Passing of the Pioneers

Passing of the Pioneers is back and for this June edition, there are ten obituaries. Among them is the story of a man with links to royalty who led a quiet life in Hamilton. Also, the story of a woman whose time spent running the Railway Hotel at Dunkeld may have given her the crowd control skills to defuse a fracas at the Portland lock-up. All proof that obituaries are perfect for finding a good story from the Western District’s past.

CLARKE, Phillip-Died 26 June 1892 at Condah. “Poor Phil Clarke will be missed for many a day, for a kindlier heart never beat in a human breast, and there are many in the district can bear witness to the truth of this assertion”.

Phillip Clarke was born around 1836 and arrived in Portland in the early 1850s. He married Mary O’Meara, a daughter of Patrick O’Meara of Drumborg, and they raised a large family.

In 1890, Phillip took on the license of the Green Hills Hotel at Condah.

Advertising (1890, July 26). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. R http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225765911

He was only at the hotel for just over two years, when he died suddenly in June 1892. The funeral saw forty buggies and seventy horsemen follow his body to the Condah Cemetery.

Phillip not only held the freehold of the Green Hills Hotel but also the general store and blacksmiths. In November 1892, the properties, along with a cottage, were auctioned as one lot.

Advertising (1892, November 17). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225178416

Mary continued living at Condah. I believe this photo held by Museums Victoria with the subject identified as Mrs. P. Clarke depicts Mary Clarke, despite the location given as Branxholme.

MRS. P. CLARKE. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/767902

Mary died in 1925 in Portland, aged eighty-two.

HEARN, George Henry-Died 8 June 1910 at Hamilton. George Hearn was born around 1836 on the Isle of Wight, where his father, Brown Hearn, was the keeper of Carisbrooke Castle at Newport on the island.

Along with George, two of George’s brothers, Cornelius and Brown, came to Victoria. Brown arrived in the 1850s and from1863 ran the Western Hotel at Dunkeld before holding the license of the Cavendish Family Hotel. It seems George and Cornelius arrived later. Cornelius first appears in Hamilton in 1879, operating the billiard room at the Victoria Hotel. I think George arrived around the same time. The year before, Brown Hearn Sr died at Carisbrook Castle and was buried there.

Around 1890, George leased a hut on land in South Hamilton from solicitor Angelo Palmer, paying his rent quarterly. George never married and was a retiring man but developed a friendship with butcher James Steel of North Hamilton, having Sunday lunch with him each week. In April 1904, George’s brother Brown died at Cavendish. In 1906, Corneliu Hearn died at the Hamilton Benevolent Asylum.

As George aged, it became difficult for him to get to James Steel’s house on the other side of town, and his visits ceased. He received the old-aged pension, but it was the kindness of Samuel Keen and his wife Annie that saved George from an end like Cornelius at the local benevolent asylum. In his last weeks, the Keens took George in and he died at their home in South Hamilton in 1910. He was buried with Cornelius in the Anglican section of the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

George had an interest in genealogy and shared his knowledge of the Hearn family with James Steel. The family name, he said, went back several centuries and was originally Heron, with a heron forming part of the family coat of arms. Also, George’s grandfather was on Admiral Nelson’s ship at the Battle of Trafalgar. A connection with the royal family on the Isle of Wight went back many years, with several generations of George’s family in charge of the royal residence.

Queen Victoria’s grandsons Prince Alfred and George, born in 1864 and 1865 respectively, would visit the castle. George’s obituary mentioned he gave the young princes rides in a pony cart. However, Cornelius’ obituary mentioned he also gave rides to the princes, but in a donkey cart. That makes more sense than ponies because Carisbrook Castle still has donkeys, descendants of those used to drive a mill at the castle. The castle website has a page dedicated to the donkeys, a feature of the castle since the 16th century.

In 1881, those same young princes were in Australia and toured the Western District.

ARRIVAL OF THE PRINCES IN MELBOURNE. (1881, July 2). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 1 (THE LEADER SUPPLEMENT). Retrieved June 22, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198491771

They stayed overnight in Hamilton on 24 June 1881 at the Commercial Hotel and left by the train the following morning.

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/770966

James Steele encouraged George to reacquaint himself with Alfred and George, but, such was his way, George didn’t want to intrude. One of those young princes became King George V and he held a special place in the hearts of Hamilton residents. So much so, that they contributed financially to a bust to honour the King after his death, still standing today in the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.

You can see the grave of George’s father Brown Hearn at Carisbrooke Castle on the link Brown Hearn’s Grave and the grave of his brother William on the link William Hearn’s grave.

RYAN, Annie-Died 2 June 1914 at Harrow. Born around 1836 in Tipperary, Ireland, Annie Ryan arrived in Portland while still a young girl. She soon headed for Harrow and worked in sales at John Davis’ Hermitage Store for a year before marrying Thomas Henry Peet in 1856.

Annie and Thomas remained in Harrow for the duration of their lives. During the 1870s, Thomas was the licensee of the Spur Inn at Harrow. Thomas died in 1900. Annie moved in with her daughter Agnes, wife of James Kirby of Harrow, and died at her home in 1914. Along with her daughter, Annie also left three sons. She was buried at the Harrow Cemetery.

O’FLANAGAN, Elizabeth-Died 18 June 1915 at Hamilton. Elizabeth O’Flanagan was born around 1846. She married Andrew Mason and a son, James Kenneth Mason, was born at Port Fairy in 1875. Andrew died in 1881 at Port Fairy, aged thirty-six.

After Andrew’s death, Elizabeth moved to Hamilton and took a “responsible position” with J. Thomson and Co. in Gray Street in the millinery department around 1890.

Advertising (1892, September 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved July 2, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225181551

She then went out on her own, opening her first shop in Gray Street, As well as selling millinery and fancy goods, she ran an employment registry from her shop.

In May 1904, Elizabeth applied for a pension in the Hamilton Court of Petty Sessions. She told the court her business did not make any money, and she intended to close it. Her son, the verger (caretaker) of the Hamilton’s Christ Church Anglican Church, was in no position to assist her. The local pound keeper, Annie Bloomfield of South Hamilton, acted as a witness for Elizabeth. She mentioned some time ago Elizabeth lost her sight and the community raised money to send her to the eye and ear hospital for treatment. An adjournment was called to give Annie time to close her business. There was not a follow-up case.

Elizabeth didn’t close her shop, rather in 1905, she moved to a shop in Brown Street. By 1909, Elizabeth was living in Lonsdale Street. She died at the Hamilton Hospital in 1915.

MARTIN, Elizabeth Ann – Died 24 June 1915 at Mortlake. Born in Cornwall around 1849, Elizabeth came to Australia when she was five. She married John Heard, and they took up residence in Mortlake, where they lived for over sixty years. Elizabeth was a member of the Mortlake Red Cross League and contributed to the war effort. For example, in June 1915, she donated six handkerchiefs and six pillowcases to the Red Cross. She left three daughters and one son at the time of her death.

Elizabeth was a member of the Mortlake Methodist Church congregation and on 12 July 1915, a memorial service was held to honour her life.

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

BARNES, Henry Bond-Died 21 June 1915 at Werribee. Born in Chicago around 1856, Henry arrived in Victoria as a child with his parents. He started in newspapers in 1874 when he co-founded the Ripponshire Advocate at Beaufort.

Riponshire Advocate p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page13343595

With the land opening up in the northwest of Victoria, Henry saw a need for more newspapers. In 1879, he started the East Charlton Tribune. He then moved on to Dimboola and started the Dimboola Banner in 1877. He was there for three years before going to Nhill, where he established the Nhill Free Press and the Lillimur and Kaniva Courier. The weather was too warm for Henry in the Mallee and he turned to Gippsland and established a second newspaper in Warragul, the Warragul News, After a short stint in Tasmania he started the Foster and Toora Mirror, He also purchased the Toora and Welshpool Pioneer.

Around 1902, Henry headed west again and established the Werribee Banner, followed by the Winchelsea and Birregurra Ensign. With the railway expansion through Cressy, Henry saw an opportunity and in 1909, Henry established The Cressy & Lismore Pioneer.

Cressy and Lismore Pioneer and Western Plains Representative p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page14986301

He remained living in Werribee until November 1914, when he moved to Cressy.

CRESSY, c1913. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/39669

Henry was visiting Werribee when died suddenly on 21 June 1915, aged sixty-four.

STARK, Jane-Died 5 June 1917 at Mortlake. Jane Stark was born in Cornwall, England, around 1826. She married Thomas Rundle, and they arrived in Victoria in 1855. Jane was described as a “capable nurse” for Doctor Sweetman. She left two sons and four daughters at the time of her death.

McBEAN, Alexander-Died 13 June 1917 at Casterton. Alexander McBean was born in Scotland around 1842. He arrived in Portland in the 1850s. Alexander, also known as “Sandy,” learned his trade as a teenager. He first worked around the local stations before Mr. W. Handley at Sandford offered him an apprenticeship as a blacksmith. Later Alexander moved to the Ballarat district, then Edenhope before arriving in Casterton. During that time, he married Emma Smith in 1870.

At Casterton, Alexander ran a blacksmith’s shop behind the building, which would later become Cawker’s Mart. He then built his own blacksmith and wheelwrights shop.

BLACKSMITH SHOP OF ALEXANDER McBEAN, CASTERTON c1880. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/766561

In 1882, he sold the business to John Illingworth but remained working there overseeing operations. Alexander then left for Harrow, where he remained for some years.

In 1896, Alexander investigated the purchase of Mr. Grant’s blacksmith shop in Casterton to resume business in that town, while also continuing to operate at Harrow. About 1907, he returned to Casterton and opened a blacksmith in Henty Street near the bridge over the Glenelg River.

THE BRIDGE OVER THE GLENELG RIVER c1930. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63113

Advertising (1911, June 10). Advocate, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article170928104

Alexander’s son George joined him in business, and he remained working until his death in 1917,

Alexander was on the board of management of the Scots Presbyterian Church at Casterton and was an elder of the church when a new church was built in 1909.

SCOTS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH CASTERTON. Image courtesy of the State LiIbrary of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63512

He was also a Freemason and a member of the Sons of Temperance. Alexander’s funeral left his residence, Linwood, in Robertson Street, for the Casterton Cemetery Casterton. He left his widow Emma, five sons, and three daughters. Emma McBean died in 1925.

LUCAS, Alfred – Died 9 June 1938 at Pomborneit. Alfred Lucas was born at Kirkstall around 1881. In 1902, he married Eliza Lovett. They settled in the Pomborneit district on their property Bonnie Brae and Alfred ran dairy cows.

During the 1910s. Alfred moved into the stock and station business, working over the twenty years for auctioneering firms Doherty & Co. and Stansmore & Co. Eliza died in 1929 and Alfred died in 1938, leaving two daughters and three sons.

COLLINS, Jane Sophia – Died 20 June 1940 at Dunkeld. Jane Collins was born in Brixton, England around 1855. With her mother, she arrived at Portland when she was three aboard the Great Britain. They were to meet Jane’s father Edwin, who had travelled ahead and was at Hamilton. Once the family was reunited, they moved to Dunkeld and Edwin took over the Royal Mail Hotel in 1866. He then ran the Family Hotel in Dunkeld.

On 15 May 1876, Jane married mounted police constable William Young of St Arnaud at the hotel. William was stationed at Portland, and the couple settled in that town and started their family.

In 1877, the railway came to Dunkeld. Finding his hotel wasn’t close enough to the new station to capitalise on the extra business, Edwin Collins built the Railway Hotel opposite the new railway station.

Items of News. (1878, January 3). Hamilton Spectator, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226042922

Edwin Collins died at the end of 1881 and his wife, Mary, took over the ownership of the Railway Hotel. and Jane’s brother Adolphus held the license.

For Jane, life as the wife of a police constable was not without excitement, and living in the police quarters next to the Portland lock-up meant she was close to the action. On 31 September 1891, police intervened after a sailor accused two men of punching him at Portland’s London Hotel.

THE LONDON HOTEL, c1890. Photographer: Oliver Dolphin. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/69424

Constables Heaney and Scanlon arrested the men and took them to the lock-up. Once there, one prisoner overpowered Constable Scanlon. Constable Heaney went to his aid, but the second prisoner grabbed him. There was a scuffle with the constables receiving injuries. Jane heard the raucous and bravely intervened, hitting the two prisoners with a set of handcuffs, taking the men by surprise. It gave the constables a chance to overpower them and lock them in the cells. Jane’s heroics did not go unnoticed. The Portland Guardian, on 27 April 1892, reported how word of the incident got back to the chief commissioner of police, who suggested Jane should receive a reward of £5 for her bravery while placing herself at great risk.

William Young retired from the police force and he and Jane settled at Hamilton around 1893. The following year, Jane took over the license of the Railway Hotel in March, when her brother Adolphus moved to Hamilton to take up the Grange Hotel. Only months later, William Young died suddenly on 25 September 1894 at Dunkeld, aged fifty-two, leaving Jane and their four sons.

Jane continued in the hotel and in 1899, she married Adolphus Winter Lineker, a tailor. A daughter was born the following year. In 1903, Jane transferred the hotel license to her husband, but in1906, Jane’s mother Mary Collins died, leading to the sale of the Railway Hotel.

Advertising (1907, March 23). Hamilton Spectator, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226131435

Jane and Adolphus moved to Portland in 1909 with Adolphus opening a tailoring business in August of that year.

Advertising (1909, August 27). Portland Guardian, p. 2 . http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63989325

Around 1912, the family moved again, with Adolphus opening a tailoring business in Ryrie Street Geelong, but that was not their last move. The Australian Electoral Rolls over the next twenty years show Jane and Adolphus in Webster Street, Ballarat in 1916; Mair Street, Ballarat in 1919; Brighton in 1925; and Commercial Road, Koroit in 1931. It was there Adolphus died in 1934, aged seventy-one.

Jane moved back to Dunkeld to the home of her son. She died there in June 1940, aged eighty-five. She left four sons and one daughter. Jane’s funeral was in Koroit and her burial took place at Tower Hill Cemetery with Adolphus.

Passing of the Pioneers

Finally, a new post and it’s Passing of the Pioneers. In this edition, you can read the stories of four women and five men, including a father and son, from the Western District’s past.  December Passing of the Pioneers posts are always sadder with deaths occurring in the lead up to Christmas Day and sometimes on the day itself. One woman featured this edition was preparing her home for Christmas visitors when she died, and another died on Christmas Eve.

The fourth edition of Passing of the Pioneers in October 2011 had an entry for a man whose fascinating story has stayed with me. In October 2019, when invited to speak at the Hamilton History Centre on interesting early settlers, I knew I had to include that man…Thomas Denton Clarke of Merino. Now his father, Thomas Clarke senior, becomes a Passing Pioneer.  His story is the feature this month, but it really only touches the surface of his interesting life, one that has given me some understanding of how his son became the man he did.   

It’s been awhile so don’t forget if you click on any of the underlined text, you will go to the original source, most times a newspaper article at Trove with more information about a subject,

CLARKE, Thomas Henry – Died 2 December 1865 at Merino.  Thomas Clarke was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, and baptised in July 1815. From a family of sailors, he soon took to the sea, gaining certification as a Master Mariner.  In 1844, he married Mary Ellen Denton in Liverpool, and four children were born.

Life at sea

Thomas went off sailing the world, leaving his family for long periods of time.  For several years, he made an annual voyage to Portland at the helm of his brig Cornelius, taking the course via the Cape of Good Hope en route to Portland and via Cape Horn on the way home.

In 1850, he travelled via Hobart.

PORT OF PORTLAND. (1850, December 27). The Argus, p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article255611135

The cargo on the trip back to London in 1851 may have been on the nose at the end of the voyage.

SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE (1851, February 5). The Melbourne Daily News, p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226518279

The Cornelius sailed into Portland Bay, just in time for Christmas 1851.

PORT OF PORTLAND. (1851, December 31). The Argus, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4782518

PORTLAND BAY c1851. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/85333

On 11 February 1852, the Cornelius was running late departing Portland but would sail for London the following day.

PORT OF PORTLAND. (1852, February 11). The Argus, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4783182

The problem was, Thomas was having trouble mustering a crew for the voyage back to London, as were many ships because of the rush to the diggings.  Thomas eventually set off with a skeleton crew, including a young local boy, Joseph Pearson. High winds upon his already delayed departure saw Thomas take a risk rather than wait in port any longer. He sailed the Cornelius between St Lawrence Rocks and Portland Bay, an action not advised by others, including well-known local master mariner Captain James Fawthrop. 

Thomas got through successfully, but it wasn’t until he arrived in England he realised the ship’s false keel was missing, left behind on a reef in the St Lawrence passage.  

LAWRENCE ROCKS, PORTLAND BAY, 1865. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95486

Thomas was barely back in London when he set sail again for Portland, arriving on 18 January 1853.

PORT OF GEELONG. (1853, January 12). The Argus, p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4788871

After a couple of months in port, he returned to London on 1 April 1853 carrying wool and a box of gold dust.

PORT OF PORTLAND. (1853, April 18). The Argus p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4791722

He reached Dover in 108 days. While there, he put in a good word for the port of Portland, a place he had developed a fondness for.

THE PORTLAND GUARDIAN AND NORMANBY GENERAL ADVERTISER (1854, February 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71569648

The following year, 1854, started in the same way, when Thomas arrived at Portland Bay on 4 February.

PORT OF PORTLAND. (1854, February 17). The Banner, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article179811844

This time, however, Thomas had his wife and children on board.

PORTLAND BAY c1857. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/266998

Once in port, Thomas fell ill and required an operation.  Soon after, he advertised the Cornelius for sale.   

Advertising (1854, February 20). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, p. 3  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71569711

Thomas finds his land legs

Thomas stayed on dry land and went into business as an auctioneer in Gawler Street, Portland, thus beginning the next chapter in his life.

Advertising (1854, June 15). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, p. 3  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71570371

But he couldn’t part with the Cornelius, instead putting a master in charge of her. On 3 September 1854, the Cornelius set off to Singapore via Sydney when it wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef near Raine Island in the Torres Strait.

Life in Merino

On 28 May 1855, Mary Ellen died at Portland aged just thirty. In the months after, Thomas and the children went to live at Merino Waterholes, now Merino, where he set up an auctioneering business known as the Merino Auction Mart.

Advertising (1856, February 29). The Argus, p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4831997

In 1857, Thomas built the Farmers Arms Inn, later known as the Railway Hotel.

Advertising (1857, February 4). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, p. 3  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64567702

Aside from getting his own businesses off the ground, Thomas was very active in the community. In June 1857, he formed the Merino Flour Mill Company, calling for 200 shares at £10 each.  A wind-powered mill was earlier proposed and shareholders had already invested in that option.  Thomas put forward the option of a steam mill and many of the investors of the wind-powered mill were prepared to transfer to the steam option.

On 1 February 1859, a boiler and other related machinery made in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, arrived in Merino from Melbourne. It created a lot of excitement among residents with “five drays…drawn by 24 pure Clydesdale horses, …declared by competent judges to be the finest heavy draught horses seen in this part of the district”.  You can read more about the mill’s construction on the link- Merino Flour Mill.

TOWNSHIP OF MERINO. (1859, February 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510216

The two-story mill is in the photo below from 1859, the year if its contruction. Over 160 years later, the mill building still stands.

Photographer: Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

As the mill equipment was arriving in town, a school was under construction at Merino.

TOWNSHIP OF MERINO. (1859, February 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510216

As stated in the article, the school would open owing money.  Thomas Clarke was on the first Merino School committee in 1858 and appointed secretary and treasurer. He also had the task of organising a suitable school building. After locating one, there were insufficient funds leaving Thomas and committee chairman Reverend Russell to make up the shortfall of £88. They hoped for reimbursement once the school was operational and receiving subscriptions or government support.  Money was tight, and Thomas tried various methods to keep the school going and pay its debts.

In August 1860, Thomas wrote a letter to the Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser calling for subscribers to the school. There were men in the district, he said, who had bought the finest land in the country for a “trifling” price, and surely they could help keep the school going and put the books in the black. “Nothing will teach the young colonists and the rising generation to more patriotism than promoting their moral character and education-an example I have never lost sight of since I first landed on Australia’s shores.”  

During what was a busy period of his life, Thomas remarried in 1857 to Ann Clarke. In 1860, he suffered the misfortune of losing his crops to a bushfire in the district. In 1861, he was appointed a trustee of the land set aside for a Church of England building at Merino. St Peter’s Church, Merino, did open, but not until December 1867, two years after Thomas’ death.

ST PETER’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, MERINO. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/766451

Thomas was deputy registrar for Births, Deaths, and Marriages at Merino from 1862, and the pound keeper.  He was also a handy fill in if a doctor or a clergyman wasn’t available. He had a good knowledge of medicine, most likely picked up during his time at sea, and he helped many in the district.  Assisting the school and some failed speculating proved detrimental to Thomas as he fell into insolvency in 1863. In October 1864, he was appointed as a valuer for the Glenelg Shire Council, receiving an annual salary of £58.

Thomas wrote many letters to the editor of the various district papers. In July 1857, he penned a detailed letter to the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser supporting the idea of the construction of a lighthouse on Lady Julia Percy Island around 35 kilometres south-east of Portland Bay, even offering advice on the construction.  The lighthouse never eventuated.  In another written in August 1863, after a visit to Portland, Thomas told of walking the beach and finding debris from a ship. He identified it as a  piece of American pine, matching the description of debris found at Swan Island near the entrance to Port Phillip Bay,  He explained how debris washed up on the beach at Portland could in fact be debris from a ship wrecked anywhere between Cape Bridgewater and Wilsons Promontory.

Thomas was just fifty at the time of his death in 1865, but what a life he led.  He left his widow, Ann, and eight children, including four young children born over the previous eight years.  On the day of his funeral, the cortege left Merino for Portland at 10 am with many people making the journey.  It was raining in Portland, keeping people away. Thomas was buried at the Portland North Cemetery overlooking Portland Bay which meant so much to him.  Ann died in 1898.

Thomas Clarke’s legacy

In 1867, the Merino correspondent for the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser reported on the growth in Merino and promoted the district as a good place to settle with a bright future.  He said, “Much of the early history of Merino is connected with the late Captain Clarke whose enterprise and energy gave an impulse to the early progress of the town.”

Thomas’ contribution to the maritime history of Portland was remembered in 1904, when the Portland Guardian recounted the 1854 voyage of the Cornelius from England.  That was the same voyage Thomas brought his family to Victoria.

The Portland Guardian, (1904, February 3). Portland Guardian, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63687181

An article in 1919 about Thomas’ life said he was a failure on the land, with many of his speculations not successful and suggesting his “ill fortune” followed him to the end, but it was full of praise for his life on the sea:

Captain Clarke’s early life was devoted to the sea, as were those of his ancestors for generations back. His experiences in the tea, sugar, timber and metal trades when in command, at different periods, of the ships Earl Grey, George Canning. Countess West-Moreland, Cornelius and Ruby, trading from India, Turkey, China, West Indies, Australia, and many other parts, would fill a good sized volume. From the end of the forties to the middle of the fifties, he traded regularly between London and Portland, the passage and back being made usually once a year, chiefly in the Cornelius…

The article also told of an c1851 painting of the Cornelius sold at a clearing sale after the death of Donald Cameron of Oakbank near Heywood in 1879. The auctioneers forwarded it to Thomas Clarke Jr at Merino and John Smith of Grassdale had a print made of the original.

DISNEY, Robert – Died 21 December 1875 at Hamilton.  Robert Disney was born in County Cork, Ireland around 1831 and arrived in Victoria in 1852, and was a police cadet by the end of that year. A year on and Robert was a Sub-Inspector and then Sub-Lieutenant. He spent time as a gold escort at Beechworth, Castlemaine, and Ballarat, among other places. In 1858, he was the officer in charge of the escort at Dunolly.

DUNOLLY. (1858, August 10). Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser, p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE M.&D. ADVERTISER).http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article253588476

Robert spent time in Ararat around 1864 before moving on to Swan Hill. In 1865, he received a promotion to Inspector 2nd Class, and the following year, 1866, he went back to Beechworth. In March 1869, Robert led a troop of mounted police to escort the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Alfred to Sandridge pier after a visit to the colony. A few months later, Robert received a transfer to Benalla before Kyneton for four years. By that time, Robert had reached the rank of Senior Inspector. 

In 1871, another transfer took Robert to Hamilton, where he was the District Inspector of Police, and took up residence in French Street. In November 1875, illness forced his retirement, and he was soon bedridden. Robert succumbed to his condition on 21 December 1875, aged forty-four. Robert was very popular in Hamilton and a lengthy funeral cortege, including many police members, left his home on 23 December for the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.    

HEADSTONE OF ROBERT DISNEY AT HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

TWOMEY, John Joseph– Died 1 December 1879 at Carlton.  John Twomey was born around 1790 in County Cork, Ireland. He married Margaret O’Connor, and they raised a large family.  Around 1842, the Twomey family arrived in Victoria and about 1851, John took up the Kolor run near Mt Rouse, south-east of Hamilton. He and his sons took up surrounding land, and each had their own portion. Edward had Langulac, Daniel and John Jr shared Kolor, and Timothy was at Banemore.  

In August 1865, John’s wife Margeret died. It came only months after a tragic loss for the family. On 5 April 1865, their son John and his wife were on the SS Western travelling overnight between Melbourne and Port Fairy. On arrival at their destination, John was nowhere to be found. Investigations found he didn’t disembark at Warrnambool, so he most likely fell overboard some time after he was last seen on deck, about seven miles off Warrnambool. A £100 reward was offered for the return of his body and John Sr continued on in partnership of Kolor with Daniel.

In August 1868, Daniel Twomey held a ceremony at Kolor for the laying of the foundation stone for a new homestead he was building. John Twomey had the honours and on taking the trowel he declared, “the stone well and truly laid”      

“KOLOR. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233438

John went to live at Langulac the property of his son Edward, around 1875. The older man in the photo below, taken at Langulac, could be John. 

LANGULAC HOMESTEAD, c1875. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/770166

Somehow, John came to be living in a boarding house at 11 Drummond Street, Carlton and he died there on 1 December 1879, aged eighty-nine.  His body returned to Hamilton and buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  His impressive monument also included a memorial for his missing son John Jr.  A charitable man until the end, John bequeathed £100 to the Hamilton Hospital.

GRAVE OF JOHN JOSEPH TWOMEY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

TAIT, James – Died 28 December 1880 at Camperdown.  James Tait was born in County Caithness, Scotland in 1809.  He lived in Glasgow for around twenty years before travelling to Australia about 1854 with his wife, Jane Wares. Three years later, the Taits arrived at Camperdown and James opened the first store in the town. It was on the corner of Adeney and Campbell Streets, but in time, he constructed a store in Scott Street, later known as Penzance House (below)

James Tait’s Camperdown Store c1859 Photographer: Thomas Hannay, Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320656

James was a founding member of the Hampden and Heytesbury Roads Board. He was also an elder of the Presbyterian Church from 1863 and involved with the Sabbath school. He promoted temperance and religion and managed several of the local temperance societies.  

James died at this home in Scott Street, Camperdown in 1880. His burial took place at the Camperdown Cemetery, with around forty vehicles and twenty men on horseback making up the cortege. His widow Jane died in 1898.

TWOMEY, Daniel– Died 30 December 1891 at Penshurst.  Daniel Twomey was born in County Cork, Ireland around 1832, the fourth son of John Joseph Twomey (see above) and Margaret O’Connor. The Twomey family arrived in Victoria around 1845, and Daniel’s father took up the Kolor run at Mount Rouse. Daniel and his brother joined their father in acquiring land and later, Daniel took up the running of the Kolor run with his brother John.   

On 5 April 1865, John disappeared from the SS Western.  He died intestate and since he left a widow and a part share of Kolor, a “friendly” court case found it necessary to sell Kolor to dissolve John and Daniel’s partnership,  Daniel then purchased the property outright and set about building a new homestead.  He employed Melbourne architects Reed and Barnes with partner Joseph Reed appearing to have the design credit for Kolor homestead. Reed and Barnes came with good credentials. They had recently finished designing Rippon Lea at Elsternwick, the Melbourne Town Hall, and the former Menzies Hotel on the corner of Bourke and William Streets, Melbourne. Joseph visited Kolor in 1868 to inspect the site and the building started soon after. 

In August 1868, Daniel held a ceremony at Kolor for the laying of the foundation stone for the homestead. Around 200 people, including workers, were there to see John Twomey Snr. take a trowel and lay the stone.

JT Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/4121911

On 6 September 1871, Daniel married Helen Cameron, and they had four children.  Helen died in 1890 while away in Europe. Daniel felt the loss immensely and his health suffered. During late November 1891, he had a minor stroke but by Christmas Day, he was getting into the festive sprit. However, between Christmas and New Year, he suffered another stroke, and died on the morning of New Year’s Eve.   They left two boys and two girls under the age of twenty, all away at school in England.  Described as a lover of sport and a friend to the poor, Daniel had a gentle nature .  The funeral cortege left Kolor for the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF DANIEL TWOMEY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

CLARKE, Anne – Died 13 December 1892 at Portland. Anne Clarke was born in Devon, England, around 1813 and arrived in Portland on the ship Francis Henty in 1854. 

THE FRANCIS HENTY, c1858. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/91541

She opened a school for young ladies in Gawler Street, Portland, in 1857.

ANNE CLARKE’S SCHOOL FOR YOUNG LADIES c1859 Photographer: Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318603

 

Advertising (1889, July 17). Portland Guardian, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63623908

Her obituary mentioned many of the girls she taught married in the Western District and Anne also educated their girls. In January 1891, Anne announced she was retiring and Miss Hayden would take over the school.

Advertising (1891, February 25). Portland Guardian p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63631900

Anne fell ill in late 1892 and the news reached Casterton, with the Casterton News reporting Anne had taught many girls from that district. She died on 13 December 1892.

Anne was among the women named in the Book of remembrance of the pioneer women of the Portland Bay district (1934). It mentioned before her arrival in Victoria, Anne taught at the school for the daughters of clergymen mentioned in Jane Eyre. That was the Cowan Bridge school in Lancashire, attended by the Bronte sisters in the 1820s.

DELANEY, Mary Ann – Died 2 December 1911 at Hamilton. Mary Ann Delaney was born around 183. She married John Cain in 1850. By 1861, they were living in Harrow and remained there for thirteen years before moving to Hamilton. Six sons and five daughters were born to Mary Ann and John, who lived in Milton Street, Hamilton. On the day before her death, neighbours saw Mary Ann hanging curtains on her front windows preparing for Christmas visitors. Her burial took place at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF MARY ANN DELANEY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

BYRNE, Elizabeth– Died 12 December 1918 at Telangatuk. Elizabeth Byrne was born in Liverpool, England, and married there in 1858 to Thomas Jasper.  They had two daughters in Liverpool, Sarah and Maria, before leaving for Australia. There arrived at Hobsons Bay in April 1864 aboard the Albion.  They went first to Penshurst (then known as Mt Rouse), then Dunkeld before finally settling at Telangatuk, north east of Balmoral. They had a further nine children over that time. Thomas died in 1900.  At the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1918, she had ten children still living, 26 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. The photo below shows descendants of Thomas Jasper and Elizabeth Byrne, picnicking near Balmoral c1905.  Among them, is their son William, the only person named in the photo.

MEMBERS OF THE JASPER FAMILY, BALMORAL, c1905. Image courtesy of Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/773761

LORD, Eliza – Died 24 December 1934 at Port Campbell. Eliza Lord was born in 1853 at Geelong.  Her family went to the Ballarat diggings and her miner father Samuel Lord was at the Eureka stockade in 1854. In 1865, Samuel selected land at Pomborneit.  Known as Lissie and proficient in several languages, she started teaching in 1871 at Pomborneit. Her appointment was as a “teacher without salary” and she remained until 30 September 1873, when she retired.  Her report stated she… “requires only a little more experience and training to make a very fair teacher”.¹ Eliza had other plans and on 11 February 1874, she married John Bowker at Christ Church, Geelong.

The Bowkers settled at Camperdown, where John operated a butcher shop and they started a family.

MANIFOLD STREET, CAMPERDOWN c1882. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172495

In the early 1880s, they moved south to Princetown on the coast. There wasn’t a school, and the townspeople were keen to have one built, with Eliza suggested as a teacher.

CURRENT TOPICS. (1884, March 22). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23580257

Eliza was a member of the Princetown Church of England congregation. During WW1,  Eliza and John’s son Alwynne (below) was killed at The Nek, Gallipoli on 7 August 1915 while serving with the 8th Light Horse Regiment.

In 1928, John died and Eliza continued to live out her days at the family property Kangaroobie, Princetown. She died on Christmas Eve 1934, aged eighty-two, leaving three sons and one daughter. Eliza’s burial took place at the Port Campbell cemetery.

  1. Public Records Office of Victoria, Teacher Record Books, VPRS 13579/P0001, Teacher Record No. 5201-5500, Eliza Bowker, Record No. 5278   

Passing of the Pioneers

March is Women’s History Month and just as I did in March 2017, this year I have compiled an all female Passing of the Pioneers. It’s only a small group of seven, almost half the number in 2017, but a worthy group all the same. Remember to click on the underlined text to find more information on a subject.

NEVILLE, Ann Terry – Died 28 March 1900 at Hamilton. Ann Neville was born at Old Brentford, London in 1821. She was married in 1852 to William Carter and they set off for Australia on the Priam in the same year. After arriving at Portland, they went on to Warrnambool and later Port Fairy. In 1854, they decided to leave the coast and move north to Hamiton. The trip from Port Fairy to Hamilton in a bullock wagon took them a week. They settled in South Hamilton.

On 31 December 1868, William died at the age of forty died leaving Ann with six children aged fourteen down.

In 1885, Ann applied to be included on the local voter’s roll. She held allotments 47 and 49, suburban lots in the Parish of South Hamilton. They were located on the southern banks of the Grange Burn between Monivae and Pierrepoint Streets.

At the time of Ann’s death, she left two sons and four daughters. She was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

HEADSTONE OF ANN TERRY CARTER, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

WATSON, Margaret – Died 1 March 1914 at Coleraine. Margaret Watson was born in Scotland around 1827. She married David Drummond in Tillicoultry, Scotland on 12 June 1852 and they boarded the Chance at Liverpool, England on 23 July 1852. 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. Another son Richard was born in 1854 and a daughter Margaret in 1857. James was born in 1862 at Duck Ponds near Geelong.

The family moved west to join other members of the Drummond family sometime after 1862 with a son John born at Casterton in 1867.

CASTERTON c1868. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/767592

It was also the year David Jr died at Sandford aged seven. The following year baby John died, also at Sandford. In 1869, another son was born and named David. He was born at Dundas suggesting the family had moved to Coleraine, within the Shire of Dundas. By 1870, the Drummond family were living in the township of Coleraine in the vicinity of the Albion newspaper office.

On the evening of 28 October 1870, David’s niece Janet was staying over. That night a huge storm hit Coleraine and the level of the Bryan Creek, close to their home, began to rise. Soon their cottage was surrounded by water. After 12.30am rescuers attempted to rescue the Drummond family. 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 Margaret out of the water and onto the roof of a cowshed. David got three children to safety and went back for three more, James and Margeret Jr and his niece Janet. Suddenly, the current caught him, and all four were swept away. Around 1.00 am the water had fallen enough for another attempt to cross to the cottage. Margaret was found sitting on the cowshed.

Along with members of the Drummond family, several other people were missing The harrowing task of searching for bodies began at first light with the whole town turning out even though very few had slept. By 6.00 pm on Saturday evening, five bodies had been recovered, all of them children. Five adults were still missing.

COLERAINE c1880. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, Image no. B 21766/52 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/52

A funeral for some of the victims of the flood, including those from the Drummond family took place on Monday 31 October.

Margaret was suddenly widowed, left to raise two sons, Richard and David. She remained in Coleraine and her sons went on to marry and raise their own families. Margaret led a quiet life but remained active in her old age. She moved in with her son Richard at Coleraine in her final years but remained active around the home right up until her death on 1 March 1914. Margaret lived to eighty-seven, a long life punctuated with tragedy. She was buried at the Coleraine Cemetery with David, James, and Margaret.

DRUMMOND FAMILY GRAVE, COLERAINE CEMETERY

You can read more about the Coleraine floods on the link to The Great Flood of 1870

STEVENSON, Ruth – Died 25 March 1918 at Colac. Ruth Stevenson was born around 1847 north of Melbourne. Her father Joseph Stevenson arrived in Melbourne around 1840 and started a timber yard in Swanston Street. He also purchased blocks of land in Collins Street. He was a carpenter and built Kirks Bazaar and the Royal Mail Hotel on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets. He also built the first punt to operate on the Yarra.

By 1846, Joseph had moved to the area which became known as Diamond Creek where Ruth was born. An old leger in her possession, showed Joseph also contributed to the naming of the Diamond Creek. He had a bullock he called Diamond which became bogged in the creek. Diamond died in the creek, and from then on that spot became known as the spot Diamond died. From there, it became known as Diamond Creek.

The Stevenson family then moved to what would become Christmas Hills and again Joseph Stevenson played a part in the naming of that location. More about that can be found on the link – Christmas Hills. From there the family went on to Kangaroo Ground, followed by Yarra Glen then known as Yarra Flats.

In 1869, Ruth married Thomas Sadler, born in Scotland and living in the Yarra Flats district. The couple remained in that district and raised a large family. That was until 1888 when Ruth was set for the biggest move of her life, more than 250 kilometres away to the Terang district. The Dixie estate south of Terang, once owned by Duncan Walker was subdivided in 1887. Thomas was able to secure a remaining portion of the property.

CURRENT TOPICS. (1888, September 13). Camperdown Chronicle p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18584661

Thomas was given a send-off at the Yarra Flats Hotel in September. Ruth wasn’t in attendance but Thomas accepted a gold watch on her behalf as a going away gift for her hospitality and kindness. The Sadlers moved to the property at Dixie which they named Ecclefechan after a village east of Dumfries in southern Scotland, close to where Thomas was born.

Thomas died in February 1903. The following month, Ruth suffered another loss when her married daughter Annie Carson was found drowned in a well at Dixie. Ruth died at Doctor Brown’s Private Hospital in Colac and was buried at the Terang Cemetery. She was aged seventy-one.

MURRAY, Janet – Died 8 March 1919 at Clear Lake. Janet Murray was born around 1830 in Glasgow and arrived in Australia about 1852 on the James Steadford. In 1853, she married Alexander Robertson at the Geelong Presbyterian Church. They spent some time in Ballarat around 1854 before returning to Geelong until around the late 1860s,

The next move for the Robertsons was to Bochara station in the Hamilton district where they spent nine years, Land was opening up in the Clear Lake district to the north of Balmoral and Alexander selected land there around 1880. The Robertsons then moved south to the Telangatuk district. Alexander died in 1898.

During WW1, Janet was involved with the Telangatuk East branch of the Red Cross. By April 1917, she had knitted thirty-nine pairs of socks over the past year. Janet’s obituary stated, by the end of the war she had knitted 100 pairs of socks.

 (1917, April 5). Rupanyup Spectator and Lubeck, Banyena, Rich Avon and Lallat Advertiser,p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121052771

Janet died in 1919 at the age of eighty-nine. She left seven children, five boys and two girls, 49 grandchildren, and 39 great-grandchildren.

COLLIE, Ella Georgina – Died 22 March 1941 at Cobden. Ella Collie was born in 1882 at Caramut. She went to school at Caramut before her family moved to Camperdown sometime after 1894.

Ella had sang at school and when once in Camperdown she started singing with the Presbyterian church choir and also as a soloist. In October 1901, she sang at celebrations for the opening of Camperdown’s new Presbyterian church.

CAMPERDOWN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63175

In 1902, the Collie’s left Camperdown for Terang and Ella and her brother George were given a send off by the choir. Ella received a gold brooch.

PERSONAL. (1902, June 3). Camperdown Chronicle p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26566773

In 1906, Ella married William McConachy and they setteled at Koortmoolong on the Port Campbell Road at Jancourt, east of Terang. Ella continued her singing into married life. In 1916, she sang at a concert to raise funds for the Jancourt school’s organ fund.

Ella threw herself into community life. In July 1917, she held a “kitchen utensil” evening at Koortmoolong.

Cobden Times and Heytesbury Advertiser 28 July 1917: 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page16521487

In 1918, Ella was in charge of the produce stall at the Jancourt Jumble Fair, raising funds for the British Red Cross.

Around 1920. the McConachys moved north to Cobden. Ella continued her community activities in Cobden, always offering a helping hand at events. As a member of the Cobden Presbyterian Church (below), she was involved with the Presbyterian Ladies Guild and was vice president in 1936. She was also a member of the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union (PWMU).

COBDEN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AND SUNDAY SCHOOL c1933 Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/772413

In 1932, Ella was vice president of the Cobden Boy Scouts Association. She was also on the committee of the Cobden auxiliary of the Camperdown hospital and in 1938 was vice president She was a vice president and president of the Cobden branch of the Australian Women National League (AWNL) and represented Cobden at the annual AWNL conferences in Melbourne. At the 1939 conference, the delegates were addressed by Prime Minister Menzies. .

Ella died in 1941 aged fifty-eight, leaving her husband William, four daughters, two sons, and two grandchildren. She was buried at the Cobden cemetery. A memorial service was held at the Cobden Presbyterian Church,

LAING, Agnes Isabel – Died 7 March 1944 at Port Fairy. Agnes Laing was born at Yallock station around 1864 where her father was the manager. The family moved to nearby Terang while Agnes was still a young girl.

After leaving school, Agnes became a teacher, registered in 1879 and taught at the Terang school. Her teaching career ended in 1895 when she married William Osburne the owner of the Terang Express newspaper. Agnes and William went on to have one son, George Laing Osburne, known as Laing, the following year.

Agnes attended the Terang Presbyterian Church, and was the organist for nine years.

TERANG PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234278

Agnes was interested in politics and was involved with the Australian Women National League (AWNL). In 1913, she was recognised for her work as secretary of the local branch of the AWNL. In 1938, she was presented with a gift for the recognition of her services to the Terang branch of the AWNL.

During WW1, Agnes was an active member of the blind auxiliary and she was in charge of the Red Cross Jumble Shop in Terang. In July 1915, Agnes wrote a letter to the editor of the Camperdown Chronicle to announce the opening of the Jumble Shop. She also wanted to put to rest rumours goods donated for the front were not reaching those they were intended. She was also involved with the Terang sub-branch of the Returned Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia ( R.S.S.I.L.A.).

In the 1920s, Agnes was on the committee of the Terang Rest rooms. She enjoyed golf and played at the Terang Golf Club. She often played with William and in August 1929, they paired up in the Mixed Foursomes at the Terang Golf Club annual tournament.

Agnes and William lost their only son in 1933, when Laing died. William died in 1939. Agnes lived out her days at her home in High Street, Terang with her widowed daughter-in-law Eugenie. Agnes died in 1944 at the Port Fairy Hospital at the age of eighty. She was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

SCOULLER, Mary – Died March 1946 at Colac. Mary Scouller was born at Carpendeit, east of Cobden in 1884. She married Arthur Fisk in 1922 and they spent some time living at Korweinguboora, south of Daylesford where Arthur ran a grocery and post office. They returned to Carpendeit around 1931 living at Leura View.

Mary was an active worker for the Bungador State School and the Bungador Presbyterian Church. Services were held at her home as there was no church at Bungador. She was also involved with other charities and during WW2, the local patriotic funds. Her son Charles enlisted in 1941.

Mary died in 1946 at the age of sixty, leaving Arthur, two sons and two daughters. She was buried at the Colac Cemetery.

Passing of the Pioneers

The first of the pioneer obituaries for 2021, a year which also marks the 10th birthday of Passing of the Pioneers in July.   There won’t be a Passing of the Pioneers post next month because I’m aiming to do an all-female version in March for Women’s History Month, and another in April as part of the Western District Families’ 10th birthday celebrations.  April is the month with the smallest number of published pioneer obituaries.  Since 2015 my time leading up to April has been spent writing posts for Hamilton’s WW1 in preparation for Anzac Day and the Passing of the Pioneers post has missed out.  I’m going to make a special effort to get some April obituaries out for what will be the 80th edition of Passing of the Pioneers.

This month there are ten obituaries including the wife of a Baptist minister and a successful racehorse trainer from Warrnambool.  Don’t forget to click on the underlined text which will take you to more information about a subject. 

WALTERS, Hugh Oxenham – Died 10 January 1891 at Warrayure.  Hugh Walter was born in England around 1821.  He married Jane Walter in Devon in 1845 and they started their family.  In 1853, they left England for Australia, settling in the Geelong district. Around the late 1860s, Hugh took up land at Warrayure, east of Hamilton.  He named his property  Devon Farm.  There he bred high-quality long-wooled sheep and purebred poultry, Hugh’s wife Jane died in 1877 aged fifty-three.  Hugh remarried to Mary Houston in 1879. 

Hugh was described as a “quiet, unassuming man”.  Away from his farm, he enjoyed showing sheep and poultry, and with much success. In 1887, at the Horsham Grand National Show, for example, Hugh’s sheep won three first prizes and two second prizes, and his poultry, four first prizes, and three second prizes.  He also enjoyed ploughing competitions and was a member of the Hamilton Farmers’ Union.

Hugh was sixty-nine at the time of his death leaving his widow Mary and eight children, four sons, and four daughters. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  

KEARNEY, Mary – Died 27 January 1892 at Hamilton.  Mary Kearney was born in Ireland around 1834 She married Michael Cummins and they settled in the Warrnambool and Port Fairy districts. In 1864, a daughter was born at Byaduk south of Hamilton. Michael Cummins died in the same year leaving Mary with young children. The following year, 1865, a Mrs Cummins applied to the Hamilton Hospital and Benevolent Asylum for assistance. She was given an allowance for groceries but was told nothing more could be done for her.   

In 1872, Mary married William Arnott of South Hamilton and a son was born that year. On 27 January 1892, Mary was visiting her old friend Mrs Bloomfield.  While they admired Mrs Bloomfield’s garden, Mary suffered an apoplectic fit. She died two days later at the age of fifty-eight. Mary was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF MARY ARNOTT (nee KEARNEY), HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

SEYMOUR, Robert – Died 15 January 1896 at Glendinning. Robert Seymour was born around 1831.  He was the manager of the Spring Hill station north of Harrow from the late 1860s. In 1871, he married Mary Johnstone Dunn Beath, a daughter of David Beath the first storekeeper at The Grange (later known as Hamilton).  A child was born in Horsham in 1875 and in the same year it was reported in the Hamilton Spectator Robert was very sick and his recovery looked unlikely.  

Around 1882, Robert took over the management of the Glendinning station near Balmoral. During his time there, he collected samples of stream tin or alluvial tin. Other landholders in the district had also discovered stream tin, giving a group of men hopes gold and other minerals may have been present in the district. In 1892, Robert and others including Messrs Horwitz and Rippon from Hamiton formed a company to undertake further exploration. Robert died in 1896 at the age of sixty-five.  He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. 

GRAVE OF ROBERT SEYMOUR, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

HUTTON, Thomas – Died 5 January 1900 at Penshurst.  Thomas Hutton was born in Hobart in 1843. Around 1846, having heard of good grazing land in the colony of Victoria his father David travelled to Portland. He leased part of the Purdeet run near Mt Rouse (Penshurst) and the family moved to Victoria to join him.  David bought Purdeet in 1851 and changed the name to Cheviot Hills. Thomas was educated at Hamilton under Mr Moss and Cavendish under Mr Elliot, the headteacher at the local National School.

On finishing school, Thomas went to Port Fairy where he is older brother George was a general merchant. Thomas eventually went in partnership with him. He was still taking an interest in farming at Penshurst in partnership with his brother William in the property Gazette station. During that time, Thomas and William built a woolshed on the property, still in use today William died in 1869.

Advertising (1865, March 11). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194470503

Thomas was very active in public affairs at Port Fairy.  Like his brother, he was a member of the Port Fairy Borough Council and Mayor from November 1875 until July 1876.  His brother George Hutton was Mayor from 1872-1874. Thomas was also a Lieutenant with the local battery of the Garrison Artillery. He was also a member of the Masonic lodge. 

David Hutton died in 1875 and Thomas went back to Cheviot Hills to join his brother John in its running. He married Jean Mason in 1878, the eldest daughter of Captain Mason of Port Fairy.  David and Jean and their family lived at Eden, a home build on the Cheviot Hills property.

In 1884, Thomas donated a row of Norfolk pines for planting on the western side of Sackville Street, Port Fairy (at right in the photo below).

NORFOLK PINES IN SACKVILLE STREET, PORT FAIRY c1960, Photographer: Lillian Powling. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95732

During the 1880s, Thomas was on the Penshurst railway committee. He was also a Justice of the Peace and secretary to the managers and committee of the Penshurst Presbyterian Church for many years. In 1889. Thomas became a Mount Rouse Shire councillor. He went on to serve twice as President, in 1893-94 and 1896-97.     

FORMER MT ROUSE SHIRE OFFICES, PENSHURST, 1968. Image courtesy of the John T. Collins Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233458

Thomas died in January 1900 at the age of fifty-six leaving his widow Jean, three sons, and two daughters.  He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery. Jean died on 19 October 1925 at Hawthorn.

SINCLAIR, Jane Roderick – Died 5 January 1900 at Casterton. Janes Sinclair was born in  Glasgow around 1822 and arrived in Australia in the 1850s. She married Baptist Reverend Ebenezer Henderson in 1861 at Morpeth near Hinton, New South Wales.  Ebenezer had arrived at Hinton in February 1861 after an invitation for him to be the pastor of the Hinton Baptist Church.  He was a widower with a son and daughter and had previously been in Geelong. Ebenezer resigned his position in September 1867 and by the early 1870s, the Hendersons were in Warrnambool. In 1873, Ebenezer accepted the position of pastor at the Hamilton Baptist Church. 

FORMER HAMILTON BAPTIST CHURCH.

Jane helped out with the Baptist Sunday School. She was also an active member of the Hamilton Ladies Benevolent Society. The group gave her a send-off in 1891 when it was decided the Hendersons would leave Hamilton due to Ebenezer’s failing health. It was said at the send-off, Jane was always available to help someone in need.  The couple was also given a send-off by the Baptist Church community in August 1891.

The Hendersons took up residence in Kew, however, things did not go well. Jane had a fall while stepping from the train.  Also, Ebenezer’s health didn’t improve and medical advice suggested the climate in Hamilton may be better than in Melbourne. The news the Hendersons were returning was announced in the Spectator in March 1893.  They eventually moved to Casterton to live with Ebenezer’s daughter Mary Hughes.    

Jane died at Casterton in January 1900 at the age of seventy-eight.  Her remains were transported from  Casterton to Hamilton by train and she was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF JANE HENDERSON (nee SINCLAIR), HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Ebenezer died in 1904 at Casterton, the oldest Baptist pastor in Australia. In 1918, the Hamilton Baptist Church unveiled a memorial pulpit dedicated to Ebenezer.  Jane was remembered. She “was well-beloved, and it was due to her loving care that he (Rev. Henderson) was so long sparred. She helped all who were in sorrow.”

No title (1902, December 13). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 9. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221241039

FOLEY, Thomas Nicholas – Died 28 January 1913 at Hamilton. Thomas Foley was born at Coleraine in 1867. His father Cornelius was the manager at the nearby Mt Koroite station, something he would do for thirty-five years.  In 1891, Thomas married Margaret Maria O’Hagan and they settled at Coleraine and started a family.  They were living on the Cavendish Road and Thomas was breeding and showing pigs.  In 1903, Thomas took up the freehold and license of the Hamilton Inn in Lonsdale Street, Hamilton from Mary Meagher.

DOYLE’S HAMILTON INN, LATER FOLEY’S HAMILTON INN. FORMERLY IN LONSDALE STREET, HAMILTON, C1880 Image no. B 21766/53 Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/53

His brothers were also in the hotel trade with Cornelius Jr the licensee of the National Hotel at Coleraine and John, the licensee of the Hermitage Hotel at Harrow.  Thomas had the entire premises renovated on purchase of the inn.

Advertising (1903, November 24). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226112992

Thomas has a keen interest in sport particularly coursing.  His dogs were runners up several times at the Commonwealth Stake at Camperdown. He also enjoyed football and often donated trophies to the local league.  Thomas was a staunch supporter of the Labor party and a member of the Australian Natives Association (ANA).  In January 1912, Thomas transferred the license of the Hamilton Inn to Jemima Grogan but retained the freehold.

On 23 January 1913, Thomas, by then living in Coleraine Road, Hamilton suddenly fell ill and there were fears for his life. It was reported in the Hamilton Spectator the following day he was suffering from heart failure.  The next day, the Hamiton Spectator was happy to report Thomas was out of danger.  His health failed again and he died on 28 January.  Thomas left his widow Margaret, and a young family of three boys, and four girls. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. 

In 1914, Jemima Grogan moved on from the Hamilton Inn and the hotel was put up for sale.

Advertising (1914, March 28). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119826027

In 1917, Thomas and Margaret’s son Cornelius was killed in Belgium.  A memorial to him was added to the Foley headstone at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF THOMAS FOLEY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

UEBERGANG, Charles – Died 18 January 1918 at Warrnambool. Charles Ubergang was born in  Marzdorf, Silesia, Prussia around 1828. Military service was compulsory for young men but Charles was found to be unfit for service.  Around the age of twenty-one, he made his way to Australia.  His obituary states he took the ship Flying Fish to Adelaide arriving in 1848, However, Shipping Intelligence from the time, and printed in the South Australian Register, show a Charles Ubergang arrived via the ship Alfred from Hamburg, arriving on 6 December 1848. Rather than go overland to Victoria, Charles caught a boat sailing from Adelaide via Tasmania.  He made his way to the Warrnambool district and spent time there as a carrier, taking goods to the goldfields.  He was living in Purnim in 1853 when he was naturalised, giving him the rights of a citizen of the colony.  He married in 1854 to Augusta Klose

In 1855, Charles selected land close to the junction of the Hopkins River and the Mt Emu Creek, east of Warrnambool. It was there in 1862 when his sister-in-law was bitten by a snake. Despite the efforts of Charles and a doctor to save her, she died as a result.  Around 1893, Charles moved into Warrnambool and took up residence in Raglan Street. Augusta died in 1917 and Charles lived only months after, dying on 18 January 1918 at the age of ninety.  He left three sons and four daughters and was buried at the Warrnambool Cemetery.

JESSUP, Elvina – Died January 1920 at Warrnambool.  Elvina Jessup was born in 1849 in Norfolk, England, and arrived in Portland with her parents in 1852 when she was three years old. Her father Walter became a police constable in the town.  In 1869, Elvina married Benjamin Jewell and they went on to have nine children at Casterton  They later moved to Allansford where Benjamin died in 1896.  At the time of her death, Elvina left a sister, seven children, twenty grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She was seventy-four.

SAVIN, William – Died January 1924 at Portland. William Savin was born at Launton, Oxfordshire England around 1843. He arrived with his parents Samuel and Hannah at Portland in 1853 aboard the ship Eliza.  The family first went to the Crawford estate near Condah where Samuel had work.  They then moved further north to Muddy Creek, south of Hamilton where Samuel took up land.  

MEMBERS OF THE SAVIN FAMILY ON THE BANKS OF MUDDY CREEK c1885. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/772275

William married Elizabeth Addinsall in 1865. He later took up land with his brothers in the Macarthur district.  He retired to Portland around 1899.  There he was involved with the Portland bowling and golf clubs. Elizabeth died in 1912 and the following year, William remarried to Theresa Lear.  At the time of his death, he left his widow Theresa and his three daughters from his marriage to Elizabeth.

CONNELLY, Henry ‘Harry’ – Died January 1940 at Warrnambool. Harry Connelly was born at Yangary in 1866.  First sitting on a horse as a baby, Henry started his career as a jockey as a young boy, winning races in the country and Melbourne. He also spent time living in Sydney where he rode more winners. Harry later turned to training horses and his first big success came in 1900 with the horse Aquarius winning the VRC Grand National Hurdle,  That win helped him get more clients and for the next twenty-six years, he had a successful training career.  He would spend the winter and spring at Caulfield then return to his Warrnambool stable at the Warrnambool racecourse for summer and the autumn.  In 1909, he trained Aberdeen to third in the Melbourne Cup, 

Harry married Agnes Lucas in 1890. Two of their sons followed Harry into the racing game, with Joseph and Robert becoming jockeys.  They rode for Harry as Robert did in 1918 when he rode Cobram, owned and trained by Harry, to a win in the Grand National Steeplechase. Henry’s grandson was photographed on the horse after the win. 

HARRY CONNELLY TRAINS HORSES ENGAGED IN NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (1921, May 28). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 4 (SPORTING EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article242503979

It was said Harry was camera shy but newspaper photographers managed to capture him several times, particularly at the Warrnambool May Carnival.  He was a fixture at Warrnambool meeting and he didn’t miss a Warrnambool winter meeting for fifty years.

WESTERN DISTRICT TRAINER DEAD (1940, February 3). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 55. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225983711

   

Harry at the races in Melbourne in 1919.

 

SNAPPED AT MELBOURNE RACE MEETINGS (1919, December 6). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 18.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222567323

Harry (left) at the Warrnambool May Carnival in May 1921 with Robert Hood, one of his long-time owners.

RACING AT WARRNAMBOOL (Victoria), MAY 3, 4, and 5. (1921, May 14). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 48.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140258819

Harry (left) at the 1929 Warrnambool May Carnival.

SOME WARRNAMBOOL PERSONALITIES. (1929, May 11). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 25 (METROPOLITAN EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141392076

Harry at the 1936 Warrnambool May Carnival in 1936, four years before his death.

WARRNAMBOOL (V.) RACE WEEK (1936, May 16). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 27 (METROPOLITAN EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141773372

Harry died in 1940 leaving three sons and two daughters.  An extensive article about Harry’s racing career and the horses he trained can be found on the link to the Sporting Globe –        http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article178135059

Passing of the Pioneers

When I begin researching a Passing of the Pioneer post, I have two aims – not too many Hamilton obituaries and as many women as possible. Unfortunately, as I often do, I failed this month with four Hamilton people from eight obituaries and one woman.  When I started Passing of the Pioneers, only the Portland Guardian and Camperdown Chronicle, along with The Argus were available at Trove newspapers, the source of the obituaries. Eventually, the WW1 years of many Western District papers became available including the Hamilton Spectator. It was 2016 before the Hamilton paper was digitised from 1860 to the WW1 years.  Since then I’ve been playing catch up on Hamilton obituaries. 

Finding the obituaries of women has been an issue all along with many women’s deaths marked with a family notice or a few lines in the main section of the paper. Some deaths were not mentioned at all or were only known of if death was a result of an accident or an inquest was required. It was usually women of a certain status who received an obituary of any substance. Even then, I often need to refer to a husband’s obituary to fill in the gaps between the woman’s birth, childbirth, and her death.  This month the woman I have found to remember was not of a high class, but she was of high character making her worthy of the obituary she received. 

MINOGUE, Simon – Died 12 November 1880 at Portland. Simon Minogue was born around 1815 in Ireland.  He married Johanna Quin in County Clare and they had two sons Daniel and Jerome before they boarded the Agricola for Port Phillip in 1841. In the months after arriving in Victoria, the family moved to Portland and Simon took up Wattle Hill in West Portland.  Stephen Henty was the vendor and Simon paid £10 per acre.  He also bought land at Mount Clay and Bridgewater.

In July 1849, Simon was the successful tenderer to provide 100 piles for the construction of the Portland dam. Simon was an active member of the Catholic community in Portland. In April 1857, he was a trustee of the land set aside for a Catholic Church in Portland.  He also contributed £30 to the building fund. In 1858, he was elected to the Roads Board.  Simon died in 1880, leaving his widow, Johanna, and nine children.  Johanna died just eight years later in 1888.

BUTLER, Josiah – Died 18 November 1890 at Hamilton. Josiah Butler was born around 1841 in Brixton, England.  He arrived in Victoria around 1857 and spent time at the goldfields.  He then went to the Balmoral district where he worked as a hawker for storekeeper James Cuzens.  On 1 July 1878, he married Sarah Ann Goss at the home of Sarah Ann’s brother in Gray Street, Hamilton. It was around the time Josiah moved to Hamilton and started the construction of a soap works.  It was located in the vicinity of the Friendlies Oval in King Street and opened in July 1879. Josiah spent £1000 on equipment but it took time to get the factory operational because there was no ongoing water supply. The winter of 1879 saw water reverses build-up and by January 1880, Josiah was producing three tons of soap a week and sending five tons of tallow a month to Melbourne. 

Advertising (1881, October 4). Hamilton Spectator, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226063235

Josiah later moved into candlemaking but poor health saw him sell the business in February 1883 to Denton Bros. By June 1883, he had opened the Economic Cash Grocery in Gray Street, not far from the Thompson Street intersection. He sold all manner of things including sporting goods, bicycles, and tricycles.

Advertising (1883, June 9). Hamilton Spectator, p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225495881

Tricycles for adults (below) were taking off and in 1884, Josiah attempted to start a tricycle club in Hamilton.

AN ADULT TRICYCLE. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no B 34321B 34321 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+34321

He also had an interest in cricket and in 1885, donated a Challenge Cup for a series of matches between the Hamilton Academy and the Portland College. In 1886, as an agent of Messrs Bussey & Co., he donated a cricket bat to the highest Hamilton scorer in a match against Ararat. 

Later, Josiah moved east along Gray Street to the corner with what is now Cook Walk, where he ran a fancy goods store.  He died in 1890 leaving his widow Sarah, three daughters, and two sons.  Sarah carried on the store no doubt helped by two of her daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth who later ran a fancy goods and toy shop at 45 Brown Street Hamilton until their retirement in 1954.  Sarah died in 1932, and Rachel and Elizabeth died within two months of each other in 1959.

SANDISON, John – Died 12 November 1901 at Glenisla. John Sandison was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland around 1831.  At age sixteen, he left for Australia and found work at Skene station near Hamilton. The 1850s saw the discovery of gold and John set off for the diggings not only in Victoria but also the New Zealand goldfields.  Once back in Victoria, he secured the mail run between Apsley and Hamilton.  In 1861, John married Mary Alexander, and the following year he opened a butcher shop in Gray Street, Hamilton at first in partnership with Mr. L Kaufmann.  They dissolved their partnership on 1 September 1866 and John continued on alone.

Advertising (1866, November 10). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser, p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194467086

John was a member of the Hamilton Mechanics Institute and sat on the committee. 

HAMILTON MECHANICS INSTITUTE

He also enjoyed sport and was involved with local athletics. Eventually, John selected land at Glenisla in the Western Grampians.  In January 1899, a fire broke out at Glenisla spreading on to John’s property.  He lost all his grass and fencing. In July that year, his wife Mary died.

John died in 1901, leaving three sons and four daughters, the youngest being seventeen.  John was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF JOHN SANDISON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

KENNEDY, Christina – Died 1 November 1909 at Hamilton.  Christina Kennedy was born in 1855 at Geelong.  She married Alfred Bulley in 1872 and their first child was born in 1875 at Brunswick.  Alfred worked on the Ararat to Hamilton railway line during the 1870s and in 1881, a daughter was born at Coleraine. Around 1891, Alfred contracted spinal disease attributed to working in wet conditions on the railways. It left him an invalid.  Life became very difficult for Christina, caring for Alfred and her daughters.  In 1893, their plight came to the attention of the Hamilton Ladies Benevolent Society.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL AND BENEVOLENT ASYLUM. (1893, July 13). Hamilton Spectator p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225182270

In 1902, Alfred applied to the Old-Age Pensions Court for an allowance. He couldn’t make it to the court so Christina represented him.  The court heard she earned 15 shillings a week as a laundress. One of her daughters helped while the other stayed at home with Alfred. From her earnings, she had to pay rent on their home in Milton Street.  The Reverend Canon Hayman acted as a witness and said Christina was a “respectable hardworking woman”. Alfred was granted 6 shillings a week

Christina worked hard and attended Christ Church Anglican Church on Sundays but she fell ill in 1909 and required an operation. She died in the Hamilton Hospital on 1 November 1909 aged fifty-four.  Christina’s obituary was one normally seen for a woman of a higher station but it demonstrates she obtained much respect, not just pity.

…was a striking example of what a woman may accomplish.  Her life was not a path of roses, for the thorns of adversity were in her way for several years, and she had been the practical breadwinner for her household over a long period…but notwithstanding the burden thus placed upon her she faced her task bravely, and by her indomitable spirit of perseverance and industry had gained the highest, admiration and respect from all. But despite the fact her hands had to be used in the performance of work of somewhat heavy manual character, she preserved her womanly characteristics continuously, and in all her intercourse with others, there was a fine air of refinement and gentleness, combined with kind heartedness, which irresistibly appealed for appreciation. In all the work she was compelled to do for others the latter were always pleased to have her service again. Her character was upright and her actions just, and it Is worthy of commendation that the fine high principles which enabled her to struggle on despite great disadvantages and guided her in the upbringing of her family. who helped her in later years,…”
Christina left Alfred and her daughters, Jessie and Hannah.  The girls continued to look after Alfred until his death in January 1911.
 

GRAVE OF CHRISTINA BULLEY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

FIELDER, William John – Died 10 November 1917 at Camperdown.  William Fielder was born around 1846 in London and arrived in Australia about 1853 with his parents.  His father Thomas was an officer with HM Customs in Melbourne. Thomas died suddenly in 1875 and soon after William arrived in Camperdown. In 1878, he married Matilda Sophia Greer.  William worked as a painter, decorator, and signwriter.

Advertising (1902, August 14). Camperdown Chronicle, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26568362

William was heavily involved with the Camperdown Amauter Theatrical Society and performed in many plays and operas.  He also played with the society’s orchestra and painted all the scenery.  He considered his time with the theatrical society the happiest time of his life. He was well-read and sat on the committee of the Camperdown Mechanics Institute.  He was also a member of the Camperdown Bowling Club.

Matilda died on 14 September 1897 at their home in Brooke Street. She was just forty-seven. In August 1908, William decided to live with his daughter in Queensland. He was given a send-off at the Mechanics Institute while the Camperdown Brass Band played outside.  As reported in the Camperdown Chronicle, William in his speech at his send-off said he was proud because, “…Camperdown had been loyal to him and he had been loyal to Camperdown. He had never got anything outside Camperdown that he could get in it. He had made that the rule of his life. He trusted that everybody would do the same. Camperdown was one of the best places in the world. He believed in it.”

William did not stay away from Camperdown long returning within a few years.  He died in 1917 and was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery leaving five daughters to mourn his loss.

An obituary in the Camperdown Herald of 14 November 1917 mentioned William had originally worked at the Argus newspaper.

SCULLION, John James – Died 13 November 1918 at Terang. John “Jack” Scullion was born around 1867 at Mount View Garvoc and remained there for the duration of his life. With two of his young brothers, he carried on the running of Mount View for their father John.  Jack was president of the Garvoc Racing Club and he served on the board of the Garvoc Butter Factory.  Jack never married and was just fifty-one at the time of his death.  Requiem mass was held at St Thomas Catholic Church, Terang (below).

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

The funeral left the church for the Terang Cemetery.  The Advocate newspaper reported,
The cortege, one of the longest seen in the town, comprising…representatives from most distant parts of the Western District, was a strong proof of the love in which his friends held him, and the respect in which he was held by those who, though associated with him publicly, did not always share his views – no surer sign of recognised worth.
 

WHITEHEAD, Robert – Died 5 November 1922 at Warrnambool.  Robert Whitehead was born in 1849 at Goodwood on Spring Creek, south of Caramut, the home of his father Robert.

“GOODWOOD” c1859. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/475909

Robert was one of the first students at Melbourne Grammar School which opened in 1858.  Robert had an interest in racing and did some amateur riding during his early years.  Prior to his death, Robert Whitehead senior divided the Goodwood property among his sons.  Robert named his share Wurroit and built a home in the 1870s (below).  He married Jane Phillips in 1877 and they raised a large family.

“WURROIT”, 1984. Image courtesy of the John T, Collins Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/4116726

Robert was a breeder and judge of sheep and horses. In January 1900, a grass fire went through Wurroit and only the homestead and paddocks close to the homestead were saved. He lost 2000 sheep. Jane died in October 1908 leaving Robert, three sons, and three daughters.  

In 1913, Robert married Myrtyl McFarlane and two daughters were born in the following years. They spent time living in Kerford Street, Malvern, and at Spring Gardens in Warrnambool where Robert died in 1922.  

CARTER, William – Died 14 November 1927 at Hamilton. William Carter was born in 1853 at Portland.  Soon after the family moved to Hamilton and William went to school at Hamilton and Western District College.  In 1879, he married Emma Crossy and they would go on to live in Pope Street.  William worked as an accountant and auditor and in 1882, he took over the business of the late H. W. Thirkell. 

Advertising (1882, February 11). Hamilton Spectator, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226058332

William and Emma had five children, but four predeceased their parents.  In 1884, Francis died aged six months. Minnie died in 1886 aged fifteen months. In 1889, seven-year-old Charles died, and in 1892, Percival died aged five years and five months.  Their only surviving child and firstborn, Annie Julia married in 1902.

William’s passion was volunteering with the Hamilton Fire Brigade.  He was one of the founding members of the brigade, elected to office at the first general meeting in January 1881 and he was a long-serving Captain.  He was a very active member and a special presentation was made to him in August 1888. He retired from fire fighting duties in 1898. but he remained on the committee and helped out with the fire brigade sports.

Since its beginnings, accommodating the brigade was an issue. They started out in a council owned timber building next to the Town Hall when it was Gray Street,  The brigade soon outgrew and during the 1890s there was a big push for brigade owned and built fire station.  While some committee members were keen on the idea, William Carter later admitted he preferred the option of the brigade buying the existing station.  He was overruled and the new fire station opened in 1901.  William said it was then he’d realised it was the right thing.  He served as vice president of the brigade committee becoming president in 1918 when the position became vacant due to the departure of William Melville to Melbourne.

FORMER HAMILTON FIRE STATION c1903. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399013

William was also the secretary of the Hamilton Christ Church Anglican Church, the Hamilton Friendly Societies Union, and the Hamilton Angling Society. He was also involved with the Hamilton Rope Quoits Association.

William died suddenly in 1927 aged seventy-four, leaving his wife Emma.  He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with his children.  Emma died in 1942.

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

 

 

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

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 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 Sciacob (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.

Passing of the Pioneers

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

RUSSELL, George – Died 3 November 1888 at Shelford. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRAVE OF GEORGE DILNOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIPPON FAMILY PLOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

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

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

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

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

THE DESTREE FAMILY PLOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

RANKIN, John – Died 10 November 1936 at Colac. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT A COINCIDENCE

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

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