Now, I intend to have a look at some of the estates mentioned in yesterday's post and hopefully over time this will build up a handy picture of the historic properties along the banks of the three rivers and beyond, showing what they were and what they have become today. Some are already the subject of previous posts so for the moment I will concentrate on some of the others.
|The front gate|
Unlike many of the estates in the area, Moranghurk has always been in the hands of a partnership or a family. The first selection of 18,00 acres was taken up in 1840 by the Scottish settlers William Taylor and Dugald McPherson who held it until 1846. The property included land along both sides of the Moorabool River. To the west it was bounded by the Native Creek No 1 Estate, at that time occupied by Robert Sutherland for the Clyde Company, to the north by John McLeod's Bohoneyghurk and to the south by the Clyde Company's Tall Tree Estate . East of the Moorabool, Moranghurk shared a boundary with Durdiwarrah belonging to the Steiglitz family and a small section of its south eastern perimeter with the Anakie Estate of Frederick Griffin.
|View south down the Moorabool Valley from Moranghurk.|
In the earliest days, Taylor and McPherson built a small cottage on the property made of mud and stone. At some point in the 1840s the present house was constructed, possibly to a design by Thomas Albin Nuttal. Whether it was Taylor and McPherson who had the house built or the Sharps is unclear.
|This land across the Moorabool Valley would originally have been part of the|
|The Moorabool Valley and Moranghurk land from the front lawn|
In the early squatting days, property boundaries were often determined by natural features such as creeks and rivers, or by dirt ditches, dug to mark the line. By 1879 he had fenced the run and divided it into paddocks with a combination of stone, brush and post and rail fences.
|Several of the Cyprus and a small bridge along the Moranghurk driveway|
|The house and gardens|
They suffered a setback not long after taking control of the property however, when a grassfire which was believed to have started when a man at the Larundel Estate near Elaine threw out a pan of hot ashes, burnt through several miles of their fencing, consumed a significant amount of pasture and killed a large number of sheep. None the less, they were able to make a success of the estate and their tenure saw a number of further improvements with a focus on fine quality Merino production. This youngest generation of Mathesons were also responsible for building the gate lodge, the garage, the men's quarters and also an ornate pump house on the river. All this activity was interrupted by a period of English service during the First World War for John during which Norman managed the estate.
|The gate lodge at Moranghurk|
Norman felt he needed at least 5,000 acres to make the project work, so as a result he sold the last of the land along with the house to the Commission who then auctioned it to George "Dudley" Erwin and Jack East, mates from the air force.
Erwin and East were not however, long term occupants and changed little on the property. Erwin went into politics and the property was once again sold, this time in 1957 to Isaac Peter Ralton Scott. Like the Mathesons before him, Scott was keen to improve the property. In addition to another round of alterations to the house - including the demolition of a stone section of the building - land usage began to change. Paddocks were cleared, crops sewn and pastures improved. From being exclusively a grazing run, it now moved towards mixed farming producing not only sheep but cattle, grain and a variety of other crops.
|The garden today with glimpses of the valley beyond|
Additional details concerning the history of the property can also be found in Eric A. McGillivray's book The heritage of Lethbridge.