Strong in Faith…A Story of Monivae Estate

For over 175 years, the name of “Monivae” has been familiar to the people of Hamilton and district. What it represents has changed with the generations from a parish and schools to an old bluestone homestead Hamiltonians pass on their annual migration south to Port Fairy. For the returned WW1 soldier and poet Thomas SkeyhillMonivae was the place the fairies played as he walked the paddocks, “with a copy of Keats…and dog at my heels.” 

Local history wasn’t something taught at school but I  did learn the origins of the name “Monivae”. Not during a history class, rather religious education. I attended Hamilton’s Monivae College, a Catholic secondary school. The college opened in the 1950s, on the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road, just south of Hamilton on a property with a two-storey bluestone homestead.  After the school relocated to Ballarat Road, Hamilton, the original property became known as “Old Monivae”.  Those of similar age to myself, who didn’t sit through a Form 1 RE class at Monivae, could be excused for thinking the name started with the school.  Instead, it goes back to an Irish Protestant by the name of Acheson Ffrench.

Appointed as Police Magistrate in 1841 at Hamilton, then known as The Grange, Acheson Ffrench aged twenty-nine was from Monivea Castle, County Galway, Ireland, the Ffrench ancestral home dating back to the 16oos when the Ffrenchs took over from the O’Kellys.  Born at the castle in 1812, the son of Robert Ffrench and Nicola O’Brien was educated in Dublin, destined to join the clergy, but Acheson had questions. He left Ireland and went on a pilgrimage of sorts through Europe and the Holy Land before landing in Australia.  Don Garden in Hamilton, A Western District History, cites C. J. Griffith who met Ffrench in Melbourne soon after his arrival.  Griffith recalled Ffrench’s tattoos, Jerusalem Arms inked by a monk in the ancient city along with various Arabic characters.

“Government Gazette.” Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 – 1843) 8 July 1841: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31732227&gt;.

It was also 1841 when Ffrench took up land, a large run of 17,000 acres to the south of The Grange. He named it Monivae after his Galway home. It seems he never took on the original spelling of Monivea but Ffrench seemed fairly flexible in that respect.  He dropped a letter from his surname, signing letters to the newspapers, of which he wrote many, as A.French. The Ffrench surname had already evolved back in Ireland from ffrench.

“Advertising” The Melbourne Daily News (Vic. : 1848 – 1851) 1 February 1849: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226472923&gt;.

On 8 February 1842, Ffrench married his fiancé Anna Watton, a daughter of Dr John Watton who in that year became Medical Officer at the Mt Rouse Aboriginal Protectorate.  Acheson and Anna lived at the Police Magistrate’s residence on a site selected by Acheson on the corner of Thompson and Martin streets. The Hamilton Police Station and Courthouse still stand there today.

“Family Notices” Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1840 – 1845) 14 February 1842: 3. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92679898&gt;.

By the end of 1843, the role of Police Magistrate was abolished and Ffrench was without a job.  However, by February 1844, the government announced a new commission intended to keep the peace and Ffrench was named as a commissioner.  He was able to stay on in at his residence but with reduced employment, Ffrench turned to improving Monivae and running sheep. The Ffrench offspring were arriving at a steady rate and in 1847, a homestead was built at Monivae on what is now the eastern side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.  Anna would bear twelve children in all, six boys and six girls, with one dying as a baby.

Acheson Ffrench wasn’t the best of farmers and money problems arose.  In 1864, he put Monivae up for lease for a term of three years and moved the family to Melbourne.

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 29 January 1864: 8. Web. 18 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5743286&gt;.

The family spent two years in Melbourne, returning to Monivae in 1866. Ffrench’s trips to Melbourne continued and he was there on 29 January 1870.  He fancied a dip at Kenny’s Gentleman’s Bathing Ship (below) at St Kilda. With his arms reportedly by his side, Ffrench described as, “somewhat heavy with a stout build”, dived into the water from one of the diving boards. Normally at a depth of six feet, the tide was out leaving the water depth at just over four feet. Ffrench hit his head on the bottom and unconscious when dragged out.  He could not be revived, dying within minutes.  An inquest found Acheson had broken his neck. Arising from the inquest was a conversation, of which Ffrench was a part in the days before his death.  At lunch with friends, the topic of discussion turned to death from diving accidents.

KENNY’S BATHING SHIP, ST. KILDA. Artist – Thomas Clark. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84320

When news of Acheson Ffrench’s death reached Hamilton, shops closed as a mark of respect.  He was remembered in the Hamilton Spectator, “…as generally very highly respected throughout the district for his strict integrity and manliness of character, whilst there was a certain rugged independence about him which led him to adhere strictly to his own convictions, without, however, attempting to force his views upon others”.  Monivae was placed on the market and Anna Ffrench and the children moved to Melbourne.

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 9 August 1870: 3. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5828208&gt;.

Ownership of Monivae transferred from an Irishman the Spectator described as having “peculiar” religious views, to a staunch Presbyterian from the Scottish Highlands.  James Thomson and his wife Christian Armstrong arrived in Victoria in 1852 aboard the Europa.  They spent around five years at the Clyde Company’s Golf Hill, near Shelford. Their first child John was born in 1853 at neighbouring Warrambeen, home of Christian’s brother Alexander Armstrong.  James Thomson then purchased an interest the Ullswater and Maryvale Stations near Edenhope and settled at the later property.

By the time the Thomsons arrived at Monivae in 1870, they had seven children aged two to seventeen and they moved into Ffrench’s homestead. Over the next six years, the Thomson family continued to grow.  In 1871, twins James and George were born followed by Wilhelmina Jessie in 1873. Sadly, Wilhelmina died on 5 April 1875.  The last child born to the family was William Armstrong Thomson in September 1876.  It was around the time of William’s birth, James Thomson decided they needed a bigger home or more correctly, a “mansion”. He wasn’t the only one and the “bloated aristocrats” were duly roasted by the Ballarat Star calling for a mansion tax.

“NEW SOURCE OF TAXATION.” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 18 December 1876: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199833143&gt;.

Some may believe, especially if they did Form 1 RE with me in the 1980s, the existing Monivae homestead was built by Acheson Ffrench.  James Thomson was never mentioned in our classes.  Likewise, Thomson was not mentioned in historian Margaret Kiddle’s book Men of Yesterday and she credited Ffrench for building Monivae “probably in the late sixties” (p.316). However, James Thomson was responsible for the Monivae Homestead we know today.

The site for the new homestead was about 800 metres from the former homestead and on the other side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.  William Smith, the Borough Surveyor drew up plans, tenders opened and using bluestone sourced from the quarry on the property, construction began.  Thomson’s total expenditure was £5400 something he likely regretted because the government did introduce a “class” tax and if the timing was slightly different, the homestead may never have been built. The land tax, introduced in the colony in 1877, intended to break up large holdings such as Monivae and it was thought Thomson would never have gone ahead had it come earlier.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

Hamilton Spectator correspondent toured the new sixteen roomed homestead in May 1878. Critical of the external appearance he suggested “one of those elegant lookout towers” to improve the looks. He remarked it might be an addition “when times – politically speaking – improve”.  A tower was never added and reforms to the land tax didn’t come until 1884. The lacework and coloured tiles of the verandah did meet approval. As the correspondent entered the front door, a hallway measuring twenty-four feet by ten feet wide was before him with, “white walls, shining like so much marble would perhaps give it too cold a look; but for the coloured light thrown into it, from the staircase and front door windows, and its mosaic pavement formed of Minton’s tiles.” The drawing room was around twenty-six feet by sixteen feet but for special occasions, folding doors into the breakfast room could open.  The floor space then increased to forty-six feet, allowing for dancing.

The homestead boasted an eighteen-foot tiled staircase with a cedar railing leading to the upper storey with a balcony verandah around ten feet wide and 130 feet long.  Paved in coloured tiles, it was perfect for the Thomson children to roller skate. That was until 1887 when sixteen-year-old James Thomas Thomson skated straight over the railing onto the gravel about nine metres below. He fractured his skull and although it was touch and go for a few days, he made a full recovery.  His twin George, known as “Joe” was not so lucky.  Having suffered congenital heart problems, he died suddenly two years late on 4 June 1889, at Monivae aged eighteen.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

The Thomson children were not the marrying kind. Of the five Thomson girls, three married, as did three of the surviving four boys. None married before the age of twenty-seven and John was fifty-six. The first Thomson wedding was that of thirty-year-old Annie Thomson to James Allan Learmonth, son of Hamilton businessman and grazier Peter Learmonth and Mary Jarvey Pearson of Prestonholme. Learmonth was also a devout Methodist, a pillar of the Hamilton Wesleyan Church in McIntyre Street.

It was the grandest of the three weddings James Thompson would pay for.  Celebrated on 1 September 1886, at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hamilton, the marriage was not followed by the usual wedding breakfast. Instead, two weeks later James threw a private ball for two hundred guests in the Hamilton Town Hall for the newlyweds in lieu of a wedding breakfast.  Such a grand affair may have been due to Annie’s imminent departure for Mexico with her new husband who’d been managing the family property there.  It could also have been the thinking of a canny Scot.  Why pay for both a wedding breakfast and a send-off when one event will suffice.

HAMILTON TOWN HALL 1910. Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/765800

On 3 October 1888, it was Margaret “Maggie” Thomson’s turn to marry. She too had reached the age of thirty and opted for a small quiet gathering at Monivae. The groom was Thomas Haliburton Laidlaw, son of Thomas Laidlaw and Grace McLeod and those in attendance were mostly family. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Thomson married on 27 July 1893 in the drawing room at Monivae, again a quiet celebration.  Her groom was bank manager Forrester Goldsmith Armstrong, a son of Oliver Armstrong of Kyneton. By this time Lizzie’s older sister Annie and her family were home from Mexico to witness the occasion.

Fire has threatened the Monviae homestead many times since its construction including 1891, 1944 and more recently Ash Wednesday of 1983. The fires of February 1901 were particularly fierce and practically wiped out Byaduk North a little further south. At Monivae, fire swept through the property from one end to the other killing around 2000 sheep.

“ALONG MACARTHUR ROAD.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 February 1901

In 1906, the Victorian Government received an offer to buy 17,000 acres of the Monivae Estate from James Thomson for Closer Settlement.  He would keep 3,000 acres and the homestead. Negotiations with the government broke down, so James subdivided the land himself. An initial sale on 24 November 1906 saw 322 acres auctioned.  Of the lots sold they averaged around £16 per acre. A second sale was held on 20 December 1906 and 1022 acres were sold at an average of £9 13/ per acre. James also sold off Crawford Estate and subdivided 500 acres of Lake Condah Estate. With a downsized Monivae, youngest son William left the property and moved to Portland. Oldest son John stayed on at Monivae as did unmarried daughters Mary and Christina.

The land sales came in the wake of a great loss for the Thomson family.  On 8.20am on 24 October 1906 at Monivae, the matriarch of the family, Christian Thomson drew her last breath at the age of seventy-five.  A deeply religious and charitable woman, she was one of the fundraising champions of the town and attended St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church like clockwork “morning and night”. Everyone knew her pew. A full member of the church for thirty-six years, her name was added to the church roll on 4 October 1870.  Christian was also a member of the Ladies Benevolent Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society.  She managed to attend church until just a couple of weeks before her death.  Christian was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF CHRISTIAN THOMSON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

It was fourteen years between the weddings of Thomson children and it was James Thomas Thomson, the roller skater, who was next to take the plunge.  He was living at Inverary, Branxholme by the time he married Henrietta Moynan on 26 November 1907 at the Anglican Christ Church Hamilton, the church sharing Church Hill with St. Andrew’s. The couple made their home at Inverary.  By that time, some may have thought James’ older brother John who had hit his mid-fifties, would remain a bachelor but on 31 March 1909 at Lilydale, he married Christiana Robertson.  Younger brother Alexander was close behind, marrying Ethel Manning on 6 May 1909.  He was forty-six.

Possibly the last public duty undertaken by James Thomson of Monivae was the laying of a foundation stone for a new St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  A devout parishioner, James donated bluestone from the Monivae quarry for the new church.  The ceremony took place on 18 December 1907 with James just four months from his eighty-seventh birthday.

FOUNDATION STONE, ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

 

ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

After completion of the new Presbyterian church, James donated a memorial window to remember his wife, Christian.  Also, portraits of James and Christian and their children John and Margaret Thomson were unveiled at the church in 1918 along with those of seven other prominent Hamilton Presbyterians.

“BEAUTIFUL MEMORIAL WINDOW.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 26 May 1909: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225037595&gt;.

James Thomson died at Monivae on 25 April 1910 after an illness of two weeks.  His obituary described him as, “…a man of sterling qualities and simple tastes. Never courting publicity, he was never so happy as when surrounded by children or occupying himself in his garden”.  James left Monivae for the last time at 2.30pm on Wednesday 27 April 1910 for the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF JAMES THOMSON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

James Thomson’s probate file reveals his liabilities were £814. His debts included rates, wages to a number of Monivae staff and accounts with businesses in Hamilton.  The total of the estate was £36,209. Of that, over £2600 was stock including several thousand sheep. Another £300 was the furniture filling the rooms of the homestead.  The Monivae property including the homestead was valued at £25000. By that time, the homestead Ffrench built was accommodation for Monivae workers.  James bequeathed two-thirds of his estate to his four living sons, divided equally.  To his five daughters, James bequeathed one-third of his estate in equal shares. Eldest son John Thomson was given the first option to buy the property at a value of £8 per acre.  He could also buy the farm implements and furniture in the homestead for £400. The last of the Lake Condah Estate was sold as too a large amount of stock.  Extra funds were no doubt wanted to pay the duty on the estate totalling more than £2500, seven percent of the total.

John Thomson did take up the option to buy Monivae.  He was around fifty-seven and newly married to Christina “Keenie” Robertson, a daughter of Scot James Robertson and Jane Ritchie of Keilor.  Christina herself was forty-three and children were not in the equation. Like his parents, John was a stalwart of the Presbyterian Church and on the board of management of St Andrew’s for thirty years.  As well as running Monivae, John was a politician and by 1910, had held the seat of Dundas in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly for eighteen years across two terms and was a Honourary Minster in the Cabinet.

“THE OPENING OF THE THIRD FEDERAL PARLIAMENT.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 March 1907: 9. Web. 13 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221256443&gt;.

In May 1914, John Thomson announced after twenty-two years in the seat of Dundas, he would not stand for re-election at the forthcoming State Election. The reasons given were the need to spend more time at home with his wife and to tend to other family matters. He said the last five years were extremely busy ones and he was looking forward to leading a quieter life.

John’s unmarried sisters Christina and Mary had stayed on at Monivae after their father’s death.  In 1914 and feeling under the weather, Christina then aged forty-six attended the doctor on Friday 6 November but managed to take up her usual place at St Andrew’s the following Sunday.  She died suddenly about midday at Monivae on Monday 9 November with Mary at her side. Well-liked in the community, Christina like her mother was devout and charitable.

It was around the time of Christina’s death, the Monivae State School opened on the Portland Road.  With Closer Settlement in the district and James’ subdivision of Monivae, the area was becoming increasingly populated. The school eventually closed and in 1946, the school building was moved to the North Hamilton State School.

John Thomson spent the years after his political retirement maintaining Monivae and was involved with various committees and activities in the Hamilton district.  He made a trip to Melbourne on 3 August 1917 and attended a school football match with Archibald Simpson of Clifton, Hamilton.  The funeral for John Thomson was large with condolences and floral tributes sent from dignitaries across Victoria.  His coffin bearers were Monivae employees and members of the Hamilton Angling Club. John was buried in the Thomson family plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery as the Hamilton Brass Band played “Nearer My God to Thee”.   

GRAVE OF JOHN THOMSON AND HIS WIFE CHRISTINA ROBERTSON

John left his estate valued at over £46,000 to his wife Christina and brother-in-law Thomas Laidlaw. Upon Christina’s death, the estate would be divided between John’s brothers and sisters.  One of John’s more interesting investments was 500 shares in the Melbourne Ice Skating Company. The estate was held in trust and Christina moved to Sandringham in 1921. She died at Toorak in December 1949 at the age of seventy-nine.

Alexander, the second eldest son of James and Christian Thomson took over the running of Monivae.  Alexander and his wife Ethel Manning and their two children Kathleen Mary and  James Yelverton Monivae Thomson moved into the homestead.  Kathleen (below) married Hugh Lloyd Cameron of Geelong at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton on 18 February 1937.

KATHLEEN MARY THOMSON 1937 ‘Family Notices’, Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), 11 March, p. 50. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149614310

The 1930s saw the death of five of the Thomson siblings.  Annie died on 14 June 1930 at Prestonholme aged sixty-four leaving six children, Edgar, Russell, Keith, Christina (Mrs James Young), Maggie (Mrs Alex Armstrong), and Mona Learmonth. Having married the son of Hamilton’s leading Methodist, Annie changed her allegiances and was active in within her new church.  A memorial window (below) was installed in the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church remembering Annie and her husband James Learmonth.

LEARMONTH MEMORIAL WINDOW, HAMILTON UNITING CHURCH

Annie was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery

Margaret died on 30 December 1932 at her home Kilora (below) in Kennedy Street, Hamilton. She left six children, Hal, John, Alexander, Thomas, Gretta (Mrs Lance Lewis) and Bea (Mrs John McKellar) Laidlaw.  On 23 March 1933, Elizabeth died at Corra, Willaura, the home of her son-in-law Donald Moffatt leaving two children Vera and Pat.  James Thompson Jr. died in 1934.  He and Henrietta did not have children.  Youngest son William, who never married, died on 2 May 1943 aged sixty-six at Portland.  His body was taken to Monivae before leaving for the Hamilton Cemetery.  After the death of her sister Christina, unmarried Mary Thomson spent time in Malvern living with her sister Elizabeth. After Elizabeth died, Mary moved into Kilora (below), sharing the home with her widower brother-in-law Thomas Laidlaw, husband of Margaret Thomson, until her death on 13 May 1939. Thomas Laidlaw died in 1941.

KILORA, HAMILTON

Alexander Thomson’s death in June 1946 aged eighty-three, brought to a close the lives of the children of James and Christian Thomson. Sixteen of their grandchildren and their children remained. Like his siblings, Alexander was buried in the Thomson plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).  

THOMSON FAMILY PLOT, PRESBYTERIAN SECTION, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

After seventy-seven years, with the estate of John Thomson requiring closure, Monivae in the Parish of Monivae in the County of Normanby went up for sale.  

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 28 December 1946: 18. Web. 16 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22384820&gt;.

The Catholic order of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) was looking for a new site for a boys’ boarding college after establishing a school in Toowoomba, Queensland sixteen years earlier.  The Monivae homestead was purchased in 1947 with grand plans of developing the property into a school.

“M.S C. BOYS’ COLLEGE FOR HAMILTON” Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954) 13 August 1947: 7. Web. 16 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172490068&gt;.

It soon became clear, the site was not suitable and the MSC went in search of a new site. Bob Strachan owned land on Ballarat Road, Hamilton and the MSC were able to negotiate a trade with him.  The MSC obtained the land in Ballarat Road for the new school and retained 100 acres at Monivae including the homestead.  Bob Strachan’s side of the bargain was the balance of the Monivae property.  A day school in temporary buildings on the Monivae property started in February 1954 while the new school was under construction.  On 17 October 1954, the foundation stone for the Ballarat Road school was blessed. The contract for the building which started in mid-1953 was the largest seen in Hamilton, estimated at £250,000. Classes started at the new school in 1956 despite it being far from complete.  Monivae College not only adopted the name of the Ffrench named property, the school’s badge includes a reminder of Ffrench’s heritage, two Dolphins  also part of the Ffrench family crest.

MONIVAE COLLEGE, BALLARAT ROAD, HAMILTON c1956.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64414

From 1841, religion was at the forefront at Monivae.  From Acheson Ffrench questioning and challenging his faith to the Thomson’s unwavering devotion, to the arrival of the priests of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The Monivae College motto Fortes in Fide meaning Strong in Faith could easily have been the Thomson’s motto too.  

The Monivae homestead became rundown and was later taken over by Glenelg Region Water, now known as Wannon Water.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1981. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230082

The homestead and what remains of the surrounding Monivae property has since returned to private ownership and has undergone extensive restoration.  Monivae will be open on Sunday 22 October from 10am to 4pm.  All proceeds go to another of Hamilton’s historic jewels the Hamilton Botanic Gardens and its ongoing redevelopment. Appropriate as a feature of the gardens is the beautiful John Thomson Memorial Fountain. Such was the high regard for John Thomson of Monivae around the Hamilton district, the fountain was built in his memory and unveiled in April 1919 by the then Premier of Victoria.  In its position, the fountain is visible from the front gates of Kilora in Kennedy Street, acting as a constant reminder of their dear brother John for sisters Margaret and Mary Thomson during their time at the home.     

©2017 Merron Riddiford

Colac’s Weekend of Family History

COLAC 1927. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/20366

It’s not often Western District family history enthusiasts get the opportunity to go to a family history event relatively close to home, but next weekend the Colac & District Family History Group Inc. is giving us the opportunity to indulge.  Not just for one day, but an entire three day “Weekend of Family History”.  Each day offers something different:

Friday 20 October

Boutique Writers’ Festival including a three-hour workshop with Hazel Edwards, author of  “Writing a Non Boring Family History“.

The cost for the workshop is only $10.  You can register here.

Saturday 21 October

Family History Expo – A full day of talks and exhibits.  Don’t miss the entertaining Susie Zada ask, “Were your ancestors regular?” and Joan Hunt with a talk on accessing Land Records, a valuable source for family history research. Exhibitors include: 

Tickets including all talks are $20 and are available here

Sunday 22 October

Cemetery Tours, Historic Walks and Family Reunions.  Bookings are required for the tours of the Colac Cemetery:

Enthralling Expiries – Book here
My Donated Headstone – Book here 
More information about each tour is available on the links.

You can find more information about the weekend on the society’s Facebook page here, view a brochure for the weekend here, or visit the Colac & District Family History Group website here

Congratulations must go to the Colac & District Family History Group, one of the most active Western District family history group, for hosting such an event and in turn, we should support their efforts. These events don’t happen regularly in our district so, make the most of it.  I know I am. I’ve registered for Hazel Edward’s workshop and I’m can’t wait.

Passing of the Pioneers

In the post A Box of Chocolates, I explained writing stories of Western District pioneers and Hamilton’s WW1 servicemen is like lifting the lid on a box of chocolates…I never know what I’m going to get.  Writing this month’s Passing of the Pioneers was like dipping into a double layer box of chocolates. I’ve read many editions of the Hamilton Spectator and histories of Hamilton, so I knew of Angelo Palmer, a prominent solicitor in the town, but I’d never delved into Angelo’s life.  When I read his obituary for this post, I got two surprises.  Firstly he was a passenger on a clipper shipwrecked off Victoria’s south-west coast of interest to me because the clipper’s colourful captain also steered my ggg grandparents Charles and Agnes Hadden to Australia aboard the Marco Polo.  Secondly, there was something “magical” about Angelo but you’ll have to read on.

Other pioneers in this edition, combining August and September obituaries, include a Hamilton chemist described as the “poor man’s friend” and from the Darlington district, a man, his son and his son’s wife.  Click on any underlined text throughout the post for further information.

McARTHUR, Peter – Died 3 July 1897 at Camperdown.  Peter McArthur was born to well-off farmers on the island of Islay, off Scotland’s west coast, around 1817.  As a lad, he joined a ship’s crew and left home for a couple of years before returning to his father’s farm.  But in 1836 at the age of nineteen, he was off again with Sydney, Australia was his destination.  By 1839, he had moved south to Melbourne, meeting up with a man who would also become one of the Western District’s notable pioneer, Nicholas Cole.  They met Frenchman Jean Duvarney and the three men made their way to Geelong, buying a flock of sheep from the Manifold brothers. With their sheep, the three men headed further west and took up land near Darlington.

Duvarney left the partnership going on to build the Duverney Inn, later known as the Frenchman’s Inn, at the junction of the busy roads from Melbourne and Geelong to Port Fairy and Portland. In 1852 at that place, the township of Cressy was gazetted, named after Duverney’s hometown Crecy in France.

Around 1850, Peter and Nicolas Cole split their station and Peter named his share  Meningoort and Cole, West Cloven Hills.  In 1855, Peter married Margaret McLean about eighteen years his junior and they went on to have ten children. Margaret is pictured below with two of the couple’s sons.

MARGARET McARTHUR AND TWO OF HER SONS c1865-1870 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/235430

Peter was one of the first Magistrates in the area, a member of the district’s first Roads Board and a Hampden Shire Councillor. He was also a member of the Leura Lodge of Freemasons. Peter’s wife Margaret died on 23 March 1883 at the age of forty-eight after a long illness.  Peter survived Margaret by fourteen years, dying in 1897 at the age of eighty. He was buried at Camperdown Cemetery.

In 1941, The Australasian included Meningoort in their Famous Pastoral Properties series and you can read the article including more on Peter McArthur on the following link – The  Australasian.   The McArthur and Cole families remained on the properties Meningoort and West Cloven Hills and in 2013, the Warrnambool Standard published an article about the two families still there over 170 years after their forebears arrived.  That article is on the following link – Warrnambool Standard.

ROUNTREE, James Hughes – Died August 1902 at Hamilton.  James Rountree was born around 1847 in Ireland, a son of an Irish Protestant father and a Welsh mother.  He arrived in Victoria aboard the Great Britain in 1864 and worked as a dispenser at the Geelong hospital.  In 1874, he became superintendent of the Hamilton Hospital.  Fifteen years later, James opened a chemist  in Hamilton’s Gray Street.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 3 September 1889: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225760959&gt;.

James was a man who “abhorred idleness”, never taking a holiday and going about everything he did with great energy.  His commitment to his work meant he had little or no family life. Described as an unselfish and generous man, James often gave free advice to the less wealthy in the town, saving them a visit to a doctor.  James became known as the “poor man’s friend”.  

In 1875, James married Margaret Strang Kitchen and they went on to have eight children.  Most of James and Margaret’s children followed James’ profession.  Daughters Mary, Margaret, Jean, and Ella were chemists as was son James.  Mary Rountree married the well-known jockey Bobby Lewis in 1920.  Lewis rode four Melbourne Cup winners during his career and controversially rode Phar Lap to third in the cup in 1929.  Another daughter Evangeline served as a nurse during WW1.

James’ strict work ethic appears to have claimed his life.  He died at the Hamilton Hospital aged fifty-five.  James was a member of the Masonic and Orange Lodges and thirty members of the Masonic Lodge led his funeral procession and the hearse was followed by twenty-one members of the Orange Lodge.  James did not approve of flowers at funerals so predictably, flowers were not present at his own funeral by request of the family.

GRAVE OF JAMES HUGH ROUNTREE AND FAMILY, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

You can see the memorial window dedicated to James Rountree and his wife Margaret at the Hamilton Christ Church on the following link – Sacred Memorials

PALMER, Angelo Crotch – Died August 1912 at Hamilton. Angelo Palmer was born in Faversham, Kent in 1832 and grew up in Canterbury where his father was a professor of music.  Angelo and his brother William Henry attended boarding school from a young age.  William inherited his father’s musical talent while Angelo was expected to join the legal profession.  After his schooling, Angelo was articled to solicitors in London but with the discovery of gold in Victoria, he decided to leave England and seek his fortune. In 1852 at the age of twenty, he sailed aboard the South Sea, arriving in Victoria in February 1853.  Angelo set off to Castlemaine but within months was back in Melbourne in search of work, finding a labouring job with a builder.

Just as Angelo left England in 1852 so too his brother. William Palmer had gone on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London but left his studies behind around 1851 after he saw a performance by French magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.  Taking up magic, William changed his name to Robert Heller and travelled to the United States in 1852 where his career took off.   

ROBERT HELLER . Image courtesy of the W. G. Alma conjuring collection. Photographs. State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/342043

With the death of his father in mid-1854, Angelo returned to England. Within a year, he booked his return passage to Australia aboard a clipper on her maiden voyage. On 6 October 1855, the Schomberg (below) left Liverpool captained by James Nicol ‘Bully’ Forbes and with cargo and 430 passengers, including Angelo. The Schomberg was one of the largest and finest clippers built and Forbes was out to break a record of the fastest trip to Victoria, something he had done with the Marco Polo in 1852. His target was sixty days his target. On Boxing Day 1855, the clipper ran aground on a sandbar near Curdies Inlet at Peterborough, Victoria. Fortunately, a passing steamer the SS Queen rescued all passengers and transported them through to Melbourne. There was an investigation into the wreck and while Captain Forbes was acquitted but his reputation was ruined. The Schomberg eventually sunk off the coast.

THE CLIPPER, SCHOMBERG. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no, PRG 1373/19/38 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+1373/19/38

Back in Melbourne, Angelo decided to return to law, qualifying as a solicitor in 1859.  In 1860, he married Katherine Walker and a child, Fanny Dolby was born in 1861 at South Yarra. Another daughter was born in 1862 in Melbourne. In the same year, Angelo and family arrived in Hamilton and Angelo went into partnership with Henry Cox. Angelo and Kate’s first son, Saxon Harold, was born in 1864, but in 1866, their eldest daughter Fanny died.  In 1873, the couple lost another daughter, one-year-old Hilda Victoria. By 1869, Angelo was working alone and his services highly sought after. He acted as solicitor for the Shires of Mount Rouse and Dundas and the Borough of Hamilton. He was also one of the original directors of Alexandra College and the Hamilton and Western District College.

From 1869 to 1871, William Palmer as Robert Heller toured Australia and has been credited as the first person to perform a Punch and Judy show in Australia. Music wasn’t totally lost from his life as Robert played piano during his performances and his talent duly noted.  Robert performed in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, and even Smythesdale. It appears that’s as close as he went to Hamilton.

“NEWS AND NOTES.” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 2 April 1870: 2. Web. 17 Sep 2017 .

The Hamilton Spectator reported on Robert Heller from time to time but never mentioned his connection to Angelo Palmer. It was not until after the death of Robert Heller in Philadelphia in 1878, various papers made the connection, but not the Hamilton Spectator.  William left a large estate and after various beneficiaries received a share, Angelo received the balance. 

“ITEMS OF GENERAL NEWS.” The Telegraph, St Kilda, Prahran and South Yarra Guardian (Vic. : 1866 – 1888) 1 February 1879: 3. Web. 15 Sep 2017 .

The Hamilton Spectator came close to mentioning Angelo’s magician brother in the early 1890s. A magician was touring the colonies claiming he was a nephew of Robert Heller. The Spec reported on the magician’s prophecy for the upcoming for the Melbourne Cup and stated “At any rate, the brother of the late Robert Heller knows of no such nephew”

“SPORTING ECHOES.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 August 1892: 4. Web. 15 Sep 2017 .

Melbourne Punch responded and didn’t worry about naming names, even referring to Angelo as “Mr. Hamilton”.

“THEATRICAL GOSSIP.” Melbourne Punch (Vic. : 1855 – 1900) 18 August 1892: 7. Web. 17 Sep 2017 .

In 1907, Kate died at the age of sixty-six. Angelo continued living at the family home in Skene Street and was eighty when he died in 1912. He was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery (below) with Kate and beside his young daughters. 

GRAVE OF ANGELO PALMER AND FAMILY, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY.

It wasn’t until after Angelo’s death, the Hamilton Spectator spoke of the unspoken.

“DEATH OF MR. A.C. PALMER” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 12 August 1912: 3. Web. 15 Sep 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225284343&gt;.

I have only given a broad description of William Palmer/Robert Heller’s life,  but if you would like to find out more, the following sites will give you an idea of how big Robert Heller was in the world of magic and the influence he had on future magicians including Harry Houdini.

The Cemetery Traveller includes photos of Robert Heller’s grave including a photo of Harry Houdini paying his respect.  

The Magic Detective has written twenty-seven posts about Robert Heller and for a trip back into the world of 19th-century theatre, they are well worth reading. You can find the posts on the following link – Robert Heller

Punch and Judy in 19th Century America: A History and Biographical Dictionary by Ryan Howard discusses Heller and his Punch and Judy connection.  You’ll find that on the following link to Google books – Punch and Judy   

Strong on Music: The New York Music Scene in the Days of George Templeton by Vera Brodsky Lawrence has a reference to Robert’s early days in the United States.  You can read more on the following link to Google books – Heller on Broadway

McARTHUR,  Robert Ernest – Died 29 August 1929 at Terang.  Robert McArthur was born in 1867, a son of Peter McArthur (see obituary above) and Margaret McLean. He attended school at Geelong College before studying law at Melbourne University. Qualified as a solicitor, Robert returned to Menengoort to help his father with the property.  Robert had a great love of horses and was an amateur rider in cross-country events across the Western District, mostly for the Manifold brothers.  In 1897 and 1898, Robert won three races in each year at Warrnambool’s Amateur races. He also had success at the Oaklands and Melbourne Hunt Clubs and participated in polo matches.  In later years, Robert joined the committee of the Camperdown Turf Club and was an honourary starter for the Terang Racing Club and sat on the first board of the Western District Racing Association.

ROBERT McARTHUR (on right) -“CUP MEETING OF TERANG RACING CLUB, NEW YEAR’S DAY, 1921.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 8 January 1921: 41. Web. 15 Sep 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140252424&gt;.

Robert was also a Hampden Shire councilor from 1897 to 1907.  In December 1898, Robert married Alice Edith Kirkpatrick. In his later years, Robert went to live at Koort-Koort-Nong Station.

KOORT KOORT NONG STATION 1984 Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217275

Robert McArthur was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery.

GRANT, John Scott – Died 13 September 1879 at Sandford.  John Scott Grant was born in Scotland around 1822. He married Ann Kilpatrick and they left for Victoria arriving in 1841 aboard the Grindlay. With a man named William Murray, John and Ann made their way west.  They first found work at the property of the Whyte brothers near Coleraine before John and Ann moved to Henty’s Merino Downs. John then took up a run near Penola, South Australia but by the early 1850s the lure of gold was too great and he headed to the diggings.  It’s not known how his luck went, but after leaving the diggings, John sold his Penola property and bought the Woodford Inn at Dartmoor.  He stayed there for around three years before purchasing land at Sandford in 1856 where he remained.  John built and operated the Caledonian Hotel at Sandford from 1857.

“Advertising” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876) 19 June 1857: 3 (EVENING). Web. 15 Sep 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64568717&gt;.

John’s obituary states he also built a two-story house at Sandford, described as a”…rather pretentious building for those times”.  It apparently later burnt down and another house was built.  John was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters.  After John’s death, Ann continued on at the Caledonian Hotel until her death in March 1903.

ANDREWS, Catherine Forbes – Died September 1901 at Hamilton. Catherine Andrews was born around 1834 and arrived in Australia in 1854 with her husband John Stewart. They settled at Naracoorte, remaining there for around ten years before John bought Bochara around 1865 and in 1868, the properties Inverary and Louth. The Stewarts lived at Inverary (below) near Branxholme, but when John died in 1882, Catherine moved to Hamilton where she remained until her death.

INVERARY, BRANXHOLME 1978. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/215500

STANSMORE, Harry George – Died 2 September 1916 at Camperdown.  Harry Stansmore was born at Terang in 1857 and went to live in Camperdown as a child. He operated a livery business in Camperdown and acted as manager of the Manifold families’ thoroughbreds.  His involvement with the Manifolds saw Harry connected to wins in the Grand National Steeplechase and Australian Hurdle, among others.  About 1911, Harry went into the stock and station agent business.  Harry was involved with the Heytesbury P&A Society and was a well-known judge at shows including the Royal Melbourne Show.  He was a member of the Camperdown Turf Club and Camperdown Polo Club.  Harry married Elizabeth Cohen in 1888 and they had two sons and a daughter

DAVEY, Edith – Died September 1939 at Cobden.  Edith Davey was born at Port Fairy in 1861.  Her parents moved to the Port Campbell district and that’s where Edith remained for the duration of her life.  The Davey property was Edgecombe on the Great Ocean Road, just east of the Loch Ard Gorge. During August 1910, Edith’s sister Annie drowned in the property’s dam at the age of forty-seven and the following year her father died at the age of ninety and in 1915, her mother died aged eighty.  Edith remained alone at the property for the next twenty-four years.  Her obituary in the Camperdown Chronicle described Edith as one of the “grand pioneer women of Australia”.

“MISS EDITH DAVEY” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 26 September 1939: 5. Web. 14 Sep 2017 .

KIRKPATRICK, Alice Edith – Died 22 September 1952 at Melbourne.  Alice Kirkpatrick was born at the Beemery Station near Bourke, N.S.W. in 1870.  In 1898, Alice married Robert McArthur (see obituary above) and she moved to Victoria to live at Koort-Koort-Nong Station near Camperdown.  Like her husband, Alice took an interest in racing and was a life member of the Terang Racing Club and Camperdown Turf Club.  During WW1 she was secretary of the Camperdown Red Cross.  Alice was also secretary of the Camperdown Golf Club Associates. In 1928, Alice and Robert went to live near Princetown but he died the following year.  Alice remained at Princetown until around 1945 when she moved to Melbourne remaining there until her death.

© 2017 Merron Riddiford

 

Ancestral Places Geneameme

Yes, I did say in my last post I’m on the move so the chances of me posting in the next month were slim. Just after finishing that post, I read a new post from Alona at the Lonetester blog inviting geneabloggers to take part in a geneameme with the theme, Ancestral Places. The instructions…How many ancestral places can you name using the letters of the alphabet?  I couldn’t resist because one of my favourite things about family history is the places my ancestors lived.  Finding out more about those locations helps us learn more about them it’s a great way to brush up on geography general knowledge.  I’ve listed the main places my direct ancestors resided and added links to earlier posts about some of the families.  If I included 2 x great uncle George Diwell, I could have had a J for Jeparit or 4 x great uncle William Reed, a Y for Yulecart but I managed a place for most letters:

A

Almurta, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Ararat, Victoria, Australia – Bishop

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Lane, Piddington, Riddiford

ARARAT, VICTORIA

B

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia – Gamble, Harman, Riddiford

Bass, Victoria, Australia – Combridge, Hunt, White

Bisham, Berkshire, England – Buckland

Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, King, Richardson

Brighton, Sussex, England – Hughes

Broadstairs, Kent, England – Culmer, Jarman, Pettman, White

Byaduk, Victoria, Australia – Bishop, Harman

BYADUK, VICTORIA

C

Casterton, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Jelly

Cavendish, Victoria, Australia – Hadden, Mortimer

Charlton, Wiltshire, England – Young

Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England – Chapel, Kirkin, Parsons

Clapham, London, England – Webb

Clerkenwell, London, England – Riddiford

Colac, Victoria, Australia – Gamble, Hodgins

Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, England – Lawrence, Piddington, Riddiford, Timberlake, Wall

CAVENDISH, VICTORIA

D

Dover, Kent, England – Trewin

Drumgooland, County Down, Ireland – Jelly

E

East Lothian, Scotland – Calder, Warden

Edmonton, London, England – Riddiford

F

Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Riddiford

Fermanagh County, Ireland – Brackin, Hodgins

Frant, Sussex, England – Diwell, Sinnock

G

Geelong, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Gladsmuir, East Lothian, Scotland – Dobson, Hadden, Kinnaird, Neilson

Glen Alvie, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Grantville, Victoria, Australia – Combridge, Hunt, White

GEELONG, VICTORIA

H

Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, England – Riddiford

Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland – Dobson, Hadden

Hamilton, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Gamble, Hadden

Hulme, Lancashire, England – Jelly

HAMILTON, VICTORIA

I

Ireland – Beaty, Irwin

Islington, London, England – Kirkin

J

K

Kingswood, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford, Trotman

L

Lambeth, London, England – Kirkin, Riddiford, Webb

Leytonstone, London, England – Riddiford

Longniddry, East Lothian, Scotland – Hadden

Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, England – Lawrence

M

Macarthur, Victoria, Australia – Bishop

Macclesfield, Cheshire, England – Law, Shaw

Manchester, Lancashire, England – Shaw

Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, England – Harman, Mulberry

Merino, Victoria, Australia – Diwell

MERINO c1880 Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 21766/113 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/113

N

Newington, London, England – Turner

Norfolk, England – Baker, Thurling

North Nibley, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford, Trotman

O

Oldham, Lancashire, England – Riddiford

Ontario, Canada – Riddiford

P

Poplar, London, England – Hunt, Jewell

Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia – Harman

Portland, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Harman

PORT FAIRY, VICTORIA

Q

Queensferry, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

SAWMILL NEAR QUEENSFERY, VICTORIA c1880. Photographer: Fred Kruger. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.

R

Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, England – Combridge

Reading, Berkshire, England – Druce, Mortimer

Rotherfield, Sussex, England – Diwell, Sinnock

Rotherhithe, London, England – Webb

S

Smeaton, Victoria, Australia – Riddiford

St. Peters, Kent, England – Jarman

Steiglitz, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

ANDERSON’S MILL, SMEATON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

T

Thanet, Kent, England – Culmer, Jarman, Trewin, White

Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England

Tipperary County, Ireland – Barry

Tonbridge, Kent, England – Lawrence

Tudeley, Kent, England – Lawrence

U

Uley, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford

V

Victoria

W

Water Eaton, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Goodman

Weymouth, Dorset, England – Bishop

Whaddon, Cambridgeshire, England – Read/Reed, Waymant

White Waltham, Berkshire, England – Buckland, Mortimer, Sharp

Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Woolwich, London, England – Kirkin

Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford

Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England – Riddiford

WONTHAGGI, VICTORIA 1925. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 61788/85http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+61788/85

X

Y

Z

 

 

 

 

On The Move

The Western District Families family is in the process of moving house and it’s been a slow process.

MOVING A HOUSE A CRESSY ca. 1909-ca. 1915. Photographer: Gabriel Knight. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/38759

Things are going to get a lot busier over the next month so I’m not sure if I’ll get an August Passing of the Pioneers post out.  It also means I, unfortunately, won’t take part in the National Family History Month Blogging Challenge during August.  There’s a new topic to write about each week during August and two I’m really keen on.  The first is due from today, and although I’ve started a draft, I won’t make it.  The next topic I’m interested is Week 3 so I’ll see how I go because it will be a reboot of an earlier Western District Families post so some of the work is already done.  Alex Daw will post a list of the weekly contributions at her Family Tree Frog blog, so why not check out what some of Australia’s leading geneabloggers are writing about.  Week one is on the link here.

Over on the Western District Families Facebook page, we have just finished a virtual historic tour of the Henty Highway.  There was so much history along the way, it took three months to “travel” 160 kilometres from Cherrypool (below) to Portland’s History House with posts most days.  It certainly took longer than I expected but now it’s ended, I can spend more time on our move.

CAMPING AT CHERRYPOOL c1938.

The tours are good fun and a great way to learn more about Western District towns and families, and I always find new stories ideas, but they are incredibly time consuming.   The Mount Everest of the Western District highways is the Princes Highway taking in towns such as Colac, Warrnambool and Port Fairy.  In the most recent tour, it took two weeks just to “travel” from North Portland to South Portland, so I think the Princes Highway might be one for next year…in fact, it could last a year!  During August for National Family History Month, I’m inviting everyone to share a photo of their Western District family to the page.

The Hamilton’s WW1 chapter of Western District Families has been quiet since April.  I was getting out about five bios a week in the lead up to Anzac Day taking the total number to around 130 biographies.  I have only a small group of men still to research from the various Hamilton outdoor WW1 memorials.  After we have moved and settled, I’ll get back into it. I’ve got a few ideas on improving the Hamilton’s WW1 page and I’ll also move on to some of the Honour Rolls from around the town.

With all the new story ideas I have from the Henty Highway tour, the many drafts waiting for completion, including three cemetery posts, and more Hamilton enlistments to write about, I think I need to speed up this moving process.  Time to swap the bullocks for some engine power.

MOVING A HOUSE CRESSY ca. 1909-ca. 1915. Photographer: Gabriel Knight http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/38774

 

Passing of the Pioneers

It’s an interesting mix of pioneers for July with several family links.  It begins with Margaret Laidlaw who’s father and brother-in-law also have their obituaries listed.  Then there’s William Thomson and his son Robert Thomson, and James Brake, a brother-in-law of William’s brother John Thomson. Also there are several connections to previous Passing Pioneers and I’ve linked them up where possible.  You can also see the growing number of family connections among the pioneers on the alphabetical lists at the Pioneer Obituary Index.  A reminder that all underlined text will take you to further information about the subject.

LAIDLAW, James – Died 1 July 1892 at Amphitheatre.  James Laidlaw was born around 1823 in Scotland, a son of Adam Laidlaw and Margaret Stoddart.  He arrived in Victoria in 1852 and married Mary Ann Coates in 1855.  After their marriage, James and Mary Ann resided at Lake Learmonth near Ballarat.  James was a Justice of the Peace and during the 1860s, Chairman of the Ballarat Shire. Around 1872, James purchased Lake Wallace South Estate near Edenhope.  His brother Walter was at nearby Newlands and he and James became well-known in the district. James was the local Justice of the Peace and a Kowree Shire councillor.

In 1883, James purchased Amphiteatre Station, near Avoca with three of his sons while another two sons remained at Lake Wallace to manage affairs.  James was soon involved with public affairs in the district and was elected to the Lexton Shire Council.  James and Mary Ann had two daughters, Helen who married Hamilton stock and station agent John Fenton and another Margaret who married grazier, Thomas Philip. Both daughters lived in the Hamilton district. Margaret’s obituary is further down the page.  James Laidlaw was buried at the Lexton Cemetery.  Mary Ann died in 1896.

THOMSON, William – Died 17 July 1892 at Hamilton.  Born in Fifeshire, Scotland in 1836, William was a son of merchant Robert Thomson and arrived at Hobsons Bay aboard the Yarra at the age of sixteen.  With him was his father, brothers and uncle William Dick Thomson. While his father went to the Bendigo diggings, William and his brother Alex worked with merchants in Melbourne until their father’s return twelve months later.  Robert Thomson opened his own business in Collins Street, Melbourne then later at Collingwood.  Not long after, an accident claimed his life. William and Alec then went to Geelong working as merchants there.  In 1864, the opportunity arose to buy the Levy & Sander Iron Store in Gray Street, Hamilton.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870) 8 January 1864: 1. Web. 9 Jul 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194724116&gt;.

The store was known as W & W Thomson with William and his Uncle William senior partners. In 1872, William married Ella Guthridge and in the same year, his uncle retired and William’s younger brother John Thomson became a partner in the firm.  In 1875, the Thomsons had grand plans for a new two storey stone building. Tender applications opened (below) and work began. Within in two years, the Thomson built another store next door, resulting in a “handsome and commodious edifice”.  In time, the store expanded to other towns including Horsham.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 25 December 1875: 2. Web. 9 Jul 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226071140&gt;.

During his time in Hamilton, William lived at Malvern House in Gray Street.  Along with being a senior partner in W & W Thomson, William was a Hamilton Borough Councillor first serving in 1868 and going on to serve as Mayor on six occasions.  He was Sunday School Superintendent at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for over twenty years and on the Hamilton Hospital committee, serving as President.  At the time of his death, William was President of the Hamilton Mechanics Institute.  William was a force behind the Hamilton railway and was a member of the Railway Extension League.  He was a member of the Hamilton Bowling Club and served as President.  William was a keen lodge attendee, as a Freemason and Oddfellows, climbing to the highest ranks

JOHN THOMSON & CO., GRAY STREET, HAMILTON, 1930. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769322
Accessed 27 June 2017

William Thomson died on a Sunday afternoon and that evening, his brother John approved a partial post-mortem for “humanitarian purposes” and suspicions confirmed.  William Thomson’s death was due to liver cancer at the age of fifty-six.  He left a widow, two sons and three daughters.  The funeral was one of the largest seen in the town with the funeral procession almost one kilometre in length.

“FUNERAL OF THE LATE MR. WILLIAM THOMSON.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 21 July 1892: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226161727&gt;.

After William’s death, his younger brother John took over the running of the Thomson store, operating as  John Thomson & Co.  John died suddenly in 1894 and James Brake (see obituary below), brother of John Thomson’s wife Martha,  took over the store’s management.  Thomsons as it was locally known, operated in Gray Street until the early 1980s.  The building remains today as a shopping centre and the façade was recently restored.  The photo below was taken prior to the restoration.

FORMER JOHN THOMSON & CO BUILDING, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON, 2015

McLEOD, Alexander Magnus – Died 19 July 1910 at West Melbourne.  Alexander McLeod was born near Elaine, Victoria in 1846, a son of John Norman McLeod and Agnes Paterson.  He went to school in Portland and Scotch College and then worked in a Portland bank. Later, Alexander became the Deputy Chief Inspector of Stock in South Australia. 

In 1890, at the age of forty-four, Alexander MacLeod married Caroline Henty.  There was gossip about the marriage because of the age difference which was by no means vast and because Caroline had only the year before inherited property after the death of her father Francis Henty. That included part of the Merino Downs property Caroline and Alexander would go on to name Talisker after the McLeod ancestral home on the Isle of Skye. Alexander and Caroline built a grand homestead in 1901 (below).  Prior to settling at Talisker, the McLeods had two daughters, Caroline Agnes and Alexandra Frances.

“TALISKER”, MERINO, 1977. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232509

During his time in the district, Alexander was associated with the construction of the Merino Butter Factory, a cooperative close to Talisker.  In 1910, Alexander and Caroline were visiting Melbourne and in residence at the Menzies Hotel.  It was there on 19 July 1910, Alexander died suddenly from a heart attack.  He was buried in Melbourne and Caroline returned to Talisker where she died four years later.

BRAKE, James Hugh – Died 29 July 1915 at Mont Albert.  James Brake was born at Cavendish around 1854.  Educated in Hamilton, James first worked for David Laidlaw, a storekeeper in Gray Street, Hamilton. James moved across the road to the W & W Thomson Store and was later promoted to manager of the Horsham branch of the store around 1880.  His move to Thomsons was most likely due to the family connection coming in 1877 when James’ sister Martha married John Thomson, a senior partner of W & W Thomson and younger brother of William Thomson (see obituary above).  

In 1881, James married Barbara McDougall and they went on to have five children.  While in Horsham, James was one of the first members of the local progress association and was a contributor to the Horsham Hospital. He served on the Horsham Borough Council and held the Horsham seat in State Parliament.  James was a supporter of temperance and attended the Horsham Presbyterian Church.

After the death of William Thomson in 1892, James’ brother-in-law  John Thomson became the sole partner.  However, John died suddenly in 1894 and James returned to Hamilton to manage the store in that town.  In time, his sons also worked in the store. In 1914, the Brakes moved to Elouera in Stanhope Street, Mont Albert.  James managed the Hamilton store from afar but died soon after at his home aged sixty-one.  His body was returned to Hamilton and buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.  In November of that year, James and Barbara’s younger son William Brake enlisted with the 4th Field Artillery Brigade and middle son James enlisted with the Australian Flying Corps in 1916.  Both sons returned, however, William died at the family home in Mont Albert in 1922 aged just twenty-nine.  He was buried with his father at Hamilton (below).

BRAKE FAMILY PLOT, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY.

PHILIP, John – Died July 1916 at Hamilton.  John Philip was born at Victoria Lagoon Station north of Cavendish in 1855, the third son of Captain John Philip and Margaret Robertson. John attended the Hamilton Academy and Geelong College.  When he left school, John went to his father’s property Miga Lake Station, north of Harrow, before managing Ascot Heath Station near Dartmoor in 1879. The following year, John married Katherin Swan of  Koonongwootong station near Coleraine.  He later purchased Englefield near Balmoral (below) and the Lower Crawford Estate near Condah in 1902. In 1904, he purchased the Mooralla Estate.

ENGLEFIELD. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/214202

John served on the Portland Shire Council and later the Wannon Shire.  He was also president of the Balmoral Mechanics Institute and the Toolondo-Cavendish Railway League.  He was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF JOHN AND KATHERIN PHILIP, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

WALTER, Emma – Died July 1916 at Hamilton.  Emma Walter was born in Devonshire, England in 1828 where she married Thomas Bromell.  In 1852, Emma and Thomas arrived in Victoria and after a short stay in Geelong went to the Ballarat and Avoca diggings before returning to Geelong by the end of the year,  purchasing a farm in the Barabool Hills.  In 1860, the Bromells took up Hensleigh Park north of Hamilton.  Thomas died in 1887 and around 1904, Emma moved into town, living at Edgecumb in Milton Street Hamilton.  In her earlier years at Hensleigh Park, Emma often attended the Hamilton Hunt Club meets.  She also enjoyed attending the local football.  Emma and Thomas had nine daughters and one son.  At the time of her death, Emma had twenty-two grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.  She was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF EMMA BROMELL (NEE WALTER), OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

 

JONES, Edwin John – Died 21 July 1928 at Dartmoor.  Edwin Jones was born at Portland around 1856.  His parents settled at Drik Drik where Edwin remained until around 1908 when he purchased land at Mumbannar.  Edwin married Sarah Emerson around 1898 and they had three sons and one daughter. He was member of the Drik Drik P & A Society and Methodist Church (below)

DRIK DRIK METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230495

LEARMONTH, Edgar Thomson – Died 8 July 1933 at Mount Gambier.  Edgar Learmonth was the son of James Allan Learmonth and Annie Thomson and was born in Mexico around 1889 while his parents were living there.  The Learmonths returned to Australia in 1892 when Edgar was four and resided at Correa, near Dunkeld for the next ten years before moving to the home of Edgar’s grandfather Peter LearmonthPrestonholme near Hamilton. Edgar went to Hamilton College and later Wesley College.  He spent some years in Western Australia after his schooling then returned to manage his uncle James Thomson’s property Inverary near Branxholme While two of his brothers were serving during WW1, Edgar returned to Prestonholme and helped his father run that property.  It was during those years, Edgar an all round sportsman, won three Hamilton Golf Club championships.  After the war, Edgar and his two returned serviceman brothers purchased land together.

In 1923, Edgar married Nellie Coy of Woorndoo and the following year he and his brother Russell purchased Barnoolut near Mount Gambier where Edgar and Nellie took up residence and went on to have a daughter Janet.  On the afternoon of 9 July 1933, Edgar attended a football match at Mount Gambier and later attended Jenz’s Hotel. He was found unconscious in the outhouse at the hotel with a bullet wound to his head. He died five hours later in a private Mount Gambier hospital.  On 10 July 1933, the Mount Gambier coroner found Edgar Learmonth, at the age of forty-five, died from suicide due to an unsound mind.  During the inquiry, letters by Edgar revealed he was a worried man, however, his brother Russell said that while there were some financial worries, “they were not such to trouble a healthy man”.  Edgar was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF EDGAR LAIDLAW AND FAMILY, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

LAIDLAW, Margaret – Died July 1935 at Hamilton.  Margaret was born at Lake Learmonth near Ballarat in 1858, a daughter of James Laidlaw (see obituary above) and Marian Coates. On 21 August 1883, Margaret married Thomas Philip at Wanliss House, Ballarat.  Thomas was a brother of John Philip (see obituary above).  The groomsmen were Margaret’s brother Henry Laidlaw and John Fenton, Margaret’s brother-in-law.  The Hamilton Spectator of 25 August 1883, headlined the report with, “A Fashionable Wedding”.  Margaret and Thomas eventually went to live at Koornong near Branxholme and in 1910, Thomas was involved in accident with a horse and suffered back injuries.  Since he was fifteen years older than Margaret, it was time to retire to town and the Philips took up residence at Kenmure in Ballarat Road.

KENMURE, HAMILTON 2015

 

In August 1933, Margaret and Thomas celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary with sixty family and friends.  Margaret died two years later at the age of seventy-six.

THOMSON, Robert Erskine – Died 18 July 1948 at Benalla.  Robert Thompson was born in Hamilton around 1875, a son of store owner William Thomson (see obituary above) and Ella Guthridge.  Around 1904, Robert married Sophie Dowie of Carisbrook.  After his marriage, Robert moved to Benalla and following his father’s footsteps, took over the Beehive Store in Bridge Street.  Robert was a member of the Benalla Lawn Tennis Club and Benalla Golf Club.  He was also a member of the Holy Trinity Church choir.

MANN, Samuel Furneaux – Died 17 July 1954 at Sandringham. Samuel Mann was born at Ballarat in 1866.  His father Samuel Furneaux Sr was a Ballarat solicitor and they lived in Lydiard Street.  Samuel Jr attended Geelong Grammar School.  He was a good sportsman and was part of Geelong Grammar’s rowing eight crew for the local  Head of the River twice.  Samuel also played football and cricket and golf.  He also played polo with the Caramut Polo Club later known as the Hexham Polo Club.   In 1897, Samuel purchased Minjah Station from the Ware family in partnership with Rutherford Albert Affleck.  He married Isabella Cecilia Affleck on 8 December 1897 at Scots’ Church in Collins Street, Melbourne.  Samuel and Cecilia went to have two sons and two daughters.  In 1903, Samuel purchased Lawrenny at Caramut (below).  A further obituary for Samuel Mann is available on the link to Obituaries Australia http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/mann-samuel-furneaux-barney-670

‘LAWRENNY”, CARAMUT 1986. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/216637

 

Passing of the Pioneers

A further ten pioneers join the Pioneer Obituary Index this month.  They include a woman who was a pioneer in the transport industry from Cobden through to Port Campbell and a man who travelled the same routes carting goods.  There is also a Coleraine storekeeper, a Colac politician and a man still training racehorses into his eighties.  Remember to click on the underlined text to read further information on a subject.

ROBERTSON, William – Died 24 June 1892 at Colac.  William Robertson was the second son of William Robertson of Colac Estate. He was born in 1839 at Hobart and by 1842, the Robertsons arrived in Victoria.  William returned to Hobart for his high school education before studying law at Oxford University. In 1861, he was a member of the winning crew of the annual Oxford vs Cambridge boat race and throughout his life, kept the trophy from the event, a cut-down oar. William returned to Victoria in 1863, marrying Martha Mary Murphy. He worked as a barrister in Melbourne until 1871 when he was successful in winning the seat of Polworth and South Grenville which he held until the next election in 1873 when he didn’t seek reelection.  William’s father died the following year and Colac Estate was divided in four for each of William Robertson Sr’s sons.  William Jr became the owner of The Hill (below).

“THE GOVERNORS DRIVING TOUR.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 24 March 1894: 30. Web. 15 Jun 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138115318&gt;.

William returned to politics in 1881, holding the seat of Polworth and South Grenville for the next five years, then in Victoria’s Legislative Council in the seat of South-West Province until 1888.   The Robertsons were known Australia wide as breeders of fine Shorthorn cattle and their stock sold for large sums.  Williams’ funeral on 28 June 1892  was one of the biggest seen in the district.  Various noted men from Colac attended as well as those from the world of politics.  Numerous wreaths were sent including one from the Governor. The Colac Brass Band led the cortege to the cemetery and shops closed.  Martha died at Armadale in 1909.

PART OF “THE HILL” HOMESTEAD, COLAC IN 1970. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/216917

WIGGINS, Charles Aug. – Died 23 June 1901 at Hamilton.  Charles Wiggins was born in Tasmania in 1836 and arrived in Portland with his parents when a boy, attending school at Portland.  In his early twenties, Charles went to Hamilton to live with his uncle James Wiggins. Charles was appointed secretary of the Hamilton Common and was a sheriff’s officer and bailiff until 1883.  In the same year, he married Emma Lawn.  Charles joined the Grange Lodge of Freemasons and was a member of the Australian Natives Association.  He was also secretary of the Hamilton Hospital and the Hamilton P & A Society.  Charles and Emma lived in Clarke Street, Hamilton and attended the Christ Church Cathedral.

SMITH, Sidney – Died June 1916 at Warrnambool.  Sidney Smith was born in Cambridgeshire, England in 1848. Arriving in Victoria as a child, he attended Geelong Grammar School.  Sidney started his working life at fifteen at the offices of R.Busche, Solicitors of Timor Street, Warrnambool.  He then worked as an accountant for a mercantile and shipping firm at Port Fairy, Messrs Bateman & Co.  Later he went into partnership with Messrs Bateman with the firm becoming Bateman, Smith & Co.  Operations moved to Warrnambool and Sidney’s brother Spencer went into partnership with him.  They operated the company until 1898. Sidney then worked as an insurance agent until his retirement due to ill health.  Outside of business, Sidney was a vestryman at the Warrnambool Christ Church. (below)

CHRIST CHURCH WARRNAMBOOL c1907., Photographer Joseph Jordan. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/54344

CLARKE, Edward Henry – Died 21 June 1918 at Digby.  Edward Clarke was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1847 and arrived at Portland with his parents on the Helen to Portland in 1852.  The family first went to the Mount Gambier district before settling around Digby.  In 1873, Edward settled on his own property Lovely Banks at Digby.  Edward enjoyed football and cricket and was always a spectator at local games.  During the war, he donated to the various patriotic and relief appeals.  Edward’s wife Elizabeth Taylor died in 1909. Eight of Edward and Elizabeth’s ten children were still living at the time of Edward’s death. His youngest son John Clarke was serving overseas and returned to Australia in 1919.

LESSER, Louis – Died 19 June 1921 at Coleraine.  Louis Lesser was born around 1832 in Swarzędz, Poland, then under Prussian rule. When Louis Lesser arrived in Australia about the 1850s, his first job at Sandridge (Port Melbourne) moving sand from the nearby sand dunes.  He then went to the diggings at Bendigo and Pleasant Creek (Stawell).  Louis’ brother Abraham arrived in Australia and the two moved to Coleraine, opening a store in Whyte Street. The partnership in the store was mutually dissolved in May 1865 when Louis left for London and in 1867, Louis married his sister-in-law’s sister Londoner Evelyn May and they left for Australia.  They arrived in Melbourne and made their way to Coleraine to join Abraham and his wife Elizabeth, Evelyn’s sister.  The partnership in the Coleraine store appears to have resumed with Louis operating the store with other family members after Abraham’s death in 1886.

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

Louis was a member of the Coleraine Racing Club for sixty years, retiring in 1918 as an honourary life member. He also served on the Wannon Shire Council and was a Justice of the Peace.  He was also a generous man, donating to many causes and was one of Hamilton Hospital’s leading donors.  In his will,  Louis’ requested a fund be established after his death called the “Louis Lesser Charity Endowment Fund” with an annual sum going to various organisations annually.

“Obituaries.” Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 – 1931) 9 July 1921: 34. Web. 28 Jun 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165649115&gt;.

The Ballarat Synagogue was one of the recipients of the fund, receiving  £1000 pounds annually.  On 11 June 1922, a memorial was unveiled at the Ballarat Synagogue (below) by Louis’ nephew.

BALLARAT SYNAGOGUE. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/214178

HARVEY, Martin – Died June 1929 at Cudgee.  Martin Harvey was born at Penzance, Cornwall in 1836.  Around 1851, the Harvey family arrived at Geelong where Martin held his first jobs. Soon he was working a bullock team, taking food to outlying settlements, then returning to the Geelong port with a load of wool.  He spent time around the Minyip district moving from property to property working as a shearer.  He also took a bullock team on three trips from Ballarat to Dimboola.  He married Elizabeth Swan in 1867 and they spent time farming around Ballarat before moving to Cudgee near Warrnambool.  Martin finally settled down and lived there until his death at ninety-three. Martin and Elizabeth had seven sons and four daughters.

ROBERTSON, Marslie May – Died 15 June 1930 at Hamilton.  May Robertson was born in Inverness-shire, Scotland in 1844 and was eight when she arrived in Melbourne with her parents. The Robertson family stayed in Melbourne only a few days before journeying to Portland, then on to Straun Station near Coleraine where May’s uncles had already settled.  In 1868, she married William Sudgen Price Lewis, the stepson of Richard Lewis, a former owner of Rifle Downs at Digby. William leased Hilgay near Coleraine until around 1871.  They then moved to Hamilton.  Marslie was an excellent horsewoman and showed horses including Gold Dust for Samuel Winter Cooke in September 1890 at the Hamilton Show in the Ladies’ Hack Class.

Marslie and William had eight children and some time after 1890, the Lewis’ took a young boy Arthur into their care, raising him as their son. They resided at Pine Lodge in Mill Road, Hamilton. In 1914, Arthur Lewis was one of the first Hamilton enlistments for WW1.  He died as a result of his wounds at sea on his way from Gallipoli to an a hospital in Alexandria, Egypt on 13 August 1915. The shock of Arthur’s death was a great loss to William and he died In October 1915 at Hamilton.  Marslie was involved with the Hamilton Red Cross during the war and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  Each Sunday, she gave out flowers at the Hamilton Hospital.

COOKE, Eliza Jane – Died 29 June 1932 at Cobden.  Eliza Cooke arrived in Australia when she was eight and the family made their way to Ballarat. In 1866, she married Charles Morehead They arrived in Cobden in 1880 and Charles died in 1881 aged forty.  A son was born in August of the same year.  Eliza ran a store in Cobden and from around 1882 was operating coach services departing from the store.  She pioneered coach services between Cobden, Princetown and Peterborough.

“Classified Advertising” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 20 August 1889: 1. Web. 29 Jun 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22474287&gt;.

For forty-seven years, Eliza held the mail contract between Cobden and Camperdown.  Eliza’s business grew and as her sons eventually joined her.

“Advertising” Heytesbury Reformer and Cobden and Camperdown Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 26 February 1915: 3. Web. 29 Jun 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article152613189&gt;.

On 5 August 1931, Eliza celebrated her ninetieth birthday at her home Kooringa, Curdie Street Cobden.  At the time she was President of the Cobden Ladies’ Benevolent Society and  still chairing meetings.

JEFFERS, Jonas – Died June 1933 at Cobden.  Jonas Jeffers was born at Connewarre around 1848.  Around the age of twelve, Jonas walked to Cobrico north-west of Cobden.  When he was older he bought land in the district and married Selina Westerland of Terang in 1869.  Jonas worked as a carter throughout the district, passing through the Heytesbury Forest when there was only the roughest of tracks.  He carted wool from Glenample near Princetown to Geelong and timber for the first bridge over the Sherbrooke River, east of Port Campbell.  He also carted wood for the first hotel in Cobden in the 1860s and items from the wreck of the Loch Ard to Colac in 1878.  At the time of Jonas’ death, Selina was still living along with ten of their children.

HANLON, James – Died 26 June 1940 at Casterton.  James Hanlon was born in Dublin, Ireland around 1854 and his family set sail for Australia soon after his birth. He lived in various towns including Narrawong and Hamilton and operated a hotel at Heywood. By they time he was twenty-one, it was thought he must have held the record for the number of successful racehorses he owned or leased. James was always interested in horses and twice travelled to India with horses exported to that country.  The first horses he raced were Paddy the Larrikan and My Lord. In 1878, James married Morgey Gooding Smith and they had four sons and two daughters.

In 1931, at the age of seventy-seven, Jim walked eighteen miles between Casterton and Coleraine scaling hills like a “mountain goat”.  He was in training for a veterans race over a mile at Mount Gambier on September 1931 in which James ran third riding Dutch Dull, beaten by a rider sixteen years his junior.  His training feats made the Weekly Times on 3 June 1939. A race meeting about three years earlier was referred to.  The jockey didn’t arrive for the ride, so James, then around eighty-four, put on the silks and rode the horse himself.  In the year before his death, James prepared a horse called Furnival.

“CASTERTON VETERAN’S TRAINING TRIUMPH AT EIGHTY-FIVE” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 3 June 1939: 58 (FIRST EDITION). Web. 29 Jun 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224436779&gt;.

Aside from racing, James was a Mason for over fifty years including past Master of the Portland Lodge No. 6. James’ obituary in the Naracoorte Herald of 2 July 1940,  named fifty horses he was connected with during his life.