Salisbury Railway Station before the old two storey buildings were demolished. In the 1920s.
Image by denisbin
Sir Montague( or Montagu) Chapman, Third Baronet of Westmeath near Dublin Ireland, used a loop hole in the Special Survey regulations of 1839 and selected his 4,000 acres for £4,000 in different areas. He took 800 acres at Koonunga near Kapunda; 500 acres at Kapunda (a friend of his Bagot also got land there); 500 acres near Waterloo and Marrabel; and later in 1842 he selected a further 2,200 acres between the Little Para River and Dry Creek at what is now Mawson Lakes, Salisbury and Cross Keys. At Killua Castle in Ireland he had 9,000 acres and hundreds of tenant farmers. He wanted to do the same in SA. In 1840 he sent out Captain Charles Bagot from Ireland with 224 Irish immigrants to settle his, and Bagot’s lands, at Kapunda with Irish labourers and tenants. Then in 1842 he sailed out to SA himself with 120 Irish tenant farmers whom he installed on his lands at Cross Keys. Sir Montague Chapman returned to Ireland the next year. Then in 1847 he sent out a further 214 Irish immigrants to be tenant farmers on his Cross Key to Salisbury lands. They came out on the ships named Trafalgar and Aboukir. Sir Montague Chapman lived in Ireland not SA but returned to his SA estates in 1852 and drowned at sea in 1853 off Portland when returning to SA from Melbourne. His brother inherited the SA lands and estates. The lasting effect of Sir Montague Chapmans tenant farming ideas was a large number of Irish Catholics around the Salisbury and Kapunda districts. Many of these immigrants soon became independent landowners themselves rather than Montague’s tenants.
Daniel Brady, another Irishman was a self-made Irish immigrant to the area. He purchased 100 acres, now the Parafield Airport in 1845. He then got the license to the Cross Keys hotel. Much later Brady laid out the town of Virginia in 1858.But there were other Catholic influences in Salisbury too. William Leigh of Staffordshire (and of Leigh Street Adelaide) was a great land investor and speculator in SA and donated lands early to the Anglican Church ( in Leigh St.) then he converted to Catholicism and donated lands to the SA Catholic Church for the first church and bishop’s palace on West Terrace etc. At Salisbury he donated 500 acres to the local Catholic Church along the Little Para where the reservoir is now situated. The local church rented that farm out as income until it was sold in 1896. Thus because of two major Catholic British aristocrats Salisbury thrived as a centre of Catholicism and had one of the largest Catholic Churches in SA in the mid-19th century. The church itself was set up when the state Government was offering glebe lands for churches to get established. The Catholics of Salisbury received 20 acres of land under this system through Bishop Murphy in 1850. The foundations of St Augustine’s Church were laid in 1851 with the church being used before its final official opening in 1857. This grand stone church replaced an earlier pug and pine church which had opened in 1847 on the site. The tower was added in 1926.
But the main story of Salisbury is centred on Scottish born John Harvey of Wick. But who was John Harvey? Is his main claim to fame that he brought out from South Africa soursob bulbs? He was a man of ideas wanting to make money. He came out to SA alone when he was 16 years old arriving in 1839 on the ship named Superb. By 1843 Harvey had moved to Gawler where he drove mails between Adelaide and Gawler. This gave him the idea of grazing cattle on the unoccupied plains between the two settlements. He started squatting. He let overlanders from NSW depasture their flocks on these lands, for a fee, although he had no legal right to do so. He accepted cattle for fees and soon had stock of his own. To this he added some horses which he bred for sale (or export to India) and once he had fattened the cattle he sold them for meat for the Adelaide market or through his butcher shop in growing Gawler. He became a major meat supplier for Adelaide and Gawler. He also experimented with cereal growing on the Salisbury plains and claims to be have been the first to do so. Within a few years he had amassed a sizeable amount of money from almost nothing and he purchased his first land at Gawler, where he built his first stone house, and at Salisbury when the Hundred of Yatala was declared in 1846. He was temporarily forced off the land he was squatting upon until he purchased 147 acres in 1847. He subdivided a small part of it to create the town of Salisbury with the main street named after himself and the street parallel to it named Wiltshire where his wife Ann Pitman (cousin of Sir Isaac Pitman of shorthand fame) was born. His town plans were submitted in 1848 as he hoped to make money from this action. Harvey continued living in Salisbury and went into building houses for people, breeding race horses and encouraging agriculture. He was elected to parliament in 1857 for one term and served on the Yatala District Council. His land deals included selling the area of Gawler that became Bassett Town by the old Gawler railway station. He was a mainstay of the Royal Horticultural Society and the Adelaide Racing Club. He was a local Justice of the Peace. John Harvey died in Salisbury in 1899, aged 78 years but his descendants stayed on in the town to be orange growers. John and his wife Ann are buried in St John’s Anglican cemetery. He left three sons and daughter.
By 1854 there were churches being erected in Salisbury; a flour mill; a hotel; and many houses for residents. The earliest SA settlers has eschewed the Adelaide Plains as they were hot and dry and they preferred the wetter, cooler Adelaide Hills. By 1845 less hills land was available and some saw the potential of this fertile little river valley close to the Adelaide and on the main copper mine routes from Adelaide to Kapunda and Burra. Apart from the Catholics the town attracted Anglicans, who were to construct their first church in 1849 or 1850 although the date on the building says 1846 which was before the land was even surveyed. John Harvey is known to have sold two lots to the Anglican Bishop Short for a nominal amount for an Anglican Church in 1850. It is therefore unlikely that the Anglicans built anything before 1850 but John Harvey might have allowed a building on his land before it was officially handed over to Bishop Short. A number of Primitive Methodists were also drawn to Salisbury and they who formed their congregation in 1849 with services on the banks of the Little Para. In 1851 they opened their Primitive Methodist Church called Hephzibah which was replaced with a second solid stone church in 1858. The Primitive Methodists purchased their land from John Harvey. They then established satellite Primitive Methodist churches at Burton, Sturton, Greenwith and other further out districts like Carclew, Two Wells etc. The Wesleyan Methodists had a church at the Old Spot (1857) but they too constructed a Wesleyan church in Salisbury West in 1858 after the arrival of the railway to the town. It has been a residence since 1904 but is defaced with ugly 1950s additions.
Salisbury grew quite quickly because it was only a few years before the town was connected with Adelaide by the Gawler train line. North of the Para River John Porter purchased land at the same time as John Harvey in 1847 and he too create a small private town with Porter, Gawler and Commercial streets etc. His town merged with Harvey’s as did the later 1856 subdivision of Salisbury West by William Trevaskis. No cathedral emerged but the town had its churches, hotels, a flour mill and industry. It soon had a private school too. Charles James Blatche Taplin, my great great grandfather had a licensed school in Salisbury from 1855 until his death in 1867. His wife Eliza Taplin had a separate school for girls which she continued after his death. After the Education Act of 1875 the government built the old Salisbury School in 1876. Charles Taplin was also the treasurer of the St Johns Anglican Church for many years and was present at the laying of its foundation stone with architect Daniel Garlick in 1858. The town remained a local service centre until World War Two when the government purchased land at Edinburgh for an ammunitions works and secure storage area and a further 58 acres of land, mainly from descendants of John Harvey, along Park Terrace in Salisbury for emergency war housing. It was required to house all the workers required for the war time industry at Penfield. Some 284 fibro “cabin homes” were erected in Salisbury on vacant land and the population grew rapidly. After the war the town grew further with the establishment of Salisbury North in 1949 as a Housing Trust suburb with over 500 new homes. Shortly after this in 1954 the new satellite city of Elizabeth and its associated industries was created in the Salisbury Council area abutting on to the Para River. In the 1950s most of the pioneering families from the late 1840s were still living in Salisbury as it was just a small rural town with a water trough for horses in the main street and a hitching post! By the 1970s the town had become a city and changed dramatically for ever.
Some Historic Salisbury Properties.
•Anglian Church and cemetery. See details above. Early building 1849 or 1846? The Garlick designed church opened 1865 but the foundation stone was laid in 1858. In 1989 a fire destroyed the interior and the roof of the church was rebuilt.
•Former Primitive Methodist Hephzibah Church and cemetery. After open air services the first Primitive Methodist church was built on this site in 1851. In 1858 a new grand church called Hephzibah was erected here to replace it. The land for the church was purchased from John Harvey for £10. The church name means “in her delight”. The church was restored in 1904 and then became the only Methodist church in Salisbury. In 1960 the church was sold to Coles who replaced it with a supermarket and a new Methodist Church was built on Park Terrace. That new church is now the Uniting Church.
•Salisbury Institute. This important building for social events also providing the original reading room and library which opened in 1884.The land was donated by William Kelly of One Tree Hill and the architect was Frederick Dancker originally from Macclesfield where he designed their institute too. Like many institutes it became a community hall run by the Council in 1939 who started showing movies in it.
•Salisbury Schools. The northern wing of Salisbury School was built in 1876 with pointed gothic windows in the west gable. The southern wing was added in 1879. Notice the slightly different windows etc. The first school operated in the 1846/49 Anglican Church for many years. A High School opened in Salisbury in 1959.
•Salisbury Police Station and Courthouse now the town museum. This police station with cells and outbuildings and Courthouse was opened in 1859 after a request by MP John Harvey to the Commissioner of Public Works. E.A Hamilton was the architect for the government. The station cost £730. It is now a museum.
Salisbury West, the Gawler railway and Shirley Hall.
The first major railway line in South Australia was from Adelaide to Gawler and it reached Salisbury in 1857. A local land owner then subdivided some of his land to create Salisbury West which was west of the new railway line. William Trevaskis did this in 1856 before the railway came when he divided off a few acres from his original 1846 freehold estate of 82 acres (one section). As a land speculator he created 61 town blocks which he advertised as “adjoining Salisbury Station of the Adelaide Gawler Town Railway.” This worked well. This area just west of the railway station soon had residences, a hotel, and a Wesleyan Church. When Trevaskis subdivided this estate he named one street East Terrace facing the railway line. This is where Edmund Paternoster later established his windmill, pumps and engineering works in 1878. His Little Gem windmills were sold in all colonies. East Tce was later changed to Paternoster Street to commemorate this important local industrialist of the 19th century. The Assistant Engineer for the construction of the railway Adelaide-Gawler railway, W Coulls purchased three blocks and built the Australian Heritage Listed Shirley Hall is on one of them with outbuildings, coach house and stables on the others. Shirley Hall was built just behind the old Wesleyan Church of 1858 with cellars and 7 main rooms and a separate kitchen in the outbuildings. The original brick and cast iron fence (made at James Martin foundry Gawler) still survives as does the original slate tiles. Coulls died in 1861 and the house had several owners before it was purchased by James Thompson in 1898. He renamed it Chelsea. Sir Jenkin Coles, Speaker of the South Australian parliament for the lower Mid North was a friend of James Thompson and often held political meetings at Chelsea House. The house was only sold out of the Thompson family in 1975. The nearby Wesleyan Methodist Church was built in Romanesque style in 1858. With the three Methodist churches union in 1900 all services were conducted in the former Wesleyan Church between 1900 and 1904 when repairs to Hephzibah were completed and Hebzibah then became the one and only Methodist church in Salisbury. Not long after 1904 this Wesleyan church was sold as a residence.