Passing of the Pioneers

Eight new obituaries enter the Obituary Index this month.  Four of the eight men were involved in the liquor trade either as publicans or wine and spirit merchants.  Unfortunately, there are no women this month. Hopefully, I can make up for it in November.

CARMICHAEL, George – Died 30 October 1885 at Casterton.  George Carmichael arrived at Point Henry near Geelong with his brothers William and James around 1839.  They went to the Port Fairy district where they took up land, George at Spring Creek. On 22 April 1850, George married Mary Fraser and they went on to have ten children. The following year, George took up the Retreat run on the Glenelg River near Casterton from John Pearson.  The Black Thursday bushfires had been through the property in February that year.  He also purchased the Refuge estate of 600 acres around twenty kilometres from Retreat

George invested in good stock and the10,000 acres of Retreat went on to become one of the finest runs in the colony. His Merino sheep were among the best in Australia as were his cattle and horses.  At one point he owned one of the leading sires of the Western District, King Alfred (below).  He also owned well-known sires Lord Clyde for which he paid £750 and Agronomer.  

King Alfred. (1870, November 12). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 24. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70463151

In 1867, George and Mary’s daughter Grace died aged seven.  For many years, George was a Glenelg Shire Councilor including time as Shire President. He retired from his position in 1868 when he took up residence with his family at Claremont in Newtown, Geelong.  

CLAREMONT, NEWTOWN. Image courtesy of the J.T.Collins Collectin, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230837

During the time the Carmichaels were living in Geelong, Mary died on 6 May 1872 while at St Kilda.  George remarried the following year to Anne Wright.  George was a great supporter of the Casterton Racing Club and was a steward of the Geelong Racing Club.  He was always ready to help those in need and offer advice.   

George left his widow Anne and his large family.  Retreat and Refuge estate were sold in 1886.

RUTLEDGE, Richard – Died 28 October 1887 at Warrnambool. Richard Rutledge was born in Ireland and arrived in NSW around 1838 following his brother William who was at Molonglo Plain near Queanbeyan.  Richard stayed in NSW for four years before going to his brother’s run at Kilmore.  He remained there until 1845 when William took up the Farnham Park run near Warrnambool and Richard settled on part of it. 

From 1847, Richard was the honorary secretary of the Port Fairy Racing Club and raced steeplechasers at the course.  He also bred carriage horses with the successful sire Cantab. He made several trips back to NSW to bring back cattle and horses and on one occasion, he married Alice Dickenson at Parramatta on 11 August 1849.  In April 1852, Richard went off to the goldfields at Mt Alexandra. He was there for about a year and made £100 after much hard work.  In 1860, Richard and his family went to England so his daughters could be educated in that country. They lived in Brighton but returned home after five years because the cold weather was affecting Alice’s health.  They arrived back in Victoria in January 1866.

Richard was buried at Tower Hill next to his brother. It was one of the largest funerals seen in the district.  He left his widow Alice, three daughters, and a son.

PHILLIPS, Lionel – Died 3 October 1889 at Hamilton.  Lionel Phillips was born around 1847.  On coming to Australia, he spent time in Sydney around 1875 before going to New Zealand. He was a wine and spirit merchant in Queen Street, Auckland before becoming the manager of Ehrenfried’s Brewery at Thames on the North Island. On 6 May 1879, he returned to Sydney to marry Frances Marks at the Great Synagogue in Elizabeth Street.  By 1882, Lionel was the manager of the Phoneix Brewery near Richmond on the South Island. Around 1883, he returned to his former premises in Queen Street, Auckland, and reopened his wine and spirits business.  In 1884, he was insolvent, owing £1200 to his creditors. 

Lionel and his family returned to Sydney around 1886. In early 1889, Lionel with a Mr Williams, purchased the Western City Brewery in Hamilton and he moved his family to Victoria.  The family resided in Milton Street. 

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

Lionel was quick to involve himself in the community.  He joined in on the organising of the Hamilton Hospital Carnival and was selected as chairman of the Procession committee. Lionel was a large man who suffered from asthma.  He developed bronchitis during September and never recovered.  He was just forty-two at the time of his death.  He left his widow Frances and a large family.  Lionel was buried in the Jewish section of the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  The remains of his headstone are below.

GRAVE OF LIONEL PHILLIP, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

COWAN, Duncan – Died 21 October 1891 at Hamilton.  Duncan Cowan was born in Paisley, Scotland around 1831 and arrived in Hamilton around 1871. On 13 December 1876, he married Eliza Swan at the Caledonian Hotel in Hamilton.  Duncan was a cousin of Hamilton butcher Thoms Brown and he went to work for him as a bookkeeper and remained for around eight years, In 1883, he then went to work as the actuary at the Hamilton Savings Banks in Gray Street. He was one of the leading parishioners of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. 

ST ANDREWS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH & HAMILTON ANGLICAN CHURCH c1890 Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H11827 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/69513

On the day of Duncan’s funeral, the bell of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church tolled.  He left his widow Eliza and a young family of four sons and one daughter. During WW1, two of Duncan’s sons served with Duncan Jr awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

CAMPBELL, Archibald Thomas – Died 29 October 1891 at Hamilton. Archibald Campbell was born around 1823 in Argyleshire, Scotland.  He arrived in Adelaide around 1850 but when gold was discovered in Victoria, he headed off to the Bendigo diggings.  He was there for some time before going on to the Murray district.  In 1860 he returned to Scotland where he married Mary Isabella McCallum. Archibald with his new bride, returned to Victoria the following year.  It wasn’t long before Archibald and his family were off to New Zealand where Archibald operated a shop in Dunedin until 1872 when they returned to Victoria. 

Archibald took up the license of the Green Hills Hotel at Condah and operated it until 31 December 1875.

Advertising (1872, December 25). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194844688

 In 1877, Archibald moved to Hamilton to run the Argyle Arms Hotel in Gray Street.

Advertising (1878, February 14). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226067802

He remained at the Argyle for around three years. In 1880, one of Archibald and Mary’s sons Allen died at Condah aged seven. By 1884, Archibald had opened a wine and spirit store in Gray Street.  The family home was at Pennycross on the Dunkeld Road, South Hamilton (now Ballarat Road).

Advertising (1890, February 18). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225770051

Archibald left his widow Mary, three sons, and three daughters.  

BRAIM, Thomas Henry – Died October 1891 in Derbyshire, England.  Thomas Braim was born in Yorkshire in 1814 and was educated at St John’s College Cambridge.  He arrived in Tasmania with his wife Elizabeth Liley in 1836 to take up the position of headmaster at the Bishop’s Grammar School School in Hobart.  In 1840, he arrived in Melbourne and established a school at the Wesleyan Chapel on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane. It didn’t get off the ground so he went to Sydney where he successfully applied for the position of headmaster of Sydney College.  During his time in New South Wales, he published educational books and a history of NSW. 

Thomas and his family returned to England in 1845 for a year before returning to Sydney.  In Victoria, Port Fairy townsmen James Atkinson and William Rutledge asked Thomas to their town to set up a school.  He travelled there on the Essington. the boat of Charles Mill of Port Fairy.  He set up a grammar school in James Street (below)

BRAIM HOUSE, JAMES STREET, PORT FAIRY

Soon after arriving in Port Fairy, Thomas was ordained and was put in charge of St Johns Church, then a small wooden chapel with room for fifty parishioners.  While in the district, he also established schools at Yambuk, Farnham, and Tower Hill. In 1854, Thomas became Archdeacon of Portland and was in the role when the foundation stone of St Stephen’s Church was laid.

St Stephens Church Foundation Stone

 

St Stephens Church Portland

On 16 August 1860, Elizabeth died at Port Fairy.  Thomas remarried the following year to Caroline Simpson.  Suffering poor health, Thomas went on leave to England in 1865 but he never returned to Australia.  He died in 1891 leaving his widow Caroline.  You can find out more about Thomas Braim on his entry in the Australian Biography Dictionary on the link – Thomas Henry Braim

REEN, Timothy Denis – Died 11 October 1892 at Hamilton.  Timothy Reen was born in County Kerry, Ireland around 1842.  He arrived in Australia around 1867 aged twenty-nine. Eventually, he got work on the construction of the Ararat to Portland railway line which opened in 1877.

In 1879, Timothy married Catherine Murphy at Hamilton. They went to Melbourne and Timothy took on the license of the Yarra Hotel in Conventry Street, South Melbourne that year.  In August 1882, they returned to Hamilton and Timothy took up the license of the Hamilton Inn in Lonsdale Street (below).

HAMILTON INN, LONSDALE STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of South AustraliaB 21766/53 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/53

In 1885, he took over the nearby Caledonian Hotel.

Advertising (1885, October 15). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225775361

In 1887, Timothy and Catherine’s daughter Kate died and was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  In August 1891, Timothy laid down plans to extend the accommodation at the Caledonian Hotel as well as adding several loose boxes.

Timothy was a devout Catholic and a great supporter of St Mary’s Catholic Church in Hamilton.  He was also one of the main drivers behind the construction of a parish school. He was a very close friend of Monsignor Michael Shanahan of St Mary’s.

ST MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH, LONSDALE STREET, HAMILTON

In 1890, three seats became available on the Hamilton Borough Council so Timothy ran.  He received overwhelming support, finishing second in the polling behind Robert Stayplton Bree. Much of the debate during the election campaign was focused on the construction of a corporation saleyards in Hamilton, something that had been a hot topic for some time and would go on for a further decade.  In September 1892, Timothy drove some of his fellow councillors to inspect one of the proposed sites for the saleyards. He caught a chill which developed into severe congestion of the lungs which eventually claimed his life.

Timothy’s body was taken to St Mary’s Church and his open coffin was placed before the altar. 

DEATH OF CR. REEN. (1892, October 13). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225179741

On 13 October, a large crowd of mourners gathered to follow Timothy’s remains along Lonsdale Street, Hamilton en route to the cemetery.   At 2.30 pm, thirty-four members of the Hibernian Society entered the church to join Monsignor Shanahan.  The coffin was lifted and carried out to the waiting hearse.  Monsignor Shanahan travelled to the cemetery in a carriage behind the hearse, followed by the Hibernian Society, the mourning coach with Catherine and two of the eldest children, then the councillors followed by around sixty more vehicles, thirty men on horseback and many on foot.  The procession stretched around two kilometres.

GRAVE OF TIMOTHY REEN, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Timothy left his widow Catherine, three sons, and three daughters, the eldest eleven and youngest just eight months old. In 1893, Catherine continued the running of the Caledonian until 1894. She also donated money to the Hibernian Australian Catholic Benefit Society (HACBS) after Timothy’s death. Timothy acquired much property during his time in Hamilton, including the Caledonian but also the large property Broxbourne which was retained after his death and leased by his estate.  Monsignor Shanahan was one of the executors of Timothy’s will.

Advertising (1894, May 19). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225780745

The Caledonian hotel was sold to Daniel Scullion in 1907.  Catherine died in 1909 at Hamilton.  Timothy and Catherine’s daughter, Julia joined the Loreto order of nuns in 1902.  Known as Sister Eucharia, she taught for many years at the Dawson Street campus of Loreto Convent and also Mary’s Mount in Ballarat.  Timothy Jnr served during WW1.

 NEHILL, William Francis – Died 9 October 1936 at Terang.  William Nehill was born around 1849 in County Limerick, Ireland. He arrived in Australia with his parents around 1852 and they settled at Birragurra.  In 1875, William married Roseanne Campell who was also born in Ireland. They went on to have three daughters and five sons together.

Around 1888, William leased the Terang Hotel, eventually buying it.  In 1900, he built a new hotel on the site and he went on to own it until his death. William was a keen cricketer and was captain of the Terang team for many years.  He was also involved with coursing.   He was a devout Catholic and a great supporter of St Thomas’ Catholic Church in Terang

ST THOMAS CATHOLIC CHURCH, TERANG. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63483

In 1930, William was checking out the new St Thomas Parish Hall and fell from the stage, breaking his leg which left him incapacitated.  In October 1932, Roseanne died aged eighty-one.  William survived for a further four years until his death in October 1936.  More than 200 cars were in the funeral cortege, at the time, the most seen at a funeral to pass through Terang. There were more than 500 people at the Terang Cemetery.  Two of William and Roseanne’s children predeceased them including Edmund who died of wounds in France during WW1.

William’s daughter Mary continued to run the Terang Hotel until 1939 when the hotel was leased.

Terang (1939, February 9). Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), p. 29.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172029920

The Great Flood of 1870

The year 1870 was wet across Australia. In January, summer storms brought flooding to Ballarat and Bendigo. Then for several months floods plagued NSW and Queensland.  Winter came and the Western District received more than its share of rain.  

PENSHURST. (1870, August 27). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196303848

The rain continued into spring and the Hamilton Spectator reported on 10 September 1870, “The present extraordinary season, according to many of the oldest inhabitants has not been equalled in the Western District of Victoria for the last eighteen years.” That came after 1½ inches fell across 4 and 5 September causing the Grange Burn at Hamilton to swell. Mail to the town was blocked for two days with creeks along the route on the rise. 

The Hopkins River was up and water lapped the back door of the Hexham Hotel.  Mail couldn’t get through to Warrnambool from Melbourne and at Allansford, not only the old bridge washed away but also new bridge under construction. 

LATEST INTELLIGENCE. (1870, September 13). The Ballarat Star, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218798397

The Wannon River (below) was raging and there were reports of trees going over the Wannon Falls. Further downstream, the road from Sandford to Casterton was cut and a bridge at Sandford was washed away.

WANNON RIVER, OCTOBER 2020

Streatham saw the largest flood the inhabitants could remember with families evacuated and the telegraph office flooded. At Skipton, the rise of Mount Emu Creek soon saw the streets flooded.

THE SKIPTON SHOW. (1870, September 14). Hamilton Spectator, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196301671

At Coleraine, settled on the banks of Bryan Creek,* the water rose rapidly.  

TOWNSHIP OF COLERAINE, Victorian Office of Lands & Survey, Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/93052

The Hamilton Spectator‘s Coleraine correspondent summed up the town’s experience during the rains of September 1870, pointing to the rapid rise of the water and the plight of the McCaskill family.  He offered a grim assessment…”if the stream had not suddenly fallen, that a coroner’s inquest in the locality would have taken place.”

COLERAINE. (1870, September 10). Hamilton Spectator p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196305637

Bryan Creek, a tributary of the Wannon River, rises up near Vasey about thirty-five kilometres north-east of Coleraine, not far from the Dundas Ranges. Several small creeks run into it as it flows through the valleys of rolling hills.  Those open hills enhance the beauty of the district but as Adam Lindsay Gordon wrote in his famous poem “The Fields of Coleraine”, “…the gullies are deep, and the uplands are steep” expediting water runoff into the creek. 

VIEW TOWARD THE COLERAINE TOWNSHIP, Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63291

By the end of September 1870, farmers were lamenting the wet weather as potatoes rotted in the ground and shearing was delayed.

COLERAINE. (1870, October 1). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196307121

Unsettled weather continued throughout October. On Friday 28 October 1870 in Coleraine, it was humid with a squally wind.  
 

COLERAINE c1880 Image No. [B 21766/52 State Libary of South Australia https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/52

As the day moved into night, clouds appeared and lightning illuminated the sky like nothing the residents had seen before. Thunder rumbled for two hours. Rain began to fall “gentle and warm” and then, when it seemed to have past, the people of Coleraine “went to repose, fearing nothing from the weather”.
 

COLERAINE. (1870, November 2). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196303181

Among them was Emma Laird who lay down with her sleeping infants James and Isabella.  She lived in a cottage behind the Albion newspaper office (below). The Drummond family, David, Margaret and their children were her neighbours.  David’s niece Janet was staying over for the night.

THE ALBION PRINTING OFFICE, WHYTE STREET COLERAINE, Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/772470

Closer to the creek, carrier William Lewis, William Weaven, and another man were camped on what they thought was high ground near the bridge.  There was no sleeping under the stars for them that night, instead they made their beds under the dray of William Lewis to shelter from the storm.
 
As the town went to sleep, little did they know what they thought was the sound of gale force winds roaring through the trees was actually water raging along Bryan Creek.  Heavy rain in the catchment area was rapidly entering the waterway.  At Gringegalong close to the creek’s headwater, water was knee-deep within an hour. By midnight Bryan Creek was “a roaring torrent and inundated the sleeping town” having risen five feet in two hours. There was chaos. People ran between houses trying to wake the occupants and soon a crowd was gathering near the lowest part of the town where the cottages were submerged in water. 
 

THE FLOODS. (1870, November 3). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser p. 2 (EVENINGS). , from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65423451

The Coleraine correspondent for the Hamilton Spectator opened his front door only to be almost swept off his feet by the rush of incoming water. He managed to close the door again but only with the help of another person.  He said outside it was “a sea, roaring and boiling, and crushing all in its course.”
 
Such was the commotion, the order to which the events of that night occurred differ slightly between eye-witness accounts from the likes of the Hamilton Spectator‘s correspondent and the Coleraine Albion reporter.  Piecing the various reports together, I believe this is how it all unfolded.
 
Around 12.30 am, an attempt was made to rescue residents on the low ground including those at the residence of Robert Wright the brickmaker on the banks of the creek, and dressmaker Betsy Gillies.  In the nick of time, the Wright family got themselves across the deluge to safe ground. Miss Gillies was woken from her slumber and also escaped.  In both cases, another few minutes, and the outcome would have been disastrous. 
 
Attention then turned to the two cottages behind the Albion office, that of the Drummonds and Lairds.  By now, the water was knee-deep and the current was too fast to safely cross. Constable James Mahon made a dash for it but was carried away. Fortunately, he managed to land on top of a pigsty and was able to get back to safety.  He tried again and was able to save one of the children.  Storekeeper Louis Lesser also headed across the water and rescued another child.  He was also able to lift Mrs Margaret Drummond out of the water and on to the roof of a cowshed.  Her husband, David Drummond got three children to safety and went back for three more, James and Margeret Jr and his niece Janet. He had one on his back and one in each arm as he made his way across.  Suddenly, the current caught him, and all four were swept away.  
 
Charles Loxton, the young accountant from the National Bank of Australasia (below). attempted to cross on his horse.  They were both swept away and it was then the rescue was abandoned.
 

FORMER NATIONAL BANK OF AUSTRALASIA, WHYTE STREET, COLERAINE.

Around 1.00 am the water had fallen enough for another attempt to cross to the cottages.  Margaret Drummond was found sitting on the cowshed but the rescuers worst fears were soon realised.  During all the commotion, Emma Laird and two of her children had washed away on their beds as they slept.  William Lewis and William Weaven camped by the creek were swept away from beneath the dray. Their friend managed to get himself to safety.
 
By 8.00 am on Saturday morning, the creek had “assumed its natural proportions” and the horse of Charles Loxton grazed nonchalantly by the creek. It was as though nothing had happened, 

WHYTE STREET, COLERAINE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/385977

But looking around the town it was anything but normal. It was devastating. “The scene when morning dawned was heartrending. Men, women, and children were found on chimneys and housetops; and all sorts of property was floating about”. The water was three feet deep in McLean’s timber yard and the store of Edmond Dacomb (below) was also flooded.

Also flooded was the store of Abraham Lesser and his brother Louis, a hero only hours earlier.

COLERAINE IGA FORMERLY THE STORE OF A. LESSER & CO., WHYTE STREET, COLERAINE.

The bridge over Bryan Creek on the Penola road, was destroyed, and the streets were a mess.  Almost ominously, headstones at Alfred Priest’s monumental yard were scattered.  There was slime everywhere the water had been.  Logs, bales of wool and a haystack had washed down the creek.  Further downstream, Murdoch McCaskill’s farm once again suffered damage.  

The harrowing task of searching for bodies began at first light with the whole town turning out even though very few had slept. Holes were checked and logs turned over. By 6.00 pm on Saturday evening, five bodies had been recovered, all of them children.  Five adults were still missing.  On Sunday, the bodies of Emma Laird and William Lewis were found.  Later, the searchers noticed a piece of clothing pocking out from under a huge log.  It took around fifty men to remove the log and expose the body of Charles Loxton 

As they were found, the bodies were laid out in McKnight’s “old courtroom” and family gathered around their lost loved ones. George Trangmar the coroner issued the certificates of burial. The funeral for eight of the victims took place on Monday 31 October at 6.00 pm. The coffins left McKnights for the cemetery with the Oddfellows in the lead, two abreast, then a hearse with some of the coffins, followed by a wagon with the remainder. There was a very large cortege and to emphasise the tragedy, reports mentioned there were thirty to forty women in attendance. It was not customary for women to attend funerals in those times.

COLERAINE CEMETERY

The body of William Lewis was taken to Sandford for burial.

The Portland correspondent for the Hamilton Spectator told of how the news of the lives lost at Coleraine came in by telegram subsequently casting a gloom over his town.  He hoped a suitable monument would be erected to remember the bravery of Charles Loxton and David Drummond.

A week on and William Weaven’s body had not been found but his family kept searching along the creek for him but to no avail.  During September 1872, human remains were found in Bryan Creek about five kilometres downstream from the bridge at Coleraine.  The local police decided an inquest was not necessary as it seemed almost certain the remains were those of William Weaven.

THE VICTIMS 

DAVID DRUMMOND and his children James and Margaret DRUMMOND.

David Drummond married Margaret Watson in Tillicoultry, Scotland on 12 June 1852 (1) and they boarded the Chance at Liverpool, England on 23 July 1852 (2). It was a difficult journey with forty-six deaths and on arrival in Melbourne on 28 October 1852, the ship was quarantined and remained so for almost three weeks.  Once on dry land, the couple made their way to the Geelong district.  A son James was born in 1853 but sadly he died the next year (3). Another son Richard was born in 1854 (4) and a daughter Margaret in 1857 (5).  James was born in 1862 at Duck Ponds near Geelong (6).

The family moved west to join other members of the Drummond family sometime after 1862 with John born at Casterton in 1867 (7). It was there in the same year, Margaret Jr aged ten, faced the Casterton Court of Petty Sessions. Her charges of stealing a pocketbook were eventually dismissed.  It was also the year David Jr died at Sandford aged seven (8). The following year baby John died, also at Sandford. (9) In 1869, another son was born and named David (10).  He was born at Dundas suggesting the family had moved to Coleraine, within the Shire of Dundas.  

After the tragic death of her husband and children in 1870, Margaret Drummond continued to live in Coleraine. In her old age, she lived with her son Richard. She died on 1 March 1914 her life punctuated with tragedy. She was buried at the Coleraine Cemetery with David, James, and Margaret (11). Richard died on 17 July 1932 at Coleraine (12).  Margaret’s other surviving son David Jr. settled at Streatham. He died in 1941 at Sebastopol (13).
    

GRAVE OF THE DRUMMOND FAMILY, COLERAINE CEMETERY

Janet DRUMMOND
 
Janet, the niece of David and Margaret Drummond was born at Branxholme in 1861, the daughter of George Drummond and Margaret Scott (14).  Her father owned the Shamrock Inn at Coleraine from the early 1870s and then the Koroite Inn from February 1876.
 

GRAVE OF JANET DRUMMOND AND HER PARENTS GEORGE AND MARGARET, COLERAINE CEMETERY.

Emma Jane LAIRD and her children James and Isabella –

Emma Jane Laird was born around 1842 as Emma Jane Till.  Emma arrived from Middlesex, England in 1861 aboard the Oithona and went to work as a housemaid at Dundas station for Samuel Proudfoot Hawkins (15). She married James Laird in 1864 (16).  The following year, a daughter Louisa Matilda was born at Coleraine (17).  Isabella Jane was born in 1867 (18) followed by a son James Alexander in 1869 (19).  James Snr and Louisa were not mentioned in newspaper reports of the flood.  James appears to have worked for a contractor and may have been away working, maybe the same reason Louisa went into the care of her grandparents at Casterton in the years after the flood.  That however soured when in 1876 Alexander Laird took his son James to court for costs incurred for board and lodging of Louisa. At the age of eighteen, Louisa married John McCreddan in 1883 (20). She died at Noradjua in 1887 aged just twenty-one (21).

Charles Arthur LOXTON 

Charles Loxton was born in Liverpool, Lancashire in 1847, a son of George Loxton and Catherine Holland (22).  The Loxton family including eight children arrived on the Catharine Mitchell when Charles was three in 1853 (23).  It’s not clear when twenty-two-year-old Charles went to Coleraine for work but it may not have bee long before the flood. The National Bank of Australasia where he was an accountant was opened in 1870. Charles’ brother Holland Loxton was the town clerk at Kew. In 1948, Charles’ grave at the Coleraine Cemetery was restored using money donated by then-current and past residents. More about the grave can be seen on the link to Monument Australia – Grave of Charles Arthur Loxton

William LEWIS

William Lewis was a son of Thomas Lewis and Rebecca Braham and was born in Tasmania in1843 (24). At some point, the family travelled to Victoria and settled at Sandford and William worked as a carrier. On Saturday 22 October 1870, he departed the stores of Stephen Henty in Portland with goods for Coleraine.  It would be his last job. William was twenty-seven at the time of his death.

William Eric WEAVEN

William Weaven was a son of Thomas Weaven and Christiana Butcher and was born at Portland in 1844 (25). 

 

FLOODING IN OTHER AREAS OF THE WESTERN DISTRICT

At Brung Brungle Station at Redruth (Wannon) close to Coleraine, and owned by John B, Hughes, employee William DUNTON was drowned while trying to save the station’s stud rams.  He fell from his horse into the water and despite being a strong swimmer and struggling for some, exhaustion saw him and succumb to the waters.  William was a local boy born around 1853, a son of William Dunton and Elizabeth Edwards.  He was buried at the Coleraine Cemetery on 4 November 1870.

Also at Redruth, trees were washing down the Wannon River and hitting the bridge on the main road to Coleraine. On Saturday afternoon 29 October at about 2.30 pm the bridge, only six years old was washed away.  Trees were going over the Nigretta and Wannon Falls.  The local correspondent for the Hamilton Spectator ventured to the Wannon Falls and found a “huge boiling cauldron” beneath.  Trees from further up the river lay below.  He then went to see the bridge on the main road. It was on its last legs and soon it washed down the river towards the Wannon Falls.

REDRUTH. (1870, November 2). Hamilton Spectator, p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196303182

WANNON RIVER FROM THE WANNON BRIDGE, WANNON, OCTOBER 2020.

With the bridge out, the only way to get the mail through was a rope over the river or behind the path of the falls (below).  

WANNON FALLS, OCTOBER 2020

At Hilgay not far from Coleraine, John MOFFAT was drowned.  A number of horses on the property were in hobbles and stranded in deep water.  The owners of two of the horses offered £1 each to anyone who would go underwater and cut the hobbles.  Shortly after, John Moffat asked one of the owners for a knife and a pipe of tobacco.  He didn’t say he was going to free the horses but instead just “strolled away.  Later it was noticed he was missing and a search was made.  His clothes were found on the river bank by his friends but his body couldn’t be found.
 
At Roseneath on the Glenelg River north of Casterton, eleven-year-old Lewis Frank Russel RALSTON, a son of Robert Ralston and Jane Ross was drowned in the river. 
There was an electrical storm at Casterton and subsequent floods were considered the “greatest floods ever” or at least since 1851.  Stores and homes were flooded while at nearby Sandford, the bridge over the Wannon River washed away. At Balmoral, the “old” bridge was gone and around Harrow, the water offered “an almost uninterrupted swim”.
 
At Hamilton, communications were down and the Hamilton Spectator said it “rained in torrents for hours”.

THE WEATHER AND THE TELEGRAPH.— (1870, October 29). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196304024

One report suggested around 34 mm of rain fell in a short time. The bridge over the Grange Burn on the Dunkeld Road (now Ballarat Road) was partially washed away. Further downstream, the Grange Inn on the banks of the creek was in more than a metre of water resulting in the kitchen breaking away and washing down the creek. One of the abutments on the nearby Portland Road bridge had washed away and the roadway had fallen in. 

LOOKING TOWARDS THE SITE OF THE FORMER GRANGE INN AND THE DIGBY ROAD BRIDGE OVER THE GRANGE BURN FROM THE PORTLAND ROAD BRIDGE.

To the east, sheep washes were swept away at Strathkellar and around 600 sheep were drowned at Warrayure. At Portland, the storm was spectacular and around 17mm of rain fell.

OUR LETTER HOME. (1870, November 5). Hamilton Spectator, p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196303362

 A horse was struck by lightning at Streatham and at Colac, the heaviest ran in years fell. Murray Street was like a river and Lake Colac was rising. 

DISASTROUS FLOODS. (1870, October 31). The Age, p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189331161

At Ballarat,  the rain brought the worst flood in memory. 

BALLARAT. (1870, October 29). The Herald, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article244717929

There were cries of “Not October storms again” as people recalled the floods in the town the year prior. Then Bridge Street was a river (below) but in 1870, the water level exceeded that high mark.

DISASTERS AT BALLARAT. (1869, December 1). Illustrated Adelaide Post (SA), p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245004026

COLERAINE’S FLOOD HISTORY

The people of Coleraine have been no strangers to flooding over the years.  For example, there was 1893, 1906, 1983, and more recently 2016, the worst flooding since 1946 the year of ‘The Big Flood‘ across the Western District.  Even earlier this month while writing this account, two days of almost constant rain saw the Bryan Creek once again rise resulting in some minor flooding. 

The flood of October 1870 was disastrous and possibly the worst in the town’s history but as there weren’t official records kept for rainfall and the creek levels, it is difficult to compare. The only comparison can be made with the number of fatalities and fortunately, there has never been a repeat of the loss of life seen in 1870. 

You can find more about the history of flooding at Coleraine from the following video prepared for the Southern Grampians Shire Council investigation into the 2016 Coleraine floods.  You can read the full report on the link – Coleraine Flood Investigation

Bryan Creek – While researching the 1870 floods, I came across several variations of the name of the creek which passes by Coleraine, Bryan Creek, Bryan’s Creek, Bryants Creek, Koroite Creek, and Koroite Rivulet.  The use of Koroite comes from the Koroite run.  The homestead stood on the northern bank of the creek just west of the township once known as Bryan’s Creek from the name of the run taken up by John Bryan in 1837 and later his brother Samuel.  In 1937, the Portland Guardian claimed Samuel Pratt Winter said in the Hamilton Spectator in 1878, also the year of his death, that somewhere along the line someone had added a”t”. 

Pioneers of Wannon Country. (1937, December 20). Portland Guardian, p. 2 (EVENING.).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64277877

However, going back to 1849 and a description of the boundaries of the Koroite run, both Bryan’s Creek (possibly the aforementioned pastoral run) and Bryant’s Creek are referred to. 

Advertising (1849, March 5). Port Phillip Gazette and Settler’s Journal p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223156343

I chose to use Bryan Creek, the name used by local and state government agencies.  


SOURCES

1.  Scotland, Marriages, 1561-1910, FamilySearch, David Drummond, 1852, FHL Film No. 1040210 

2.  PROV, Assisted British Immigration Index, VPRS 14, Book 7, Page 54, Chance, 1852

3.   Victorian BDM’s Death Index, James DRUMMOND, 1854, Reg. No. 3277/1854

4.   Victorian BDMs  Birth Index, Richard DRUMMOND, 1854, Reg. No. 6918/1854

5.   Victorian BDMS Birth Index, Margaret DRUMMOND, 1857, Reg. No. 15416/1857

6.   Victorian BDMs Birth Index, James DRUMMOND, 1862, Reg. No.  1963/1862

7.   Victorian BDMs  Birth Index, John DRUMMOND, 1867, Reg. No. 7017/1867

8.   Victorian BDM’s Death Index, David DRUMMOND, 1867, Reg. No. 9949/1867

9.   Victorian BDM’s Death Index, John DRUMMOND, 1868, Reg. No. 545/1868

10. Victorian BDMs  Birth Index, David DRUMMOND, 1869, Reg. No. 7703/1869

11. Victorian BDM’s Death Index, Margaret DRUMMOND, 1914, Reg. No. 1220/1914

12.  Victorian BDM’s Death Index, Richard DRUMMOND, 1932, Reg. No. 8881/1932

13.  Victorian BDM’s Death Index, David DRUMMOND, 1941, Reg. No. 2076/1914

14.  Victorian BDMs  Birth Index, Jennet DRUMMOND, 1861, Reg. No.3467/1861

15.   PROV, Assisted British Immigration Index, VPRS 14, Book 13A, Page 141, Oithona, 1861

16.  Victorian BDMs, Marriage Index, Emma Jane Till, 1864, Reg. No. 3529/1864

17.  Victorian BDMs  Birth Index, Louisa Matilda LEARD, 1865, Reg. No.4907/1865

18.  Victorian BDMs  Birth Index, Isabella Jane LAIRD, 1867, Reg. No. 20916/1867

19.  Victorian BDMs  Birth Index, James Alexander LAIRD, 1869, Reg. No. 21412/1869

20.  Victorian BDMs, Marriage Index, Louisa Matilda LAIRD, 1883, Reg. No. 3794/1883

21.  Victorian BDM’s Death Index, Louisa Matilda McCREDDEN, 1887, Reg. No. 3417/1887

22. Liverpool Record Office; Liverpool, England; Liverpool Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: 283 PET/2/37

23.  PROV, Unassisted Passenger List, Catharine Mitchell, Fiche 27, p. 7, Charles LOXTON

24. Libraries Tasmania, Name Index: 1089108, Births, William Lewis, 1843, Resource: RGD32/1/3/ no 2271

25.  Victorian BDMs  Birth Index, William WEAVEN, 1844, Reg. No. 30623/1844

Newspapers

 

Passing of the Pioneers

September Passing of the Pioneers sees ten new obituaries enter the Obituary Index. I started writing in mid-August and between limited time and some interesting stories among the subjects, it’s taken me almost to the end of September to finish.  You can read about a father and son, a woman who lost her sons during WW1 and another her grandson, and two young people who did so much in their comparatively short lives. There are also some connections as there often are.  They include two Branxholme pioneers who both operated out of the same shop. One of them became mixed up with rogue Hamilton solicitor Louis Horwitz just as another of the subjects did, however, their experiences were very much different.

WALKER, Duncan Stewart – Died 29 September 1889 at Camperdown. Duncan Stewart was born around 1827 in Arglyeyshire, Scotland. After the death of his father, Duncan came to Australia with his mother, arriving at Geelong in 1841.  Just thirteen  Duncan gained employment at Kardinia on the Barwon River, the run of Dr Alexander Thomson remaining for ten years.  He then went into partnership with Robert Lowe in a tanning and currier business on the Barwon River.  It operated successfully until the river flooded in June 1852. The following year the partnership was dissolved.

Advertising (1853, March 5). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 – 1856), p. 2 (DAILY.). Retrieved August 30, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94360577

However, Duncan started a partnership with another member of the Lowe family in 1853 when he married Robert’s sister Margaret.  Soon after he bought two lots of land at Lismore in September 1853 at a price of £25. Around 1860, he took over operations of the Leura Hotel at Camperdown and he and Margaret moved to that town

LEURA HOTEL, CAMPERDOWN. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/307684

After selling the hotel in 1867 to John Wiggins, Duncan went into partnership with John Paton in the Dixie estate on the Mount Emu Creek near Terang, but eventually, Paton left the partnership.  Duncan was elected to the Hampden Shire Council in 1870 and sat until 1888 serving as president for the last two years.  He was also the first chairman of directors of the Cobden Cheese and Butter Factory in October 1888.

COBDEN CHEESE & BUTTER FACTORY. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/772409

Duncan was an elder of the Terang Presbyterian Church,(below), and was also involved with the church at Camperdown and Ecklin. He had a special interest in ensuring the religious needs of the Presbyterian community of the Heytesbury Forest were met.

TERANG PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/3044 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63615

In 1886, Duncan sold Dixie estate.

Items of News. (1886, December 11). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved August 30, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226158486

It was subsequently subdivided.

SUBDIVISION OF DIXIE ESTATE Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/85606

After his death, memorial services were held for Duncan at the Presbyterian churches in the Terang district.

BROWN, Elizabeth Moncreif – Died 2 September 1900 at Hamilton. Elizabeth Brown, known as Bessie was born at Hamilton in1868, the eldest child of butcher Thomas Brown and Mary Ann Cameron.  When she was eight, she suffered from a bout of severe inflammation of the lungs damaging one of her lungs permanently. Bessie never married and devoted her life to her faith, charity, and temperance.  She was an active member of Hamilton’s St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church as a Sunday School teacher and honourary organist for around ten years.  

ST. ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (foreground) c1890. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/69513

In May 1900, at the financial business meeting of the church, Bessie was given a purse of sovereigns in recognition of her work as the organist.  She was also given a bound copy of the new Hymnary which was making its way into Victorian Presbyterian churches after being adopted by churches in Scotland.  Her father spoke on her behalf saying Bessie’s work was “purely a labour of love, and from sincere desire to advance the welfare of the church.”

Bessie was a member of the Hamilton branch of the Band of Hope, the Hamilton Total Abstinence Society, Society of Christian Endeavour of which she was treasurer, and she was secretary of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) from the time of its inception in Hamilton. At the last WCTU meeting before her death on 14 August 1900. when the time came for Bessie’s secretary’s report, her father was called on to read it, with the chairman commenting he was sorry they could not induce her to read the report herself.  

On 29 August 1900, Bessie contracted a cold, and inflammation to her lungs resulted. She rallied for a time, but things took a turn for the worse on 1 September and she died the following morning aged just thirty-two. She was remembered for her quiet, unassuming nature and her devotion and enthusiasm to her various voluntary endeavours.  That admiration was evident with the large attendance at Bessie’s funeral. The pallbearers were made up of prominent townsmen including three past and future Hamilton Mayors. 

Items of News. (1900, September 6). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved August 29, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225689541

After Bessie’s death, The Band of Hope held a special night of entertainment to honour her work with the organisation.  Bessie’s father Thomas died in 1903 and in 1904, memorial windows in honour of Bessie and Thomas were unveiled at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

RYAN, Anthony – Died 2 September 1901 at Perth.  Anthony Ryan was born to Thomas Ryan and Margaret Witherow at Sebastopol in 1871. Thomas worked with Victoria Railway and with the opening up of the railways in the south-west in the late 1870s, the Ryans moved close to Hamilton. Thomas worked as the railway gatekeeper at Pierrepoint on the Penshurst line. Anthony, known to all as Tony, attended the Warrayure State School just east of Hamilton.  He was a very bright student and his final marks saw him offered a scholarship to the Hamilton Academy to complete matriculation.  While still a student, he was also helping as an assistant teacher, and on finishing his matriculation, he began teaching in his own right at the Academy.

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

He was then appointed headteacher of St Mary’s School in Hamilton around 1900. Around the same time, Tony’s younger brother Edmund was following in his footsteps. He had received a scholarship from the Academy and was dux in 1890.  Edmund was then was taken on as an articled clerk with local solicitors Samuel and Horwitz. He showed an aptitude for the law but his life was cut short at just seventeen. Edmund died on 20 June 1892 from rheumatic fever.  Tony and Edmund’s mother had only died in the months before.

That same year, Tony left education and himself went in the law, working as a clerk for Samuel & Horwitz and beginning his study for the law examination. When partner Samuel Samuel was elected to Victoria’s Legislative Assembly for the seat of Dundas in April 1892, Tony became his private secretary. Samuel, however, died suddenly in Melbourne on 28 July 1892.  Tony got involved with the Hamilton branch of the Progressive Political League. He was appointed acting honorary secretary in January 1893 and in August 1893 was elected president.  He was vice-president of the Catholic Young Men’s Society. He was also the secretary fo the Grangeburn Cricket Club and 4 October 1895 turned down a nomination for President because he would “probably leave Hamilton”.

Probably became definitely soon after when Tony aged twenty-four announced he was leaving for the Western Australian goldfields. On 17 October 1895, he was given a send-off at the Caledonian Hotel. It appears he travelled first to Niagara close to 200 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie and where gold was discovered in January 1895.  It was there he had an interest in a butcher shop with Mr Hill.  He then headed to the goldfields further north in the area between Leonora and Laverton, at the Mounts Margaret, Morgans, and Malcolm goldfields.

Tony got into action quickly and threw himself into the community. He was chairman of the first progress committee at  Malcolm and chairman of the hospital committee. He contributed to the Goldfields Press and the sporting journal The Umpire.  He also joined Charles Geddes in partnership in building the Royal Hotel at Malcolm 1897 which they conducted successfully.  

ROYAL HOTEL, MALCOLM (1899, June 3). The Menzies Miner WA, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article233066431

It was eventually time for both Tony and Charles Geddes to move on.  They sold the Royal Hotel and in September 1898, they were given a send-off by the people of Malcolm They explained their partnership would continue and they knew of some land which had not been prospected so they were going to try their luck. Two months later it was announced they were opening the Golden Pinnacle mine at the British Flag. Their luck must have been out because  Tony apparently ended up at Freemantle working at solicitors firm as an accountant. He then worked with a solicitor in Perth, before joining Dalgety & Co.  He then returned to the east and Hamilton.

GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399057

On 7 March 1899, the Young Catholic Men’s welcomed Tony back to Hamilton and gave a talk about the geography of inland Western Australia, an area he described as the “land of sand and sorrow”. Over summer 1900, as all good Hamiltonians do he enjoyed a holiday in Port Fairy staying at the Star of the West Hotel. He also joined the Liberals and at a meeting in Hamilton in April 1900 to discuss all things political in the Shire of Dundas, Tony was appointed chairman. He also returned to work for Louis Horwitz.  It was said he assisted Horwitz on his work “The Consolidation of the Statutes of Victoria.” volumes of which were published in 1898 but also in September 1899. That would have left little time for Tony to contribute.

LOUIS HORWITZ (1898, December 1). Melbourne Punch , p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180221822

The goldfields of the west were once again summoning him.  At least friends from Mount Margaret who had notified him of a chance for candidature in upcoming WA elections It was an opportunity Tony couldn’t miss. He had a yearning for political life. In February 1901, a group met at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Thompson Street Hamilton to once again farewell Tony before his departure for the west. Louis Horwitz was among the speakers.

PRINCE OF WALES HOTEL, HAMILTON. (1888, April 17). Hamilton Spectator, p. 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225809074

The Evening Star in Perth conveyed news of the send-off from an article from The Age.  They added the following,

Political (1901, March 7). The Evening Star (Boulder, WA), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202849093

Unfortunately for Tony, he was not accepted as a candidate for the Labor party. His time away impeded his chances and he just missed out to fellow candidate George Taylor.  Tony joined George’s campaign assisting him in winning the seat.  On 16 April 1901, Tony was given a send-off at Lenora before his return to Perth after the elections.  He was presented with an inscribed gold locket.     

 

The Mt Lenora Miner, reflecting back only five months before when Tony was leaving Leonora, commented, “frequent were the remarks that the future premiership of the colony was within Mr Ryan’s grasp”.  The Mount Morgans Miner remembered him as one of the pioneers of Malcolm.  Tony was only thirty when he died but had done so much and had such a bright future. He was likened in several obituaries to West Australian Charles Vosper who died in January 190. They were taking similar paths into Western Australian public life.  They were also buried in the same cemetery, both in the Roman Catholic section.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
On 5 December 1902, a group of Hamilton townsmen met at the Prince of Wales Hotel to discuss a memorial for Tony. On 10 February 1904, a memorial was unveiled at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Senator Trenwith was in town at the time so was asked to assist with the unveiling along with Father Shanahan.  A letter was read from Louis Horwitz who could not attend.

 

MEMORIAL FOR ANTHONY RYAN, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

BEST, Jabez – Died 9 September 1903 at Branxholme. Born in Hastings, England around 1821, Jabez arrived in Tasmania with his parents in 1829.  He remained there until  23 September 1843 when at the age of twenty-two, he boarded the Minerva and travelled to Portland Bay.  His brother Thomas had arrived there a year earlier on 20 April 1842 also on the Minerva. Thomas had made his way to the area known then as Arrandoovong, later becoming Branxholme. and was running the Travellers Rest hotel. 

In 1853, Jabez married Nanny Penrose and they went on to have six children.  Jabez ran a store in Branxholme and was also the first postmaster, not to mention the Electoral Registrar, Dog Inspector. the correspondent for the Common School, and Registrar for Births, Deaths, and Marriages something he did for forty years before his daughter Sarah carried on the role. Jabez was a member of the Branxholme Presbyterian Church congregation and was the first secretary of the Branxholme Branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

Jabez, who lived in Wyndham Street, Branxholme was rightly opposed to the poor treatment of the local aboriginals who knew him as “Sixty-Six”.  He was an abstainer and member of the Sons of Temperance. At the time of his death, he was the oldest pledged total abstainer in the Commonwealth having attended the first public Temperance meeting held in Tasmanian sometime around 1840.

Jabez left his widow Nanny, two sons, and four daughters to mourn him. He was buried at the Branxholme Cemetery, The Best family are remembered on the Branxholme Pioneer Wall, below.

BRANXHOLME PIONEER WALL

HAMILTON, Barnabas – Died 19 September 1907 at Kirkstall. Barnabas Hamilton was born around 1830 in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland. As a young man, he made a trip to New York but returned to Scotland where he married Ann Hope on 27 May 1854. Not long after, Barnabas and Ann, along with John, Catherine, and Matthew Hamilton, the parents and younger brother of Barnabas, began their journey to Australia. They set off from Aberlady, East Lothian travelling first to Edinburgh then Glasgow and then on to Plymouth, England where they sailed aboard the Oithona on 21 October 1854. They arrived at Portland on 30 January 1855.

John and Catherine went on to Warrnambool while Barnabas and Ann went to Kirkstall as Barnabas had obtained work on the property of Andrew Laidlaw. He remained there for three years before joining a shearing team at William Rutledge’s property Farnham Park between Warrnambool and Tower Hill. Barnabas and Ann settled at Kirkstall and raised six children. Barnabas was an elder of the Koroit Presbyterian Church (below).    

KOROIT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/389090

Barnabas was seventy-seven at the time of his death and left his widow Ann, four sons, and two daughters. He was buried at the Tower Hill Cemetery. Ann died in 1916. 

In 1937, four years after the death of Barnabas and Ann’s son John Hope Hamilton (see obituary below), a dusty box was found amongst his things.  Inside was an old diary belonging to Barnabas. It was then found Barnabas had visited New York prior to his marriage to Ann and their departure for Australia.  In the diary, Barnabas went into great detail describing the daily routine of the Sing Sing prisoners and the design of the prison.  You can read more on the link – Diary of Barnabas Hamilton.

SILBERBERG, Mayer Matus – Died 6 September 1908 at St Kilda. Mayer Silberberg was born around 1843 in Poland. While Mayer was still a young child, he and his parents Seacob (Jacob) and Golda, two elder sisters and an elder brother made their way to England. They then left London on 2 August 1853 aboard the ship Asia bound for Australia, arriving at Port Phillip. They settled in Melbourne and Jacob ran a shop in Queen Street. At one stage the family was living in Bourke Street opposite the Theatre Royal.

When he was fourteen, Mayer’s mother Golda died on 17 August 1857  aged forty. By then, Jacob was running a small shop in Little LaTrobe Street and by 1860, Mayer was working at the pawnbroker’s store of Wolf Brasch in Swanston Street. Wolf was also Mayer’s brother-in-law having married Esther Silberberg in 1857. 

Jacob Silberberg moved to Macarthur by 1863 to operate the  French General Store and Mayer followed his father.

Advertising (1863, March 6). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194859010

Jacob built a new store in Macarthur in 1866 which Mayer helped him run. In 1869 and at the age of twenty-six, it was time for Mayer to out on his own and he took over the store of Jabez Best (see obituary above) at Branxholme.  

Advertising (1869, May 15). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194473249

In 1872, Mayer married Caroline Issacs and they went on to have seven children. He also continued to build up his business.

Advertising (1872, August 21). Hamilton Spectator, p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194847009

Mayer took over the shop of Mr Maxwell at Condah in 1879. He took out a grocer’s liquor license as he had done with the Branxholme store, something that would not have happened while teetotaller Jabez Best owned it.   

Advertising (1899, July 29). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225680581

In January 1885, there was a fire at Mayer’s Branxholme store. The family home was attached and they lost all their possessions but Mayer rebuilt. 

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator  14 February 1885:   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225661212

Mayer also took part in money lending.

Advertising (1889, August 15). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225764094

 

Mayer was active in the community.  He was a member of the Branxholme Mechanics Institute and a founder of the Branxholme Debating Society. He was secretary of the Branxholme Cemetery trust for seventeen years.  On 1 May 1885, a rifle club was formed at Branxholme on Mayer’s suggestion and he was a member of the first committee. Mayer was a Portland Shire councillor for around fourteen years and was president at the time of Australia’s Federation in 1901

In February 1902, Mayer announced was retiring from business and was moving to Melbourne. In March 1902, he resigned from his position on the Portland Shire Council  He was described by the Portland Guardian as the “Pooh-Bah” of Branxholme. The following month, on 4 April 1902, a gathering was held at Branxholme to farewell Mayer and Caroline from the district.  John Thomson of Monivae presided and various tributes were paid, telling of the charitable work of the pair.  They were presented with two silver dishes.  The inscription read, “Presented to Mr, and Mrs. Silberberg by the residents of Branxholme and Condah, as a token of esteem and regard, on their departure from the district after a residence of 32 years”. Soon after they moved to their new home in  High St, Prahan. 

In November 1903, Mayer lent his son Sidney £2000 plus interest so Sidney, a solicitor could enter a partnership with Hamilton solicitor Louis Horwitz. Horwitz guaranteed Sidney a return of £1000 return per annum. In June 1904, Horwitz left Hamilton for Western Australia. Reports came back a week after his departure that had fallen overboard from a ship between Adelaide and Freemantle and drowned.  Soon after, Sidney began hearing his partner had misappropriated significant sums of money from many Hamilton and district residents.  It turned out Horwitz didn’t drown.  He had faked his death and was subsequently brought back to Victoria to stand trial, leading to jail time.  That didn’t help Sidney.  He was insolvent and his father became a creditor of Horwitz.  Sidney faced the insolvency court in 1906.         

Mayer Silberberg died on 6 September 1908 at his home in High Street Prahan, leaving his widow Caroline, four sons, and three daughters. He was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery. Mayer left money in his will to the St Kilda and East Melbourne Synagogues, the Children’s Hospital, and the Melbourne Jewish Philanthropic Society.

The repercussions of Sidney’s failed partnership with Louis Horwitz were still dragging on in 1913, as Mayer’s family were trying to settle his estate.  Proceedings in the Insolvency court focused on a second mortgage taken out by Mayer on land in Hamilton and the underestimation of his proof of debt.  If you are interested in learning more you can read the related articles on the following links – Insolvency Court 1 – 7 November 1913 and Insolvency Court 2 – The Outcome – December 1913 

URQUHART, Alexander Wilson – Died 20 September 1911 at Myamyn.   Alexander Urquhart was born in Glasgow, Scotland around 1822.  He arrived at Portland in 1853 and got work at Bowett station.  Soon after he married Euphemia McDonald of Branxholme. About ten years into their marriage they moved to the Whittlebury district near Condah.  Alexander obtained work as a shepherd for Cecil Cooke at the Lake Condah estate. He continued in that work for forty-seven years eventually working for Cecil’s son Samuel Winter Cooke.

In 1901, a bushfire that started at Tahara spread to the Condah area. Alexander’s wife Euphemia had her hands and feet badly burnt and was lucky to be saved by one her sons. Their home was not saved.  Alexander and Euphemia took up residence at the Condah Hills homestead where their son John was the manager.  Euphemia, who never fully recovered from the shock of the fires, died in July 1907. When Condah Hills was sold by Samuel Winter Cooke in 1911, Alexander went to live with his son but his health quickly declined.  Alexander left five sons and three daughters and was buried at the Myamyn cemetery.

BARCLAY, Janet – Died 4 September 1916 at Hamilton.  Janet Johnstone was born around 1840 in Scotland. Her family arrived in Victoria was she was still a young child and her father John Barclay operated the Greenvale Inn near Heywood. Janet married James Bannam in 1864 and they went on to have nine children.  She was an active woman, often outdoors, and was an excellent horsewoman. Janet had great community spirit and was always ready to help.  Back in the times when medical help was still some distance away, she was often called on to for assistance. 

In early June 1895, an explosion at the sawmill of James Bannam at Dunmore near Heywood, her son Arthur Bannam was killed along with her brother Robert Barclay.  WW1 broke and Janet grandson John died in 1915 from wounds received at Gallipoli.  Janet fell sick in September 1916 and was taken from her home in Milltown to the Hamilton Hospital where she died. She was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. Janet left her husband James, seven sons, and two daughters.

McPHERSON, Mary – Died 30 September 1920 at Bostock’s Creek.  Mary McPherson was born in Canada to Scottish parents around 1848.  She arrived in Australia with her parents when she was four.  In 1869, Mary married Arthur Clingin. Arthur had discovered the Homeward Bound reef at Hillsborough in north-east Victoria around 1865.  They went on to have eight sons and two daughters. Arthur died in November 1897.  At the time her youngest child was just five and her oldest twenty-six. Mary made a move to the Camperdown district around 1900. She spent fifteen years living at Bostocks Creek. Tragedy came in November 1912, her son Wilfred, known to the family as “Little Billy” died in Albany, Western Australia at the age of thirty-two,

Mary was a member of the local Church of England congregation and helped out with community events. During WW1 three of Mary’s sons enlisted and she did her bit with the Red Cross.  The war, however, took its toll on Mary who suffered anxiety while her sons where away, heightened by the capture of her son George as a POW.  George died in a POW camp from pneumonia in 1918.  Mary died on 30 September 1930 and was buried at Camperdown Cemetery,  

HAMILTON, John Hope – Died 13 September 1933 at Camperdown.

SOME OF THE JUDGES, ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SHOW—No. 3. (1911, September 21). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic.), p. 19. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146571833

John Hamilton was born at Kirkstall around 1856 to Barnabas Hamilton and Ann Hope. When still a boy, he went to work at nearby Farnham Park where his father also worked.  After seven years John was taken on as manager and remained for a further four years.  He then rented a dairy farm from William Horne at Allansford sending milk from his cows to the Warrnambool Butter Factory.  In 1882, John married Mary Alice Smith of Port Fairy. 

John and Mary then moved to Renny Hill on the banks of Lake Bullen Merri at Camperdown, with John taking over the running of the dairy which at the time was at the top of Park Lane, later named Taylor Avenue. Eventually, John became the manager of the whole estate from about 1911. The family lived in the manager’s residence (below). until around 1921 when they moved to their own home in Taylor Avenue opposite Rennyhill.

MANAGER’S RESIDENCE RENNY HILL, CAMPERDOWN (1899, August 12). Leader (Melbourne, Vic ), p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO “THE LEADER”). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198073954

When John arrived at Renny HIll the cows were mostly Jersey but he purchased a shorthorn bull at the Royal Melbourne Show, greatly improved the herd. He also set about improving the dairy and built a piggery.  So successful was his farm management, he won the Leader Dairy Farms Competition, worth 50 guineas, and open to all farms in the State. Mr. Hamilton’s portion of the prize was an inscribed silver teapot, given to him by William Taylor. Photos of Renny Hill also appeared in the Leader newspaper as seen below.

RENNY HILL, CAMPERDOWN (1899, August 12). Leader (Melbourne, Vic), p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO “THE LEADER”). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198073954

The following year, the Camperdown Chronicle included John in a series “Talks with District Dairymen” and he imparted his expert knowledge of dairy farming. A sample is below

TALKS WITH DISTRICT DAIRYMEN. (1900, May 17). Camperdown Chronicle p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26108100

William Taylor wasn’t keen on cropping, but eventually, John convinced him to trial three acres of oats. So impressive was the crop, oat cropping became a regular part of the farm.  John also trained sheep dogs and was in demand as a cattle judge at agriculture shows throughout the Western District and the Royal Melbourne Show.  He was also involved with the Camperdown Pastoral and Agriculture.

During WW1, George Leonard Hamilton, a son of John and Ann served with the 7th Field Engineers as a farrier reaching the rank of Sergeant and being Mienitoned in Distpatches.  Mary died on 11 November 1931.  In March 1933, just six months before John’s death, the Camperdown Chronicle ran a story on John, preserving some of his memories.  John was seventy-seven at the time of his death on 13 September 1933. He was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery leaving five sons and one daughter.

Passing of the Pioneers

Some of my favourite early settler stories come from those who had almost a lifetime of experiences before they reached Victoria.  Some of those I’ve written about here had travelled to such places as the Americas, the Middle East, and Indonesia during the 1840s and 1850s.  One of the subjects this month, Adolphe Destree had similar experiences and had basically travelled around the world before he reached Portland in his early twenties.  Nine others join Adolphe for June and while they hadn’t travelled the world, they still have their own interesting stories to tell.

DESTREE, Adolphe Jean Baptist – Died 11 June 1875 at Hamilton. Adolphe Destree was born at The Hague, Netherlands around 1835. He trained as a watchmaker and spent time working in Europe and London before travelling to North America.  After working in New Orleans and New York he sailed to Melbourne arriving in April 1857 on the Hussar

SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. (1857, May 1). Mount Alexander Mail p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197086715

After some time working in Melbourne and only still in his early twenties, Adolphe made his way to Portland. He set up shop there, working out of the Portland Dispensary in Percy Street.

Advertising (1858, April 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876), p. 3  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64570850

In 1860, Adolphe decided to leave Portland for Hamilton.

Advertising (1860, February 29). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64513647

He set up shop in a slab hut near the corner of Gray and Brown Streets, Hamilton, then known as Keepings Corner after the local tinsmiths operating from that corner.

Advertising (1860, June 2). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser, p. 1.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194860690

On 1 February 1863, Adolphe married Annie O’Donnell and a son Adolphe Jr was born at Hamilton in 1864, the first of a family of five sons and one daughter. Henrietta born in 1868 sadly died at the age of ten months.

Adolphe moved his business from the slab hut to a more substantial shop in Gray Street closer to the intersection with Thompson Street. On the night of 20 September 1870, a fire broke out in Gray Street destroying seven shops including Adolphes.  Like many of the business owners, the Destree’s lived behind the shop and lost all their possessions.

DISASTROUS FIRE AT HAMILTON. (1870, September 21). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196305860

Adolphe moved into a shop across the road near the corner of Gray and Thompson while he rebuilt and he moved his family to Kennedy Street.

Advertising (1870, September 21). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196305853

Adolphe had an active public life.  He was on the committee of the Mechanics Institute from 1861 and the committee of the Hamilton Hospital and Benevolent Asylum from the mid-1860s. He was elected to the council in 1865 and was elected Mayor in 1868. With a young family, Adolphe was interested in the provision of education in the town. He was a shareholder and early director of the Hamilton & Western District College Company Ltd. and the honourary secretary and treasurer of the Hamilton Common School.

On 11 February 1875, Annie gave birth to a son Harold but exactly four months later on 11 June, Adolphe died after a short illness leaving Annie and five young sons. He was only forty. Adolphe was buried at the Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF ADOLPHE DESTREE, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Annie initially continued on Adolphe’s business but by September 1875 she had sold to Farroll & Sons Jewellery Importers.

TYTHERLEIGH, Robert – Died 17 June 1889 at Casterton.  Robert Tytherleigh was born in Axminster, Devonshire, England in 1807.  He arrived at Portland in January 1857 aboard the Mary Ann with his wife Susan and two sons, James and George.  The family settled in Portland and Robert began work as a blacksmith and farrier in Percy Street.

Advertising (1860, February 15). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser p. 4  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64513528

In 1881, Robert and Susan went to Casterton to live with his son.  He died in June 1889 aged eighty leaving Susan and five sons. One son and a daughter predeceased him.

In 1907, a son of Robert and Susan, John Tytherleigh must have been doing some family history research when he wrote to the Portland Guardian, hoping to find out the details of the arrival of the Mary Ann in 1857. The Guardian in response reprinted the shipping details from the papers edition of 30 January 1857.

The Emigrant Ship Mary Ann (1907, March 20). Portland Guardian p. 3  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63964872

FALKENBERG, Johann – Died 9 June 1899 at Byaduk.  Johann Falkenberg was born around 1835 in Prussia.  He arrived in Adelaide around 1852 and spent time in South Australia working for his brother before travelling to Victoria. He was just east of Hamilton at Pierrepoint for a couple of years before returning to South Australia. It wasn’t until 1863 when Johann finally settled in Victoria, taking up one of the first selections at Byaduk. In 1868, he married Ann Hallam and they went on to have a large family. Sadly Ann died in 1881 aged thirty-two leaving Johann with seven young children.

On several occasions, Johann wrote letters to the editor of the Hamilton Spectator. In 1874, he wrote of the plight of the selector farmer competing for land against the graziers.

THE HAMILTON LOCAL LAND BOARD. (1874, December 5). Hamilton Spectator p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226073023

He had ongoing sheep thefts from his properties and in 1884, he wrote of what appeared to be a case of one law for some and not for others.

FOREIGNERS AND ENGLISH LAW. (1884, September 30). Hamilton Spectator p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225660441

Rabbits were in plague proportions around the Byaduk area during Johann’s time there, living in the stones from the ancient lava flow of Mount Napier.  Johann felt he was the “greatest sufferer” in the rabbit situation.

Items of News. (1892, August 13). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226167070

Johann died in 1899 aged sixty-four and was buried at the Byaduk Cemetery.  He left four sons and three daughters, the youngest of whom was nineteen.

GRAVE OF JOHANN FALKENBERG, BYADUK CEMETERY

KERR, Elizabeth Adams – Died 1 June 1913 at Hamilton. Elizabeth Kerr was born in Glasgow, Scotland around 1833.  She arrived in Sydney with her parents in November 1841 aboard the Trinidad.  Her father Thomas Kerr was a police constable in Sydney but he took up a job of customs officer at Portland which saw the family’s move to Victoria.  In 1850, Elizabeth married Walter Herd and they moved to the Coleraine district. They raised a family of five daughters but Walter died in December 1876 and was buried at the Coleraine Cemetery. In 1878, Elizabeth married  Thomas Penhall in 1878 and she continued living at Coleraine.  Thomas died in November 1912 so Elizabeth moved to Hamilton to live with her cousin Albert Kerr of Lonsdale Street. She died there on 1 June 1913 leaving five daughters.

BROKENSHIRE, John – Died 4 June 1914 at Hamilton. John Brokenshire was born about 1849 in Cornwall, England, and arrived in Australia around the mid-1860s.  In 1872, he selected seventy-seven acres of land in the Victoria Valley which he sold in March 1877.  He had married Emma Cooper in 1876 and the couple moved to Hamilton where John worked as a labourer. Their first child, a daughter Emily, was born that year.

The Brokenshire family saw much tragedy. John and Emma had nine children in total. Three children were born between 1876 and 1880 but by the end of 1880, they had all died.  Baby John died in February 1879. Then came a diphtheria epidemic in 1880.  Emma and her daughter Emily were admitted to the Hamilton Hospital in late April displaying symptoms of the disease. Emily died and was buried on 2 May.  Young Henry also fell ill and died on 19 May from erysipelas, a complication of his diphtheria diagnosis. In a matter of fifteen months, their three babies were gone.  Four more children were born during the 1880s, but three-year-old Thomas died in January 1888.  Two children were born in the 1890s, Elizabeth in 1892 and Joseph in 1895.

On 21 April 1914, another of the Brokenshire children would meet an untimely end. Twenty-six-year-old James was killed while helping convert the former Wesleyan Methodist Church in McIntyre Street, Hamilton into a private home.  The scaffolding James was standing on collapsed, and he fell onto a pile of bluestone and died soon after. John took the news hard and he died less than two months later. It was thought the shock of losing James advanced his demise.  John was sixty-five and left his widow Emma and two sons and two daughters.  Then on 27 March 1918, more tragedy when one of the remaining sons Joseph was killed in action in France

DAVIS, Hester Jane – Died 4 June 1914 at Mortlake. Hester Davis was born in Somerset, England about 1850 arriving in Victoria when she was around sixteen.  She married Thomas Montgomery on 28 April 1870 at Warrnambool.  They had no children.

Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers, 21 May 1870 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60449106

THOMAS MONTGOMERY – VIEWS IN AND AROUND MORTLAKE. (1902, February 8). Weekly Times p. 11.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221230136

The Montgomery’s lived at Killymard at Mortlake. Thomas was a shire councilor and also served as shire president with Hester accompanying him to many official functions. Hester was a devout Methodist and attended the Mortlake Methodist Church (below). She was involved with the church community in many ways including as a Sunday School teacher.

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

Hester died in 1914 aged sixty-four. She was remembered at a memorial service at the Methodist Church on 21 June 1914.  Memories of Hester, written by congregation members were read. 

IN MEMORIAM SERVICE. (1914, June 24). Mortlake Dispatch p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119790806

In September 1916, a memorial tablet for Hester was unveiled at the Mortlake Methodist Church. Thomas had remarried the year before to the widow of the Reverend H.J. Brownell, the former minister of the Terang and Mortlake Methodist Church who died in October 1898.  Thomas Montgomery died in March 1920.

RIGBY, William – Died 17 June 1914 at Portland. William Rigby was born in Staffordshire around 1850 and arrived in Victoria aboard the Athletae with his parents in 1855.  The family settled in Heywood. When William was older he went to work for the shire council and was the caretaker and librarian of the Heywood Mechanics Institute. In 1872, he married Sarah Ann Lovell.  In May 1898, William’s wife Sarah Ann died aged forty-four. in 1901, William remarried to Caroline Heazlewood Bye. William was a member of the Sons of Temperance and the Methodist Church. In January 1905, William went to Portland to celebrate the jubilee anniversary of his family’s arrival in Victoria.

Portland Guardian, 1 February 1905 p2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63691228

In March 1913, William resigned from his position as an officer of the Heywood Shire Council.  He had bought a cottage in Portland and was retiring there.  He died only fifteen months later at the age of sixty-five. He left his widow Caroline and his children from his first marriage to Sarah Lovell.

HEALY, Margaret – Died 8 June 1917 at Macarthur. Margaret Healy was born around 1837 in Kilkenny, Ireland. She arrived in Australia around 3 June 1852.  In 1854, she married Joseph Twist and they settled at Macarthur then known as Eumeralla. At the time there were only three tents and a wooden building called Robbies Store.  Margaret lived out her life at Macarthur and was eighty-six at the time of her death.  She left her husband Joseph, two sons, and four daughters. Joseph Twist died in 1919.

AUSTIN, Harriet – Died June 1917 at Hamilton. Harriet Austin was born in Huntingdonshire, England around 1837.  She married Thomas Walker and they had two children before they boarded the Ocean Home for Victoria in 1860.  On arrival, the Walkers headed for Hamilton settling in North Hamilton.  Around 1907, Harriet and Thomas took up residence in Collins Street, Hamilton.  Harriet died in late June 1917 and was buried at the Hamilton Cemetery on 26 June. She left her husband Thomas and five sons and two daughters. Thomas placed a Bereavement Notice in the Hamilton Spectator.

 Hamilton Spectator, 30 June 1917 p. 5 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119852490

MITCHELL, Alfred – Died 15 June 1932 at Sandford. Alfred Mitchell was born at Henty near Merino in 1865. On the death of his father Richard, Alfred inherited part of his land and after buying further land, he was able to establish the property, Trevellas Downs.  In 1888, he married Elizabeth Cox. Alfred was a leader of agriculture in the district and always open to new ideas.  His dairy herd was considered one of the finest in Victoria.  He was also a Justice of the Peace and Glenelg Shire councilor for 22 years from 1908 to 1926 and from 1928 to 1932 and president in 1916/7.  In 1931, Alfred lost his woolshed, skin shed, and grain when a fire went through Trevellas Downs.

THE HOMESTEAD AT TREVELLAS DOWNS, c1900. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/769284

At the time of his death, Alfred left his widow Elizabeth, four sons, and two daughters.  He was buried at the Sandford Cemetery.

Passing of the Pioneers

One of the best things about finishing a Passing of the Pioneers post is adding the new pioneers to the Pioneer Obituary Index.  If they have family already in the index, I link them up. When you look at the index, you will see parents, siblings, spouses, aunties, uncles, and/or cousins listed beside some of the pioneers. It’s to make it easier for you if you come across a relative in the index. There will be some linking to do now I’ve finished this post.  Previous passing pioneers Alice Sandry will “reunite” with her husband, Mary Ann Skilbeck with her brother, and David Hutton will have his son join him.  Don’t forget to click on underlined text throughout the post to read more information about a subject.

WYLIE, James Roxburgh – Died 20 May 1876 at Hamilton. James Wylie was born in Scotland around 1843, a son of Hugh Wylie and Margaret Roxburgh.  He attended the University of Glasgow where he studied medicine. After some time as an assistant physician in Glasgow, he took a position as a staff surgeon with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), in Alexandria, Egypt. It was during the time of a cholera epidemic in 1865-6.

JAMES AND MARY WYLIE c1872. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/402115

By 1867, James had travelled to Batavia in the Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia) remaining for three years.  In 1868, he married Mary Thompson in Singapore and their first child Charles was born in Batavia in 1870.  The Wylies arrived in Melbourne later that year, 

A listing in the Government Gazette in late 1870, revealed James had been added to the list of legally qualified Medical Officers in Victoria.  James, Mary, and baby Charles then proceeded to Hamilton where James took over the practice of Dr. Jenkins at the Manor House while Jenkins travelled to England.

THE MANOR HOUSE, HAMILTON

Advertising (1871, April 19). Hamilton Spectator , p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196305691

Dr Jenkins returned and needed his home back so James moved his family and practice to a cottage on Gray Street opposite the post office.

Advertising (1871, July 12). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196306880

His time in Hamilton was short but James left a lasting legacy, Roxburgh House in Thompson Street. Tenders from builders were called for in the latter half of 1873.

Advertising (1873, September 10). Hamilton Spectator, p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226074995

William Holden and William Dunn won the tender and began work. The Wylie family was able to take up residence in mid-1874.

Advertising (1874, August 22). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226076370

Roxburgh House still stands today.

ROXBURGH HOUSE

In 1874, James was appointed deputy Coroner of Victoria acting from Hamilton and was appointed as the Public Vaccinator for Victoria. Away from medicine, James was on the committee of Hamilton’s Alexandra Ladies’ College (below).

ALEXANDRA LADIES’ COLLEGE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399135

James and Mary went on to have a further three children, girls Margaret, Harriet, and Josephine but In 1875, two-year-old Harriet died. She was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  By the end of 1875, Mary was pregnant again.

Tragedy struck again on 20 May 1876, when James died after a short illness leaving a pregnant Mary and three children.  It was found he died of a heart complaint at just thirty-three. Throughout his time in Hamilton, James was extremely busy with his various roles.  He was also visiting patients in surrounding towns and at Macarthur, he and Dr James had set up a surgery in the months prior to his death.  James was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with his daughter Harriet.

HEADSTONE OF JAMES ROXBURGH WYLIE, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

On the 1 August 1876, a daughter Millicent Birmingham Wylie was born to Mary at Roxburgh House.  Mary and the children later left Australia for England and Mary remarried. Her son Charles returned to Australia to live around 1924. Charles was am an interesting character. He was a writer under the pen name “Flinders Barr”.  In 1928 he won a competition for the design of a Canberra Coat of Arm still in use today.

CANBERRA COAT OF ARMS. (1929, May 2). The Argus, p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4002833

Charles Roxburgh Wylie died at Warrawee, New South Wales on 17 November 1947.

ARNOTT, William – Died 2 May 1900 at Hamilton. William Arnott was born in Fifeshire, Scotland in 1842. With his parents, William arrived at Williamstown in 1850 and they made their way to Fiery Creek station (Streatham) where his father had work. He was then employed at William Skene’s station, Kanonalla on the Wannon River. On the way there, the family passed through Hamilton when it was known as The Grange and most of the settlement at the time was around the Grange Burn near Portland Road.

After five years at Kanonalla, the family moved to Hamilton. By that time William was fourteen and he went to work for blacksmith and wheelwright George Brownlees in Lonsdale Street as an apprentice.  Once qualified, William went into business with John Jones.

Advertising (1865, December 20). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser, p. 1.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194470707

The partnership was dissolved in late 1874 and William entered into business with William Betts.  They took over the blacksmith business of the retiring John Denholm.

Advertising (1875, January 23). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226076945

Around the same time, William entered into the retail trade with his brother James, taking over Mrs Fulton’s grocery business in Gray Street.

Advertising (1874, November 11) Hamilton Spectator., p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226076157

Arnott and Betts then took over the undertaking business of David Arnott. They offered a free coach for those who couldn’t afford it and erected headstones and grave fences. They even had photos of the latest monument designs. 

Advertising (1876, May 31). Hamilton Spectator p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226039620

In his personal life, William married Alice Sandry in 1869, and they went on to have nine children.  The family lived in a cottage behind the grocers in Gray Street.  In 1879, the couple’s infant son George died and in 1886, the couple lost their young son Norman Dundas. On 9 May 1887, their nine-year-old son Frederick died as a result of a fall from a wagonette near the Wannon. 

William was a Hamilton Borough Councillor from 1881 to 1887.  He was also a member of Hamilton’s Princess Alice Lodge of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows. He continued in his grocery business, eventually trading alone. By the end of the 1880s, he was operating as the Beehive Store, a cash grocer with produce and a steam chaff mill. In 1898, William sold to neighbouring store John Thompson & Co. who extended into his store.

The Portland Guardian,.” Portland Guardian  21 Dec 1898: 2 Edition: EVENING.

After the sale, the Arnotts moved to Cox Street, Hamilton. Less than eighteen months later, William was dead at the age of fifty-eight, leaving Alice, five sons, and one daughter.  He was buried at Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with his three sons and later Alice.

HEADSTONE OF WILLIAM ARNOTT AND FAMILY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

HARRIS, George Cornfield – Died May 1904 at Colac. George Harris was born around 1831 in Coventry, England. He arrived in Melbourne in 1852 aged twenty-one.  Two years later he married Elizabeth Columbine and the couple settled in Prahran and started a family. In the early 1860s, George moved his family to Barongarook near Colac, however, Elizabeth died in 1863 leaving George with young children. On 10 June 1865, he remarried to Elizabeth Hilton of Geelong and they went on to have a large family together.

George was instrumental in the construction of a church and Sunday school at Barongarook West.  He was also the Barongarook West correspondent for the Colac Herald.  George’s obituary mentioned his “brightly” written pieces ensured the “wants and requirements of the forest country were brought before the public, and especially under the notice of the Colac Shire Council.”. Given that description, it would seem the following Barongarook update from the Colac Herald in 1894 may have been the work of George Harris.

BARONGAROOK. (1894, July 3). The Colac Herald, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91882409

At the time of his death, George had eight living children with four predeceasing him.

HUTTON, John Alexander – Died 2 May 1908 at Penshurst.  John Hutton was born in Tasmania around 1840.  When John was six his father David Hutton took up the Cheviot Hills run near Penshurst which he held until his death in 1875. At that time, John and his brother Thomas took up the property. In 1877, John married Christina Aitken of Penshurst and they went on to have two sons.

Fire touched Cheviot Hills a number of times but one deliberately lit during February 1892 caused much damage to the property. John and Thomas lost 2000 acres of grass, fencing, and valuable Merino rams.  John almost lost his life when fire encircled him while rounding up stock. 

EXTENSIVE BUSH FIRES. (1892, February 9). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226163601

In 1900, Thomas died and the following year Cheviot Hills was subdivided.  John retained a portion including the homestead. 

FAMOUS PASTORAL PROPERTIES: Cheviot Hills Adjoins Penshurst in Rich Volcanic Country (1942, January 3). The Australasian p. 24. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article142415846

John was an active member of the Penshurst Presbyterian Church and sat on the Mt Rouse Shire council from 1887 until his death and was Shire President for much of his last ten years. He was also a trustee of the Penshurst Mechanics Institute. In September1905, a gig John was travelling in hit a rock and tipped over and John was thrown out.  He broke his thigh and suffered shock.  He died three years later aged sixty-eight leaving his widow Christina and two sons, Stanley and Oswald. He was buried at Port Fairy Cemetery.

JACKMAN, James – Died 27 May 1916 at Woodford.  James Jackman was born around 1847 near Tower Hill. He married Margaret Barry in 1867 and they went on to have ten sons and three daughters.  James was a champion ploughman, participating in ploughing matches as a participant and judge.  He was a crop and a dairy farmer, and his was considered a model farm.  James was also a director of the Farnham Cheese & Butter Factory.

GILL, James Bruce – Died 8 May 1918 at Sandford.  James Gill was born around 1849 in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of a watchmaker. He arrived in Queensland in 1867 aged eighteen. After some time there, he travelled south and purchased Runneymede near Sandford in 1880.

‘RUNNYMEDE’ HOMESTEAD NEAR CASTERTON, 1977. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217175

James was widely known in racing circles not only as President of the Casterton Racing Club for thirty years but also as an owner at metropolitan courses during the 1880s and 1890s. During his time with the Casterton Racing Club, the course was remodelled to take advantage of the hill on which the grandstand now sits. He also contributed half of the costs of the changes.

CASTERTON RACECOURSE c1905.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399152

The next photo shows a meeting at the Casterton Racecourse in 1914 at a time James was president of the club.

CASTERTON RACECOURSE 1914. Image courtesy of the State LIbrary of Victoria https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/767564

James also enjoyed hunting and was a member of the Melbourne Hunt Club while his paddocks at Runnymede became a retirement haven for retired hunters.  In 1894, artist Herbert Woodhouse completed the work below showing sixty prominent members of the Melbourne Hunt Club. Among them are several Western District ladies and gentlemen including those by the name of Manifold and Chirnside.  James was also depicted and I have coloured his jacket below.  You can view the work and the names of those illustrated on the link to the State Library of NSW – A Meeting of the Melbourne Hunt Club

‘A MEETING OF THE MELBOURNE HUNT CLUB’. Image courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1cvjue2/ADLIB110332134

On 15 July 1885, James married Ruth Pennycuick at the Christ Church, Warrnambool. Ruth was the daughter of the Mayor of Warrnambool James Pennycuick and a granddaughter of William Rutledge late of Port Fairy and Farnham Park, Dennington.  The couple did not have children.

James was a familiar sight around the district driving his black ponies, four in hand, and would often drive them as far as Warrnambool for the races. His obituary remembered that “…beneath a brusque. blunt exterior, he carried a warm and sympathetic nature; being distinctly one for whom esteem increased on acquaintance. He was very generous to his employees, and was ready at all times to do a good turn to anyone”.  From a noted family, James’ older brother was Sir David Gill a Scottish astronomer and he was among a group of colonists named in Burkes Colonial Gentry in 1891.  He was buried at the Casterton New Cemetery.

VAGG, Laban – Died 8 May 1920 at Bostock’s Creek.  Laban Vagg was born around 1837 in Somersetshire, England. Laban joined the British Navy and in 1855, was part of naval activities during the Crimean War (1853-1856). In the late 1850s, he joined the rush to Australia and arrived at Geelong.  He found himself at Ewen’s Hill, Cobrico near Camperdown, and met Jonas Jeffers. He went on to do fencing work with Jonas and he also married Jonas’ sister or maybe daughter Elizabeth in 1863.  They went to have eight sons and two daughters. 

About 1890, Laban and his family moved to Bostocks Creek district where he took up dairy farming.  He was a member of the Hampden and Heytesbury Shire Pastoral & Agricultural Society for more than twenty-five years and a director of the Camperdown Cheese and Butter factory.

Elizabeth died in 1891 aged forty-seven.  Her youngest child was just four at the time. Laban died in 1920 aged eighty-three leaving eight sons and two daughters. He was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery.

SKILBECK, Richard – Died 12 May 1924 at Koroit.  Richard Skilbeck was born in 1838 in Compton, England. He arrived in Victoria in 1858 aboard the Salem.  He headed to Yangery Grange near Koroit owned by his uncle John Midgley.  He started work for them on the farm. In 1860, Richard purchased land in High Street, Koroit and built a small cottage. The following year he married his cousin Sarah Midgley.  Their new home was opposite the newly built Methodist Church which was most convenient as Richard was a devout Methodist and had been one of those who assisted with the construction of the church.   He was also a lay preacher and treasurer with the church.  In 1867, a new Methodist church was built (below).

Richard acquired more land around Koroit and began growing tobacco used to treat scab in sheep. It proved to be a successful crop. In 1864, he became a part-owner in the York Mill at Koroit with his brother-in-law William Midgley but they only kept it for two years.

Advertising (1866, October 10). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 3. Retrieved May 24, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194471135

In 1866, Richard took over the management of Yangery Grange after the death of John Midgley.  Richard’s successful farming practices saw the property become well known in the district.  In 1889, Yangery Grange was the equal runner up in a Prize Farms competition conducted by the government.  The judges found Richard’s farm was, “certainly one of the very best, neatest and most profitably managed holdings in the Tower Hill district”

GOVERNMENT PRIZE FARMS’ COMPETITION. (1889, September 21). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 10. Retrieved May 24, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198058642

It’s was said, Richard was the first in the district to use a threshing machine in partnership with Mr Holden of Port Fairy.  He eventually owned three threshing plants that worked full time at harvest time.

 

AN EXAMPLE OF A THRESHING PLANT, 1910. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/771220

Richard was on the committees of the Warrnambool and Koroit Pastoral and Agricultural Societies and served as President of both. He also was an exhibitor, showing his pigs, sheep, and cattle.  About 1890, he bought into the Koroit Butter Factory.  At the time, the factory wasn’t going well so Richard personally guaranteed the bank so the factory could continue to operate.  He was also chairman of the butter factory board for a good part of his thirty years involvement and chairman at the time of his death. He also represented the Koroit factory on the board of directors of the Western District Cooperative Produce and Insurance Company.

As a Methodist, Richard led a life of temperance and was the founding member of the Koroit Independent Order of Rechabites, a temperance organisation. He also collected funds to build a Temperance Hall in Koroit which also incorporated the Koroit Mechanics Institute.  He was also a trustee of the Koroit Botanic Gardens.

KOROIT BOTANIC GARDENS. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/443593

In 1893, Sarah died aged sixty-one.  In 1907, at the age of 70, Richard travelled to his home town in England and married a woman he knew before he left for Australia, Charlotte Dunn (nee Stables).  Charlotte herself had married after Richard left for Australia but was widowed.  Back in Australia, they settled into life at Yangery Grange and remained there until Richard retired when they moved to nearby Hillcrest owned by his son Alfred. Richard died at Hillcrest in 1924 aged eighty-seven, leaving five children. Two sons and one daughter predeceased him. Charlotte died on 5 October 1922 at Hillcrest

Richard’s obituary in the Koroit Sentintal mentioned his

Strength of character, intelligence, thrift, courage and other sterling qualities were possessed by their departed brother. Few men were so widely known throughout the State – certainly none in a Methodist connection – as Richard Skilbeck. He had known him for over 40 years and had on numerous occasions enjoyed his hospitality, and he knew that the inmates of his home were very dear to him. He not only founded a Christian home, but constantly showed his interest in the house of God. It was largely owing to him that the church was founded at Koroit and he had been an officer and administrator from its beginning. He would be sadly missed from the life of the church throughout the State.

In 1967, Harry McCorkall of Koroit edited and published The Diaries of Sarah Midgley and Richard Skilbeck: A Story of Australian settlers 1851-1864 which is a great read. More information about the Midgley and Skilbeck families can also be found at the Midgley family website

McCANN, Margaret Jane – Died 27 May 1947 at Dartmoor. Margaret McCann was born at Sandford in 1864.  As a young woman, Margaret was a good rider and would accompany her brother Peter on kangaroo hunts.  She married Daniel Sullivan in 1885 and they went on to have seven children.  After the birth of her own children, she acted as a midwife in the Dartmoor district. 

Margaret’s son Joseph enlisted in 1916 with the 38th Battalion while Margaret did her bit at home.  She was involved with the Dartmoor Red Cross, the local Comforts Fund, and the Catholic Church committee.  Sadly, Joseph was killed on 15 April 1918 in France. 

Margaret was eighty-four at the time of her death leaving three sons and two daughters.  Three of her siblings were still living, Peter aged eighty-five and Bella at Sandford aged eighty-seven, both of Sandford and Ann at Tallangatta.  Margaret was buried at the Dartmoor Cemetery.

Time Fillers

Social distancing is nothing new. This photo shows my Nana, Linda Gamble (nee Hadden) as a nineteen-year-old isolating at Cherrypool in 1938 with friends and family.  Cherrypool is a location on the Henty Highway between Hamilton and Horsham. All from Hamilton, the group camped out to protect themselves from a polio outbreak in early 1938.  When Nana talked of the photo she always laughed because isolating themselves was basically useless because a number of Hamilton people made the eighty-five-kilometre trip to visit during their time there.

As we’ve seen over the past weeks social distancing has led to novel ways to fill in time. That was no different out at Cherrypool.  The campers came up with the idea of a mock wedding with Nana as the bride.  That’s when this photo was taken.  A mock wedding in the bush is not an option for us at this time but we can learn about our past and Western District Families is a good place to start.

The main section of Western District Families has more than 430 posts.  You can simply start at this post and start scrolling or you can view the posts by category such as Western District History and Cemeteries.  In the right sidebar of this page, you will see the drop-down box for categories. You will also see the Pioneer Obiturary Category and from there you can read the seventy-nine Passing of the Pioneers posts from the most recent.  Or if you are looking for the obituary of a specific person, go to the tabs at the top of the page you will find the Pioneer Obituary Index.  There you can find a person within the alphabetical lists. Click on their name and you will go their Passing of the Pioneers entry.

Another tab at the top of the page is the Western District Links.  There are some useful links for websites if you are interested in researching Western District family history or local history including Facebook groups and pages.  You will also find links to all the Western District newspapers digitised at Trove.

There is also Hamilton’s WW1 with 160 biographies of men and women who served.  Hamilton’s WW1 is divided into Enlistments, Women, and Memorials., Whichever you choose, just click on the underlined names to read a biography.  There are nine new biographies available.  They are:

William Charles Boyd

Thomas Brown

John Leslie Connor

Duncan Brown Cowan

Edmund Dohle

Robert William Drummond

Gertrude Agnes Grewar

Thomas Leslie O’Neil

John James Affleck Younger

A handy tip while reading the posts and pages at Western District Families is to click on any underlined text which will take you to further information on a subject.  It may be a website like, Trove or the Australian Directory of Biography or it may be a related WesternDistrict Families post.

If you’ve made it through all that, you could check out the Western District Families or the Hamilton’s WW1 Facebook pages.  You don’t even have to be a Facebook member to view them either.  On the Western District Families page recently I’ve been posting links to books about Western District history you can read for free online.  Plus there are 1000s of photos you can browse through.  You will find links to both pages in the right-hand sidebar of this page.

If after all that you find yourself twiddling your thumbs again, try the Western District Families YouTube Channel.  You can view nine videos I’ve made including the Western District Families 2018 Album made up of photos shared to the WDF Facebook page.

Or you can view the playlist I’ve put together including sixty-seven history-themed videos from across the Western District such as ‘Mrs Funk and the Dunkeld and District CWA Cookbook’. Aged 100 in 1910, Mrs Funk reads through the cookbook and is reminded of people, recipes, and stories from her past in Dunkeld.  You will find that video and more on the link – WDF YouTube Playlist.

Happy reading and viewing.

Take a Photo – A Moment in Time

The next “Take a Photo” pic was part of the Western District Families Facebook page theme “Along the Hamilton Highway” in 2017 and is a favourite photo of mine.  From the Museums Victoria Collection, the caption reads “A woman, Christina Park (sic), drying apples.” The date was given as c1931, the place depicted as Lake Linlithgow and the creator of the photo, Myrtle Sharrock. 

Christina looks as though she could have been drying apples at Lake Linlithgow near Penshurst all her life, however, I found the photo depicted just a short moment in time in a long life.

CHRISTINA PARKE DRYING APPLES NEAR LAKE LINLITHGOW, CROXTON EAST. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769626

Christina was born Christina Arbuthnot in 1855 in the Geelong district, the second eldest child of Alexander Arbuthnot and Elizabeth McKenzie (1) ). It appears she grew up in the Blakeville district north of Ballan.  In 1875 aged twenty, she married Frank Parke (2). Frank built a house at Blakeville and they went on to have ten children over the next twenty years with most born around Blakeville.  In 1883, while working as a sawyer for Mr Blake’s mill at Blakeville, Frank badly cut his hand and was taken to Ballarat Hospital.  In 1885, baby Agnes was born at Barry’s Reef near Blackwood but died a month later. (3) (4).   

BARRY’S REEF c1900
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/401042

After thirty-five years, Christina moved away from the area she had known most of her life when the Parke family went to Warragul. Baby Charles born there in 1891 (5). But it was around the time she turned forty, Christina’s life saw the greatest change when the family moved to the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood.  Rate books from 1896 show they were living at 90 Reilly Street (now Alexandra Parade) in a rented brick home owned by Arthur Taylor (6). Frank’s occupation was given as sawyer however later records show he was working as a bootmaker, possibly at one of the many boot factories in Collinwood and surrounds. The Parke children too worked in the boot trade on finishing school.  Also in 1896, the last of the Parke children Myrtle Alpha was born (7).

Over the next fifteen years, the Parke family moved to various homes in the northern part of Collingwood. It would have been very different for Christina after forty years in the “bush”.

SMITH STREET, COLLINGWOOD. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/279623

In 1904, Christina and Frank’s son Charles died at the Carlton Children’s Hospital aged thirteen (8).  About five years later they moved further north to the suburb of Northcote and that’s where Frank died in 1912 aged sixty-two (9). Not only did Frank die in 1912 but also son George at Collingwood aged thirty-three. (10) And just a year later, another son Ernest died. (11)

Christina moved back to Reilly Street, Collingwood for a short time before spending the next eight years or so living with her youngest daughters Ivy and Myrtle in homes in Northcote, Clifton Hill, and Fitzroy North, while the girls continued working in the boot trade.  When she was sixty-five in July 1920,  Christina’s mother Elizabeth died at Camberwell. By that time, Christina and her younger sister Ellen were the remaining Arbuthnot children from a family of eight.

The following year in 1921, Christina’s twenty-six-year-old daughter Myrtle married William Joseph Sharrock.  William was a son of John  Sharrock and Janet McMillian of Fernleigh near Mount Napier, just south of Hamilton.

Family Notices (1921, May 14). The Age, p. 5.   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article203972411

William worked as manager of Rockewei near Penshurst and Myrtle went to live with him on the property and so did Christina. By the time the 1930s arrived, Christina was seventy-five and she went to live in Cobb Street in Penshurst while William and Myrtle were off at Glenthompson managing another property (11). Next William managed a property at Croxton East, the location of Lake Linthigow and Christina moved in again.  It’s from that time we find out more about Christiana thanks to the Weekly Times. In 1932, Christina participated in the paper’s Free Exchange Service, offering plant cuttings and National Geographic Magazines in exchange for Robour Tea coupons.

OUR WOMEN READERS’ FREE EXCHANGE SERVICE (1932, August 6). Weekly Times p. 25 (SECOND EDITION).   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223813061

Also, Myrtle took a photo of her mother drying apples and sent it to “Miranda” of the “Women’s Bureau” column in the Weekly Times., the same photo held by Museums Victoria. From Myrtle’s letter, we learn about Christina riding horses and giving swimming lessons.

THE WOMAN’S BUREAU (1934, March 17). Weekly Times, p. 21.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223202919

Christina was soon on the move again. Her next residence was at Buangor where William and Myrtle were also living around 1936. (12) By 1942, William had taken up the family property Ferneigh at Mount Napier and Christina went with them.

MOUNT NAPIER.

By the end of the decade and into her nineties, Christina made her longest journey, moving to Brisbane. She died on 10 July 1950, aged ninety-five while living in an Eventide Home in Brisbane leaving three daughters, Olivia Limpus of Frenchville, Queensland, Myrtle Sharrock of Hamilton, and Elizabeth James of Toorak. 

Family Notices (1950, July 17). Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 – 1954), p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56950418

What a life!

Sources

  1. Victorian Birth Index, Christina Arbuthnot, 1855, Registration No. 4650/1855
  2. Victorian Marriages Index, Christina Arbuthnot, 1875, Registration No. 3981/1875
  3. Victorian Birth Index, Agnes Park, 1885, Registration No,7689/1885
  4. Victorian Death Index, Agnes Parke, 1885 Registration No. 4146/1885
  5. Victorian Birth Index, Charles Clyde Parke, 1891, Registration No. 18049/1891
  6. Victoria, Australia, Rate Books, 1855-1963
  7. Victorian Birth Index, Myrtle Alpha Parke, 1896, Registration No. 18977/1896
  8. Victorian Death Index, Chas Parke, 1904, Registration No. 11812/1904
  9. Victorian Death Index, Frank Parke, 1912, Registration No. 11531/1912
  10. Victorian Death Index, George Alexander Parke, 1912, Registration No. 5236/1912
  11. Victorian Death Index, Ernest Sydney Parke, 1913, Registration No. 10202/1913
  12. Electoral Rolls, Australian Electoral Commission, Christina Parke, 1931, Penshurst, Wannon, Victoria
  13. Electoral Rolls, Australian Electoral Commission, Christina Parke, 1936, Buangor, Corangamite, Victoria

Wonderful Western District Women Part 6

March is Women’s History Month.  I started Wonderful Western District Women in March 2017 to take the stories of women I have found in my Passing of the Pioneers posts, delve a little deeper and then showcase their stories by way of the Wonderful Western District Women.  This year I have added a dedicated page as an index. You will see the tab at the top of the page or you can follow the link to read nineteen stories of wonderful women. – Wonderful Western District Women Index

The index includes the next two women, May Robertson and Eliza Cooke. May was an active member of the Hamilton community who championed women’s rights. Eliza, a widow with a young family from Cobden, was a pioneer of the transport industry in the Western District. Remember to click on any underlined text to go to further information on a subject.

ROBERTSON, Marslie May  (c1844-1930) also known as May LEWIS

Marlise May Robertson was born in Inverness-shire, Scotland around 1844 and was seven when she arrived in Melbourne with her parents Angus Robertson and Janet McPherson. It was December 1851 and the family would have been glad to reach dry land.  During the voyage, they faced a shortage of drinking water and a run-in with pirates.  The Robertson family stayed in Melbourne only a few days before journeying to Portland on the schooner Mary Agnes.

PORTLAND BAY c1857. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/75143

It was then on to Straun station on the Wannon River near Coleraine where May’s uncles John and William Robertson had already settled.  Life at Straun was not without its dangers. In 1859, May’s brother drowned in the Wannon River after riding his horse into the river in pursuit of a bullock.  The current swept from his saddle and into the water.  He was fourteen. The following year, Angus Robertson purchased Preston Farm about two miles from Hamilton and the family was on the move again.

In March 1868, May married William Sudgen Price Lewis, the stepson of Richard Lewis, a former owner of Rifle Downs at Digby. William was leasing Hilgay near Coleraine at the time and the couple remained there until around 1871 when they moved to Hamilton.  The Lewis family lived at Pine Lodge in Mill Road, Hamilton. May and William had eight children and some time after 1890, they took a young boy Arthur into their care, raising him as their own.

May was an excellent horsewoman. Her older brother John Straun Robertson rode in the Great Western Steeplechase, and if it was thought proper, I think May would have too.  She showed horses including Gold Dust for Samuel Winter Cooke in September 1890 at the Hamilton Show. Lord Hopetoun, Governor of Victoria and a house guest of Cooke at Murndal, was in attendance. It was day two and the ground was slippery.  While competing in the Best Lady Rider Over Hurdles class, Gold Dust fell at the first jump. May quickly remounted and wanted to continue but wasn’t allowed.   

THE HAMILTON PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY. (1890, September 19). Portland Guardian, p. 3 (EVENING).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63629652

Just months after the Hamilton Show, May and William lost their son Alive in February1891 aged six.  In May 1903, another son James died aged twenty-one.

May was very active in the Hamilton community with charitable works with the Salvation Army. She also joined the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), set up not only to promote temperance but also social and political reform.  The WCTU was very active in collecting signatures for the Women’s Suffrage Petition in 1891.  I was not at all surprised to find May signed the petition. 

Another of May’s interests was the  Australian Women’s National League formed in 1904.  A function of the conservative group was to educate women about politics.  The group was very active leading into the 1913 Federal Election and it seems May was in the thick of it.  In order to dismiss rumours of bribery, she wrote to the Hamilton Spectator saying she did what she did in “the cause of Liberalism”.

BRIBERY CHARGE DENIED. (1913, June 21). Hamilton Spectator p. 6.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225032224

May’s son Arthur Lewis was one of the first Hamilton enlistments for WW1, signing up on 1 October 1914 and leaving two months later.  He dutifully wrote home to May and William describing the sights of Egypt, particularly those with a biblical connection.  In a letter, they received in June 1915 written in April, before Arthur left Egypt for Gallipoli.  He wrote to not worry if there was a delay in receiving letters, as he may be going somewhere it would be hard to get letters out.  He closed  “I will say good-bye for just now, and wishing you all the best of luck – case of accidents: give my best love and wishes to everybody.”

On 12 August 1915, Arthur Lewis was shot in the abdomen at Gallipoli.  He was transferred to the hospital ship Guildford Castle, however, he died the following day and was buried at sea. On 25 September 1915, the Hamilton Spectator reported that the Lewis family had received the first news that not only was Arthur wounded over a month before, but he had died from the wounds.  The news came as a great shock to the Lewis family.   On 5 October, within two weeks of hearing of Arthur’s fate, William Lewis passed away. 

May kept busy. She had joined the  Red Cross, making shirts and knitting socks for the boys at the front.  She also entered her fuchsia and dahlia blooms in a Red Cross flower show.  But then May’s oldest son Angus died in Western Australia in March 1916 at the age of forty-four.  The Hamilton Spectator reported the loss was the third for seventy-two-year-old May in eight months. Not surprising she was not her usual “buoyant and energetic” self and was suffering bad health.

But May rallied finding strength from her charitable works and she joined the Friendly Union of Soldier’s Wives and Mothers.  Also, every Sunday she went to the Hamilton Hospital and handed out flowers to the patients.  Her last visit was Sunday 9 June 1930.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

May wasn’t there to hand out flowers the following Sunday.  She had died the day before on Saturday 15 June 1930 at the age of eighty-six.  She was remembered as Hamilton’s best known and much-loved resident and large attendance at her funeral was testimony to that.

COOKE, Elizabeth Jane (c1842-1932) Also known as Eliza MOREHOUSE

Elizabeth Cooke was born in 1842 and arrived in Victoria when she was eight.   After some time, the Cooke family made their way to Ballarat where, in 1866, Eliza married Charles Morehouse.  Children were born to Eliza and Charles in Ballarat before the family moved to Cobden in 1880 where Charles operated a store.  A son was born on 2 August 1881 but just under five months later on 27 December 1881, Charles was dead. Needing to provide for her family, Eliza continued running the store and from around 1882 was operating coach services.

“Classified Advertising” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 12 August 1882: p.3.  <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23343841&gt;.

In doing so, she pioneered coach services between Cobden, Princetown, and Peterborough.  She moved on to mail services as well.  In 1885, she covered the Cobden to Camperdown run

THE CONVEYANCE OF MAILS. (1885, July 14). The Colac Herald, p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90352779

She also set to work improving the store.

“Hampden Shire Council.” Camperdown Chronicle  9 November 1883: p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23348063

By 1895, Eliza’s delivery area had expanded.

THE GOVERNMENT GAZETTE. (1895, May 6). Geelong Advertiser p. 4.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149936139

At one stage, Eliza had around forty horses working on her various coach services and each was selected by her.

ROYAL MAIL COACH, VICTORIA c1890s Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/1696441

You could even take a Morehouse coach from Melbourne to Port Campbell for the summer holidays.

“Camperdown Chronicle.”  SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1888.  p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18585307

Eliza also held the lucrative contract to provide bran and oats to the police of Cobden and Camperdown for their mounts. And not only that, she owned the goods shed at the Timboon railway station.  In July 1900, she told the secretary of the Timboon Progress Association (PA) she intended to pull down the shed and remove it to Cobden. Because Timboon couldn’t afford to lose their shed, the Timboon PA organised petitions to send to the Railway Department requesting they buy the shed.  They heard back in August, with the department having offered Eliz £22 for the shed but she refused. She then wrote a letter to the Timboon PA and told them the lowest she would go on the shed was £30.  If she couldn’t get that price, she would remove the building.  I didn’t find an outcome to the situation but I did note that in December 1905 a report in the Camperdown Chronicle mentioned it had been twelve months since the agitation began for a new goods shed at Timboon. 

 Also In 1900, it was reported Eliza’s business was sold to Mr Smith of Colac and John Bryant of Camperdown. However, two weeks later it was reported she was building a new letting stable, corn store and cottage in Curdie Street, Cobden.

COBDEN NEWS (1900, August 30). Camperdown Chronicle p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26109212

Eliza’s daughter Ethel then went on to marry John Byrant in 1902.

Moving with the times, in 1910, Eliza replaced the horse-drawn coach services between Camperdown and Cobden with a motorbus.

A HORSE-DRAWN COACH AND A MOTOR BUS AT AN UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION. Photographer: John Henry Harvey Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/50441

Away from the transport business, Eliza was busy in the community. She was an active member of the Cobden Presbyterian Church (below) and was and the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union (PWMU).  During WW1, she was the treasurer of the Cobden branch of the Australian Women’s National League (AWNL).

COBDEN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collection https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/772413

On 5 August 1931, Eliza celebrated her ninetieth birthday at her home Kooringa, Curdie Street Cobden. The celebration including a birthday cake with ninety candles.  At the time Eliza was President of the Cobden Ladies’ Benevolent Society and still chairing meetings.

Eliza died the following year and was buried at the Cobden Cemetery.  A memorial tablet was unveiled in her memory in 1935 at the Cobden Presbyterian Church.

CAMPERDOWN CHRONICLE. PUBLISHED EVERY TUESDAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 1935. (1935, April 11). Camperdown Chronicle, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28750285

Eliza left three sons and two daughters. One of those daughters was Minnie Jane also very community-minded and involved with many of the same organizations as her mother.  Minnie never married and lived with her mother until her death.  Minnie died in 1945 aged seventy-six.

 

Take A Photo – Daystar

The following photo from the Museums Victoria collection was posted to the WDF Facebook page in October 2017 when the photo theme was animals.

Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/771583

The description with the photo reads as follows, “The horse ‘Daybreak’ or ‘Daydream’ (?), a champion hunter who won many equestrian events in the Wimmera and Western district. His certificates and prizes are displayed.”  The individuals identified were named as Ethel McIntyre and John Ross and the photo was taken at Douglas (north-east of Harrow) c1920.

Using those clues, I uncovered a wonderful story of a horse called Daystar and his owner John Hugh Ross. I also found John was part of a family I was familiar with from my Byaduk research.

Born around 1900, Daystar was by the sire Timmon out of the mare Phyllis. In the years 1905 and 1906, John Ross of Douglas (also known as Salt Lakes) was racing Daystar on the flat and over steeples at meetings including Casterton, Chetwynd, Wando Vale, and Hamilton. I couldn’t find him winning a race but he did run second a couple of times.

CHETWYND RACES. (1905, June 6). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved October 19, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72816584

John also took Daystar on the show circuit, riding the horse in hurdle races and hunter classes and it turned out Daystar was a handy jumper. On 14 July 1909, at Douglas, John was schooling Daystar when the horse cleared a jump of 3ft 6in but it was not the height of the jump, rather the length which stood out.

From take-off to landing, Daystar jumped a width of thirty-nine feet (almost twelve metres). At the time, records dating back to 1847 were cited when another horse jumped thirty-seven feet. The current world record for a long jump by a horse across water is held by a horse called “Something” who jumped twenty-eight feet. (8.4 metres) in 1975.

A WONDERFUL JUMP. (1909, September 7). Glen Innes Examiner, p. 5.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180126153

John Ross was born at Knebsworth south-west of Byaduk in 1875. He left school and started working when he was thirteen.  In the 1890s John joined others from Victoria who travelled to the Western Australian goldfields but he was back in Victoria and living at Douglas by 1905. John was a blacksmith and purchased the Douglas blacksmith shop in 1908,  He was also a good footballer.

The young lady in the photo was named as Effie McIntyre. In 1913, John Ross married Effie Grace McIntyre at the Presbyterian Manse at Hamilton (below).

FORMER HAMILTON PRESBYTERIAN MANCE

The wedding ceremony was followed by afternoon tea at the Caledonian Hotel where Daniel Scullion proposed a toast to the newlyweds on behalf of their parents.  John’s wedding gift to Effie was a gold broach and Effie gave John a gold watch guard.  The couple honeymooned in Warrnambool.

On their return to Douglas, a gathering was held and John and Effie were presented with fifty sovereigns from the locals. It was there Thomas Hobbs spoke of John and Daystar’s contribution to the community.  If someone was requiring medical assistance in the night, they just had to knock on John’s window and ask him to go to Harrow for the doctor. In no time Jack would be aboard “his favourite Daystar” and on his way. John thought he was only doing what he thought was his duty to help others whenever there was a chance.  The rides to Harrow were no trouble because he loved to spend time in the saddle.

John and Daystar continued to compete but in August 1914, Daystar then aged fourteen and with John aboard, dropped dead at the Edenhope P&A show during a round of a hurdle competition.  Daystar cleared the first two hurdles well but ran out at the third jump and dropped from beneath John. A sad and sudden end for Daystar. John must have been devastated not just to lose a horse but his companion. The news of Daystar’s death spread across the country. The story led the “News of the Day” in the Warracknabeal Herald (below).

The Border Chronicle remarked on the coincidence that Daystar carrying number 13 (unlucky for some) had his first and last jumps competition at the Edenhope Show.

As for the Byaduk connection, if you’ve ever travelled through Byaduk, say going from Hamilton to Port Fairy, just past the Byaduk oval you will see the Byaduk Boer War Memorial to the right.  On it is the name of Donald Ross, killed in South Africa on 15 November 1900.

BYADUK BOER WAR MEMORIAL

Across the road is the Byaduk War Memorial.

BYADUK WAR MEMORIAL

With the names of Andrew and Samuel Ross.

BYADUK WAR MEMORIAL

Donald, Andrew, and Samuel Ross were the sons of George Ross and Flora Cameron and younger brothers of John Ross. The boys’ father George died at Byaduk in 1895. Their mother Flora sent off son Donald to South Africa as part of the 1st Australian contingent. Three months after his return in August 1900, Donald was dead from a lung condition. When WW1 came, Flora sent three sons, Andrew, Samuel, and William. At the time of Andrew’s enlistment, the Hamilton Spectator wrote of the “Patriotic Family”

A PATRIOTIC FAMILY. (1916, June 29). Hamilton Spectator p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133702199

On 7 November 1917, Samuel Ross was killed in Palestine while serving with the 11th Australian Light Horse Regiment.  Andrew Ross returned from overseas but died of bronchitis on 10 June 1919.  William returned in 1919 and died at Red Cliffs in 1963.

Meanwhile, John and Effie were running the Douglas Post Office. John had taken over duties temporarily in 1917 when the postmaster at the time enlisted. They also built a new house at Douglas in 1937

John Ross died at Douglas on 29 April 1949 aged seventy-three.  Later in the year, Effie was recognised by the people of Douglas for her service running the Douglas Post Office for over thirty years.  Effie died at Portland in 1976 aged eighty-five. 

Further Reading

Jump of “Daystar” – Gippsland Times – 9 August 1909

Wedding of John Ross and Effie McIntyre – Horsham Times – 21 February 1913

Death of “Daystar” – Terang Express – 25 August 1914

John and Effie’s House Warming – Horsham Times – 23 March 1937 

Obituary of John Ross – Horsham Times – 3 May 1949 

 

WDF News

Some news since my last update.

I was thrilled to be asked along as the guest speaker for the Byaduk/Byaduk North Progress Association Australia Day ceremony. Those of you who have followed my blog for a long time will know of my family connections to Byaduk going back to the early 1860s.  Given the turnout, my ggg grandfather James Harman and his fellow early settlers would have been proud to see the community is still strong in Byaduk. Thank you to the people of Byaduk for having us and for the delicious breakfast. You were all so welcoming and we had a lovely morning.

There have now been four Broken Memories posts. So far you have seen the broken headstones of Samuel and  Frances Hing, Joseph Lissiman, and Thomas Gorman and his three children.  While it wasn’t planned, Parts 2 and 3 have the Hamilton district Diptheria epidemic of 1879/80 interwoven through the stories.  Likewise, Archdeacon Gustaves Innes, of Hamilton’s Anglican Church during that period also makes an appearance in both posts.  There will be more about Gustaves in future posts and the cat I promised in my last update.  The links to the Broken Memories posts so far are –

Broken Memories – An Introduction

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old Cemetery) Part 1 – Samuel and Frances Hing – The sudden death of Sam Hing’s wife Frances Hing in 1881, was the first in a string of tragedies for Sam and his family.

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old Cemetery) Part 2 – Joseph Lissiman – A story of a young man who followed his dream only to have his life cut short. And find out how the death of Dunkeld Lay Preacher Joseph Lissiman sparked some ghostly claims in the newspapers.

Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old Cemetery) Part 3 –  Thomas Gorman and his three children, Ethel, Jane and Thomas Jr.  Hamilton stationmaster and former player of the Carlton and Melbourne Football Clubs, Thomas Gorman and three of his children fell to a deadly Diphtheria epidemic in Hamilton and district in 1880.  Read how the Melbourne football community got behind Thomas’ widow and remaining three children and how life turned out for them after their tragic loss.

There will probably be at least three more Broken Memories from the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. I will then move on to some other cemeteries. I’ve added some new cemeteries to my photo collection over the last month, Byaduk North, Byaduk Lutheran, Branxholme, and South Hamilton Lutheran Cemetery. I’ve also taken my tally of Hamilton (Old) Cemetery photos up to 1500 but I am a long, long way off having a photo of every headstone given my preference for random wanderings rather than an organised approach.

March and April are always busy months  I write most of my Hamilton’s WW1 biographies then and a few years ago I decided to throw Wonderful Western District Women into the mix to coincide with Women’s History Month in March.  There should be at least one WWD Women post during March.  And there is always a birthday post for Western District Families in April.  This year will be birthday post number 9!

For those of you who enjoy Passing of the Pioneers, it’s on hold for the moment.  I would get a lot more PP posts done if new ideas didn’t distract me.  The latest idea is Take a Photo, a new series looking at stories behind photos.

If you follow the Western District Families Facebook page, you’ll know I share a lot of out of copyright photos from the State Library of Victoria and Museums Victoria.  Often it’s possible to find some sort of a story about the subject or event using clues from the catalogue listing.  With the help of Trove digitised newspapers, I’ve found some great stories to include with the photos on the Facebook page and I thought I should share some of those here.  I have one Take A Photo post finished, three close to finished and another four in the early stages,  I’ll post them over the coming months in between everything else.  The first Take A Photo post will be out later today and is the story of a man and his horse.