Now that Henry and his family have moved to Moonta, things start to look up. The Mining company, for one, are keen to have miners stay on the lease instead of move into town, this way they are close at hand and away from the hotels. There were no rates to pay which meant that wages could be lower and, there was never a hard working employee evicted from any house built on the leases.
Miners and their families made do on their wages and certain materials were ‘borrowed’ from stacks belonging to the mines, for example roofing materials and timbers, other materials such as stone, clay, pug and pine were more readily available all around them.
Henry’s decided he wanted to build his own house and chose a plot of land on a bit of a rise which was overlooking Hamley Flat which was near Hamley mine where he worked. Henry fenced off nearly an acre of land as it was not a premium, there was an inner fence constructed close to the house consisting of teatree stakes in an attempt to protect the house garden from goats.
Some houses were quite different, in an attempt to save money, houses were built by excavating rooms down a few feet and then using the limestone which had been dug up to build walls to the required height. It is said that the end result was a house so squat, it looked as though a man could “put his an’ deow’n the chimney and can lock or unlock the front door.”
Henry and Phillippa’s house was all constructed thanks to the help of family and friends and all done outside of working hours, it was built on ground level from whatever materials he could aquire. The end result being a home made from stone, rammed limestone and clay, brick and flooring boards and then roofed with galvanised iron.Imagine if you can, a house that has slowly been added to over several years, some floors were hard rammed earth, later to be timbered in some rooms, concrete floors in other rooms which were later covered in linoleum. Would be a bit like walking through time just by walking through the house.
Next I’ll tell you what part Phillippa played in running the house 🙂