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Tennant, Andrew (1835–1913)

by Gordon D. Combe

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

Andrew Tennant (1835-1913), by Hammer & Co.

Andrew Tennant (1835-1913), by Hammer & Co.

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 11308

Andrew Tennant (1835-1913), pastoralist and politician, was born on 20 June 1835 at Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland, son of John Tennant, shepherd, and his wife Jessie Aitken; as an assisted migrant John brought his family to South Australia in the Duchess of Northumberland on 19 December 1839; he later overlanded stock from Adelaide to Port Lincoln and bought Tallala station, fifteen miles (24 km) away. Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, is named after him. Andrew was educated at E. W. Wickes's school at North Adelaide and inherited the property on his father's death. Aged 18, he took cattle west to the shores of Lake Newland near Elliston, and settled at Salt Creek. The holding had been abandoned because of the Aboriginals' hostility, but Tennant was unafraid and for seven years he controlled the natives while successfully managing his sheep and cattle station.

Later Tennant owned stations at Mount Wedge, Coffin's Bay and Streaky Bay. In 1886 he leased the large block, Baroota near Port Germein, but owing to severe droughts had to move, subsequently acquiring from Sir Thomas Elder the Oorama and Baratta runs. He remained there for a year or two, then sold the properties and purchased Willipia station in the same neighbourhood, Moolooloo (1800 sq. miles) (4662 km²), Murapatina near Mannahill (1500) (3885 km²), and Undoolya station near Alice Springs (10,000) (25,900 km²). Later he established Yardea station and owned and worked Corraburra near Port Augusta until his death. Other runs held by him included Portee near Blanchetown, Princess Royal and Middle Back. In addition he owned 13,000 acres (5261 ha) at the Hermitage near Riverton, much valuable freehold property in the city of Adelaide and held stations in New Zealand.

Tennant had large interests in the Seaham and Abermain Colliery companies in New South Wales and was the principal shareholder in the Tarcoola Blocks Gold Mine, a venture in which he lost heavily. He was a director of the China Traders Co. and of the Adelaide Steamship Co. Ltd from its inception. A justice of the peace, he was for many years a Freemason under the Grand constitution. A generous patron of the turf and lover of thoroughbreds, Tennant established a stud at Hermitage and successfully raced horses throughout South Australia. For many years president of the Port Augusta and Flinders Jockey Club, he was closely associated with all metropolitan and a number of country racing clubs.

In 1881-87 Tennant represented Flinders in the House of Assembly in South Australia. In 1898-1902 he sat in the Legislative Council for the Northern District. He was a member of the Pastoral Lands Commission in 1897-98. On 28 August 1862 in Adelaide he had married Rachael Christina Ferguson. Survived by his wife, three daughters and three of his four sons, he died of diabetes and senile dementia in his home, Essendene, Mosely Street, Glenelg, on 19 July 1913, and was buried in the Brighton cemetery. His South Australian estate was sworn for probate at £506,248.

Select Bibliography

  • J. J. Pascoe (ed), History of Adelaide and Vicinity (Adel, 1901)
  • H. T. Burgess (ed), Cyclopedia of South Australia, vol 1 (Adel, 1908): Pastoral Pioneers of South Australia, vol 1 (Adel, 1925)
  • Observer (Adelaide), 26 May 1900, 26 July 1913
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 21 July 1913.

Citation details

Gordon D. Combe, 'Tennant, Andrew (1835–1913)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/tennant-andrew-1229/text7789, published in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 22 October 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

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