Pioneer James Hiern
James Hiern was company representative for the Wilgena Pastoral Company at Ceduna until 1900. He is pictured sitting on the left, in front of his ‘house’ which was situated near the present Council Chambers. Camel trains brought wool from the Tarcoola area to Murat Bay to be shipped to Adelaide and stores were loaded to be taken back to Tarcoola. Supplies for the building of the overland telegraph line were also unloaded at Murat Bay before the jetty was built.
In May 1900, N Pethick surveyed a town with 96 blocks further north, but this plan was not used. On that plan it showed the location of a couple of places which influenced the eventual choice of the site for the town. Hiern’s store was already there before the town was gazetted, along with a shed for the Wilgena Woolstore, which was used by the company to store wool brought down from the Tarcoola area as seen in photo below
These two establishments were located near where the proposed jetty was to be later built, and consequently, the town was built around that. The Betts store was later built on the site of the Wilgena Woolshed.
WCS. 7 March 1911. From James Hiern, Murat Bay. The last winter in this district was one of the best on record. There were no frosts or hot winds to do any serious damage. The yield of wheat was good and I have not heard any farmer grumble. As a whole they seem happy and cheerful. The town of Murat Bay is growing extensively. We have some costly buildings. Mr WH Betts’ new store will soon be open. It is a large, spacious place and should meet all requirements.”
18 March 1948. By AB John. I knew Jimmy Hierns quite well back in 1890 when he very occasionally came into Streaky Bay from his camp in the far back country. He eventually settled at Chinta, some distance back from Murat Bay, now Ceduna, and later came and settled in Ceduna, where I think Harold Betts saw he wanted for nothing in the evening of his days.
HISTORY BITS AND PIECES Some stories and photos of our district by Sue Trewartha and Erica Bodger. See Ceduna Old Photos on Facebook for more local history and photos.