Passing of the Pioneers

It’s Women’s History Month so I thought I would have an all female Passing of the Pioneers. Men have dominated past Passing of the Pioneers posts so I didn’t think it was going to be easy. However, I managed to find thirteen obituaries of some amazing women including sisters.  There was a common theme with several losing their husbands at an early age, leaving them to raise children alone. There is also extra information for most of the women so click on any underlined text to read more about the subject.

Mary DRISCOLL – Died 3 March 1908 at Portland.  Mary Driscoll was born in Kent around 1828 and later married James Wadmore.  The couple came to Australia on the ship Constant on her maiden voyage for shipping agents Messrs S.G.Henty & Co with James acting as doctor’s assistant on the voyage. They arrived at Portland Bay on 24 February 1855 and one of the crew carried Mary ashore. They were in Portland a short time when James got work with Charlton Hedditch at Cape Bridgewater where they took up land themselves. The couple’s first daughter Ann was born during their first year in Victoria and a son was later born.

A month after their second daughter Sarah was born in 1859, James drowned after he was washed off rocks on the west coast of Cape Bridgewater.  That did not deter Mary who worked hard to raise her children regardless of the hardships.  She was a city girl but adapted quickly to her new life in the isolation of Cape Bridgwater. As well as caring for her own family, she rode a “spirited bay mare” across the district helping those who were sick.  When her daughter Sarah was fifteen, she was offered teacher training, pleasing Mary a great deal.  Mary remained at Cape Bridgewater until around 1905 when her daughters Ann and Sarah bought Annesley in Julia Street, Portland, operating a private guest house. That is where Mary died in 1908.

ANNESLEY, PORTLAND. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233404

Eliza McANALLY – Died March 1909 at Myamyn. Eliza McAnally was born in Ireland around 1836.  She married her husband James Cowan in 1855 and the couple immediately left Ireland for Australia arriving at Portland.  They made their way to Crawford Station near Condah where James had work.  They remained there nine years then selected their own land near Condah. The farm on Lake Condah Road was known as Pleasant Banks.  In April 1876, Eliza and James’ only son died after an outbreak of scarlet fever in the district.  He was nine.

Around 1886, the Cowans built a new homestead. Only months later, a fire in January 1887 burnt their garden fence and to within two feet of the new house.  The Cowans were away from home at the time but James returned just as the doormat caught fire.  The Cowans remained at Pleasant Banks until about 1903 when they moved to Myamyn to live with their daughters Sarah and Isabella who had both married into the Malseed family.  James died in 1905 at the home of their daughter Sarah Malseed.  Eliza remained living at Myamyn but fell sick in early 1909 and died six weeks later.

Lucy RICHARDSON – Died 9 March 1911 at Hamilton.  Lucy Richardson was born around 1831 at Ulverstone, England and arrived in Melbourne in 1857.  In 1861, Lucy married Law Gooderidge and they left for Hamilton where Law was opening Clough & Co., a wool brokers business in Gray Street. Three children were born at Hamilton but in late 1866,  Law died suddenly aged thirty-three. At the time, Lucy was pregnant and gave birth to a daughter Elizabeth Law Gooderidge in 1867.  By the 1880s, Lucy was living in French Street, Hamilton and on 9 May 1889, Lucy’s youngest daughter Elizabeth, known as Lawla, married Harold Learmonth a son of prominent Hamilton businessman Peter Learmonth.  Lucy died suddenly at The Gables (below) in French Street, Hamilton the home Harold and Lawla.  Lucy left one son and three daughters. She was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

THE GABLES, HAMILTON

Catherine MATHEWS – Died 9 March 1912 at Cavendish.  Catherine was born in County Louth, Ireland around 1843. She arrived at Geelong in 1861 before travelling to Hamilton. In April 1866, Father Farrelly married Catherine and Edward Hynes in the then wooden Roman Catholic chapel. Catherine and Edward settled at Flower Hill near Cavendish where they remained for twenty-eight years.  In 1895, they moved to Wattle Grove at Glenisla.  As a devout Roman Catholic, Catherine went to church every Sunday even as her health failed her.

Mary MALONE – Died 3 March 1914 at Dunkeld.  Mary Malone was a daughter of Henry and Rose Malone and her obituary states she was eighty years of age, born in Ashby Street, Geelong. Melbourne wasn’t settled in 1834, let alone Geelong so the story had become a little mixed up over the years. When I checked the Victorian Assisted Passenger Lists, I found a Henry and Rose Malone and three children, Joseph aged ten, Mary aged eight and Ann aged one.  They arrived at Geelong in 1841 aboard the Frankfield.

In 1851, Mary married Thomas Lynch and their first child was born in 1852 at Batesford.  They moved to Mount Burchett Estate west of Glenthompson by the 1860s. In January 1890, Thomas died and shortly after, in March 1890, a fire lit in scrub near Mount Burchett went through the property.  At the time there was only Mary and another woman there. Mary lost sheds, outbuildings and a haystack.  She sold Mount Burchett in November 1890 and moved to Dunkeld to live with one of her sons.  At the time of her death, Mary had six sons, two daughters, six great-grandsons and fifteen great-granddaughters. She was buried at Glenthompson with Thomas.

Mary BEATON – Died 2 March 1915 at Hamilton.  Mary Beaton was born on the Isle of Skye, Scotland around 1847.  She arrived in Portland aboard the Edward Johnson with her parents in 1854, then transferred to another ship to travel on to nearby Port Fairy. In 1867 when Mary was twenty, she married Thomas Clohesy at the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and they settled in the town. On 24 April 1910, Thomas died suddenly at the age of sixty.  Mary went to live with her daughter Mary-Ann and her husband Robert May in Gray Street.  On 2 March 1915, Mary had a visitor, a shipmate from the Edward Johnson. The pair had just set off for a walk from Mary’s daughter’s home when Mary suffered an apoplexy fit and never regained consciousness, dying six hours later. The cause was put down to the excitement of the occasion.  Mary was sixty-eight and was buried in the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below). She left two daughters and four sons.

GRAVE OF THOMAS AND MARY CLOHESY, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

Evelyn MAY – Died 5 March 1916 at Coleraine. Evelyn May and her sister Bessie both died at Coleraine in March 1916.  Evelyn’s death was barely acknowledged in the papers and it was Bessie’s obituary that alerted me to Evelyn’s death three weeks before.  As she did not have an obituary, I’ve had to do some digging to find out more about Evelyn.

Evelyn May was born in Middlesex, England around 1837, the middle daughter of Leon May and Abigail Lyons.  The 1841 England Census lists Leon, Abigail and three girls, Elizabeth (Bessie), Avelina (Evelyn) and Isabella.  Leon was a dentist and they lived at Harrison Street, Bloomsbury, London in what was known as the Harrison Estate.  Leon was from “foreign parts” and Abigail was born in Scotland.  Leon was not present at the time of the 1851 England Census, but the rest of the family were still in Bloomsbury but had moved to Russell Street.  Evelyn’s mother, by then known as Adelaide, listed her occupation as a dental surgeon.

Evelyn’s elder sister Bessie left for Australia around 1861 and married, taking up residence at Coleraine. In 1865, Bessie’s brother-in-law Louis Lesser travelled from Coleraine to England and in 1867, he and Evelyn married and left for Australia.  They arrived in Melbourne and made their way to Coleraine to join Louis’ brother Abraham and Evelyn’s sister Elizabeth.  Louis and Abraham had been in partnership in store in Whyte Street,  Coleraine but mutually dissolved it in May 1865 when Louis left for London.  But they seem to have resumed the partnership with Louis operating the store with other family members after Abraham’s death in 1886.  Evelyn died in 1916 and Louis died on 19 June 1921.  They were buried in the Jewish section of the Coleraine Cemetery.  It appears they had no children. The photo of A.Lesser & Co Pty. Ltd. (below) was taken in 1922, after Louis’ death.

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

Hanora FLEMING – Died 22 March 1916 at Hamilton.  Hanora was born in Ireland around 1850.  On arrival in Victoria, the Fleming family settled at Woodend.  In 1870, Hanora also known as Norah married Thomas Joseph Fitzsimmons, a railway worker.  Their first child Eliza was born in 1871 at Woodend and over the next decade, more children were born as the family moved around with Thomas’ work.  By the 1880s, the family was living in Ballarat. In 1892, Hanora had the last of her children at the age of forty-two.

On 19 January 1900, one of Thomas’ work mates and close friends Edward Lake, had part of his foot amputated while shunting trains at Elaine.  The accident had a deep effect on Thomas and he went into shock.  As a result, he died on 1 February 1900 at Ballarat.  At the time of Thomas’ death, the Fitzsimmons were living in Peel Street North, just near the railway bridge.  Hanora still had four children under the age of eighteen in her care.  Her eldest son Edmund lived in Hamilton and a daughter was also there with her husband Robert Drummond, the licensee of the Victoria Hotel in Gray Street, Hamilton. Hanora moved to Hamilton sometime after 1905, reuniting the family. Hanora died in 1916, leaving three sons and three daughters.

Elizabeth MAY – Died 22 March 1916 at Coleraine.  Elizabeth May, better known as Bessie, was born around 1835 in Manchester, England.  As a young child, her dentist father moved the family to Bloomsbury, London.  Around 1860, Bessie travelled to Victoria and in 1861, married Abraham Lesser at the Mikveh Israel Melbourne Synagogue.

“Family Notices” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 13 April 1861: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5699307

Abraham operated a store in Coleraine with his brother Louis, so Bessie moved to Coleraine taking up residence in a house she would live in until her death.  In 1867, Bessie’s sister arrived in Coleraine from London after her marriage to Abraham’s brother Louis.  A search of children born to Bessie and Abraham Lesser at Victoria Births Deaths and Marriage was interesting with the results showing several children.  Bessie lost her first two unnamed babies and by 1870, had lost five children. In November 1886, Abraham died suddenly after taking ill at a concert.  He was sixty.  They had four children still living at the time.

On 5 March 1916, Bessie’s younger sister Evelyn died and only three weeks later, Bessie died. At the time of her death, she had just one son and one daughter from her large family of ten. Bessie was remembered fondly in both the local papers and the Jewish Herald.  Bessie was musical and was believed to have taken the first piano to Coleraine, regularly playing at concerts. She was also the secretary of the Ladies Benevolent Society.  Bessie was remembered for her good sense of humour and charitable ways.  She bequeathed a large amount of money to various institutions and causes including £10 to the Hamilton Hospital.  Bessie was buried in the Jewish section of the Coleraine Cemetery.

Eliza WHITTAKER – Died 13 March 1918 at Macarthur.  Eliza Whittaker was born in Ireland but moved with her family to Somerset, England after the death of her father.  She married Samuel Trigger and they had three children.  On 9 April 1853, the family arrived at Portland aboard the Eliza.  They went to Mount Taurus, west of Winslow and Samuel worked as a sawyer.  They later settled near Macarthur, acquiring land at Warrabkook and Mount Eccles.  Four grandsons enlisted for WW1 and in 1916 one was killed, Samuel Trigger at Mouquet Farm, France. His body was never recovered. In 1917, Samuel and Eliza Trigger were photographed for The Weekly Times of 14 April 1917 when they were both aged ninety-five.

“A VENERABLE COUPLE.” Weekly Times (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 Apr 1917: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121151983

Eliza died on 13 March 1918 and Samuel died only three weeks later.  They left four sons, two daughters, thirty-one grandchildren and thirty-eight great children.

Johanna Helena HERGER – Died 17 March 1918 at Yulecart.  Johanna Herger was born around 1833 in Breslau, Silesia, now known as Wroclaw, Poland.  Around 1859, she married Ernest Reich and they had two daughters, Ernestine and Emelie.  In 1874, the Reichs arrived in Victoria and moved to the Yulecart district where Ernest farmed. Johanna and Ernest’s daughters never married and remained living with their parents.  By 1900, Johanna was an invalid and early that year fire burnt through 140 acres of the Reich’s property. Ernest, most likely into his seventies, and his daughters fought the fire alone on 28 January 1900.  It ran up to the homestead, a scary experience for housebound Johanna.  They managed to save the homestead but lost two haystacks. Ernestine and Emelie cared for their parents in their old age, operating a dairy farm to support the family.  Johanna died on 17 March 1918, and Ernest died six months later on September 1918.

Sarah Jane COLE – Died March 1947 at Geelong.  Sarah Jane Cole was born in Lethbridge in 1861.  She was the youngest daughter of teacher Robert Nelson Cole.  She spent her early years at Boot’s Creek near Daylesford where her father was teaching.  Sarah’s brother Robert followed his father into teaching and before long Sarah too had taken up the profession. When she was nineteen, Sarah was appointed head teacher at the Carpendeit School, east of Cobden.  She lived with her brother Robert who was living and teaching at the South Purrumbete school.  Sarah rode seven miles to school each morning and seven miles home at night.  She was a “fearless horsewoman” but if for some reason she couldn’t take her horse, she was happy to walk the distance and she was never late. But it wasn’t the safest thing for a young lady to do as she found out.

“Tribute to Life of The Late Mrs.Port” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 27 March 1947: 5 (Afternoons.). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65240862

Eventually, Sarah was able to board at Carpendeit and in time a residence was built.  In 1884, Sarah married John Port of Port Campbell.  There first child a son John George Port was born the following year. Sarah had a further seven children.  Sarah also wrote poetry and sent them to the newspapers. Personal experience may have inspired one of those “On the Death of a Baby” published on 12 January 1889.

“ON THE DEATH OF A BABY.” The Caulfield and Elsternwick Leader (North Brighton, Vic. : 1888 – 1902) 12 January 1889 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66889460 .

In those times, it was still possible for a married woman to continue teaching and Sarah did so until around 1898 when the regulations changed.  In 1902, she wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Colac Herald defending a local married woman still teaching. Sarah was active in the Carpendeit community as a member of the Band of Hope and the Carpendeit Methodist Church.

In 1900, the Ports sold their farm and moved to Nalangil, west of Colac. During her time there, the Education Department asked Sarah to fill in for a few months at the Nalangil School.  Around 1926, John’s health was failing so he and Sarah moved to Ryrie Street, Geelong where he eventually died in August 1927. Around 1932, Sarah went to live with her daughter in Kilgour Street, Geelong. At the age of seventy-three in 1934, Sarah published a book “Victoria’s Centenary and Other Loyal Poems”.  There were fourteen poems and the book sold for a shilling. Sarah died at here daughter’s home in March 1947 aged eighty-six

Ellen Lavinia WINCHCOMB – Died 5 March 1954 at Cobden.  Ellen Winchcomb was born in Cobden about 1883, a daughter of James Winchcomb and Fanny Laundry. Known as Nell, she was organist at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Cobden and did all the floral arrangements for the church and was a Sunday School Teacher.

ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/772413

Ellen was a keen gardener and kept a cottage style garden. In 1914, Ellen’s mother Fanny visited a sister living on the Penshurst Road, Hamilton.  She fell sick there and died at Hamilton on 4 December 1914 aged fifty-eight. Ellen’s father, James Winchcomb died in 1925. On 5 March 1954, Ellen died at her home in Cobden after a long illness.

Passing of the Pioneers

The stories of the Western District pioneers continue with June Passing of the Pioneers.  Pioneer obituaries come from a woman who was the first European woman at Colac, a man who survived a shipwreck off Tasmania, and a Reverend who started his career as a journalist for the London Times. Look out for the July obituaries when Passing of the Pioneers celebrates a birthday.

Nicholas COLE: Died 22 June 1879 at Darlington. Born in England and heir to an estate in Plymouth, Nicholas Cole decided to try his luck in Australia and arrived in Sydney in 1839. During his voyage, he met another man Peter McArthur and together they sailed on from Sydney to Geelong. They became partners and took up the West Cloven Hills and Menningort runs at Darlington. Those early pioneers faced many hardships including the Black Thursday fires in 1851.  Nicholas, thought to be a descendant of “Old King Cole” the subject of the nursery rhyme of the same name, ran Merino sheep and built up a herd that produced high yields of good quality wool. 

"Pastoral Pioneers" The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 13 October 1934: 49 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). .

“Pastoral Pioneers” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 13 October 1934: 49 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145242490&gt;.

More information about Nicholas is available on the links –  The Colac Herald 24 June 1879    The Cole Family at West Cloven Hills

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

SHEARING SHED, WEST CLOVEN HILLS (1987) Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection. Image no. H95.200/65 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217139

Elizabeth YOUNG: Died 11 June 1892 at Barongarook. Jean Young was born in Scotland in 1823 and as a girl sailed to Tasmania with her parents and her father worked as a solicitor in Hobart. In 1841, she married Hugh Murray. They moved to Geelong and Hugh, considered the founder of Colac, moved to that area, before Jean and her young son joined them, becoming the first European woman in the district.  She raised a family of fourteen children and endured the many hardships faced by early pioneer women in Victoria. Among other things, Jean and Hugh were founding members of the Colac Presbyterian church and Jean remained a pillar of the church during her life. Hugh passed away twenty-three years before Elizabeth in 1869.

George COXON: Died 20 June 1892 at Portland. George Coxon was born and married in England and in 1857 he and his family, including seven children, travelled to Victoria. After a short time on the Victorian goldfields, he took up farming pursuits in the Casterton district.  In his later years, he moved to Portland where he passed away.  A profile of George and his family his available on the SW Pioneers website –    http://www.swvic.org/sandford/coxon_george.htm

Lawrence McKENNA: Died June 1914 at Curlew Hill.  Lawrence McKenna was born around 1830 in Ireland and travelled to Adelaide around 1861. The South Australian explorer John Stuart was about to leave on a government funded expedition to cross the continent and Lawrence joined his party. Stuart eventually abandoned his attempt. After ten years on the goldfields of Victoria and New Zealand, Lawrence gained work at Woodhouse near Dunkeld in 1872. He took a trip back to Ireland in 1874 then returned to Dunkeld to marry Elizabeth Irwin and they settled at nearby Curlew Hill.  In 1900, he was badly burnt while trying to protect his property during bushfires and never fully recovered.

Sophia GERDTZ: Died 5 June 1914 at Hamilton. Sophia Gerdtz was born in Germany around 1831 and arrived in Melbourne during the early 1850s. Her family travelled to Hamilton, where few buildings stood. She first married Robert Thomson at Lyne Station in 1852 but was left a widow during the 1860s. She then married storekeeper Cavendish Neville.  Again widowed, she spent the last years of her life living with her son at Pierrepoint, just out of Hamilton.

 Bridget McNAMARA: Died 19 June 1914 at Tower Hill.  Born in Ireland around 1843, Bridget McNamara arrived with her parents to Port Fairy in 1852 and they settled near Farnham and later Dennington. In 1866 at Warrnambool, Bridget married Hugh Reilly, afterward settling at Southern Cross where they lived for the rest of their lives.

THE Roroit Sentine[?] AND Tower Hill Advocate. (1914, June 27). Koroit Sentinel and Tower Hill Advocate (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved July 1, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119554315

THE Roroit Sentine[?] AND Tower Hill Advocate. (1914, June 27). Koroit Sentinel and Tower Hill Advocate (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved July 1, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119554315

Reverend George Duke LEE: Died June 1915 at Hamilton. Born in Derbyshire, England around 1830, George Lee first worked as a reporter for the London Times in America. After briefly returning to England he sailed to Victoria aboard the Blue Jacket in 1853 and made for the Ballarat goldfields. He worked as a teacher but left after medical advice as his eye sight was failing. Instead, he went on a lecture tour for the Sons of Temperance Friendly Society through the Western District. While visiting Chetwynd he became interested in the teachings of the Presbyterian church and entered the Ministry. He was sent to the St. Johns Presbyterian Church at Cavendish where he remained for thirty years.

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

ST JOHNS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CAVENDISH (1974). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection. Image no. H94.200/605 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217138

When George retired around nine years before his death, he moved to Hamilton.

William ALFORD: Died June 1916 at Ellerslie. William Alford was born in England around 1831 and twenty-one years later he travelled to Australia. He was a steward on the ship he sailed aboard which wrecked off the Tasmanian coast. William and other passengers were able to reach shore on a dingy and they walked to Hobart without shoes. William then travelled to the goldfields of Victoria, working as a driver with the gold escort out of Ballarat and later driving the mail coach between Ballarat and Geelong. He moved to Ellerslie in the mid-1860s and he remained there for the remainder of his life. William was a caretaker of the local Mechanics Institute and was involved with the Ellerslie Football Club.

James WORLAND: Died 18 June 1916 at Warrnambool. James Worland was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire around 1851 and arrived in Port Fairy two years later with his parents and they settled in the Warrnambool district. When working age, James took a job at a tannery and later purchased his own tannery. William also took up many roles in the community including warden of the Christ Church and a founding member of the local branch of the Society of St. George. At the time of his death, he left a widow and nine children.

William DAVIDSON: – Died June 1917 at Woolsthorp.  Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, William Davidson arrived at Port Fairy in 1855. He first took up labouring at Minjah, a property near Hawkesdale before opening a store at Woolsthorpe. He later  then turned to dairy-farming.  William was known as “The Chaffer” around Woolsthorpe because he enjoyed having a tease.  A widower at the time of his death, William had twelve surviving children.

Passing of the Pioneers – A Year On

PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1927, November 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259147

On July 22, 2011, I posted the first Passing of the Pioneers and 12 months on I am preparing to post the 13th edition.

There are now over 180 links to Western Victorian pioneer obituaries at Western District Families and the 13th edition will see the total go over 200.

Reading all those obituaries has been a privilege and has taken me on a wonderful journey, not only through the history of the Western District, but to place such as game parks in Africa and the silver mines of South America.  The lives I have glimpsed into range from that of gentry to general hand, but all have shared in making Western Victoria the place it is today.

Some of the pioneers were born during the early days of Victoria,  while others dared their lives aboard immigrant ships in the hope of a better life.  Many travelled from the ports to the Western District by bullock wagon on rough tracks, while enduring unfamiliar conditions.  They built houses on land that would one day see towns such as Penshurst, Hamilton and Balmoral grow around them.

The women from the pioneering era deserve recognition.   Some were alone among men, left to bear and raise children and turn their canvas tents or slab huts into homes.  Many endured loneliness, but as towns grew some became involved with community activities such as the church.   Despite their hardships, many of these women’s obituaries noted that even in old age they would reminisce about those times.

Obituaries came after the pioneer “crossed the Great Divide”, penned by someone who too had heard the stories but may not have had all the facts.  That is my warning to you while you read obituaries and in the July 2012 Passing of the Pioneers I will show this with an obituary from my family.

Having said that,  it is the snippets of information within them that make obituaries a worthwhile family history resource.  Names of children and their married names, places of residence, occupations and immigration details are just some of those snippets which you can then test against the relevant records.

Many of the obituaries I have read have moved me, inspired me and led me to further research.   I have listed just some of those, not so much for the achievements of the subject but the stories they tell.  Click on the pioneer’s name to go to their original newspaper obituary or the date to go to the Passing of the Pioneers post where the obituary appeared:

Frederick William BILSTON (August 2011)

Mrs Agnes CHEQUER (November 2011)

Thomas Denton CLARKE (October 2011)

Elizabeth COLE (March 2012)

James DAWSON (April 2012)

Alfred Irvine HOGAN (February 2012)

KITTSON family – James (May 2012), James Trotter (December 2011),  Rebecca (January 2012),  Susannah (June 2012) and Mrs Margaret Kittson (May 2012)

MALSEED family – Fanny Ann (February 2012),  Robert J. (May 2012) ,  Mrs E.A. MALSEED (August 2011) and Mary HEDDITCH  (Mrs James MALSEED) (July 2011)

Finlay McPherson PATON (September 2011)

Joseph Bell PEARSON (July 2011)

Passing of the Pioneers

I enjoy finding stories of pioneer women, as they give me some idea of the lives lived by my own pioneering female ancestors.  March Passing of the Pioneers introduces a plucky pioneer, Elizabeth Cole.  Elizabeth and another pioneer, Annie Alexander both made their mark in roles not traditionally considered the domain of women. Among the passing gentleman, I enjoyed the story of John McClounan, a well-travelled pioneer.

Mr John Lang CURRIE: Died 12 March 1898 at St Kilda.  John Currie was born in Selkirkshire, Scotland in 1818.  He arrived in Victoria in 1841 to join his cousins who had taken up land near Melbourne and then later at Buninyong.  

JOHN LANG CURRIE 1872. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/18219

JOHN LANG CURRIE 1872. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/18219

 In 1844, John purchased Larra Estate (below) near Derrinallum with Thomas Anderson.  In 1850, he brought out Anderson’s share in the property and purchased the Mount Elephant run and two years later married Louisa Johnston.

"LARRA" c1859.  Photographer John Lang Currie.  Image no.  H2013.345/42 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320299

“LARRA” c1859. Photographer John Lang Currie. Image no. H2013.345/42 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320299

In 1886, John bought Tintanga and Gala estates near Lismore along with having interests in properties in New South Wales and Queensland. He bred merino sheep known for the high quality of their wool.  John died at his town residence Eildon in Grey Street, St Kilda.  

EILDON, ST KILDA.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151371

EILDON, ST KILDA. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151371

Not surprisingly, John Currie left a large estate and news of its value made news across Australia. John’s son Henry Alan Currie inherited Mount Elephant station.

"A Wealthy Pastoralist's Will." Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 - 1954) 21 July 1898:  .

“A Wealthy Pastoralist’s Will.” Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 – 1954) 21 July 1898: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114964506&gt;.

For more information, John Lang Currie’s biography is on the Australian Directory of Biography site.

John McCLOUNAN: Died 2 March 1902 at Green Lake. John McClounan was born in Scotland in 1832 but left when he was twenty-one.  But not straight to Australia.  He first travelled to America where he spent seven years and then on to New Zealand for around six years.  He and his brother, his travelling companion, then moved to the goldfields of N.S.W. and then to Victoria and Deep Lead near Stawell.  They gave up on mining and moved to Green Lake to farm.  It was on this property John died, forty years later.  He was unmarried.

Isabella SPALDING:  Died March 1907 at Warrnambool. Isabella Spalding was “another pioneer “Mother of Israel”” lost to the Western District.  Aged ninety-one, her husband, James Davidson had died forty-six years before and according to the obituary, she “trained up five sons and four daughters to man and womanhood”

John Henry OLIVER:  Died 23 March 1909 at Horsham. John Oliver was the brother-in-law of Jonathon and Reuben Harman. The obituary states John arrived in Melbourne with his family in 1848. It was in fact 1849 aboard the Courier.  John had spent time around Byaduk where his family settled, however, he bought land at Sailors Home near Dimboola in the early 1870s.  After a stroke, John did return to Byaduk trying to regain his health, but he eventually returned to the Wimmera to live out his last months.

William Snaith WARD: Died 14 March 1913 at Ballarat. On arrival at Geelong in 1857, William Ward headed straight for the goldfields of Ballarat. He mined the “Hit and Miss” shaft at Creswick before taking time of mining to run the coach on the Ballarat-Buninyong Road. The lure of gold was too great and he headed to the goldfields of N.S.W. and one time drilled for coal in Gippsland.

Margaret CAMPBELL: Died 10 March 1914 at Casterton. Margaret arrived at Portland with her parents in 1855 after sailing aboard the Athletae.  She married Donald Ross in 1857 when she was around twenty-six.  They moved to Hamilton, then Sandford before settling in Casterton on the corner of Jackson and Clarkes Street in the house both Margaret and Donald died about fifty years later.

James FERGUSON: Died March 1914 at Beulah. Scottish born James was one of the early settlers at Beulah and was known around the town as “The Laird”. He was one of the first representatives of the newly formed Karkarooc Shire in 1896.  In 1908, he travelled to England and visited the place of his birth in Scotland.

Dugald MAIN:  Died 9 March 1916 at Ballarat. Dugald arrived in Geelong aboard the Star of the East in 1854 and then settled in Ballarat.  He was a builder by trade and sat on the committee of the Ballarat Orphan Asylum.

Alexander McKAY:  March 1919 at Carlton. Alexander, formerly of Mortlake, was a Scot through and through and was a keen participant in Highland games throughout the district. He was an excellent player of the pipes and excelled at the heavy lifting events of the games, such as the caber toss.

Edmond DWYER:  Died 14 March 1930 at Condah. Edmond at ninety-two was the last of the pioneers to arrive on the General Hewitt in 1856. He initially went in search of gold near Beaufort at the Fiery Creek diggings, before turning to road contracting at Portland. He worked the road from Portland to Hamilton for many years.

Mary McDONALD:  Died 4 March 1932 at Hotspur. Mary McDonald was a very old pioneer when she passed away in 1932.  She was born in the Isle of Skye in 1838 and was a teenager when she arrived at Portland with her parents in 1853 aboard the New Zealand.  She married Archibald McLean in 1862 and they settled at Hotspur and raised eight children.

Mary Jane JONES:  Died March 1932 at Portland. Mary Jane Jones was born in Portland in 1859.  She first married a Mr Jennings and they had two sons before she married Alfred Fredericks.  They had a further six children.

Martha RIGBY:  Died 11 March 1934 at Hamilton. Born in Lancashire, Mrs Jackson arrived at Portland with her parents, John and Sarah Rigby, in 1859. They settled at Heywood where she married John Jackson.  They later moved to Hamilton.  Mrs Jackson left a large family of ten children, thirty-two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren (this was reported as seven great-great-grandchildren, so they either forgot the great-grandchildren or it was meant to read great-grandchildren).

Emma HOLMES:  Died March 1935 at Drik Drik.  Emma was a knitter.  She knitted during the Great War for the troops and later for the Methodist Babies Home at South Yarra.  Emma arrived at Portland as a seven-year-old in 1852.  She married William Mullins and they settled at Drik Drik, with Emma considered to be the first white woman to settle there.  Surely a tough time for a new bride.

Annie Gray ALEXANDER: Died 14  March 1937 at Toorak.  Annie Alexander was born near Beechworth around 1861.  She married Henry William Witton in the early 1880s.  They took up residence at Dimboola in the 1890s.  After Henry’s death, Annie did something a little different to some of the pioneer women I have written of before. She published the Dimboola Banner newspaper until 1918.

Maria Jane TAYLOR:  Died 20 March 1939 at Portland. Maria Taylor was an active member of the Myamyn community even up until months before her death at aged ninety.  She was born at South Portland and later married John Treloar at Myamyn where they lived out their lives.  Mrs Treloar had a large family of thirteen, eight of whom were still living at the time of her death.

Elizabeth COLE: Died March 1942 at Bostocks Creek. What a great pioneer Elizabeth Cole was. Born at Poplar, London in 1845, she came to Australia with her parents in the early 1850s.  She married Alexander Dalziel at Lethbridge in 1862.  At the time of her death, Elizabeth and Alexander had 120 descendants including sixty-five great-grandchildren.  What got me about Elizabeth was she was that she had been a bullock driver and one with great skill.  She also had memories of Eureka, could recall Lethbridge as a canvas town and the slab huts of Port Fairy and considered kangaroo a delicacy.  In her later years, she enjoyed listening to that modern contraption, the wireless.

PIONEER DIES IN 97th YEAR. (1942, March 17). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26091631

Mary MURRAY:  Died 17 March 1944 at Hamilton. Mary’s father was an overseer for Edward Henty at Muntham where she was born.  At the time, she was the first white child born at Muntham.  At some time, she married Mr Hallam and had many great pioneering stories.

Jean EDGAR:  Died March 1947 at Harrow. Jean was another wonderful pioneer who had been in Victoria for ninety years.  She arrived aboard the Severn which carried another great pioneer, the thoroughbred King Alfred, one of Australia’s early champion sires.

OBITUARY. (1947, March 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64410609

In 1874 she married into the pioneering Minogue family at Harrow where she lived for the rest of her life.