The first inhabitants of Andado Station lived in a shelter of iron held up by a timber frame with cloth sides; they then progressed to a mud brick hut that was built between 1910 -1918, no remnants of this building remain.
The original home as we see it today consisted of what is now the sitting room and main bedroom and was built between 1924 -1927. The remainder of the house came from the home of the then station owner’s mother (Mc Dill family) from Oodnadatta. The house was pulled down and transported to Andado by the camel carriers Bagot & Marsh – quite a trek!
Part’s of the land that was to become Andado Station was first held in 1880 by Willoby and Gordon. It wasn’t until 1908/09 that Andado land was first occupied by Robert Sharpe and David Mayfield. Additional pastoral leases were issued to other parties between 1908 and 1914. George Thomas Mc Dill sank several bores on Andado land over this time and in 1914 he acquired grazing land with his brother, Robert David Mc Dill and Henry Stanley Roper.
It was during the Mc Dill/Roper years that the first building, a mud brick hut, was erected. It was replaced on the occasion of George Mc Dill’s wedding when his wife came to live on the station in 1922.
Sheep were introduced in the early 1920’s following several years of good rains but drought in the late 1920s financially crippled the Mc Dill’s – but they hung on. By 1933 the station was running 1300 sheep, 420 cattle and 116 horses.
Andado Station was sold by the Mc Dill brothers in 1942 and then changed hands several times, eventually to be owned H. H. Overton in May 1955. Overton formed a partnership with Molly and Malcolm Clark called the ‘Andado Pastoral Company’. Malcolm ‘Mac’ Clark had been employed as an overseer on the station since 1949.
In 1955 a new homestead was built 18 km’s west of the old homestead, leaving the ‘old place’ to fall into ruin. By 1969, the Clark family owned Andado Station outright.
The name Andado comes from a southern Aranda (Arrernte) Aboriginal word for a stone implement.
1972 saw the huge job of restoring the old homestead, with the help of her family, to its former glory eventually operating a tourism business, ‘Tjauritchi Wanda Tours Pty Ltd’, which showed tourists how life was in the earlier days in the outback without modern amenities.
Molly and the family experienced a double tragedy in 1978 when they lost Mac to a heart attack while flying his light aircraft and in 1979 their eldest son, Graham, who died when his semi trailer collided with a freight train.
Andado Station was one of the first cattle stations in the Northern Territory to undergo Brucellosis & Tuberculosis testing. Because the station bordered with South Australia they had to de-stock (cull) their cattle and subsequently lost the property, having to sell it in 1984 for a pittance.
In January 1987, Molly secured a Crown Lease over 45 square kilometres of land around the old homestead, re-naming it ‘Old Andado’.
Life on Old Andado in the Early Years
Imagine living with no closed in verandahs, no windows, no fly screens, no doors! The temperatures in summer can escalate to over 50 degrees Celsius with ant plagues, hundreds of thousands of flies, snakes and other creepy crawlies to deal with.
There was no plumbing to the Homestead; water had to be carried to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry area. At first there was no power so kerosene lanterns were the source of light, kerosene powered fridges kept food and the wood stove cooked food and boiled water. In the 1970’s a generator took over the job of supplying power but the wood stove is still in use today.
There was no way of communication initially apart from the camel drawn mail cart which would have only come by every couple of months between the 1890’s and 1930’s. In the 1930’s the radio telephone was invented by Paul Traeger for the Flying Doctor Service and fast became an essential communication tool for the isolated station people. Molly was still using the radio telephone well into the 1980’s until a satellite phone tower was installed.
Before the existing roads were graded the only way into Old Andado was via Kulgera and Finke following a set of tyre tracks. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that a track was made from Old Andado to Allambi, Santa Teresa and Alice Springs. It is now a public double cut graded road called the Old Andado Track.