Farewell to CA pioneer
Curtin Springs legend Peter Severin passes on aged 94
MORE than six decades ago, Peter Severin took over Curtin Springs Station, just down the road from Uluru.
Since then, he and his family helped turn Central Australia into a worldwide tourism phenomenon.
Mr Severin, 94, passed away surrounded by family at his beloved Curtin Springs.
SIXTY-FIVE years ago Peter Severin took over Curtin Springs Station, just down the road from Uluru. Since then he has helped turn Central Australia into a worldwide tourism phenomenon.
Mr Severin, 94, has passed away surrounded by family at his beloved Curtin Springs.
The Severin family said in a statement: “It is with profound sadness we share our loss of one of Australia’s great pioneers – Peter Severin (Pete).
“He was a true gentleman, devoted son, loving husband and proud father.”
In to his last years, Pete was still up at 4am working. He’d work all day, have a light beer at dinner, then tuck-in for an early night. This is a man who knew the value of hard yakka on his million-acre property.
By age 26, Pete was head stockman for cattleman Frank Smith, working on the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Smith told Pete he’d bought him Curtin Springs Station.
Before long, Pete, young wife Dawn and toddler Ashley packed-up, hit the road in a Vanguard and Bedford truck and rolled into a station that was then the epitome of desolation – the previous owners camped in a shack.
Pete told Dawn they were ‘home’. Aghast, she reputedly replied, “Boy … I’ve got news for you and it’s all bad.”
Peter dug for water by hand and built a well, he built a bough shed – which still stands – for them to sleep, and look after 1500 head of cattle.
There was an inch of rain not long after they arrived, then it didn’t rain again for nine years, as the Great Drought of the late ’50s and ’60s took hold.
With rugged perseverance and enterprising spirit, Pete found new hope and opportunity in the tourism industry.
The year after arriving, Len Tuit started taking bus trips to Uluru. Pete’s operation at Curtin Springs gave the buses petrol and the customers something to eat and drink. The ball was now rolling.
Pete helped build the first airstrip at Uluru, dig the first bore, and build the original entrance the national park.
Curtin Springs Station has grown from strength to strength over the years, with son Ashley carrying on his father’s mighty mantle. The station has a full commercial kitchen, produces artisan jewellery and paper, and even has an Artist in Residence Program. And still has its cattle.
Pete was the quintessential Aussie larrikin with a kind heart. To have a yarn with Pete Severin at the bar, or under his shed was pure magic.
The family says a funeral service will be held in Alice Springs soon.