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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Surname

John LANG

Born 10 July 1855 in Houston, Renfrew, Scotland [28]
Son of Archibald LANG and Janet PATERSON [28]
Married Mary LOCHHEAD on 18 August 1885 in Houston, Renfrew, Scotland [28]
In 1881 he was working as a Sugar Boiler and was lodging with a family at 18 Antigua Street in East Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland [20]
Managing Director of Cartsburn Sugar Refinery in Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland [P12]
     During the decline of the sugar industry spent time running the Buchanan Arms Hotel in Kilmacolm, Renfrew, Scotland [P12]
     With the return of the industry resumed management of Cartsburn Sugar Refinery in Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland [P12]
In January 1914 paid a £40 deposit to purchase a Ready-Made Farm in Western Australia from the Midland Railway Company [34]
     The farm was the 417 acre Lot M952 in Carnamah however he had the option to exchange it for another farm after inspection [34]
     Along with his wife and children Jenny, John, Jean, May and Winnie departed London, England on the steamship Otway [P43]
     They arrived on the Otway in Fremantle, Western Australia on 12 May 1914 [P43] and shortly after arrival shifted to Carnamah [P12]
After inspecting Lot M952, on which he'd paid a deposit, he appears to have exchanged it for Lot M945 [27] [34]
     The Midland Railway Company employed Thomas WESTLAKE to erect a house on the block, which was included in the sale [34]
     The farm came with one rainwater tank and he requested and paid for an additional two tanks to be erected [34]
     On purchase the farm of gimlet and York Gum was "well fenced and subdivided" and came with 120 acres of crop [9: 26-Jun-1914]
Farmer of Grianaig Farm near Prowaka Siding in Carnamah 1914-1935 [P12]
     Named the farm Grianaig, which is Gaelic for Greenock, after the town in Scotland that had been their home for many years [P1]
     Officially signed the contract to purchase the 475 acre farm from the Midland Railway Company on 1 September 1914 [27]
     The 475 acre farm was Lot M945 of Victoria Location 1934 and cost £2132, payable by instalments (later reduced to £1279) [27]
     In October 1914 the Midland Railway Company paid for McCALLUM & LAWSON to bore for water on his farm [34]
     His farm was five miles north of Carnamah on The Midlands Road and adjoined the Prowaka Railway Siding [5: 9-Oct-1936]
     Prowaka Siding opened on 13 December 1915 but was originally called Yarri until being renamed on 30 June 1916 [358]
Member of the Carnamah Hall Committee 1914-1921 - was Chairman 1919-1921 [10: 29-Aug-1919] [9: 25-Feb-1921]
     As chairman addressed the gathering at the Official Opening of the Carnamah Hall on Thursday 17 February 1921 [10: 4-Mar-1921]
     The title for the hall was jointly in the names of himself, Donald MACPHERSON, and W. Henry WATSON [34]
In March 1915 unsuccessfully applied to purchase an adjoining 1,000 acres from the Midland Railway Company for 10/- per acre [34]
Foundation Vice President of the Three Springs Rifle Club in 1915 [10: 29-Oct-1915]
To his great disheartenment his crop in 1915 yielded poorly after being badly affected by rust [34]
After harvesting his 1915 wheat crop he sold its bags of wheat for a total of £407/4/10 [34]
In 1916 he had 300 acres of his farm cleared and planted in crop [34], and in 1917 had 350 acres of wheat crop [10: 19-Jun-1917]
He introduced the General Secretary of the Farmers & Settlers' Association at a meeting in Carnamah on 18 July 1917 [39: 25-Jul-1917]
     The meeting was attended by farmers and landholders from Carnamah, Winchester and Coorow [39]
     At the conclusion of the General Secretary's lengthy address he suggested a local branch of the Association be formed [39]
     Foundation President of the Winchester-Carnamah branch of the Farmers & Settlers' Association in 1917 [39: 25-Jul-1917]
In August 1916 signed a petition which was sent to the Midland Railway Company requesting the price of their farms be reduced [34]
His crop in 1917 was practically entirely destroyed by rust and dry blight [34]
Signed the petition and financial guarantee in 1917 for the Midland Railway Company to provide a resident doctor at Three Springs [34]
Seconded a vote of thanks to the General Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. who gave an address in Carnamah in May 1917 [9: 18-May-1917]
On two occasions he gave evidence to the Royal Commission on the Agricultural Industries of Western Australia [152]
     He gave testimony to the Royal Commission in Three Springs on 16 December 1916 and again in Carnamah on 6 June 1917 [152]
     He was critical of the Midland Railway Company who he felt had misled him in correspondence before he purchased his farm [152]
     The Company referred to Carnamah as "practically droughtless" contrary to the fact that there had been a drought in 1911 [152]
     His claims were received with hesitation, so on the second occasion he provided the letter he'd received from the Company [152]
Member of the Midland Railway Ready Made Farm Settlers' Association 1916-1918 - was Chairman in 1917 [34]
     Part of a deputation that met with the Midland Railway Company on 3 April 1918 to request the company lower their prices [34]
     Stated at the deputation that their farms were so overpriced that unless they were reduced they would all have to abandon them [34]
     Recommended that the Company grant them five years without repayments so they could get a chance to establish themselves [34]
     In 1920 the Company finally reduced their prices by a staggering 40 percent - resulting in the money he owed dropping by £853 [27]
Purchased some of his general supplies from general store "The Supply Stores" on Yarra Street in Carnamah in 1918 [92]
Member of the Carnamah Race Club - was Chairman and a Committee Member in 1919 [9: 7-Mar-1919] [10: 11-Apr-1919]
     At the request of the Committee he was debarred from working at the Club's Picnic Races held on 27 March 1919 [10]
     The debarment was to allow him have a day's rest and enjoy the event for which he had already worked very hard for [10]
     Himself and Carnamah farmer Arthur G. DARLING were Joint Auditors for the Carnamah Race Club in 1919 [10: 18-Apr-1919]
Inaugural Director of the North Midlands Farmers' Co-operative Company in 1919[9: 27-Jun-1919]
Attended the Peace Day Celebrations in Carnamah on Saturday 19 July 1919, and presented the Peace Cup to its winner [10: 25-Jul-1919]
     His horse Grianaig was a starter in the Novelty Race, Hack Race and Trotting Handicap during the racing events on Peace Day [10]
Attended the Surprise Party tendered to departing residents Fred & Jane WOODS in Carnamah on Saturday 11 October 1919 [10]
     He had the honour of making the presentations to Fred, Jane and their children on behalf of the district's residents [10: 17-Oct-1919]
Attended the Euchre Party & Dance held at Mrs Annie DAVIESON's home in Carnamah on Saturday 8 November 1919 [10]
     The evening was well attended and raised a total of £17 for the Carnamah Hall Committee, of which he was Chairman [10]
     During the evening he thanked the DAVIESON family for their public spiritedness, his remarks being met with acclamation [10]
Donated 5/- to the Three Springs Saint Patrick's Day Committee in 1920 and 1925[124]
On 16 August 1920 extended his farm with the purchase of another 1,118 acres from the Midland Railway Company [27]
     The additional 1,118 acres, which was virgin land, was Lot M1266 of Victoria Location 1934 and came at a cost of £251 [27]
Member of the Carnamah-Winchester branch of the Primary Producers Association - was Chairman in 1920 and 1921 [9: 6-May-1921]
Attended a meeting at the Carnamah Hall on Easter Sunday 27 March 1921 to discuss the need of a doctor and hospital [10: 8-Apr-1921]
     At the meeting agreed with Thomas GARTH that they would be unable to get a doctor and should try and get a qualified nurse [10]
Attended the Social, Dance & Presentation at the Carnamah Hall on 1 September 1921 in honour of "Teddy" Edgar J. CLARK [9]
     As Chairman of the Carnamah Hall Committee he gave a speech and made the presentation to the guest of honour [9: 9-Sep-1921]
Attended the wedding of Robert A. CALDOW and May I. BYRNE in Three Springs on Wednesday 5 October 1921 [9: 21-Oct-1921]
By May 1922 he was the owner of a Fordson tractor, coined "the tractor that has made farming profitable" [39: 29-May-1922]
Signed the petition in February 1923 for the Irwin Licensing Court to grant a hotel license for Carnamah [10: 9-Mar-1923]
Judged the Vegetable section at the Annual Show & Sports Carnival held in Carnamah on Thursday 20 September 1923 [86: 4-Oct-1923]
Attended the meeting of ratepayers held at the Carnamah Hall on Tuesday 24 March 1925 [10: 9-Apr-1925]
Had an account with Carnamah blacksmith, wheelwright and motor mechanics Henry Parkin & Son 1927-1932 [53]
Member of a committee formed to obtain a hospital in Carnamah in 1928 [4: 17-Mar-1928] [9: 23-Mar-1928]
Member of Carnamah's Manchester Unity of Oddfellows Friendly Society - received the Past Grand's Jewel in 1928 [4: 27-Oct-1928]
In November 1929 purchased a new Fordson Sedan car from local dealer Rupert LAFFAN [4: 23-Nov-1929]
Won 2nd prize for "Three Merino Lambs under 6 months" at the Carnamah Agricultural Show on 18 September 1930 [4: 27-Sep-1930]
Pallbearer at the funeral of Winchester farmer Hans HÄUSSLER on 7 July 1931 at the Winchester Cemetery [4: 11-Jul-1931]
Pallbearer at the funeral of Carnamah pioneer Donald MACPHERSON on 14 August 1931 at the Winchester Cemetery [4: 22-Aug-1931]
In 1932 was the owner of a Ford car containing licence plate CA-11 [4: 12-Nov-1932]
Pallbearer at the funeral of his daughter's mother-in-law Mrs Jane ROBERTSON on 15 May 1932 at the Winchester Cemetery [4]
Proposed one of the toasts at the dinner following the Official Opening of the new Carnamah Post Office on 30 June 1932 [5: 8-Jul-1932]
Pallbearer at the funeral of his daughter's father-in-law Richard ROBERTSON on 9 July 1932 at the Winchester Cemetery [4]
Rev. Alexander CROW, Moderator of the Presbyterian Assembly, stayed with him in Carnamah on 5 November 1932 [5: 4-Nov-1932]
His farmhouse was surrounded by floodwaters varying in depth from 18 inches to three feet during part of June 1933 [5: 16-Jun-1933]
The local newspaper revealed on 4 August 1933 that goods for him had arrived at the railway goods shed in Carnamah [5: 4-Aug-1933]
Attended the funeral of Mrs Christina B. D. FORRESTER of Carnamah at the Winchester Cemetery on 31 August 1934 [4: 8-Sep-1934]
In 1934 and 1935 he often gave young schoolgirl Vida E. WELLS a ride to school on his way to town every Friday morning [P22]
Himself and his wife celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in Carnamah on Sunday 18 August 1935 [5: 23-Aug-1935]
Sold a bull for £6/7/6 through Dalgety & Co Ltd at the Midland Market on Wednesday 6 November 1935 [5: 8-Nov-1935]
Chief mourner at the funeral of his daughter "May" Mary L. LANG at the Winchester Cemetery on 26 November 1935 [5: 29-Nov-1935]
He was "well known as a careful farmer" and as a result his stock and plant were always in good order [5: 9-Oct-1936]
Passed away at the age of 80 years at the Thistle Bank Convalescent Home in the Perth suburb of Nedlands [5: 3-Jan-1936]
Father of Archie, Jenny, John, Jean, May and Winnie [P12]
Died 23 December 1935; buried Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth WA (Presbyterian, BC, 365) [2]
On behalf of his executors Goldsbrough Mort & Co Ltd auctioned his livestock, plant and machinery on 14 October 1936 [5: 9-Oct-1936]
     Sold at the sale were 750 sheep (200 full mouth ewes, 200 young ewes, 200 lambs and 150 hoggets), three draught horses, [5]
     an unbroken pony, Jersey cow with calf, 10-disc Sundercut, 8-disc State plough, 17-run I.H.C. combine, Big E harvester, [5]
     17-run drill, 10-foot cultivator, 25-tyne set of harrows, Fordson tractor, Model A Ford sedan car, chaffcutter and elevator, [5]
     3½ horsepower Airway engine, 2-ton lorry, spring cart, sulky, 30 bags of Gluclub seed wheat, 40 bags of Merredin seed wheat, [5]
     50 bags of Burt's Early seed wheat, 18 tons of oaten hay, 100-gallon tank, forge, anvil, tool, collars, hames and winkers, [5]
     chains, and sundries plus household items including a German piano, Singer sewing machine, tables and household sundries [5]
In the name of his estate his farm was leased in November 1936 to Edwin L. LUKIN of Wandina Station in Mullewa [5: 20-Nov-1936]
His farm was leased to John BOWMAN of Carnamah from 1938-39 to 1943-44 and then to Alistair A. NIVEN from 1944-45 [3]
The instalments to the Midland Railway Company for his Grianaig Farm in Carnamah were completed in 1940 [34]
On 11 June 1940 the Midland Railway Company transferred the title for the farm to his son-in-law Angus A. N. MCGILP [34]
The farm was leased to Alistair A. NIVEN until the 1946-47 financial year when it was sold to Alistair A. NIVEN [3]


From the Progress Report of the Royal Commission on the
               Agricultural Industries of Western Australia on the Wheat-Growing Portion of the South-West Division of the State
:
Saturday 16th December 1916 at Three Springs
"JOHN LANG, Farmer, Carnamah, sworn and examined:
     I came here from Scotland in 1914. I was born and brought up on a farm and was after in the sugar refinery business. I hold 475 acres of Midland [Railway] Company's land, for which I am paying £4 15s. an acre. Two-thirds of it is York gum land, and the balance ti-tree and tamma. There is also rubble and grey soil. The former about 60 acres and the latter about 80. The improvements effected on the land when I took it over were said to be 120 acres cleared and a house and dam of 1,000 yards capacity, but in the first year there was no water in it; now there is enough to last till the rains come in the summer. The property was fenced. I paid 10 per cent of the price down and 20 annual equal instalments plus 5½ per cent [interest]. I had £2,000 when I took it up, and I have had £230 from a son to supplement that and £80 from a daughter. Last year I got £400 from wheat.
     I have 260 acres cropped and no fallow, because it is all new soil. Will it pay to fallow in this district? I cannot give you an opinion based on experience. I have had two crops. The year before last the company put in a crop. I paid £150 for what was said to be 120 acres. I found it was only 110 acres. The rest was grey soil. Last year I averaged 137/16 bushels to the acre over 260 acres. I estimate this year there will be an average of 15 bushels. It costs about 33s. 6d., or 10 bushels, to put in and take off a crop. I have a statement here showing my actual costs to date. Bulk handling would reduce costs, at any rate it does so in Scotland, and there would be no difficulty in taking the wheat to the siding. As far as the tariff is concerned if you compare a six-foot Massey-Harris binder with what we pay for it in Scotland the difference is extraordinary. There it costs only £32.
     I had rust last year. I pickle and grade my wheat. If I had time to grow fodder crops I should be anxious to do so. I have only two pigs, although I think pig raising might be a profitable venture. No farm here should be less than 1,000 acres. In Scotland we do not carry all our eggs in one basket. A man should do from 280 to 300 [acres of crop] every year. Co-operation is most emphatically a good thing, but whether it could be applied in this country is the point. Farmers here and elsewhere are very conservative. As to the conditions of the Government land, if I had known what I know now I would not be on the Midland [Railway] Company's land. I would have taken up the Government proposition because then one could get a chance to live.
     What induced you to take up land? My family all wanted to go abroad. The reason I came is that I had been a director of the sugar refinery and trade had a rough time. The two partners quarrelled. At this time I was beginning to do very well indeed, and had risen from the post of assistant manager to be a director. However, they would not go on with the business and I fell between two stools. I had been born on the land and was anxious to go farming. I saw by the advertisements that all that I would have to do would be to superintend things, but I have found that you have to work particularly hard here. Mr. R. L. Gilbert was there at the time and I asked him for advice. Apparently he was in a dual capacity. He told me it was absolutely impossible to get Government land anywhere near civilisation for educational and other purposes, and so I paid the deposit on the Midland land. Thinking the Midland [Railway] Company were gentlemen I took their word for it that matters would as they were represented, but I found things to be very different. If one could get first quality land at somewhere about £1 an acre and pay for the second and third quality, whatever the proportion is, one might have a chance. Under the Government one has 20 years to pay for the land and no interest, but I feel I cannot trust myself to say what I should like to about the Midland [Railway] Company.
     In what respect do you claim they misrepresented the land? In the first place, to show its productivity they sent me telegrams and letters. They gave me the names of Captain Farley and Mr. Colpitts, stating that they were harvesting crops of 25 to 28 bushels to the acre. I believe that probably they would be that size. I do not suppose, however, that Captain Farley's average since that has been 15 bushels to the acre, but they gave me that as an example to show the fertility of the soil and the certainty of the prospects. As far as the rainfall was concerned it was stated that the district was an absolutely droughtless area. They overlooked the drought of 1911. In 1912-13 there were partial drought seasons in the Midland area. They stated that the average rainfall was 16 inches.
     That is substantially correct according to the record for 20 years? But it does not fall at the period they said, which was during the growing period. Take last year. We had far too much rain at the growing period, which would be the cause of rust, but this year how many paddocks have suffered through want of rain?
     Were the seasons in Scotland regular and uniform? Not absolutely. Could you expect anything else but variable seasons? I do not expect that in any country. Supposing you had a drought and lost part of your crop. The point is it is not absolutely droughtless. Once of the papers said that we could graze a sheep to the acre. I will produce all the pamphlets to substantiate what I have said, but, believe me, I do not want to give you a wrong impression.
     How many crops have you put in? Two, and the Company put in another, that is three altogether. What were you given to understand was the average wheat-growing capacity of your land? I was told that I should never have less than 22 bushels to the acre.
     Do you think you could succeed here? I do not think so. My land should be revalued to cover all our expenses. We would need to have at least 22 bushels to pay interest on the land. The government, on the other hand, do not ask for interest. If you were 22 bushels to the acre you will have to look elsewhere than in Australia? If we had land at a reasonable price it would be another matter, and being a Scotchman it would be a strange thing if I could not succeed. I do not see my way clear as matters are now.
     My capital is now all gone and I am on the Industries Assistance Board. If the repricing of land is a good thing for the State settler it is equally a good thing for the Midland farmer; what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander."


From The Moora Herald And Midland Districts Advocate newspaper, Friday 4 March 1921:
[John LANG made the following speech at the opening of the Carnamah Hall on Thursday 17 February 1921]
"Ladies and Gentlemen, my first duty tonight is on behalf of the Hall Committee to accord you all a very hearty welcome, and to thank you for your presence here to grace the ceremony of the official opening of the Carnamah Public Hall, an event which I have no doubt will be regarded in the future with justifiable pride as the red letter day in the annuals of Carnamah. The lack of suitable hall accommodation has been a long felt want, and steps were taken in the latter part of 1914 to rectify the defect resulting in the collection of £14 which was placed at the time in the Savings Bank, and I have no doubt had it not been for the Great World War, that object would have been realised long ago. However, as you know, all our efforts during the war were concentrated upon the raising of funds on behalf of the various schemes set going to alleviate in some measure the terrible sufferings and privations of our gallant soldiers, who went forth to fight for home and freedom, covering themselves with imperishable glory in the great struggle. In this connection I may mention, on the authority of our Secretary, that sums aggregating over £500 were raised and paid over to the Y.M.C.A., Red Cross, and Trench Comforts Funds. A most creditable performance, considering the fact that there were then only about 15 families resident in Carnamah. Less than two years ago efforts were renewed, and the wheels set in motion to accomplish our desire. Meanwhile the Midland Railway Company generously offered the Committee a site at a nominal price, and I wish to now to express publicly the Committee's sincere thanks to Mr Murcott and his officials for their valuable assistance in this matter. Unfortunately very considerable delay has occurred in the erection of the hall through strikes, difficulty in obtaining timber, etc. Now that it is up we can afford to forget all the worry of the delay. It was suggested that I should make a financial statement to-night; but I have too much sympathy for your desire to "get on with the dance" to inflict that punishment on you. That will be made shortly at a meeting of Carnamah settlers, when other matters will come up for discussion. But I may be permitted to remind you that we are still in urgent need of money, and I now appeal to you with full confidence to help us in raising the indispensable wherewithal. In this connection I would like to convey to our good friends and neighbours in Winchester, Three Springs, and Coorow, Carnamah's grateful acknowledgment of their past generous and highly esteemed assistance in raising funds for the various schemes we have had from time to time on hand, and at the same time to express the hope that we may look forward to a continuance of the neighbourly support. I have now a very pleasing duty to perform. Some time ago it was jokingly suggested that we should get the Governor or a Member of Parliament to open the hall. But the unanimous opinion of the Committee was that in this instance could not overlook our pioneer of the districts in Mr Donald Macpherson who after a residence of over 50 years, it will no doubt be a pleasing duty for him to declare the hall open."


From The Irwin Index newspaper, Saturday 14 July 1934:
"One of the pioneers of the Carnamah district in the person of Mr. John Lang, sen., celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday on Tuesday last. Mr. Lang was born at Houston (Scotland), and came to Western Australia in 1914 and on arrival settled on his present holding at Carnamah. He has always evinced and still takes a keen interest in public affairs of the district, and has done much to further the progress of Carnamah."


From The North Midland Times newspaper, Friday 12 July 1935:
Mr John Lang Celebrates 80th Birthday - Four Score, and Four Months
"A pleasant family gathering and the celebration of two noteworthy events was held at the home of Mr and Mrs J. Lang, Snr., Carnamah, on Wednesday, July 10, when Mr John Lang celebrated his eightieth birthday and witnessed the christening of his grandson, Charles Richard John Robertson (four months). It was a quiet family gathering  and apart from the household members only Mr and Mrs D. H. Dyke and Mr and Mrs Chas. Robertson and Betty were present. Mr Lang is one of the pioneer settlers of Carnamah. Coming to the district in 1914 he took up land at Prowaka, where he has farmed successfully for a number of years. In former years Mr Lang took an active interest in public affairs and the welfare of the district generally. He has retained all of his faculties and still takes a keen, if not active interest in proceedings."


From The North Midlands Times newspaper, Friday 3 January 1936:
Obituary - The Late Mr. John Lang
"The death occurred on Monday December 23, when Mr. John Lang, an old and respected resident of Carnamah, passed away at Thistle Bank Convalescent Home, Nedlands. Deceased, who was 80 years of age, had been in ill-health for the past twelve months and was admitted to the convalescent home about two weeks prior to his death. The late Mr. Lang, a native of Scotland, accompanied by his wife and family, came to Western Australia in 1914 and took up residence in the Carnamah district where he farmed successfully for a number of years. Until recently deceased took an active and prominent part in public affairs. He was a prominent member of the Primary Producers Association of Western Australia and a well known member of the Masonic Lodge, both in Scotland and Western Australia. The late Mr. Lang leaves a widow, three daughters, Mrs. A. A. McGilp (Coorow), Mrs. R. Sharpe (Scotland), Mrs. C. Robertson (Carnamah), two sons, Archie and John (Carnamah) and eight grandchildren. The funeral took place at the Karrakatta cemetery at 3 p.m. on December 24. The Rev. Tulloch, of St. Andrew's Church, officiating at the graveside. The cortege moved from Messrs. Donald Chipper and Son's Chapel to the cemetery. The pall-bearers were :- Messrs. F. C. Woods and D. Bain (Midland Railway Co.), Scott (Bairds Ltd.), W. Robertson, A. C. Bierman and Wm. Patrick, M.L.A. Among those present at the graveside were :- Messrs. Archie Lang, A. A. McGilp, C. Robertson, McLelland, James and H. McCann (Westralian Farmers Ltd), Bairn, J. McDonald, R. G. Lapsley, and Mrs A. and Miss E. Niven."


From The Sunday Times newspaper, Sunday 5 January 1936:
"The death of Mr. John Lang, a well-known settler of the Carnamah district, removes a personality from the Midland, who will be remembered for his undeviating courtesy and old-word gentility, and a Scottish caution and sagacity that lent much charm to his conversation. John Lang came out from Scotland to take up a Midland [Railway] Company farm, when the company's farm scheme was first introduced. His people will in the milling business in the old world, and it was not surprising , perhaps, that John Lang should endeavour to establish his family and himself in this part of the world in the wheat-growing industry. He was very highly thought of in Carnamah, and his demise will be heard of with very great regret."


Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'John Lang' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 21 October 2017 from www.carnamah.com.au  [ sources ]




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