Family Heritage

The Basshams have a strong family heritage spanning 5 generations and climbing…

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First Generation…

Their story started in the 1890′s when Charles Bassham and his wife Sarah along with their 9 children left Sculthorpe in Norfolk, England and sailed across the channel to Antwerp where they boarded the “Karlsrhu” bound for Australia, via the Suez Canal. After arriving in Port Adelaide in 1891 they then traveled by horse and buggy to Port Broughton.

Second Generation…

Louis worked as a Barge master travelling up and down the river between Pooncarie and Mannuam, working on the steamers and later owning his own steamer “Charlotte” by the age of 23 and later on the “Victoria”.

At the age of 35 Louis became engaged to Alice Pretoria Harrip for 4 years, 3 of these years being spent in the Army. After being wounded in France he returned home to marry his fiance Alice and they wed on the 22nd of November 1919.

Returned soldiers were allocated a ‘War Service Fruit Property’. Louis and his wife worked hard clearing the land which was covered in mallee. They planted vines and other fruits and built a home on the property. This property is situated between Barmera and Glossop on the corner of Old Sturt Highway and Bassham Road, which was named after Louis Bassham, and to this day the property is still producing for the Bassham family, being run by the 4th and 5th generation. The cottage still stands.

Third Generation…

Louis and Alice went on to have four children – Ivy, Rene, Albert and Bill. Albert James Bassham (3rd generation) was born on the 5th February in 1925 and was known to all as Jim.
Jim attended school at Glossop, and left at the age of 14 years of age to work on his fathers fruit property. Jim worked hard on the property, breeding poultry, taking care of cows and was an active tennis player in his day, as the family had their own tennis court.

In 1943 Jim joined the RAAF at the age of 18. He spent 2 years in the air force before returning home to continue work on the family property and to marry the love of his life, Daphne Watts. They married on the 16th February 1946. Together they raised 5 children – 4 daughters and 1 son, Bruce James. Jim always had a story to tell of the days fishing on the banks of the River Murray with his family and with his grandchildren. Hard long days were spent on the property, developing flood irrigation by shovel, hand picking and pruning the vines. Times were tough in those days, how easy we have it nowadays.

Fourth Generation…

Bruce and his sisters attended the Barmera Primary school then onto Glossop High. At the age of 15 Bruce left school to help his Dad on the property as his Grandfather Louis, was ill and his Dad spent most his time taking care of his father until he passed away in 1964. Bruce took on the property enthusiastically making many changes.

Bruce married Valerie Ann Simon in 1973 and built a 3rd house on the property, raised 3 daughters, Kelly, Jodie and Renae. Bruce has witnessed many changes and challenges in the wine industry, he has come from hand picking and pruning to machines, loading 8 tonne trucks by hand to 30 tonne trucks by tractors and tote bins. Flood irrigation and open channels to automated drip irrigation, he has been through challenges such as vine pulls, over supply, drought, poor prices, diseases, frosts, heat waves, thunderstorms once which destroyed an entire apricot crop leaving the family in financial difficulty. He has also seen many Riverland icon businesses vanish. Throughout it all he along with his family have stood the test of time…
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