Saturday, November 8, 2008

Going back to the roots of my family and the Flaxmans Valley area

I always thought it was quite ironic that I ended up living near a road with my name (well, my maiden name, Pohlner) on it. On this road is a cottage, now renovated (and extended) and renamed "Naimanya" but for many, many years it was known as one of the Pohlner cottages. There is another Pohlner cottage further to the north about 5km and only a few km to the east of that one, still stands the original Pohlner homestead - a magical place now home to Bob and Wilma McLean of McLean's Farm Wines.

As a young girl I often heard mention of "Pohlner's Scrub" which was up high in the Barossa Ranges around the Menglers Hill area. A lot of what is now known as the Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park was originally part of the Pohlner land-holding and a controversial row arose around 1984 when the site was considered for the open-range zoo and sanctuary which was later located at Monarto.

The Pohlners were the third largest land holders in the Menglers/Flaxmans Valley area in the 1900's (after the Evans and Angas families). In 1910 Charlie Pohlner still owned between 4000 and 7000 acres but unfortunately over time, the land was broken up and sold off (or divided up due to marriages) to other now well-known families in the area(s): Argent, Randall, Zander and Thorn.

I am still tracing the family history back to the beginnings of our settlement of this area and this will take some months but I have been told that Charlie was also a councillor on the Flaxmans Valley Council. I am not certain when the FV Council disbanded but there is a plaque at Craneford (Lander's Corner) which is where the Flaxman's Valley Council used to be located. It will certainly be an interesting journey researching all the history but already I understand now why I feel so at home out here "in the hills" and how lucky I am to be of the same blood line that saw the beauty of the area over one hundred and fifty years ago and did such a wonderful thing by preserving a lot of it so that we can now enjoy it as a National Park.

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