Passing of the Pioneers

Another catch-up Passing of the Pioneers post.  This one is for May and has seven pioneer obituaries. Among them are a Cobb & Co coach driver, an old mariner and a brother and sister.  There are also two men who were involved with many organisations in their communities and made lasting contributions.  Click on the name of a pioneer to read their newspaper obituary or click on any of the underlined text throughout the post for more information on a subject.

MINOGUE, Daniel – Died 18 May 1912 at Heywood. Daniel Minogue was born in County Clare, Ireland around 1836. When he was five, he arrived on the Agricola to Portland with his parents.  His father Simon took up Wattle Hill at Portland.  Daniel took up farming with his father but for a while was running a bullock team to the diggings with a friend.  He also rode in races at the Portland racecourse., He married Anne Hussey in 1862 and they took up land at Drik Drik.  Daniel sold up after some misfortune and moved to Drumborg.  Anne died in 1902 and Daniel in 1912.  Daniel was buried at Heywood

MELVILLE, William – Died 8 May 1926 at Malvern.  William Melville was born on 19 August 1859 at the home of his parents in Drummond Street, Carlton. It was a difficult birth and William’s mother Ann died a week later.

“Advertising” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 27 August 1859: 4. Web. 5 Sep 2018 .

When William was eight his father William remarried to Annette Bayles and they made their home at Weerangourt south of Byaduk. At the age of ten, William was sent to Melbourne to attend Scotch College and from around 1876, Melbourne University where he studied law and then a Masters degree.  He played football and cricket for both Scotch College and Melbourne University, captaining the Scotch team. He was secretary of the University Athletic Association.  In 1884 at the age of twenty-four, William was admitted to the bar.

MELBOURNE. (1884, July 9). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1929), p. 3. Retrieved June 10, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article150159418

Around 1886, William went back to the district of his childhood and practised as a solicitor at Hamilton, setting up an office in Thompson Street around May 1886. Over the next thirty-four years his leadership, vision, generosity and passion did much to benefit Hamilton.

William was soon giving lectures around the district.  He gave the following lecture at Macarthur in 1886, and in 1889 presented the same topic at the Hamilton Mechanics Institute.

Advertising (1886, May 29). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved June 10, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225775510

But his repertoire didn’t end there, in 1896 for example, he delivered two lectures at Hamilton entitled “Australians As Others See Us” and “How The Men Propose”.

William married Minnie Florence Scowcroft at the home of Minnie’s uncle Peter Learmonth on 2 April 1890. 

Family Notices (1890, April 11). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), p. 12. Retrieved June 13, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147281771

The couple made their home at Braeside at the eastern end of Gray Street, Hamilton They had six children, two daughters and four sons.  William’s father died in September 1897 and more sadness came four years later when  William and Minnie’s eldest daughter Annie Olive died on 7 June 1901 aged eight. She had been unwell so it was arranged for her to go to Echuca for the warmer air, but she died of heart failure two weeks later.

In September 1895, William was a candidate for the Hamilton Borough Council elections and won in a walk-over. On 31 August 1897, he was elected Mayor but resigned from the position in July 1897 wishing to retire from “municipal life”. He returned to the council in September 1907 and served as a councillor until 1912.

Throughout William’s time in Hamilton, he was on the committee of just about every sporting and community organisation around, most times heading up those committees.  I’ll outline some of those beginning with the Hamilton YMCA which was formed in 1911.  William was on the founding committee.  A building was built in 1914 on the corner of Gray and Kennedy Streets to house the YMCA activities and William laid the foundation stone on 19 September 1914.  William contributed financially to the building and also donated several trophies for the various sporting activities of the YMCA.

FOUNDATION STONE, FORMER YMCA BUILDING, HAMILTON

In addition, William was

  • a committee member of the Hamilton Water Trust for around fifteen years, a founding committee member appointed at the trust’s first meeting in  January 1899 
  • Vice President of the Hamilton Horticultural Society 
  • Honourary Secretary of the Presbyterian Church 
  • made an  Honorary Life Member of the Hamilton Mechanic’s Institution in 1898 in recognition of his service 
  • a member of the Hamilton Recruiting Committee during WW1
  • Chairman of the Telephone Committee proposing a telephone exchange in Hamilton which opened in 1901 
  • President of the Hamilton Brass Band from 1904 until at least 1918 and often dipping into his own pocket to help out the band’s finances 
  • at the first meeting to propose a scout pack in Hamilton in 1909 and provided funding for uniforms 
  • a founding committee member of the Hamilton branch of the St John’s Ambulance Association

He was also a generous contributor to Hamilton College and Alexandra Colege.  He was President of the Hamilton Fire Brigade from around 1900 for twenty years and one of the driving forces behind the building of a fire station.  The Hamilton Fire Station was opened in 1901. He contributed a large amount of his own money towards the construction.  

HAMILTON FIRE STATION. Image courtesy of the http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399013

William’s great lover of sport.  He was involved with the Hamilton Bowling Club and at one stage was the sole member of the grounds committee.  He even had his own bowling green at Braeside which he made available for tournaments.  He played with and served on the committee of the Hamilton Cricket Club and was a President of the Hamilton Football Association. He was on the committee of the Hamilton Rifle Club and was one of those instrumental in the construction of a Minature Rifle Range in 1908. He was also President of the Miniature Rifle club.  He was a President of the Hamilton Angling Club (below). Members of the tennis, rifle, athletics, and golf clubs all competed for trophies donated and named after William.

HAMILTON ANGLING SOCIETY. (1905, September 2). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved June 10, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226178465

The Hamilton Golf Club formed in 1896 and played on land leased by the club. William became the  Honorary Secretary of the club.  In 1905, the land used by the golf club became available for sale and William along with Thomas and James Robertson purchased the land. In doing so they secured the future of the golf club and enabled improvements to be made including a fine new clubhouse.

HAMILTON GOLF COURSE c1906, Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/167675114

William even sowed grass seed on the course and cut holes for the pins for tournaments.  The following article from 1905 when William was club secretary is an example of William’s energy and passion –

COMPLEMENTARY GOLF AFTERNOON. (1905, September 26). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved June 12, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226183623

William didn’t forget the little township of Byaduk, the location of his late father’s property Werrangourt. He showed great interest in events at Byaduk where the people affectionately called him Willie. He was a supporter of the Byaduk Presbyterian Church and in 1905, he opened the Byaduk Mechanics Institute. He was thanked for his “kindly interest and practical sympathy’ during the construction of the building. In 1907, the pioneers of Byaduk gathered for a celebration and a photo.  William sitting front right (below), was responsible for making the day happen.  He was also a regular exhibitor at the annual Byaduk Flower Show.

BYAYDUK PIONEERS 1907. WILLIAM MELVILLE IS FRONT RIGHT.

Probably William’s greatest contribution to Hamilton had its beginning around 1902 when William devised a plan for a piece of land in central Hamilton known as Market Square. It had been reserved for the purpose of a saleyard but was never used for that and became something of an eyesore. William had a vision for Market Square to become a leisure and recreation ground.  After much hard work lobbying and fundraising by Melville, the new recreation reserve was opened in September 1909. William paid for the surrounding fence.

MELVILLE OVAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/305825

It was suggested the new recreation reserve be named after William Melville, maybe Melville Park or Melville Square.

THE RECREATION RESERVE– A SUGGESTION. (1909, July 13). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved June 12, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225036959

William in his modest way refused to accept the honour. 

NAMING THE NEW RESERVE. (1909, August 21). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved June 12, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225047793

The council were having none of it.  And so it became Melville Park better known as Melville Oval.  William humbly thanked the council for their recognition.

“MELVILLE PARK” (1910, November 11). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225675658

Melville Park was soon a popular venue for all manner of sports.

LAWN TENNIS TOURNAMENT AT MELVILLE OVAL, HAMILTON, PLATED JANUARY 26. (1914, February 14). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 57. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143316960

William remained a great supporter of his old school Scotch College.  He led a group called the Hamilton Old Scotch Collegians and instigated the beginnings of the Old Scotch Collegians sitting on the first committee.  In 1911, he offered £500 towards a new assembly hall for the college.  In recognition of his support, the school named one of their sporting fields after William, Melville Oval.

In 1920, William and Minnie moved to Melbourne, taking up residence at Weerona in Huntingtower Road, Malvern. In late 1920 he captained a Hamilton XI in a game against East Melbourne Cricket Club at East Melbourne. He did go back to Hamilton. One example was in 1924, when the Hamilton Rifle Club presented him with an album of photos of prominent club members, thanking him for his hard work and generosity with the club,

William died at his home in Moorhouse Street, Malvern on Saturday 8 May 1926 aged sixty-six.  He was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery. The principal of Scotch College W.S.Littlejohn remembered him as follows,

He was not merely a good lawyer, he was a good citizen. He made a lasting impression on the educational, social, civic, and church life of the community. Hamilton has been the recipiant of many generous gifts from his hands, He was a man of strong convictions. He firmly believed that his time, his talents, his means were gifts from the Almighty to he used in the servicé of others and that he must be prepared to give an account of his stewardship; and so he gave himself to the service of his fellows.  (The Argus 10 May 1926)

After Williams death, it was thought he should be appropriately remembered for contribution to Hamilton and memorial gates were constructed at the main entrance of Melville Oval. A collection was taken up in 1927 but it was 1931 before they came to fruition.

MELVILLE OVAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63848

LEAR, Benjamin – Died 21 May 1928 at Branxholme. The deceased was one of the oldest nautical personalities in Victoria, and during an active seafaring life, had visited almost every country, and most of the world’s ports. And so began the obituary for Benjamin Lear. He was born at Devonshire, England around 1842 and arrived in Victoria around the 1860s. He spent his working life at sea and was known for his knowledge of nautical matters, particularly along the south-west coast of Victoria. He was best known for his work as a steward on the SS Dawn a steamer between Portland and Melbourne which he did for many years.

Benjamin’s most prized possession was a medal he received from the United State government for the part he played in discovering the wreck of Eric the Red during one of his coastal trips on the SS Dawn on 4 September 1880.  It was 4.00am somewhere off Cape Otway when Benjamin heard the faint sounds of people calling out. Soon the SS Dawn picked up three sailors clinging to a wrecked lifeboat. A rescue party from the Dawn was sent to locate the remaining crew. All were saved but the cargo was lost.  The ship had been sent from New York with exhibits for the 1880 Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne.

WRECK OF ERIC THE RED. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/296673

Benjamin married Mary Ann Dusting in 1871.  Mary died in 1874 aged twenty-three. Benjamin was working on the SS Julia Percy during that time and that’s where he met Jeannie Sage Crabbe in 1877.  Jeannie was employed to take care of the welfare of the female passengers on the steamer. They married in 1877.  Benjamin died at the home of his daughter at Branxholme in 1928 leaving his widow Jeannie, five sons and his daughter Mrs Dahlitz.

LYALL, William – Died May 1931 at Melbourne.  William Lyall was born in Warrnambool around 1851. William was a good rider and from the time he was a lad, William worked for Thomas Cawker.  He was employed as a driver on Cawker’s Cobb & Co mail coach Portland to Hamilton and Portland to Casterton.  He also travelled the route from Casterton to Mount Gambier.   In 1871, William married Catherine “Kate” Agnes King and they had several children in the Harrow and Edenhope districts.

Later, William worked as a groom at the Ardno mail stables and at the Nine-Mile Creek stables owned by Thomas Cawker.  He then worked for Thomas’ son James Cawker on the Mt Gambier Road at Casterton. He had been working there for around ten years when in May 1931, he decided to take a holiday to Melbourne.  Tragically he was hit by a tram and killed in Bridge Road Richmond. He died of his injuries in the Melbourne Hospital. William was deaf and it was thought he didn’t hear the tram.  Aged eighty, William was survived by his widow Kate, son and two daughters.

THOMSON, Mary – Died 20 May 1939 at Hamilton.  Mary Thomson was born at Maryvale Harrow around 1860.  In 1870, the Thomson family moved to the Monivae estate, south of Hamilton.  Mary was sent to the school of Misses Singleton, Ormiston Ladies College in East Melbourne (below)

STANFORD HOUSE (WITH DOME), EAST MELBOURNE FORMERLY ORMISTON LADIES COLLEGE Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/15415

Mary and her sister Christina never married and stayed on at the family home Monivae.  They were devout members of the congregation of the Hamilton Presbyterian Church.  Mary’s mother Christian died in 1906 and father James in 1910.  Mary and Christina stayed on at Monivae after their father’s death.  In 1914, Christina died suddenly at Monivae on 9 November with Mary at her side.  Mary then 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 who had died in 1932. Mary lived at Kilora until her death on 13 May 1939 aged seventy-nine

“KILORA”, HAMILTON

Mary is buried with other members of her family at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

THOMSON FAMILY PLOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

THOMSON, William Armstrong – Died 3 May 1943 at Portland.  William Thomson was the youngest child of James Thomson and Christian Armstrong. and was born in September 1876 at Monivae estate, south of Hamilton.  Soon after, William’s father had a new homestead built on the property to accommodate his large family.

“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

William attended the Hamilton Academy (below).

HAMILTON ACADEMY. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/58

He remained at Monivae until around the time of his father’s death in 1910.  William then moved to Portland.  Around 1914, he went on a world tour and visited Russia and China. William, who never married, died on 2 May 1943  at Portland aged sixty-six.  His body was taken to Hamilton and the funeral cortege left Monivae then the home of his brother Alexander, for the Hamilton Cemetery  William bequeathed £100 to the Port Fairy Hospital.  He had owned several properties in the town.  

DALZIEL, Robert John – Died May 1946 at Carpendeit. Robert Dalziel was born at Lethbridge around 1865. His father Alexander Dalziel was a bootmaker there.  The family moved to Bannockburn then to Carpendeit around 1885. Robert is one of the older boys in the photo below with his parents Alexander and Elizabeth.

ALEXANDER AND ELIZABETH DALZIEL WITH THEIR SONS. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/765729

In his younger days, Robert was something of an athlete and was “hop, step and jump” champion of the Western District. In 1894, he married Margaret Scouller. Robert was very active in the local community.  He was instrumental in the construction of a hall at Carpendeit and was President of the hall committee.  It was also due to Robert’s work which saw a school was built and Carpendeit receiving daily mail services and telephone services. 

Robert was a foundation member of the South Purrumbete Racing Club and was on the Carpendeit Cricket and Tennis club committees and supported the South Purrumbete Football Club  He also served on the school committee and was a trustee of the recreation reserve.  Robert was involved with patriotic efforts in the district during WW1 and supported the Methodist church. He appeared in The Age in 1938 with his son Alex and a grandson.  Robert was seventy-two at the time.

“THE AGE” COUNTRY READERS (1938, April 12). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 14. Retrieved June 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205928186

Robert died eight years after the photo at the age of eighty. At the time of his death, he left his widow Margaret and six children. 

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