Written by Dorothy Ford nee Buckland..
“At the turn of the century Frederick and Helena Buckland left ‘Kirkanong Station’, their home at Delegate, and made the journey to Mallacoota where they had purchased the property, ‘Karbeethong’ from Karl Mattson. This property was eventually to become 300 acres including ‘Sunny Corner’
They were accompanied by their sons and would have moved quite a large number of stock, (sheep, cattle, horses, etc.) which in itself was quite a feat as there were no roads, only trails.
There is some confusion as to how many children accompanied them, but there certainly would have been Frank and Ted. Frank was born in June 1897 and Ted in December 1899. Ben who was born in 1902 insisted that he was born at ‘Karbeethong’ and others say that Helena returned to her parents at Delegate River to give birth to Ben.
(I have recently been told that Helena returned to her mother at Delegate River for the birth of Benjamin and returned to Mallacoota by horseback, riding side-saddle, carrying the baby in a basket or somehow using the panniers.)
Fred rode on ahead, probably driving stock and left 25 year old Helena to bring two children by buggy and a pair of horses along the trail through dense bush.. It would have been a traumatic experience for her, particularly as there were still a lot of wild blacks about, they were not considered to be dangerous, but none the less it would have added to a frightening experience.
It would have been a three day journey. “Yamba” may have been an overnight stop, but certainly ‘Nangutta Station” was where she stayed. The station people, in the manner of the times, cared for travellers, of whom there would probably be very few. Helena thought ‘Nangutta’ was a hotel, (having never been told differently). She drove the buggy up to the homestead and requested accommodation for herself and her 2 children. The people at the homestead made her very welcome and did not reveal that it was not a hotel.
She told me about it in her later years and I think it was still a source of embarrassment to her.”
Fred had government leases or ‘runs’ and ran sheep and cattle. I have seen postcards of ‘Captains Point’ with mobs of his sheep grazing. About 1913 he was buying sheep from the Monaro and driving them down to graze on the plains between ‘Shipwreck Creek’ and Mallacoota. The stock was yarded at night to protect from wild dingoes. At one time some of his horses got away and bred up to about 20 before they were captured using trap-yards. Fred always like a good horse, and at one time had one of ‘Carbines’ progeny.
Fred was a Coroner and J.P. He remained a J.P all his life, but the title of Coroner was eventually taken from him. Since a doctor would have been several days journey away, and most of the deaths Fred had to write a death certificate for were for old ‘bushies’ who had never seen a doctor in their lives, Fred would write the cause of death as ‘Senile Decay’. The authorities apparently thought there had been too many ‘senile decays’, so to Fred’s amusement he was stripped of his title, but it must have been after a long time.
I wonder if perhaps he was a Deputy Coroner, by the time he ceased to be a coroner, motor transport would have been available.
During the first war the Buckland’s had a dairy in the old Devlin house towards the present golf course and ran the cows on what is now Mallacoota Township.
By this time the Buckland family had been increased by a son Roy, born in 1905, and two daughters, Helena (Nell) born in 1908, and Joan, born in 1910.
The school at this time was at ‘Sunny Corner’. Clem Baker was the teacher. He taught 3 days at Mallacoota and 2 days at Genoa, alternately. He lived at Bakers Bight and rowed the mile to school, then walked 5 miles to Double Creek, where he kept a horse for the ride on to Genoa. I don’t know what he did when his horse died, but I have heard that he rowed all the way to Genoa.
In 1916 Mary Gall became the teacher for several years. She eventually married Ted Buckland and lived at ‘Marshmead’.
‘Marshmead ‘was a rich dairying property on the flats below the foothills of Howe Range. Fred had purchased the property from Charles David in 1921. (It stayed in the Buckland family until 1991 when it was sold to The Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne as an ‘outward-bound’ school. ) The last owner was Jack Buckland, eldest son of Frank. ‘Marshmead’ had been farmed at various times by Ted, Roy, and Frank
A contemporary of Fred Buckland’s was E.J.Brady, the noted poet and author who had what he called an ‘artists camp’ closer to Mallacoota Township. Many noted authors and ‘arty’ people stayed with him at times. Henry Lawson was one such person, the drinking and revelry was legendary. Fred thought Henry Lawson was a ‘hobo’ and not the type of person one fraternized with. Fred maintained a feud with Brady for many years, conducting their quarrels through the publication, ‘The Bulletin’.
When the parents were fighting, the children also got into the act. As the school was at ‘Sunny Corner’, some children, including the Bradys’ had to pass through ‘Karbeethong’ property. According to members of the family, Ben would lie in wait and ambush Hughie Brady as he passed through on his way to school.
As Fred and E.J.grew old they mellowed somewhat and he wrote on the flyleaf of his last book…”To Fred Buckland from E.J.Brady, in the light of forgotten feuds and remembered friendship”. Which he presented to Fred.
In later life E.J. married a much younger woman, a somewhat bohemian woman named Florrie who was an artist. When he was in his 70’s (I think late 70’s) he again became a father to a daughter named Edna June. He had a poem published in the “Bulletin’, the first verse being…
Though life has dealt me many blows
I do not lack a boon
For you who come when I am old
Are like an opal set in gold,
My precious Edna June.
On reading this Fred immediately picked up a pen to honour his own new grandchild, Margo Jill….
You write a lavish pen E.J.
And praise June Edna Brady
Though great her charm
She must give sway
To our wee gracious lady.
I can’t remember the rest of the verses, but the two old men could still not resist having a go at each other.
Early in the century, Lake View Hotel, which was owned and run by the Dorran Family, was on the Eden side of the lake, not far from Marshmead. It was also a post Office and the only telephone in the area was installed there. If a telegram arrived for someone in what is now the township, having being telephoned through to LakeView, ( I haven’t heard that they used morse code) They used a system of sheets to fly on the headland, so a boat would be dispatched from the other side of the lake to retrieve the telegram.
I don’t know the exact date when other telephones were installed, but Karbeethong telephone number was ’Mallacoota 3’ and remained that number until at least 1950.
I have heard that mail was taken by pack horse on a trail from Genoa to a point on Mallacoota Lake known as ‘Swimming Point’, where horses were swum to Goodwin Sands and thence to LakeView. Guests for the hotel made the journey to Gypsy Point and continued the remainder by boat. Horse drawn vehicles would have been used as I don’t think cars would have been used until about 1915.
Boats where the main form of transport, and there was a custom that if any boat people were in trouble they rowed to the nearest shore and built a large fire to signal for help. Someone seeing this would arrive and take them in tow.
Small ships traded along the coast. Mallacoota relying on Eden mainly, but also Lakes Entrance.
Fred Buckland at one time had his own trader, the ‘Topsy’ which plied, I think, between Eden and Mallacoota. It was skippered by Bert Buckland, a nephew of Fred. It was burnt to the water-line when anchored in front of Karbeethong. After a chequered career it finished up on the beach at Eden. I believe the engine from the ‘Topsy’ is now housed in the Killer Whale Museum in Eden.
It was rebuilt and sold, from what I heard, in Bairnsdale, where she was cut in half and 10ft added to the middle. The rivers were apparently much deeper in early times, as boats took cargo to and from Genoa. The cargo included Maize, wattlebark, wool, hides and possibly cheese.
The second motor boat on the lake was built for the Buckland’s by old Mr. Dorron, the original owner of the LakeView Hotel. This boat was named the ‘Mona’ and was in constant use for 56 years.
The Buckland’s owned one of the first cars in the district. I think the other was owned by E.J.Brady. The Dodge was kept at Gypsy Point as the road to Mallacoota wasn’t completed until the early twenties. I think the early cars were mainly used for transporting people for medical reasons. The Buckland family were mainly self-supporting, killing their own meat, growing their own vegetables and fruit, their own dairy making, their own bread and butter. Goods such as tea, sugar and flour were bought in bulk. Also a lot of kerosene was used in lamps and candles were the only form of lighting. Petrol of course was essential and petrol ‘blow up’ lamps with mantles were used in the main rooms in later years.
All goods had to be bought to Eden from Sydney on steamers, which plied the coast until about 1950. Great loads of wool were brought to Merimbula from the Monaro by bullock wagon. I have heard the Pambula owes its wide streets to the fact that a span of bullocks could be turned there.
The furniture for Karbeethong was brought down from Kirkenong Station by wagon to the coast and thence by boat to Mallacoota. The furniture included iron beds, a great amount of colonial cedar tables, chairs, chests and wash stands with marble tops and with highly decorated (usually with roses) jugs, basins and chamber pots. A piano - although that may have been added a few years later, I am sure it was there when Nell took piano lessons at the Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne, when she was a boarder, but as none of the family were musical it was never used.
Freda Leah Buckland was born in 1912 at Karbeethong.
Neil Frederick was born in 1916.
Frank Buckland enlisted in late 1914 or early 1915 and went off to war, where he fought in the trenches in France. He had his 18th birthday in France. He was wounded (in the chest) whilst taking out a machine gun nest. For this action he received the Military Medal. He was invalided to England and spent some time in hospital there, where he met and married Isabella Priest (editor correction – Price). His sailing date was postponed and it was not until August 1919 that he arrived back at Karbeethong. Bella having stayed back in Orbost to have their first child, a daughter, Lillian, born in September.
Frank’s sister, Beatty Edith (named for Admiral Beatty and Edith Cavell) was born in early August. Frank expressed his surprise and asked, “Whose kid is this?” and was informed it was his new sister.
Fred was a man before his time. Realizing that Ben was headstrong, hard to manage and somewhat wild, he gave him a sum of money and told him to go north and: “come back a man”. Ben was away some time (possibly years). He worked all over Queensland, mostly on stations and properties.
The Buckland family moved to ‘Redbank” in 1921. A dairying property Fred had bought from Dolphis Switzer, ‘walk-in walk-out’, brand, stock and bush leases.
Redbank was a very well equipped farm. It had everything that was needed on a farm, including workmen’s quarters, stables, blacksmith shop with gallows, dairy yard, and dairy with butter making, piggery, hay barn, drays and dray horses.
Frank and Bella remained at Karbeethong which began to equip for a guest house.
Fred bought the two storied hotel that had been built at Yambulla gold mine. The mine had closed so Ted and Ben dismantled it and it was transported over Razor Back Mountain by bullock team. Some of the timber and iron was used to extend the home at Redbank. The remainder was used to build the house at Marshmead and the extensions at Karbeethong. Fred also bought Latham house and Jim Harrisons from Home Flat. They were used to build sheds at Karbeethong.
Many famous people stayed at Karbeethong, including Nellie Melba and C.J.Dennis.
Fred bought a section of land at Genoa which included the old hotel and sale yards. He donated a small portion of land to build the Genoa Hall, which was used as a school.
I was born at Redbank in August 1922, Dorothy Eve Buckland, and the last of the Buckland brood. I was an aunt twice over when I was born, as Frank and Bella had a son, Jack born in 1921. I was named for Lister Dorothy who attended the birth, the only one for who Mum had professional assistance.
About 1925 Dad began the construction of the Genoa Hotel. It was constructed of pise, which was a new concept at that time, although very popular in Spanish countries, it consisted of walls of rammed earth filled with pine needles for insulation. It was 2 stories with a gallery which looked down on a large lounge. The bedrooms led from the gallery. I stayed in a similar hotel in Spain in 1973. The hotel at Genoa was constructed by a man named McCorick and was run for some years by my Uncle Tom Begley.
In the meantime Ted had married Mary Gaul and moved to Marshmead.
Ben had returned from his travels and bought a Harley Davidson motor bike which was the envy of all his contemporaries. He married Christine Geraghty from Kiah in about 1925, shortly afterward they moved to Willuna near Condoblin where they engaged in wheat and sheep farming. About 1932 they returned to Genoa with their 2 sons, Reg and Noel, and took over the licence of the hotel.
Not very long afterwards it was burnt to the ground, the licence was removed temporarily to a hastily constructed hut, and the hotel re-opened the same year.
Neil, Beatty and I attended school at Genoa which was held in the hall. We rode a pony named Mack, Neil in the saddle because he was the eldest, Beatty sitting behind, while I perched on the neck. I have no great memories of those times as I was only 7 when we left there and returned to Mallacoota. The original school had been on the hill opposite Redbank, but was moved in 1928 to the Genoa Hall.
Redbank must have been a prosperous farm as it supported a large family and there was usually one or two workmen employed. Even though tractors were probably in use by that time, horses only were used on the farm. We had a number of Clydesdales including a very impressive (as I remember him) stallion named Pilot.
We also bred and sold a large number of pigs. The boars, which were quite savage, were kept in sties made of logs. An early memory is of Beatty and I perched on the topmost log teasing the boars, who enraged, would make frantic efforts to reach us. I shudder to think what would have happened if we had fallen into the sty. I don’t think any adults knew about this.
Nell, by this time had left home and was teaching near Marlo (Lochend). Joan was the outdoor girl and spent most of the time with the horses and cattle. There was always a number of riding horses. Freda was the high-spirited one who was the subject of many family anecdotes. The flats at Redbank were crossed with fairly deep drains with rushes growing along the edges. On one occasion, Freda was sent to bring in a bull, I don’t know what happened, but she, bull and horse all ended up in the drain.
On another occasion, Woodgers bull had broken into our property and was fighting our old bull. The men were rather enjoying the fight, even though our bull was getting a beating. But Freda, who was getting dressed at the time, became very irate, picked up a stock whip and in bare feet, and clad only in her petticoat, chased Woodgers bull back home.
We had several vehicles which were lying disused near one of the barns. According to my older sisters, these comprised a sulky, a buggy and a jinker. I don’t remember any of these being used, as by my time we had a car. So I never saw my mother either driving a sulky or riding sidesaddle, although we probably still had our renowned harness horse, Brownbird. Jinkers were rather sporty vehicles with 2 large wheels which were rubbertyred. With a good horse between the shafts they could ‘go like the wind’. Young men, who would not be caught dead in a sulky, used these for courting.
They still had pig and turkey drives in the early twenties. Several farmers would combine their mobs of pigs and they would be walked from Genoa to Eden, to be shipped to Sydney to markets. Turkeys were driven down from Wangarabelle to join the pig drive. The turkey’s feet were painted with tar to prevent them from becoming footsore. Roy Buckland went on at least one of these drives, which must have been very slow affairs.
I remember the kitchen at Redbank, a large room with a very long table. Dad sat at the head and did any carving; Mum sat next to him and served the vegetables. We frequently had relations staying or a parson on his rounds (he came from Cann River, always by horseback). They sat next and so on with the youngest members at the bottom. Dad was somewhat of a domestic tyrant, brooked no hilarity from younger members and they were told to be quiet or leave the table. Being only very small, I was not greatly awed by Dad and would climb on his knee and drink his tea.
Sides of bacon were hung above the stove which was a large black structure, the ceiling high and beamed. Bacon unlike today, kept very well, we cured our own hams and bacon, and the last of the bacon was being used when it was again time to kill a pig. There was an old country saying that you could not kill a pig when ‘there was an R in the month’. So with no refrigeration you were confined to May, June, July and August.
It was virtually a cashless society as there were no banks. Bartering was used a great deal. Everyone had accounts which were paid monthly for groceries and household things, and mail order was used for a long time.
If dad bought anything from another farmer, he would pay by cheque; this cheque would be used as currency and would eventually find its way back to him. On one occasion, when a purchaser tendered the same cheque, Dad tore it up, the man looked surprised and said “Why wasn’t it any good?” on another occasion when he threw one of these well-worn cheques in the fire, my mother was outraged..”wasting good money.”
Dad was the last person in the district to use a ‘throw’ which was a tool for splitting palings (* see below). I am not able to describe this as I have never seen one, but apparently Dad was an expert in this field and even split them for other people. Joan would drive him in the jinker out to the bush where he selected trees. He would camp there for the week and she would drive out to bring him home for the weekend. I don’t remember any of this, so Joan would have been a teenager at the time.
We returned to Mallacoota in late 1929 and lived temporarily at ‘Sunny Corner’, while Dad went off to look at sheep properties, intending to buy a property at Gunnedah. We sold the farm at Redbank to a couple named Howard. We had previously sold ‘Karbeethong’ to Joe Cramp senior in 1927. Frank and Bella and family having moved to Willuna near Condobolin to farm wheat. Frank after being wounded in the chest, was advised to move to a drier climate, (he lived til 85, so the dry climate must have helped)
About 1930 ’Karbeethong’ came back into our hands, it was now a guesthouse and we moved back intending to stay just a short time, but we stayed until 1946 when it was sold to Frank Wood. I was the last one there as my siblings had moved off elsewhere.
We moved to Wingan to Ben’s farm while we decided where to live, but in January 1947 Dad had an unfortunate accident when a young grandson (Bruce Andrews ... messing around with a pea rifle) accidentally shot him in the leg. We moved to Orbost where Dad was in hospital for some months. We stayed with Nell who had a large house; I nursed Dad at Nell’s home until he died in September 1947 at the age of 85.
( * I have been told this in incorrect, that the ‘throw’ was used to make shingles, but perhaps it was used for both these things as my sister was adamant that it was used for palings )
Mum and I moved to Merimbula in early 1948 where we lived in a cottage in Beach Street which belonged to Ben. Later Mum stayed with Bella and Frank at Marshmead, then with Ted and Mary at Willuna. While staying with Ted, Mum fractured her hip and was airlifted by small plane to the Bega airstrip (there was no aerodrome at Merimbula at that time.) she was admitted to Pambula Hospital, but she never recovered and died there on Boxing day in 1951 at age 75. She was buried at Pambula cemetery. Dad was buried at Orbost cemetery.