Monday 3 June 2013

Ruins of the Home & Chimney on Lot M913 in Winchester

The privately owned Midland Railway Company was paid for building the railway from Midland to Walkaway with over three million acres (1.3 million hectares) of land along the railway. The company slowly sold the land with most of it becoming wheat and sheep farms. Sales took a slightly different course of action in Coorow, Winchester and Carnamah where the company instead developed the land and sold Ready-Made Farms. To be truly ready-made, each farm came with a three or four-roomed house already in place. That's rooms in total - not the number of bedrooms!

The property these photos were taken on was first sold to George W. J. Reid and Miss Amy C. Taunton who named it Auchindoir. Along with George's wife they left England and settled on the property in 1915. When they arrived they had no horses or implements but acquired some with assistance from the Midland Railway Company. The Industries Assistance Board (I.A.B.) provided them with seed wheat which was viewed as an advance over their first crop. By 1918 the I.A.B. refused to give them any further assistance so they approached the Midland Railway Company. The company didn't think they would succeed on their property so also declined to provide assistance.

In 1920 the Midland Railway Company rescinded the sale to Reid & Taunton and re-sold their Auchindoir Farm in two pieces - one to Winchester farmer John Raffan and the second to Perth accountant J. L. B. Weir (who already owned Petan Farm in Winchester). The above photos were taken on the 491 acre Lot M913, the portion sold to Weir. In 1921 Weir purchased 272 acres of adjoining virgin bush from the Midland Railway Company and later sold both blocks to "Jim" James S. Straiton who renamed the property Hursley Farm after a village in England where his wife's parents had come from.

During the 1939-40 financial year Straiton sold the farm to Clarence R. Millard, and after ten years he sold it to Charles Chapman. All three families resided in the house that once surrounded the chimney. In 1976-77 the property was purchased by "Jim" James A. White and was later owned by his son Bruce.

The steel pole in the centre of the above photo, which was probably a support to the roof of the building, is an original piece of the Midland Railway. It is marked with M.R.WA. (for Midland Railway of Western Australia) and also Krupp (its manufacturer in Germany) and the year 1893.

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Jill Tilly said...

Great photos and excellent coverage of the chimney's past owners. Anyone now driving from Coorow to Carnamah and catching sight of the chimney on their right just before the former town site of Winchester will be reminded the families who lived here.

Claire G said...

I passed this property and this chimney years ago while doing archaeological surveys in the area and took a not dissimilar photograph, but never found out what was originally there- thanks for sharing the story of the place! I've just discovered your blog and am blown away- what a fantastic resource. Besides being an archaeologist, I'm also writing fiction set in the Midwest region during the First World War, and I can't tell you how useful this blog will be to me. Great effort- again, thank you!

Andrew Bowman-Bright said...

Thank you Claire for the feedback! Please let us know if any of our content contributes in any way to your stories - as we'd be very keen to have a read. If you wanted to keep updated about our blog posts and new content on our website follow us on Facebook -