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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Susan Catherine Maria BOTHA / DE BEER / COLPITTS

Born C.1872 in South Africa [P48]
Daughter of Stoffel BOTHA and Jackemina RADEMEYER [15]
Married (1) Kilmard X. DE BEER C.1989 in Bedford, South Africa [P48]
From her first marriage she gave birth to four daughters - Minah, Netta, Cora and a daughter who died [P48]
Married (2) "Jack" John Watson COLPITTS C.1905 in South Africa [P48]
Departed Cape Town, South Africa on the steamship Armadale and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on 11 November 1913 [70]
Settled with her husband Jack [P201] on a Ready-Made Farm in Winchester that he'd purchased from the Midland Railway Company [34]
Resided on Heppleholme Farm in Winchester 1914-1934 [6] [19]
Following the outbreak of the First World War her husband enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 1 November 1914 [30: item 3273280]
During her husband's absence she farmed their Heppleholme Farm [6] [30: item 3273280]
     She took out assistance under the Industries Assistance Board to help run and establish the farm [34]
     In 1915 planted 300 acres of crop on the farm using four horses and one drill [34]
     After harvesting her 1915 crop she sold 1107 bags for 4/- and 17 bags for 2/- per bushel, and retained 233 bags for seed [34]
     In 1916 she had instalments to pay on their harvester, drill, harrows, binder, plough, cultivator, engine and chaff cutter [34]
     During 1916 she employed one workman full time at a wage of £2 per week [34]
     She estimated her other 1916 expenses to include 20 tons of super at £4/7/6 per ton, and 10 bales of bags at 9/1 per dozen [34]
     Had approximately 400 acres of the farm planted in crop in 1916, and 300 acres of wheat crop in 1917 [10: 19-Jun-1917] [34]
     She also ran sheep on Heppleholme Farm, which totalled 500 in 1919 [34]
During her husband's absence she boosted their income by undertaking contract farm work for the Midland Railway Company [34]
     In 1915 she contract seeded 120 acres on Lot M968 in Coorow and 125 acres on Lot M969 in Coorow [34]
     The following year, in 1916, she contract fallowed Lot M916 in Winchester for 6/- per acre [34]
     In addition to harvesting her crop in 1916, she also harvested the Midland Railway Company's crop on Lot M916 [34]
     Instead of payment for harvesting the Company's crop she instead received half of the bags of harvested wheat [34]
     In 1918 contract ploughed, cultivated and later harvested Lot M916 in Winchester [34]
     She was paid 11/- per acre to remove stumps, plough and twice cultivate Lot M916 in Winchester in 1919 [34]
Member of the Midland Railway Ready-Made Farm Settlers' Association in 1916 [34]
In August 1916 she signed a petition to the Midland Railway Company requesting the price of their farms be reduced [34]
Wore an evening dress of dove grey crepe-de-chine to the Plain & Fancy Dress Ball in Three Springs on 19 July 1916 [39: 31-Jul-1916]
During the First World War she worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Red Cross Society [P201]
Inaugural Vice President of the Winchester-Carnamah branch of the Farmers & Settlers' Association in 1917 [39: 25-Jul-1917]
She was one of the judges at the Children's Fancy Dress Ball held in Three Springs on Wednesday 24 October 1917 [10: 2-Nov-1917]
Signed the petition and financial guarantee in 1917 for the Midland Railway Company to provide a resident doctor at Three Springs [34]
Won the booby prize at the Euchre Party & Dance at the Carnamah School on Thursday evening 1 November 1917 [9: 23-Nov-1917]
Purchased some of her general supplies from "The Supply Stores" in Yarra Street, Carnamah in 1917 and 1918 [92]
Secretary for Louis P. PARKER's candidature in the Lazy Man Competition conducted in Three Springs in 1918 [10: 31-May-1918]
Lou won the competition and their collective efforts largely contributed to the £131 the competition raised for the Red Cross [10]
Hosted a Social at her home in Winchester in 1919, which raised £1/18/- for the Moora District Hospital [10: 9 & 30-May-1919]
Member of the Winchester Hall Fund Committee in 1919 [34]
Heard from her husband that he expected to be home by May 1919 however September came and she had heard nothing of him [34]
     Unbeknown to her, he had been granted leave in July to visit farms through Britain to observe agricultural practices [30: item 3273280]
     Following her husband's return in December 1919 they jointly farmed Heppleholme Farm in Winchester together [6]
She purchased one of the first blocks within the Winchester townsite from the Midland Railway Company on 19 April 1922
     Purchased the quarter-acre Lot 14 for £20, which was on the east side of Choral Street and faced the railway yard [27] [382]
     On 14 February 1923 she purchased the adjacent Lot 13, also from the Midland Railway Company and also for £20 [27]
Their home was the official voting place for Winchester for a House of Representatives election on 16 December 1922 [10: 24-Nov-1922]
She ran the Winchester Telephone Exchange from her home [P201] and was Winchester's Postmistress from 1923 to about 1925 [6]
During the 1920s two of her grand-daughters, Doreen and Madge STOCKS, lived with her in Winchester [P201] [25]
In July 1928 she was an inmate of the Three Springs Hospital after receiving a severe bite on the leg from a pig [4: 28-Jun-1928]
     It was reported that the pig who bit her on the calf of her leg was soon after destroyed [4: 28-Jun-1928]
Attended and won the most games at the Euchre Party & Dance held in the Winchester School Hall on 25 July 1931 [4: 1-Aug-1931]
Attended the funeral of "Father of Carnamah" Donald MACPHERSON at the Winchester Cemetery on 14 August 1931 [4: 22-Aug-1931]
Travelled from Winchester to Perth by train on Monday 30 July 1934 to receive medical attention [5: 3-Aug-1934]
Died 16 September 1934 in Perth; buried at the Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth, Western Australia (Wesleyan, FC, 325) [2] [5: 21-Sep-1934]
Livestock and machinery from her estate were sold by auction on their farm in Winchester on Friday 7 December 1934 [5: 23-Nov-1934]
     Included in the livestock were 810 Merino ewes, 335 Border Leicester Merino cross lambs and 11 Border Leicester lambs [5]
     The machinery sold consisted solely of a 1924 model Oakland car and a Batyphone wireless set with aerial and batteries [5]
Her two vacant blocks in the Winchester townsite remained in the name of her estate until at least 1977 [3]
     The two blocks, Lots 13 and 14 of Choral Street, were later written off with ownership reverting to the Crown [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
Wednesday 6 June 1917 at Carnamah
"SUSAN CATHERINE COLPITTS, Farmer, Winchester, sworn and examined:
     I have been four years in this district. I had previous experience in South Africa. My husband and I hold about 1,600 acres. We paid 9s. an acre for 600 acres of second class [land] and £5 and £4 10s. for the balance. It is Midland [Railway] Company's land. We pay 5 per cent interest. We have 20 years in which to pay the capital. We bought two farms. Each has a comfortable house. On the one place, there was 140 acres cleared, with 120 acres cleared on the other and a dam on each. The cleared land was fenced and there was a ring-fence round the boundaries. Our place is fairly well equipped. This year we intend to crop 450 acres. There is no fallow, but from my experience in South Africa I believed in fallow. I cannot say whether it is best here. I have seen a better crop on new land than on fallow. Last year we had 24 bushels on new land. The whole crop went about 12 bushels. In the preceding year much of the crop went down under heavy rain. We had 20 and 21 bushels in 1913. That was out first year and the Company seeded the land.
     In London we took up this land without seeing it and we found it exactly as represented to us. In the first year the drought was a shock to us, because they had not told us anything about that. We have three cows, good milkers. Our poultry do very well, but we are too far from the market for poultry, Perth being nearest.
     Up till now we have not found farming pay. We have had to appeal to the Industries Assistance Board. Last year we had an unusually dry August, which was the cause of the indifferent harvest. It is difficult to get good labour. This year to put in 320 acres cost us £30 in wages. We paid one man £3 per week, then the rain came, and we had to cultivate it all over again. We have to employ labour for all cropping, my husband being at the front. We used 20 tons of chaff for the horses, and 60 bags of oats. I would liek to see the railway rates on stores reduced. It is particularly hard on one getting small lots. We bring everything from Perth. I generally get a month's supply at a time. Freight represented about 15 per cent. I think ultimately we will be able to make good. The Company is giving me extended to time in which to make payments. The Industries Assistance Board inspector treats us very fairly. If the people in South Africa only knew the conditions here many would come at once. I have not had anything to do with the Midland Settlers' Association. I do not agree with all their ideas. Out nearest doctor used to be at Moora, but I understand he has gone to the war; therefore our nearest is the doctor at Geraldton. There is no district nurse here; there is a school."

From The North Midland Times newspaper, Friday 21 September 1934:
"Mrs. Susan Colpitts. "The death occurred on September 16, at a private hospital in St. George's Terrace, Perth, of Mrs. Susan Colpitts, of Winchester. Mrs. Colpitts was the wife of Major J. W. Colpitts and the mother of Minah (Mrs. Vanschiek), Netta (Mrs. Airey) and Cora (Mrs. Doyle). The deceased was 62 years of age."

From The Irwin Index newspaper, Saturday 22 September 1934:
"Mrs. Colpitts, wife of Major Colpitts, of Winchester, passed away in Perth on Sunday last. News of the sad event was received by wireless and Major Colpitts left for Perth immediately."

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Susan Catherine Maria Botha / De Beer / Colpitts' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 25 July 2024 from [reference list]

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