Pastoral properties of South Australia

"From station homestead to station homestead, sometimes 50 miles between, sometimes a hundred, we travelled a dirt road that was often no more than wheel tracks through the mulga; and sometimes a track that no-one had been over since last travelled by the Library Man. It was a zigzag route to take in outstations where a man 'rode the waters' and the wife, perhaps with young children, learned to live with the isolation. To ride the waters was to regularly inspect the windmills and water troughs, usually on a motorbike nowadays. It was these creaking windmills and water troughs, scattered throughout the huge paddocks, that made pastoral use of this dry country possible."

- Trust the Dream (1999) pages 99-100.

Commonwealth Hill station

"Commonwealth Hill was the largest sheep run in Australia, and the largest fenced sheep-station in the world, shearing 60,000 sheep in a good season. It covered 3500 square miles of country, had its own 700 miles of formed road, 1400 miles of fencing and hundreds of miles of telephone lines to its outstations."

- Trust the Dream (1999) page 117.

"There was not a blade of grass to be seen, yet this was sheep country and it bred some of the toughest sheep in the world, long-legged sheep that could walk eight kilometres to feed in the morning and eight kilometres back to a bore and trough to drink in the evening. Sheep that nibbled off the foliage of the saltbush; four-year-old wethers that grew fleeces weighing up to six-and-a-half kilograms ... in a summer sun that could reach forty-four degrees in mulga shade."

- The Sky is Free (1990) page 27.

"Mrs Matthews (of Commonwealth Hill) was renowned for her beautiful handwork and her very successful stall set-up at the annual Kingoonya Races. The proceeds of the stall went to the Tarcoola Hospital. She made most of the goods herself - babies' knitteds, cushions, felt toys, coathangers. She was making children's pyjamas the day we arrived."

- Trust the Dream (1999) pages 117-118.

Mentor outstation

"Our next stop was Mentor, outstation of Wilgena, where the bore and the windmill were close by. Here Basil Kammermann was the man who rode the waters; and Edna Kammermann was the wife-mother who had surrounded her isolated home with a frame of colour: zinnias, pansies, phlow, tended so that they responded with a glow. Her two daughters, Glenette aged 10 and Vicki 9, glowed too. Both were fair-haired youngsters with black-fringed blue eyes. These girls were doing well with School of the Air, while absorbing their mother's skills of homemaking, and their father's offerings of ideas. This was a household where reading and talking were considered important and experiences were shared."

- Trust the Dream (1999) page 120.

"The Library Man's track was now in the Woomera Rocket Range country. Every station, outstation and shearing shed on the Range had its own air raid shelter. They were constructed of steel strong enough to take the weight of an 80-ton locomotive, and built in the shape of a cylinder, halved lengthways. The outstation model cost £3000, while the larger ones, erected at the homesteads, cost £5000. There was a sandbagged entrance at each end of the shelter, and sandbags halfway up the outer walls, the top either tarred or silver-frosted. This rounded top was often covered by a layer of earth and its weeds. An intercom phone was connected with the house phone, and from there to the homestead and the Control Centre for the Rocket Range. When a warning of a test was received, the station personnel were meant to go into the shelter, switch on the intercom phone and stay there until the loudspeaker announced the 'All Clear'."

- Trust the Dream (1999) page 111.

East Well outstation

"East Well, outstation of Coondambo and home to Joe and Una Blatchford, was our next call. Their home was the original homestead of the Coondambo lease, erected around 1890. It was built in a long straight line of rooms, including the shearers' quarters, with a verandah all round."

- Trust the Dream (1999) page 117.

Tin shed-like hut with shady verandah at the front; a clutter of farm equipment is on the verahdah.

Outstation of Billa Kalina, 1963.

Corrugated iron shed which is a petrol station, surrounded by 44 gallon drums.

Billa Kalina, 1963.
Sign reads: "Check oil, water, petrol, battery & tyre-pressure, carry shovel and drinking water, repair your spare-tyre, 30 M.P.H. limit. By order D.J. Greenfield."

Small building with corrugated iron roof, shady verandahs and a series of smaller white-painted buildings; a ute is reverse-parked on the verandah.

Wilgena Hotel - Tarcoola, 1963.

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Map shows homesteads mentioned below including Billa Kalina, Mentor, Commonwealth Hill etc

The north-west of South Australia (please click to enlarge)


Commonwealth Hill station, 1968.

Closer view of homestead.

Enclosed verandahs of the Commonwealth Hill homestead, 1968.

Mother and two girls outside their home. The girls have curlers in their hair and one is holding a little dog.

Mrs Matthews of Commonwealth Hill station, 1968.

Flock of healthy-looking sheep in sheep yards.

Commonwealth Hill, 1968.

Neatly dressed family in front of brush shed and water tank; air raid shelter in the background.

Mentor homestead with the Kammermann family - Basil, Enda, Vicki and Glenette, 1960.

Air-raid shelter constructed of sand bags at front and back; a mound of earth between the sandbags covers the interior.

Mavis Thorpe Clark and Harold Darwin at the Kammermann's air-raid shelter - Mentor, 1960.

Several corrugated iron buildings and 3 border collie pups rolling in the red earth.

East Well, 1963.

Crumbling buiding made of stone with iron roof.

Derelict farm house, 1963.