Muntham Station

Oh wow…I just had to share this.  Muntham Station, between Coleraine and Casterton, first settled by the Henty family, is for sale and so significant is the property, the agents have set up a stand alone website, www.munthamstation.com to display this beautiful property.  There is a history, photos, plans and a virtual tour of the homestead.  But hurry.  Expressions of interest for the property close on November 1 and the website will probably disappear.

A YouTube clip has also been made and it gives you an opportunity to see the beautiful countryside that Major Thomas Mitchell named Australia Felix in 1836.  The same countryside Mitchell recommended to the Hentys that saw them travel inland from Portland to see for themselves.  They agreed with the Major’s description and settled at Muntham and neighbouring  Merino Downs.

Coincidentally, the Hamilton Art Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of the works of colonial artist Thomas Clark.  The accompanying website, Exposing Thomas Clark , displays his main works, including Clark’s landscape of Muntham Station.  The Art Gallery will also be displaying works from other colonial artists they hold in their permanent collection, including Eugene Von Guerard and Nicholas Chevalier.  I’m off to Hamilton soon and a trip to the Hamilton Art Gallery is on the agenda.

Now I’m off to buy a lotto ticket…

MUNTHAM.  Image Courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H94.200/273

MUNTHAM. Image Courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H94.200/273 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217208

“Claremont” Portland

It’s been 18 months since our Portland visit and I’m still trying to find a moment to share some photos.  Recently I got around to writing the Portland Botanical Gardens post that had sat in my drafts for months with just photos waiting to be fleshed out.  It’s the fleshing out that is my downfall as you will see soon see.

While in Portland, I stole myself away and took the Portland Historic Buildings walking tour.   Incredibly for a town of its size, there are more than 200 buildings in the Portland CBD that date back to the 1800s.  It was on that self-guided tour that I found “Claremont” at 65 Julia Street, just along from the St Stephen’s Church.

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I had only intended to share the photos of “Claremont” and give a small amount of information about the former residents, but as usual, once I got searching at Trove I couldn’t leave it at that.  There was very little information about “Claremont” elsewhere online, save for an entry on the Victorian Heritage Database that only gave the person who had the house built and an early resident, information I had from the walking tour guide.  But it was Trove that took the story of “Claremont” an extra step.  Or two.

Stephen George Henty  had “Claremont”  built in 1852.  He rented the property to his brother Francis, but Francis only used “Claremont” as his seaside residence while his country residence was Merino Downs Station” and his city residence was “Field Place”  at Kew in Melbourne.

BUILDING an Aristocracy for AUSTRALIA. (1934, December 15). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 19. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58435596

FRANCIS AND MARY-ANN HENTY – BUILDING an Aristocracy for AUSTRALIA. (1934, December 15). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 19. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58435596

As “Claremont” was not a permanent home there was not much to be found about it in the papers until 1889 when Francis Henty passed away at “Field Place“.  He left “Claremont” and the furniture to his daughter Caroline Henty (1849-1914).  As he was able to bequeath “Claremont“, formally owned by his brother , it is likely that Stephen Henty left the house to Francis at the time of his own death in 1872.  I have not been able to find information about Stephen Henty’s estate at either PROV or Trove.

The Will of the late Mr. Franis Henty. (1889, March 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592299

The Will of the late Mr. Franis Henty. (1889, March 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592299

The three daughters of Francis Henty also inherited “Merino Downs”.

The Late Mr. Francis Henty. (1889, March 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), p. 513. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19812393

The Late Mr. Francis Henty. (1889, March 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), p. 513. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19812393

In 1900, the sisters registered a Deed of Partition and “Merino Downs” was split into three separate properties, “Merino Downs”, “Talisker” and “Wurt Wurt Koort”  with each sisters retaining a property each.  Caroline took charge of “Talisker Estate .

Caroline was quite a catch and a year after her father’s passing she married  Alexander Magnus McLeod (1846-1910), not a bad catch himself.  With Caroline and Alexander living at the “Talisker Estate”, Alexander’s spinster sisters Catherine (1845-1919) and Constance (1859-1934) and, at times, his bachelor brother Wallace (1855-1919) took up residence at “Claremont“.

The McLeods were the children of John Norman Mcleod and Agnes Patterson.  John owned “Castlemaddie” at Tyrendarra and “Maretimo” at Portland.  Incidentally, John purchased “Castlemaddie” and while he was waiting for the sale to go through, he had “Maretimo” built.  Constance was born at “Maretimo” in 1859.

"MARETIMO", PORTLAND, VICTORIA. ca.1874-ca.1895.  Photographer: O.Dolphin.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no.  H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

“MARETIMO”, PORTLAND, VICTORIA. ca.1874-ca.1895. Photographer: O.Dolphin. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

While I can’t find when Alexander McLeod’s siblings went to live at “Claremont“, at least one Miss McLeod was in residence  in 1902, although she was heading off for a summer holiday.

[No heading]. (1902, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 10. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page332030

[No heading]. (1902, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 10. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page332030

Another possible guide was the death of the McLeod sister’s mother Agnes Patterson in 1901.  Her obituary stated  she had moved into town from “Castlemaddie” and passed away in Julia Street.

There was also a death of a baby at “Claremont” in 1904.  I did try to find a link between Phyllis Mary Crawford and the McLeods or the Hentys, but after a quick look without success, I gave up.  The story was getting deep enough.

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Claremont” hosted the St. Stephen’s girls confirmation class in April 1909 as they gave thanks to Catherine and Constance for making their confirmation veils.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1909, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63987683

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1909, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63987683

The Portland branch of the Australian Women’s National League was established during a meeting at “”Claremont” in January 1911.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1911, January 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63979327

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1911, January 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63979327

Through the years, the  McLeod sisters occasionally ran advertisements looking for staff.  In 1912, a general servant was required.

Advertising. (1912, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64003591

Advertising. (1912, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64003591

In 1914, Caroline McLeod (Henty) passed away.  Her probate documents listed “Claremont” and the two acres of land it stood on to the value of £160,000.  Her estate was placed in trust for her two daughters Caroline Agnes Henty McLeod ( 1892-1943) and Alexandra Frances Henty McLeod (1894-1943) aged 22 and 20 respectively at the time of their mother’s death.  In the meantime the girls’ aunts and uncle continued to live at “Claremont“.

In July 1919, Wallace McLeod passed away aged 64 at “Claremont“.

Portland Guardian. (1919, July 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959256

Portland Guardian. (1919, July 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959256

Two months later his older sister, Catherine was dead.

Portland Guardian First Issue August 20, 1842. (1919, September 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959741

Portland Guardian First Issue August 20, 1842. (1919, September 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959741

The death of her brother and sister in such close succession, led Constance to reconsider her future at “Claremont“.  On June 9, 1920 she held a auction of furniture.

Advertising. (1920, June 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021540

Advertising. (1920, June 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021540

A week later, her friends gave her a send off in the St Stephen’s Parish Hall.

ST STEPHEN'S CHURCH HALL, PORTLAND

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH HALL, PORTLAND

Constance was going on an extended holiday.  She was most likely heading to New Zealand to stay with her sister Jessie, married to Frederick Loisel.  Jessie  was present at the send off and lived in New Zealand by that time.

cl3

Presentation to Miss McLeod. (1920, June 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021677

Presentation to Miss McLeod. (1920, June 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021677

In 1934,  Constance passed away in New Zealand.  She and her sister Jessie had just departed Hamilton, New Zealand bound for Portland for the Portland Century Celebrations, when Constance fell ill and died.

Obituary. (1934, October 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286992

Obituary. (1934, October 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286992

After the deaths of Wallace and Catherine and the departure of Constance, “Claremont” was vacant.  In June 1920, the Estate of Caroline Henty, advertised “Claremont” for lease by tender with a term of three years.

Advertising. (1920, June 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021641

Advertising. (1920, June 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021641

There is something about the  staircase in the foyer of “Claremont”.  I think it is because I can imagine the likes of Mrs Mary-Ann Henty, wife of Francis, or her daughter Caroline, sweeping done the stairs in their crinolines while in summer residence.  The State Library of Victoria holds a photograph of Caroline Henty in her crinoline, if you care to imagine further.

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Taking up the lease of “Claremont” in 1920 was Caroline Florence McLean , daughter of Hector McLean and Mary Ann Humphries of Casterton.  Only a year after her arrival another death occurred at “Claremont“, that of returned WW1 soldier Benjamin Byard.   Reading Benjamin’s War  Service Record I found that he only made it as far as England when he fell ill with tuberculous.  He spent time in hospital in England before returning to Melbourne and was again confined.  Once released he travelled to his hometown of Casterton to meet up with friends.  It was suggested to him that he visit Portland and he ended  up at the home of Caroline McLean.

When I initially found this story, I couldn’t understand how Ben just seem to pitch his tent in “Claremont’s” front yard. It was after finding out more about Caroline that I found her Casterton link and that went a long way to explaining how Ben chose her front yard to pitch his tent.

A Pathetic Ending. (1921, August 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024369

A Pathetic Ending. (1921, August 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024369

It was a happier time at “Claremont” in June 1922, when Maud McLean of Casterton, Caroline’s sister, married James Anderson of East Malvern, at St Stephens Church.  The wedding breakfast was held at “Claremont

Family Notices. (1922, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64026127

Family Notices. (1922, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64026127

After seven years at “Claremont” it was time for Caroline to move on.  An afternoon tea was held as a send off.  One of the attendees was Sarah Wadmore, author of Portland’s Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.

Valedictory Tea. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64256993

Valedictory Tea. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64256993

After the departure of Caroline McLean, “Claremont” was put up for sale as a guest house.

Advertising. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257015

Advertising. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257015

By November 1927, “Claremont‘ was a guest house accommodating professionals such as Nurse Frances the Chiropodist.

The Portland Guardian. (1927, November 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259180

The Portland Guardian. (1927, November 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259180

There were vacancies at “Claremont in June 1929.

Advertising. (1929, June 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269647

Advertising. (1929, June 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269647

While I can’t find who owned “Claremont” at this point, I do know that Janet Kosch took over the registration of the boarding house in 1930.  Prior to that there was a Mrs McIntosh and then Norman McIntyre holding the registration.

Borough Council. (1930, November 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64293741

Borough Council. (1930, November 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64293741

In 1934, the two acres of land that made up the “Claremont” property were subdivided.  Again it is not clear who the vendor was, the Henty estate or a new owner from a possible sale back in 1927.

"Claremont" Sud-division. (1934, October 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287062

“Claremont” Sud-division. (1934, October 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287062

Mrs Kosch was still running the “Claremont” guest house in 1943 when her son visited her and her husband while on leave from service.

NEWS OF THE FORCES. (1943, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387036

NEWS OF THE FORCES. (1943, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387036

In 1948, after 18 years running the “Claremont” guest house, Mrs Kosch retired.  She held a furniture sale on April 22, 1948.  In 1952 she passed away at Heywood.

    Advertising. (1948, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64414613

Advertising. (1948, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64414613

“Claremont” continued on as a guest house to at least 1954.   In recent years it has been a bed and breakfast and an art gallery, as it was when I visited.  It has also been for sale.  The listing is seen on this link:  http://www.homehound.com.au/65+julia+street+portland+vic+3305/       The verandah has changed and a photo of the original verandah can be seen on this link http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72863

In at least the first 100 years of existence “Claremont” was many things but never a family home.  There were  never children raised under its roof or playing in the yard, memories were never kept of a treasured family home.  It was always a temporary house, even when the Misses McLeods and Miss McLean where in residence, they were more out than in.  Now. at the end of my search, I think the reason I kept digging for information is that I wanted to find “Claremont’ as a home, not a just summer residence or a guest house, but I never did.

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Portland Botanical Gardens

The Western District has many historic botanic gardens, most established from the 1850s to the 1870s when it was the thing for a town to do, if nothing else, to keep up with the neighbouring town.  For some it was scientific purposes, to acclimatise plants and sometimes animals, as with the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.  There is a sense of history walking through each garden and the tall specimen trees such as oaks, redwoods and pines whisper the tales of times past.

The Portland Botanical Gardens, like the rest of the town, ooze history.  Each botanic garden is unique in some way and Portland is no different and is unlike other gardens I have visited including  Hamilton and Geelong.

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS

Land for the gardens was first marked out in 1851, but it took a few years of public meetings for the gardens to be established.  In 1853, the Honourary Secretary  remarked on the “advantages of  a botanical garden, and the study of botanical science”.

PORTLAND. (1853, August 5). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), p. 1 Edition: DAILY., Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE GEELONG ADVERTISER AND INTELLIGENCER. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86412916

PORTLAND. (1853, August 5). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 – 1856), p. 1 Edition: DAILY., Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE GEELONG ADVERTISER AND INTELLIGENCER. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86412916

At a public meeting six months later, on February 4, 1854 chaired by James Blair, Stephen Henty proposed that a committee be formed to get the gardens up and running.

    BOTANICAL GARDEN. (1854, February 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved June 30, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71569639

BOTANICAL GARDEN. (1854, February 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved June 30, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71569639

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS c1891.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H42199/21 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/183906

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS c1891. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H42199/21 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/183906

Works began in 1858, assisted by Alexander Elliot from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, however a lack of funds was slowing progress.

MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF PORTLAND. (1858, March 5). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64570632

MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF PORTLAND. (1858, March 5). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64570632

By November however, the gardens were beginning to take shape and the curator’s cottage was under construction.

CURATOR'S COTTAGE

CURATOR’S COTTAGE

DOMESTIC INTELIGENCE. (1858, November 3). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64509473

DOMESTIC INTELIGENCE. (1858, November 3). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64509473

In 1859, a letter to the Portland Guardian questioned the practice of allowing horses to graze in the gardens overnight.  “Delta” wondered why the committee could keep their horses at the gardens while “the great unwashed are warned at the gate, Dogs not Admitted”

ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. (1859, May 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510907

ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. (1859, May 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510907

BOTANICAL GARDENS. (1859, May 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510906

BOTANICAL GARDENS. (1859, May 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510906

If you visit the Portland Botanical Gardens, look up at the tall trees and think of those that planted them or as you walk the paths consider the hands that carved them.  The story behind these features is my favourite story about the gardens.

Table Talk. (1863, April 23). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64628622

Table Talk. (1863, April 23). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64628622

At a meeting of the Portland Historical Committee in 1932, the secretary told the story of the Chinese prisoners and their work at the Portland Botanical Gardens.

Historical Committee. (1932, March 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64297702

Historical Committee. (1932, March 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64297702

On the wall of the curator’s cottage is a plaque recognising previous curators of the gardens from the kindly William Allitt in 1861 through to Colin Ellingworth, curator from 1982-1987.

373Andrew Callander was curator from 1922-1949.  Upon his appointment, Mr Callander set about tidying up the gardens and building a ti-tree green house for seedling propagation.

    THE PORTLAND LIFEBOAT. (1926, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64252901

THE PORTLAND LIFEBOAT. (1926, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64252901

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H32492/1655 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64772

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/1655 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64772

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/66929

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/66929

At one time both croquet and tennis were played at the gardens and there were often tensions between the two groups and any other group that hoped to share the space.

TABLE TALK. (1876, November 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63336790

TABLE TALK. (1876, November 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63336790

THE LAWN TENNIS GROUND AGAIN. (1887, September 2). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65410048

THE LAWN TENNIS GROUND AGAIN. (1887, September 2). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65410048

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CROQUET LAWN

Croquet won out and is still played today.  The tennis courts were converted to rose gardens.  The rosary was first proposed in 1930 but it was 1931 before there was further action.

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Borough Council. (1931, April 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64294863

Borough Council. (1931, April 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64294863

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“Wandering Willie’s Wife” visited the Portland Botanical Gardens in 1926 and felt compelled to write a letter to the editor of the Portland Guardian on the subject of a nameless lifeboat on display in the gardens.  Could it have been the lifeboat, captained by James Fawthrop, used to rescue  survivors from the wreck of the  S.S. Admella ?  Why wasn’t there a name plaque?

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THE PORTLAND LIFEBOAT. (1926, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 10, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64252901

Three years later, “Wandering Willie’s Wife” wrote to the editor again, prompted by the announcement that a “tablet” with the story of the  lifeboat Portland would be placed beside the boat.

OUR LETTER BOX. (1929, May 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269425

OUR LETTER BOX. (1929, May 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269425

The lifeboat is now removed from the elements and is housed in the Portland Maritime Discovery Centre.

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LIFEBOAT PORTLAND

ABC Southwest broadcast a story about the Portland Botanic Gardens in March 2009.  The story, including audio and better photos than my own (excluding the wonderful historic photos I found at Trove) can be found by following the link http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2009/03/26/2525642.htm

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored  for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.  I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

A  Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online.  I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.

The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights.  She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.

After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of  Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated.  She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).

There are  the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917.  Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore.  Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the life boat captain.

Following is the story of  Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on a letter she wrote on Christmas Day, 1848, to her parents in England.  Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.

After some local poetry, comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”.  Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.

Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women.  Women born or living in Portland prior to 1864 were eligible.  This is where I found Margaret.  The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.

Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb,  is also  listed as Mrs William Diwell.  Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, who is also listed.   This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.

The oldest pioneer women, recognized separately,  include Marion Nunn Jones, Emma Holmes and Anne Beglan.

The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.

The booklet also comes as an Archive CD book and is available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Online book – Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance 

In The News – July 29, 1929

Although many of the Western District newspapers are not digitised at Trove, it is possible to find articles from the likes of The Hamilton Spectator in the The Portland Guardian,  for example.  On this day 83 years ago,  an excerpt from the Albion newspaper of Coleraine appeared in The Portland Guardian of July 29, 1929.

Prompted by the deaths of many of the early pioneers, the article reflected on the history of the Western District  from the time Major Thomas Mitchell made his way across the land he called Australia Felix 93 years earlier.

 

 

Early History. (1929, July 29). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64270110

There is a clue in the article for those of you who having trouble finding your Western District family member’s arrival in Victoria.  The writer mentions many people from Van Diemen’s Land making their way to Victoria once news got back the Hentys had pushed up from Portland into the Merino district.  It could then be possible that family members travelled to Victoria via Tasmania where they had resided as convicts or otherwise.

Jenny Fawcett, on her great South-West Victoria genealogy and history site,  has indexed the names of those who travelled to Victoria as part of a Geelong and Portland Bay Immigration Society scheme in 1845 and 1846.  The idea behind that and similar schemes was to bring labour into the colony with those behind the society being squatters and merchants.  Jenny provides a great description of the scheme on her site.

Browsing through the names,there are many I instantly recognise as Western District family names.  Also, a lot of the pioneer obituaries I have read tell of the deceased having come to Victoria via Van Diemen’s Land.

So, if you are beginning to think your ancestors were good swimmers, follow-up the possibility they came to the Western District from Tasmania.  You just never know.

Portland’s History House

HISTORY HOUSE, PORTLAND

History House in Portland is the place to go to search for your ancestors who lived or arrived in the harbour town.  Located in the former Portland Town Hall, History House offers research facilities and a small museum.

The museum has many reminders of Portland’s early history, in particular the Henty family.

It is not easy taking a photo of a long plough in a narrow room with a fairly ordinary camera, but  I had to give it a go as this in the one and only Henty plough.  While it is famous for it being the first plough used in Victoria, its journey since those early days is interesting.

HENTYS PLOUGH

Maybe this picture does the plough more justice than my own.

THE FIRST PLOUGH USED IN VICTORIA, BY THE HENTY BROTHERS, OF PORTLAND. (1910, September 10). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved July 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38361343

This article from the Portland Guardian of November 18, 1935 describes what happened to the plough after it left the Henty’s possession

HENTY’S PLOUGH. (1935, November 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64290884

Hugh Lennon, who had the plough on display at his factory in Spotswood, was the manufacturer of the Lennon plough.  This was the plough of choice of James Harman in  local ploughing matches.  It was also the plough of choice for the Kelly gang when making armour.

The plough eventually returned to Portland in 1970.

The next photo is of a model of the house lived in by Joseph Henry Porter and his wife, Sarah Herbertson, in Gawler Street, Portland.  Joseph constructed the house and Sarah furnished it.  I like the detail, even down to  pickets missing off the fence.

The obituary of Joseph Porter was in the June Passing of the Pioneers.  It mentioned he was known for his fine craftsmanship.

MODEL OF 42 GAWLER STREET, PORTLAND

While this isn’t the best photo, I had to share it.  It depicts the meeting of Major Thomas Mitchell and the Henty brothers, a significant time in the history of the Western District.  My post “Ghosts of Yesteryear” tells the story of this chance meeting.

MAJOR MITCHELL AND THE HENTY BROTHERS

Mary McKillop spent some time in Portland and an exhibit commemorates this, complete with the spires from the original Roman Catholic church in Portland.

MARY MacKILLOP DISPLAY

The Portland Rocket Shed is next to History House.  The shed was built in 1886 by George Sedgewick who was the gg grandfather of Ann, a follower of this blog.  Fully restored, the shed has a display inside which includes a rocket launcher  used to fire ropes to boats in distress.

ROCKET SHED

For more photos, better than my own, check out ABC South West Victoria’s report  on History House’s renovation in 2010 http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/02/17/2822431.htm.  There was also a report at the time of Mary MacKillop’s canonization http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/10/12/3035824.htm

Another “What the Dickens?” Moment

To mark the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, I posted about Alfred Tennyson Dickens who lived in my hometown of Hamilton.  Entitled “What the Dickens?“, the post describes my amazement that a son of Charles Dickens could have lived in Hamilton.  Alfred left the town due to the accidental death of his wife Jessie.

Yesterday I was in Hamilton for several reasons, one of which was to visit the Hamilton Old Cemetery in search of the grave of Jessie Dickens and as a result, I had another “What the Dickens?” moment.

My visits to Hamilton are infrequent day trips so I try to cram in as much as possible. Visits to the cemetery are quick, usually to search for a specific grave or graves. Yesterday was no different, except I had absolutely no idea where in the cemetery Jesse was buried.  With Mum, we headed to the oldest and biggest graves.

We found the grave quicker than expected.  It turns out  the grave of Jessie Dickens is immediately behind my gg grandparents Richard Diwell and Elizabeth Jelly who I have posted about before.  We couldn’t believe we had previously visited the Diwell plot before, unaware the grave of the daughter-in-law of Charles Dickens was right behind. As we were earlier unaware of the Dickens link to Hamilton, we had not made the connection.

What I couldn’t believe was that I had missed the grave immediately behind Jessie’s. It was that of Stephen George Henty one of the Henty brothers, Victoria’s first settlers.  Stephen, thought to be the most influential of the brothers, was the first to settle inland from Portland, at Muntham, Merino Downs and Sandford stations.

DIWELL, DICKENS & HENTY GRAVES

 

Both the Diwell and Dickens headstones were chosen by heartbroken husbands, shattered by their wives premature deaths. Jessie was only 29, thrown from a horse-drawn carriage on Portland Road in 1878 and Elizabeth died at 44 due to complications of childbirth in 1900. I have updated the “What the Dickens?” post with a photo of Jessie’s grave.

When I came home I checked the photos I already had of the Diwell grave, and sure enough, you can see the two other graves in the background.  One of these photos appears on the post “Elizabeth Ann Jelly“.

The thing that struck me was that within a distance of about 6 metres lay the remains of 10 people.  Great Victorian pioneers, Stephen George Henty and wife Jane and their son, Richmond; the wife of the son of one of the greatest novelists of all time and my gg grandparents, Richard and Elizabeth Diwell and four of their children, Ralph, Rebecca, Ernest and an unnamed baby.  Wow!