Sacred Memorials

You may have sat in a church and admired the stained glass windows, but have you had a close look? You’ll see church windows can tell a story about a town’s history and people.  To give you an example, let’s take a look at windows at two churches I’ve visited over the past year, the Hamilton Uniting Church and the Hamilton Anglican Christ Church.  A disclaimer…I like to think it’s a spiritual force responsible for the large percentage of blurry photos I’ve taken in churches.  In reality, it says something about my photography skill.  Also, there are loads of links in this post so if you see underlined text, click on it and you will find more information about the subject.

Opened on Sunday 5 October 1913 as the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Hamilton Uniting Church in Lonsdale Street has some beautiful windows.

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

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

I have some family history here as my ggg grandfather James Harman was a Wesleyan local preacher and often preached at the former Wesleyan Church in McIntyre Street.  The current church opened prior to his death and even though he was eighty-three he still found the energy to attend events important to him so I expect he was there.

Hamilton Uniting Church

HAMILTON UNITING CHURCH

There isn’t a memorial window for James, but there is a window for a man he knew well, Peter Learmonth of Prestonholme Hamilton, a local businessman, flour mill operator and stalwart of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Unveiled on 14 January 1900 at the then Methodist Church in McIntyre street, this beautiful window was later installed at the new church in Lonsdale Street.

Peter Learmonth Window

PETER LEARMONTH MEMORIAL WINDOW

The Reverend W.C. Thomas spoke of the Learmonth’s dedication to the Methodist Church during a memorial service for Mary Jarvey Pearson, herself deserving of a memorial window.

"LATE MRS. PETER LEARMONTH." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 8 December 1913: .

“LATE MRS. PETER LEARMONTH.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 8 December 1913: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225162684&gt;.

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James Allan Learmonth was a son of Peter Learmonth and Mary Jarvey Pearson.  He was born at Merino Downs on 8 April 1856 and went to school at the Hamilton and Western District College and Wesley College. Locally, James was well-known for his sporting prowess.  After some work experience in Melbourne, James returned to the Western District to manage his father’s Penshurst Flour Mill.

After his father co-purchased Maraposa Estate in Mexico, James and his brother left for that country to manage the estate for ten years, returning home briefly in 1886 to marry Annie Thomson of Monivae Estate.  In 1892, James and Annie returned from Mexico to live at Prestonholme.  James died on 29 October 1928 and Annie on 14 June 1930.  They were buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

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Annie’s family were Presbyterian and the St Andrew’s Church in Hamilton features a large memorial window for her father James Thomson.  James and Annie Learmonth’s window at the Hamilton Uniting Church is below.

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JAMES AND ANNIE LEARMONTH MEMORIAL WINDOW, UNITING CHURCH, HAMILTON

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Hamilton’s Christ Church in Gray Street was built in 1878.

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CHRIST CHURCH ANGLICAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

Walking up to the door, I always imagine handsome Lieutenant Edward Ellis Henty and his beautiful bride Florence Grace Pearson emerging through the doors after their marriage on 18 November 1914.  They’re bittersweet thoughts because nine months later, Florence and Edward’s family and friends entered the same doors for a memorial service for Edward. He was killed at the Charge at the Nek at Gallipoli on 7 August 1915 while serving with the 8th Australian Lighthorse Regiment.  Florence was around seven months pregnant.

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I’ve visited the Christ Church three times in the past year. Each time I visit, I can’t help but touch the 137-year-old walls made from local bluestone just as I enter the doors below.

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Just inside the main door of the church in the vestibule is the first stained glass window, a memorial for the Tatlock family,  Alfred James Rolland Tatlock, his wife Marie McGowan and sons Norval and Alfred Jr. Depicted is St. Francis of Assisi possibly indicating the Tatlock’s love for animals.  Alfred Sr.’s father Thomas Henry Tatlock was a leading breeder and judge of poultry and horses.

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TATLOCK MEMORIAL WINDOW

Alfred Tatlock Sr. was a grand master of the Grange Masonic Lodge and a Hamilton councillor.  Marie died in 1937 and Alfred Jr. met a tragic end, killed in a plane crash in Queensland on 27 March 1943 while serving with the RAAF.  Twenty-two other crew and passengers were also killed. Norval died in 1951 and Alfred Tatlock Sr. in 1956.   

Another window in a different part of the church remembers another son of Alfred Tatlock and Marie McGowan, Rolland Tatlock who died in 1981.  This window depicts St. Vincent de Paul and is one of two windows in the church created by Jean Orval.  I went to school with three of Jean’s grandsons, all cousins. Each day on my way to primary school, I passed Jean’s house with his workshop at the end of the driveway.  You can read more about Jean Orval and see photos of his beautiful windows in churches across Victoria and South Australia on the link http://www.orvalstainedglass.com/index.html

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ROLLAND TATLOCK MEMORIAL WINDOW BY JEAN ORVAL

Once inside the Christ Church, stained glass windows line either side of the nave. To the left is the window for Abraham Greed and his wife Hannah Oaff.

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ABRAHAM AND HANNAH GREED MEMORIAL WINDOW, CHRIST CHURCH ANGLICAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

Abraham was a leading coachbuilder in the town and a Mayor of Hamilton.  He was born in Taunton, Somerset, England and arrived in Victoria around 1857. Abraham married Hannah Oaff in 1866.  He died on 27 July 1926 aged eighty while on holiday in Geelong with Hannah and their daughter.  Only the year before, Abraham had donated an oak altar and reredos to the church. 

"HAMILTON." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 22 May 1925: 6. .

“HAMILTON.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 22 May 1925: 6. .

In his will, Abraham left the Christ Church money for a peal of bells.  Hannah died at Hamilton in 1937 aged eighty-eight.

"ABOUT PEOPLE." The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 1 November 1926 .

“ABOUT PEOPLE.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 1 November 1926 .

Also to the left of the nave is the window for Robert Edwin Windsor Sandys Stapylton Bree and his wife Anna Maria Henty.

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MEMORIAL WINDOW OF ROBERT BREE AND ANNIE HENTY

Robert Bree was born in Cornwall on 11 November 1839, his father an Anglican minister.  He worked for Dalgety & Co. in London before arriving in Victoria and working for Stephen Henty as a manager of Henty’s properties. It was during that time Robert met Stephen Henty’s daughter Annie four years younger than himself.  They married in Hamilton’s first Anglican Church on 30 July 1874.  Robert operated a stock and station business at Hamilton from 1872.  At one time he was in business with Alfred Tennyson Dickens, son of Charles Dickens.

Robert sat on the Hamilton Borough Council for thirty-five years, twice serving as Mayor. He was President of the Hamilton Hospital board and operating theatre was named in his honour along with a park opposite the hospital. On 26 May 1900, Robert and Anna’s son Reginald Robert Stephen Stapylton Bree serving as a Lieutenant was killed in Bloemfontein, South Africa during the Boer War.

Robert Bree died on 16 September 1907.  After Robert’s death, Anna continued living at the Bree family home Bewsall in Hamilton and in 1914 hosted the wedding breakfast of her nephew and his new wife, the aforementioned Edward Henty and Florence Pearson.  Anna died on 2 July 1921 at Bewsall in Hamilton leaving two daughters and a son.

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

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

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Next is the window for the Rountrees, James Hughes Rountree and his wife Margaret Strang Kitchen.

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MEMORIAL WINDOW OF JAMES ROUNTREE AND MARGARET KITCHEN

James Hughes Rountree died on 1 August 1902 after an operation for an ulcer.  He arrived in Victoria aboard the Great Britain in 1864 and worked as a dispenser at the Geelong hospital.  In 1874, he became superintendent at the Hamilton Hospital.  Fourteen years later, James opened a chemist shop in Hamilton. He was a member of the Masonic and Orange Lodges.  At the time of his death, James left his widow, Margaret and eight children.

Most of James and Margaret’s children followed James’ profession.  Daughters Mary, Margaret, Jean and Ella were chemists as was son James.  Mary Rountree married the well-known jockey Bobby Lewis in 1920.  Lewis rode four Melbourne Cup winners during his career and controversially rode Phar Lap to third in the cup in 1929. The wedding took place at the Hamilton Christ Church. 

"PERSONAL." The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924) 19 June 1920: .

“PERSONAL.” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 19 June 1920: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article211909666&gt;.

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James and Margaret Rountree were buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

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GRAVE OF JAMES ROUNTREE AND MARGARET KITCHEN

The following photo is a perfect example of most of my church photos and I wasn’t going to post it.  Instead, I asked Mum to try her luck photographing the window.  When I compared the two photos, I had to share both because of the different colours in each photo.

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This is Mum’s photo.  Each was taken in the early afternoon, the first in April and the second in November. The angle was the main difference.  The window is dedicated to the memory of Percy Beaumont Osborne.

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MEMORIAL WINDOW OF PERCY BEAUMONT OSBORNE

Percy Beaumont Osborne was the stepson of Hamilton’s Anglican Vicar from 1907 until 1917, Charles Harris. He enlisted for WW1 on 11 February 1916 and left Australia for England on 28 July 1916.  Percy died of Meningitis at Tidworth Military Hospital, England on 2 February 1917 aged twenty-two.  His memorial window was unveiled on Sunday 17 June 1917.

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Memorial windows for WW1 soldiers are not unusual.  The former Baptist Church in Hamilton (now a private home), had five memorial windows installed for WW1 soldiers Alexander and Edgar  Stevenson, James Sack, Joseph Brokenshire, Walter Filmer and Albert Herbert Lewis.  The Victorian War Heritage Inventory site allows for searches by a soldier’s name or site of a memorial.

I intend to add to my stained glass window photo collection and hopefully, with more practice, they’ll improve. I’m keen to get back to St. Stephen’s Church in Portland where there are beautiful windows and a memorial tablet for Edward Ellis Henty was unveiled there on 1 July 1917.

700 Obituaries

Each month as I add more pioneer obituaries to the WDF Pioneer Obituary Index, I think to myself I should do a proper tally of the number of obituaries now in the index.  I’ve finally done it and there are more than I thought. The total is now 696 obituaries and with another fifteen almost ready to go for the January Passing of the Pioneers post, the number will reach over 700 by the end of the month.

THE PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1900, April 21). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 3.

THE PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1900, April 21). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3.

For those new to Western District Families, since 2012 I have written a monthly post known as Passing of the Pioneers.  Each post lists Western District pioneers in the month they died and with each, there is a link to their respective newspaper obituary sourced from digitised newspapers at the National Library of Australia’s Trove. Each entry has a summary of the pioneer’s life and some have photos and links to further information.  I’ve read 711 great pioneering stories over the past five years giving me a better understanding of the Western District’s local, social and family history.   

 

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When I started searching for obituaries there was only the Portland Guardian and Horsham Times available but in time the number of Western District newspapers available has grown. With more obituaries, to make it easier for you (and me), I started the Pioneer Obituary Index.  Now, pioneers named in the Passing of the Pioneers posts are listed alphabetically with a link to their relevant Passing of the Pioneers post.  It’s a work in progress so if you haven’t found your Western District pioneer in the index, if they had an obituary in the paper there’s a good chance you will eventually.

To check the index follow the link – Pioneer Obituary Index.  If you would like to read the Passing of the Pioneers posts, you will find them all on the following link, starting with the most recent post – Passing of the Pioneers.

Historical Tours of the Western District

At the Western District Families Facebook page, I’m soon to depart on a “historical tour” of the Hamilton Highway. After successful “tours” of the Glenelg Highway and Great Ocean Road, it’s time to set off again with photos such as the one below a feature.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/38782

CRESSY c1914 Photographer Gabriel Knight. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/38782

With the use of “Out of Copyright” photos from the State Libraries of Victoria and South Australia and the Museum Victoria collection, visitors to the page can “travel” the highways and see the sights of the towns and landmarks as they looked fifty to one hundred years ago or more.  The most recent tour of the Great Ocean Road began at Wye River and continued west to Allansford, east of Warrnambool.  It was a trip of contrasts from spectacular coastlines to towering forests and the odd shipwreck.  Lasting almost five weeks, I posted almost 250 “Out of Copyright” photos mostly postcards.  Here are a few of my favourites.

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REMAINS OF THE WRECK “MARIE GABRIELLE” ON WRECK BEACH, GREAT OCEAN ROAD c1909. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/336353

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APOLLO BAY. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64433

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THE WRECK OF THE FALLS OF HALLADALE. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia Image no. PRG 1373/18/17 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+1373/18/17

So now for the Hamilton Highway, beginning west of Geelong at Hesse and “travelling” 180 kilometres to Tarrington around ten kilometres east of Hamilton.  Once again there is a wealth of “Out of Copyright” photos available, a lot more than I expected. I thought this would be a shorter tour than the Great Ocean Road but thanks to the man below, Gabriel Knight of Cressy and his passion for photography, we might be lucky to get to Lismore by Christmas!  I will also post about Gabriel and his family at Cressy along the way.

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GABRIEL KNIGHT. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/38823

Drop by the Western District Families Facebook page from 7:00 pm tomorrow night, Friday 25 November and see how the Hamilton Highway used to look.  If you scroll through the feed, you can take the return trip along the Great Ocean Road and Glenelg Highway. If you’re not a Facebook member you can still view the page, just ignore the prompts to join.

While visiting Facebook, the Hamilton’s WW1 page offers something extra too.  From each day of publication of the Hamilton Spectator, I post a daily article from 100 years before depicting life in Hamilton and district. The following are examples of articles posted during November

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“WITH THE COLOURS.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 21 November 1916: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129390336

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“ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 November 1916: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129389514

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129390016

“A ZEPPELIN SOUVENIR.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 16 November 1916 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129390016

The page also links to the stories of Hamilton’s enlisted men on the anniversaries of their enlistment, embarkation, and their death or return home.  Here on the blog, I’m continually adding new stories to Hamilton’s WW1 and have now posted stories for around 80% of the men named on the Hamilton War Memorial and similar for Anzac Avenue.

 

Major Mitchell Homeward Bound

We left Major Mitchell on 13 September 1836 as he and his party left camp near the Grange Burn, east of what is now Hamilton.  They made their way to the southern tip of the Grampians but Sydney was in their sights.  They were heading home.  By the end of the day, Mitchell’s party had reached the base of Mount Sturgeon where they camped for the night.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53338

MOUNT STURGEON – c 1870-1888 – PHOTOGRAPHER: THOMAS WASHBOURNE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53338

From the camp, Mitchell could see Mount Abrupt just to the north-east and on the morning of 14 September, he set off to climb to its summit.

1870-1888 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53112

MOUNT ABRUPT – c1870-1888. PHOTOGRAPHER THOMAS WASHBOURNE. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53112

Of the experience, he wrote,

…from the summit of Mount Abrupt I beheld a truly sublime scene; the whole of the mountains, quite clear of clouds, the grand outline of the more distant masses blended with the sky, and forming a blue and purple background for the numerous peaks of the range on which I stood, which consisted of sharp cones and perpendicular cliffs foreshortened so as to form one grand feature only of the extensive landscape, though composing a crescent nearly 30 miles in extent: this range being but a branch from the still more lofty masses of Mount William which crowned the whole. Towards the coast there was less haze than usual, for I could distinguish Lady Julia Percy’s Isle which I had looked for in vain from Mount Napier, a point twenty-four miles nearer to it. Here I could also trace the course of the stream we had crossed that morning from its sources under the eastern base of the mountains to a group of lower hills twenty-seven miles distant to the westward; which hills, named by me Dundas group…

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VIEW FROM MOUNT ABRUPT TO THE SOUTH-WEST INCL. MOUNT STURGEON, LAKE LINLITHGOW AND MOUNT NAPIER. Image courtesy of Graeme Tressider

He continued,

From this hill two other ranges branch off to the south; the western being marked Victoria range on the map, the eastern, the Serra, from its serrated appearance, the broken outlines they present being highly ornamental to the fine country around. On the northern slopes of the range are some forests of fine timber but in general the higher summits are bare and rocky.

Upon his descent, the party travelled east.  They had only gone a few miles when one of the bullocks collapsed from exhaustion near what is now Dunkeld.  It was a long journey for the bullocks made worse by the soft winter ground of south-west Victoria, so Mitchell decided to set up camp. There was also a broken axle to repair. Mitchell sent his second in charge, Granville Stapylton ahead to see how much further before the ground improved. On his return at nightfall on 15 September, he advised Mitchell that it was only another three or four miles.

Before setting out the next day, it was decided to leave some of the party behind to work on the broken axle. Also, half of the equipment would stay but all the bullocks would go ahead with the remaining equipment then make a return trip to collect the rest.  The reduced party set out again on the morning of 16 September and found the soft ground was also littered with sharp stones. They travelled eleven miles before they “encamped near a small lagoon on a spot where there was excellent grass”.  The site was around six kilometres south-west of what is today Glenthompson.

The bullocks returned to the previous camp and arrived back to the leading party the next day, exhausted and unable to go on until Mitchell conceded,”…they had enjoyed at least some weeks of repose”.  Low provisions did not allow such a break and it was time for what Mitchell described as “mature deliberation”.  The resolution was he and most of the party would go ahead to Sydney, while Mr Stapylton and a smaller party would stay behind with the bullocks and equipment.

…the camp in which Mr. Stapylton’s party was to remain two weeks was in as favourable a place for refreshing the cattle as could be found. The ground undulated and was thickly clothed with fresh verdure; a grassy swamp also, such as cattle delight in, extended northward into a lake of fresh water which I named Lake Repose. The peaks of the Serra Range and especially Mount Abrupt were landmarks which secured the men from even the possibility of losing their way in looking after the cattle.  

(Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone), 1792-1855 and University of California Libraries Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia; with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales. T. & W. Boone, London, 1839. Chapter 3.11)

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/236368

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/236368

On 19 September 1836, Mitchell bid farewell to Stapylton and turned his horse’s head for home.  At points along the way, he buried letters for Stapylton, of which he later found four.  Mitchell arrived back in Sydney on 3 November 1836 much to the surprise and relief of his family who thought him dead.

There is a last chapter in the story of Major Mitchell’s party at Lake Repose coming soon.

SOURCES

Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone), 1792-1855 and University of California Libraries Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia; with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales. T. & W. Boone, London, 1839.

Monument Australia – Thomas Mitchell Memorial Cairn – Glenthompson

 

Major Mitchell Crosses the Grange

We left Major Mitchell on his return to camp north of Mount Eckersley after an excursion to Portland Bay. Mitchell’s next target was Mount Napier to the north-east.  The party headed in that direction on 2 September but the heavy going slowed the wagons.  They set up camp on 3 September and the following day, Mitchell set off with a smaller party for Mount Napier.  Swamps and later volcanic rocks, a feature of the countryside hampered the journey, but soon the mountain was before them.

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MOUNT NAPIER. Image courtesy of Tony Esh.

Mitchell climbed to the summit and discovered the crater.  The idea of an extinct volcano was of great interest to him.  Looking around, he could see the Grampians and Mount William to the north.  Meanwhile, the sun was setting and before Mitchell knew, it was too late to return to camp.  He ascended and camped the night at the base of Mount Napier in unfavourable weather.  In the morning, fog hung over the mountain until 10:30 am and he returned to camp twenty-six miles away.

The party had to move on, so Mitchell headed them north toward Mount Napier. He thought the knowledge he gained on his earlier trip would see them bypass the swamps but soon swamps were again in their path, slowing the wagons.  Mitchell decided to set up camp about eight miles away from Mount Napier, possibly on the Lyne Creek or Camp Creek west of Byaduk North.

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MOUNT NAPIER FROM THE BYADUK/PENSHURST ROAD. Image courtesy of Kiri’s Images

From the camp, Mitchell set off again for Mount Napier.  At the summit the view was hazy, but occasionally it cleared enabling  Mitchell to sight and name Lake Linlithgow and Mount Rouse to the north-east.  Mitchell and the party spent the following day around Mount Napier before packing up the base camp on September 11 and setting off in a northerly direction.  His journal entry for 11 September read,

AGAIN REACH THE GOOD COUNTRY.

About that time a yellow flower in the grass caught my eye and, remembering that we had seen none of these golden flowers since we left the beautiful valley of the Wannon, I ventured to hope that we were at length approaching the good country at the head of that stream. Such was my anxious wish when I perceived through the trees a glimpse of an open grassy country, and immediately entered a fine clear valley with a lively little stream flowing westward through it and which I named the Grange. This was indeed one of the heads of the Wannon and we had at length reached the good country.

So Mitchell thought he had crossed the Grange.  Most  likely it was Violet Creek.  They followed the creek north until it veered to the west and the party continued on to the north.  The following day, 12 September 1836, they came to what is likely to have been Muddy Creek. They then met a “smaller stream” we know today as the Grange Burn,

We proceeded next along a continuous ridge of fine firm ground covered with excellent grass, and soon after we saw before us a smaller stream flowing under a broad grassy vale and, having crossed it also without difficulty, we encamped in one of the valleys beyond, where this tributary appeared to originate. A finer country could scarcely be imagined: enormous trees of the mimosa or wattle of which the bark is so valuable grew almost everywhere; and several new varieties of Caladenia were found today. The blue, yellow, pink, and brown-coloured were all observed on these flowery plains.  (Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia : with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales by Major T. L. Mitchell, Volume 2, Chapter 3.9)

The point at which Mitchell crossed Hamilton’s Grange Burn is not entirely obvious but it is generally considered it was close to the Digby Road bridge where the Grange settlement would begin a few years later (below).

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SITE OF THE GRANGE SETTLEMENT, DIGBY ROAD HAMILTON

In 1884, the Hamilton Spectator published an article entitled “Early Settlement of Australia Felix” charting the path of Major Mitchell.  Along with Mitchell’s description, landmarks from the 1880s were included.

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“EARLY SETTLEMENT OF AUSTRALIA FELIX.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 20 November 1884: 3. Web. 8 Sep 2016 .

After crossing the Grange Burn, it’s thought Mitchell’s party moved roughly north-east along what is now Lonsdale Street.

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LOOKING SOUTH-WEST ALONG LONSDALE STREET

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LOOKING NORTH-EAST ALONG LONSDALE STREET

Don Garden in his book “Hamilton, A Western District History” also suggests Collins Street as a possible route. With Mitchell’s limited description, there is nothing to say they didn’t follow the course of the Grange Burn because, by the end of 12 September, they had set up camp on the Grange near Strathkellar, east of Hamilton.

"EARLY SETTLEMENT OF AUSTRALIA FELIX." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 20 November 1884: 3. Web. 8 Sep 2016 .

“EARLY SETTLEMENT OF AUSTRALIA FELIX.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 20 November 1884: 3. Web. 8 Sep 2016 .

Along the way, Mitchell saw and named Mount Bainbrigge (now commonly known as Mount Baimbridge), to the north and Mount Pierrepoint to the south.  On September 13, the expedition moved off from the Strathkellar camp.  Mitchell’s journal entry for the day read,

We broke up our camp early this morning and on reaching the highest ground we discovered a large lake on our left: it was nearly circular, about half a mile in circumference and surrounded by high firm banks from which there was no visible outlet; I named it Lake Nivelle.  

(Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia : with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales by Major T. L. Mitchell, Volume 2, Chapter 3.9)

Lake Nivelle is known today as Lake Doling Doling, on the Doling Road at Strathkellar.  From there Mitchell’s party headed toward the southern point of the Grampians.  We’ll meet up with Major Mitchell again on 18 September when it will be 180 years ago since he passed near Glenthompson.

SETTLEMENT OF HAMILTON

News of the “good country” soon spread on Major Mitchell’s return to Sydney. Within two years, interested parties were on their way to see for themselves.  Charles, Richard, and Edward Wedge were the first to arrive in 1838 taking up the Grange run.  

Early arrivals at The Grange as Hamilton was known, were James and Jane Blastock in 1843. James purchased the Grange Inn in 1844, very close to where Major Mitchell passed less than ten years earlier.  The map below shows the Grange Inn or Blastock’s Inn, near the crossing of the Grange on Digby Road.

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PHOTO OF MAP ON INTERPRETIVE BOARD AT THE SITE OF THE GRANGE SETTLEMENT, DIGBY ROAD HAMILTON.

James Blastock died in 1857 and his widow Jane married James Wiggins.  In 1893, journalist The Vagabond made a return visit to Hamilton, having previously visited in 1884.  For accurate information on the early settlement of Hamilton, locals suggested he visit Hamilton’s oldest resident Jane Wiggins at her home Sandal on the Grange Burn, not far from where she had lived with her late husband at the Grange Inn.

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From her cottage’s verandah on the hill on Digby Road,  Jane Wiggins pointed out the track Major Mitchell travelled along and the site of the former Grange Inn.

"HAMILTON" Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918) 25 November 1893: .

“HAMILTON” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918) 25 November 1893: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196644733&gt;.

HAMILTON’S CENTENARY

In 1937, Hamilton celebrated the 100th anniversary of Major Mitchell’s passing through the area with a week of activities including a “Back to Hamilton”. You may wonder why it was not held in 1936. The organising committee did consider September 1936, but thought since the first settlement was in 1838, early 1937 mid-way between the two events was a better option.  Early on in the planning stages, the committee had problems with funding and raising public interest.  That may have also contributed to the later date.  Despite the early problems, the celebration was a roaring success. A highlight was a lecture by historian Alfred S. Kenyon on the summit of Mount Napier where a memorial cairn was unveiled in 1915.

"CENTENARY AT HAMILTON" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 13 March 1937: 24. .

“CENTENARY AT HAMILTON” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 13 March 1937: 24. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11049077&gt;.

Another highlight was the unveiling of a Major Mitchell memorial cairn at Hamilton on 15 March 1937.  Just off Lonsdale Street, the acting premier Francis Old unveiled the cairn before several hundred people.  Also, Thomas Mitchell’s grandson presented the town with a photo of his explorer grandfather.

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MAJOR MITCHELL MEMORIAL CAIRN, HAMILTON

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SOURCES

Garden, Donald S. (Donald Stuart) and Hamilton (Vic.). Council Hamilton, a Western District history. City of Hamilton in conjunction with Hargreen, North Melbourne, 1984.

Hamilton Spectator at Trove Australia

Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone), 1792-1855 and University of California Libraries Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia; with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales. T. & W. Boone, London, 1839.

 

 

 

Major Mitchell Reaches Portland Bay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AT THE MOUTH OF THE GLENELG RIVER, NELSON

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

LOOKING TOWARD PORTLAND BAY

LOOKING TOWARD PORTLAND BAY

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

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

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

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AT CAPE NELSON LOOKING TOWARD CAPE BRIDGEWATER

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

muntham

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

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

 

SOURCES

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

Glenelg Library Historic Treasures – Major Mitchell meets the Hentys

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

 

A Freezing Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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