The Wallages

One of the stories from the 2011 project: Who were they? People who shaped Victor Harbor and for whom our parks and reserves are named.

photo of Wallage Reserve

Wallage Reserve runs along a water course on Wallage Court, off Joy Street, Encounter Bay. Children’s play equipment is installed there.

Wallage Court and Wallage Reserve are named for Ray Wallage who for many years ran a bus service between Victor Harbor and Adelaide. Ken Collins, a former Victor Harbor Councillor, tells the story that when the new road between Victor Harbor and Mt Compass eventuated, Ray said that he got 17,000 more miles out of his tyres!

Ray was the son of George Vernon Wallage and Effie Letitia née Watts, grandson of George Wallage and Agnes née Tonkin. In turn, George was one of the sons of Josiah Wallage and Mary Ann née Challis.

Josiah and Mary Ann with two children, Lydia and Georgeanna, left the little village of Steeple Bumstead near the border of Essex and Suffolk in 1854, and sailed on the Caroline for a new life in the colony of South Australia. On their arrival, the Wallages settled at Inman Valley and reared a large family. Agnes, Matilda, William, George, John, Hannah, Julia, Christina and Jane were added to the family.

Josiah farmed the land, and was also listed as a sawyer. However, from 1880 Mary Ann was left alone to run the farm with her sons, and to bring up the younger children. Josiah died in 1900.

In 1879, the town of Broderick, between Encounter Bay and Victor Harbor, was proclaimed. In 1883, the name was changed to Newland. Mary Ann took up two blocks in the new township in 1887, and her eldest son William took up two adjoining blocks. A neat bluestone cottage was built on the main Yankalilla road, and was still standing in 1985.

Mary Ann Wallage undertook housework in the area, working in the wealthier homes for such people as Mrs Read of Gooroonga House, George Barr-Smith of Seaforth, and Mrs O’Leary of Stirling House. Mary Ann was known as hard-working and scrupulously clean. There are a few amusing anecdotes about Mary Ann Wallage in Memoirs of Walter Buxton Bruce, retold by Anthony Laube in They Were Trimmers. After a life of much hard work, she died in 1904 aged 71 years.

In 1891, George Wallage married Agnes Tonkin, housemaid to Mrs Isabella Whyte; John Wallage married Lucy Pearsons; Agnes Wallage married George Woodard; and the sisters Julia and Christina married brothers Nat and Albert Kirby. All were well known in the district.