Western District Enlistments-8th LHR B Squadron

 

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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/

STANDING FROM LEFT: MAJOR THOMAS REDFORD (WARRNAMBOOL); LIEUTENANT (LT)EDWARD ELLIS HENTY (HAMILTON) ; AND LT ELIOT GRATTON WILSON (WARRNAMBOOL). SEATED FROM LEFT: LT ROBERT ERNEST BAKER (LARPENT) AND KEITH ALLAN BORTHWICK (ARMADALE) 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

 

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"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

 

http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAX2703/

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

Passing of the Pioneers

The last Passing of the Pioneers for 2014 includes some characters from the early days of Portland, a wealthy grazier and a Swiss born gold-seeker who settled at Heywood.

William CHARTER: Died December 1888 at Portland. “The relentless reaper death has sought another addition to his uninterrupted harvest from amongst the ranks of our oldest residents.” And so began the obituary of William Charter, a Portland resident from the 1850s and one time Portland police sergeant.  He did have some time away from Portland when he operated the Rising Sun Hotel at Hotspur.

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“[No heading].” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 20 Jun 1864: 3 Edition: EVENING. Web. 26 Dec 2014 .

William returned to Portland and operated a cordial and soda water factory.

“Advertising.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 8 Jun 1880: 3 Edition: MORNINGS.. Web. 26 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63401172&gt;.

Walter LAIDLAW: Died December 1906 at Apsley. Walter Laidlaw was born in Scotland around 1825. He arrived in Victoria in 1850 and with the discovery of gold, he tried his luck on the Bendigo diggings. He then farmed at Broadmeadows before moving to the Western District, farming on the land that became known as Skene at Strathkellar.  He was then appointed overseer of Newland Station at Apsley for James Gordon and in time, married his employer’s sister.  At the time of his death, he owned Ardachy Estate and Melville Forest Estate.

“OBITUARY.” The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954) 29 Dec 1905: 3. Web. 30 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72819119&gt;.

Around the time of his marriage, Walter purchased Mundarra (below) near Edenhope.

MUNDARRA Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H95.200/1068    http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230342

MUNDARRA Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H95.200/1068 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230342

He was buried at the Newland Station Cemetery with other members of his family.

Theobald FETHERSTONHAUGH: Died 24 December 1909 at Hamilton. Theobald Fetherstonhaugh was the son of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh snr an early police magistrate at Hamilton and brother of Cuthbert jnr, the author of “After Many Days” which I have previously posted about.  Cuthbert snr resided at Corragh at Strathkellar and Theobald continued to live there after his father’s death.  Unlike his brother Cuthbert, Theobald seems to have lived a quiet life at Corragh.  While Cuthbert mentions “my brother” many times throughout “After Many Days”, he does not name Theobald as he does his other brother Robert.  Theobald was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery with a headstone (below) that gives nothing away about his life.

fetherstonhaugh1

Mary RYAN: Died 11 December 1914 at Hamilton. When Mary Ryan passed away in 1914, the names of her parents were not recorded and it’s unlikely she left anyone behind to pass that information on or even to remember her, so let us remember Mary Ryan of Hamilton.

Mary Ryan ran a registry office for servants in Hamilton for many years, first in Gray Street and later in Brown Street.

“Advertising.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 17 Apr 1883: 3 Edition: MORNING. Web. 17 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71585092&gt;.

Determined to stay independent in old age despite becoming very decrepit, she remained in her home.  Early in the year of her passing, Mary had a fire in her house, the third time she had endured a house fire, herself suffering burns on one occasion.  She wasn’t injured in the 1914 fire, but it may have taken some toll as she passed away eight months later.

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“FIRE IN BROWN STREET.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 20 Feb 1914: 4. Web. 30 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119823533&gt;.

After checking the headstones of the Old Hamilton Cemetery recorded by Cemeteries of the South-West, there was no record of Mary, so if she was buried there, her grave is without a headstone.

William Gordon JENKINS: Died 28 December 1916 at Hawkesdale. William Jenkins was born in Scotland, a son of a Church of England clergyman. On arrival in Victoria, he worked at flour mills around Hamilton, then went to New Zealand with a survey party. He returned to Victoria and worked in the sawmilling industry. In 1883, he married widow, Jane Walshe (nee Donnelly).  At the time, Jane was operating the Forester Hotel at Myamyn.   After their marriage, William and Jane moved to Portland and operated the Victoria Hotel from 1884 until 1886. William had no family of his own but was living with his step-daughter at the time of his death.

Charles FARR: Died 15 December 1917 at Portland. Born in Wiltshire, England around 1833, Charles Farr, an interesting character, was the proprietor of livery stables in Portland having arrived in the mid-1850s.

“Advertising.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 1 Jan 1875: 1 Edition: EVENING., Supplement: Supplement to the “Portland Guardian”. Web. 24 Dec 2014 .

Charles also ran cabs in Portland, taking parties from Mac’s Hotel to the railway station.

TABLE TALK. (1877, December 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 27, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63340211

TABLE TALK. (1877, December 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 27, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63340211

MAC'S HOTEL, PORTLAND

MAC’S HOTEL, PORTLAND

Although his obituary stated Charles Farr did not involve himself in public affairs, he was often in the public eye especially in the papers, whether advertising his stables or involved in some type of dispute. His following “Letter to the Editor” was either damage control or cashing-in on another stable’s misfortune. Charles’ letter was in response to an article in the Portland Guardian of 10 June 1880.

“Over – charging by a Portland Livery Stable Keeper.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 12 Jun 1880: 3 Edition: MORNINGS.. Web. 27 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63401212&gt;.

Serafino RIGHETTI:  Died 21 December 1917 at Heywood. I first “met” the Righettis of Heywood when I wrote the Trove Tuesday post “Accidental Tourist”. I didn’t realise then that the family was one of the Swiss/Italian families that settled at Hepburn near Daylesford after arriving in Victoria during the 1850s. Serafino was born in Switzerland and arrived in Melbourne in 1854. His brother Battista arrived the following year. A photo of Serafino and Battista appears on the following link – http://tinyurl.com/l4o5k5n

After time operating the American Hotel at Hepburn, Serafino moved to the Heywood district in the late 1870s establishing the merchant business Righetti & Co. He was a shire councillor for twenty years and served as Shire President several times.

“Groups at Swinburne College, Glenferrie.” Punch (Melbourne, Vic. : 1900 – 1918) 10 Jan 1918: 17. Web. 24 Dec 2014 .

An interview with Serafino’s grandson Alan Righetti, with details of the family’s early days, is on the following link –  http://www.3squadron.org.au/subpages/AAWRighetti.htm

Eliza Sarah SEABORNE: Died 9 December 1932 at Portland. Eliza Seaborne was born in Adelaide in 1838 and arrived in Portland with her parent three years later. In 1856 aged eighteen, Eliza married bootmaker James Mallett in the first wedding conducted at St. Stephen’s Church at Portland.  They settled at Merino around 1866 and James ran a bootmaking business in the town.  He died in 1901 and Eliza continued to live at Merino until around 1928 when she moved back to Portland to live with her daughter Mrs Martha Sutchbery.

In May 1931, Eliza celebrated her 93rd birthday and she spent the day with family and friends.

“Birthday Celebration.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 25 May 1931: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 30 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64295183&gt;.

Eliza was ninety-four years and seven months old when she passed away in 1932. She left three daughters and three sons with four children having predeceased her. Eliza was buried at the Merino Cemetery. More information about the Mallett family is available on the South-West Pioneers site – http://www.swvic.org/merino/mallett.htm

Trove Tuesday – Happy New Year

Following on from last week’s Trove Tuesday post, my Trove search has turned to “Happy New Year.”   Like Christmas, there were the cards home from the boys overseas but with little choice in specialised “New Year” cards, postcards or family photographs were popular for sending “New Year” greetings.

The following postcard is from a solider in England to his wife at home.

 

 

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/16584

Images courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H99.166/273 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/16584

 

Added to the following postcard of Healesville, was “Compliments of the Season 1/1/1906.”  Written on the back was “Miss M. Prisk, Windermere St. Ballarat. A Happy New Year. 1/1/1906.”  I couldn’t help myself.  I checked the Electoral Roll and found Miss Margaret Prisk living with her family at 503 Windemere Street South, Ballarat.  Around 81 years later, I was living one block down and a street over from the 500 block of Windemere Street.  Margaret and her mother Bertha eventually moved to Richmond.  When I have time, I will follow her up a little further.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/82840

Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H85.70/107 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/82840

The following photo, sent around 1905, had written on the back – “To grandmother with love from “Jack & Jill” aged 7 months.”  It looks like Jack and Jill’s mother had her hands full.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73481

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victora. Image No. H2005.34/2674 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73481

It wasn’t the only time Jack and Jill were the subjects of the a “New Year’s” photo.  Just a few years later they were back at the photographers and written on the photo was “To dear Vera wishing you all a happy new  year.”

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H2005.34/2675 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73481

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2005.34/2675 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73481

Happy New Year everyone.

Trove Tuesday – Merry Christmas

Trove has something for all occasions especially Christmas.  This week’s Trove Tuesday revolves around my Trove search for “Merry Christmas,” the message I’m sending you today.

A general search of Trove for “Merry Christmas” results in hundreds of books, thousands of newspaper articles, journals and sound recordings, but the “Pictures, Photos and Objects” are my favourites because of the treasures that abound such as the following:

 

Handwritten note on verso: France 3/11/16. Dear Meryn wishing you a Merry Xmas & a Happier New Year from "Juggo" or Jack Miller. Sent to address in Victoria.

Christmas Card 1916. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no, .H99.166/285 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/16619

The card (above), sent from France on November 3, 1916 was to Meryn and it’s the first time I have found a “Meryn” of any spelling at Trove.  The note on the card read  “Dear Meryn wishing you a Merry Xmas & a Happier New Year from “Juggo” or Jack Miller.”

CHRISTMAS CARD 1911.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H82.96/168 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/110126

CHRISTMAS CARD 1911. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H82.96/168 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/110126

The Christmas greeting below, is from the workers at the Ballarat Telegraph Office to their “fellow officers” at the Murtoa Telegraph Office.  It is was from Christmas 1883.

CHRISTMAS CARD 1883.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H8704 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73925

CHRISTMAS CARD 1883. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H8704 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73925

Portraits or group portraits. as was the case below, were a popular form of greeting card.  Written on the back of the following card was – “Mrs E. C. Rodgers, Hind Street, Portland. Horsham. Dec. 1911. Dear Friends, Just to wish you all a Merry Xmas and a Bright New Year. You will see a good many faces in this group that you know. With best wishes…”

CHRISTMAS CARD 1911.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H84.37/4/90 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/129663

CHRISTMAS CARD 1911. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H84.37/4/90 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/129663

The next card is one of my favourite images that I have found at Trove to date and I have used it to illustrate a post before.  It is a Christmas card to an Australian soldier from an admirer he met while overseas.  Unfortunately her name is illegible on the card. POSTCARD c1918.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No. H99.166/327 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/16626

POSTCARD c1918. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H99.166/327 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/16626

She wrote:

December 1918, Dear Arthur thanks for your most welcome letter I got a few days ago and also glad you have not forgotten. and I think I am the one who loves you best. Jack was here to last week-end going to Blighty on leave. Lucky We shall all be delighted if you come to say good-bye before going back to Australia. For my part I shall be very pleased to see you again. Do not be surprised if you receive a photo of myself one of these days. Every body at Auntie’s place wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy New Year. Also best wishes and —- from myself. Hoping to hear from you again. Believe me. Yours sincerely…

I wonder if they ever met again?

 

Merry Christmas to the many followers of Western District Families and thank you for your ongoing support.  May your 2015 be filled with many new discoveries about your Western District family.

 

Trove Tuesday – Mysterious Aeroplanes

The media is often accused of fear mongering and it seems it was no different 100 years ago.  The onset of WW1 saw reporting that heightened fear with people leaping at shadows believing the Germans were invading Australia.

When I first came across the following article, I thought it was an isolated case.  A Victorian drover, Mr Sutton spotted a plane in the night sky after the noise of his agitated cattle woke him while camped somewhere between Byaduk and Macarthur.  While half asleep, he saw two rockets fired.   According to the article, from the Hamilton Spectator his was not the only sighting in the district.

 

tt1

"A MYSTERIOUS AEROPLANE." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 20 Apr 1918:  .

“A MYSTERIOUS AEROPLANE.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 20 Apr 1918: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119501085&gt;.

 

The copy of the article was not good so I thought I would see if any other papers reported on the sighting.  Did they what.  A search of “Mysterious Aeroplane” at Trove brought up dozens of reports of various people across Victoria claiming to have seen or heard planes.  The Defence Department investigated, however  some witnesses were doubting what they previously thought they heard or saw.  The Minster for Defence clarified the markings of  the planes of the allies and the enemy which surely wouldn’t have allayed the fear of the public.

 

tt3tt4

"The Mysterious Aeroplane." The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 25 Apr 1918: 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. .

“The Mysterious Aeroplane.” The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 25 Apr 1918: 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74220662&gt;.

 

Dr. Brett Holman from the University of New England has written several posts about the mystery planes of the WW1 period on his site, Airminded.  You can read one of those on the following link, with his explanation on the large number of reports of mysterious aeroplanes during that time –  http://airminded.org/2012/05/22/fear-uncertainty-doubt-i/

It reminded me of something similar from a previous Trove Tuesday post, UFO Alert about four flying saucers seen over Hamilton in January 1954.  Sci-Fi films were moving in to the realm of UFOs and aliens and in the same month as the sighting, The Argus was publishing installments of “War of the Worlds.”

Mysterious aeroplanes aside, what was really mysterious for me was the surname of witnesses from the 1915 and 1918 sightings.  The drover who saw the rockets in 1918 was Mr Sutton.  Three years earlier, Eric Sutton of Redbank, NSW saw the lights of  a plane.   I did check.  There were Suttons living at Macarthur in 1914 and Mr Sutton the drover was possibly Issac Sutton from that town so it’s unlikely there was any connection. Just a strange coincidence.

"GARRA SENSATION." Western Champion (Parkes, NSW : 1898 - 1934) 9 Dec 1915: 28. .

“GARRA SENSATION.” Western Champion (Parkes, NSW : 1898 – 1934) 9 Dec 1915: 28. .

 

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.

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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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HEADSTONE OF BROTHERS CHARLES AND JOHN MILLS

“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.

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FORMER HOUSE OF JOHN B. MILLS, GIPPS STREET, PORT FAIRY.

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Port Fairy Harbour

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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GRAVE OF BROTHERS CHARLES AND JOHN MILLS (Foreground)

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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HEADSTONE OF WILLIAM AND AGNES LAIDLAW

“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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HEADSTONE OF JAMES AND ELIZABETH ANDREWS AND THEIR SONS MICHAEL AND PATRICK.

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

Ireland

Died January 1855 aged 55 years

Elizabeth Andrews

His Beloved Wife

Died 26 August 1870, aged 59

Also their two sons

Michael

Died 3rd May 1854 aged 15 years

Patrick

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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GOLDIE FAMILY GRAVE

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

Margaret
Died Sep 1862 Aged 19 Months

John
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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GRAVE OF WILLIAM KERBY

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HEADSTONE OF WILLIAM KERBY

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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GROSERT FAMILY GRAVE

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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BEST FAMILY GRAVE

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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GRAVE OF FRANCIS ALEXANDER CORBETT AND HIS WIFE ELLEN LOUISA LANE

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.

corbett1

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.

ROYAL OAK HOTEL, PORT FAIRY (FORMALLY THE COMMERCIAL HOTEL)

ROYAL OAK HOTEL, PORT FAIRY (FORMALLY THE COMMERCIAL HOTEL)

“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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FINN FAMILY GRAVE

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.

PORT FAIRY CEMETERY PART 2

And the winner is…Hamilton Spectator

"[No heading]." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 6 Jan 1914: .

“[No heading].” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 6 Jan 1914: .

In 1951, the residents of Hamilton banded together in one of the greatest community efforts the town has ever seen.  From 6am to 10pm on a Saturday in December, a team of people met to dig a 165 feet by 50 feet Olympic size swimming pool.  Over the next two years, the volunteers continued their working bees building change rooms and a filtration plant until the pool opened for the summer of 1952/53.  The pool still serves the community today and it’s where many children have learnt to swim, including me.

"One way to build an Olympic pool." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 21 Jul 1953: 20. .

“One way to build an Olympic pool.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 Jul 1953: 20. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23257036&gt;.

Hamilton’s pool was the talk of Victoria and leaders of country towns met trying to emulate Hamilton’s efforts.  The Horsham Times of December 18,1951 published the comments of Mr Powell, the headmaster of the Hamilton and Western District College.  He said the efforts of the volunteers “marked a re-awakening of civic pride in Hamilton.”  Continuing, he said the town needed a pool and “a community effort was the best way of attaining it”.

While it in no way rivals the efforts of the people of Hamilton over 60 years ago,  recent activities prove the same community spirit is not dead.  For a week, Hamilton people past and present banded together to make sure the Hamilton Spectator moved a step closer to digitisation at Trove.  And it did, achieving 59% of the vote.

The ‘Spec’ hit the lead early and as the week progressed, the stand out rival was the Gympie Times.  The Gympie supporters were giving it a real push and by last Saturday, the Gympie Times had hit the lead. But Hamilton supporters rallied and by the close of voting on November 30, from a total of 31, 658, the Hamilton Spectator received 18,836 votes and the Gympie Times 10, 139. Coming in third was the Laura Standard with 1082 votes.

The I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria Facebook group was abuzz with excitement, especially over the last weekend.  Former residents from interstate and as far away as The Hague and Texas joined the voting.   The Hamilton community spirit shone through,  seeking a win not just for the ‘Spec’, but also Hamilton.  It’s not surprising. Many group members are descendants of the residents who worked hard to give Hamilton a great community asset back in 1951.

Along with the Hamilton voters, there was also many Western Victorian family and local historians who voted, aware of the benefits the ‘Spec’ will bring to their research.  From the Victoria Genealogy Facebook group to the Rootsweb Western District mailing list, the word was out – “Vote for the Spec”.

So thank you Inside History Magazine and the National Library of Australia for giving us the chance to decide on a newspaper.  We look forward to the next stage of the ‘Spec’s’ path to digitisation,  a crowd-funding project.  I will keep you posted with news of that as it comes to hand.