Artimore Station, Far North South Australia

Posted by barbara on October 5, 2013

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The approach road to Artimore station ruins (off the left hand fork) with Patawarta Hill on the skyline. Credit  © 2013 Cnes/Spot Image, © 2013 Google ©  2013 Whereis ® Sensis Pty Ltd Image © 2013 DigitalGlobe

 

During the early 1850s, just 15 years after the ‘founding’ of South Australia by Europeans, a number of sheep stations were established in the State’s Far North within the vicinity of the present-day township of Blinman. The going was tough in the ‘new-found country’, particularly so during the 1864-1866 drought which led to massive stock losses.

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Moolooloo station, originally known as Oratunga. Barbara Cameron-Smith. January 2013

 

At the time, the best known of the stations within reach of Blinman were Moolooloo, Angoriochina and Artimore. Moolooloo and Angorochina survive to this day as working properties that offer a farm stay tourist accommodation sideline. Less successful in the longer run was Artimore Station, some 22.53 kilometres north-east of Blinman by road, a lease that was originally taken up by politician and pastoralist, John Baker.

 

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To pick out the stone ruins, locate the intersection of the left hand road fork and the dry watercourse in the middle distance of the aerial photo, and check out the southern 'bank' of the watercourse. Image © 2013 Cnes/spot Image, © 2013 Google c 2013 Whereis ® Sensis Pty Ltd Image © 2013 DigitalGlobe

 

South Australia’s second premier, Baker played a key role in importing large numbers of sheep from Tasmania to stock his stations in the Far North. In the 1870s, Artimore changed hands when another Far North pioneer, Henry McConville (1831-1903) purchased the station from Baker. Whether either man lived on site is beyond the extent of my preliminary research, with the more likely option that they installed managers who employed a mix of European and local Indigenous workers.

At its peak carrying capacity, Artimore, or Artemah as it was originally known, supported more than 40,000 sheep. But like many other stations in this semi-arid region, the triple whammy of unreliable rainfall, rabbits and wild dogs took their toll. In 1903 (110 years ago in 2013), Artimore station was apparently abandoned.

Arguably the death of McConville in the same year may have influenced the decision that the station was no longer viable, let alone saleable. (Information courtesy of http://www.mcconville.org/main/about/australia.html)

 

Piecing together the Artimore ruins

After an arduous matching up a handful of historic black and white images of Artimore Station with the colour photos I took of the Artimore ruins in January 2013, by a process of deduction and emlimination I have reached some conclusions about which ruins served what functions on the historic station.

This blog provides an overview of that painstaking research and I would welcome any discussion on my interpretation of the ruins on <barbara@allthingswritten.com.au>.

 

Artimore homestead


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The ruins of the Artimore homestead. Barbara Cameron-Smith. 2013

 

The stone and timber ruins above are all that remains of the Artimore homestead. The distinguishing features of the homestead, discernable in black and white photos of the cottage, are chimneys at either end of the building.

The massive chimney on the western end of the homestead (shown above) flued the kitchen hearth, while little material evidence remains of the more modest chimney at the bedroom end of the homestead.

 

Seasonal contractors' quarters

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Seasonal quarters. Barbara Cameron-Smith. January 2013.

 

Based on the photographic evidence, the stone cottage to the east of the homestead building had doors at either end of the building in place of one or more fireplaces. Perhaps that's because it served as temporary quarters for contract shearers that travelled to the station during the warmer months and cooked in an adjacent detached kitchen.

 

Staff quarters 


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Staff quarters cottage. Barbara Cameron-Smith. January 2013.

 

The photo above captures the ruins of the stone cottage to the immediate west of the homestead. In all probability, the one chimneyed building served as quarters for permanent staff. It may also have served as a detached 'summer kitchen' for the homestead, to avoid overheating the latter's living quarters during the hotter months.

 

The woolshed 


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Artimore woolshed. Barbara Cameron-Smith. January 2013.

 

This is the stone and timber ruins of the sizeable woolshed that was located to the south of the run of three cottages on the high ground above the normally dry watercourse. Like the other Artimore buildings, the woolshed was constructed out of local country rock and plentiful callitris pine timbers.

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