Major Mitchell Reaches Portland Bay

On 29 August 1836, Major Thomas Mitchell saw Portland Bay for the first time.  Since we last were with Mitchell on his freezing night on the summit of Mount William in July 1836, he and his party had travelled a great distance and being winter, the terrain was mostly muddy. From Mount William, the party had travelled north to and climbed Mount Zero. Then west along the northern Grampians to Mount Arapiles and Mitre Lake.  Scaling Mount Arapiles, which he named, Mitchell was able to see the country to the south and it was in that direction they next travelled.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/136946

MOUNT ARAPILES BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER 1865. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/136946

As they moved out of the Wimmera and into the Western District, Mitchell noted,

Thus suddenly were we at length relieved from all the difficulties of travelling in mud. We had solid granite beneath us; and instead of a level horizon the finely rounded points of ground presented by the sides of a valley thinly wooded and thickly covered with grass. This transition from all that we sought to avoid to all we could desire in the character of the country was so agreeable that I can record that evening as one of the happiest of my life.  (Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone) Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, Chapter 3.9)

They soon met the Glenelg River near Harrow on 31 July, and from there they passed through Pigeon Ponds, Chetwynd, and Wando Vale. On 7 August, the party reached the Wannon valley south of Casterton at the Wannon River’s junction with the Glenelg River and saw a beautiful scene before them.

After fording this stream with ascended a very steep but grassy mountain-side, and on reaching a brow of high land, what a noble prospect appeared, a river winding amongst meadows that were fully a mile broad and green as an emerald. Above them rose swelling hills of fantastic shapes, but all smooth and thickly covered with rich verdure. Behind these were higher hills, all having grass on their sides and trees on their summits, and extending east and west throughout the landscape as far as I could see. I hastened to ascertain the course of the river by riding about two miles along an entirely open grassy ridge, and then found again the Glenelg, flowing eastward towards an apparently much lower country. All our difficulties seemed thus already at an end, for we had here good firm ground, clear of timber, on which we could gallop once more. The river was making for the most promising bay on the coast (for I saw that it turned southward some miles below the hill on which I stood) through a country far surpassing in beauty and richness any part hitherto discovered. (Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone) Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, Chapter 3.10)

http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766481

MERINO DOWNS. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766481

From there, they travelled to near where Dartmoor is today and Mitchell launched a boat on the Glenelg River at Fort O’Hare and with a small party, made his way to the sea.

http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/14/36

THE GLENELG RIVER. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/14/36

Expecting to come out near Portland Bay, they were further west, reaching the mouth of the river at what is now Nelson.

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AT THE MOUTH OF THE GLENELG RIVER, NELSON

The party turned back up the river and returned to the camp at Fort O’Hare. They then travelled along the Crawford River and with the carts getting bogged down in heavy ground, Mitchell and a small party set out on horseback to Portland Bay.  Their first stop was near Heywood and a large hill Mitchell climbed and named Mount Eckersley.  From there they crossed the Fitzroy and Surry Rivers bringing us back to 29 August 1836 and Major Mitchell’s first sighting of the coast at Portland Bay.

LOOKING TOWARD PORTLAND BAY

LOOKING TOWARD PORTLAND BAY

Major Mitchell walked on to the beach littered with whale carcases, evidence of whalers in the area.  A member of the party, Aboriginal man Tommy Came-last, reported cattle tracks and the footprints of a white man.  Tobacco pipes and a broken bottle were also found, possibly from the whalers but they would not have had cattle.  Looking around the bay, Mitchell saw houses, possibly whalers huts, so they headed toward them.  Mitchell and his party descended high cliffs and could see a ship anchored in the bay.  Approaching the wooden houses they found they discovered they were abandoned whalers’ shacks but just as they were moving on, two shots rang out.  Mitchell ordered one of his men to fire off a shot and to sound the bugle.  They climbed to higher ground and found a cart track which they followed until a man approached them. Mitchell continues,

He informed me in answer to my questions that the vessel at anchor was the “Elizabeth” of Launceston; and that just round the point there was a considerable farming establishment belonging to Messrs. Henty, who were then at the house. It then occurred to me that I might there procure a small additional supply of provisions, especially of flour, as my men were on very reduced rations. I therefore approached the house and was kindly received and entertained by the Messrs. Henty who as I learnt had been established there during upwards of two years. It was very obvious indeed from the magnitude and extent of the buildings and the substantial fencing erected that both time and labour had been expended in their construction. A good garden stocked with abundance of vegetables already smiled on Portland Bay; the soil was very rich on the overhanging cliffs, and the potatoes and turnips produced there surpassed in magnitude and quality any I had ever seen elsewhere. (Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone) Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, Chapter 3.11)

The following day, Mitchell made a trip to Cape Nelson then returned to Portland.

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AT CAPE NELSON LOOKING TOWARD CAPE BRIDGEWATER

Major Mitchell said his goodbyes to the Hentys and continued on his way.

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THE MEETING OF MAJOR MITCHELL AND THE HENTYS AT PORTLAND BAY 29 AUGUST 1836. PHOTO OF A PRINT AT PORTLAND’S HISTORY HOUSE

The party returned to the Surry River then continued back to the base camp. On 31 August, Mitchell’s party reached Mount Clay with Mitchell naming it, and by sunset they were back at the base camp.  We leave Major Mitchell now but will join him again on 11 September when he reaches what is now Hamilton. 

The arrival of Major Mitchell at the doorstep of the Henty’s home at Portland Bay influenced their future.  In glowing terms, Mitchell had told them of the land around the Wannon Valley he described as “Australia Felix”.  On his recommendation, the brothers travelled north to see for themselves. Within twenty-five miles from their settlement at Portland Bay, they noticed the change in the countryside.  Stephen Henty’s reaction was simply, “This is paradise.”  By 3 August 1837,  Henty sheep were on the land at Merino Downs and soon Muntham Station, opening the next chapter in the history of the Henty brothers.

J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231999

HENTY MONUMENT, MERINO DOWNS. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231999

 

muntham

MUMTHAM HOMESTEAD. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217208

This video of Muntham Station shows the countryside Major Mitchell and the Henty brothers found so attractive.

 

SOURCES

Back to Merino and Henty Centenary Celebrations Committee Historic souvenir of the Back to Merino and Henty centenary celebrations, November 11th to 15th, 1937. Back to Merino and Henty Centenary Celebrations Committee, [Merino? Vic, 1937.

Glenelg Library Historic Treasures – Major Mitchell meets the Hentys

Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone) Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales. London, T. & W. Boone

 

Passing of the Pioneers

As the Passing of the Pioneer post comes together each month, I often find the pioneers have something in common.  Sometimes it’s their occupations or their birthplace.  This month, five of the twelve pioneers went to the goldfields after arriving in Victoria. It is one of the most common similarities I come across, and not surprising as gold was the big drawcard to Victoria in the 1850s. To read the newspaper obituary for each pioneer, just click on their name.  You can also click on other underlined text in the post to find more information.

William Henry GUBBINS:  Died 9 August 1905 at Penshurst. William Gubbins was born at Tavistock, Devonshire, England around 1827 and arrived in Victoria in the mid-1850s. After his arrival, he went to the diggings at Creswick then later Clunes. Around that time, William married Mary Ann Down and they had five children.  The family then spent time around the Terang district before purchasing  Burn Brae Estate at Penshurst in 1888.

J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233170

“BURN BRAE” HOMESTEAD, PENSHURST IN 1978. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233170

Mary Ann died in 1900 and William stayed on at Burn Brae until his death. William was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

John MILLMAN:  Died 2 August 1914 at Hamilton. John Millman was born in Leamington, Warwickshire, England in 1832.  He and his brother left England together, arriving in Melbourne in 1852.  John worked as a carpenter in Melbourne but his brother went “up country”.  By the time of the Eureka uprising in Ballarat in 1854, John was in Ballarat trying his luck as a miner.  Around 1855, John purchased a three month Miner’s Right for £2 and he later passed the document on to his family.  By 1861, John had arrived in Hamilton where his brother was residing.  It was in Hamilton John married Sarah Jane Knapp in 1878. A member of the Hamilton Rifle Club, John was also a keen horticulturist, competing at the various shows around the district.  Sarah died in 1910.

Mary LORD:  Died 23 August 1914 at Karabeal. Mary Lord was born in Wexford County, Ireland around 1833 and travelled to Portland with her parents around 1850.  They settled in that town and in 1860, Mary married Joseph Brewis.  At the time, Joseph was the manager at Mokanger Station near Cavendish and he returned there with Mary. After working at Mokanger for seventeen years, Joseph Brewis purchased land at nearby Karabeal they called Canridge and remained there for the rest of their lives.  Mary and Joseph had seven sons and one daughter. They were buried at the Cavendish Old Cemetery (below).

THE HEADSTONE OF MARY AND JOSEPH BREWIS OBSCURED BY THE HEADSTONE OF MARY'S PARENTS WILLIAM AND MARY LORD AT CAVENDISH OLD CEMETERY

THE HEADSTONE OF MARY AND JOSEPH BREWIS OBSCURED BY THE HEADSTONE OF MARY’S PARENTS WILLIAM AND MARY LORD AT CAVENDISH OLD CEMETERY

Edward HALL:  Died 8 August 1915 at Malvern.  Edward Hall was born in England around 1830.  He left Liverpool, England for Australia on the Satellite, arriving at Melbourne on 2 August 1851. He then sailed on the Red Rover to Port Fairy.  Edward worked as a tutor for the children of Messrs. Mills and Glare but in 1852 after the discovery of gold, he left for the Ballarat diggings with some other local men. It was short lived with Edward returning to Port Fairy the following year.  He next went to Brighton as a lay reader with the Church of England.  While there he had an encounter with bushrangers in the area where the suburb of Moorabbin is now located.  After that experience, Edward returned to Port Fairy, opening a school at Rosebrook and then teaching at Port Fairy.  He again returned to Brighton and then Nunawading where he remained until his death.

Mary Josephine ROACHE:  Died 24 August 1915 at Hamilton. Mary Roache was born in Ireland around 1860 and arrived in Australia in the mid-1870s.  Mary went to Hamilton and resided at the Town Hall Hotel in Gray Street when it was known as Mackey’s and the licensee was Michael Roache, possibly Mary’s brother.

"VIEW OF HA[?] [?]AM[?]TON VICTORIA." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Web. 19 Aug 2016 .

THE TOWN HALL HOTEL, HAMILTON c1888. (“VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR).

Mary married widowed travelling dentist John Mawson in Melbourne in 1887 and they had one daughter Veronica in 1892. After spending time in Melbourne, they moved back to Hamilton around 1901 and in 1902 John built a practice in Gray Street.  John Mawson died two years after Mary in 1917.

James SPRING:  Died 24 August 1916 at Bochara. James Spring was born in County Meath, Ireland in 1830. When eighteen, James sailed to Sydney, NSW aboard the Royal Saxon.  He then made his way south to Mount Gambier, South Australia. In February 1855, James arrived in Hamilton and settled north of the town at Bochara on the Grange Creek.  During February 1891, bad bushfires swept through the Bochara district impacting on James’ farm.  While his house was saved, he lost a lot of feed and farm machinery.

Thomas WHEATLEY:  Died 11 August 1917 at Terang.  Thomas Wheatley was born in Middlesex, England in 1827.  He joined the Royal Navy and during the 1840s spent time sailing around the South Seas. He joined the crew of the Aberfoyle and in 1854 landed a Geelong.  Thomas was able to take leave of his employment and went to the Ballarat goldfields but arrived in December around the time of the Eureka uprising. With unrest in Ballarat, Thomas continued on north to Creswick.  With no luck on the diggings,  Thomas eventually made his way to the Terang district and married in 1856 to Ellen McLaughlin, born in Kilkenny, Ireland.  He bought a bullock team and set up the first carrying business in Terang. Thomas was a member of the Salvation Army.  Ellen died around 1914 and eight of their children were still living at the time of Thomas’ death three years later.

Mary Ann Coughlan:  Died August 1917 at Caramut.  Mary Ann Coughlan arrived in Australia with her family in 1849.  She later met John Bendall the manager of John Moffat’s Hopkins Hills and The Gums.  They married in 1864 and lived at The Gums.  After that property was sold, the Bendalls ran a General Store and Post Office at Caramut and raised two sons and two daughters.  Mary Ann was widowed for more than thirty years with John dying in 1887 aged forty-seven but she remained in Caramut.

Janet CALDOW:  Died August 1918 at Caulfield.  Janet Caldow was born around 1832 in Ayrshire, Scotland. While still in Scotland she married Joseph Blain and they travelled to Australia aboard the Lord Nelson, arriving in Melbourne in 1855.  They went straight to the Ballarat diggings but soon took up a farm at Coghills Creek near Ballarat.  Around 1865, they moved to Garvoc, running a dairy farm and raising three sons and four daughters.  Joseph died around 1896.  Janet’s immediate family also immigrated from Scotland and lived long lives in Australia.  At the time of her death, the ages of her remaining five brothers and one sister totalled 425 years.

Adam Gordon LAIDLAW:  Died 1 August 1918 at Melbourne. Adam Laidlaw was born at Harrow in 1858 to Walter Laidlaw and Mary Gordon. Adam grew up on his father’s property Mundarra near Edenhope and later attended Hamilton and Western District College and obtained his matriculation.

MUNDARRA Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H95.200/1068 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230342

MUNDARRA Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H95.200/1068 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230342

Adam Laidlaw was associated with several properties including Ardachy near Branxholme where he lived for ten years.  He also owned Wootong Vale near Coleraine but in his later years leased the property out.  Never married, Adam was a philanthropist donating much money to charity including the Hamilton Hospital.  During the war years, he donated regularly to the War Loans Fund.  He was also a member of the Coleraine and Hamilton Racing Clubs.  Prior to the war, Adam went on a world trip but returned in 1915 and took up residence at the Melbourne Club in Collins Street.  In July 1918, Adam visited the Western District and returned to the Melbourne Club by the start of August.  On 1 August,  Adam was playing billiards when he fell ill.  He was rushed to hospital but later died.  Adam Laidlaw was buried at the Brighton Cemetery

Robert Ernest McARTHUR:  Died 29 August 1929 at Camperdown.  Robert McArthur was born in 1867 at Camperdown, a son of Margaret McLean and well-known pastoralist Peter McArthur of Meeningoort, Camperdown.  Robert attended Geelong College and was captain of the cricket and football teams and later went to Ormond College at Melbourne University, studying law.  He returned to Camperdown and helped his father manage Meeenigoort before purchasing  Koort Koort Nong (below) where he resided.

J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217051

KOORT KOORT NONG, CAMPERDOWN. J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217051

Robert was an amateur jockey, excelling at cross-country events and enjoyed polo.  In 1897 and 1898, he rode three winners at the Warrnambool Amateur Races. He also won the Melbourne Hunt Club Cup. Robert was a member of the Camperdown Turf Club and honourary starter at the Terang Racing Club and a founding member of the Western District Racing Association.  He was also a councillor on the Hampden Shire from 1898 to 1907. Another obituary for Robert is on the link here.

George GEMMELL: Died August 1945 at Camperdown.  Born around 1867 at Mortlake, George Gemmel moved to Cobden around 1880 working as a stonemason.  Works he was involved with included the foundations of Grand Central Hotel at Cobden, the Shire Offices and Poligolet (below) near Derrinallum).

 J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217239

POLIGOLET J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217239

George married Elizabeth Porter in 1890 and the family were members of the Camperdown Presbyterian Church.  At the time of his death, George had four sons, one daughter, sixteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

 

 

 

In Memory of James Harman

The following advertisement for the 1916 Hamilton Pastoral & Agriculture (P & A) Show reminded me it was the first Hamilton P & A show my ggg grandfather James Harman was not around for. In turn, it reminded me today is the 100th anniversary of James Harman’s death.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 29 August 1916: 5. .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 29 August 1916: 5. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133706580&gt;.

James Harman’s roles with the P & A included exhibitor, judge and committee member.  Over the years he exhibited Lincoln sheep, farm produce, and border collie dogs and judged produce and farm machinery.

LINCOLN SHEEP. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. PRG 280/1/17/796 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/17/796

A LINCOLN SHEEP. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. PRG 280/1/17/796 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/17/796

Toward the end of the 1870s, when his oldest boys could take on duties on his farm, James had more “leisure” time so he threw himself into a few local farm related activities and the P & A was one of those. Respected by farmers and graziers alike, James could mix with all men including Hamilton Spectator owner George Rippon, grazier and politician John Thomson and businessmen Peter Learmonth, and Robert Stapylton Bree each prominent names in the annals of Hamilton and district.

"PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 May 1883: 4. .

“PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 May 1883: 4. .

In 2011, I wrote The Leader of the Pack on the assumption if all my ancestors came together at one place and time it would be James Harman who would step to the front and lead the group.  Five years on and knowing so much more about James, I have no doubt.  At first I formed my opinion on his place in the Harman family as eldest son and his place in the community as a Wesleyan Methodist Church Local Preacher.  Now, with more issues of the Hamilton Spectator at Trove now giving me 248 tagged articles for James, I know his leadership went beyond the confines of family and the Byaduk community.  

Along with James’ P & A involvement, he was on several occasions President of the Hamilton Farmers Union in the 1880s and the founding president of the Byaduk Farmers Club.  He also was on the Byaduk State School committee, represented the Byaduk community at Dundas Shire meetings and as a leader in the church, attended Wesleyan Methodist Synods representing the Hamilton circuit, always considering the interests of the local church goers.

jamesharman

JAMES HARMAN AGED AROUND THIRTY-SEVEN (1867). Photo taken from the Byaduk Pioneer photo boards in the Byaduk Hall, compiled by Vern McCallum (website http://www.mccallum-collection.org/)

Throughout, James remained humble and during his Farmers’ Union presidency considered he was not worthy of leading the organisation.  But James also said if he joined a committee he gave it everything he had and he was true to his word.  James’ election to chairman of a meeting in 1881 to discuss a possible extension of the railway from Hamilton to Byaduk was just one occasion when James expressed those sentiments publicly.

"RAILWAY MEETING AT BYADUK." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 15 October 1881: .

“RAILWAY MEETING AT BYADUK.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 October 1881: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226062215&gt;.

Such activities meant James was rarely home but always waiting patiently to all hours of the night was his wife Susan.  Susan shared his life from 1852 in Cambridgeshire, through their voyage to Australia as newlyweds and trusted James when he suggested moving north from Port Fairy to select their own piece of Australia.  It was Susan’s death only four months before his own that saw James’ health slip, taking away the vigour that served him so well for eighty-five years.  As Reverend Guard, the then Byaduk Wesleyan Methodist said in the obituary he wrote for James, “Earth had not such an interest for him…”

TOGETHER AGAIN

TOGETHER AGAIN

Trove Tuesday – Hometown News

It was a chance discovery while searching the fifteen or so years of the Hamilton Spectator available at Trove. There in the search results was an article from 1910. That wasn’t expected when only the WW1 years and the decade 1870-9 were available.  Curious, I tried a search of “Harman” and the result was dozens of articles from the 1880s to 1910. Trove had surprised me adding a further three decades of Specs and I couldn’t have been happier.  Since that day a couple of months ago, I have searched, tagged and found out an incredible amount of new detail about my Hamilton district families.  Also, surnames, street names and locations bring such a sense of familiarity when reading my hometown newspaper, even issues from 100 hundred years before I was a resident.

One of the first items of interest I found was an obituary for my gggg grandfather Joseph Harman from 1893. His son James converted to Methodism around 1851 while still in England.  Joseph, entrenched in the Church of England, didn’t share his son’s enthusiasm for Methodism. However, when the Harmans moved to Byaduk in 1863,  the first church built was Wesleyan Methodist and James Harman, by then a Local Preacher, was one of the forces behind the church.  Joseph had little choice but go along to Methodist services, but as soon as a Presbyterian Church was built at Byaduk eighteen years later, he made that church his Sunday morning destination. There were no family loyalties when it came to Joseph’s faith. It would seem that although the new church wasn’t Church of England, it was more to his liking than the teachings of John Wesley. Granted the Presbyterian Church was less than a mile down the road from his home but the Methodist church was only that distance again further on.

"Items of news." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 30 March 1893: .

“Items of news.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 30 March 1893: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225177127&gt;.

Also found was a rare obituary for a female family member.  Although it doesn’t tell me much about my ggg grandmother Sarah Hughes‘ life, the 400 mourners at her funeral tells me something of the sort of person she was.

"Items of News." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 23 May 1885: .

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 23 May 1885: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225661135&gt;.

 

There are also some great articles about Sarah’s husband James Bishop but I’ll save those for a post just about him because he was a character.

Something I enjoy reading in old newspapers is the seemingly mundane day-to-day goings on in a town. Of course, it’s even better when a story includes a family member.  Like the time in 1899 when my gg grandfather Richard Diwell of Hamilton complained about the night soil man.

"HAMILTON BOROUGH COUNCIL." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 14 October 1899: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

“HAMILTON BOROUGH COUNCIL.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 14 October 1899: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

The night soil man Frederick Malster was given the right of reply after the investigation into Richard’s complaint.

"HAMILTON BOROUGH COUNCIL." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 28 October 1899: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

“HAMILTON BOROUGH COUNCIL.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 28 October 1899: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

One of the best finds so far were a number of sketches included in a Hamilton Spectator supplement in 1888. The Spec had the sketches of businesses and scenes of Hamilton made by a Ballarat company. Sketches such as these give us a chance to see how things have changed…

 

 

Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR)..

CORNER OF GRAY & THOMPSON STREETS IN 1888. Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR).

 

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THE PRESENT VIEW OF THE CORNER OF GRAY & THOMPSON STREETS.

And how other things have barely changed at all…

 

"VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 April 1888: 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR)..

HAMILTON SPECTATOR IN 1888. “VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 April 1888: 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR).

 

DSCN0976

THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR AS IS IT TODAY.

 

Passing of the Pioneers

This month, Passing of the Pioneers enters its sixth year and the great pioneering stories keep coming. While not intentional, the theme for the month is construction with several of the pioneers having worked as carpenters and masons. Two of those were born a year apart at Taunton, Somerset, England and both started family businesses still in operation today.  As you read through, you can click on the names of the pioneer to read their newspaper obituary or other underlined words for further information.

George NORTHCOTT:  Died 23 July 1894 at Merino.  Born in Devon around 1825, George Northcott, his wife and children, arrived in Portland around 1854. They spent time in Portland before George, a joiner by trade, was engaged by T.H.Clarke to construct some buildings in Merino. He built the Farmers Arms Hotel at Merino around 1855. In 1868, George Northcott and my ggg grandfather William Diwell built the Merino Presbyterian Church (below).

MERINO UNITING CHURCH (former St Andrews Presbyterian Church J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232204

MERINO UNITING CHURCH (former St Andrews Presbyterian ChruchJ.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232204

In 1865, Northcott and Diwell built the first Casterton Presbyterian Church (below)

Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766564

FORMER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CASTERTON Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766564

George built the Commercial Hotel at Merino in 1871, the towns third hotel.  The first tenant of the hotel died, so George took over the running of the hotel and attached Cobb & Co station which he did further fifteen years and become quite wealthy in the meantime.

http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

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

A few years before his death, George’s wife died and he gave up the running of the Commercial, passing control to his eldest son Henry.  George did not get over the death of his wife and by the beginning of 1894, he health began to fail before he died on 23 July.

James MALLETT:  Died 3 July 1901 at Merino.  Born around 1834, at the age of eleven James Mallett arrived in Portland from Tasmania.  He went straight on to the Henty’s Muntham Station near Merino where he remained for several years before returning to Portland to start a bootmaking apprenticeship.  He married and by 1864 returned to Merino and remained there until his death. He left three sons and four daughters, with a fourth son having died several years before.

Stephen NORMAN: Died July 1901 at Hamilton.  Stephen Norman was born around 1794.  On arrival in Australia, he found himself working for the Henty brothers and was one of their first employees after their arrival to Portland Bay in 1834.  Stephen was, according to his obituary, the first man to plough land for the Hentys at Portland.  Reaching the age of 107 without a sick day in his life and still with all his faculties, Stephen suddenly fell ill at his home in Casterton and admitted to the Hamilton Hospital where he died a few weeks later.

George MAHONEY:  Died 13 July 1902 at Dunkeld. Arriving in Victorian in 1841 aboard the Duchess of Northumberland, George Mahoney began his time in Victoria as manager of Glenmore Estate near Bacchus Marsh. He was there several years before moving to Geelong for a short time before settling at Dunkeld.  A farmer, George led a quiet life away from public affairs although he did keep up an interest in politics and current affairs.  George was eighty-two at the time of his death and left a widow and nine children.

Richard William COLLINS:  Died 13 July 1902 at Hamilton.  Richard Collins was born in Brixton, London around 1840 and arrived in Victoria in 1857.  He settled at Hamilton, working as a carpenter.  He later worked at Mr Allen’s timber yard until setting up his own yard, the “Victoria Timber Yard” in 1879.  After selling the timber yard, Richard and his wife returned to England for a visit and on their return purchased a farm at Mountajup. After only a few years, Richard returned to nearby Hamilton setting up a timber yard on the corner of French and Cox Streets and he operated it until his death in 1902.  A member of the Church of England, Richard left a widow but their marriage was childless.  The Hamilton Brass Band played the “Death March” at Richard’s funeral at the Hamilton Cemetery.

John Weaver GREED: Died 8 July 1903 at Hamilton.  Born in Taunton, Somerset, England in 1834, John Greed married Emma Grinter in 1856.  They continued to live in Taunton with John working as a mason and two daughters were born.  In 1857, John’s parent Charles and Sarah Greed and his younger siblings, left England for Victoria aboard the Balnaguith.  In 1862,  John and Emma and their daughters left England aboard the Lighting for Victoria and on arrival in June 1862 the family headed straight for Hamilton to join John’s parents who had settled there, with Charles Greed running a glazier’s business from Lonsdale Street.  Hamilton was still in its infancy and John was the first to build on the town’s northern hill, land “dotted” with the mia mias of local aboriginals.

John began a carpentry and contracting business and an early job was to build the fence for the then new shire offices as reported in the Hamilton Spectator and Grand District Advertiser on 20 May 1864.  Earlier in the month, the same paper published a business directory and by that time there were two undertakers in the town, George Brownless and John Lobban. From searches of the Spectator from that year, it also seems it was the year when John took up a contract with the Hamilton Hospital and Benevolent Asylum to conduct funerals for them. But it was not until April 1871 before I found the following advertisement for John as both a carpenter and undertaker.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1873; 1914 - 1918) 5 April 1871 .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 5 April 1871 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196303937&gt;.

Interestingly, from around 1880, John Greed’s advertisements included the words “Established in 1861”, however both the 1861 England Census and the Victorian Shipping Records prove John was still in England.

 

 

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1873; 1914 - 1918) 17 April 1880:.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 17 April 1880:<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225490515&gt;.

Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page22226411&gt;.

The undertaking business tied in well with John’s brother Abraham’s coachbuilding business and one of John’s sons Walter eventually worked for Abraham, a Mayor of Hamilton.  John was a Methodist but converted to the Baptist Church, located close to his home in Collins Street. He was also a member of the Forester’s Lodge and the Oddfellows.  With the latter, he was twice a member of the board of directors. He was also made a Life Governor of the Hamilton Hospital.  Around 1887, John suffered a paralytic seizure reducing his activities and in time leaving him an invalid.  That saw John’s youngest son Frank take over as manager of the business around 1892 when he was twenty.

On 23 June 1903, John Greed was in his room at home with his wife Emma.  She left the room, leaving John standing in front of a fireplace containing a colonial oven.  John fell backwards into the fireplace falling beside the oven but landing on hot iron bars in the fireplace.  He called out to Emma who rushed in to find him in the precarious position.  She managed to get him out and into his bed.  The doctor was called and he treated burns to John’s back, legs and hands but the shock of the fall saw him fall into a coma like state.  Two weeks after his fall, John Weaver Greed died.  On 12 September 1903, the Hamilton Spectator announced Frank was taking over the business.  F.Greed & Sons was born and still operates under that name today with the Greed family still at the helm.

Greed3

HEADSTONE OF JOHN WEAVER GREED AND FAMILY, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

Euphemia McDONALD:  Died 13 July 1907 at Condah.  Euphemia McDonald was born around 1832 at Mull, Argylshire, Scotland.  She arrived in Victoria in 1852, disembarking at Portland. It’s unclear when Euphemia married Alexander Urquhart, but they did have a son Thomas born in 1858.  In the late 1880s, Alexander took on management of Samuel Winter Cooke’s property Condah Hills . In 1901, disastrous bushfires swept through a large area south of Hamilton, including Condah.  Euphemia received severe burns to her hands and feet and was only saved by her son John’s actions of lowering her into a well.  She never fully regained her health and Euphemia died at the age of seventy-five.

Samuel VANCE:  Died July 1908 at Bridgewater.  Samuel Vance arrived at Portland in 1855 from Northern Irelard aboard the Cairngorm.  Prior to his departure, he had served in the British Army.  Samuel worked as a farmer and a contractor for the Portland Shire Council.  During the 1880s, he built the Sea View Hotel at Bridgewater and ran it until the time of his death.

Sarah CAMERON:  Died 8 July 1908 at Geelong.  Sarah Cameron was born in Scotland in 1819 and married Archibald MacDonald and they had three daughters.  Archibald fate is not mentioned but Sarah went on to marry Donald Cameron of Southland, New Zealand who himself had five daughters and two sons.  From NSW they travelled overland to the Colony of Victoria, settling first at Cambellfield near Melbourne before moving on to Morgiana near Hamilton, then called the Grange.  Donald’s uncle had taken up the run only a few years earlier and Donald took over the running of the property.  The Camerons of Morgiana were well known in the Hamilton district  Sarah’s is an interesting obituary as it lists early settlers in the Hamilton district.

Anne BELL:  Died 4 July 1909 at Hamilton.  Anne Bell was born in Ireland and travelled with her parents John Bell and Elizabeth Morrow to Victoria in 1841, arriving at Portland.  With them were Anne’s seven siblings.  The family travelled from Portland to Mt Eckersley near Heywood where they settled.  In 1848, Anne married Henry Barr and with the dicovery of gold, the couple left for the diggings remaining two years with little success.  After their return to Heywood, Henry bought the Heywood Hotel and together Ann and Henry ran a successful business. On 19 February 1865, the stables adjoining the Barr’s hotel caught fire.  As a result of his exertion, Henry fell ill and never recovered, dying in July 1866.  Anne and her family moved to Lake Condah were they remained for the next fourteen years.  After the sudden death of her son, Anne returned to Heywood but eventually sold her interests there and went to live with her children, first John at Lyons between Heywood and Dartmoor and then George at Strathkellar near Hamilton.  Anne fell ill in June 1909 and was admitted to the Hamilton Hospital where she died on 4 July.

John PERRY:  Died 8 July 1913 at Coleraine.  Born in Bristol, England in 1818, John Perry looked set for a career as an artist, but decided to choose an outdoor pursuit working in agriculture.  He married Elizabeth Holbrook at Bath, England on 3 December 1839 and thirteen years later, the Perrys with four sons left England for Australia.  Sailing on the Priam, the Perrys arrived at Portland in 1852.  John’s stock experience in England held him good stead for employment and his services were desperately sort after by Edward Henty at Muntham Station.  However, staying loyal to a commitment he made to Mr A. Munro, John went to work for Munro, managing several stations including Dundas and Bassett.  By 1859, John had entered in to a partnership and purchased land near Ararat.  However, the death of one of his sons at the property saw him sell and return to Branxholme and later Merino Downs working for Francis Henty.

"Merino Downs" Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766481

MERINO DOWNS. Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766481

Over the next twenty years, John managed various large properties throughout the district.  He eventually retired to Digby and in 1886, Elizabeth died.  John continued painting as a hobby throughout his life.

William DUNN: Died 12 July 1914 at Box Hill.  Born at Taunton, Somerset, England around 1833, William Dunn arrived in Victoria in 1855 aboard the Raven’s Craig.  He spent time in Geelong before riding on horseback to Hamilton where he remained for the next forty-four years.  William was a builder and in 1866 entered a partnership with another builder William Holden and together they set about “building” Hamilton.

Holden and Dunn built some of Hamilton’s grandest buildings, most still standing today.  They included the Bank of Australasia, the Bank of Victoria and the Colonial Bank and the residences of doctors including Hewlett House and  Roxburgh House.  They also built the first brick house in Gray Street owned by Mr S. Radley, the Hamilton goal and many shops in the CBD of Hamilton including a strip of shops running from the corner of Gray and Thompson streets.  Looking at the histories of some of the buildings Holden and Dunn constructed, it seems William Dunn has become the forgotten man of the partnership, with Holden given credit alone. However, newspaper articles from the time and William Holden’s obituary confirm their partnership.

In his personal life, William married twice and left a widow and four children at the time of his death.

You can see more about Holden and Dunn and their work in the slideshow below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Richard Thomas CARTY:  Died 24 July 1917 at Hamilton.  Richard Carty was born in Wexford, London in 1842 and at age seventeen arrived in Australia. With little to his name, he tried various jobs before going to the New Zealand gold diggings. After mixed fortunes on the diggings, Richard returned to Australia and took up cattle droving.  He became manager of the Bredelbane Estate near Castlemaine and with that experience, leased Mt Clay Estate near Heywood during the 1860s.  Success from that venture enabled him to lease Bark Hill Estate in 1873.  In was also in that year, Richard married Lucy Hawkins.  In the early 1880s, Wando Vale was subdivided for Closer Settlement and Richard and Lucy moved there, remaining for three years.  On 1 January 1885, Richard took possession of Brisbane Hill at Byaduk.  Richard and Lucy remained at Brisbane Hill until around 1916 when they moved into Hamilton, residing at Montacue in Kennedy Street until Richard’s death.

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GRAVE OF RICHARD CARTY AND FAMILY, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

James LODGE:  Died 31 July 1918 at Casterton.  A son of James Clapham Lodge and Hannah Hudson, James Lodge was born at Richmond, Victoria around 1859.  He became an apprentice stonemason and stone cutter and following his apprenticeship, moved to Stawell working in a stonemason partnership Lodge and Timmins.  In 1884, James married Ellen Murphy and they had six sons and two daughters. Around 1892, James moved to Hamilton, taking up residence in Clarke Street and one of his first jobs was as clerk of works on extensions of Hamilton’s Catholic church St Mary’s. Later he would add a spire to the church.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64794

ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64794

Churches were James’ specialty, building extensions to Catholic churches in Penshurst, Casterton and Koroit.  He also built the Tabor Lutheran Church and Tarrington school building.  James’ sons followed him into the business, however in 1906, eldest son Harry fell ill and died of inflammation of the kidneys on 17 June.

The years of WW1 were difficult for James.  With five sons, James saw his oldest four boys Gus, Frank, James and Richard enlist. During those years, James won a street channeling contract with the Borough of Hamilton and during June 1918, James and his youngest son Frederick were building the Catholic presbytery at Casterton.  Frederick was eighteen and keen to join his brothers overseas.  However, Frederick caught a cold while working on the presbytery and it developed into double pneumonia and he died on 20 June 1918,  While James was worried about his four sons overseas, it was the son under his own watchful eye who would die.  Despite his grief, James continued  working on the presbytery but around July 21, he too fell ill with a cold. Within days, James was diagnosed with pneumonia and pleurisy and he died during the afternoon of Wednesday 31 July and buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

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HEADSTONE OF JAMES LODGE AND SONS WILLIAM AND FREDERICK, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

Just weeks after James’ death, on 24 August 1918, trees for Hamilton’s Clarke Street Memorial Avenue were planted, with the first tree planted in front of the Lodge home in memory of James followed by another four for each of his enlisted sons.  The Lodge boys all arrived home safely from war having served with distinction.  Gus was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for conspicuous bravery at Pozieres. Frank was awarded a Military Medal for his efforts at Pozieres and later a Military Cross for his service at Mont St. Quentin in 1918.  Settling into civilian life, the boys returned to stone masonry operating as Lodge Bros. and in 1928 were awarded the contract to build Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, employing returned serviceman as labourers.  The business still operates today.

 

A Freezing Night

In case you haven’t noticed, the weather in Victoria is freezing at the moment. Sub-zero temperatures recorded at the summit of Mount William, the highest peak in the Grampians where snow has fallen in the past thirty-six hours, had me thinking of an event in history 180 years ago today.

On the morning of 14 July 1836, explorer Major Thomas Mitchell and members of his party, left their camp and set off toward a mountain range first sighted a few days earlier. Hoping for a good view to the southwest, the highest visible peak was their target.  The mountains Mitchell would later name the Grampians and the lofty peak, Mount William.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/236428

MOUNT WILLIAM BY EUGENE VON GEURARD. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/236428

After reaching the base of Mount William, Mitchell and four men began the steep ascent while the rest of the group and the horses returned to their last river crossing to set up camp.  Arriving at the summit late in the day, the low cloud prevented Mitchell surveying the area.  He was so keen to see the views the mountain had to offer and the measurements he could record, he decided to stay the night.  I’m not sure what his four companions thought of the idea but Mr Richardson would have been glad he’d taken along his daily share of provisions.  That was until Mitchell, realising it was the only food they had, split Mr Richardson’s food five ways.  Not suitably clothed to spend a night in sub-zero temperatures and with no decent rocks to shelter from the cutting wind, they tried to light a fire as the temperature dropped below -1.5 degrees Celsius,

We strove to make a fire to protect us from the piercing cold; but the green twigs, encrusted with icicles, could not by our united efforts be blown into a flame sufficient to warm us. There was abundance of good wood at the foot of the cliffs – huge trees of ironbark, stringybark and bluegum but, had we descended, a second ascent might have appeared too laborious on a mere chance of finding the summit clear; so we remained above. The men managed to manufacture some tea in a tin pot, and into the water as it boiled I plunged a thermometer which rose to exactly 95 degrees of the centigrade scale. We got through that night of misery as well as might have been expected under the circumstances, and we succeeded in keeping the fire alive although, while twigs were blown into red heat at one end, icicles remained at the other, even within a few inches of the flame. In order to maintain it through the night we divided, at eleven o’clock, the stock of branches which had been gathered before dark into eight parcels, this being the number of hours we were destined to sit shivering there; and as each bundle was laid on the dying embers we had the pleasure at least of knowing that it was an hour nearer daylight.

(Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia : with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales by Major T. L. Mitchell, Volume 2, Chapter 3.8)

By sunrise, the sky had cleared above them but below was mist. It was still bitterly cold at below -2.5 degrees with freezing winds and icy rocks. At first, Mitchell could only make out a body of water just to the north named Lake Lonsdale.  However, with momentary breaks in the cloud, looking to the west he could see a magnificent mountain range and to the south, flat timbered country.

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THE VIEW FROM MOUNT WILLIAM. Image courtesy of Kiri Handreck of Kiri’s Images https://www.facebook.com/imagesbykiri/?fref=ts  (Click on the photo to enlarge)

It was soon time to make the tricky descent and return to the horses, about eight miles from the summit.  It was a relief to reach the riverside camp and Mitchell made the most of the “comforts”,

…we found a large fire and, under a wide spreading casuarina during a delightful interval of about twenty minutes, I enjoyed the pleasures of eating, sleeping, resting, and warming myself, almost all at the same time. To all who would know how to enjoy most intensely a good fire, shelter, sunshine, and the dry soft turf I would recommend, by way of whet, a winter night on a lofty mountain, without fire, amidst frost-covered rocks and clouds of sleet. I shall long remember the pleasure of those moments of repose which I enjoyed on my arrival in the warm valley after such a night. 

(Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia: with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales by Major T. L. Mitchell, Volume 2, Chapter 3.8)

It was only a short rest as they still had to return to the main camp, reaching it on the morning of July 16. Not all the party made it through the night on Mount William unscathed.  Two men who had been with Mitchell on earlier expeditions fell ill, Mr Muirhead with fever and chills, and Mr Woods with a lung condition. They recovered after a couple of weeks but Mitchell conceded they were never the same.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/75656

MAJOR THOMAS MITCHELL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/75656

 

Major Mitchell and his party moved north from Mt William and skirted the northern Grampians. We’ll join him again next month when the expedition moves south from Mount Araplies to the coast. If you would like to read Major Mitchell’s record of his expedition through Western Victoria, you can find it on the following link to Project Gutenberg Australia from Chapter 3.8 – Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia Journal

Trove Tuesday – Early Settlers

A welcome addition to Trove has been the Weekly Times, Victoria’s favourite newspaper for country readers and still in publication.  The editions at Trove cover the years 1869 to 1954 and with a rural focus, I anticipated its arrival. Familiar with the newspaper, I was sure the Western District would be well represented and I wasn’t disappointed.  The photos alone are fantastic.  I’ve found some great Hamilton photos and have shared those to the Facebook group I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria. Some from the 1950s have included faces familiar to many in the group.

There are also family photos and for Trove Tuesday I thought I’d share this lovely photo of Macarthur Pioneers Frederick Button Huggins and Frances Mary Trowell.  Both born in Kent, England in the mid-1830s, they married prior to their arrival at Portland in 1856, settling at Macarthur two years later.  Frances died in 1920 at Macarthur aged eighty-five and Frederick died in 1927 at Macarthur aged ninety-three.

"EARLY SETTLERS AT MACARTHUR" Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954) 6 September 1919: 25. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222567748

“EARLY SETTLERS AT MACARTHUR” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 6 September 1919: 25. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222567748

During the 1880s, there was a mass exodus of families from the Mount Eccles district near Macarthur.  They included the eldest children of Frederick and Frances Huggins, James, Agnes, and Frances Susan.  With them was Henry Condon, husband of Agnes Huggins and my relatives Walter and Lydia Harman and their children.  Tired of the volcanic stones from nearby Mount Eccles covering their selections making the land unfit for cultivation, they were in search of a fertile place with good rainfall, unlike the often drought prone southwest of the state. That place was Omeo in Victoria’s High Country and they settled there from the mid-1880s.  Henry’s uncle John Condon had lived there since at least 1880 and when his first wife Mary Jane died in 1886, he married Frances Susan Huggins in 1888. 

One of the fifty great-grandchildren of pioneers Frederick and Frances Huggins was the subject of a past Western District Families post.  Witness for the Prosecution from 2011, includes the story of the suspicious death of the wife of the Omeo Methodist Rev. Ronald Griggs.  Lottie Condon, a great-granddaughter of Macarthur’s Frederick and Frances Huggins was unwittingly involved. Lottie’s grandparents James Huggins and Elizabeth Skipworth, both from Macarthur, married in 1881 prior to their move to Omeo.  Their daughter Frances Ethel was born in Macarthur and was only a small child when they moved.  At the age of twenty-one, Frances Ethel Huggins married John Henry Condon, a son of John Condon and his first wife Mary Jane. In 1907, Lottie Elizabeth Condon was born at Omeo to John Henry Condon and Frances Ethel Huggins and twenty-one years later became mixed up in the murder trial of Rev. Ronald Griggs. 

The Harman connection with the families continued with the marriage of Walter and Lydia’s daughter Susannah Harman to William Condon in 1898.  Also, Susannah’s brother Henry was a good friend of Lottie Condon’s parents strengthened by their connection with the Methodist Church at Omeo and in 1928, he too became involved in the murder trial of Rev. Griggs.

To search the Weekly Times, you can follow this link – Weekly Times.  If you would like to read more about Frederick and Frances Huggins’ great-granddaughter Lottie Condon and the murder trial of Ronald Griggs, follow this link – Witness for the Prosecution.