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.
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.
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.
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.
They stayed overnight in Hamilton on 24 June 1881 at the Commercial Hotel and left by the train the following morning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
He remained living in Werribee until November 1914, when he moved to Cressy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jane and Adolphus moved to Portland in 1909 with Adolphus opening a tailoring business in August of that year.
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.