Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Wonnaminta – Crafers

Wonnaminta – Crafers

Built by Arthur Hardy after being forced to sell his home, Mount Lofty House, this dwelling close to the Adelaide hills town of Crafers has been lived in by many of Adelaide's richest families.
Known as “Number Seven” by the Hardy family, the name Wonnaminta, two Aboriginal words, Wonna “boomerang” and Minta meaning “water” combined together, was first placed on the house by the Kennedy family, a wealthy pastoralist family who also had a station with the same name in outback NSW.
The Kennedy's Robert and Mary, first moved from Collingwood, Goulbourn to a Station near Tibooburra in far North-West New South Wales, where they took over Wonnaminta Station from squatters.
The family went with a grand stock of horse and carts, and did very well of the land, so well they began to build a grand manse.
(above) Monumental Headstone (1895).
 (Image courtesy of Prue Grieve)

The name Kennedy became synonymous with hospitality in the region as Mary Kennedy tended to any folk injured that came to her, and also organised race meetings and days out for the local community. Mary was also held in high regard by the local Aboriginals, with whom she also spent time and educated as best she could.
The heat in the area soon became a bother for Mary, and the family bought a house in Mount Lofty, near Adelaide, South Australia. The Kennedy's renamed the house “Wonnaminta”, the same as the station, and resided in Adelaide at their summer house quite often.
Although Mary loved the NSW Station, she also loved the Crafers house very much and unfortunately things took a bad turn when, in 1894 a plague of rabbits descended upon the farm and led the family into large debts, that would eventually lead them to loose the Station and the Adelaide summer house.
In 1895, after living in exile in Melbourne, Robert died and Mary was left a widow with very little money, but a wealthy extended family who invited her to functions and dinners weekly. Mary died on the 12th of December 1915 at The Terrace in Armadale, NSW.
Her presence has been seen and felt at both the NSW Station and the house at Crafers near Adelaide.
She has been seen straightening quilts, smoothing pillows and sitting patiently along the sick as they lay in bed. At her Adelaide residence she has also been seen sitting on the verandah in a rocking chair looking over the gardens.
She is sometimes seen wearing a black frock with a tight waistband, and shiny beads, at other times a grey gown, but she always has her hair parted and drawn back.
Mrs Kennedy still ministers to the sick in both houses and sightings of her continue...

The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) Wednesday 14 August 1974 page 36

© 2014 Allen Tiller

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