VAFHO Family History Expo Guest Speakers

The VAFHO has announced the guest speakers for the Hamilton Family History Expo on 1 June.  The first talk is at 10.15am with AFL statistician and Geelong Football Club historian Col Hutchinson speaking on researching the footballers in your family.

THE CASTERTON FOOTBALL CLUB, PREMIERS IN 1927. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766108

Next, Ancestry’s Jason Reeve will speak about using Ancestry.com for family history with an introduction to Ancestry DNA.

THE ELIJAH FAMILY OF HAMILTON c1919. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766117

Then after a break for lunch and time to check out the exhibits, Rob Hamilton will talk about Genealogy and Freemasons. 

HAMILTON MASONIC CENTRE, LONSDALE STREET

The day will conclude with the Hamilton History Centre taking us for a “visual stroll” through Hamilton’s history.

GRAY STREET, HAMILTON c1920. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399049

You can find out more including the times of each talk on the link to the VAHFO website – Hamilton Family History Expo.

I’m counting the days now.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

Belated Birthday

Over the weekend I was suddenly struck by a thought…I had forgotten Western District Families’ 8th Birthday!  It was 12 April but I was so busy writing biographies for Hamilton’s WW1, it completely slipped my mind.  So this is a quick post to thank you for following Western District Families both here and at the WDF Facebook page.  The number of visitors to each continues to grow as each year passes giving me the incentive to reach a double-figures birthday.

A tea party would be a proper way to celebrate WDF’s 8th birthday so this is one of my favourite photos from the past year.  It was the Facebook page cover photo during Women’s History Month in March and is held by the Museums Victoria Collection.  There are no names or a place but that doesn’t matter, it’s a great photo.

Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769771

VAFHO Family History Expo Exhibitors

VIEW TO CHURCH HILL, HAMILTON

The Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (VAFHO) has released a list of thirty exhibitors for the Hamilton Family History Expo on Saturday 1 June.  The expo is not just for those interested in Hamilton family history and the list of exhibitors is indicative of that.  For example, the Terang & District Family History GroupWest Gippsland Genealogical Society and Bendigo Family History Group will be there among others  There will also be Ancestry Australia, Port Phillip Pioneers and Gould Genealogy and more. You can see a full list at the VAFHO website on the link – Hamilton Family History Expo Exhibitors.

I’m really looking forward to the Expo because it’s in my beautiful historic hometown of Hamilton and the venue is the Chevalier Centre at Monivae College, my old school.  It’s always good to see events on in Hamilton which will bring people to the town to experience what we Hamiltonians past and present love.

HAMILTON BOTANIC GARDENS

 

“NUCLEUS”, A KINETIC SCULPTURE AT THE INTERSECTION OF GRAY & BROWN STREETS.

 

THE HAMILTON HISTORY CENTRE IN THE FORMER MECHANICS INSTITUTE

Hopefully we will finally get some rain in the next month giving visitors to the expo the chance to experience some waterfall action too.

 

Hamilton’s WW1…An Update

In time for ANZAC Day, I have added the Hamilton’s Christ Church Anglican Church Roll of Honour to Hamilton’s WW1. You can find it on the following link – Christ Church Honour Roll  

There are 163 names, 156 men and seven women. Thirty-two of the men did not return from the war. I’ve included their rank, unit from the Nominal Roll and any honours.  You can also read the biographies of thirty-six of the men and women.

Five of those named on the board were children of three consecutive Archdeacons of the Hamilton Anglican church, William Tucker (1894-1898), Reginald Hayman (1898-1906) and Charles Harris (1906-1917). Virgil Tucker and Percy Beaumont (step-son of Charles Harris) did not return from the war.

There are sixty names on the Christ Church board which are not on another of the honour rolls I’ve added in recent months, the Borough of Hamilton WW1 Honour Roll.  That roll has 411 names, 406 men and five women. The stories of 102 of those men and women are now completed.  You can find the names on the following link – Borough Honour Roll.

I have now completed a total of 155 biographies for Hamilton’s WW1, 145 men and ten women.  The most recently completed biographies are listed below. There are four more very close to publishing and I had hoped to have them completed before tomorrow.  You never know, I might get there yet. You can click on the names below to go to a biography.

William Handfield Anderson

Margaret Delahenty

Alice Donnes

Percy O’Connor Friend

Hubert Stanley Graves

Fanny May Harris

Francis Charles Johnson

Lillian Martha Malster

Evangeline Ameilia Rountree

Norma Norham Scott.

Thomas Henry Taylor

Virgil Tucker

MEN OF THE BOROUGH OF HAMILTON WW1 HONOUR ROLL. Images courtesy of the Australian War Memorial and Trove Digitised Newspapers.

 

MEN OF THE CHRIST CHURCH ANGLICAN CHURCH ROLL OF HONOUR. Images courtesy of the Australian War Memorial

Wonderful Western District Women Part 5

This is the fifth edition of Wonderful Western District Women but the first with just one subject.  It is also the first with a woman who hasn’t been part of the WDF Pioneer Obituary Index.  I came to know Elizabeth Sharp when I wrote the Passing of the Pioneers entry for her husband Charles Gray leaving me thinking she was way more interesting than Charles (although he was far from dull). I discovered Elizabeth was a strong, independent woman who was musically and artistically gifted. She embraced the beauty of her surrounds and in doing so she charmed a Prince and earned praise from a Queen.  Click on the underlined text throughout for further information about a subject.

SHARP, Elizabeth (c1822-1903) Also known as Elizabeth Sharpe and Elizabeth Gray

Elizabeth Sharp was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1822, a daughter of watchmaker Christopher Sharp and Catherine Rankin. She had an older brother Richard (later a member of the Royal Irish Academy) and an older sister Catherine “Kate” and younger sisters Emily and Flora. On 4 January 1842, Kate married Thomas Doolan of Tipperary in Dublin (Dublin Morning Register, Thursday 06 January 1842, p. 2). Ten years later the Doolans and their children left for Portland, Victoria on the Runnymede, arriving on 3 June 1852.

As for Elizabeth’s arrival in Australia, it is generally accepted she spent time in Sydney up until 1857. That acceptance seems to come from artworks by Elizabeth depicting Sydney including this work showing Sydney Harbour (below) and another of the Sydney Heads which have been dated 1857.

SYDNEY TOWN AND SYDNEY HARBOUR c1857 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/401521

The earliest I found Elizabeth in Australia is March 1855 but not in Sydney rather Portland, Victoria the destination of Elizabeth’s sister Kate and family. Dr Allison of Portland opened a museum in Gawler Street in 1855 and the first exhibition was in March 1855 with items of natural history and human art. Drawings in chalk by Elizabeth Sharp were part of the exhibition.  In December 1856, world-famous soprano Madame Anna Bishop (below) performed a concert at Portland. Elizabeth Sharp joined Madame Bishop for one of the pieces.  The Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser on 24 December 1856 said Elizabeth, who had a “musical reputation” performed the piece with Madame Bishop to “very good effect.”

MADAME ANNA BISHOP. The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser p. 1017. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article164387353

The following year, Elizabeth and her sister Kate opened a school for young ladies at Portland with drawing and music on the curriculum.

Advertising (1857, January 21). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876), p. 3 (EVENING.). Retrieved March 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64567605

On 19 March 1857 Elizabeth married at Portland to squatter Charles Gray (below) of Nareeb Nareeb, south of Glenthompson.

CHARLES GRAY. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/294252

Elizabeth was around thirty-five and Charles thirty-nine.  Charles’ property was relatively isolated with Hamilton the closest large town, however, it was well established with Charles having settled there seventeen years before and no doubt there were servants making life more comfortable.

THE HOMESTEAD BUILT BY CHARLES GRAY AT NAREEB NAREEB ON THE BANKS OF THE GREEN HILLS CREEK. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/294239

A daughter Annie was born to Elizabeth and Charles at Portland, on 17 April 1858 and another daughter Emily was born in 1860 at Nareeb Nareeb. On 15 March 1862, a son was born at Nareeb Nareeb but he sadly died before he could be named. Possibly on doctor’s advice, Elizabeth then forty spent some of her next pregnancy at Neptune Cottage, (below) in Gellibrand Street, Queenscliff where a daughter Elizabeth was born on 13 February 1863. The family would visit Queenscliff often over the coming years including the Christmas of 1866.

NEPTUNE COTTAGE, QUEENSCLIFF IN 1983 Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233621

Six days after daughter Elizabeth’s birth, two new lighthouses at Queenscliff, one black and one white were lit for the first time on 19 February 1863. Elizabeth would have seen the construction of the lighthouses in the lead up to the birth of her daughter as she looked at the coastline which inspired her to paint.  She created several watercolour drawings of Queenscliff including the one below dated 1863. Elizabeth drew the old sandstone lighthouse where the black lighthouse now stands which could be easily viewed close to Neptune Cottage.  The old lighthouse was demolished in March 1863.

VIEW OF QUEENSCLIFF SHOWING OLD LIGHTHOUSE c1863. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/401523

The Queenscliff black lighthouse…

THE BLACK LIGHTHOUSE QUEENSCLIFF

The year after her time in Queenscliff, Elizabeth sent five pieces, watercolour drawings and etchings to the 1864 Annual Exhibition of Fine Arts in Melbourne. One was a “view of the coast” at Queenscliff.  Another Western District exhibitor was Elizabeth’s sister Kate Doolan.  The sisters received excellent critiques for their works.

Local News. (1864, April 22). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 2. Retrieved March 17, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194723963

In 1866, Elizabeth exhibited at the Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition. Her watercolours included a view of Schnapper Point, a view of the Queenscliff lighthouse, possibly the one below, and a view of Queenscliff including the house of Mr Fellows.  She also exhibited a set of doilies with landscapes etched in ink on to the linen.  She received a medal for her doilies.

OLD QUEENSCLIFF LIGHTHOUSE c1863. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/401592

This is an amazing photo of the Fine Arts display at the 1866 Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition where Elizabeth and Kate’s works were displayed.

THE FINE ART GALLERY, MELBOURNE INTERCOLONIAL EXHIBITION 1866/7. Photographer: Thomas Ellis & Co. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/156175

During 1867, Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in the colony.

HRH PRINCE ALFRED c1866 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/246564

In December 1867, Prince Alfred spent a weekend at Hopkins Hill, the neighbouring property to Nareeb Nareeb, as the guest of John Moffat. Charles and Elizabeth were invited to Sunday lunch with the Prince. The girls also went along.  Elizabeth, with help from one of her daughters, presented His Royal Highness with two vases featuring etched Black Swan eggs. Delighted with his gift, Prince Alfred seated Elizabeth next to him at lunch.

RECEPTION OF THE PRINCE. (1867, December 18). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved March 22, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article185503900

So impressed was Prince Alfred, in January 1868 while still in Australia he sent Elizabeth a letter. He wrote “sincere thanks for the beautiful and useful presents”. He continued he “admired them so much” could he commission her to make another pair of vases for his mother, Her Majesty Queen Victoria.  Elizabeth set to work and even visited Ferntree Gully for research. The following is a pen and ink sketch depicting Ferntree Gully showing the intricacy of Elizabeth’s work

FERNTREE GULLY BY ELIZABETH GRAY. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/294226

Elizabeth created four pieces for Queen Victoria decorated with scenes the Prince saw during his visit to Victoria, something they must have talked about at lunch. There were two small vases each with carved black swan eggs. One featured the Wannon Falls near Hamilton, (below right) and a view at Ferntree Gully (below left).

“VASES PRESENTED TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN.” Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875) 15 August 1868: 12. Web. 7 Feb 2018 .

 

WANNON FALLS NEAR HAMILTON

She also created two tazzas (bowls) with ostrich eggs etched with various scenes including Mount Sturgeon near Dunkeld and Port Phillip Heads.  Some reports suggested they were emu eggs.

VASES PRESENTED TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN. (1868, August 15). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875), p. 12. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60450420

 

MOUNT STURGEON NEAR DUNKELD

Each piece was mounted in silver by Kilpatrick & Co., jewellers of Collins Street, Melbourne and displayed in the jeweller’s window before departure for England.  Elizabeth oversaw the display, with the vases arranged with variegated seaweed of all colours she collected at Queenscliff. The Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser gave a full description of Elizabeth’s pieces available on the link http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194474565

On 27 April 1870, a benefit concert was planned for Mrs Munro and her children who lost their home in Thompson Street, Hamilton to fire.  A week prior to the concert, the organizing committee was still looking for vocalists.  Elizabeth, her sister Kate and Miss Bunce offered to help out much to the enjoyment of the 500 people who crammed into the Hamilton Lands Office. Elizabeth accompanied singers on the piano and performed two piano duets with Kate.  The Hamilton Spectator wrote they imparted “to the performance an amount of fine execution seldom witnessed in amateurs”.  Miss Bunce sang several solo pieces.

Items of news. (1870, April 30). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196305962

In 1872, Elizabeth exhibited sketches of Aboriginals at Narreb Nareeb at the Victorian Intercolonial Exhibition in Melbourne, receiving an honourable mention and they later were sent on to the 1873 London International Exhibition.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER l8, 1872. (1872, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 5. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5844603

Later in the year, the Exhibition of Victoria showcased exhibits which would be sent on to the 1874 London International Exhibition. Elizabeth sent more of her vases to the London International and she was awarded a medal  

By the end of 1873, the Grays had decided to travel to Europe on what Charles described as a holiday.  They planned to leave by the February mail ship. Charles held a clearance sale of the household furniture and harness in December 1873.  On 26  February 1874, Charles, Elizabeth and the three Misses Gray did indeed leave by the mail ship RMS Bangalore.  Elizabeth was around fifty-one at the time.

SHIPPING. (1874, February 27). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199384026

In 1875, Elizabeth’s eldest daughter Annie received an invitation to attend the Queen’s first “Drawing Room” of the year at Buckingham Palace. A ‘drawing room” was a formal function held at intervals throughout the year which saw young ladies presented to Queen Victoria in her drawing room. An invitation to a drawing room was highly sought after.  Elizabeth’s early brush with royalty was said to have “broken the ice”.

DEBUTANTS PREPARE TO BE PRESENTED TO QUEEN VICTORIA. The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 – 1912), p. 315. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162191070

Elizabeth chaperoned Annie who captivated the overseas press who described her as an “Australian Beauty”. Her dress was “rich white satin; train, trimmed with bouillonnees and ruches of tulle, with sprays of lilies of the valley and roses; jupe of rich white grosgrain, trimmed the same; headdress, tulle veil with a spray of lilies. Some of their quotes included, “This young lady, who is not yet seventeen, is a very elegant and bewitching blonde, and bids fair to, be one of the belles of the season” and from the San Francisco correspondent of the New Zealand Herald, “amid all the diamonds and patrician beauties of a Royal drawing-room recently, the most .conspicuous person in the throngs was a young Australian girl of seventeen, who wore no jewels but her own incomparable beauty. She is Miss Annie Gray.” They were describing the same girl who rode on kangaroo hunts with her father at Nareeb Nareeb.

The Parisian correspondent for the New York Tribune wrote an article defining beauty inspired by the Australian girl with slightly rebellious blond hair.  The following is an extract from that article,

LADIES’ COLUMN. (1875, July 31). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 25. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70584172

Elizabeth didn’t go unnoticed with the Court Journal writing…” the toilette worn by Mrs Gray was remarkably rich and chaste.” With her hair done in the style of Madame de Montespan and a dress in the fashion of those worn by Madame de Pompadour with a “train, corsage, and upper skirt of rich ruby Lyons velvet, lined with white duchess satin, trimmed with richest white Brussels lace, velvet bows, and variegated moss roses; petticoat of white duchess; satin, trimmed with tulle, satin, and showered with bouquets of variegated moss roses; head-dress, feather, flowers, lappet, and veil; ornaments, diamonds and rubies.”  She was given credit for employing dressmaker Miss Scotter who had gone from working as a seamstress for David Jones of Ballarat to her own successful dressmaking business in Bond Street, London. The Hamilton Spectator wrote, “It is pleasing to find this kindly remembrance of one colonist by another, and is highly creditable to all concerned.”

In November 1875, Elizabeth, Charles and Annie attended a Grand Country Ball at Brighton. Soon after Charles was making plans to return to Australia. In early 1876, he left London and travelled to New York and then on to the Philadelphia Exhibition before embarking at San Francisco for Sydney arriving in June 1876.  He then made his way south to Nareeb Nareeb. Elizabeth and the girls extended their stay in England.  

Elizabeth was still creating pieces of art and in May 1880, she exhibited china plates with similar etchings to those on Queen Victoria’s eggs, at Howell & James in London. HRH Princess Christian visited the exhibition and had high praise for Elizabeth’s work. (Morning Post (London) Thursday 27 May 1880 p. 3).  On 16 November 1880, Annie married Charles Rowe at St Jude’s Church, South Kensington, London (London Evening Standard – Thursday 18 November 1880 p.1).

Charles continued on at Nareeb Nareeb until December 1886 when he put the property up for auction.  I had thought Charles returned to London at this time but in September 1888 he was seen walking along Collins Street Melbourne.  It was during the time of the 1886 Melbourne Exhibition and Elizabeth was exhibiting a series of photographs of her etchings. As usual, she received high praise, “This lady, whose talent for pen and ink work attracted royal notice made some wonderfully minute ethnological drawings of Aboriginals”.  After his death, Charles’ Victorian Probate referred to him as being late of St Kilda.  It’s not known when Charles returned to London or if Elizabeth ever returned to Victoria.

Emily Gray married on 3 July 1889 at Lancaster Gate, London to Leonard Sedgewick. Youngest daughter Elizabeth “Ebie” Gray had also married to John Murray but sadness came when Ebie died on 2 October 1892 at Eccles, Manchester aged twenty-nine. It was a sad year for Elizabeth as her sister Kate died at St Kilda on 24 May 1892.

In 1901, Elizabeth and Charles with four servants were living at 169 Cromwell Road, Kensington.  On Sunday 29 March 1903, Elizabeth died in London aged eighty-one. Her funeral was held at St Luke’s Earls Court, Redcliffe Square, London.

Elizabeth left two daughters, Annie Rowe by then a widow and Emily Sedgewick, and two grandsons Felix Rowe and Keith Murray. Charles died in 1905 at the age of eighty-seven. He was living at 18 Iverna Gardens, Kensington at the time of his death.  In his will, Charles left £100 to parlor maid Mabel Annie Ball “in recognition of her care of his late wife” (Dundee Courier – Friday 03 March 1905 p. 5)

The two vases given to Prince Alfred are now part of the Royal Collection located at Osborne House, the summer house of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight. A photograph of the vases is available on the link to the Royal Collection.

Additional Sources

Design and Art Australia Online – Biography of Elizabeth Gray              

Ireland Select Births and Baptisms, 1620–1911, Elizabeth Anna Sharpe, Birth date, 1822, FHL Film No. 100238

Irish Genealogy 

Current & Upcoming Events in the Western District

UPDATED 23 March –

We are really spoilt for choice over the coming months because some more history related events have come to light since I published this post on Monday. You’ll find the three new events added below…


Some great history related events are either happening or coming up in the Western District over the next few months.

Running now until 28 April at the Port Fairy Museum and Archives is a travelling exhibition “Submerged” about shipwrecks along the south-west coast and Australia wide.  Port Fairy is a good place to host an exhibition about wrecks with fourteen wrecks recorded within Port Fairy bay alone.  You can find out more at the museum’s Facebook page Port Fairy Museum and Archives or website.

PORT FAIRY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES, GIPPS STREET.

The Glenelg Shire Council Cultural Collection exhibition “Gone But Not Forgotten…The Lost Buildings of Portland” is now on at the Portland Arts Centre until 26 April. The exhibition includes a display of photos and other items on the long-gone buildings of Portland.

An exhibition curated by the Casterton RSL will look at the Centenary of the RSL will begin on 2 April at the Casterton Town Hall foyer.  You can find out more at the shire’s Facebook page Glenelg Shire Council Cultural Collection.

Near Lake Bolac on 28 April will be an unveiling of a plaque at the former Mellier State School. The plaque will remember the 100th anniversary since the school was moved to Norbank Road, Lake Bolac.  You can find out more on the Historic Lake Bolac Facebook page.

On the weekend of 18 & 19 May is the Hamilton Pastoral Museum May rally.  You can see some of the sights…and sounds of the museum in this video from my visit to the October 2018 rally.  Look for further rally information on the museum’s Facebook page Hamilton Pastoral Museum Inc or the museum website.

Also on 18 May, the Warrnambool Family History Group are holding a seminar with four guest speakers each with great topics including Ken Flack, a genealogist and historian from Horsham speaking on taking a different approach to research; Janet McDonald, the President of the Warrnambool and District Historical Society talking about using local records to research land and houses around Warrnambool; Kate Moneypenny from the State Library of Victoria talking about researching family history at the SLV. You can find out more on the groups Facebook page Warrnambool Family History Group or their website.

For those interested in DNA and Family History, the Colac & District Family History Group is hosting a workshop on Friday 31 May from 1pm to 3pm with a representative from Ancestry. This must be a Western District first on such a topic so take the chance to attend. The Colac & District Family History Group are doing some great things. For further updates, check out the group’s Facebook page Colac & District Family History Group and website.  It’s a new website too so definitely take a look.  

The following day, Saturday 1 June is the 2019 VAFHO (Victorian Association of Family History Organisation) Expo at the Chevalier Centre, Monivae College in Hamilton from 10.00am to 4.00pm.  Take the opportunity to hear some of the best family history speakers right here in the Western District. I’ll keep you updated with details including guest speakers as they come to hand or you can check out the VAFHO Facebook page VAFHO – Victorian Association of Family History Organisations or website.

THE VIEW TOWARDS CHURCH HILL, HAMILTON

Yambuk Cemetery

Back in 2015, I stayed a few nights in Yambuk, west of Port Fairy, in a house just down the road from the Yambuk cemetery.  Set on flat land, the headstones at the cemetery were clearly visible from the kitchen window.  Of course, I visited not once but twice. The first time was in the evening but as the headstones all face east, it wasn’t a good time for photos.  I went back just before 10am the next morning with the sun shining on to the front of the headstones. As you scroll through this post, you will guess which photo was taken in the evening. 

While the cemetery was generally clear, around the graves wasn’t and it was difficult to get close to the headstones.  I’ve since seen photos taken by Carol Judkins posted on her Carol’s Headstones Photos Facebook page in 2018 and I’m pleased to say, the graves were at least then, clear to walk around. 

058

The view of the turbines at the nearby Codrington Wind Farm with the headstones in the foreground contrasts the old with the new.

Below you will find the stories behind some of the headstones.   I started writing these stories not long after I got home from Yambuk four years ago with intending to share my post soon after.  However, it wasn’t long before I realised it wasn’t going to be that easy. Those buried in the cemetery are mostly of Irish descent, common for cemeteries in this part of the south-west. There were many people living in the same district with the same or similar name along with variations in spelling. Also, very few of those I chose to write about had newspaper obituaries to help work out who was who.  Also, because I worked off the information on the headstones and not burial records, I can’t guarantee all of those memorialized are buried in the cemetery, I can only assume. It’s not uncommon to find a loved one remembered on a headstone even though their final resting place is elsewhere.

John LEDDIN and his wives Catherine O’SHANNESSY and Mary CARROLL

072

John Leddin was born in Limerick, Ireland around 1842, a son of William Leddin and Johanna Carroll.  He arrived at Port Fairy with his parents on Chance in 1857 when he was fifteen, unable to read or write.  In 1866, he appears to have gone to New Zealand.  John was in Victoria in 1876  when he married Catherine O’Shannessy a daughter of John O’Shannessy and Johanna Hurley.  Catherine was born at Yambuk in 1857.  John and Catherine Leddin had five children, the first William in 1878 followed by a further two boys and two girls. The last was Johanna Magdalene Leddin in 1885.  Catherine O’Shannessy died in 1886 aged thirty and was buried at the Yambuk Cemetery, leaving John with five small children, the youngest still a baby.

In 1888, John Leddin remarried to Mary Anne Carroll, a daughter of John Carroll and Mary Crowe. She was born in Victoria in 1851.  John and Mary had three children together, one girl and two boys.

In 1902, while travelling to Port Fairy, John Leddin was thrown out of his buggy landing on the metal road on his head.  He was taken to the Port Fairy Hospital with paralysis, cuts and bruises and died of inflammation of the spinal cord. He was sixty years old.  John was buried with his first wife Catherine at the Yambuk Cemetery.

At the time of his death, John left his widow Mary, six sons and two daughters.  In 1917, Patrick Leddin, a son of John Leddin and Catherine O’Shannessy was killed in France. In 1933, Mary Carroll died at Crossley and was also buried in the Leddin plot at Yambuk.

I think I came across every possible variation of O’Shannessy while researching this grave.  Catherine’s Victorian BDM’s Birth Index entry has her as Catherine O’Shaughnessy as did the entry for her sibling Matthew.  When Catherine’s brother Daniel died, he was O’Shannassy.  When Catherine died, her father’s name was given as O’Shannessy.   

Daniel and Bridget O’SHANASSY and their grandson Thomas MALONEY

Just as with Catherine O’Shannessy, there were variations in the spelling of Daniel’s surname.  His grave shows O’Shanassy, but his Victorian BDM’s Death index entry, Marriage entry and PROV Probate File show O’Shaughnessy.  Considering Catherine’s (above) birth was registered as O’Shaughnessy we could probably assume O’Shaughnessy was the original spelling for both Daniel and Catherine.

Daniel was born in 1830 in County Clare, Ireland, a son of Daniel O’Shaughnessy and Judith Haden.  Daniel and Bridget settled at Codrington, just west of Yambuk.  Daniel died in 1900 aged seventy.

Family Notices (1900, September 8). Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), p. 17. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169868264

Bridget died in 1907, and like her husband, I can’t be sure of her surname.  Her Death Index entry shows her father was Dryer and her mother unknown, while her daughter Mary’s entry has her mother as Bridget Dwyer.  However, son Daniel Thomas O’Shaughnessy and daughter Frances Judith O’Shaughnessy have Bridget’s maiden name as O’Dwyer on their Birth Index entry.

Thomas Maloney, a grandson of Daniel and Bridget, was born in Port Fairy in 1906. He was a son of John Maloney and Mary O’Shannessy.  He died two weeks later. As mentioned, his mother Mary’s birth was registered as O’Shaughnessy but on Thomas’ birth index entry, Mary was an O’Shannessy.  It’s likely John Maloney was the same John Maloney born to Thomas Maloney and Catherine Ryan in 1870 at Yambuk. More about them next…

Thomas MALONEY, son William MALONEY and mother in law BRIDGET RYAN

maloney3

Thomas Maloney was born in County Clare, Ireland around 1843.  On 9 January 1865, Thomas married Catherine Ryan at Six Mile Bridge, Clare. They left for Victoria in the months after aboard Chariot of Fame arriving at Port Phillip heads on 2 December 1865.

Thomas and Catherine settled at Yambuk and went on to have fourteen children.  Thomas Maloney was forty-eight when he died at Yambuk in 1891. At the time, there were still four children under the age of ten.  Catherine stayed on at Yambuk before moving to James Street, Port Fairy around 1911 to live with her son Daniel. That is where she died in 1916, aged seventy-two. Catherine was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

Thomas and Catherine’s son William was born at Yambuk in 1881. William had been in Wagga spending time with his brother Michael with a view to settling there.  After a couple of months, William was struck down by gastritis and died at the Wagga Hospital in 1912 aged thirty-one. His body was returned to Port Fairy by train and former Port Fairy residents then living in Wagga including members of the Leddin family, were at the station to see his body off.

Also named on the headstone is Bridget Ryan who was Bridget Keogh, Catherine’s mother who died in 1880 aged seventy-two.

Thomas and Bridget MALONEY

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Thomas Maloney was born in 1867 at Yambuk, a son of Thomas Maloney and Catherine Ryan (above).  He married Bridget Beatrice Devereaux in 1910.  Bridget was born at Port Fairy in 1870. Thomas died on 23 March 1912 at the age of forty-four.  Bridget died in 1958.  There appears to have been no children from the marriage.

John and Bridget RYAN

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John Ryan was a son of Thomas Ryan and Bridget Keogh and brother of Catherine Maloney (nee Ryan) above.  John Ryan was born at County Clare around 1837 and arrived on Eutopia to Adelaide in 1857. He went to Melbourne around 1860 before heading to Yambuk two years later.  In 1867, John married Bridget Ryan.  Bridget was a daughter of Michael Ryan and Hanora Barry and was born in Tipperary, Ireland.  Bridget died in 1895 at the age of fifty-six.  John died on 26 October 1918 aged eighty-one leaving one son, Thomas Ryan.

James and Johanna GLEESON and children James, Sarah, William, and Cornelius GLEESON and Mary THOMPSON

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James Gleeson was born in Ireland around 1841, a son of James Gleeson and Mary Carroll.  He married Johanna O’Donnell in Victoria in 1868. Johanna was also born in Ireland in 1847, a daughter of Michael O’Donnell and Mary Corcoran.  James and Johanna Gleeson had eight children, with five of those remembered on their headstone. Cornelius died in 1891 at Yambuk aged eighteen and William Joseph Gleeson died in 1895 aged seventeen also at Yambuk. Sarah Agnes died in 1899 aged twenty-four at Yambuk.

Mother Johanna died at Yambuk on 23 April 1907.  Five weeks later, the Gleeson family were mourning again.  Son James died in 1907 at Merino aged thirty-two. He was working on a ballast train between Hamilton and Grassdale.  He presented to a Merino doctor with severe stomach cramps after eating tinned fish. He died two days later on 30 May 1907 of food poisoning. He was thirty-two.

Also named on the headstone is a married daughter Mary Gleeson, born in 1869 at Yambuk.  She married Alexander Thompson in 1897 and died in 1902 aged thirty-two.  Mary and Alexander had four children during their short marriage.  Their firstborn Mary died as an infant.  Three further children were born, the last being Agnes in 1901.

James Gleeson died at Port Fairy on 7 July 1911.

Michael and Mary GLEESON and daughter Mary Eileen GLEESON

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Mary Gleeson (nee O’Donnell), was a sister of Johanna Gleeson (above).  She was born in 1850 at Kilbane, County Clare, Ireland and arrived in Australia with her parents Michael O’Donnell and Mary Corcoran in 1870.  Mary married Michael Ryan in 1884 and according to Mary’s obituary, they moved first to Gippsland and then on to Melbourne where Michael ran a greengrocer store in Spencer Street.  They had one son William Michael Ryan, born in 1885. Michael died in 1888 aged around sixty-four. 

After Michael Ryan’s death, Mary married Michael Gleeson in 1890 and they took up land at Yambuk. Michael Gleeson was born around 1831.  His Death Index record shows he was a son of James Gleeson and Elizabeth Carroll but seeing as James Gleeson above was a son of a James Gleeson and Mary Carroll, it may well be Mary Carroll was also Elizabeth meaning Michael and James Jr. were brothers…who married sisters…now I’m confused and no doubt you are too.

Michael and Mary had a daughter, Mary Eileen who was born in 1891 but died sixteen days later.  A son Michael was born in 1902. Michael Gleeson Sr died in 1910.  Mary lived in Fingerboard Road, Yambuk the same road as the cemetery.  She died on 18 February 1951 at Warrnambool the age of 100.  She was photographed in 1947 with another old resident of Yambuk, Michael O’Brien (below).

Yambuk and Tyrendarra (1947, May 7). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 18. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223916656

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Being a glutton for punishment, I’m writing a Yambuk Cemetery Part 2 post and it’s proving no easier than this one.  Hopefully it won’t take four years to write though so keep an eye out for it in the (hopefully near) future.