Passing of the Pioneers

September’s Passing of the Pioneers brings the opportunity to post the obituary of Henry Annett of Wallacedale.  It shows how much information you can find out about a person from their obituary if you are lucky. Of course, any information found is purely a lead to primary sources.

After sixteen Passing of the Pioneers, there is now a large collection of Western District pioneer’s names. If you would like to see the full list of pioneer obituaries, follow the link – PIONEER OBITUARIES

Thomas BENNETT: Died 25 September 1889 at Portland.  Thomas Bennett was born in Derbyshire, England and arrived at Portland in 1854, taking on a job as a merchant tailor.  He enjoyed cricket, racing, athletics and hunting as both a participant and spectator.  Thomas married after arriving in Portland and he and his wife raised 10 children. His wife died of stroke some years before and Thomas raised the children, with only four having reached their teens by the time of his death.

Richard BLOOMFIELD: Died 16 September 1901 at Hamilton.  Richard Bloomfield arrived in Australia, first to Tasmania in 1842 and later to Victoria. He joined the Police Force with his first station at Hamilton as chief constable. In his later years, Richard turned to farming and was seventy-nine at the time of his death.

John RIORDAN: Died 27 September 1905 at Portland. Before arriving in Portland, just prior to the turn of the century, John Riordan spent time in Ballarat, Creswick and Ararat running businesses.  In Portland, he owned the London Hotel and served a period on the Portland Council.

The former London Hotel, Portland

Frederick BUCKNALL: Died September 1908  at Dartmoor. In his early days in Portland, Frederick Bucknall believed wattle trees could be commercially grown. He purchased land at Dartmoor and planted his wattles, but blight and fires made his venture difficult.  He went to the goldfields of Western Australia, where he had worked before. He returned to Dartmoor, a lot more financially secure and continued his Wattle plantation, with more success than his first attempt.

Thomas DONOHOE:  Died 26 September 1908 at Narrawong. Thomas Donohoe of Narrawong was a cabinet maker of much renown, a farmer and an administrator. He had a great political knowledge and for a time was the Narrawong correspondent for the Portland Guardian.

Thomas Richard OLIVER:  Died 21 September 1910 at Horsham. Thomas Oliver was a brother-in-law of Reuben and Jonathan Harman. Born in Cornwall in 1848, he arrived at Melbourne with his parents John Henry Oliver and Ann Richards and five older brothers and sisters. Thomas worked in the carrying business around Port Fairy before moving to Kalkee in the Wimmera in 1874. In 1876, he married Margaret Luxton, daughter of William Luxton.  Around the early 1890s, Thomas and Margaret moved into Horsham where Thomas opened a grocery business on Church Hill.

Sarah CLARK Died September 10, 1915 at Ararat.  Sarah Clark was born in Hertfordshire, England and came to Victoria with her parents as a small child.  Her father, Leonard Clark took up a position as gardener at the Burrumbeep Estate at Maroona.  Sarah married John Basham in 1866 and they had 13 children.  Nine children were still alive at the time of Sarah’s death.

Alfred BYRON: Died 28 September 1916 at Denicull Creek. There is no chance Alfred Byron, born at Ashton-Under-Tyne, Lancashire, England remembers his voyage to Australia as he was only ten days old when the ship sailed. Alfred’s parents settled at Port Fairy, but as a young man he headed off to the goldfields before settling at Denicull Creek, near Ararat.  Farming became his new pursuit. He married and raised a family of six children.

Thomas POLLAND Died 16 September 1917 at Moyston. Born in County Down, Ireland in 1924, Thomas Polland arrived in Victoria in 1853, making his way to the Ballarat goldfields. Present at the time of the Eureka uprising, Thomas enjoyed recounting the stories of the time. He eventually headed to Moyston and for a time worked carting timber from the Grampians, before purchasing land to farm.  is wife passed away around 1904 and Thomas left five of his eight children when he passed away.

Margaret THOMPSON:  Died 2 September 1919 at Horsham. Margaret Thompson was born in Melbourne around 1870, the daughter of Mr W. Thompson and Mrs Bedwell.  Her parents settled at Wonwondah and she lived there until she was seventeen.  Margaret’s mother remarried at this time and Margaret selected land at Telangatuk.  After three years, she married Herman A. Rokesky of Clear Lake.  They moved all over the district in the following years before Margaret and Herman settled in Horsham until the time of Margaret’s death.

Henry ANNETT:  Died 29 September 1927 at Wallacedale.  In the November 2011 Passing of the Pioneers, I promised I would post Henry Annett’s obituary in September 2012 and here we are.  At the time, I had posted Henry’s wife’s obituary, that of Sarah Millard.  I mentioned then that the story of Henry’s life one of the best of I had read in the form of an obituary.  I have read many more obituaries since that time, and I still think Henry’s is right up there.

Henry Annett was born in Sevenoaks, Kent, England on July 5, 1845. Seven years later he sailed to Portland with his parents aboard the Pryam and Henry’s father joined the police force. Their first home was a Government issued bell tent.  After four years in Portland, Mr Annett snr transferred to Port Fairy where Henry took up butchering.  Preferring the outdoors, Henry became a carrier taking goods to the Ararat diggings and to Dunkeld with materials for the first school.  At around seventeen, Henry travelled to New Zealand where he walked 10 days from Christchurch over mountains and rivers to reach the newest of the gold diggings in the country, but like many others, he left empty handed.

After returning to Victoria in 1866, Henry married Sarah Millard of Narrawong but Henry still could not settle down.

THE PIONEERS PASS BY. (1927, October 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved September 24, 2012, from

Eventually he did settle taking an interest in community affairs and  he earned the name the “father of Wallacedale”

Henry and Sarah had thirteen children, eleven boys and two girls.  Three boys had predeceased Henry.  He also had forty-eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was buried at the Conday cememtery.

Robert HICKLETON:  Died 14 September 1932 at Koroit. Robert Hickleton arrived in Portland with his parents in 1852.  They had sailed aboard the Old Ellen.  Robert’s first job was a compositor with the Portland Guardian.  Over the following years, he worked for the Warrnambool Standard, the Portland Mirror, the Hamilton Spectator and the Port Fairy Gazette, where he spent twenty-nine years.  In his early years, he was a keen athlete and cricketer and later he was a successful lawn bowler.

Sarah HERBERTSON:  Died September 1932 at Portland. Sarah Herbertson was born in Portland in 1844.  She married Joseph Henry Porter and they lived in Portland during their married life, with Joseph passing away in 1931. They had no children.  Sarah’s obituary mentions she was “deeply attached to her home”.  A model, built by Joseph and Sarah, of that home in Gawler Street is now on display at Portland’s History House, testimony to her attachment.  Sarah’s obituary gives her maiden name as Henderson.

Model of the home of Joseph and Sarah Porter

Emma GRIFFITHS:  Died September 1936 at Irrewillipe.  Emma Griffiths was 100 years old when she died after spending eighty-five years in Victoria.  Emma was just a girl when her and her mother arrived in Sydney aboard the Avocalle, on which Emma’s mother was a matron caring for the female passengers.  Later they went on to Melbourne, Geelong and then Buninyong where she married Mr Nicholan. They had three children at Buninyong before moving to Irrewillipe, near Colac around the late 1850s.  Emma had fourteen children and when she died she had sixty-two grandchildren and over thirty great-grandchildren.

Clara Quick GEOMAN:  Died 24 September 1941 at Hamilton. Clara was born at Yambuk in 1859 and in 1884 married Francis Hollard at Portland. They moved to Wallacedale, being among the earliest settlers there. Clara appears to have had a link to Henry Annett as her daughter Ethel married Edward Annett.  Clara had five other children alive at the time of her death.