Passing of the Pioneers

There is no shortage of obituaries for publicans. This edition of Passing of the Pioneers sees another two join the long list already named on the Pioneer Obituary Index. You’ll also read about the first butcher in Casterton and the story behind Camperdown’s famous clock tower. Remember to click on the underlined text to go to Trove newspaper articles and other related information.

BEATH, David Alexander – Died 21 July 1883 at Hamilton. David Beath was born around 1810 in Scotland. He became a merchant and travelled to Ireland where he married Marion Johnston in January 1837.¹ Around 1840, David and Marion arrived in Victoria. David firstly took up grazing land at Moonee Ponds west of Melbourne, then in 1842, he was granted a grazing licence at Western Port, south-east of Melbourne, near what is now Hastings. That was not a successful venture and in 1846, he applied for insolvency.    

Next, David and Marion went to the Burnbank area between Ballarat and Avoca around 1847. In 1848, David accepted a mail run between Buninyong and Horsham via Burnbank, a route of over 220 kilometres.

SATURDAY MORNING, JUNE 24 (1848, June 24). Geelong Advertiser, p. 2

David, Marion, and their family arrived at The Grange (now Hamilton) in 1850 and took over the store of Mr. Malcolm. Then, the settlement was close to the banks of the Grange Burn between the Digby and Portland Roads.

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The map below shows Beath’s Store.

After the survey of the township of Hamilton, David ceased operating his store at the creek side location but remained living on the property he named Craigievar overlooking the rising new township of Hamilton.

Screenshot 2021-07-22 212821
BEATH’S STORE. Photo from the interpretive board at the Hamilton Wetlands.

David moved his store to Gray Street, Hamilton, but the name “Grange Store” remained. He also went into business with Ephraim Taylor in the buying and selling of sheepskins and greasy wool. Their partnership ended in 1862.

David was a trustee of the Hamilton Savings Bank and after the death of Alex Learmonth, he became the actuary.

Advertising (1874, March 14). Hamilton Spectator p. 1.

David died in July 1883 and was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery, below.

Beath (3)

1 The Belfast Newsletter, Belfast, Northern Ireland, (1828-1907), 24 Jan 1837, p. 3

DOLMAN, William – Died 17 July 1884 at Coleraine. William Dolman was born in Bristol, England around 1805.  He arrived in Victoria in the early 1840s and went to Muntham station between Coleraine and Casterton. From there, he went to Casterton and opened the first butcher shop.

In 1858, William married Uleyear Wombwell. The couple lived at Merino, where William opened another business.

MERINO, c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

They then left for Coleraine around 1863, and William started the first butcher shop in that town. The following year, he competed in a trotting match to Hamilton with Mr. Payne.

Local News. (1864, February 26). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser p. 2.
Local News. (1864, March 11). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser , p. 2.

In 1876, William sold the butcher shop stock as he was leaving butchering. Mr. Wombwell took over the business. The following year, William opened a store in Pilleau Street Coleraine, and in 1878, he bought Coleraine’s Criterion Hotel. He sold the hotel in 1880, and as reported at the time he, “intends shortly to embark in another speculation in Coleraine”. It’s unclear if that eventuated.

William died in 1884. The funeral procession to the Coleraine Cemetery was over a kilometre long. In his time in the Western District, William never moved over twenty miles of the Muntham homestead where he started out. William’s wife Uleyear died in 1912.

MANIFOLD, Thomas Peter – Died 19 July 1895 at Melton. Thomas Manifold was born around 1865 at Purrumbete homestead near Camperdown, the second son of John and Marion Manifold.

THE LATE MR T. P. MANIFOLD. (1895, July 27). Weekly Times p. 10.

When Thomas was twelve, his father died and Thomas inherited the property Wiridgil (below).

The Pastoralists’ review, Vol. 19 No. 4 (15 June 1909)

Thomas and his brothers were keen horsemen and enjoyed racing and polo. In 1895, the brothers made up the Camperdown polo team.

MANIFOLD BROTHERS, 1 APRIL 1895. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

On 19 July 1895, Thomas rode with the Melbourne Hounds in a hunt at Melton. His horse Postscript fell at a jump, killing Thomas. He had only just mentioned to his fellow riders he had ridden the mare for five years and she never made a mistake jumping.

Thomas’ body was returned to Camperdown for his funeral, the largest seen in Camperdown.

THE LATE HUNTING FATALITY. (1895, July 23). The Age, p. 6.

Thomas bequeathed money to St Paul’s Anglican Church in Camperdown and the church put the money toward a church hall and Sunday School. The selected design (below) was constructed in 1896.

PARISH HALL & SUNDAY SCHOOL CAMPERDOWN. (1897, April 1). The Church of England Messenger for Victoria and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of Melbourne, p. 1

In addition, Thomas bequeathed £1000 for the construction of a clock tower in Camperdown. The council agreed, and the result was the wonderful clock tower below, synonymous with Camperdown.

THE CAMPERDOWN CLOCK TOWER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

McNICOL, Donald  – Died 19 July 1903 at Camperdown. Donald McNicol was born in Oban, Scotland around 1812. He arrived in Australia in 1839 to take up work with Niel Black, who had arrived a few months earlier with Donald’s brother Duncan. With his wife and three daughters, Donald spent a few months in the area that would become Ballarat before going to the Terang district in 1840.

Lake Terang
LAKE TERANG. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

The McNicols settled on the banks of Lake Terang and were one of the first European families in the area. After ten years, the family moved to the Camperdown district and Donald went into partnership with his brother Duncan in the properties Wuurong and Basin Banks. They dissolved their partnership around 1874, and Donald sold all but 50 acres of Wuurong to Thomas Shaw. In 1848, Donald and Duncan opened a store at Old Timboon, a settlement which gave way to nearby Camperdown, and also operated the first post office there.

Donald remained Scottish to the end and would kilt up for Caledonian Society events in Melbourne. In 1864, he attended the first Grand Highland Gathering of the Western Caledonian Society in Warrnambool.

FASHIONABLE INTELLIGENCE. (1864, April 21). Melbourne Punch p. 6.

Family was important to Donald, something that stemmed from his childhood growing up in Scotland.

PERSONAL. (1903, July 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 5.

Today, you can see a plaque dedicated to the McNicol family in Mary Bradshaw Avenue, Terang.

WINTER, Sarah – Died 12 July 1911 at Hamilton. Sarah Winter was born in Devonshire around 1838. She married Jeffery Callard, and they left England for Australia on the British Empire, arriving at Portland in 1857. They remained there until the mid-1870s when they went to Hamilton. In 1881 Thomas bought the Hamilton Tannery from butcher Thomas Brown.

Advertising (1881, July 5). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved July 6, 2021, from

Situated close to the Grange Burn at the end of Moore Street, Jeffery successfully built up the business. He died in December 1902, and with the help of her sons, Sarah continued running the tannery. 


Sarah died in 1911, leaving three daughters and four sons at the time of her death. She was buried in the Baptist section of the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with Jeffery, and their son Thomas, who died in 1898.


HARWOOD, Louisa Jane – Died 5 July 1914 at Geelong. Louisa Harwood was born in North Cornwall in 1836. With her mother and sisters, she travelled to Australia in 1849, arriving at Adelaide. In 1854, she married Caleb Mountjoy, and they moved to Avoca in Victoria.

There was an opportunity on the coast to the south, and Caleb and his brothers, Lawrence and Thomas, took up the Loutit Bay run, later known as Lorne.

LOUTIT BAY. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

Caleb also had land at Barrabool Hills near Geelong, but he and Louisa went to live at Yan Yan Gurt at Deans Marsh for many years before retiring to Geelong. In March 1904, Louisa and Caleb celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Wedding Bells. (1914, April 10). Spectator and Methodist Chronicle, p. 605.

In her later years, Louisa spent much of her time knitting fine lace for doilies, which were sold at church fetes and other charities. She was also a member of the Methodist Church.

Louisa died suddenly in 1914 and was buried at the Barrabool Hill Cemetery, Highton.

You can read more about the Mountjoy family on the link to Otway Life-The Mountjoys of Lorne.

DANCOCKS, Edward Bearcroft – Died 3 July 1915 at Casterton. Edward Dancocks was born around 1840 in Gloucestershire, England. In 1852, he arrived at Portland Bay with his parents, brothers Hercules and John, and sister Kate. From Portland, the Dancocks family travelled to Wando Vale before making their way to the Henty property, Merino Downs.

MERINO DOWNS, c1920. Photographer: Elizabeth Mason. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections

John went to work for Edmund Kirby at Springbank near Casterton and later was the manager at adjoining stations, Pieracle and Runnymede. In 1871, Edward married Martha Foster. His two brothers had earlier married Martha’s sisters.

During the 1880s, Edward took up the Casterton Hotel and operated it for the next twenty years.

CASTERTON HOTEL, c1880. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, Image no, B 21766/79

In 1905, Edward retired but continued living in Casterton until his death.

SWAN, Jane – Died 29 July 1918 at Lismore. Jane Swan was born in Scotland around 1844 and arrived in Victoria aged six. Her family settled in the Windermere district near Ballarat. On 4 May 1865 at Windermere, Jane married William Oman of Browns Waterhole (Lismore) and they settled there.

Jane was a member of the Lismore Presbyterian Church, and during WW1, the local Red Cross. For the war effort, Jane knitted three pairs of socks a day until she had a fall on 18 July 1918 and broke her thigh. She died eleven days later. Jane had eleven children, and ten were still living at the time of her death. Jane’s funeral was the day following her death, and sixty cars and horse-drawn vehicles followed the hearse to the Lismore Cemetery.

DRUMMOND, Robert George – Died 13 July 1924 at Hamilton. Robert Drummond was born in 1869 at Coleraine, the son of George and Margaret Drummond. George operated Coleraine’s Shamrock Inn until 1876, then the Koroite Inn. A year after Robert’s birth, in 1870, his sister, uncle, and cousins drowned when flood water inundated their home at Coleraine. In 1882, when Robert was thirteen, George Drummond died. Robert went to school in Coleraine before working for a short time for James Trangmar in his store in Coleraine, next door to the Koroite Inn.

STORE OF JAMES TRANGMAR, COLERAINE. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections

He then returned to school at Portland College. After leaving, he secured a job at the Horsham branch of the Bank of Victoria. In 1893, Robert went to Western Australia in search of gold. His mother Margaret died the following year. She had continued to run the Koroite Inn after the death of George Drummond, but she retired in 1891 and leased the property. The photo below from 1919 shows the Koroite Inn with Trangmar’s Store, next door.

WHYTE STREET, COLERAINE INCLUDING THE KOROITE INN, 1919. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections

Robert returned to Victoria and got work with Hepburn, Dowling, and Crawford, auctioneers at Casterton. He married Annie Fitzsimmons in 1898 and in the next year applied to take over the licence of the Koroite Inn, of which he was a part-owner.

In 1902, Robert purchased the freehold of the Victoria Hotel in Hamilton.

Victoria Hotel

Robert got involved with many community activities in Hamilton, including his election in 1907, as president of the Hamilton and Western District Licensed Victuallers’ Association. In 1920, Robert leased the hotel and the following year went into partnership with Cecil Miller in Miller and Drummond, Stock and Station agents in premises Gray Street next to the Victoria Hotel in Gray Street. You can just see the sign in the photo above.

Robert was a good singer known for his comedic performances and he took part in many theatrical productions. He was a member of the Caledonian Society and a director of the Hamilton Electricity Company. He was a vestryman of the Christ Church Anglican Church, a member of the Masonic Lodge, and a member of the directorate of the Associated Oil Corporation, Ltd.

Robert was buried at the Hamilton Cemetery and left his widow Annie and two daughters who donated a stained-glass window to Hamilton’s Christ Church Anglican Church, in his memory.


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