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

375

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.

pbg10

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

378

376

“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?

pbg8

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.

030

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!

 

Passing of the Pioneers

Once again an interesting band of Western Victorian pioneers were found in newspaper obituaries from February.  There is a tightrope walker, philanthropist, a motor car pioneer and several hardy pioneer women.  It continues to amaze me the lives the pioneers lived.  I mean, who could imagine a tightrope walker living in Portland in the 19th century, in fact at anytime!

Thomas STODDART: Died 20 February 1905 at Ballarat. When next in Ballarat admiring the many statues in Sturt Street and the Botanical Gardens, thank Thomas Stoddart. He was responsible for getting the ball rolling for leading Ballarat identities to give statues or money towards statues, to the city. From digger to stockbroker, Stoddart donated twelve statues to the city of Ballarat in 1884 after a trip to Europe. This act of philanthropy saw some of Ballarat’s other wealthy citizens bequeath money to fund more statues.  In fact, John Permewan who featured in December Passing of the Pioneers donated the well know “Hebe” which stands in Sturt Street.  As well as the obituary from the Horsham Times a lengthier obituary appeared in The Argus on February 21.

“FLORA”

“POMONA”

John COFFEY:  Died 9 February 1908 at Melbourne. John Coffey was born in Limerick, Ireland and came to Australia with his brother in the 1860s. He first went to the Wimmera while carting between Melbourne and the Wimmera. Making a permanent home there, he worked as a farmer and a hotel keeper.  He left a wife, Catherine Almond, five daughters and three sons.

Thomas HENNESSY: Died 19 February 1908 at Horsham. Thomas Hennessy arrived in Victoria in 1859 aboard the Royal Charter from Limerick, Ireland. He began farming around Koroit, lost a leg, and moved to the Pimpinio district where he farmed for many years.  An accident prior to his death contributed to his demise.

James DAVIDSON: Died 12 February 1913 at Narrawong. James Davidson, born at Narrawong, was described as a “good all-round citizen” in his obituary. He was involved in the mounted rifles and athletics.

Matilda GILCHRIST: Died 14 February 1914 at Hawthorn.  Born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1920 she arrived on the Star of the East in 1855.  Her husband Thomas Lang was a well-known horticulturist in the late 19th century.  Matilda was a principal of a girls’ school in Ballarat for a time.

Mary Ann DREW: Died 15 February 1915 at Willaura.  Born in Buckinghamshire, England,  Mary Ann Drew came to Victoria in her twenties during the 1850s. She worked at Golf Hill Station at Shelford for George Russell, before moving to Sandford where she married William Lindon. Mary Ann lived at Willaura with her daughter for the last ten years of her life.

Edward Harewood  LASCELLES: Died 12 February 1917 at Geelong. Lascelles is a well-known name in WesternVictoria.  Not only does his name form part of the Geelong wool broking firm Denneys Lascelles & Co, the town of Lascelles in the Mallee was named after him.  Edward Lascelles was born in Tasmania in 1847, married Ethel Denney and they had six children.  He was a leader in vermin extermination on his property in the Mallee and was the first to introduce share farming in Victoria.

Isabella McDONALD: Died February 1918 at Dandenong. Isabella McDonald arrived in Victoria with her widowed mother in 1863. The following year she married journalist, Mr Dudeney, who had gone to Ballarat to report on the Eureka Stockade riots. Only after a few years of marriage, Mr Dudeney passed away and she married John Whitehead a worker at the Ballarat Post Office and later the GPO in Melbourne

Martha MATHEWS: Died 14 February 1918 at Buninyong. Martha Mathews was a colonist of 64 years, arriving in Victoria to join her husband, Richard Phillips on the goldfields of Ballarat. Martha enjoyed telling stories of the goldrush days.

OBITUARY. (1918, February 18). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75176846

Janet SIMPSON: Died 19 February 1920 at  Bondi, New South Wales.  Janet Simpson, her husband Robert Clark and four children sailed for Australia in 1857. One child, Agnes died during the journey. At the time of their arrival, the train line to Horsham was under construction, so the family took a coach to Stawell, then bullock wagon to Horsham.  She was one of the many pioneer women who coped under tough conditions.

Obituary. (1920, February 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73190179

William HANLON: Died 19 February 1923 at Portland. William Hanlon was the mayor of Portland 11 times.  His interests within the municipality included President of the Portland Free Library.

William ROBERTSON: Died 2 February 1924 at Portland.  A colonist of seventy-seven years, William Robertson arrived in Portland as a five-year old with his parents.  He had travelled to New Guinea and Western Australia as well one time riding in the Great Western Steeplechase at Coleraine.

Charles Francis PATTERSON: Died 17 February 1933 at Portland. Charles was born in Portland in 1857 and spent some time in Western Australia on the railways.  It was there he met his future wife and after marriage, they returned to Portland to raise ten children.  Charles was a popular figure around the town and he worked in the fish distribution business.

Alfred Irvine HOGAN: Died 8 February 1934 at Portland. From tightrope walker to sawmiller, Alfred Hogan was an interesting chap.  Arriving in Portland as a young man, he gained notoriety as a tightrope walker performing daredevil tricks in the mould of “Blondin” the French tightrope walker.  Age must have caught up with his tightrope walking feats and he turned to sawmilling, with his obituary crediting him as a pioneer of sawmilling in the Portland district, an industry which became one of the biggest in the area.  Alfred also had a keen interest in Australian Rules football and was one of the people behind the development of Hanlon Park, which is still home to the Portland Football Club today.

Mary Jane SPIKEN:  Died February 1934 at Warrnambool. Mary Jane Spiken’s mother Anna Harland arrived in Victoria with members of the Henty family.  Anna married John George Spiken with Mary Jane born around 1861 at the Henty homestead.  Mary Jane married William Jenkins and they had seven children.  She was a wealth of knowledge on the early days of Portland.

Fanny Ann MALSEED: Died 13 February 1936 at Myamyn. Fanny Ann was the daughter of James and Eliza Malseed of Mount Richmond.  She married Thomas Edmund Adamson around 1886 and they raised eight children.

Richard YOUNG: Died 16 February 1939 at Horsham. Richard was born at Clunes and moved to Horsham with his parents as a ten-year-old. He married Isabella Anderson and they raised a large family. Richard was a keen footballer and  played for United Traders football club.  He was a founding member of the Horsham Football Club and was an active member of the local fire brigade.

Walter Birmingham EDGAR: Died 22 February 1939 at Portland. Walter Edgar was born at Pine Hills Station at Harrow in 1856.  Educated at Hamilton College, he achieved the double honor of dux of the college and athletic champion.  Despite studying civil engineering  at Melbourne University, he returned to Pine Hills to take up agriculture pursuits.  In 1882, he married Jessie Swan of Konongwootong.  In the years before his death, Walter toured England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden with his daughter.  In his younger days, Walter was something of a cricketer and golfer.  He and his father played some part in the Aboriginal cricket team touring England in 1867.  The team included Johnny Mullagh who Walter often played cricket with.

Obituary. (1939, February 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved February 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64391911

Ann NIVEN: Died 24 February 1942 at Coleraine. Ann Niven’s came to Australia at five, but without her parents.  They arrived at a later date, but until then Ann was under the guardianship of Mr and Mrs Christorphen.  They lived where Balmoral now stands, but then it was only bush.  She married William Bird, living at Wombelano and then for the last thirty-two years of her life, at Coleraine.  Mrs Bird was the mother of eleven children.

Patrick HENRY: Died February 1942 at Terang. Patrick Henry, with his parents, settled in the Woodford area upon their arrival in Australia in 1866.  He began driving bullock wagons as a teenager and worked in that occupation until he was eighty-six.  When he finally retired, it was thought he was the oldest bullock wagon driver in the Western District.

Thomas Turner SHAW:  Died 1 February 1949 at Beaumaris. Thomas Shaw was the son of Thomas and Catherine Shaw. He was born in Victoria in 1864.

THOMAS TURNER SHAW c1866.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H2013.172/23 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/235471

THOMAS TURNER SHAW c1866. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.172/23 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/235471

Thomas Shaw was a not only a pioneer of fine merino wool production but also motoring in Victoria.  He drove one of the first steam cars and was also a founding member of the Royal Auto Club (RACV).

St Stephen’s Church, Portland

During our recent trip to Portland, while the fish were biting, I managed to sneak away for a walk around the town of Portland.

One building I visited was St Stephen’s Anglican Church on the corner of  Julia and Percy Streets.

St Stephens Church Portland

The foundation stone was laid on March 24, 1855.

St Stephens Church Foundation Stone

The Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser reported on the laying of the foundation stone.

Local Intelligence. (1855, March 26). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71571938

I wonder if the reporter still had a job after overlooking the lunch that followed the ceremony.

I was impressed that the organisers of the day were able to secure Lieutenant Governor of the Colony, Sir Charles Hotham for the event.  However, after reading some articles about Hotham at Trove, and fitting the Portland visit into his timeline, I realised then he probably was trying to get as far away from Melbourne as possible.  The heat was on.  I would also imagine the Henty brothers’ connection to the church may have also been a factor.  Incidentally, Hotham was dead by the year’s end, having caught a chill, which exacerbated his already failing health.  This extract was published in the Empire (Sydney 1850-1875) on the same day as the report on the foundation stone ceremony and the tone is similar to other reports on Hotham at the time.

VICTORIA,. (1855, March 26). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 5. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60180148

Despite the church receiving a bell in 1864 from Stephen Henty, it was not until 1907 that the bell was hung.

St. Stephens' Church Bell. (1907, July 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63966019

Some histories of the bell may tell a different story of the bell’s origins as local historian Noel F. Learmonth had to admit in his article of October 29, 1951.  After reconfirming the story from 1907 article, he went on to say:

ST. STEPHEN'S BELL. (1951, October 29). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: MIDDAY.. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64429927

Entrance of St Stephen's Church, Portland

A SHORT HISTORY OF ST STEPHEN'S CHURCH FROM 1869 TO THE PRESENT DAY. (1943, August 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64386337

I wish I had read this article before I visited.  I would have like to have seen Stephen Henty’s stained glass window.

Interior of St Stephen's Church

The organ on the wall of the altar has been in place since 1882.

In 1953, the church celebrated its 97th anniversary.  The Portland Guardian of May 14, reported on the event and included an extract from one of Noel Learmonth’s books  “The Portland Bay Settlement”.  A nice touch was when the congregation sang “Happy Birthday” to the church.

St. Stephen's Church 97th Anniversary celebrated. (1953, May 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64434755

If you are interested in more history of the St Stephen’s Church, an article from the Portland Guardian of August 30, 1943, “A Short History of St Stephen’s Church from 1869 to Present Day” is worth a look.  It also includes a list of the 1943 members of the Ladies Guild.