Sunday, 15 March 2015

Hamley Bridge in 1905


It is not so many years ago that Hamley Bridge was an insignificant hamlet. This state of things has been entirely changed, and no more progressive centre can be found in the Lower North than the Hamley Bridge of the present. There were three determining factors in the successful evolution of the town to its present standard. One was the construction of the narrow gauge, railway line to Balaklava, another, the advent of the superphosphates, and the last, but not the least, the public spiritedness and genuine enterprise of the business men and the producers. The people, by their business acumen, have done much to cause the town to progress rapidly. This has been shown by the producers in the surrounding country, who were among the first to adopt the latest agricultural methods, and who were not slow in procuring the implements and machinery suitable to local conditions. The town now is a prosperous one, with a population of something like 600. The growth of business has been great and the rise of establishments like Mr. J. G. Traeger's implement factory, and Mr. J. F. Quinn's carpentry and storage premises, have shown what can be done by right men in the right place. Mr. Traeger's implements and vehicles are so well known as not to require detailed description. Starting here in a small place, Mr. Traeger worked alone for awhile, but having a keen eye for the local requirements, and meeting the favor of the agriculturists by his quick perception and knowledge of requirements, he found it necessary to employ many workmen, and to enlarge his premises from time to time. The products of the factory have met with favor almost everywhere, and a considerable amount of business is done annually with Kangaroo Island and other portions of our state, while a demand has been created in such a distant place as the West. This, of course, has an appreciable effect in heightening the prosperity of the town. During the last decade many houses have been erected, and the architectural style has been of a good order, so that the town presents a pleasing modern appearance, the effect being enhanced by the Horticultural tastes of the householders and the judicious planting of those beautiful and hardy evergreens, the sugar gums. The majority of the buildings referred were planned and constructed by Mr. J. T. Quinn, whose engagements in the building and contracting line have been rewarded with so much success that out in the country for miles around modern dwelling places can be seen which were built and designed by this contractor. A splendid addition to the town is the residence in course of construction by Mr. Quinn for Dr. Dawkins. The house stands on an eminence on the western side of the town, and thus being in a commanding position, the structure, with its red roof, can be seen to advantage. Notwithstanding all the building which has been accomplished here, it is still a difficult matter for a newcomer to find a vacant house. Another business which is of great value, from a commercial view, is the roller flour mill, which is worked by Mr. J. Black, and conducted under the name of Deland & Black. The quality of the wheat grown in the district is usually of a high standard, and consequently the flour turned out in this completely equipped mill has made a name for itself in some of the best markets in the world. In addition, to farmers having an opportunity of selling their wheat to the mill in the season, several buyers for outside firms compete one against the other for parcels. For the disposal of hay, the farmers have two local chaff mills to apply to, that of Mr. Ayliffe and that Mr. J. Wilson, who, by the way, was manager of the Roseworthy Fodder Mills until it closed down. Unfortunately for the mills, the quantity of hay available for cutting purposes has been very small during the last 12 months. According to opinions prevailing among the cereal growers, the quantity of hay cut this coming season will be small, owing to the likelihood of low prices continuing due to the generally good seasons throughout Commonwealth agricultural areas. Of course, it is early to assume yet what acreage will be cut for hay, but it is possible that more may be cut than is at present intended, for owing to extremely wet winter we have passed through some of the crops are what is called dirty. As to whether it would pay to allow oats, &c to cast their seeds upon the soil, which they would do before the wheat would be ripe for reaping, and thus increase expenditure in clearing the land in the future, in preference to cutting the crop for hay is a debatable point, and one which can only be determined by the grower. Harvesters are used by many landholders for the gathering in of the golden grain at once ready for market with an economy of time, and consequently a safeguarding from loss. There are four stores in the town – Messrs. J. M. Finey's, H, Bohnsack’s, Ed. Lucas & Co.'s, and J. McMahon's. Mr. Finey is the energetic honorary secretary of the local show, which, by the way, is one which deserves the support of the people. Mr. F. Bohnsack conducted a business for some time at Corcondo, two or three miles out of town, but two or three years ago he removed into commodious premises in the heart of Hamley. For years he was the clerk of the Alma District Council, but owing to pressure of business he retired some months ago, and the position is now occupied by Mr. W. Y. Barclay. Mr. McMahon, who has been in business for some years, has taken, and continues to take, great interest in certain movements, which provide enjoyments for the people. Accommodation is ample. There are two hotels, Mr. T. Goldworthy's (who also has the railway refreshment rooms), and Aldridge's hotel, conducted by Mr. F. C. Aldridge. The latter purchased the freehold of his house recently, and Aldridge's hotel, offers facilities for travellers, as well. Mr. F. J. Hill is well-known in the district, and has been associated with the district council for about 12 years, is the proprietor of a butchering and bakery business. As will be noticed in our advertisement columns, Mr. T. L. Doyle is also in this line, and he has, by strict attention to business and the production of good commodities, worked up a good connection. Among other businesses are those of Mr. T. Virgo, who conducts a blacksmith's and machinist's establishment; Mr. D. J. Robertson, formerly of Kapunda, the saddler. Thus, as will be seen, the town has a good proportion of business firms, which is a tribute to the potentialities of the district. There are several public institutions not touched upon, but they will merit an article to themselves.

This newspaper article is from the "Kapunda Herald' in September 1905.