Isaac Hurrell

One of the stories from the 2013 project: Who were they? People who shaped Victor Harbor and for whom our parks and reserves are named.

Hurrell Reserve is situated on Whalers Road, Encounter Bay.

This Reserve is named after the descendants of Isaac and Maria Hurrell of Inman Valley, Port Elliot and Encounter Bay. Isaac Hurrell was born c1806 and baptised 26 September 1808 in Barford, Norfolk, England. His parents were shepherds, James (c1769–1813) and Mary nee Faux.

In the early 19th century the industrial revolution forced thousands of men out of work, leaving their families cold and hungry. In southeast England in 1830–31 people became angry and forced their way into factories and farms to break and destroy machines which were taking over their jobs. These were the Swing Riots. King William IV, alarmed by the revolutionary movement ordered trials of the rioters. Nearly 500 were sentenced to transportation to Van Dieman’s Land receiving 7 years or longer sentences.

Isaac Hurrell and William Lovett, broke a threshing machine which belonged to Samuel Larkman and found himself before the court. Isaac Hurrell was handed his sentence of 7 years at the Shirehouse of Norwich Castle on 5 January 1831. He arrived in Hobart Town on the barque Proteus on 14 March 1831.

Back in England opposition to the trials gathered and in early 1835 ‘The Reform Bill’ was introduced and paved the way for free or conditional pardons for the 7-year sentences of the Swing Rioters. Isaac received his Ticket of Leave on 5 January 1838 in Hobart and decided to stay in Australia. He left Tasmania on the ship Hartley on 12 January 1838 from Launceston, and arrived in Port Adelaide on 26 January 1838.

Isaac soon found work in the new South Australian Colony as a carter and worked hard to buy land. A newspaper article in 1853 mentions that Isaac Hurrell had an alias, Mickey Fluffem, but why he received this nickname is not mentioned. He married Mrs Maria Payne nee Mabbet, widow, on 20 April 1846 at Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide. Maria born c1818, and her husband William,came to SA on the Coromandel, the first migrant ship to arrive after Proclamation of the Province, 12 January 1837. William Payne, 24 years old, died in 1839.

Maria and Isaac Hurrell’s children were born in Adelaide between 1845 and 1852. Isaac Jnr born 1845, Maria 1847, Mary 1849, and John 1852. They lived in the Mitcham area for a few years before moving down to the Yankalilla district where Isaac purchased land in 1863 at Inman Valley. Land at Inman Valley was surveyed in 1839 and was opened up for settlement in 1840. Isaac may have been in the Valley around 1862 before he bought his land in 1863: Allotment 13 of south west corner, Town Acre 533, Isaac Hurrell, Yankalilla. He named the property Norwich Farm, after the city he came from. Little Maria died in 1849; in 1867 Isaac Jnr married Lydia Coote who was born in Steeple Bumstead, Essex in 1849 and had arrived with her parents on the Punjab in 1855 and settled in Port Elliot; in 1869 at Victor Harbor, Mary Hurrell married Robert Thomas Sweetman. was born at Marion, SA, in 1846 sometime before his father moved to a farm at Inman Valley.

Isaac Hurrell Snr aged 68 years, died 7 March 1874 at Inman Valley and Maria Hurrell aged 79 years died 17 June 1883, also at Inman Valley. Both were buried in the Bible Christian Cemetery.

At about 20 years of age, Isaac Jnr helped cart the timber for the Victor Harbor jetty with Mr T Parsons and Mr J J Crossman. After he married Lydia Coote he concentrated on sheep and dairy farming, which he continued on with at his father’s property, Norwich Farm at Bald Hills. He also liked a good horse and an article in the SA Register in 1886 mentions that a race between two local horses, Mr P Crawford’s ‘Eclipse’ and Mr Isaac Hurrell’s ‘Fish’ took place, with ‘Fish’ winning easily.

Lydia and Isaac’s family grew to 11 children: Henry Alfred (1868–1942), James Isaac (1869–1871), Maria (1871–1897), Harriet Mary (1873–1961), Annie Millard (1877–1963), Ernest George (1879–1960), Frederick (1881-1949), Alice Alma Boundy (1883–1933), Albert Ward (1885–1963), Leonard Victor (1887–1956), Herbert Roy (1893–1947).

Isaac and Lydia celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 20 March 1917 at Norwich Farm, with their surviving children coming from Tumby Bay, Murray Bridge, Brentwood, Inman Valley and Victor Harbor.

Isaac Hurrell Jnr aged 80 years died 11 December 1923 and Lydia Hurrell aged 79 years died 12 April 1925, both buried in the Inman Valley Bible Christian Cemetery.

Mary Hurrell married Robert Thomas Sweetman and had a family of nine children: Robert Thomas (1846–1933), Mary Maria Ann Millard (1872–1932), John Edward (1874–1950), William Isaac (1876–1955), James Samuel (1878–1974), Frederick Thomas (1880–1970), Ada Mary (1882–1911), Alfred Octavius (1884–1940), Olive Laurel Joy (1890–1949). Mary Hurrell’s husband, Robert Sweetman was at sometime, Postmaster at Inman Valley as well as farming in the area. As a young boy he drove Bullock teams and carted wheat with his father, later helping with the building of the Port Victor jetty. Mary Sweetman aged 59 years died 21 October 1909 at Bald Hills. Robert Thomas Sweetman aged 87 years died 1933. Mary is buried in the Bible Christian Cemetery.

Since arriving in Inman Valley, the Hurrell families have been very involved in the communities of Victor Harbor, Inman Valley and Port Elliot through their Churches and sporting activities. The original Bible Christian Chapel was first erected in Mr Nosworthy’s paddock in 1859, quite close to the Wesleyan Chapel, but was later moved stone by stone to be rebuilt at Inman Valley. The family helped with the rebuilding on donated land transferred from Isaac Hurrell Snr. On 16 November 1870 on the eve of the opening of the new church a violent thunderstorm occurred, due the congregation suggested, to the Judgement of God for having a woman preacher. Between 1938 and 1944 the Inman Valley Post Office was run by Mrs E G Hurrell (Ernest George’s wife).