Gawler Farm

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Fast Facts
Also known as: Floraville, Green Valley Farm
Town or Locality: Gawler
Year constructed: 1840
Built by: James Ilbery
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History of Gawler Farm 1839 - 4000 acre Gawler Special Survey land grant to Henry Dundas Murray and John Reid. Sections sold to — Henry Johnson, Thomas Stubbs, John Lindsay Patterson, James Fotheringham, Stephen King, John Sutton, Robert Todd, Patrick James Todd, Charles B Howard, William Field Porter, Henry Dundas Murray and John Reid. Sections 16 to P Todd and 17 to R Todd.

1840, 20th February - Sections 16 & 17 purchased by James Ilbery. The property was named Gawler Farm and the llberys constructed a home there.

1842 - James Ilbery jailed for cattle theft and the ownership passed through James wife Henrietta to her sister, Louisa's husband William Younghusband, who lived in Fleetwood in England. Henrietta continued to live there. James Ilbery was indebted to Chariot Sophia Thomas £1726. (Chariot was the mother of Henrietta and Louisa) William Younghusband came to South Australia with his wife Louisa and took up residence with Henrietta. About this time the property became known as Floraville

1843 - Conveyance by "Lease and Release" dated the 6th and 7th July 1843 William Younghusband to Peter Peachey in Trust for Henrietta Evelina Ilbury for her life and then to her son William Ilbury for his life and then to his children.

1844 - Death of William Ilbury aged 6. ( It is believed that he is buried on the property). 1847 - Younghusband brought 1000 bullocks overland from Sydney for copper cartage from Kapunda to Burra. A painting by S T Gill in the SA Art Gallery depicts the preparation for their arrival. The painting dated July 1847 was probably from drawings in February of that year as was another painting of the bullocks at a camp south of Nuriootpa.

1851 - William Younghusband purchased Section 3045 for £132.1.0

1853 - Death of Henrietta Evelin Ilbury in Calcutta India.

1853 Section 16 & 17 reverted to, and became vested in William Younghusband.

1863 - 5th May. Younghusband died in Rome. Property willed to daughters Louisa Marshall and Edith Ferguson Mayne.

1864 - Floraville destroyed by fire.

1891 - Final distribution of Younghusbands Estate

1918 - 1st October conveyance to Francis Villiers Sanderson from Edith Furguson Mayne Section 17.

1934 - 18th June. Property freehold to Francis Villiers Sanderson (grandson of Younghusband)

1938 - Death of F V Sanderson

1947 - Transferred to Sanderson, Lucas, and Davenport as tenants in common (daughters of Sanderson)

1951 - Marjorie, Valerie, and Evelyn Lucas and Villiers Davenport as absentee owners.

1970 - Sanderson Estate purchased by Phillips family.

In June 1842, William Younghusband again arrived at Port Adelaide from Singapore . He set about a series of business transactions, some of which included the gradual purchase of several sections of land on the Gawler Special Survey. The building date for Floraville on Section 16 is not positively known, but appears to have occurred about 1845-6. Younghusband died in Rome in 1863. The house was subsequently burnt down possibly about 1864. Sometime later the shingles and most of the stone walls were cannibalized. Remaing materials were pushed off slope into the house cavity. The white but alongside, the North Para River lasted much longer, but eventually its walls were staved in as it went to ruin. A contemporary description of Floraville has been left by 'Old Colonist ‘ during his 1851 visit. This is recorded in the book 'Colonists, Copper & Corn' edited by E.M. Yelland

The Painting

The scene, facing north, has the North Para River on the right; the flow being toward the artist. Gill made the sketch for the painting from a rose opposite the house. In between is a natural pound which had been fenced and cultivated, Pence posts, thought to be original still exist. A few of the River Red Gums near the River may also be extant. Near the but is a haystack, while in the pound, chaff-making appears to be proceeding. The presence of a couple of ladies headed for the house , indicates a special occasion and that Younghusband was 'in residence'. On a distant hillside is a bullock dray returning towards Kapunda. The activAty in the pound does not accord with the July date or the painting, thus Gill probably was present earlier in the year. 

The Special Occasion

On the 8th September 1846, Younghusband wrote to his agent John Betts of Sydney enquiring about the mode of payment for 1000 head of cattle to be sent overland to his Gawler Property. He was particularly interested in working bullocks, which. he says were to be valued upon arrival. These animals may have been imported for copper cartage from Kapunda or Burra.  It would have taken some time to organize the overland party and about 3 months to drove the cattle to South Australia.  On estimate this would mean the cattle arriving at Floraville during February 1847.  It is likely Gill received a commission from Younghusband to make the painting. Records of paintings by Gill indicate a further northerly, excursion to this visit,  A few kilometres  S.W. of present day Nuriootpa the site of further Gill paintings have been located, showing an overlander's  cattle camp.  Were these 25 Younghusband's cattle on the way? The general activity in the pound at Floraville probably represents preparation for the arrival of these cattle. The paintings therefore represent one of the best pictorial records of overlanding cattle that can be placed  in the modern landscape.

Floraville farm  property W Younghusband 1847  painting by  Gill
Floraville farm property W Younghusband 1847 painting by Gill
gawler farm painting ilberry
gawler farm painting ilberry
gawler farm ruins visit 2
gawler farm ruins visit 2
gawler farm ruins visit 1
gawler farm ruins visit 1

Memories of Gawler Farm

Excerpt of a journey

GAWLER TOWN TO BLAKISTON 26 February—This morning we made an excursion on foot along the North Para, to visit Mr Stephen King, an old colonist, about six miles from Gawler Town.

    The river had a great number of broad and long waterholes, which occurred at frequent intervals along our walk, as we kept almost always on the one side or other of the banks. 
   After passing the farm of Mr Patterson we came to a garden belonging to Mr Stubbs,2 who, however, does not reside here. This garden, in part, was the earliest planted on any part of the Gawler Survey. It has been very productive, and was at this time in a flourishing state, in spite of the season. It was underlet to an individual whom we found there, and who made no question of its further success, as Gawler Town is deficient in garden supplies. 
   We continued over some hills and steep sheep runs to `Floraville', a station belonging to Mr Younghusband,' on which there is a pretty  little villa-like dwelling, a sort of card model fancy, occasionally occupied by the proprietor. 
    A paddock at hand appeared to be entirely fenced with kangaroo acacia. We had understood at Stubb's that there was a good garden, with fruit trees and flowers of which we must have formed an erroneous impression, or have mistaken our informant. 
   We thumped at the door of entrance under a porch thickly overgrown by the passion-flower, but in vain; till, hearing some hammering at the top of the premises, we at last attracted the notice of a man mending the roof, and of him we asked of the garden. He pointed with his shingling-hammer to the slip sloping from the front (of the width of the cottage by about three or four times its length), which he said was all the garden he knew of. It contained a few  vines some roses and other flowering plants, and an an Indian rubber tree .
   We had still several tiresome hills and two gullies to pass to reach Mr King's sheep-farm, whose building and fences struck us as being in much better order than those we had, seen near Gawler Town. 
   We partook of Mr and Mrs King's hearty hospitality, which included some very good wine; after dwelling upon a few old colonial reminiscences, dating back to the earliest period of the Gawler Survey, we walked out to notice a substantial stone building in progress, as Mr King's future dwelling, of two floors, with spacious sitting rooms. When finished this will certainly be one of the best houses in the colony though costly. Mr King had a garden, good for its age, with fruit trees and vines, though the latter had not been attended to and ……………..

A letter to Mr John Phillips from

Dr Peter Ilbery

1 August 1995 Floraville

Dear Mr. Phillips

I have a watercolour executed by my great grandmother, Henrietta Ilbery (formerly Thomas), in 1842 of "Floraville'. On a recent visit to Gawler a comparison was made visually from the watercolour showing the fold of the hills and the Adelaide hills beyond in the far distance with the lie of Sections 16 & 17 purchased by my great grandfather, James Ilbery, in 1839. Placing the Hundred of Nuriootpa map against the modern confirmed the suspicion derived by eye that a ruin indicated by a person nearby on Section 16 was indeed "Floraville. Following an unfortunate dispute over the ownership of some cattle James was imprisoned and sometime in 1842/43 the property passed through the hands of Henrietta's sister Charlotte Thomas into the ownership of William Younghusband (married to the eldest Thomas daughter, Louisa), although Henrietta continued to live there. for some years. Following the death of Henrietta my grandfather, Thomas, came into the guardianship of William Younghusband. He was sent to school at Rossal near Fleetwood, in the west of England where there were .Ilbery and Younghusband relatives. Thomas managed "Nocatunga" for the Hughes in the 1870s before settling as an agent in Bourke where he married Mary Horsfall and my father was born. I have gone into some detail to illustrate the importance to our family of finding our point of entry. into Australia from India and China after many attempts over the years and the actual site, I believe, of where they first lived,. I trust that you are as interested in the. beginnings as we are and would Wish to exchange information regarding the history of the, property which you now own.

Yours Sincerely P.Ilbery

Wednesday 23 August 1995 Mr John Phillips

Thank you for your letter of 6th August and the enclosures.

My wife has an 'original ST Gill of the Underwood family home at Ashfield, NSW (she is a descendant of Joseph Underwood) and it was while looking among the prints in the Mitchell Library to make sure it was listed as in her possession that i came across a copy of ST Gill's "Floraville". I had a photographic print made of it so, although i thank you for your photocopy, mine is of better quality. I make this point because the same unfortunately applies in regard to, the photocopy of my great grandmother's watercolour enclosed for you Despite having several attempts at reproduction the colours are not correct making it garish in comparison with the original. To provide a photographic copy would be quite expensive.. HEI's drawing shows the Adelaide hills in the background between the folding. Countryside behind "Floraville'. Gill’s is from a different perspective, looking Up the hill towards the garden while HEI's shows the house and garden from the side. They certainly chose the site well I also have a similar same Page of "Gawler Town. to Blakiston" although it must be from a different volume as mine from 'Colonists, Copper and Corn in the Colony of South Australia', Hawthorn Press, 1970 is numbered page 170.

Your third enclosure outlining The floraville Estate" in 1890 shows that the Younghusbands, if the property was still in their possession at this time, had increased their 'holding from the Original Sections. 16 & 17 purchased in trust for Henrietta Evelina Ilbery by William Younghusband in 1843.

The watercolour of a well-established house and enclosed garden by HEI was framed in 1842 and Younghusband did not arrive in the colony until that year. The Ilberys must therefore have erected the homestead.

The microfiche "Colonial Residents 1DE-ISL 50/110 Mortiock Library " gives James Ilbery and then Mrs Ilbery as cultivators at North Para from 1841 through to 1e48. On 19th OctOber 1844 it Was reported in the Adelaide newspaper that "On Wednesday last, a most dreadful accident took place in the neighbourhood of (Gawler Farm to a son of Mrs Ilberry, a boy of about six years of age. It appears that the lad was standing near a tree looking at, but unobserved by a man yoking some bullocks. This being done the man started them, when the wheel coming in contact with the boy, crushed him in a most dreadful manner. A medical gentleman was immediately on the spot but without avail as he expired a few days later." Perhaps Gawler Farm was the original name. Our son James and I when in the district this June were unable to locate Wililam's grave.

Thus it appears that James and Henrietta would have erected the first building on "Floraville". One could only be sure of these facts by going to the original titles. The Old Titles Office in Adelaide requires the present owner to give permission to view these historic records and I enclose their form trusting that you will do so to allow James or myself when next in Adelaide to fill gaps in our family history.

With best wishes Dr Peter Ilbery

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