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30 April 1839 John Rankine and Strathalbyn

 30 April 1839   John Rankine and Strathalbyn

On 30 April 1839 Dr John Rankine, his two brothers and other immigrants from Scotland, arrived in South Australia. The Rankines settled in the district south of Adelaide around what is now the township of Strathalbyn. Some of the families who travelled out with the Rankines also settled in the area. Dr Rankine later purchased land on Hindmarsh Island, which he stocked with cattle, and built a large house there. In 1855 the doctor, who suffered from a heart condition, retired from active work and returned to Scotland for a holiday; he died there in 1864.

His brother, William, continued to live near Strathalbyn. He married three times and six sons survived him to continue the family name in the district. 

The town of Strathalbyn grew slowly, but by 1854 it was large enough to be proclaimed a local government area, the second, after Mitcham, outside the city. The town was linked to Victor Harbor by a tramway in 1869 and to Mount Barker by rail in 1884. Strathalbyn has retained many of its colonial buildings and for this reason it was used for some of the scenes in the film Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Harold J. Stowe, They Built Strathalbyn, Investigator Press, 1973.
Nancy Gemmell, Old Strathalbyn and its people , National Trust.
Historic Places of Australia,   National Trust, 1978, pp. 570-583.

Tags: Rankine John, Strathalbyn