannies of the Ollera Papers has been to reveal hitherto overshadowed dimensions of life and labour in the traditional, male-dominated landscape of colonial New England. In retrieving these European women and children, Chinese men and Indigenous people from the obscurity to which they have for too long been relegated, the important social and economic contribution these groups made to the success of their individual families, to the station on which they worked and to the community and wider district in which they settled has been revealed. Without their largely unacknowledged efforts, the outcome for Ollera-Tenterden may have been different and the prosperity the station enjoyed from the mid-1870s would almost certainly have been much longer delayed.


(1.) For want of a more suitable alternative, 'Anglo' is used to refer to Great Britain/United Kingdom.

(2.) Typical examples include: Ernest Scott, A Short History of Australia, Oxford University Press, London, 1924; Stephen H. Roberts, History of Australian Land Settlement 1788-1920, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1924; R.M. Crawford, Australia, Hutchinson, London, 1952; and Gordon Greenwood, Australia: A Social and Political History, Angus & Robertson, Sydney,1955; Russel Ward, The Australian Legend, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1958; Margaret Kiddle, Men of Yesterday: A Social History of the Western District of Victoria 1834-1890, Melbourne University Press, Parkville, 1961; Stephen H. Roberts, The Squatting Age in Australia 1835-1847, Melbourne University Press, London, 1935; Geoffrey Blainey, The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia's History, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1966; C.M.H. Clark, A History of Australia, Volume 1: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie, Melbourne University Press, London, 1962; Volume 2: New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, 1822-1838, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1968; Volume 3: The Beginning of an Australian Civilisation 1834-1851, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1973; Duncan Waterson, Squatter, Selector and Storekeeper: A History of the Darling Downs, 1859-93, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 1968; Anne Summers, Damned WWores and God's Police: The Colonization of Women in Australia, Penguin, Ringwood, 1975; Beverley Kingston, My Wife, My Daughter and Poor May Anne: Women and Work in Australia, Nelson, Melbourne, 1975; Miriam Dixson, The Real Matilda: Women and Identity in Australia 1788-1975, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1976.

(3.) Maree Murray, 'Children's Work in Rural New South Wales in the 1870s', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 79, no. 3/4, 1993, pp. 226-44; Patricia Grimshaw, 'Man's Space, Women's Place', in Patricia Grimshaw, Marilyn Lake, Ann McGrath and Marian Quartley (eds), Creating a Nation 1788-1990, Penguin, Ringwood, 1996, pp. 106-30; Patricia Grimshaw, Charles Fahey, Susan Janson and Tom Griffiths, 'Families and Selection in Colonial Horsham', in Patricia Grimshaw, Chris McConville and Ellen McEwen (eds), Families in Colonial Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1985; Marilyn Lake, 'Helpmeet, Slave, Housewife: Women in Rural Families 1870-1930', in Grimshaw et al, Families, pp. 173-85; Katrina Alford, 'Women's Employment in Urban and Rural Australia', in Katrina Alford, Production or Reproduction? An Economic History of Women in Australia 1788-1860, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1984, pp. 160-206; Gordon L. Buxton, The Riverina 1861-1891: An Australian Regional Study, Melbourne University Press, London, 1967; Glenda Strachan, Ellen Jordan and Hilda Carey, 'Women's Work in a Rural Community: Dungog and the Upper Williams Valley, 1880-1900', Labour History, no. 78, May, 2000; Pamela Horn, The Rural World 1750-1850: Social Change in the English Countryside, Hutchinson, London, 1980; Jane Humphries, 'Enclosure, Common Rights and Women: The Proletarianization of Women in the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries', Journal of Economic History, no. 46, 1986, pp. 17-42.

(4.) Kathryn Cronin, 'The Chinese Rural Labourer', in R. Evans, K. Saunders and K. Cronin, Race Relations in Colonial Queensland: A History of Exclusion, Exploitation and Extermination, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1988, pp. 237-53; Roger Millis, introduction and notes, in William Telfer, The Wallabadah Manuscript: Recollections of the Early Days, New South Wales University Press, Kensington, 2003; Maxine Darnell, The Chinese Labour Trade to New South Wales 1783-1853: An Exposition of Motives and Outcomes, PhD Thesis, University of New England, Armidale, 1997; Maxine Darnell, Bulwark of the Country ... Salvation of the Colony, paper presented at the Conference of the Chinese Studies Association of Australia, Macquarie University, Sydney, 1993; E.B. Swanson, 'Chinese Immigrants in New England', Journal of the Armidale District Historical Society, no. 11, 1968, pp 28-33; Henry Reynolds, With the White People: The Crucial Role of Aborigines in the Exploration and Development of Australia, Penguin, Ringwood, 1990; Dawn May, Aborigines and the Cattle Industry: Queensland from White Settlement to the Present, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1994; Ann McGrath, 'Born in the Cattle': Aborigines in Cattle Country, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1997; Alison Holland, 'Feminism, Colonialism and Aboriginal Workers: An Anti-Slavery Crusade', in Ann McGrath, K. Saunders (eds), with Jackie Huggins, Aboriginal Workers, a special issue of Labour History, no. 69, November 1995, pp. 52-64; Peggy Brock, 'Pastoral Stations and Reserves in South and Central Australia 1850-1950', ibid., pp.102-14; Ann Curthoys and Clive Moore, 'Working for the White People: An Historiographical Essay on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People', ibid., pp. 1-29; I.C. Campbell, 'Social Backgrounds and Relations with the Aborigines of New England', Journal of the Armidale District Historical Society, vol. 14, 1971, pp. 1-11; Ollera Station Records (OSR), University of New England Regional Archives (UNERA), A103;V3052/29.

(5.) OSR, A103a-c; A103, accession nos pending; Diaries of James Mackenzie 1862-87 (missing 1869, 1872) (DJM), OSR, UNERA, A103:V3052/23-48; V3053;23-24; V3054/1-12.

(6.) Gostwyck Records, Ledgers, 1-3, 1863-95, UNERA, not accessioned.

(7.) Margaret Rodwell, 'A Few Honest Men: Assisted Immigration and the Family Economy at Ollera Station, Guyra 1840-c.1960', Journal of Australian Colonial History, vol. 11, 2009, pp. 47-68, 72-74; Fragment of Edwin Everett's Diary, 1856-57, OSR, UNERA, A103:V3052/11.

(8.) L. Davidoff and C. Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850, Routledge, London, 1992, for the importance of 'kinship and friendship' networks; Edwin to John Everett, 7 May 1862, OSR, UNERA, A103, accession no. pending.


(10.) Edwin to John Everett, 25 July, 1888 and 4 September 1888 OSR, UNERA, A103, accession nos pending.

(11.) Station Ledgers, 186^90, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2261-63.

(12.) James Mackenzie's Private Account Book (JMPAB), OSR, UNERA, A103;V2257; DJM, OSR, UNERA, V3052/40-48; V3053/23-24; V3054/1/12.

(13.) OSR, DJM, UNERA, A103: V3054/1-3.

(14.) DJM, OSR, UNERA, A103: V3052/4/7; 3054/4; JMPAB, OSR, UNERA, A103: V2257.

(15.) JMPAB, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2257; Balance Book, 1865-92, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2258.

(16.) Ibid.

(17.) OSR, Yearly Balance Book, 1865-92, UNERA, A103: V2258.

(18.) Station Ledger, OSR, UNERA, A103 V2263; Rodwell, 'A Few Honest Men', pp. 61-66.

(19.) M. Berg, Age of Manufactures: Industry, Innovation and Work in Britain 1700-1820, Fontana, London, 1985, pp. 121-23; 'Report of the Select Committee on the Labouring Poor (Allotments of Land)', British Parliamentary Papers: Agriculture, Volume 9, [1843], Irish University Press, Shannon, 1968, pp. 11-13.

(20.) Account Book, 1841-72, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2259.

(21.) Station Ledgers, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2261/62.

(22.) Station Ledger, OSR, UNERA, V2260.

(23.) John Everett to James Mackenzie, 23 April 1879, UNERA, A103, accession no. pending.

(24.) Ross Fraser, Notes Re My Grandfather Donald Stewart, unpublished biographical material provided to the writer in 2001.

(25.) Station Ledger OSR, UNERA, A103: V2260.

(26.) Ledger, Tangley Station Records, containing Donald Stewart's handwritten list of his Selections dated 2 October 1910, UNERA, A113:V5628; OSR, Miscellaneous Station Records, UNERA, Box 6.20.

(27.) Account Book 1841-72, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2259

(28.) Ibid.; DJM, OSR, UNERA; Station Ledgers, A103:V2260-63.

(29.) Darnell, The Chinese Labour Trade, pp. 66-79, 150, 324; J. Wilton, Golden Threads: The Chinese in Regional New South Wales 1850-1950, New England Regional Art Museum in association with Powerhouse Pub., Armidale, 2004.

(30.) DJM, OSR, UNERA, A103:V3054/2.

(31.) Extract from Bishop Turner's Notebook, Wandsworth History File, OSR, UNERA, A103, accession no. pending.

(32.) Margaret Rodwell, Ollera and its People: A Social and Cultural History of a New England Pastoral Station, 1838-c.1914, PhD thesis, Department of History, University of Armidale, August 2006, pp. 118-20, 382.

(33.) Stores Issue Book 1848-57, OSR, UNERA, A103:V3054/14.

(34.) DJM, OSR, UNERA, A103: V3051/42.

(35.) R.H. Gennys, 'Shepherds and Shepherding in Australia', Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 11, 1926, pp. 281-89.

(36.) Station Ledger, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2260.

(37.) Ibid., A103:V2260-61.

(38.) 'Took young Short out to Muddle's lambing place', 3 Oct 1880, DJM, OSR, UNERA, A103: V3054/5; 'To Goodwin's [lambing place] and took young Ramage out there with me', 24 August 1884, DJM, OSR, UNERA, A103: V3054/9.

(39.) Station Ledgers, OSR, UNERA, A103: V2260-61.

(40.) Account Book, 1841-72, OSR, UNERA, A103: V3359; [List of] Emigrants sent out to Ollera Station, New England NSW by the Messrs G.J.E. Everett, OSR, UNERA, A103:V3052/39; Account Book, 1841-72, A103:V2259; Store Book 3, 1862-64, A103:V2268; DJM, V3054/3.

(41.) Rodwell, Ollera and its People, pp. 232-33.

(42.) Stores Issue Book 1848-57, OSR, UNERA, A103:V3054/14.

(43.) Fraser, Notes Re My Grandfather Donald Stewart; DJM, UNERA, 103: V3054/12.

(44.) DJM, OSR, UNERA, A103:V3052/40.

(45.) Ibid., A103:V3053/24.

(46.) Ibid., A103:V3051/43;V3052/46; V3054/5.

(47.) Ibid., A103:V3053/46; Diary of Edgar Huntley of Stockbridge, Ollera, 1881, A103b:V5628.

(48.) Ibid., A103:V3052/43.

(49.) Ibid., A103:V3054/3; V3052/47; V3054/8.

(50.) Ibid., A103:V 3054/8.

(51.) Ibid., A103: V3054/3.

(52.) Mrs Janet Ryder Avery to Mr Tom Everett, 12 August, 1946, OSR, UNERA, A103, accession no. pending.

Margaret Rodwell, The author would like to thank the two anonymous referees of Labour History for their comments and suggestions.

Margaret Rodwell is a retired teacher and independent historian with a special interest in 'history from below'. She is researching life and work on Ollera Station, Guyra, the subject of the PhD she gained at UNE, Armidale in 2007. She is currently examining aspects of the station's management between 1838/39 and 1914, with special emphasis on the chronology, nature, extent and consequences, for 'masters'and 'men', of free selection on the station. <>
Table 1: Supplementary Payments Made to Tom Cotterell, 1866-83

Year           Produce                   Value

       25 Bushels Oats            8.15s.0d [pounds sterling]
1866   7 1/2 Bushels Wheat        6.0s.0d [pounds sterling]
       Oats for Entires          20.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1867   Wheat to E. Everett       25.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1876   Eggs, Poultry, Potatoes    1.9s.0d [pounds sterling]

1877   Hay, Oats                 26.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1879   Hay                       16.0s.0d [pounds sterling]
       31 Bushels Oats            7.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1880   49 1/2 Bushels Oats        7.8s.6d [pounds sterling]
       Crop of Hay               15.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1881   Crop of Hay               15.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1882   41 Bushels Oats            9.4s.6d [pounds sterling]

1883   94 1/2 Bushels Oats        21.5s.3d [pounds sterling]
       Hay                         6.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

        Cumulative Total

Year                      Totals

1866               34.15s.0d [pounds sterling]

1867               25.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1876                1.9s.0d [pounds sterling]

1877               26.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1879               23.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1880               22.8s.6d [pounds sterling]

1881               15.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

1882                9.4s.6d [pounds sterling]

1883               27.5s.3d [pounds sterling]

Cumulative Total  184.2s.3d [pounds sterling]

Station Ledgers, Ollera Station Records (OSR),
University of New England Regional Archives (UNERA), A103:V2260-63

Table 2: Salary and Supplementary Payments to Donald Stewart, 1866-75

Year            Salary              Supplementary Income

1866   100 [pounds sterling] p.a.  Flour and Bags to Station

                                   Flour, Siftens, Bags
1867                               Oats
                                   660 lbs Flour
                                   Seed Wheat

1868                               Sandy Creek Account

                                   6,913 lbs Flour, 22 Bags Bran
1869                               8 tons 3 cwt Flour
                                   Bran and Pollard

                                   14,366 lbs Wheat
1870                               Bran

1871   110 [pounds sterling] p.a.  Bran and Pollard
                                   Oats and Bags

1872   120 [pounds sterling] p.a.  Oats

                                   45 Bushels Wheat
1873                               39 Bushels Oats
                                   23 cwt 8 qr Potatoes

                                   205 Bushels Wheat
1874                               108 lbs Barley, Watts Farm

1875                               18 Bushels Oats

                                      Cumulative Total

Year             Value                        Totals

1866    103.2s.0d [pounds sterling]   103.2s.0d [pounds sterling]

         48.2s.9d [pounds sterling]
         20.8s.0d [pounds sterling]
1867     2.15s.0d [pounds sterling]    81.3s.3d [pounds sterling]
         4.17s.6d [pounds sterling]
         2.10s.0d [pounds sterling]
         2.10s.0d [pounds sterling]

         1.12s.0d [pounds sterling]
1868     80.8s.0d [pounds sterling]     83.8s.0d [pounds sterling]
          1.8s.0d [pounds sterling]

         36.1s.9d [pounds sterling]
1869    122.5s.0d [pounds sterling]   166.16s.9d [pounds sterling]
         8.10s.0d [pounds sterling]

       107.12s.6d [pounds sterling]    115.2s.6d [pounds sterling]
1870     7.10s.0d [pounds sterling]

         55.0s.0d [pounds sterling]
1871     4.10s.0d [pounds sterling]    89.19s.0d [pounds sterling]
         30.9s.0d [pounds sterling]

        70.15s.9d [pounds sterling]
1872     23.2s.9d [pounds sterling]    93.18s.6d [pounds sterling]

        13.10s.0d [pounds sterling]
1873     9.15s.0d [pounds sterling]     29.1s.3d [pounds sterling]
         5.16s.3d [pounds sterling]

        46.13s.9d [pounds sterling]     47.2s.9d [pounds sterling]
1874                         9s.0d
1875      4.6s.5d [pounds sterling]      4.6s.5d [pounds sterling]

                                      813.8s.5d [pounds sterling]

Station Ledgers, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2261-62

Table 3: Payments to 'Blackboys', 1869

 Date            Debit                     Amount

         Jimmy's Store Account                      6s.9d
4 June   Percy's Store Account                     10s.6d
         Dudley's Store Account                     8s.8d

8 June   Dudley Cash                                2s.0d

         Dudley Store Account                      11s.6d
         Dudley Cash                               15s.0d
3 July   Dudley Store Account                      10s.0d
         Dudley Cheque no. 121    1.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

         Store Account                              2s.0d
13 Aug   Cheque no. 145           1.8s.0d [pounds sterling]

13 Sept

6 Oct

 Date            Credit                     Amount

         Cutting Bark, 200         5.0s.0d [pounds sterling]
4 June   Sheets
         Getting Wood              2.0s.0d [pounds sterling]

8 June

         Dudley Getting Wood etc   1.6s.6d [pounds sterling]

3 July   Jimmy Drawing in Split
         Stuff with Dray           1.11s.0d [pounds sterling]

         Percy at Work with
13 Aug   Bullock Dray              1.10s.0d [pounds sterling]

         Percy at Work with
13 Sept  Bullock Dray              1.10s.0d [pounds sterling]

6 Oct    Blackboy at Work          8s.6d

Station Ledger, OSR, UNERA, A103:V2262

Table 4: Census Details: Ollera-Tenterden Station, July 1874


               Full-Time      Part-Time     Free     Wands-   Total
                               Ollera-    Selectors  worth
           Ollera  Tenterden  Tenderden

Men        31      30         10          10         21       102
Women      26      15          4           8         16        69
Children   65      34         19          33         31       182
Total      122     79         33          51         68       353

James Mackenzie's Diary, 1874, OSR, UNERA, A103:V3054/4

Table 5: Quantity of Rations Issued per Week, 1860s

Status          Usual Quantities (lbs)      Seasonal Quantities (lbs)

             Beef    Flour   Sugar   Tea   Beef    Flour   Sugar   Tea

Single Men    10      10       4      2    20-25   15-20    4-6    3-4
Boys                  10      10      4      2      10      10      4
Couples       15      15       4      3     20      15       6      3
Families     15-30   15-30   6-12     6    30-50   30-50   12-20   6-10

Monthly Ration Book, OSR, UNERA, A103: V3054/14; V3052/26

Table 6: Quantity of Rations Issued to Typical Families per Week at
Ollera, 1861/62 *

 Name     Period     Beef        Flour        Sugar         Tea

          12        30 lbs   30 lbs           12 lbs   6 lbs
Matley    months    7s.6d    1 [pounds         9s.0d    18s.0d
          11        30 lbs   30 lbs           12 lbs   6 lbs
          months    7s.6d    1 [pounds         9s.0d    18s.0d
          1 month   50 lbs   50 lbs           20 lbs   10 lbs
                    12s.6d   1.13s.4d [pounds  15s.0d   1.10s.0d [pounds
                               sterling]                 sterling]
          4         10 lbs   10 lbs           4 lbs    2 lbs
Dawson's  months    2s.6d    7s.6d            3s.0d    6s.0d
Boy       1 month   40 lbs   40 lbs           10 lbs   8 lbs
                    6s.0d    1.6s.8d [pounds   7s.8d    1.4s.0d [pounds
                               sterling]                 sterling]
          1 month   30 lbs   30 lbs           8 lbs    4 lbs
                    7s.6d    1 [pounds         6s.0d    12s.0d
          3         5 lbs    5 lbs            2 lbs    1 lbs
          months    1s.3d    3s.4d            1s.6d    3s.0s
          2         20 lbs   20 lbs           8 lbs    4 lbs
Farrell   months    5s.0d    13s.4d           6s.0d    12s.0d
          7         25 lbs   25 lbs           10 lbs   5 lbs
          months    6s.3d    16s.8d           7s.6d    15s.0d

 Name          Value         Value per Year
              per Week

          2.14s.6d [pounds   .140.10s.2d [pounds
Matley      sterling]         sterling]

          2.14s.6d [pounds

          4.10s.10d [pounds
            sterling]       149.16s.6d [pounds

Boy       3.4s.2d [pounds

          2.5s.6d [pounds


          1.16s.4d [pounds   20.17s.10d [pounds
Farrell     sterling]         sterling]
          2.5s.5d [pounds

* Prices per pound for the goods purchased were: Beef 3d; Flour 8d;
Sugar 9d; Tea 3s.0d.
Stores Books, OSR, UNERA, A103: V3054/14; V3052/20; V2270

Table 7: Wilson Family's Store Account, 30 Nov 1856 to 16 Feb 1857

   Date                 Goods Purchased                  Cost

30 Nov 1856  9 lbs Soap, 35 lbs Beef                  11s.6d
7 Dec 1856   165 lbs Beef, 2 pair Worsted Socks,      1.6s.1d [pounds
               1/2 lb Epsom Salts                       sterling]
             2 pair Women's Black Stockings,          1.4s.0d [pounds
               1 pair English Boots                     sterling]
             4 lbs Raisins, 6 lbs Soap, 4 lbs Sugar   10s.0d
19 Jan 1857  1 lb Pepper, 2 Twill Shirts              9s.0d
             2 lbs Raisins, 1 pair Women's            17s.0d
               Colonial Boots
30 Jan 1857  2 3/4 lbs Soap                           1s.10d
16 Feb 1857  2 1/2 lbs Soap                           1s.8d

                           Total Cost                 5.1s.0d [pounds

Stores Issue Book 1847-57, OSR, UNERA, A103:V3054/14
COPYRIGHT 2012 Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Rodwell, Margaret
Publication:Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 1, 2012
Previous Article:Economic wealth and political power in Australia, 1788-2010.
Next Article:Company boats, sailing dinghies and passenger fish: fathoming Torres Strait islander participation in the maritime economy.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |