Barry Reader’s thoughts why James and Emma Reader chose land at Bringalbert South
I’d like to give my thoughts on why I think James and Emma Reader selected this spot known as Ardwick. I know you’ve often heard the story about James and Emma coming from Adelaide to Mundarra Station (then known as Murrandarra Station).
A lot of the pioneers wouldn’t select land particularly while working for the station owners and most of the selectors came second when choosing their land. When the squatters came along they chose the better country on the banks of lakes and permanent water.
This area of the property here is the corner of three neighbouring stations, “Newlands”, beyond the pine trees towards Apsley, this section where we are today was in “Mundarra”, about the furthest point from the station homestead and “Bringalbert Station” was just over the Wimmera Highway.
I believe James and Emma chose to set up home here because of this little water hole; it’s a native waterhole or sink- hole on the edge of the Koijak Creek. Not all waterholes around here held water all year round and I believe this one did. So I would say they selected here for the good land and the water supply.
The later selectors weren’t quite so fortunate for water supplies and sometimes the ladies of the house carted buckets of water for maybe 2 miles.
The reason why we chose the she-oaks to be planted by family members today is that she-oaks are native here, the she-oak is a long lasting tree, can outlast a couple of generations, maybe 300 or 400 years.
When James and Emma settled here they called the property “Oakbank” and I feel sure that was because of the abundance of trees, I can remember when I was a young lad there were heaps of she-oaks growing along the creek.
This is only my idea why they chose this particular spot.