Read his story
David Teakle (1810-1895) arrived in South Australia in 1837 as a labourer, but by the time he died in Mount Barker in 1895 he was a wealthy man. He worked in a number of occupations, including storekeeping and farming, but he was also able to profit from property speculation, and he was at the leading edge of a property boom in Mount Barker in the early 1880s.
David Teakle was born in 1810 in Stroud, Gloucestershire. He emigrated to Adelaide in 1837 aboard the Navarino with his 26-year-old wife, Martha (née Pegler) along with several of their siblings and their partners. A number of Teakle relations had preceded them on the Katherine Stewart Forbes, and more came on the Royal Admiral in early 1838. Most of the men, including David, emigrated as labourers, which qualified them for free passage. In fact he had trained as a weaver in England, but he never practised that trade in Australia.
Upon their arrival the couple moved to Hindmarsh. Within a year, however, calamity struck when Martha was fatally shot in an accident involving her brother, Peter Peglar. The South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register reported the incident:
It appeared that Pegler and a young lad named Harrison were bargaining for the sale of a fowling piece, and, while the former was in the act of raising the cock, it slipped from his fingers, exploded, and the whole contents, a heavy charge of buck shot, entered the back of the unfortunate woman, and went entirely through her body.
Martha died the following morning, 12 December 1838.
Moving on from this disastrous start, David Teakle married again in October 1840, this time to 22-year-old Mary Ann Golden Sanders, who had arrived in from Devon in 1839 aboard the Recovery. This partnership would last for 55 years, and result in ten children (one of whom died in infancy). The couple moved to Findon, where David worked as a storekeeper and occasional builder before taking up farming in the Noarlunga area in the early 1850s. He evidently made a success of it, for by the end of the 1860s he had expanded his holding to 320 acres, four times the standard size of a farming block. He also began investing in property: when farming sections were opened up in the Mid North in the early 1870s he bought two sections at Terowie, while his sons purchased land at Gulnare and Bundaleer, and even as far north as Arkaba in the Flinders Ranges.
David and Mary Ann Teakle moved from the Noarlunga area to Mount Barker in 1876 when David was 66 years old. The move was characterised as retirement, but he was still active in business, particularly in property speculation and building. He and Mary Ann were also early and committed members of the Mount Barker Baptist Church – an adherence that they may have acquired amongst the prominent Baptist community at Noarlunga.
In 1880 David leased forty acres of land at Mount Barker, near the location of the today’s South Eastern Freeway, from Frederick Charles Smith (head of the firm J.G. Ramsay & Co., of Mount Barker). He purchased the land in 1882. The area (part section 4482, Hundred of Macclesfield) was where the first squatters in the Mount Barker area had set up camp, but it was now prime real estate on the edge of the expanding town. The Teakles also bought adjacent land from William Tonkin, who was leaving the area after farming there for nearly forty years; his property included the substantial stone residence, later known as ‘Cherrington,’ which regrettably no longer exists on Adelaide Road. Of several notable villas subsequently built by the Teakles in the area only one, ‘Adlooka’ (16 Hawthorn Road), survives.
With the railway from Adelaide soon to open, the demand for residential allotments in Mount Barker was strong in the early 1880s. David Teakle divided eight acres of his property into twenty-four allotments, which were sold by auctioneer John Paltridge in September 1882. According to the Courier bidding was keen, and the total amount realised by the Teakles on the day was £865. They had sold at the beginning of Mount Barker’s first phase of intensive property development; in fact David Teakle’s land sale anticipated the first large-scale residential subdivision in the town, which took place in 1884 in Mount Barker South. ‘Barkerville,’ as this southern subdivision was briefly called (sections 4468 and 4469), encompassed the area bounded by Alexandrina Road to the north, Victoria Street to the east, the road that is now Hurling Drive to the south, and Howard Lane to the west. The Courier observed that “the building trade in this locality is kept very briskly at work, and new houses are rising in every direction.”
As the area to the north-west of Mount Barker came to attract more development, it became colloquially known as Teakletown. This tag was in common parlance to denote the area in the vicinity of Hill Street, Cherington Street and Hawthorn Road for at least fifty years from the 1890s, and is still occasionally heard today.
When David Teakle died September 1895 aged 85, his profession was listed as ‘gentleman.’ Mary Ann passed away only twelve days later, aged 77. In addition to twenty acres and two fine stone villas in Mount Barker (“in a splendid position, being situated on rising ground overlooking the township”), their estate included 418 acres near Munno Para, 160 acres near Salisbury, two properties in Port Adelaide, and seventeen housing lots in the Port Adelaide area. Their children were scattered amid the regions where they had made their mark since arriving in Australia: Adelaide, Noarlunga, the Mid North and Mount Barker. There were 27 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.