Badger Corner Holts: Early 1916

Actually they were known locally as Holt’s – on all official documents as Robinson’s.

Dan Bowman and Frank Smith’s action to a promotion (Royal Melbourne Show sponsored by the Holloway family) enticing settlers to Flinders Island is how the Bowman family came to Flinders. Dan and Frank visited Flinders, selected land out at Nelson’s lagoon, returned to Melbourne to source equipment and became residents upon their return in May 1913.

November 2013: looking in the Bowman history book, delighted to find entries giving a snap shot of life at Badger Corner early 1916: and again in 1919. This was precisely the information I had searched for. A snapshot: Jan to March 1916 – an absolute treasure glimpsing life through Dan’s eyes about the Badger Corner Holt’s………..

The Bowman’s and Robinson’s (Holt’s) have a long and enduring friendship spanning the past century, I had no idea how connected they/we  were/are, it’s been an educational journey to learn the history of the Bowman clan as well.

January 1916: Dan was 29, Horace 22 and George 20.

Tot is Dan’s sister. George and Tot were sweethearts.

Below are extracts from Dan’s diary –

1 January 1916 – ‘attended boat race at Lady Barron’ ‘was passenger in Wally Holt’s Emily in two races, lost one and won one, nearly had an accident at wharf’

10 January 1916 The Examiner reports George Holt won the principal sailing event 1 Jan 1916.

2 January ‘Tot at Holt’s’

9 January ‘George Holt came out ‘

19 January  ‘Steamer arrived 5 pm and departed 6.30 Bob was passenger also Miss Cummings, Mrs Mills, Mrs Holt and Miss D Holt and Messrs D and J Holt’

29 January ‘Tot departed for Holt’s at 9am’

5 February ‘Tot went to Whitemark to see Fritz for me she picked up Louie Holt there and returned to Badger Corner with her’

6 February ‘I rode to Dyson’s for dinner after dinner Tot who turned up a little before dinner accompanied by George Holt, Mrs Dyson, children, Charlie and J Holt journeyed to Heaths while I rode to Lady Barron to look for Bob Smiths horses’

11 February ‘after dinner Tot and I rode to Holt’s Badger Corner calling in at Dyson’s and Gunter’s en route, sing-song tonight, fine and warm’

12 February ‘Stayed all last night at Holt’s, George, Horace and I went out for a day’s shooting this morning at 9am and returned at 6.40pm visited Woody, Tin Kettle and Isabella Island, sing-song tonight, fine and warm not much wind’

13 February ‘Tot and I left Holt’s about 3 pm and reached home about 9.30pm, Louie and George came as far as Dyson’s with us where we all had tea’

19 February ‘Tot, Louie and Horace left for Emita from Badger Corner’

1 March ‘Tot and Louie Holt drove out arriving at 7pm,  Miss Holt’s first visit’

4 March ‘Louie Holt and I spent 3 hours this afternoon burning off west of hut’

5 March ‘Louie Holt and Tot drove to Badger Corner I rode with them as far as Gunter’s, Louie likes Nelson’s’

9 March ‘walked round Little Dog Island with Dick Holt, took some photo’s with William Holt and Arthur Holt, after dinner went to Big Dog Island with Alec Ross on the Cluther went to back to Little Dog in the Cluther and had tea, George Holt took us back there had to pull over again no wind’

12 March ‘Linda arrived at 3pm discharged and took in cargo for Babel, F.S.S came along about 6pm and reported, Toroa a total wreck of Rabbit Island two miles of from Settlement Point’

13 March ‘left am accompanied by Constable Archer reached Whitemark by dinner time after dinner proceeded to Settlement Point and secured a few parcels for various south end people also mail, met Mr Dean with most mails about half way between Whitemark and Emita he came onto Lady Barron arriving about 9pm, Constable Archer and I had tea at the Wireless Station and came back to Whitemark and stayed the night at Walkers arrived about 1130pm, saw wreck from Settlement Point’

20 March ‘George and Tot cleared out after breakfast’

21 March ‘after breakfast rode Laddy to Badger Corner arrived about 1230’

22 March ‘Tot and George arrived home about 8pm’

23 March (Sun) ‘very busy all day callers were Misses Holt (2) Miss Crop Messrs George, Dick, Horace Wally and Bert, Geo and Syd West and Dick Milsom, R Smith, & Mr Gunter =14’

29 March ‘Bert and George Holt and Bob Smith camped tonight with us, the Steamer loading at Little Dog’

30 March (Sun) ‘set of about 9am with George Holt for Little Dog Island, it blew some and got a little bit wet from the spray, came home in Wally’s boat arriving about 5pm Tot stayed on Little Dog’

Badger Cnr House 001

George Dick and Louie George Collis Robinson with maybe Horaces dog Scamper






The Bowman’s and Holt’s at Seymour Train Station around the time Dan and George leaving 25 October 1916



The Weekly Courier: picture of the Kangaroo hunters camp at Nelson Lagoon.


1919 – Dan returns ‘home’ after 3 years duty with the Australian Imperial Forces.

19 January Went to Westminster Abbey at 10.30 this morning. Church was crowded.

26 January ‘ Anniversary Day – Wet miserable day. Had a church parade and marched to Village Church at ? Aussie Padre gave very stirring address.’

16 January ‘Aussie letter (3 from Mum 6 Maud’s 1ea C. Dyson, Miss Morgan and Dick Holt’

17 October 1919 Dan and his bride Maud leave Melbourne aboard the Loongana arriving in Launceston – Dan commented he met Louie Holt and Captain Dargaville. He and Maud visited the Gorge.

21 October The Dolphin arrived at Emita at 9am and Dan notes ‘Dean and J Woods drove Holt girls and us to Whitemark and Reynolds took girls onto Holts and Maud and I drove to Holts in FSS jinker, paid Dean,…… drove out to Nelsons lagoon it looks well, returned to Holt’s for the night

23 October (Sun) at Holt’s

24 October ‘had a dance a welcome home to me at Lady Barron Hall, good attendance local and Whitemark people, returned to Holt’s’

25 October ‘came to stay with Fred Gunter, the Linda arrived with goods’

26 October ‘Repatriation address at Whitemark Hall welcome home to Harold J Holt and I’ good attendance. Took FSS junker back.

3 December ‘Tuck Holt and I drove 32 head cattle out to Nelson’s.

28 December ‘we left to go to Holt’s for dinner but returned to Gunter’s as Holt’s weren’t back from Races.


1 January I had to go to Whitemark for this case (court case police v McGary) Afterwards drove to Lady Barron and got wet. Had dinner with Henry Briant.

5 February ‘Dairy meeting to consider the viability of Butter Factory.’

17 Febrauy Went to Lady Barron with cart and 2 horses for tucker. Bought 2 Garrett children out with me,

25 Febraruy ‘ Marriner Frank Ferrall accidentally drowned at Holt’s Trousers Point.’

11 March ‘Jimmy Garrett came out with me and stayed the night because his people were not home’

The diary ends on 26 October and the 27 October the second anniversary of George’s death.

Copies of Dan’s diaries can be found at the Bowman History Room and the Furneaux Museum at Emita.

Only a few of Dan’s early diaries survived – I wonder if he had any idea these particular entries would be so interesting 100 years later.






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