|John Anthony Cowie, image on display at Osbourne House, |
According to the 1836 census of the Port Phillip district, Stead arrived there in February, 1836 which I am guessing may indicate that he returned to Tasmania after his initial landing to gather stock for the run he and Stead intended to select. In July, their colleague John von Steiglitz landed stock at Point Henry, presumably also for the Bell Post Hill run.
Their stay in the Geelong region however, was relatively brief. By 1838 Cowie, Stead and two of the von Steiglitz brothers were on the move again, taking their stock with them in search of greener pastures. These they found above the confluence of east and west branches of the Moorabool River. According to one story, after drawing straws it was decided that Stead should take up land on the east bank of the East Moorabool River, presumably leaving the west bank for Cowie. The von Steiglitz brothers moved on a little further still. Their properties will be the subject of a future post.
Together, the land held by Cowie and Stead covered some 30,000 acres. In 1850 the original run was officially divided. Stead's run to the east of the Moorabool East Branch was known as Bungeeltap East whilst Cowie's run was Bungeeltap West.
|Looking towards Bungeeltap East from west of the river|
Some years later, on 25th April, 1848 David Stead married Mary Jane Belcher, the daughter of Joseph William Belcher and Elizabeth Austin. The marriage took place on the run at Bungeeltap. The year following their marriage or soon thereafter, the Steads built a comfortable house known as Emly Park - no doubt named for his home in Falmouth, England on the eastern section of the run, overlooking the river. The original house still stands (with additions) today on the Egerton-Bungeeltap Road near the corner of the Ballan-Meredith Road. It is described as a colonial style house constructed from local sandstone and is open to the public as a guesthouse.
|The front gates to Emly Park|
Their fourth daughter Lillian Brooke Vere Stead (born 1863), further strengthened ties between the Stead, Cowie and von Steiglitz families, when she married John Charles von Steiglitz on 22nd September, 1886 at Bayswater, London. John was the nephew of John Cowie's wife Charlotte Christine von Steiglitz. The couple returned to Australia where they settled in Tasmania.
Sadly, less than two weeks after his daughter's wedding, Stead died in London on 5th October, 1886.
|David Vere Stead, image held by the State Library of Victoria|
During his tenure at Bungeeltap West, McPherson built a two storey, gothic style house which has been dated to about 1862. Over the years the house underwent significant renovation. In 1922, the top storey was removed and the house almost entirely rebuilt. It sits on the west bank of the river, less than a kilometre as the crow flies from Emly Park.
|Bungeeltap homestead in the 1960s. Image: J.T. Collins collection,|
La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria
The squatting licence for Bungeeltap West, still held by Dugald McPherson was listed in the Victorian Government Gazette as up for renewal in April, 1880 however, I believe the lease was cancelled in 1880.
|Moorabool East Branch, Egerton-Bungeeltap Road, boundary of Bungeeltap|
East and West runs looking toward Bungeeltap West.
Both the Bungeeltap and Emly Park homesteads have changed hands numerous times over the ensuing century and a half and the squatters are long gone, however both houses remain as tangible links to Victoria's colonial past.