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Episode 26: Martindale Hall
Transcript
We'll look at the phrasal verb 'set about' and the two ways of pronouncing house - house and howse.
Martindale hall was built in 1879. It was built for a 21 year old sheep farmer, a young man called Edmund Bowman Junior who had a rather inflated impression of his importance in the world and decided he wanted to live a lifestyle with servants and a grand house. He had 14 servants, 13 female and one butler and lived a very princely lifestyle here for many years. He inherited enormous wealth when his dad drowned in the local river and he had decided that, he went off the Cambridge to study and came back with the plans for the house which is obviously an English style, Georgian and 50 workers he brought with him at 20 years of age out to Australia to and then all the way here to the Clare Valley - we're about 2 hours from Adelaide by car, in those days about half a day by steam train and then they set about building the house. The 50 men were housed in tents and they set about building the place with hand tools of course. And they managed to build this house and all the other outbuildings in the very short time of 23 months.
The workers were housed in tents. They lived in tents. Notice that when the word house is used as a verb it is pronounced howse. The workers weren't housed, they were howsed. Listen again:
The 50 men were housed in tents and they set about building the place with hand tools of course.
They set about building the place. To set about something is to start doing it, usually in a purposeful way.

How long did it take after they had set about building it?
And they managed to build this house and all the other outbuildings in the very short time of 23 months.
It took just 23 months to build. Notice that the past tense and past participle of build is not 'builded' - it's the irregular 'built':
Martindale hall was built in 1879.
And something that is built is called a building:
Buildings like this were built on site. Everything was made on site. You made the door and you carved the door surrounds. Even the wallpaper in the billiard room was made in that room in 1879.
What sort of house was it?
He had horse polo fields. He had a cricket oval where English cricket teams often came to play. He had a fully functional racecourse. He also dammed up that river where his dad drowned and put in a boating lake. So this was a party and sporting house in every sense of the word.
It was a party and sporting house. It was a place to have fun.

So what happened to it?
Edmund Bowman Junior unfortunately lost the place after a decade, about 11 years due to a drought. It was then bought by the Mortlock family and they made this the centre of their massive dynasty. They were far wealthier people again. Today we'd probably call them billionaires, who made this the centre of their massive dynasty and set about living their kind of lifestyle here. The Mortlocks were a far more conservative family, far wealthier and more conservative and so whilst the racecourse and some of the other activities continued it was on a more subdued level and they put more of their efforts into the farming.
Comparing things can be tricky. If a word has more than 2 syllables , like con-ser-vat -ive, you have to say more conservative. For most 2 syllable words you also use 'more'. useful - more useful. But for 2 syllables ending in 'y' like wealth-y, you add -er - wealthy - wealthier. And for one syllable you add -er big - bigger. Then there are ways of emphasising a comparison. You can say much wealthier or far wealthier. Listen:
The Mortlocks were a far more conservative family, far wealthier but more conservative...
Notice that you can say 'far more conservative', but you can't say 'far more wealthier'. You can only use one of the 2 ways to make the comparison - more or -er.

So we've seen that built is the irregular form of the verb build, that to set about is to start doing something with purpose and that you have a house and howse people in it.

We'll finish with the word 'home', which means that place you live in:
Not only is it a museum during the day but when we shut we then have house guests who come and use all the artefacts and that's rare in the world.

We treat it as our home and the guests treat it as their home therefore it's just like a house that you live in. It responds and stays happy. So the fact that they can move around the house, eat and drink and laugh and dance and have fun is what keeps the life in this wonderful old house and keeps it in wonderful condition.
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