Day 8 – Discovering Wellard

Day eight Tuesday 20th March 2007
Today we will visit Wellard homestead which will finish the trip we started out on. Mum & I picked Tim up at 10-00am, while at his place we inspected the earthworks in his front yard. Elsa was waiting at the front of her house as was Don. We drove down the freeway & took the Thomas Rd exit, then left into Johnson Rd. This is quite amazing as we have travelled this road on many many occasions & I never realised the farm was at the end of Wellard road. The house was situated on the corner of Millar Rd & Johnson Rd which meant crossing the road to get to the main farm. The house block has now been reserved for a cemetery which contains four graves & a gazebo, we had lunch in the gazebo & a lot of discussion about where the house was. Elsa, Helen, Pat & Pauline to draw a map of where the house & sheds were situated. Tom felt the site was due west of the gazebo but after much discussion & lots of walking (Tim walked the entire block to plot it into his GPS & sent messages to us via mobile as to his whereabouts) we decided the house was south west of the gazebo. The front fence of the house would have been 65mtrs from the road. We decided on this position due to several factors.
1 – There is a prickly pear bush which would fit with being behind the house in the back yard.
2 – Elsa fell from a tree & broke her arm as a youngster so the trees nearby fit with this.
3 – All the maps show the dairy to be behind the house in a north westerly direction & there is a prickly pear perfectly situated & would have been a likely plant to have growing near the dairy.
4 – We found some very old cement like substance north west of the house which would fit that the dairy would be there.
5 – The girls felt there was a step up to the front of the hose but was flat at the back which fits our location.
6 – When you look west from Johnson road up to the house one can imagine the driveway.
7 – At the end of the driveway it was almost straight across to the main farm.
We drove further down Johnson Rd & followed the farm around to the back drain, so we now have very good knowledge of the house site & the entire farm.
On the way home we searched for the school which is on Johnson Rd. We found the school site 2.8ks from the entrance to the house. The school has some very old pine trees growing & also some more old pines at the school house. Thanks to Tim we several discussions with Pauline while we were there so that made it even more special.

I think we all had a great day, for me it is the end of that chapter but not the end of the book. As a farmer I can see now why Tom would have decided he must seek work elsewhere, the farm was a sandy swamp with a lot of paper bark trees, it would have been almost impossible to grow enough grass on that area to create a viable farm. It must have so heart wrenching for Tom & Paula when he decided to head off in search of riches to feed & school the family rather than battle it out on the farm.

Barry Dennis