Lachlan McBean 1866-1936

Lachlan McBean

was born 1866 , son of Alexander McBean and Margaret (nee Robertson). He arrived on the ship MARTIN LUTHER in 1840 and took up Baldon Station on the Murray Flats near Truro. His uncle, also named Lachlan McBean, had purchased the property in 1894.

In 1898 he took over the ownership of the Glen Devon Station. He was avidly interested in the community and district, in particular the Presbyterian Church where he had a pew opposite the Melrose family. According to ‘The Quiet Waters By’ Reg Butler states that he had little patience for modern-world trappings and at one time  hauled his mal-functioning new T-Model Ford motor car up into a tree on land he owned in the centre of Mount Pleasant to protest against the inconvenience. He and Robert Thomson Melrose vied for the best piece of land for the proposed new Institute for the town, with RT Melrose winning out after the Giles land came on the market in the early 1920s.

Glen Devon has been involved in the major fires of the district. One in 1901 is reported to have begun on the property due to the use of phosphorous pollard, which was used for the destruction of rabbits.

A newspaper report states…Wednesday afternoon saw a most determined fight waged between the townspeople and the flames. One of the most-stubbornly contested points was a haystack at the rear of Miss Giles’s Totness House. At this point the fire came racing down the hill sending vast volumes of smoke before it as it came, so thick that it was impossible to face it. Over twenty men bad to run back helplessly. When the flames were within three yards of the long grass surrounding the haystack there was a moment’s lull, and with a shout of ‘At it, boys’ every man jumped to the work of beating, though scorched with flame and blinded with smoke, and a minute or two saw the flames running in another direction, leaving the haystack.

At one farm an old sow crept into the house for safety, and was found there when the fire was over peacefully snoring under the bed.

Along the River Torrens the most exciting scenes were enacted, and great difficulty was experienced in saving the Bank of Adelaide and the post-office, both of which properties abut on to the River Torrens., where there was a mass of practically dry furze. Miss Giles’ orchard was invaded by the flames which almost succeeded in reaching the house. At four points the flames came into the township and burned hedges along main-street, and the people had all they could do to prevent the flames crossing and firing the whole township. Near the Church of England the fire had crossed the previous day and had destroyed the cemetery, burning the wooden railings and plants, setting fire to wooden head-pieces, and leaving the neat and trim resting-place of the dead a blackened waste. A little south, of this the flames again reached, the street and fired the hedge on the west side, and here the inhabitants of the north end had to work all the afternoon to prevent the flames crossing. Two or three times the flames caught the grass and bushes on the opposite side and once almost reached the hedge, but by constant exertions the fire was confined to the west side.

Women carried water, while the men fought the flames and threw water on burning places, breaking down hedges where necessary,(with) the children bringing liquid and cold refreshment to the laborers…

In the 1926 bushfires heavy losses were felt by Lachy McBean which attacked both Corryton Park and Glen Devon, and an estimated £20,000 losses, one of the heaviest losses.

In 1905 A large fox was brought into the township by Lachy McBean from Glen Devon Estate. It was caught in the act of trying to carry off a lamb, which the mother was protecting.

The old sheep had driven it off two or three times, when the fox caught sight of a boy, William Ryan, boundary rider, who promptly shot at it from 100 yards, but only stunned the animal. He gave chase, and had to fire three more shots before dispatching it. McBean had had several lambs from his valuable stud sheep carried off, and is now organizing a party to go out, as it was thought that there was a litter of young foxes on the land. Turkeys and fowls had been taken also.

Lachy was involved in the Mount Pleasant Show, as a committee man and regularly entered his sheep, taking many prizes over the years. He was also a judge for the sheep dog trials.

After the death of Lachy McBean in 1936 his daughter, Jean, took over the running of the estate.  Ownership though was held by her brothers Keith and Colin. A newspaper article written in 1940 tells of her decision to clear the land and a report describes how it is done with two powerful tractors attached by a strong cable to the tree which is to be grubbed. The cable is adjusted on the trunk of the tree, and by a concerted pull by the tractors, the tree is literally pulled out by its roots.

Jean also commented that she has gradually changed over from the merino to a type of ewe that is more suitable for the purpose of fat lamb breeding, Romney Cross, and with these ewes she mates Southdown and Dorset Horn rams. She finds breeding fat lambs for export is a much better paying proposition than keeping nothing but merinos for wool. She also has crossbred wethers which do well for fattening.

The Adelaide Hunt Club was reported in May 1950 as conducting a hunt over the hills district, with the field assembling in the township. Hounds were laid on at Glen Devon, with the run extended over a distance of 12 miles …The drag was to be held over a course of about 15 miles,  and the field cross 40 jumps with road followers able to see nearly all jumps. At the conclusion of the chase afternoon tea was provided at the showgrounds by the local hospital auxiliary.  These runs occurred in other years with the local community groups providing meals and afternoon teas.

In 1954 there was yet another large fire. Starting on the northern entrance of the township it eventually burnt on a half mile front for 11 miles taking in Glen Devon, and was controlled near the homestead. Mr A.L. Starkey was in charge of the fire fighting and Messrs David Gordon and J. Wilkinson performed valuable work with walkie-talkie radio communications.

 

Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 – 1951) Friday 15 February 1901 p 3 Article

FIRES AT MOUNT PLEASANT.

GREAT DAMAGE – £23,000 WORTH.

Mount Pleasant, February 13.

Great damage has been caused in this district by the destructive fires of last week and this. On Wednesday last a fire originated in Mr. L. McBean’s Glen Devon Estate, and fanned by a tempest of wind made its way right into the township, burning off all the grass and destroying almost all the fencing over a great stretch of country. Wednesday afternoon saw a most determined fight waged between the townspeople and the flames. One of the most-stubbornly contested points was a haystack at the rear of Miss Giles’s Totness House. At this point the fire came racing down the hill sending vast volumes of smoke before it as it came, so thick that it was impossible to face it. Over twenty men bad to run back helplessly. When the flames were within three yards of the long grass surrounding the haystack there was a moment’s lull, and with a shout of ‘At it, boys’ every man jumped to the work of beating, though scorched with flame and blinded with smoke, and a minute or two saw the flames running in another direction, leaving the haystack.

Other places had not been so fortunate. Some settlers lost all but their houses.

Grass, fencing, and stacks all were swept off by the flames as carried along by the high wind, which destroyed everything before them. A good stand was made at the main road, and by great efforts the fire was kept from crossing in the township, but further north it got across and ran for six or seven miles, destroying grass and fencing and burning a good many sheep.

With evening the wind fell, and the fire was kept from spreading, though the fallen timber and trees were still alight, and presented a most beautiful sight against the back ground of blackened earth.  There were some very narrow escapes from serious accidents through being overcome with the smoke. At one farm an old sow crept into the house for safety, and was found there when the fire was over peacefully snoring under the bed. The young ones must have turned a deaf ear to motherly advice, or perhaps suffered for youthful inquisitiveness, as they were all burnt. Wednesday night brought little sleep to most of the townspeople, and when Thursday broke many were early astir and preparing for a renewal of the warfare with the flames. As the sun rose higher the wind became boisterous and fanned the smouldering flames, while the intense heat caused the grass and timber to light like tinder. Then the furze hedges, which had been saved on Wednesday, were blazing high and the wind carried the flames right into the heart of the township. Along the River Torrens the most exciting scenes were enacted, and great difficulty was experienced in saving the Bank of Adelaide and the post-office, both of which properties abut on to the River Torrens., where there was a mass of practically dry furze. Miss Giles’ orchard was invaded by the flames which almost succeeded in reaching the house. At four points the flames came into the township and burned hedges along main-street, and the people had all they could do to prevent the flames crossing and firing the whole township. Near the Church of England the fire had crossed the previous day and had destroyed the cemetery, burning the wooden railings and plants, setting fire to wooden head-pieces, and leaving the neat and trim resting-place of the dead a blackened waste. A little south, of this the flames again reached, the street and fired the hedge on the west side, and here the inhabitants of the north end had to work all the afternoon to prevent the flames crossing. Two or three times the flames caught the grass and bushes on the opposite side and once almost reached the hedge, but by constant exertions the fire was confined to the west side.

Women carried water, while the men fought the flames and threw water on burning places, breaking down hedges where necessary, the children bringing liquid and cold refreshment to the laborers, who had now been at it two long days.

Out from the township the flames had been very busy, and in the evening the sad news reached the township that an old resident, Mr. Maxwell, had been burnt out, the grass, fencing, and house being destroyed, the flames gaining so immediate a hold on the place that they were only able to save the organ and a few blankets from the burning building. The loss in fencing and feed is immense. £25,000 seems the lowest estimate made by those in a position to speak of the damage done. The indirect losses, too, are great. Many dairy farmers have to sell their stock, and so the factories are badly hit for the next six months. In consequence of the fire there was a sale of stock on Tuesday, when buyers came long  distances, and the prices realised were good. The inquest on the fire resulted in a verdict saying that in the opinion of the jury the fire had been accidentally caused through the use of phosphorized pollard, the evidence showing that some had been laid near the place where the fire is supposed to have started.

On Monday another fire started south of the township, and burned over a stretch of country about eight miles long and two wide, completely destroying the grass and most of the fencing. One farmer, Mr. Geo. Bradford, lost two haystacks in addition to nearly all his grass, and the flames came near to the Tungkillo township. Rumors are rife as to incendiary attempts. The inquest on Thursday should throw light upon the unfortunate occurrence.

 

The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 – 1922) Monday 3 April 1905 p 2 Article

THE FIRST FOX SHOT IN MOUNT PLEASANT.

Mount. Pleasant, April 1. –

Quite a little excitement was caused in the township this morning when Mr. Lachlan McBean, of Glen Devon, drove into the township with a full-grown vixen. It was shot on the estate by William Ryan, boundary rider for Mr. McBean, early in the morning. He fired at the animal three times before killing it. Mr. McBean has lost a number of lambs, turkeys, and fowls during the last three weeks.

 

The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929) Tuesday 4 April 1905 p 6 Article

MOUNT PLEASANT, April l.-A large fox was brought into the township this morning from Glen Devon Estate. It was caught in the act of trying to carry off a lamb, which the mother was protecting.

The old sheep had driven it off two or three times, when the fox caught sight of a boy, who promptly shot at it from 100 yards, but only stunned the animal. He gave chase, and had to fire three more shots before dispatching it. The owner of the estate has had several lambs from his valuable stud sheep carried off, and is now organizing a party to go out, as it is considered there is a litter of young foxes on the land. The lambs have been carried off bodily by Reynard.

 

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 21 December 1940 p 22 Article Illustrated

She Runs Her Own Station

Miss Jean McBean, only daughter of the late Mr. Lachlan (better known to his friends as Lachy)  McBean of Glen Devon, near Mount Pleasant, is one of the few young women in Australia who manage their own estates.

On a recent trip to Mount Pleasant I called on her at the beautiful Glen Devon residence, where she and her mother live. She told me that when her father died she inherited the beautiful home with all its splendid improvements, its lovely garden, and 2,000 acres of splendid grazing land. Some of it is adjacent to the homestead, and the balance is at Baldon, near Truro.

Miss McBean showed me over most of the property adjoining the homestead. In one part she has recently had several hundred acres of land cleared by contract. Judging by what I saw of the adjoining land in its virgin state I should say that the carrying capacity of the cleared land will be increased at least fourfold.

Good Rainfall

The rainfall at Glen Devon averages 23 in. yearly, and this means that subterranean clover can be grown in abundance once the land is cleared, seeded, and manured.

On another part of the run I noticed about 20 acres of lucerne had been planted this year. It seemed to be doing fairly well, but, of course, even in that favored district the dry season has taken its toll.

Grass, which in many places was still fairly green, was in abundance, and all stock were in splendid condition.

At one time, and during the ownership of the late Mr. McBean, quite a good class of merino was bred and kept on the property, and lambs were bred for export.

Miss McBean told me that since she took this property over she has gradually changed over from the merino to a type of ewe that is more suitable for the purpose of fat lamb breeding, and with these ewes she mates Dorset Horn rams. She finds breeding fat lambs for export is a much better paying proposition than keeping nothing but merinos for wool.

Tackles Men’s Work

‘I also find young crossbred wethers pay well for fattening,’ she added.

Miss McBean shirks none of the tough jobs. She often drives a lorry load of her own fat lambs and other stock down to the Abattoirs, does the mating of the sheep at the right time, classes out the culls at shearing time and is in fact quite as capable as most station men I know.

 

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 4 January 1941 p 16 Article Illustrated

Trees Pulled Out by Roots

MODERN WAY

On a recent visit to Glen Devon, Mount Pleasant, which is owned by Miss Jean McBean. I was impressed by the modern method of clearing timbered country.

Two powerful tractors are attached by a strong cable to the tree which is to be grubbed. The cable is adjusted on the trunk of the tree, and by a concerted pull by the tractors, the tree is literally pulled out by its roots. Care must be used in adjusting the cable to the tree. If it is adjusted too high on the trunk, the top of the tree would snap off and the lower part would still be left in the ground. What a contrast between this modern method, which is quick, efficient, and economical, and the old days, when only the grubbing axe was used.

  

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 31 March 1945 p 11 Advertising

AUCTIONS

ABATTOIRS MARKET.

WEDNESDAY. 4th APRIL, at about

ELDER, SMITH” & CO., LIMITED,

will sell by auction on behalf of Miss J. McBEAN. Glen Devon. Mt. Pleasant—

85 Romney Cross Ewes, rising 4 years, large frames, October shorn, splendid order. Southdown and Dorset Born rams Joined November.

Also 300 Crossbred Wethers, principally 2 and 3 years. In fat to prime condition

 

Leader (Angaston, SA : 1918 – 1954) Thursday 21 January 1954 p 3 Article

300 Acres Burnt in Mt Pleasant Fire

About 300 acres of grass and 3 1/2 miles of fencing was destroyed at Mt. Pleasant on January 6, loss being estimated at £170. Fire apparently started on the roadside at northern entrance to the town, at corner of Mr D. H. Buckley’s property and entered the estate of the late C. A. Noblet, at about 2 p m.

The alarm was given by an interstate traveller.

About 20 fire fighters who quickly gathered were unable to stop the blaze from spreading to land  across the creek and burning on a half mile front for 11 miles back on to properties of Messrs W. P. Chapman, C. C. Fullwood, and Miss Jean McBean’s, near whose home stead the fire was controlled.

The Water Works Dept. sent trucks to the fire. Mr A. L. Starkey had charge of the fire fighting. Messrs David Gordon and J. Wilkinson performed valuable work with walkie-talkie radio communication.