Passing of the Pioneers

Just in the nick of time and after a few months break, Passing of the Pioneers is back with ten obituaries for the month of November.  Remember to click on any underlined text to take you to more information about a subject. 

RUSSELL, George – Died 3 November 1888 at Shelford. 

GEORGE RUSSELL 1852. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/282507

George Russell was born on 12 June 1812 at Cluny, Fifeshire, Scotland.  At the age of eighteen, he left Scotland for Hobart to meet up with his brother Phillip who had been in the colony for nine years. George spent several months at Dennistoun, the property of Captain Patrick Wood at Bowthell, Tasmania. The following year George leased land in the area and spent the next two years, improving and cultivating it, doing much of the work himself. By 1835, George was twenty-three and leasing a property at Lauriston when he heard the news of John Batman landing at Port Phillip and of the good land in the area. It was then he decided he must go and see for himself.

Soon after, Captain Wood sold a flock of sheep to men wanting to establish a sheep station at Port Phillip so George took up the opportunity to travel with the sheep. They left in March 1836 on the schooner Hettie, landing at what is now Brighton, Victoria.  From there, George and the two station owners rowed up the Yarra River to what is now the city of Melbourne.  They then walked around 200 miles over the next seven days following the Werribee River to the Barwon River and then to the Leigh River. As they made their way through the valley of the Leigh, George decided that was where he wanted to settle.

George returned to Tasmania for the winter of 1836 and made plans to return to the Leigh Valley. He sold his property and arranged for his sheep to be transported to Port Phillip. Around that time the Clyde Company had formed and George was chosen to manage it.  The company’s first station was on the Moorabool River and George went there from the spring of 1836.

Advertising (1838, December 8). Port Phillip Gazette (Vic. : 1838 – 1845), p. 3. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225006721

Two years later at the age of twenty-six, he built a hut in the Leigh Valley where he had visited two years before and close to what would be become the township of Shelford.  The land on which the hut stood become the Golf Hill estate. In 1850, George travelled to England then on to his homeland of Scotland. While there, he married his cousin Euphemia Leslie Carstairs in 1852 and a daughter was born the following year. George and Euphemia returned to Victoria and in 1854, a daughter Ann was born at Geelong.  A further five daughters and one son were born over the next eleven years until the birth on 24 April 1866, of a daughter Janet.

George had become a partner of the Clyde Company and in 1857, the company was dissolved and George was able to purchase the freehold for the Golf Hill property. In 1859, photographer Thomas Hannay toured the Western District and dropped in a Golf Hill and took this photo of the then brick homestead and the three eldest Russell daughters. The home was designed by Alexander Skene of Geelong in 1846.

GOLF HILL c1859. Photographer: Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/321169

On 3 March 1867, Euphemia died leaving George with eight children including baby Janet. The month prior to Euphemia’s death, George had purchased the Punpundhal estate near Camperdown. Considering his loss, George renamed the property Leslie Manor in remembrance of her. In 1882, he purchased the Strathvean and Poliah estates near Cressy from Hugh McVean.

In 1876, the brick cottage in the previous photo was demolished to build the homestead below, designed in the French Second Empire style.

GOLF HILL, SHELFORD. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320773

George made a great contribution to the nearby Shelford community including covering the cost of the construction of the Presbyterian Church below.

SHELFORD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320782

George died in 1888 and was buried at Golf Hill.  He left seven daughters and one son, Phillip. He inherited Golf Hill but Phillip’s youngest sister Janet, already having developed an interest in the property, who stepped in and took over the running of Golf Hill with Phillip’s blessing.  Phillip died in 1898 but with no wife or heir, it was Janet who inherited Golf Hill.

You can read more about George Russell and Shelford on the link to the excellent blog, Barwon Blog: Anything and Everything to Do With the Barwon River http://barwonblogger.blogspot.com/2013/07/branching-out-life-at-leigh.html

DILNOT, George – Died 29 November 1892 at Hamilton. George Dilnot was born at Herne Bay, Kent around 1852.  As a young man, he went to London to work as a commercial traveller. It was there he married Emily Wallis, a distant relative of Charles Dickens. Around 1882, the Dilnots arrived in Victoria and over the next two years, George held a range of jobs including working for James Henty and at Bruce’s Brewery at Sandhurst.  In 1884, the family arrived in Hamilton as George had been appointed to take over the running of the Western City Brewery (below) which he later bought and then sold again soon after.

VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA. (1888, April 17). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225809074

George then became an accountant with the Hamilton Spectator in 1887 and 1888 as well as taking on freelance work. He was then able to open his own accountancy and auctioneering firm. 

George died suddenly in 1892 leaving his wife Emily and five children  A large procession left his residence on the corner of Carmichael and Gray Streets for the Hamilton Cemetery where more mourners had gathered including members of the Masonic Lodge.

GRAVE OF GEORGE DILNOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

In February 1893, Emily and the children returned to England to live.

EDWARDS, Morris – Died 9 November 1904 at Casterton. Morris Edwards was born in England around 1832.  In 1854. Richard Lewis of Rifle Downs near Casterton imported a three-year-old thoroughbred from England called King Alfred who would go on to become the colony’s leading sire.  Morris Edwards accompanied the horse to Australia as its groom on the ship Severn.  On the ship, Morris met a young lady Eleanor Anne Lamborn.  They married in 1856.

Morris stayed at Rifle Downs for a number of years before working for John Robertson at Straun.  In the early 1870s, Morris and Eleanor settled at Casterton. Around 1877, Morris took over the livery stables of Casterton’s Albion Hotel which he did for about three years before retiring.

Advertising (1877, October 9). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226043057

Morris and Eleanor lived on Toorak Hill at Casterton.  Morris died in 1904 at the age of 72 while Eleanor died in 1914 at Casterton.

In 1931, the following article was published in the Sporting Globe about a rather grisly family heirloom in the possession of Morris’ son Morris Jr. It was an inkwell made from a hoof of King Alfred who died in 1873 at Koolomurt near Casterton.

MOMENTO OF KING ALFRED (1931, January 10). Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic. : 1922 – 1954), p. 2 (FIRST EDITION). Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article183010196

In 1934, one of Morris and Eleanor’s daughters wrote a Letter to the Editor of The Age in search of passengers from the voyage of the Severn in 1854, the ship her parents, aunt, sister and of course the horse King Alfred arrived on.

RIPPON, George Reynolds – Died 2 November 1912 at Hamilton. George Rippon was born in Geelong on 27 May 1867, a son of George Reynolds Rippon and Maria Smith.  In 1876, his father went into a partnership in the Hamilton Spectator newspaper, later becoming sole proprietor. The family moved from Geelong to Hamilton and George attended Hamilton College before going to work at the National Bank.  He then obtained a job a the Melbourne Stock Exchange.

Eventually, George returned to Hamilton and went to work at the Hamilton Spectator as a journalist. His father died in 1899 and George’s brother Herbert took over the running of the Spectator.  In 1900, gold was discovered at the foot of Mount William in the Grampians. It wasn’t long before the area was populated with those seeking their fortunes. George travelled to the Grampians to see the diggings for himself and decided to start a newspaper for the miners called The Mount William Pioneer.  Printed at the Hamilton Spectator, the paper and it was very popular with twenty-three editions published between July and December 1900.  The rush was short-lived and the newspaper folded.

WINTER ON THE MT WILLIAM DIGGINGS 1900 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172520

No title (1900, July 28). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved November 27, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222249274

Like his father, George was a talented sportsman and was a particularly good cricketer, a notable all-rounder.  While at Hamilton College, George could throw a cricket ball over 100 yards.  He was also a good footballer and was captain of his team in Hamilton.  He had an interest in horse racing and was a handicapper for the Hamilton Racing Club and several other clubs around the district.  He was also one of the best runners in the area over 50 yards,  was a champion amateur billiards player, played lawn bowls and was an excellent shot.  He was au fait with the sport of boxing and refereed matches while he was on the Mount William diggings.

George was sick for most of 1912, having contracted a disease while in NSW. He succumbed on 2 November 1912.  When the news of his death reached the citizens of Hamilton, flags around the town flew at half-mast.  George never married and was buried in the Rippon family plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

RIPPON FAMILY PLOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

O’DONNELL, Annie – Died 20 November 1917 at Hamilton. Annie O’Donnell was born in Limerick, Ireland around 1840. She arrived in Victoria and on 1 February 1863, she married  Adolphe Jean Baptiste Destree born at The Hague, Netherlands. Adolphe was a Hamilton jeweller and watchmaker who previously had a shop in Portland. He also served as a Magistrate. A son Adolphe was born at Hamilton in 1864, the first of a family of five sons and one daughter.  In November 1868, Annie became Lady Mayoress of Hamilton when Aldophe was elected Mayor. On 11 February 1875, Annie gave birth to a son but exactly four months later on 11 June, Adolphe died aged forty.  Annie continued the business but by September 1875 she had sold to Farroll & Sons Jewellery Importers.  

Advertising (1875, June 26). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226071758

Annie eventually moved from Kennedy Street to French Street close to the Hamilton Botanic Gardens. In 1898, the Hamilton Borough Council was one of several councils to receive a cannon from the decommissioned HMVS Nelson.  It was placed near the main entrance of the gardens on the corner of French and Thompson Streets.  In 1900, for Mafeking Day, the council thought it a good idea to fire the cannon. They tried it two years earlier and the result was broken windows to homes and businesses in the area. Of course, nothing was different in 1900 and many, including Annie, suffered broken windows and structural damage to their homes.  Annie’s damage costs were £100 and she sought compensation from the council.   

At the time of her death, Annie had four sons still living. She was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

THE DESTREE FAMILY PLOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

RANKIN, John – Died 10 November 1936 at Colac. 

JOHN RANKIN. (1923, August 3). Farmers’ Advocate, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223631678

John Rankin was born in the Mallee around 1865 and went to Colac with his family at a young age.  When he was of working age he became involved in the local dairy industry and went on to become one of the leaders of the Australian Dairy industry.  In 1892, John married Mary Jane Monkivitch.  Aside from dairying, John was a non-commissioned officer with the Mounted Rifles and on the board of the Colac Waterworks Trust.  Mary Jane died in 1932.

At the time of his death in 1936, John was chairman of directors of the Western District Co-operative Produce and Insurance Co Ltd, chairman of directors of the Colac Dairying Co Ltd, director of the Western and Murray Co-operative Bacon and Meat Packing Co Ltd, director of the Co-operative Insurance Company of Australia Ltd, a member of the executive council of the Victorian Dairymen’s Association, a member of the council of the Co-operative Butter and Cheese Factories Association of Victoria and a member of the Federal council of the Australian Dairy Cattle Research Association.  Four sons and three daughters survived John.  He was buried at the Colac Cemetery.  

SAVIN, Mary – Died 29 November 1936 at Heywood.  Mary Savin was born at Macarthur around 1867. Soon after, her parents William and Elizabeth settled at Muddy Creek, south of Hamilton.  The family were involved with the local Primitive Methodist Church.  Mary married John McIntrye in 1895 and they moved to Wallup in the Wimmera but later returned to the south-west, settling at Heywood. 

During WW1, Mary and John’s second eldest son Murray enlisted. He was killed on 4 July 1918 at Amiens France while serving with the 23rd Battalion.  In 1921, John McIntyre died and Mary continued on the farm with her sons. At the time of her death in 1936, Mary had eight children still living.  She was buried at the Portland Cemetery. 

On 24 June 1937, an article in the Portland Guardian reported on a send-off held for those members of the McIntyre family still living in the Heywood district who were off to Gippsland to live.  “And so this respected family has left the Heywood district to the regret of everybody in that locality.”

VAUGHAN, Daniel – Died November 1944 at Swan Marsh.  Daniel Vaughn was born at Ballangeich east of Woolsthorpe around 1872. As a young man, Daniel travelled around the country as a  shearer before selecting land in the Otway district.  In 1903, he married Mary O’Donnell and they went on to have a large family of eight sons and four daughters.  Daniel was a supporter of the union movement, horse racing and in his early days, he was a good footballer. He was buried at the Colac Cemetery.

BOYD, James Alexander – Died 10 November 1944 at Camperdown. James Boyd was born at South Geelong around 1857.  When he was about twelve, his parents went to live in Camperdown before settling at nearby Pomberneit. James married Mary Louisa Cooper in 1877 and they lived at Braeside Pomberneit. 

James was a  member of the Camperdown and Colac P&A societies.  He was also an exhibitor at the local shows with his Lincoln sheep and in 1932, he revealed to the Camperdown Chronicle his collection of prize cards from the 1880s.  He was also proved himself a thoughtful husband, having bought Mary a gold watch with his winnings.

CAMPERDOWN CHRONICLE. , OCTOBER 11, 1932. NEWS. (1932, October 11). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved November 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23367240

James was a member of the Leura Lodge of Freemasons, the Pomberneit Rifle Club and in his early days, played cricket for Pomberneit

In 1937, James celebrated his eighth birthday.  Later, he placed a Thank You notice in the Camperdown Chronicle

Family Notices (1937, June 22). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved November 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26090561

James was a champion for the local children.  He donated basketball trophies for local state schools to compete for in order to encourage the children to play. He also lobbied for a swimming pool at Camperdown for the ‘kiddies’.

LOOKING AROUND (1943, January 12). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved November 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28322115

Mary died in July 1940 aged eighty-four. James died in the Camperdown Hospital in 1944 aged eighty-seven and was buried at the Camperdown cemetery.

WHAT A COINCIDENCE

While searching for further information on one of this month’s pioneers Annie Destree (nee O’Donnell), I found the following Birth notices from the Hamilton Spectator of 13 February 1875. As well as the Destree birth there was also the birth of a daughter to another of this month’s pioneers Morris Edwards and his wife Eleanor. Fancy that!

Family Notices (1875, February 13). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved November 26, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226076215

 

A WDF Update

It’s been a busy time of late and more time has passed since my last post then I would have liked.

I have two drafts about the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery almost ready to go. They are about the people who lie beneath the broken headstones and monuments in the cemetery.

HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

One of the posts has a sub-theme and the more I research it, the bigger the story becomes.  Time is freeing up a bit now so I’ll try to get at least one of those out soon. There is also a second Yambuk Cemetery post almost ready to go too.

After going great guns and catching up on the Passing of the Pioneers posts back in June, I’m now four months behind. I’ve decided to miss those months this year rather than try and catch up and instead look towards getting a November Passing of the Pioneers post ready.

If you follow the Western District Families Facebook page, you will know I share a lot of photos. I find many of the photos have a story to tell, so I’ve selected some of the best and I’ll post them here with some extra information. The series will take the title “Take A Photo” and I hope to post fortnightly. There are six posts in draft form at the moment.

There are now five published Wonderful Western District Women posts celebrating seventeen women from the past. Soon they will have their own dedicated tab at the top of WDF. It’s also in draft form (you would not believe how many draft posts I have). A few photos and it’s ready to go.

JANET BLACK (nee NICOL) ONE OF THE WONDERFUL WESTERN DISTRICT WOMEN Border Watch, 5 May 1936, p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77987617

Sometimes things happen on the Hamilton’s WW1 side of Western District Families without you knowing. Subscribers don’t get alerted to new pages and all the Hamilton WW1 posts are in that format. My most recent addition was the Christ Church Anglican Church WW1 Honour Board with all the names along with links to those men and women who I’ve have already written profiles for.

SOME OF THE MEN OF HAMILTON’S CHRIST CHURCH ANGLICAN CHURCH WW1 HONOUR BOARD

Meanwhile, more drafts with at least twelve profiles of servicemen and women halfway or closer to completion.

In the case of most of my drafts, the fun bits (research/writing) have been done. What lies ahead for me now is the tedious stage of getting the posts out to you, lots of editing and finishing off. However, as always, I’ll find it’s worth it all at the end.

In other news. Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Hamilton History Centre’s monthly meeting. Of course, I spoke about Western District Families but with a Hamilton district slant, sharing some of my favourite local stories from WDF and Hamilton’s WW1.

HAMILTON HISTORY CENTRE

The Hamilton History Centre is located in the former Hamilton Mechanics’ Institute and many of the Hamilton folk I’ve written about for WDF have passed through the doors. Some have even given talks there themselves. I did try and channel William Melville one of Hamilton’s leading citizens from the past who gave a lecture there in 1886 on the topic “Wit and Humour in the 19th century”.  While my oratory skill will never match William’s, I think the stories I told were well received.

HAMILTON HISTORY CENTRE

While on the topic of the Hamilton History Centre I must mention their new website which is fantastic. It gives you a great idea of what is in the collection, as well as a bookshop, and three great videos to watch including one on notable homes and homesteads of the wider district.

You’ll find the website on the following link www.hamiltonhistorycentre.org.au 

Now back to those drafts…

 

Trove Tuesday – A Newspaper Photograph

August is National Family History Month so for today, a Trove Tuesday post with a family theme. The digitised newspapers at Trove are a great place to look for photos of family members. When I search I always filter the results to show any illustrated newspapers…just in case.

Recently I was searching the newspapers specifically for four and five generation family photos to share on the Western District Families Facebook page. Such photos were often in the papers, sometimes sent in by readers for Readers’ Snapshots pages or sometimes they made the general news. You may remember a newspaper photo I found of my ggg aunt Amelia Bell (nee Harman) with four generations of her descendants.

My search found the following photo from the Weekly Times of 25 April 1925 taken at Dergholm north-west of Casterton. The caption told me the photo included Mrs Jones, described as the oldest resident in the Dergholm district, holding her great-grandaughter Heather McCrae. Standing to the left is Mrs Jones’ daughter Mrs McNamara and standing to the right, her granddaughter, Mrs McCrae.

FOUR GENERATIONS AT DERGHOLM (1925, April 25). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 48. Retrieved August 19, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223165492

When sharing photos to the Facebook page I like to include some extra information about the subjects. Only Mesdames Jones, McNamara and McCrae wasn’t going to do. With not much to work with and common surnames, “Dergholm” was going to be key in the search. 

Staying with Trove I searched for Jones Dergholm and quickly found the obituary of James Jones, late of Dergholm in The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record from 1 June 1914. He was the second son of Mrs Jane Jones and the late Henry Jones of Dergholm. Jane and Henry had ten children, four sons and six daughters and among the daughters listed was a Mrs McNamara.  Unfortunately, no Christian name for her but James’ obituary had me a step closer to confirming Mrs Jones was Jane Jones. Also, if I wanted to research the whole of the Jones family of Dergholm, there are a lot of good clues to go on with.

Crossed the Bar. (1914, June 1). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 (Bi-Weekly). Retrieved August 20, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74761214

I then went to Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria to search for James Jones’ entry in the Death Index. There I confirmed his father was Henry Jones and his mother was Jane Holt.1  I then searched the Death Index for Jane Jones and found a Jane Jones (nee Holt) died at Casterton in 1935 aged ninety-two.2  On that, she would have been around eighty-two in the photo. Although there were no further details of Jane’s parents if I wanted to find more about her, from the entry I knew she was born around 1843 possibly at Geelong. But I wanted to find out about her descendants next.

Turning to Mrs McNamara, I took a punt she also lived at Dergholm and searched the Birth Index for McNamara births at Dergholm and found three daughters born to Michael McNamara and Eliza Jones – Hilda Constance in 18983 Annie Elizabeth in 1900 3and Queenie in 1909.5  One of those girls could be Mrs McCrae. Queenie was too young, maybe it was Annie but I thought I’d start with Hilda. Searching the Marriage Index for Hilda McNamara I found her marriage to Alexander McCrae in 1923.6   While there, I  found Eliza Jones’ marriage to Michael McNamara in 18967 and then back to the Death Index to double-check it was the right Eliza Jones who married Michael McNamara. I found Eliza McNamara, the daughter of Henry Jones and Jane Holt died in 1928 at Casterton aged sixty-one.8 That was just three years after the photo and seven years before her mother.

The chances of finding more about baby Heather were slim, but I thought I would give it a try. A Trove search for Heather McCrae found nothing but a search of McCrae Dergholm, resulted in the following engagement notice from The Argus.  A tip for searching Trove using words with a prefix –  I find I have better results if a drop the Mc altogether and search Crae or Namara, for example. The same for “O” and “St” etc.

Family Notices (1946, December 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved August 20, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22387849

Back to the Victorian Marriage Index. With the groom’s surname from the engagement notice, I quickly found Heather and Lionel married in 1947.9

Something else I found at Trove was a letter Hilda McNamara wrote to “Aunt Connie” of The Weekly Times, published on 13 July 1912 when Hilda was fourteen. It’s a bit hard to read but if I were related to Hilda, I’d be happy to find it.

INDUSTRIES OF DERGIIOLM (1912, July 13). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 38. Retrieved August 20, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224848393

In a short time and using just two free websites, I was able to find out a lot more about the subjects of the Weekly Times photo. I found names, dates, a nice letter by Hilda and plenty to go on with if I wanted to. But for now, I can update the caption to read Jane Jones (nee Holt) holding her great-granddaughter Heather McCrae, the granddaughter of Eliza McNamara (nee Jones) back left, and daughter of Hilda McCrae (nee McNamara) back right.

FOUR GENERATIONS AT DERGHOLM (1925, April 25). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 48. Retrieved August 20, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223165492

SOURCES

1 Victorian Death Index, James Jones, 1914, Reg. no. 4830/1914
2 Victorian Death Index, Jane Jones, 1935, Reg. no. 12397/1935
3 Victorian Birth Index, Hilda Constance McNamara, 1898, Reg. no. 10478/1898
4 Victorian Birth Index, Annie Elizabeth McNamara, 1900, Reg. no. 25996/1900
5 Victorian Birth Index, Queenie McNamara, 1909, Reg. no. 18510/1909
6 Victorian Marriage Index, Hilda Constance McNamara, 1923 Reg. no. 165/1923
7 Victorian Marriage Index, Eliza Jones, Reg. no. 14/1896

8 Victorian Death Index, Eliza McNamara, 1928, Reg. no. 9356/1928
9 Victorian Marriage Index, Heather McCrae, 1947, Reg. no. 2300/1947

Trove Tuesday – An Eagle Tale

This post has been sitting in my drafts for six years so today it’s time to set it free, something I wish happened to the subject of the post.  This is my second Trove Tuesday post about a captive eagle and it’s sad they could no longer soar free over the Western District.  The first post was called The Hungry Eagle and this one could easily have had the same title.

DESERVING OF RECOMPENSE. (1879, April 25). Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115122329

DESERVING OF RECOMPENSE. (1879, April 25). Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115122329

If only the fledgeling hadn’t popped his head over the side of the nest. Instead of a trip to New South Wales, he could have lived out his life soaring over the rolling hills and valleys around Byaduk.

HARMAN VALLEY, BYADUK

You can read more than 100 previous Trove Tuesday posts on the link – westerndistrictfamilies.com/category/trove-tuesday/

Passing of the Pioneers

Finally, I’ve caught up with my Passing of the Pioneer posts. This is the June post and it is actually out in June…just.  I’ve found a new candidate for my feature posts Wonderful Western District Women.  It is Mary McDonald and you can read about her below.  There’s a bit of a waiting list of women to include in the WWDW posts, so when it’s finally Mary’s turn, I’ll write a broader piece about her life. Below you’ll also find the story of a mail coach contractor, a former Port Fairy Mayor and a singing saddler from Camperdown.  Remember to click on the underlined text for further information including the subjects’ names. Those links will take you to the original newspaper obituary.

CAWKER, John – Died 17 June 1876 at Merino. John Cawker was born in Devon around 1845, a son of a carpenter.  He travelled with his parents to Geelong from England in 1854 aboard the Joshua. By the time he was twenty, he had the contract to run the  Cobb & Co. Royal Mail coach between Hamilton and Penola, stopping at Coleraine and Casterton.

Advertising (1865, November 25). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Retrieved June 24, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194466567

John married Hannah Smith in 1868. In 1871, he took over the license of the Commercial Hotel owned and built by George Northcott and completed extensive renovations.

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

John and Hannah lost their baby John in 1873. John was a member of the Merino and Sandford Pastoral and Agriculture Society and the Oddfellows society and was nominated for the shire council in 1875. The following year, John died suddenly aged just thirty-one, leaving his widow Hannah and a daughter.  Such was the shock of his sudden death, it was a talking point around the district for several days. 

John’s funeral left the Commercial Hotel, Merino at 11.00am on Tuesday 20 June for the Casterton Cemetery, followed by a lengthy cortege.  Just before Sandford, the cortege met with Burton and Taylor’s Circus who pulled to the side of the road to let the cortege pass. As they did, the circus band played “Dead March in Saul”. By the time they arrived at Casterton, the cortege had grown significantly. With several hundred people in attendance, it was the largest funeral seen in the district. Hannah took over the running of the Commerical Hotel but died the following year after a buggy accident.  She was just twenty-nine and left one daughter aged three.

RUFFLE, Charles – Died 4 June 1885 at Port Fairy.  Charles Ruffle was born around 1816 and was in Geelong by 1842, working as a baker and confectioner.   Soon after, he arrived in Port Fairy where he worked as an auctioneer.  He also established the Belfast Steam Flour Mill.  Charles was on the Borough Council from 1856 and was a Mayor of Port Fairy in 1866.  He was also a founding member of the Oddfellows society in Port Fairy. In 1882, he returned to Port Fairy after spending some time in Tasmania. He died on 4 June 1885 after a short illness.

McDONALD, Mary – Died 23 June 1906 at Gritjurk. Mary McDonald was born around 1841.  She married John Hutcheson in 1861. John was around twenty-two years older than Mary and a widower. She went to live on the Grange Burn just west of Hamilton where John had built the town’s first mill.  John died in 1870 leaving Mary then aged around thirty, four sons and one daughter. Mary continued to run the mill until 1877 when she sold it to Charles Pilven of the Commercial Hotel. In something of a trade, Mary purchased the Commerical Hotel. 

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 5 April 1877 

The Commercial Hotel is the two storey building with a balcony to the right of the photo below.

VIEW OF HAMILTON INCLUDING THE COMMERCIAL HOTE c1880. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no B 21766/53 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/53

In 1884, she leased the Hamilton Co-Operative mill, renamed it the Hamilton Mill and put her son John on as manager. Mary later purchased the Coleraine Flour Mill and spent a large amount of money improving the mill.  In November 1885, the mill burnt down. That didn’t stop Mary.  She set about rebuilding which included purchasing new machinery.

COLERAINE. (1886, August 28). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved June 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225773502

When older, Mary went to live with her son at Gritjurk near Coleraine.  Her health hadn’t been good with bouts of gout and dizzy spells.  She did enjoy walking around the paddocks of her son’s property and the afternoon of 23 June she set off for a walk.  Later in the day, her body was found in the dam by a neighbour.  An inquest found she had drowned but there was no evidence as to how she came to be in the dam. She was sixty-five.  Mary’s body was returned to Hamilton and she was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF MARY McDONALD AND HER HUSBAND JOHN AND THEIR CHILDREN AT THE HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

SHILCOCK, John – Died 26 June 1909 at Cavendish. John Shilcock was born around 1824 at Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, England.  As a young man, he spent time in the Yeomanry, similar to the Army Reserve.  In his early twenties, John decided to head for Victoria arriving around 1848.   He spent time at the diggings before arriving in Cavendish around 1853. He opened a boot and shoemaker’s shop and at one stage had six men working for him.

Advertising (1861, August 24). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 3. Retrieved June 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194861874

At the time of his death, John left a widow, five sons and two daughters.

KELLY, Mary – Died 25 June 1913 at Ballarat, Mary Kelly was born around 1832 in Belfast, Ireland. She arrived in Port Fairy around 1858 and from there, travelled to the Dunkeld district by bullock wagon  She married William Templeton in 1858 and they remained in Dunkeld district.  The couple went on to have four daughters and two sons. Initially, the family lived in town where William operated a store before moving out on to the land.  William died in 1910 and Mary went to live with her married daughter Irene in Ballarat.  She died there on 25 June 1913. Her body was returned by train to Dunkeld for burial.

DAVIS, Hester Jane – Died 4 June 1914 at Mortlake. Hester Davis was born around 1850 in Bath, England. She arrived in Victoria around 1866. In 1870, she married Thomas Montgomery and they made their home at Killymard at Mortlake. Hester was deeply involved with all facets of the Mortlake Methodist Church.

MORTLAKE METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/771417

Hester died on 4 June 1914 aged sixty-four. The following year, Thomas remarried to widow Nellie Brownell. 

FEWTRELL, Phillip Russell – Died 7 June 1945 at Camperdown. Phillip Fewtrell was born around 1869 at Geelong.  He arrived at Camperdown about 1883 where he was employed by saddler Mr Chant before joining another saddler in the town, Mr McQualter. From there Phillip opened his own saddlery business. Phillip was a good singer, a bass and was a member of the Presbyterian Church choir, He was also a member of the Oddfellows society for forty-nine years and treasurer for twenty-six of those years.  Phillip, who lived in Campbell Street, left a widow and two daughters at the time of his death.

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. 

Passing of the Pioneers

If you caught my last post, the March edition of Passing of the Pioneers, you will know the PP posts are running behind.  This is a very late April edition  There are just four pioneers but two led very full and interesting lives, one of those being among the earliest Australian Rules footballers in the state.  One of the other men was among the Wendish settlers who trekked from Adelaide to the Western Victoria in 1852.  I did try to find a woman to add to the mix but unfortunately, my April list of obituaries is currently men only.  Click on the links on the underlined text for further information about a subject.  They include a link to the very interesting Wendish  Heritage website,

CHIRNSIDE, Andrew Spencer – Died 30 April 1890 at Colac

ANDREW CHIRNSIDE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/153089

Andrew Chirnside was born at Berwickshire, Scotland around 1817. He arrived in Melbourne in 1839 and met up with his older brother Thomas who had was already in the colony. The brothers went on to Sydney to buy stock to take overland to Adelaide to sell.  They then took up a run on the Loddon River in 1840, passed and named by Major Thomas Mitchell only four years before. From the Lodden, Thomas and Andrew followed the path of Mitchell again towards the Western District and in 1842 they found before them the highest peak in the Grampians named Mount William by Major Mitchell. The land appealed to the brothers and they established a station named after the nearby peak.

LOOKING TOWARDS MOUNT WILLIAM

The brothers ran Merino sheep and cattle at Mount William and a large woolshed (below) with twenty stands was built in 1865. Thomas and Andrew went on to buy Mokanger station on the Wannon River near Cavendish in 1843 and in the years after, acquired properties such as Mount Emu Creek and Carranballac near Skipton (below) and Kenilworth South and Victoria Lagoon near Cavendish. From 1849, Thomas began acquiring land at Wyndham, west of Melbourne and he soon built up an estate of 80,000 acres known as Werribee Park   By 1870 between them, they had acquired around 250,000 acres of land in Victoria.

The Chirnside name was soon connected with horse racing in the colony.  The Chirnsides were racing horses they’d bred and it was Mount William station bred Alice Hawthorn in the late 1850s who brought them their first notable success.  Andrew was interested in the racing side while Thomas prefered the breeding side of the business. Many of the horses raced in Andrew’s name including 1874  Melbourne Cup winner Haricot (below).

MR. A. CHIRNSIDE’S HARICOT, THE WINNER OF THE MELBOURNE CUP. (1874, December 2). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875), p. 193. Retrieved May 22, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60447659

In 1850, Andrew returned to Scotland and married Mary Begbie. Children were born at Carranballac and the Chirnside’s Point Cook station. Andrew and Mary lived at Carranballac (below) for a number of years.

CARRANBALLAC HOMESTEAD. Image courtesy of the J.T.Collins Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233699

They then moved to Werribee where Thomas had built a large mansion (below).  In 1887, Thomas Chirnside died at Werribee.

WERRIBEE MANSION AT WERRIBEE PARK. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/155659

In 1889, Andrew funded the establishment of a half battery of horse artillery at Werribee,  He paid for the horses, their feed, uniforms and instruction. Forty men turned up for the first meeting at the Werribee Club Hotel.  The battery was commanded by Andrew’s son John.  Andrew was also the founder of the Wyndham Racing Club and a president of the Wyndham Shire Council. In his last years, Andrew went on trips to Queensland and Tasmania but he was in poor health.  He died at Irrewarra, Colac the home of his daughter Maggie Calvert.  Aged seventy-three, he left his widow Mary, four sons and two daughters.  Mary died in 1909.

You can find more information about Andrew Chirnside on the following links:

Biography of Andrew Chirnside from the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Alice Hawthorn – The Western Mare

RIPPON, George Reynolds – Died 26 April 1899 at Hamilton.  George Rippon was born in Berkshire, England on 17 September 1838. His father John James Rippon was a successful manufacturer with several large factories.  George completed his school in France, giving him competency in the French language.  He arrived in Australia in 1857 aboard James Baines and worked for a surveyor at Geelong, thought to be surveying the railway routes through the Western District.  He then worked as an accountant.

By the 1859/1860 cricket season, George was playing for the Corio Cricket Club and was among the team’s better players with bat and ball. In February 1860 he topped scored in a shortened match against Emerald Hill.

CORIO INNINGS. (1860, February 27). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1929), p. 2. Retrieved May 22, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148789089

In 1862, George was selected in a squad of twenty-two from Geelong and the Western District to play an All England team but unfortunately, he went out for a duck in the first innings of the match on 20 January 1862 and for eleven in the second innings. By 1863 he was captain of the Corio side.  George went to Sydney in 1866, as a member of a Victorian team for an intercolonial match, however, poor form in lead up games saw he dropped from the side. 

In October 1867, the Corio Cricket Club played two matches against an Aboriginal XI months before their departure for an English tour. On the Corio team was Tom Wills, considered the father of Australian Rules football and original coach of the Aboriginal team before Charles Lawrence took over.  Wills captained the Corio team in the first match and the Aboriginal XI was led by Lawrence. George Rippon captained the Corio side in the second match. He was clean bowled by Johnny Mullagh for seven runs, one of five wickets for Mullagh.  In the second innings, Johnny Mullagh was caught out off George’s bowling for four runs. 

CRICKET At GEELONG. (1867, October 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved May 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5781100

In his last season playing cricket in Geelong, George took eight wickets for twenty runs in a match against the Kardinia Cricket Club during January 1876,  

Australian Rules Football was emerging as a sport during George’s first years in Geelong. The Geelong Football Club was formed in 1859 and not only was George one of the first players for the club, he served as club president in 1859 and 1860.  In 1861, George was the leading goalkicker for Geelong. Another highlight was when he kicked a goal to seal the game for Geelong against Melbourne in a challenge match on 12 September 1863 at the Richmond Paddock (below).

FOOTBALL AT RICHMOND PADDOCK IN 1866. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/111640

In June 1865, the Geelong Racing Club was established and George was unanimously elected as secretary of the club.  By that time he was one of the best sportsmen in Geelong playing cricket, football, rope quoits, billiards and rowing.  Just one of his achievements was topping the bowling averages for Geelong Cricket Club in 1870/71. He was also involved in coursing including serving as secretary of the Geelong Coursing Club.  In 1872 he was Vice president of the Geelong Football Club.  

On 24 November 1864, George married at Geelong to Maria Smith and a son John James Rippon was born the following year. George and Maria lived in Moorabool Street with further children born at their home, sons George in 1867 and Herbert in 1869, followed by daughters Martha in 1870, Emma in 1872 and Alice in 1874.

Aside from sport, George’s literary and writing skills caught the attention of the Geelong Advertiser and he was employed by the newspaper around 1864 and remained there until July 1876 when he moved to Hamilton.  He was thirty-eight at that time.  There were several testimonials for George in Geelong. his home of more than fifteen years including one conducted by the Geelong Football Club,

GEELONG FOOTBALL CLUB. (1876, July 8). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1929), p. 3. Retrieved May 6, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article150633093

George and family were off to Hamilton because George had purchased a share of the local newspaper the Hamilton Spectator. In July 1876, George entered a partnership with George Mott and George Robinson. Robinson took up a retiring role in the paper and left the proprietorship in 1879.

Advertising (1876, July 12). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved May 26, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226037595

George wasted no time getting involved with town activities.  As soon as the 1876/1877 season came around, he was playing with the Hamilton Cricket Club.   And when the 1877 football season started he was involved with the Hamilton team but in a non-playing role as a judge. By the 1878 football season, George was vice-president of the Hamilton Football Club. His wide-ranging sporting prowess continued in Hamilton where he left off in Geelong.  He was part of a team to play in the Murray Challenge Cup in cricket. George was still playing cricket in 1890 at the age of fifty-one, playing a match at Portland with his sons Herbert and George.  His obituary mentioned his last cricket match when he played with his sons and the three of them had a combined score of 179.  George was president of the Hamilton Cricket Club for many years.  He was one of the best rope quoits and billiards player in the Western District.  He continued his interest in coursing in Hamilton and was a president of the Hamilton Bowls Club. He was a member of the Hamilton Racing Club and acted as a judge and did the same at Penshurst. 

Away from sport, on 7 May 1879, George’s father John James Rippon died at Altham Hall, Accrington, Lancashire, England aged seventy-nine. George’s home Altham Lodge in Hamilton on the corner of Collins and Dryden Street was similarly named to the home of his father.  George and Mott built up the Hamilton Spectator and by 1876 it was published three times a week and was a leading voice in Western Victoria. In 1885, George Mott sold his share of the Spectator to George Rippon who became sole proprietor of the newspaper.

VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA. (1888, April 17). Hamilton Spectator p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225809074

George was a member of the Hamilton Hospital committee, president of the Hamilton Fire Brigade for eighteen years and vice president of the Hamilton Pastoral and Agriculture Society.  He was a member of the Freemasons Lodge and was a Past Grand Registrar. He was also a Justice of the Peace and a member of Melbourne’s Yorick Club founded by Marcus Clarke in 1868 for men with literary interests. Among other members was Adam Lindsay Gordon.

On 12 March 1888, George and Maria’s eldest son John died aged twenty-two. In August 1891, Johnny Mullagh who was part of the Aboriginal Cricket XI tour of England died.  George Rippon called for a monument for his grave at Harrow and opened subscriptions to fund it. It was twenty-three years since George and Johnny were on opposing teams in Geelong. 

THE LATE JOHN MULLAGH. (1891, August 18). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved May 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226082134

There was plenty of support for George’s proposal and in late 1892, a memorial stone was erected at the Harrow cricket ground and a smaller monument on Johnny Mullagh’s grave.

HARROW. (1892, December 13). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR.). Retrieved May 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225182122

George’s wife Maria died on 18 September 1897 aged fifty-four.  George died at  Altham Lodge on 26 April 1899 aged sixty-one.  He was buried with his son John and wife Maria at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. 

RIPPON FAMILY GRAVE, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

George’s son Herbert took over the Hamilton Spectator, owning it for fifty-five years.  Another son George wrote sports reports for the paper.  After Herbert died, his son George Reynolds Rippon formed the Hamilton Spectator Partnership and was managing partner until the 1970s. Herbert’s daughter Clarice was the office manager of the paper for three decades. The paper is still in publication today.

HAMILTON SPECTATOR

Additional Sources:

Hay, Roy and EBSCOhost Aboriginal people and Australian football in the nineteenth century: they did not come from nowhere. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 2019.

Kirkpatrick, Rod and Victorian Country Press Association, (issuing body.) The bold type: a history of Victoria’s country newspapers, 1840-2010. The Victorian Country Press Association, Ascot Vale, Vic, 2010 p233.

RENTSCH, Johann – Died 14 April 1909 at Byaduk. Johann Rentsch was born in Germany around 1834.  When he was seventeen, he arrived in Adelaide aboard Helena in 1851 with several other Wendish families. The following year, the families set off for Victoria.  Their journey took four weeks and they arrived in Portland on 26 May 1852.  In May 1854, Johann purchased land in South Hamilton, on what is now the north-eastern side of Ballarat Road and Hillers Lane in an area with several other German settlers. The area was known as Hochkirch on the Grange.  In 1856 Johann married Magdalena Burger. The Burgers were another of the Wendish families who travelled from South Australia. The couple went on to have seven children.  Johann selected land at Byaduk around 1860 and he and Magdalena settled there for the rest of their lives. They were members of the Byaduk Lutheran Church. Johann was buried at the Byaduk Lutheran Cemetery.  

You can read more about the Wendish settlers in the Western District on the following link – Wendish Heritage 

MORRISSEY, Michael – Died 12 April 1913 at Branxholme. Michael Morrissey was born in Limerick, Ireland around 1853 and arrived at Portland with his parents the following year about New Zealander.  The family settled at Port Fairy.  When Michael was a young man, he took up land at Broadwater, naming his property Cloverdale.  In 1881, Michael married Anne Purcell. During his time at Broadwater, Michael was one of the selectors behind the Eumerella Drainage Scheme involving the drainage of the Eumerella Swamp with work beginning in 1906.  In 1912, Michael purchased a property at Mount Eccles and built a home.  The intention by Michael and Anne to live out their lives there was shortlived when in April 1913, Michael fell ill and went to Branxholme for medical treatment.  He died there at the age of sixty.  Michael was buried in the Macarthur cemetery.