Bringalbert South CFA Shed 2012.
The Benayeo District's traditional owners are the Marditjali people who lived and hunted among the towering red gums and patches of sandy scrub. At first they were hostile to the European invaders, but as in all other parts of Australia the European push was stronger than they were.
Hugh Lawrence McLeod settled Benayeo Station in August 1845 with 35,000 acre holding, 4,000 sheep, 50 cattle as well as breeding horses and dogs. He was able to build a good relationship with the native people and some worked for him.
Over time circumstances and the Australian climate saw new owners of the Benayeo Station come and go as more and more of the original holding was taken over by new settlers. A community was born.
Two World Wars saw Benayeo Families waving beloved sons and husbands off into the unknown. Some did not return, but Soldier Settlers schemes saw new families come into the area. There had been various schools for Benayeo children as their numbers grew and declined over the districts history but 1944 saw a need for a more permanent building and the current Benayeo Hall was built to be used as a school, church and meeting place for community members.
Benayeo's Fire Brigade also has a long history with the first official records dating back to 1939. The Australian climate has kept Benayeo's Brigade active and resilient up to the present day.
Benayeo still relies on farming to support the local families although sheep and wool production has expanded to cropping and irrigation beneath those same towering gums.
Although recent years have seen smaller farms absorbed into bigger holdings to stay viable, Benayeo is still around 30-50 people strong and it retains its sense of community. The refurbished Benayeo Hall and fantastic new CFA Fire shed are now the centre point of this close and caring district.
Neighbours are friends and meet at the Hall on the first Friday of the month for a community BBQ where all are welcome. An annual Christmas Party and various other social events keep the sense of community strong.
Bringalbert South is fortunate to have had several publications regarding its history.
Emily J Kealy The History of Bringalbert South and the Recollections of an Old Pioneer
William Ruth Romance of a Selection, Victoria’s Western Border Country 1850-1950
Judy Murdoch Bringalbert South A Community Continues.......
To witness Bringalbert South’s History, a trip down the Bringalbert South Road illustrates the community’s interesting past.
From Apsley turn left onto the Bringalbert South Road.
Foster & Simpson Road is an acknowledgement of two original settlers. In 1869 Bringalbert Station sold land to Newlands. In the process the Bringalbert Station and Ozenkadnook Station workers, mostly Irish Catholics, took up selections of 320acres in 1873.
On the right, the post & rail fence was erected by P Kealy, the first settler to the area. He selected Yallamatta, including a ‘valuable swamp’. A monument has been erected to commemorate the significant influence this family has had on the area. The family had a reunion in 2007.
The white house on the left is noteworthy having been extensively extended in the 1950’s.
Cross over the intersection of Ruth’s Rd and Thomas Nth-Sth Rd. Again these are names of some of the original settlers.
On the left is where the Dog Trials were held between 1926 and 1930 on land originally selected by James Smith. It was previous to that they were held at Flynns. This site was chosen due to the arena lay of the land.
Across the road from the Sawpit many a picnic was had at the Stoney Waterhole.
Brolgas are a sight to be-hold. They sometimes frequent the swamp further along on the right.
The monument on the right is remembering the 2665 Bringalbert South School Site. The school opened in 1885 with 40 potential students and closed in 1957.
Opposite the school site is the remains of the Bringalbert South Tennis Club which was established in 1939-40. The picnic table was erected for the reunion held in 1995.
Mr Don Guthrie was not an original settler but was a successful grazier. Guthrie Road is also recognizing his efforts as with Les Munn Road.
Natural Springs are evident in the district. The property on the left has the name THE SPRINGS.
During the drought of the 1930’s many of the local farmers carted water from this area.
At the T-junction turn right onto Grub Lane. This road got its name as the bulokes were grubbed out early last century. Red Tail Black Cockatoos feed on the bulokes during the autumn.
Approaching the Wimmera Highway bush stone curlews have been sited.
Turn right onto the Wimmera Highway. The remnant vegetation on is on a reserve and has been left in its natural state with the “council” dam” built many years ago for travelling stock.
Continue past more roads noting past landholders, Moores Road as with Closes Road. The historical significance of their property Ardwick, an original selection, has been acknowledged by the Reader family by creating a Bed & Breakfast Retreat called Ardwick Homestead.
The Bringalbert South Fire Station was erected after the community sought a truck in 1945. The Fire Brigade is still active. In 1939 the community had Red Cross Group which was active during the war.
Bringalbert South is surrounded by the larger stations of Bringalbert, Mundarra, Newlands, and Lake Wallace. There are no churches or cemeteries or large homesteads to recognise its past, nor was it settled by the “soldier settlers”.
Bringalbert South is “what those hardy old battlers of long ago handed down to future generations” (E Kealy)
LANGKOOP - ELDERSLIE
The Langkoop district is contained within the original boundary of Elderslie Station, so named by William Wallace, a pioneer in Western Victoria in the 1840's. Wallace was one of the foremost explorers for new land at that time and was the first to discover the lake that bears his name at Edenhope. His original application was for 64,000 acres, and that area remained intact until 1920. Wallace was followed by George Russell and the Ronald Family before the Struan Robertson’s took over in 1879.
After World War 1914 - 1918, 35,000 acres of Elderslie was divided into 1,000 acre blocks for Soldier Settlers to farm in 1920. Farms were not quite large enough and there was a lot of development to be done. Some farmers amalgamated, and with better pastures and careful breeding of merino and crossbred sheep for wool and fat lambs, the farming situation improved remarkably.
The 1950's wool boom made fortunes for a brief period and all farmers sought to become profitable and make structural improvements. Seasons and incomes fluctuated considerably, but a strong spirit of comradeship continued over the years and all families have looked after each other and sought good education for the younger generations.
Many sports, including tennis, football, and hockey, sailing and horse events have all been popular, and the Langkoop citizens look forward to continuing success in social relationships and farming, while profitability will insure that the Langkoop district continues to thrive.