James Well Rogues Point

Rogues Point

In 1929 the names Rogues Gully and Rogues Point were changed to "Rogers" in honour of William Rogers, a pioneer pastoralist of Yorke Peninsula. Of interest is the fact that William Sharples took up pastroal lease No. 232 in July 1851. It's location being described as "Rogue's Gully". In 1940 a plan was located which antedated Mr Rogers occupation and showed "Rogues"; accordingly the names reverted to their original designation.

It has been suggested they were so named because Inspector Tolmer arrested escaped convicts there in 1848. By a stange coincidence, the leader of the escaped Tasmanian convicts was a Mr Rodgers (sic), his henchmen being Messrs Reilly, Lynch and Reynolds. The Chronicle of 22 September 1932 recites the following tale:

"One morning in 1848 four suspicious looking individuals turned up unexpectedly at Oyster Bay (Stansbury). They were half-famished and told an extraordinary story. They were whalers, they said. After harpooning a whale off Kangaroo Island, the animal had dragged them miles away from thier ship, until they found themselves in the vicinity of Oyster Bay. Thinking they might get help on shore, they had made for the bay and had come on to the homestead at the station. They asked for work and jobs were found for them.

There were no telegraphs in those days and a better place for hiding than the scrub-clad country on Yorke Peninsula could scarcely be found. There was practically no population, the country was wild and inhospitable, overrun by savages and had no communication with the outside world, except at rare intervals.

Unfortunately for the castaways, Mr Alfred Weaver, the owner of the station, was just about that time leaving for the city. A few weeks later he encountered Inspector Tolmer in Adelaide. He happened to mention the arrival of four strangers. The noted police officer pricked up his ears. Tolmer told Weaver that he had just received information that four desperates criminals of the bushranging type had escaped from Tasmania and were supposed to be in the vicinity of Kangaroo Island. Tolmer was convinced they were the strangers who had landed at Oyster Boy.

Tolmer's story of the men was quite different from the version of the castaways. They were wanted for murder. They had escaped from custody in Tasmania, he said, and made for Port Sorell, where they shipped aboard a vessel as members of the crew. While at Port Sorell they had cold-bloodedly blown out the brains of a police inspector who had happened on them innocently without knowing who they were. So desperate did the Tasmanian Government rate them, that they offered a reward of £100 each for thier capture.

Tolmer decided to send a police scout to Oyster Bay. It was arranged between Tolmer and Weaver that the police officer, disguised as a rouseabout, should accost Weaver on board the boat as he was leaving for home and ask for a job. They were to haggle about the pay in order to avert suspicion and eventually Weaver was to engage the policeman as a  station hand. Needless to say, the policeman carried an exact description of the bushrangers.

A day or two later Tolmer with four other police journeyed to the peninsula. They learned that the four wanted men were working for Mr Bowden. After a perilous ride through the scrub, guiding themselves by a compass and sleeping out without food, they captured two of the men at Bowden's hut, having in the meantime been advised by their disguised comrade that the strangers were the wanted men. The remaining and worst desperadoes were working at a hut seven miles distant. I have not the space here to give you the full story of their apprehension, beyond saying that the police surprised and arrested them while they were cooking their evening meal and that Tolmer carried to his grave the marks of the struggle which took place.

It subsequently transpired that only three of the men were criminals. The fourth was a sailor they had forced to accompany them to handle the boat when they made a sensational getaway from the ship in which they escaped from Tasmania. The fourth bushranger was drowned when the little boat was smashed on the rocks of Yorke Peninsula, as well as another sailor who had been impressed into their service.

After their capture when they had tired of vilifying the police they cold-bloodedly revealed what their plan had been to escape from Oyster Bay. There were two small ships lying off the coast, one of them by chance the very vessel in which they had escaped from Tasmania. They had intended to seize this ship, murder the officers and such of the crew as were deemed hostile, and then to make for Western australia where they would abandon the ship and pose as shipwrecked men.

This was the plan Tolmer nipped in the bud. The criminals were returned to Hobart under strong escort and there paid the penalty of their crimes on the scaffold."

One source claims the name is a corruption of Rogers, the name of one of the earliest settlers, Williams Rogers* who owned "Ynoo" station near Maitland.

Source: Cockburn's Nomenclature of South Australia


Another source says is was because Inspector Tolmer of the south Australian Police Force arrested two escaped convicts here in the early days of the settlement of Yorke Peninsula.

Source: The Pioneering Bowmans, Page 43


Inspector Tolmer did capture three bushrangers who escaped from Tasmania, however, they were apprehended at Coobowie and did not come near here.

In 1981, the Department of environment prepared a report for the Government advocating that most of the holiday shacks on the beaches should be removed from their positions.

It was estimated there were about 1550 shacks along the Yorke Peninsula coastline and of these about 86 per cent were unsightly and were not acceptable.

The policy propounded at that time was that existing shack owners with non-acceptable shacks be allowed the tenure for the remainder of their lives; the remaining 14 per cent to have the opportunity to buy the sites freehold. Most of the sites are leased from the Crown on a 99 year lease.

Source: The Advertiser
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