There are fourteen new pioneers this month, including two old colonists Cecil Cooke and Jane Fountain. There is Thomas Rutledge born in Port Fairy in 1846 and a son of one of that town’s prominent early residents. Don’t forget if you see underlined text, you can click on it for further information about the subject.
Cecil Pybus COOKE – Died 30 September 1895 at Condah. In 1836 when Major Thomas Mitchell returned to Sydney after his third expedition taking in Victoria’s Western District he described as Australia Felix, word spread far and wide. In England, Cecil Pybus Cooke heard of the “good country” in the new-found part of the colony and set off to see for himself. Cecil was a son of a Madras Civil Servant William Cooke and was born in India in 1813.
Cecil sailed to Launceston and arrived on 3 April 1839 along with two servants.
During the voyage, Cecil met George Winter, on his way to join his brother Samuel Pratt Winter who had already made his way to the Western District. Travelling with George was his sister Arbella who caught Cecil’s eye. Just a month after they disembarked at Launceston, Cecil and Arbella were married at St John’s Church, Launceston.
Soon after, the newlyweds boarded a schooner for Victoria arriving at Portland Bay on 10 July 1839. Cecil even travelled with his own accommodation, bringing a hut from England and he set it up in Portland. Soon after, he took up a run on the Smokey River, or Crawford River as it more commonly known. In 1842, a daughter Emily was born and she died the following year. Cecil and Arabella went on to have five sons. Cecil was finding pioneering life tough and things were not going to plan so he went further north to Harrow in 1845 and set up the Pine Hills Estate. More bad luck came when a fire went through the property in 1846. By 1849, Cecil had sold Pine Hills to David Edgar. He then bought Lake Condah Station. In 1864, Cecil sold Lake Condah but the purchaser was unable to make the repayments so he retained it.
One of Cecil and Arbella’s sons Samuel Winter Cooke inherited Murndal, west of Hamilton from his uncle Samuel Pratt Winter in 1878. He employed his brother Cyril Trevor Cooke as manager from 1883. Samuel later became a Member of the Legislative Council for the Western Province. Cecil and Arbella spent a lot of time at Murndal. The photos below are a collection of photos of or relating to Cecil Cooke held by the State Library of Victoria with most taken at Murndal.
Cecil Cooke was a Justice of the Peace and held court at the Branxholme Magistrates Court. He was Church of England and contributed to the building of St Thomas’ Anglican church at Condah. Arbella died on 1 May 1892 and Cecil had a church built at Spring Creek (below) near Condah in memory of his wife with the foundation stone laid on 24 March 1894.
Just two years after his wife, Cecil was buried at Murndal Private Cemetery with Arbella. On 13 March 1900, a memorial window was unveiled for Cecil Cooke at the Condah Church of England.
Jane FOUNTAIN: Died 10 September 1901 at Hamilton. Jane Fountain was born in Cowick, Yorkshire, England on 5 December 1823. When she was eighteen, Jane married James Blastock and soon after the newlyweds left England for Australia, arriving in Melbourne in July 1841. In 1843, they travelled by bullock wagon via Hamilton to Heywood. Jane and James remained there for a short time before returning to Hamilton, then known as the Grange and in 1844, they purchased the Grange Inn. The only other businesses then were a shoemaker and blacksmiths. The photo below shows the Grange settlement when Blastocks ran the Grange Inn and shows land nearby owned by James Blastock.
One of the guests at the Grange Inn during the Blastock’s time there was Charles Latrobe prior to his appointment as Lieutenant Governor. They sold the Grange Inn and purchased the Mooralla Station, north of Hamilton with James’ brother-in-law Mr. Malcolm. Leaving Mr. Malcolm to run Mooralla, Jane and James returned to England for a visit. On their return, they sold Mooralla and built the Victoria Hotel in Gray Street, Hamilton.
In 1857, James Blastock died aged forty-six and in 1859, Jane married James Wiggins. They spent some time living in Geelong then returned to Hamilton and settled at Sandal on Digby Road overlooking the former site of the Grange Inn. Jane was a member of the Wesleyan Church and was involved with the Sunday School. She had an excellent memory of the early days of Hamilton and was often called on for her recollections. In 1893, journalist The Vagabond called on Jane and she was able to show him the route Major Mitchell took when he crossed the Grange Burn in September 1836. On 24 August 1899, the Hamilton Spectator published an article “The Infancy of Hamilton” featuring Jane’s memories. At the time of her death, Jane was Hamilton’s oldest resident.
George SMITH: Died 8 September 1916 at Byaduk. George Smith was born in Devonshire, England about 1843. He arrived in Victoria in 1852 at Portland before moving on to Warrnambool. George moved north to Muddy Creek where he attended the local Primitive Methodist Church. After a few years, he moved to Byaduk, working as a carrier. George left a widow, five sons, and two daughters at the time of his death.
Hannah GREGORY: Died 9 September 1916 at Penshurst. Hannah Gregory was born at Preece, Shropshire, England around 1825 and arrived in Sydney around 1864. Hannah then went to New Zealand where she met her husband James Chesswas and they returned to Australia, settling at Penshurst around 1873. They lived in Bell Street and James worked as a tanner and currier. James died in 1896 and Hannah continued on at Penshurst until her death at age ninety-one.
Hanorah RYAN: Died 30 September 1917 at Kirkstall. Hanorah Ryan was born in Ireland around 1845 and arrived in Australia at the age of twenty, marrying William Pye in 1865. The couple settled at Kirkstall and went on to have five sons and six daughters. Hanorah was buried at Tower Hill Cemetery.
Elizabeth BYRNES: Died 30 September 1917 at Terang. Elizabeth Byrnes was born at Scarva, County Down, Ireland around 1835. She married Thomas Kearns in Ireland and they arrived in 1856 aboard the Anna Maria with their two-year-old daughter to Port Fairy. They settled at Woodford and had four sons and six more daughters. Around 1911, Elizabeth moved to Terang to lived with her eldest daughter until her death.
Thomas Forster RUTLEDGE: Died 6 September 1918 at Toorak. Thomas Rutledge was born at Port Fairy in 1846, a son of well-known resident William Rutledge and Eliza Kirk. His first home was most likely Emoh below, dating back to 1849 and sold by William Rutledge in 1863.
In 1876, Thomas married Edith Ritchie. Eventually, Thomas and his brother took over their father’s Farnham run. The 5000 acre property covered the area from the Merri River near Dennington Killarney, further west. The two sons split it, with Thomas taking up Werronggurt and his brother the remaining Farnham run. Thomas bred Lincoln sheep and was known as one of the best judges of Lincolns in the state. He also imported and bred Shorthorn cattle and imported many Clydesdale mares from Scotland. A popular and charitable man, Thomas was one of the first directors of the Farnham butter factory and on the board of the Rosebrook butter factory. He also served on the Warrnambool Shire.
Thomas gradually sold off his holdings and he and Edith moved to Bell Park at Geelong. At one stage, Thomas and Edith spent time living in New Zealand then returned to Geelong. They eventually moved to Woodford in Toorak. At the time of his death, Thomas left his widow Edith and five daughters and one son, Geoffrey, at the time a 2nd Lieutenant with the Australian Flying Corps. Another son, Noel was killed at Ploegsteert, Belgium on 3 June 1917 while serving with the 3rd Division Artillery.
Marie GWYTHER: Died 8 September 1919 at Hamilton. Marie Gwyther was born in Pembroke, South Wales on 2 March 1824. She arrived in Melbourne around 1855 with her three brothers, George, William, and Henry. They stayed in Melbourne a week before moving on to Portland then arriving in Hamilton on 2 August 1855. At the time, the rent on a hut was one pound and a bag of flour ten pounds. Marie was a Presbyterian and attended the ceremony of the laying of the foundation stone by William Skene of Hamilton’s first Presbyterian church (below) on 21 October 1857.
During the 1870s, Marie spent time at Harrow working as a cook at the Hermitage Hotel. Marie never married and was “loved by all with who she came in contact.” She lived in Goldsmith Street and as a keen gardener always had a lovely garden.
Isabella McDONALD: Died September 1942 at Geelong. Isabella was born at Mortlake around 1864. Her father Alexander is thought to have built Mack’s Hotel at Mortlake before purchasing the Camperdown Hotel. In 1888, Isabella married John Charles Haugh and they remained in Camperdown. John worked as a baker and they had a family of six sons and two daughters. John Haugh died only four months after Isabella on 19 January 1943.
John PITMAN: Died 4 September 1943 at Portland. John Pitman was born at Macarthur around 1865. While still a teenager, John took up land at Patyah north of Edenhope. In 1897, he married Ellen Montgomery of Neuarapurr. John was interested in athletics and in his early years was a boxer, athlete, cricketer. In his later years, John took up bowls. He retired to Portland in 1921.
Arthur PERRETT: Died September 1948 at Colac. Arthur Perrett was born in January 1884 at Camperdown and married Gertrude Swayn at the Pomberneit Presbyterian Church in 1911. They settled at Derrinellum where Arthur ran a boarding house and grocery store. They returned to Camperdown and Arthur worked for Kleine’s Bakery as a delivery driver. He then obtained work at the Werribee Research Farm before managing a branch of the farm at Boisdale in Gippsland. Arthur and Gertrude returned to the Western District in 1921 when Arthur took up a dairy farm at Pirron Yallock, west of Colac. In 1929, Arthur bought a block in the Reads Estate at Dreeite further north. At both Pirron Yallock and Dreeite, Arthur was on the local state school committee.
John TEHAN: Died 10 September 1953 at Camperdown. John Tehan was born at Heathcote in 1872 and arrived in the Western District as a young man and worked at Youngers at Warrnambool. He then worked for Morrisons General Store in Manifold Street Camperdown for sixteen years. In 1900, John married Jessie Peter. They had two sons and two daughters. In 1907, John opened his own shop in Manifold street. In 1913, he called for tenders to build a large new brick store on the site. In 1934, John demolished the shops had four new shops built in their place.
Thomas Stewart LORD: Died 12 September 1954 at Warrnambool. Thomas Lord was born at Port Campbell around 1882 and was the first boy of European descent born there. His parents William and Jessie Lord had settled there in 1876. Thomas attended the Port Campbell State School but did spend two years at school in Bairnsdale in East Gippsland. He returned to Port Campbell and worked in the local store from the age of fifteen. Thomas was the first secretary of the Port Campbell Football Club and a member of the school committee. He was also a director of the Cobden and District Pioneer Butter Factory (below)
Thomas’ funeral was one of the largest funerals seen in Port Campbell.
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