New Argus journo’s connection to Clare Valley

When I accepted an offer from the Northern Argus to join the team as a journalist, I said to my dad that I now felt like a proper member of the family. My dad was born and raised in Port Augusta, and my mum lived most of her life in Whyalla after moving from Scotland in the 1960’s.

My sisters and my brother were all born and raised in Port Augusta, but I was the only family member to have been born in Adelaide and never live in the country – until now.

I had only been to Clare a couple of times briefly before joining the team at the Argus, making a quick stop into town while taking the scenic route home from visiting my family in Whyalla.

Recently though I have discovered that my connection to the Mid North runs pretty deep through my ancestors.

After relocating from Kilkenny in Ireland around 1854, my great great grandmother and her family settled into Clare and lived there for the early portion of their lives in Australia.

My great great grandmother Margaret and her sister Mary lived together in Clare for a long period of time, before Mary married a man by the name of James Lee and moved out west to Blyth where they began farming.

Margaret married my great great grandfather Michael Duffy and would eventually head north for Pekina together with her sister, and opened the town’s first general store which remained in the family for over 100 years.

Heading up north, my great great uncle Isadore owned the Georgetown Hotel for a period of time and another distant cousin was also a councilor in Spalding in the late 1800s not too long after immigrating from Ireland.

So while I might be the new guy in town, a large chunk of my family history was written in the Mid North.

                                                          – Brendan Simpkins