-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Sunday, August 03, 2008

researching our property's past life

I've always been curious to find out about the history of our property, so today I took the plunge and starting researching, starting with the previous owner, Steven Kingshott.

I found his address from the purchase documentation, looked on Whitepages.com.au and lo and behold there was still a Kingshott living there! I called, it turned out to be his Mum, and she gave me Steve's new number. We had a great chat where he filled me in on what he knew about the property:
  • From memory he thinks the date on the original title when the land was subdivided was 1881, and it was owned by a guy called Fisher.

  • Steve bought it in the year of the really bad drought (1983?) when it didn't have a blade of grass on it. It was never as bad as that again. He was 23 and single when he bought it, with the intention of it being a weekender. But what happened was he got married and had kids, and just didn't have the time, so when they needed to do renovations to their place in town he was convinced to sell.

  • The house that's on there came from Williamstown and he moved it up. It was an old double-fronted Victorian house that his Mum found for sale, not too far from where she lived. He pulled all the lathe and plaster off and found a fantastic guy to cut it down the middle and move it up on the back of a truck. The guy who did the relocation was brilliant as unlike the others who'd quoted who used chainsaws, this guy cut it up using a handsaw to ensure it could be put back together with only a very small gap.

  • The guy Steve bought it off, Lance Dunstall, was the one who enlarged the dam. He was a friend of Steven's brother's and had owned it for about 10 years before (so from early-mid 1970's). He'd kept horses on it, he used to go to horse shows, etc. Before Lance, not sure of the owner but thinks it was one of the farmers.

  • Lance had lived in Williamstown and his family owned a dairy there. He was engaged to the daughter of the people who then owned the property in front, Mick Pentreef (sp?), who owned a newsagent in Williamstown. The Pentreefs sold the property in front and moved into the town of Talbot about 15-20 years ago. Their daughter also moved up there and worked at one of the schools. She was also involved in the community regeneration work.

  • Back when Lance bought it he had the property surveyed and found it was 5 acres short. When they'd built the fences sometime over the past 100 years they'd put them down wrong: it was supposed to be a rectangle but it wasn't. (Aha, this explains the old fenceposts in the far corner!)

  • There had been some beautiful old wooden sheds that dated back to the turn of the century on the property in front. One of them extended halfway into the road! There was also an old sunshine harvester there in brilliant condition. In 1987 the bushfires went through. The house in front didn't get burnt but unfortunately the sheds did. Amherst town had been a great little place before the 1987 fires. It had a number of old houses and the old school, but it all got burnt down.

  • The neighbor across the road (who's since moved) used to run his cattle on the property when Steve owned it. So he never had luck growing trees there because the cattle used to eat everything. He did however once use a rotary hoe in front of the dam where the fence is and planted corn(!)... it grew but didn't survive long.

I'm so happy to have got in touch with Steve and to have found that he loved the place as much as we do. I'll keep researching and try and track down the missing Crown title - I'd thought it was with Steve but he doesn't have it, so it must be with the solicitor still... Also Steve is going to dig out some old photos and any other documents he can find, so fingers crossed... it'd be brilliant to see how it has changed (or not).

No comments: