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Lyrup, South Australia in the Riverland
Lyrup - A small village settlement in the Riverland
History of Lyrup
The Lyrup Hut (a shepherd's or boundary rider's quarters) near the junction of the Murray and Pike Rivers was built and named by the lessees of Bookpurnong Station. It was the only existing building or named landmark in the area. There are no surviving records of Bookpurnong Station to tell us how or why the hut got its name.
When two government officials chose the site for the settlement in early 1894 they used this name for the settlement.
At the beginning of 1894 the SA Government were confronted by the necessity to do something about the large number of unemployed men gathering for rallies in the streets of Adelaide. In addition to their current policy of creating relief works (some of lasting, others of limited value) they then decided to further assist by putting men on the land to establish settlements which could become self-supporting. A total of eleven settlement sites were chosen along the upper Murray (Riverland) in South Australia and eventually established, Lyrup being one of the first.
A group of 40 men and their wives, 49 single men and 114 youths and children had been selected to occupy the Lyrup settlement. The Government would transport them and their possessions to Morgan by train, then to Lyrup by paddle steamer. They would also provide basic supplies of building materials and farming equipment for the settlers to get started in their new lifestyle.
The PS Ellen arrived at the Lyrup riverbank at about 8am on Thursday 22 February, 1894. The settlers, wives and children disembarked with food supplies, bedding, furniture, the tarpaulins intended to become shelter and other equipment and supplies were unloaded onto the riverbank.
The settlers gave the captain and crew a rousing cheer as the PS Ellen departed to continue her journey to Renmark. Lyrup was born. The considerable amounts of iron, timber, ploughs and heavy items which could not be fitted onto the Ellen were delivered the following Saturday by the PS Gem.
Of the eleven village settlements established in 1894 Lyrup is the only one where the Village Association still exists. Today the only function of this association is the ownership and operation of irrigation and drainage facilities for the horticultural blocks now owned by the association members. It also supplies domestic water to the Lyrup Village area.
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