Passing of the Pioneers

A further ten Western District pioneers move onto the Pioneer Obituary Index this month with some joining their family members. That is the case with the families of Lesser, Cole, Kirkwood and Learmonth.  As I add entries to the index, I try to match them up with related entries and link them up.  You’ll now find a number of family connections when you scroll through the index. As usual, if you click on any of the underlined text throughout this post, you will go to further information about that subject.

HULL, Thomas Wood – Died 20 November 1868 at Hamilton.  Thomas Hull was born in Rochester, Kent, England around 1839, a son of John Hull and Elizabeth Wood. He was also a nephew of the Honorable William Hull, a member of Victoria’s Legislative Assembly from 1860 to 1866.  By 1865, Thomas was in Victoria and a policeman stationed in Gippsland.  In that year he received a promotion from Senior Constable to Sergeant 2nd Class. By 1867, Thomas had transferred to Hamilton.  In October 1867, Hamilton’s Inspector of Police, Leopold Kabut left the town, so Thomas Hull, a promising young policeman, was put in charge of the Hamilton station. Things were also going well in his personal life and Thomas married Kate Wright of Hamilton at the Church of England on 15 July 1868.

On the morning of Friday 20 November 1868, Thomas found it necessary to dismiss one of the mounted policemen Michael Flanagan. Flanagan had one too many times been reported for drunkenness. Thomas asked Flanagan to hand in his kit but advised him he could stay in his house for a couple more days due to him having a wife and six children.  Thomas then went about his duties, including a patrol around the business area of Hamilton.  At 2.00pm, Thomas returned to his quarters and around thirty minutes later Flanagan approached him.  There was some discussion between the two about the Flanagan’s  living arrangements.  Flanagan then produced a pistol, asking Thomas to check if it was clean. He then approached Thomas and shot him twice in the left side. Constable Conway who had been present rushed Flanagan and grabbed hold of the pistol. Flanagan would not release his grip so Conway cried, “Murder” and the watch-house keeper ran to his aid, securing the pistol. They then put Flanagan in the lockup.

Meanwhile, Thomas Hull lay on the ground with internal bleeding, slowly fading over the course of thirty minutes.  Kate had heard the disturbance rushed to Thomas’ side and he recognised her presence.  Thomas spent his last minutes praying, uttering, “It is hard to die”. He forgave Flanagan and his enemies before the effects of his wounds took his life at just twenty-nine. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Michael Flanagan was found guilty of murder and sent to the gallows, insisting on wearing his mounted policeman’s uniform to meet his fate.  Thomas’ wife Kate remarried in 1870 to another policeman, Alfred Clark.  She died at the Bendoc Police Station in Gippsland in 1886 aged just thirty-six.

GRAVE OF THOMAS HULL, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

GRAVE OF THOMAS HULL AT HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

LESSER, Abraham – Died 13 November 1886 at Coleraine.  Abraham Lesser was born in Swarzędz, Poland, then under Prussian rule, around 1826.  In the 1850s, his brother Louis left for Australia and Abraham followed.  Together they went to Coleraine, opening a store in Whyte Street.  In 1861, Abraham married Londoner Elizabeth “Bessie” May at the Mikveh Israel Melbourne Synagogue. In 1865, Abraham and Louis mutually dissolved the partnership in the store and Louis left for London where he married Bessie’s sister Evelyn May.

Abraham’s wife Bessie would have several pregnancies, however, she lost her first two babies and by 1870, the Lessers had lost five babies.  As well as the store, Abraham was active in the community.  He was a member of the Wannon Shire Council for almost ten years and a Justice of the Peace. A generous benefactor, he donated money to churches of all denominations.

On 12 November 1886, Abraham attended a concert in Coleraine.  While having a chat with John Kirby who would later buy Mt Koroite at Coleraine, Abraham suddenly collapsed.  He died early the following morning at the age of sixty.  He left his widow Bessie and four children.  The funeral cortege was one of the largest seen in Coleraine.  Reverend Goldrich, rabbi of the Jewish congregation in Ballarat conducted the service. The store of A.Lesser & Co (below) continued operating in Coleraine first by Louis and then members of Abraham’s family until it went into liquidation in 1939.

A.LESSER & CO., COLERAINE 1922. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769410

HORAN, Keeran   – Died 17 November 1892 at Croxton East.  Keeran Horan was born in King’s County, Ireland around 1824 and arrived in Victoria in the late 1850s with his wife Catherine Guinan.  After spending fifteen years farming at Mount Moriac near Geelong, Keeran took up land at Croxton East in 1872, calling the property Pine Hill Farm.  Keeran was an expert ploughmen and a noted breeder of draught horses. He once paid a record price for a draught stallion from Daniel Twomey of Kolor at Penshurst.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 27 September 1884: 4 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225660511&gt;.

In 1887, Keeran entered a competition conducted by the government to find the colony’s prize farm. An article about the visit of the judges to Pine Hill Farm gives a great description of not only Keeran’s farm but farming practices from the time.  You can find it on the link here.  At the time of Keeran’s death, he left a large family.  Catherine predeceased him in  1902.

KIRKWOOD, William – Died 10 November 1898 at Buckley’s Swamp.  William Kirkwood was born in Quebec, Canada on 9 February 1822. When still a child, his parents returned to Paisley, Scotland and William grew up there.  In 1842, William married Jane O’May and they had one child before heading to Australia in 1852 arriving at Portland aboard the John Davis.  They took a bullock dray to Warrock, north of Casterton where William worked. They later went to Park Hill at the Wannon.  William then selected land south of Hamilton at Buckley’s Swamp in 1861.  William and Jane went on to have another son and three daughters. William was a devout member of the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and church precentor, leading the singing until an organ was purchased.  In 1883, William returned to Scotland for a visit.  William’s funeral cortege left his home at Buckley’s Swamp at 1.30pm and when it reached Hamilton two hours later, the mourners following behind the hearse stretched for 800 metres.

GRAVE OF WILLIAM KIRKWOOD AND FAMILY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

HOLLARD, George Gilbert “Giles” – Died 26 November 1912 at Wallacedale North.  George Hollard was born in Devonshire, England in 1817.  He married Mary Richards and they had three children.  In 1849, George and his family sailed to Portland aboard the Bristol Empire. George was employed by Edward Henty at Muntham where he remained for many years.  In time, he and Mary returned to Portland.  Mary died in 1894 and George stayed in Portland until around 1908 when he went to live with his son at Wallacedale.  One of the highlights of George’s life was seeing the Governor of Victoria, Sir George Bowen turn the first sod on the Portland-Hamilton rail line.  George left three sons and four daughters at the time of his death.

DUNBAR, John – Died 9 November 1913 at Hamilton. John Dunbar was born at Tyrone, Ireland around 1833 and arrived in Victoria in 1855 and made his way to Hamilton.  In 1863, John married Frances Hawke and they had seven sons and four daughters.  John and Frances would stay in their marital home until their deaths.   In his later years, John remained fit and worked in his garden each day, only going into town on Saturday for shopping.  John left his widow Frances, three sons and three daughters.  Frances died at Hamilton in 1921.

PEARSON, Mary Jarvey – Died 24 November 1913 at Hamilton.  Mary Pearson was born in 1832 at Bathgate, Scotland, the eldest daughter of John Pearson and Mary Simpson.  Mary’s grandfather Sir James Simpson who discovered the use of chloroform as an anaesthetic. When Mary was six,  she left Leigh Scotland in January 1840 with her parents and siblings, to travel to Hobart, Tasmania on board the North Briton. During the voyage, the ship ran aground on the Goodwin Sands off the English coast near Kent, delaying the journey a month. Back on course, as the ship rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 30 April 1840, Mary’s mother gave birth to a son, Joseph.  Once in Hobart, the family lived in Mary’s late uncle’s large house at Douglass Park, Campbell Town John had inherited. In 1846, John Pearson bought the run of Mr Robertson on the Glenelg River in Victoria.

On 30 May 1846, John and Mary Pearson and their five children sailed for Portland Bay from Launceston on the Minerva with Captain Fawthrop at the helm.  From there they travelled to the 10, 750 acre Retreat Run near Casterton.  During their time at the station, they saw the impact of the Black Thursday bushfires on 6 February 1851 when Mary was nineteen.  Such was fires intensity,  birds and wildlife sought refuge at the homestead. The time of the fires would remain fixed in Mary’s memory for another reason.  Her mother died two days later on 8 February 1851. Her body was transported to the Portland North Cemetery for burial.

Mary’s father sold Retreat soon after, taking up Yambuk Station in July 1851. The trip to Yambuk took two days and there was a stopover at Castlemaddie at Tyrendarra, owned by Mr Suter.  In March 1853, Mary was visiting Castlemaddie when three armed bushrangers entered the house during afternoon tea and demanded money from those present.  Mary had a long gold chain, a gift from her father, and she tried to hide it but Wilson the bushranger caught her.  “You ladies needn’t put your jewellery out of sight. I don’t want any of it. All we want is coin.”, he said.  In 1854, John Pearson sold Yambuk to Mr Suter formerly of Castlemaddie and he moved to Portland.

While in the Portland district, Mary met and married Peter Learmonth on 18 December 1854 at Portland.  Peter had come from the Castlemaine diggings where he had some success.  He took up a job at Merino Downs for the Hentys and Mary moved there with him. They then went to Hamilton where Peter set up a flour mill at Prestonholme, just east of the town. He ran other mills in the district including Byaduk.  He also established P.Learmonth & Co, Stock and Station agents in Gray Street Hamilton.  Mary and Peter went on to have ten children, seven sons and three daughters.  Peter died in 1893 and Mary remained at Prestonholme for a further ten years before moving to Oakdene, Hamiton.  Her son James and his family, fresh from a stint at the family property in Mexico, took up residence at Prestonholme.  

Peter and Mary attended the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church in McIntyre Street and together were a driving force behind the church’s construction in 1862.   Mary was involved with the Benevolent Ladies Society, auxiliaries, sewing groups, basically any church activity.  Not only did Mary witness the construction of the first Wesleyan Methodist church in Hamilton, she was able to see the new church in Lonsdale Street (below).  She was most enthusiastic about the new church and was given the honour of laying the foundation stone on 5 April 1913.  Sadly she was in poor health at the time of the opening of the church on 5 October 1913 and was unable to attend.

HAMILTON WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH, LONSDALE STREET c1930. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769323

At the time of her death, Mary left six sons and one daughter and her younger brother Joseph Bell Pearson born near the Cape of Good Hope, was also alive.  A remembrance service was held at the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church on Sunday 7 December.  The congregation were reminded the history of the Wesleyan Methodism in Hamilton was also the history of the religious life of Peter and Mary Learmonth. Mary’s obituary in the Hamilton Spectator on 25 November 1913 gave an extensive description of her life including her early years in the colony,

As a young girl, she lived in the unprepared period before extensive settlement, when the tracks had yet to be blazed and passage through the virgin bush had to be made by roadless routes and in vehicles for human transport of most primitive origin. Her life was contemporaneous with that of the pioneer Henty family. The areas of ownership of land were comparatively vast, and like her earlier friends she had the unique experience of viewing the gradual process of expansion of population in this large and fertile district.

Mary was buried at Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with Peter.

GRAVE OF MARY JARVEY LEARMONTH AND FAMILY AT HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

COLE, Nicholas – Died 22 November 1932 at Camperdown.  Nicholas Cole was born in 1852 at West Cloven Hills Station near Darlington to Nicholas Cole and Martha Hodgson. His family had been on the property  1839.  Nicholas went to school at Geelong Grammar. After the death of his father in 1879, Nicholas inherited the property and turned his attending to breeding Merinos, become one of the leading growers in the country.  In 1885, Nicholas married Victoria Anderson of Gerangamete station.  They went on to have a son and three daughters.   In 1920, Victoria died suddenly from heart disease at the age of fifty-four.

WEST CLOVEN HILLS HOMESTEAD. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.

HEDDITCH, William Forward – Died 13 November 1939 at Bridgewater. William Hedditch was born at Lower Cape Bridgwater in 1857, the son of Richard Charlton Hedditch and Rachel Forward Read. He attended the Bridgewater School followed by Portland College. After school, William turned to dairy farming and was later director of the Portland and Bridgewater butter factories for forty years. In 1890, William married Marion Nunn Jones and they had two sons.  William had an interest in local history and was a wealth of knowledge on the subject, writing many articles for the Portland Guardian on local history.  He was buried at the Bridgewater Cemetery.

WATT, Annie – Died 10 November 1952 at Coleraine.  Annie Watt was born at Springvale in 1862.  She married Robert Brown at the Hamilton Catholic Church in 1886, the wedding performed by Father Shanahan.  Annie and Robert settled at Balmoral and in 1910 moved to Konongwootong  South.  In 1936, Robert retired from the farm and the Watts moved to Church Street, Coleraine  At the time of her death, Annie was ninety and Robert was still alive along with six children, thirty grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren.  Robert died in 1957 aged ninety-six.

Passing of the Pioneers

Eleven new pioneers join the Pioneer Obituary Index this month.  They include a couple of politicians, a female publican, and a published writer.  Once again, they all bring great stories from the Western District’s past.  Remember to click on any underlined text to find further information about a subject.

BROMELL, Thomas – Died 9 October 1887 at Melbourne. Thomas Bromell was born in Devonshire, England around 1832.  He married Emma Walter in 1851 and they arrived in Victoria in 1853 aboard the Marchioness of Londonderry.  After a brief stint on the Ballarat goldfields, Thomas and Emma headed to Barrabool Hills near Geelong where they spent about seven years.  The Bromells arrived in the Hamilton district around 1860 and by that time they had five children.  Thomas set about acquiring land, buying sections of properties such as Mokanger, Skene and Kanawalla as they became available, eventually reaching 14,000 acres he called Hensley Park.  He also bought Refuge Station near Casterton

Thomas was a grain grower initially before turning to mixed farming.  Along with sheep, he bred Neapolitan and Berkshire pigs.  He was also widely known as a breeder of Timor ponies.  Thomas began his civic life on the roads board, later becoming the Dundas Shire.  In 1874, Thomas offered himself as a candidate for the seat of Western Province in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament and was successful.  Thomas was a committee member of the Hamilton Racing Club.  The Bromells went on to have seven daughters and just one son who took over the running of Hensley Park in Thomas’s later years.   Thomas died suddenly at the Union Club Hotel, Melbourne aged fifty-four. His body was returned to Hamilton and buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

HEADSTONE OF THOMAS BROMELL, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

ARMSTRONG, Christian  – Died 24 October 1906 at Hamilton.  Christian Armstrong was born at Kildonan, Scotland in 1831.  She married James Thomson in 1852 and arrived in Victoria on the Europa with James and her brother Alexander Armstrong.  Alexander purchased Warrambeen at Shelford while James worked at Golf Hill Station next door for the Clyde Company.  Christian and James’ first child John was born there in 1853.  By about 1857, James purchased an interest in the Ullswater and Maryvale Stations near Edenhope and they moved to the later property.  In 1870, James purchased Monivae from the estate of Acheson Ffrench.  By then there were seven Thomson children.  Twins were born in the year after their arrival at Monivae and a girl Jessie in 1873.  Sadly Jessie died in 1875, In 1877, a new homestead was built (below), to accommodate the large family.  On  4 June 1889, one of Christian’s twins, George died suddenly at Monivae, from heart trouble he’d suffered from birth.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD, NEAR HAMILTON. 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

A deeply religious and charitable woman, Christian 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.

ST. ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH c1890. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/69513

Christian died at Monivae at 8.20am on 24 October 1906 and was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

HEADSTONE OF CHRISTIAN ARMSTRONG, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

The year after Christian’s death, James Thomson lay the foundation stone for a new Presbyterian Church at Hamilton.  He later donated a memorial window for the new church in remembrance of Christian.  You can read more about the Thomson family of Monivae on the link – Strong in Faith…A Story of Monivae Estate.

McKINNON,  Anne – Died 7 October 1914 at Noorat. Anne McKinnon was born around 1825 at Inverness, Scotland. She arrived in Victoria with her parents and siblings in 1852 aboard the Chance to Port Fairy.  In 1854, Anne married Charles Podger.  Anne and Charles spent the early years of their marriage at Mount Fyans near Darlington before Charles selected at Kolora, naming the property Werrook. Anne and Charles had six children, three sons and three daughters.  Anne was buried at Terang Cemetery.

BEGG, William – Died 9 October 1915 at Branxholme. William Begg was born in Scotland around 1840 and arrived in Australia in 1855 aboard the Nashwauk.  His arrival was exciting and dangerous as the Nashwauk wrecked off the South Australian coast at Moana. Surviving the wreck, the family settled in South Australia and William worked as a baker.  Around 1865, William’s parents selected land next to Morven Estate near Branxholme and he moved with them.  The property was called Fontus and William took over the property after his father’s death.  William was involved in the Branxholme Rifle Club and was captain for around twenty years.  He always thought he was lucky to be alive after his perilous arrival on Australian soil.

“”YATHONG” PATRIOTIC FETE.” Punch (Melbourne, Vic. : 1900 – 1918; 1925) 11 November 1915: 18. Web. 24 Oct 2017 .

William never married and lived with his mother who died only three years before him.  He spent his last year living with his sister Mrs Agnes Gough at Royston, Branxholme (below).

ROYSTON, BRANXHOLME, 1976. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/215598

LAYH, Carl – Died 2 October 1917 at Brighton.  Carl Layh was born in Germany around 1837 and arrived in Australia from Liverpool, England in 1859 aboard the Florence Nightingale and headed to the Ballarat diggings. There only briefly, he moved on to Geelong to work for Sander’s tobacconist in Malop Street. Around 1862, Carl moved to Hamilton and opened a tobacconist shop in partnership with Sanders. Located in Gray Street opposite the Victoria Hotel, it went under the name Sanders, Layh and Co.

On 10 June 1863, twenty-seven-year-old Carl married seventeen-year-old Jane Emma Remfrey.  The wedding took place at the Remfrey family home conducted by a Wesleyan minister. Making a career change about 1870, Carl and Jane moved to Burnt Creek near Horsham and opened a school. Carl and his family returned to Hamilton in 1878 and Carl opened an accountancy and commission agents firm and the Western District Labour Mart also known as Layh’s Labour Mart.  Jane also worked in the business.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 March 1879: 1. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226053797&gt;.

For twenty-seven years Carl was on the staff of the Hamilton Spectator as a reporter and he also contributed to the Daily Telegraph, The Age, The Argus and Herald. He retired from his work at the Spectator in 1909.   He also taught German at the Western District Academy, Hamilton (below) and privately.  Carl was also a member of the Grange Lodge from 1864.

THE WESTERN DISTRICT ACADEMY, POPE STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 21766/58 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/58

Carl and his wife had five sons and one daughter and lived in Gray Street, Hamilton.  On 10 June 1913, Carl and Jane celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.  With a son serving overseas, in 1915, Jane Layh unveiled a memorial tablet at the Hamilton State School for past students who had enlisted for WW1. Their son,  Herbert Thomas Christoph Layh who began the war as a Lieutenant in “Pompey” Elliot’s 7th Battalion, was awarded a Distinguished Service Order in 1916 and appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1919.

Ill health forced Carl to retire from his labour mart and he and Jane moved Melbourne to live with their sons.  Carl died in 1917 aged eighty.  At the timeof his death, He and Jane had twenty-five grandchildren.  Jane died in Brighton in 1931 aged eighty-four.

HOWELL, William – Died 7 October 1917 at Hamilton. William Howell lived at Coleford in Milton Street, Hamilton, his home named after the town where he was born in Gloucestershire in 1844.  William arrived in Victoria aboard the Great Victoria,  his twentieth birthday passing during the voyage.  He first went to Murghebolac near Geelong, staying for twelve years before moving to Hamilton. There he worked in partnership with Robert Coulter at Coulter and Howell Monumental Masons, from around 1878 first in Brown and then in Pope Street.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 April 1882: 4. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226064020&gt;.

William later set up his own business in Brown Street with branches in Portland and Casterton.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 3 August 1909: 1. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225047867&gt;.

In 1880, William selected land at Marney’s Swamp, north-west of Dunkeld. In 1889 at the age of fifty-four, William married thirty-one-year-old Mary Ann Taylor. They had no children. William was a member of the Rechabite Lodge, the YMCA, was a trustee of the Temperance Hall, and a playing member of the Hamilton Bowling Club.  Mary Ann lived another thirty-three years after William and died at Hamilton in 1950 aged ninety-two.

HICKMER, Sarah Ann – Died 16 October 1918 at Muddy Creek.  Sarah Hickmer was born at Brighton, Sussex, England and arrived in Adelaide, South Australia with her family in 1851.  Sarah then went to Melbourne briefly before going to Mt Gambier. She married Peter Williamson in Victoria in 1853 and around 1866, they took up land at Murphy’s Creek near Yulecart.  Peter died in 1871 but Sarah stayed on at the property with the help of her sons. She did have time away in the 1880s when she went with her sons who bought land at Tellangatuk East. She returned to the district and lived with a son at Muddy Creek.  Sarah was eighty-nine at the time of her death and still the owner of the property she and Peter bought fifty years before.  She left two sons, three daughters, twenty-five grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

CAMPBELL, Hugh John Munro – Died 24 October 1921 at St Kilda. Hugh Campbell was born in 1854 at Melbourne.  The Campbells went to Portland in the early 1860s where Hugh’s father was a merchant.  Hugh entered the family business at a young age.  On 21 January 1880, Hugh married Harriet Jarrett and they went on to have three children. In 1894, Hugh purchased Maretimo at Portland (below).  In 1896, Hugh had telegraph lines installed from his business in Julia Street to Maretimo.

MARETIMO“, PORTLAND c1895. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/266298

As well as operating the family business, Hugh also had a bark mill in Percy Street and wool washing works near the town. He was considered a pioneer among shipping merchants in Portland.  He was also one of the chief supporters of Scots Church, Portland.  In 1906, Hugh entered politics winning the seat of Glenelg in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly.  In August 1912, Harried died aged sixty-three after an illness. Hugh himself was also very ill that year and was in a hospital in Melbourne when Harriet died. He recovered to continue on with his political duties. In 1914, Hugh’s son Sydney James Campbell, a doctor enlisted with the Army Medical Corps at the outbreak of WW1.  He died of wounds at Gallipoli on 14 July 1915.  Two days later, another son Albert Campbell enlisted.  Fortunately, Albert returned home on 16 July 1917 after serving as a Lieutenant with the 29th Battalion.

“Portland Mourns” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 24 October 1921: 2 (EVENING.). Web. 24 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024740&gt;.

Hugh retained the seat of Glenelg until 1920 when defeated. It was also in 1920 when Hugh married on 9 June to Ethel May Waddell aged forty-one.  The following year he tried to win his seat back and was unsuccessful. It was a difficult period for Hugh who fell sick during the campaign of 1921.  He improved slightly before the election but his second defeat saw his health fail again leading to his death on 24 October 1921 at the age of sixty-seven. His body was returned to Portland by train for burial. After sixteen months of marriage, Ethel was a widow.  Twenty-five years younger than Hugh, she died at Camberwell in 1965 aged eighty-six.

HAMILTON, James Charles. – Died 25 October 1927  at Apsley. James Hamilton was born at Haddington, Scotland in 1836. In November 1841, James arrived at Port Melbourne with his parents and three siblings. The Hamiltons headed to Kilmore where they remained until 1846.  James’ father travelled alone to the west of the colony applying for land to form two stations Bringalbert and Ozenkadnook Stations near Apsley.  The family set out from Kilmore to join him in late February and arrived at Lake Wallace on 8 May 1846. James’ father lived only another four years.

James started driving bullocks at a young age and made trips with his brother to Portland with wool then returning with supplies. At some point, James was sent to St John’s Church of England Grammar School in Launceston to study surveying  On his return, he went to New Zealand with his brothers, with one having bought land there. Back in Australia by 1860, James married Eleanor Bax at Robe, South Australia. They returned to settle at Ozenkadnook Station.

James acquired other properties, owning up to five at one stage  It wasn’t a profitable venture and a tough existence, with drought and poor seasons. By the time he left his last station, James was penniless.  Adding to the hardship, during April 1883, James accidentally shot himself in the leg, leading to its amputation. In February 1888, a fire swept through Ozenkadnook.  Station hands had to run for their lives and James had to try to escape the fire on his crutches.  In 1910, Eleanor died having lived the past fifty years at Ozenkadnook Station.

“Crossed the Bar.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 July 1910: 24. Web. 24 Oct 2017.

It was after Eleanor’s death, James began writing his memoirs, “Pioneering Days in Western Victoria”.  He said in the year after publication it cost him a lot of money but he had sold 2500 copies in the first ten months. The book mentions many Western District names such as Henty, Cooke, Affleck, Edgar, Learmonth, Moffat, Armytage, and Laidlaw and includes James’ memories of stations including Muntham, Merino Downs, Nangeela, Rifle Downs, Gringegolgura, Dunrobin, and Pine Hills. The topics it covers include carting wool to Portland, Black Thursday bushfires, the bushrangers Morgan, Gardiner and Captain Melville, and Cobb and Co. in the 1850s including noted drivers.  You can read James booking on the link – Pioneering Days in Western Victoria.

“PIONEERS OF VICTORIA” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 12 July 1924: 10. Web. 24 Oct 2017 .

In his later years, James moved to Apsley and in 1924, it was reported he was compiling another book “The Civilisation and Occupation of Western Victoria” although it seems it was never finished.  James’ also published another edition of his earlier book in 1923.  In 1925, the Weekly Times published the book in a series.  James died at his son’s home at Apsley, aged ninety-two.  He also had one daughter still surviving.

SATCHWELL, Adeline Eliza – Died 7 October 1943 at Darlington. No one has known the Elephant Bridge Hotel like Adeline Satchwell.  Adeline, known as Ada, was born at the hotel on 9 February 1861 to  John Satchwell and Mary Ann Hudson.  Her father, a hot-tempered man, had only recently taken up the license on the hotel.  When Adeline was just two months old, her father went in a fit of “temporary insanity” and locked his wife Mary-Ann in her room and tried to set her alight.  She managed to climb out a window to safety. Where Adeline was during that time is unknown. Eventually, a trooper arrived and in his presence, John Satchwell killed himself.  He was thirty-four. A full report of the incident was published in The Argus on 2 May 1861.  Only weeks earlier, a letter of complaint was sent to the Geelong Advertiser complaining of John Satchwell’s rudeness and insulting manner.  Mary-Ann continued running the hotel and remarried in 1876 to John Eales.

In 1882, Adeline married Murdoch McLeod.  Her mother continued to hold the hotel licence until July 1889 when it was transferred to Murdoch and Mary Ann moved to Melbourne. However, Murdoch died suddenly on 20 September 1889, leaving Adeline with a hotel and four young children.  Then three months later, news came her mother had died on 12 October 1889 at St Kilda. Mary Ann was buried at the Darlington Cemetery

THE ELEPHANT BRIDGE HOTEL, DARLINGTON 1934. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/245872

Adeline continued on at the hotel.  In 1895, she married widower Joseph Gellie who had ten children from eighteen to seven. He and Adeline would have a further three, two sons and a daughter. When interviewed in 1937, Adeline said the road wasn’t as busy at it was when she was a girl. Then the hotel was the coach changing station and “meeting place of waggons and travellers up from Warrnambool to the great stations of the Camperdown-Terang area”. One of her bachelor sons,  Claude McLeod helped his mother at the hotel. Adeline is pictured below with Claude and another son Garnett.

“The children indicated by circles will each be presented with a Weekly Times pencil.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 January 1937: 31 (FIRST EDITION). Web. 26 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223897391&gt;.

On 9 February 1939, Adeline celebrated her fiftieth year as a publican and it was also her seventy-eighth birthday.  She was the only publican in Australia to hold a license in one hotel for the longest consecutive time. Adeline died in October 1943 at the place she was born. She was buried at the nearby Darlington Cemetery. Adeline left four sons and three daughters.  Her son Claude McLeod died only two years after Adeline on 25 March 1945.  The Elephant Bridge Hotel was put up for sale in 1946.

Apparently Adeline still “frequents” the hotel along with a couple of other ghosts, including a man in his thirties…the age of Adeline’s father at the time of his death. The Elephant Bridge Hotel is often named among Australia’s haunted pubs.

CAMERON, John – Died 17 October 1947 at Natimuk.  John Cameron was born at Byaduk around 1871 and became a dairy farmer.  He was involved with founding the Condah Butter Factory and was the factory’s first secretary.  In 1907, John put his Condah property up for lease and went to Queensland with his brother, selecting land at Darling Downs. It was a time many from the district were moving to that state, at the time described by the Hamilton Spectator as a “Queensland exodus”. John eventually returned to Condah and married Mary Amelia “Milly” Cameron of Condah on 9 June 1910 and a very fancy wedding it was.  The wedding report in the Hamilton Spectator mentioned within John Cameron’s family, for five or six generations, the Cameron men had all married women with the same surname.

Around 1916, John bought the farm of Louis Oliver, a Byaduk born man who moved to the Wimmera.  Located at Duchembegarra, north of Natimuk, the property was named Caringal.  John was soon well-known in the district and became President of the Presbyterian Church.  John and Millie Cameron had one son and four daughters.  John Cameron died on 17 October 1947 at the age of seventy-six and was buried at the Natimuk Cemetery.  Milly died three years later aged sixty-three.

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