The history behind Newenham’s street names.
With a deep family history in South Australia, the Newenham story is an interesting and little-known one. With connections to one of Adelaide’s most prestigious and expensive suburbs, Springfield, and our beautiful land here in Mount Barker, we’ve chosen to honour the past by naming the streets on the eastern side of the creek after this family.
The historic homestead, perched on the end of Newenham Road, has connections with some of South Australia’s most prominent and respected citizens such as Lieutenant Colonel John Morphett Irwin, who purchased the property in 1933. He named it after his ancestor and former Sheriff of South Australia, Charles Burton Newenham.
Lieutenant Colonel Irwin transformed an original cottage into a charming country homestead and converted the land into one of South Australia’s most important scientifically managed farms. His wife was also a passionate gardener, and side-by-side they enhanced the site’s beauty and strengthened its connection with nature.
To discover these connections, we have researched the family and have also had help from direct descendants of the Newenham family who have shared with us some excerpts from their family history, including their family tree. With this information, we decided to keep the Newenham name and take inspiration for our street names from the surnames of relatives and further heritage connections to the family and the land.
Honouring this family history is a wonderful opportunity that adds another authentic and genuine link to our local community. By connecting with the stories behind the land, our future community members can feel a part of Mount Barker’s heritage as they create their own place in Newenham’s future.
Read below for a brief rundown of where our street names originated.
Where did it all begin?
The story starts with Charles Burton Newenham who was born and raised in Ireland in 1794. As he grew up, he met his future wife Mary Louisa Darley, who he married in 1815, and for a number of years after occupied a post under the Imperial Government in connection with the Pigeon-House Fort near Dublin. It wasn’t until a few years later that the couple heard of a young colony of South Australia and were tempted by a new life across the other side of the world in Adelaide. Emigrating from Limerick with their family of three sons and four daughters, they boarded the “Navarino” in London in 1837 for the 102 day journey. Shortly after settling into life in Adelaide, Charles Burton Newenham was appointed Justice of the Peace of the Province in 1838. He became the Sheriff in 1839 and later that year was appointed to be the Province’s first Auditor General. Although not much is known of Charles’ youngest sons George Cobbe and Edward Worth, his eldest son William Henry arrived from England in 1939 and was appointed Clerk of the Supreme Court. Charles’ four daughters Emily Grace, Mary Louisa, Anna Maria and Sydney Francis all married and had children of their own.
After making their move to South Australia, the Newenham’s built a wooden cottage with a vine-covered roof, which was a well-known landmark at the time. After living there for a few years, Charles Burton Newenham then purchased 40 acres of land at Mitcham from Richard Francis Newland, Manager of the Bank of Australasia in 1842. On this land, Charles built a homestead of seven rooms which he and Mary named ‘Springfield House’, after Mary’s childhood home Springfield, near Kilternan, Dublin.
In 1870, solicitor and Charles Burton Newenham’s grandson, Charles Burton Hardy, purchased the house and moved in. By 1897 he had engaged with designers to build further, adding a west wing with a library, drawing room and dining room. The house still stands today and is one of the most historic houses in one of Adelaide’s most prestigious and expensive suburbs, Springfield, being the parcel of land originally purchased by Charles Burton Newenham.
At the top of Springfield House’s driveway remains a strangely formed old gum tree split into four trunks. When Charles Burton Newenham first built the house, he planted four huge gum trees and nicknamed them the ‘Four Sisters’ after his four daughters. The trees were later cut down but the trunks still remain today. This is how our Sisters Street got its name.
The family lives on with Lieutenant Colonel John Morphett Irwin.
Although the story begins with the Newenham Family, the connection to Mount Barker continues with the Irwin Family.
Charles Burton Newenham’s grandson, Charles Irwin, married Olive Morphett Mair, a member of a pioneer South Australian family and grand-daughter of Sir John Morphett and Elizabeth Hurtle, the daughter of Sir James Hurtle Fisher. They had two children; Sydney Mary and John Morphett Irwin.
The original owner of the Mount Barker land, which now forms part of Newenham, was Lieutenant Colonel John Morphett Irwin who was born in 1894. He entered Royal Military College in Duntroon in 1911 as a member of the first class. He graduated in time to go to the First World War in 7 Field Brigade (as Field Regiments were then called), Australian Field Artillery. John (also known as Jack) had a distinguished soldiering record. He was severely wounded in 1918, and was Mentioned in Dispatches on three occasions as well as being awarded the D.S.O (Distinguished Service Order).
During WWII he was appointed to the command of 4th Garrison Brigade in South Australia as a Lieutenant-Colonel. Between the two wars, John established a property 2km south-west of Mount Barker which he named after his great-grandfather, Charles Burton Newenham.
As you can see from reading this brief amount of information, the heritage of Newenham is vast and very interesting. We’re proud to honour the families that have shared this land before us and we look forward to writing the next chapter in Newenham’s story.
Below a list of our street names (in alphabetical order) and their connections with the past:
Burton Street after Charles Burton Newenham
Colonel Street after Lieutenant Colonel John Morphett Irwin
Cooper Place married name of Charles Burton Newenham’s daughter Emily Grace after marrying Chief Justice Sir Charles Cooper
Corbin Road the married name of Mary Louisa and Alfred Hardy’s daughter
Cork Close after where earlier generations of the Newenham’s lived in Ireland
Darley Road maiden name of Charles Burton Newenham’s wife
Fisher Street after Sir James Hurtle Fisher
Hardy Road married name of Charles Burton Newenham’s daughter Mary Louisa after marrying Mr Alfred Hardy
Hawker Court maiden name of Charles Burton Newenham’s nephew’s wife, Mary Louisa
Henderson Grove after Charles Burton Newenham’s grandson, Captain J S Henderson
Irwin Grove after Lieutenant Colonel John Morphett Irwin
Kidman Road after a subsequent landowner
Limerick Lane where the Newenham’s emigrated from in Ireland in the 17th Century
Newenham Parade the main road throughout Newenham, connected to Flaxley Road
Reid Road after a subsequent landowner
Rochfort Street after great grand-daughter of the family
Sisters Crescent after Charles Burton Newenham’s four daughters and the split tree located at the Springfield House
Springfield Road where Charles Burton Newenham built ‘Springfield House’
There is such a lot of history behind Newenham’s street names and there are many people who have mentioned their own personal connection to the land or to the family. If you have a connection to Newenham, we’d love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch soon.
If you’d like to tour this beautiful land and see how easy it is to secure your future on one of these historically-named streets, please call our friendly sales team on 8210 7660 or visit our Sales and Information Centre at 164 Flaxley Road, Mount Barker. We’re open 7 days a week from 12-5pm.
We look forward to welcoming you to Newenham soon.
The information presented in this article was complied from multiple sources, including but not limited to: National Library of Australia, The Advertiser, The Courier Newspaper, The Irwin Family publication, the ancestory.com community, Dr Michael Fitzgerald and from direct descendants of the family.