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Ryan Wellp65


Ryan Wellp65

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									Ryan Well Historical Reserve

                                                                                          Information Sheet

Located approximately 129                 between Alice Springs and
                                                                                 Safety and Comfort
kilometres north of Alice Springs         Katherine.                             •   Observe park safety signs.
on the Stuart Highway, Ryan Well          The wells were generally sunk by       •   Carry and drink plenty of
serves as a rest area of historical       teams of four men - two digging            water.
interest for travellers. On the           at the bottom of the excavation,       •   Wear a shady hat, sunscreen,
western side of the highway are                                                      insect repellent, suitable
                                          one at the surface pulling up
the remains of an old well which                                                     clothing and footwear.
                                          buckets of soil with a windlass        •   Avoid strenuous activity
was associated with the Overland          and one making timber framing.             during the heat of the day.
Telegraph Line and early
                                          Dressed bush timber collars and        •   Consider your health and
settlement of Central Australia.                                                     fitness when choosing a walk.
The South Australian Government           frames were used to retain the
named this well after Ned Ryan            earth around the excavation
                                                                                 Please Remember
who, with his nephew, Jeremiah            wherever the ground was soft           •   Keep to designated roads and
Ryan, completed Ryan Well in              and likely to fall in. The framing         tracks.
1889.                                     followed the shaft down until          •   All historic, cultural items and
                                          more consolidated and firmer               wildlife are protected.
On the eastern side of the                strata was reached. Below this the     •   Fires are not permitted in the
highway are the remains of Glen           shaft was usually left un-                 reserve.
Maggie, the homestead of a                timbered.                              •   Bins are not provided, please
sheep and cattle station                                                             take your rubbish with you.
established in 1914 by Samuel and         At first the wells along the           •   Pets are permitted on a leash
Elizabeth Nicker and their five           Overland Telegraph Line were not           in the carpark only.
                                          equipped with more than                •   Camping is not permitted.
                                          windlasses for raising and
                                          lowering of buckets. Where large      Samuel Nicker’s station
Ryan Well                                 numbers of stock had to be            In late 1913 Samuel Nicker
In 1872, the Overland Telegraph           watered the windlass system           acquired an annual licence for
Line was built through the area           could not cope and accordingly        land surrounding Connors Well
from Adelaide to Darwin. Good             holding tanks and whips were          and 200 square miles around Ryan
rains had fallen and six wells built      installed. A drover might send        Well. Nicker arranged the
at the time were sufficient. It soon      two men to a well a day or two in     purchase of 500 head of sheep
became evident, however, that             advance of the arrival of the         and went out to erect holding
more wells were needed,                   travelling stock. The men would       yards on his block. An eye
particularly when stock were              fill the tanks, enabling the stock    infection then caused him to
beginning to be shifted along the         to water quickly when they            travel to Adelaide for treatment
Overland Telegraph Line route.            arrived.                              while his family waited in Alice
The mining rush to Ruby Gap and           Whips utilised animal power to        Springs.
Arltunga further spurred the              draw water from the bottom of the     On his return in August 1914, the
South Australian Government to            well. A draught animal would be       family set off northwards with a
commission some basic civil work          harnessed to a cable or rope each     buggy, horse and dray, goats,
in Central Australia. The most            end of which was attached to well     milking cows and the sheep. They
significant new works were                buckets. As the rope was pulled       were accompanied by an
undertaken by a party headed by           to and fro a full bucket was raised   Aboriginal couple, “Old Billy”
Ned Ryan, and by 1884, the                and an empty one lowered into         and his wife who shepherded the
Superintendent of Posts and               the well. The distance walked by      sheep and goats.
Telegraphs was able to report to          the draught animal in each
the South Australian Parliament                                                 On McGrath Flat the horse bolted
                                          direction was equivalent to the       and the dray ran into the buggy,
that there were now 16 wells on           depth of the well.
the Overland Telegraph Line                                                     breaking a wheel and causing it to

Parks & Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory
Regional Office - Arid Zone Research Institute, Tom Hare Building
South Stuart Highway ALICE SPRINGS NT 0870
Ph: (08) 8951 8211 Fax: (08) 8951 8290
Ryan Well Historical Reserve
Information Sheet

be abandoned. All goods were then
transfered to the dray and everyone walked.
The dray finally gave out at Ryan Well where
Nicker decided to form a permanent camp.
Glen Maggie
The Nicker’s earliest permanent dwelling at
Ryan Well was constructed of mulga
uprights, with clay filling the gaps between.
The doors and prop open window shutters
were made of an old iron water trough
beaten flat. Nicker named the homestead
“Glen Maggie” after his daughter Margaret.
A woolshed constructed of bush timber was
constructed alongside the house.
In 1918 or 1919 a two room stonework wing
comprising a main bedroom and a sitting
room with fireplace, was erected alongside
the original dwelling. The stone structure,
with bush timber roof framing and
corrugated iron roof, is all that remains of
Glen Maggie today.
Written into the Nicker’s 1919 lease was the
                                                      Park map
provision to supply water to the travelling                                  To Aileron 7 km
public and their stock for a fee. Fees charged
were one halfpenny per head of cattle, one
penny for each camel and ten shillings for                                                                                              0            50

each one thousand (1000) head of sheep or
small cattle. Officers from the Post and Police
Departments traveling on public business
were to have their horses or camels watered


free of charge by the lessee.                                                  Well

The water at Ryan Well was barely drinkable

                                                                                                                      Remains of
                                                                                                                      Glen Maggie

by humans and the Nickers carted their own
water from Connors Well or from Annas
In October 1921, a non-official post office
was opened at Glen Maggie as the building                          Park boundary
was located on the Overland Telegraph Line.                                                                       To Alice Springs 129 km
This was upgraded to a telegraph office in
1923.                                              Clarke it seems was keen on                        1935. During that year the post office at
                                                   aeroplanes but not really interested in            Glen Maggie was closed down and the
The Nickers struggled on after several dry
                                                   becoming a pastoralist. He renamed                 service transferred to Aileron.
seasons until, in 1929, Sam Nicker suffered a
                                                   the station Aileron and Fred Colson
stroke and the family decided to sell the
                                                   was taken on to manage the station
station and move to Alice Springs. Sam died                                                           Please do not climb on the well
                                                   and begin a new homestead at the
in Adelaide hospital during Christmas 1930.                                                           or disturb the stonework.
                                                   present Aileron site.
In 1930 Sam Nicker’s station was purchased                                                            Further information and a historic display
                                                   Aileron Station, including Glen
by “Norrie” Claxton, a well known cricketer                                                           can be viewed at the Aileron Road House,
                                                   Maggie, was acquired from Claxton by
and baseballer of the time, who is said to                                                            approximately 10 kilometres north of Ryan
                                                   its manager Fred Colson in about
have purchased Glen Maggie for his                                                                    Well. Facilities and toilets are available.
adopted son Clarke.

A/6/2005PWSNT         For more information see our website: or contact Central Australian Tourism (08) 8952 5800

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