Glen and Don’s BSA “Bantam” motorbikes

When visiting a back-to school reunion (1982?) we visited the museum in the old school. There were two BSA “Bantam” motorcycles. These were purchased new about 1949 -from Fred Forbes-by Don Haynes & myself, both employed in the SA Railways, Don a porter, myself the Freight Clerk. Trans-shipping from Broad gauge to narrow gauge was done at Terowie, Peterborough was the SAR administration/loco sheds etc. for a wide area covering to Quorn,where the Commonwealth Railways then controlled to Alice Springs (Admin centre Port Augusta) and to Silverton NSW. Orroroo was a depot for townships West with a daily Mail Run. The butter factory at Orroroo supplied the butter by rail North to Marree & beyond.

The Cunningham family moved to Orroroo in 1923 when Leo managed & later purchased the Blacksmith shop from F Forbes & Sons, Vic took over the Blacksmith shop & Ruby & Leo moved to Wallaroo because 0f Leo’s health in 1948. The family were very involved within the community, particularly the Orroroo East area where a very successful Tennis Club was created with regular fund raising dances held.

Times were tough in the 30’s & 40’s but we didn’t know any different. The Family had an inbred hard work ethic & community spirit from their parents that was created in Orroroo & has continued throughout their lives, thanks Orroroo. Vic was the last family member to leave Orroroo in 50’s. Leo passed away in 1966, Ruby in 1996 aged 95 leaving 106 direct descendants, Don died 1986 aged 58 in Adelaide, Bernie in 2005 aged 84 at Banora Point NSW, Gladys 89 is living at Wallaroo, Vic 86 lives at Balaklava, Noreen 84 is at Mildura, Glen 78 is on Gold Coast & Molly 75 lives in Adelaide.

Older family members have maintained their Orroroo contacts to this day.


  1. Robert Shammall on 14/05/2012 at 8:58 pm

    I was wondering if anyone in Orroroo can remember my dad? Murray Shammall.
    He was the mail contractor from Wilmington to Orroroo for many years. He also delivered cream to the butter factory and bread to many farmers along the mail route. He met my mum-Laurel Haynes who used to work at Barkers’Any information would be welcome. I have found an early photo of dad with one of his vehicles which had a gas producer fitted-due to petrol rationing.
    Regards Robert

  2. colin McCormack on 11/01/2012 at 6:28 pm

    Can anyone provide me with any information about the drover William Toop.

    • Glen on 12/01/2012 at 3:39 pm

      Perhaps relative of Lou Toop ( L G Toop & Sons) who with 2 sons ran the garage, Rex moved to Maitland SA think deceased in more recent years. Unable recall 2nd brothers name, probably Jim, who think married a Nutt girl & moved to Adelaide. Laurie Anesbury, over 90 & ex shearer, was residing in aged home at Orroroo may know more. Good luck.

      • Betty Martin on 25/04/2014 at 10:50 am

        Lou and Doris Toop had 3 sons, Peter, the youngest I think and still alive lives in Victor Harbor S,A, both Jim and Rex are deceased

        • Glen Cunningham on 25/04/2014 at 11:17 am

          Jim-youngest-married a Nutt. Eldest bought a holden agency in Maitland SA, now deceased.

  3. Robert Shammall on 16/02/2010 at 10:45 pm

    .Greetings Iolee ,
    Sorry i have not been in touch earlier.
    You can contact my sister- Cheryl at :
    Please feel welcome to contact her.

    Regards Robert

  4. Glen on 15/02/2010 at 10:25 am

    Blimey! We started something here Tim. Quite amazing actually for us oldies.

    • tim on 15/02/2010 at 11:17 am

      It’s cool, hey!

  5. Iolee Mann on 12/02/2010 at 8:22 pm

    Dear Robert, I am looking to connect with your family particularly Cheryl and Phillip to find out details of their family for the family I am doing on the
    Williamsons who went to Orroroo. I am related to the early Mary who married the Francis Frederick Williamson. She is buried in the Orroroo Cemetery and there was an article on her life in the newspaper when she died in 1923. Could you let me know through the email how I may find them.

    • David on 26/02/2010 at 9:48 pm

      Hi Iolee,

      I would be interested in making contact and sharing information if possible, I am slowly doing a family tree and my GGGG-Grandfather is Francis Frederick Williamson and I would be very keen to learn anything you have on him or his wife.
      I can be contacted at

      I believe I still have distant relatives living at Orroroo.

  6. Robert Shammall on 04/02/2010 at 11:30 pm

    It is good to be able to keep in touch with what is happening in Orroroo and District.
    Also to be able to keep in touch with relations- wherever they may be.
    Keep up the Good Work Tim and also John
    Good to hear that Glen “caught up ” with Uncle Don Haynes after many years!

  7. michelle mercer on 25/01/2010 at 2:07 pm

    Dear Tim,
    have just visited the orroroo website. i was given the address by robert shammall who just happens to be my cousin. My dad trevor haynes and rob’s mum were brother and sister. Dad lives in peterborough, where he’s been since the late 1950’s.

    Mum and Dad are going down to Goolwa in June to celebrate Uncle Don’s 80th birthday and will be catching up with the nephews and great-nephews from the west.

    keep up the good work,
    michelle mercer nee haynes

  8. John Mannion on 11/01/2010 at 12:14 pm

    Robert can you contact me at please?

  9. tim on 06/01/2010 at 4:44 pm

    BSA Owners Club of South Australia Inc.
    This is their new website:

  10. Robert on 23/12/2009 at 11:52 pm

    Don Haynes-mentioned in this article is my uncle. My mum, Laurel Haynes/Shammall. Guess you would have known all of The Haynes Family from Orroroo?
    Also guess you would have known of my dad?- Murray Shammall, mail contractor from Wilmington.

    • Glen on 07/01/2010 at 9:49 am

      Thanks to Robert I was able to locate Don Haynes at Goolwa via Telecom website phone numbers. Rang him on Xmas Day & spoke to Jean & Don, quite a xmas surprise after so long, catching up on our movements over the years.
      Don is not enjoying the best of health these days, almost 80, however we are we are still on the right side of the grass. Also caught up with Jimmy Jones in Orroroo, Jimmy is wheelchair bound having lost both legs. Discovered we are the last three of our original so-called “Wild Group” of the late 40’s.
      Thanks for making it all possible Tim.

      • tim on 07/01/2010 at 9:56 am

        Pleasure! This is one of the great things about the Internet. Thanks for sharing the story.

        • Robert Shammall on 10/01/2010 at 9:49 pm

          Greetings Tim,
          Keep up the good work on this site. Is good to catch up with what is happening in orroroo etc.
          Could you pass on my regards to Jimmy Jones and family please? It has been about 16 years since i last was in Orroroo.
          I still keep in touch with Margaret & Geoff O ‘Loughlin via email – Marg keeps me up to date what is happening. Also i read the Goyder Line Gazette on line.
          Regards Robert

  11. John Mannion on 24/11/2009 at 11:45 am

    Glen can you please contact me at re Orroroo history. I know your sister Glad Miller at Wallaroo.

  12. John Mannion on 24/11/2009 at 9:59 am

    Great interaction and feedback – ‘old stories, new ways’

  13. Glen Cunningham on 29/10/2009 at 6:54 pm

    Hadda laugh, tell Jimmy J [that] I haven’t got to his stage yet?? In fact I still play tennis 2 days week.
    Has Jimmy got a sign on his vehicle? Suggest “Speedy Gonzales” or “Road Runner”.
    Life is great, if you wake up feeling lousy it can only improve, if on top of world it can only get worse! Gotta be a realist.
    Take care. Oh shall get my Mother’s life to you after I can include some appropiate pics for the time – will take a while.

  14. Tim Froling on 29/10/2009 at 6:52 pm

    Hmm, I’ll have a look under the carpet one day!

    Funny, Elders (the old one, as Barry Gent is the Elders agent now) has a number 30 over the door, as does the Commercial Hotel on the adjacent corner. I think the confusion came from the Lot Number on the title, 330. So I call it 32-34or6!

    The bakehouse is there and still has the wood fired oven, though Paul Gillard remembers working in there as a kid and it was gas even then, though the gas oven was removed when a big regional bakery took a lot of these smaller one over.

    Next building from Barry Gent’s is Ted Schultz’ Windmill workshop. Wilbur White operates a welding/engineering works in Toop’s building, much the same as Paul Gillard did. (Barry uses the front section for his stock agent business)

    Police cells got knocked down a few years back. Much to John Mannion’s disgust…they did it at night or on the weekend.
    Post office was done up a few years back, stonework re-pointed etc. Lost its cantilevered veranda, as the veranda threatened to drag the facade down with itself!
    Jimmy still gets around, albeit in a gopher (gofer?)

  15. Glen Cunningham on 29/10/2009 at 6:41 pm

    Having fun here with Google maps. You have sparked old memories. Things have sure changed. From at least 1940 the only part Forbes’ shop related to a service station were motor oil etc. plus two petrol bowsers on 2nd Street (hand pumped) thus there was possibly a pit much earlier but would have been difficult to manoeuvre a car from the lane-way which was max 5m wide. This lane went straight to rear of the last building in your block, note a gate or fence there on google.

    There were double gates adjoining the rear of No 34 ( assuming 34 is on the corner (the old Elders Office) opening into 5th St.

    By my reckoning the blacksmith shop was on what appears to be a car park, Vic sold the shop & left in December 1952. if there is still an old building behind, this was Barker’s bakehouse. Toops’ garage is shown as Barry Gent livestock. The next building appears original but am uncertain of tenants, Toops’ house was next.
    Incidentally Ted McKenzie had the Imperial for years. Opposite you was the Police station with rarely used cells out the back. Other corner was Postmasters residence joined to PO. The now Orroroo hotelier was Bill Taylor, had a few beers in there with Jimmy Jones Dec 99,( 1 night in Caravan park) think we were last left of our original group so promptly left town next day!
    Kind regards Forget the pit, no vehicles ever in there that I can recall. & can only recall a normal back door entry.

  16. Tim Froling on 29/10/2009 at 6:39 pm

    Further to the previous, the back wall of Forbes’ office is the only timber one in the whole block, which has a full width lintel indicating doors and though I haven’t had the carpet and floor up, a sheet of flooring in the centre seems to be particleboard, about the width of a pit.?

  17. Glen Cunningham on 29/10/2009 at 6:30 pm

    This was Freddies office next to Elder Smith. Blacksmith shop was next on right behind Elders.

    That pic was very interesting, Elder Smith were still there in 1952, next door was the Fred Forbes shop – bicyles etc & Cox the Tailor, possibly a gift shop next “Froggy’ Ellis & I think next was Barkers bakery, 2nd last before the lane was Norm Bill’s grocery shop taken iover by an Ackland. Perhaps the last was Rex Acklands hairdresser & across the lane Goldsborough Mort & Co. Directly opposite was the “Terminus Hotel” later burnt down. Basheer took over from Shef Rasheed- I boarded there last 6 months in Orroroo with other young males -boy those were the educational days- in life that is! Our group was supposedly the wild ones but really in hindsight fairly well behaved.

    Women were still respected, doffed the hat,opened the doors etc, definitely no swearing & they were respected. AND we were taught to be resonsible for our actions! The pollies stuffed all that up & continuing to do so very efficiently too. Where are the Statesmen?

    Behind the Forbes shop was a narrow lane running behind the shops shown, across the lane was the Blacksmith shop adjoining L G Toops garage & next to that was Toops home. Rex Toop carried on the garage, think it was Toop Bros then, before moving to Maitland.
    Behind the blacksmith shop was Barkers bakehouse, they were popular with their cakes, pies etc pastries, you name it. There was also Brigden’s bakery located the South end from the main St -they did the town bread supply, I did many a day on the horse drawn Baker’s cart around town.corporate bodies but now works her own business from home in Gladstone Qlnd. Better still shall ask her to contact you.

    Hope I have been of some help, at 79 not really up with modern technology but hanging in there, still on the right side of the grass.

  18. Tim Froling on 29/10/2009 at 6:16 pm

    My office is in the Forbes’ “service station” on the main street. This isn’t the blacksmith shop is it?
    This photo was taken around the 1930s, guessing 1937 when they had a “Back to Orroroo” festival of sorts.

    Forbes Buildings, Orroroo 1930s

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