Passing of the Pioneers

March Passing of the Pioneers once again gathers together a diverse group of Western District pioneers. They include a winemaker and a lighthouse keeper. There are links to some well-known Western District properties and families, and a Portland resident that grew up with an English author.

Eliza Mary KEARTON: Died March 1891 at Creswick. Eliza Kearton was a long-time resident of Portland. She had gone to Creswick for an operation but died of complications. She was born in London in 1820 and married William Tulloh in 1844 in Tasmania. William’s obituary appeared in Passing of the Pioneers in July 2011 and includes a lot of detail about their lives in Portland.

James ROBERTSON: Died March 1892 at Portland. James Robertson was born in Alvie, Scotland. Once in Portland, he set up the Iron Store business with his older brothers John and William Robertson.

Anne WILCOX: Died 12 March 1894 at Portland. Anne and her husband Thomas Must were well-known residents of Portland. Anne was from Sydney and married Thomas a Sydney merchant in 1842 before they travelled to Portland to set up a branch of Thomas’ business, Must and Flower. A few years after his arrival in Portland, he had an architect design a home resulting in Prospect, built in 1855.The couple lived there for the rest of their lives. In 1908 at St Stephens Church, unveiled a stained glass window in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Must.




Ann PAXFORD:  Died March 1900 at Portland. Ann Paxford was the daughter of Jonathan Paxford and Ann Bray and was born around 1818. She married Edward Francis Hughes and they arrived in Victoria in 1853 and Portland in 1854.

Ann had an interesting life while a child in England. She spent time with a young Marion Evans better known as George Elliott, writer. Looking further into the story, which appears correct, proved intriguing. Ann, through her mother, Ann Bray was related to Charles Bray a ribbon manufacturer and a leader of the “intellectual elite”.(Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)  He described his house, Rosehill, as “a mecca for radicals and intellectuals” (The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference).  Marion Evans lived at Rosehill and that is where Ann would have come to know her.

Janet McCRACKEN:  Died March 1911 at Stawell. Born in Scotland around 1840, Janet McCracken arrived in Melbourne with her parents in the early 1850s. After a few years, they moved to Stawell and Janet married James Mathers. The couple lived in Stawell for the rest of their lives and had four sons and three daughters.

Daniel TYERS: Died 15 March 1915 at Byaduk. After arriving in Victoria around 1856, Daniel Tyers lived at Port Fairy. He later moved to Byaduk where he remained until his death at the age of ninety-five. He was buried at the Byaduk Cemetery along with his brother Samuel and sister Jane.

John MOONEY: Died 29 March 1915 at Mooney’s Gap. In 1854, John Mooney from Ireland, travelled to Australia aboard the Great Britain. His brother Lawrence had arrived the year before, so John joined him on the Ararat diggings. In 1858,  the brothers planted grape vines at Mooney’s Gap near Ararat and started the Emerald Vineyard. In the same year, just down the road, Jean-Pierre Trouette, his wife Ann-Marie and brother-in-law Emile Blampied, were the first to plant vines at Great Western.  While Troutte’s winery St. Peters no longer exists, other wineries from the early days, Best’s and Seppelts are still in production there.

OBITUARY. (1915, March 30). The Ararat advertiser (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2 Edition: triweekly. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from

OBITUARY. (1915, March 30). The Ararat advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: triweekly. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from

In 1925, Lawrence Mooney uprooted the vines at Emerald Vineyard and used the land for other purposes.

Elizabeth Robertson MURDOCH:  Died 7 March 1916 at Port Fairy. I did a little extra research at on Mrs Whiting because I wanted to find her name, in preference to listing her as Mrs Albert Edwin Whiting. Elizabeth grew up around the Geelong area and married Albert Whiting in 1878. Albert was a son of Edwin Whiting and Hannah Manifold.   Hannah’s brothers were Thomas, Peter and William Manifold, original owners of the Purrumbete run.

At the time of marriage, John was station manager for the Chirnside’s property Boortkoi. Their wedding was at  Woolongoon, Mortlake then owned by Anthony McKenzie. Elizabeth and Albert moved to Port Fairy and lived at Boodcarra before moving to Loongana for several years before Elizabeth’s passing.

Family Notices. (1878, May 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from

Family Notices. (1878, May 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from

William HILL:  Died 14 March 1916 at Warrnambool. Born in Ireland, William Hill spent the first twenty years of his time in Victoria working for Henry de Little, owner of Caramut station.  He then began farming himself, first at Woodford and later at Framlingham where he had dairy cows for seventeen years. In the early 1860s, William married Mary Hassett of Caramut.

Mary FITZGERALD: Died 17 March  1916 at Tower Hill. Mary Fitzgerald lived in the Tower Hill district since she was ten- years-old, around 1849.  She married John Fitzgibbon and she left two sons and eight daughters at the time of her death.  Her funeral was attended by a large crowd of mourners.

John Joseph Thomas COOPER:  Died March 1918 at Port Fairy. John Cooper was born in Somerset, England and arrived in Victoria with his parents as a baby. He became an assistant life boat pilot in 1883 and became the Superintendent of life boats at Queenscliff in 1892.  Around 1905, he moved on to lighthouse keeping, working at Queencliff, Port Fairy, Cape Nelson and Warrnambool.





Marion Letitia HINDES:  Died 13 March 1918 at Port Fairy. Marion Hindes, better known as Letitia, was born in London in 1848 and arrived in Port Fairy four years later. She lived with her aunt, Mrs Gillespie at the Union Inn at Port Fairy. Letitia married Richard Emery in 1889. Richard died eight years before her and she left no children. She had two cousins surviving and two nieces.

Margaret WHITE:  Died 4 March 1925 at South Portland. Margaret White spent most of her life living in the Narrawong and Portland districts, an estimated eighty-two years. She married James Grant in 1870. She left two sons and three daughters. Margaret’s obituary mentions the hardships faced by the early settlers.

Old Resident Passes. (1925, March 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from

Old Resident Passes. (1925, March 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from


Florence EDSALL:  Died 22 March 1944 at Geelong.  Florence Edsall was born at Warrenheip near Ballarat around 1858.  She married W.J. Silvester and they lived in Cobden during their working lives, before retiring to Geelong. Florence’s husband was a Councillor with the Heytesbury Shire and was the first child of European descent born at Cobden,

Passing of the Pioneers

The final “Passing of the Pioneers” for 2011 sees another thirteen Western District pioneers remembered.  That takes the number of obituaries recorded into the sixties. The information in each listing is from the newspaper obituary which is a secondary source. If I have found a pioneer interesting, I may include further information, for which there will be a reference available. All “Passing of the Pioneers” posts can be found under “Obituary” in the Category tab in the side bar.

“Passing of the Pioneers” will be back in 2012 and with more Western District newspapers available at Trove, there were will be even more obituaries to choose from. I have also updated the post “The Horsham Times goes Digital” to reflect the current additions at Trove.

Bridget Priscilla TALBOT: Died December 1904 at Hamilton.  Bridget Talbot was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1834 and arrived in Australia in 1848.  She married John Jennings in Adelaide in 1849 and they moved to Hamilton in 1852 where she resided until her death.

Richard PRICE: Died 15 December 1904 at Milltown.  Richard Price arrived in Victoria in the late 1850s and settled at Digby.  He later went on to Heywood before making his final home at Milltown where he worked in the sawmilling trade.  He had eight sons and two daughters.

John PERMEWAN: Died 23 December 1904 at Ballarat.  Born around 1837, John Permewan gave his name to the well known stores of Victoria, Permewan Wright & Co. He was known around Australia in commercial circles.  Permewans still exists in Hamilton.  It has seen a couple of name and location changes, but I would often visit there with my parents in the 1970s and 80s for horse feed and saddlery, but it also stocked hardware and still does today.

Effie MURDOCH: Died December 1914 at Romsey.  Effie Murdoch is the oldest pioneer I have come across to date.  She died at age 106.  Effie was from the Isle of Skye, Scotland and arrived in Australia in around 1852.

Margaret HOARE:  Died 16 December 1914 at Nhill.  Margaret Hoare and her husband Bernhardt Mulraney arrived in Australia from Ireland during the 1850s.  After spending time around Hamilton, Mt. Gambier and Goroke, they settled in the Mallee at Nhill.  Margaret was eighty at the time of her death.

John HARRIES: Died 18 December 1914 at Stawell. John Harries was born at Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1843 and arrived in Stawell in 1875.  Like many with Welshmen, John could sing and was a member of Prout’s band at Ballarat and sang in the Presbyterian church choir.

John THORNTON: Died 15 December 1919 at Mount Myrtoon.  John was born in Yorkshire in 1835 and travelled to Australia at age eighteen.  He spent time in Melbourne and Gippsland before settling at Mount Myrtoon.  He set up a successful stock and station business with links to Dalgetys. He was an accomplished cricketer and played for Victoria in his younger days.  He was the Melbourne Cricket Club’s oldest member at the time of his death.

Mary McLEOD: Died December 1928 at Narracoorte. Mary McLeod was born in the Isle of Skye in 1842. After her mother died when she was eleven, her father moved the family to Australia.  Mary took on the role of mother to her younger brothers. After they arrived in Melbourne, they travelled to Portland and then Narracoorte, South Australia by bullock wagon. She later married Angus MORRISON and they eight children while living around the Apsley area.

Jenny Sage CRABBIE: Died 17 December 1932 at Branxholme. Jenny Crabbie was born in Edinburgh and having seen the boat the Julia Percy built in Scotland, she was offered passage to Australia by the ship’s directors, whom she knew.  It was because of the ship that Jenny met her husband Benjamin Lear in Portland.  Benjamin worked on the Julia Percy and continued to do so for some years after. Jenny would have been popular among Portland children. She was a confectioner, with a shop in Bentick Street, Portland for many years.

Annie PITTS: Died 12 December 1934 at Portland. Annie Pitts was born in Somerset, England and travelled to Australia with her parents, James and Sarah when she was three. She married John JENNINGS of Portland when she was twenty-one and they had ten children. Annie was eighty-five at the time of her death.

Louisa BROWN: Died 26 December 1937 at Camperdown. Louisa was just a baby when her family arrived in Victoria from Westminster, England. She married Henry SHARP, a stonemason, at Terang. They had four daughters and five sons, with the sons forming a quarrying business, Sharp Bros.

OBITUARY. (1937, December 30). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 26, 2011, from

Nicholas WHITE: Died 17 December 1942 at Portland. Born in 1869 at Cape Bridgewater, Nicholas was a farmer but a keen sporting interest and was knowledgeable about all matters of  cricket and horse racing. His wife had previously passed away and they had one married daughter, Ethel.

James Trotter KITTSON: Died 11 December 1945 at Cape Bridgewater. James was a member of the pioneering Kittson family.

OBITUARY. (1945, December 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 26, 2011, from

James left a wife, son and daughter and was buried at the Bridgewater cemetery.