EXCERPTS FROM THE DIARY
OF JOHN HEATH
John Heath was the only child of William and Fanny Heath who all settled at Heathvale in 1865. John celebrated his 18th birthday on September 17th 1859. He kept a daily diary of which the 1854, 1858, 1859, 1869 and the 1909 diaries are in the keeping of the current Heath family. He was the winemaker at Heathvale from 1865 until his death in 1909.
Tuesday, 15th Nov 1859
A very fine day, I am making my Rabbit Place. All day raising stone and making stone wall all round it on the Hill. Mother went to R Smith’s in the morning, we gave them a nice lot of green peas. We had 20lbs of veal, they killed a calf last night, they gave us the heart liver kidneys feet etc. Mrs Smith gave us a very nice duck for a present it got its leg broke so they killed it. Me and Mother had it and some green peas for our Tea. Mr Chandler came on horseback, he brought Mrs Fairclough’s cheese. I wrote letters, one to Mr Lines to say we will present him some money soon. Also one to Mr Dench of Hindmarsh for Thomas Penny about where Cobbler, that was our horse was Bred he is now lost.
Rained all night. Me, Father and Mother helping us planting potatoes we had from Barnes’s. We finished planting them, they reached up to the large Gum Tree on 3rd land from barley. The land is very dry from want of rain. Me, Father & Mother sowed some flower seeds between vines on sides of main path.
Rained a little in the morning and showery at night. Father at Mr R Smith’s working all day, mending his Roller which is broken. Mr R Smith came all day with 4 Bullocks and 1 par of Harrows and harrowed our land that was last ploughed for us for nothing. He is very kind, he had dinner with us, See page No 9 end Mr Smith did not finish harrowing for us, he harrowed it over twice for us. Mother went to his place to see Mrs Smith in the afternoon. She had tea there. Father had his dinner and tea there.
Father went to Mr R Smith’s to finish mending his roller. Mr R Smith came and finished our harrowing. He finished by dinner time. He had dinner with us. I was digging beds for transplanting, picking up roots and burning a stump, et etc. We have 11 pounds of meat from R Smith’s.
Me and Father sowing Holcus Saccharatus in drills, 18 inches apart between the drills and each seed 4 inches apart. Put it in on lands next to potatoes. Mr George Fife Angas and Mr & Mrs H Angas arrived per Orient from England from Plymouth. William Angas lately married in England, July 2nd.
Showery. Mr Wood came and had dinner and tea. He had been to Adelaide for the last week. He came back yesterday, he brought Mother some boots, when down he brought 1 bottle of Colonial wine with him, Black Portugal, it was very good. Me, Father & Mother went to R Smith’s at night. We had wine there.
See page 9 end of book
I wrote 2 letters for Mr R Smith, one an advertisement to impound cattle to appear in the Adelaide Observer and one to Mr Evans about his keeping his cattle out of Smith’s wheat. I also wrote for ourselves a letter to the Postmaster General concerning a letter on the Board in Adelaide addressed to Mr & Mrs Heath. I also wrote a note to Mr Atkinson, solicitor, King William Street, Adelaide. I sent him our address. Mr Smith will post them for us.
Me, Father & Mother sowing carrot seed in drills all day. We caught 3 opossums in the afternoon. I found a wild cat in some rocks, a very large, pretty one. The dogs could not catch it when it ran out. The first I have ever found.
Me and Father raking land for carrots nearly all day and sowed some large white Belgian carrot seed Broadcast from the bamboo bed down towards the wheat. 2 Natives came, the first that came since we have been up here, a maned named Jimmy and his wife or gin. He has a wurly at John Angas’s, he is the last of the tribe that lived there.