Cemeteries With a View

Over the past two weeks, I’ve visited three Western District cemeteries, each offering great views of the surrounding area.

Firstly, I took a trip to Hamilton and rarely do I visit without taking a drive out Coleraine Road to the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Aside from dropping by the graves of my great grandparents and great great grandparents, the main task on my visits is photographing the multitude of headstones.  I’ve got a long way to go with just over five hundred photos which include a lot of multiples.  But while wandering around the rows of graves it’s hard not to stop for a photo of the view towards volcano Mount Napier to the south.

LOOKING TOWARD MT. NAPIER FROM THE HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

It’s even better in Autumn

AN AUTUMN VIEW TO MT NAPIER FROM HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

Then there’s the beauty of the many and varied monuments rising up across the cemetery’s expanse.

HAMILTON CEMETERY

If you look in the right direction you can even catch a glimpse of one of Hamilton’s beautiful steeples.

VIEW TO CHURCH HILL FROM HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

This visit I tried to find graves using directions from the Hamilton Cemetery Trust website.  I first went in search of Mary Ryan, one of the Western District’s Wonderful Women.  Mary appeared not to have any family so I’m interested to see if she has a headstone.  She is buried in the Church of England section, a large area running down the eastern side of the cemetery. Although the various denominations are clearly marked, the rows are not and I was soon lost.  I tried using the cemetery site’s mapping on my phone but that wasn’t easy and I tried referring to the large plan at the front of the cemetery.  In the end, I gave up and went back to my random photo taking.  I think I’ve a solution so I’ll try it next time and let you know.

At Hamilton, photos of broken headstones are also on my list like this one belonging to Frances Mary Sing who died a mysterious death in 1881 and her husband Hamilton draper Sam Hing. It includes a Cantonese inscription at the bottom.

HEADSTONE OF FRANCES AND SAMUEL HING, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Heading home from Hamilton, I had a brief stop at the Dunkeld (New) Cemetery mainly to get some photos of the views towards the Southern Grampians. If you look one way, you see Mount Sturgeon (below).

VIEW TO MT STURGEON FROM DUNKELD (NEW) CEMETERY

Look the other way and you see Mount Abrupt (below).

VIEW TO MT ABRUPT FROM DUNKELD (NEW) CEMETERY

The Dunkeld District Historical Museum has a tour of the cemetery on 31 March and I hope to get along for more photos from this picturesque cemetery.  You can find out about the tour on the Museum’s event page on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/904350026381602/

On Friday, I travelled to Willaura, between Glenthompson and Ararat and, of course, called in at the cemetery.  In use since 1917, it’s a relatively new cemetery compared to some in nearby towns. Again it was hard not be distracted by the view of the Grampians.

A GRAMPIANS VIEW FROM THE WILLAURA CEMETERY

THE GRAVE OF JOHN AND ELIZABETH WRIGHT AT WILLAURA CEMETERY

FROM THE FRONT GATE OF WILLAURA CEMETERY

Those cemeteries with a good view I’ve previously posted about include Portland North, Cavendish Old Cemetery and Old Dunkeld Cemetery.  Currently, I’m working on a post about the Yambuk Cemetery with its own unique view.

YAMBUK CEMETERY

Then there’s Warrnambool…the list could go on.

WARRNAMBOOL CEMETERY

Passing of the Pioneers

After the chore of moving house, I’ve finally had a chance to write a Passing of the Pioneers post.  I had good intentions for a December edition and started a post but it was soon January.  Not wanting to let another year go by until I had to chance to post about some of the “December” pioneers, I decided to write a combined December/January post.  As time went on it was obvious I wasn’t going to finish by the end of January, so now it has become a combined December/January/February post. 

There are only seven pioneer obituaries in this edition, two each from December and January and three from February, however, due to the amount of extra information about some of the subjects, their entries are longer than usual. Most are long overdue in finding their way to the Pioneer Obituary Index.  Among them is one of our great female pioneers along with two men who were pioneers of Victorian horse racing one of whom still has a leading race named after him.  And there is a woman who by marriage became linked to three well known Hamilton district families, the Learmonths, Laidlaws and Thomsons and learnt Spanish along the way.

COLDHAM, John – Died 2 December 1882 at Grassdale. John Coldham arrived in Tasmania from England around 1840. Having heard of good land in Victoria, John sailed for the colony, taking up the Grassdale Run, west of Branxholme where he remained for the next forty years.  In 1850, John was appointed a Magistrate in the district and in 1853 he married Josephine Lane and they went on to have five sons.

John was active in community affairs and early horse racing in Victoria.  From a horse called Bobby he raced at Portland around 1848, he went on to own two of the runners in the first Melbourne Cup in 1861, Grey Dawn and Twilight.  Grey Dawn was the progeny of Western District sire King Alfred.  Break O’Day out of Grey Dawn won the 1874 Ballarat Cup for John.

Along with horses, John was a breeder of fine sheep and in his later life took up breeding Alderney cattle. In 1882, John’s health was failing and he took a trip to the sulphur springs of New Zealand in search of relief.  Knowing death was impending, on his return, he sold his stock.  He didn’t see out the year and was buried at the Merino Cemetery.  Further reading about John Coldham’s racing and farming successes was published in The Australian in 1881 after a visit to Grassdale and you can find the article on the following link http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225486595

MINOGUE, Jerome Joseph – Died 31 December 1928 at Edenhope.  Jerome Minogue was born in Clare, Ireland around 1840 and arrived in Portland as a baby with his parents Simon and Johanna Minogue aboard the Agricola. The Minogues lived at the property Wattle Hill at West Portland.  Jerome remained in Portland for more than thirty years working as a stockman for the Henty brothers, including time as the head stockman at their property Cashmore. He was known as an expert horseman and his tracking abilities saw him find missing children in the bush on two occasions.  Jerome married Jean Edgar of Harrow in 1871 and then bought a farm near Edenhope. Jerome was survived by Jean, two sons and three daughters.

FFRENCH, Acheson – Died 29 January 1870 at St Kilda. Acheson Ffrench was born at Monivae Castle, Galway, Ireland in 1812. As a young man, he left Ireland and travelled through Europe and the Holy Land before landing in Australia.  In 1841 at the age of twenty-nine, Acheson was appointed Police Magistrate at Hamilton, the same year he took up a large run of 17,000 acres to the south of Hamilton. He named it Monivae after his Galway home. On 8 February 1842, Ffrench married his fiancé Anna Watton and children began arriving at a steady rate with six boys and six girls born in the following years. In 1847, a homestead was built at Monivae located on what is now the eastern side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.

In 1864, Acheson put Monivae up for lease for a term of three years and moved his family to Melbourne where they remained for two years before returning to Monivae in 1866. Ffrench continued to visit Melbourne and he was in town on 29 January 1870. Feeling like a swim, he visited Kenny’s Gentleman’s Bathing Ship (below) at St Kilda.

Kenny’s Baths, St. Kilda by Thomas Clark,artist. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84320

Acheson plunged into the water and hit his head on the bottom of the pool.  With his neck broken, Acheson died at the scene.  For more about Acheson Ffrench go to my post Strong in Faith, a story of Monivae Estate.

GRAY, Charles – Died 27 January 1905 at Kensington, London.  Charles Gray was born in 1818 at Anstruther, Fife, Scotland a son of Major George Gray of the Royal Marines.  In January 1839, Charles sailed from England to Hobson’s Bay on the ship Midlothian, meeting William P. Scott and John Marr on the voyage. They parted company on arrival, with Charles making his way to Glenormiston. Hearing of a flock of sheep for sale, Charles wrote to his shipmates Scott and Marr and proposed they squat together.  They agreed and the three men took out a squatters licence further on to the north-west at Green Hill Creek near what is now Glenthompson. The site Charles first camped on Green Hill Creek in 1840 was marked with a stone obelisk. The inscription on the obelisk read,”Charles Gray Camped Here September 1840″.

CHARLES GRAY c1855. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/294252

The trio stayed in partnership until 1845 when Scott retired. In 1850, John Marr and Charles dissolved their partnership, splitting the property and stock.  John Marr named his share Burrie Burrie, later becoming Brie Brie while Charles named his share Nareeb Nareeb.  He set about building a homestead by the Green Hill Creek and improving the property for sheep farming.  In 1855 Charles was appointed a Magistrate in the Portland Bay district.

THE HOMESTEAD BUILT BY CHARLES GRAY AT NAREEB NAREEB ON THE BANKS OF THE GREEN HILLS CREEK. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/294239

At the age of thirty-nine in 1857, Charles married Elizabeth Sharp. Elizabeth was a watercolour artist from Dublin, Ireland via Sydney.  She arrived at Portland from Sydney early in 1857 and married Charles on 19 March that year.  A daughter Annie was born the following year and another daughter Emily was born in 1860.

ELIZABETH GRAY AND HER DAUGHTERS ANNIE, (right) and EMILY (seated with Elizabeth) c 1862. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/294254

In 1862, a boy was born to Charles and Elizabeth but he sadly died before he could be named.  The following year on 13 February, a daughter Elizabeth was born at Neptune Cottage at Queenscliff.  The pride Charles had in his daughters comes through in the photo below.

CHARLES GRAY AND HIS DAUGHTERS ANNIE (right) and EMILY (left) c1862. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/294247

Charles spoke fondly of his girls, evident in his memoir Western Victoria in the forties: reminiscences of a pioneer, published posthumously in the Hamilton Spectator in 1932. Charles mentioned his oldest daughters particularly Annie who he taught to ride on a Shetland pony and by “ten years of age was a good and fearless rider”.  He recalled Annie helping him reduce kangaroo numbers on Nareeb Nareeb and an adventurous trip to Glenthompson with Annie and Emily who were fully exposed to pioneering life.

Amid the isolation of life at Nareeb Nareeb, Elizabeth continued with her art.  In 1864 she sent five paintings to the Annual Exhibition of Fine Arts in Melbourne and in 1866, she exhibited watercolours at the Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition, including views of Queenscliff such as the work below.

QUEENSCLIFF BEACH by ELIZABETH GRAY (1963) Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/401523

In 1867 when Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh visited the colony, he spent time at neighbouring property Hopkins Hill, the guest of John Moffat. Charles and Elizabeth were invited to lunch with the prince and Elizabeth presented him with vases adorned with etched Black Swan eggs.  The Prince was most impressed with Elizabeth’s work and commissioned her to make similar ornaments for his mother. Elizabeth produced four vases including two smaller vases each with carved Black Swan eggs including one of the Wannon Falls near Hamilton, seen on the right in the illustration below. A larger vase featured Mount Sturgeon near Dunkeld carved on an emu egg.  The four vases given to Queen Victoria are now part of the Royal Collection and are located at Osborne House, the summer house of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight. A photograph of the vases in the illustration below is available on the link to the Royal Collection.

“VASES PRESENTED TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN.” Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875) 15 August 1868: 12. Web. 7 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60450420&gt;.

In 1873, Elizabeth exhibited in the Victorian Intercolonial Exhibition in Melbourne and the London International and by December that year, the Grays had decided to move to England. Charles sold the household furniture and harness and the family left Australia in February 1874.  Two years later Charles travelled from London to New York and then on to the Philadelphia Exhibition before embarking at San Francisco for Sydney. He then made his way south to Nareeb Nareeb. The women in his life extended their stay in England.  On his return, Charles was appointed a Justice of the Peace. In 1881, Charles’ eldest daughter Annie married Charles Rowe in Kensington, London.

Charles may not have been the easiest person to get along with according to a description of him by Billis & Kenyon in 1942.

“Nareeb Nareeb—One of the Famous Western District Fine-wool Stations” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 3 May 1941: 37. Web. 3 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article142429106&gt;.

However, a reporter from the Hamilton Spectator visited Nareeb Nareeb in 1876 upon Charles’ return from London to report on his “Model Wool-Growing Estate” describing him as most hospitable and not one to turn a passer-by away.  I turned to the journalist  The Vagabond to see if he, as a keen observer of human character, had an opinion of Charles. Unfortunately, he did not pass by Nareeb Nareeb while writing his series Picturesque Victoria in 1885 but in his account of his visit to Hamilton during that series, he mentioned he wanted to visit Charles in the future.  Little did The Vagabond know by 1886 Charles was feeling the loneliness of life at Nareeb Nareeb.  Missing his family and approaching his seventies and no son to pass the property on to, he returned to England.  In 1903, Elizabeth died in England with Charles living a further two years, dying in 1905 at the age of eighty-seven.

While I was searching for The Vagabond’s thoughts on Charles Gray, I found a reference to Charles from an article by The Vagabond written after a return visit to Hamilton in 1893.  On that occasion, he met with Hamilton’s Alexander Ingram.  The Vagabond wrote Ingram had said Hamilton’s main street Gray Street, “… was not named from Commissioner Gray…but from Mr Charles Gray, the squatter…”. However, Ingram went on to refute that with a Letter to the Editor of the Hamilton Spectator on 28 November 1893 as seen below.

“THE “VAGABOND” IN HAMILTON.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 28 November 1893: 3. Web. 10 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225780345&gt;.

PACE, Jane – Died 3 February 1906 at Hamilton. Jane Pace was born on 8 February 1816 at Stokesley, Yorkshire, England to Walter Pace, a captain with the East India Company and Elizabeth Fennie.  In 1832 Walter, on hearing of good land in Western Australia, left his family in Yorkshire and set off on an exploratory trip. Finding Western Australia to his liking, Walter built a stone house for his family and wrote to his wife Elizabeth he would return to collect her and the children. However, Elizabeth was an independent woman, a trait later seen in her daughter Jane, and without telling her husband she boarded The Quebec Trader with daughters Jane and Ann and travelled to Western Australia.  After a treacherous voyage, broken with a visit with friends in South Africa, Elizabeth and her daughters arrived in Fremantle much to Walter’s surprise.

Elizabeth also proved herself a resourceful woman having a contingency plan in case Walter had already left to collect them.  From England, she carried a letter of introduction addressed to Stephen George Henty, a young trader who had frequented the Swan River area since 1829.  With Walter still in Fremantle, the letter wasn’t required but an introduction to the twenty-two year old Henty did take place leading to his marriage to sixteen year old Jane Pace.  They were married on 14 April 1836 at Fremantle.  They soon set off for Portland Bay where the Henty brothers had a whaling station and were establishing themselves as sheep farmers.  The newlyweds arrived on a Sunday evening and under moonlight, Jane was carried ashore by a sailor, the first European woman to land on the shores of the Port Phillip District.

VIEW OF PORTLAND BAY 1835-1836 BY GEORGE JACKSON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/288641

Jane found the Henty brothers had built a comfortable homestead and were awaiting her arrival with a fire burning, a hearty meal of bread, butter, eggs, and tea.  As Jane entered the homestead Francis Henty said, “Welcome, Mrs Henty” to which Jane replied, “My name is Jane Henty, your sister”.  Jane got along well with her brothers-in-law and in her memoirs published in 1902 and reproduced in part in 1934 by Table Talk newspaper, she looked back fondly on those times albeit tough. In August 1837, a son Richmond was born, the first of eleven children Jane would bear.

JANE HENTY ca. 1872-1880. Photographer Batchelder & Co. Image courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales. File no. FL3317680 http://archival.sl.nsw.gov.au/Details/archive/110343890I

In time, the Hentys moved to Tarrington Station, just east of Hamilton.  It was there in December 1872 Stephen died at the age of sixty-one.  In 1874, Anna Henty, one of Jane’s daughters married Hamilton stock and station agent Robert Stapylton-Bree and Jane went to live with the couple. A sad time came in 1904 when Jane’s eldest son Richmond died in London. Jane spent her last years at Bewsall, Hamilton the home of the Brees (below). She died there on 3 February 1906 only a few days short of her ninetieth birthday.

BEWSALL, HAMILTON. (1903, May 2). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 27. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138684187

Jane was buried with Stephen at the Hamilton Old Cemetery. A memorial to Richmond was included on the headstone.

GRAVE OF JANE HENTY

Jane was a woman of strong religious faith and a great supporter of St Stephen’s Church in Portland and the Christ Church Hamilton.  It was there a memorial pulpit to Jane was dedicated on Sunday 4 November 1906.

INSCRIPTION ON JANE HENTY MEMORIAL PULPIT, CHRIST CHURCH HAMILTON,

A report on the pulpit’s dedication by the Hamilton Spectator read as follows,

“CHRIST CHURCH.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 6 November 1906: 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Web. 7 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226123438&gt;.

And yes, today more than a century later one can visit Hamilton’s Christ Church, view the pulpit and remember Jane a great pioneering woman of not only the Western District but Australia.  March is Women’s History month and I will be posting more about Jane as part of the series, Wonderful Western District Women.

WIMBLE, Clara Augusta – Died 3 February 1912 at Cavendish. Clara Wimble was born at Northcote in 1860, a daughter of  Lands Department officer Nehemiah Wimble and Edith Hewett. On 30 August 1887, Clara married Stanley Learmonth at the Northcote Wesleyan Church. Stanley had returned from Mexico where he and his brother Allan had run the family property La Mariposa since 1881. Soon after their marriage, Clara left with Stanley for Mexico, her home for the next fourteen years.  Clara at least had some female company from home when she arrived because her brother-in-law Allan Learmonth had married Annie Thomson from the Hamilton district a year earlier and made their home at La Mariposa. Clara learnt Spanish enabling her to better adjust to her adopted country. Children were born to Clara and Stanley in Mexico including in 1890, 1891 and 1892. It was 1892 when Allan and Annie Learmonth returned to Australia but Stanley and Clara remained in Mexico for another ten years.

On their eventual return in 1902, they took up residence at Horsham where Clara was involved with the Horsham Golf Club and the Horsham Ladies Benevolent Society.  They left Horsham in 1906 moving to Eulameet, Cavendish. Clara did suffer from illness through that time but still managed to get out and about.  Around 26 January 1912,  Clara, Stanley, a son, and daughter travelled in Stanley’s car for an afternoon visiting the Carters at Glenisla.  When Clara stepped from the car she suffered a stroke and died days later on 3 February.  During her last days, Clara was attended by Dr David Laidlaw of Hamilton, married to Stanley’s sister Mary Simpson Laidlaw.  Clara was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery (below). A Hamilton Spectator article the day after her burial recalled stories unfolding from the funeral including that of Stanley Learmonth’s return visit to Mexico in 1908. At La Mariposa, he found Clara’s Spanish name of Dona Clarita was known by all and many people sent messages to her via Stanley.

GRAVE OF CLARA LEARMONTH

MANIFOLD, Edward – Died 14 February 1931 at East Melbourne.

“The Late Mr. Edward Manifold.” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 17 February 1931: 5. Web. 10 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27389306&gt;.

And so begun the obituary of Edward Manifold, the fifth son of John Manifold and Marion Thomson of Purrumbete Station, the place of Edward’s birth in 1868.  John Manifold with his brothers first took up Purrumbete in 1838 and bred Shorthorn cattle.  When Edward was nine in 1877, his father John died.  Young Edward completed his early schooling at Geelong Grammar and later Melbourne Grammar. He then went on to study at Cambridge University, England.  In 1894, Edward’s mother Marion died followed by the sudden death of his brother Thomas in 1895. From Thomas’ estate, Edward received and took up the first option to buy Thomas’ property Wiridgel and each of Thomas’ brothers inherited a share in the homestead where Edward went on to live.  He already owned the Dandite Estate inherited from his father.

“NEWLY-ELECTED MEMBER OF THE V.R.C. COMMITTEE: MR. EDWARD MANIFOLD.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 18 August 1906: 30. Web. 2 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139174270&gt;.

Edward was a good all-around sportsman excelling at cricket, football, athletics and was a member of the Trinity College rowing team while at Cambridge. However, his first love was polo and he was a member of the Camperdown Polo Club and represented Victoria, captaining the team on a tour of New Zealand in 1901.  He is seen on the far right below, along with his brothers John Chester Manifold and William Thomas Manifold, and Hexham Polo Club member, Robert Hood all members of the 1899 Victorian team.

“INTERCOLONIAL POLO MATCH.” Melbourne Punch (Vic. : 1855 – 1900) 18 May 1899: 21. Web. 10 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180224372&gt;.

Another equine interest for Edward was racing.  He was involved with the Camperdown, Terang and Warrnambool Turf Clubs and he sat on the committee of the Victorian Racing Club.  With his brother John Chester Manifold, Edward won the 1893 Grand National Steeplechase with the horse Dugan and again in 1896 with Mysore (below).

“SATURDAY’S RACING IN MELBOURNE.” The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 – 1912) 22 July 1899: 212. Web. 10 Feb 2018 .

As the years went on, Edward’s racing successes continued including the 1904 Australian Steeplechase with Airly. Such was his involvement in Victorian horse racing, since 1932, the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes is run over 1600 metres for three year old fillies at Flemington Racecourse during the Spring Carnival.  His brother Chester also had a race named after him, the listed Chester Manifold Stakes over 1400 metres run in January at Flemington.

In May 1900, it was announced Edward was engaged to Beatrice Mary Synnat Anderson, a daughter of Andrew George Anderson and Elizabeth Mary Synatt Manifold, daughter of Edward’s uncle Thomas Manifold.  Edward and Beatrice were married two months later on16 July 1900 at Christ Church, South Yarra.

“STELLA’S LADIES LETTER” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 19 July 1900: 15. Web. 10 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145935546&gt;.

Edward and Beatrice went on to have three sons, Peter, Andrew and Robert.

Edward was a councillor with the Hampden Shire Council from 1909 and was president on three occasions.  He was also chairman of directors of the Camperdown Cheese and Butter Factory.  Edward Manifold and his brothers were great philanthropists.  Edward supported St Pauls Church of England at Camperdown and the Anglican Diocese of Ballarat.  He also funded various scholarships at Geelong Grammar.  As a collective, the brothers funded the Camperdown Hospital and the equipment within. Edward was also a large landholder having an interest in a number of properties in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.  One of his properties was Boortkoi at Hexham (below), which was taken over by his son Andrew.

BOORTKOI, HEXHAM. J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231806

Edward died at a private hospital in East Melbourne in 1931 and cremated at the Melbourne Crematorium.  He was sixty-three and the last surviving son of John and Marion Manifold.

“DEATH OF MR. E. MANIFOLD” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 21 February 1931: 9. Web. 10 Feb 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141418767&gt;.

 

Trove Tuesday – Five Generations

Recently while searching for newspaper photos of Portland, I stumbled across a photo of my 1st cousin 4 x removed,  Amelia Harman with four of her descendants published in the Weekly Times in 1952.  Standing back left is Amelia’s daughter, Elsie May Harman.  Elsie married Herbert Skipworth in 1909 at Heywood.  Back right is Elsie’s daughter Doris Eveline Skipworth.  Doris married Samuel Porter in 1929. Sitting directly in front of her is Doris’ daughter and her daughter Lynette Wilmot.

“No title” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 9 April 1952: 42. Web. 19 Jul 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224015421&gt;.

This is a great find because I’ve previously posted a photo I found of a Mrs Bell photographed with her grand-daughter, great-granddaughter and a great-great granddaughter.  I couldn’t be 100% sure the woman below was Amelia, although reasonably convinced, however, the new find confirms Amelia Bell (nee Harman) was the same Mrs Bell I wrote about in Matter of Relativity.

MATTER OF RELATIVITY. (1951, December 14). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49005300

Amelia was the eldest daughter of Jonathan Harman and Elizabeth Oliver of Byaduk.  She died in 1956 in Portland aged ninety-one.  Her husband Chris Bell predeceased her by twenty-seven years.

Season’s Greetings

CHRISTMAS CARD FEATURING THE PENSHURST STATE SCHOOL Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399063

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I hope you have had success finding your Western District family over the year and thank you for your continued support in 2017.  As a thank you, I’ve gathered the most popular photos I have posted on the Western District Families Facebook page this year and made a video.  The collection gives a wonderful glimpse into the Western District’s past. I hope you enjoy the Western District Families 2017 Album.

 

Now to December Passing of the Pioneers.  I selected the obituaries and started my post at the start of December and here we are at Christmas and I’ve advanced no further.  We are in the last weeks of moving house which has turned into a bit of saga and in three weeks I don’t know how much internet access I’ll have. That then jeopardises my chances of getting a January Passing of the Pioneers out.  Therefore, I’ve picked out fifteen obituaries from both December and January and hopefully I can get a combined post done before 12 January.   There are some really worthy pioneers among them and I’d love to add them to the Pioneer Obituary Index in the coming weeks and not have to wait until this time next year.  If you don’t see a post in January, hopefully, everything will be back to normal in February.  Fingers crossed.

Passing of the Pioneers

A further ten Western District pioneers move onto the Pioneer Obituary Index this month with some joining their family members. That is the case with the families of Lesser, Cole, Kirkwood and Learmonth.  As I add entries to the index, I try to match them up with related entries and link them up.  You’ll now find a number of family connections when you scroll through the index. As usual, if you click on any of the underlined text throughout this post, you will go to further information about that subject.

HULL, Thomas Wood – Died 20 November 1868 at Hamilton.  Thomas Hull was born in Rochester, Kent, England around 1839, a son of John Hull and Elizabeth Wood. He was also a nephew of the Honorable William Hull, a member of Victoria’s Legislative Assembly from 1860 to 1866.  By 1865, Thomas was in Victoria and a policeman stationed in Gippsland.  In that year he received a promotion from Senior Constable to Sergeant 2nd Class. By 1867, Thomas had transferred to Hamilton.  In October 1867, Hamilton’s Inspector of Police, Leopold Kabut left the town, so Thomas Hull, a promising young policeman, was put in charge of the Hamilton station. Things were also going well in his personal life and Thomas married Kate Wright of Hamilton at the Church of England on 15 July 1868.

On the morning of Friday 20 November 1868, Thomas found it necessary to dismiss one of the mounted policemen Michael Flanagan. Flanagan had one too many times been reported for drunkenness. Thomas asked Flanagan to hand in his kit but advised him he could stay in his house for a couple more days due to him having a wife and six children.  Thomas then went about his duties, including a patrol around the business area of Hamilton.  At 2.00pm, Thomas returned to his quarters and around thirty minutes later Flanagan approached him.  There was some discussion between the two about the Flanagan’s  living arrangements.  Flanagan then produced a pistol, asking Thomas to check if it was clean. He then approached Thomas and shot him twice in the left side. Constable Conway who had been present rushed Flanagan and grabbed hold of the pistol. Flanagan would not release his grip so Conway cried, “Murder” and the watch-house keeper ran to his aid, securing the pistol. They then put Flanagan in the lockup.

Meanwhile, Thomas Hull lay on the ground with internal bleeding, slowly fading over the course of thirty minutes.  Kate had heard the disturbance rushed to Thomas’ side and he recognised her presence.  Thomas spent his last minutes praying, uttering, “It is hard to die”. He forgave Flanagan and his enemies before the effects of his wounds took his life at just twenty-nine. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Michael Flanagan was found guilty of murder and sent to the gallows, insisting on wearing his mounted policeman’s uniform to meet his fate.  Thomas’ wife Kate remarried in 1870 to another policeman, Alfred Clark.  She died at the Bendoc Police Station in Gippsland in 1886 aged just thirty-six.

GRAVE OF THOMAS HULL, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

GRAVE OF THOMAS HULL AT HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

LESSER, Abraham – Died 13 November 1886 at Coleraine.  Abraham Lesser was born in Swarzędz, Poland, then under Prussian rule, around 1826.  In the 1850s, his brother Louis left for Australia and Abraham followed.  Together they went to Coleraine, opening a store in Whyte Street.  In 1861, Abraham married Londoner Elizabeth “Bessie” May at the Mikveh Israel Melbourne Synagogue. In 1865, Abraham and Louis mutually dissolved the partnership in the store and Louis left for London where he married Bessie’s sister Evelyn May.

Abraham’s wife Bessie would have several pregnancies, however, she lost her first two babies and by 1870, the Lessers had lost five babies.  As well as the store, Abraham was active in the community.  He was a member of the Wannon Shire Council for almost ten years and a Justice of the Peace. A generous benefactor, he donated money to churches of all denominations.

On 12 November 1886, Abraham attended a concert in Coleraine.  While having a chat with John Kirby who would later buy Mt Koroite at Coleraine, Abraham suddenly collapsed.  He died early the following morning at the age of sixty.  He left his widow Bessie and four children.  The funeral cortege was one of the largest seen in Coleraine.  Reverend Goldrich, rabbi of the Jewish congregation in Ballarat conducted the service. The store of A.Lesser & Co (below) continued operating in Coleraine first by Louis and then members of Abraham’s family until it went into liquidation in 1939.

A.LESSER & CO., COLERAINE 1922. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769410

HORAN, Keeran   – Died 17 November 1892 at Croxton East.  Keeran Horan was born in King’s County, Ireland around 1824 and arrived in Victoria in the late 1850s with his wife Catherine Guinan.  After spending fifteen years farming at Mount Moriac near Geelong, Keeran took up land at Croxton East in 1872, calling the property Pine Hill Farm.  Keeran was an expert ploughmen and a noted breeder of draught horses. He once paid a record price for a draught stallion from Daniel Twomey of Kolor at Penshurst.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 27 September 1884: 4 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225660511&gt;.

In 1887, Keeran entered a competition conducted by the government to find the colony’s prize farm. An article about the visit of the judges to Pine Hill Farm gives a great description of not only Keeran’s farm but farming practices from the time.  You can find it on the link here.  At the time of Keeran’s death, he left a large family.  Catherine predeceased him in  1902.

KIRKWOOD, William – Died 10 November 1898 at Buckley’s Swamp.  William Kirkwood was born in Quebec, Canada on 9 February 1822. When still a child, his parents returned to Paisley, Scotland and William grew up there.  In 1842, William married Jane O’May and they had one child before heading to Australia in 1852 arriving at Portland aboard the John Davis.  They took a bullock dray to Warrock, north of Casterton where William worked. They later went to Park Hill at the Wannon.  William then selected land south of Hamilton at Buckley’s Swamp in 1861.  William and Jane went on to have another son and three daughters. William was a devout member of the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and church precentor, leading the singing until an organ was purchased.  In 1883, William returned to Scotland for a visit.  William’s funeral cortege left his home at Buckley’s Swamp at 1.30pm and when it reached Hamilton two hours later, the mourners following behind the hearse stretched for 800 metres.

GRAVE OF WILLIAM KIRKWOOD AND FAMILY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

HOLLARD, George Gilbert “Giles” – Died 26 November 1912 at Wallacedale North.  George Hollard was born in Devonshire, England in 1817.  He married Mary Richards and they had three children.  In 1849, George and his family sailed to Portland aboard the Bristol Empire. George was employed by Edward Henty at Muntham where he remained for many years.  In time, he and Mary returned to Portland.  Mary died in 1894 and George stayed in Portland until around 1908 when he went to live with his son at Wallacedale.  One of the highlights of George’s life was seeing the Governor of Victoria, Sir George Bowen turn the first sod on the Portland-Hamilton rail line.  George left three sons and four daughters at the time of his death.

DUNBAR, John – Died 9 November 1913 at Hamilton. John Dunbar was born at Tyrone, Ireland around 1833 and arrived in Victoria in 1855 and made his way to Hamilton.  In 1863, John married Frances Hawke and they had seven sons and four daughters.  John and Frances would stay in their marital home until their deaths.   In his later years, John remained fit and worked in his garden each day, only going into town on Saturday for shopping.  John left his widow Frances, three sons and three daughters.  Frances died at Hamilton in 1921.

PEARSON, Mary Jarvey – Died 24 November 1913 at Hamilton.  Mary Pearson was born in 1832 at Bathgate, Scotland, the eldest daughter of John Pearson and Mary Simpson.  Mary’s grandfather Sir James Simpson who discovered the use of chloroform as an anaesthetic. When Mary was six,  she left Leigh Scotland in January 1840 with her parents and siblings, to travel to Hobart, Tasmania on board the North Briton. During the voyage, the ship ran aground on the Goodwin Sands off the English coast near Kent, delaying the journey a month. Back on course, as the ship rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 30 April 1840, Mary’s mother gave birth to a son, Joseph.  Once in Hobart, the family lived in Mary’s late uncle’s large house at Douglass Park, Campbell Town John had inherited. In 1846, John Pearson bought the run of Mr Robertson on the Glenelg River in Victoria.

On 30 May 1846, John and Mary Pearson and their five children sailed for Portland Bay from Launceston on the Minerva with Captain Fawthrop at the helm.  From there they travelled to the 10, 750 acre Retreat Run near Casterton.  During their time at the station, they saw the impact of the Black Thursday bushfires on 6 February 1851 when Mary was nineteen.  Such was fires intensity,  birds and wildlife sought refuge at the homestead. The time of the fires would remain fixed in Mary’s memory for another reason.  Her mother died two days later on 8 February 1851. Her body was transported to the Portland North Cemetery for burial.

Mary’s father sold Retreat soon after, taking up Yambuk Station in July 1851. The trip to Yambuk took two days and there was a stopover at Castlemaddie at Tyrendarra, owned by Mr Suter.  In March 1853, Mary was visiting Castlemaddie when three armed bushrangers entered the house during afternoon tea and demanded money from those present.  Mary had a long gold chain, a gift from her father, and she tried to hide it but Wilson the bushranger caught her.  “You ladies needn’t put your jewellery out of sight. I don’t want any of it. All we want is coin.”, he said.  In 1854, John Pearson sold Yambuk to Mr Suter formerly of Castlemaddie and he moved to Portland.

While in the Portland district, Mary met and married Peter Learmonth on 18 December 1854 at Portland.  Peter had come from the Castlemaine diggings where he had some success.  He took up a job at Merino Downs for the Hentys and Mary moved there with him. They then went to Hamilton where Peter set up a flour mill at Prestonholme, just east of the town. He ran other mills in the district including Byaduk.  He also established P.Learmonth & Co, Stock and Station agents in Gray Street Hamilton.  Mary and Peter went on to have ten children, seven sons and three daughters.  Peter died in 1893 and Mary remained at Prestonholme for a further ten years before moving to Oakdene, Hamiton.  Her son James and his family, fresh from a stint at the family property in Mexico, took up residence at Prestonholme.  

Peter and Mary attended the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church in McIntyre Street and together were a driving force behind the church’s construction in 1862.   Mary was involved with the Benevolent Ladies Society, auxiliaries, sewing groups, basically any church activity.  Not only did Mary witness the construction of the first Wesleyan Methodist church in Hamilton, she was able to see the new church in Lonsdale Street (below).  She was most enthusiastic about the new church and was given the honour of laying the foundation stone on 5 April 1913.  Sadly she was in poor health at the time of the opening of the church on 5 October 1913 and was unable to attend.

HAMILTON WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH, LONSDALE STREET c1930. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769323

At the time of her death, Mary left six sons and one daughter and her younger brother Joseph Bell Pearson born near the Cape of Good Hope, was also alive.  A remembrance service was held at the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church on Sunday 7 December.  The congregation were reminded the history of the Wesleyan Methodism in Hamilton was also the history of the religious life of Peter and Mary Learmonth. Mary’s obituary in the Hamilton Spectator on 25 November 1913 gave an extensive description of her life including her early years in the colony,

As a young girl, she lived in the unprepared period before extensive settlement, when the tracks had yet to be blazed and passage through the virgin bush had to be made by roadless routes and in vehicles for human transport of most primitive origin. Her life was contemporaneous with that of the pioneer Henty family. The areas of ownership of land were comparatively vast, and like her earlier friends she had the unique experience of viewing the gradual process of expansion of population in this large and fertile district.

Mary was buried at Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with Peter.

GRAVE OF MARY JARVEY LEARMONTH AND FAMILY AT HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

COLE, Nicholas – Died 22 November 1932 at Camperdown.  Nicholas Cole was born in 1852 at West Cloven Hills Station near Darlington to Nicholas Cole and Martha Hodgson. His family had been on the property  1839.  Nicholas went to school at Geelong Grammar. After the death of his father in 1879, Nicholas inherited the property and turned his attending to breeding Merinos, become one of the leading growers in the country.  In 1885, Nicholas married Victoria Anderson of Gerangamete station.  They went on to have a son and three daughters.   In 1920, Victoria died suddenly from heart disease at the age of fifty-four.

WEST CLOVEN HILLS HOMESTEAD. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.

HEDDITCH, William Forward – Died 13 November 1939 at Bridgewater. William Hedditch was born at Lower Cape Bridgwater in 1857, the son of Richard Charlton Hedditch and Rachel Forward Read. He attended the Bridgewater School followed by Portland College. After school, William turned to dairy farming and was later director of the Portland and Bridgewater butter factories for forty years. In 1890, William married Marion Nunn Jones and they had two sons.  William had an interest in local history and was a wealth of knowledge on the subject, writing many articles for the Portland Guardian on local history.  He was buried at the Bridgewater Cemetery.

WATT, Annie – Died 10 November 1952 at Coleraine.  Annie Watt was born at Springvale in 1862.  She married Robert Brown at the Hamilton Catholic Church in 1886, the wedding performed by Father Shanahan.  Annie and Robert settled at Balmoral and in 1910 moved to Konongwootong  South.  In 1936, Robert retired from the farm and the Watts moved to Church Street, Coleraine  At the time of her death, Annie was ninety and Robert was still alive along with six children, thirty grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren.  Robert died in 1957 aged ninety-six.

Passing of the Pioneers

Eleven new pioneers join the Pioneer Obituary Index this month.  They include a couple of politicians, a female publican, and a published writer.  Once again, they all bring great stories from the Western District’s past.  Remember to click on any underlined text to find further information about a subject.

BROMELL, Thomas – Died 9 October 1887 at Melbourne. Thomas Bromell was born in Devonshire, England around 1832.  He married Emma Walter in 1851 and they arrived in Victoria in 1853 aboard the Marchioness of Londonderry.  After a brief stint on the Ballarat goldfields, Thomas and Emma headed to Barrabool Hills near Geelong where they spent about seven years.  The Bromells arrived in the Hamilton district around 1860 and by that time they had five children.  Thomas set about acquiring land, buying sections of properties such as Mokanger, Skene and Kanawalla as they became available, eventually reaching 14,000 acres he called Hensley Park.  He also bought Refuge Station near Casterton

Thomas was a grain grower initially before turning to mixed farming.  Along with sheep, he bred Neapolitan and Berkshire pigs.  He was also widely known as a breeder of Timor ponies.  Thomas began his civic life on the roads board, later becoming the Dundas Shire.  In 1874, Thomas offered himself as a candidate for the seat of Western Province in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament and was successful.  Thomas was a committee member of the Hamilton Racing Club.  The Bromells went on to have seven daughters and just one son who took over the running of Hensley Park in Thomas’s later years.   Thomas died suddenly at the Union Club Hotel, Melbourne aged fifty-four. His body was returned to Hamilton and buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

HEADSTONE OF THOMAS BROMELL, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

ARMSTRONG, Christian  – Died 24 October 1906 at Hamilton.  Christian Armstrong was born at Kildonan, Scotland in 1831.  She married James Thomson in 1852 and arrived in Victoria on the Europa with James and her brother Alexander Armstrong.  Alexander purchased Warrambeen at Shelford while James worked at Golf Hill Station next door for the Clyde Company.  Christian and James’ first child John was born there in 1853.  By about 1857, James purchased an interest in the Ullswater and Maryvale Stations near Edenhope and they moved to the later property.  In 1870, James purchased Monivae from the estate of Acheson Ffrench.  By then there were seven Thomson children.  Twins were born in the year after their arrival at Monivae and a girl Jessie in 1873.  Sadly Jessie died in 1875, In 1877, a new homestead was built (below), to accommodate the large family.  On  4 June 1889, one of Christian’s twins, George died suddenly at Monivae, from heart trouble he’d suffered from birth.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD, NEAR HAMILTON. 1966. Image Courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

A deeply religious and charitable woman, Christian was one of the fundraising champions of the town and attended St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church like clockwork “morning and night”. Everyone knew her pew. A full member of the church for thirty-six years, her name was added to the church roll on 4 October 1870.  Christian was also a member of the Ladies Benevolent Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society.  She managed to attend church until just a couple of weeks before her death.

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

Christian died at Monivae at 8.20am on 24 October 1906 and was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

HEADSTONE OF CHRISTIAN ARMSTRONG, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

The year after Christian’s death, James Thomson lay the foundation stone for a new Presbyterian Church at Hamilton.  He later donated a memorial window for the new church in remembrance of Christian.  You can read more about the Thomson family of Monivae on the link – Strong in Faith…A Story of Monivae Estate.

McKINNON,  Anne – Died 7 October 1914 at Noorat. Anne McKinnon was born around 1825 at Inverness, Scotland. She arrived in Victoria with her parents and siblings in 1852 aboard the Chance to Port Fairy.  In 1854, Anne married Charles Podger.  Anne and Charles spent the early years of their marriage at Mount Fyans near Darlington before Charles selected at Kolora, naming the property Werrook. Anne and Charles had six children, three sons and three daughters.  Anne was buried at Terang Cemetery.

BEGG, William – Died 9 October 1915 at Branxholme. William Begg was born in Scotland around 1840 and arrived in Australia in 1855 aboard the Nashwauk.  His arrival was exciting and dangerous as the Nashwauk wrecked off the South Australian coast at Moana. Surviving the wreck, the family settled in South Australia and William worked as a baker.  Around 1865, William’s parents selected land next to Morven Estate near Branxholme and he moved with them.  The property was called Fontus and William took over the property after his father’s death.  William was involved in the Branxholme Rifle Club and was captain for around twenty years.  He always thought he was lucky to be alive after his perilous arrival on Australian soil.

“”YATHONG” PATRIOTIC FETE.” Punch (Melbourne, Vic. : 1900 – 1918; 1925) 11 November 1915: 18. Web. 24 Oct 2017 .

William never married and lived with his mother who died only three years before him.  He spent his last year living with his sister Mrs Agnes Gough at Royston, Branxholme (below).

ROYSTON, BRANXHOLME, 1976. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/215598

LAYH, Carl – Died 2 October 1917 at Brighton.  Carl Layh was born in Germany around 1837 and arrived in Australia from Liverpool, England in 1859 aboard the Florence Nightingale and headed to the Ballarat diggings. There only briefly, he moved on to Geelong to work for Sander’s tobacconist in Malop Street. Around 1862, Carl moved to Hamilton and opened a tobacconist shop in partnership with Sanders. Located in Gray Street opposite the Victoria Hotel, it went under the name Sanders, Layh and Co.

On 10 June 1863, twenty-seven-year-old Carl married seventeen-year-old Jane Emma Remfrey.  The wedding took place at the Remfrey family home conducted by a Wesleyan minister. Making a career change about 1870, Carl and Jane moved to Burnt Creek near Horsham and opened a school. Carl and his family returned to Hamilton in 1878 and Carl opened an accountancy and commission agents firm and the Western District Labour Mart also known as Layh’s Labour Mart.  Jane also worked in the business.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 March 1879: 1. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226053797&gt;.

For twenty-seven years Carl was on the staff of the Hamilton Spectator as a reporter and he also contributed to the Daily Telegraph, The Age, The Argus and Herald. He retired from his work at the Spectator in 1909.   He also taught German at the Western District Academy, Hamilton (below) and privately.  Carl was also a member of the Grange Lodge from 1864.

THE WESTERN DISTRICT ACADEMY, POPE STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 21766/58 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/58

Carl and his wife had five sons and one daughter and lived in Gray Street, Hamilton.  On 10 June 1913, Carl and Jane celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.  With a son serving overseas, in 1915, Jane Layh unveiled a memorial tablet at the Hamilton State School for past students who had enlisted for WW1. Their son,  Herbert Thomas Christoph Layh who began the war as a Lieutenant in “Pompey” Elliot’s 7th Battalion, was awarded a Distinguished Service Order in 1916 and appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1919.

Ill health forced Carl to retire from his labour mart and he and Jane moved Melbourne to live with their sons.  Carl died in 1917 aged eighty.  At the timeof his death, He and Jane had twenty-five grandchildren.  Jane died in Brighton in 1931 aged eighty-four.

HOWELL, William – Died 7 October 1917 at Hamilton. William Howell lived at Coleford in Milton Street, Hamilton, his home named after the town where he was born in Gloucestershire in 1844.  William arrived in Victoria aboard the Great Victoria,  his twentieth birthday passing during the voyage.  He first went to Murghebolac near Geelong, staying for twelve years before moving to Hamilton. There he worked in partnership with Robert Coulter at Coulter and Howell Monumental Masons, from around 1878 first in Brown and then in Pope Street.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 April 1882: 4. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226064020&gt;.

William later set up his own business in Brown Street with branches in Portland and Casterton.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 3 August 1909: 1. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225047867&gt;.

In 1880, William selected land at Marney’s Swamp, north-west of Dunkeld. In 1889 at the age of fifty-four, William married thirty-one-year-old Mary Ann Taylor. They had no children. William was a member of the Rechabite Lodge, the YMCA, was a trustee of the Temperance Hall, and a playing member of the Hamilton Bowling Club.  Mary Ann lived another thirty-three years after William and died at Hamilton in 1950 aged ninety-two.

HICKMER, Sarah Ann – Died 16 October 1918 at Muddy Creek.  Sarah Hickmer was born at Brighton, Sussex, England and arrived in Adelaide, South Australia with her family in 1851.  Sarah then went to Melbourne briefly before going to Mt Gambier. She married Peter Williamson in Victoria in 1853 and around 1866, they took up land at Murphy’s Creek near Yulecart.  Peter died in 1871 but Sarah stayed on at the property with the help of her sons. She did have time away in the 1880s when she went with her sons who bought land at Tellangatuk East. She returned to the district and lived with a son at Muddy Creek.  Sarah was eighty-nine at the time of her death and still the owner of the property she and Peter bought fifty years before.  She left two sons, three daughters, twenty-five grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

CAMPBELL, Hugh John Munro – Died 24 October 1921 at St Kilda. Hugh Campbell was born in 1854 at Melbourne.  The Campbells went to Portland in the early 1860s where Hugh’s father was a merchant.  Hugh entered the family business at a young age.  On 21 January 1880, Hugh married Harriet Jarrett and they went on to have three children. In 1894, Hugh purchased Maretimo at Portland (below).  In 1896, Hugh had telegraph lines installed from his business in Julia Street to Maretimo.

MARETIMO“, PORTLAND c1895. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/266298

As well as operating the family business, Hugh also had a bark mill in Percy Street and wool washing works near the town. He was considered a pioneer among shipping merchants in Portland.  He was also one of the chief supporters of Scots Church, Portland.  In 1906, Hugh entered politics winning the seat of Glenelg in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly.  In August 1912, Harried died aged sixty-three after an illness. Hugh himself was also very ill that year and was in a hospital in Melbourne when Harriet died. He recovered to continue on with his political duties. In 1914, Hugh’s son Sydney James Campbell, a doctor enlisted with the Army Medical Corps at the outbreak of WW1.  He died of wounds at Gallipoli on 14 July 1915.  Two days later, another son Albert Campbell enlisted.  Fortunately, Albert returned home on 16 July 1917 after serving as a Lieutenant with the 29th Battalion.

“Portland Mourns” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 24 October 1921: 2 (EVENING.). Web. 24 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024740&gt;.

Hugh retained the seat of Glenelg until 1920 when defeated. It was also in 1920 when Hugh married on 9 June to Ethel May Waddell aged forty-one.  The following year he tried to win his seat back and was unsuccessful. It was a difficult period for Hugh who fell sick during the campaign of 1921.  He improved slightly before the election but his second defeat saw his health fail again leading to his death on 24 October 1921 at the age of sixty-seven. His body was returned to Portland by train for burial. After sixteen months of marriage, Ethel was a widow.  Twenty-five years younger than Hugh, she died at Camberwell in 1965 aged eighty-six.

HAMILTON, James Charles. – Died 25 October 1927  at Apsley. James Hamilton was born at Haddington, Scotland in 1836. In November 1841, James arrived at Port Melbourne with his parents and three siblings. The Hamiltons headed to Kilmore where they remained until 1846.  James’ father travelled alone to the west of the colony applying for land to form two stations Bringalbert and Ozenkadnook Stations near Apsley.  The family set out from Kilmore to join him in late February and arrived at Lake Wallace on 8 May 1846. James’ father lived only another four years.

James started driving bullocks at a young age and made trips with his brother to Portland with wool then returning with supplies. At some point, James was sent to St John’s Church of England Grammar School in Launceston to study surveying  On his return, he went to New Zealand with his brothers, with one having bought land there. Back in Australia by 1860, James married Eleanor Bax at Robe, South Australia. They returned to settle at Ozenkadnook Station.

James acquired other properties, owning up to five at one stage  It wasn’t a profitable venture and a tough existence, with drought and poor seasons. By the time he left his last station, James was penniless.  Adding to the hardship, during April 1883, James accidentally shot himself in the leg, leading to its amputation. In February 1888, a fire swept through Ozenkadnook.  Station hands had to run for their lives and James had to try to escape the fire on his crutches.  In 1910, Eleanor died having lived the past fifty years at Ozenkadnook Station.

“Crossed the Bar.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 July 1910: 24. Web. 24 Oct 2017.

It was after Eleanor’s death, James began writing his memoirs, “Pioneering Days in Western Victoria”.  He said in the year after publication it cost him a lot of money but he had sold 2500 copies in the first ten months. The book mentions many Western District names such as Henty, Cooke, Affleck, Edgar, Learmonth, Moffat, Armytage, and Laidlaw and includes James’ memories of stations including Muntham, Merino Downs, Nangeela, Rifle Downs, Gringegolgura, Dunrobin, and Pine Hills. The topics it covers include carting wool to Portland, Black Thursday bushfires, the bushrangers Morgan, Gardiner and Captain Melville, and Cobb and Co. in the 1850s including noted drivers.  You can read James booking on the link – Pioneering Days in Western Victoria.

“PIONEERS OF VICTORIA” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 12 July 1924: 10. Web. 24 Oct 2017 .

In his later years, James moved to Apsley and in 1924, it was reported he was compiling another book “The Civilisation and Occupation of Western Victoria” although it seems it was never finished.  James’ also published another edition of his earlier book in 1923.  In 1925, the Weekly Times published the book in a series.  James died at his son’s home at Apsley, aged ninety-two.  He also had one daughter still surviving.

SATCHWELL, Adeline Eliza – Died 7 October 1943 at Darlington. No one has known the Elephant Bridge Hotel like Adeline Satchwell.  Adeline, known as Ada, was born at the hotel on 9 February 1861 to  John Satchwell and Mary Ann Hudson.  Her father, a hot-tempered man, had only recently taken up the license on the hotel.  When Adeline was just two months old, her father went in a fit of “temporary insanity” and locked his wife Mary-Ann in her room and tried to set her alight.  She managed to climb out a window to safety. Where Adeline was during that time is unknown. Eventually, a trooper arrived and in his presence, John Satchwell killed himself.  He was thirty-four. A full report of the incident was published in The Argus on 2 May 1861.  Only weeks earlier, a letter of complaint was sent to the Geelong Advertiser complaining of John Satchwell’s rudeness and insulting manner.  Mary-Ann continued running the hotel and remarried in 1876 to John Eales.

In 1882, Adeline married Murdoch McLeod.  Her mother continued to hold the hotel licence until July 1889 when it was transferred to Murdoch and Mary Ann moved to Melbourne. However, Murdoch died suddenly on 20 September 1889, leaving Adeline with a hotel and four young children.  Then three months later, news came her mother had died on 12 October 1889 at St Kilda. Mary Ann was buried at the Darlington Cemetery

THE ELEPHANT BRIDGE HOTEL, DARLINGTON 1934. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/245872

Adeline continued on at the hotel.  In 1895, she married widower Joseph Gellie who had ten children from eighteen to seven. He and Adeline would have a further three, two sons and a daughter. When interviewed in 1937, Adeline said the road wasn’t as busy at it was when she was a girl. Then the hotel was the coach changing station and “meeting place of waggons and travellers up from Warrnambool to the great stations of the Camperdown-Terang area”. One of her bachelor sons,  Claude McLeod helped his mother at the hotel. Adeline is pictured below with Claude and another son Garnett.

“The children indicated by circles will each be presented with a Weekly Times pencil.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 January 1937: 31 (FIRST EDITION). Web. 26 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223897391&gt;.

On 9 February 1939, Adeline celebrated her fiftieth year as a publican and it was also her seventy-eighth birthday.  She was the only publican in Australia to hold a license in one hotel for the longest consecutive time. Adeline died in October 1943 at the place she was born. She was buried at the nearby Darlington Cemetery. Adeline left four sons and three daughters.  Her son Claude McLeod died only two years after Adeline on 25 March 1945.  The Elephant Bridge Hotel was put up for sale in 1946.

Apparently Adeline still “frequents” the hotel along with a couple of other ghosts, including a man in his thirties…the age of Adeline’s father at the time of his death. The Elephant Bridge Hotel is often named among Australia’s haunted pubs.

CAMERON, John – Died 17 October 1947 at Natimuk.  John Cameron was born at Byaduk around 1871 and became a dairy farmer.  He was involved with founding the Condah Butter Factory and was the factory’s first secretary.  In 1907, John put his Condah property up for lease and went to Queensland with his brother, selecting land at Darling Downs. It was a time many from the district were moving to that state, at the time described by the Hamilton Spectator as a “Queensland exodus”. John eventually returned to Condah and married Mary Amelia “Milly” Cameron of Condah on 9 June 1910 and a very fancy wedding it was.  The wedding report in the Hamilton Spectator mentioned within John Cameron’s family, for five or six generations, the Cameron men had all married women with the same surname.

Around 1916, John bought the farm of Louis Oliver, a Byaduk born man who moved to the Wimmera.  Located at Duchembegarra, north of Natimuk, the property was named Caringal.  John was soon well-known in the district and became President of the Presbyterian Church.  John and Millie Cameron had one son and four daughters.  John Cameron died on 17 October 1947 at the age of seventy-six and was buried at the Natimuk Cemetery.  Milly died three years later aged sixty-three.

Strong in Faith…A Story of Monivae Estate

For over 175 years, the name of “Monivae” has been familiar to the people of Hamilton and district. What it represents has changed with the generations from a parish and schools to an old bluestone homestead Hamiltonians pass on their annual migration south to Port Fairy. For the returned WW1 soldier and poet Thomas SkeyhillMonivae was the place the fairies played as he walked the paddocks, “with a copy of Keats…and dog at my heels.” 

Local history wasn’t something taught at school but I  did learn the origins of the name “Monivae”. Not during a history class, rather religious education. I attended Hamilton’s Monivae College, a Catholic secondary school. The college opened in the 1950s, on the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road, just south of Hamilton on a property with a two-storey bluestone homestead.  After the school relocated to Ballarat Road, Hamilton, the original property became known as “Old Monivae”.  Those of similar age to myself, who didn’t sit through a Form 1 RE class at Monivae, could be excused for thinking the name started with the school.  Instead, it goes back to an Irish Protestant by the name of Acheson Ffrench.

Appointed as Police Magistrate in 1841 at Hamilton, then known as The Grange, Acheson Ffrench aged twenty-nine was from Monivea Castle, County Galway, Ireland, the Ffrench ancestral home dating back to the 1600s when the Ffrenchs took over from the O’Kellys.  Born at the castle in 1812, the son of Robert Ffrench and Nicola O’Brien was educated in Dublin, destined to join the clergy, but Acheson had questions. He left Ireland and went on a pilgrimage of sorts through Europe and the Holy Land before landing in Australia.  Don Garden in Hamilton, A Western District History, cites C. J. Griffith who met Ffrench in Melbourne soon after his arrival.  Griffith recalled Ffrench’s tattoos, Jerusalem Arms inked by a monk in the ancient city along with various Arabic characters.

“Government Gazette.” Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 – 1843) 8 July 1841: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31732227&gt;.

It was also 1841 when Ffrench took up land, a large run of 17,000 acres to the south of The Grange. He named it Monivae after his Galway home. It seems he never took on the original spelling of Monivea but Ffrench seemed fairly flexible in that respect.  He dropped a letter from his surname, signing letters to the newspapers, of which he wrote many, as A.French. The Ffrench surname had already evolved back in Ireland from ffrench.

“Advertising” The Melbourne Daily News (Vic. : 1848 – 1851) 1 February 1849: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226472923&gt;.

On 8 February 1842, Ffrench married his fiancé Anna Watton, a daughter of Dr John Watton who in that year became Medical Officer at the Mt Rouse Aboriginal Protectorate.  Acheson and Anna lived at the Police Magistrate’s residence on a site selected by Acheson on the corner of Thompson and Martin streets. The Hamilton Police Station and Courthouse still stand there today.

“Family Notices” Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1840 – 1845) 14 February 1842: 3. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92679898&gt;.

By the end of 1843, the role of Police Magistrate was abolished and Ffrench was without a job.  However, by February 1844, the government announced a new commission intended to keep the peace and Ffrench was named as a commissioner.  He was able to stay on in at his residence but with reduced employment, Ffrench turned to improving Monivae and running sheep. The Ffrench offspring were arriving at a steady rate and in 1847, a homestead was built at Monivae on what is now the eastern side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.  Anna would bear twelve children in all, six boys and six girls, with one dying as a baby.

Acheson Ffrench wasn’t the best of farmers and money problems arose.  In 1864, he put Monivae up for lease for a term of three years and moved the family to Melbourne.

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 29 January 1864: 8. Web. 18 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5743286&gt;.

The family spent two years in Melbourne, returning to Monivae in 1866. Ffrench’s trips to Melbourne continued and he was there on 29 January 1870.  He fancied a dip at Kenny’s Gentleman’s Bathing Ship (below) at St Kilda. With his arms reportedly by his side, Ffrench described as, “somewhat heavy with a stout build”, dived into the water from one of the diving boards. Normally at a depth of six feet, the tide was out leaving the water depth at just over four feet. Ffrench hit his head on the bottom and unconscious when dragged out.  He could not be revived, dying within minutes.  An inquest found Acheson had broken his neck. Arising from the inquest was a conversation, of which Ffrench was a part in the days before his death.  At lunch with friends, the topic of discussion turned to death from diving accidents.

KENNY’S BATHING SHIP, ST. KILDA. Artist – Thomas Clark. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84320

When news of Acheson Ffrench’s death reached Hamilton, shops closed as a mark of respect.  He was remembered in the Hamilton Spectator, “…as generally very highly respected throughout the district for his strict integrity and manliness of character, whilst there was a certain rugged independence about him which led him to adhere strictly to his own convictions, without, however, attempting to force his views upon others”.  Monivae was placed on the market and Anna Ffrench and the children moved to Melbourne.

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 9 August 1870: 3. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5828208&gt;.

Ownership of Monivae transferred from an Irishman the Spectator described as having “peculiar” religious views, to a staunch Presbyterian from the Scottish Highlands.  James Thomson and his wife Christian Armstrong arrived in Victoria in 1852 aboard the Europa.  They spent around five years at the Clyde Company’s Golf Hill, near Shelford. Their first child John was born in 1853 at neighbouring Warrambeen, home of Christian’s brother Alexander Armstrong.  James Thomson then purchased an interest the Ullswater and Maryvale Stations near Edenhope and settled at the later property.

By the time the Thomsons arrived at Monivae in 1870, they had seven children aged two to seventeen and they moved into Ffrench’s homestead. Over the next six years, the Thomson family continued to grow.  In 1871, twins James and George were born followed by Wilhelmina Jessie in 1873. Sadly, Wilhelmina died on 5 April 1875.  The last child born to the family was William Armstrong Thomson in September 1876.  It was around the time of William’s birth, James Thomson decided they needed a bigger home or more correctly, a “mansion”. He wasn’t the only one and the “bloated aristocrats” were duly roasted by the Ballarat Star calling for a mansion tax.

“NEW SOURCE OF TAXATION.” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 18 December 1876: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199833143&gt;.

Some may believe, especially if they did Form 1 RE with me in the 1980s, the existing Monivae homestead was built by Acheson Ffrench.  James Thomson was never mentioned in our classes.  Likewise, Thomson was not mentioned in historian Margaret Kiddle’s book Men of Yesterday and she credited Ffrench for building Monivae “probably in the late sixties” (p.316). However, James Thomson was responsible for the Monivae Homestead we know today.

The site for the new homestead was about 800 metres from the former homestead and on the other side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.  William Smith, the Borough Surveyor drew up plans, tenders opened and using bluestone sourced from the quarry on the property, construction began.  Thomson’s total expenditure was £5400 something he likely regretted because the government did introduce a “class” tax and if the timing was slightly different, the homestead may never have been built. The land tax, introduced in the colony in 1877, intended to break up large holdings such as Monivae and it was thought Thomson would never have gone ahead had it come earlier.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

Hamilton Spectator correspondent toured the new sixteen roomed homestead in May 1878. Critical of the external appearance he suggested “one of those elegant lookout towers” to improve the looks. He remarked it might be an addition “when times – politically speaking – improve”.  A tower was never added and reforms to the land tax didn’t come until 1884. The lacework and coloured tiles of the verandah did meet approval. As the correspondent entered the front door, a hallway measuring twenty-four feet by ten feet wide was before him with, “white walls, shining like so much marble would perhaps give it too cold a look; but for the coloured light thrown into it, from the staircase and front door windows, and its mosaic pavement formed of Minton’s tiles.” The drawing room was around twenty-six feet by sixteen feet but for special occasions, folding doors into the breakfast room could open.  The floor space then increased to forty-six feet, allowing for dancing.

The homestead boasted an eighteen-foot tiled staircase with a cedar railing leading to the upper storey with a balcony verandah around ten feet wide and 130 feet long.  Paved in coloured tiles, it was perfect for the Thomson children to roller skate. That was until 1887 when sixteen-year-old James Thomas Thomson skated straight over the railing onto the gravel about nine metres below. He fractured his skull and although it was touch and go for a few days, he made a full recovery.  His twin George, known as “Joe” was not so lucky.  Having suffered congenital heart problems, he died suddenly two years late on 4 June 1889, at Monivae aged eighteen.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

The Thomson children were not the marrying kind. Of the five Thomson girls, three married, as did three of the surviving four boys. None married before the age of twenty-seven and John was fifty-six. The first Thomson wedding was that of thirty-year-old Annie Thomson to James Allan Learmonth, son of Hamilton businessman and grazier Peter Learmonth and Mary Jarvey Pearson of Prestonholme. Learmonth was also a devout Methodist, a pillar of the Hamilton Wesleyan Church in McIntyre Street.

It was the grandest of the three weddings James Thompson would pay for.  Celebrated on 1 September 1886, at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hamilton, the marriage was not followed by the usual wedding breakfast. Instead, two weeks later James threw a private ball for two hundred guests in the Hamilton Town Hall for the newlyweds in lieu of a wedding breakfast.  Such a grand affair may have been due to Annie’s imminent departure for Mexico with her new husband who’d been managing the family property there.  It could also have been the thinking of a canny Scot.  Why pay for both a wedding breakfast and a send-off when one event will suffice.

HAMILTON TOWN HALL 1910. Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/765800

On 3 October 1888, it was Margaret “Maggie” Thomson’s turn to marry. She too had reached the age of thirty and opted for a small quiet gathering at Monivae. The groom was Thomas Haliburton Laidlaw, son of Thomas Laidlaw and Grace McLeod and those in attendance were mostly family. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Thomson married on 27 July 1893 in the drawing room at Monivae, again a quiet celebration.  Her groom was bank manager Forrester Goldsmith Armstrong, a son of Oliver Armstrong of Kyneton. By this time Lizzie’s older sister Annie and her family were home from Mexico to witness the occasion.

Fire has threatened the Monviae homestead many times since its construction including 1891, 1944 and more recently Ash Wednesday of 1983. The fires of February 1901 were particularly fierce and practically wiped out Byaduk North a little further south. At Monivae, fire swept through the property from one end to the other killing around 2000 sheep.

“ALONG MACARTHUR ROAD.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 February 1901

In 1906, the Victorian Government received an offer to buy 17,000 acres of the Monivae Estate from James Thomson for Closer Settlement.  He would keep 3,000 acres and the homestead. Negotiations with the government broke down, so James subdivided the land himself. An initial sale on 24 November 1906 saw 322 acres auctioned.  Of the lots sold they averaged around £16 per acre. A second sale was held on 20 December 1906 and 1022 acres were sold at an average of £9 13/ per acre. James also sold off Crawford Estate and subdivided 500 acres of Lake Condah Estate. With a downsized Monivae, youngest son William left the property and moved to Portland. Oldest son John stayed on at Monivae as did unmarried daughters Mary and Christina.

The land sales came in the wake of a great loss for the Thomson family.  On 8.20am on 24 October 1906 at Monivae, the matriarch of the family, Christian Thomson drew her last breath at the age of seventy-five.  A deeply religious and charitable woman, she was one of the fundraising champions of the town and attended St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church like clockwork “morning and night”. Everyone knew her pew. A full member of the church for thirty-six years, her name was added to the church roll on 4 October 1870.  Christian was also a member of the Ladies Benevolent Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society.  She managed to attend church until just a couple of weeks before her death.  Christian was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF CHRISTIAN THOMSON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

It was fourteen years between the weddings of Thomson children and it was James Thomas Thomson, the roller skater, who was next to take the plunge.  He was living at Inverary, Branxholme by the time he married Henrietta Moynan on 26 November 1907 at the Anglican Christ Church Hamilton, the church sharing Church Hill with St. Andrew’s. The couple made their home at Inverary.  By that time, some may have thought James’ older brother John who had hit his mid-fifties, would remain a bachelor but on 31 March 1909 at Lilydale, he married Christiana Robertson.  Younger brother Alexander was close behind, marrying Ethel Manning on 6 May 1909.  He was forty-six.

Possibly the last public duty undertaken by James Thomson of Monivae was the laying of a foundation stone for a new St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  A devout parishioner, James donated bluestone from the Monivae quarry for the new church.  The ceremony took place on 18 December 1907 with James just four months from his eighty-seventh birthday.

FOUNDATION STONE, ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

 

ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

After completion of the new Presbyterian church, James donated a memorial window to remember his wife, Christian.  Also, portraits of James and Christian and their children John and Margaret Thomson were unveiled at the church in 1918 along with those of seven other prominent Hamilton Presbyterians.

“BEAUTIFUL MEMORIAL WINDOW.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 26 May 1909: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225037595&gt;.

James Thomson died at Monivae on 25 April 1910 after an illness of two weeks.  His obituary described him as, “…a man of sterling qualities and simple tastes. Never courting publicity, he was never so happy as when surrounded by children or occupying himself in his garden”.  James left Monivae for the last time at 2.30pm on Wednesday 27 April 1910 for the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF JAMES THOMSON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

James Thomson’s probate file reveals his liabilities were £814. His debts included rates, wages to a number of Monivae staff and accounts with businesses in Hamilton.  The total of the estate was £36,209. Of that, over £2600 was stock including several thousand sheep. Another £300 was the furniture filling the rooms of the homestead.  The Monivae property including the homestead was valued at £25000. By that time, the homestead Ffrench built was accommodation for Monivae workers.  James bequeathed two-thirds of his estate to his four living sons, divided equally.  To his five daughters, James bequeathed one-third of his estate in equal shares. Eldest son John Thomson was given the first option to buy the property at a value of £8 per acre.  He could also buy the farm implements and furniture in the homestead for £400. The last of the Lake Condah Estate was sold as too a large amount of stock.  Extra funds were no doubt wanted to pay the duty on the estate totalling more than £2500, seven percent of the total.

John Thomson did take up the option to buy Monivae.  He was around fifty-seven and newly married to Christina “Keenie” Robertson, a daughter of Scot James Robertson and Jane Ritchie of Keilor.  Christina herself was forty-three and children were not in the equation. Like his parents, John was a stalwart of the Presbyterian Church and on the board of management of St Andrew’s for thirty years.  As well as running Monivae, John was a politician and by 1910, had held the seat of Dundas in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly for eighteen years across two terms and was a Honourary Minster in the Cabinet.

“THE OPENING OF THE THIRD FEDERAL PARLIAMENT.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 March 1907: 9. Web. 13 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221256443&gt;.

In May 1914, John Thomson announced after twenty-two years in the seat of Dundas, he would not stand for re-election at the forthcoming State Election. The reasons given were the need to spend more time at home with his wife and to tend to other family matters. He said the last five years were extremely busy ones and he was looking forward to leading a quieter life.

John’s unmarried sisters Christina and Mary had stayed on at Monivae after their father’s death.  In 1914 and feeling under the weather, Christina then aged forty-six attended the doctor on Friday 6 November but managed to take up her usual place at St Andrew’s the following Sunday.  She died suddenly about midday at Monivae on Monday 9 November with Mary at her side. Well-liked in the community, Christina like her mother was devout and charitable.

It was around the time of Christina’s death, the Monivae State School opened on the Portland Road.  With Closer Settlement in the district and James’ subdivision of Monivae, the area was becoming increasingly populated. The school eventually closed and in 1946, the school building was moved to the North Hamilton State School.

John Thomson spent the years after his political retirement maintaining Monivae and was involved with various committees and activities in the Hamilton district.  He made a trip to Melbourne on 3 August 1917 and attended a school football match with Archibald Simpson of Clifton, Hamilton.  The funeral for John Thomson was large with condolences and floral tributes sent from dignitaries across Victoria.  His coffin bearers were Monivae employees and members of the Hamilton Angling Club. John was buried in the Thomson family plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery as the Hamilton Brass Band played “Nearer My God to Thee”.   

GRAVE OF JOHN THOMSON AND HIS WIFE CHRISTINA ROBERTSON

John left his estate valued at over £46,000 to his wife Christina and brother-in-law Thomas Laidlaw. Upon Christina’s death, the estate would be divided between John’s brothers and sisters.  One of John’s more interesting investments was 500 shares in the Melbourne Ice Skating Company. The estate was held in trust and Christina moved to Sandringham in 1921. She died at Toorak in December 1949 at the age of seventy-nine.

Alexander, the second eldest son of James and Christian Thomson took over the running of Monivae.  Alexander and his wife Ethel Manning and their two children Kathleen Mary and  James Yelverton Monivae Thomson moved into the homestead.  Kathleen (below) married Hugh Lloyd Cameron of Geelong at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton on 18 February 1937.

KATHLEEN MARY THOMSON 1937 ‘Family Notices’, Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), 11 March, p. 50. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149614310

The 1930s saw the death of five of the Thomson siblings.  Annie died on 14 June 1930 at Prestonholme aged sixty-four leaving six children, Edgar, Russell, Keith, Christina (Mrs James Young), Maggie (Mrs Alex Armstrong), and Mona Learmonth. Having married the son of Hamilton’s leading Methodist, Annie changed her allegiances and was active in within her new church.  A memorial window (below) was installed in the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church remembering Annie and her husband James Learmonth.

LEARMONTH MEMORIAL WINDOW, HAMILTON UNITING CHURCH

Annie was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery

Margaret died on 30 December 1932 at her home Kilora (below) in Kennedy Street, Hamilton. She left six children, Hal, John, Alexander, Thomas, Gretta (Mrs Lance Lewis) and Bea (Mrs John McKellar) Laidlaw.  On 23 March 1933, Elizabeth died at Corra, Willaura, the home of her son-in-law Donald Moffatt leaving two children Vera and Pat.  James Thompson Jr. died in 1934.  He and Henrietta did not have children.  Youngest son William, who never married, died on 2 May 1943 aged sixty-six at Portland.  His body was taken to Monivae before leaving for the Hamilton Cemetery.  After the death of her sister Christina, unmarried Mary Thomson spent time in Malvern living with her sister Elizabeth. After Elizabeth died, Mary moved into Kilora (below), sharing the home with her widower brother-in-law Thomas Laidlaw, husband of Margaret Thomson, until her death on 13 May 1939. Thomas Laidlaw died in 1941.

KILORA, HAMILTON

Alexander Thomson’s death in June 1946 aged eighty-three, brought to a close the lives of the children of James and Christian Thomson. Sixteen of their grandchildren and their children remained. Like his siblings, Alexander was buried in the Thomson plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).  

THOMSON FAMILY PLOT, PRESBYTERIAN SECTION, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

After seventy-seven years, with the estate of John Thomson requiring closure, Monivae in the Parish of Monivae in the County of Normanby went up for sale.  

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 28 December 1946: 18. Web. 16 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22384820&gt;.

The Catholic order of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) was looking for a new site for a boys’ boarding college after establishing a school in Toowoomba, Queensland sixteen years earlier.  The Monivae homestead was purchased in 1947 with grand plans of developing the property into a school.

“M.S C. BOYS’ COLLEGE FOR HAMILTON” Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954) 13 August 1947: 7. Web. 16 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172490068&gt;.

It soon became clear, the site was not suitable and the MSC went in search of a new site. Bob Strachan owned land on Ballarat Road, Hamilton and the MSC were able to negotiate a trade with him.  The MSC obtained the land in Ballarat Road for the new school and retained 100 acres at Monivae including the homestead.  Bob Strachan’s side of the bargain was the balance of the Monivae property.  A day school in temporary buildings on the Monivae property started in February 1954 while the new school was under construction.  On 17 October 1954, the foundation stone for the Ballarat Road school was blessed. The contract for the building which started in mid-1953 was the largest seen in Hamilton, estimated at £250,000. Classes started at the new school in 1956 despite it being far from complete.  Monivae College not only adopted the name of the Ffrench named property, the school’s badge includes a reminder of Ffrench’s heritage, two Dolphins  also part of the Ffrench family crest.

MONIVAE COLLEGE, BALLARAT ROAD, HAMILTON c1956.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64414

From 1841, religion was at the forefront at Monivae.  From Acheson Ffrench questioning and challenging his faith to the Thomson’s unwavering devotion, to the arrival of the priests of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The Monivae College motto Fortes in Fide meaning Strong in Faith could easily have been the Thomson’s motto too.  

The Monivae homestead became rundown and was later taken over by Glenelg Region Water, now known as Wannon Water.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1981. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230082

The homestead and what remains of the surrounding Monivae property has since returned to private ownership and has undergone extensive restoration.  Monivae will be open on Sunday 22 October from 10am to 4pm.  All proceeds go to another of Hamilton’s historic jewels the Hamilton Botanic Gardens and its ongoing redevelopment. Appropriate as a feature of the gardens is the beautiful John Thomson Memorial Fountain. Such was the high regard for John Thomson of Monivae around the Hamilton district, the fountain was built in his memory and unveiled in April 1919 by the then Premier of Victoria.  In its position, the fountain is visible from the front gates of Kilora in Kennedy Street, acting as a constant reminder of their dear brother John for sisters Margaret and Mary Thomson during their time at the home.     

©2017 Merron Riddiford