HerStory

Esther BOHNING

Also known as: née Jenkins

Born: 14 July 1879

Died: 2 January 1952

Special Achievements:

First lady on Tennant Creek goldfields.
She, with her daughter Elsie, became known as "The Petticoat Drovers" and took the first mob of cattle between Alice Springs and Adelaide on the train when the railway opened in 1929.

Additional Information:

Esther Jenkins had spent part of her own childhood in the Territory when her parents, Eliza and Thomas Jenkins, worked on Lake Nash Station in the early 1890s.  Esther first married Harry Bennett, by whom she had two children, and later married again to John Bohning.  Between 1902 and 1915 the couple travelled through parts of the Territory and western Queensland.  After working on various properties and building cattle yards near the Katherine River, they took possession of Helen Springs Station, a 3108 square kilometre property about 160 kilometres north of what is now Tennant Creek.  Here they lived for the next thirty years.

Central Australia pioneer in cattle and mining.


Resources

  • References

    photo in museum:  Women at the Heart


  • References

    Isaacs, Jennifer. (1990).  Pioneer Women of the Bush and Outback.  Sydney:  Lansdowne Publishing, p. 178-179.

    “In Australia’s outback pioneering history some women have achieved fame --- although often it is their nickname which survives rather than memories of their great deeds.  Elsie Bohning, who wrote under the pseudonym “The Little Bush Maid”, was known as a “petticoat drover” along with her sister and her mother, Esther Bohning.

         Esther and John Bohning worked Helen Springs Station, 160 kilometres north of Tennant Creek.  All the family including Esther, and her two daughters and sons, were fully active partners in the property.  They rode, mustered and branded stock and went on cattle drives.  At times they had to manage the station on their own.  Elsie went on her first drove at the age of 11 and eulogised it in the following lines:

    …”


  • References

    Women at the Heart, pages 8, 9, 14


  • References

    Corcoran, Dee.  Oh dolly, you're 85.  Centralian Advocate.  October 4, 2002:40.


  • References

    Stehbens, Lee.  The Alice loses a top bloke.  Centralian Advocate.  October 4, 2005:6.


  • References

    Territory Pioneer Passes On.  Centralian Advocate.  November 21, 1958:page unknown.


  • References

    Glasson, Mary.  A Brief History of the Jenkins Family.  Dubbo, New South Wales:self-published.


  • References

    Tuxworth, Hilda. (1978).  Tenant Creek Yesterday and Today.  Darwin: J.R. Coleman Pty. Ltd.  Pages 30, 46.
    "Another incident was when Mrs. Bohning was alone on Helen Springs Station drawing water when she slipped and fell down the well, and was there for three days.  The only lubras in the vicinity did not understand how to use the winch to wind her up, so she had to stay there, clad only in bloomers, till some travellers passing through rescued her."


  • References

    The Bohning Story.  Centralian Advocate.  date unknown:11.


  • References

    Carment, David S., Maynard, Robyn, Wilson, Helen J. and Powell, Alan Ed. (1990). Northern Territory Dictionary of Biography: Volume 1. Darwin, N.T.: Charles Darwin University Press (CDU Press).  Pages 27-28.


  • Image - Esther and John Bohning

    from NPWHF Esther BOHNING file

    Photo provided by her grandson's wife, Mrs Edna Cooper.


  • Image - Esther Bohnng boiling the billy, Tennant Creek, 1933

    from NPWHF Esther BOHNING file

    Photo provided by her grandson's wife, Mrs Edna Cooper.