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metadata.territorywomen.dc.title: Esther Bohning
Name: Bohning, Esther
Also known as: Jenkins, Esther
Bennett, Esther
Date of Death: 1952-02-02
Place of Birth: New South Wales
Place of Death: Alice Springs (N.T.)
Place of Burial: Alice Springs General Cemetery (N.T.)
Occupation: Pastoralist.
Biographical notes: Esther married, in her teens, Harry Bennett and they had three sons. In 1902, she married John Bohning at Rocklands Station near Camooweal, QLD. John was contracting at the time. He decided to start his own business, the family packed up their belongings on to a dray and set out travelling to the Gulf country, the Top End of the Territory and down the centre to Renner Springs. Esther was small in build, but physically strong and an exceptional horsewoman. Together Esther and John had another six children who were all born on the track. They were unable to get a grazing lease at Renner Springs so went on to Helen Springs as Esther had decided the children must have a home. With her husband and the boys away most of the time, working a teamster's contract delivering stores on the Barkly to supplement the family income or mustering cattle, she had the responsibility of running a cattle station and bringing up a family.
At first the family lived in a shack with a lean-to for cooking, eventually moving into a two bedroom house which they built. Esther established a garden, goat herd, and taught her daughters and the native girls to sew, cook, and tend to their vegetable and fruit garden, make jams and preserves, herd the goats, dye goat and bullock hides for mats. Due to their remote location she become the family boot maker including soles and heels for the ringers' boots, buying rolls of canvas and making large and small vanderah waterbags on her sewing machine. In 1929, John drove cattle to Alice Springs where they were railed south for sale. These were the first cattle to be railed on the newly completed railway. Esther and their daughter Elise acted as ringers and became known as the 'the petticoat drovers' as they travelled by rail with the cattle to Adelaide. Esther's health was declining and in 1943 Vesteys bought Helen Springs Station, the Bohnings moved to Tennant Creek for a few years eventually retiring to Alice Springs.
Related link: PictureNT : Esther Bohning
NT Place Names Register : Bohning Road
"Girl Drover." The Advertiser, 10 August 1929: 15.
National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame Alice Springs : Exhibition "Women on the land"
Northern Territory dictionary of biography : volume one. Casuarina, N.T. : NTU Press, 1990.
metadata.territorywomen.dc.identifier.uri: http://hdl.handle.net/10070/235351
Appears in Collections:Territory Women

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