Recently I was invited to see a wonderful stone structure on a private property that has a sad story. Below is a quote from Gwen Warren’s book “Wolwolling Reflections”
Pustkuchen (Two sons and their mother“Family, had cleared 150 acres (60ha) and fenced and poison grubbed the rest, about 500 acres in all. They were in the process of building an excellent stone cottage along the creek in a beautiful setting when the country was burnt out by one of the many fires that escaped in those hot summers. This brought up such a dense growth of Heart–leaf poison that they were forced to abandon it”.
This was one of many family setbacks at a time when many local men experienced World War 1 and the 1930’s great depression. Most new settlers in the area went broke and walked off leaving a debt to the Agricultural Bank. Those that hung on gradually bought out the debts and built up many of the farms we see today.
The house consists of nearly complete stone walls of carefully placed granite blocks and smaller pieces cemented by local mud. A wonderful example of German precision, but the structure is weakening as mud washes out.
The family lived in a smaller bush structure alongside, of which, only a stone chimney remains.
Unfortunately, the once attractive river terrace site with fresh water soak, has now become saline.
Update: It is likely that the house was built by Kurt Pustkuchen (D.O.B. 30/07/1908), (Ossie's brother) before he married Marion Knox in 1934. and moved to another farm further north on Dumberning Rd.
Clues to the family’s connection with South Australia are:
- Sugar Gum (Eucalyptus cladocalyx), and Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus Vic, NSW Qld) trees.
- Reference to Heart –leaf poison that does not occur in WA agricultural areas. The Gastrolobium poison plants were probably local Box and York Road poisons.