Prior to official surveying of the township of Dartmoor, the settlement was known as Woodford after the pastoral run that encompassed much of the area. The names chosen for surveyed streets were derived from the early lessees and/or owners of the pastoral lands surrounding the township.
One of the stories compiled to date is related to ‘Ferrars Street’…
This street may have been misspelled! Charles Conway Ferrars, licensee of the first inn in Dartmoor from 1846-1848, also went by the surnames ‘Ferrors’ and most commonly ‘Ferors’. To add to the confusion, Ferors has also been recorded with the variant Christian names Conroy. Regardless of the spelling of the surname, it is likely to be an occupational surname derived from someone who worked with ferrous [iron] metals, as in the Italian form – ‘Ferrari’.
Ferors was born on 4 January 1809 in London, a son of George Ferors, and arrived in Australia in 1828 as a sailor on a ship transporting convicts to the Colony. He later worked on sealers and whaling ships off King Island and was on the vessel which brought John Batman on his first journey to Melbourne. It was a distinct change of vocation then for Ferors to move to the fledgling community of Dartmoor to operate the ‘Woodford Inn’. It was the first hotel in the township, a wooden structure situated on the river flat near the fording-place of the Glenelg River [later surveyed as 1 Miller Street and now part of the golf course]. In the early days townships developed about a day’s drive apart – that is a day’s drive apart by bullock team…and where fresh water was available. Usually the first building erected was a hotel, as the ‘bullockies’ required ‘watering’, just as much as their teams. In June 1846 Ferors was granted the first license for the establishment by Portland Magistrate James Blair. He held the licence until April 1848.
Important note! Ferors, is not to be confused with Compton Ferrars/Ferrers, a pastoralist who leased ‘Wardy Yalloak’ station west of Geelong. Ferrars was an acquaintance of Evelyn Sturt [brother to explorer Captain Charles Sturt] who leased a pastoral run, Compton Station, at Mount Gambier from 1844 until 1853. It is not known how they cemented their friendship. By 1847 Sturt had subdivided part of his run into allotments, and sold them to form the central business precinct of Mount Gambier. Sturt also named the streets of the subdivision: Evelyn and Sturt Streets [after himself!] and Compton and Ferrers Streets [after his friend!]. This may have been a ‘thank you’ for a favour Ferrars bestowed on Sturt in 1845. The latter had written to Ferrars lamenting the cost and time spent controlling stock on his property; Ferrars had been experimenting with designs of barbed wire and visited Sturt with his new invention. Its success in that case is not known, but in 1852 it was used at a nearby property with outstanding results. Ferrars also has a street in South Melbourne named after him and was a prominent member and steward in the Melbourne Turf Club.
‘Our’ Charles Ferors was in Adelaide by this time. He had sadly lost his wife Anne, aged 34, on 7 February 1849 but quickly found a new partner, Caroline Jellett, also a widower. On 1 April 1862 he made ‘an honest woman’ of her, having had 5 children with her between 1850 and 1860, and two more subsequently! Charles continued in the hotel trade during this period; he was licensee of the ‘Queen’s Arms Hotel’, Morphett Street, Adelaide [December 1873 – March 1875 when it transferred to his son Charles Henry Ferors], the ‘Baker’s Springs Hotel’ at Rhynie [March 1875 – 1876], the ‘Halfway House Inn’ Mount Barker Road, Stirling [December 1876 – 1878], and the ‘Caltowie Hotel’ [March 1879 – Sept 1879 . Between himself, his son Charles Henry Ferors and his sons Charles Arthur Ferors and Alfred Conway Ferors they were licensees of some 20 hotels combined . At various times Ferors resided at Kangaroo Island, Glenelg, Adelaide, North Adelaide, and Walkerville. He was licensee of the ‘Norfolk Arms Hotel’ in Rundle Street, Adelaide from December 1879 until he died on 11 May 1888 of congestion on the lungs. Ferors is buried at the West Terrace Cemetery. His widow died in 1902.