Composed and shared by Ceduna Old Photos, Sue Trewartha and Erica Bodger.
WCS. 27 May 1959. Far West. Ninety seven year old Charles David Boxer, the oldest identity in the far west died in Adelaide last week. It was a co-incidence that the nonagenarian died on May 19, the day on which the Sentinel wrote its memoir of the late 93 year old Michael Joseph Allen, who died the previous Wednesday. The two men had been partners in a kangaroo hunting project in the far west at one stage and had been close friends during the 70 odd years since they first met. In the Allen memoir it was stated that Dave Boxer was the one remaining link between the far west’s historic past and the present. Actually he died as this was being written. However it can now be truly said that the passing of these two aged identities has brought to a close in a most interesting chapter in the history of this part of the state.
Dave Boxer who died at the home of his daughter, Ruby, Mrs Pat Toogood, was born at Thebarton on 14 May 1865. He was the son of the late George Boxer. Not at all keen on school he went to work for Alfred Chapman minding cows on the Henley Beach Road for 2/6a week when he was 9. He lived with his grandfather John Thulborn at that time. Chapman had 60 acres of land in Underdale and grew barley and Lucerne. The young Boxer threshed it for him by riding a horse and leading two over it after it had been cut. He also drove the lucerne cart around Adelaide, Unley and Mitcham and took his employer’s pigs to the North Terrace market.
At the age of 20, in 1885, Dave Boxer came to Streaky Bay to work for Hamilton and Mills on Chandada Station. He carted wool with bullock teams to Crawfords Landing, near Streaky during the six months or so he was at Chandada, which was then managed by Alec Murray.
He then transferred to Fowlers Bay where he worked on Yalata Station, then owned by Smith and Swan under the management of George Murray. There were six Murray brothers, four of them sheep men, John, Alec, George, Dave, Bill and Jim. Carrying up to as many as 180,000 sheep in good years, Yalata sold off about 20,000 a year. These were driven across country to Pt Augusta and sold in the mid north. Dave Boxer featured in several of these long droving journeys. He was paid 15/- a week and as was the custom in those days found his own food.
At the time Dave Boxer and Mick Allen came to Fowlers, Yalata had just finished yarding kangaroos which were eating more feed than the sheep. In two yardings on this occasion, the natives rounded up 1,700. Only the big roos were skinned as the hides were practically valueless. Later they went up to 5/- a pound, and it was then that the Boxer –Allen kangaroo-hunting partnership was formed. After Mick Allen sold out his share of the business to Dave, the latter carried on alone until the market flopped. He had been making about twenty pound a week, but was then obliged to take a job as a roustabout on Tucker and Brown’s Nullarbor Station at one pound a week… they shore about 12,000 sheep on Nullarbor, and Dave Boxer was engaged mainly as a dingo hunter and musterer.
Carting wool from Nullarbor to Fowlers Bay. 1927.
The wool was carted to the coast and loaded on ketches.
Later Dave moved to the West where he was employed as a camel driver for the Water Supply Department when they were putting down bores and building tanks between Eucla and Coolgardie. He spent nine years there, married and came back with his wife and son Ted and two young daughters and started farming at Fowler’s Bay on 500 acres. He had 200 to 300 sheep but the wool was practically valueless and the project was not a financial success and debt and difficulties followed. Undaunted, our subject then went carting gypsum from Penong to Port Sinclair with his horse team until motor transport came and put him out of business. For the second time the old stager had to move out with just his team.
He sold 8 of his 24 horses and went to live with his son in law Bert Marks, at Penong. In 1951, Mr Boxer went to Adelaide to stay with his daughter Ruby and since then spent all of his time with members of his family. Earlier this year he was at Penong with the Marks family. The burial took place at the Enfield General Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon. Mr Boxer is survived by seven of his children, Ruby, Olive, Naomi, Edward, Ethel, Jack and Myra.