Monthly Archives: July 2021



Barabba was a township that sat between Hamley Bridge and Mallala on the Adelaide Plains. It was settled circa 1860, with Mr Henry Hobhouse Turton considered the first settler in the area.
Originally the section of Barraba where the school and town sits was called Aliceburgh, named for Governor William Jervois\’ daughter Alice.
This section of the town was settled by the McCabes, Hallion, and Roberts Families.
The Barabba primitive church opened in 1877 with its final service held in 1967.
Barabba post office operated from 1877 until 1971 from the Barabba School.
The church has long since been demolished, and the schoolhouse was destroyed during the Pinery bushfires in 2015.
#Barabba #history #SouthAustralia

Arthur C. Gask – Crime Writer

 Arthur C. Gask – Crime Writer

Mr. Arthur C. Gask SLSA: [B 58382] 1925 

Arthur C. Gask was born in St Marylebone, England in 1869. He was educated in London and became a dentist.[1]
 Gask married Florence Mary Tippett and together had four children. Gask divorced Florence in 1909, and two months later married his children’s nursemaid, Marion Maltby.[2]

Gask, Marion, their two sons, and a daughter from his previous marriage emigrated to Australia in 1920. Gask set up his dentistry at 199 North Terrace and is credited as being the first in South Australia to use gas when carrying out teeth extractions.

 Gask became famous as crime writer while living in Adelaide. In between patients, he would write crime fiction. In 1921 he published his first book, The Secret of the Sandhills, which sold out in three weeks. He went on to write 30 novels featuring his detective Gilbert Larose, plus many other novels and short stories. Such was his reputation that H.G. Wells held him in high esteem, saying of his book The Vengeance of Larose; “best piece of story-telling…It kept me up till half-past one.”[3]

Gask retired in 1933 and moved to the country. He named a homestead he built near Kooringa, ‘Gilrose’.[4]He later, moved back to city life, settling at Walkerville.

Arthur Gask died on 25 June 1851 in a private hospital in North Adelaide. His remains were 

Books from Arthur C. Gask (from Wikipedia)

Gilbert Larose novels

· Cloud the Smiter, 1926

· The Dark Highway, 1928

· The Lonely House, 1929

· The Shadow of Larose, 1930

· The House on the Island, 1931

· Gentlemen of Crime, 1932

· The Hidden Door, 1934

· The Judgment of Larose, 1934

· The Poisoned Goblet, 1935

· The Hangman\’s Knot, 1936

· The Master Spy, 1937

· The Night of the Storm, 1937

· The Grave-Digger of Monks Arden, 1938

· The Fall of a Dictator, 1939

· The Vengeance of Larose, 1939

· The House on the Fens, 1940

· The Tragedy of the Silver Moon, 1940

· The Beachy Head Murder, 1941

· His Prey Was Man, 1942

· The Mystery of Fell Castle, 1944

· The Man of Death, 1946

· The Dark Mill Stream, 1947

· The Unfolding Years, 1947

· The House with the High Wall, 1948

· The Storm Breaks, 1949

· The Silent Dead, 1950

· The Vaults of Blackarden Castle, 1950

· Marauders by Night, 1951

· Night and Fog, 1951

· Crime Upon Crime, 1952 (Posthumous)

Other Novels

· The Secret of the Sandhills, 1921

· The Red Paste Murders (US Title: Murder in the Night), 1923

· The Secret of the Garden, 1924

· The Jest of Life, 1936

Short Stories

· The Martyr on the Land, (1935)

· The Passion Years, (1936)

· The Destroyer, 1939

· The Will, (1944)

· Buggy\’s Babies, (1944)

· Ghosts, (1944)

· Seedtime and Harvest, (1944)

· The Amazing Adventure of Marmaduke, (1944)

· The Lottery Ticket, (1944)

· The Mark of Honor, (1944)

· The Hatton Garden Crime, (1945)

· The Way of Chance, (1945)

· Black Market, (1945)

· The Bishop\’s Dilemma, (1948)

For more information about Gask’s works please visit AusLit.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020

[1] \’Mystery Writer\’s Death\’, The Advertiser, (26 June 1951), p. 2.

[2] Michael J. Tolley, \’Gask, Arthur Cecil (1869–1951)\’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, ANU, (1996),

[3] \’Mystery Writer\’s Death\’, The Advertiser, (26 June 1951), p. 2.

[4] Arthur Cecil Gask (1869 – 1951), WikiTree, (25 July 2020),

Col. Light Sees It Through


Col. Light Sees It Through

While researching hauntings in Victoria Square, I came across this poem written by ‘A.M.’. It is a satirical look at goings-on in Victoria Square up until 1930, and strangely enough, it is pertinent today.


Victoria Square 1897 – SLSA: [B 1450]

Col. Light Sees It Through


Colonel Light planned it all in the pioneer days

And the old city grandfathers fenced it round.

And grass they planted and Morton bays

That flourished apace in the fertile ground.

There teas room to wander, for rest and to spare,

And a shady retreat was Victoria Square.


All traffic was banned to the ringed-round street;

As kids we played on the green grass banks;

Our mothers rested tired housewives\’ feet

And weary men voted a weary man\’s thanks.

The darkness brought lovers with tales that are trite

And blessings for thoughtful old Colonel Light.


But men with notions of \’progress\’ and \’go\’

Said, \’Cut tis a road from the south to the north

And another east-west across it,\’ – and lo!

It was said, it was done, and through it thenceforth

Wheels rattled and left us at heavy expense

Four scraps of a square and a mile of high fence.


Then tramway wreckers demanded their toll

And got it, of course, as tram bosses do.

\’Now pull down the fence,\’ said the corporate soul,

\’Let the proletariat (many or few)

Walk, heedless of entrance or paths if they must.\’

So the fence was exchanged for a desert of dust.


Next someone in search of live things to uproot

Cried, \’Down with the trees! They have white ants, or snakes,

Distemper or tick; so put in the boot

And the axe just as promptly before the day breaks.

Thus, wisely forestalling the ratepayers\’ wrath.

We\’ll make this a garden — but nearly all path.\’


But will it end there? Let no sceptic scoff,

All are possible things to the corporate mind.

Let\’s glance at the future— and not too far off—

To see what \’improvements\’ the clever can find.

\’Flowers fade,\’ they will say, \’like a once solved charade.

\’Let\’s make it all gravel — one big promenade.\’


They will tire of that too and for changes will yearn

And, admitting a failure but saving a face,

Will conclude, \’the scheme\’s fine but we\’ve money lo burn,

So we\’ll concrete or asphalt the whole dusty place.

Not a ghost of a tree, fence, flower or wall

Shall remain to annoy us, no -dashed thing at all\’


Some future Lord Mayor or Alderman Mac

Will arise in his day to be the first speaker

With a brand-new idea, the best in the pack,

And shout, \’I\’ve got it! I\’ve got it! Eureka!

This asphalt is hot and hard on the knees,

Let\’s put up a fence, as high as you please,



And Light in his bronze will stagger, I\’ll swear,

But he\’ll point as of old, indicating, \’Well there

Is the place it\’s to be, MY Victoria Square.\’

A. M.



\’VICTORIA SQUARE\’, The Register News-Pictorial, (19 August 1930), p. 7.,


Researched and compiled by Allen Tiller © 2020

The Crystal Brook Bunyip


The Crystal Brook Bunyip

The Warra Warra Waterhole southeast of Crystal Brook.

  In 1876, the mid-north town of Crystal Brook was inundated with curious tourists trying to site the Bunyip at the Warra Warra Waterhole (sometimes spelled Wurra Wurra or Wirra Wirra[1]) on the Broughton River.
 The waterhole is located in a bend of the Rocky River, about a two and a half kilometres from the junction with the Broughton River, south-east of Crystal Brook.

In August of 1876, The South Australian Government issued a reward for 50 pounds to anyone who could capture the creature, dead or alive.[2]

 A reporter from the South Australian Advertiser stated that: “the hole probably covers about two acres, and the water is brackish. I have never heard of the water rising and falling with the tide, and I take the Bunyip to be no other than a dog belonging to a worthy farmer, who resides on the bank of the river near the waterhole.”[3]

  The waterhole had a reputation for drownings. In January 1878, a group of five friends left Thompsons Hotel with the intent to go swimming in the Warra Warra Waterhole. A young man named Beasley was swimming when he suddenly began to struggle, then sink into the waterhole. His friend, E.E. Boys attempted to save him, but Beasley was pulled under and drowned. Thomas Wilson eventually dived down, and after three attempts, pulled Beasley’s lifeless body out of the waterhole.[4]

  In 1889 the Bunyip was allegedly sighted by W.A. Allen and J. Parmenter, who rode into Crystal Brook and announced their discovery. The men’s statement was treated as a joke until they started paying for provisions to hunt it. The men described the beast as being four feet long and fifteen inches across its back, they could not report whether it had a head or a tail.[5]
A trap was set for the Bunyip.
 During this period, there were multiple sightings of the creature, but as a reporter for the Evening Journal pointed out, of the six different people who had seen the Bunyip, not one could give a good description of it.[6]

 The mythology of the Warra Warra Waterhole Bunyip can allegedly be traced to a sly grog shanty that once stood near the river. It is alleged that in the 1870s the grog shop proprietor told stories of the Bunyip as a real and very dangerous creature. He claimed that the waterhole had a large tunnel underneath it that went out to sea, and that the Bunyip used it to take its prey to away. Early settlers were so convinced of the Bunyips existence that they often formed shooting parties and staked out the watering hole to try and kill the beast.[7]


Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020

[1] \’CRYSTAL BROOK, MAY 3.\’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (8 May 1880), p. 29.,

[2] \’Latest News.\’, Evening Journal, (5 August 1876), p. 2.,

[3] \’CRYSTAL BROOK, AUGUST 16.\’, The South Australian Advertiser, (21 August 1876), p. 7.,

[4] \’LOCAL TELEGRAMS.\’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (12 January 1878), p. 8.,

[5] \’The Bunyip Again.\’, Evening Journal, (31 January 1889), p. 2.,

[6] Ibid.

[7] \’TOWNS, PEOPLE, AND THINGS WE OUGHT TO KNOW\’, Chronicle, (10 November 1932), p. 42.,