Jonathon's Farm

Jonathan was an innovative farmer, a characteristic inherited by his sons. His early use of super-phosphate hastened its widespread use in the Gladstone district.

He was not skilled in farming alone. In 1876 he built the first store in what is now the main street of Gladstone, leasing it to A.C. Catt and Sons on completion. His principal reason for providing the store lay in the lack of supplies available at Gladstone at the time. The nearest stores were at Georgetown, some eleven kilometres (seven miles) south of Gladstone, and the carting of supplies to the new farmhouse had become an arduous and time-consuming task. (This store is still standing and at present is used as a storeroom by the neighbouring garage.)


The Store
The Store

Jonathon Prior's House "Hillview"
Jonathon's Farmhouse - still used.
Grandpop's House, then Des, then Murray 

During Jonathan's lifetime the make up of the farm changed considerably. 

In the Hundred of Booyolee, in addition to the original purchase, Sections 67, 193, 82, 11A and part of section 6 (the latter two north-east of Laura) had been taken up. Sections 63, 131 and 352N had been purchased from David Heaslip and Section 128 purchased from Mr. Lane. Jonathan also owned Sections 216 and 214 Hundred of Waterloo and Section 314 Hundred of Julia. 

The land in the latter hundreds was leased to his nephew Thomas and considerable correspondence passed between Jonathan and Thomas regarding the management of the property. Reproduced below are two of their letters.

Friedrichswalde Feb. 26/ '96
Dear Uncle,
In answer to you, you say 1 have not acted fair to you, I find by receipts I have got & fencing I have done amounts to about £28 per annum for the place since I have been here and it takes two thirds of the wheat the place produced to pay it, more over I never complained about anything, I am quiet aware you showed a lot of sympathy in allowing (sic) the rent to stand over in bad times, I am under the impression you have been misinformed, it strikes me someone has been writing about the place. If you are agreeable to take half the rent in advance I will send it on with the other that will be £20 for last year & £10 towards next year. it is not easy to get a place just about here I hope you will consider the matter over and drop a line if you are going to accept those terms and I think I will give you satisfaction before I leave the place.
I am
Thos. Prior Jnr.

Mar. 3, 1896
Mr. Thomas Prior Friedrichswalde.
In reply to yours 26 Ultimo re lease of farm for the next two years. I am willing to accept your terms, I don't want to be hard on you, nor I don't wish to turn you out, nothing of the kind my boy, don't you go labouring under any mistake of that kind, but mind I expect you to put up all the fence you promised to do.
I will draw up a two year lease
for you to sign send on to you shortly.
I am, Sir,
Yours truly
Jonathan Prior Per T.P.

A breeding flock of sheep had always been a part of the farm and on more than one occasion wool was shipped direct to London for sale. 

Jonathan was very proud of his horse team and at the turn of the century a magnificent stable was built to house them. This building was of stone construction, the walls being over half a metre thick, four and a half metres high, and 42 and a half metres long- The width of the building was thirteen metres. (Currently this stable houses implements and a workshop.) 

He won many prizes at the Adelaide Royal and Country Shows with his stallions, and these were always in demand for the servicing of mares on other farms of the district.

© Mel Prior