Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.  I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

A  Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online.  I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.

The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights.  She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.

After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated.  She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).

“OBITUARY” The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 14 February 1906

There are the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917.  Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore.  Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the lifeboat captain.

Following is the story of  Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on, a letter she wrote on Christmas Day 1848, to her parents in England.  Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.

After some local poetry comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”.  Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.

Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women with women living in Portland prior to 1864 eligible.  That’s where I found Margaret.  The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.

Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb,  is also listed as Mrs William Diwell.  Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, also listed.  This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.

The oldest pioneer women, recognised separately, include Marion Nunn Jones, Emma Holmes, and Anne Beglan.

The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.

The booklet also comes as an Archive CD book available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Online book – Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance 

10 thoughts on “Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

  1. Fantastic work again MR, and thanks for the tip, as I have six ancestors on that list, although they have ‘Mrs Milne Snr’ and ‘Mrs J Roberston nee Milne’ and both are the same person. Mrs Jnr Milne is Lucy Lowe, 1841.
    I love reading that Mrs John Blay boiled the billy tea for Batman on the Yarra bank during his remark “this is the place for the village”. Every recorded male achievement in history has a support system of women, and even now, it seems to be women putting together the family genealogy for future generations. Those doing this are also the generational linking their own grandchildren to the oral history of their grandmothers.
    My Nan (b Portland 1897) always used to say “oh when the Hentys landed we helped them off the boat” and I didn’t really draw her out, to my present regret.
    Keep up your good work please.


    • Thank you Ann. I’m glad you were able to find some of your ancestors. Yes, Mrs John Blay’s accounts were great reading. I saw an interview last night with Sally Field about playing Mrs Lincoln who had a lot of influence over Abe. I suppose they do say “Behind every great man…”


  2. My mother Freda (keen) Baugh, grew up on rippon rd. &always spoke of the diwells who lived on the opposite side of the st. There were two girls if I remember correctly. My mother had a wonderful memory of hamilton&when we were there last week wished she was with me.y


  3. My Great Aunt,Kate St. George McCann married James W. Trangmar and lived in Portland and Coleraine Victoria and both Kate and James are buried in Coleraine. Kate’s Mother was Matilda Jane Crouch , a sister of George Godwin Crouch, a pioneer in the Portland area.
    Kerry John McCann
    DUBBO NSW 2830


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