Passing of the Pioneers

This month, Passing of the Pioneers enters its sixth year and the great pioneering stories keep coming. While not intentional, the theme for the month is construction with several of the pioneers having worked as carpenters and masons. Two of those were born a year apart at Taunton, Somerset, England and both started family businesses still in operation today.  As you read through, you can click on the names of the pioneer to read their newspaper obituary or other underlined words for further information.

George NORTHCOTT:  Died 23 July 1894 at Merino.  Born in Devon around 1825, George Northcott, his wife and children, arrived in Portland around 1854. They spent time in Portland before George, a joiner by trade, was engaged by T.H.Clarke to construct some buildings in Merino. He built the Farmers Arms Hotel at Merino around 1855. In 1868, George Northcott and my ggg grandfather William Diwell built the Merino Presbyterian Church (below).

MERINO UNITING CHURCH (former St Andrews Presbyterian Church J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232204

MERINO UNITING CHURCH (former St Andrews Presbyterian ChruchJ.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232204

In 1865, Northcott and Diwell built the first Casterton Presbyterian Church (below)

Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766564

FORMER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CASTERTON Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766564

George built the Commercial Hotel at Merino in 1871, the towns third hotel.  The first tenant of the hotel died, so George took over the running of the hotel and attached Cobb & Co station which he did further fifteen years and become quite wealthy in the meantime.

http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

A few years before his death, George’s wife died and he gave up the running of the Commercial, passing control to his eldest son Henry.  George did not get over the death of his wife and by the beginning of 1894, he health began to fail before he died on 23 July.

James MALLETT:  Died 3 July 1901 at Merino.  Born around 1834, at the age of eleven James Mallett arrived in Portland from Tasmania.  He went straight on to the Henty’s Muntham Station near Merino where he remained for several years before returning to Portland to start a bootmaking apprenticeship.  He married and by 1864 returned to Merino and remained there until his death. He left three sons and four daughters, with a fourth son having died several years before.

Stephen NORMAN: Died July 1901 at Hamilton.  Stephen Norman was born around 1794.  On arrival in Australia, he found himself working for the Henty brothers and was one of their first employees after their arrival to Portland Bay in 1834.  Stephen was, according to his obituary, the first man to plough land for the Hentys at Portland.  Reaching the age of 107 without a sick day in his life and still with all his faculties, Stephen suddenly fell ill at his home in Casterton and admitted to the Hamilton Hospital where he died a few weeks later.

George MAHONEY:  Died 13 July 1902 at Dunkeld. Arriving in Victorian in 1841 aboard the Duchess of Northumberland, George Mahoney began his time in Victoria as manager of Glenmore Estate near Bacchus Marsh. He was there several years before moving to Geelong for a short time before settling at Dunkeld.  A farmer, George led a quiet life away from public affairs although he did keep up an interest in politics and current affairs.  George was eighty-two at the time of his death and left a widow and nine children.

Richard William COLLINS:  Died 13 July 1902 at Hamilton.  Richard Collins was born in Brixton, London around 1840 and arrived in Victoria in 1857.  He settled at Hamilton, working as a carpenter.  He later worked at Mr Allen’s timber yard until setting up his own yard, the “Victoria Timber Yard” in 1879.  After selling the timber yard, Richard and his wife returned to England for a visit and on their return purchased a farm at Mountajup. After only a few years, Richard returned to nearby Hamilton setting up a timber yard on the corner of French and Cox Streets and he operated it until his death in 1902.  A member of the Church of England, Richard left a widow but their marriage was childless.  The Hamilton Brass Band played the “Death March” at Richard’s funeral at the Hamilton Cemetery.

John Weaver GREED: Died 8 July 1903 at Hamilton.  Born in Taunton, Somerset, England in 1834, John Greed married Emma Grinter in 1856.  They continued to live in Taunton with John working as a mason and two daughters were born.  In 1857, John’s parent Charles and Sarah Greed and his younger siblings, left England for Victoria aboard the Balnaguith.  In 1862,  John and Emma and their daughters left England aboard the Lighting for Victoria and on arrival in June 1862 the family headed straight for Hamilton to join John’s parents who had settled there, with Charles Greed running a glazier’s business from Lonsdale Street.  Hamilton was still in its infancy and John was the first to build on the town’s northern hill, land “dotted” with the mia mias of local aboriginals.

John began a carpentry and contracting business and an early job was to build the fence for the then new shire offices as reported in the Hamilton Spectator and Grand District Advertiser on 20 May 1864.  Earlier in the month, the same paper published a business directory and by that time there were two undertakers in the town, George Brownless and John Lobban. From searches of the Spectator from that year, it also seems it was the year when John took up a contract with the Hamilton Hospital and Benevolent Asylum to conduct funerals for them. But it was not until April 1871 before I found the following advertisement for John as both a carpenter and undertaker.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1873; 1914 - 1918) 5 April 1871 .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 5 April 1871 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196303937&gt;.

Interestingly, from around 1880, John Greed’s advertisements included the words “Established in 1861”, however both the 1861 England Census and the Victorian Shipping Records prove John was still in England.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1873; 1914 - 1918) 17 April 1880:.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 17 April 1880:<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225490515&gt;.

The undertaking business tied in well with John’s brother Abraham’s coachbuilding business and one of John’s sons Walter eventually worked for Abraham, a Mayor of Hamilton.  John was a Methodist but converted to the Baptist Church, located close to his home in Collins Street. He was also a member of the Forester’s Lodge and the Oddfellows.  With the latter, he was twice a member of the board of directors. He was also made a Life Governor of the Hamilton Hospital.  Around 1887, John suffered a paralytic seizure reducing his activities and in time leaving him an invalid.  That saw John’s youngest son Frank take over as manager of the business around 1892 when he was twenty.

On 23 June 1903, John Greed was in his room at home with his wife Emma.  She left the room, leaving John standing in front of a fireplace containing a colonial oven.  John fell backwards into the fireplace falling beside the oven but landing on hot iron bars in the fireplace.  He called out to Emma who rushed in to find him in the precarious position.  She managed to get him out and into his bed.  The doctor was called and he treated burns to John’s back, legs and hands but the shock of the fall saw him fall into a coma like state.  Two weeks after his fall, John Weaver Greed died.  On 12 September 1903, the Hamilton Spectator announced Frank was taking over the business.  F.Greed & Sons was born and still operates under that name today with the Greed family still at the helm.

Greed3

HEADSTONE OF JOHN WEAVER GREED AND FAMILY, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

Euphemia McDONALD:  Died 13 July 1907 at Condah.  Euphemia McDonald was born around 1832 at Mull, Argylshire, Scotland.  She arrived in Victoria in 1852, disembarking at Portland. It’s unclear when Euphemia married Alexander Urquhart, but they did have a son Thomas born in 1858.  In the late 1880s, Alexander took on management of Samuel Winter Cooke’s property Condah Hills . In 1901, disastrous bushfires swept through a large area south of Hamilton, including Condah.  Euphemia received severe burns to her hands and feet and was only saved by her son John’s actions of lowering her into a well.  She never fully regained her health and Euphemia died at the age of seventy-five.

Samuel VANCE:  Died July 1908 at Bridgewater.  Samuel Vance arrived at Portland in 1855 from Northern Irelard aboard the Cairngorm.  Prior to his departure, he had served in the British Army.  Samuel worked as a farmer and a contractor for the Portland Shire Council.  During the 1880s, he built the Sea View Hotel at Bridgewater and ran it until the time of his death.

Sarah CAMERON:  Died 8 July 1908 at Geelong.  Sarah Cameron was born in Scotland in 1819 and married Archibald MacDonald and they had three daughters.  Archibald fate is not mentioned but Sarah went on to marry Donald Cameron of Southland, New Zealand who himself had five daughters and two sons.  From NSW they travelled overland to the Colony of Victoria, settling first at Cambellfield near Melbourne before moving on to Morgiana near Hamilton, then called the Grange.  Donald’s uncle had taken up the run only a few years earlier and Donald took over the running of the property.  The Camerons of Morgiana were well known in the Hamilton district  Sarah’s is an interesting obituary as it lists early settlers in the Hamilton district.

Anne BELL:  Died 4 July 1909 at Hamilton.  Anne Bell was born in Ireland and travelled with her parents John Bell and Elizabeth Morrow to Victoria in 1841, arriving at Portland.  With them were Anne’s seven siblings.  The family travelled from Portland to Mt Eckersley near Heywood where they settled.  In 1848, Anne married Henry Barr and with the dicovery of gold, the couple left for the diggings remaining two years with little success.  After their return to Heywood, Henry bought the Heywood Hotel and together Ann and Henry ran a successful business. On 19 February 1865, the stables adjoining the Barr’s hotel caught fire.  As a result of his exertion, Henry fell ill and never recovered, dying in July 1866.  Anne and her family moved to Lake Condah were they remained for the next fourteen years.  After the sudden death of her son, Anne returned to Heywood but eventually sold her interests there and went to live with her children, first John at Lyons between Heywood and Dartmoor and then George at Strathkellar near Hamilton.  Anne fell ill in June 1909 and was admitted to the Hamilton Hospital where she died on 4 July.

John PERRY:  Died 8 July 1913 at Coleraine.  Born in Bristol, England in 1818, John Perry looked set for a career as an artist, but decided to choose an outdoor pursuit working in agriculture.  He married Elizabeth Holbrook at Bath, England on 3 December 1839 and thirteen years later, the Perrys with four sons left England for Australia.  Sailing on the Priam, the Perrys arrived at Portland in 1852.  John’s stock experience in England held him good stead for employment and his services were desperately sort after by Edward Henty at Muntham Station.  However, staying loyal to a commitment he made to Mr A. Munro, John went to work for Munro, managing several stations including Dundas and Bassett.  By 1859, John had entered in to a partnership and purchased land near Ararat.  However, the death of one of his sons at the property saw him sell and return to Branxholme and later Merino Downs working for Francis Henty.

"Merino Downs" Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766481

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

Over the next twenty years, John managed various large properties throughout the district.  He eventually retired to Digby and in 1886, Elizabeth died.  John continued painting as a hobby throughout his life.

William DUNN: Died 12 July 1914 at Box Hill.  Born at Taunton, Somerset, England around 1833, William Dunn arrived in Victoria in 1855 aboard the Raven’s Craig.  He spent time in Geelong before riding on horseback to Hamilton where he remained for the next forty-four years.  William was a builder and in 1866 entered a partnership with another builder William Holden and together they set about “building” Hamilton.

Holden and Dunn built some of Hamilton’s grandest buildings, most still standing today.  They included the Bank of Australasia, the Bank of Victoria and the Colonial Bank and the residences of doctors including Hewlett House and  Roxburgh House.  They also built the first brick house in Gray Street owned by Mr S. Radley, the Hamilton goal and many shops in the CBD of Hamilton including a strip of shops running from the corner of Gray and Thompson streets.  Looking at the histories of some of the buildings Holden and Dunn constructed, it seems William Dunn has become the forgotten man of the partnership, with Holden given credit alone. However, newspaper articles from the time and William Holden’s obituary confirm their partnership.

In his personal life, William married twice and left a widow and four children at the time of his death.

You can see more about Holden and Dunn and their work in the slideshow below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Richard Thomas CARTY:  Died 24 July 1917 at Hamilton.  Richard Carty was born in Wexford, London in 1842 and at age seventeen arrived in Australia. With little to his name, he tried various jobs before going to the New Zealand gold diggings. After mixed fortunes on the diggings, Richard returned to Australia and took up cattle droving.  He became manager of the Bredelbane Estate near Castlemaine and with that experience, leased Mt Clay Estate near Heywood during the 1860s.  Success from that venture enabled him to lease Bark Hill Estate in 1873.  In was also in that year, Richard married Lucy Hawkins.  In the early 1880s, Wando Vale was subdivided for Closer Settlement and Richard and Lucy moved there, remaining for three years.  On 1 January 1885, Richard took possession of Brisbane Hill at Byaduk.  Richard and Lucy remained at Brisbane Hill until around 1916 when they moved into Hamilton, residing at Montacue in Kennedy Street until Richard’s death.

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GRAVE OF RICHARD CARTY AND FAMILY, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

James LODGE:  Died 31 July 1918 at Casterton.  A son of James Clapham Lodge and Hannah Hudson, James Lodge was born at Richmond, Victoria around 1859.  He became an apprentice stonemason and stone cutter and following his apprenticeship, moved to Stawell working in a stonemason partnership Lodge and Timmins.  In 1884, James married Ellen Murphy and they had six sons and two daughters. Around 1892, James moved to Hamilton, taking up residence in Clarke Street and one of his first jobs was as clerk of works on extensions of Hamilton’s Catholic church St Mary’s. Later he would add a spire to the church.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64794

ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64794

Churches were James’ specialty, building extensions to Catholic churches in Penshurst, Casterton and Koroit.  He also built the Tabor Lutheran Church and Tarrington school building.  James’ sons followed him into the business, however in 1906, eldest son Harry fell ill and died of inflammation of the kidneys on 17 June.

The years of WW1 were difficult for James.  With five sons, James saw his oldest four boys Gus, Frank, James and Richard enlist. During those years, James won a street channeling contract with the Borough of Hamilton and during June 1918, James and his youngest son Frederick were building the Catholic presbytery at Casterton.  Frederick was eighteen and keen to join his brothers overseas.  However, Frederick caught a cold while working on the presbytery and it developed into double pneumonia and he died on 20 June 1918,  While James was worried about his four sons overseas, it was the son under his own watchful eye who would die.  Despite his grief, James continued  working on the presbytery but around July 21, he too fell ill with a cold. Within days, James was diagnosed with pneumonia and pleurisy and he died during the afternoon of Wednesday 31 July and buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

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HEADSTONE OF JAMES LODGE AND SONS WILLIAM AND FREDERICK, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

Just weeks after James’ death, on 24 August 1918, trees for Hamilton’s Clarke Street Memorial Avenue were planted, with the first tree planted in front of the Lodge home in memory of James followed by another four for each of his enlisted sons.  The Lodge boys all arrived home safely from war having served with distinction.  Gus was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for conspicuous bravery at Pozieres. Frank was awarded a Military Medal for his efforts at Pozieres and later a Military Cross for his service at Mont St. Quentin in 1918.  Settling into civilian life, the boys returned to stone masonry operating as Lodge Bros. and in 1928 were awarded the contract to build Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, employing returned serviceman as labourers.  The business still operates today.

 

Not Just Hamilton’s Soldiers

One of the features of Western District Families is Hamilton’s WW1 now with sixty-six profiles of soldiers with Hamilton links.

'HAMILTON BOYS' c 30 April 1915. Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no.DAOD1060 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/

‘HAMILTON BOYS’ c 30 April 1915. Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DAOD1060 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/

I’ve set a target, possibly an over ambitious one, of 100 profiles by Anzac Day but I’ll give it a go. There are some good stories about Hamilton nurses that I would like to share before 25 April 2016 too. But first something I’ve noticed…well it’s one of many things I’ve observed during the course of my research, but let’s start with memorials…well, one of the things I’ve noticed about memorials…

If you visit the Hamilton War Memorial and look at the names, you could be excused for thinking those men listed lived in Hamilton for a significant part of their lives or, at the very least, were born there. But that’s not the case, they were from all over with a few men having only a fleeting connection with Hamilton.  

Some of the men had fathers who moved often with work.  Clifford Williams, who was unlikely to have even visited Hamilton, was a son of a teacher while William Thompson was the son of a railway worker who often moved his family.  Both are on the Hamilton War Memorial (below).  Others went to Hamilton as adults for work and were only there a short time before enlisting, such as Edwin Smith who arrived in Hamilton around 1913 to work at the Union Bank.  Reginald Briant was born in Hampshire, England and spent a few years in Melbourne before working for the Hamilton Electric Supply Company before his enlistment.

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When searching for family member on memorials and honour boards, clues from Electoral Rolls, Trove newspapers and the solider’s Attestation papers can help you find them.  Even if your soldier’s family just “passed through” a particular town, it’s worth following up. Soldiers were often memorialised in several towns.  As well as the Hamilton War Memorial, Clifford Williams and Percy Osborne had trees planted along Bacchus Marsh’s Avenue Honour.  And don’t overlook work places and churches.  Percy Osborne has a memorial window at Hamilton’s Christ Church Cathedral (below) and is on the Union Bank Honour Roll in Melbourne.

MEMORIAL WINDOW FOR PERCY OSBORNE BEAUMONT, HAMILTON CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL.

MEMORIAL WINDOW FOR PERCY BEAUMONT OSBORNE, HAMILTON CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL.

If you are wondering if Hamilton commemorated your WW1 soldier’s service, all Hamilton’s outdoor WW1 War Memorials including names are at Hamilton’s WW1.  Eventually I will add Hamilton’s honour boards. The Victorian War Heritage Inventory is a useful resource for locating memorials across Victoria. You can search by the soldier’s name or a place.

A quick reminder…to delve into the daily events of Hamilton 100 years ago, “like” the Hamilton WW1 Facebook page.  Along with new soldier profiles, six days a week I post an article from the Hamilton Spectator from 100 years before.  It’s been interesting to read how Hamilton, just like other towns, continued on while so many were away fighting and how the subject of war managed to creep into most aspects of daily life.

The names of the sixty-six soldiers profiled at Hamilton’s WW1 are below. I’ve included their place of birth and other towns they had connections to. Most never returned to Australia. For some of those who did, life was never the same.  Lest We Forget.

AUSTIN, Glenister Burton  Hamilton

AUSTIN, William John  Hamilton, Adelaide

BARR, Gordon  Hotspur, Strathkellar, Warrnambool

BRAKE, William  Horsham, Hamilton, Mont Albert

BRIANT, Reginald Stuart  Hampshire (ENG), East Melbourne, Hamilton.

BURGESS, Ebenezer  Benalla, Mildura, Numurkah, Wonthaggi, Stratford

CAMERON, Archibald Douglas  Branxholme, Hamilton

CAMERON, Sidney Joseph  Hamilton

CAMERON, Thomas Waddell  Port Fairy, Hamilton, Kyabram

COULTER, Robert James  Hamilton

DAVIES, Albert  Hamilton

DAVIES, Stanley Walton  Hamilton, Lubeck

DOUGLAS, Claude Campbell Telford  Euroa, Hamilton

DUNN, Daniel Joseph  Heidelberg, Carlton

ELDER, Frank Reginald  Charlton, Jurek, Hamilton

FENTON, John Wilfred  Hamilton

FOLEY, Cornelius Thomas  Coleraine, Hamilton

GIBSON. Sydney Walter  Moe, Casterton, Hamilton, Bendigo

HARRIS, Leslie Duncan  Fremantle (WA), Hamilton, Coleraine

HENTY, Edward Ellis  Portland, Hamilton

HERILHY, George Joseph David  Balmoral, Hamilton

HERRMANN, Bernard  Hamilton, Hochkirch (Tarrington)

HIND, William Arthur  Mooroopna, Hamilton, Heyfield

ILES, Cyril Thomas Brackley  Hamilton, Windsor

JAFFRAY, Alfred John  Hamilton

KINGHORN, Walter Rodney  Byaduk

KIRKWOOD, Willliam John Clyde  Hamilton, Colac, Port Fairy

KNIGHT, James Alfred  Hamilton, Malvern

LANCE, George Basil  Casterton, Hamilton

LEWIS, Arthur Harold  Hamilton, St. Arnaud, Heywood

LIEBE, Sydney August  Hamilton

LINDSAY, Charles Henry  Heywood, Ballarat, Wallacedale, Hamilton

McPHEE, Norman Edward  Hamilton

MORISON, John Archibald McFarlane  Hamilton, Maroona

MULLANE, Leslie Alexander  Branxholme, Wallacedale, Hamilton

NIDDRIE, Stanley Roy  Hamilton

NIVEN, William David  Harrow, Merino Downs, Hamilton

NORMAN, William Leslie  Hamilton, Warracknabeal

OSBORNE, Percy Beaumont  Bacchus Marsh, Maryborough, Hamilton, Ballarat

PORTER, George Richard  Hamilton

PORTER, Norman Leslie James  Hamilton, Wallacedale, Broken Hill, Tasmania

RHOOK, Archibald Alfred  Tyrendarra, Hamilton

RHOOK, Henry Joseph William  Hamilton, Beaufort

RICHIE, George  Katunga, Willaura, Hamilton

RIGBY, Frederick Roland Angus  Coleraine, Hamilton

SALTER, Herbert Ernest  Naracoorte, Dunkeld, Hamilton

SCOTT, Alexander William  Portland, Hamilton, Donald

SHARROCK, Charles  Terang, Mt. Napier, Penshurst

SHAW, Ivan Thomas  Coleraine, Hamilton

SHEEHAN, Albert Edward  Macarthur, Hamilton

SMITH, Edwin Richardson  Mooroopna, Shepparton, Morwell, Kyabram, Hamilton

STAGOLL, Robert Leslie  Hamilton

STEVENSON, Alexander John  Hamilton, Portland

STEVENSON, Edgar Richmond  Hamilton, Portland

STEWART, Charles Herbert  Byaduk, Hamilton, Western Australia

THOMPSON, William Norton  Horsham, Ararat, Hamilton, Hopetoun

TREDREA, Francis Stanley  Hamilton, Stawell

TRIGGER, Samuel Wilfred  Macarthur, Hamilton, Murray Bridge (SA)

UNDERWOOD, Arthur Bell Percy  Dunkeld, Bendigo, Hamilton

WATERS, William Henry  Edenhope, Hamilton

WESTGARTH, Horace Leonard  Hamilton

WHITE, John Francis Raymond  Hamilton, Cosgrave

WILLIAMS, Clifford Davis  Tarnagulla, Bacchus Marsh, Melbourne

WILLIAMS, Lancelot Hamilton  Hamilton

WOMERSLEY. Edgar  Dunkeld

YOUNG, Clarence Everard  Hamilton

 

 

Passing of the Pioneers

When I started posting pioneer obituaries under the heading “Passing of the Pioneers” in July 2011, I never imagined that “Passing of the Pioneers” would still be going three years on. (I didn’t think Western District Families would still be going). Nor did I expect that I could announce this month marks the posting of the 500th pioneer obituary. Over the three years, thanks to the stories of those 500 pioneers, the amount I have learnt about Western District history and the families who built that history has been invaluable. However, the best aspect has been the number of people who have contacted me after finding their pioneering ancestor in the posts. I hope what I have provided has gone a little way toward them learning more about their ancestors’ lives.

The precis I give for each pioneer summarises the obituary that appeared in the paper when the pioneer passed away.  I don’t check the facts written there, such as ships sailed on or years of arrival.  I do search for the maiden name of married women, simply because I prefer to list them with their maiden names and not Mrs A. Smith, for example.  Sometimes I will search for further information about a pioneer and in the entry I include links to the sources I have found. So basically, what I give you is an index to pioneer obituaries with a link to the original and from there you can make what you like of the information provided at the time of the pioneer’s death. Obituaries are, after all, an inaccurate source as the information contained is second or third hand and rarely do you read of negative characteristics of a person or their failures in life.

Importantly, I must thank Trove Australia because without the digitised newspapers I would never have been able to find the 500 obituaries of some of the Western District’s great pioneers.

You can either search or browse the Passing of the Pioneers obituaries. Search a family name in the search box on the side bar of this page or select “Pioneer Obituaries” in the category box, also on the sidebar.  You can then browse through the 36 posts beginning with the most recent.  Simply click on the name of the pioneer to go to the newspaper obituary. If you find a family member, feel free to comment and give more information if you have any.  Leaving a comment increases your chance of finding someone else researching the same person.

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This month’s pioneers include two men who knew family members of mine with both men being important figures in their respective towns. There is also a bricklayer, a publican and one of the men who discovered the Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia.

Hugh MURRAY: Died 28 July 1869 at Colac. Hugh Murray was born in Scotland about 1814 and arrived in Tasmania with his parents and siblings in 1823.  At the age of twenty-three, Hugh left Tasmania for Victoria and settled on the banks of Lake Colac before there was a town and today is considered Colac’s first white settler. Hugh had pastoral interests but also sat as a Magistrate at the local Colac Magistrates Court. Last month’s Passing of the Pioneers included the obituary of Elizabeth Young of Hobart who married Hugh Murray in 1841.

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

Hugh knew my ggg grandparents Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry but not in the way one would like their ancestors to be acquainted with an outstanding citizen of Colac. It started with Thomas Gamble, said to have been employed by Hugh Murray to make bricks for his new home at Lake Colac, thus prompting the Gambles to move from Geelong to Colac. Their relationship soon soured. As early as 1851, Thomas’ wife Ellen faced Magistrate Murray in the Colac Court of Petty Sessions charged with drunkenness, one of dozens of charges she would face during her life and it certainly wasn’t her first. In January 1853, Thomas Gamble faced court as the defendant in a case against Hugh Murray. Although the handwriting in the original register of the Colac Court of Petty Sessions (p.83) is difficult to read, I can make out the words  –  “Thomas Gamble – Charged alleged arson in setting fire to Hugh Murray Esq.”.  Fortunately, the case was  dismissed.

Peter LEARMONTH: Died 19 July 1893 at Hamilton. Peter Learmonth was one of Hamilton’s most prominent citizens from the 1860s to the time of his death, contributing greatly to the growth of that town and the  villages surrounding it. Born in Scotland in 1821, Peter travelled to Tasmania to meet up with his brother William who had already bought land in that colony. Gold attracted Peter and he left for the Californian goldfields in the late 1840s. With no success, he made his way to Victoria in the early 1850s and had good fortune on the Castlemaine goldfields. Getting out while ahead during the mid-1850s, he took up a manager’s job at Merino Downs station owned by Francis Henty, but not before marrying Mary Jarvey Pearson at Portland in 1854.  By 1859, Peter purchased Prestonholme on the banks of the Grange Burn near Hamilton from George Younger and proceeded to build the Grange Burn Flour Mill. He later purchased mills at  Byaduk, Sandford and Penshurst.  The homestead at Prestonholme and the mill still stand today on the Mill Road, Hamilton.

PETER LEARMONTH'S PRESTONHOLME MILL.  Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

PETER LEARMONTH’S GRANGE BURN MILL. Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

Not satisfied with his milling empire, Peter established P.Learmonth & Co Stock & Station agents in Gray Street, Hamilton. Peter’s sons continued the business after his death.

P. LEARMONTH & CO. STOCK & STATION AGENTS. GARY STREET, HAMILTON, WILLIAM TIBBITS (c1896). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.253/1 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/67235

Peter Learmonth was a member of the Dundas Shire Council for nine years, serving as President for four successive terms, a record he still holds. He was also one of the first councillors of the Borough of Hamilton. Peter was one of the driving  forces behind the Hamilton & Western District Boys College and Alexandra Girls School, two schools that built Hamilton’s foundations as an education town.

HAMILTON COLLEGE.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection.  Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

HAMILTON COLLEGE. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection. Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE, [No heading]. (1874, July 11). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), p. 52. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5985586

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE, [No heading]. (1874, July 11). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 – 1889), p. 52. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5985586

The Hamilton Hospital was another of Hamilton’s institutions that Peter Learmonth helped set up and was President of the Hospital for eighteen years.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

Two of  Peter Learmonth’s children married into families that were also influential in Hamilton ‘at the time. Eldest son James Allan Learmonth married Annie Thomson, daughter of John Thomson of Monivae in 1886.  A daughter Mary married the son of another prominent Hamilton man, David Laidlaw jnr, son of saddler and self-made man, David Laidlaw. Mary’s obituary appeared in April 2013 Passing of the Pioneers.  Messrs. Learmonth, Laidlaw and Thomson were a force to be reckoned with and include Peter’s brother, Alex Learmonth, also a man of much influence, and it is not surprising that they were able to grow Hamilton into one of Victoria’s most eminent towns.

Later in life, Peter purchased land in Mexico and gave his share to two of his sons. He also purchased Correa Estate” near Dunkeld and pursued pastoral interests with much success.

A supporter of the temperance movement, Peter was president of the Total Abstinence Society and the work of he and John Thomson, saw a Temperance Hall opened in Kennedy Street, Hamilton. They obtained an existing building and converted it to suit the needs of the Society.

As I write my Harman family history and delve into the local histories of Byaduk and Hamilton, Peter Learmonth comes up time and again. A Methodist, he knew my ggg grandfather James Harman and at one stage James was acting as an agent for farm machinery on Peter’s behalf.  James’ daughter Julia married George Holmes jnr, the son of George Holmes who was a manager of the Grange Burn mill before managing the Byaduk mill. George Jnr worked at the Penshurst mill and took over the Sandford mill with his brothers.

Peter Learmonth passed away at his home at “Prestonholme” .  He was seventy-four.

Sources:

Dundas Shire Centenary, 1863-1963. Hamilton Spectator for the Dundas Shire Council, [Hamilton, Vic.], 1963.

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

Glenelg & Wannon Settlers (website)

Macdonald, Anita Mariposa : a story of the Learmonths of western Victoria and Mexico, 1834-1930. Heatherleigh Publishing, [Melbourne], 1982.

John SYMONS: Died 10 July 1914 at Hamilton. Born in Cornwall around 1828, John Symons’ trade was ship’s carpenter and after his arrival at Portland in 1854, his skills were in demand with much building work required. From Portland, John moved to Balmoral before settling at the Wannon, near Hamilton. John farmed but was also a contractor for the Roads Board and later the local Shires. One of his most important works in the district was constructing the bridge over the Wannon River at Redruth, a necessity to enable travel from Hamilton to Coleraine and beyond. Timber for the bridge was cut using pit saws and John did much of that work himself. During his marriage, John and his wife raised eleven children with seven still living at the time of his death.

William DUNN: Died 1 July 1914 at Box Hill. William Dunn arrived in Victoria in 1855 from Somersetshire aboard the Raven’s Craig.  After two years in Geelong, he rode by horseback to Hamilton, his home for the next forty-four years.  As a bricklayer and builder, he constructed the Victoria and Colonial banks in Hamilton with William Holden and  Budock Vean, a home in French Street, Hamilton still standing today.  A devout Methodist, he held various positions within the church.

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON.  Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image no.   H97.250/89 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/89
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

Jane DONNELLY: Died 1 July 1914 at Hawkesdale. Born in Ireland around 1834, Jane Donnelly arrived in Australia in the 1860s, settling at Myamyn. She married William Walshe and they raised six children. In the meantime, Jane established the Foresters Hotel at Myamyn and ran a store to cater for the many carriers who used the town as a stopover on their travels.  After the death of her husband, Jane remarried to William Jenkins in 1883 and for a time ran the former Victoria Hotel at Portland.

John MUNRO: Died July 1914 at Hotspur. John Munro was born in Scotland around 1833 and sailed to Hobsons Bay aboard the Champion of the Seas in 1854. Gold must have been his primary reason for coming to Victoria as he spent time around the various diggings before travelling to New Zealand and the goldfields of Otago. After two years, he returned and took up residence at Portland and married in 1867. For many years, he was a storekeeper and post office operator.  He also engaged in farming pursuits and in the early 1890s took up land at Hotspur. At the time of his death, he left a widow and nine children. He was buried at the Hotspur Cemetery.

Alexander John McLEAN: Died 23 July 1915 at Hamilton.  Alexander McLean was born in Scotland around 1836 and arrived in Sydney as a three-year-old with his parents. They later moved to Victoria, taking up residence at Tower Hill. From there, Alexander went on to Myamyn and then Macarthur where he was a founding member of the Methodist Church.  Alexander enjoyed telling stories of the pioneer days, before bridges spanned creeks or railways traversed the countryside.  Alexander and his wife had nine children.

Sarah Ann FARNHAM: Died 21 July 1916 at Hamilton. Born in Somersetshire, England around 1839, Sarah Ann Farnham arrived at Portland in 1858. She married Andrew Lockie at Portland in 1860 and by 1866 they had moved to Hamilton were Andrew ran a saddlery business.  Leaving a family of six children and her husband, Sarah Ann was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

Mary SAVIN: Died July 1918 at Muddy Creek. Mary Savin was born in Oxfordshire and sailed to Victoria with her parents in 1853.  Around 1855, the family travelled north to Muddy Creek where they settled. Two years later, Mary married John Addinsall and they had a family of twelve children. Like many of the early settlers at Muddy Creek, Mary was a Methodist and it was in a crowded Muddy Creek Methodist Church where Mary was given her last farewell.

John HUXLEY: Died 21 July 1918 at Portland. John Huxley was born in Portland around 1863. During the 1890s, John travelled to Western Australia, lured by the discovery of gold, but unlike the other July pioneers who chose to seek their fortunes, John struck gold in a big way. John and several other men discovered the rich Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia. Having made his fortune, John returned to Victoria and purchased the Straun Estate at Merino. A keen racehorse owner, one of John’s big successes came less than a year before his death, when his horse the Ruralist, trained by James Agnew of Hamilton, won the Great Western Steeplechase at Hamilton in September 1917. The horse was also a two-time Brierly Steeplechase winner at Warrnambool.  John passed away at his seaside home Kenly at Portland and was buried at the South Portland cemetery.

Christina Emily FORD: Died 26 July 1931 at Hamilton. Christina Ford was born in Macarthur in 1880 into a well-known pioneering family. In 1905, she married William Baker and they moved to Portland and  raised nine children. Christina was a keen volunteer for the Portland Football Club and was a member of the Australian Women’s National League.

Charles HOLDER: Died 21 July 1922 at Warrnambool. The story of Charles Holder’s life appeared in the Portland Guardian on 28 September 1931, nine years after his death and it gives a great account of Melbourne and Victoria in the 1840s. Charles Holder was born in Bristol, England around 1838 and from the moment he set sail on the Wardshipton as a three-year-old with his parent and siblings, his great pioneering life had begun. The voyage in 1841, with almost 300 other immigrants was harsh with twenty-four deaths including twenty-two children.  hree of those children were Charles’ young sisters. Arriving at Hobson’s Bay, Charles, his parents and two remaining siblings, took a steamer along the Yarra River to Melbourne.

MELBOURNE 1841.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria,  Image no. H6262/2  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

MELBOURNE 1841. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H6262/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

After spending time on stations around Melbourne, including Dandenong as a boy and young teenager, Charles made his way to the Western District, working at The Gums between Caramut and  Penshurst. By that time, it was the early 1850s, and Charles headed to the Bendigo diggings but like so many his luck was out and he returned to the west of the state, working at Grassmere near Warrnambool. In the early 1860s, he selected his own land at Cooramook and remained there for the rest of his life.

An obituary in the The Register (Adelaide) on September 2, 1922 , published at the time of Charles’ death has further detail of his pioneering life.

Ellen OSBOURNE: Died 15 July 1934 at Hamilton. Born at Portland, Ellen Osbourne married local builder Thomas Cruse and they continued to resided at Portland. She raised a family and was a devoted member of the Church of England.  Prior to her death, Ellen had been ill for many weeks and as a consequence was admitted to Kia Ora Private Hospital at Hamilton.  Ellen needed a blood transfusion but unlike today when we take for granted stocks of blood at hospitals, in 1934 there wasn’t a Red Cross Blood Bank. Therefore, Ellen’s son donated the blood required for the transfusion.  Unfortunately, it was not enough to save his mother.

Passing of the Pioneers

If you have read my last post, A Pleasant Distraction, you will understand why October Passing of the Pioneers just got in by the skin of its teeth. Thankfully I had the bones of the post done before “Hamilton Fever” took hold. This month there are the obituaries of a bricklayer, a Gaelic preacher, a disgraced crewman from the General Hewitt and a member of the Henty family.

David HUTTON: Died 9 October 1875 at Mount Rouse. David Hutton was born in Greenock, Scotland around 1809. He was an engineer by trade, and left Scotland in 1833 for Hobart to follow his brothers. One brother, William, saw opportunities in the new colony of Victoria, and David later followed, arriving at Portland in around 1844. He took out a lease on land at Mount Rouse and established Cheviot Hills.  David Hutton was a foundation member of the Mt. Rouse Board and served for seven years. A Presbyterian, he was one of those behind the building of a church at Penshurst. He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery with other members of his family.  Hutton street in Penshurst is named after David Hutton. Another obituary, published  in The Mercury of Hobart, has more on David’s story

Ewan McDONALD: Died 13 October 1891 at Warrion. Ewan McDonald was born around 1808 and first went to the Colac district when he settled on land at Dreeite around 1866. Ewan was a Presbyterian and at one time gave services at the Larpent Presbyterian Church in Gaelic.

John H. DUNN: Died 29 October 1914 at Hamilton. John Dunn was born in Geelong around 1860 and arrived in Hamilton, with his parents, two years later. Like his father, John was a bricklayer and together they built some of Hamilton’s larger buildings.  A search for Dunn’s bricklayers found a reference on the Victorian Heritage Database. The home mentioned, in the Church Hill area of Hamilton is well-known to me and was built by William Dunn, when John was still a baby. In later life, John was a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites and the Methodist Church. He married Miss H. Luxton of Macarthur and they had nine children.

James DUNCAN: Died 8 October 1916 at Balmoral. James Duncan was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1837 and he arrived on the Flora McDonald to Portland in 1855. He went to Rocklands, near Balmoral, working as a shepherd. He left the district for Serpentine before returning to Glendinning station as overseer. He later took up the carpentry trade in Balmoral.  He married Emily Rogers in 1876 and they had six children.

Elizabeth LEAHY: Died 15 October 1916 at Cavendish. Elizabeth Leahy was born in Adelaide around 1849. Her family came to Victoria to the goldfields of Bendigo and Ballarat, before returning to South Australia, taking up residence at Mt. Gambier. Elizabeth later moved to Lake Bolac and met her future husband, J.H Wallis. They married at Ararat. The couple farmed in the Wimmera, moved back to Ararat before settling at Mooralla around 1910.

Samuel BROWNLAW: Died 13 October 1917 at Tyrendarra. Samuel Brownlaw and his wife, Mary Ann Speechly, arrived on the Severn to Portland in 1856. They first went to Yambuk, before settling at Tyrendarra were they remained. In 1875, Samuel donated land for the Tyrendarra School. Samuel left three sons and three daughters at the time of his death.

John Stevens ANDREW aka John FORSTER: Died 5 October 1918 at Merino Downs. I have touched upon the obituary of John Andrew/Forster before, in the post The General Hewitt. John’s obituary gave me some clues to the names of the crew members that caused unrest during the voyage and those that deserted. John was one of those crew members, explaining his alias. Unfortunately, his obituary speaks of nothing else but that voyage that hung over his head, even after death,

Christina McGREGOR: Died October 1925 at Hamilton. Christina McGregor was born in Inverness, Scotland around 1835. and arrived in Melbourne around 1847 on The Indian. Aboard the schooner The Wave, Christina travelled to Portland. Her next destination, on horseback, was to Satimer Estate near Casterton, owned by her uncle Alexander Davidson.  Station life must not have been proper for a young lady as Christina returned to Portland to attend the ladies school run by the Misses Allison. It was in Portland she met her future husband, Archibald McDonald, from Condah, where they remained for the rest of the lives.

Phillip Henry THEISINGER: Died October 1942 at Portland. Geelong native, Phillip Theisinger, moved to Portland as a small child and remained there for the rest of his life. He worked as a storeman and was a secretary of the Portland Waterside Worker’s Union. Phillip was also a member of the Portland Citizen’s Band for forty-five years and was a member of the Portland Masonic Lodge. He married Sarah Ann Surrey and they had twelve children, but only three still survived at the time of Phillip’s death.

Henry COWLAND:  Died 21 October 1942 at Heywood. Henry Cowland was born in Brixton around 1847. He arrived with his parent to Portland aboard the Severn in 1856. He attended the Butler’s School in Portland until he was twelve and then he obtained work as a contractor at Sandford. He also worked as a fencer and a carrier, carting sleepers for the railway line between Hamilton and Portland.

HENRY COWLAND.  OBITUARY. (1942, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382636

HENRY COWLAND. OBITUARY. (1942, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382636

Annie DAWKINS: Died 2 October 1942 at Hamilton. Annie Dawkins was born at Glencoe, South Australia around 1866 and travelled to Victoria as a girl with her parents and they settled near Condah. Annie married Henry Dyer Rundell at Condah in 1890. She was a supporter of the Red Cross and did her bit during the two World Wars. She left a family of five children,

Agnes Cecil HENTY: Died 30 October 1945 at Nelson, New Zealand. Agnes Cecil Henty was the 6th daughter of Stephen and Jane Henty and she was born at Portland in 1850. In 1877, she married Edward Stafford Coster in New Zealand and they resided at Canterbury on the South island. Twenty-five years later Agnes and family moved to Nelson and she remained there until her death aged ninety-five.

Robert Henry HOLLIS:  Died October 1946 at Portland. Robert Hollis was born in Tarragal around 1863. His parents moved to Gorae when Robert’s father began work as a stockman for the Henty’s. After some time working as a butcher, Robert turned to farming and at the time of his death he “had a fine dairy farm and orchard property”.