Mrs William NapperPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The cairn was erected over the grave site commemorates Mrs William Napper, the first wife of William Napper. She was the first European woman to live in the Barmera District. 

Grandfather Napper and his good wife said goodbye to William Napper at an English port in the fifties as he sailed on an emigrant ship crowded with men and women for the little known land of Australia. After about six months at sea the vessel arrived at Adelaide. As far as can be remembered William Napper almost at once came on to the Murray, a very short while after James Trussell rode over from Adelaide with a few men to establish himself at Cobdogla. The first head station at Cobdogla was built of reeds, and this lasted until pine and pug huts were built on the site of the present stone house. Napper was for some time engaged cutting sleepers for one of the early day railways in the state. Most of the sleepers were cut from gums growing near Cobdogla.

They were transported by the early Murray boats to Blanchetown and then carried by bullock drays to the head of the nearest railway out from Adelaide. Mr. Napper's first wife, after some 18 years hard pioneering work on the river, died at Cobdogla in 1869, and her humble headstone may yet be seen just off the main road which leads between Cobdogla and the Kingston punt. Some one whose name is forgotten said of her,"she was a woman who ranked high in the esteem of all who knew her. She was a true pioneer in every sense of the word and often had to stay alone among the hundreds of blacks." The reason the blacks always looked up to her is told elsewhere. When the new road had to be constructed between Cobdogla and Kingston the dead pioneer's bones had to be lifted to the spot they now occupy. 
Excerpt from The Nappers of Lake Bonney, 
Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record (Renmark, SA ),
20 December 1929

Note : As at 02-September-2021 the plaque is missing. The missing plaque inscription says she died in the 1850s but a Trove article published in 1929 states she died in 1869. 



Address:Shueard Road, Loch Luna Game Reserve, Kaiser Strip, Cobdogla, 5346
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.236016
Long: 140.394252
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

A memorial to Mrs William Napper

Died in early 1850`s

First white woman to live in Barmera District

Interred here

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