James and the Bushranger

My son is now eleven and thinks he’s a bit too cool for history.  But not all is lost. Often I can get him interested in history without him even realising.  Besides taking advantage of his confinement in the car when travelling through the Western District and imparting snippets of history to him, I know that I can take him anywhere historic if I can capture his imagination.  I knew I could do that at the Port Fairy Cemetery in January.  I was after some more headstone photos and the lure for Lachlan was the chance to see the grave of a bushranger.




The story of “Dick” the Bushranger unfolded just up the road from the cemetery, in front of the St Patrick’s Catholic Church on the Port Fairy/Yambuk Road, now known as the Princes Highway. We visited the church in 2014 and Lachlan took the following photo.





It was 12 February 1859 and the local constabulary had heard two bushrangers were approaching the town.  With only three local mounted police, they split up to make sure all roads into town were covered.  Constable Wigmore came face to face with the alleged bushrangers at 5.00pm near St. Patrick’s church.  After some questioning, he attempted to arrest them and warned them he would shoot if they continued walking toward the town’s centre.  One of the men refused and produced a pistol and Constable Wigmore felt he had no choice but to follow through with his warning and he shot the man.  The following report appeared in The Age of 24 February 1859.  Another report was published in the Geelong Advertiser of 23 February 1859.



The name of the dead man was not known.  His companion, William Darcy, said he only knew him as “Dick” and said they had met at the Yambuk Hotel where they allegedly stayed the night before.





William Darcy was charged with highway robbery by Portland police in the days after, as reported in the Portland Guardian and Normanby Advertiser on 2 March and stood trial in May 1859. Darcy was found guilty and sentenced to five years hard labour for assault and highway robbery as reported by the Portland Guardian and Normanby Advertiser on 13 May 1859.  Witness statements at the committal hearing published on 2 March would suggest both men were guilty and they didn’t support Darcy’s claim that he and “Dick” were at the Yambuk Inn, rather camped by the road.  But many questions remain and it was only the word of the defendant against the two witnesses, that led to Darcy’s charges.  “Dick” had no opportunity to give his side of the story.

A search of the Central Register of Male Prisoners at the Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV VPRS 515) found that William Darcy (no. 4481), a Presbyterian, was just twenty-three and had arrived in the colony alone and had no relatives in the colony.  He was sent to Pentridge Prison. Beyond William Darcy’s personal information, there was little else to take from the file.

“Dick” was buried in the Port Fairy Cemetery in a grave marked with rocks.  In recent years, an addition to the grave is a headstone, with the words “Did He Deserve This?”.  I’ve been on one of Maria Cameron’s wonderful Port Fairy cemetery tours and she believes from her research, that “Dick” was Frederick, but the mystery remains as to his true identity.

The story of “Dick” the bushranger is unlike any other bushranger story I could share with Lachlan.  As the dying man took his last breath, Lachlan’s gggg grandfather James Harman was present.


"A BUSHRANGER SHOT." The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 24 Feb 1859 .

“A BUSHRANGER SHOT.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 24 Feb 1859 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154837960&gt;.


It was no surprise to learn that James and his brother, possible Jonathan Harman, were heading out of town toward Yambuk.  Although I am yet to fully establish James’ movements from the time he disembarked from the Duke of Richmond at Portland harbour in 1854 until he arrived in the Byaduk area around 1861, I do know that James was first employed at Boodcarra between Port Fairy and Yambuk.  I took this photo of Boodcarra from a moving car, simply because the road at that point is not good for stopping.




By 1859, James may have resided at Port Fairy, so he would be visiting Yambuk.  A reason for a visit was to see good family friends and later extended family, the Olivers who were living at Yambuk around that time.  Jonathan and Reuben Harman later married two of the Oliver girls.  They were also church friends of the Harmans, another reason James, a Wesleyan Methodist local preacher, may have headed out the Yambuk Road.  Perhaps there was a prayer session at a the home of another Wesleyan Methodist.  When there was not a local Methodist church, gatherings were held at private homes, by candlelight, and often running late into the night.  Whatever the reason, I am sure it was a trip James and his brother never forgot.

So mission accomplished, Lachlan learnt something of his family history and I got more headstone photos to add to my collection.   You can see some of those photos in my two Port Fairy cemetery posts to date – Port Fairy Cemetery Part One and Port Fairy Cemetery Part Two.


Hamilton Old Cemetery

In 1850, Henry Wade, the surveyor for the Portland district, completed a plan of the township of Hamilton, then known as The Grange.  He was under instruction from Robert Hoddle, the head of the Melbourne Survey Office.  Hoddle requested Wade set aside eight acres for a cemetery.  Wade surveyed a site on the then Wannon Road, later known as Coleraine Road. That site became the Hamilton Cemetery but is now more commonly known as the Hamilton Old Cemetery after the first burial at the Hamilton Lawn Cemetery in February 1970.  Some burials occurred at the old cemetery after that time, but generally with existing graves.




Of the cemeteries I have visited in the Western District, the Hamilton Old Cemetery is the one closest to my heart. The following grave is the one that first took me there.  The time of my first visit is unclear but maybe as a toddler.  I’m not sure who I even went with.  Maybe my Nana or my great auntie Rosie, both daughters of Thomas and Sarah Hadden. Both Nana and Auntie Rosie took me to the cemetery many times as a child.




The visits to the cemetery were a regular Sunday ritual. If I heard Nana say, “Those flowers would be nice for the cemetery”, I knew the camellias or the dahlias were in bloom and a cemetery visit was impending. Of course, there were also the visits on significant dates.  Nana and Auntie Rosie would weed the plot and put fresh flowers in the vases and I would fill the vases with water at a nearby tap.  The vases in the photo (above) have been with the grave since the beginning as Mum remembers them when she was a child visiting the grave.  And now my son, a fourth generation descendant, has visited the grave of his gg grandparents Thomas and Sarah.

Thomas Hadden was born in Cavendish in 1879, a son of a Scottish immigrant while Sarah was born Sarah Elizabeth Harman at Byaduk.  Her mother, Lizzie Bishop, passed away when Sarah was seven and she and her two siblings were raised by their father Reuben and step-mother Emma Lorden.  Thomas Hadden and Sarah Harman married in 1904 at Byaduk.  They raised seven children in a small house on Coleraine Road, their first-born Lucy Angelina in 1905.





Both Sarah and Tom passed away in their sixties. Tom in 1943 aged sixty-four and Sarah in 1948 aged sixty-five, both still relatively young.

When I was ten, there was another grave to visit at the cemetery, that of my great Uncle Len Hadden.  We probably visited it before that, but it’s not in my memory. My great-aunt Jessie was buried in 1969, but I was one-year-old and don’t remember her, but I do remember Uncle Len.




Arthur Leonard Hadden (below), better known as Len, was the second child and oldest son of Thomas and Sarah.  He was born in  February 1907 at Hamilton.  Len attended the Hamilton State school and became a butcher.




Len married Jessie McPhail in October 1928 at Hamilton.  Jessie was born at Tahara to Archibald McPhail and Jessie Wilson in 1905.  Jessie and Len had four boys.


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Visiting Uncle Len at his home on Port Fairy Road, Hamilton during the 1970s was memorable.  Then a widower, he was in his mid-sixties but he seemed very old to me.  I recall he always had the newspaper open on the table and the radio going, the racing station I think, and he didn’t talk much to me, not in the way his younger brother Bill did anyway. Uncle Len had an ankle biting silky terrier called Scruffy I was a bit scared of and a talking cockatoo.  Most memorable was his outdoor dunny, the only one I had seen at the time, and I can still recall the smell which was probably phenyle.




From the Hadden’s, the next of my family graves are those I discovered when I began researching my family history.  As a child, I had no idea there were others in the cemetery related to me.  Little did I know my great-grandmother Sarah Harman’s great-uncle and aunt William Reed and Sarah Burgin were there and not too far away either.

William Reed and Sarah Burgin were the subjects of my post The Muddy Creek Reeds.  There you can read about William’s early life in Cambridgeshire and later as a husband and father living at Muddy Creek.




Also buried there is Edna Alice Ford, a grand-daughter of William and Sarah.  Her parents were Martha Reed and James Ernest Ford and she was their fourth born.  There is also William Reed Jnr, the eldest child of William Reed and Sarah Burgin. Dying aged eighty-six, William never married.

Not far away is the grave of another of William and Sarah’s children, Sarah Ann Reed (below). She married William Kirkwood of Buckley’s Swamp in 1903.  They settled at Buckley’s Swamp and raised a family of at least seven children.  I have several more photos of Kirkwood graves and I will feature those in a future post on the Hamilton Cemetery.




There are more of the Reed family graves to photograph including William and Sarah’s daughter and mother of Alice Edna Ford, Martha Reed and her husband James Ford.  Also daughter Eliza Reed and her husband James Clayton and her sister Alice Reed and Alice’s husband Henry Brewis.  Williams and Sarah’s son, Albert Reed and his wife Elilias Patman are also buried in the cemetery.

Nearby the grave of William and Sarah is the last resting place of Sarah’s parents Richard Burgin and Eliza Addinsall.  They were from Lincolnshire and arrived at Geelong aboard the Joshua in 1854.  Accompanying them were their children, Richard Jnr, Sarah, William and baby Hannah.  According to the passenger list, they were heading to nearby Batesford, the home of relatives.  They eventually made their way further west and were in the Hamilton district by 1858 when their daughter Eliza was born.  They settled at Muddy Creek, a small settlement just south of Hamilton with a large Methodist population.




Devout Wesleyans, the Burgins attended the Muddy Creek Methodist Chuch.  That is where the Burgin, Reed, Harman connection all began.  My ggg grandfather was a local preacher and in the early 1860s, before he settled his family at what would become Byaduk, Muddy Creek was their nearest church.  James’ wife Susan Reed was a sister of William, who arrived in the district from England as a single man and settled around Muddy Creek.  Sarah and William met, possibly at church, married and the rest is history.

The first burial in the Burgin plot was Eliza Burgin Jnr who passed away in 1874 aged sixteen.  Her mother Eliza followed in 1883 aged sixty-six then father Richard who passed away in 1888 aged seventy-eight.


"The Horsham Times." The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954) 8 Jun 1888:.

“The Horsham Times.” The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954) 8 Jun 1888:<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72883526&gt;.

The last burial was, Hannah Burgin who never married and passed away in 1923 aged seventy.

Still close by is the grave of Sarah Harman’s 1st cousin 1 x removed, Jessie Harman.  Jessie, of Byaduk, was the daughter of Reuben Harman and Elizabeth Oliver and married Hamilton man, Walter Greed in 1898.




Walter’s parents, John Weaver Greed and Emma Grinter started an undertaking business in Hamilton in 1861.  Around 1890, it was taken over by Walter’s younger brother Frank after the death of their father. It  became known as F.Greed & Sons and today the descendants of John and Emma run the business on the site where the business began 154 years ago.

Walter was the nephew of Abraham Greed a Hamilton coachmaker and at one time, Mayor. When he finished school, Walter went to work with his uncle in the coach building trade.  After their marriage, Jessie and Walter lived at 21 Stephen Street (below), with not only their children, Vera and Arthur, but at times, Jessie’s mother and two sisters, Beatrice and Sarah.


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Jessie and Walter’s son Arthur married Evelyn Sack around 1928 at the Hamilton Baptist Church, just a couple of blocks from the Greed home.


"SOCIAL." The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954) 22 Jun 1928:.

“SOCIAL.” The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954) 22 Jun 1928:<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72628020&gt;.





Evelyn was born in Shepparton, but her family moved to Hamilton soon after and her father Frederick Sack operated a jewellers and optician business in Gray Street.  The family lived at 46 Martin Street.

"Advertising." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1873; 1914 - 1918) 8 Jun 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119502851>.

“Advertising.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 8 Jun 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119502851&gt;.


Arthur Greed worked in the materials and curtain department in Miller’s store also in Gray Street.  After he and Evelyn married, they lived at 20 Stephen Street, across the road from Arthur’s parents.  In their later years, Arthur and Evelyn retired to Portland.  They passed away within three months of each other in 1993.






We now make our way to the opposite end of the cemetery to the Diwell plot.  On my last visit, I found another Diwell grave along the way.




I’ll have to use the cemetery records to find out who it belongs to, however, I have narrowed it down to possibly being Jonathan Richard Diwell, born at Hamilton in 1919 and who died in Hamilton in 1928.  He was the son of William Diwell and Vita Gleeson and grandson of Richard Diwell and Elizabeth Jelly, buried in the next featured grave.

This grave is the most ornate of my family graves at the cemetery, the final resting place of my gg grandparents, Richard Diwell and Elizabeth Jelly and four of their children.




You can read more about Richard and Elizabeth in the posts Elizabeth Ann Jelly and Another What the Dickens Moment.

Buried with them are four children including the baby Elizabeth gave birth to in 1900, with both dying as a result.  Also Richard and Elizabeth’s seventh child, Ernest Richard. He died in 1939 aged forty-eight after accidentally drinking spirits of salt.




The grave is looking a little worse for wear.




There are still several Diwell related headstones to get photos of.  They include Richard and Anne’s three young granddaughters, Hilda, Linda and Margaret the daughters of Margaret Ann Diwell and her husband Frederick Coustley.  There are also Richard’s sister Margaret Ann McClintock and her daughter Martha Emily McClintock and another daughter Mary Crawford McClintock who married John Blackney.

Since my collection of Hamilton Old cemetery photos is close to 200, this is not the last post on the cemetery.  Next, a tour of some of the graves of those who shaped Hamilton.


Garden, Donald S. (Donald Stuart) and Hamilton (Vic.). Council Hamilton, a Western District history. City of Hamilton in conjunction with Hargreen, North Melbourne, 1984, p38.

Hamilton History Centre Driving Tour

Gardner, Margaret & Heffernan, Val & Hamilton History Centre (2007). Exploring Hamilton : mini histories for drive no. 1. Hamilton History Centre, Hamilton, Vic, p15.

Victoria. Register of Assisted Immigrants from the United Kingdom. Microfiche VPRS 14. Public Record Office Victoria, North Melbourne, Victoria, sourced from Ancestry.com.au


©Merron Riddiford 2015.  The use of the content and images in this post is according to Western District Families’ Creative Commons License

Port Fairy Cemetery – Part Two

I promised a second Port Fairy Cemetery post months ago and finally, here it is.  Considering the number of photos I have from my January 2014 and 2015 visits, there could be a third and maybe a fourth installment.

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Clara Atkinson died in Port Fairy on 8 April, 1873 aged fifty-one.  Her husband John Henry Atkinson a chemist, ordered a headstone to remember not only Clara but the two babies the couple lost in 1856 and 1858.

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“Family Notices.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 21 Apr 1873: 2 Edition: EVENINGS. Web. 12 Jan 2015 .

If it wasn’t for the words “San Francisco” on the headstone, this post would have been much shorter.  Seeing San Francisco on a headstone in Port Fairy stirred the “how” and “whys” in me and I had to find out more.  Baby Lucy Jane Atkinson passed away in San Francisco on 28 June 1856.  She was buried at the Lone Mountain Cemetery in San Francisco aged one month.

Two years later in Warrnambool, on 30 October 1858, Clara and John lost another baby, Clara Bevans aged fifty days.

The Atkinsons seem to have arrived at Hobson’s Bay on 14 July 1858 from San Francisco aboard the Mary Robinson as cabin passengers.  If those passengers were the said Atkinsons, Clara would have been heavily pregnant with baby Clara.

“SHIPPING.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 26 Jul 1858: 4. Web. 12 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154873476&gt;.

Searches for a John Henry Atkinson, Chemist at Trove brought up many references to Sandhurst (Bendigo) where a John H. Atkinson had a spot of bother in the courts, leading to insolvency.  I was beginning to wonder, first if that was the same John H. and secondly was there a link to an important and influential resident of Bendigo from the 1860s, Harry Leigh Atkinson who at the time of his death was considered one of the largest landholders in Victoria?  

Using Trove and records from Ancestry.com.au, I began to piece the jigsaw together. The only solid clue to John Henry Atkinson’s past came from his death notice that stated he was the brother of the Portland Shire Secretary, Edwin Atkinson and that John died in Exmouth, England.

“Family Notices.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 1 Apr 1887: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 12 Jan 2015 .

That information was useful as I was able to find the following information about John’s will:

“Wills and Bequests.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 2 Sep 1887: 7. Web. 12 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146710419

Suddenly I had the names of nieces and nephews to trace and the clue of Nafferton, Yorkshire which led me to the 1841 UK census.  Brother of John, Edwin Atkinson helped me find John’s birthplace, Kilham in Yorkshire and his baptism in March 1822. His parents were Thomas Atkinson and Harriet Parkin. Checking the 1841 census, I found a John Atkinson “druggist” aged 20 living at Kilham.

Back at Trove, I found a man by the name of John Henry Atkinson of Launceston qualifying as a chemist in 1849.


“[No heading].” The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) 14 Mar 1849: 2. Web. 13 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page638262&gt;.

Less than six months later, a John Henry Atkinson was a cabin passenger aboard the Spartan bound for San Francisco from Launceston.

“Shipping Intelligence.” Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899) 1 Aug 1849: 7 Edition: AFTERNOON. Web. 12 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36258021&gt;.

With the knowledge about Kilham, Yorkshire, I discovered John had another brother, Thomas Parkin Atkinson which led to the name of another brother, Dr. Alfred Atkinson.  With that confirmation that John, Thomas, Edwin and Alfred Atkinson were cousins of Dr. Harry Leigh Atkinson.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 May 1866: 4. Web. 13 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5763019&gt;.

With that solved, I was still interested in why John was in San Fransisco.  I discovered a reason when I read the notice of Dr Alfred Atkinson’s death at Eaglehawk.  Alfred went to Bendigo in 1862 after many years in California.

“THE BENDIGO ADVERTISER.” Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918) 17 Mar 1876: 2. Web. 13 Jan 2015 .

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The Webb family headstone remembers parents William and Elizabeth Jane Webb and their children William Robert James and Edith Gertrude.

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William Webb Sr was born in Wiltshire around 1830.  He arrived in Port Fairy about 1852 and married Elizabeth Jane Francis in 1858.  They had eleven children including William Jr and Edith. Edith passed away in 1875 aged two and her brother William Jr passed away in 1886 aged twenty-six.  In 1911, mother Elizabeth passed away aged seventy-two years.

William Webb Sr passed away in 1919 having lived to the age of 89 years.  During his life, he established himself as a leading citizen of Port Fairy, spending forty years on the Borough council with a record seven terms as Mayor.  From the Victorian Heritage Database, I found William established an iron casting business in Gipps Street, Port Fairy with his brother Henry in the 1850s that included carriage making and a horseshoe forge. He later moved the business to Sackville Street.


“Cruelty to a Horse.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 8 Jul 1919: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4718862&gt;.

“BOROUGH OF PORT FAIRY.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 22 Feb 1915: 4 Edition: EVENING. Web. 11 Jan 2015 .

Seven members of the Gibson/McKechnie family were buried in the following plot.


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John Gibson was a President of the Port Fairy Shire and was a renown breeder of stock horses at his property Leura. He married Sarah Ann Taylor in 1856.  They had a large family and one of their first losses was daughter Margaret in 1877 aged six.  The following year Ann passed away aged eighteen.

John died in September 1887 only a month after being elected shire president.  Only the week before, his eldest son Thomas Edward Gibson had died as a result of an old injury.

“Brevities.” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 5 Oct 1887: 3. Web. 18 Dec 2014 .

“Wills and Bequests.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 16 Dec 1887: 4. Web. 18 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146710973&gt;.

In 1889, John’s daughter Alice Gibson married Richard Stirling McKechnie of Balmoral.

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 23 Feb 1889: 53. Web. 18 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139697003&gt;.

In 1890, a son Richard was born to Alice and Richard but he died in the same year and was buried in the Gibson plot.  Alice passed away in 1894 and was also buried in the Gibson family plot. Richard McKechnie remarried to Jessie Ireland of Port Fairy.  At the time, he was living at Lagoon Lodge, located to the west of the town.

David Gibson was the next member of the family to pass away, on 24 June 1895 aged thirty-one.

John Gibson’s wife Sarah Ann died in 1899 at Port Fairy.  She was buried in another grave with their youngest son Charles James Gibson who died in 1902 aged twenty-three.  Also Sarah’s mother Ann Taylor who died in 1909 aged eighty-seven.

As I moved away from the grave, something caught my eye on the bottom right-hand corner of the headstone – “G. Harman, Port Fairy”

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There is only one G. Harman of Port Fairy I know of and that is ggg uncle George Hall Harman whose own headstone in the Port Fairy Cemetery is below.  He was buried with his wife Rebecca Graham and their headstone remembers their daughter Edith who died in 1866 at Byaduk.

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The following headstone originated out of tragedy.



On a Sunday morning during December 1886, Annie Edith Searle daughter of nurseryman Henry Searle and Phoebe Robins of Port Fairy, drowned at Boarding School Bay, just west of the township.

“THREE LADIES DROWNED.” The North Eastern Ensign (Benalla, Vic. : 1872 – 1938) 19 Jan 1886: 2. Web. 19 Dec 2014 .

Mother Phoebe, passed away on 19 April 1909 aged eighty-seven and her husband Henry Searle passed away eight months later, on 27 December aged eighty-six.

“PORT FAIRY.” Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1924) 7 Jan 1910: 4. Web. 11 Jan 2015 .

In 1922, another daughter Alice Amelia was buried in the plot, passing away at the age of sixty-three.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 19 Jan 1921: 1. Web. 19 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733152&gt;.

The following grave is that of infant Robert Vincent Ware.

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Robert Ware was the two-year-old son of James Ware and Jane Mailor and was born in 1854 at Belfast.  He died in 1856.


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From the 1856 Victorian Electoral Roll,  I found that James Ware was a licensed victualler and was a leaseholder on the corner of James and Bank Street , the location of the Caledonian Inn in Port Fairy. Construction of the inn began in 1844.



James and Jane had at least another three children after Robert’s death, Susan, Alice and Mary Ann. They were born at Port Fairy and Rosebrook. I’m still to find what happened to James Ware, but I do know that by 1894,  Jane had moved to Melbourne, taking up residence at Bella Vista in East Melbourne where Susan passed away in 1894 .

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 5 Mar 1894: 1. Web. 14 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8730679&gt;.

Looking at the 1903 Victorian Electoral Roll, the Ware’s may not have been guests at the luxury boarding house Bella Vista, as Mary Ann’s occupation was listed as “boarding-house keeper.”

Jane Ware passed away in Sydney on 17 September 1900.  She died at 71C Darlinghurst Road, at that time operating as a boarding house.

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 29 Sep 1900: 55. Web. 14 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139156386&gt;.

Daughter Mary Jane stayed on at Bella Vista and  passed away in 1939.


“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 10 Feb 1939: 10. Web. 17 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12095589&gt;.

The headstone of Abijah Brown is one of the most distinctive in the Port Fairy cemetery.

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The 1856 Victorian Electoral Rolls shows that Abijah was at that time the licensee of the Stag Hotel in Sackville Street.



Abijah’s nickname was ‘Clockey’ because of the large gold watch and chain he wore and he took over license of The Stag hotel, Port Fairy in 1855. Pamela Marriott in her book “Time Gentlemen Please,” mentions Abijah was a jeweller which explains his gold watch.  Abijah was also a councillor for a short time.  Prior to going to the Stag Hotel, he ran the Plough Inn at Killarney.  He died on 19 July 1862.


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The men buried in the last two graves of this post had family links through marriage.

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Rupert Kirk was a former army captain who purchased over 300 acres of land at Land Cove, Sydney in 1831.  He established a soap making business and named his property Woodford Park. He was also the father of William Musgreave Kirk buried in the Port Fairy Cemetery (above).

“Classified Advertising.” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842) 13 May 1841: 4. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2553302&gt;.

RUPERT KIRK. Artist: Maurice Felton Surgeon. Sydney / del.t March 27th 1841.” Image courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Rupert passed away on 8 March 1850.

“Family Notices.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 11 Mar 1850: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12916317&gt;.

Only weeks earlier, Rupert’s son William Kirk married Hannah Lindsay in Sydney.

“Family Notices.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 26 Jan 1850: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12915234&gt;.

William was living in Mudgee, N.S.W. after his marriage in 1850

“Advertising.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 6 Mar 1850: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 .

Alos at that time, William’s sister was living in the Port Fairy district, marrying Horace Flower there in 1850 as reported by The Argus on 19 October 1850.  William  Kirk was in Victoria some time from the early 1850s living by the Merri Creek near Woodford.  He died there on 11 July 1855.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 18 Jul 1855: 4. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4812501&gt;.

Hannah Lindsay, William’s wife passed away on 2 December 1864 and was buried in the same grave.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 13 Dec 1864: 4. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5748104&gt;.

As mentioned, there is a link between William Kirk and the next grave’s occupant, Lloyd Rutledge.

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If you believe in ghosts, Lloyd Rutledge’s grave is a must see especially if you visit on the night of 17 December when Lloyd is said to appear each year at his grave. Lloyd was the younger brother of William Rutledge who arrived in Port Fairy around 1843 and established William Rutledge & Co. a mercantile company shipping goods to and from England. William Rutledge had married Eliza Kirk, a sister of William Kirk (above) in Sydney in 1840.  That marriage was most likely the catalyst for William Kirk and his other siblings to move to Victoria.

When William Rutledge first arrived in Australia in 1829, he settled himself in Sydney and once established brought his siblings in Ireland to Australia.  Lloyd followed him to Port Fairy and worked with him at William Rutledge & Co.  In 1852, Lloyd returned to Sydney to marry Isabella Bennett, daughter of Richard Bennett.

“Family Notices.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 6 Aug 1852: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12938972&gt;.

The Rutledge, Bennett and Kirk family were all intertwined through marriage.  William Rutledge married Eliza Kirk, maternal aunt of Lloyd’s wife Isabella Bennett.  Isabella’s brother Richard Bennett Jnr wrote the articles that make up the book “Richard Bennetts’ Early Days of Port Fairy.”

Only a month before Lloyd and Isabella’s wedding, William Rutledge sent Lloyd to Portland on a mission.  Desperately in need of labour, William wanted Lloyd to meet the incoming immigrant ship Runnymede.  Accompanying Lloyd was Thomas Browne, better known by his pen name  Rolf Boldrewood , the author of “Robbery Under Arms.”   Supplied with blank forms of agreement from William, Lloyd boarded the ship and signed up seventy passengers for work, ignoring the police interest in his activities.  Boldrewood wrote about the event in an article entitled “Desirable Immigrants” published in The Australasian on 8 July 1905.

“TOBTLAND.” Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) 2 Jul 1852: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 .

  Lloyd was a racehorse owner and steward.

“VICTORIA.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 10 Oct 1854: 3. Web. 17 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12961947&gt;.

He also rode in races and these results from 22 February 1856, show him running third at the Portland races aboard “Tross”.

“THIRD DAY, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21ST.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 22 Feb 1856: 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE PORTLAND GUARDIAN.. Web. 17 Jan 2015 .

Also racing was “Alice Hawthorne” who was later one of Victoria’s leading racehorses, competing  in a NSW vs Victoria match race in 1857, a forerunner to the first Melbourne Cup in 1861   You can read more about Alice by clicking on the link on her name.

In 1855, Lloyd had a two-storey home constructed in Port Fairy and named it Cooinda.  It was there in 1858 that Lloyd’s life would end at just thirty-one years of age.  Partial to a drink, Lloyd was climbing the stairs of Cooinda after a drinking session when he fell backwards down the stairs and broke his neck.


“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 Dec 1858: 4. Web. 12 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7306711&gt;.

Cooinda moved into the hands of the Finn family of Port Fairy.  In 1918, they sold the house.

“PROPERTY SALES.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 9 Sep 1918: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 15 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91988481&gt;.

Cooinda fell into a bad state of disrepair.  It was known locally as the “haunted house” with Lloyd said to appear at the top of the stairs each 17 December.  In the 1950s, the house was demolished.  It was from then that Lloyd supposedly moved his annual “appearance” to his graveside.  More information on an investigation into paranormal activity at the grave site is on the Port Fairy Cemetery website.

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Australian Electoral Rolls (Australian Electoral Commission) – Ancestry.com.au

Bennett, Richard and Critchett, Jan Richard Bennetts early days of Port Fairy. W.I.A.E. Press, Warrnambool, Vic, 1984.

Marriott, Pamela M Time gentlemen please! : an history of Western District inns, 1840-1915. Pamela M Marriott, [Flemington, Vic.], 2001.

Port Fairy Public Cemetery website


Port Fairy Cemetery – Part One

If you find yourself travelling along Victoria’s south-west coast, don’t miss the Port Fairy Cemetery.

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Last summer, I revisited the cemetery with the aim of photographing as many headstones as possible.  During our four days in Port Fairy, the weather was hot and our days were spent at the beach.  My only chance was to head off early to beat the heat.   I took the dogs, and after a stop at the beach for a run, them not me, we arrived at the cemetery around 7.30am.


Taking photos and holding two dogs on leads, is not an easy task.  I’m glad they didn’t see the rabbits sitting among the graves but I didn’t count on the burrs.  Soon the dogs were stopping periodically to pick burrs from their paws.  I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked but I have captured some of the older and more interesting headstones.  I will post the photos in two parts.

On one of my past visits to the Port Fairy Cemetery, I joined a tour run by the Port Fairy Genealogical Society.  It was fantastic and I wished I had our knowledgeable guide Maria Cameron on this visit as I tried to remember the stories behind the graves.

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As sealers and whalers, Charles Mills and his older brother John, first saw Port Fairy in 1826, eight years before the Henty brothers arrived at Portland.  However, their whaling camps were not considered permanent in comparison to the Henty settlement, thus the Hentys take the title of first European settlers in Victoria in most discussions on the topic.  Launceston born Charles Mills passed away in 1855 aged 43 and John in 1877 aged 66.   The biography of the brothers is on this link – John and Charles Mills 

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“BELFAST.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 21 Nov 1855: 6. .

This was the home of John Mills in Gipps Street, Port Fairy just across the road from the port where he was harbour master.




Port Fairy Harbour


An obituary for John Mills, published September 28, 1877 in the Portland Guardian:

“BELFAST.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 28 Sep 1877:.

The Portland Guardian published an interesting article about the Mills Brothers on September 21, 1933.  It included their life stories and that of their father Peter Mills who served as secretary to Governor Bligh  – Early Settlers

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William and Agnes Laidlaw were early pioneers of the Port Fairy district, arriving from Scotland with their family around 1841.  William was born on January 20, 1785 and died on April 6, 1870 and Agnes was born on September 20, 1790 and died  on February 12, 1867.

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“Family Notices.” Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875) 23 Apr 1870 .

At least two of their children had great success.  David Laidlaw went on to serve five times as Mayor of Hamilton and was also a leading businessman in that town.   Robert became well-known in the Heidleberg area as a land owner and sheep breeder.  The following is a family photograph taken at Robert’s 90th birthday.  Robert is at the front with the white beard and brother David to his right.

“A Nonagenarian Birthday Party.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 23 May 1907: .

James Andrews (1780-1855) and Elizabeth Andrews (1811-1870) nee O’Brien and their two sons, Michael and Patrick lie in the following grave.

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The headstone is difficult to read from the photo, so I have transcribed it:

Sacred to the Memory of 

James Andrews

Formally of Ratoath County Meath


Died January 1855 aged 55 years

Elizabeth Andrews

His Beloved Wife

Died 26 August 1870, aged 59

Also their two sons


Died 3rd May 1854 aged 15 years


Died 15 March 1863, Aged 23 years

There was little information around about the Andrews family but I thought I would check shipping records.  An Andrews family arrived at Portland during October 1853 aboard the Oithona.  They were from Meath, Ireland, matching the headstone.  The family consisted of James, aged 56, Elizabeth aged 45, Patrick aged 12, Fanny aged 10, James aged nine and Therese aged 2.  On arrival James snr and the family went on to Port Fairy of their own account.  If this is the same Andrews family, James was in Victoria only two years before he died.

After sorting my photos I’m really disappointed with myself.  The following Goldie family grave is one I remember well from the cemetery tour.  Maria pointed out the top of the grave purposely broken off to signify a life cut short. Firstly, I didn’t get a photo of the top of the grave and secondly I didn’t get a photo of the reverse side of the grave

Instead I got the following photo showing John and Elizabeth Goldie epitaphs.

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If I had a photo of the reserve side, you would also see three babies. It was their the lives cut short:

Catherine Goldie
Died in Scotland Feb 1859
Aged 21 Months

Died Sep 1862 Aged 19 Months

Died May 1864 Aged 17 Months

John Goldie and Elizabeth Clarke arrived in Melbourne aboard the Greyhound in 1862.  With them were their children, Elizabeth aged 11, James aged 2 and Margaret aged 1.  John was born in 1862 at Port Fairy and Margaret barely survived the voyage, dying in 1862.

John Goldie snr was a pioneer of the agricultural industry, working with the Agricultural Department planting experimental crops.  Photos of one of his experimental sugar beet crops is below.

JOHN GOLDIE'S SUGAR BEET CROP TRIALS.   Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. IAN01/10/95/20  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

JOHN GOLDIE’S SUGAR BEET CROP TRIALS. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

John died in 1901 after a cow knocked him down.  Elizabeth had passed away 29 years earlier aged 45.

Son of John and Elizabeth, James Goldie. who was two when he arrived at Port Fairy. was a previous Passing Pioneer – James Goldie obituary

The grave of William Kerby goes back to the earliest years of the cemetery.  William was buried in 1847 in a grave with headstone and footstone arranged by his wife Mary.

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Look a little closer at the next headstone and a sad story begins to emerge.  A check of the marriage record of Robert and Annie Grosert sees the story turn sadder still.  Robert Grosert, the son of  a Port Fairy butcher and himself in the trade was born in 1852.  He married Irish immigrant Annie Greer in 1877.  By November 14 of that year Robert was dead and by December 4, so was Annie.

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George Best was born in Port Fairy in 1853, a son of  George Best and Lucy Weston.  He married Emilie Melina Jenkins in 1877 at Wagga Wagga, NSW and they settled at Port Fairy.  George enjoyed sailing and it was while competing in a regatta on the Moyne River at Port Fairy in March, 1891, he was knocked overboard and drowned.

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A diver recovered George’s body from the river floor.  A team of townspeople worked on George for two hours trying to revive him.  An  account of the drowning appeared in the Portland Guardian on March 13, 1891 and described the incident and the preparations of the diver which makes interesting reading.

An inquest was held into the accident.

“THE BOATING FATALITY AT PORT FAIRY.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 10 Mar 1891: 5. Web.<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8482214&gt;.

Coincidentally, George’s father, George Best snr a Port Fairy saddler, drowned in almost the same place 30 years before.  His body was never located.

“THE EDUCATION DIFFICULTY SOLVED.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 23 Apr 1861: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154888852&gt;.

George and Emilie’s daughter, Elsie May Best was buried with her parents.  She died on October 10 1897 at Port Fairy aged 20 years and 10 months.

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 23 Oct 1897: 55. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138629574&gt;.

George’s wife  Emilie Melina Jenkins died in a private hospital “Somerset House” in East Melbourne on April 10, 1924.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 Apr 1924: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1903476&gt;.

When you walk through a country cemetery and see dozens of unfamiliar names, then later research those names, it’s amazing what you can dig up, so to speak.  Francis Alexander Corbett is one such name. Francis born in 1818, was buried in the Port Fairy cemetery with his wife Ellen Louisa Lane.

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After searching Trove newspapers, I discovered that Francis arrived in Australia in search of gold and after some time on the diggings went to Melbourne and worked as a reporter for the Argus. Not fond of the work, he moved to the Census Commission conducting the 1854, 1857 and 1861 census as Census Secretary.  He was also a life member of the Royal Society of Victoria.


In 1857 he wrote a book Railway Economy in Victoria and in the same year married Ellen Louise Lane born c1829.  During the 1860s, Francis and Ellen moved to Port Fairy and Francis managed the estate of James Atkinson.  They later moved to Kirkstall near Warrnambool.  In 1889, the following article appeared about Francis Corbett in the Australian Town and Country Journal:

“Western Seaports of Victoria.” Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907) 5 Jan 1889 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71113608&gt;.

Francis was visiting Port Fairy when he died suddenly at the Commercial Hotel (now Royal Oak Hotel) on June 10, 1893.



“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 17 Jun 1893: 42. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138656519&gt;.

An obituary appeared in the Argus:

“COUNTRY NEWS.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 Jun 1893: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8563251&gt;.

The information contained in Francis’ will was even more enlightening especially that about his brother John Corbett.

“Wills and Bequests.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 28 Jul 1893: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145711319&gt;.

I tracked down John Corbett or rather,  Admiral Sir John Corbett born 1822 and died 1893, five months after Francis.

“[No heading].” South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1895) 16 Dec 1893: 4. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8442835&gt;.

On December 4, 1904, 11 years after Francis, Ellen passed away at St Kilda.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 5 Dec 1908: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10188785&gt;.

Five members of the Finn family lie in the following grave.  The first to pass was John Finn in 1879.  John was the owner of the Belfast Brewery and the Belfast Inn with his licence issued in 1841. He was also one of the trustees of the old cemetery which possibly refers to the Sandhills Cemetery although the Port Fairy cemetery website says. at times both cemeteries were referred to as the “old cemetery.”

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The next death in the Finn, family was John’s daughter-in-law Ellen, wife of Laurence Finn.  In 1896, Laurence and Ellen’s youngest son, George passed away aged 25.

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 21 Mar 1896: 45. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139723181&gt;.

Another son, William Henry passed away in 1902.  That left just Laurence who died on May 24, 1914 aged 81 years.  His obituary appeared in the May 2013 Passing of the Pioneers.  Laurence died a wealthy man having inherited land from his father, however his will was contested.  A hearing in 1916 saw many witnesses called to assess the soundness of Laurence’s mind when his will was drawn up.  The article is available on the following link – http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73880024

Just a handful of graves, yet so many interesting characters and stories.

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For more information about the Port Fairy Cemetery, check out the website –  Port Fairy Public Cemetery.   Also ABC Local Radio did a great story on the cemetery including an interview with Maria Cameron and you too can listen to Maria talk passionately about the cemetery.  There are also photos with the story which are so much better than mine.  It is available on the following link  – Radio Interview.  The Find A Grave entry for Port Fairy has had some great work done on it with hundreds of headstones photographed.


Burial Sites

Family historians love a cemetery, but how do you find the cemeteries where your ancestors have been laid to rest?  If you are lucky enough to have Western District Families, there are two great sites available to help the search.




I have used this site, created by Ian Marr, for years and it has done much to help me track down my family members.  Ian has visited what seems like every cemetery in the Western District, from the big ones such as Warrnambool and Hamilton to little ones in paddocks.  He has recorded the details from the headstones and compiled them in an easy to use website.  Not only that, Ian describes each cemetery, gives directions, facilities available and contact details.

The small cemeteries are interesting.  There are Aberfoyle Station, Casterton Swamp and McNeil’s Paddock cemeteries, each with one or two burials on private property.  Some of the names are great such as Lemon Springs and Moonlight Head cemeteries.

The site allows searches by surname or cemetery name.  If you choose a surname search, click on the relevant letter then scroll the names to find your own.  All cemeteries where the name appears are listed beside each surname and you can click through to the cemetery from there.

The 16  largest cemeteries lists are not available online, but Ian has compiled  a range of DVDs and USBs of the entire collection or individual cemeteries  to buy.  These also have photos of headstones from many of the cemeteries.  The name search results on the website will still show a surname match for any of those 16 cemeteries.

If you prefer to browse by cemetery, simply click the cemetery name and a list of names will appear.  Click on your surname and it will go to all matching surnames at that cemetery.

Some of the headstones have researcher links too, so you could find someone else researching your name.  Or add your own contact details on a headstone as I have done for James Harman in the Byaduk Cemetery and William Hadden in the Cavendish Cemetery.




Carol’s Headstones offers photographs from cemeteries from mostly Victoria, but also N.S.W., South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.  The main page lists the available cemeteries.  Click on a cemetery and a list of headstones will come up.  If you email Carol, she will kindly return a photo of your selected headstone.

I have made use of this fantastic service offered by Carol and received headstone photos of Julia Holmes (nee Harman) from Casterton Cemetery and Amelia Bell (nee Harman) from the Heywood Cemetery.

While there are common cemeteries to Cemeteries of  S.W. Victoria, what you can’t find on one you may find with Carol.  Also it is possible to see a headstone list for Camperdown and Casterton, for example, that are only available on the DVD/USB version of Cemeteries of  S.W. Victoria.

Carol’s Headstones has a War Memorial Index too.  Some of the Western District memorials include Branxholme and Hotspur and there plenty of new entries.

Carol has a blog, Carol’s Headstone Photographs so you can keep track of cemeteries or War Memorials as they become available.

What strikes me about both websites is the amount of work Ian and Carole put in to deliver us a fabulous free service.  Thank you to both of them.



Byaduk Cemetery

I enjoy a trip to the Byaduk Cemetery.   When I turn off the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road and drive up the hill on not much more than a track, I can sense the ghosts of my ancestors around me, walking or driving a buggy up the hill following a horse-drawn hearse to the cemetery.  It is like stepping back in time.


IMAGE COURTESY OF THE STATE LIBRARY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA B62833 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/63000/B62833.htm

There are over 250 burials, in the cemetery and I will share photos of a small sample of headstones, including some of my family.  There are also unmarked graves, such as that of my 4 x great grandparents Joseph and Sarah Harman.



Scottish brothers, Colin, Duncan and James Fraser called Byaduk home and became respected residents.

The brothers immigrated from Scotland in 1853 and went to the Ararat diggings.  When land became available in 1861, the brothers went to Byaduk and Colin and James selected “Aird“.

They all at one time lived at “Aird. “James built a hut there but later built a home at “Lower Aird”, the adjacent property.  Colin built his home at “Aird” where he resided until his death.  The Victorian Heritage Database has a concise history of the Frasers and information about the Aird Homestead complex and the Lower Aird Homestead complex.  The Weekly Times ran an article about Lower Aird” in 2009.

Duncan didn’t buy land initially, rather, he returned to Scotland.  In 1871 he was back in  Byaduk with his wife Margaret and four children, Simon, Helen, Donald and William and they lived at “Aird” for a time.  In 1873, Duncan purchased “Camp Creek” where he lived until his death in 1878 aged just 49.



James and Mary Fraser produced a WW1 hero, 2nd Lieutenant Simon Fraser, and his bravery at the Battle of Fromelles, is commemorated at the Australian Memorial Park at Fromelles.  A statue “Cobbers, depicts Simon carrying a fellow soldier during the battle.

2nd Leuitenant Simon Fraser, 58th Battalion.  Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial-ID no H05926 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H05926/

2nd Leuitenant Simon Fraser, 58th Battalion. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial-ID no H05926 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H05926/

A member of the 57th Battalion,  Sergeant Simon Fraser carried men from No Man’s Land.  As he lifted a man on his shoulders, he heard another call out , “Don’t forget me cobber”.  Simon was later promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. The following year he was killed in action.  “Cobbers” has been replicated at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne.

Colin and Margaret Fraser lived at “Aird” but unlike the other two brothers, they had no children.  “Aird” was later purchased by another well-known Byaduk family, the Christies.



I am very thankful to James and Mary Fraser’s third son, Peter Fraser.  It was Peter’s writings of the Early Byaduk History in 1931, compiled from events he kept in diaries, that has given me so much information on the history of Byaduk and the families that lived there.

Peter did not publish his writings, but in 1994, Ian Black of Hamilton, typed them out and published a wonderful little book, Early Byaduk Settlers.  It may only be only 15 pages long, but it is a star on my bookshelf and a must for anyone that has ancestors that lived at Byaduk.  Peter tells the story of the Fraser brothers in great detail.


There are at least sixteen Frasers buried at Byaduk.  Following are some of the family’s headstones:




The following headstones are either linked to each other in some way or have direct links to the Harman family

Jane Carmichael (nee Pope) came to Byaduk from Scotland later in life with two of her children, Charles and Emma.  From what I can gather her husband had either died in Scotland or remained there.


Family Notices. (1917, November 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1664422

Family Notices. (1917, November 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1664422

Emma Carmichael, born in Dundee, Scotland around 1859 married Albert Harman in 1907.  She was 48 and Albert 39.  Albert was the fourth son of James and Susan Harman.



Samuel and Jane Tyers did not have any children, but other members of Samuel’s family lived in Byaduk.  There are at least nine other Tyers family members in the Byaduk Cemetery including Samuel’s sister Jane.


Other than Charlotte’s obituary, I could not find a lot about James and Charlotte Ward.  It was that obituary, however, that helped me find a link between this headstone and the one following it.


Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

This  Holmes headstone has a link to the previous one and to Samuel and Jane Tyers (above).  Joseph Holmes (1862-1929) was the son of George Holmes and Jane Tyers.  Jane was a sister of Samuel Tyers (above).

Joseph married Agnes Brand.  Her grandparents were James and Charlotte Ward (above).  Her parents were William Brand and Agnes Ward and Charlotte’s obituary mentions her daughter “Mrs William Brand”.


The following headstone belongs to Isabella Ward and her son Charles Ward.  Isabella was Isabella Harman, daughter of James and Susan Harman.  Her sister, Julia, married George Holmes, brother of Joseph Holmes (above).

Isabella married Stephen Ward in 1885 and their son Charles Frederick Ward was born in 1886, the same year as his mother’s death, presumably as a result of the birth.

I had heard from Nana that Henrietta Harman, Isabella’s unmarried sister, raised Charles.  James Harman, in his will, made provision for his daughter Henrietta and grandson, Charles to stay in the house that he owned beyond his death and for as long as needed.  Also, after the death of Henrietta, a trust would allow for Charles’ maintenance.  That was not because Auntie Henrietta outlived her much-loved nephew Charles.  He died in 1928 at Ballarat.

IMG_1830Henrietta Harman was Nana’s great-aunt and she could recall as s a child,  Auntie Henrietta visiting their home.  That would have been during the 1920s and 30s.  Henrietta would catch the coach from Byaduk to Hamilton.  “She was a dear old thing” Nana would say.  I think maybe because Nana, Linda Henrietta, was named after her great-aunt she felt a special bond.  Henrietta passed away in 1952 and was buried in a simple grave at Byaduk,.


Catherine Harman was the wife of my great-great uncle Charles James Harman, son of Reuben James Harman and Elizabeth Bishop.  Catherine was Catherine Kinghorn, daughter of Francis Kinghorn and Elizabeth White.  Born in 1868 at Byaduk, Catherine married Charles, at the age of 37, in 1905.  Charles was 10 years her junior.  Catherine died in hospital in  Melbourne in 1913.  Charles enlisted in the Australian Flying Corps in 1916 and remarried in 1922 to Lavinia Raven Fisher of Middle Park.

IMG_1845William Leslie Harman was born in 1888 at Byaduk, the third child and eldest son of Alfred Harman and Louisa Newman.  William was the grandson of James and Sarah Harman.

IMG_1838Isabel Bunworth was Isabel Harman, the sixth daughter of Alfred and Louisa Harman and sister of William (above).  Isabel married John Bunworth of Byaduk in 1923.


Gershom Harman (1869-1940) was the second son of Reuben Harman and Elizabeth Oliver.  He married Elizabeth Hilliard in 1905 and they had two children, Ivy and Gordon.


Family Notices. (1934, March 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 13. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10917287

Family Notices. (1934, March 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 13. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10917287

Family Notices. (1940, June 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12469954

Family Notices. (1940, June 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12469954

Now to the Bishops and another Harman link as my gg grandparents were Reuben James Harman and Elizabeth Bishop.

The following headstone belongs to Charles Bishop and his wife Sarah Dancer.  Charles (1856-1916) was the eldest son of James Bishop and Sarah Hughes.  He was the brother of Elizabeth Bishop.

Charles married Sarah Dancer in 1884 and they had 11 children.  Frances Bishop Hylard was their ninth child, born in 1900.  She married Edward Thomas Hylard in 1920.

IMG_1824Charles Bishop passed away from a heart attack while loading wood.

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1598956

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1598956

Percy Almond Bishop was the second son of Charles and Sarah Bishop.  Percy was born in 1888 at Byaduk and enlisted in 1916 at Hamilton and served with the 39th Battalion.  He was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal and a Military Medal.  Percy never married.


Family Notices. (1946, May 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 2. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22250486

Family Notices. (1946, May 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 2. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22250486


Ian Marr’s website, Cemeteries of S.W. Victoria has a full list of the headstones at the Byaduk Cemetery.

**Thank you to Maria Cameron, President of the Port Fairy Genealogical Society for providing with me additional information on the Fraser family and correcting an oversight I had made on the parentage of Simon Fraser.

Old Cavendish Cemetery

Behind this gate are the graves of two of my ggg grandfathers, a ggg grandmother, a 2nd cousin once removed, possibly another ggg grandmother and more.

This is the Old Cavendish Cemetery on the banks of the Wannon River. In use from 1849 through to 1922,  it was the site of over 120 burials.  A beautiful resting place for my ancestors but the problem is there are very few headstones.

I visited a few weeks ago on a sunny Sunday morning.    Ticking off the risk factors before entering: sunny, mid-spring, river location, long grass and graves, I decided to move quickly as I didn’t want to run into “Joe Blake”.   I moved at great haste barely stopping to take each photo. Surprisingly none were blurred.

This cemetery is set in beautiful countryside with Hugh Duncan and his wife Catherine having a prime position overlooking the Wannon River.

Headstone of Hugh Duncan (died 1892) and Catherine Duncan (died 1917)

Grave of James Rogers (died 1913) and Hannah Rogers (died 1908) and their daughters Mary Ann (died 1876) & Elizabeth Jane (died 1899)

I have a family link to the Brewis family of Karabeal.  My first cousin 4 x removed, Alice Reed married Henry Alfred Brewis, son of Joseph and Mary Brewis.  Alice was the niece of Susan Reed, wife of James Harman.

Front: Headstone of Magaret Matheson (died 1871) Back: George Healy Wilson (died 1895) and his mother Elizabeth Wilson (died 1898)

Headstone of William Lord (died 1885) and Sarah Lord (died 1874) and their son Henry (died 1872)

The following headstone is interesting.  It is the grave of Ann Wright who died in 1891.  She is buried with her son Henry Huntly and another Cavendish man Brown Hearn who died in 1904.  A clue came from another Hearn buried in the cemetery, Jessie Hearn.  Her death record of 1880 lists the three-year old’s parents as Brown Hearn and Elizabeth Huntly (or Huntley).  I have found a Victorian Marriage record for an Ann Prior to Henry Huntly in 1842 at Portland, but I can’t find a birth record for a Henry Huntly Jnr and I can’t explain the “Wright” surname.

Headstone of Thomas Varley (died 1892) and his daughter Evelyn Margaret (died 1894)

A Diphtheria epidemic hit Cavendish during 1879 and 1880 and many lives were lost including four children of the Cavendish school headmaster.  The headstone of Sarah Jane and Minnie McDonald is a reminder of that time.  Sarah Jane passed away on June 17, 1880 and her sister on June 19, 1880.  They were the daughters of Michael and Margaret McDonald of “Hyde Park” Cavendish.

Richard Bryant was a July Passing Pioneer.  Maggie, Richard’s second wife, was born in Ireland and was Margaret Nowlan.  My link to Richard is on his Passing Pioneer entry.

Headstone of Eliza Hewitt (died 1891), Anna Jane Hewitt (died 1899) and William Hewitt (died 1905)

This plaque at the entrance to the cemetery lists all those buried in the cemetery and events from the history of Cavendish during the time the cemetery was in use.

My family members are well represented in the cemetery, but all the headstones are gone or didn’t exist.  There is my ggg grandparents Charles and Agnes Hadden and their great-grandson, Charles.  Also my ggg grandfather James Mortimer, died 1895 and his granddaughter Queenie Rose Ann Victoria Mortimer who died as a baby in 1891.

There are  three Mortimers that I am not sure of.  Given I cannot find the death of my ggg grandmother Rosanna Buckland, she has to be one of them .  One unidentified Mortimer died in 1895 which should be James Mortimer.  There is also a  Mrs Mortimer, died 1889 and another Mrs Mortimer, died 1898.  I think the latter is Sarah Ann Duggan, wife of Henry Mortimer, James and Rosanna’s youngest son.  Sarah Ann died in Warrnambool in 1898.

GGG Grandmother Rosanna could be the 1889 “Mrs Mortimer”.  Or maybe not.   She has been elusive to date.  There is also a Mr W. Mortimer who died in 1889.  I don’t have a W. Mortimer on my tree that died around that time nor can I find a W. Mortimer in the Victorian Death records.

I will return to the Old Cavendish Cemetery in Autumn, when the grass will be shorter and “Joe Blake” will be tiring.  Maybe then I can take my time and see what is hidden beneath the grass.

For a full list of those buried at the Old Cavendish Cemetery, check out Ian Marr’s great site Cemeteries of S.W.Victoria


“Joe Blake” ( Australian Rhyming Slang) – snake.