The first chapter is dedicated to ‘The Pioneers’ of the region. One particular section in this initial chapter relates to Edward Shepherd, who is often regarded as Wycheproof’s first resident, was employed as a stockman on the Charlton and Wycheproof stations in 1853. Whilst employed on Wycheproof station, he was in charge of 2,000 cattle, and later became manager of Thalia station, before selecting land elsewhere in the region for himself. Edward Shepherd retired into Wycheproof township in 1905.
What was important to me was the mention of the stations that Edward Shepherd had managed. Whilst my Great Grandfather, James O’Connor did not hold Wycheproof station, he did erect the first hotel in 1874. It was operated by James for 10 years, and in 1884 he sold it and purchased Thalia station.
The original Thalia station had been divided and the section James purchased was known as ‘Killarney’ station and was at that time, 2,000 acres of freehold land and 7,000 acres of leasehold land. James established farming operations including a very successful horse breeding facility. James specialised in race horses, as well as riding and carriage horses. His carriage horses sold for around £100 a pair. He also supplied riding and carriage horses to the Governor, Lord Hopetoun.
In subsequent chapters of the book another site came to notice. A school was proposed for Fort Cameron. This was somewhat unusual, as most schools were named after the locality, not the family who had the most students attending. The Cameron family who were in the area were the descendants of my Great Grandmother, Janet, or Jessie Cameron who come to Australia with her family from Fort William in Scotland. The Cameron family have a long history of military service spanning centuries. The Cameron family who settled in the area east of Wycheproof had 15 children, which perhaps explains the naming of the school after the family.
Local history books have been a great source of information about family related activities over the years. There is another book which contains a great deal of history about my paternal family, however it went out of print decades ago, and I am currently searching second-hand book shops for a copy.
27th February 2022.