Eight more pioneers join the Pioneer Obituary Index this month in the 68th edition of Passing of the Pioneers. There are a couple of Hamilton pioneers, one with a great racing story and there are a publican and a publican’s wife. And what better lead into Women’s History Month (March) than the story of Janet Russell of Golf Hill, Shelford. You’ll notice loads of links throughout the post, so click on underlined text for more information about a subject. The links will take you to such things as relevant newspaper articles, the Passing of the Pioneers entries of those connected to this edition’s pioneers, and the Victorian Heritage Database.
UREN, Nicholas John – Died February 1872 at Hamilton. Nicholas Uren was born in Penzance, Cornwall around 1823. He joined the British Army serving in India for seven years. He returned to Penzance and found others in the town were planning to travel to Australia and he decided to join them. Before he left, however, Nicholas married Tryphena Uren in 1854. They left soon after as Assisted Immigrants, arriving at Portland on 16 September 1854 on the ship Nestor. They were recorded on the passenger list under the name of Wren.
Once in Portland, Nicholas obtained work with the solicitor John Dodd and he and Tryphena resided in Percy Street. Nicholas stayed with John Dodd until mid-1856 before he and Tryphena went to Hamilton with one of Nicholas’ co-employees Henry Cox. Henry set up a solicitor’s practice in Hamilton and Nicholas joined him as a legal assistant. In time Angelo Palmer took over the practice. Nicholas also acted as the Borough solicitor. In December 1869, he was nominated as a candidate for the Hamilton Borough Council along with Sigismund Jacoby. Nicholas was successful and he took his place on the council in January 1870. Nicholas also served was on various committees.
Nicholas was a lover of horses, enjoyed racing, and considered a good judge of horses. In 1865, he nominated a horse for the Melbourne Cup called The Miller. It was around that time Nicholas acquired a filly foal owned by trainer James Wilson. James wanted to put it out of its misery by his wife started hand feeding the poorly foal. Nicholas just happened to call in at the Wilson’s property and James mentioned he wanted the foal gone. Nicholas offered to take it and took her home and raised her. He named her Milksop. Around 1866, Nicholas took Milksop to the well-known stallion, King Alfred and a filly was born to Milksop and given the name Mermaid. Her beginnings are outlined below. James Wiggins lived at Sandal on the hill above the Grange Burn off Digby Road, Hamilton. It was he who took Mermaid to the Hamilton Show in September 1868.
By 1870, Mermaid was sold to Edward Twomey for £30. In 1871, Mermaid won the Sydney Gold Cup as a four-year-old. Interestingly it was James Wilson who trained her to the win, the same man who wanted to take the life of Mermaid’s dam Milksop. The newspapers picked up on the story.
They were still talking about the story of Milksop and Mermaid in 1935.
Nicholas was just forty-nine at the time of his death in 1872. His wife Tryphena died at Hamilton in 1907. They had four children, three sons and one daughter, with two sons predeceasing their parents. Frank Uren was one of their sons, a chemist and leading Hamilton citizen. Nicholas was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.
HORWITZ, Henry – Died February 1899 at St Kilda.
Another of the old landmarks of the colony has been washed away by the stream of time, and Henry Horwitz has gone to join the long list of those who in a humble way helped to build up the destinies of the land in which he made his home
And so began the obituary of Henry Horwitz who was born in Prussia around 1819. He came from a long line of musicians and lawyers and was himself a fine violinist. He also had a want to travel and around the age of eighteen, Henry left for England. From there he then went to Central America “where he was amongst the pioneers who crossed the Isthmus (of Panama), taking the route up Lake Nicaragua”. He then went north to California before travelling to Tasmania where he set up a business in Hobart. He was there from at least 1843 and went into business with Abraham Woolf.
Henry was not yet tired of travelling and went off to England on a stock buying trip.
On 11 March 1849, Henry and Abraham’s shop burnt down. Henry was still in England at the time, but Abraham was sleeping on the premises. Henry and Abraham built another shop and were open for trading again by August 1849. In August 1850, Henry and Abraham dissolved their partnership and Henry went into business in Hobart with Abraham Marks, an old school friend of Henry’s.
While in London in 1850, Henry married Sarah Pyke, a daughter of Louis Pyke and Charlotte Wolfe. By the end of 1851, Henry had returned to Hobart. Henry and Abraham opened a store in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne around 1855 and were acting as gold brokers. In March 1856, Henry and Abraham faced charges of gold smuggling and were fined £100. In the same year, Henry and Sarah’s first child was born in Melbourne. They went on to have a further three children. During his time in Melbourne, Henry was one of the first presidents of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation and was involved with the Melbourne Jewish Benevolent Society from the early 1860s. In 1865, Horwitz and Marks were in financial trouble.
In 1864, Jacob Tallerman an importer of Lonsdale Street, Melbourne built a shop on the corner of Gray and Thompson Streets, Hamilton and opened for business. At some point, Henry Horwitz went into business with Jacob and in August 1866 it was announced Jacob was leaving the partnership but Henry would keep the Hamilton store. Henry did not move to Hamilton at that time and Abraham Marks instead went to Hamilton to manage the store.
The Horwitz family took up residence in Hamilton around 1869. It was also around that time Henry went into business with Sigismund Jacoby who in 1869 married Henry’s daughter Hannah. Henry was soon involved in community matters. In 1870, he was one of the founders of Hamilton and Western District College. He was at the first meeting of shareholders in September 1870 at the Victoria Hotel.
During October 1883, Henry retired and sold his Hamilton business to Mr Hillman. The Hamilton Spectator wrote, “The jovial face and cheery conversation of Mr Horwitz will be much missed from the corner”. On 18 January 1884, Henry and Sarah left Hamilton by the midday train to take up residence again in Melbourne. On 27 June 1888, Sarah died at St Kilda. Henry died at Shandon, Beaconsfield Parade, St Kilda the home of his daughter Hannah Jacoby. As seen, Henry enjoyed travel and his obituary stated he had sailed around the world three times via Cape Horn.
McCORMACK Thomas Francis – Died 1 February 1914 at Sandford. Thomas McCormack was born around 1861, a son of James McCormack and Elizabeth O’Meara. He lived at Sandford most of his life. On 11 April 1888, he took up the licensee of the Commercial Hotel in Sandford. In addition, he was on various committees throughout the district including the Sandford Mechanics Institute and the State School committee. He was a trustee of the Sandford Race Course and Recreation Reserve and vice president and treasurer of the Sandford Boxing Day Sports and was involved with Sandford football, cricket and rifle clubs.
Thomas married Anne Mitchell in 1888 and their first child Richard Thomas McCormack was born the following year. The couple went on to have a further four sons and one daughter. Thomas was just fifty-three at the time of his death in 1914. Anne McCormack continued to run the Commercial Hotel until 1921. She died at Casterton on 1 October 1933.
MacCALLUM, Mary Isabella – Died February 1915 at Dandenong. Mary MacCallum was born in Scotland about 1835. During the late 1850s, she married Archibald Campbell who had returned to Scotland after ten years in Australia including time at the Victorian goldfields. They travelled to Victoria and were at Ellangowan in December 1860 when Mary gave birth to her first child Archibald.
Not long after Archibald’s birth, the Campbells left for New Zealand and Archibald ran a shop in Dunedin. Further children were born at Dunedin.
The Campbells were back in Victoria around 1872 and Archibald was granted the licence of the Green Hills Hotel at Green Hills (Condah). A son Allan was born at Condah in 1873. In December 1877, Alexander was granted a licence for the Argyle Arms Hotel in Gray Street, Hamilton which he operated until 1881 when he opened a wines and spirits business in Gray Street.
In 1891, Archibald died and Mary remained at her home Pennycross in South Hamilton for a time, before moving to Pennycross Dandenong with her daughter. It was there Mary spent the last eight years of her life. In 1913, her brother Allan MacCallum who had previously lived in the Hamilton district went to live at Dandenong with Mary. Allan died in November 1914. Only the month before Mary’s son Archie died in Queensland on 18 October 1914. Mary’s body was returned to Hamilton and she was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.
McNEIL, Duncan – Died February 1916 at Hamilton. Duncan McNeil was born in Inverness, Scotland around 1842. He arrived at Portland with his parents Donald and Catherine McNeil and siblings in 1852 aboard John Davis. The family went to the Bochara area near Hamilton. Donald McNeil died in 1856 when Duncan was fourteen. Duncan farmed on the Grange Burn at North Hamilton for most of his adult life. In 1885 he married Mary Ellen Pevitt at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Hamilton. At the time of his death, Duncan left his widow Mary, five daughters and one son.
QUIGLEY, Joseph Thomas – Died 2 February 1927 at Hamilton. Joseph Quigley was born in Melbourne around 1846, a son of John Quigley and Winifred Tracey. Around 1853, the Quigleys moved to Hamilton and Joseph’s father purchased the first township block offered for sale. Joseph went to school at St Patrick’s College in Melbourne. After completing school, Joseph spent time at Redruth (Wannon) where his parents were then residing at the Falls View estate. Joseph was a good athlete, participating in sports days around the district. He was also interested in racing and was the secretary and treasurer of the Redruth Racing Club. It was said he also rode in steeplechase races with Adam Lindsay Gordon.
In 1872, Joseph married Mary Costigan and around 1874, he took up Maori Park near the Dundas Range north-west of Cavendish. Several children were born at the property. By the early 1890s, Joseph had left Maori Park and by 1902 was living at Burcott in Alexandra Parade, Hamilton. Mary died there in October 1902. Joseph continued on at Hamilton and worked as a commission agent. In his last year, Joseph went to live with his daughter Mary and her husband John Dwyer in Lonsdale Street, Hamilton. In 1926, however, he did the rounds visiting family and friends throughout Victoria for one last time and he died in February 1927 at daughter Mary’s home in Hamilton.
ADAMSON, Thomas Edmund – Died 25 February 1937 at Hamilton. Thomas Adamson was born in New York around 1852. He arrived at Port Phillip with his parents Thomas and Alice from the United States aboard the Flying Scud in 1854 when he was two. The family made their way to Portland where Thomas’ father opened a store in the town. When he was older, Thomas farmed at Myamyn on his property called Leylands. He married Mary Malseed a daughter of John Malseed and Elizabeth Wallace in 1879 and they had two children. Mary died on 9 September 1882 at Condah aged thirty-one. Thomas then married Fanny Ann Malseed in 1885, a daughter of James Malseed and Eliza Ann Malseed and they had eight children. Fanny died on 13 February 1936 at Myamyn. In 1938, Thomas fell sick and it was thought it best he go to the Hamilton Hospital where he eventually died on 25 February. He was buried at the Condah Cemetery.
RUSSELL, Janet – Died 15 February 1954 at Shelford.
Janet Russell was born in Melbourne on 24 April 1866, a daughter of George Russell and Euphemia Leslie Carstairs. Janet’s father owned the large pastoral property Golf Hill at Shelford. She had six sisters and a brother, Phillip. Her mother died on 3 March 1867 when Janet was a baby. After her father’s death on 3 November 1888, Phillip inherited Golf Hill. Phillip never married and on 12 January 1898, he died leaving Golf Hill to Janet.
Aged thirty-four, Janet married John Biddlecombe on 7 July 1900 at Scots Church, Collins Street Melbourne. They had no children and John died in 1927.
Janet was a renowned Hereford breeder and showed her cattle throughout Australia. Herefords had arrived at Golf Hill in the 1870s but when John Biddlecombe went to Golf Hill, he brought in new stock. By the 1920s, the Herefords of Golf Hill were catching attention Australia wide. After John’s death, Janet kept improving the herd and took the standard to new heights.
In 1930, Janet’s stud was considered one of the best in the Commonwealth. While she had a stud manager, Jack Tanner, Janet was the overseer of all activities at Golf Hill. Her cattle were photographed many times over the years at the many shows Janet attended, but a photo of Janet was a little harder to come by. This photo shows her presenting a ribbon to the Champion Shorthorn bull at the Royal Easter show in 1939.
In 1953, Janet was eighty-seven and saw that it was time to wind up her stud. She couldn’t be as active in the operations of the stud as she would like. It was announced in July 1953, she would sell her stock in October. In September after the Royal Melbourne Show, an article in the Weekly Times of 23 September 1953 reflected on Janet’s efforts at Golf Hill and the reporter expressed sadness that Janet would no longer be at the Royal Shows around the country.
On 29 October 1953, the dispersal sale was held with more than 1500 people in attendance By then, Janet was bedridden but was able to listen to a broadcast of the auction. It must have been a sad day for the woman they called “The Grand Old Lady of Golf Hill“. The total price of 125,000 guineas for the 130 lots sold broke a record for the British Empire in what was considered a great tribute to Janet. Her Herefords by then were amongthe best in the world. The money would have meant little to Janet.
Less than three months have the dispersal sale, Janet died at Golf Hill. At the time of her death, her generous philanthropy was acknowledged, something she had prefered to keep private.