Searching through old newspapers on the National Library of Australia’s Trove, I’ve found a number of stories, some comical, some sad, relating to the residents of Baker’s Flat.
A story from August 1868 is headlined as A Midnight Adventure. It concerns two characters, Mr and Mrs JP Moyle of Kapunda, sleeping peacefully on a Saturday night. And one rather drunk man from Baker’s Flat.
It appears that Mr Moyle was woken in the early hours by a noise in the kitchen. On investigating, he found our drunk Baker’s Flat resident surveying the kitchen by candlelight. After questioning the intruder, who told him he’d been there for two hours, Mr Moyle shoved him out the door and went back to bed.
And then, as the newspaper reported:
‘On Sunday morning Mrs Moyle went to the safe to look up the eatables wherewith to garnish the breakfast-table, when lo! many of the viands were rendered conspicuous by their absence; a nice piece of spare rib of home-fed pork, weighing about four pounds, was looked for in vain, until at length a solution as to the manner of its disappearance was furnished by sundry bones being found on the floor. It was at once apparent that the nocturnal visitor had been looking after the victualling department during the two hours’ sojourn in the land of plenty, and had demolished the joint of pork by way of an early breakfast; half a large cake had been similarly disposed of and butter had been woefully decreased, in quality as well as quantity, for, no knife being at hand, the hungry guest had mauled out the necessary garnishing of butter with his open hand, the traces of his dirty fingers being plainly visible in the unconsumed portion. Actuated, doubtless, by a desire to be up betimes on the following morning, the solids had been washed down by a bottle of yeast which had been left in the safe. During the course of Sunday Mr Moyle met his visitor and wife, the latter of whom was complaining that they were nearly starving – the truth of which assertion, however, Mr Moyle disputed, so far as the head of the family was concerned, remarking that he, at all events, had laid in stock to last for some considerable time. The man, however, had quite forgotten the incident. It was extremely fortunate for him that he had made his way into a house where he was known, or his faculty for constituting himself a temporary member of the family might have led to his domestication in one of Her Majesty’s establishments where the hours kept are regular, the work constant and the diet light.’
The full story is available in the South Australian Register of 31 August 1868.