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.



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

2nd Leuitenant Simon Fraser, 58th Battalion. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial-ID no 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

Family Notices. (1917, November 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from

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

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from

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

Family Notices. (1934, March 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 13. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from

Family Notices. (1940, June 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from

Family Notices. (1940, June 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from

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

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from

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

Family Notices. (1946, May 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 2. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from


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.

Trove Tuesday – Time for a Song

The Port Fairy Gazette has a lot of Byaduk news and I just love this treasure from May 31, 1915.   Australia celebrated Empire Day on May 24 from 1905.  School children participated in patriotic singing and speeches and flags adorned buildings.  The children had a holiday from school in the afternoon.  May 24 was also Cracker Night and in the evening people would gather around bonfires and let off fireworks.

Empire Day 1915 saw ggg grandfather James Harman visit the Byaduk State School and address the children.   He then sang “Just Before the Battle, Mother” and I’m pleased to see he “delighted” the children.  At age 85, he was only a year away from his passing.

BYADUK. (1915, May 31). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from

“Just Before the Battle, Mother” was an American civil war song but given it was in the midst of WW1, it was apt.  If you have not heard the song before, click on the play button below to hear a rendition courtesy of Soundcloud and P. Murray.

W is for…What Else Could It Be?

Naturally I had to rejoin the Gould Genealogy Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge at “W”.  W is for Western District and that means a lot to me not only because this blog is called “Western District Families”.  I was born and raised in the Western District and all the families of my maternal lines, going back six generations, chose to settle in the wonderful Western District.

One of the highlights of the Western District is the geography.  Entering from the east, the Western Plains lead to the rise of the Grampians and on to the volcanic plains and green rolling hills beyond.  To the south are the forests of the Otways, the south-west coastline and volcanic Tower Hill .

I will take you on a geographical journey through the Western District, just a glimpse really, beginning with two colonial artists, Nicholas Chevalier and my favourite, Eugene Von Guerard.  These  artists and others, traipsed around Victoria sketching and painting.  Von Guerard also travelled to Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand.  Looking at their paintings reminds me of the lives they lived for the sake of their art.

Chevalier’s sketch shows the Serra Range including Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt at the southern end of the Grampians.

View of the Grampians, Western District [art original] N. Chevalier.
State Library of Victoria

Moving south-west, dormant volcano Mt Eccles near Macarthur has played a part in my family history.  My gg grandfather Reuben James Harman, son of James Harman, owned property at Mt Eccles.  It was also a favourite fishing spot of my grandfather William Gamble.

Crater of Mt. Eccles, von Guerard, Eugene,1811-1901,artist.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

I prefer von Guerard’s depiction of Lake Surprise, the crater lake of Mt Eccles, to my own (below).  I remember as a child asking about the name “Lake Surprise”.  The answer:  When you get to the top of the crater and see the lake, you get a surprise.  Fair enough.


A little north of Mt Eccles is the volcanic lava flow, the Harman Valley at Byaduk, named after my Harman family.  In the distance is the source of the lava, Mount Napier.


To the south-east is Tower Hill, another dormant volcano.  It lies between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.


Further south is the famous Loch Ard Gorge, named for the Loch Ard which wrecked on the treacherous coastline.  The only two survivors, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael were washed on to the beach at Loch Ard Gorge.

I find standing on the beach in the Gorge a haunting experience.


East along the coast line is one of the most iconic views, not only of Victoria, but Australia.


North-west, and back where we started, are the Grampians.


The Grampians are a perfect place to leave the subject of the Western District and move on to another “W” which has been a part of my family since the 1860s, the Wannon River…

W is for…Wannon River

The Wannon River begins its’ flow at the base of Mt Abrupt in the Southern Grampians.  It flows toward Dunkeld, around the base of Mt Sturgeon and leaves the Grampians heading north-west toward Cavendish. Along the way it passes by Mokanger , workplace of both the Mortimers and Haddens.  Through Cavendish, it passes close to the cemetery, burial place of members of those two families.

From Cavendish, the river begins a southward journey toward two of the Hamilton district’s jewels, the Nigretta and Wannon waterfalls.  As the river progresses west, the Grange Burn joins the Wannon, having flowed from just east of Hamilton, the city founded on the Grange.  This section of the river was another favourite fishing spot of my grandfather William Gamble.

On the river flows to Tahara and then Sandford. I have family links to Sandford with Julia Harman, daughter of James Harman residing there with her husband George Holmes.  Two children were born their including WW1 casualty Arthur Leonard Holmes.  My gg uncle William Diwell also spent some time around Sandford.  In 1914, he completed extensions to the St Marys Church.

The Wannon River then joins the another great river of the Western District, the Glenelg River, having passed through some of Victoria’s most beautiful countryside.  It is not surprising Joseph Hawdon, travelling overland to Adelaide with Lieutenant Alfred Miller Mundy of the 21st Regiment in 1839, endorsed Major Thomas Mitchell’s description five years earlier. Major Mitchell followed the Glenelg River from its’ beginnings in the Grampians through to the sea at Nelson. It is little wonder all of my direct ancestors stayed in the Western District after settlement.

(1839, September 26). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from

After the merge with the Wannon, the Glenelg flows on to Casterton where I have many family links.  My ggg grandfather George Jelly, father of Elizabeth Ann Jelly, was one man who could say he had conquered the river.  His obituary read:

“He was a remarkably good swimmer and by his abilities in this direction was instrumental in saving many persons from drowning and rescuing the bodies of many others who had perished in the river” 

He even dived for the bones of Robert and Mary Hunt, murdered by George Wains in 1860.

By the time the Glenelg River reaches the sea, it, the Wannon and Grange Burn have passed by many of the places my ancestors lived, worked, fished, swam and were laid to rest.

The Wannon River between the Nigretta Falls and the Wannon Falls, about 20 kilometres from Hamilton, would be the section most frequented by myself and my family before me.  My own memories come from family visits, Sunday drives with Nana, school excursions and birthday parties.

The following views near the Wannon Falls are from the State Library of Victoria Collection and were captured around 1878 by  Thomas J. Washbourne , a Geelong photographer.

Wannon River Scene – Washbourne, Thomas J. photographer.Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC)

Wannon River Scene Washbourne, Thomas J.,photographer.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC)


Of the two waterfalls, I prefer the Nigretta, especially after rain.  The Wannon Falls could be described as pretty in the way they drop off the edge, but the Nigretta Falls are, at times, spectacular.

Nigretta Falls on the Wannon River
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – collection: Cogger album of photographs

The Vagabond (John Stanley James) described the Nigretta Falls in his series “Picturesque Victoria” which appeared in The Argus.  In the  April 4, 1885 edition of The Argus , The Vagabond wrote of his visit to the Wannon.  He enjoyed the hospitality at the Wannon Inn and then marveled at the “miniature Niagara”

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1885, April 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from

This photo taken in August this year by my friend Catherine, after good rain, sees the Nigretta looking like the minature Niagara Falls as described by The Vagabond.

NIGRETTA FALLS – Image courtesy of Catherine Huisman

It was pleasing to see that the old viewing platforms still remain at the Nigretta Falls.


An impressive wooden staircase now leads down to the falls, but the original steps remain.

The Wannon Falls (below) holds memories of walking beyond the viewing platform, down to the rocks and behind the falls, but only when they were flowing lightly as they are in this photo.  A new viewing platform now prevents such precarious escapades, even undertaken while on school excursions!

I have two framed prints of the Wannon Falls by Louis Buveot, painted in 1872.  One hangs on a wall as a constant reminder of Hamilton, the Wannon River and the waterfalls.  The original hangs in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. To see  the original click on the link – Wannon Falls

The topic of the Wannon River gives me an opportunity to share my all time favourite family photos.  As a little girl when I first saw Nana’s old photo album, these photos captured my imagination.  When Nana came to live with us she kept her photo albums in her wardrobe. I would take them down, sit on her bed and go straight to this photo.  It was near the beginning of the album which had black, much turned pages.

From right: Nana, (Linda Hadden), my great-grandmother (Sarah Elizabeth Harman) and my great auntie Alma’s (Nana’s sister) mother-in-law Mrs Issac William Short (Catherine Gissane Tilley).

They are standing on the original lower viewing deck.   The four photos from a day at the Wannon where originally very small.  It wasn’t until I enlarged them on a computer, that I noticed Nana’s coat hanging on the railing.

I think the reason I like this photo is because Nana looked exactly liked she did when I knew her, but with long braids and I still can’t believe she was only about 15.  Even the small research assistant thought Nana was the lady in the middle when he first saw it.  He only knew her as an older person and does not think of her as having been a child too.

The second photo was taken from the lower viewing deck, looking toward the upper level.  I didn’t like standing here as a child and as you can see the rail was high at the front  and difficult to see over and to the right of  Nana was a gap between the fence and the rocks.  I much preferred the lower deck.

Recent years have seen a rotunda built at the Wannon Falls reserve with information about the waterfall, the local geography and history.

On our visit, the small research assistant said “Look Mum, they even have family history here for you”  He was right. There is a lot of my family history at the Wannon Falls.

Trove Tuesday – Matter of Relativity

Try and get your head around this article I found at Trove.  It appeared in The West Australian and the Adelaide Advertiser in December 1951.

I am almost certain this is my first cousin 4 x removed, Amelia Harman, daughter of Jonathan Harman.  Amelia married Christopher (Chris) Bell of Heywood in 1901.  They had three children,  Millicent Irene (born 1901), Clarence Jonathan (1902) and Christopher George (born 1903) all born at Heywood.  Clarence died in 1905.

If it is Amelia, the three children in the photo would be descendants of Christopher George Bell.  I believe that he may have married twice. Cheryl would be his daughter, Helen his granddaughter and Lynette his great-granddaughter.  At the time of the photo, Christopher was working as a senior constable of police at Casterton.  He would have been around 48 at that time. I’m still trying to do the maths!

Amelia would have been around 87 at the time of this photo.  She passed away in 1957 aged 91.


MATTER OF RELATIVITY. (1951, December 14). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from


Another amazing thing is the three girls are all nine months old! Cheryl, Helen and Lynette would be 61 now.  If they or any other Bell family members see this, I would love to confirm if this is Amelia Harman.

False Alarm

Reading the list of newspapers waiting to be released by the NLA’s  Trove,  I noticed the Port Fairy Gazette would not be far away.  Out of interest, I ran a search for “Port Fairy” and bingo many “coming soon” articles came up.  As my Harman and Bishop families lived in Port Fairy at various times, I went straight for a search on “Harman”.  Eleven matches came up with nine  relevant to my Harmans.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw one of the article previews:

Mr James Harman, Byaduk, aged 85, died last week. He landed in Port Fairy in 1853 and…..

It looked like it could be my ggg grandfathers obituary.  I search for his obituary every time Trove releases a new paper.  To date all I have found is the following snippet from The Argus:

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 8. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from

Brothers Walt, George and Jonathan all had lengthy obituaries why not my ggg grandfather.  Even the shadow dweller, brother Alfred had a Family Notice when he died!.  It did seem that my only chance was to search the microfilmed Hamilton Spectators at the Hamilton History Centre .  The hard part about that is getting to Hamilton.

Trove’s release of the Port Fairy Gazette (1914-1918) happened today and yes, the much-anticipated article was available.  I clicked on the link.  This is it, I thought.  What did I find?

Personal. (1916, August 24). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from

Twelve more words than the preview.  Only 12 words.  How can I expect any more in The Hamilton Spectator?  How I can ever expect to find any mention of the death of my ggg grandmother Susan Read, wife of James, who died in the same year?

On the bright side I found a couple of good Bishop related articles and a nice article about my gg uncle Charles James Harman prior to his departure for Egypt during WW1. So far, only 1916 is available but  based on the results so far, I think I’m bound to find more when the other years become available.

It was a big day for Trove today with 13Victorian titles released and another Western District paper,  the Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (1914-1918) was among them.

Also of interest to me are the Flemington Spectator (1914-1918) and the Wangaratta Chronicle (1914-1918)Sarah Harman and her husband George Adams lived in Flemington and so far I have found plenty of “Adams” matches in the Spectator but none for Sarah or George yet.  Herbert George Harman, nephew of James Harman was a reporter for the Wangaratta Chronicle for over 50 years and I have found matches for both him and his father George, mostly to do with their Masonic activities.

M is for…Methodist

This really should have been a post for the “W” week of the Gould Genealogy Alphabet challenge, but I have another “W” word in mind for that week (guess which word that will be).  To be precise,  “W is for…Wesleyan Methodist” would have been more apt as it is the branch of Methodism that the Harman family followed, but due to an overload of “W”‘s, I’ll turn it upside down and make it “M is for…Methodist”.

What did I know about Methodism before I discovered the Harman’s faith?  Nothing except for a link to temperance.  Therefore, over the years I have tried to find out more about the religion as I think it is definitive in finding out more of what the Harmans were really like, especially James and his brother Walter who were Local Preachers with the church.

It was the role of  local preacher that I discovered was one of the characteristics of Methodism.  This from the “Advocate” of Burnie on August 16, 1952 gives something of the background:

The Methodist Local Preacher. (1952, August 16). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from

I have also found that James did preach at Hamilton Methodist Church on occasions, found in the history  Uniting we now stand : a history of the Hamilton Methodist Church  by Joan A. Smith (1999).  The Hamilton church was originally at 41 McIntyre Street before moving to Lonsdale Street in 1913.  In May this year a gathering was held recognising 150 years of Methodism in Hamilton.

The Byaduk Methodist Church built 1864, was the first church in the town and a weatherboard Sunday School was added in 1889.  Located on the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road which runs through the town the Byaduk church, along with the Hamilton church,  are now Uniting Churches.  This cam about after three churches, the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational came together in 1977.


Prior to the Byaduk church’s construction services were held in the home of John B. Smith, an early leader of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria.   In 1866, Smith went to Portland  and travelled a circuit which took him throughout the south-west.  His recollections were published in The Portland Guardian of June 25, 1928.  If you have Kittson, Lightbody or Hedditch links, this is worth reading in full.

Early Methodsim. (1928, June 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from

Smith was also a co-author of the book The Early Story of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria  available online.  Of course there is a lot in the book about John Smith himself who “.. had a clear grasp of the plan of salvation, and a touching and pathetic way of speaking of the “wrath to come”.”(p.269).

Also of Smith:

“The well-worn family Bible used morning, noon, and night for family worship, told of his love for the Psalms and the words of the Lord Jesus and few could use them (even the deep vast words of the fourth gospel), or the plaintive phrases of the Psalms, or the less familiar lines of shaded beauty found in our Hymn Book, with greater feeling and effect” (p269)

The influence of this holy man of God and of other kindred spirits make Byaduk a bright spot in the Hamilton Circuit, while the personal worth and , social standing of Mr. Peter Learmonth as a Christian and a citizen, and the active sympathy and generous help of the Wissins’ and Learmonths’ on the one hand, and the uno-rudsins labours of devoted Local Preachers on the other, have served to sustain the cause and comfort the Minister’s heart”(p270)

Peter Fraser in Early Byaduk Settlers, describes an early Methodist service at Byaduk:

“They conducted the services differently from now.  In singing hymns. the preacher read a verse and the congregation sang the verse, then he read another and the congregation sang it and so on to the end of the hymn.  In prayers, most of the congregation knelt; and when the preacher was praying, some in the congregation would sing out AMEN, BE IT SO HALLELUIAH and other words, while others in the congregation would grunt and groan all the time, but it must have been a nuisance to the preacher as the Methodist Ministers stopped it many years ago.” (p. 14)

Peter also names some of the local preachers of which there was an abundance.  They included Mr John Henry Oliver senior, father-in-law of Jonathon and Reuben Harman, and his son John Henry junior.  Also Daniel Love, John Holmes and Samuel Clarke, just to name a few.  George Holmes senior, father in law of Julia Harman, was superintendent of the Sunday School for over 40 years.

James and Walter seemed the most devout of the Harman family, with both spreading the word as local preachers. Also, Walter and his wife Lydia established the Sunday School at Ensay and Walter travelled many miles preaching.  Walter’s son Henry was an elder of the Omeo Methodist Church and I have previously told the story of the Omeo Methodist Minister Ronald Griggs .  The church closed ranks around Griggs and continued to support him at the time of his murder trial in 1928.

The post In Search of the Extraordinary Monster looks at the Port Fairy Methodist church.  Port Fairy was the home of the Harman family before they moved to Byaduk

Reuben James Harman, son of James and my gg grandfather,  was buried in the Methodist section of the Ballarat New Cemetery, with the faith continuing on to the next generation.


I know there is so much more to find about the Harman family link to the Wesleyan Methodist Church.  My ggg grandfather was a great servant of the church and saw some changes during its development in Byaduk and Hamilton.   He was still alive when the Hamilton Methodist Church moved to Lonsdale Street, but  a major change occurred a year after his death.  In 1917, the Methodist Church of Australia at its Melbourne conference ruled that local preachers were to become known as lay preachers.

METHODIST CONFERENCE. (1917, May 26). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954), p. 6 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from

A post on the website Gospel Australia, has a great post “Poor Old Tom Brown”.  I have included the link but now the site is only working intermittently.   It  describes a man who was a Local Preacher in New South Wales and he is very much how I imagine James Harman to have been.

If you have Western District family  who were Methodists, I highly recommend you read the The Early Story of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria.  Various towns throughout the Western District were represented along with many names.  Other areas of Victoria are also covered.

If any one has any idea how I can get a copy of  Uniting we now stand : a history of the Hamilton Methodist Church  I would love to hear from you.  There is a copy in the reference section of the Hamilton Library but it would be nice to have a copy of my own.

There is one question about the Harmans and their Methodist faith that I may never have answered.  Why did Joseph Harman, father of James and Walter, change his religion from Methodist to Presbyterian by the time of his death in 1893?  Mentioned in his obituary in “The Hamilton Spectator” it has had me wondering ever since I first read it.


Nina’s Royal Inspiration

Watching the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant, made me think of how much Nana would have enjoyed it.  She loved everything royal, and while she was not always a regular reader of the Australian Women’s Weekly like Grandma Riddiford was, you could always count on her buying issues with the British royal family on the cover.  Not to mention the special publications for events such as the marriage of Charles and Diana and the birth of their sons.

It also reminded me of  an article I found at Trove of another Harman descendent and her link to the Australian Women’s Weekly and how she found royalty inspiring.

Nina Harman was born in 1895 at Barnawartha, Victoria, daughter of Walter Graham Harman and Ann Gray, and grandaughter of George Hall Harman and Rebecca Graham.  In 1921, Nina married engineer, Jonathan Welsh. During the 1940s and 50s the couple were living at Wattle Vale, near Nagambie.

Nina took up tapestry around 1952 when Jonathan became ill as she found it “soothing”.  They later moved to Ivanhoe, Victoria and Jonathan passed away in 1961.  Her carpet, pictured in the “Weekly” on July 6, 1966, helped her overcome the loneliness brought about by the death of her husband.


SHE STITCHES CARES AWAY. (1966, July 6). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 12. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from

What amazes me is that the carpet cost $1200 in materials and was insured for $5000.  How much would that be today?

Queen Mary’s own tapestry carpet inspired Nina.  The Queen completed the carpet  in 1950 at which time she donated it to the British Government to sell and retain the funds.  Queen Mary worked tirelessly on the carpet despite pain from sciatica.

QUEEN DEFIANT. (1950, February 8). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from

The Queen passed away in 1953.  The following article which appeared in the Woman’s Weekly on April 8, 1950 may have helped inspire Nina.

Queen Mary’s carpet. (1950, April 8). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 11. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from


Nina passed away in 1985 aged 90.  I wonder how many more tapestries she completed over the 20 years after her “Weekly” appearance?