“Claremont” Portland

It’s been 18 months since our Portland visit and I’m still trying to find a moment to share some photos.  Recently I got around to writing the Portland Botanical Gardens post after it sat in my drafts for months with just photos waiting to be fleshed out.  It’s the fleshing out that is my downfall as you will see soon see.

While in Portland, I stole myself away and took the Portland Historic Buildings walking tour.   Incredibly for a town of its size, there are more than 200 buildings in the Portland CBD that date back to the 1800s.  It was on that self-guided tour that I found “Claremont” at 65 Julia Street, just along from the St Stephen’s Church.

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I had only intended to share the photos of Claremont and give a small amount of information about the former residents, but as usual, once I got searching at Trove I couldn’t leave it at that.  There was very little information about Claremont elsewhere online, save for an entry on the Victorian Heritage Database only identifying the person who had the house built and an early resident, the information I had from the walking tour guide.  But once again, it was Trove that took the story of Claremont an extra step.  Or two.

Stephen George Henty had Claremont built in 1852 and rented the property to his brother Francis.

Francis and his wife Mary Ann Lawrence only used Claremont as a seaside residence. Their country residence was Merino Downs station and city residence Field Place in Kew, Melbourne.  There is something about the staircase in the foyer of Claremont.  Maybe because I can imagine the likes of Mary-Ann or her daughter Caroline, sweeping done the stairs in their crinolines while in summer residence.

CLAREMONT, c1859. Photographer: Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318575

As Claremont was not used as a permanent home there was not much to be found about it in the papers until 1889 when Francis Henty passed away at Field Place. He left all his Portland property daughter Caroline Henty (1849-1914) along with the furniture and effects within Claremont.

CAROLINE HENTY c1865-1870 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/290266

At some stage, the ownership of Claremont must have passed from Stephen Henty to Francis Henty, in order for Francis to bequeath it. Stephen Henty died in 1872 but I haven’t found any evidence of transfer of ownership.

The Will of the late Mr. Franis Henty. (1889, March 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592299

The Will of the late Mr. Franis Henty. (1889, March 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592299

Caroline and her three sisters also inherited Merino Downs.

The Late Mr. Francis Henty. (1889, March 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), p. 513. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19812393

The Late Mr. Francis Henty. (1889, March 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), p. 513. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19812393

In 1900, the sisters registered a Deed of Partition and Merino Downs was split into three separate properties, Merino Downs, Talisker and Wurt Wurt Koort with thesisters having a property each.  Caroline took charge of Talisker estate.

Caroline was quite a catch and a year after her father’s passing she married  Alexander Magnus McLeod (1846-1910), not a bad catch himself.  With Caroline and Alexander living at Talisker estate, Alexander’s spinster sisters Catherine (1845-1919) and Constance (1859-1934) and, at times, his bachelor brother Wallace (1855-1919) took up residence at Claremont.

The McLeods were the children of John Norman Mcleod and Agnes Patterson.  John owned Castlemaddie at Tyrendarra and Maretimo at Portland.  Incidentally, John purchased Castlemaddie and while he was waiting for the sale to go through, he had Maretimo built.  Constance was born at Maretimo in 1859.

"MARETIMO", PORTLAND, VICTORIA. ca.1874-ca.1895. Photographer: O.Dolphin. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

MARETIMO, PORTLAND, VICTORIA. ca.1874-ca.1895. Photographer: O.Dolphin. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

While I can’t find when Alexander McLeod’s siblings went to live at Claremont, at least one Miss McLeod was in residence in 1902, although she was heading off for a summer holiday.

[No heading]. (1902, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 10. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page332030

[No heading]. (1902, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 10. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page332030

Another possible guide was the death of the McLeod sister’s mother Agnes Patterson in 1901.  Her obituary stated she had moved into town from Castlemaddie and passed away in Julia Street.

There was also a death of a baby at Claremont in 1904.  I did try to find a link between Phyllis Mary Crawford and the McLeods or the Hentys, but after a quick look without success, I gave up.  The story was getting deep enough.

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Claremont” hosted the St. Stephen’s girls’ confirmation class in April 1909 and they gave thanks to Catherine and Constance for making their confirmation veils.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1909, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63987683

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1909, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63987683

Significantly, the Portland branch of the Australian Women’s National League was established during a meeting at Claremont in January 1911.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1911, January 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63979327

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1911, January 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63979327

Through the years, the  McLeod sisters occasionally ran advertisements looking for staff.  In 1912, a general servant was required.

Advertising. (1912, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64003591

Advertising. (1912, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64003591

In 1914, Caroline McLeod (Henty) passed away.  Her probate documents listed Claremont and the two acres of land it stood on to the value of £160,000.  Her estate was placed in trust for her two daughters Caroline Agnes Henty McLeod (1892-1943) and Alexandra Frances Henty McLeod (1894-1943) aged 22 and 20 respectively at the time of their mother’s death.  In the meantime, the girls’ aunts and uncle continued to live at Claremont.

In July 1919, Wallace McLeod passed away aged sixty-four at Claremont.

Portland Guardian. (1919, July 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959256

Portland Guardian. (1919, July 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959256

Two months later his older sister, Catherine was dead.

Portland Guardian First Issue August 20, 1842. (1919, September 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959741

Portland Guardian First Issue August 20, 1842. (1919, September 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959741

The death of her brother and sister in such close succession led Constance to reconsider her future at Claremont.  On 9 June 1920, she held an auction of furniture.

Advertising. (1920, June 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021540

Advertising. (1920, June 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021540

A week later, her friends gave her a send-off in St Stephen’s Parish Hall (below).

ST STEPHEN'S CHURCH HALL, PORTLAND

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH HALL, PORTLAND

Constance was going on an extended holiday.  She was most likely heading to New Zealand to stay with her sister Jessie, married to Frederick Loisel.  Jessie was present at the send-off and lived in New Zealand by that time.

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Presentation to Miss McLeod. (1920, June 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021677

Presentation to Miss McLeod. (1920, June 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021677

In 1934,  Constance passed away in New Zealand.  She and her sister Jessie had just departed Hamilton, New Zealand bound for Portland for the Portland Centenary Celebrations when Constance fell ill and died.

Obituary. (1934, October 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286992

Obituary. (1934, October 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286992

After the deaths of Wallace and Catherine and the departure of Constance, Claremont was vacant.  In June 1920, the estate of Caroline Henty advertised Claremont for lease by tender with a term of three years.

Advertising. (1920, June 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021641

Advertising. (1920, June 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021641

Taking up the lease of Claremont in 1920 was Caroline Florence McLean, daughter of Hector McLean and Mary Ann Humphries of Casterton.  Only a year after her arrival another death occurred at Claremont, that of returned WW1 soldier Benjamin Byard. Reading Benjamin’s War  Service Record I found he only made it as far as England when he fell ill with tuberculous.  He spent time in hospital in England before returning to Melbourne and was again confined.  Once released he travelled to his hometown of Casterton to meet up with friends.  It was suggested to him he visit Portland and he ended up at the home of Caroline McLean.

When I initially found this story, I couldn’t understand how Ben just seemed to pitch his tent in Claremont’s front yard. Finding out more about Caroline and her Casterton link went a long way to explaining how Ben chose her front yard.

A Pathetic Ending. (1921, August 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024369

A Pathetic Ending. (1921, August 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024369

It was a happier time at Claremont in June 1922, when Maud McLean of Casterton, Caroline’s sister, married James Anderson of East Malvern, at St Stephens Church.  The wedding breakfast was held at Claremont.

Family Notices. (1922, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64026127

Family Notices. (1922, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64026127

After seven years at Claremont, it was time for Caroline to move on.  Afternoon tea was held as a send-off.  One of the attendees was Sarah Wadmore, author of Portland’s Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.

Valedictory Tea. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64256993

Valedictory Tea. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64256993

After the departure of Caroline McLean, Claremont was put up for sale as a guest house.

Advertising. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257015

Advertising. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257015

By November 1927, Claremont as a guest house was accommodating professionals such as Nurse Francis the Chiropodist.

The Portland Guardian. (1927, November 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259180

The Portland Guardian. (1927, November 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259180

There were vacancies at Claremont in June 1929.

Advertising. (1929, June 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269647

Advertising. (1929, June 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269647

While I can’t find who owned “Claremont” at this point, I do know that Janet Kosch took over the registration of the boarding house in 1930.  Prior to that, there was a Mrs McIntosh and then Norman McIntyre holding the registration.

Borough Council. (1930, November 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64293741

Borough Council. (1930, November 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64293741

In 1934, the two acres of land that made up the “Claremont” property was subdivided.  Again it is not clear who the vendor was, the Henty estate or a new owner from a possible sale back in 1927.

"Claremont" Sud-division. (1934, October 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287062

“Claremont” Sud-division. (1934, October 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287062

Mrs Kosch was still running the Claremont guest house in 1943 when her son visited while on leave from service.

NEWS OF THE FORCES. (1943, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387036

NEWS OF THE FORCES. (1943, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387036

In 1948, after 18 years of running the Claremont guest house, Mrs Kosch retired.  She held a furniture sale on 22 April 1948.  In 1952 she passed away at Heywood.

 Advertising. (1948, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64414613

Advertising. (1948, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64414613

CLAREMONT, c1949. Photographer: Colin Caldwell. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72863

Claremont continued on as a guest house to at least 1954. In more recent years it has been a bed and breakfast and an art gallery, as it was when I visited. It has also been for sale.  The listing is seen on this link:  http://www.homehound.com.au/65+julia+street+portland+vic+3305/   Externally, over the years both the fence and slate roof have been replaced and the verandah modified more than once.

CLAREMONT c1962-1984. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.

In at least the first 100 years of existence Claremont was many things but never a family home.  Children weren’t raised under its roof or played in the yard. Memories were never kept of a treasured family home.  It was always a temporary house, even when the Misses McLeod and Miss McLean were in residence.  Now. at the end of my search, I think the reason I kept digging for information is that I wanted to find Claremont as a home, not a just summer residence or a guest house, but I never did.

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3 thoughts on ““Claremont” Portland

  1. Great post MR. A grand house but not a Home.
    somewhere there must be a photo of the bride in that “black Napoleon hat with white feather”, and your photo of St Stephen’s Hall reminds me that the Vern McCallum Photos show was held there one year (I went) and it has been a while since the Digby show after that one.
    Last week I buried my 90-year-old father in Digby cemetery near two of his father’s great grandfathers, a great-aunt and assorted other ancestors. photos at my blog bwican.blogspot.com will give you a laugh.

    Like

  2. I have found an entry in the 1958 electoral register for my 3rd cousin once removed, Mildred Feely, a teacher (single) who is recorded as being resident at Claremont. I would suspect that that means it was still a boarding house in 1958.

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