Chowilla Settlers

Recent Settlers

In 1864 Richard Holland obtained the Bookmark Station Lease for his stepsons John, William and Robert Robertson to graze sheep and cattle. Bookmark extended from near Berri to the NSW border. This was before any white settlement in the area. It was from the Bookmark lease that the government granted the Chaffey brothers the first irrigation colony in Australia at Renmark in 1887. In 1896 Bookmark was divided into Chowilla and Calperum stations with Robert taking Chowilla and John taking Calperum.


Chowilla is still owned by Robertson-Chowilla Pty Ltd  and operated by Jock and Lis Robertson as the major shareholders. The current lease is a regional reserve Crown Lease administered by the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. This allows for multiple use of the area. The historic shearing shed and quarters constructed in the 1870's are used to this day.


The area is alive with history and one story of interest is the legendry "Possum" the hermit who roamed the area for 54 years and who is immortalised in a monument at Wentworth. A Biography of Possum is available from the Renmark Tourist Office.



Return to Main Page