Wonderful Western District Women Part 6

March is Women’s History Month.  I started Wonderful Western District Women in March 2017 to take the stories of women I have found in my Passing of the Pioneers posts, delve a little deeper and then showcase their stories by way of the Wonderful Western District Women.  This year I have added a dedicated page as an index. You will see the tab at the top of the page or you can follow the link to read nineteen stories of wonderful women. – Wonderful Western District Women Index

The index includes the next two women, May Robertson and Eliza Cooke. May was an active member of the Hamilton community who championed women’s rights. Eliza, a widow with a young family from Cobden, was a pioneer of the transport industry in the Western District. Remember to click on any underlined text to go to further information on a subject.

ROBERTSON, Marslie May  (c1844-1930) also known as May LEWIS

Marlise May Robertson was born in Inverness-shire, Scotland around 1844 and was seven when she arrived in Melbourne with her parents Angus Robertson and Janet McPherson. It was December 1851 and the family would have been glad to reach dry land.  During the voyage, they faced a shortage of drinking water and a run-in with pirates.  The Robertson family stayed in Melbourne only a few days before journeying to Portland on the schooner Mary Agnes.

PORTLAND BAY c1857. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/75143

It was then on to Straun station on the Wannon River near Coleraine where May’s uncles John and William Robertson had already settled.  Life at Straun was not without its dangers. In 1859, May’s brother drowned in the Wannon River after riding his horse into the river in pursuit of a bullock.  The current swept from his saddle and into the water.  He was fourteen. The following year, Angus Robertson purchased Preston Farm about two miles from Hamilton and the family was on the move again.

In March 1868, May married William Sudgen Price Lewis, the stepson of Richard Lewis, a former owner of Rifle Downs at Digby. William was leasing Hilgay near Coleraine at the time and the couple remained there until around 1871 when they moved to Hamilton.  The Lewis family lived at Pine Lodge in Mill Road, Hamilton. May and William had eight children and some time after 1890, they took a young boy Arthur into their care, raising him as their own.

May was an excellent horsewoman. Her older brother John Straun Robertson rode in the Great Western Steeplechase, and if it was thought proper, I think May would have too.  She showed horses including Gold Dust for Samuel Winter Cooke in September 1890 at the Hamilton Show. Lord Hopetoun, Governor of Victoria and a house guest of Cooke at Murndal, was in attendance. It was day two and the ground was slippery.  While competing in the Best Lady Rider Over Hurdles class, Gold Dust fell at the first jump. May quickly remounted and wanted to continue but wasn’t allowed.   

THE HAMILTON PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY. (1890, September 19). Portland Guardian, p. 3 (EVENING).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63629652

Just months after the Hamilton Show, May and William lost their son Alive in February1891 aged six.  In May 1903, another son James died aged twenty-one.

May was very active in the Hamilton community with charitable works with the Salvation Army. She also joined the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), set up not only to promote temperance but also social and political reform.  The WCTU was very active in collecting signatures for the Women’s Suffrage Petition in 1891.  I was not at all surprised to find May signed the petition. 

Another of May’s interests was the  Australian Women’s National League formed in 1904.  A function of the conservative group was to educate women about politics.  The group was very active leading into the 1913 Federal Election and it seems May was in the thick of it.  In order to dismiss rumours of bribery, she wrote to the Hamilton Spectator saying she did what she did in “the cause of Liberalism”.

BRIBERY CHARGE DENIED. (1913, June 21). Hamilton Spectator p. 6.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225032224

May’s son Arthur Lewis was one of the first Hamilton enlistments for WW1, signing up on 1 October 1914 and leaving two months later.  He dutifully wrote home to May and William describing the sights of Egypt, particularly those with a biblical connection.  In a letter, they received in June 1915 written in April, before Arthur left Egypt for Gallipoli.  He wrote to not worry if there was a delay in receiving letters, as he may be going somewhere it would be hard to get letters out.  He closed  “I will say good-bye for just now, and wishing you all the best of luck – case of accidents: give my best love and wishes to everybody.”

On 12 August 1915, Arthur Lewis was shot in the abdomen at Gallipoli.  He was transferred to the hospital ship Guildford Castle, however, he died the following day and was buried at sea. On 25 September 1915, the Hamilton Spectator reported that the Lewis family had received the first news that not only was Arthur wounded over a month before, but he had died from the wounds.  The news came as a great shock to the Lewis family.   On 5 October, within two weeks of hearing of Arthur’s fate, William Lewis passed away. 

May kept busy. She had joined the  Red Cross, making shirts and knitting socks for the boys at the front.  She also entered her fuchsia and dahlia blooms in a Red Cross flower show.  But then May’s oldest son Angus died in Western Australia in March 1916 at the age of forty-four.  The Hamilton Spectator reported the loss was the third for seventy-two-year-old May in eight months. Not surprising she was not her usual “buoyant and energetic” self and was suffering bad health.

But May rallied finding strength from her charitable works and she joined the Friendly Union of Soldier’s Wives and Mothers.  Also, every Sunday she went to the Hamilton Hospital and handed out flowers to the patients.  Her last visit was Sunday 9 June 1930.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

May wasn’t there to hand out flowers the following Sunday.  She had died the day before on Saturday 15 June 1930 at the age of eighty-six.  She was remembered as Hamilton’s best known and much-loved resident and large attendance at her funeral was testimony to that.

COOKE, Elizabeth Jane (c1842-1932) Also known as Eliza MOREHOUSE

Elizabeth Cooke was born in 1842 and arrived in Victoria when she was eight.   After some time, the Cooke family made their way to Ballarat where, in 1866, Eliza married Charles Morehouse.  Children were born to Eliza and Charles in Ballarat before the family moved to Cobden in 1880 where Charles operated a store.  A son was born on 2 August 1881 but just under five months later on 27 December 1881, Charles was dead. Needing to provide for her family, Eliza continued running the store and from around 1882 was operating coach services.

“Classified Advertising” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 12 August 1882: p.3.  <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23343841&gt;.

In doing so, she pioneered coach services between Cobden, Princetown, and Peterborough.  She moved on to mail services as well.  In 1885, she covered the Cobden to Camperdown run

THE CONVEYANCE OF MAILS. (1885, July 14). The Colac Herald, p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90352779

She also set to work improving the store.

“Hampden Shire Council.” Camperdown Chronicle  9 November 1883: p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23348063

By 1895, Eliza’s delivery area had expanded.

THE GOVERNMENT GAZETTE. (1895, May 6). Geelong Advertiser p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149936139

At one stage, Eliza had around forty horses working on her various coach services and each was selected by her.

ROYAL MAIL COACH, VICTORIA c1890s Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/1696441

You could even take a Morehouse coach from Melbourne to Port Campbell for the summer holidays.

“Camperdown Chronicle.”  SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1888.  p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18585307

Eliza also held the lucrative contract to provide bran and oats to the police of Cobden and Camperdown for their mounts. And not only that, she owned the goods shed at the Timboon railway station.  In July 1900, she told the secretary of the Timboon Progress Association (PA) she intended to pull down the shed and remove it to Cobden. Because Timboon couldn’t afford to lose their shed, the Timboon PA organised petitions to send to the Railway Department requesting they buy the shed.  They heard back in August, with the department having offered Eliz £22 for the shed but she refused. She then wrote a letter to the Timboon PA and told them the lowest she would go on the shed was £30.  If she couldn’t get that price, she would remove the building.  I didn’t find an outcome to the situation but I did note that in December 1905 a report in the Camperdown Chronicle mentioned it had been twelve months since the agitation began for a new goods shed at Timboon. 

 Also In 1900, it was reported Eliza’s business was sold to Mr Smith of Colac and John Bryant of Camperdown. However, two weeks later it was reported she was building a new letting stable, corn store and cottage in Curdie Street, Cobden.

COBDEN NEWS (1900, August 30). Camperdown Chronicle p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26109212

Eliza’s daughter Ethel then went on to marry John Byrant in 1902.

Moving with the times, in 1910, Eliza replaced the horse-drawn coach services between Camperdown and Cobden with a motorbus.

A HORSE-DRAWN COACH AND A MOTOR BUS AT AN UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION. Photographer: John Henry Harvey Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/50441

Away from the transport business, Eliza was busy in the community. She was an active member of the Cobden Presbyterian Church (below) and was and the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union (PWMU).  During WW1, she was the treasurer of the Cobden branch of the Australian Women’s National League (AWNL).

COBDEN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collection https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/772413

On 5 August 1931, Eliza celebrated her ninetieth birthday at her home Kooringa, Curdie Street Cobden. The celebration including a birthday cake with ninety candles.  At the time Eliza was President of the Cobden Ladies’ Benevolent Society and still chairing meetings.

Eliza died the following year and was buried at the Cobden Cemetery.  A memorial tablet was unveiled in her memory in 1935 at the Cobden Presbyterian Church.

CAMPERDOWN CHRONICLE. PUBLISHED EVERY TUESDAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 1935. (1935, April 11). Camperdown Chronicle, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28750285

Eliza left three sons and two daughters. One of those daughters was Minnie Jane also very community-minded and involved with many of the same organizations as her mother.  Minnie never married and lived with her mother until her death.  Minnie died in 1945 aged seventy-six.

 

Take A Photo – Daystar

The following photo from the Museums Victoria collection was posted to the WDF Facebook page in October 2017 when the photo theme was animals.

Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/771583

The description with the photo reads as follows, “The horse ‘Daybreak’ or ‘Daydream’ (?), a champion hunter who won many equestrian events in the Wimmera and Western district. His certificates and prizes are displayed.”  The individuals identified were named as Ethel McIntyre and John Ross and the photo was taken at Douglas (north-east of Harrow) c1920.

Using those clues, I uncovered a wonderful story of a horse called Daystar and his owner John Hugh Ross. I also found John was part of a family I was familiar with from my Byaduk research.

Born around 1900, Daystar was by the sire Timmon out of the mare Phyllis. In the years 1905 and 1906, John Ross of Douglas (also known as Salt Lakes) was racing Daystar on the flat and over steeples at meetings including Casterton, Chetwynd, Wando Vale, and Hamilton. I couldn’t find him winning a race but he did run second a couple of times.

CHETWYND RACES. (1905, June 6). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved October 19, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72816584

John also took Daystar on the show circuit, riding the horse in hurdle races and hunter classes and it turned out Daystar was a handy jumper. On 14 July 1909, at Douglas, John was schooling Daystar when the horse cleared a jump of 3ft 6in but it was not the height of the jump, rather the length which stood out.

From take-off to landing, Daystar jumped a width of thirty-nine feet (almost twelve metres). At the time, records dating back to 1847 were cited when another horse jumped thirty-seven feet. The current world record for a long jump by a horse across water is held by a horse called “Something” who jumped twenty-eight feet. (8.4 metres) in 1975.

A WONDERFUL JUMP. (1909, September 7). Glen Innes Examiner, p. 5.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180126153

John Ross was born at Knebsworth south-west of Byaduk in 1875. He left school and started working when he was thirteen.  In the 1890s John joined others from Victoria who travelled to the Western Australian goldfields but he was back in Victoria and living at Douglas by 1905. John was a blacksmith and purchased the Douglas blacksmith shop in 1908,  He was also a good footballer.

The young lady in the photo was named as Effie McIntyre. In 1913, John Ross married Effie Grace McIntyre at the Presbyterian Manse at Hamilton (below).

FORMER HAMILTON PRESBYTERIAN MANCE

The wedding ceremony was followed by afternoon tea at the Caledonian Hotel where Daniel Scullion proposed a toast to the newlyweds on behalf of their parents.  John’s wedding gift to Effie was a gold broach and Effie gave John a gold watch guard.  The couple honeymooned in Warrnambool.

On their return to Douglas, a gathering was held and John and Effie were presented with fifty sovereigns from the locals. It was there Thomas Hobbs spoke of John and Daystar’s contribution to the community.  If someone was requiring medical assistance in the night, they just had to knock on John’s window and ask him to go to Harrow for the doctor. In no time Jack would be aboard “his favourite Daystar” and on his way. John thought he was only doing what he thought was his duty to help others whenever there was a chance.  The rides to Harrow were no trouble because he loved to spend time in the saddle.

John and Daystar continued to compete but in August 1914, Daystar then aged fourteen and with John aboard, dropped dead at the Edenhope P&A show during a round of a hurdle competition.  Daystar cleared the first two hurdles well but ran out at the third jump and dropped from beneath John. A sad and sudden end for Daystar. John must have been devastated not just to lose a horse but his companion. The news of Daystar’s death spread across the country. The story led the “News of the Day” in the Warracknabeal Herald (below).

The Border Chronicle remarked on the coincidence that Daystar carrying number 13 (unlucky for some) had his first and last jumps competition at the Edenhope Show.

As for the Byaduk connection, if you’ve ever travelled through Byaduk, say going from Hamilton to Port Fairy, just past the Byaduk oval you will see the Byaduk Boer War Memorial to the right.  On it is the name of Donald Ross, killed in South Africa on 15 November 1900.

BYADUK BOER WAR MEMORIAL

Across the road is the Byaduk War Memorial.

BYADUK WAR MEMORIAL

With the names of Andrew and Samuel Ross.

BYADUK WAR MEMORIAL

Donald, Andrew, and Samuel Ross were the sons of George Ross and Flora Cameron and younger brothers of John Ross. The boys’ father George died at Byaduk in 1895. Their mother Flora sent off son Donald to South Africa as part of the 1st Australian contingent. Three months after his return in August 1900, Donald was dead from a lung condition. When WW1 came, Flora sent three sons, Andrew, Samuel, and William. At the time of Andrew’s enlistment, the Hamilton Spectator wrote of the “Patriotic Family”

A PATRIOTIC FAMILY. (1916, June 29). Hamilton Spectator p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133702199

On 7 November 1917, Samuel Ross was killed in Palestine while serving with the 11th Australian Light Horse Regiment.  Andrew Ross returned from overseas but died of bronchitis on 10 June 1919.  William returned in 1919 and died at Red Cliffs in 1963.

Meanwhile, John and Effie were running the Douglas Post Office. John had taken over duties temporarily in 1917 when the postmaster at the time enlisted. They also built a new house at Douglas in 1937

John Ross died at Douglas on 29 April 1949 aged seventy-three.  Later in the year, Effie was recognised by the people of Douglas for her service running the Douglas Post Office for over thirty years.  Effie died at Portland in 1976 aged eighty-five. 

Further Reading

Jump of “Daystar” – Gippsland Times – 9 August 1909

Wedding of John Ross and Effie McIntyre – Horsham Times – 21 February 1913

Death of “Daystar” – Terang Express – 25 August 1914

John and Effie’s House Warming – Horsham Times – 23 March 1937 

Obituary of John Ross – Horsham Times – 3 May 1949 

 

WDF News

Some news since my last update.

I was thrilled to be asked along as the guest speaker for the Byaduk/Byaduk North Progress Association Australia Day ceremony. Those of you who have followed my blog for a long time will know of my family connections to Byaduk going back to the early 1860s.  Given the turnout, my ggg grandfather James Harman and his fellow early settlers would have been proud to see the community is still strong in Byaduk. Thank you to the people of Byaduk for having us and for the delicious breakfast. You were all so welcoming and we had a lovely morning.

There have now been four Broken Memories posts. So far you have seen the broken headstones of Samuel and  Frances Hing, Joseph Lissiman, and Thomas Gorman and his three children.  While it wasn’t planned, Parts 2 and 3 have the Hamilton district Diptheria epidemic of 1879/80 interwoven through the stories.  Likewise, Archdeacon Gustaves Innes, of Hamilton’s Anglican Church during that period also makes an appearance in both posts.  There will be more about Gustaves in future posts and the cat I promised in my last update.  The links to the Broken Memories posts so far are –

Broken Memories – An Introduction

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old Cemetery) Part 1 – Samuel and Frances Hing – The sudden death of Sam Hing’s wife Frances Hing in 1881, was the first in a string of tragedies for Sam and his family.

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old Cemetery) Part 2 – Joseph Lissiman – A story of a young man who followed his dream only to have his life cut short. And find out how the death of Dunkeld Lay Preacher Joseph Lissiman sparked some ghostly claims in the newspapers.

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old Cemetery) Part 3 –  Thomas Gorman and his three children, Ethel, Jane and Thomas Jr.  Hamilton stationmaster and former player of the Carlton and Melbourne Football Clubs, Thomas Gorman and three of his children fell to a deadly Diphtheria epidemic in Hamilton and district in 1880.  Read how the Melbourne football community got behind Thomas’ widow and remaining three children and how life turned out for them after their tragic loss.

There will probably be at least three more Broken Memories from the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. I will then move on to some other cemeteries. I’ve added some new cemeteries to my photo collection over the last month, Byaduk North, Byaduk Lutheran, Branxholme, and South Hamilton Lutheran Cemetery. I’ve also taken my tally of Hamilton (Old) Cemetery photos up to 1500 but I am a long, long way off having a photo of every headstone given my preference for random wanderings rather than an organised approach.

March and April are always busy months  I write most of my Hamilton’s WW1 biographies then and a few years ago I decided to throw Wonderful Western District Women into the mix to coincide with Women’s History Month in March.  There should be at least one WWD Women post during March.  And there is always a birthday post for Western District Families in April.  This year will be birthday post number 9!

For those of you who enjoy Passing of the Pioneers, it’s on hold for the moment.  I would get a lot more PP posts done if new ideas didn’t distract me.  The latest idea is Take a Photo, a new series looking at stories behind photos.

If you follow the Western District Families Facebook page, you’ll know I share a lot of out of copyright photos from the State Library of Victoria and Museums Victoria.  Often it’s possible to find some sort of a story about the subject or event using clues from the catalogue listing.  With the help of Trove digitised newspapers, I’ve found some great stories to include with the photos on the Facebook page and I thought I should share some of those here.  I have one Take A Photo post finished, three close to finished and another four in the early stages,  I’ll post them over the coming months in between everything else.  The first Take A Photo post will be out later today and is the story of a man and his horse.

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old) Cemetery Part 3

The last edition of Broken Memories touched on the Diptheria epidemic of 1880 in the Hamilton district which claimed the life of Archdeacon Gustaves Innes on 9 April that year. This edition goes back to those times and looks further at the epidemic and those touched by it. The next headstone is located in the Church of England section of the cemetery, only a short distance from the grave of Gustaves Innes 

GORMAN

While organising photos after a visit to the Hamilton cemetery, I came to the headstone above and found I could only make out the name Gorman and the year 1880. However, a search of the Hamilton Spectator quickly revealed the sad story of stationmaster Thomas Gorman and his three children, Ethel, Jane, and Thomas Jr. As recorded on the Gorman headstone “erected by the kindness of his Hamilton friends”, the family were victims of the “same dreadful disease” Diphtheria.

 

Family Notices (1880, May 1). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225489876

Reading more about Thomas, I discovered something to pique the curiosity of this Carlton Football Club supporter of four decades. Thomas, or Tom as he was known, was a pioneer of the club.

“COME ON THE BLUES!” (1938, June 11). The Australasian p. 21. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article144371844

I also found he was involved in events in the late 1870s now part of Australian folklore. I needed to take a closer look at the life of Thomas Gorman so I went back to the beginning. 

Thomas was born in 1845 at Paramatta, New South Wales a son of British Army soldier Patrick Gorman and Margaret Ryan (1).  A brother William was born in 1848 (2).  By the early 1860s, the Gormans were in Melbourne without father Patrick and living in Hotham (North Melbourne). Thomas began work with Victorian Railways around 1862 to support his family.

The Gorman boys were athletic and played cricket. One of the earliest references to the brothers playing together was from March 1864 in a match between their team Alma Cricket Club (later West Melbourne Cricket Club) against a Young Victorians side. Thomas was nineteen and William aged sixteen.

Richmond (second Eleven) v. Lonsdale. (1864, March 12). Bell’s Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199055492

It was also in 1864, father Patrick Gorman was back in his family’s life and causing trouble for them, enough to force Thomas to have his father charged, stating his job was at risk. Patrick would be no stranger to the City Police Court over the following years. 

The boys continued with their cricket and soon they were also playing the emerging game of Australian Rules Football.  On 28 May 1864, a match was played between Royal Park and Eastern Hill Football Clubs and a Gorman was named for Royal Park. Since no goals were kicked during the game, it was resumed on 11 June 1864.  There were three further matches in which a Gorman played for Royal Park, on 16 July 1864 against Eastern Hill, on 6 August 1864 against Scotch College, and  13 August 1864 against Fitzroy.

On 17 May 1865, a meeting was held at the University Hotel to elect office bearers for the Carlton Football Club. Ben James was elected secretary and his first duty was to write to James Linacre requesting him to take on the role of President.  It was decided to adopt the rules of the Melbourne Football Club.  An intraclub scratch match was played a week later and on 27 May 1865, the Carlton Football Club wearing a uniform of orange including an orange cap with a blue stripe took on Melbourne Grammar  One of the Gorman brothers was on the team.

It was the first year of the Athletics Sports Committee Challenge Cup. There was no draw, rather teams simply challenged the holder of the cup to a match. The winner would then hold the cup. The team to win three consecutive cups was the permanent holder. Throughout the season, Thomas was strong for Carlton in the ruck and often named among Carlton’s best as was William.

FOOTBALL. (1865, July 18). The Herald p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article244470269

FOOTBALL. (1865, August 7). The Herald p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article244468789

I was able to find six games played by the Gorman brothers in 1865 for Carlton.  In four of those, T.Gorman and W.Gorman were both named, while in the other two games, only “Gorman” was given in the team list. Three of the matches were against the Warehouseman’s Club as well as Melbourne Grammar, Royal Park and Williamstown.   

The Gormans didn’t just play for the Carlton Football Club. Under the rules of the Challenge Cup, players could play for two clubs. On 16 September 1865, Melbourne Football Club was set to play South Yarra for the Challenge Cup in the last game of the season. Bell’s Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle described them as the”two crack teams of the colony”  However, Melbourne was without some of its gun players.  Instead, “two good players, Gorman and Toohey, of the Carlton Club, had been impressed for the occasion”.  Melbourne won the game and the 1865 Challenge Cup and it would not be the last time a Gorman played for Melbourne.  

The 1866 season saw a lot of football played by the Gorman brothers both for Carlton and Melbourne, although I have found if Carlton played Melbourne, the brothers played for Carlton.  But no matter who they played for, they always gave their best.  In a match on 14 July, for Melbourne against South Yarra, William was described as “little Gorman the cricketer” giving a standout performance while Thomas, was described as a “heavyweight” in the centre.

THE EARLY DAYS OF AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL A FOOTBALL – A MATCH AT RICHMOND PADDOCK IN 1866. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/111640

When there wasn’t a Challenge Cup match going with Carlton or Melbourne, the Gormans played in matches such as the Australians vs The World on 7 July 1866. The intraclub match was open only to bona fide members of the Melbourne Football Club.  There was a return match on 4 August but the Gorman brothers played for Carlton that day against South Yarra. On 16 June 1866, William played for Melbourne FC while Thomas played in the opposing team made up of Civil Servants.  It was also in 1866 when one of the Gormans was elected to the Carlton FC committee.       

The brothers played again in 1867, but not with the same frequency as ’66.  Besides, Tom had other things going on in his life.  On 10 August 1867, Thomas then twenty-two, married Alice Ann Travis in West Melbourne (3) and their first child Thomas was born in 1868 (4). Soon after the family moved to Riddells Creek were Thomas was a porter at the railway station. A daughter, Margaret was born there in 1870 (5). Meanwhile, a Gorman was consistently named for Carlton and sometimes Melbourne for the football seasons of 1868, ’69 and ’70.  If an initial was given in the team lists or results, it was “W.Gorman”. Given that, it’s possible William is in the team photo below from 1870.

CARLTON’S FOOTBALL TEAM 54 YEARS AGO (1924, September 23). The Herald, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article243887688

Thomas and his family went back to Melbourne around 1871 and he was soon back playing for the Carlton FC.   That year, Carlton played in dark blue uniforms for the first time, having voted to do away with the orange and blue at a meeting on 27 April 1871.  On 3 June 1871, Thomas boarded a train for Geelong with the rest of the Carlton team. They were off to a match against the Geelong team captained by Tom Wills. Tom also played in a match between the Bankers and Civil Servants in August 1871

It appears Tom’s last game of football with the Carlton Football Club was on 7 October 1871 against Melbourne in the final game of the season for the Challenge Cup.  After three hours of play, the Carlton team were the victors and winners of a Challenge Cup for the first time.  During his time with the club over six years, Thomas was named for Carlton at least twenty-two times and made his mark on the game -“Who that has seen him play will never forget Tom Gorman, the Carlton heavyweight; there was no slinging with Tom, but a fair shoulder to shoulder and down the opponent came” (6).

A daughter Edith was born in Melbourne in 1872 (7) but soon the family was off to Longwood, south-west of Euroa and a son Frank was born there in 1874 (8). Thomas was the stationmaster at Longwood and while there he was called to give evidence in December 1875 at an inquest into a fatal accident on the line near the station. Soon after Tom transferred to Euroa as stationmaster and another two children were born there, Jane in 1876 (9) and Ethel in 1878 (10),

By December 1878, the people of Euroa and the wider district were on edge.  The Kelly family from Greta to the north were notorious for their horse thieving and disorderly behaviour. Their rampaging took a more sinister turn in October 1878, when three policemen were shot dead at Stingy Bark Creek, near Mansfield while on the hunt for the Kellys.  The public was warned the gang would stop at nothing.

It was just before 4 pm on Tuesday 10 December 1878 when a man entered the Euroa National Bank and asked the accountant if he could have a cheque cashed. Before the accountant knew it, the muzzle of a gun was pressed to his temple.  It was Ned Kelly and he ordered the accountant to “Bail Up”.  The gang then gathered up around £2,000 of cash, gold, and silver before taking all those in the bank hostage, removing them to the Faithful Creek station about four miles away along the railway line.

RE-APPEARANCE OF THE BUSHRANGERS. (1878, December 12). The Argus, p. 5.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5924398

It was well planned.  The Kellys arrived at Faithful Creek station the day before, taking those there hostage. That evening a hawker arrived at the station and was taken hostage also, and the Kellys fitted themselves out with some new suits for their trip to Euroa. In the morning, Dan Hart was sent ahead to cut the telegraph lines between  Faithful Creek and Euroa. With his job done, Dan had a drink at the Euroa pub and waited for the Kellys to reach town. 

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/244758

The Euroa Railway Station was just across the road from the National Bank, as seen in the view below looking from the station.  The original National Bank is the single-storey building on the right-hand corner. A new bank was later built and is seen on the opposite corner.

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/295293

It was on that fateful afternoon, Thomas Gorman took the short walk from the station to the bank to cash a cheque. It was only minutes after the Kellys arrived.  He knocked on the door but there was no answer and all was quiet inside  He didn’t try the unlocked door but went to the nearby hotel to see if any of the bank staff were in their rooms.  With no success he returned to the bank and knocked again but when there was no reply he left.  What he didn’t know was Dan Hart was guarding the door, ready to shoot anyone who walked through.  Good fortune shone upon Thomas that day. If he had of turned the handle, at the very least he would have been another hostage, or worse, killed.

(1878, December 28). The Kyneton Observer, p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article240931231

Earlier in the day, around 2 pm, Thomas had noticed the telegraph was not working and had an inkling it had been cut but never suspected the Kellys. He had also received word from one of the rail passengers that the line near Faithful Creek station looked like it had blown down. Only an hour before the hold-up, Thomas had organised for the lines to be checked by a passenger on the train to Benalla. 

Word of that surveillance didn’t come through until late into the evening but once Thomas had confirmation the lines were in fact down, he set off in the early hours of the morning with other railway staff to repair it but found it too dark to work, They returned at daylight and the line was successfully repaired but it was a daring operation considering the location of the Kelly gang at that time was unknown.

THE KELLY OUTRAGES. (1878, December 13). The Age p. 3.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199352746

In July 1879, it was announced the stationmaster at Hamilton Railway Station had received a promotion and was leaving town.  Thomas Gorman was appointed as the new Hamilton stationmaster soon after. The railway at Hamilton had opened only two years prior and when the Gormans reached the town, a new station was under construction. It was completed by October that year.

HAMILTON RAILWAY STATION.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399071

The Kellys were back in the news by August 1879 after a robbery at the Lancefield Bank. That’s when the people of Hamilton learned of their new stationmaster’s encounter with the Kellys.  The Spectator on 23 August 1879 included the fact in a report about the latest hold-up.  It was a time for visiting past experiences, with Thomas travelling to Melbourne to playing in a charity match for the Hospital for Sick Children with old players from the Carlton and Melbourne Football clubs on 30 August 1879.

On 6 April 1880, Thomas was elected to the General Committee of the Hamilton Football Club with George Rippon as the President. George had served as the first president of the Geelong Football Club from 1859 and was among the club’s leading players until 1865. He continued his involvement with the club, including umpiring Challenge Cup matches until his departure from Geelong for Hamilton in 1876.  And while I haven’t found any occasions where Tom and George faced each other on the field, they were sure to have known each other’s football abilities. Also discussed at the meeting was a match challenge from the Carlton Football Club to the Hamilton club.

“THE HAMILTON FOOTBALL CLUB.” Hamilton Spectator 6 April 1880: p3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225488377 

The same edition of the Spectator reported Diphtheria, which had been lurking around the district for almost a year, had returned.  Four patients were in hospital and another seven were receiving treatment at home.  All of those who had contracted the disease had been at the Anglican Church Sunday School picnic at the Nigretta Falls on Easter Monday, 29 March.  On 9 April, there were two deaths from the disease, Anglican Archdeacon Gustaves Innes and fourteen-year-old Agnes Cresswell.

Within days, Diptheria had reached the Gorman home.  Little Ethel, just two years old, fell gravely ill and soon four-year-old Jane and father Thomas were also showing symptoms.  On Tuesday 13 April, the three were taken to the Fever Ward at the Hamilton Hospital but Ethel died with hours of her arrival and there were grave fears for Jane.  The following day, twelve-year-old Thomas Jr was also admitted.  By Thursday, Jane Gorman was dead.

At the meeting of the Hamilton Borough Council that week, Mayor William Thomson called for a Royal Commission to investigate how the most recent outbreak occurred since all the children infected to date had been at the picnic at Nigretta Falls and travelled back to Hamilton together. Council voted in favour of such an investigation and also agreed a temporary canvas Fever Ward be constructed at the hospital to accommodate the growing number of patients.  Once the disease was under control, the canvas could be burnt. They also voted to make arrangements for the temporary closure of the Hamilton State School. It was another two weeks before that action was taken.

HAMILTON, c1880. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia Image no, B 21766/54 collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/54

The powers that be in Melbourne did not think a Royal Commission necessary, but members of the Central Board of Health were sent to Hamilton to conduct an inquiry all the same.  They heard how through 1879 and until their arrival on 17 April 1880, there had been thirty-two recorded deaths from Diphtheria in Hamilton and surrounding towns. All but two were children.

The inquiry saw much finger-pointing as to who at the picnic could have spread the disease and, with new cases still being reported three weeks after the picnic, how did it continue to spread.  The council was accused of allowing waste to build up in street drains. Mr Corbett was made an example of for continuing to deliver goods to the railway station after Diphtheria claimed a son in January and again in the days prior to the inquiry.  Even Thomas Gorman, who at the time lay on his sickbed in the Fever Ward was criticised for continuing his stationmaster duties after Edith fell ill.

Meanwhile, Thomas Gorman Jr was in a “low state” and ten-year-old Margaret Gorman had also been admitted to the Fever Ward.  By Sunday 25 April, Thomas Sr was very ill but it was reported the following Tuesday he was “much improved” but still listed as critical.  Sadly Thomas took another turn for the worse, and he died on Wednesday 28 April.  The Spectator delivered the sad news in their next issue, Thomas Gorman the stationmaster and former Carlton Football Club star was dead.  He was thirty-four.

Items of News. (1880, April 29). Hamilton Spectator, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225490282

At 5.30 am on Friday 30 April, Thomas Gorman Jr also succumbed to Diphtheria.  Just hours later, at 9 am his father was buried in the Church of England section of the Hamilton Cemetery.  The Spectator of 1 May noted that despite the early hour, there were many in attendance including employees from the railway station. They continued,

…no doubt this case is one of the most pitiable that ever occurred in this district…two of his children were struck down by diphtheria. In attending upon them Mr. Gorman caught the disease…every attention was paid to him, but without effect. One by one he saw his children die, and finally, his great courage alone having kept him alive, he followed the two little ones, and another of his children died yesterday.

The Gormans were buried a short distance from others who had died in the weeks before and who had attended the Anglican Sunday School picnic, such as Archdeacon Innes.  While the Gormans were Church of England there is no evidence any of the Gorman children were at the Sunday School picnic, but since all reported cases up to the time of their hospitalisation were said to have been in attendance, there is a strong chance they were.

Some good news came when it was reported Margaret Gorman was discharged from the Fever Ward but the future looked bleak for her mother Alice. She had lost her husband, her eldest boy and two baby girls.  She had no means of income, no savings and three children aged ten, eight and six to support.  Local James Tucker started a subscription fund and approached John Gardiner MLC, the captain of the Carlton FC to assist with fundraising.

It was revealed Thomas was approached by an agent weeks before his death offering life insurance but since funds were tight, he declined. Coincidentally the Spectator report on that revelation ended with “Such is Life” a phrase which in the years since has been associated with Ned Kelly. Folklore or not, that is said to be his final utterance as he faced the gallows a bit over five months after Tom’s death.

Items of News. (1880, May 1). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225489862

News of Thomas’ passing reached Melbourne with The Australasian of 8 May reporting on the tragic circumstances.     

FOOTBALL GOSSIP. (1880, May 8). The Australasian p. 13. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143022196

By the middle of May, Alice and the children had returned to Melbourne taking up residence in Hotham (North Melbourne).  Alice enrolled the children at the Errol Street State School but was advised their applications would likely be refused for fear of them spreading Diptheria to the other students.

Meanwhile, plans were well underway for a fundraising concert for the Gorman family. It was planned for the Athenaeum Theatre in Collins Street, Melbourne on 27 May under the patronage of the Victorian Football Association, the Carlton and Melbourne Football Clubs and the Metropolitan Rifle Corps.

ATHENAEUM THEATRE, MELBOURNE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

A number of singers were booked to entertain the audience and an address by journalist Edmund Finn was planned.

NEWS OF THE DAY. (1880, May 22). The Age, p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202140330

The concert was well attended and £25 was raised for the family.  An extract of Edmund Finn’s tribute delivered on the night is below. You can read it in full on the link – The Late Mr Thomas Gorman by Edmund Finn

THE LATE MR. THOMAS GORMAN. (1880, July 3). Hamilton Spectator p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225485876

Meanwhile, at Hamilton on 29 May, a cheque for £100 was made out to Alice Gorman.  By August, a total of just over £193 was raised for the family. By then Alice was ill, suffering heart palpitations and money already raised was dwindling due to doctors’ fees.

Items of News. (1880, August 17). Hamilton Spectator, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225488082

Alice recovered and by the end of the year was appointed to take over the station and post office at Joyce’s Creek between Maryborough and Castlemaine.

[?] of News. (1880, December 11). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225485819

And so continued the Gorman family connection with Victorian Railways.  Alice was later stationmistress at Northcote Station (later known as Merri Station) with daughter Margaret as her assistant (11). Alice died in Clifton Hill in 1938 aged ninety-two (12) 

By 1909, Margaret was thirty-nine and the caretaker of Croxton Station near Thornbury. She then moved on to Glen Iris Station. While there, Margaret had an experience similar to her father’s at Euroa when the ticket box was held up one evening.  It was reported a gun was pointed at her during the robbery in April 1924, but that was later retracted.  Margaret was left shaken by the incident.

GLEN IRIS STATION c1920. Image courtesy of the Public Record Office of Victoria wiki.prov.vic.gov.au/index.php/VPRS_12800_P1_H_5142

Margaret next worked as an inspector with Victorian Railways (13) until her retirement. She never married and died at St Kilda in 1957 at the age of eighty-six. (14)

Frank Gorman also worked with Victorian Railways but moved to New Zealand and worked on the railways there. He was in that country when WW1 broke and he enlisted and served with the New Zealand Army.  On his return to New Zealand, he resumed his work on the railways but died on 18 March 1925. He was working as a guard at Kapuni on the North Island when the train on which he was travelling, hit a cow. Frank died as a result.

The youngest of the surviving Gorman children, Edith, married watchmaker Samuel Haymes in 1897 (15). She lived most of her married life in North Melbourne. Edith died at Sans Souci, New South Wales on 12 December 1951.     

No doubt Alice, Margaret, Frank and Edith thought often of those they left behind in Hamilton in April 1880.  In football circles for years to come when old-timers remembered back to the players in the early days of the Carlton Football Club, the name of Tom Gorman and that of his brother William were among those raised. 

OLD CARLTON. (1909, July 19). The Herald, p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article242063149

Today, Tom’s platform at Hamilton has long been quiet.

THE FORMER HAMILTON RAILWAY STATION

At Tom’s final resting place with his children Thomas Jr, Jane and Ethel, the headstone donated by his friends, lays broken.  Almost 140 years on, there is no-one left to visit and the grave wouldn’t warrant a second glance from passers-by.  Little do they know the significance of those who lay below. Not just the connection to Australia’s homegrown sport and two great clubs of the game but also their part in one of the darkest periods of Hamilton’s history. That alone should never be forgotten.

 

GAMES RECORD OF THOMAS GORMAN

The following games were taken from team lists found in newspapers at Trove.

CARLTON
DATE OPPONENT GORMAN
27 May 1865 Melbourne Grammar School Gorman
10 June 1865 Warehouseman Gorman
15 July 1865 Williamstown Thomas & William
22 July 1865 Warehouseman Thomas & William
5 August 1865 Royal Park Thomas & William
26 August 1865 Warehouseman Thomas & William
5 May 1866 Intraclub Thomas & William
9 June 1866 South Yarra Thomas & William
16 June 1866 Emerald Hill Thomas & William
30 June 1866 Melbourne Thomas & William
21 July 1866 Melbourne Thomas & William
4 August 1866 South Yarra Thomas & William
18 August 1866 Melbourne Thomas & William
1 September 1866 South Yarra Thomas & William
22 June 1867 Melbourne Thomas & William
6  July 1867 South Melbourne Thomas & William
24 August 1867 Melbourne Gorman
27 May 1871 Geelong Thomas
10 June 1871 Melbourne Thomas
24 June 1871 Collingwood Thomas
15 July 1871 Melbourne Thomas
22 July 1871 Albert Park Thomas & William
5 August 1871 Melbourne Thomas*
19 August 1871 South Yarra Thomas
2 September 1871 Melbourne Gorman
7 October 1871 Melbourne Thomas

*William emergency

MELBOURNE
DATE OPPONENT GORMAN
16 September 1865 South Yarra Gorman
16 June 1866 Civil Servants William (Melbourne) Tom (Civil Servants)*
23 June 1866 The Banks Thomas and William**
7 July 1866 The World Thomas and William
14 July 1866 South Yarra Thomas and William
11 August 1866 South Yarra Thomas and William
25 August 1866 South Yarra Thomas and William
15 September 1866 South Yarra Thomas and William

*Thomas and William were down to play two games on 16 June 1866. Both were selected to play for Carlton against Emerald Hill in a Challenge Cup match. Also, William was selected for Melbourne to play in a match against the Civil Service, a team on which Thomas was selected.  Results found for the Melbourne vs Civil Service show the Gormans did play in that match. Results for the Carlton vs Emerald Hill were not found in the newspapers available.

**Intraclub match for Melbourne – Australians v The World

SOURCES

1. NSW Birth Index, Thomas GORMAN, Reg. No. 312/1845 V1845312 62

2. NSW Birth Index, William GORMAN, Reg. No.  349/1848 V1848349 65

3. Victorian Marriage Certificate,  Alice Ann TRAVIS, Reg. No. 3024 / 1867

4. Victorian Birth Index, Thomas GORMAN, Reg. No. 17999 / 1868

5. Victorian Birth Index, Margaret GORMAN, Reg. No. 13969 / 1870

6. Centenary Souvenir of the Carlton Football Club: from 1864-1933 by Colin Martyn 1934 

7. Victorian Birth Index, Edith Agnes GORMAN, Reg. No. 25040 / 1872

8. Victorian Birth Index, Frank GORMAN, Reg. No. 23736 / 1874

9. Victorian Birth Index, Jane GORMAN, Reg. No.  16122 / 1876

10. Victorian Birth Index, Ethel May GORMAN, Reg. No.  15844 / 1878

11. Electoral Rolls, Victoria, Bourke, Subdistrict of Northcote, Alice Ann GORMAN, 1906

12 Victorian Death Index, Alice Ann GORMAN, Reg. No. 8175 / 1938

13. Electoral Rolls, Victoria,   Victoria, Batman, Subdistrict of Northcote, Margaret Alice GORMAN, 1934

14. Victorian Death Index, Margaret GORMAN, Reg. No. 242 / 1957

15. Victorian Marriage Index, Edith GORMAN, Reg No. 6942 / 1897

 

©2020 Merron Riddiford

 

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old) Cemetery Part 2

Broken Memories takes a look at broken headstones and memorials in Western District cemeteries and the stories behind them beginning with the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Links to previous parts to the series are at the bottom of this post.  Any underlined text throughout the post will take you to further information about a subject.
LISSIMAN

Joseph Mitton Lissiman was born in  Droitwich, Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England around 1853 and went to school at the Old Swinford Hospital to the north at Stourbridge. The family eventually made their way further north to Birmingham.  Joseph left school at fifteen and by the time of the 1871 England Census, he was living further north again in Staffordshire and working in an apprenticeship role.  Joseph was also deeply religious, a parishioner of the Church of England. Joseph became a Sunday School teacher and volunteered around the church where possible.

In 1876 and still in England, Joseph read an article written by the Ballarat Archbishop Samuel Thornton Joseph about the needs of the Ballarat Anglican Diocese. That year the Archbishop wrote a series of articles for the English journal Mission Life with excerpts published in Victorian papers.  An example is the following extract from the Bacchus Marsh Express with Archbishop Thornton describing the Ballarat diocese and putting out a call to young Englishmen to help. He continued, “the bush clergyman should be ready for plenty of open-air and saddle-work”.

BISHOP THORNTON ON AUSTRALIA. (1876, May 27). The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 – 1945), p. 3. Retrieved December 11, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88347775

Joseph longed to go. By that time his parents were dead and nothing was keeping him in England.  He approached his local clergymen who knew Archbishop Thornton.  He was happy to put in a good word for him. Joseph saved his money and in 1877 he applied to work with the Anglican church in Australia at his own expense.  There was some hesitation from the church to approve his application because Joseph had no theological training. His devotion, however, was unquestionable.

By June 1879, the dreams of twenty-six-year-old Joseph had come true. He had become a Lay Reader for the Anglican Church in the Ballarat Diocese, assigned to Hamilton Archdeacon Gustaves Innes.  Joseph was based at the small township of Dunkeld, east of Hamilton, and spread the word throughout the wider district. The majestic mountains, Sturgeon and Abrupt (below) overlook Dunkeld.

Some days, Joseph would ride north between the two to the sparsely settled Victoria Valley beyond.

THE VICTORIA VALLEY by NICHOLAS CHEVALIER. Engraver Frederick Grosse. 1864
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/236368

On other days, he would turn his horse to the west and follow the Wannon River around the foot of Mount Sturgeon and make his way to Cavendish. Or he would head to the south to Penshurst or even further beyond to Macarthur, a round trip of around 130 kilometres. But still, his circuit was not complete.  There was also the parishioners of Glenthompson to the east of Dunkeld.  Joseph’s pay was subsidised by subscribers to the church in each of the areas he preached. However, congregation numbers were low, meaning low subscriptions meant little to pay Joseph for his hard work.

Items of News. (1880, January 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226058043

Its doubtful monetary reward was top of Joseph’s mind. In fact, when not travelling miles on horseback, Joseph was involved with the Dunkeld community. He and Miss Elliot of the town trained the local school children in singing, something met with hearty applause when they sang at the Dunkeld Wesleyan Anniversary Tea.  Later in the month, the Dunkeld school held a “breaking-up jubilee”. Games were played and Joseph acted as a judge.

DUNKELD. (1879, December 25). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226053158

Joseph must have been exhausted yet still his passion for his work was evident to all who met him.  But just six months of living his dream, things took a tragic turn.

On 22 January 1880, news came Joseph was ill, attributed to overwork. A good rest was what was needed to return him to good health.  He was taken to the Hamilton Anglican parsonage to stay with Archdeacon Gustves Innes and his wife.

Items of News. (1880, January 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226058043

However, on 31 January 1880, the Hamilton Spectator announced Joseph was dangerously ill with “colonial fever” (typhoid) and the doctors gave “faint hope of his recovery”.

The Church of England Messenger and Eccliseiastical Gazzette reported on his illness,

Parochial Intelligence. (1880, February 4). The Church of England Messenger and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of Melbourne and Ballarat p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197135188

Joseph succumbed to typhoid on 7 February 1880.

JOSEPH MITTON LISSIMAN. (1880, March 2). The Church of England Messenger and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of Melbourne and Ballarat p. 8 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197135250

Joseph was buried in the Church of England section of the Hamilton Cemetery.  Archdeacon Innes officiated at the grave while local Sunday School teachers gathered to farewell their friend.  The Hamilton Spectator reported, “he had no relatives in the colony”. But he did have kind friends and as written on his headstone, the cost of the monument was paid for by “a few of his friends”.  Sadly, his surname was incorrectly spelled.

HEADSTONE OF JOSEPH LISSIMAN, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Joseph’s obituary in the Hamilton Spectator mentioned,

…his numerous friends at Dunkeld and Cavendish will not easily forget his love for little children, his simple piety and homely ways…it is somewhat pathetic to reflect on so ardent a young spirit quenched in the very commencement of his career. Perhaps, however, his death may teach the lesson of his life, and his cordial relations with other denominations his purity of life and gentle unselfishness may be copied by some of the young members of his flock, who, in a few months, had already begun to look upon him as an old friend, and not as a new arrival in the colony.

In the Diocese publication,  Archdeacon Innes relayed the story of Joseph helping a young girl kicked in the face by a horse.how in the months before

JOSEPH MITTON LISSIMAN. (1880, March 2). The Church of England Messenger and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of Melbourne and Ballarat p. 8 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197135250

An interesting point about Joseph’s death was the timing, right in the midst of a Diphtheria epidemic in the Hamilton district.  As seen below, Joseph’s death was not the only one reported on 10 February 1880 but also that of young Esther Smith who died of Diphtheria. It may be possible Joseph was misdiagnosed as there are some similarities in the symptoms of both diseases such as a sore throat, fever, malaise but beyond that, each develops differently.

Family Notices (1880, February 10). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226055370

Now for a twist in the story…

Life for Hamilton’s Archdeacon Gustaves Innes returned to normal after Joseph’s death, or so it would seem.  On Easter Monday 29 March 1880, he had a great day at the Anglican Sunday School picnic at Nigretta Falls, just west of Hamilton.

NIGRETTA FALLS c1879. Photographer: Thomas Washbourne. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53200

There was food, games, the Hamilton Brass Band provided entertainment and Gustaves arranged a greasy pig competition.  The Spectator reported, “If the Ven. Archdeacon was loved and respected before Monday, his bonhomie on that all eventful day greatly increased his popularity, the children being practically shown that there is a time for all things.”

On Saturday 3 April 1880, it was reported Gustaves was suffering a sore throat and a replacement was called for the Sunday service. It was thought he’d caught a cold at the Sunday School picnic. His condition worsened and on 6 April it was reported four patients were receiving treatment for Diphtheria at the Hamilton Hospital with another seven receiving treatment at home.  All were at the Sunday School picnic. It was confirmed Gustaves was among the cases.

Two days later Gustaves” condition was critical and his daughter Lily had also contacted Diphtheria.  The next morning, 9 April, Gustaves died aged forty-two leaving his widow and his daughter Lily who recovered from her illness.

The funeral took place the following day at the Hamilton Christ Church with a large crowd in attendance.  Given the growing fear of the contagious disease, it was thought a good idea to leave the coffin outside in the hearse while mourners went inside the church for the service.

CHRIST CHURCH ANGLICAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

A large crowd then followed the hearse to the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Of course, Gustaves was buried in the Church of England section of the cemetery.

I went to the cemetery in search of his grave. After a lot of examining the maps on the cemetery’s deceased search and the various photos I have of photos close by, I have come to the conclusion, the grave below belongs to Gustaves. There is no inscription and like Joseph Lissiman’s headstone, it too appears broken.  He is buried in the next row across and seven graves down from Joseph Lissiman.

GRAVE OF ARCHDEACON GUSTAVES INNES, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Gustaves would remain close to Joseph Lissiman after death and given the events after Joseph’s death, that may have been too close for comfort for Gustaves as the story takes another twist,

On 30 April 1880, the Geelong Advertiser broke a story.  Apparently, the ghost of Joseph Lissiman appeared before Archdeacon Gustaves Innes in his study one night in the weeks after Joseph’s death. Not only that, the apparition predicted Gustav’s death.

A REAL GHOST STORY. (1880, April 30). Geelong Advertiser p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article150416314

That revelation led the Hamilton Spectator to break a promised silence. After Gustaves’ death, they were shown a note written by him the morning before his death while he was still apparently lucid. “It was shown to us with a request that we would not publish it, as it could do no good, and might hurt the feelings of his relatives.” Instead, a family friend “with questionable taste, thought proper to furnish a very distorted version of the affair to the public”. The contents of the note sighted by the Hamilton Spectator were different from the account published in the Advertiser.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 4 May 1880: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225487099

Rather, shortly after Joseph died claimed the Spectator, Gustvaves was home alone when he heard rattling coming from the room which served as Joseph’s sick room. Gustaves rushed to the room, peered into the darkness and when he thought the coast was clear, said to himself with a chuckle, “It must be old Lissiman. What do you want?” Gustaves’ note continued…”Then I had an answer, not audible, but such as possibly a spirit can convey, ‘ Never, mind, you’ll follow me soon.’ It was singular, I never told anyone.”

Items of News. (1880, May 4). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225487099

Whatever happened on that night must have weighed on Gustaves’ mind for him to pen a note as he lay on his death bed.  All the same, the matter of a ghost, it would appear, was soon forgotten. Gustaves and Joseph, however, were not forgotten. They were remembered together in April 1881 a year after their deaths at the laying of the foundation stone of a new Anglican church at Dunkeld.

THE LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE OF ST. MARY’S, AT DUNKELD. (1881, April 7). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225487149

But the matter of a ghost was not forgotten.  On 23 July 1881, the Leader newspaper published in a supplement an excerpt from the Wesleyan Spectator, under the headline “The Living and the Dead”, a paper written by Reverend Joseph Waterhouse a year earlier when the first word of a ghost hit the papers.  At least, the Hamilton Spectator‘s version of the story was given, but the Reverend Waterhouse added, “I believe all the above; I will give three instances in which the dead have appeared to me, the living.”

I will leave the topic of ghosts here for now but the next edition will continue on from where the story of Joseph Lissiman and Archdeacon Innes left off including a revisit to the Anglican Sunday School picnic at the Nigretta Falls on Easter Monday 1880. Coming Soon.

If you missed the early editions of the series Broken Memories, you will find them on the links below:

Broken Memories: An Introduction

Broken Memories –  Hamilton (Old) Cemetery Part 1 

 

 

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old) Cemetery Part 1

Broken Memories is a series of stories about those buried in Western District cemeteries with broken headstones or monuments. Beginning with Hamilton (Old) Cemetery, the posts will be published regularly over the coming months. For more about the series Broken Memories follow the link – Broken Memories – An Introduction.  If you click on any underlined text throughout the post you’ll find more information about a subject.  

HING

The headstone of Sam and Frances Hing is the only one I’ve seen at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery to date with a Chinese inscription. It also comes with a tragic story.

Frances Mary Ann Lever was born in London in 1856, a daughter of Edwin and Julia Lever. Edwin and Julia and their nine children arrived in Melbourne in March 1866 aboard the Queen of Australia (1) and took up residence in Richmond. Edwin Lever died in February 1871 at Richmond when Frances was around fifteen.

Three years later on 23 November 1874, Frances was eighteen, in Warrnambool and a bride-to-be at the local Christ Church. The groom was thirty-seven-year-old storekeeper Samuel Hing. Samuel Hing who was also known as Sam Hing and Ah Hing arrived in Australia in the late 1850s when in his early twenties.

Family Notices (1875, February 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 1.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11512744

The wedding created much interest in the town. The bridesmaids were local girls, the groomsmen were commercial travellers and the wedding breakfast was held at the Criterion Hotel. According to the Warrnambool correspondent for the Hamilton Spectator, on the morning following the wedding, Samuel with Frances in her wedding dress, “paraded the streets” of Warrnambool. A son Edwin Francis was born to Sam and Frances in 1876 at Warrnambool (2).

It’s possible the Hings resided in Melbourne after their marriage. A Samuel Hing of Little Bourke Street, Melbourne was among a number of Chinese traders charged with selling sly grog in June 1875.  The charges against Samuel Hing were dropped.  There were also several trips between Melbourne and Warrnambool on the steamer by a Mr and Mrs Sam Hing. One example was in March 1876.

SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. (1876, March 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 4.   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7433847

In late 1876, the following notice appeared in the Hamilton Spectator announcing Sam was trading at Coleraine.

COLERAINE (1876, November 4). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226039730

However, by early 1877, things weren’t looking good for Sam. He had been trading in Warrnambool as Sam Hing & Co.  The “& co.” was a man called Ah Charn. What happened to Sam’s Coleraine shop is unclear but his Warrnambool shop was in financial trouble. The assets of Sam Hing and Ah Charn were to be sold to repay creditors.

Advertising (1877, February 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5914671

But it didn’t end there.  Sam was charged with concealing assets after it was found he left a parcel of cutlery with Alice Unkles of Oakvale between Port Fairy and Yambuk.

The Argus. (1877, May 23). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 5.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5923042

Sam was sentenced to six months imprisonment with hard labour.  You can find Sam’s prison record on the link –  Central Prisoner Register

By April 1878 there was a Samuel Hing trading in Percy Street, Portland. In time, Sam and Frances moved to Burns Street, Hamilton and Sam won first prize for his celery at the Hamilton Agriculture Show in March 1880.  Around the end of October 1881, Samuel was out of town, already absent for about ten days. During that time, Frances took sick and doctors were called. They did all they could, but she died a painful death.

Family Notices (1881, November 10). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226061270

An inquest was held at Hamilton’s Caledonian Hotel on the afternoon of 9 November. It was found Frances’ “Mysterious Death” as it was headlined was due to a substance she had taken with the intention of terminating a pregnancy resulting in a fatal hemorrhage. Samuel strongly denied Frances was pregnant and told of how she had similar abdominal pain once on a trip to Hong Kong. He added the only medicine Frances was known to take was dispensed by Hamilton chemist Carl Klug and she never used Chineses medicines.

Other witnesses said no medicine entered the house other than that prescribed by Doctors Annand and Scott and dispensed by Carl Klug.  Frances’ brother Ernest also gave evidence. Mr Giles the jury foreman suggested maybe a closer examination of the evidence be made, considering the death only took place the evening before, However, the jury was called to give their verdict and after some deliberation announced their decision.

Sam was so upset about the verdict, he wrote to the Hamilton Spectator.

ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE (1881, November 15). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226061968

Frances was buried at the Hamilton Cemetery the day after the inquest.

By April 1887, Sam was managing a drapery shop in Thompson Street, Hamilton. Judging by advertising in the Hamilton Spectator at the time, the Chinese traders of the town were involved in takeovers and changes of management. Among them was Erng Long.

Advertising (1887, April 16). Hamilton Spectator p. 3.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226157050

On Easter Monday 1887 (11 April) around 6.30pm, Robert Gallagher entered Sam’s shop. A previous customer, on this occasion Gallagher tried on clothes. He then attempted to leave without paying, rushing from the shop. Sam tried to stop him but Gallagher pushed him aside leaving Sam bloodied. Gallagher was charged with unlawful assault and theft but given a very light sentence a matter commented on in the Hamilton Spectator.  It was reported Sam was still feeling the effects of the altercation the following day.

Two months later on 18 June 1887, Sam was dead.  When I first looked up Sam’s death in the Victorian Death Index, I found his place of death was Ararat, a place he had no known connection (3). When I’ve seen that scenario in the past, more times than not it has played out the location of death was the Ararat Asylum. Sadly, that was the case for Sam.

ARARAT ASYLUM c1880. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H1887 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151015

From Sam’s case file from the asylum (4), on 30 May, about a month after the incident with Gallagher, Sam was taken to the Ararat Asylum by Erng Long who nominated himself as Sam’s nearest relative being his brother.  With them was another man described as a cousin. Sam was suffering from acute mania and at the time of his admission, he was “at times very excited waving his arms about. Subject to fits of immoderate crying. At times laughs heartily”. He was also considered dangerous. 

Sam wasn’t eating well on admission but two weeks later on 16 June, an update in his file showed his eating had improved and he was getting up and dressed each day.  He died two days after that update. It appears an inquest was not held into nor did the Hamilton Spectator report on his death. 

Sam’s body was returned to Hamilton and buried at the cemetery with Frances on 20 June.  Canton now known as Guangdong was inscribed on the headstone as his birthplace, however, his prison record gave his birthplace as further south at Macau.

The Hamilton cemetery records show another burial in the grave of Frances and Samuel Hing, an unnamed baby buried on 24 December 1886, five years after the death of Frances and months before Samuel’s death.  The Victorian Birth Index shows the birth of a son to Samuel Hing at Hamilton in 1886. (5). The mother of the child is listed as Terne Ah Hing. The Victorian Death Index shows the boy lived for a day (6). Again, the mother’s name is Terne Ah Hing.  In 1887, another son of Samuel Hing was born at Hamilton (7). The mother’s name listed on the Victorian Birth Index is Journ Ah Hing.

The closest I can find to Sam having re-married is a listing in the Victorian Marriage Index of the marriage of Ah Hing to Margaret Gavin in 1886 (8). Interestingly, a Margaret Ah Hing was admitted to the Ararat Asylum in 1898 (8). She died there in 1924 aged sixty-five. Her parents were unknown. (9)  

At the time of Sam’s death, Edwin Hing, son of Sam and Francis, was twelve. Sadly, Edwin died six years after his father in 1893, drowning after a fall from a boat off Macau. 

Family Notices (1893, June 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 (EVENING).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65402621

The Hamilton Spectator reported on a letter received by Frederick Edward Mitchell of Portland notifying him of Edwin’s death. Edwin, who was educated at the Hamilton State School, appears to have gone to China not too long after his father’s death. Around the age of seventeen, he was employed by the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs Service as an interpreter and was working at the time of his death. Edwin had given Frederick’s name as someone to contact in case of an emergency.

Items at News. (1893, June 8). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225180725

Frederick was two years older than Edwin and was born in Hamilton and likely attended the Hamilton State School like Edwin.  His father James Mitchell was a bootmaker with a shop in Thompson Street, the same location as Sam Hing’s last shop.  Seemingly a friendship formed between Frederick and Edwin sometime during their time in Hamilton and continued beyond.  Frederick went on to become a postmaster at different locations across Victoria and died at Queenscliff in 1940.

SOURCES

(1) PROV, Unassisted Passenger Lists, (1852-1923) Series Number VPRS: 947

(2)  Victorian Birth Index, Edwin Francis HING, 1876, Reg. No. 6024/1876

(3) Victorian Death Index, Sam HING, 1887, Reg. No. 4925/ 1887

(4) PROV, Ararat Asylum: Case Books of Male Patients, Agency No: VA 2841; Series No.: VPRS 7403, Vol E (1887-1890); P0001

(5) Victorian Birth Index, Unnamed Male HING, 1886, Reg. No. 26609/1886

(6) Victorian Death Index, Unnamed HING, 1886, Reg. No. 12912/1886

(7) Victorian Birth Index, Unnamed Male HING, 1887, Reg. No, 28845/1887

(8) Victorian Marriage Index, Ah HING, 1886, Reg. No. 3900/1886

(9) PROV, Ararat Asylum: Case Books of Female Patients; Agency Number: VA 2841; Series No.: VPRS 7401. Volume E (1892-1900); P0001

(10) Victorian Death Index, Margaret AH HING, 1924, Reg. No. 19/1924

Broken Memories…An Introduction

There’s something about a historic cemetery and there are many throughout the Western District from the small Old Cavendish Cemetery to the large Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. It’s the character of the rusty wrought-iron fences, the weathered headstones, the symbolism, and the display of craftsmanship…even the broken headstones.

No matter how often I visit a cemetery it looks different depending on the time of day or the season. Like the grave of the Thomsons of Monivae at Hamilton, one I’ve walked past many times. Different times of day see the shadows fall on different sides of the monument or on a winter’s day last year I was welcomed with this cheery surprise

In fact, you never know what you might see…

When I visit a cemetery I take photos of as many headstones as I can, the different views across the cemetery and the cemetery sign. Usually, my time is limited so I find myself racing around the cemeteries trying to get as many photos as I can.

I was pleased to get in five visits to the Hamilton Cemetery this year and last week I took my 1000th photo there. I generally don’t visit with a plan and always walk in the front gate and turn right.  It’s habit.  I’ve been doing it that way since my first visits to the cemetery as a little girl with Nana and her sister.  Their parents are buried to the right of the front gate.  Hamilton also has a confusing layout and no matter how many times I visit, I can quickly lose my bearings.  Sometimes I go in search of a particular grave but even with the maps now available to print at the cemetery website, it usually ends in frustration, so I prefer to wander.

Looking back at my photos not just from Hamilton but other cemeteries, there is a trend. At least until this year. I was photographing the most impressive and easiest to read headstones, usually with familiar surnames. Also, each time I visited I was taking photos of the same graves from similar angles. Since that realisation, at each of the cemeteries I’ve visited this year, I’ve turned my attention to some of the others graves, the broken…

Those difficult to read…

And those I gave a wide berth as a child…the sunken graves.  The grave of my great, great grandparents Richard and Elizabeth Diwell at Hamilton has suffered that fate.

Some headstones are in a fragile state and photographing them now will ensure there is a record in case they deteriorate further.

The addition of the searchable records on the Hamilton Cemetery Trust website in recent years has made it easier to identify those buried in graves with illegible headstones. Of course, once identified I can’t help myself and must have a bit of a search for them at Trove.  What I often find is the most remarkable stories and that’s how the new WDF series Broken Memories has come about.  It began as two parts about broken headstones at the Hamilton Old Cemetery with the idea of adding other cemeteries in the future. 

As the stories of the selected headstones have taken unexpected twists and turns, the series has grown to five parts just about the Hamilton cemetery plus an introduction, the purpose of this post. I am really looking forward to sharing this series with you.  Each headstone offers such an interesting but often tragic story and I didn’t expect several parts of the series would intertwine in the way they have.  I also didn’t expect to be doing further research on topics such as Ned Kelly and the Carlton Football Club (that was easy as a Blues supporter) or delving in the afterlife and one of the darkest periods of Hamilton’s history.

And the cat you saw earlier in this post. He’s a bit of teaser for what is to come, because Joseph as I like to refer to him as, has become part of the series. Maybe that’s come about by pure coincidence or perhaps some greater force.  I’ll let you decide when the time comes to properly introduce him.

I intended to launch straight into the stories but I thought some prior explanation was needed. I’ve found misshapen headstones are cause for conjecture.  Photos I’ve posted to social media have prompted comments such as, “Why don’t they fix it?” and “How could they leave it like that?” Therefore, I’ve decided to used this introduction to try and overcome some of the misunderstandings about the operations, responsibilities, and conversation of our cemeteries.  

WILLAURA CEMETERY

Following, you will find a very broad overview of how Victorian cemeteries operate and some of the reasons a grave may deteriorate.  At the end of the post, there are links to further reading about the finer points of cemetery operations including the exceptions to the rule, along with cemetery conservation from the experts.

YAMBUK CEMETERY

To begin, the land on which a cemetery is located is Crown Land. A Cemetery Trust provides burial services within the cemetery, keeps the records and maintains the cemetery grounds.

In Victoria, a cemetery trust is answerable to the Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulation Unit – Department of Health and Human Services overseen by the Victorian State Minister of Health. The minister oversees the appointment of a cemetery trust. A cemetery trust is also governed by the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 and Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2015.

When you or someone else decides for you the cemetery you will be buried in, the plot of land in which you are buried is not purchased by you or your benefactors. It remains Crown Land. However, a Right of Interment is purchased for a plot, giving the holder the right to decide who is buried there and if a monument should be placed on the plot. The holder of the Right of Interment is also responsible for the maintenance of the monument.

HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

When the holder of the Right of Interment dies, the beneficiary or beneficiaries of their estate then become the holder/s of the Right of Interment and the obligations that go with it. That process continues as each holder of the Right of Internment dies.

You can imagine at an old cemetery such as Hamilton, tracing the holder of the Right of Internment on many graves would be near impossible, something you will come to see in the stories which follow.  In those cases, if a monument becomes unsafe, the trust with the consent of the Secretary to the Department of Health can deal with it in an appropriate way.

If you hold a Right of Interment and the relevant monument is damaged, you can’t just have it repaired. There is a process to follow and an application needs to be lodged with the relevant cemetery trust. The trust will then accept or refuse the application and in the process, will consider such things as Occupational Health and Safety and the fit of the proposed new monument in accord with the ascetics of the cemetery.

The deterioration of and damage to headstones and monuments can occur for various reasons, from the type of stone used, movement from the ground below, heavy rain or flooding, human hands either intentionally or unintentionally, or simply just time. 

In 1903, two earthquakes at Warrnambool within months played havoc with the cemetery.  A report after the second quake suggested almost every headstone was damaged in some way and those repaired after the first quake were unlikely to be repaired again.

WARRNAMBOOL CEMETERY

I encourage you to visit some of the historic Western Cemeteries cemeteries not only to find family but to learn about the past and in some cases, enjoy the view.

DUNKELD (OLD) CEMETERY

In making that suggestion, the phrase “Take Only Photos, Leave Only Footprints” comes to mind.  But watch where you leave those footprints. Keep to the paths or defined rows where possible because beneath your feet could be someone who was once like you and me, as you will see in a series I have planned about unmarked graves.

Before I get too far ahead of myself,  I hope you enjoy Broken Memories coming to you regularly over the next couple of months.  Part 1 is up next and you will learn of the tragic story of the Hing family of Warrnambool and Hamilton.

Further Reading

Cemeteries and crematoria in Victoria, State Government of Victoria. Includes links to the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 and Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2015 and more information about Rights of Interment.

In Memoriam, A Guide to the History and Heritage of Victoria’s Cemeteries by Garrie Hutchinson (2014)  includes the location of all cemeteries in the Western District with further information and significant graves at selected cemeteries including Camperdown, Branxholme, Casterton and Glenthompson

Conservation Planning Guidelines for The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust in Melbourne,  Dr Jan Penney (2016). An informative guide but remember these are guidelines only for the use of the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust.

National Trust Guidelines of Cemetery Conservation 2nd Ed. 2009 (NSW Branch) While it is based on NSW legislation, there is some great information about historic cemeteries, monuments and symbolism. Also an interesting section with photos dedicated to broken graves and how damage can occur