Passing of the Pioneers

Fifteen pioneers go into the Pioneer Obituary Index this month including two Presbyterian ministers and two female pioneers from Port Campbell.  Also, two men who were in the transport business, a ship’s captain and a coach driver. And as with most months, there are those who lived a life of privilege and those for whom life was a struggle. 

Captain James Donaldson LIDDELL – Died 3 February 1878 at Queenscliff.  James Liddell was born in Scotland in 1807 and arrived in Sydney around 1826.  He came as Chief Officer of the brig Admiral Gifford and from there sailed on to New Zealand to trade with the Maoris.  It was a successful voyage, so James went back to New Zealand on the ship Hannah. In 1830, James married Mary King in Sydney.

In 1833, James arrived in Launceston as master of the Jolly Rambler.  It was there he met the Henty brothers and was employed to captain their schooner  Thistle on trading voyages to the Swan River, Western Australia.  That took James close to the south-eastern coast of Victoria and on one occasion with Edward Henty on board, he sailed into what would later be called Portland Bay to collect oil from the whalers.  They went ashore, saw William Dutton’s hut and potato patch then dug up a sod of the fertile soil to take back to Launceston to show Thomas Henty.  (Bassett, Marnie The Hentys: an Australian colonial tapestry (Australian Paperbound edition, p. 252). Melbourne University Press, [Parkville], 1962).

The following article from 1950 about the Public Library of Victoria (now State Library) collection lists part of the Thistle‘s manifest for a voyage to Portland Bay on 13 October 1834 with Edward Henty aboard, intent on settling there.  They arrived at Portland Bay on 19 November 1834 after over a month of heavy seas. Some of the livestock did not survive the trip. Edward Henty stayed behind and James returned to Launceston with a cargo of oil.  James Liddell’s manifest is now available online.  It is a two-page document listing supplies for Henty and the whalers. You can view the document on the link – Captain Liddell’s Manifest

"LAND AT FIVE SHILLINGS AN ACRE!" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 20 May 1950: 4 (The Argus Week-end Magazine). Web. 21 Feb 2017 .

“LAND AT FIVE SHILLINGS AN ACRE!” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 20 May 1950: 4 (The Argus Week-end Magazine). Web. 21 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22830263&gt;.

By 1838, and aged just thirty-one, James took up whaling off the Victorian east coast. Five years later he was ready to return to New Zealand, a place close to him since his early trading voyages. Taking the family, James purchased land from the Maoris at Kawhia on the mid-west coast of the North Island.  He turned to farming and boat building and began transporting supplies between ports in New Zealand. With the discovery of gold in Victoria, James started taking passengers from New Zealand to the diggings.

Page 1 Advertisements Column 1,Daily Southern Cross, Volume VIII, Issue 520, 22 June 1852 http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18520622.2.2.1

Page 1 Advertisements Column 1,Daily Southern Cross, Volume VIII, Issue 520, 22 June 1852 http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18520622.2.2.1

Soon after, the family home at Kawhia burnt down prompting the Liddells to leave New Zealand for Melbourne where James joined the Victorian Pilot Service.  In early April 1855, James arrived in Portland as the appointed pilot for the harbour.  There were concerns about he would survive off the little money a pilot could make.

"PORTLAND." South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) 11 April 1855: 3. Web. 24 Feb 2017 .

“PORTLAND.” South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900) 11 April 1855: 3. Web. 24 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49308755&gt;.

The Liddells moved back towards Geelong and on 15 February 1859 James’ wife Mary died.  The following year, he married Annie Justice.  In his last years of work, James was master of the Geelong and West Channel lightships.  He retired in 1870, living at Queenscliff.  James had thirteen children, seven children from his first marriage and six children from his second marriage.  At the time of his death, he had a two-year-old son and a great-grandchild.  Life on the sea wasn’t lucrative and James and his family survived on his pension during his retirement. He had nothing to leave his family and some in the community were worried they would struggle if the pension was not continued for them.

Two interesting newspaper items are a letter James wrote to the editor of the Geelong Advertiser in 1868 on the link – Victoria’s First Settlers.  Also, a letter James’ daughter Miss J. Liddell wrote  to The Argus in 1884 about her father at Portland Bay available on the link – The Settlement of Portland

George HICKS  – Died 13 February 1894 at Stawell.  George Hicks was born in Cornwall around 1824.  After leaving England, George went to South Africa for a few years before arriving in Australia during the 1850s.  He got work with The Argus newspaper, eventually working as the commercial editor.  He then worked as editor of the Geelong Advertiser and later the Ararat Advertiser.  After a short time in Melbourne again, George went to Stawell and acted as that town’s correspondent for The Argus.

In his later years, George’s irritability increased and he lost many of his old friends.  In the end, he was living in a one-roomed cottage on the corner of Houston Street and Glenorchy Road, Stawell. His favourite quote was from Englishman Thomas Hood, “When he is forsaken, withered and shaken, what can an old man do but wither and die?” It was a sad, lonely death with George’s body discovered by the postman.  An inquest found although it was clear he had fallen out of bed and hit his head, the primary reason for death was starvation.

Jean ROBERTSON – Died 11 February 1895 at Geelong.  Jean Robertson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and arrived in Australia aboard the John Bull in 1840 with her parents. Her father Thomas Robertson took up Mount Mitchell Station near Ballarat. On board the John Bull, Jean had met William Skene and they went on to marry in 1843.

Once married, William became a partner in Mount Mitchell and Jean and William lived there until 1850 when they moved to Strathkellar near Hamilton, residing at the property William named Skene. William was elected as representative for the Western Province in the Legislative Council of Victoria and remained in the role until 1876. On retirement, the Skenes moved to Bell Park, Geelong, but William died the following year. Skene was sold in 1881 to Jean’s brother John. She remained in Geelong until her death.  Jean was interred in the Skene family vault at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

skene4

SKENE FAMILY VAULT, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

Reverend John Kennedy MacMillan – Died 9 February 1904 at Hamilton.  John MacMillan was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1832, a son of a clergyman.  He went to high school in Edinburgh and then university at age thirteen, graduating when he was seventeen. John began his clergy training in 1850 and was then an assistant at St George’s Church, Paisley, Scotland for around two years.  With a demand for clergymen in Australia, John left Scotland in 1858, taking up an appointment at Beechworth.  In the same year, he married Janet Manson Clarke.  John was appointed to Hamilton’s Presbyterian Church (below) in 1869. During his time there, the church and manse were both expanded.

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

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

While in Hamilton, John MacMillan sat on the committee of the Hamilton Hospital including time as President and was part of the development of Hamilton College and Alexandra Ladies’ College.  He was also involved with the Hamilton Mechanics Institute. At the time of his death, John MacMillan left his widow, Janet and eight children. A lengthy report of John’s funeral is available on the link Hamilton Spectator 13 February 1904.

Reverend Samuel FRASER – Died 27 February 1914 at Terang.  Samuel Fraser was born in Ross-shire Scotland around 1844 and attended the University of Aberdeen where he obtained a Master of Arts.  He studied theology at New College, Edinburgh and was granted a license to preach in 1869.  The following year Samuel arrived in Australia and Terang soon after that on a month’s trial.  His first sermon was on 1 July 1870.  A month turned into forty-four years in Terang for Samuel. In 1875, Samuel married Jane Hamilton, daughter of Reverend Hamilton of Mortlake and they had two sons and four daughters.  In 1894, a new church opened, the Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church (below).  At the time of Samuel’s death, he was the only Presbyterian Minister in Victoria to have stayed in the one location for over forty years.

J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234278

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

James Robinson WOODS – Died 2 February 1915 at Portland.  James Woods was born in Tasmania around 1849 and attended Horton College there. On arriving in Victoria, he worked for the Union Bank in Melbourne for some years. before joining merchants Grant & Co. of Port Fairy.  From there, James went to Portland in 1877  to set up an outlet of Grant & Co. in Julia Street. He then started his own business as a shipping agent and auctioneer.  In 1888, James married Margaret Robertson Cameron.  He next went into partnership with Mr A. R. Balfour on the corner of Percy and Henty Street.  James sat on the Portland Council for over thirty years and was Mayor several times. He played a large role in the resurrection of the Portland harbour and organising the Henty Jubilee.  James also sat on the hospital board and was a member of the racing club.  He left his widow Margaret, two sons and one daughter at the time of his death.

John McCORMACK  Died 2 February 1916 at Hamilton.  John McCormack was born in Limerick, Ireland around 1856.  He was a builder and had arrived in the Hamilton district around 1907 having previously lived in Geelong.  John first worked at Sleat Bank near Yulecart and then on the construction of the grandstand at Melville Oval, officially opened in 1910.

358

GRANDSTAND, MELVILLE OVAL, HAMILTON

John also worked on the construction of the Cavendish Railway Station.  He was living at Cavendish at the time of his death but had stayed in Hamilton for two nights to finish a job.  On Wednesday 2 February he called at the home of Mr W. Taggert in Thompson Street for lunch.  He had only taken a few bites when he died at the dining table.  John left three daughters who lived in Geelong at the time of his death.

Catherine RYAN – Died 4 February 1916 at Port Fairy.  Catherine was born in County Clare, Ireland around 1844. She married Thomas Maloney and they arrived in Port Fairy around 1865 on the Chariot of Fame, settling at Yambuk.  Catherine and Thomas went on to have fourteen children but Thomas died in 1891 aged forty-eight.  Catherine remained at Yambuk for a further twenty years before moving to Port Fairy to live with her son Dan Maloney in James Street.

Mary CAMERON – Died 2 February 1929 at Camperdown.  Mary Cameron was born around 1839 on the Isle of Bute, Scotland and arrived in Victoria in 1852, living at Modewarre, near Geelong, In 1884, with her husband Donald McRae and family, they moved to Port Campbell.  When they arrived in Port Campbell it looked like the sketch below.  Donald was active in town affairs and he and Mary attended the local Presbyterian Church. Donald died in 1913 and Mary went to live with various members of her family.  She left eight children at the time of her death.  Mary was buried at the Port Campbell Cemetery.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/253483

PORT CAMPBELL 1884. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/253483

Catherine Isabella McKEAN Died 3 February 1941 at Newfield.  Catherine was born around 1866 at Lucky Woman’s, a gold mining settlement south-west of Ballarat.  As a child, her parents moved to Cobden then, when she was eight they moved to Port Campbell. Like Mary Cameron (above), the Port Campbell Catherine grew up in was similar to the sketch above.  In 1887, Catherine married Moreland Magilton. They lived at Cowley’s Creek briefly before returning to Port Campbell.  Moreland died around 1938.  At the time of her death, Catherine left five sons and five daughters, twenty-four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Anne Josephine Selina LEMPRIERE – Died 12 February 1943 at Melbourne.  Annie Lempriere was born around 1863 at St Kilda. In 1888, she married Cecil Trevor Cooke, formerly of Condah but then of Murndal, west of Hamilton.  The wedding was held at St Mary’s Church Caulfield on 22 August 1888. From the time of their marriage until 1902, Anne and Cecil lived at Murndal as Cecil was managing the property.  His brother Samuel Winter Cooke had inherited Murndal from their uncle Samuel Pratt Winter.

MURNDAL.

MURNDAL HOMESTEAD.

In 1902, the family moved to the Clondrisse Estate at Flinders then to Abshot Estate, Korumburra around 1917. Cecil died in 1922 at South Yarra. Anne left three sons, two daughters and nine grandchildren at the time of her death.  She was buried at Murndal’s cemetery.

The photo below shows Annie and her son William Lempriere Winter Cooke.  William was born in 1892 so this photo would be from around 1894.  William served as a Captain with the 4th Battalion during WW1. While at Gallipoli, he collected acorns from a prickly oak growing on the island. He sent them home and the acorns were planted at Murndal and his former school, Geelong Grammar.  More than one hundred years later the descendants of those trees are being planted across Victoria as part of the Gallipoli Oaks project. After the death of Samuel Winter Cooke in 1929, William inherited  Murndal.

c1900 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/334496

ANNIE LEMPRIERE WITH HER SON WILLIAM LEMPRIERE WINTER COOKE c1894, Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/334496

Christopher HUMPHREYS – Died  13 February 1943 at Kew.  Christopher Humphreys was born around 1863 at Koroit and married Maria Jane Johnston in 1884.  He was the licensee of the Otway Hotel in Warrnambool during the 1890s, before taking over the Farmer’s Rest Hotel in Warrnambool in the late 1890s.  Christopher enjoyed horse racing and was the owner of the steeplechaser Euro, winner of the 1898 Grand Annual Steeple at Warrnambool and the Great Eastern Steeple at Oakbank. He also won the Bendigo Cup with Miss Gower in 1911.

"WARRNAMBOOL RACE WEEK." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 7 May 1898: 25. Web. 23 Feb 2017 .

“WARRNAMBOOL RACE WEEK.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 7 May 1898: 25. Web. 23 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138666284&gt;.

Christopher retired from the Farmer’s Rest Hotel in 1928 and moved to Melbourne. Maria died on 23 December 1942 and Christopher died less than two months later. They had seven children but only a son and three daughters were living at the time of his death.

Mary O’DONNELL Died 18 February 1951 at Warrnambool.  Mary was born in 1850 at Kilbane, County Clare, Ireland.  She arrived in Victoria in 1870 with her parents and they settled at Yambuk.  In 1884, Mary married Michael Ryan.  They moved to Gippsland briefly then to Melbourne where they ran a green grocers at 27 Spencer Street, Melbourne. Their marriage was brief as Michael died in 1886.  Mary then married Yambuk local Michael Gleeson in 1890 and she returned to Yambuk.  Mary was buried at the Yambuk Cemetery.

gleeson2

HEADSTONE OF MARY GLEESON (nee O’DONNELL) YAMBUK CEMETERY.

Edward ADAMS – Died 23 February 1952 at Cobden.  Edward Adams was born at Cobden around 1864.  He first worked as a road contractor then took up dairy farming.  In 1904, Edward married Elizabeth Richards and they had two sons.  Edward was a member of the Cobden Turf Club, Cobden Football Club and the IOOF Lodge.

William TARRANT – Died 6 February 1946 at Cobden.  William Tarrant was born in a tent at Camperdown around 1856 and for twenty-nine years drove coaches for E.J.Morehouse & Sons of Cobden.  He did runs from Camperdown to Princetown and Peterborough and mail runs on other routes.  On weekends, he drove a four-horse drag to football matches.  Another more grizzly task he undertook was transporting bodies from the coast to Camperdown or Cobden in the event of a fatal shipwreck.

"Death of Mr. W. (Bill) Tarrant" Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954) 15 February 1946: 3 (Afternoons.). Web. 23 Feb 2017 .

“Death of Mr. W. (Bill) Tarrant” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 15 February 1946: 3 (Afternoons.). Web. 23 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65435134&gt;.

In 1882, William married Mary Sarah Harding and they had three children.  Mary died in 1929 and the following year William married Agnes Elliott of Cobden.  After he retired from coach driving, William began a wood carting business.  He enjoyed fishing and tending his garden in Curdie Street Cobden.  He had a good sense of humour and quick wit and could tell a good yarn.

Harman Housekeeping

It’s time to tie up the loose ends with my Harman research before I launch into writing a thesis on the Harmans of Byaduk (1852-1952) for a Diploma in Family Historical Studies.  That’s a daunting thought despite what you may think.  I write often about my family here, especially the Harmans, I have  research gathered over 20 years and I could ramble for 20,000 words about the Harmans if anyone would listen.  Putting the research together into one structured and organised piece is what I find daunting.

So daunted in fact,  I purchased Hazel Edward’s Writing a Non-Boring Family History and revisited a NLA podcast – “How to write history that people want to read” by Professor Ann Curthoys and Professor Ann McGrath.  Not that I’m worried about it being non-boring or uninteresting, I need tips on putting it all together

Structure aside, there are still some unanswered questions about the Harmans that need resolution.  The year the Harmans arrived in Port Fairy from N.S.W. is one question.   Looking for leads,  I contacted the  Port Fairy Historical Society (PFHS) hoping they may have something.  Robyn Bartlett, an archivist at PFHS got back with the news there was a lot of information particularly from a source I had forgotten as a possibility but was not unexpected.  Last week I received a nice thick parcel from the PFHS.  Thank you Robyn,  You provided a wonderful service.

After the dancing died down and I carefully examined the contents of the envelope, I knew If I got nothing else from the information Robyn sent (which I doubt will be true), I have had my Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) moment.  You know that moment  when a celebrity finds a family member that helps defines them, explains their career path or personality traits.  It is different to the other WDYTYA moment when a celeb. visits the former home of an ancestor and feels some affinity.  I have had that moment too.

My WDYTYA moment came as I read several letters written by my 2nd cousin 3 x removed, Edna Harman, formerly of Wangaratta.  Distant cousin I know, but as I read the letters I could feel her passion for her family’s history and history in general .  It was like reading me.  Edna wrote six letters over a 20 year period from 1963 to the PFHS.  I knew she was an active member and one time research officer of the Wangaratta Historical Society and had also co-written a book,  Wangaratta: old tales and tours (1983) with Judy Bassett.  Edna’s grandfather George Hall Harman left Port Fairy for Byaduk with the other family members, but later returned to Port Fairy where he remained for the rest of his life.  That is how Edna came to have a Port Fairy connection.

LETTERS FROM EDNA

LETTERS FROM EDNA

Edna’s letters contain snippets of some wonderful family stories and as luck would have it, Edna put those stories. and others she had gathered from cousins, into a text book, complete with photos (yes, she used photo corners!).  There are pages and pages of history of the Harmans of Port Fairy and her family in Wangaratta including her father Herbert Harman, a long serving journalist with the Wangaratta Chronicle.  One of Herbert’s poems was in the package, and I had to smile because the subject  was the S.S.Casino.  The steamer was the subject of a recent Trove Tuesday post.  A story of Edna’s grandfather’s visits to Wangaratta resonated with me,  George Harman would take a bunch of boronia for his granddaughter.  That reminded me of my grandmother Mavis Riddiford telling me about grandpa Percy giving her bunches of boronia.

I am eternally grateful to the late Edna Harman, and I am sorry that I never met her.  I know I would have liked her.

I have also been buying a few certificates that I have need to help answer some questions, well at least try.

Reuben Harman died in 1883 at only 44,  less than half the age of most of his siblings.   I wanted to find the cause of his death,  and check his “length of time in the colony” status, to compare with the other family members.  Turns out Reuben died of hydatids, a condition on the increase in the Western District during the 1880s and was probably caught from his dogs or dirty drinking water.  This article from the Horsham Times of  March 16, 1883, warned of the dangers of hydatidis and its spread.  Reuben died weeks later on April 28.

hyd

The Horsham Times. (1883, March 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72872771

The Horsham Times. (1883, March 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72872771

I have also purchased the marriage certificate of Sarah Harman, sister of Reuben.  She married Walter Oakley in  1864 but married again to George Adams in 1885.  When I first wrote about Sarah and Walter I heard from  Brad,  a member of the Oakley family.  As the family story goes,  Walter disappeared while delivering horses to India, part of the active export trade during the later half of the 19th century.  I wanted to know how Walter’s “disappearance” was explained on Sarah’s second marriage certificate.  It said that Walter was “not seen or heard of or from for a period of nine years”.  That would make it around 1876 when he disappeared, leaving Sarah with four children aged six to eleven,

Finally, I  purchased the death certificate  of Charles Frederick Ward, son of Stephen Ward and Isabella Harman and grandson of James Harman.  Isabella died during child-birth and the Harman family raised Charles and from what I can gather, his aunt Henrietta played an integral part.  Charles died in 1928 at Ballarat aged just 42, presumably unmarried and childless.  It always appeared that something tragic had happened to Charles, but I had never found anything in the papers.   Now the story is much clearer.  Charles Ward died in the Ballarat Asylum, later known as the Lakeside Hospital, from “organic disease of the brain” and yes, confirmation he never married or had children.  Of course, this now leads me down the path of inquest and asylum records, but if I am to know the part that Harmans of Byaduk played in the life of Charles, particularly Henrietta, I do need more.

HEADSTONE OF CHARLES WARD AND HIS MOTHER ISABELLA HARMAN

HEADSTONE OF CHARLES WARD AND HIS MOTHER ISABELLA HARMAN

The next steps in my research will be a call to the Macarthur Historical Society,  a visit to the State Library of Victoria for some elusive Byaduk history books, PROV for land records and correspondence with living Harmans.  Just all the things I’ve put off for the past twenty years.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

While I’m here talking about corresponding with living Harmans, it is worth mentioning some of those descendents I’m keen on catching up with.

Descendants of:

Gershom HARMAN (1869-1940) and Elizabeth HILLIARD (1874-1931) of Byaduk

Related Names:

ADDINSALL (Wallacedale)

WHEELER (Branxholme)

Walter GREED (1870-1955) and Jessie HARMAN (1871-1949) of Hamilton

Related Name:

JONES (Mumbannar)

James HANKS (1871-1909) and Ellen May HARMAN (1881-1948) of Horsham

Related Name:

WOODS (Horsham & Kaniva)

Reuben Edward HARMAN (1894-1959) and Elizabeth Evaline HENRY (c1900-1979) of Preston.

Related Names:

KING (Thornbury)

SIMMONS (Mordialloc)

 

 

 

 

 

It’s My 1st Blogiversary!

Happy 1st Blogiversary Western District Families.  I thought we would never make it, but 84 posts and 12 months later, here we are.

What a fun year it has been.  It really was worth the procrastinating about whether to blog or not to blog.  Over the time I have made some great online friends, met some previously unknown family members and found out so much more about my Western District family.  Western District Families even got a Google+ page!

I hope some of you have also found out something about your Western District family, where they lived and the things they did through posts such as In the News and the Pioneer Christmas series.  Maybe you have found an obituary of an ancestor at Passing of the Pioneers.

I have found that the act of writing out my family history has been so useful for my research. It has helped me sort out what information I have but more importantly, what I don’t have.  Also, lining up the lives and events of siblings, in the case of the Harmans for example, has given me a better understanding of the dynamics of the family (can you tell I was a Social Sciences student?).

So what have been the most popular of the past 84 posts?

1.  The Fastest Ship in the World

2. A Tragic Night – January 24, 1882

3. Histories of  South-West Towns

4. Witness for the Prosecution

5. Only Seven More Sleeps…

Which posts have been my favourite to share?  Well it was hard to narrow them down to just five but here they are:

1 Elizabeth Ann  Jelly

2. All Quiet By the Wannon

3. Halls Gap’s Cherub

4. From Stone Country to High Country

5. A Tragic Night – January 24, 1882

An Honourable Mention must go to  What the Dickens? and the follow up post Another ‘What the Dickens” Moment.  They were both interesting and fun to write.

Over the past year, I have had made contact with Gamble and Jelly cousins and members of the Condon, Adams and Oakley families.

I  also heard from Rosemary of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her great grandparents were married in the original St Stephens Church at Portland.

Plenty is planned for the next 12 months.  I thought I would run out of things to write about. Instead I am finding it difficult to keep up with all the subject ideas I have. There will be more Passing of the Pioneers and later in the year I will look at Christmas in the early part of the 20th century.  Of course, I will have more stories about my family.  I’ve barely touched on some of the stories I had planned when I started the blog as I keep finding more great stories in the meantime.

A big thank you must go to my fellow Australian geneabloggers.  Your support and encouragement have been fantastic and you have all inspired me to keep going.   What I have learnt from each of you has been invaluable.  It  was great to meet some of you at the Unlock the Past Victorian Expo at Geelong last year.  Also to the 29 followers of Western District Families, thank you for following and for your great comments.

I must also make a special mention of my maternal grandmother, Linda Gamble (nee Hadden).  Nana did not get to see my blog.  She passed away six days before I published my first post.  It was Nana that got me to this point.  Her love of  the past and her family inspired me almost 20 years ago to start researching our family tree simply to find out more about them for her.  What a wonderful family she gave me.

Nana & me

Sarah Harman – From Country to City

I knew all about the brothers of Sarah Harman before I knew anything of her other than she travelled to Sydney with her parents Joseph and Sarah Harman aboard the “Queen of England” in 1855.  Finally I decided the time had come to find out more about Sarah.

I quickly discovered she had married George Adams in 1885 and they had one daughter in 1886.  For some time I thought that was Sarah’s story.  It was while searching the Victorian Pioneer Index 1836-1888 using only “Harman” in the “Mother’s name” field,  that I realised there was more to Sarah than I first thought. I have found this method of searching to be very successful over the years and has unearthed many unknown children and marriages of  the females on my tree.

In the index I found children born at Byaduk to Sarah Harman and a Walter Oakley.  I then found the marriage of Sarah to Walter Oakley in 1864.  Suddenly, Sarah had five children and not one and another spouse.  Sarah’s story had become very different.

Sarah Harman was the only daughter of Joseph and Sarah Harman to come to Australia and she was eldest of the children to travel with them.  Sarah was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1843 and was 12 when she immigrated on the “Queen of England“.

The Harman family arrived in Byaduk around 1863 and by then Sarah would have been 20.  The following year she married Walter Oakley, son of  Henry Oakley and Susan Bullock.  Walter had family links to Port Fairy and Sarah may well have met him during the time the Harmans spent in the town.

The children of Sarah and Walter were:

SUSAN – Born 1865, Byaduk; Marriage Robert Warwick Cruikshank, Birchip 1892; Death 1949, Wangaratta, Victoria

JOSEPH HARMAN – Born 1867, Byaduk;  Marriage Annie Margaret Simpson, 1891; Death 1957,  Blackburn.

HENRY – Born  1868, Yambuk

ALFRED JAMES – Born 1870; Marriage Kathleen Maud Hodgson, 1910; Death 1951,  Stawell.

To this point it would seem that Sarah was going to live life similar to her older brothers, living in Byaduk and raising a family.  However for Sarah there was a turning point.  Sometime between the birth of Alfred in 1870 and 1884, something happened to Walter Oakley.  What, I am not sure.  I have never found a death record.  He just seemed to disappear.

One of the great things about writing a blog, is you get to meet people with similar research interests.  After my post A Small find at the Vic Expo, I heard from Brad who is a Oakley descendant.  He told me of the family story that Walter had disappeared while on a trip delivering live horses to India.  While this a family story, it is not outside the realm of possibility.

Thousands of horses left Australian shores for India during the mid half of the 19th century and naturally there were perils.  This is an incredibly interesting part of our history which led to Australia’s own breed of  horse, the Waler.  The story of live horse export in Victoria is worthy of  its own post at another time.  I like the idea that this is how Walter met is demise, a tragic but romantic end.  Whatever happened, he was gone and Sarah was alone.

Have you found the marriage record of a family member and wondered how on earth did he/she meet that girl/guy?  Sarah’s marriage to George Adams, is one such occasion.  How did Sarah from Byaduk, meet George from Melbourne, 12 years her senior, in the 1880s.  Certainly not online dating!

In the last day or so since I started writing this post, I have added Kerryn Taylor to my circles at Google+.  She is a descendant of  George Adams and Catherine Barry and  told me George’s father Edward was living in Cambridgeshire when the Harmans were still in Melbourn.  The 1851 England Census lists him living at Bassingbourn, just down the road.  Maybe this link to the old country is the reason why George was in Byaduk and in the life of Sarah Harman.

Who was George Adams?  He was born in Essex, England in 1831 and immigrated to Western Australia  around 1852.  He married Irish girl, Catherine Barry in 1853 in Western Australia.  After the birth of one child, they headed east for Melbourne, where a further six children were born.  Two more children were born in Western Australia in 1868 and 1870.

I pick them up next in 1884.  Catherine passed away in Parkville on May 4.  George is listed as a builder and contractor.

Family Notices. (1884, May 14). Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne, Vic. : 1876 - 1889), p. 78. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63184969

The next record of George is the following year, 1885, with his marriage to Sarah Harman.   Not a lot of time elapsed between the death of Catherine and his remarriage, but that was not that unusual.

One child was born from the marriage of George and Sarah.  Sarah was around 42 at the time of the birth.

SARAH SELINA (“Sadie”) – Born 1886 at Kensington;  Marriage Harold Charles STONE, 1915; Death 1977 at Kew.

While it seems that George and Sarah returned to the city, in 1888, George had a listing at Byaduk in that year’s Victorian Post Office Directory, his occupation listed as builder.   He may have kept his work options open. It may also be why George was in the Byaduk area to start with, to build something.

In 1921, George passed away.  He was  91.  The first family notice to appear was from Sarah and “Sadie”.

Family Notices. (1921, January 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733023

The following day a notice appeared from the children of George’s first marriage to Catherine Barry.

Family Notices. (1921, January 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733152

Then three days later another, more detailed family notice  presumably again from George and Catherine’s children, but unlike the first it gives the instructions to copy to the Hamilton papers as in the first notice from Sarah and “Sadie”

Family Notices. (1921, January 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 11. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733627

Are we beginning to see some tension between Sarah and her step children?

George’s Will gives some sign that his children from his first marriage may not have played a big part in his life during his second marriage.  Firstly, Sarah’s son Joseph Harman Oakley and son-in-law, Harold Stone, husband of “Sadie” were executors of the Will.  Sarah was to receive all the household furniture, ornaments and the like as well as all George’s property in his estate.  Upon Sarah’s death, everything was to be sold and distributed as George had nominated.  Aside from his oldest son Edward who was to receive £75, all of his living children from his first marriage were to receive only £20 each.   On the other hand, “Sadie” was to receive the balance of the estate, which sounded as though it would be quiet a considerable sum.

Sarah passed away 10 years later in 1931.  She was 87.  Or was she?  According to her death notice she was in her 90th year.  Her cemetery record lists her as 89.  Her birth record on the England and Wales, Free BMD Birth Index lists her birth in 1843.  The 1851 census has her at seven and as her birth was registered in the last quarter of 1843, this would mean she was turning eight in the year of her census.  The Assisted Immigrants Index lists her age as 12 in 1855, which again fits.  In A Life Cut Short, I posted an article from September 1929 which has Sarah’s age at 85.  Again, if Sarah’s birthday was in the last quarter, this also fits.  I would assume the information for the article came from her brothers.  With 1843 looking like the correct birth year, Sarah should have been 87 at the time of her death, her 88th year, almost 89th but certainly not 90th.  Poor Sarah, what woman would want two years added to her age!

Family Notices. (1931, July 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 15. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4406027

Both Sarah and George are buried at the Fawkner cemetery.

There is something about Sarah’s story that attracted my attention.  Her address at 5 Brixton Street, Flemington. My first thoughts of Flemington are, of course, of the famous racecourse but having driven through the area several times, it also the historic feel of the suburb that comes to mind.  Also, not far away were the Newmarket Saleyards, the City Abbatoir and the Melbourne Showgrounds.  Racing stables were in back lanes and cattle would be herded through the streets en route to the saleyards.  Sarah would only have to step out onto Brixton street for a reminder of country life, horses being led to the track, cattle mooing, drovers’ dogs barking and the smell, well it was bad.

DUST, FLIES, SMELLS, AND NOISES. (1935, August 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 3. Retrieved February 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11756155

The Australian Electoral Roll (1903-1980) shows George and Sarah living at 5 Brixton Street in Flemington in 1903.  George died in the house and Sarah lived there after his death.  I like that when Sadie married Harold Stone, they moved into 7 Brixton Street next door and some stage Sarah, in her later years, moved in with “Sadie”.  In the same year as Sarah’s death, her son Joseph Oakley is listed at 5 Brixton Street in the Australian Electoral Rolls (1903-1980).

Google Street View, points to the painted terrace with the fence as 5 Brixton street.  I’m always a bit wary of where the place the marker lands. If only I could see the street numbers.  I have not been to the house myself but it is on my “to do” list.  Only a couple of months ago I was only about one kilometre away, but with a grumpy driver and child from a day out in the city, I didn’t think they would have appreciated being dragged off course to look at yet another house.  Also the grumpy driver thinks one day we will be arrested  photographing strangers’ houses.  Back to Street View, if you pan around the street, you will see what I mean about the ambiance of the suburb.

Having read George’s Will, it reveals he did own a number of properties, so he may have owned 7 Brixton street, Sadie’s house, also.  In fact he may have owned the entire terrace.  Being a builder, he may have even built the terrace.  As this extract shows, in 1885 land was being offered for sale in Brixton Street.

UNDER THE HAMMER. (1885, February 20). North Melbourne Advertiser (Vic. : 1873 - 1894), p. 3. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66154356

The Will states that Sarah was to receive “the rents and income which may arise and be derived from my lands and tenements and from all property in my estate…”.  Also if  “she shall so desire to permit her to reside in any of my messauges or tenements”.  Electoral rolls also listed George has having lived by “Independent means”, so he must have lived off the rent of his properties.  Secretly I used to hope that it meant he was an SP bookie, living so close to the track and all!

So ends Sarah Harman’s story.  A woman who looked set for a life like that of her sister in-laws, a farming wife in a small country town, surrounded by her family including her brothers, nieces and nephews.  A twist of fate would see her live 50 years of her life in the growing city of Melbourne, away from her brothers, but I’m sure never far from their hearts and minds.

If anyone is interested in more information on George Adams, I have found a website with a very good story of him at Adams Generations.