Hamilton’s WW1 on Facebook

The “Hamilton’s WW1” side of Western District Families is growing all the time, although it mightn’t be obvious if you rely on a subscribers email or your RSS feed to notify you of a new post. As Hamilton’s WW1 and the Pioneer Obituary Index are set up a little differently than the main part of the blog, new content on those pages does not trigger an email or listing on your RSS feed, or show in the timeline you are reading this post from.

Until now, finding new soldier profiles meant you had to keep checking back at the site and then go through the lists of names on the “Hamilton’s WW1” tab at the top of this page.  Nobody wants to have to do that. To overcome the problem, somewhat, I have set up a Hamilton’s WW1 Facebook page to post soldier profiles as I write them.

I did consider posting new profiles to my Facebook group I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria but not all members have an interest in military or family history.  Or I could have posted new profiles to my Western District Families page, but as the name suggest it covers the Western District and I didn’t want to have an overload of Hamilton content.



An added extra for those who “like” the page is a daily “100 years ago in the Hamilton Spectator…” post to give us a feel of how life was in Hamilton and district during the war years.  The Hamilton Spectator was published six days a week during WW1, so on the seventh day I will  post other content relevant to Hamilton’s WW1.

After around three weeks, there is already a lot of content and thirty-eight “likes”, not too bad in a short space of time.  However, with Facebook’s mysterious algorithms used to decide how many people actually see each post, thirty-eight “likes” is not enough to ensure the stories of  Hamilton’s WW1 soldiers are not forgotten.

You can find Hamilton’s WW1 Facebook page here, or look for the link in the right-hand sidebar of this page.


What’s News?

While organising Western District Families new pages, the blog posts have been neglected.  So I thought I would give you an update on what’s happening at WDF and let you know of some family and local history events coming up in the Western District.

Hamilton WW1 Memorials

The Hamilton’s WW1 pages have had a boost with the addition of the WW1 Memorials of Hamilton.  Currently only outdoor memorials are included but I would like to move on to the various honour rolls around the town.  On each page, you can now view photos of the memorials and the names of those remembered.  If a soldier’s name is underlined on the any of the memorial pages, you can click on the name to read that soldier’s profile. The memorials are:

Anzac Avenue

Anzac Memorial Planting

Australian Light Horse Memorial

Clarke Street Memorial Avenue

Hamilton Sailors and Soldiers Father’s Association Memorial

Hamilton War Memorial

There are now forty-eight Hamilton soldier profiles available.  The most recent additions are Military Medal recipient, Arthur Percy Bell Underwood, along with Edgar Richmond Stevenson who was killed in Belgium on 4 October 1917.  His brother Alexander John Stevenson died of wounds eleven days later and I’m working on his profile.

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Facebook Happenings 

Western District Families’ Facebook page has now passed 1500 ‘likes’ which is well beyond my expectations.  It’s been great to connect with people who may not have found the blog otherwise.  I have also enjoyed the personal accounts that come when I post photos of Western District historic buildings and homesteads.  The interest in history is also great to see.

That interest is evident with the Facebook group I set up, I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria.  It is going from strength to strength, now with close to 4,500 members.  We have thousands of photos of Hamilton’s past and great stories to go with them.  Even if you haven’t lived in Hamilton, but may have family links there, you are most welcome to join and ask questions.  There are many people willing to help answer questions about Hamilton’s past.


I updated all the links on the Western District Families Links page recently so, fingers crossed, they are all working now.  If you find a link anywhere across the blog that doesn’t work, please feel free to contact me.  There are so many over the 300+ posts, it gets hard to keep track of them.


It’s a privilege to have Western District Families now archived at Pandora, Australia’s web archive.  The National Library of Australia started Pandora and since its beginnings, the State libraries have joined in preserving websites with Australian content.  It was from the State Library of Victoria that I heard the news.  It’s reassuring to know that Western District Families will still be available for all to read into the future, even if WordPress disappears.

Mortlake Historical Society – Hatches Matches and Dispatches

Join the Mortlake Historical Society on Sunday 18 October for a tour of Mortlake’s bluestone churches, such as the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church (below).  More information is available on the Mortlake Historical Society’s Facebook Events page.  Give the society’s page a “like” while you are there and support one of the most active societies in Western Victoria.


mortlake presbyterian church

ST. ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, MORTLAKE, 1968. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232668

Horse Power

There are two memories I have when I pass the intersection of Hiller Lane and Ballarat Road in Hamilton.  The first is a fall from my bolting pony at the intersection in 1975, metres from the Hamilton Pastoral Museum fence on one corner of the intersection.  That’s were the other memory comes in.

The Hamilton Pastoral Museum was born in the same year as me, 1968, which is seems right because it’s where I first got the idea I liked history.  The museum is under 500 metres from where I grew up, so I used to walk or ride my bike up the road when the museum was open for a rally.

The little church below, was originally the St Luke’s Lutheran Church built in 1861.  One of the early pastors was Pastor C.G. Hiller, hence the name of the lane, and his manse still stands just across the road from the museum.  I remember when I first stepped inside the church, sometime around 1976, and was taken back to the district’s pioneer past with a collection of household objects and the like, all once common place but new to me. Outside the church, steam engines chugged and men in hats admired old tractors and farming equipment.  I loved it.


HAMILTON PASTORAL MUSEUM, 1974. Image courtesy of J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229985

HAMILTON PASTORAL MUSEUM, 1974. Image courtesy of J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229985

The Pastoral Museum collection has grown out around the church over the years and is a credit to the volunteers. In 2017, they will host the National Historical Machinery Association annual rally.

The museum holds three rallies each year with the next on Saturday and Sunday 17 and 18 October.  The theme of the weekend is Horse Power.  You can see heavy horses, a tractor pull, machinery demonstrations, a blacksmith and much more.  Further information is available on the Hamilton Pastoral Museum Facebook page.

While you’re there, less than 500 metres on from the museum is the Hamilton South Lutheran cemetery on the Chatsworth Road.  It’s also well worth a visit, especially to see the impressive Noske family vault.

Terang Historic Homes 

As part of History Week 2015, on 25 October from 1:00pm you can take part in an a self-guided walk/drive of Terang’s historic homes including Keayang, below.  More details from the Terang & District Historical Society website.  They also have a Facebook page, so drop by and give it a “like” – Terang & District Historical Society Facebook page.

"KEAYANG", TERANG.  Image courtesy of J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234524

“KEAYANG”, TERANG. Image courtesy of J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234524

Mt Rouse Historical Society, Penshurst – Open day 

The Mt. Rouse Historical Society at Penshurst is another active Western District society.  On Saturday 24 October, the society is holding their spring Open Day.  There will be memorabilia from the Penshurst Butter Factory, historic maps, photos and histories.  Also, you can take part in a guided tour of the historic town and have chance to win a society membership. For more information, go to the Mt Rouse Historical Society, Penshurst Facebook page.  Give them a “like” too.

While in Penshurst take a trip to the top of Mt. Rouse and wonder at the beautiful landscape.  In one direction you will see the Grampians, in another Mt. Napier one of the district volcanoes.  And if you want to know more about the volcanoes, Penshurst is also home to the Volcano Discovery Centre, another great place to visit.



Unlock the Past Horsham Seminar

Exciting news for family history researchers of Western Victoria, especially those researching their German heritage.  Unlock the Past are holding a seminar in Horsham on 31 October with a focus on German, English and Australian research.

I’m sure there are many of you with Western District family links who also have some German heritage.  Many German immigrants travelled from South Australia to Western Victoria settling at places such as Tabor and Hochkirch (Tarrington).  Living in Hamilton, German surnames are common place and its sad to consider what the grand-parents and great-parents of Hamilton’s German descendants endured during of WW1.  The WW1 profile of Bernard Herrmann gives evidence of that.  His mother Caroline, born in Australia of German parents, sent three sons to fight for the British Empire, with one, Bernard never to return.  Yet at home in Hochkirch and surrounding settlements,  Caroline and others of German descent were suffering shocking persecution, including a change in the name of Hochkirch to Tarrington in 1918.

ST. MICHAEL'S LUTHERAN CHURCH, TARRINGTON. Image Courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234372

ST. MICHAEL’S LUTHERAN CHURCH, TARRINGTON. Image Courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234372

The Unlock the Past seminar in Horsham is a great chance to hear two experts, Eric and Rosemary Kopittke, speak on the subject of German research. And what a bargain. A $20 fee includes a two-course lunch, morning and afternoon tea.  I’ve been to an Unlock the Past event and had a great time.  They are professionally organised and lots of fun, you might even win a prize. For more information and the full seminar program, go to the Unlock The Past website.


Trove Tuesday – A Venerable Couple

While researching Hamilton soldier Samuel Winifred Trigger recently, I stumbled across this wonderful photo at Trove of Samuel and Eliza Trigger, grandparents of Private Trigger, published in the Weekly Times on 14 April 1917.

"A VENERABLE COUPLE." Weekly Times (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 14 Apr 1917: 10. Web. 15 Aug 2015 .

“A VENERABLE COUPLE.” Weekly Times (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 Apr 1917: 10. Web. 15 Aug 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121151983&gt;.

Further searching at Trove uncovered the obituaries of Eliza and Samuel, published in the Port Fairy Gazette on 18 March 1918 and 15 April 1918 respectively, and with the help of various records, I was able to find out a little more about Eliza and Samuel.

Eliza was the daughter of Charles Whittaker and Catherine Totterdale and was born in Naae, Ireland around 1823.  After the death of Charles Whittaker, a Battle of Waterloo veteran, Eliza’s family moved to Somersetshire, England.  That is where she met Samuel Trigger, formerly of Devonshire.  They married in 1847 at Bridgeport, Somersetshire and their first child Emily was born around 1848 in Somersetshire.  They then moved to Avening, Gloucestershire and another daughter, Christina was born in 1850.  Samuel was working as a miller and the family lived in Ball Street, Avening.  Another child, a son Henry, was born before they departed Plymouth in 1852 for Australia aboard the Eliza.  The family arrived at Portland on 9 April 1853.

Firstly, Samuel and Eliza settled at Mt Taurus north of Warrnambool, and Samuel worked as a sawyer.  They eventually moved to the Macarthur/Warabkook area where they remained for the duration of their lives.  Eliza passed away on 6 March 1918 and Samuel, only weeks later, on 1 April.  They were buried at Macarthur Cemetery.  The last piece of significant news they most likely received was that of the death of their grandson Samuel Winifred Trigger at Moquet Farm on 16 August 1916.  The family received notification almost a year later, on 11 July 1917.

After I found the photo of Eliza and Samuel, I posted it to the Facebook group “I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria”, knowing a lot of Trigger descendants are members of the group, many I know personally.  Therefore, after reading the obituaries of the couple, I was not surprised to learn that when they passed, Samuel and Eliza left four sons, two daughters, thirty-one grandchildren and thirty-eight great-grandchildren.


Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851

FreeBMD. England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915 

FreeBMD. England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915

National Library of Australia – Trove Digitised Newspapers

Pubic Record Office of Victoria, Index to Assisted British Immigration 1839-1871



More Soldiers, More Sorrow




Writing the profiles of the Hamilton WW1 soldiers has highlighted the month of August of 1915, 1916 and 1918 as particularly sad times for the town’s residents.  There was heaving fighting at Gallipoli during August 1915 with the battle of Lone Pine, the Charge at the Nek and the attack on Hill 971 and Hill 60.  During July and August 1916 there was heavy fighting at the Somme, France with the battles at Fromelles, Pozieres, and Moquet Farm.  During August 1918, there was the Battle of Amiens.  Many Hamilton men lost their lives during those months.

You can now read forty profiles of Hamilton’s WW1 soldiers from the tab at the top of the page “Hamilton’s WW1“.





Currently, I’m working to finish the profiles of the men who died during August, particularly those for whom it is now 100 years since they made the ultimate sacrifice.

The stories of Albert Sheehan, Arthur Lewis and Claude “Dot” Douglas are particularly sad considering they watched the occupancy in their tent diminish. Thirteen men occupied their tent at the start of their Gallipoli campaign.  By the beginning of August, only the three Hamilton mates were alive.  As the month passed, one by one, Albert, Arthur, and Claude did not return.  By the end of August 2015, their tent was empty.


Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. P00649.004 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P00649.004/

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. P00649.004 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P00649.004/


There is also the story of Lieutenant Edward “Ted” Henty of the 8th Light Horse Regiment (8th LHR), grandson of Stephen George Henty.  Before departing overseas, he married his sweetheart at Hamilton’s Christ Church. Ted was killed during the charge at the Nek.  A son he would never know was born in the months after his death.  Also killed at the Nek and with the 8th LHR was William Hind, who at the time of his enlistment was beginning his career in the printing industry with the Hamilton Spectator.  One man, an officer from an esteemed Victorian family, the other a private of working class blood, but each with so much more to offer.  They bravely gave their lives in what was one of the most futile battles of WW1.


"DISTRICT HONOUR ROLL." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 23 Sep 1915: 6. Web. .

“DISTRICT HONOUR ROLL.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 23 Sep 1915: 6. Web. .


With each profile, I attempt to uncover how the enlistment affected the family and the town’s residents and how each lost man was remembered.  In some cases, the shock of the loss of a son saw the death of a parent soon after, as was the case with the father of Arthur Lewis.  Other men had wives and children. I’m writing the profile of William John Clyde Kirkwood, a man who sits on the edge of my family tree with a Kirkwood link through marriage. The effect of his death on his children reverberated for well over a decade.  Parents and wives had exhausting ongoing correspondence with the Defence Department, often for years, sorting out pensions, medals and personal effects.  Some had to get around administrative challenges of incorrect names given at enlistment or the death of the listed next of kin.  There were also the men who returned home, like William Brake and Albert Davies (below) who never fully recovered from their war experiences.



STANLEY & ALBERT DAVIES. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DA15721 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA15721/


It is a privilege to research the stories of the Hamilton’s soldiers.  It’s easy to feel an attachment to them and in a small way feel the sorrow of their families, in the reading of their service records, letters published in the Hamilton Spectator, and looking at photographs of young, fresh faced men with innocence in their eyes.  One such soldier was Stan Niddrie (below) a quiet country lad, at home on his horse with his dogs bringing up a flock of sheep. He also shared his thoughts in letters home to his sister.  Nineteen at the time of his enlistment in September 1915 and just 5’4″, Stan would stand six feet tall during his service, working his way through the ranks, reaching Sergeant just before he was killed near Villers-Bretonneux in August 1918, only months from going home.  Stan’s eyes would have seen much during his three years of service, their innocence taken away.


STANLEY ROY NIDDRIE. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DASEY1899 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DASEY1899/

STANLEY ROY NIDDRIE. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DASEY1899 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DASEY1899/


The stories of the men, each from different backgrounds, with different war experiences, and different fates, all end the same.  There were no winners from The Great War and we really don’t understand what those that lived it endured.  Albert Lewis, writing home after the Gallipoli landing so rightly said, “I am certain there is not a single person in Australia who can near realise what their boys went through”.




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


Launching Hamilton’s WW1

It was time I considered how Western District Families could commemorate the centenary of WW1. A project was selected and work began, however another idea presented itself. A list of names in two editions of the Hamilton Spectator from 1917 and 1918 and some potted histories of Hamilton soldiers I wrote for the I’ve Lived in Hamilton Facebook group saw “Hamilton’s WW1” come to fruition.  The first installment of “Hamilton’s WW1”  is now available, the story of Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue and the men commemorated at a now all but forgotten landmark in Hamilton.

Each of the faces in the photo below have a story to tell. They are some of the early Hamilton enlistments and immediately I recognise twenty-two year-old Hamilton College and Geelong College educated John “Paddy” Fenton (back row, 3rd from right) and George McQueen (centre, 2nd row from front) a thirty-five year-old widower, both killed in France. Others among them were also killed, some wounded and others suffered psychologically but as they gathered at Broadmeadows in 1915, none could imagine the path ahead. What was in store for them or the man beside them. But they were “Hamilton Boys” and they would give it their all and they did.


'HAMILTON BOYS' c 30 April 1915.  Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no.DAOD1060   https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/

‘HAMILTON BOYS’ c 30 April 1915. Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DAOD1060 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/

Western District Enlistments-8th LHR B Squadron




The AIF’s 8th Light Horse Regiment (LHR) formed in September 1914, had among its ranks many Western District men.   It was for that reason I was recently contacted by Dean Noske who is currently researching the 8th LHR in particular B Squadron.  As I’m familiar with the 8th LHR,  mostly due to the involvement of Edward Ellis Henty of The Caves Hamilton, grandson of Stephen G. Henty, I was keen to help Dean reach out to family members of the Western District men.

The following photo has been a favourite of mine, found among the Australian War Memorial‘s collection.  Pictured are four Western District officers of the 8th LHR, Lieutenants Edward Ellis Henty, Eliot Gratton Wilson, Robert Ernest Baker and Major Thomas Redford.  Also joining them in the photo was Lieutenant Borthwick of Melbourne.  The relaxed nature of their poses and uniforms, the mateship and the baby face of Eliot Wilson  have intrigued me since I first saw it.


Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial  Image No.  P00265.001        http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P00265.001/



The photograph is also one of the most poignant I have found, once one considers that within months of the sitting, four of the five soldiers were dead.  They did not see service beyond Gallipoli, as they were all killed at the “charge at The Nek” on August 7, 1915.  Only Robert Baker survived.   Further reading  about The Nek and the 8th LHR’s involvement is available on the following link – http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/2visiting/walk_12nek.html

A photograph in full uniform was also taken, depicting three of the Western District officers again with Lt. Borthwick and a unidentified man.


Identified from left to right: Lieutenant (Lt) Eliot Gratton Wilson from Warrnambool, Victoria; Lt Edward Ellis Henty ; unidentified; Major (Maj) Thomas Harold Redford  and Lt Keith Allan Borthwick    http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAX0139/

Identified from left to right: Lieutenant (Lt) Eliot Gratton Wilson from Warrnambool, Victoria; Lt Edward Ellis Henty ; unidentified; Major (Maj) Thomas Harold Redford and Lt Keith Allan Borthwick http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAX0139/


Those four Western District officers and the soldiers listed below are those Dean is seeking help with.  If you are able to offer Dean any assistance by way of photographs, letters or stories, please contact him at dean.noske@gmail.com  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

All names were sourced from the 8th LHR B Squadron Embarkation Roll.


BAKER, John Henry – Nareen

BAKER, Robert Ernest – Larpent

BARKER, Robert – born Yambuk

BORBRIDGE, Robert Henry – Ararat

BOSWELL, John – Woorndoo

BOWKER, Alwynne Stanley – Princetown

BROUGHTON, John Moffatt – Hamilton

CLAYTON, Henry Norman – Casterton


"THOSE WHO HAVE DIED FOR FREEDOM'S CAUSE." Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918) 2 Sep 1915: 2. Web. 29 Jan 2015 .

“THOSE WHO HAVE DIED FOR FREEDOM’S CAUSE.” Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918) 2 Sep 1915: 2. Web. 29 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91091398&gt;.

"ROLL OF HONOUR." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 17 Sep 1915: 6. Web. 29 Jan 2015 .

“ROLL OF HONOUR.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 17 Sep 1915: 6. Web. 29 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1561135&gt;.


CORR, Reginald Clarke – Warrnambool

DODDS, Franklyn James – Warrnambool

FINN, Laurence Gerald – Port Fairy

FLOYD, Harry – Colac West

HAYBALL, Herbert – Camperdown

HENTY, Edward Ellis – “The Caves” Hamilton



"ROLL OF HONOUR." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 27 Oct 1915: 7. Web. 29 Jan 2015 .

“ROLL OF HONOUR.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 27 Oct 1915: 7. Web. 29 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1575352&gt;.


HINDHAUGH, Russell George – Port Fairy

HYDE, Norman John – Cavendish

JOHNSON, Donald Matthieson McGregor – Warrnambool


"WARRNAMBOOL HEROES." Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 7 Sep 1915: 3 Edition: DAILY.. Web. 29 Jan 2015 .

“WARRNAMBOOL HEROES.” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 7 Sep 1915: 3 Edition: DAILY.. Web. 29 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73458334&gt;.


JOHNSTONE, Percy – Camperdown

KERR, James Mark – Dartmoor/Portland

LEARMONTH, Keith Allan – Hamilton

McGINNESS, Paul Joseph – Framlingham

MITCHELL, William Albert – Cobden


"CAPTAIN A. W. MITCHELL." Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954) 8 Jul 1915: 3. Web. 29 Jan 2015 .

“CAPTAIN A. W. MITCHELL.” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 8 Jul 1915: 3. Web. 29 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22979740&gt;.


MOORE – Samuel Vincent – Ararat

PARTINGTON, Thomas James – Heywood

PATTERSON, Hector Alexander – Casterton

PETTINGALL, John Thomas – Port Fairy

REDFORD, Thomas Harold – Warrnambool  – Squadron Major


"MAJOR T. REDFORD." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 23 Aug 1915: 4. Web. 29 Jan 2015 .

“MAJOR T. REDFORD.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 23 Aug 1915: 4. Web. 29 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120398693&gt;.


REGAN, Thomas – Camperdown

SUTHERLAND, Charles Tyler – Tatyoon

WALLACE, William Issac – Warrnambool

WEATHERHEAD, John Fortescue Law – Camperdown

WHITEHEAD, Eric – Minhamite

WILSON, Eliot Gratton – Warrnambool



8th LHR B SQUADRON c1915. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DAX0139 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAX2703/