Broken Memories – Hamilton (Old) Cemetery Part 2

Broken Memories takes a look at broken headstones and memorials in Western District cemeteries and the stories behind them beginning with the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Links to previous parts to the series are at the bottom of this post.  Any underlined text throughout the post will take you to further information about a subject.
LISSIMAN

Joseph Mitton Lissiman was born in  Droitwich, Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England around 1853 and went to school at the Old Swinford Hospital to the north at Stourbridge. The family eventually made their way further north to Birmingham.  Joseph left school at fifteen and by the time of the 1871 England Census, he was living further north again in Staffordshire and working in an apprenticeship role.  Joseph was also deeply religious, a parishioner of the Church of England. Joseph became a Sunday School teacher and volunteered around the church where possible.

In 1876 and still in England, Joseph read an article written by the Ballarat Archbishop Samuel Thornton Joseph about the needs of the Ballarat Anglican Diocese. That year the Archbishop wrote a series of articles for the English journal Mission Life with excerpts published in Victorian papers.  An example is the following extract from the Bacchus Marsh Express with Archbishop Thornton describing the Ballarat diocese and putting out a call to young Englishmen to help. He continued, “the bush clergyman should be ready for plenty of open-air and saddle-work”.

BISHOP THORNTON ON AUSTRALIA. (1876, May 27). The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 – 1945), p. 3. Retrieved December 11, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88347775

Joseph longed to go. By that time his parents were dead and nothing was keeping him in England.  He approached his local clergymen who knew Archbishop Thornton.  He was happy to put in a good word for him. Joseph saved his money and in 1877 he applied to work with the Anglican church in Australia at his own expense.  There was some hesitation from the church to approve his application because Joseph had no theological training. His devotion, however, was unquestionable.

By June 1879, the dreams of twenty-six-year-old Joseph had come true. He had become a Lay Reader for the Anglican Church in the Ballarat Diocese, assigned to Hamilton Archdeacon Gustaves Innes.  Joseph was based at the small township of Dunkeld, east of Hamilton, and spread the word throughout the wider district. The majestic mountains, Sturgeon and Abrupt (below) overlook Dunkeld.

Some days, Joseph would ride north between the two to the sparsely settled Victoria Valley beyond.

THE VICTORIA VALLEY by NICHOLAS CHEVALIER. Engraver Frederick Grosse. 1864
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/236368

On other days, he would turn his horse to the west and follow the Wannon River around the foot of Mount Sturgeon and make his way to Cavendish. Or he would head to the south to Penshurst or even further beyond to Macarthur, a round trip of around 130 kilometres. But still, his circuit was not complete.  There was also the parishioners of Glenthompson to the east of Dunkeld.  Joseph’s pay was subsidised by subscribers to the church in each of the areas he preached. However, congregation numbers were low, meaning low subscriptions meant little to pay Joseph for his hard work.

Items of News. (1880, January 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226058043

Its doubtful monetary reward was top of Joseph’s mind. In fact, when not travelling miles on horseback, Joseph was involved with the Dunkeld community. He and Miss Elliot of the town trained the local school children in singing, something met with hearty applause when they sang at the Dunkeld Wesleyan Anniversary Tea.  Later in the month, the Dunkeld school held a “breaking-up jubilee”. Games were played and Joseph acted as a judge.

DUNKELD. (1879, December 25). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226053158

Joseph must have been exhausted yet still his passion for his work was evident to all who met him.  But just six months of living his dream, things took a tragic turn.

On 22 January 1880, news came Joseph was ill, attributed to overwork. A good rest was what was needed to return him to good health.  He was taken to the Hamilton Anglican parsonage to stay with Archdeacon Gustves Innes and his wife.

Items of News. (1880, January 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226058043

However, on 31 January 1880, the Hamilton Spectator announced Joseph was dangerously ill with “colonial fever” (typhoid) and the doctors gave “faint hope of his recovery”.

The Church of England Messenger and Eccliseiastical Gazzette reported on his illness,

Parochial Intelligence. (1880, February 4). The Church of England Messenger and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of Melbourne and Ballarat p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197135188

Joseph succumbed to typhoid on 7 February 1880.

JOSEPH MITTON LISSIMAN. (1880, March 2). The Church of England Messenger and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of Melbourne and Ballarat p. 8 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197135250

Joseph was buried in the Church of England section of the Hamilton Cemetery.  Archdeacon Innes officiated at the grave while local Sunday School teachers gathered to farewell their friend.  The Hamilton Spectator reported, “he had no relatives in the colony”. But he did have kind friends and as written on his headstone, the cost of the monument was paid for by “a few of his friends”.  Sadly, his surname was incorrectly spelled.

HEADSTONE OF JOSEPH LISSIMAN, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Joseph’s obituary in the Hamilton Spectator mentioned,

…his numerous friends at Dunkeld and Cavendish will not easily forget his love for little children, his simple piety and homely ways…it is somewhat pathetic to reflect on so ardent a young spirit quenched in the very commencement of his career. Perhaps, however, his death may teach the lesson of his life, and his cordial relations with other denominations his purity of life and gentle unselfishness may be copied by some of the young members of his flock, who, in a few months, had already begun to look upon him as an old friend, and not as a new arrival in the colony.

In the Diocese publication,  Archdeacon Innes relayed the story of Joseph helping a young girl kicked in the face by a horse.how in the months before

JOSEPH MITTON LISSIMAN. (1880, March 2). The Church of England Messenger and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of Melbourne and Ballarat p. 8 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197135250

An interesting point about Joseph’s death was the timing, right in the midst of a Diphtheria epidemic in the Hamilton district.  As seen below, Joseph’s death was not the only one reported on 10 February 1880 but also that of young Esther Smith who died of Diphtheria. It may be possible Joseph was misdiagnosed as there are some similarities in the symptoms of both diseases such as a sore throat, fever, malaise but beyond that, each develops differently.

Family Notices (1880, February 10). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226055370

Now for a twist in the story…

Life for Hamilton’s Archdeacon Gustaves Innes returned to normal after Joseph’s death, or so it would seem.  On Easter Monday 29 March 1880, he had a great day at the Anglican Sunday School picnic at Nigretta Falls, just west of Hamilton.

NIGRETTA FALLS c1879. Photographer: Thomas Washbourne. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53200

There was food, games, the Hamilton Brass Band provided entertainment and Gustaves arranged a greasy pig competition.  The Spectator reported, “If the Ven. Archdeacon was loved and respected before Monday, his bonhomie on that all eventful day greatly increased his popularity, the children being practically shown that there is a time for all things.”

On Saturday 3 April 1880, it was reported Gustaves was suffering a sore throat and a replacement was called for the Sunday service. It was thought he’d caught a cold at the Sunday School picnic. His condition worsened and on 6 April it was reported four patients were receiving treatment for Diphtheria at the Hamilton Hospital with another seven receiving treatment at home.  All were at the Sunday School picnic. It was confirmed Gustaves was among the cases.

Two days later Gustaves” condition was critical and his daughter Lily had also contacted Diphtheria.  The next morning, 9 April, Gustaves died aged forty-two leaving his widow and his daughter Lily who recovered from her illness.

The funeral took place the following day at the Hamilton Christ Church with a large crowd in attendance.  Given the growing fear of the contagious disease, it was thought a good idea to leave the coffin outside in the hearse while mourners went inside the church for the service.

CHRIST CHURCH ANGLICAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

A large crowd then followed the hearse to the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Of course, Gustaves was buried in the Church of England section of the cemetery.

I went to the cemetery in search of his grave. After a lot of examining the maps on the cemetery’s deceased search and the various photos I have of photos close by, I have come to the conclusion, the grave below belongs to Gustaves. There is no inscription and like Joseph Lissiman’s headstone, it too appears broken.  He is buried in the next row across and seven graves down from Joseph Lissiman.

GRAVE OF ARCHDEACON GUSTAVES INNES, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Gustaves would remain close to Joseph Lissiman after death and given the events after Joseph’s death, that may have been too close for comfort for Gustaves as the story takes another twist,

On 30 April 1880, the Geelong Advertiser broke a story.  Apparently, the ghost of Joseph Lissiman appeared before Archdeacon Gustaves Innes in his study one night in the weeks after Joseph’s death. Not only that, the apparition predicted Gustav’s death.

A REAL GHOST STORY. (1880, April 30). Geelong Advertiser p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article150416314

That revelation led the Hamilton Spectator to break a promised silence. After Gustaves’ death, they were shown a note written by him the morning before his death while he was still apparently lucid. “It was shown to us with a request that we would not publish it, as it could do no good, and might hurt the feelings of his relatives.” Instead, a family friend “with questionable taste, thought proper to furnish a very distorted version of the affair to the public”. The contents of the note sighted by the Hamilton Spectator were different from the account published in the Advertiser.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 4 May 1880: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225487099

Rather, shortly after Joseph died claimed the Spectator, Gustvaves was home alone when he heard rattling coming from the room which served as Joseph’s sick room. Gustaves rushed to the room, peered into the darkness and when he thought the coast was clear, said to himself with a chuckle, “It must be old Lissiman. What do you want?” Gustaves’ note continued…”Then I had an answer, not audible, but such as possibly a spirit can convey, ‘ Never, mind, you’ll follow me soon.’ It was singular, I never told anyone.”

Items of News. (1880, May 4). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225487099

Whatever happened on that night must have weighed on Gustaves’ mind for him to pen a note as he lay on his death bed.  All the same, the matter of a ghost, it would appear, was soon forgotten. Gustaves and Joseph, however, were not forgotten. They were remembered together in April 1881 a year after their deaths at the laying of the foundation stone of a new Anglican church at Dunkeld.

THE LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE OF ST. MARY’S, AT DUNKELD. (1881, April 7). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225487149

But the matter of a ghost was not forgotten.  On 23 July 1881, the Leader newspaper published in a supplement an excerpt from the Wesleyan Spectator, under the headline “The Living and the Dead”, a paper written by Reverend Joseph Waterhouse a year earlier when the first word of a ghost hit the papers.  At least, the Hamilton Spectator‘s version of the story was given, but the Reverend Waterhouse added, “I believe all the above; I will give three instances in which the dead have appeared to me, the living.”

I will leave the topic of ghosts here for now but the next edition will continue on from where the story of Joseph Lissiman and Archdeacon Innes left off including a revisit to the Anglican Sunday School picnic at the Nigretta Falls on Easter Monday 1880. Coming Soon.

If you missed the early editions of the series Broken Memories, you will find them on the links below:

Broken Memories: An Introduction

Broken Memories –  Hamilton (Old) Cemetery Part 1 

 

 

Cemeteries With a View

Over the past two weeks, I’ve visited three Western District cemeteries, each offering great views of the surrounding area.

Firstly, I took a trip to Hamilton and rarely do I visit without taking a drive out Coleraine Road to the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Aside from dropping by the graves of my great grandparents and great great grandparents, the main task on my visits is photographing the multitude of headstones.  I’ve got a long way to go with just over five hundred photos which include a lot of multiples.  But while wandering around the rows of graves it’s hard not to stop for a photo of the view towards volcano Mount Napier to the south.

LOOKING TOWARD MT. NAPIER FROM THE HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

It’s even better in Autumn

AN AUTUMN VIEW TO MT NAPIER FROM HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

Then there’s the beauty of the many and varied monuments rising up across the cemetery’s expanse.

HAMILTON CEMETERY

If you look in the right direction you can even catch a glimpse of one of Hamilton’s beautiful steeples.

VIEW TO CHURCH HILL FROM HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

This visit I tried to find graves using directions from the Hamilton Cemetery Trust website.  I first went in search of Mary Ryan, one of the Western District’s Wonderful Women.  Mary appeared not to have any family so I’m interested to see if she has a headstone.  She is buried in the Church of England section, a large area running down the eastern side of the cemetery. Although the various denominations are clearly marked, the rows are not and I was soon lost.  I tried using the cemetery site’s mapping on my phone but that wasn’t easy and I tried referring to the large plan at the front of the cemetery.  In the end, I gave up and went back to my random photo taking.  I think I’ve a solution so I’ll try it next time and let you know.

At Hamilton, photos of broken headstones are also on my list like this one belonging to Frances Mary Sing who died a mysterious death in 1881 and her husband Hamilton draper Sam Hing. It includes a Cantonese inscription at the bottom.

HEADSTONE OF FRANCES AND SAMUEL HING, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Heading home from Hamilton, I had a brief stop at the Dunkeld (New) Cemetery mainly to get some photos of the views towards the Southern Grampians. If you look one way, you see Mount Sturgeon (below).

VIEW TO MT STURGEON FROM DUNKELD (NEW) CEMETERY

Look the other way and you see Mount Abrupt (below).

VIEW TO MT ABRUPT FROM DUNKELD (NEW) CEMETERY

The Dunkeld District Historical Museum has a tour of the cemetery on 31 March and I hope to get along for more photos from this picturesque cemetery.  You can find out about the tour on the Museum’s event page on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/904350026381602/

On Friday, I travelled to Willaura, between Glenthompson and Ararat and, of course, called in at the cemetery.  In use since 1917, it’s a relatively new cemetery compared to some in nearby towns. Again it was hard not be distracted by the view of the Grampians.

A GRAMPIANS VIEW FROM THE WILLAURA CEMETERY

THE GRAVE OF JOHN AND ELIZABETH WRIGHT AT WILLAURA CEMETERY

FROM THE FRONT GATE OF WILLAURA CEMETERY

Those cemeteries with a good view I’ve previously posted about include Portland North, Cavendish Old Cemetery and Old Dunkeld Cemetery.  Currently, I’m working on a post about the Yambuk Cemetery with its own unique view.

YAMBUK CEMETERY

Then there’s Warrnambool…the list could go on.

WARRNAMBOOL CEMETERY

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

 

Old Dunkeld Cemetery

My favourite cemeteries have “old” in their title.  Arriving at the Old Dunkeld Cemetery, you soon see it lives up to its name.  Burials occurred here from 1858 through to 1903.

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Situated on a large allotment of ten acres, the remaining headstones stand in three main groups, Catholic, Presbyterian and Anglican at distant points of the cemetery.  Looking at the Google Map at the bottom of this post you can clearly see the headstone groupings.

Just inside the gate, a welcome sign gives you an understanding that there are far more people buried here than the headstones suggest.  Not a good photo, but you can see the full list of burials at Ian Marr’s Cemeteries of SW Victoria site here.

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Unfortunately, when I visited two weeks ago, I found the cemetery very overgrown.  Being the middle of a warm spring and considering snakes like a cemetery just as much as I do, I kept to the track leading up to the rear of the cemetery where the Presbyterian section lies.

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Dunkeld is a picturesque town, at the southern end of the majestic Grampians with endless views to the mountains.  You can’t beat the views at the cemetery either, particularly from the Presbyterian section.

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I didn’t try to get to the Anglican section of the cemetery.  There were thistles everywhere.  I suppose if one weed was going to dominate in a cemetery where Scottish settlers rest, in a town with a Scottish name,  in the shadows of a mountain range also with a Scottish name, thistles are apt.

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When snake season has passed, I hope to get back to the Old Dunkeld Cemetery to get some photos of individual headstones.

Old Dunkeld Cemetery – Victorian Heritage Database

Old Dunkeld Cemetery – Cemeteries of South West Victoria