Hamilton Old Cemetery – Beyond the Headstones

Enter the gates of the Hamilton Old Cemetery and rising up before you are hundreds of diverse and fascinating headstones and monuments.  Some always catch my eye when I visit whether it’s for their design, the effects of time or the inscription.  Taking six headstones I find interesting, I’ve looked further into the history of each and those who lie beneath.

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GEORGE AND JANE BOWLER

GRAVE OF GEORGE AND JANE BOWLER

A broken column, a life cut short.  In 1856, Jane Scott married London-born George Bowler presumably at Portland where their first child Thomas Joseph Bowler was born the following year.  In 1858, a second son, George Richard Bowler was born at Hamilton.  In 1860, the Bowlers suffered the loss of baby George and welcomed a daughter Mary Jane. The following, year on 16 July 1861, George Bowler Sr. also died at the age of twenty-seven and was buried in the Anglican section of the cemetery.  Jane was left with two small children aged four and one.  In 1864, she lodged a request for the Hamilton Borough Council to relieve her from paying her rates due to poverty.

In later years, Jane’s daughter Mary Jane married Robert McFarlane in 1887 and son Thomas Bowler took up the trade of blacksmith in Hamilton.  He for a time was in partnership with David Arnott in the Hamilton Carriage Factory, blacksmith, wheelwrights and coachbuilders.  Jane lived in Griffin Street and took in boarders to make ends meet.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 25 January 1894: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225784055&gt;.

Jane died on December 1896 at Hamilton. She was buried with George.  George’s parents Joseph and Mary Bowler occupy the adjacent plots.

“Family Notices” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 23 December 1899: 3. Web. 25 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article188661034&gt;.

ISAAC FOSTER

HEADSTONE OF ISAAC FOSTER

 On 9 March 1901, Isaac Foster had his Station Street property up for auction as he was leaving town.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 March 1901: 2. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226091868&gt;.

But Isaac didn’t leave town. By 23 March, he was dead at the age of sixty-eight and still in Hamilton.

Isaac Foster arrived at Williamstown in 1870 before heading to Portland where he started a building and contracting business.  A new hospital was planned in Hamilton and Isaac was appointed   Clerk of Works on the project and moved to Hamilton.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399127

He also worked on the Hamilton Anglican and Presbyterian Sunday Schools and William Melville’s residence at Weerangourt. Two years before his death, Isaac began suffering from consumption which would claim his life. Isaac also owned property at Branxholme which was auctioned in the week after his death.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 26 March 1901: 2. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226090807&gt;.

NAOMI HICKMER

HEADSTONE OF NAOMI HICKMER

Inscribed with the words “There remaineth a rest for the people of God” from the Book of Hebrews, stands the headstone at the final resting place of Naomi Hickmer.  Naomi, a spinster lived in Stephens Street, Hamilton and died on 6 April 1883 aged fifty-two.

Naomi’s brother Henry also lived in Hamilton and fortunately, he was a storyteller occasionally sharing his recollections with Mount Gambier’s Border Watch. Henry’s obituary included his life story from his own pen and from that I was able to find out more about Naomi and her family. The Hickmers were from Brighton, Sussex, England. Naomi was born around 1831. The family arrived at Adelaide, South Australia in 1851 when Naomi was twenty. Most of the members of the family then moved to the Lake Leake Station, east of Millicent, South Australia.

“OBITUARY.” Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954) 26 April 1918: 1. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77655550&gt;.

Henry Jr arrived in Hamilton around 1874, living at various rural properties around the district before settling in Milton Street in 1892.  It is possible his parents and Naomi were in the district from around 1856.  The 1856 Australian Electoral Roll lists a Henry Hickmer, a farmer of South Hamilton.  Henry Hickmer Sr. died at Milton Street, Hamilton on 8 September 1881 aged eighty-three and Ann Hickmer died on 17 September 1884 also at Milton Street. They are buried beside Naomi.

HICKMER FAMILY GRAVE

Naomi’s estate consisted of property to the value of £20 being her home in Stephens Street and £543 of personal property.   During the month after her death, Naomi’s assets were auctioned off.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 May 1883: 2. Web. 18 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225492898&gt;.

Naomi’s probate file held by the Public Record Office made interesting reading and the outstanding accounts she had when she died, give some clue about her life at the time.  She owed £4 15′ shillings to the grocer Henry Horwitz, £2 6′ to W. & W. Thomson, drapers and £2 7′ for buggy hire from Richard Elijah.  Her other debts show she had a period of illness with amounts due to two surgeons Thomas Scott and George Annaud.  There was also a fee owing to Mrs Young for nursing services and an account of £1 from Carl Klug the chemist.  Naomi also paid Elizabeth Kennett servant’s wages and there was a charge of 13″ 6′ to Mott and Rippon publishers, being the Hamilton Spectator.  It’s likely the bill was for Naomi’s funeral notice pictured further up.

ANTONIO & ROSINA RIZZO

GRAVE OF ANTONIO AND ROSE RIZZO

The Rizzo headstone not only displays Hamilton jeweller Antonio Rizzo’s devotion to his wife Rose but also a love of cameos, his specialty.

Rose Genevieve McCrystal was born around 1855, the daughter of Patrick McCrystal and Bridget Crinnion of Portland.  The McCrystals married in 1845 at Launceston.  In 1878, Rose married William Pearson.  Their first child a son was born at Branxholme around the time William purchased Hamilton’s Temperance Hotel and Confectionery Establishment.  Two more children, a son and daughter were born in Hamilton in 1883 and 1884.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 16 March 1880: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226055844&gt;.

Four years later, a buggy accident near Branxholme claimed William’s life.

“FATAL BUGGY ACCIDENT.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 30 September 1884: 5. Web. 18 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191469587&gt;.

Rose kept the Temperance Hotel operating after William’s death.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 27 January 1885: 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225659244&gt;.

In 1886, Rose put the Temperance Hotel up for lease and she and the children moved to Portland. Rose ran a boarding house in Percy Street.

“The Portland Guardian, (ESTABLISHED 1842.) With which is incorporated The Portland Mirror.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 14 November 1887: 2 (EVENING). Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65411182&gt;.

Meanwhile, Italian Antonio Rizzo had arrived in Australia sometime in 1884. He was born around 1845 and came from Naples. In 1887, he travelled to the Adelaide International Exhibition for which he received first prizes.

“EXHIBITIONS.” South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900) 17 October 1887: 1 (Supplement to the South Australian Register.). Web. 20 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46830011&gt;.

Antonio moved on to Melbourne for the 1889 Melbourne International Exhibition exhibiting his speciality of shell cameos.

“Italy.” The Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 – 1934) 2 February 1889: 30. Web. 25 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article186193649&gt;.

It was in 1889, Antonio first ventured to Portland when he entered the Industrial and Art Loan Exhibition there in March 1889 and won first prize in his section for his artistic and cameo jewellery. Some of Antonio’s chosen materials were coral and lava from Mount Vesuvius.

“Portland Industrial and Art Loan Exhibition.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 8 March 1889: 3 (EVENING). Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592279&gt;.

Having previously worked for Gaunt and Drummond Jewellers in Melbourne, later in 1889, Antonio opened his own jewellery shop at 37 Sturt Street, Ballarat.  In that year, the Ballarat Star, described Antonio as “our Italian sculptor” after he created a marble statue for an All Nations Fancy Fair in October 1889.

“Advertising” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 25 December 1889: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 .

Although he was in Ballarat, Antonio’s thoughts were in Portland and in 1891, he married the widow Rose Pearson at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Ballarat.

“Family Notices” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918) 2 May 1891: 44. Web. 25 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198045151&gt;.

A daughter, Italia Florence was born the following year in Melbourne.  Next, Antonio applied for a wine license in Portland in December 1893 but failed in his application as he was not born in the colony or naturalised.  Instead. he started a jewellery store in Percy Street, Portland in March 1894.  In the same year, Antonio and Rose’s eldest son Hubert was born at Brunswick.  On 30 September 1895,a fire swept through the Percy Street shop and residence.  Rugerio Patrick was born in the same year at Portland. Not perturbed by the fire, Antonio opened a jewellery store in Gray Street, Hamilton in December 1895.  Antonio’s talents were soon noticed in Hamilton and in 1897 he was commissioned to produce an engraved silver-handled trowel for Jane Henty to lay the foundation stone of the Hamilton Hospital Fever Ward.

“Established August 1842. The Portland Guardian, With which is incorporated The Portland Mirror.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 28 June 1897: 2 (EVENING). Web. 18 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63661275&gt;.

In 1904, Antonio became one of the many unwitting victims of fraudster Louis Horwitz. Horwitz was Antonio’s landlord and legal advisor.  He swindled Antonio into signing documents with regard to his overdraft with the Union Bank.  Before he knew it, Antonio was taken to court by the bank and other creditors all demanding money. It was enough to ruin Antonio.  He had debts of around £1600 and only £830 of assets, leaving a shortfall of £700 forcing him into insolvency in September 1904.  He could no longer trade and a clearance sale was held in early 1905.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 19 January 1905: 3. Web. 25 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225883597&gt;.

In  August 1905, Antonio made a successful application to have his insolvency dissolved and was able to reopen his business.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 29 December 1908: 3. Web. 18 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225891265&gt;.

Antonio was a generous donor of trophies for various events around Hamilton.  One trophy known as the Rizzo Trophy, was for the Hamilton Gun Club becoming highly sort after prize among shooters. While in Hamilton, Antonio and Rose resided at Roma in Milton Street. When WW1 broke, their son Hubert enlisted in 1915 and safely returned to Australia in 1919.

Rose died on 8 November 1920 at a Kyneston Private Hospital in Caulfield aged sixty-five.  Her body was returned to Hamilton and buried in the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery. In time, an exquisite and unique headstone was added to Rose’s grave.  The feature, a cameo made in Italy in the image of Rose. Antonio died on 27 October 1924 at his daughter Italia’s home in Kew at the age of seventy-nine. He was reunited with Rose and today their grave is part of the cemetery’s Notable Graves Walk.  While the entry recognises Antonio, Rose shouldn’t be forgotten. She earned a living and raised her two children alone for seven years, later losing everything in the Portland fire and was there for Antonio through his enforced insolvency.

SIGN ON THE RIZZO GRAVE

Rugerio Rizzo followed his father into the trade and continued operating Rizzo Jewellers for several decades after Antonio’s death.

TIMOTHY TWOMEY & THE TWOMEY FAMILY PLOT

HEADSTONE OF TIMOTHY TWOMEY

The beautiful Celtic cross in the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery belongs to a man they called the Squire of Banemore, Timothy Twomey.  Timothy was a member of the Twomey family of Penshurst.  He was born in Ireland around 1829, the son of John Twomey and Margaret O’Conner. When the family arrived in Victoria, John Twomey acquired a large amount of land near Penshurst.  He later divided the property into three for his son Timothy’s property was Banemore from 1866  In 1867, Timothy married Annie Hayes. The Twomeys enjoyed overseas travel and by 1887, Timothy and Annie had visited Asia, Europe and America.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 January 1887: 2. Web. 3 Jun 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226154135&gt;.

In early 1894, Timothy and Annie were off to England again.  The trip did not go to plan with Timothy dying suddenly in London on 10 July 1894 aged sixty-five.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 12 July 1894: 2. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225779799&gt;.

Timothy’s body was returned to Hamilton but on the way there was a stopover at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne for a memorial service on 7 September 1894.  The cortege left for Spencer Street Station in time for the 6.50pm train to Hamilton. The following day, Timothy’s funeral was held at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Hamilton before burial.

“Family Notices” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 8 September 1894: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 .

In 1896, Annie commissioned Messrs. P. Finn & Co, stonemasons of Mitchell Street, Bendigo to make an appropriate headstone. What they created was considered one of the finest headstones in the colonies.  It was a huge undertaking with the granite quarried at Cape Woolamai on Victoria’s east coast, then shipped to Melbourne for transport to Bendigo.  The four metre high Celtic cross was available for viewing at Finn’s yard prior to its transportation to Hamilton.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 6 October 1896: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225554924&gt;.

Timothy’s Celtic cross is just one of a number of graves in the Twomey family plot and is by no means the tallest. There were eighteen Twomey burials at the cemetery, including Timothy’s parents and brothers Edward and Daniel.  The two brothers were at one time on the Hamilton Cemetery Trust.

TWOMEY FAMILY PLOT, ROMAN CATHOLIC SECTION

THOMAS & MARGARET WALKER

HEADSTONE OF THOMAS AND MARGARET WALKER

A scroll such as that on the column of the Walker monument can symbolise a life unfolding for an uncertain time. It’s doubtful Margaret Walker ever expected her life to unfold across 104 years. Thomas Walker arrived at Portland around 1840 and married Margaret Brown in 1843.  They lived in Portland until 1866 when they moved to Hamilton.   Thomas acquired various properties around the Hamilton township and for a time worked as a land agent.  He died on 15 April 1909 aged eighty-six, leaving his widow Margaret, then aged seventy-four, one son and two daughers.

Margaret, born on 11 August 1835 at Launceston, went on to live for a further thirty years. On 10 August 1939, Margaret celebrated her 104th birthday at her home in Shakespeare Street, Hamilton. At the time, it was thought she was the oldest woman in Victoria living through the reign of six monarchs.

MARGARET WALKER The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 11 August 1939: 14. Web. 19 May 2017 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article204924449

Margaret long life ended two months after her birthday on 19 October 1939.  Her obituary in the Hamilton Spectator of 23 October 1939 said Margaret was, “…a lover of all things beautiful, and in quiet contentment, surrounded by her own people and home where she could indulge her liking, which amounted to almost a passion, for her garden she enjoyed to the full of her heart’s desire.”

Also buried with Thomas and Margaret is their daughter Maria, who Margaret outlived by seven years.  Maria Watson died at Hamilton aged seventy-six.

 

HEADSTONE OF MARIA WATSON (nee WALKER)

This is the second in a series of posts about the Old Hamilton Cemetery.  You can read the first on the link –  Hamilton Old Cemetery – Finding Family

© 2017 Merron Riddiford

Trove Tuesday – A Highway of Treasures

Recently at the Western District Families Facebook page, the page followers and I completed a virtual tour of the Hamilton Highway “stopping” at historic sites along the way. After 185 kilometres and eight weeks, the virtual tour rolled into Hamilton.  I could not have done it without Trove.  Using Trove as my search engine, I was able to locate relevant out of copyright photos held by the State Library of Victoria and the Museums Victoria Collection.  Also newspaper articles from Trove’s digitised newspapers along the way.

The Hamilton Highway was once the main route to the south-west of Victoria from Geelong and Melbourne and some of the earliest buildings, such as the Elephant Hotel at Darlington, date back to the 1840s.  There was such diversity in the history along the highway.  From Cressy, where local schoolmaster Gabriel Knight documented the growth of the township in the 1910s through to the German settlements between Penshurst and Hamilton dating back to the 1850s.  In between, we visited the beautiful homesteads, learnt about 19th century murders and visited former RAAF bases.  There were volcanoes, bank robberies and many faces from the past.

It was at Hexham that I almost stalled and could have quiet easily got sidetracked.  It had everything I enjoy, homesteads, historic gardens, horses and 1920s/30s glamour.  The Hexham Polo Club began in 1884 and polo really took off in the 1890s.  Families such as the Hoods, Manifolds and Urquharts were there in the beginning and some of their descendants are still members.  The polo drew visitors from Melbourne and the districts around Hexham and was a highlight of the social calendar as were the associated parties and dances.  The following photos are from a tournament in 1936.

"POLO CARNIVAL AT HEXHAM (V.)" The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 29 February 1936: 27 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). Web. 27 Feb 2017 .

“POLO CARNIVAL AT HEXHAM (V.)” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 29 February 1936: 27 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). Web. 27 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141769891&gt;.

 

"POLO CARNIVAL AT HEXHAM (V.)" The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 29 February 1936: 27 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). Web. 27 Feb 2017 .

“POLO CARNIVAL AT HEXHAM (V.)” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 29 February 1936: 27 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). Web. 27 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141769891&gt;.

It wasn’t easy to drag myself away from the polo but I had to keep motoring along but I then came across Boortkoi.  Now Boortkoi was not grandest or the oldest of the homesteads we saw along the Hamilton Highway, but the images of glamour, style and aristocracy it conjured up in my mind made it hard to continue past it.

The State Library of Victoria holds photos of Boortkoi as part of the J.T Collins Collection.  This is one of just many collections the State Library hold and I am constantly grateful to John Collins and his photography for the National Trust he left to the library.  

 J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231806

BOORTKOI, HEXHAM J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231806

Boortkoi was owned by the Manifold family and when I did some newspaper searching at Trove, I found this beautiful wedding photo.  On 7 March 1933, Andrew Manifold, son of Edward Manifold of Boortkoi married Jess Robertson of Melton South at Frankston.

"Table Talk of The Week" Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 16 March 1933: 4. Web. 27 Feb 2017 .

“Table Talk of The Week” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 16 March 1933: 4. Web. 27 Feb 2017 .

Jess Manifold was beautiful and stylish and I wanted to find out more about her and the life she and Andrew had at Boortkoi. Searching for Jess took me to Table Talk one of my favourite publications digitised at Trove.  I found Jess played tennis in a Camperdown tournament in 1935, a popular social event for the Melbourne socialites.  Table Talk reported on 3 January 1935, Jess had two tennis outfits a pink chukka skirt and a white linen skirt.  Also, at a wedding in January 1937, Jess looked stylish in a cinnamon brown chiffon cocktail dress with a straw toque (brimless) hat adorned with the latest trend, opalescent flowers.  And, at a cocktail party at the Menzies Hotel in 1937, she wore dusty pink with a blue hat, scarf and sash.  I also found Jess was at least twice voted one of Melbourne’s best best-dressed, the only country woman named.

""Grannies" among best-dressed" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 12 January 1950: 3. Web. 28 Feb 2017 .

“”Grannies” among best-dressed” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 January 1950: 3. Web. 28 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22804008&gt;.

In early 1935, the couple moved into the rebuilt homestead at Boortkoi.  During my Trove searches, I discovered Andrew and Jess had commissioned Edna Walling to design a new garden. The following image is Edna’s plan for the garden.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/236209

Edna Walling Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/236209

I love Edna Walling.  I’ve read her books, tried to emulate her style in my garden (and failed) and looked through her photos held by the State Library of Victoria, another of the wonderful collections they hold.  With Edna Walling now part of the Boortkoi story, I again started losing my way looking through Edna’s photos again, one of which is among my favourite photos I’ve found at the State Library of Victoria (below).

 Edna Walling Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/280983

Edna Walling Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/280983

The touring has now turned to the Henty Highway from Cherrypool to Portland and has just “arrived” at Branxholme.  There is so much history along the twenty-five kilometre stretch from Hamilton to Branxholme, it’s taken ten days to make the trip.  So why not join us.  You’ll find the Western District Families Facebook page here.

You can find the State Library of Victoria’s collection of photos on the link here and the Museums Victoria Collections on the link here.  Always check the copyright status of the photos and if there are any particular citing instructions.  The SLV has special instructions on their collections such as the J.T.Collins collection and the Museums Victoria also has guidelines for using their photos under the Creative Commons licence.  While I could look for my photos directly on those sites, I find using Trove is much easier for searching, filtering and working with the results and I can easily tag for future reference and keep my newspaper and photo discoveries together.

 

 

Passing of the Pioneers

Looking back through previous Passing of the Pioneers posts, I noticed the months of April and May have missed out a couple of times over the last five years.  To remedy that, this is joint post and look at the obituaries of seven pioneers from each of those months.  As usual, there are some wonderful stories and characters from towns across the Western District. Hexham features prominently with two of the best known past residents of the district included.   Be sure to click on the underlined text as you’ll find links to further information about the subjects.  

APRIL

CAMERON, Donald – Died April 1870 at Campbellfield.  Donald Cameron was born in Scotland around 1812 and travelled to Sydney about 1835.  He first selected at Mount Sturgeon Plains. He later took over Morgiana earning him the name “Morgiana Cameron” around the Hamilton district where he was known for wearing full Highland regalia to town.  Donald also held Bochara Station.  He was fifty-eight at the time of his death.  The Hamilton Spectator reported on the death of “Morgiana Cameron”, presenting him not very flattering terms.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 6 April 1870: 2. Web. 23 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196307141&gt;.

In response, Donald’s brother John wrote to the Hamilton Spectator, setting the record straight and reminding the paper that one should not speak ill of the dead.

“THE LATE MR. DONALD CAMERON.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 April 1870: 3. Web. 23 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196302866&gt;.

CHAPMAN, James – Died 15 April 1886 at Colac.  James Chapman was born in Scotland and attended the Bathgate Academy before working for the Linen Bank Company.  He arrived in Victoria around 1873 and started work with the Colonial Bank.  He was the manager at Sandhurst, then Portland for nine years before moving to the Colac branch.  Well known in Masonic circles, James was the Worshipful Master of the Warrion Lodge. His funeral included a Masonic burial service.  The Colac Herald published a further description of James’ life on 16 April 1886.

HORNE, John – 6 April 1914 at Terang.  John Horne was born in Scotland around 1825.  He arrived in Victoria in 1852 and tried his luck at the diggings before moving to the Warrnambool district.  He then went on to Terang in 1857 where few buildings existed and families lived in tents. John married Catherine McLean at Warrnambool in 1859 and they settled in High Street, Terang with John working as a bootmaker.  Two days before his death, John celebrated his fifty-seventh year in the town and was the longest continuous resident. He was a leading member of the Terang Presbyterian Church (below) and was a member of the Sons of Temperance, secretary of the Cemetery Trust and was on the State School Board of Advice.  He was also a trustee of the Mechanics Institute and the Public Park.  Catherine died in 1910 and John left a family of seven children.

THOMPSON MEMORIAL CHURCH, TERANG 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234278

PETRAS, Johanna – Died 11 April 1916 at Hamilton.  Johanna Petras was born in Prussia in 1816 and arrived in Australia at Geelong in 1855 with her husband Friedrich Herrmann.  They took up land near Muddy Creek in 1869 where they settled.  Johanna and Friedrich kept an orchard and vegetable garden, large enough to sell produce to the people of Hamilton each week. The couple attended St Lukes Lutheran Church (below) in South Hamilton.  Friedrich died in 1893 after a kick from a horse at the age of seventy-two.  They had four children with two still living at the time of Johanna’s death.

FORMER ST. LUKE’S LUTHERAN CHURCH, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229921

LITTLE, Thomas – Died 5 April 1917 at Camperdown.  Thomas Little was born around 1862 living at Terang all his life.  In 1886, he married Caroline Patterson.  Thomas was a founder of the Terang Butter Factory Company and a member of the Oddfellows Lodge.  At the time of his death, Thomas was looking after his son’s property Wiridgil near Camperdown.  He died suddenly after milking the cows on the morning of 5 April.  Thomas left his widow Caroline, two sons and one daughter and was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

HOULIHAN, Ellen – Died 26 April 1917 at Mortlake.  Ellen Houlihan was born in County Kerry, Ireland around 1837 and arrived in Victoria about 1857.  She spent some time at Warrnambool before moving to Mortlake.  In 1860, Ellen married James Campion and James ran a bootmaking business in Mortlake.  James died in 1895 and their son Michael took over the business. Ellen was a member of the Mortlake Roman Catholic Church congregation. She left two sons at the time of her death.

CATHOLIC CHURCH, MORTLAKE, Image courtesy of the State Libary of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64602

HOOD, Robert Alexander David – Died 10 April 1934 at Hexham.  Robert Hood was born at Merrang at Hexham in 1863 and attend Geelong Grammar School.  Better known as Alex, after his schooling he went to Burenda Station in Queensland to learn about station life before returning to Merrang to take over operations from his father.  Upon his fathers’ death,  Alex inherited Merrang.

MERRANG, HEXHAM. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231920

Alex was a champion polo player and a member of the “Caramut Four” polo team.  He was also captain of the Victorian team, touring the colonies and New Zealand. Below is a photo of the Victorian team in 1899 including other members of the Caramut team.  Further down, you’ll find another photo of Alex  Hood with James Chester Manifold and another Hexham passing pioneer.

“INTERCOLONIAL POLO MATCH.” Melbourne Punch (Vic. : 1855 – 1900) 18 May 1899: 21. Web. 26 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180224372&gt;.

In 1909, Alex married Georgina Anderson and they raised their family at Merrang.  Alex was a renown breeder of Lincoln sheep and racehorse owner.  He sat on the committee of the Warrnambool Racing Club for around forty years and won the 1918 Warrnambool Cup with Mneon.   He was also a Mortlake Shire councillor for over forty years. .  There are many photos of Alex Hood in the newspapers at Trove, easily found searching R.A.D.Hood and filtering the illustrated articles.  Most are from the races, like the photo from 1909 below showing Alex in the centre.

“WATCHING THE PARADE OK STEEPLECHASERS.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 8 May 1909: 30. Web. 27 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139692972&gt;.

More information and photos about the Hexham Polo Club are on the link here.  Further reading about the Hoods at Merrang is available on this link to The Australasian

MAY

MALSEED, John – Died May 1915 at Myamyn. John Malseed was born in Donegal, Ireland in 1824 and arrived at Portland in 1849 where he started in the carpentry trade. He married Elizabeth Wallace and a daughter was born in 1851.  With the discovery of gold at Ballarat, John left his family in Portland and walked to the diggings where he had some luck.  In 1866, John moved his family to Sunnyside at Myamyn and worked as a contractor for the Portland Council.  The Malseed family attended the Myamyn Methodist Church where John was superintendent of the Sunday School.  Elizabeth died in 1891.  The couple had ten children but only five were living at the time of John’s death at the age of ninety-two

WATERS, John – Died 4 May 1917 at Nareen.  John Waters was born in Ireland’s north at Lurgan in 1830.  Newly married, James and his wife Ellen Maxwell arrived at Portland aboard the General Hewitt in 1856 and John secured work at Newlands near Apsley.  They went on to Lake Wallace North before settling at Rock View near Nareen where they settled and John raised Merino sheep.  At the time they were among the first settlers in the district.  John and Ellen went on to raise five sons and three daughters.  Ellen died in April 1913 and John in 1917 aged eighty-six.  District newspapers,  such as the Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser below, published parts of John’s Casterton News obituary.

“PORTLAND RED CROSS.” Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 10 May 1917: 2 (MORNING). Web. 27 May 2017 .

The Casterton News of 7 May 1917 added John had “little sympathy for the coddling legislation of later days, being a whole-souled believer in the fine old doctrine of ‘Paddle your own canoe.'”

McBAIN, Anne – Died 12 May 1917 at Casterton.  Born in Scotland around 1831, Anne McBain married Archibald McKinnon and they left for Australia arriving at Port Adelaide on the Man-O’-War in 1854.  Travelling to Victoria, they settled at Dergholm where they spent the next thirty years raising four sons and four daughters.  In her later years, Annie moved to Casterton. and regularly attended Scots Church.  At the time of her death, Anne left eighteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  One-third of her grandchildren were serving overseas when she died, with six grandsons enlisted.  Because of her family’s involvement in the war, on 20 May 1917, Annie was to attend Scots Church to unveil the second list on the church honour roll but she died the week before. Her death came on the anniversary of the death of her husband Archibald in 1898.
 
 

SCOTS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CASTERTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63512

NIXON, George – Died 16 May 1917 at Terang.  Born around 1833 in Northumberland, England, George Nixon arrived at Port Fairy aboard the Tiptree on 9 January 1857.  He married Emily Parry in the same year and they moved to Caramut. After twenty years they moved to Lovely Banks near Garvoc where they remained for thirty years.  George bred and exhibited Lincoln sheep and his relatively small but successful stud caught The Australasian newspaper’s attention with an article on 5 August 1899.  His sheep, and presumably George, were photographed in 1898 at the Sheep-Breeders Show.

“THE SHEEP-BREEDERS’ SHOW.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 13 August 1898: 32. Web. 28 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138603271&gt;.

Around 1907, George and Emily moved to McKinnon Street, Terang where Emily died in 1913.

URQUHART, Roderick Robert – Died 18 May 1917 at Hexham.  Roderick Urquhart was born around 1849, a son of Roderick William Urquhart and Lydia Fraser.  Roderick’s father arrived in Sydney in 1837 before travelling to Victoria 1842. When Roderick Jr was born, the Urquharts were settled at Yangery Park at  Illowa near Warrnambool.  Around the time Roderick was seven, the Urquharts returned to Scotland for the children’s education.  Went they returned to Yangery Park in 1862, Roderick’s father purchased Ardachy near Branxholme for Roderick and his brother Angus.  They ran it for a few years before selling and Roderick left for Queensland in the Birdsville district.  

By 1882, Roderick was back in Victoria and forming a partnership with Walter Armstrong of Hexham Park.  Another partnership Roderick entered into was his marriage tp Walter’s sister Mary Helen Armstrong (below) in 1883.  Roderick and Mary, better known as Helen, had two sons and three daughters.

MARY HELEN ARMSTRONG c1882 Stewart & Co. photographer. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/235424

During the mid-1900s, Hexham Park was divided up and Roderick and Walter’s partnership dissolved.  Roderick took up part of the former Hexham Park property and named it Boonerah.  Sons Keith and Roderick Jr were members of the Caramut Polo Club (later known as the Hexham Polo Club) and Roderick enjoyed supporting them.  He also enjoyed the races and in 1914, three of Hexham’s most notable gentleman were photographed together at the Colac races.  They are from left Roderick Urquhart, James Chester Manifold of Bortkoi, Hexham and Alex Hood (see April obituaries above)

“COLAC TURF CLUB: CUP MEETING, FEBRUARY 24.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 28 February 1914: 68. Web. 29 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143317765&gt;.

When WW1, broke both Roderick and Helen’s sons enlisted.  Roderick Jr, better known as Roddie, was killed on 7 August 1916 in Palestine aged thirty.  Roderick and Helen learnt the news soon after and it may have contributed to Roderick’s sudden death eight months later at the age of sixty-eight.  Keith returned to Australia on 11 July 1917, two months after his father’s death.  You can read Roderick Urquhart’s Obituary Australia entry on the link here.

NELSON, Thomas – 8 May 1918 at Colac.  Thomas Nelson was born in Scotland on Christmas Eve, 1844.  He became a sailor and sailed to “practically every seaport in the world”.  He arrived in Australia around 1865, settling at Cressy.  Thomas married Eliza Ann Perkins in 1869.  In those times, Cressy consisted of only three buildings being two stone houses and the Frenchman’s Inn. Thomas built many stone walls in the district including at Yarima where his brother John was the manager for many years and where Thomas worked for four years.

YARIMA STATION, CRESSY c1912 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/369501

Thomas selected around twenty acres at Mia Mia near Poorneet growing barley which he carted to Ballarat.  With the lands opening up in the Wimmera, the Nelsons moved to Donald but drought saw them eventually return to Cressy.  Thomas then started working on the roads for the Cressy Shire Council.  At the time of his death, Thomas left his widow Eliza, five sons, four daughters and thirty-three grandchildren.  He was buried at the Cressy Cemetery.

STEVENSON, Joseph Tyson – Died May 1938 at Hamilton.  Joseph Stevenson was born at Portland around 1873, a son of Joseph Stevenson and Mary Hale. Joseph’s first worked at the Portland Guardian learning the newspaper printing trade.   He then took a job with the Echo in Ballarat.  Joseph married Laura Pfundt in 1899 and they moved to Hamilton where Joseph worked as a compositor at the Hamilton Spectator. Retirement in 1936 was a chance for  Joseph to try farming, something he had longed to do.  He purchased land near Mount Gambier but took ill and never got the opportunity to pursue his dream.  In his day, Joseph took part in competitive cycling races.  He left his widow Laura, three daughters and six sons.

Hamilton Cemetery Trust News

Some great things are happening at the two cemeteries overseen by the Hamilton Cemetery Trust. There was the Notable Graves Walk at the General Cemetery (Old) including signage with a short biography on those graves, new denominational signage, upgrades to pathways and a new website. The trust’s latest news is all burials from both the General and the Lawn cemeteries are now available online.

There have been 15,000 burials at the two cemeteries so many graves to walk around aimlessly when looking for a family member. Until now I’ve used Ian Marr’s wonderful Cemeteries of SW Victoria USB so I know who I’m looking for but where they are is another question.  I’ve done many laps looking for the graves of relatives, fortunately, I also like to take photos of other headstones along the way.  A friend returning to Hamilton spent thirty minutes with six other family members searching for her grandfather’s grave.  

Those days are over.  Now I’ve checked the new “Deceased Search” and map facility, I’ve found I’ve walked straight past several of the graves I’ve been looking for.  Next time I visit I’ll be able to plot my course in advance and finally find the graves I’ve been looking for.  If I get lost while there, I can check the site on my phone to get back on track.  Access like that is great for those passing through Hamilton and spot the cemetery on the highway.  If you like to frequent cemeteries, you’ll know about those impromptu visits. 

Given Hamilton’s size, it’s a credit to the Hamilton Cemetery Trust for continuing to make their cemeteries visitor friendly. They are certainly leading the way among the peers in the Western District.  And why shouldn’t they want to share this wonderful piece of history when burials include the father of a saint, one of Victoria’s first European Settlers, a daughter-in-law of one of the greatest writers the world as seen, and at the Lawn Cemetery, a Victoria Cross recipient.  You’ll find the Deceased Search via the Hamilton Cemetery Trust Home Page on the link here and more about some of the notable graves.  I have a new post on the way about some of the graves I’m drawn to each time I visit the General Cemetery (or old cemetery as it’s commonly known). 

A Box of Chocolates

Each year when writing a post to mark the “birth” of Western District Families, I describe the occasion differently whether it be blogiversary, anniversary or birthday.  After finding the traditional gift for a sixth anniversary is candy, I settled on an anniversary this year.  So, Happy 6th Anniversary Western District Families.

The idea of candy took my mind straight to my cousin “Sweet” Daisy Diwell, an employee at MacRobertson’s Chocolates in Fitzroy and to a Trove Tuesday subject the “Sweet-toothed Fox” a nocturnal visitor to the MacRobertson factory who feasted on the delights within.  Next, I thought of chocolate boxes, particularly the beautiful MacRobertson’s Chocolate boxes.

MacROBERTSON’S CHOCOLATE BOX c1933. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/34008

MacRobertson chocolate boxes are not all that comes to mind. I often think of Forrest Gump and his chocolate box while I’m researching, particularly the men of Hamilton’s WW1.  Starting with the name of a man I know nothing about, I then delve into his life never knowing what I might find.  So many times I’ve been surprised at what’s under the lid when I lift it.  Researching family history generally is much the same.  If you’re lucky, when you do lift the lid you’ll find something like this…

MacROBERTSON CHOCOLATES. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32815

When I began reflecting on Western District Families’ year, I felt I hadn’t achieved a lot. Looking at the “Home” page and the low numbers of posts, it would seem not much has happened. Then I thought about why that was the case and only then realised how much I had achieved.  As well as being very busy on the home front, Hamilton’s WW1 has been time-consuming with most stories taking several hours of research and writing.  At the same time last year, I had seventy-five biographies and it’s taken a year to add another forty-three but it’s been worth every moment.

‘HAMILTON BOYS’ c 30 April 1915. Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DAOD1060 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/

As well as the lists of Hamilton enlistments and posts about Hamilton’s WW1 memorials, Hamilton’s WW1 now has 118 biographies of enlisted men. Each includes a family history, photos and links to relevant online records. Those 118 men make up most of the names of the Hamilton War Memorial and Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue combined, so by this Anzac Day, I hope to have available a full biography of each man.  And not forgetting the nurses, I am also close to finishing the first biography of a WW1 Nurse who trained at Hamilton.

Passing of the Pioneers and the associated Pioneer Obituary Index achieved a milestone in the past year, with 700 pioneer obituaries now indexed.  As I’ve been looking for an opportunity to highlight some of the female pioneers, Women’s History Month was perfect to look back at ten of the women who were Passing of the Pioneers subjects over the past five years in  “Wonderful Women of the Western District” Part 1 and Part 2

CAVENDISH OLD CEMETERY

The Facebook pages, Western District Families and Hamilton’s WW1 continue to grow.  I’ve been delighted to see the interest in the WDF page as it nears 3300 “likes” up from 2000 at this time last year.  During the year, I’ve led the page followers on three virtual historic tours of Western District highways which have been great fun. The wonderful memories shared by those following brought another dimension to the posts. Last month the page’s theme was Women’s History Month and this month, we are remembering the enlisted men and women of the Western District. Then it will be time for another virtual historic tour, this time along the Henty Highway.

A personal achievement was successfully completing a Diploma of Family Historical Studies with the Society of Australian Genealogists, a goal for some time. The task was to complete a 20,000-word family history using a range of sources.  Of course, I chose the Harman family because I knew the most about them.  It was a valuable exercise for my family history research. When I started Western District Families, I soon learnt writing a narrative about family members leads to new discoveries but writing a family history such as I did took it to another level. Now I have a broader knowledge of the family and more understanding of their motivations and emotions but there is still more to learn. It’s something I’d like to try with some of my other families…if I ever get the time.

So that’s the year all wrapped up in a bow.  When you lift the lid on your next box of chocolates I hope you are pleasantly surprised at what you find inside.

MacROBERTSON CHOCOLATE BOX c1933. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/34008

 

Passing of the Pioneers

It’s Women’s History Month so I thought I would have an all female Passing of the Pioneers. Men have dominated past Passing of the Pioneers posts so I didn’t think it was going to be easy. However, I managed to find thirteen obituaries of some amazing women including sisters.  There was a common theme with several losing their husbands at an early age, leaving them to raise children alone. There is also extra information for most of the women so click on any underlined text to read more about the subject.

Mary DRISCOLL – Died 3 March 1908 at Portland.  Mary Driscoll was born in Kent around 1828 and later married James Wadmore.  The couple came to Australia on the ship Constant on her maiden voyage for shipping agents Messrs S.G.Henty & Co with James acting as doctor’s assistant on the voyage. They arrived at Portland Bay on 24 February 1855 and one of the crew carried Mary ashore. They were in Portland a short time when James got work with Charlton Hedditch at Cape Bridgewater where they took up land themselves. The couple’s first daughter Ann was born during their first year in Victoria and a son was later born.

A month after their second daughter Sarah was born in 1859, James drowned after he was washed off rocks on the west coast of Cape Bridgewater.  That did not deter Mary who worked hard to raise her children regardless of the hardships.  She was a city girl but adapted quickly to her new life in the isolation of Cape Bridgwater. As well as caring for her own family, she rode a “spirited bay mare” across the district helping those who were sick.  When her daughter Sarah was fifteen, she was offered teacher training, pleasing Mary a great deal.  Mary remained at Cape Bridgewater until around 1905 when her daughters Ann and Sarah bought Annesley in Julia Street, Portland, operating a private guest house. That is where Mary died in 1908.

ANNESLEY, PORTLAND. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233404

Eliza McANALLY – Died March 1909 at Myamyn. Eliza McAnally was born in Ireland around 1836.  She married her husband James Cowan in 1855 and the couple immediately left Ireland for Australia arriving at Portland.  They made their way to Crawford Station near Condah where James had work.  They remained there nine years then selected their own land near Condah. The farm on Lake Condah Road was known as Pleasant Banks.  In April 1876, Eliza and James’ only son died after an outbreak of scarlet fever in the district.  He was nine.

Around 1886, the Cowans built a new homestead. Only months later, a fire in January 1887 burnt their garden fence and to within two feet of the new house.  The Cowans were away from home at the time but James returned just as the doormat caught fire.  The Cowans remained at Pleasant Banks until about 1903 when they moved to Myamyn to live with their daughters Sarah and Isabella who had both married into the Malseed family.  James died in 1905 at the home of their daughter Sarah Malseed.  Eliza remained living at Myamyn but fell sick in early 1909 and died six weeks later.

Lucy RICHARDSON – Died 9 March 1911 at Hamilton.  Lucy Richardson was born around 1831 at Ulverstone, England and arrived in Melbourne in 1857.  In 1861, Lucy married Law Gooderidge and they left for Hamilton where Law was opening Clough & Co., a wool brokers business in Gray Street. Three children were born at Hamilton but in late 1866,  Law died suddenly aged thirty-three. At the time, Lucy was pregnant and gave birth to a daughter Elizabeth Law Gooderidge in 1867.  By the 1880s, Lucy was living in French Street, Hamilton and on 9 May 1889, Lucy’s youngest daughter Elizabeth, known as Lawla, married Harold Learmonth a son of prominent Hamilton businessman Peter Learmonth.  Lucy died suddenly at The Gables (below) in French Street, Hamilton the home Harold and Lawla.  Lucy left one son and three daughters. She was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

THE GABLES, HAMILTON

Catherine MATHEWS – Died 9 March 1912 at Cavendish.  Catherine was born in County Louth, Ireland around 1843. She arrived at Geelong in 1861 before travelling to Hamilton. In April 1866, Father Farrelly married Catherine and Edward Hynes in the then wooden Roman Catholic chapel. Catherine and Edward settled at Flower Hill near Cavendish where they remained for twenty-eight years.  In 1895, they moved to Wattle Grove at Glenisla.  As a devout Roman Catholic, Catherine went to church every Sunday even as her health failed her.

Mary MALONE – Died 3 March 1914 at Dunkeld.  Mary Malone was a daughter of Henry and Rose Malone and her obituary states she was eighty years of age, born in Ashby Street, Geelong. Melbourne wasn’t settled in 1834, let alone Geelong so the story had become a little mixed up over the years. When I checked the Victorian Assisted Passenger Lists, I found a Henry and Rose Malone and three children, Joseph aged ten, Mary aged eight and Ann aged one.  They arrived at Geelong in 1841 aboard the Frankfield.

In 1851, Mary married Thomas Lynch and their first child was born in 1852 at Batesford.  They moved to Mount Burchett Estate west of Glenthompson by the 1860s. In January 1890, Thomas died and shortly after, in March 1890, a fire lit in scrub near Mount Burchett went through the property.  At the time there was only Mary and another woman there. Mary lost sheds, outbuildings and a haystack.  She sold Mount Burchett in November 1890 and moved to Dunkeld to live with one of her sons.  At the time of her death, Mary had six sons, two daughters, six great-grandsons and fifteen great-granddaughters. She was buried at Glenthompson with Thomas.

Mary BEATON – Died 2 March 1915 at Hamilton.  Mary Beaton was born on the Isle of Skye, Scotland around 1847.  She arrived in Portland aboard the Edward Johnson with her parents in 1854, then transferred to another ship to travel on to nearby Port Fairy. In 1867 when Mary was twenty, she married Thomas Clohesy at the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and they settled in the town. On 24 April 1910, Thomas died suddenly at the age of sixty.  Mary went to live with her daughter Mary-Ann and her husband Robert May in Gray Street.  On 2 March 1915, Mary had a visitor, a shipmate from the Edward Johnson. The pair had just set off for a walk from Mary’s daughter’s home when Mary suffered an apoplexy fit and never regained consciousness, dying six hours later. The cause was put down to the excitement of the occasion.  Mary was sixty-eight and was buried in the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below). She left two daughters and four sons.

GRAVE OF THOMAS AND MARY CLOHESY, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

Evelyn MAY – Died 5 March 1916 at Coleraine. Evelyn May and her sister Bessie both died at Coleraine in March 1916.  Evelyn’s death was barely acknowledged in the papers and it was Bessie’s obituary that alerted me to Evelyn’s death three weeks before.  As she did not have an obituary, I’ve had to do some digging to find out more about Evelyn.

Evelyn May was born in Middlesex, England around 1837, the middle daughter of Leon May and Abigail Lyons.  The 1841 England Census lists Leon, Abigail and three girls, Elizabeth (Bessie), Avelina (Evelyn) and Isabella.  Leon was a dentist and they lived at Harrison Street, Bloomsbury, London in what was known as the Harrison Estate.  Leon was from “foreign parts” and Abigail was born in Scotland.  Leon was not present at the time of the 1851 England Census, but the rest of the family were still in Bloomsbury but had moved to Russell Street.  Evelyn’s mother, by then known as Adelaide, listed her occupation as a dental surgeon.

Evelyn’s elder sister Bessie left for Australia around 1861 and married, taking up residence at Coleraine. In 1865, Bessie’s brother-in-law Louis Lesser travelled from Coleraine to England and in 1867, he and Evelyn married and left for Australia.  They arrived in Melbourne and made their way to Coleraine to join Louis’ brother Abraham and Evelyn’s sister Elizabeth.  Louis and Abraham had been in partnership in store in Whyte Street,  Coleraine but mutually dissolved it in May 1865 when Louis left for London.  But they seem to have resumed the partnership with Louis operating the store with other family members after Abraham’s death in 1886.  Evelyn died in 1916 and Louis died on 19 June 1921.  They were buried in the Jewish section of the Coleraine Cemetery.  It appears they had no children. The photo of A.Lesser & Co Pty. Ltd. (below) was taken in 1922, after Louis’ death.

A.LESSER & CO., WHYTE STREET, COLERAINE. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769410

Hanora FLEMING – Died 22 March 1916 at Hamilton.  Hanora was born in Ireland around 1850.  On arrival in Victoria, the Fleming family settled at Woodend.  In 1870, Hanora also known as Norah married Thomas Joseph Fitzsimmons, a railway worker.  Their first child Eliza was born in 1871 at Woodend and over the next decade, more children were born as the family moved around with Thomas’ work.  By the 1880s, the family was living in Ballarat. In 1892, Hanora had the last of her children at the age of forty-two.

On 19 January 1900, one of Thomas’ work mates and close friends Edward Lake, had part of his foot amputated while shunting trains at Elaine.  The accident had a deep effect on Thomas and he went into shock.  As a result, he died on 1 February 1900 at Ballarat.  At the time of Thomas’ death, the Fitzsimmons were living in Peel Street North, just near the railway bridge.  Hanora still had four children under the age of eighteen in her care.  Her eldest son Edmund lived in Hamilton and a daughter was also there with her husband Robert Drummond, the licensee of the Victoria Hotel in Gray Street, Hamilton. Hanora moved to Hamilton sometime after 1905, reuniting the family. Hanora died in 1916, leaving three sons and three daughters.

Elizabeth MAY – Died 22 March 1916 at Coleraine.  Elizabeth May, better known as Bessie, was born around 1835 in Manchester, England.  As a young child, her dentist father moved the family to Bloomsbury, London.  Around 1860, Bessie travelled to Victoria and in 1861, married Abraham Lesser at the Mikveh Israel Melbourne Synagogue.

“Family Notices” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 13 April 1861: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5699307

Abraham operated a store in Coleraine with his brother Louis, so Bessie moved to Coleraine taking up residence in a house she would live in until her death.  In 1867, Bessie’s sister arrived in Coleraine from London after her marriage to Abraham’s brother Louis.  A search of children born to Bessie and Abraham Lesser at Victoria Births Deaths and Marriage was interesting with the results showing several children.  Bessie lost her first two unnamed babies and by 1870, had lost five children. In November 1886, Abraham died suddenly after taking ill at a concert.  He was sixty.  They had four children still living at the time.

On 5 March 1916, Bessie’s younger sister Evelyn died and only three weeks later, Bessie died. At the time of her death, she had just one son and one daughter from her large family of ten. Bessie was remembered fondly in both the local papers and the Jewish Herald.  Bessie was musical and was believed to have taken the first piano to Coleraine, regularly playing at concerts. She was also the secretary of the Ladies Benevolent Society.  Bessie was remembered for her good sense of humour and charitable ways.  She bequeathed a large amount of money to various institutions and causes including £10 to the Hamilton Hospital.  Bessie was buried in the Jewish section of the Coleraine Cemetery.

Eliza WHITTAKER – Died 13 March 1918 at Macarthur.  Eliza Whittaker was born in Ireland but moved with her family to Somerset, England after the death of her father.  She married Samuel Trigger and they had three children.  On 9 April 1853, the family arrived at Portland aboard the Eliza.  They went to Mount Taurus, west of Winslow and Samuel worked as a sawyer.  They later settled near Macarthur, acquiring land at Warrabkook and Mount Eccles.  Four grandsons enlisted for WW1 and in 1916 one was killed, Samuel Trigger at Mouquet Farm, France. His body was never recovered. In 1917, Samuel and Eliza Trigger were photographed for The Weekly Times of 14 April 1917 when they were both aged ninety-five.

“A VENERABLE COUPLE.” Weekly Times (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 Apr 1917: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121151983

Eliza died on 13 March 1918 and Samuel died only three weeks later.  They left four sons, two daughters, thirty-one grandchildren and thirty-eight great children.

Johanna Helena HERGER – Died 17 March 1918 at Yulecart.  Johanna Herger was born around 1833 in Breslau, Silesia, now known as Wroclaw, Poland.  Around 1859, she married Ernest Reich and they had two daughters, Ernestine and Emelie.  In 1874, the Reichs arrived in Victoria and moved to the Yulecart district where Ernest farmed. Johanna and Ernest’s daughters never married and remained living with their parents.  By 1900, Johanna was an invalid and early that year fire burnt through 140 acres of the Reich’s property. Ernest, most likely into his seventies, and his daughters fought the fire alone on 28 January 1900.  It ran up to the homestead, a scary experience for housebound Johanna.  They managed to save the homestead but lost two haystacks. Ernestine and Emelie cared for their parents in their old age, operating a dairy farm to support the family.  Johanna died on 17 March 1918, and Ernest died six months later on September 1918.

Sarah Jane COLE – Died March 1947 at Geelong.  Sarah Jane Cole was born in Lethbridge in 1861.  She was the youngest daughter of teacher Robert Nelson Cole.  She spent her early years at Boot’s Creek near Daylesford where her father was teaching.  Sarah’s brother Robert followed his father into teaching and before long Sarah too had taken up the profession. When she was nineteen, Sarah was appointed head teacher at the Carpendeit School, east of Cobden.  She lived with her brother Robert who was living and teaching at the South Purrumbete school.  Sarah rode seven miles to school each morning and seven miles home at night.  She was a “fearless horsewoman” but if for some reason she couldn’t take her horse, she was happy to walk the distance and she was never late. But it wasn’t the safest thing for a young lady to do as she found out.

“Tribute to Life of The Late Mrs.Port” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 27 March 1947: 5 (Afternoons.). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65240862

Eventually, Sarah was able to board at Carpendeit and in time a residence was built.  In 1884, Sarah married John Port of Port Campbell.  There first child a son John George Port was born the following year. Sarah had a further seven children.  Sarah also wrote poetry and sent them to the newspapers. Personal experience may have inspired one of those “On the Death of a Baby” published on 12 January 1889.

“ON THE DEATH OF A BABY.” The Caulfield and Elsternwick Leader (North Brighton, Vic. : 1888 – 1902) 12 January 1889 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66889460 .

In those times, it was still possible for a married woman to continue teaching and Sarah did so until around 1898 when the regulations changed.  In 1902, she wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Colac Herald defending a local married woman still teaching. Sarah was active in the Carpendeit community as a member of the Band of Hope and the Carpendeit Methodist Church.

In 1900, the Ports sold their farm and moved to Nalangil, west of Colac. During her time there, the Education Department asked Sarah to fill in for a few months at the Nalangil School.  Around 1926, John’s health was failing so he and Sarah moved to Ryrie Street, Geelong where he eventually died in August 1927. Around 1932, Sarah went to live with her daughter in Kilgour Street, Geelong. At the age of seventy-three in 1934, Sarah published a book “Victoria’s Centenary and Other Loyal Poems”.  There were fourteen poems and the book sold for a shilling. Sarah died at here daughter’s home in March 1947 aged eighty-six

Ellen Lavinia WINCHCOMB – Died 5 March 1954 at Cobden.  Ellen Winchcomb was born in Cobden about 1883, a daughter of James Winchcomb and Fanny Laundry. Known as Nell, she was organist at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Cobden and did all the floral arrangements for the church and was a Sunday School Teacher.

ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/772413

Ellen was a keen gardener and kept a cottage style garden. In 1914, Ellen’s mother Fanny visited a sister living on the Penshurst Road, Hamilton.  She fell sick there and died at Hamilton on 4 December 1914 aged fifty-eight. Ellen’s father, James Winchcomb died in 1925. On 5 March 1954, Ellen died at her home in Cobden after a long illness.

Wonderful Western District Women Part 2

It’s Women’s History Month and this is my second instalment of Wonderful Western District Women.  As in Part 1, I share the stories of five women I’ve been taken with while writing Passing of the Pioneers over the past five years.  In this post, all five women were in business in some capacity. One was also a teacher.  All are very similar in the level of perseverance and determination they displayed, but each led very different lives.  For example, two never married with one shunning the company of others and the other drawing people to her. As noted in one of their obituaries, they are “those splendid women, whose unselfish, unwearying zeal helped to make the Victoria of today”.  Click on the underlined text for more information about a subject.

DONNELLY, Jane (c1834-1914)  Also known as Jane Walsh and Jane Jenkins.

Jane Donnelly was born in Ireland around 1834 and arrived in Victoria in the early 1860s.  She married William Walsh in 1865 and together they operated the Forester’s Hotel at Myamyn.  Jane and William had three children before William died in 1877 aged forty-nine. It was the same year a fourth child was born. Jane continued to run the hotel although she did try to sell it. In 1881, the hotel was badly damaged by fire leading to Jane’s insolvency in 1881 with debts of £145.

“Advertising” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 24 April 1880: 3 (MORNINGS.). 

 

“Items of News” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 19 May 1881

In 1883, Jane married William Gordon Jenkins and they went to Portland to run the Victoria Hotel.  The building was dilapidated and they were soon closed down.  That appears to have been the end of Jane’s days in the hotel trade.  In their later years, Jane and William moved to Hawkesdale to live with Jane’s daughter.  Jane died at Hawkesdale in 1916 aged eighty.  William died the following year.

STEWART, Christina (1825-1921) Also known as Christina McPherson.

Christina Stewart was born at Kingussie, Scotland around 1825 and travelled with her husband, Duncan McPherson, to Australia in November 1851 on board the Hooghly.  While Duncan went off to the goldfields, Christina waited in Melbourne until they journeyed to Portland and then on to Strathdownie. In March 1857, Duncan purchased the Woodford Inn located just north of Dartmoor on the Glenelg River and a son Alexander was born in the same year. The inn was a busy place as it was at a crossing point on the river with a punt moored at the inn for that purpose. Christina had eight children and during her child-bearing years, rarely saw another white woman. She made friends with the local Aboriginal women, teaching them to cook and make damper. If she had guests staying at the inn, the Aboriginals caught crayfish in the river for her.  The McPhersons eventually moved to Hamilton, residing in Coleraine Road.  Christina died there in 1921 aged ninety-six.

RYAN, Mary  (c1834-1914) 

When I wrote about Mary Ryan for Passing of the Pioneers, there was little known about her other than she ran a servants’ registry office in Hamilton and she died ten months after fire burnt her home down. I also gathered from her short obituary, she was very independent. Mary never married and living a seemingly solitary life, save for the interactions through her business. When Mary died there was no-one to give the names of her parents, so her death record shows her parents as “unknown”.  Since her Passing of the Pioneers appearance, more Hamilton Spectators have become available at Trove and I’ve been able to find out a little more about Mary.

The earliest newspaper reference I could find of Mary Ryan in Hamilton was in 1864 when she advertised her dressmaking services in the Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser.  Her advertisement said she was “late of South Yarra” and she was operating from Thompson Street. Other women in Hamilton including a Mrs Owens were combining dressmaking with servant registry businesses so it was a natural progression for Mary to do the same.  She began advertising both services in 1867 from a shop in Gray Street.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870) 29 June 1867 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194474076

In September 1870, fire swept through several shops in Gray Street, destroying Mary’s shop.  The report in the Hamilton Spectator said the occupants were able to get their valuables out. Mary appears to have rebuilt and on 8 March 1877 the land where her shop stood was sold, the Hamilton Spectator published the results of the sale.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 8 March 1877: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226045698 .

Mary responded in the next edition.

“VALUE OF HAMILTON LAND.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 10 March 1877: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226042386&gt;.

Mary expanded into millinery and drapery.  Only days after Mary placed this advertisement, she sold her shop on  13 July 1878, by auction but I wasn’t able to find a report of the sale in the paper.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 2 July 1878:  <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226069431&gt;.

Two years later, an incident highlighted the potential dangers for a woman living alone.

“HAMILTON POLICE COURT.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 5 August 1880: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225488525&gt;.

That wasn’t the only such incident.  In October 1888, some local “larrikins” were in court charged with “rocking” Mary’s roof in Gray Street.  They also verbally abused her, calling her by name, well aware of who she was.  In her evidence, Mary stated her residence was opposite the Hamilton Mechanics Institute.  In 1895, Mary moved her business to Cox Street and by 1905, she had moved to Brown Street near the Hamilton Railway Station.  On 2 November 1910, Mary suffered another blow when fire swept through her shop and residence.  Built of pine, the shop burnt quickly and only a small box of valuables was saved.  Fortunately, Mary was away from home at the time.

Mary remained stubbornly independent in old age despite becoming very frail.  She stayed in her home, but besides the hospital, it seems she really had nowhere else to go.  In February 1914, a fire broke out in her home, accidentally started when Mary dropped a lit match on some papers on the floor.

“FIRE IN BROWN STREET.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 20 February 1914: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119823533&gt;.

While she wasn’t injured in the fire, it may have taken a toll as she passed away eight months later.  Her age was given as eighty.

“Hamilton Spectator” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 December 1914: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119874336&gt;.

SLOAN, Susan  (c1844-1918)

Susan Sloan was born in Glasgow, Scotland and after arriving in Portland in 1855, she went to Ararat where she married Thomas Sloan the following year.  Thomas ran a soda water manufacturing factory. In 1867, Susan returned to Portland with Thomas and they built the White Horse Brewery and a bakery in Gawler Street. Trade was tough and they moved inland in 1873 to Hamilton where they saw greater opportunities. Thomas purchased the North Hamilton Brewery from his brothers James and Robert.  In 1882, Thomas had a timber building constructed in Cox Street for a cordial factory.

Grace Sloan, a daughter of Susan and Thomas suffered consumption since 1893, and on doctor’s advice, she left Hamilton for a drier climate with friends in N.S.W. She departed on her journey but only reached Melbourne before her conditioned worsened and she telegraphed Susan to go to Melbourne. Grace improved so Susan returned home. A week or so later, Susan heard Grace had died in a Melbourne Hospital on 20 July 1895 aged twenty-one.  A memorial service was held at Hamilton’s Christ Church, where Grace had sung with the choir. The following year Susan had a close call herself.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 12 March 1896: 2. Web. 10 Mar 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225868558&gt;.

In 1903, the Hamilton Spectator reported Susan had sold the North Hamilton Brewery to Mr J.B.Webb.  He didn’t do much with it and in 1904, the Sloans revitalised it with new equipment. They did the same at the cordial factory where they could produce up to sixty dozen bottles per hour.  Susan advertised prior to Christmas 1908, citing her fifty-two years in the business.

 

“CHRISTMAS DRINKS.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 December 1908: 4. Web. 10 Mar 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225895607&gt;.

Thomas died in May 1910 and Susan continued to run the business until her death, after which time family members continued operations. The Sloan’s cottage Whinhill in Pope Street, Hamilton still stands today.

“WHINHILL” – THE FORMER COTTAGE OF THE SLOAN FAMILY, POPE STREET, HAMILTON.

 

WADMORE, Sarah Jane (1859-1941)

Sarah Wadmore was the youngest daughter of Cape Bridgewater pioneers James Wadmore and Mary Driscoll. She was born in 1859 and only a month after her birth, James Wadmore drowned after he was washed off rocks while fishing on the west coast of  Cape Bridgewater.

By the age of fifteen, Sarah was helping her brothers on their mother’s farm. Mr and Mrs Joseph Voysey from the local state school saw something special in her and offered to train Sarah as a teacher.  In 1880, Sarah became head teacher at the new Kentbruck school.  Prior to that she was living at Bacchus Marsh and teaching at the school of Mr and Mrs Voysey.  From Kentbruck, Sarah was head teacher at the Tahara State School twelve years, her last teaching appointment.   In 1905, Sarah and her sister Anne moved to Annesley in Julia Street, Portland to operate a private boarding house.

“ANNESLEY’, JULIA STREET, PORTLAND. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233404

One of their first “guests” at Annesley was Rosalie Brewer, the only child of the previous owner, Dr Brewer. Rosalie was confined to bed at Annesley for over twenty years until her death on 2 March 1926 at the age of fifty-seven.  Sarah, then sixty-seven, along with her sister, gave Rosalie the love and care a mother would, nursing her through those years.  Sarah’s mother Mary also moved into Annesley from her home at Cape Bridgewater and she died there in 1908.

Inspired by the pioneering life of her mother and others at Cape Bridgewater, Sarah had a great interest in the history of Portland and its pioneers.  It was always her ambition to publish the history of Portland’s women and in 1934, with the approaching centenary of the arrival of the Henty Bros, Sarah and two other local’s, Mrs Marion Hedditch and Mr E. Davis of the Portland Observer produced a booklet entitled Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance for the event.  As Secretary of the Portland Pioneer Women’s Association, she was also the main force behind the Pioneer Women’s statue near the Shire Offices at Portland.  Also in 1934,  Sarah contributed to a supplement for the Portland Guardian for the centenary of the arrival of the Hentys at Portland Bay called Lone furrows on sea and land, or, Historical Portland .  For the publication, Sarah wrote of the Reminiscences of a Pioneer State School Teacher

“OBITUARY” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 6 January 1941: 1 (EVENING). Web. 15 Mar 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64398666&gt;.

Sarah had a busy life. Many fundraisers, Pioneer Women’s Association meetings and even art exhibitions were held at Annesley.  At one stage, she travelled to England visiting Sussex the birthplace of the Henty brothers. She was interested in the Scout movement and donated a flag to the Portland Scouts. Sarah was also active in the St Stephens Anglican Church community and the church was conveniently across the road from her home.

ST. STEPHEN’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, PORTLAND

A wonderful life closed on New Year’s Day 1941 when Sarah died at Annesley at the age of aged eighty-one. Sarah’s obituary closed with, “It may be truly said of Miss Wadmore that she shares largely in the honour of those splendid women, whose unselfish, unwearying zeal helped to make the Victoria of today”.

 

You can read Part One on the link – Wonderful Western District Women Part 1