9 February 2016

Restaurant on fire


A goldfields romance

Just a few days before the marriage of George Bennett and Bridget Helen Kelly in 1887, a fire broke out near Bennett’s restaurant in Teetulpa, South Australia.

Alluvial gold had been found at Teetulpa in 1886 and thousands of people flocked to the area to seek their fortune. Situated 85 km northeast of Peterborough in South Australia, life on the goldfield was difficult with limited water supplies. Typhoid had been common towards the end of 1886 with several deaths recorded. By February of 1887 it was estimated that the population was about 2500. (1)

Miners must eat and it appears the Bennetts had a restaurant. On the marriage certificate of George and Bridget Helen he is listed as a restaurant keeper aged 25. Was this his restaurant where the fire broke out on June 19th 1887? Luckily it appears that only “wearing apparel and bedding were consumed” but with the young couple’s wedding scheduled for the following Sunday, June 26th the loss may have been more significant than these few lines in the “South Australian Register” convey.

A fire took place near Bennett’s restaurant this evening. Only wearing apparel and bedding were consumed.

George aged 25, the son of George John Bennett and Bridget Helen aged 23, the daughter of Daniel Kelly, both residents of Teetulpa were married on 26th June 1887 by G Edward Young in “a building set apart in which to hold Church of England services.” The witnesses were Catherine Stevenson a nurse and Walter Moore a storeperson both of whom listed Teetulpa as their place of residence.(2)

In 1888 their first child Olive Mary Bennett was born and registered in the Broken Hill district of NSW. Perhaps George and Bridget had moved on to the mining fields at Silverton. At this stage I’ve been unable to locate the birth record of their second child, Georgina Ellen Bennett my maternal grandmother,(born about 1890-1) By 1892 another move has been made to Goodwood, Adelaide, South Australia where the birth of their son James George David Bennett on August 16 of that year is recorded. The next birth registered to the couple is that of Cecil Victor Bennett  born at Edithburgh, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia on 7 April 1902.

Marriages of the children

When Olive, now aged 19 married Daniel Casaretto in October of 1906, her parents George and Bridget Helen Bennett are listed as living at Edithburgh on Yorke Peninsula, South Australia.

Daniel’s casarettoparents were from Hamley Bridge.
Perhaps Mary Olive's younger sister Georgina accompanied her to Hamley Bridge. Less than a year later on September 11th 1907 Georgina married Patrick Joseph O’Dea of Hamley Bridge.

George and Bridget Helen Bennett were now living in Gawler, South Australia.

JamesBennettJames, at the age of 24 married Ethel Richards on January 20, 1917 at the Holy Cross Church at Goodwood in Adelaide. Tragedy was soon to follow. A scant nine months later James was visiting his sister Georgina, brother-in-law Patrick and their 5 children in Ngallo, Victoria when he was struck down with illness and died leaving his widow Ethel with a 2 month old son, Albert John Bennett (known in later life as Jacky).

His widow Ethel subsequently married Michael James O’Dea, Georgina’s brother-in-law on October 9,1918.

Cecil (known as Ron) married May Pike at the Holy Cross Church in Goodwood on April 10, 1926. (3)

Bridget Helen Bennett died aged 71 on May 15, 1934 at Lourdes Valley, Glen Osmond (4) and was buried in the Catholic cemetery at West Terrace in Adelaide on the following day.(5) At this stage I have been unable to determine where and when her husband, my great-grandfather George Bennett died. If you have any further information on this family, my contact details are on the About page of this blog.

Shoes, boots and the shop

Casaretto - When we were children our shoes were purchased at Casaretto's shoe shop in Hamley Bridge often after Sunday Mass. The shop owner, Stephen Casaretto was Daniel and Mary Olive's son, my mother's first cousin. It seemed to me as a child that the store was opened especially for us. I remember towers of boxes and the smell of leather, it was quite an Aladdin's cave for a child unused to shopping. What a delight it was to own a new pair of shoes when so many previous pairs had been handed on from older siblings.


The town of Yunta was established in 1887 as a result of the gold found at Teetulpa.
View of Teetulpa.
Inscription underneath the photograph states 'There was great excitement when, closely following the discovery of silver at Broken Hill, gold was found at Teetulpa in 1886. The extent of the activities of the gold-seekers is shown in this panaramic of the field, which has been kindly paced at our disposal by Mr R Heithersay of Peterborough'. The photograph shows hundreds of white canvas ridge tents spread out in the scrub at Teetulpa.
courtesy of State Library of South Australia

Perhaps George delivered pies to the miners.
1886 - The pie man photographed carrying the food in a tray balanced on top of his head as he goes on his round of the miners working on the gold field at Teetulpa, South Australia.

courtesy of State Library of SA
More historic images of Teetulpa.

Genealogy Snapshot

Name: George Bennett
Spouse: Bridget Helen Kelly

Relationship to Carmel: Great-grandparents
  1. George Bennett and Bridget Helen Kelly
  2. Georgina Ellen Bennett (O'DEA)
  3. Hannah Olive O'Dea (HORGAN)
  4. Carmel

1. 1887 'The North Australian.', North Australian (Darwin, NT : 1883 - 1889), 12 February, p. 2, viewed 10 February, 2016,http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47996409

2. South Australian District marriage transcript.

3. 1926 'Family Notices.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 14 May, p. 12, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167756034

4. 1934 'Family Notices.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), 16 May, p. 18, viewed 9 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47558739

5. 1934 'Advertising.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), 16 May, p. 5, viewed 9 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47558483

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