Page 214 of ‘From Whence we Inherit


Saturday December [?] 1
Left the Port [presumably Port Adelaide] with Joe Brown by the [?] train 2, but on reaching town [i.e. Adelaide] found the omnibus 3 would not leave until half past [?] so wandered about town and went to the Botanic Gardens – then to Aldridge's 4 where we had dinner. We then went by the Mount Barker Mail 5 to Crafer's 6.

Brutal driver beat the off wheel-horse under pretence that it would not go, but it seemed to me he did it only out of spite. Left the ill-used horse at the mountain hut. Passengers had to walk up hill. Arrived at Crafer's about [?]. Had tea about half past [?]. After tea when it was dark, heard a great noise when shortly the landlord arrived in a great passion with a kicking horse which he calls Rory. He had been to town about some law affair concerning the lease of the house. A family affair. Was in a great passion because he had been cooee-ing a mile off and nobody had heard. Brown and I slept in a double-bedded room.

Sunday [?]
Rained all the morning too and we had not got out. Landlord (Mr. Hawkins) cut his forehead open with a stirrup-iron which has not improved his temper. In the afternoon we went through the hills to Mr. Samuel's, supposed to be [?] miles off but we lost our way and must have gone [?] or [?] miles over hill and gully as it took us more than [?] hours and a half.

Samuel came back with us part of the way and we got back to Crafer's in [one and a half] hours. Nearly let out [unclear what is meant here, unless it’s an obsolete expression for ‘extremely tired’, or that they arrived back to Crafer’s so late that they nearly found themselves locked out]

7 rained all the morning and we having no great-coats could not return to town by the Mail as there was only room outside. In the afternoon went to Cox's Creek to the Bridgewater Hotel 8   Mrs. Robinson 9 … and agreed to send wife and family up, Brown also to send his wife and family. The landlady a buxom dame and jolly woman.

1 The person who kindly transcribed these pages of shorthand was not able to decipher numbers. James Page apparently had his own system of recording numbers.
2 There had been a railway service between Port Adelaide and Adelaide since the first steam train in1856, stopping at Bowden, Woodville and Alberton
3 This ‘omnibus’ is clearly the same conveyance James Page later calls ‘the Mail’: a coach drawn by four horses, with room for passengers inside and on outside seats.
4 Aldridge’s Prince Albert Hotel was situated next to Adelaide town hall
5 Mount Barker is nowadays 33km (21 miles) from Adelaide, though in James Page’s day, the more circuitous route was probably considerably longer.
6 Crafers was named after David Crafer, who arrived in Adelaide in 1838 and moved to the area. With his wife he established an inn, the Sawyers Arms, in 1839 three years after South Australia was first settled. He then built the Norfolk Arms on 16 acres (6 ha) in 1840. He sold the Norfolk Arms in 1842, at which point it was known as The Crafers Inn. Other sources state that Richard Hawkins, who acquired the inn in 1843, renamed it Crafer’s Inn.
The present Adelaide-Crafers highway is approximately 10 kilometers in length. The old road, however, the Mount Barker Road, followed the contours, the twists and turns, of the Adelaide Hills, so James Page’s journey on the mail coach would have been longer and more tortuous than 10km!
7 I would guess that what follows refers to the next day, Monday. At the end of the entry, when James agrees to ‘send wife and family up’, does this mean that he stayed on at the Bridgewater, sending for his wife to join him? Or does it mean that he decided that the Bridgewater Hotel was a suitable place for a future visit by his wife and family? Would spending time in the Adelaide hills in December avoid unpleasantly hot weather in Adelaide?
8 I am a little puzzled by this detail: as I understand it the Bridgewater Hotel was around 20km from Cox’s Creek. Both places are further out from Adelaide than Crafer’s, on the way to Mount Barker
9 ‘Mrs Robinson’ written in longhand – I had assumed that James my have been referring to his sister Jane (whose daughters Frances Marion [‘Minnie’] and Julia migrated to South Australia in the 1870s. Frances died at Aldgate (close to the places mentioned in this shorthand extract) in 1936, aged 87). However, James may have been referring to another person called Mrs Robinson, possibly associated with the Bridgewater Hotel.


Adelaide town hall and Aldridge’s circa 1890