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S.A. Northern Pioneers: Samuel Sleep
Title : S.A. Northern Pioneers: Samuel Sleep S.A. Northern Pioneers: Samuel Sleep
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Source : B 6912/K2
Date of creation : ca. 1870
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 50 x 33 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
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Description :

Portrait of Samuel Sleep from Wirrakimbo [Warrakimbo] from the S.A. Northern Pioneers' composite, 1850-1859 (shown in position on B 6912/3).

Samuel Sleep was born c. 1821 in Sufflok England. After arriving in South Australia in 1838 Sleep married Catherine Foot (Foote) in 1853, and they had seven children.

He worked as a shepherd for the South Australia Company in the 1840s and 1850s, first in the Brownhill Creek area, where it acquired the name Sleep's Hill and later at Angas Park. When the Victorian gold fields were opened, Sleep was one of the many South Australians who went in the hope of striking it rich. He was fortunate and with the proceeds he acquired the Warrakimbo run, north of Port Augusta. It was watered by the Willochra and Hookina Creeks and was made up of six leases covering 285 square miles. Other properties included Wallabadina and Cootabeena which he held in partnership with Robert and Walter Bruce. However the severe drought of the 1860s destroyed the prosperity of the stations and brought financial ruin to Sleep.

Samuel Sleep died in December 1866 at age 45, reportedly weighing 18 stone. He was buried in the West Terrace cemetery.

Part of the railway viaduct through the Adelaide Hills near Belair was named after him. Known as the two Sleeps Hill tunnels, the tunnels and the concrete foundations of the adjoining viaducts, are surviving evidence of one of colonial South Australia's major engineering feats. The tunnels, completed in 1882, were the first railway tunnels constructed in the colony. The line for which they were built encouraged development in the Adelaide Hills and ultimately became part of the rail network between Adelaide and Melbourne.

Period : 1836-1851,1852-1883
Place : Wirrakimbo (Warrakimbo)
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Cockburn, R Pastoral pioneers of South Australia Adelaide: Publishers Limited, 1925-1927 ("Reprinted from the Adelaide Stock and Station Journal.") vol. 1 pp. 114-15

Norman, W. A. History of the City of Mitcham, [Mitcham, S.A.] : City of Mitcham, 1953 [i.e. 1954] p. 280-281: Samuel Sleep

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