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John Tennant Memorial Cairn : 2004
John Tennant Memorial Cairn : 2004

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Chris McLaughlin

The cairn was erected in 1946 to commemorate the droving feat of John Tennant who in 1845 and 1846 drove a large flock of sheep for the first time around the head of Spencer Gulf and into this District. It was unveiled on the centenary of the event. 

Towards the end of October, 1845, John Tennant undertook to drove a large flock of sheep, said to have been 7,000 or 8,000, from the Barossa district into the Port Lincoln area round the head of Spencer Gulf. He met with misfortune in the vicinity of Mt. Arden, where the natives killed two of the shepherds and several hundred sheep were dispersed, either by the natives, or strayed after the death of the shepherds. It is presumed the sheep were depastured in the vicinity until  about June or July, 1846, when the journey was continued, after the winter rains had set in.

The South Australian 'Register' of August 26, 1846, announced the arrival of the party to the north of Port Lincoln on 8th August. John Tennant occupied Tallala, James Anderson who was with him took over White River. Both of these stations were formerly in possession of the Whites. It does not require a very vivid imagination to picture Tennant's trials and anxieties when passing through the dry arid country south of Mt. Arden, down almost to Pillaworta, over which the sheep had to be driven. It will be remembered that C. C. Dutton had attempted in 1842 to travel cattle overland from Pillaworta to the mainland, losing his own life and that of three or four of his companions. When in 1842 the Whites of Tallala determined to leave the Port Lincoln district they sent their sheep to the mainland by ship. Whether they considered the proposition of the overland trip is not known, but it is surmised that they considered the hazards of such a journey as hopeless. One has only to read reports by C. Driver, Nathaniel Hailes, the Hawker Bros, and E. J. Eyre of their search for Dutton to become aware of the difficulties encountered by the way. However, Tennant was not deterred and determined to overcome all the difficulties and take the sheep overland.
Port Lincoln Times (SA), 12 September 1946.

The unveiling of the John Tennant Memorial Cairn at the entrance to Tallala homestead will be performed by Dr. C. E. C. Wilson, vice president of the Royal Geographical Society of Australia, on Friday, 8th November, 1946. at 3 p.m. This memorial is to commemorate the Centenary of John Tennant's droving feat in 1846 in bringing a large flock of sheep from the mainland overland to Tallala. Several members of the Tennant family will be present at the ceremony.
Port Lincoln Times, 24 October 1946.



Address:Lincoln Highway, near Tallala Homestead entrance, Louth Bay , 5607
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.528726
Long: 135.919656
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event Start Date:1845
Approx. Event End Date:1846


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 8th November, 1946
Front Inscription

First journey with sheep round the head of Spencer Gulf

This cairn commemorates the droving feat of John Tennant who in 1845 - 6 brought a large flock of sheep through much arid  country occupied by hostile natives, from the settled areas to this District.

Erected 1946

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au