Monday, September 5, 2016


The December  1936 edition of the National Geographic  Magazine, recently obtained by this blog,  contains   several  well  illustrated   articles  dealing  with  the  Australia way of  life , especially   the   importance of   wool  to the nation .
Of  particular note is  an  aerial photograph [above]  of  Anlaby  Station , north of Adelaide , home of the  wealthy  and  influential  Dutton  family , who   hosted royalty and many prominent people, including  Lady Spencer, Princess Diana's paternal grandmother .

 Anlaby  is  mentioned  in connection with the  fact that  a  fifth of the nation's wealth was   carried on  the back  of  sheep . The author wrote that the  merino  was   the "uncrowned  King of Australia, " supplying between a quarter and a third of  the world's wool .  Above the mantelpiece of one  sheep station  study  , like an  ancestral portrait , was " old David," an Australian merino ram bought for  more than  " US25,000 ! "

This sounds as if he was referring to Anlaby ,  as it was the oldest  merino  and  Clydesdale stud in South Australia , shearing more than 70,000 sheep  a  year , the homestead  employing  14  gardeners   in 1904 . Then there was the steam yacht . A member of the clan, Francis Dutton , shared in the  copper find at Kapunda which added to the  family  coffers; he  became the SA Premier  and the   SA  Agent- General in London, where  he died in 1877. 
 Known as   "Squire  Dutton, " Henry   Hampden  Dutton    made the first car crossing  from  Adelaide to  Darwin  in  1908  with Murray Aunger . He died, aged 53,  in his  bed  at Anlaby,  the  large house  filled  with  antiques, books , paintings ,  in  1932.  
Over the years , the Dutton  empire shrank along with its  fortunes  until there was a closing down auction  of contents  during  the   time of  author and poet  Geoffrey  Dutton . At the sale   was the  now  Magnetic Island  researcher and postcard  enthusiast  Gary Davies who bought  some ephemera and   a  footscraper , the latter now outside the entrance  to  his  stately  home, the grounds  of  which include part of  the Magnetic Island  old  jetty next to  a man-made billabong , the  venue for  well attended  jazz  festivals in the past  .  During the  auction , he recalled the top of  the Anlaby  fountain , which had  played before  many prominent  visitors, including  local and overseas literary  identities,   fell off , symbolising  the  end  of   a   dynasty  and  a  golden  era .