24110343734 d58dde3bdb b - Ramco. Near Waikerie. It began in 1894 as a breakaway communistic Village Settlement from the Waikerie Village Settlement. by denisbin

Ramco. Near Waikerie. It began in 1894 as a breakaway communistic Village Settlement from the Waikerie Village Settlement. by denisbin

24110343734 d58dde3bdb b - Ramco. Near Waikerie. It began in 1894 as a breakaway communistic Village Settlement from the Waikerie Village Settlement. by denisbin
This is the memorial cairn to the founding of the Village Settlement at Ramco.

Ramco breakaway.
12 settlers of Waikerie scheme were sent letters in 1894 for expulsion “for rebellious conduct and conduct injurious to the well-being of this association.” A dispute over who would do the cooking and who would wash the cooking utensils had been simmering for some weeks. Some insisted the cook should work in the fields and the single men’s camp should be broken up. The married women refused to do their washing and the cooking of the unmarried men and they demanded that any cooking utensils had to be returned immediately to the main camp. So the single men and a couple of the married men and their families decided to breakaway and form a new Village Settlement community nearby.

The Waikerie Settlement refused to allow the single men and the few married families that left to take any tools or equipment with them. The Ramco group was 11 single men –out of 28 single men at Waikerie and 7 married men and their families. Some of the Waikerie Settlement people said they left because they were loafers. They got permission from the government to work the western section of Waikerie Village Settlement lands which they renamed Ramco. The name came from Bogoramco Flat – the name the local Aboriginals had for a lagoon there. The name was shortened to Ramco. According to a government report the real issue of the dispute was that single men were getting rations equal to those of married men who had to feed a family as well. The breakaway was formalised by 1895 when a new set of Trustees was authorised by the government. Single men at Waikerie felt that they were doing the most of the work and not getting equal shares of the returns. So there were different perceptions of the Waikerie – Ramco dispute.

Ramco adopted the slogan “cooperation not communism”. Ramco started with small blocks facing the river and they had a cook to prepare meals for all including the single men. The fruit blocks were not officially surveyed until 1897. Ramco got their pumping plants from the Hawker Brothers of Kapunda. It was delivered by a paddle steamer from Morgan. It took a week to get it off the paddle steamer and on to the land site. By 1896 Ramco had a stronger sense of individualism than other Village Settlements. No water was provided to settlers from the pump without payments in either wood or cash as the pump took a lot of wood to keep it pumping. The Ramco settlement kept meticulous records. 1000 apricot trees were planted by 1897 in addition to vines planted on individual blocks. Ramco would only admit skilled members; they paid money to the scheme weekly and if they got sick they still got rations provided by the Settlement; members of the Settlement cut and sold Mallee for sale to paddle steamers and they dropped the restrictive practices and regulations of the Waikerie Settlement. The Ramco Settlement grew and almost prospered with its good management and more individualistic approach. The School opened in 1897 and a new wattle and daub and hessian bag school room was built 1908.The fine stone school was erected by the government in 1924. Ramco Settlement even admitted women as blockers too. In 1897 a small limestone hall built on the spot where the Hall, erected in 1927, now stands. Work started on fund raising and the building of a new Memorial Hall built in 1919 but it did not open until 1927.. Lutheran church services were first held in Ramco in 1905 in the home of the Polish Modistash family. Eventually Lutheran St Paul’s Lutheran church was built on the cliff tops overlooking the Ramco river flats and lagoon in 1924. It is now the church hall. A new Lutheran church was competed next to it in 1974 and it still serves the Ramco community.

The state Government offered Ramco new pumping plants in 1909 when the Settlement Scheme ended and all land had to be surrendered to the government and new leases were offered to everyone at Ramco. This was the end of the Village Settlement Scheme at Ramco and the start of the government controlled irrigation areas. The new 1910 government pump lifted water 90 feet high and it was connected to new channels allowing for expansion of the Ramco irrigation area. By 1912 settlers at Ramco were producing their first dried fruit. The Ramco School was threatened by the 1956 Murray River floods. So the school headmaster gathered 800 hessian bags, drove to Balaklava and got them filled and returned in a truck with 250 filled bags to build a bag levee round the school. In 1957 the Ramco area was extended into Golden Heights with an extra 460 acres of irrigated land created. Golden Heights is between Ramco and Waikerie.

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