Palm Family

SA History Project

History Through the Eye of a Needle

The Palm Family

The Palm Family

The Palm family left Hope Valley in 1857 to farm in the Port Gawler region of South Australia. Johann, the oldest son, took over the family farm. The second son, Conrad went to Yorke Peninsula to take up land at Tipara, at 21 years of age. Albert, the third son, moved with his mother to Gawler and served his apprenticeship as a blacksmith. Once finished, he started his own business at Tipara, but later moved it to Paskeville, also on Yorke Peninsula . Heinrich, the fourth son, had the General Store at Kadina and bought Albert’s house at Paskeville when the family moved to Eyre Peninsula . Two of the three daughters lived on Yorke Peninsula after they married and the third went to Streaky Bay on Eyre Peninsula .

Pioneers required fortitude of every kind and a high degree of optimism; above all however, they needed a huge capacity for hard work. It was a capacity for the necessary work that led to the success of the Newman and Palm families in their ventures.

Georgiana and Albert Palm 

When Georgiana went to Paskeville in 1886, she would have had to be like all country house-wives and make her family self-sufficient. These women had learnt all the necessary skills while still living at home, as they had to do their share of the work. Flour, sugar and tea could be purchased but supplies would have been erratic. They were used to raising (and dispatching) poultry and looking after the ‘house’ cows. The vegetable garden tended to be a combined effort, with the men doing the heavy work while the women were responsible for the watering.

Water was one of the most significant issues faced by many new settlers. The newly settled land where the Palms lived at Paskeville and, later, Edillilie were both in low-rainfall areas with no running water to count on. The highest priority was the establishment of water-catchment; corrugated iron was used for tanks to utilize the run-off from roofs, and dams were built to maximize the benefit of any rain. The only water not recycled was drinking water; carrying all the water from baths and washing to the vegetable garden and orchard was a daily chore – and only water surplus to this could be used in the ornamental garden. Both Georgiana and Albert were lovers of trees and flowers. Part of the preparation for the move to Eyre Peninsula was the establishment of sufficient seedlings in jam tins to plant a double row of gums and pines on either side of the track from the road to the house. This became a landmark in the district. They also planted an orchard and extensive gardens. All this was done with bathwater.

It is hard to imagine South Australia without fruit trees. However, fruit trees need time to mature, and so fruit was at a premium for many years. One can only imagine Georgiana’s opinion of a goat which got into the kitchen at Paskeville and ruined a new batch of jam.

In preparation for the Palm family’s move to the new block at Edillilie, Albert had cleared some of the land and built a large barn. The family lived in this barn for six months. Georgiana did the cooking for her family of eleven, and farm labourers, in a camp oven over an open fire. Later, the house at Edillilie was built of timber and corrugated iron. Iron was relatively easy to transport and the house could be constructed quickly – there were no locally available bricks or quarry to supply stone, and the trees were too small to provide timber for building.

Albert proved to be a very good farmer, and continued to successfully grow grain after many on neighbouring blocks had failed. He was one of the first to make use of the new inventions of the stumpjump plough and the stripper, both of which had contributed so much to the conversion of bushland to agricultural production when he had his workshop at Paskeville. The discovery of the role of superphosphate as a fertilizer also contributed to Albert’s success as a farmer.

Georgiana and Albert’s children attended primary school at Paskeville. After the family moved to Eyre Peninsula, the children rode the five miles from the farm to the local school at Edillilie (which consisted of a railway siding and the school). The children also helped out on the farm. The younger Palm boys were busy on the farm during the First World War, when their brothers had enlisted. Georgiana found the time to give her children a ‘love of the arts’ – her children remember her as a keen reader and very fond of music.

The isolation of country life meant that women had to be able to manage medical emergencies. Georgiana nursed one of her sons for three weeks with concussion, and another who was almost strangled in a rope. The eldest son was run over by a scrub roller during the family’s first year at Edillilie. Getting professional help may have seemed too much trouble: Georgiana was pregnant with her ninth and last child (Daphne) at the time the family moved to Eyre Peninsula, and made the journey to Port Lincoln over a rough, new track for the birth. On the return journey the horses shied at a rabbit, throwing Albert out and nearly capsizing the buggy. Fortunately, he was able to keep hold of the reins and get the horses under control; meanwhile Georgiana managed to hold on to her new baby with one hand and the buggy with the other.

Amongst all their other work, women still found time for needlework. Almost all women of Georgiana’s time were at least competent needlewomen. They all learnt ‘plain sewing’ and could make and repair their family’s everyday clothing. Many also had a sewing machine. They also learned to knit; knitting wool could be recycled, was easily obtained by mail and, above all, durable. Girls were taught plain sewing and embroidery both at home and at school, and often made samplers. The clothing of babies and young children was decorated with embroidery as were the underclothes of all women and girls. Most girls started on their trousseau at quite an early age, making and embroidering a collection of personal clothing and household linen.

Customs relating to hospitality dictated much of the embroidery. Plates were always covered with d’oyleys of an appropriate shape and serving tables always covered with an appropriate cloth. No dining table would set without a tablecloth and serviettes. These utilitarian items provided opportunities for embellishment by the needlewoman. The custom of embroidery was very widespread and each group of early migrants to South Australia brought their own variations on the theme.

​Descendants of Johann Heinrick Palm
Johann Heinrick Palm was born in 1804 in Germany and died in South Australia.

Johan married Johanna Bussenschutt “Jenee” in 1848. Johanna was born in 1822 in Germany. She died in 1902 in South Australia.

They had the following children:

Albert Palm Johann Palm was born 1848 and died 1875 in South Australia. Maria Palm was born 1850 and died 1872 in South Australia. Johanna Palm was born 1856 and died 1946 in South Australia. Adelaide Palm was born 1858 and died 1928 in South Australia. Conrad Palm was born 1860 and died 1928 in South Australia. Heinrick Palm was born 1886 and died 1959 in South Australia.
Albert Palm was born in 1862 in South Australia. He died in 1943 in South Australia.

Albert married Georgiana Newman daughter of Charles Newman and Mary Anne Maria Bales in 1886. Georgiana was born in 1864 in South Australia. She died in 1939.

They had the following children:

Alberta Palm was born 1887 in South Australia and died 1953 in New South Wales. Alberta married in 1913.
Minnie Palm was born 1889 in South Australia and died 1964 in Victoria. Minnie also married in 1913.
Albert Palm was born 1890 in South Australia and died 1951 in New South Wales.
Cyril Palm was born 1893 and died 1977 in South Australia.
Leslie Palm was born 1895 and died 1915 in South Australia. The cause of death was Service in WWI.
George Palm was born 1897 and died 1977 in South Australia.
Milton Palm was born 1899 and died in South Australia.
Diosma Palm was born 1902 and died 1989 in South Australia.
Daphne Palm was born 1907 and died in 1999 in South Australia.


Diosma married Stuart Humble.

They had the following children:

Maggie Patterson