Thompsons Spring

Thompson's Spring was named by Tom Kilfoyle in September 1886 

 Thompson's Spring was named by Tom Kilfoyle in 1886, possibly after an Aboriginal assistant working with him, named "Charley Tomson" [Thompson?] who found the spring.  As found when transcribing Tom Kilfoyle's diary.

Entry for September 21st 1886 "21 Tu. lost the horses all day Charley found a spring I called it Tomsons Spring" It is highly possible that Charlie was from the Aboriginal people along the Thompson River - Longreach region in Queensland but we'll probably never know for certain? A compilation of the various Thompson's Spring photographs from KHS and other archives.

[Research Note - I suspect that Tom Kilfoyle (TK) had named this after 'Charley,' who found it, one of the very few times that TK even mentions any of his off-siders. - AB 14 IV 2015 – As early as I found this I had wondered if ‘Charley’ may have been from the Thompson River (Longreach) region of Queensland that the Duracks and Kilfoyle had passed through in the years before 1886.]

[Above is an extract from Tom Kilfoyle's Diary for September 1886 and below is the KHS transcription starting from the page before.]

18. Sat. Reached to Cockatoo Spring in good [time?]

19. Sun. Camped all day at Cockatoo Spring


[1st Page]

[Johnsons' Creek – Between Cockatoo & Thompson's Springs]

20. Mon. Started on again reach[ed] to Johnsons Creek camped there very little water

[1886-09-21 - “Charley found a Spring - I called it Tomsons Spring” - Tom Kilfoyle's Diary – September 21st 1886]

21. Tu. lost the horses all day Charley found a Spring I called it Tomsons Spring

['eakes creek' we believe Tom's Irish 'pronunciation' spelling of (Hicks Creek) - AB]

[between Thompson's Spring & Argyle - Similarly the word 'steation', one can almost hear the accent.]

22. Wed. Started on again & reaches to within 4 miles of eakes [Hicks] Creek

23. Th. Reached to eakes [Hicks] creek camped there day very warm

24. Fri. Reached the Steation with teames. Weather warm

25. Sat. I rode over to the oard [Ord] to Durack Steation [Argyle No. 1 site]

26. Sun. Reached to their Steation earley


[2nd Page]

27. Mon. at Duracks steation till after dinner time then came to the Bowab t[ree]

28. Tu. Came home by dinner time from Duraks [sic] Steation

29. Wed. Started back again and camped at the Bob [boab] tree that night

30. Th. Started out after Brombeys [Brumbies] got some Came & camped at rive[r or tree?]

[End of extract - See below (1953-1954) for a short history on the weir at Thompson Springs.]

1953-54 - Thompsons Spring

A short history of the Stone Masonry Weir

The stone masonry weir, was constructed below the spring, about 8 metres above the waterhole from ground level, during the 1953/54 wet season.


 This interesting information was related to KHS by the late William Arthur Champness (Bill) Wright, on what would be Bill's last visit, on July 21st 2013, to his beloved and historically well known, Thompsons Spring. Use the '4 cornered gaget' to lower right hand side - Use 'Show Info' to display information about each photograph.


 Bill was the Engineer for Main Roads Department WA for the major upgrade to the Ivanhoe Crossing of the Ord River over two dry seasons (1952 and 1953), when the height of the original 1920s concrete crossing, once known as 'Buchan's Crossing', was raised by around a metre. Using a combination of stone masonry, formwork of timber and for each culvert at Ivanhoe Crossing, being 6 x 44 gallon drums, opened and welded end to end, then concrete filled around, section by section, to effectively raise the crossing height.


 When the new crossing for the Wyndham-Nicholson road was complete at Ivanhoe toward the end of 1953, at least two of the Italian stone masons, with wives and children, were camped at Thompson Springs, waiting for the next dry season's work, when they would be employed doing the culverts between Golden Gate and Argyle on that part of the old Wyndham-Nicholson road that now disappears into the north end of Lake Argyle and beyond, or the next major job, which was to be for masonry work on the Crossing of the Ord River by the Great Northern Highway, not far north of Halls Creek. When you look at the old low-level crossing there, you may notice the similarities to the older Ivanhoe Crossing. 


[One of the Italian Stone-masons' children (an unknown number (1-3) at Thompsons Spring - one child (Maria?), was born near a certain mile peg close to the Ord River crossing near Halls Creek, likely circa 1954 when they were working on the Ord low-level crossing masonry work.]


 It is believed that the pool held back by the small dam they built, became the perfect "bath", surrounded by rock surface, (not just mud and sand as in the pool below), as a luxury for their wives and children, to cleanly emerge from their "bath" - ('Rosa's Pool' ;^).


[Above has been written from my memory of the story that came out on the 2013 visit with Bill Wright - Add the research file information and migrate to a separate page? Added this short history this evening - It is believed there may have been an article written about Thompsons Spring in an as yet unseen gold detecting magazine (let us know Issue & date if you may have seen this?). The article sent to KHS is not a correct history so this is to help dispel any myths that may emerge from that article. KHS was sent a draft, and after reading realised it was not correct history, so KHS Members at a meeting decided not to allow use of KHS images as requested for the article. It was written by a person who was a former resident of Kununurra, from childhood stories, not factual accounts.  AB 17 I 2017]