The Webbers were stonemasons and builders who arrived in the Mount Barker area in 1861. They were amongst the families who made a notable material contribution to the construction of the Mount Barker township. As was common in the period before antibiotics and vaccinations, they endured the deaths of a number of children in infancy, as well as the loss of several family members from diseases including measles, influenza and pneumonia.
Charles ‘Louis’ von Doussa (1850-1932) was born in Hahndorf to Prussian immigrant parents. He became a high-profile lawyer and politician. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Mount Barker township, and he enjoyed great popularity for his generous and open-handed participation in the life of the town. His memory was honoured by the construction of a granite memorial, built through public subscription. The von Doussas legal practice still operates in Gawler Street, and is one of the oldest law firms in South Australia.
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.
Clara May Stanley (1877-1919) was the wife of W.H. Stanley, editor of the Mount Barker Courier. She was the first person in Mount Barker to die of the so-called ‘Spanish flu,’ and was rumoured (unjustly) to have introduced the pandemic to the town. Her death aged 32 set off a series of events that resulted in W.H. Stanley leaving Mount Barker suddenly and without trace.
Mary Anne Shepherdson, née Craike (1804-1858) and her schoolmaster husband, John Banks Shepherdson (1809-1897) emigrated to South Australia from Yorkshire in 1837, when John took up a two-year position as Director of Schools in Adelaide. Mary Anne was reluctant to leave England with four children under ten but came to terms with the prospect of two years abroad. In the end she never returned to England. John turned to farming in the Adelaide Hills and later pursued a high-profile legal career, while Mary Anne dedicated herself to their family, which included seven Australian-born children. Unlike John, who outlived her by 39 years, she left few traces in the historical record. She changed the spelling of her name to Marianne in about 1847 and died in 1858 at the age of 54. John remarried six months later.
William Richardson (1818-1883) emigrated to the Mount Barker area in 1839, aged 21. After farming in Mount Barker for several years he founded ‘Dalveen’ pastoral estate near Woodchester. He married Jane Rhind (1825-1901) in Adelaide and they raised ten children.
William’s nephew, Adam Watson Richardson, left Scotland for Melbourne in 1853 and arrived in Mount Barker the following year. He established a pharmacy on the corner of Gawler and Walker Streets, and his shop became a fixture of the town for the next forty years. He also established pharmacy branches in Nairne, Woodside and Mount Pleasant. He married twice and fathered thirteen children.
Caleb Potter was a tinsmith. He remained in Sussex when many of his relations emigrated to South Australia in 1839, after which his father, Peter Potter, wrote a famously negative report about conditions in the colony. However, the fortunes of the Potter family in South Australia improved so markedly over the next decade that in 1852 Caleb made the trip to Adelaide with his wife and children, ultimately settling in Mount Barker.
Henry Albert Victoria (‘Miller’) Peake (1897-1982) was a popular amateur bandleader, musician and sometime filmmaker based in Mount Barker. The Miller Peake Band, and others like it, played a vital role in the social lives of young people by animating Saturday night dances in small locales throughout the district. They also tirelessly supported charitable and patriotic events, and contributed immeasurably to the social fabric of their towns and regions.
Scottish-born Walter Paterson (1811-1894) arrived in Adelaide with his young family in 1839. He farmed at ‘Greenbanks’ in Mount Barker with his business partner, Thomas Lambert, and later acquired ‘Yunkunga’ near Wistow. He purchased Nixon’s Mill at Windmill Hill in 1844 and operated the mill for nine years.
Paterson was an ingenious inventor and woodsmith and created all manner of farming implements and machinery. He made some useful improvements to the Ridley stripper, a South Australian-designed reaper and thresher that transformed the harvesting of wheat in the 1840s.
Paterson’s wife Helen, who died in died in childbirth in 1842, is memorialised by a sundial marks the site of her grave near Wellington Road.
Thomas and Mary Paltridge and their six children were part of a group of emigrants who left Devon for South Australia in 1846. Mary’s relations, the Dunns, had preceded them, and were already well established in the Adelaide Hills.
The Paltridges settled in Mount Barker where they established a bootmaking business. In 1854 they opened a tannery, which found great commercial success as Thomas Paltridge & Sons. The tanning business formed the basis of the Paltridge family’s fortune and became one of the foundational industries of Mount Barker. It operated until 1975.