Natal Downs Station Archive
Through a Crown Lands sale in September 1862, Messrs Robert Kellett and T de L Moffatt were granted the first license to occupy four 50sqm blocks in the Kennedy District at a fee of £25 each, named as Natal Downs. As Kellett and Moffatt failed to pay the fees by the due date of 8 November, however, they forfeited their claim to the runs. By November 1863 Kellert had re-applied for Natal Downs, now comprised of seven blocks totalling 264sqm for a total fee of £130.40, and was granted a license to occupy the land for pastoral purposes. Just weeks later, Kellert transferred his license to John De Villiers Lamb and Charles Parbury. Lamb and Parbury took on a partnership with Emu Plains Station. The two stations, on open downs with good water and grass, were stocked with 18,000 sheep and 400 cattle. By September 1865, however, they too were on notice for failing to meet payments and in March 1866 the partnership was being closed with the stations, stock and improvements listed for sale, though it seems to have remained in Parbury’s control for he was again selling in April 1867. At this time it was listed as 500sqm stocked with 14,000 sheep and 1100 cattle. Over the ensuing years the station passed into the hands of William Chatfield Jun. and Michael Miles. Chatfield married Kate Stuart McKenzie on 27 December 1871, and their first daughter was born at Bowen on 28 September 1872. Miles and his wife had a daughter the following year. Also in 1872, Chatfield donated to the Australian Museum a collection of “fossil remains of tortoises, crocodilians, etc.,” and again in 1880 he donated a collection of reptiles.
In December 1873, Miles and Chatfield sold the property to Messrs Bundock and Hays, with 10,800 sheep, 2,300 cattle, stores, horses etc., for £13,250. At that stage, Natal Downs was comprised of ten blocks of country, being Natal Downs runs 1-5, Enghien 1-2, Emu Plains 1-2, and Mingobar. Though Chatfield stayed on at Natal Downs, Miles moved on to Mount Elsie Station. Less than three weeks later Bundock and Hays sold a portion of the station, all the sheep as well as some of the stores and horses, perhaps to Messrs R J King & Co. On 23 August 1881, William Chatfield Jnr, who had taken a great interest in the people and land he had lived in for fourteen years, died at the age of thirty-nine after a long period of ill-health. He and Kate had had four daughters, two of whom had also died. Norman S C Berry assumed the role of Station Manager. In October 1881 runs six and seven, which had been forfeited, were sold to Richard Long and Thomas Moody respectively. In December the following year, King & Co. sold Natal Downs (Emu Plains No’s 1-2, Natal Downs No’s 1-3, 5, and Mingobar) for £17,500 to W G Bundock who ran the station with his brothers, Charley and Frank F Bundock. (Reference: Trove Digitised Newspapers, various)
Archive Location: 46R
ND/LEDG/1 Station employees ledger, Natal Downs Station 4.4.1937 -31.8.1944