VAFHO Family History Expo Guest Speakers

The VAFHO has announced the guest speakers for the Hamilton Family History Expo on 1 June.  The first talk is at 10.15am with AFL statistician and Geelong Football Club historian Col Hutchinson speaking on researching the footballers in your family.

THE CASTERTON FOOTBALL CLUB, PREMIERS IN 1927. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766108

Next, Ancestry’s Jason Reeve will speak about using Ancestry.com for family history with an introduction to Ancestry DNA.

THE ELIJAH FAMILY OF HAMILTON c1919. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766117

Then after a break for lunch and time to check out the exhibits, Rob Hamilton will talk about Genealogy and Freemasons. 

HAMILTON MASONIC CENTRE, LONSDALE STREET

The day will conclude with the Hamilton History Centre taking us for a “visual stroll” through Hamilton’s history.

GRAY STREET, HAMILTON c1920. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399049

You can find out more including the times of each talk on the link to the VAHFO website – Hamilton Family History Expo.

I’m counting the days now.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

VAFHO Family History Expo Exhibitors

VIEW TO CHURCH HILL, HAMILTON

The Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (VAFHO) has released a list of thirty exhibitors for the Hamilton Family History Expo on Saturday 1 June.  The expo is not just for those interested in Hamilton family history and the list of exhibitors is indicative of that.  For example, the Terang & District Family History GroupWest Gippsland Genealogical Society and Bendigo Family History Group will be there among others  There will also be Ancestry Australia, Port Phillip Pioneers and Gould Genealogy and more. You can see a full list at the VAFHO website on the link – Hamilton Family History Expo Exhibitors.

I’m really looking forward to the Expo because it’s in my beautiful historic hometown of Hamilton and the venue is the Chevalier Centre at Monivae College, my old school.  It’s always good to see events on in Hamilton which will bring people to the town to experience what we Hamiltonians past and present love.

HAMILTON BOTANIC GARDENS

 

“NUCLEUS”, A KINETIC SCULPTURE AT THE INTERSECTION OF GRAY & BROWN STREETS.

 

THE HAMILTON HISTORY CENTRE IN THE FORMER MECHANICS INSTITUTE

Hopefully we will finally get some rain in the next month giving visitors to the expo the chance to experience some waterfall action too.

 

Current & Upcoming Events in the Western District

UPDATED 23 March –

We are really spoilt for choice over the coming months because some more history related events have come to light since I published this post on Monday. You’ll find the three new events added below…


Some great history related events are either happening or coming up in the Western District over the next few months.

Running now until 28 April at the Port Fairy Museum and Archives is a travelling exhibition “Submerged” about shipwrecks along the south-west coast and Australia wide.  Port Fairy is a good place to host an exhibition about wrecks with fourteen wrecks recorded within Port Fairy bay alone.  You can find out more at the museum’s Facebook page Port Fairy Museum and Archives or website.

PORT FAIRY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES, GIPPS STREET.

The Glenelg Shire Council Cultural Collection exhibition “Gone But Not Forgotten…The Lost Buildings of Portland” is now on at the Portland Arts Centre until 26 April. The exhibition includes a display of photos and other items on the long-gone buildings of Portland.

An exhibition curated by the Casterton RSL will look at the Centenary of the RSL will begin on 2 April at the Casterton Town Hall foyer.  You can find out more at the shire’s Facebook page Glenelg Shire Council Cultural Collection.

Near Lake Bolac on 28 April will be an unveiling of a plaque at the former Mellier State School. The plaque will remember the 100th anniversary since the school was moved to Norbank Road, Lake Bolac.  You can find out more on the Historic Lake Bolac Facebook page.

On the weekend of 18 & 19 May is the Hamilton Pastoral Museum May rally.  You can see some of the sights…and sounds of the museum in this video from my visit to the October 2018 rally.  Look for further rally information on the museum’s Facebook page Hamilton Pastoral Museum Inc or the museum website.

Also on 18 May, the Warrnambool Family History Group are holding a seminar with four guest speakers each with great topics including Ken Flack, a genealogist and historian from Horsham speaking on taking a different approach to research; Janet McDonald, the President of the Warrnambool and District Historical Society talking about using local records to research land and houses around Warrnambool; Kate Moneypenny from the State Library of Victoria talking about researching family history at the SLV. You can find out more on the groups Facebook page Warrnambool Family History Group or their website.

For those interested in DNA and Family History, the Colac & District Family History Group is hosting a workshop on Friday 31 May from 1pm to 3pm with a representative from Ancestry. This must be a Western District first on such a topic so take the chance to attend. The Colac & District Family History Group are doing some great things. For further updates, check out the group’s Facebook page Colac & District Family History Group and website.  It’s a new website too so definitely take a look.  

The following day, Saturday 1 June is the 2019 VAFHO (Victorian Association of Family History Organisation) Expo at the Chevalier Centre, Monivae College in Hamilton from 10.00am to 4.00pm.  Take the opportunity to hear some of the best family history speakers right here in the Western District. I’ll keep you updated with details including guest speakers as they come to hand or you can check out the VAFHO Facebook page VAFHO – Victorian Association of Family History Organisations or website.

THE VIEW TOWARDS CHURCH HILL, HAMILTON

Armistice Day 1918 in the Western District

Today is the centenary of the signing of the Armistice which brought an end to the fighting of WW1.  News arrived in the Western District between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on Monday 11 November 1918 while for other towns, it was the following morning.  Everyone knew it was coming, the question was when. Hopes were high after the surrender of Austria and Turkey but there was still uncertainty and an unwillingness to celebrate until the official word came through.

“AUSTRIA’S SURRENDER.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 5 November 1918: 4. Web. 8 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119508007

Most towns had put in some preparation organising bands and ensuring bunting was at hand ready to decorate the streets.  Early on 8 November, rumours spread around Hamilton, Coleraine and other Western District towns that the signing had taken place.  But they were just rumours.

“PEACE RUMOURS.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 November 1918: 4. Web. 8 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119508174

 

“PREMATURE EXCITEMENT” Coleraine Albion and Western Advertiser (Vic. : 1902; 1914 – 1918) 11 November 1918: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119615782

Let’s do a fly around the Western District and see how each town reacted.  In most cases, the reaction was like nothing seen before.

In Ararat, official news came through at 8.30pm on 11 November.  Bells started to ring and the two local brass bands swung into action.

Celebrations continued on into the morning of Tuesday 12 November.

“TO-DAY’S RE[?]OICINGS.” Ararat Chronicle and Willaura and Lake Bolac Districts Recorder (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 12 November 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154297182

Then into Tuesday evening with an open-air concert at Alexandra Park.

“PEACE CELEBRATIONS.” Ararat Chronicle and Willaura and Lake Bolac Districts Recorder (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 15 November 1918: 2. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154298902

In Penshurst, church bells rang and the Penshurst Brass Band played.

“ARMISTICE SIGNED” Penshurst Free Press (Vic. : 1901 – 1918) 16 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119565333

Just before 9pm, the Hamilton Spectator received a cable and immediately told those waiting in front of the offices in Gray Street. Bells rang, the bands played and people flooded into the streets.  The Hamilton Brass Band was taken by motor car to Tarrington to tell residents there.

“JUBILATION IN HAMILTON” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 12 November 1918: 6. Web. 5 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119508265

After a false start to celebrations, Coleraine took no time took to get in the spirit.  On 12 November the children marched along the streets of the town.

“OUTDOOR DEMONSTRATION.” Coleraine Albion and Western Advertiser (Vic. : 1902; 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119615803

At Casterton, the townsfolk were “delirious with joy”.  There was fireworks, bands and dancing.

“Peace! Glorious Peace!” Casterton Free Press and Glenelg Shire Advertiser (Vic. : 1915 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article152657300

Tuesday 12 November was a holiday in Casterton as it was in most places.

“Peace Celebrations.” The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3 (Bi-Weekly.). Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74222633

Some towns like Sandford and Merino waited until official word was received the following morning. At Sandford, in a prearranged manoeuvre, the sight of the flag going up the pole of the Post Office signalled the end of the war.

“Sandford Celebrations.” The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3 (Bi-Weekly.). Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74222628

At Merino, bells rang and guns fired.

“Merino Celebrations.” The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3 (Bi-Weekly.). Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74222625

Heywood held off with celebrations until official word came after 9am on Tuesday 12 November. Preparations were then quickly underway for a large demonstration at 3pm

“Heywood.” Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88196524

At Portland, the Observer received an urgent wire from Reuters around 9.30pm on 11 November with the news and the celebrations began.  People got out of the beds and rushed into the streets.

“LOCAL CELEBRATIONS.” Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88196546

At Orford, a public picnic was planned for the following Friday.

“CELEBRATIONS AT ORFORD.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2 (EVENING). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987686

At Port Fairy, there were a couple of hiccups but that did suppress the euphoria.

“ORDERLY CELEBRATIONS.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2 (EVENING). Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987660

The official message arrived about 9pm on 11 November and the news spread around the town like wildfire.

“Advertising” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2 (EVENING). https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/8499675

Tuesday was a holiday and just as well because no one would have turned up for work anyway. Port Fairy’s celebrations continued all Tuesday and into Wednesday.

“TUESDAY MORNING.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2 (EVENING). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987687

“AFTERNOON DEMONSTRATION” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987687

At Koroit the shops and school closed Tuesday and Wednesday.  A large bonfire was built and on Tuesday night after a parade, it was lit.

“CELEBRATION AT KOROIT” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039937

In Warrnambool, people waited outside the Standard office for the news on the evening of 11 November.  Fire bells started ringing as soon as the news was read out.

“PEACE AT LAST!” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 12 November 1918: 3 (DAILY.). Web. 5 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039813

A torchlight parade was organised for Tuesday night with a massed tin-can band.

“STATEMENT BY MR. WATT.” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 12 November 1918: 3 (DAILY.). Web. 5 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039792

Buildings and streets across Warrnambool were decorated with flags and bunting.

“THE CELEBRATIONS IN WARRNAMBOOL.” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039829

Camperdown residents rushed into Manifold Street.

“General Rejoicing.” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 12 November 1918: 2. Web. 10 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32180700

Cobden celebrated too.

“PEACE AT LAST.” Cobden Times (Vic. : 1918) 13 November 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119543664

In Colac, they went “wild”.

“Local Rejoicings” Colac Reformer (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 12 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154137089

 

“PEACE CELEBRATION.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 13 November 1918: 3. Web. 5 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74474856

A torchlight parade took place on Tuesday night.

“COLAC AT NIGHT.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 13 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74474852

A TIN CAN BAND READY FOR COLAC’S TORCHLIGHT PARADE ON 12 NOVEMBER 1918. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/771371

 

“CELEBRATIONS IN COLAC” Colac Reformer (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154135561

.Despite all the celebrations, the underlying feeling was summed up by the Warrnambool Standard.

 

BIRDS OF PEACE! (1918, November 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 (DAILY.). Retrieved November 7, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039924

Hamilton’s WW1…A Reflection

Four years, two months and twenty-two days after Privates Maurice Tilley, William Niven, William Turner, Ernest Huggins and Harry Caple left Hamilton by train on the evening of Tuesday 18 August 1914 the first official troops from the district, the guns fell silent.  The people of Hamilton, although somewhat buoyant after the surrender of Turkey and Austria in the days before, were wary about getting too swept up. That was until around 9pm on Monday 11 November when the news of the Armistice reached Hamilton. As those waiting outside the Hamilton Spectator were given the news, jubilation erupted and soon people flooded the streets.  The boys were coming home…but not all.

Just as William Niven, one of the first five men to leave Hamilton, did not return, around one in five of the total number of men with Hamilton ties who enlisted, also never made it back to Hamilton.  Of the 693 men I have identified as having Hamilton connections, 169 died before Armistice Day as a direct result of the war.

HAMILTON WAR MEMORIAL c1930-1954. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H32492/2728 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63654

Since early 2015, I’ve been compiling names and writing stories of the men and women of Hamilton’s WW1 and since late 2015, I’ve been posting snippets of each edition of the Hamilton Spectator from 100 years before on the Hamilton’s WW1 Facebook page.  The aim was to gain an understanding of the effects of the war on a town such as Hamilton, the mood of the people and their response, and of course, the stories of the men and women who enlisted and their families.  Over the next three posts, I will tell you something of my project, what I’ve discovered, and where it’s going.

The first man with Hamilton connections killed in action was Joseph Alan Cordner, a Collingwood footballer, former Hamilton College student and a player in the Hamilton Cricket team.  Joseph, better known as Alan, was the first Victorian Football League player to enlist and among the first VFL players killed.  His death came in the hours after the landing at Gallipoli.  Initially, he was reported as missing and it was almost a year before his death on 25 April 1915 was made official.

JOSEPH ALAN CORDNER. Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. P03483.009 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P03483.009/

The first the Hamilton people heard of a man with a local connection to have fallen was the news of the death of Harold Johnson of Maldon.  Harold was well-known in Hamilton having worked at department store J.Thomson & Co.  He was wounded in the days after the landing and died in hospital in Alexandria on 2 May 1915.  However, it was 24 May 1915 when the reality of war really hit Hamilton.  The Hamilton Spectator wrote on 24 May 1915, “The youth of the town have had their first piercing illustration of what war means in the last resort when they realise that one of their number will never associate with them.  Private William Henry Waters, a Hamilton State School boy, between nineteen and twenty years of age, has died at the front whilst fighting with the Australian forces at Gallipoli. He is the first Hamilton soldier to fall.”

Of those I’ve researched, William Norman was the youngest to enlist at seventeen years and eleven months.  The eldest of eight children, William was eighteen years and five months when he arrived at Gallipoli.  He went on to serve in France and Belgium and was killed on 8 October 1917, near Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium. He was buried where he fell, his body never recovered.  William was twenty.  His five younger brothers all enlisted for WW2.

WILLIAM LESLIE NORMAN. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P10789.004/

The youngest to die was Robert Taylor, born in Hamilton and a former student of the state school.  He was eighteen years and one month when he enlisted on 24 January 1916.  He was dead just seven months and fifteen days later, killed at Pozieres, France. Like Joseph Cordner and William Norman, Robert’s body was never recovered.

ROBERT TAYLOR. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P10789.005/

The last Hamilton man to die before the Armistice was James Smyth of the 9th Light Horse Regiment.  After James and another man captured a German officer with eighty-five Turkish soldiers on 2 October 1918 near Khan Ayash in Syria, James was nominated for a Distinguished Conduct Medal  (DCM) for conspicuous gallantry, initiative and devotion to duty.  Fifteen days later he was sick with malaria and died on 25 October 1918.  His DCM was awarded posthumously.

Many families had multiple enlistments which for some brought added grief like that experienced by the Joyce family. Brothers Matthew and Thomas were killed just two months apart, Matthew on 11 April 1917 at Bullecourt, France and Thomas on 1 June 1917 at Warloy-Baillon, France. 

There was also the two sons of Charlotte Lance.  Her eldest son Alexander Scott (below) was killed on 26 August 1916 at Mouquet Farm, France but Charlotte was not notified he was even missing.  After the death of her younger son George Lance, she wrote to the Defence Department asking after Alexander as she had not heard from him since the year before.  He was dead, came the reply.  Two boys lost a year apart but the news of both coming within months. Charlotte didn’t even want George to go, refusing the nineteen-year-old her permission. Determined to enlist, George went to Adelaide, enlisted under a false name, then wrote to his mother and told her what he had done.  She didn’t even get to say goodbye.

ALEXANDER WILLIAM SCOTT. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA11399/

Then there were the Stevenson brothers  Alexander and Edgar. Only a few years apart in age, they spent a lot of time together before enlistment. The worked together at the family bakery in Coleraine Road, were both members of the Independent Order of Rechabites, and sung together at the local Baptist Church.  The also went to war together both serving with the 39th Battalion.  Alexander known as Lex was there when Edgar was killed on 4 October 1917.  He helped dig the grave and placed a cross upon it.  A week later, Lex was shot near Passchendaele, Belgium and died on 15 October from his wounds.  William and Euphemia Stevenson received the news of their sons six days apart.

James Lodge of Clarke Street, Hamilton sent four boys to war. Remaining at home was eighteen-year-old Frederick who was keen to join his brothers but instead worked with his father, a stonemason. James and Frederick were building the Catholic presbytery at Casterton when Frederick developed double pneumonia and died on 20 June 1918.  While James’ mind was with his four sons overseas, it was the son under his own watchful eye who died.  Despite his grief, James continued working but he too contracted pneumonia and died on 31 July.  Since it was James’ idea to plant trees along Clarke Street to form an Avenue of Honour for those in the street who enlisted, at the official planting on 24 August 1918, the first tree planted was in James’ honour and positioned in front of the Lodge home. The Lodge boys all returned to Australia, two highly decorated, and they went on to secure the contract of the construction of the Shrine of Remembrance.

James’ death before the war’s end was very common among parents of those serving.  William Sugden Price Lewis passed away within two weeks of hearing of his adopted son Arthur’s fate.  After waiting for eight months for news of his missing son Joseph only to learn he was dead, William Sloan felt he could live no longer.  Grief and anxiety were often compounded by the often necessary dealings with the Defence Department.  I’ve read dozens of letters to Base Records from desperate parents and siblings.  You can sense the frustration and anguish of Isiah Cordner in his letters seeking information about his missing son Alan.  He wrote to the Defence Department, the Red Cross and sought out men from Alan’s battalion for help. It was 364 days after Alan’s death when Isiah finally had official confirmation.

The family of John Taylor killed on 29 July 1916 at Pozieres experienced similar pain.  John’s mother Eliza tried to get news of her son, writing letters to the Defence Department and asking relatives to write.  The reply came that he was killed on 28/29 July 1916 but no more details of his death or burial were available.  The first inquiry into John’s death was held on 22 June 1917 finding there was no trace of him.  Letters were still being sent from the family in 1919 requesting more information.  They just wanted to know where he was buried and maybe get a photo of his headstone something available to parents of sons who did get a formal burial.

It was Abraham Tredrea father of Francis Tredrea who summed up the feelings of all parents when he wrote a letter to the Collie fanciers of Victoria by way of the Leader newspaper’s “Kennel Notes” published in September 1917. Abraham had waited thirteen months for news of his missing son. “I received word on Friday last re my son, F. S. Tredrea, saying he was killed in action on the 19th of July, 1916. You will remember he was then reported missing. I miss him very much. He was a very smart boy in the fancy, both in dogs and poultry. He was known by the Collie fanciers of Melbourne, and I am sure his friends in the fancy will be sorry to read the sad news.” Those words…I miss him very much.

FRANCIS STANLEY TREDREA. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://mywdfamilies.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/tredrea.jpg

Like Francis, a number of the men were married with children. His wife Ada spent the thirteen months Francis was classed as missing, writing letters and advertising in newspapers for information about her husband.  When she finally received the official confirmation, she placed the following notice in The Argus,

“After months of hopeful waiting
The sad cable it came through
Saying he nobly did his duty
As onlloyal Australians do”

Arthur Emmett had the largest family of all the married men. When he enlisted in July 1915, Arthur and his wife Evangeline had four children with twins born after Arthur’s enlistment. Arthur was killed on 26 July 1916 at Pozieres, France but was reported missing.  When Evangeline heard the news, she began a year of letter writing to the Red Cross asking for help in finding Arthur.  It was not until 4 August 1917 when Arthur’s death was officially confirmed. It was a double blow for the Emmett family with Arthur’s younger brother Alfred Emmett killed only weeks after they heard of Arthur’s fate.

With such a large number of men from the district overseas, there was always an opportunity to catch up with someone from Hamilton. The talk would invariably turn to news from home and the Hamilton Spectator sent by relatives was highly sought after.  Horace Westgarth (below) wrote home after the evacuation at Gallipoli, telling his mother, “…half of Hamilton seem to be with us now.”  By the time Horace left Egypt for France, just having transferred to the 58th Battalion, he had met up with fellow Hamiltonian Terence Finnegan. It was an unlikely friendship, which may not have come about if they were back in Hamilton.  Terence went to the Convent School and Horace went to the state school.  Terence worked as a tailor at J.Thomson & Co., while Horace was a carpenter.  But so far from home that didn’t matter and the common thread of being from Hamilton bound their friendship.  Terence and Horace were on rations fatigue around 9pm on 12 May 1917 as the second Battle of Bullecourt drew to an end. A shell killed Terence and Horace in an area known as Death Valley. They were buried where they fell and the two Hamilton men still lie there together today.

HORACE LEONARD WESTGARTH. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1298989

Claude Douglas and Albert Sheehan were both twenty and Arthur Lewis aged twenty-four when the trio from Hamilton found themselves together in D Company of 14th Battalion.  At Gallipoli, they shared a tent behind the frontline.  Thirteen men slept in the tent in the beginning, but by the start of August 1915, there were only three still occupying the tent, the three Hamiltonians.  Three weeks later the tent was empty.  Albert was missing after the attack on Hill 971 on 8 August, Arthur died of wounds on 13 August and finally on 21 August, Claude was killed.

Ken Toleman of Mortlake and Englishman Reg Briant, were “out of towners”, electricians with the Hamilton Electric Co. when they enlisted.  They left Australia together on 17 June 1915 with the 14th Battalion 6th Reinforcements.  Kenneth and Reg arrived at Gallipoli on 1 August 1915.  It was a bad time to get there with heavy fighting and great loss of life throughout the month.  The day of 22 August was a particularly dark day. The battalion took part in the attack on Hill 60 and Reg was killed. Ken went on to France and then Belgium and was an acting Captain when wounded near La Clytte on 13 October 1916.  He died soon after. Ken had never stopped thinking about Reg.

It was Ken and Reg’s friendship which brought about one of the more heart-warming moments I came across.  In July 1916, Ken was granted leave to England for eight days and took the opportunity to meet with Reg Briant’s sister Dorothy. He also accepted the invitation of Reg’s schoolmaster and paid a visit to the school at Lymington, Hampshire. He was taken on a tour and was the first Australian soldier the children had seen.  He was given three cheers in all the classrooms.  When he next wrote home he described it as a holiday he would never forget. Ken’s grandmother Sarah in Mortlake received a reassuring letter from Dorothy Briant who said Ken was “well and strong”.

That wasn’t the only school visit.  Walter Filmer of Byaduk and a teacher at the Hamilton State School for three years, visited the  Hamilton Academy in Hamilton, Scotland.  The Hamilton State School and the Academy had exchanged flags while Walter was at the state school.  He found the Hamilton State School flag proudly displayed at the Hamilton Academy.  The children were excited to meet a representative from the school on the other side of the world, and Walter passed on his regards from the committee, staff and pupils of Hamilton State School.

WALTER STEPHEN FILMER. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C73149

The letters to loved ones have been a highlight.  Men and women wrote letters home and in turn, some parents passed the letters on to the local paper for publication.  How thankful I am to those parents who did so. The letters share news of friends or relatives also serving, they describe the conditions and the countryside and give something of the letter writer’s personality.  Some were written during a quiet moment in the trenches while others were written from hospital while reflecting on why they were there.

One of the more entertaining letter writers was plucky William Lovell.  His self-assurance belied his age of nineteen years but it was likely that self-assurance saw him become part of “Jacka’s Mob”, the famous 5th platoon of the 14th Battalion led by Albert Jacka VC.  William lost his life near the Hindenburg Line on the 11 April 1917 aged twenty.  His body still lies in the fields of northern France.

WILLIAM LESLIE LOVELL. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA09468/

Frank Kendall wrote a long letter home to his father describing his time in London.  So long it was published in two parts in the newspaper.  Ivan Morieson, a son of a teacher wrote a lovely letter home to his mother describing his time in Egypt, “There is nothing I should like better than to travel over Egypt at my leisure. A man properly interested could spend a lifetime here, and if ever I get the chance I shall do my best to have a proper look at the place”.  Although he described himself as a man, he was just a boy.  Only eighteen at the time of his letter and twenty when he was shot through the heart while acting as company runner near Polygon Wood, Belgium.

IVAN FRANCIS MORIESON. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2073040

The nurses from Hamilton have also been part of my research. They were not immune to the horrors of the war working under horrendous conditions and broken bodies.  The mental images would haunt them.  At least two of the Hamilton nurses spent time under psychiatric care within ten years of the end of the war. 

I have posted three stories of the Hamilton nurses so far,  one of those the story of Hamilton born Edith Malcolm.  She nursed at Salonika, Greece where living conditions were poor, some even thought worse than France. There was very little fresh food and they lived off soldiers’ rations. For a boost of iron, a weekly ration of bully beef and biscuits was issued.  Winters were freezing and the summers were hot with malaria a constant risk. The nurses covered themselves from head to toe to protect themselves from mosquitos. Edith was diagnosed with anaemia in July 1918 and invalided home.

Once back on Australian soil, Edith (below far right) found her brother Norman had returned home in the months before and her sister Stella and younger brother Eric returned in the months following allowing the Malcolm siblings to come together for the first time in three years for this beautiful photo.

THE MALCOLM FAMILY. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C390054

There have been many inspiring stories of bravery.  Several came from stretcher bearers who often found themselves in exposed positions as they removed the wounded from the battlefields.  They were often members of the battalion band like Arthur Underwood of Mill Road, Hamilton, a member of the 23rd Battalion band. He was awarded a Military Medal after his actions led to at least a dozen wounded men saved from No Man’s Land in broad daylight at Pozieres, France on 29 and 30 July 1916.

ARTHUR BELL PERCY UNDERWOOD. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA10497/

Then there was Edwin Smith of 22nd Battalion, not afraid to volunteer for raiding parties.  On 29 June 1916, he volunteered for a raid which saw the man they called “Fatty” crawl on his stomach through No Man’s Land with around sixty other men, before they jumped in the German trenches, taking the enemy by surprise. He didn’t receive a medal for that occasion but was awarded a Military Medal for his service as one of the last remaining men on Gallipoli after the evacuation on the 20 December 1915.  The 22nd Battalion was positioned near Johnstone’s Jolly and as the battalion began its evacuation, Edwin and several other men kept up steady gunfire for over two hours so the enemy would believe everything was normal.

On the morning of 26 August 1916, as Edwin Smith passed through the village of Pozieres to relieve a crew on the front line, a shell hit his company. Edwin was killed instantly and buried where he fell. He was later exhumed and his body placed in the Pozieres British Cemetery.

EDWIN RICHARDSON SMITH. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA08695/

Frank  Lodge (below)was one of the four enlisted sons of James Lodge. On 29 July 1916, the 2nd Pioneers were in Pozieres and had commenced working on a communications trench known as “Centre Way” running to Pozieres Wood.  Their work was not helped by the enemy as the Germans bombarded the area.  Overnight on 4 August, with their section almost complete, Frank stood in the open above the trench not only giving directions to his men but urging them on.  He was awarded a Military Medal. 

On 31 August 1918, near Peronne Frank went forward to assess sites for bridges to aid with the advance…

…he got over the main canal and examined an old German bridge which had been partially destroyed.  Finding a gap of about fourteen feet, he pushed a spar over the gap and attempted to cross but disturbed a German sentry on the opposite bank who opened fire, and ran toward the village.  As Lieutenant Lodge was fired at by machine guns. from the south side of Halle he returned.  The information gained by this reconnaissance was of great value.  That night he got material carried to the site and proceeded to reconstruct a demolished road bridge and remained in charge of the work until completion the next evening, although immediate vicinity was heavily shelled all day. Later he did further valuable reconnaissance work and rapid bridging (Australian War Memorial, Honours and Awards https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1622549/ )

His actions saw him awarded a Military Cross.  His brother Augustine Bernard Lodge was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for his actions at Pozieres in 1916.

“BROTHERS WIN MILITARY HONORS” The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954) 11 November 1916: 6. Web. 19 Jun 2018.

Look out for Part 2 coming soon when I’ll share some of the stories of Hamilton’s WW1 which have had the greatest effect on me. 

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

Wonderful Western District Women Part 4

Wonderful Western District Women is a series looking at some of the great women I’ve come across while compiling Passing of the Pioneer posts.  All posted during Women’s History Month, each part examines the women’s lives a little more than in the Passing of the Pioneers entries.  This is the fourth part and you will find the links to the previous three at the bottom of this post.  The three women featured this time have contrasting lives and for two, there are the twists of fate bringing them to the Western District.  As usual, if you click on any underlined text, you will go to further information about a person or subject.

GRADY, Catherine (c1832-1916) Also known as Catherine Hamilton

Catherine Grady was born in County Wexford, Ireland around 1832.  The Ireland Catholic Parish Registers show the baptism record of a Catherine Grady from the St Mullins Catholic Parish, Wexford, Ireland during June 1832, a daughter of Michael and Catherine Grady.  When Catherine was thirteen, Ireland went into a period of famine, often called the Irish Potato Famine. Around one million people and another one million people left Ireland.  Catherine Grady found herself in the New Ross Workhouse.  The Earl Grey Scheme running between 1848 and 1850 saw 4000 Irish girls sent to Australia. They came from various workhouses across Ireland and New Ross Workhouse was part of the scheme. Seventeen-year-old Catherine was taken to Plymouth, England and with around 200 other girls she left for Melbourne on the New Liverpool.

“THE EXECUTION. OF RUSH.” Port Phillip Gazette and Settler’s Journal (Vic. : 1845 – 1850) 11 August 1849: 4. Web. 13 Mar 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223156756&gt;.

After more than three months Catherine arrived at Melbourne on 9 August 1849.

“Shipping Intelligence.” The Melbourne Daily News (Vic. : 1848 – 1851) 10 August 1849: 2. Web. 13 Mar 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226472872&gt;.

The Geelong Advertiser reported on 30 August 1849, “The girls appear to be clean and healthy, and female labour being scarce, their opportune arrival will prove a great acquisition to the district.” Advertisements ran in newspapers with potential employers invited to the Immigration Depot, a collection of tents off what is now King Street, Melbourne.

“Advertising” Port Phillip Gazette and Settler’s Journal (Vic. : 1845 – 1850) 28 August 1849: 3. Web. 13 Mar 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223155586&gt;.

Catherine could read and write and her calling was a nursemaid. However, a month later she was still waiting at the immigration depot.  In September 1849, it was reported, “Only 57 adult emigrants by the Courier, could be prevailed upon going to Portland per Raven; about sixty-four orphan girls from the depot are to be sent to make up the number for which the vessel was chartered”.  (Geelong Advertiser 22 September 1849).  Catherine was one of the girls selected to sail on the Raven, a voyage which provoked a response from the Portland Guardian, criticising then Superintendent of the Port Phillip district Charles La Trobe.  The Port Phillip Gazette and Settler’s Journal published the Guardian‘s article with a disclaimer from the paper’s own editor.

THE HUMANITY OF MR. LA TROBE EXEMPLIFIED – In the midst of occurring wrecks at Belfast, Mr. Latrobe despatches a vessel with a lot of Irish orphans! Just at the very nick of time when Insurance Companies and Underwriters, as with one consent, refuse to take risks on property proceeding to Port Fairy, Mr. Latrobe chooses that moment, above all others, to send immigrants to such a port! Scarcely have the local newspapers, (detailing the accounts of mountainous seas, the loss of anchors and chains, the drifting of vessels to sea, the total wreck of fine large vessels, and the melancholy loss of life at Port Fairy) been laid down, than the next paper greets the eye with an account of the despatch of a vessel with immigrants to the identical port where these appalling occurrences ere succeeding each other in rapid succession. Has Mr Latrobe lost the feelings of or common humanity, that he wantonly risks a number of innocent lives? Are Irish orphans and immigrants families of less value than bags of wheat and bales of wool, puncheons of rum and the timber and planks of which vessels are composed? Has Mr. Latrobe the inhuman nerve to risk the lives of immigrants, at the very instant when men of wealth dare not risk their property! If the Raven should happen to meet with favourable weather, while lying at Port Fairy and disembarking her immigrants at this time of the year, when the equinoctial gales are prevalent. it will have been a merciful Providence, which had interposed in screening the innocent from the appalling dangers into which they had launched, by the ignorance, wilfulness, or selfishness of beings in the form, but wanting the essential attributes of man – Portland Guardian. (We are very much surprised at such remarks, as nothing is more necessary than the distribution of emigrants amongst the settlers at the out ports — E.P.P.G.)  Port Phillip Gazette and Settler’s Journal 11 October 1849 

Despite the Guardian’s gloomy prediction, the girls arrived safely at Portland on 4 October 1849.  It wasn’t long before Catherine was employed by Port Fairy solicitor George Barber. George had married Charlotte Meare on 2 July 1849 at Port Fairy and Catherine may have been employed Catherine for her nursemaid skills.  Her pay was £12 for a twelve month term.

Around 1852, Catherine married Archibald Hamilton at Port Fairy.  The following year, the couple’s first child was born in that town. Her name was Catherine Grady Hamilton.  Catherine and Archibald raised a family of twelve children born from 1853 to 1877. Archibald got a job as an overseer for Donald McKinnon at Kangaroo Station, Hotspur. By 1857, Archibald was overseer at Mt Napier Station for Mr Phillips.  In 1873, Archibald applied for a ten-acre allotment at Macarthur.  

On 23 June 1884, Archibald died at Macarthur aged sixty-three.  At the time, the youngest of the children was seven and Catherine needed to provide for her family.  She offered her services as a nurse and midwife and it was said she attended over 300 maternity cases over the following years.  Almost seventy-seven years after Cathrine arrived from Ireland, she died at Macarthur on 3 January 1916. Her age at the time was given as eighty but Catherine could have been as old as eighty-four. Her obituary read, “her quiet unassuming manner and readiness to render assistance and advice to anyone in need…had endeared herself to the whole community”.

SOURCES

Catholic Parish Registers, The National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland 

Famine Orphan Girl Database

Irish Famine Memorial (Sydney)

New Ross Workhouse 

MURRAY, Isabella (c1852-1924) Also known as Isabella Helpman

Isabella Murray was born around 1852 at Summer Hill, Allansfordthe property of her parents James Murray and Isabella Gordon.  Her parents had arrived from Scotland around 1839 and arrived at Allansford after time at Glenample at Port Campbell.  Isabella married Walter Stephen Helpman in 1877.  Walter was a son of Captain Benjamin Helpman and Ann Pace, a sister of Jane Henty.

“Family Notices” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 22 August 1877: 1. Web. 9 Mar 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5934405&gt;.

Walter was a banker, having worked with the National Bank at Warrnambool and Geelong and as manager of the Colonial Bank at Koroit from 1875 and in 1876, started a branch at Port Fairy. In 1877 he became manager of the Warrnambool Colonial Bank. The first of Isabella and Walter’s children was Francis born in Warrnambool in 1878. Then followed twins Isabella Jean and James in 1881 and Gordon was born in 1884.

It was in 1884, Isabella’s brother John Murray entered state politics, becoming Member of the Legislative Assembly in the seat of Warrnambool.  Isabella shared his interest in politics and campaigned at State and Federal level.  A cause John was passionate about, one not popular among politicians, was the welfare of  Aboriginals, in particular, those at the Framlingham Reserve.  John and his sisters Isabella and Mary came to know many of them personally and fought for their rights.  In 1890, when the government attempted to move the Aboriginals on the reserve, John fought to save part of the land for them.  In 1909, John became Premier of Victoria and chair of the Board for the Protection of Aborigines.

Isabella was active in the Warrnambool community helping the less fortunate.  She was a member of the Ladies Benevolent Society for thirty years, including time as President.  She also fundraised for the hospital and served as treasurer of the Red Cross for five years.

Walter left the Colonial Bank in 1902 and the Helpmans left Warrnambool. Walter had a job as a clerk with the Customs Department in Melbourne and the couple moved to 547 Collins Street, Melbourne, the location of the Federal Hotel (below).

THE FEDERAL HOTEL, MELBOURNE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/247026

Meanwhile, grandchildren were arriving with Theo born in 1904 to Jean Helpman and her husband Boer War veteran Albert Duka In 1907, Isabella and Walter’s son James married May Gardiner at Millicent, South Australia.  A son Robert known as “Bobbie”, was born to James and May at Mt Gambier in 1909.  They are pictured below.

JAMES, MAY AND ROBERT HELPMANc1911 Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia Image no B 21404 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21404

Walter and Isabella returned to Warrnambool around 1912, but two years later Walter died on 24 June 1914.  More sadness came in 1916 when Isabella’s brother John, the former Premier also died. She had added concern with her son Gordon serving with the King Edward Horse from 1914, and the Royal Flying Corp from 1916.  Daughter Jean was also at the front in a nursing role with her husband Albert Duka, a surgeon.  During that time grandson, Theo Duka came into Isabella’s care and he was enrolled at Hamilton College.

By that time, Isabella was renting The Hutte at 21 Banyan Street, Warrnambool.  She continued her community work and was also active socially. On one occasion in 1919, she was the hostess of a tea given by the President of the Warrnambool Racing Club over the May Carnival.  It was in the same year, Isabella had a lucky escape in December when a rag with flammable liquid was lit at her home during the night. Fortunately, Isabella’s maid woke and found the fire before there was too much damage.  Although the fire was suspicious, there was no motive.  After that incident, Isabella moved to Waikato in Waikato Court, Warrnambool, home of her brother James.  Isabella died at Waikato on 27 January 1924.

The Helpman name became a household name from the 1920s when Isabella’s grandson Bobbie made his stage debut in Adelaide as a ballet dancer.  He went on to become one of the world’s leading dancers and Shakespearean actors, Sir Robert Murray Helpmann.  He is pictured below with the great Kathryn Hepburn in 1955.

“NO SUBTLETIES IN OLD VIC’S SHREW” Tribune (Sydney, NSW : 1939 – 1976) 1 June 1955: 7. Web. 16 Mar 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article236256137&gt;.

McCANN, Kate St George (c1849-1929)  Also known as Kate Trangmar

Kate McCann was born on the ship St George off the coast of San Francisco, California on 15 September 1849, a daughter of Robert James McCann and Matilda Jane Crouch. Robert and Matilda had married in 1834 in London.  The law at the time meant since Kate was born on a British ship, her birth was registered in the Parish of Stepney, London. The same year the McCanns arrived in California, Robert died.  Matilda remarried to Eustace de Arroyave.  Kate grew up playing on the family ranch Lone Pine in the Rocky Mountains, California but Matilda died in 1865 when Kate was sixteen.  Kate,  her brother Arthur and a half-sister Eustasia travelled to London to live with their aunt Emma Crouch. In 1866, Emma with Kate, Arthur then aged twenty and Eustasia aged eight boarded the ship Great Britain for Melbourne arriving on 26 December 1866.  They then caught the steamer S.S. Edina to Portland.

In 1876, Kate married James Trangmar at St.Stephen’s Church, Portland.  She had a connection to the Trangmar family as her uncle George Crouch was in business with James Trangmar and he married James’ sister Mary Ann Trangmar.

“Family Notices” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 22 March 1876: 2. Web. 10 Mar 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226036873&gt;.

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH, PORTLAND

Kate moved from Portland to Coleraine where James had worked from around 1866 in a store owned by his father and managed by his uncle George Trangmar.  On 3 February 1878, Kate had a son. They went on to have eight children. In 1880, Mary Ann was born on 24 June 1880 and died the following day.

In time, George Trangmar moved on and James took over the running of the Coleraine store (below)

J.W.TRANGMAR & CO. COLERAINE. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/767465

By 1904, Kate was living at Coma Villa, Sturt Street, Ballarat while James was still at Coleraine.  In 1904, her then elderly aunt Emma Crouch took sick and travelled with Kate’s sister Eustasia to be with her in Ballarat.   Emma died on 11 April 1904 at Kate’s home. The following year there was a burglary at Coma Villa while Kate was out at the South Street Competitions.

“No title” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 2 October 1905: 2. Web. 19 Mar 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article209029432&gt;.

In time, Kate was back in residence at Coleraine and in 1906, James opened a new store on the same site as the original building.

THE OPENING OF TRANGMAR’S STORE, COLERAINE 1906. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766933

During WW1, Kate and James’ married son Arthur enlisted on 28 February 1916. He served as a Lieutenant with the 39th Battalion and was killed on 21 February 1918 at Messines, Belgium.  Another son, Herbert enlisted on 1 April 1915 and served with the 17th and 22nd Battalions and was awarded a Military Cross. During 1916, Kate and James celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary with celebrations in the Coleraine Hall before travelling to Portland for a service at the place of their marriage, St Stephen’s Church followed by dinner at the Richmond Hotel. When they arrived at the hotel, they were showered with rose petals

Kate died on 27 July 1929 at Coleraine.  James and six of her children were still alive at the time of her death.  James died in 1938 at Coleraine. Trangmar’s store was run by members of the Trangmar family until 1969, first under the charge of Kate and James’ sons Herbert and Edmund.

WONDERFUL WESTERN DISTRICT WOMEN

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

 

Wonderful Western District Women Part 3

On International Women’s Day 2017, I posted the first Wonderful Western District Women post followed by a second later in March, Women’s History Month.  Today is International Women’s Day 2018 so it’s time for another edition.  Each post looks further into the lives of Western District women I’ve come across while writing the Passing of the Pioneers posts.  This time there are three women featured, Eliza Malseed, Edith Davey and Mary Learmonth. Eliza lived in an isolated area of Victoria’s far south-west coast while Edith lived in another isolated area, further east on the coast near the Twelve Apostles. Both endured the hardships of living in such places and displayed independence enabling them to endure. Mary Learmonth’s life was more comfortable, but not only was she a great sportswoman she was a champion of causes, a dedicated worker for those less fortunate than herself.  Remember to click on any of the underlined text for further information.

MALSEED, Eliza Ann  (c1836-1920)

Eliza Ann Malseed was born in Donegal, Ireland around 1836 to James Malseed and Ann Thompson.  In 1855, Eliza and her brother James and her cousin, also James Malseed arrived at Portland aboard the Blanche Moore. An older brother John had arrived in Portland in 1849. Eliza lived in Gawler Street until she married her cousin James around 1859 and they settled at Glenorchy at the foot of Mount Richmond an extinct volcano in an isolated about twenty kilometres to the west of Portland. Their first child was born in 1860. Eliza had a further nine children.

It was a harsh life and Eliza and her young children were often left alone while James was away in Portland.  She had many travellers pass her door looking for food on their way to Mount Gambier giving her many tales to recount.  When remembering those days she would say,”The Lord was my shepherd”.  Bushfires were frequent and the family were lucky not to lose their home in 1864. There were other dangers too. At different times in December 1878, James and one his daughters received snake bites. On each occasion, James cut out the flesh around the wound and sucked the venom out. Both somehow survived.  James wrote a letter to the Portland Guardian to tell the story, published on 7 January 1879.

Eliza was a Wesleyan Methodist and attended the Mount Richmond Methodist Church which opened in 1876 and she was very active within the church community.  In 1902, James fell ill and on his doctor’s advice, he moved to Portland closer to medical care.  James died there on 26 July 1902.  Several years later, Eliza went to live at Rose Villa, Myamyn, the home of her daughter. Eliza died there on 11 August 1920 aged eighty-four and was remembered in her obituary below.

“Obituary.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 26 August 1920: 3 (EVENING.). Web. 6 Mar 2017.

DAVEY, Edith  (1861-1939)

Edith Davey was born at Port Fairy in 1861 a daughter of  Robert Davey and Ann Phillips.  Edith had a sister, Annie five years older than herself.  Another sister Emily was born in 1858 but she died a year after Edith’s birth.  The Davey family left Port Fairy and made their way to the Port Campbell/Princetown district.  They selected land on the Great Ocean Road, between the Loch Ard Gorge and the current Twelve Apostles Viewing area.  They also had the use of the land down to the cliff tops below.

THE TWELVE APOSTLES, PORT CAMPBELL.

The Daveys named their property Edgecombe.  Their neighbour to the west was Hugh Gibson of Glenample, co-owned by Peter MacArthur of Merringoort.  It was at Glenample in 1878 Tom Pearson arrived to raise the alarm of the wreck of the Loch Ard. Fellow survivor Eva Carmichael stayed at Glenample for several weeks while recovering.  Robert Davey was a trustee of the Loch Ard Gorge Cemetery, the burial place of the victims of the wreck. It was an isolated area but from around the end of the 1800s, the mail-coach passed via Edgecombe as it travelled between Princetown and Port Campbell and continued to do so for around twenty years. 

Each of the Davey’s acquired more land in the Port Campbell/Princetown district. In 1888, Edith applied for a grant to buy land in the Princetown township and was successful and in 1889, she applied to lease 720 acres.  It was tough times though with a drought and impending depression.  By 1892, the rent for Edith’s lease was in arrears.  Her worries continued through the decade and in 1897, the local Land Board ruled she must pay five rent instalments at once and the balance in three months.

The Davey’s attended  St Luke’s Church of England at Princetown where Edith was the organist. She played the piano and sang at many concerts in the district over the years. Sometimes she sang duets with her sister Annie.  In 1896, at a concert at the Presbyterian Church in Princetown, Edith played a piano duet with a local boy and she later sang “The Holy City” in “her usual pleasing manner”. During May 1904, Edith was presented with a gold and pearl brooch set and a book “Sanctuary Series of Voluntaries” for her many years of service as the organist of St Luke’s Church, Princetown.

Like her sister Edith, Annie Davey never married and like Edith acquired several properties.  When she reached her fifties, Annie began experiencing some ill-health and in 1910, the once active woman was described as “despondent”.  Annie planned a holiday but on the day she was due to leave in August 1910,  her body was found in a waterhole at the back of the property.  She was forty-seven at the time. Annie died intestate and that prompted her father Robert to write a will, leaving everything to Edith. Robert Davey died the following year at the age of ninety.

Edith and her mother Ann continued on at Edgecombe.  By the time of her father’s death, she was fifty-five.  In 1912, wild dogs were killing Edith’s lambs. In order to protect her flock, she was staying out overnight.  In 1915, her mother Ann died aged eighty.  Edith remained alone at Edgecombe for the next twenty-four years, her five-roomed cottage falling into disrepair. She died at the Cobden Hospital in 1939 aged seventy-six. Edith’s obituary in the Camperdown Chronicle described her as one of the “grand pioneer women of Australia”.

“MISS EDITH DAVEY” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 26 September 1939: 5. Web. 6 Mar 2018.

Soon after Edith’s death, Edgecombe was sold as was the stock, plant, and furniture.

“Advertising” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 28 November 1939: 6. Web. 7 Mar 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27400636&gt;.

LEARMONTH, Mary Simpson  (1863-1939) Also known as Mary Laidlaw

Mary Learmonth was born in 1863 at Hamilton the daughter of Peter Learmonth and Mary Jarvey Pearson of Prestonholme Hamilton.   Mary was a sporty young woman, with a talent for tennis and a champion croquet player.  She also enjoyed golf but doesn’t seem to have played competitively until she was in her thirties during the 1890s.  She married Hamilton doctor David Fraser Laidlaw on 30 November 1899 at Prestonholme at the age of thirty-six. Her brother Allan gave her away and she wore a gown of white satin with lace and chiffon trim. Fifty guests enjoyed the wedding breakfast in a marquee on the property.  As Mary and David left for nearby Mountajup to catch the afternoon train, they were showered with rose petals by the guests.

Mary and David Learmonth lived at Eildon on the corner of French and Thompson Streets Hamilton, overlooking the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.  The house was designed by Ussher and Kemp in 1904.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 27 October 1904: 3. Web. 23 Feb 2018 .’

David was the Chief Medical Officer at the Hamilton Hospital but he also had a surgery at Eildon.  Mary set about establishing a garden on the property and became one of the finest in the town.

EILDON, HAMILTON

Marriage didn’t put an end to Mary’s sporting activities, in fact, her involvement in golf increased and she even had time to act as the inaugural captain of the Hamilton Ladies Miniature Rifle Club formed in 1908.  As well as local golf tournaments, Mary played further afield including the 1904 National Championships in 1904 where she won the Bogey Handicap with a score of 88 and hit the second longest drive.   She played in the Victorian Championships in September 1909 and won the longest drive at a length of 186 yards (170 metres).  In 1930, at the age of sixty-seven, Mary won the Mount Gambier Ladies Championship at the club’s annual tournament.  At Hamilton Golf Club, Mary was the undisputed ladies champion for many years winning the ladies’ championship an amazing seventeen times.  Her first win was as Miss Learmonth and the rest as Mrs Laidlaw.

“Ladies’ Australian Golf Championship.” The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 – 1912) 31 August 1904: 541. Web. 7 Mar 2017 .

Other than sport, Mary was president of the Hamilton branch of the Australian Women’s National League (AWNL) and chair of the Wannon Electorate of the AWNL covering an area from Horsham to Portland.  She was also a member of the Hamilton Horticulture Society, the Hamilton branch of the Red Cross Society, and the Hamilton Ladies’ Benevolent Society. Mary eventually becoming an officer of the latter organisation.  In 1935, after sixty-nine years the decision was reached to finish up the Hamilton Ladies’ Benevolent Society due to decreasing demand for their services.  Mary and fellow officer Mary Ann Strachan presented a petition to the Practice Court, requesting the surplus funds of the society, totalling £600, be donated to the Hamilton Hospital maternity ward.  Their request was granted on 11 June 1935.

As if that wasn’t enough, Mary showed Airedale Terriers with success.  She collected books for the British and Foreign Bible Society and she was a devout member of the Hamilton Methodist Church (below) as were he parents before her.

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

A slight hiccup in Mary’s life came in 1916 when charged with driving a motor car in a dangerous manner.  The charges arose from a collision with a horse-drawn wagon. Fortunately, they were dismissed when it was found the accident was not caused by Mary’s speed, but the wagon driver who was turning at the time.  In the same year, Mary decorated her car and drove it in a procession through Hamilton.

David Laidlaw died in October 1925 aged fifty-six.  Mary’s widowed brother Stanley Learmonth moved in with her at Eildon.  Mary died at Eildon on 2 April 1939 at the age of seventy-one. Eildon was sold after her death to the Napier Club, the female equivalent of the Hamilton Club. The club, formed around 1931, still occupies Eildon today.

 

WONDERFUL WESTERN DISTRICT WOMEN PART 1

WONDERFUL WESTERN DISTRICT WOMEN PART 2

WONDERFUL WESTERN DISTRICT WOMEN PART 4