Passing of the Pioneers

After nearly two years of Passing of the Pioneers, I am beginning to have to dig a little deeper for pioneer obituaries but I have managed to find an interesting group for January. There are members of the Black, Herbertson and Guthridge families.  Also a butcher, a baker and a newspaper maker. Then Sarah Jane Wadmore, an early Portland historian, and Mary Ann Skilbeck, a member of a family that left a legacy of value to historians today.

Don’t despair, there will still be more Passing of the Pioneers and if the Hamilton Spectator ever finds its way to Trove, well, my life will be complete.

Thomas Edwin THOMAS: Died 21 January 1909 at Casterton. Thomas Thomas was the owner of the Casterton Free Press and a former owner of the Port Fairy Gazette and was well-known for his journalism.

Mary FERGUSON:  Died 24 January 1910 at Casterton. Arriving at Portland in 1861, the Dewars headed to Heathfield Station near Strathdownie where they were both employed. Later they moved to Casterton until their deaths. Mary had nine children and lived to eighty-four years.

Archibald BLACK:  Died 20 January 1912 at Camperdown. Son of Western Victorian pastoralist, Niel Black MLC, Archibald was born in South Yarra and educated at Geelong Grammar, Trinity College and Cambridge. He then settled in the Western District and was one of the first landholders in the Hampden area to recognise the potential for dairy-farming, an industry the area is today renowned for. His obituary and photo can also be found at Obituaries Australia

Thomas MORRISSY:  Died January 1914 at Beeac. Tipperary born, Thomas Morrissey arrived in Victoria around 1860 and farmed around Ballarat.  After two years, he moved to Beeac where he farmed for the next fifty-two years.  He was a member of the Colac P & A Society and took a keen interest in the affairs of the Colac Dairying Company.

Mary GREENHAM: Died 5 January 1915 at Casterton. Mary Greenham was born in Middlesex in 1833 and arrived in Victoria in 1854. She was a Casterton resident from 1855 to 1875, then Corndale for the next thirty-five years before returning to Casterton in the years before her death. With her husband George Sealey, they had a family of nine sons.  One son lost his life during the Boer War. She left fifty grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

Patrick  KINNANE: Died 9 January 1915 at Port Fairy. A Koroit resident for many years, Patrick Kinnane was born in Limerick, Ireland around 1827.  He arrived in Portland about 1854 and worked for the Koroit Borough Council.  He had a large family of four sons and five daughters and was buried at the Tower Hill cemetery.

Mary Ann SKILBECK: Died 22 January 1915 at Port Fairy. Back in the 1990s, I read The Diaries of Sarah Midgley and Richard Skilbeck: A Story of Australian settlers 1851-1864, edited by H.A. McCorkell.  It has a lot about Port Fairy and the Wesleyan Methodist Church, both relevant to the Harman family.  Mary Ann was a sister of Richard Skilbeck, and she married William Midgley, the brother of the other diarist, Sarah Midgley. This was a great read, giving an insight into pioneering life in the south-west of Victoria. Finding Mary Ann’s obituary has reminded me I must read it again. It is available online via the Midgley family website, but I think I’ll wait until I get the hard copy from the library.  The website does have a lot about both the Midgley’s and Skilbecks for those interested.

Agnes Jane TODD: Died 5 January 1917 at Casterton. Agnes Todd married Herbert Lewin in 1882.

Obituary. (1917, January 8). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74488021

Obituary. (1917, January 8). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74488021

John TOOGOOD: Died 18 January 1917 at Hawkesdale. John Toogood was born at Princess Bridge, Melbourne in 1840.  He married, for the first time, at Richmond in 1862 and he moved to Port Fairy in 1864. He then moved to Winslow near Warrnambool where his wife died. On to Hawkesdale where he ran a carrying and contracting business for some years before he turned to farming pursuits. He married a further two times, but both wives predeceased him.

Phillip ORMSBY:  Died 12 January 1918 at Ellerslie.

PERSONAL. (1918, January 17). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74043412

PERSONAL. (1918, January 17). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74043412

Phillip Ormsby was born in Dublin and enrolled in the Dublin University to study medicine. His sense of adventure saw him leave his studies and sail to Melbourne on the large clipper, Champion of the Seas  in 1854. He got his land legs in Geelong, then he went on to the goldfields at Ballarat for three years, farmed at nearby Learmonth and then purchased land on the banks of the Hopkins River near Ellerslie in 1865.

Like, Archibald Black (above), Phillip was remembered as one of the first to see the potential for dairy-farming in the area.  He was one of the co-founders of the Western District Co-Operative Factories Company and served on the Mortlake Shire Council with two years as President. He was also secretary of the Mortlake Cemetery Trust.

Phillip married Jenny McKellar and they had four sons and seven daughters. Phillip died with the knowledge that is son was killed in France only months before.

Jane ARMSTRONG: Died 29 January 1920 at Hamilton. Jane Heaney was one of Condah district’s oldest residents. She arrived from Ireland with her husband, Robert Heaney in 1856 aboard the General Hewitt. After ten years at Heywood, the Heaney’s moved on to Condah Swamp, later known as Wallacedale.

Donald McINNES: Died 9 January 1924 at Warrnambool. Donald arrived on HMS Hercules after a horrendous voyage.  His first job in Victoria was at the Kangaroo station near Hotspur owned by the McKinnon brothers, uncles of Donald. He never married.

Thomas HERBERTSON: Died 17 January 1932 at Portland. The Herbertson family have a long association with Portland.  Thomas was the son of Robert Herbertson an 1840s arrival at Portland. Thomas was eighty-one at the time of his death and during his years in Portland worked as a saddler, then owned a saddlery business, before purchasing Wattle Hill, where he farmed and ran a successful orchard with his sons. He married Jenny Miller of Portland and they had a family of five children.

Frederick GUTHRIDGE: Died 16 January 1933 at Ullswater. Frederick Guthridge was a member of a large family well-known for their longevity. They featured in this week’s Trove Tuesday post for that reason. Frederick was the son of Richard Guthridge and Elizabeth Pitts. He married Alice Byrne and they had four sons and four daughters. Frederick also left eight brothers and sisters and a ninety-five year-old father.

Joseph JACKSON: Died 16 January 1940 at Camperdown. Joseph Jackson was a native of Armagh County and spent most of his years in Victoria at Camperdown.  A butcher by trade, he ran a successful business for nearly forty years.  He was a committee member of the Camperdown Mechanics Institute and the Camperdown Turf Club.  He was the longest-serving member of the Camperdown Bowling Club and had success locally and in Melbourne.

Sarah  Jane  WADMORE: Died 1 January 1941 at Portland. Sarah Wadmore was a woman after my own heart.

OBITUARY. (1941, January 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64398666

OBITUARY. (1941, January 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64398666

Sarah had a great interest in the history of Portland and with the approaching centenary of the town in 1934, she and two other local’s, Mrs W.F. Hedditch and Mr E. Davis of the Portland Observer produced a booklet entitled Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance for the event.  She was also the main force behind the Pioneer Women’s statue at Portland.  Sarah’s obituary gives a detailed history of her life, including the loss of her father, a Cape Bridgewater pioneer, swept off the rocks when Sarah was only one month old.  Sarah was a school teacher and never married.

John Charles HAUGH:  Died 12 January 1943 at Geelong. John Haugh was born at Bri Bri around 1866.  In his early life, he went to Stoneyford, beginning work as a baker. He later worked for Camperdown baker, Mr G.Robertson. John was an original member of the Camperdown Brass Band and performed in local theatrical productions.  He was a gate-keeper at the Camperdown Football oval for many years.

 

Passing of the Pioneers

What an interesting group of pioneers December brings us. Some were well-known in the Western District while others toiled quietly to build their lives. Obituaries come from a chemist, a cricketer, a former Portland Mayor, a pastoralist, a Monsignor, mothers and two pioneers of the newspaper industry in Western Victoria.

James TRANGMAR: Died 16 December 1888 at Portland. James Trangmar was a resident and a former Mayor of Portland, but he acquired land throughout the Western District.

James Trangmar, photographer Thomas Fostor Chuck -1872.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/17715

James Trangmar, photographer Thomas Foster Chuck -1872. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/17715

After working as a manager of a grocers in Tasmania, he arrived in Portland in 1844.  He worked in that field before turning to sheep farming. He bought  properties including Bochara, Violet Creek and Morgiana. James had connections to the Portland Hospital and the  Portland Free Library and was also a Justice of the Peace.  He was buried in the North Portland Cemetery

052

Headstone of James Trangmar & family. North Portland Cemetery.

William NICHOLAS: Died 17 December 1890 at Colac. Arriving in the Colac area around 1841, William Nicholas was an early pioneer of the district. He came first to shear for three local squatters, then he worked in the forests before purchasing a bullock wagon.  He carted produce to Geelong and Ballarat, returning with stores.  His obituary, by Mr B.N. Butcher of Colac, was written with emotion.

MEMOIR OF A DEPARTED COLONIST. (1891, January 2). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87728049

MEMOIR OF A DEPARTED COLONIST. (1891, January 2). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87728049

John HARRIES: Died 18 December 1914 at Stawell. John Harries was born in Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1843 and arrived in Stawell in 1875.  A true Welshmen, he was a great singer and was a member of the Presbyterian church choir and Prouts Band of Ballarat.  He married and had eight children. His brother, Reverend David Harries had joined him Australia, but he had passed away a few years earlier.

Ann WALTON: Died 31 December 1914 at Mount Arapiles. Ann Walton is one of my favourite pioneers and I am familiar with her as she was the mother-in-law of Jonathan Harman Jnr and mother in-law to the nephews of the Oliver sisters that married Harman brothers.  Also, I know the area around Natimuk and Mount Arapiles in the Wimmera where she and her husband James Keyte pioneered and it can be harsh country.

Ann, born in Scotland, arrived in Portland aboard the Indian Ocean in 1854 as a four-year-old. Her parents, David Walton and Margaret Tennant went to Mount Gambier and that is where she married James Keyte. James and Ann selected land in the Natimuk district in 1872 and remained until 1892 when the bought land in New South Wales. She later returned to Mount Arapiles when her health began to fail.

Oliver YOUNGMAN:  Died 17 December 1915 at Port Fairy. Oliver was born in Norwich, England in 1847 and arrived at Port Fairy with his parents in 1849. His father, Arthur Youngman was an owner of the Port Fairy Gazette and later the Alpine Observer at Bright and Oliver was involved with both newspapers.  He was the ledger keeper for grazier Sir William Clarke for twenty-nine years and later his for his son Sir Rupert Clarke.  Oliver held high office in the Methodist Church and was a member for fifty years. Leaving a daughter to mourn him, he was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

Catherine COWAN:  Died 14 December 1916 at Ararat. Catherine Cowan was born in Scotland and arrived in Australia with her parents around 1853.  She was married Alexander McKenzie at Trawalla Station near Beaufort where Alexander was manager. They spent time at De Cameron Station near St Arnaud before settling at Ararat.  Catherine and Alexander had nine children.

Florence GILLIES:  Died 16 December 1917 at Ararat.  lorence was born in Scotland and arrived  in Victoria aboard the Lady Peel as a sixteen-year-old in 1853. She married John Dow at Skipton before they took up land at Tatyoon under the Duffy Land Act of 1862.  After John died, Florence lived at the Burrumbeep homestead, before moving into Ararat.

Alfred Bussell CLEMES:  Died 26 December 1917 at Stawell. Born in Cornwall, Alfred Clemes trained as a chemist in Bristol before travelling to Victoria in 1852. He opened a business in Melbourne until 1854 when he and his wife opened businesses at the various goldfields. They arrived in Stawell in 1858 where he remained. He became Shire secretary in 1870 and held the role for forty-four years, only retiring four years before his death. He was a co-founder of the Stawell Hospital and the Mechanics Institute.

Bernard CONLAN:  Died12  December 1918 at Dixie. Bernard Conlan, born in County Down, Ireland, should have bought himself a lottery ticket after a twist of fate saved him from death from a cauldron of molten iron at the Clyde shipyards in Scotland and he survived a bout of typhoid fever on the voyage to Australia, despite given little chance of survival. He worked first in South Australia before moving to Victoria, living at Garvoc and Wangoom before buying land at Dixie, near Warrnambool.  Despite being burnt out in bushfires in 1887 and losing much of his stock during drought time, with Bernard’s hard work and perseverance he raised a family that had much respect for him.

John THORNTON:  Died 16 December 1919 at Mount Myrtoon.

Late Mr. John Thornton. (1919, December 18). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25362137

Late Mr. John Thornton. (1919, December 18). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25362137

And so begins the obituary of Yorkshire born, John Thornton.  At age eighteen, with his brother, he left England aboard the Great Britain for Melbourne. He spent time in Gippsland before buying land at Mount Myrtoon, where he lived for the next fifty years. He also opened a stock and station agents that he built into a successful business with transactions from Hamilton to Geelong. John was a talented cricketer and represented Victoria in 1859 and 1860 and made a great contribution to the Camperdown Cricket Club.

James Park Dawson LAURIE:  Died 2 December 1928 at Naracoorte, South Australia. James Laurie was a son of Reverend Alexander Laurie and was born at Kongatong station, near Warrnambool, in 1846, After his schooling, mostly at Portland, he pursued his journalistic aspirations and started the Mount Gambier newspaper The Border Watch, along with his brother Andrew Frederick Laurie. In 1868, he travelled to America and Europe and on his return, having sold his share in the newspaper, he moved into pastoral pursuits. In 1870, he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly. He married Dora Kean, daughter of Thomas Kean, in 1882 at Portland.  James Kean, Dora’s brother, established the Portland Mirror.

Right Reverend Monsignor Michael Joseph SHANAHAN:  Died 6  December 1931 at Hamilton. Monsignor Shanahan was well-known among the Roman Catholic community in the Western District.  Ordained in his home country, Ireland in 1864 he then travelled to Melbourne. He took up the parish at Carisbrook and later the Inglewood parish overseeing churches in towns such as Clunes, Creswick and Talbot. In 1878, he became assistant pastor at Warrnambool, then parish priest at Hamilton in 1886 and was there for the completion of the St Mary’s Church. In 1916, he was appointed Dean of Ballarat.  During his time in Hamilton, Monsignor Shanahan was president of the hospital for twenty-two years.  Money raised and presented to him went towards completing the well-known spire of  Hamilton’s St Marys Church.

Louisa SEALEY:  Died 4 December 1934 at Casterton. Louisa Sealey was born around 1861 and arrived in Casterton with her parents when it consisted of only two houses. She married John Black and they lived in Miller Street, Casterton.  After her husband’s death, she resided with her son on his soldier settlement property at Nangeela.  Another son, Gordon was killed at Passchendaele, France during WW1. Four sons and four daughters survived at the time of Louisa’s death and she still had eight surviving siblings.

Thomas PHILIP: Died December 1937 at Hamilton. Thomas Philip was born in Scotland and came to Victoria as a child after his father, Captain John Philip, gave up the high seas and took over Lagoon Station near Cavendish. John then purchased Miga Lake Station and St Mary’s Lake Station, which his sons, trading as Philip Bros. ran after his death.  Thomas married Margaret Laidlaw in 1883 and they had one son and three daughters.

Thomas died at his home Kenmure in Ballarat Road, Hamilton. Kenmure is one of my favourite homes in Hamilton and one that I went  past almost daily for around fifteen years. It has recently been sold and is now, probably for a short time only, on a Hamilton Real Estate agent’s site, with some great photos too.

Mary Ann JOHNSTONE: Died 22 December 1951 at Portland. Mary Ann was born in Portland around 1856, the daughter of James Johnstone and Dorothy Hall. Her brother was John Johnstone and her sister-in-law, Mrs Hannah Johnstone.  Mary Ann married Mark Kerr in 1876 and they resided at Drik Drik before moving to Swan Lake about twenty-five kilometres away. Mary Ann was considered an excellent horsewoman, equal to any man.

Passing of the Pioneers

This is the fourth “Passing of the Pioneers” and includes a chess champion who lived in Merino and plenty of Irish influence.  They highlight some of the pioneers of Victoria’s Western District by way of their obituaries as published in the Portland Guardian.  If you would like to read the full obituary, just click on the pioneer’s name.

Mrs Emma HAY: Died  4 October 1888 at Portland. This obituary demonstrates the tone of many at the time.

OBITUARY. (1888, October 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63590480

George BEVAN: Died  17 October 1888 at Portland. George owned and died at the London Hotel in Portland.  His family notice shows he was born in Somerset, England and was fifty-nine at the time of death.  George had been in Portland since the early 1860s and was a keen sportsman and former Town Councillor.

Mary ROGERS: Died October 1912 at Greenwald.  Mary Rogers was eighty-six at the time of her death and had lived in Victoria for sixty years.  She originally went to Tasmania from Ireland with her parents as a small child.  Mary married Francis Egan who had passed away thirty years earlier.

William Sudgen Price LEWIS: Died 4 October 1915 at Hamilton. William Sudgen Price Lewis was the stepson of Richard Lewis, a former owner of Rifle Downs at Digby.  Born in Tasmania in 1835, William and his brother came to live with Richard Lewis when Richard and their mother married in 1841. In adult life, William leased Hilgay station for a time, bred fine livestock and was a member of several racing clubs. He later retired to Hamilton.

John H. ROW: Died 27 October 1926 at Portland. John Row was a Portland jeweller.

Advertising. (1879, March 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: MORNINGS.. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63341984

John McDONNELL: Died 17 October 1930 at Moree. Mr McDonnell was originally from Ireland and arrived in Australia in 1863 via Liverpool. He was considered one of the oldest people in the district. He married Catherine FAHEY and they selected land at Moree in 1865.

Catherine Bridget SAMPEY: Died October 1933 at Melbourne. Catherine Sampey arrived in Melbourne from Ireland aboard the Red Jacket in 1852. She travelled on to Chetwynd with her brother James Sampey and she later married Patrick WHITE of Casterton.

Elizabeth MONOHAN: Died 12 October 1933 at Casterton. Elizabeth Monohan was 100 when she died. Arriving from Ireland aboard the Frances Henty at age twenty-one, seventy-nine years before, she was still able to converse in Welsh and Gaelic in her later years. In 1859, she married John Glover at Sandford House.

Julia Teresa DOYLE: Died October 1934 at Portland. Born in Tipperary, Ireland but remembered as “a true type of a fine old English lady”, Julia Doyle arrived in Australia as a six-year-old in the mid-1850s. She married Frances SUTTON in 1874 and together they had six daughters and two sons.

Ernest John SEALEY: Died 25 October 1935 at Casterton. In his younger years, Ernest Sealey worked as a bullock driver transporting wool. In later worked on Portland’s deep-water pier, hauling logs from the forests to the pier.

Charles PRATT: Died 26 October 1935 at Birchip.

Obituary. (1935, November 4). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64290777

And so begins the obituary of Charles Pratt.  Charles or Charley has he was widely known, was born at Mumbannar in 1870.  In 1891, he went to Beulah in the Mallee and worked with his step-brother and later selected his own land near Watchupga.  He married Annie LAVERY in 1914 and they had three sons.

Thomas Denton CLARKE: Died 5 October 1937 at Hamilton. Thomas, born around 1847 at Liverpool, was the son on Captain Thomas H. Clarke who was a trader in Portland.  Thomas jnr was a champion chess player and a composer of chess problems.  He won many competitions for both pursuits.  Composing problems up until his death, it was considered probable, according to the obituary, that he was the world’s oldest composer.

James McCLUSKEY: Died October 1942 at Koroit. James McCluskey was born at Portland in 1857, not long after the arrival of his parents on the ship, British Empire. Soon after, the family travelled by bullock wagon to Kirkstall near Warrnambool.  In his early working life, James drove pigs to Port Fairy in order to load them on the steamer Casino to go to market in Melbourne.

Mary PRATT: Died 7 October 1942 at Greenwald. Mary, the widow of George COWLAND, was eighty-seven at the time or her death.  There were twelve children in their family.  Her obituary recalled her pioneering traits.

OBITUARY. (1942, October 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382483