The first inhabitants of Andado Station lived in a shelter of iron held up by a timber frame with cloth sides; they then progressed to a mud brick hut that was built between 1910 -1918, no remnants of this building remain.
The original home as we see it today consisted of what is now the sitting room and main bedroom and was built between 1924 -1927. The remainder of the house came from the home of the then station owner’s mother (Mc Dill family) from Oodnadatta. The house was pulled down and transported to Andado by the camel carriers Bagot & Marsh – quite a trek!
Part’s of the land that was to become Andado Station was first held in 1880 by Willoby and Gordon. It wasn’t until 1908/09 that Andado land was first occupied by Robert Sharpe and David Mayfield. Additional pastoral leases were issued to other parties between 1908 and 1914. George Thomas Mc Dill sank several bores on Andado land over this time and in 1914 he acquired grazing land with his brother, Robert David Mc Dill and Henry Stanley Roper.
It was during the Mc Dill/Roper years that the first building, a mud brick hut, was erected. It was replaced on the occasion of George Mc Dill’s wedding when his wife came to live on the station in 1922.
Sheep were introduced in the early 1920’s following several years of good rains but drought in the late 1920s financially crippled the Mc Dill’s – but they hung on. By 1933 the station was running 1300 sheep, 420 cattle and 116 horses.
Andado Station was sold by the Mc Dill brothers in 1942 and then changed hands several times, eventually to be owned H. H. Overton in May 1955. Overton formed a partnership with Molly and Malcolm Clark called the ‘Andado Pastoral Company’. Malcolm ‘Mac’ Clark had been employed as an overseer on the station since 1949.
In 1955 a new homestead was built 18 km’s west of the old homestead, leaving the ‘old place’ to fall into ruin. By 1969, the Clark family owned Andado Station outright.
The name Andado comes from a southern Aranda (Arrernte) Aboriginal word for a stone implement.
1972 saw the huge job of restoring the old homestead, with the help of her family, to its former glory eventually operating a tourism business, ‘Tjauritchi Wanda Tours Pty Ltd’, which showed tourists how life was in the earlier days in the outback without modern amenities.
Molly and the family experienced a double tragedy in 1978 when they lost Mac to a heart attack while flying his light aircraft and in 1979 their eldest son, Graham, who died when his semi trailer collided with a freight train.
Andado Station was one of the first cattle stations in the Northern Territory to undergo Brucellosis & Tuberculosis testing. Because the station bordered with South Australia they had to de-stock (cull) their cattle and subsequently lost the property, having to sell it in 1984 for a pittance.
In January 1987, Molly secured a Crown Lease over 45 square kilometres of land around the old homestead, re-naming it ‘Old Andado’.
Life on Old Andado in the Early Years
Imagine living with no closed in verandahs, no windows, no fly screens, no doors! The temperatures in summer can escalate to over 50 degrees Celsius with ant plagues, hundreds of thousands of flies, snakes and other creepy crawlies to deal with.
There was no plumbing to the Homestead; water had to be carried to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry area. At first there was no power so kerosene lanterns were the source of light, kerosene powered fridges kept food and the wood stove cooked food and boiled water. In the 1970’s a generator took over the job of supplying power but the wood stove is still in use today.
There was no way of communication initially apart from the camel drawn mail cart which would have only come by every couple of months between the 1890’s and 1930’s. In the 1930’s the radio telephone was invented by Paul Traeger for the Flying Doctor Service and fast became an essential communication tool for the isolated station people. Molly was still using the radio telephone well into the 1980’s until a satellite phone tower was installed.
Before the existing roads were graded the only way into Old Andado was via Kulgera and Finke following a set of tyre tracks. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that a track was made from Old Andado to Allambi, Santa Teresa and Alice Springs. It is now a public double cut graded road called the Old Andado Track.
10 thoughts on “Life & History”
- Trudi Klat says:
Hello Meegan, my husband and I were with a group of other 4×4 adventurers on the way to the Madigan Line and Hay River back in 2006.
Old Andado beckoned us from the top of a sand dune, it glistened in the bright sunlight. We were so excited to have arrived and it wasn’t long before I made my way to the homestead.
Lance and June were the Caretakers at the time, very friendly and helpful folks who allowed us into the homestead so we could absorb the wonderful atmosphere.
They requested us to sign the visitors book because, we were told that Molly loved to read all the comments made by travellers. Two other couples (friends) along with us very happily obliged, this was on the 19th of June 2006.
Your Grandparents were true pioneers, the conditions must have tested them on many occasions.
Molly had asked Lance and June to unpack many boxes of belongings in order to recreate the atmosphere from all those years ago when she and her family resided there. They were in the midst of attending to this task but had already done much of the work.
I feel so fortunate to have experienced this and will remember it as a highlight of my life.
We were saddened last year to hear of Molly’s passing, please accept our heartfelt sympathy to all of her family.
Keep up the good work.
Kindest regards Trudi and Paul.
- meegan says:
Hi Trudi & Paul thanks for your lovely email. Old Andado will live on in her Grandchildren’s hands and a lot has been improved already. Keep checking in on the website and our Facebook page for updates.
- Peter Juers (used to be called Shorty) says:
Lived up there for quite a few years. Would like to get in touch with you sometime.
- meegan says:
Hi Peter please give me a call on 0411667110 or flick me an email at [email protected] Id love to hear from you as well!
- Leon Michalski. says:
I could not thank the caretakers enough for their hospitality when we were shown around and informed about the station. We were given cups of tea and biscuits and had the history of Old Andado explained to our group (ten of us). We were there on the 24th of July 2014 and were heading across the Simpson on the Madigan Line which we completed and enjoyed immensely.
PS We hope the salt and pepper shakers were returned.
- meegan says:
Hi Leon great to hear you enjoyed your time there. Having the Volunteer Caretakers is so important as we want the place to feel alive and have the many people that camp and pass through be greeted and to be able to be told some of the history of the place is fantastic. The salt & pepper shakers are long gone Im afraid as they have been missing for many years now.
- Barb Gregg and Trevor O’Connor says:
We intend going to Old Andado in July just wondering if the track is suitable for towing an off road camper trailer. Will be travelling from Port Lincoln through NSW
- Glenda Garlick says:
Im currently living here at Old Andado in a mobile exploration camp.Im am the cook.Im so pleased to be here on such an historical site, and being able to spend time here is the best part.
- garry brand says:
Hello Glenda, it is very nice of you to stay at “Old Andado” for awhile.
Are you still there? My name is Garry Brand, & I worked, & lived there from 1957 for about 4 or five years, & knew Molly & Mac when they were in their prime, – both lovely people!
In recent times I have thought a lot about Andado, the good times I had there, with lots of marvellous stories to tell, & have thought about coming back for “old times sake”
I would appreciate if you would give me a bit of “recent news” from there.
With kind regards, Garry…
- meegan says:
Hi Garry, Glenda was a part of mining group that was on Old Andado for quite some time. They have since moved on. Im Meegan, Molly’s eldest granddaughter. As you may of read Molly passed away late September so us family were at Old Andado to bury her there as it was her request. The old place is a but run down as you’d imagine and needs some TLC. More information on that will be release over the next couple of months as ownership of Old Andado changes from Molly to us 5 grandchildren and more firm plans are made. Rest assured there WILL be a working bee next year and a 20th Anniversary of Molly’s Bash on Mothers Day 2013.