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Dalhousie Homestead Ruins

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Dalhousie Homestead Ruins - Cities, Towns and Localities

Dalhousie Station

Once this water rich resource was seen by Europeans, it was barely a year before the first lease, on what was to become known and operate as Dalhousie Station, was taken up by Edward Meade Bagot (Ned). A trained surveyor from Ireland, he had won the contract to construct the first 500 miles (800 km) of the Overland Telegraph Line between Port Augusta and The Peak. The lease was recorded to him on New Years Day in 1873.

Because of insufficient records it is uncertain how many leaseholders actually lived on the property, but is known that Ned's sons Edward Meade Bagot (Ted) the younger and Charles Mulcra Bagot, who managed the property until 1885 resided at Dalhousie. Essington Lewis, son of The Honourable John Lewis who held the lease from 1895 to 1931 also spent time working on the property. Some also believe F & R Sandford operated the property between 1912 and 1925 when it was abandoned. However, documentation of this is unclear and it can only be assumed that they operate as managers.

Dalhousie Homestead Ruins, Witjira National Park

Dalhousie Station was later amalgamated with other surrounding stations such as Blood's Creek, Mt Dare and Federal. These stations were run under the umbrella of the Dalhousie Pastoral Company, managed by Edwin Lowe, until 21 November 1985. It was apparent that after more than a century of pastoralism, the mound springs with national biological, geological and cultural significance had become degraded. In an effort to conserve the mound springs and their valuable ecosystems, the 7,769 sq kilometre station was purchased by the government and dedicated as Witjira National Park.

During the time that the property was used as a station, sheep, Angora goats, horses, camels and cattle were bred. In particular, Charles Mulcra Bagot bred horses. An old racecourse is situated a short distance from the homestead, indicating that those who lived there and their neighbours, regularly attended picnic races and enjoyed a social lifestyle.

At some time in the 1950s, agriculture was attempted in the vicinity of the main springs some eleven kilometres north-east of here. It is believed that lucerne was the principle crop. Relics of this unsuccessful activity are visible.

Dalhousie Homestead
The Dalhousie homestead buildings were constructed from springs limestone. The limestone blocks were well-dressed and brought to accurate courses in the process of construction. The buildings were built sometime between 1872 and 1885. This small settlement consisted of the homestead, a shed, workmen's quarters, blacksmith's shop and the stockyards. The homestead is thought to be the earliest structure. The fence was erected to protect the building from being undermined by rabbits.

Stabilisation of the Ruins
By 1994 the buildings were in a state of decay due to their abandonment since 1925 and the harsh desert environment. With finance being provided by National Parks and Wildlife SA, State Heritage Fund and the Lewis family, stabilisation of the ruins was undertaken by Heritage SA in 1994. The stone from the decaying buildings, sand from the local area and water from the springs were used to rebuild some of the walls and to cap them to prevent further decay.

This area has been entered in the South Australia State Heritage Register. It is illegal to damage or disturb the site.

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Dalhousie Homestead Ruins Images

Dalhousie Homestead Ruins Dalhousie Homestead Ruins - Workmens Quarters Dalhousie Homestead Ruins
Dalhousie Homestead Ruins - Shed Dalhousie Homestead Ruins - Blacksmiths Shop Dalhousie Homestead Ruins - Stockyards
Date Palms (Phoenix dactylifera) on the former Dalhousie Station Stand of Date Palms (Phoenix dactylifera) on the former Dalhousie Station Burnt Date Palms on the Dalhousie Homestead Ruins site
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• Dalhousie Homestead Map / Dalhousie Homestead Ruins

Aerial view of the Dalhousie homestead ruins site. Artwork by Lorraine Hancox. Image taken from park signage.

Dalhousie Homestead Map / Dalhousie Homestead Ruins

Source: Witjira National Park signage

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