The Stuckey Family South Australian History

The Stuckey Family.

Robert Stuckey born on 9 September 1812 in Somerset, England, married Lucy Jane Moody on 8 August 1839 and during that same year sailed with his wife on the Sophia Moffat for South Australia where they arrived on 19 December 1839. Robert's brother John and his wife had made the same trip three years before. In 1856 Robert Stuckey, Peter Prankerd and John Bentham Neales formed a partnership and made a private sub-division of New Melrose. He owned town acres 654 and 669 in Adelaide and later part of 914 as well.

Robert became a very successful shopkeeper in Rundle Street and took up residence at Montefiore Hill. Robert eventually became interested in mining and was a director of several copper mining companies such as the Princess Royal, Wallaroo, Moonta, Hamley and Burra Copper Mining Companies. He was also a share holder in the Wheal Gawler Mining Association. Robert and Lucy were to have seven children, four girls and three boys. Lucy died on 6 August 1887 and Robert ten years later on 6 September 1897. Both are buried at the North Road Cemetery.

John Vigar Stuckey was born in 1814 and married Frances Amelia Haggett. They left England aboard the Tam O’ Shanter for South Australia on 20 July 1836 and arrived at Holdfast Bay on 20 November 1836. Among some of the other passengers were members of the Catchlove Family, including Maria and Jane. Another branch of Catchloves arrived on the Hooghly on 17 June 1839. John V. Stuckey soon started work as a baker in Rundle Street. Their first son, Samuel Joseph was born at Holdfast Bay on 21 March 1837 followed by Robert Joseph on 12 December 1839.

In 1844 John and his family moved to Tasmania but when he realised that South Australia was recovering from its economic problems they returned a year later. John remained a wanderer all his life. When gold was discovered in such far away places as California, Victoria and New Zealand he left his family in his quest for the golden treasures. When leaving for Victoria he took 14 year old Samuel out of school to look after his interests in Adelaide.

By 1856 Samuel and his brother Robert had acquired a taste for the pastoral industry and bought a fifth interest in the Mannum Station. A year later they went north with E.C. Randell and bought Winnowie Station, lease number 523. Due to drought stock was removed to Manuwalkaninna. In 1859 Samuel went out exploring for new pastoral land in the far north of South Australia. While travelling from Blanchewater he found his way through Lake Gregory and Lake Blanche and discovered Lake Hope.

In 1862 the Umberatana lease (no 566) and several others, including Burt's Hill, Mount Freeling and Fortress Hill were transferred to Samuel Stuckey, Robert Stuckey, with whom Samuel had worked the Mulligan run, and Thomas Elder. The partnership paid almost £15,000 for stock and improvements on these leases. Although not a member of the partnership, John Stuckey became actively involved with his two sons in the running of the station. In June 1865 a partnership between Thomas Elder, the Stuckey brothers and Louis Galbraith was dissolved. The partnership of Elder & Stuckey, sheep farmers expired on 31 December 1868 and was not renewed either.

During 1864 John was on the road again. This time to the Northern Territory where he remained for 18 months. In 1867 John, now living at Dorsetta Terrace, Adelaide, declared that he was 'unable to meet his engagements with his creditors' and was declared insolvent, for the second time.

Meanwhile his two sons were having their own problems. With very few white settlers in the far north, it was not uncommon for Aborigines to attack the sheep, shepherds or even station huts. Several Aborigines had been shot, but the nearest police station was at Angepena or Lake Hope, opened by Police Trooper Samuel Gason in 1864.

Samuel Gason (SLSA)

During January 1864 Corporal James Wauchop was investigating the shooting of an Aborigine by Samuel Stuckey. At the Coroner’s Inquest a unanimous verdict of justifiable homicide was returned. While on business in Adelaide, three months later, Samuel Stuckey was arrested over the incident but discharged the next day.

In July 1864 a very irate John Stuckey, then living in Archer Street Adelaide, sent a petition to the Legislative Council in an effort to claim an amount of £310.6.10 for his son Samuel who had incurred these costs during his enforced stay in Adelaide. At a hearing before several Justices of the Peace, one of them had said that the act had been quite justifiable while another had stated that it had been laudable. John was unsuccessful but a year later he tried again and had his petition signed by 315 supporters.

At Umberatana the Stuckeys were assisted by Thomas Flett, born in 1842. They became good friends and Samuel soon took a liking to his older sister. On 19 April 1866, Samuel Stuckey was back in Adelaide to marry Johan Anderson Flett. Johan was born on 25 January 1840 on the Indus, which was bound, with her parents, for South Australia where they arrived on 26 February 1840. Thomas would later work at Beltana where he got to know T.J.C. Hantke.

Both Flett and Hantke were still in the far north in 1869. Thomas who had discovered the Beltana mine on the Ediacara field in 1869, was by this time overseer at Beltana. On 28 July Thomas made a Mineral Application, no 3635 for 80 acres, on the Mount Deception run When Henry Charles Swan held an Inquest into the death of William Cox at Nuccaleena in March 1869 both were elected as jury members. Thomas was replaced in 1870 when Phillipson became manager. While back in North Adelaide, Flett wrote a lengthy letter in 1870 to the editor of the Chronicle, attacking John Rounsevell who had stated his view on why a railway line from Port Augusta to the north should not go via the Western Plains. Flett pointed out that Port Augusta was a very suitable harbour and a line across the Western Plains would service all the known mines and pastoral properties.

Within a few weeks of their marriage, Samuel and Johan left for Umberatana and stayed at the Sir John Franklin Hotel in Kapunda, where they were robbed during the night. A piano, sent later, arrived safely. This piano was to see more of South Australia than many of its residents. It later travelled back to Adelaide and from there to Millicent.

Soon after his marriage Samuel was on his way to India to buy camels for Thomas Elder. It had been Samuel’s brother Robert who had been the main driving force behind this scheme. Samuel’s first trip to India in 1860 had been disappointing as after he had bought camels he was unable to get shipping for them. This time Samuel was accompanied by Charles Rufus Goode who would later farm at Jamestown. On their return in 1862 they had successfully brought back more than hundred camels and 31 cameleers. These were stationed at Umberatana but later moved to Beltana Station.

Samuel and Johan’s first child, William Joseph, was born on 18 January 1867 at Umberatana. A daughter, Frances Adelaide was born on 17 June 1868 in North Adelaide. During 1869 Samuel and his young family moved back to Adelaide where they lived for 18 months at the Flett’s house and Samuel worked as an accountant in the city.

Two more sons were born in 1870 and 1871. It was at that time that Samuel gained a job with the Drainage Board and the whole family, plus piano, moved once again. This time to Millicent, where they remained for the rest of their lives. They called their new house Oomberatana. They also had a further three children, John Henry in 1873, Thomas Flett in 1876 and Margaret in 1880.

In Millicent Samuel became a clerk of the Local Court in 1876 and later managed Avenue station. He took up land once again and established a land and stock company in 1886. It became known as S.J. Stuckey & Son. He also had time to become President of the Millicent Agricultural, Horticultural and Pastoral Society as well as an Elder of the Presbyterian Church. Samuel died on 11 December 1912 and Johan on 1 December 1914. Both are buried at Millicent. Stuckey Creek and Stuckey Crossing in the far north are named after Samuel. More detailed information is available from the books by John Bishop and Mary Louise Simpson


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