Yeeda Station

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Yeeda Station is located in Western Australia
Yeeda Station
Yeeda Station
Location in Western Australia
Fitzroy River and floodplain
Yeeda homestead 1893

Yeeda Station is a pastoral lease that operates as a cattle station in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Description[edit]

The property is located about 41 kilometres (25 mi) south of Derby and 71 kilometres (44 mi) north west of Looma and encompasses much of the northern end of the Fitzroy and Yeeda Rivers. Yeeda station is operated along with several other stations in the area including Kilto and Mount Jowlaenger stations.[1]

History[edit]

The traditional owners of the areas around the Fitzroy river include the Nyikina peoples to the north west and the Warwa peoples to the south east, who have lived in the area for at least 40,000 years.[2][3] The local peoples know the area as Mardoowarra; the river and its vast floodplains are of great spiritual, cultural, medicinal and ecological significance to them.[4]

The first European to visit the area was George Grey, who ventured into the mouth of the Fitzroy River in 1837 aboard the HMS Beagle.[5]

The first owners of the station were the Murray Squatting Company composed of William Paterson, G. Paterson, H. Cornish and Alexander Richardson.[6] The company took up the property in the newly opened West Kimberley in 1880.[7]

Stock was introduced to the area in late 1880. The Government revenue cutter, Ruby, succeeded in passing over the sandbar at the mouth of the Fitzroy and anchored at the confluence of the Yeeda in 1881 where, at low tide, "there was a very good landing for stock".[8] Captain Walcott explored much of the river and the surrounding waterways as part of the same expedition, describing the excellent pasture available, and of landing stock and stores for settlers. Walcott was briefed by George Julius Brockman, who was on the same expedition, that the area around the Yeeda and Meda Rivers was all of "excellent description".[9] Brockman had accompanied by Paterson, one of the station owners, on an expedition on the lands surrounding the Yeeda, Fitzroy and Meda rivers in December 1880 and rejoined the men at their camp in September 1881, where the sheep they had introduced in June were thriving on the land and had produced about 200 lambs.[10]

The main homestead is reported as first house built in the Kimberley when the property was owned by the Murray Squatting Company, headed by Mr Geo P. Patterson of Pinjarra. The house was erected by Patterson on the banks of the Yeeda River in 1881. The sides are constructed of wood and iron while the roof is made of bark. The nearest neighbours at the time were De Grey Station, about 100 miles (161 km) away.[11]

Cattle were introduced to the station in 1882 when Paterson returned to the north, but sheep were still being shipped to the property from Cossack to Beagle Bay.[7] The Murray Squatting Company sold Yeeda Station in 1883 and acquired Mardie Station shortly afterward paying a "handsome price for the Fortescue River Station".[6] The property was sold to a London financier, Mr. Game, who handed it over to Mr. A Forrest who in turn placed it under the management of George Rose.[12]

A gold rush started soon afterward to the headwaters of the Fitzroy, Ord and Margaret Rivers following the release of a geological survey from Derby and around much of the West Kimberley including Yeeda in 1884.[13] Yeeda became a common point of departure to the goldfields for prospectors looking for gold.[14] The station was still being managed by Rose at this time,[15] and still owned by James Aylward Game of London.[16]

The Fitzroy River flooded in 1894, drowning at least fifteen people and sweeping away about 20,000 sheep from properties along the river. Yeeda was inundated but no lives were lost. The telegraph line had been washed away and communication was cut off for a couple of days.[17] About 800 sheep and a number of cattle were lost from the property.[18] Rose managed to restore communications while checking on the condition of stock; he also noted several miles of fencing had been washed away.[19] More flooding occurred in 1896 with the water reaching 5 feet (1.5 m) higher than the previous flood.[20]

By 1901 the station manager was Lyal Galbraith;[21] by the following year the station had a cattle herd of about 10,000 head.[22] In 1906 the station lost about 600 head of stock from drought, the rains arriving just in time to save the remaining herd; other stations in the area such as Gogo and Fossil Downs suffered far heavier losses.[23]

New flood records were set on the Fitzroy in 1914 when the manager at Yeeda reported that "the Fitzroy River already in flood, was augmented by a farther large body of water, causing the highest previous flood marks to be exceeded".[24] Large numbers of stock were washed away and near the homestead the water was 6 miles (10 km) wide for a length of over 20 miles (32 km). Yeeda had recorded 15 inches (381 mm) of rain over the previous week with other nearby stations recording even more. Cattle ticks first appeared at Yeeda, Kimberley Downs and Obagama in 1916 causing outbreaks of red-water fever in the herds.[25]

By 1920 the size of the property was estimated as being one million acres – 1,562 square miles (4,046 km2) – and stocked with about 20,000 head of cattle. The station's manager was Mr. English and it had been owned by Sir Sidney Kidman for the last few years.[26] Mr W. Steele was the station manager in 1924, the same year an Aboriginal woman from the property contracted leprosy and was sent to Derby for treatment.[27]

Following the death of Kidman in 1935, many of his company's properties were sold off, including Yeeda in 1939. The 800,000 acre – 1,250 square miles (3,237 km2) – property was bought by Yeeda Station Ltd, with Hubert Evans being the managing director.[28]

In 1941 the station manager, Headley Eugene Kenny, was fatally shot at Yeeda. Kenny was cleaning his own firearm at the time when it accidentally discharged.[29] The replacement manager, Frederick Hugh Fraser, was arrested in 1945 for cattle stealing from the Emanuel Brothers Napier Downs Pastoral Company.[30]

More flooding occurred at the property in 1947 following a cyclone crossing the coast, with Yeeda recording 7.1 inches (180 mm) of rain in a 24-hour period.[31] This resulted in a mob of cattle from the station having to swim a half mile to get to the port for loading.[32]

The area was struck by drought from 1949 to 1952 with only 4.5 inches (114 mm) of rain falling in the last 18 months. Heay rains arrived early in 1953, but not before some stock were lost. George Mawley, who was a part owner of Yeeda, predicted a shortage of store bullocks in four years time as a result of the losses.[33] Heavy rains were received the next year resulting in the death of a stockman from the property who drowned in 1954 when attempting to cross the swollen river.[34]

The station owner was once owned by prominent the Sydney barrister Frank Stratton McAlary, who also owned Mount House Station.[35]

The property was acquired in 1999 by Vicki and Jack Burton who had owned neighbouring Kilto station. The Yeeda Pastoral Company was formed by the Burton, Taberer and Keys families who then expanded further purchasing other nearby runs with a total herd of 80,000 head of cattle and 20,000 head of sheep in the Kimberley region. The company produces free range animals with no inoculation, no use of antibiotics and no hormones.[1] The company expanded its operations by building a meatworks at Kilto that had received approval in 2011.[36] This was to be a pilot project for a much bigger abattoir to be built at Yeeda in the future.[37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Yeeda - Locations". 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Ausanthrop - Australian Aboriginal tribal database". 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Ausanthrop - Australian Aboriginal tribal database". 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "About the Fitzroy River region". 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of river names". Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Cathie Clement (2012). "Alexander Robert (1847–1931)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography". Australian National University. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Anne Porter (2012). "Paterson, William (1847–1920), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography". Australian National University. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Occasional Notes". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 12 August 1881. p. 2. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Occasional Notes". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 26 August 1881. p. 2. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Notes of an exploratory trip northwards from the Fitzroy.". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 20 September 1881. p. 7. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Original Yeeda Station". National Library of Australia. c. 1900. p. 2. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "The North-West nd tropical north". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 3 February 1912. p. 8. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Geological Report". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 24 January 1885. p. 5. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Report of the Kimbeley prospectors". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 28 September 1885. p. 3. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  15. ^ "A few notes about the Kimberley". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 24 November 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "News and notes". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 25 May 1889. p. 3. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "Terrible floods in Kimberley District". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 27 February 1894. p. 5. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "The floods in the Kimberley District". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 28 February 1894. p. 3. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  19. ^ "Floods in the Kimberley District". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 1 March 1894. p. 3. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "Heavy floods in the Nor'-West". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 29 January 1896. p. 5. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  21. ^ "Social Notes". The West Australian (Perth, Western Ausr=tralia: National Library of Australia). 25 October 1901. p. 3. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "The Nor'-West". The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 26 December 1902. p. 3. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "Derby Notes". Northern Times (Carnarvon, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 27 January 1906. p. 2. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  24. ^ "Kimberley Floods". Northern Times (Carnarvon, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 7 February 1914. p. 2. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  25. ^ "Cattle Tick in Western Australia". The Brisbane Courier (Queensland: National Library of Australia). 2 July 1918. p. 8. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "5,000 miles tour.". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 29 June 1920. p. 7. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  27. ^ "Leprosy in W.A.". The Daily News (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 5 November 1924. p. 5. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  28. ^ ""Yeeda" Station.". Northern Times (Carnarvon, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 7 July 1939. p. 1. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  29. ^ "Station manager shot". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 9 January 1941. p. 9. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  30. ^ "4000 miles to arrest N-West Cattlemen.". Sunday Times (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 5 August 1945. p. 1. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "Derby deluge". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 19 March 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  32. ^ "Derby cattle shipments". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 22 March 1947. p. 13. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  33. ^ "Kimberley rains brighten future". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 10 January 1953. p. 14. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  34. ^ "Swollen River Claims Life.". The West Australian (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 16 February 1954. p. 1. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  35. ^ John Farquharson (2010). "McAlary, Frank Stratton (1925–2010)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  36. ^ Matt Brann (15 December 2012). "Broome Shire approves Kimberley meatworks". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  37. ^ Matt Brann (19 December 2012). "Meatworks at Kilto Station in the Kimberley just a pilot for something much bigger". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 

Coordinates: 17°36′53″S 123°38′48″E / 17.61481°S 123.64676°E / -17.61481; 123.64676