Image Challicum, 1844

TLF ID R3312

This is a pen-and-ink diagram by Duncan Cooper that shows the layout of the home station at Challicum, a sheep run west of Ballarat in western Victoria. A list of the buildings is included in the diagram. They are: '1. Hut. 2. Kitchen, with covered shed behind. 3. Store. 4. Carpenters Shop. 5. Henhouse. 6. Woolshed. 7. Stockyards. 8. Calfpen'. The list is followed by the words 'Turn over'. The drawing measures 5.2 cm x 12.4 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows an aspect of Challicum - the sheep run was occupied by Cooper and his partners, the brothers George and Harry Thomson in 1842; like many Englishmen in this period, the three men were lured to Australia by tales of the wealth to be made from wool; by the 1850s Challicum had a reputation in London for producing high-quality wool.
  • It suggests that Challicum was well established by 1844 - while uncertainty over land tenure meant that squatters were reluctant to build permanent structures, the number of buildings at the Challicum home station indicates rapid expansion; records show that even by 1844 the 15,000-acre (6,070-hectare) property was stocked by 3,500 weaned sheep, 3 horses and 8 cattle, while 12 men and 1 woman were employed there.
  • It shows an aspect of the home station at Challicum - the hut depicted here may be the second cottage, which was built around 1843, and which housed Cooper and his partners; the kitchen behind the hut may have been a later addition, although it may have been deliberately detached because of the ever-present threat of fire, or to keep the hut cool in the summer months.
  • It shows a store - supplies for domestic and farm use were kept in the store; supplies were transported from town by bullock drays, usually on the return journey home after delivering wool, grain and other produce to market; the long and slow trip to either Geelong or Port Phillip happened rarely, so the store had to be kept well stocked.
  • It shows a carpenter's shop - the isolation of Challicum from urban settlements meant that all building or carpentry was carried out by the partners or workers at Challicum.
  • It indicates that chickens were kept at Challicum, as Cooper included a henhouse in his diagram - squatters kept hens in order to have fresh eggs; as squatting runs were isolated from the main settlements, squatters had to be self-sufficient; eggs also added variety to a diet that consisted mainly of mutton and damper.
  • It indicates that Challicum had a dairy operation - in order for a cow to give milk for cream, butter and cheese, it needs to have had a calf and the calf needs to have been kept away from the cow in a separate enclosure (the calfpen).
  • It shows the woolshed at Challicum - the woolshed, where sheep were sheared, was built before 1844; it was made of wooden slabs and a roof clad with bark; it also had permanent yards enclosed by fences made of split rails and mortised posts; the Challicum holding included foothill country that provided timber for building and fences; up to 500 trees were probably cut down or destroyed by debarking to build the woolshed.
  • It may be part of a letter written by Cooper while at Challicum - the words 'turn over' written at the bottom of the page suggests instructions to a letter reader; the flip side of the original contains the lines of writing that are faintly visible through the page in this reproduction; Cooper may have drawn the diagram to give a correspondent an impression of Challicum.
Year level

4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: Duncan Cooper
  • Description: Author
  • Contributor
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: Duncan Cooper
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
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Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements