Site about the Warrakoo Station,
Cal Lal, NSW, Australia.
It's History, and People who settled there
complete with some of their Descendants.
Re Tantunga :
As those who joined us at the last family reunion would recall, white ants and 160+ years of weather has taken its toll - in recent years the roof has blown off and walls starting to crumble.
If we are to save it for future generations to visit and reflect on the life of our ancestors - their first years in Australia, repair work needs to be done very soon - the first stage preferably in the next few months.
So this is a call; asking for anyone who has been, or is currently a stonemason, to lend a hand and those us us with "handyman skills" to help. Perhaps you know a stonemason etc who might help out – maybe at a reduced rate.
I'm also asking for those who are not in a position to help with manual work (including fencing & general cleaning up) to help by making a donation towards the costs. The more who can help in anyway is appreciated. Once we know who is available and if we need to employ professionals or not we will be able to assess the amount it might cost to restore, advise everyone, start raising the funds required and organise the working-bees. Please keep an eye on the website that Ian Fisk set up for updates......... www.warrakoo.org
Our priority is to stabilise the building ....... repair the walls (the NE corner a priority) and get a roof on - such to maintain its original appearance (from the outside). To keep costs down we were advised to secure the new roof to metal framework inside the rooms (in the corners) so not to show on the outside.
We were also advised there is very little government money if any available for this type of project - not worth applying for, only to be given a long list of conditions to abide by.
Could you please copy this note and forward to all relatives via email, Facebook or discuss etc.. asap and drop Graham a line on 0427272494 or email "firstname.lastname@example.org" or myself email@example.com with any queries or offers to help. Thanks.
[Presently working on another large "Frac-fighting project"
Photos taken at the weekend of Oct 17 2015 Reunion are here
My time for organising this reunion has been limited, so a little later than hoped.
Back to the reunion, I hope you can all spread the word - especially to relatives who might not use the internet.
Next Re-union - October 17, 2015
Descendants and friends of Tom Smith, (Warrakoo Smith) who arrived in Adelaide 1848 plus his brother Charlie & sister Emily, as well as their uncle Samuel (Yalumba Smith) who arrived in Adelaide in 1847, are all invited to the next Smith Family Reunion. The venue on this occasion is about 7km from Smith's Yalumba Winery founded in 1849. Their Wine Room is open daily from 10am-5pm for those who wish to visit.
The date has been set for 17th October 2015 starting at 4pm. Meal starting at 6pm.
|WT Smith||Approx 586 single sided pages|
|Mirriam||Approx 774 single sided pages|
|Others||Approx 666 single sided pages|
Cost is available on request
|Anne||Approx 250 pages single sided pages|
|Approx 360 pages single sided pages|
|Maria||Approx 440 pages single sided pages|
|John||Approx 258 pages single sided pages|
|Elisha||Approx 214 pages single sided pages|
|Harriet||Approx 268 pages single sided pages|
|William||Approx 464 pages single sided pages|
|Frederick||Approx 328 pages single sided pages|
|Duncan Family||Approx 600 pages single sided pages|
|Madden Family||Approx 284 pages single sided pages (images to be added)|
Generally printing will only be done when a reasonable number of orders have been received usually 2-4 times per year – full payment to be received before copies are sent to printer.
Please contact the below for the CD and/or books.Contact details:-
|Lorraine Bald||(03) 5382 5486||kalfbald(at)wimmera.com.au|
|Shirley Starbuck||(03) 5083 7218|
|Peter Thomas||(03) 9381 1645||thomasp2(at)gmail.com|
Peter has also put the tree up on Genesreunted search for Peter Thomas born 1954
WARRAKOO' HOMESTEADS HAVE HAD SOME COLOURFUL RESIDENTS.
From Peter Read and the "Murray Pioneer" 29/4/1994.
"Warrakoo" was taken up by Mr Thomas Smith in 1882. He came to Australia from Dorset England at the age of 19, about the same year that his uncle, Samuel Smith founded the Yalumba vineyards and winery at Angaston SA.
After joining the Victoria gold rush and running a farm in the Keyneton district for 20 years, he came the first owner of Mindarie Station and with his sons William and Harry, sank and timbered numerous wells in the Murray Mallee country.
Thomas Smith moved to "Warrakoo" with his wife, two sons and eight daughters, making a week -long trek by bullock wagon from the Lower Murray.
With daughters joining in such tasks as dairying to supply butter to the passing steamers and scrub rolling to feed the sheep in droughts, the family developed the property into one of the show places of the River Murray.
Gardening and forestry were Tom Smith's hobbies and the orchard attached to his hilltop home supplied fruit to Renmark when the irrigation colony was established in 1887.
William Smith, who became widely known as "Warrakoo" Smith succeeded his father in running the property.
Before the First World War the homesteads of Will and his father were extensively renovated and additional homes built for Wills sons, Gilbert and Norman.
About the same time the large woolshed which still stands today was built. A feature of the shed was a 21 meter long softwood beam was imported from Norway and used to support the shaft for the 10 stands.
Mr Lindsay Smith took over from his father, Norman, as the owner of 'Warrakoo' and later built a new home at "Pine Camp", away from the river, because the proposed Chowilla Dam would have flooded the riverfront homesteads.
The riverfront homesteads were unoccupied for a number of years after the move to "Pine Camp" and Mr Smith subsequently decided to sell the riverfront section, including the old homesteads.
He Later sold "Pine Camp" and moved to the South East SA.
Five generations of the Smith family had lived at "Warrakoo" for a period spanning more than a century and many of their descendents still live in the Renmark and Wentworth Area.
They include the author of this article, Mr Peter Read, who is a grandson of Mr and Mrs Gilbert Smith who moved to Renmark after retiring from "Warrakoo".
The riverfront section of "Warrakoo" has had a succession of colourful owners in the past 20 years. After almost 100 years in the Smith family, part of the property was sold to a Melbourne businessman in 1974. It was subsequently bought by the Hare Krishnas, who ran it as a rural retreat and vegetable farm for their restaurants.
Because of their refusal to shoot kangaroos and emus, the venture was not a great success and the riverfront section including the old homesteads, was sold to a Chinese company which ran an experimental farm on the site.
The most recent owner was a former Melbourne G.P. who based a religious sect there. Bullets were allegedly fired at some visitors and savage dogs and a heavily armed "welcoming party" awaited anyone visiting by road or river.
The neighbouring Cal Lal Gaol complex, which was unoccupied for many years, was redeveloped by 5RM radio announcer, Kris Pickering and his cartoonist brother Larry, in the 1970's. This property was later sold to as Israeli group who operated a commune style operation on the river flats on which the latest owners will grow vegetables.
the above was retyped by the late Fran Thomas.
Origin of the Name :- Peter Read recalls being told by his Grandmother, Anna Smith, that "Warrakoo" is Aboriginal for "big bend in river"
The local Wentworth Shire undertook a Heritage Study in 1989, the study
is published on their website. Item 96 in Appendix 5 identifies the heritage
value of the Warrakoo homestead.
Museum of Victoria: have an image of Warrakoo at the address below, but
have the river incorrectly identified as the Darling!
Thanks to Russell Williams for advising the webmaster of these Web references to Warrakoo.
SOME OTHER WARRAKOO LINKS
Googling Warrakoo results in a number of interesting hits, below are some of them:-
an ATSIC document from the ATSIC News September 1999
"Life at Warrakoo Station, a unique alternative sentencing option for Aboriginal offenders."
Another ATSIC document
Warrakoo Station: An Aboriginal-Run Farm for Offenders
Institute of TAFE (VIC)
"In 1996, the Sunraysia Institute of TAFE provided a farming skills training program at Warrakoo Station, the site for a Life Skills Rehabilitation Program for young Aboriginal offenders. The activities were designed to improve the farming skills of the staff members at Warrakoo Station, provide young offenders with some basic practical training in farm operations and assist them to develop skills in cooperation and team work. They covered livestock management and development, cropping, general farming and farm maintenance skills."
Warrakoo Reach below Lock 7 Oct 2001 Area Photo with Water depths colour coded. This is an SA Water page, follow the links on it to other information on the whole river!
The Murray Pioneer has a number of stories which mention Warrakoo, searching for Warrakoo results in the following. Click the below links to see their archive stories, use your browser's "find" command to find the reference to Warrakoo.
May 21, 2004 Story about the May 2004 Smith Family Re-union (see some
Front Page News - November 6 ,2001 A letter to the Editor about the Warrakoo Sandbar Problems
Front Page News - February , 2003. Letter of Thanks for help after the 2004 Re-union
Friday, January 9, 2004. "Looking back" story, about the "Devil's Elbow
Front Page News - July 2, 2002 "Looking back" story, about Bush Wedding at Warrakoo 1898
Wednesday, March 30, 2005 a Story about the retirement of Darryl Mullins, one time resident
Friday, May 6, 2005 Letter regarding 'Man-made hazard' on Murray near Warrakoo
Front Page News - February , 2003. "Looking back" on the fox debate history.
Front Page News - January 31 , 2003. Story on death of Warrakoo Smith descendant W. Wilkinson.
Front Page News - August 10,1999 More on the River Navigation problems at Warrakoo.
Thanks again to Russell Williams for reporting these Warrakoo References.
If you have GoogleEarth installed click here to see a satellite picture of the location.
A Few pictures, most taken by I Fisk May 2004 at Warrakoo for Smith Family Re-union
View from Road
Picture taken by Jenny Smith May 2004 (wool shed)
Murray River at Warrakoo
Mrs and Mr "Warrakoo" Smith
Cal Lal Cemetery Headstone for Lizzie and W. T. (Warrakoo) Smith
To send Feedback/contact webmaster/comment please send an Email
warrakoo(at)ianfisk.org replacing (at) with @
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