Gibson 1853

Gibson, the second son of Rev. David, became a storekeeper, first at the new town of Terowie (Notes and References 22) and later at other new towns further north. He is recorded in the South Australian Directory as conducting a store at Terowie from 1877 to 1880 and he is described as a storekeeper on his wedding certificate. He was married by his father on 20 June, 1878 at White Hut, near Clare to Annie McDougall, daughter of Rev. John McDougall and Emmeline Euphemia McDougall (nee Maxwell). John McDougall had undertaken theological studies at New College, Edinburgh in the 1840s and was married in September 1854. (Notes and References 23.)
It is reported that John was the first Gaelic preacher in South Australia and that Scottish migrants flocked from
miles around to hear him preach. His wife, Emmeline, was a remarkable woman. She was 20 years younger than her husband and, in John's later years, she took up school- teaching to supplement the family income.(Notes and References 24.)

Gibson and Annie presumably lived at Terowie for the first few years after their marriage. During this period their first child, Annie Gibson, was born at White Hut in April 1879 and the second, John McDougall, at Belalie East in October 1880. In each case the birthplace was where Annie's mother was living at the time. The family's subsequent movements were bound up with the opening of new towns, first at Lancelot and then at Dawson.
The town of Lancelot was dedicated in July 1877 and was located on a surveyed line of railway for the envisaged railway extension from Burra through Terowie to the north east. There were high hopes for the future of the town and a period of rapid building activity began. Within a year the residents had secured government approval for a school. The initial optimism did not last long. There is evidence that Lancelot was already declining in the early 1880s. (Notes and References 25.)
It was apparently around this time that Gibson moyed to Lancelot. The South Australian Directory describes him as storekeeper and postmaster at Lancelot from 1881 to 1886 but the available evidence suggests that the latter figure should probably be 1885. During this period the next two children were born, Archie Maxwell in March 1882 and Jessie Emmeline in February 1884. Jessie's birth certificate, reproduced in Appendix B, was made out by her father in his capacity as registrar at Lancelot. Gibson's step-brother, Henry, is recorded as purchasing all allotment in the township of Lancelot and it seems likely that he was associated in some way with Gibson's business interests
there. The fate of Lancelot was closely related to Government decisions regarding the railway development.(Notes and References 26.)
In mid-188,4 the north-east line was given fresh impetus by the news of a big silver discovery in the Barrier Range.
Despite vigorous argument in favour of other routes, the debate was narrowed down to a choice between Terowie and Petersburg, each town presenting statistics showing the advantages of its route. Terowie argued that its route had already established itself as the natural and proper outlet for the north-east trade. However, the final decision in November 1884 was in favour of Petersburg after a two-vote decision in the Upper House for Terowie was reversed by a narrow margin. The Terowie route ultimately foundered on the question of gauge. It was considered too costly to build a broad gauge line all the way to the NSW border so traffic to Adelaide would encounter an interruption whichever junction was chosen. Petersburg won the day because there a single junction offered access to three ports (Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Port Adelaide). Both routes were used for supplies during the construction phase -sleepers from W A were shipped to Port Pirie, railed to Petersburg, and then hauled to the site from there. Bullock teams carted stores from Terowie to the construction workers and returned with wool from the sheep stations. The bullock teams camped overnight at Lancelot so there was still life for the town. It is recorded that in the 1880s it was not unusual for up to thirty teams to be camped there. By June 1887 the railway from Petersburg reached Cockburn on the NSW border. A petition to the Government for a loopline from Terowie through Lancelot to Thyers Corner so that freight could be brought direct from Silverton to Terowie was rejected and Lancelot lost its last hope for a link with the north-east trade. By this time Gibson and Annie had moved further north to another new town, Dawson.
Like Lancelot, Dawson owed its establishment to the opening up of new lands. It was located in the Hundred of Coglin which was opened for sale in the period 1878-1880. The town itself was sold at auction in 1881. The first storekeeper, Mr. F.C. Okeley, is reported to have sold his business early in 1885 and gone to Western Australia. If Gibson Badger was the purchaser that would suggest that his move coincided with his mother-in-law's appointment as first teacher at the Dawson school, which opened in 1885.
Like Lancelot, Dawson too had a very limited life. Its fate is a good illustration of the folly of ignoring Goyder's line in extending cultivation. A newspaper report from Dawson towards the end of 1888 reads:
'Few farmers trying to reap their seed. Some reaping three days for one bag of wheat. All are anxiously waiting for a reply to their petition asking for seed wheat or relief work - while sons of farmers are in a state of destitution.'(Notes and References 27.)

Gibson's stay at Dawson was quite short. The fifth child David Magnus, was born there in April 1886 but within a year or so the family moved again. This move was to Parkside in the city where a daughter, Effie Stewart, was born in November 1887. Gibson's step-brother, Herbert, who had been assisting in the store at Dawson, took over when Gibson left and remained there as a storekeeper and mail contractor for several years. While living at Parkside, Gibson was described as printer and publisher but the venture was apparently unsuccessful as he moved again in 1889. This move was to Renmark on the River Murray, where he became a storekeeper again.

The move to Renmark coincided with the development of irrigation on the Murray. Following the pioneering voyages of Randell and Cadell in 1853 the river had gradually become an important means of transport so that by the mid-seventies some of the river ports were among the busiest in Australia. However it was the coming of irrigation that provided scope for expansion for South Australian river towns like Renmark. The impetus for irrigation came from Victoria. Alfred Deakin had led a delegation of the Victorian Parliament to California in 1885 to study the subject and had met the Chaffey brothers. The following year the Chaffeys were granted perpetual water rights at Mildura, and a year later similar rights were granted at Renmark. The introduction of irrigation opened the way for rapid growth for Renmark, Unfortunately Gibson did not live to benefit from his move to a growing town. He was drowned in tragic circumstances in the River Murray on 13 December, 1889. On receiving news of his son's death, David went to Renmark and described the tragedy in a letter to his wife, which is reproduced in Appendix C.
In its issue for January 1890, Truth and Progress gave a brief account of Gibson's death. It described him as a Baptist in principle but recorded that, on moving to Renmark, he had united with the Congregationalists and, at the time of his death, was both a Deacon and Church Secretary.

Gibson's youngest child, also named Gibson, was born in April 1890 after his father's death but only lived for three days. The family remained at Renmark for some years; Annie carried on the business with the assistance of Gibson's stepbrother, Henry.

The South Australian Advertiser

Thursday 9 October 1873

The South Australian Advertiser
Tuesday 25 June 1878

MARRIED. BADGER—McDOUGALL.—On the 20th of June, at the residence of tbe bride's parents, by special licence, by the Rev. D. Badger, of Port Augusta, Gibson, second son of the above, to Annie, eldest daughter of the Rev. John McDougall, of White Hut, near Clare.

South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail
Saturday 12 February 1881

At the Terowie Local Court, on Friday, January 28, a lad named Traoey was charged with secreting letters belonging to the Parnaroo mailbag. The prisoner, it will be remembered, was tried some little time ago for stealing letters, and the case was dismissed. At the hearing on Friday, Gibson Badger, of Lancelot, postmaster, stated that on Christmas Eve he made up the mail for Parnaroo, and gave the bag to the boy, who had been in the habit of carrying the mail for some time, at 5 o'clock. He put the Lancelot seal on the bag. Some time afterwards the boy returned with the bag, and asked him to take care of it for a little while as he wished to go to a Christmas tree. At 7 o'clock he returned and took the bag. It was his duty to have gone on to Farnaroo, which was only seven miles distant, that evening. On hearing from the Parnaroo post master and from information he received, Mr. Badger made an immediate search in a paddock, where he found most of the letters which he had put in the mailbag previously and which he identified. They were mostly destroyed and were secreted, under some bushes and rubbish. Other evidence was given, and the prisoner was found guilty, and ordered to be whipped in tbe presence of the police. The Terowie News, commenting on this case, says: — 'Considering the evidence there » no fault to be found with the decision of the bench, but we must protest in the interests of justice against such lads as the prisoner being employed in carrying mails. Often the bags contain letters, not only enclosing money but otherwise of very great importance, and it does appear somewhat of a farce that these should be placed in charge of a child (for such the prisoner certainly was, his mother stating that he was under ten years of age), who as in the present case left his mailbag behind him whilst he went to look at a Christmas-tree. To hear that such a mail-carrier had disposed of the whole of his bags, letters and all, to another lad for a lump of 'toffee,' or an 'alley tor' would surprise no one accustomed to the ways of ohildren, and we trust that this case if it does nothing more will be the means of calling the attention of our Postmaster-General to the matter, and trust in future competent persons will be engaged to carry Her Majesty's mails.'

Petersburg Times
Friday 26 August 1887

We regret to have to chronicle the departure from our town of Mr. Gibson Badger, who is leaving for the metropolis. Mr. Badger, who is a justice of the peace, was well esteemed by all who knew him, both as a business man and in his magisterial capacity. His absence will leave a gap in our midst that will be hard to fill. He carries with him to his new sphere the best wishes of a large circle of friends.

Adelaide Advertiser Thu 19th Dec 1889

BADGER. —On the 18th December, at Renmark, accidentally drowned, Gibson Badger, aged 38.

Adelaide Advertiser Thu 6th June 1946

BADGER. — On May 31, at her residence, 29 Bosanquet ave., Prospect. Annie, beloved wife of the late Gibson Badger.

Adelaide Advertiser Sat 1st June 1946

BADGER.— The friends of the late Mrs. Annie Badger are respectfully informed that her funeral will leave her late residence, 29 Bosanquet avenue. Prospect, on Sunday, at 3 p.m.. for the Dudley Park Cemetery.

Petersburg Times 20th December 1889.

The late Mr. Gibson Badger.


The sad news of this gentleman's sudden death, received , throughout this district in the early part of the present week, occasioned deep and wide-spread regret. Though a comparatively young man Mr Badger was well known throughout the northern districts of this colony, and wherever he resided he made himself, by his sterling good qualities, an universal favourite, and his untimely removal in the very prime of life will be a severe blow not only to his immediate relatives, but to an unusually large circle of personal friends. After a somewhat chequered, career in the northern areas, about a year ago Mr Badger removed to Renmark, which was just then coming into prominence, where he was fairly successful in business and soon came to be regarded as one of the leading men in that rising community.

An expert swimmer, and fond of athletics,he frequently enjoyed a swim in the Murray, and on Friday evening last, accompanied by two other residents of Renmark, he proceeded to take his customary bathe. It is supposed that he was seized with cramp, as he was seen to suddenly sink, and though his fellow swimmers swam at once to the spot they were unable to find any traces of him. Assistance was at once procured and the body was found in the stream after the lapse of about an hour,

Mr Gibson Badger at one time resided at Terowie, afterwards engaging in business at Lancelot as a general storekeeper, where he was very successful. Having a natural bent in favour of agriculture he subsequently engaged in farming at Tuck's Corner, but, owing to adverse seasons the venture did not turn out a success. Again he turned his attention to storekeeping, this time at Dawson, but repeated failures in the crops in that district entailed heavy losses and he -was finally obliged to relinquish business. About 1887 he pro- ceeded to Adelaide and entered into partnership with Mr J. McEwan, of the "Christian Colonist," his last move being to Renmark about a year ago.

The father of the deceased, the Reverend Badger, a Baptist minister, well-known in this colony, is at present residing at Echuca. Mr Badger married Miss Mc Dougall of Dawson, and leaves behind him six children (the oldest under twelve years of age), several brothers (one with whom he was residing at Renmark, one in Adelaide, and Mr H. J. Badger. of Dawson) and a sister (Mrs Hamlyn, of Silverton.)

The funeral took place at Renmark on Saturday last.


From Thursday's "Register" we glean the following:-The current carried deceased into deep water, and his brother. Mr Henry Badger, who could swim a little, held on to him as long as possible, and came very near drowning himself, and was obliged at last to loose his hold. Although there were many persons within a short distance they, could not be made to hear in time. When at last numerous willing assistants flocked to the spot his body was brought to land, and every effort made to restore animation without success. Mr Badger would have been a resident of Renmark just twelve months had he lived another day. Mr Badger was unanimously elected Presi dent of the Settlers' Association a short time, ago, and was the only local J.P.

In our next issue we hope to be able to give fuller particulars of the sad occurrence.

Petersburg Times
Friday 3 January 1890

The Late Mr Gibson Badger.
A correspondent has supplied us with the following particulars of this lamented gentleman's career :—
He was born at Stepney, S. A., in 1863. His first commercial situation was with Messrs Brown and Wood, grocers, Waymouth street. He next worked for Mr Hosking, storekeeper, Clare, and afterwards managed a business for the same gentleman at Terowie, He then started business on his own account at Lancelot, and while there engaged in farming in that neighborhood, also at Gumbowie and Nackara.
Not being accustomed to farming he soon tired of the life and retired to Glenelg, where he lived for about six months. An idle life not agreeing with him, he subsequently removed to Dawson, where he lived for about three years. His next step was to go into partnership with the Rev. J. McEwin, of the Christian Colonist.
About 18 months ago he left Adelaide for Renmark . Here he was soon regarded as the representative man of the settlement, and filled with credit the offices of J.P., Chairman of the Settlers Association, Chief of the Rechabite Lodge, and Secretary to the Congregational Church.
In contradiction to the previously published statements, we now learn that Mr Gibson Badger could not swim. It appears that he was bathing in the Murray with his brother and another companion. When his brother saw that he was drowning he went to his rescue, but the current was so strong that he was helpless. The two brothers clung to one another, but when the deceased saw that if he held on longer to his brother that they would both be drowned he nobly let go his hold and sank for the third time. The body was recovered about an hour afterwards.
The remains were interred at Renmark on the following day, almost the entire population of the town being present at the funeral. Strong men wept as they saw the body of their noble fellow townsman lowered into its last resting place.


A cutting from the MurrayPioneer.
Advertisement in the Renmark Pioneer for the shop.

Dissolution of the partnership.

Notice in the Renmark Pioneer 1896.


Uncle Bill's communication with local historian, Heather Everingham.
Murray Pioneer precis of "The Life of George Chaffey"
Excerpt from "The Life of George Chaffey" - this excerpt mentions Gibsons store and the overland travel and hardships would be much as all pioneering womern found it. Emily's trip back from Mt.Gambier had occureed almost tweny years earlier than Ella's.


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