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

Four Long Years

It’s hard to believe it’s almost four years since commemorations marking the centenary of the beginning of WW1.  In November this year, it will be the centenary of the Armistice.  Time has flown but going back a century, four years of war seemed an eternity and with no end in sight.  One hundred years ago this month, the enlisted men and women in France and Belgium were just weeks away from the end of the European winter.  And while the battlefields were quieter in the winter months, the trade-off was snow, mud, water-filled trenches and the all too common trench feet.

LIFE IN THE TRENCHES DURING A EUROPEAN WINTER. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/E00146/

Those who had endured the previous two European winters knew too well, as the snow thawed and spring arrived, the fighting would again escalate.  In February 1918, little did they know it was the beginning of the end.  There was much in store for the Australian troops, the German Spring Offensive, fighting alongside U.S. troops for the first time, the Battle of Amiens and finally, victory to the allies and Armistice on 11 November 1918.

It’s also four years since I started writing the biographies of Hamilton’s enlisted men. A work in progress, there are now 125 published biographies at Hamilton’s WW1.  For fifteen of those men, the year 1918 would be their last.  Most of those fifteen first landed in Europe in 1916, but James Smyth was in the Middle East from 1915 including time at Gallipoli. Enlisting at just eighteen years and one month, James spent more than three in years in the desert as a signaller with the 9th Light Horse Regiment. In a matter of three weeks in October 1918, his life turned from a day when his bravery saw him awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal, to his death from malaria in Damascus.

CAMP OF THE 9th LIGHT HORSE REGIMENT IN PALESTINE DURING MAY 1918. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B00021/

Spare a thought for William Austin, also part of the Gallipoli campaign. There he received a gunshot wound to his shoulder region with damage to his lungs. He returned to the front in 1916 in France but struggled with bronchitis and other related illnesses until influenza claimed is life on 11 October 1918 in England, so close to the end.

With the 10th Infantry Brigade Headquarters, Frank Morrissey was part of the final push to break through the Hindenburg Line in the Battle of St Quentin Canal.  He was killed on 29 September 1918 aged twenty-two. Also Frank’s age was young boundary rider Stan Niddrie who enlisted in 1915 but was not overseas until 1916. Reaching the rank of Sergeant, he was killed at Villers-Bretonnuex on 6 August 1918.

GRAVE OF STAN NIDDRIE AT VILLERS-BRETONNEUX CEMETERY. Image courtesy of Melinda Hestehauge.

Former V.F.L. (Victorian Football League) footballer and Hamilton teacher, Leslie Primrose (below) an airman with the Australian Flying Corps, crashed his plane during a training exercise near Amiens and killed as a result on 4 June 1918. He’d only been in France three months.

LESLIE JOHN PRIMROSE. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DACS0594/

Leslie Sangster (below), a Hamilton High School science teacher and sports master enlisted in January 1917.  On 18 August 1918, he was killed at Harbonnieres, France a month short of his twenty-second birthday and three months short of war’s end.

LESLIE FAIRBURN SANGSTER. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P05248.117/

During James Black’s two years overseas, he was disciplined many times and served six months incarceration in a military prison. He struggled with army life, the horrors of war and alcohol. James was killed on 24 April 1918 near Villers-Bretonneux. His body was never found. Also killed in April 1918 was George Herlihy (below). Mentioned in dispatches in 1916, he was killed by a shell on 11 April 1918 at Amiens, France.

GEORGE HERLIHY. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1237087

Just three months after his discharge from a military prison for desertion, John Whitehead was awarded a Military Medal (M.M.) for his “marked gallantry and devotion to duty” during the Battle of Amiens on 9 August 1918.  Three weeks later he was dead, hit by a shell at St Martins Wood, France.  Also a M.M. recipient, John Fenton (below) was at Ribemont, France on 31 May 1918 when a mustard gas shell burst at his feet.  He died in hospital three weeks later.

JOHN WILFRED FENTON (M.M). Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial

Brave Charles Stewart (below) lost his life to sniper fire while bandaging the wounds of a fellow soldier during the Battle of Amiens on 9 August 1918.  Correspondence from the battalion to Charles’ mother revealed he “…never knew what fear was, and every man in the company says the same”.

CHARLES HERBERT STEWART. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P06958.001/

For some, the war was over but the fight wasn’t. From April to September 1918, Walter Boxer displayed extreme bravery many times as a stretcher bearer. As a result, he was awarded a M.M., a bar for his M.M. and a Distinguished Conduct Medal (D.C.M) and four other nominations for a D.C.M. He was on his way home at the end of 1918 with severe injuries but recovered to secure a job, marry and see the birth of a son. In 1927, tuberculosis cut his life short at the age of thirty-four.

Fred Waring was overseas from the end of 1915, fighting in many major campaigns with the 4th Field Artillery Brigade. By war’s end, he was in London with the Postal Corps but never returned home. Suffering lung-related illnesses during 1919, septicemia claimed his life in a London hospital.

Albert Davies (below right) returned to Australia in 1919, suffering symptoms similar to anxiety. Illness in England saw that Albert did not reach the battlefields but his brother Stanley (below left) was killed at Ypres in 1917. On his return to Hamilton Albert found his mother bedridden, her death imminent. By 1935, Albert was unemployed with little to his name.  While riding his bike in Richmond that year, he was hit by a car and killed at the age of thirty-seven.

STANLEY and ALBERT DAVIES. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA15721/

William Brake (below) served in the Middle East and Europe and returned to Australia in 1919.  By 1922, he was dead from tuberculosis aged twenty-nine.

WILLIAM BRAKE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1286963

William was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

GRAVE OF WILLIAM BRAKE AT HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

For those at home, by 1918 it seemed like an age since the first news of Australia at war.  Those of you who have followed the regular “100 years ago in the Hamilton Spectator” posts at Hamilton’s WW1 Facebook page have seen how the district adjusted to war.  New and distant place names such as the Dardanelles, Syria, and the Somme became part of regular conversation. The four years saw thousands of socks, scarves, and pyjamas made just in the Hamilton district alone, thousands of pounds raised for various war funds,  and many tears shed. By February 1918, men were returning at a steady rate but they had changed from the men the Hamilton people had bid farewell to at the railway station in the years earlier.

The war barely left a home in Hamilton untouched. It even knocked on the door of the Hamilton Mayor. In the role since August 1917, Robert McLuckie comforted numerous grieving families, presided over many send-offs and welcome home celebrations. On 17 July 1918, his son John McLuckie sailed for England.  John fell sick on the voyage and died from pneumonia on 17 October 1918 in England, leaving a widow and four sons. When Armistice came in November 1918, one could only imagine the McLuckie’s sadness knowing if only John’s departure was delayed by a few months, he’d still be safe at home. Robert McLuckie died suddenly in 1922 while still in office with grief and stress from organising Hamilton’s war effort taking a toll.

Hamilton cab proprietor William Sloan also succumbed to the weight of his grief.  William and his wife Sarah endured eight months not knowing if son Joseph Sloan was alive or dead.  After official confirmation in December 1917 of Joseph’s death, along with the death of William’s mother in January 1918, William sank into deep depression.  Sarah didn’t like leaving him alone but one day in August 1918, with errands to run and William seeming happier, she stole herself away. William was dead when she returned.

There were others at home who thought their sons still alive come 11 November 1918 only to find out in the following days, weeks or months their sons were never coming home. Like Richard Hicks‘ mum Janet.  Richard embarked in 1915 and was killed on 17 October 1918 less than four weeks from the end of the war.  Six weeks after the Armistice, Janet Hicks found out Richard (below) was missing and it was the middle of 1919 before it was officially confirmed he would not return.

RICHARD ERNEST HICKS. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA11301/

My WW1 research will continue up to and beyond 11 November 2018.  In time, more of the biographies will be of returned men and their adjustment to post-war life. Unfortunately, the Hamilton Spectators are only digitised until December 1918 at Trove. Therefore the “100 years ago in the Hamilton Spectator” posts on the Hamilton’s WW1 Facebook page will come to an end this year. Last year, the posts went from six times per week to three coinciding with a paper shortage 100 years ago and the Spectator halving the number of publication days.  Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see Hamilton Spectator‘s at Trove for 1919 and beyond to help better understand how the people of Hamilton and district re-adjusted to life after WW1.

You can find more about Hamilton’s WW1 on the link – Hamilton’s WW1.   To read the biographies published to date, click on the links to the following Hamilton WW1 Memorials – Hamilton War MemorialAnzac AvenueClarke Street Memorial Avenue – or from the pages of enlistments on the link – Hamilton’s WW1 Enlistments.  In each case, clicking on underlined names will take you to the enlisted man’s biography.  The same applies to the names in this post.

 

Cemeteries With a View

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

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

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

It’s even better in Autumn

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

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

HAMILTON CEMETERY

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

VIEW TO CHURCH HILL FROM HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

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

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

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

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

VIEW TO MT STURGEON FROM DUNKELD (NEW) CEMETERY

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

VIEW TO MT ABRUPT FROM DUNKELD (NEW) CEMETERY

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

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

A GRAMPIANS VIEW FROM THE WILLAURA CEMETERY

THE GRAVE OF JOHN AND ELIZABETH WRIGHT AT WILLAURA CEMETERY

FROM THE FRONT GATE OF WILLAURA CEMETERY

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

YAMBUK CEMETERY

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

WARRNAMBOOL CEMETERY

Passing of the Pioneers

Eleven new pioneers join the Pioneer Obituary Index this month.  They include a couple of politicians, a female publican, and a published writer.  Once again, they all bring great stories from the Western District’s past.  Remember to click on any underlined text to find further information about a subject.

BROMELL, Thomas – Died 9 October 1887 at Melbourne. Thomas Bromell was born in Devonshire, England around 1832.  He married Emma Walter in 1851 and they arrived in Victoria in 1853 aboard the Marchioness of Londonderry.  After a brief stint on the Ballarat goldfields, Thomas and Emma headed to Barrabool Hills near Geelong where they spent about seven years.  The Bromells arrived in the Hamilton district around 1860 and by that time they had five children.  Thomas set about acquiring land, buying sections of properties such as Mokanger, Skene and Kanawalla as they became available, eventually reaching 14,000 acres he called Hensley Park.  He also bought Refuge Station near Casterton

Thomas was a grain grower initially before turning to mixed farming.  Along with sheep, he bred Neapolitan and Berkshire pigs.  He was also widely known as a breeder of Timor ponies.  Thomas began his civic life on the roads board, later becoming the Dundas Shire.  In 1874, Thomas offered himself as a candidate for the seat of Western Province in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament and was successful.  Thomas was a committee member of the Hamilton Racing Club.  The Bromells went on to have seven daughters and just one son who took over the running of Hensley Park in Thomas’s later years.   Thomas died suddenly at the Union Club Hotel, Melbourne aged fifty-four. His body was returned to Hamilton and buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

HEADSTONE OF THOMAS BROMELL, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

ARMSTRONG, Christian  – Died 24 October 1906 at Hamilton.  Christian Armstrong was born at Kildonan, Scotland in 1831.  She married James Thomson in 1852 and arrived in Victoria on the Europa with James and her brother Alexander Armstrong.  Alexander purchased Warrambeen at Shelford while James worked at Golf Hill Station next door for the Clyde Company.  Christian and James’ first child John was born there in 1853.  By about 1857, James purchased an interest in the Ullswater and Maryvale Stations near Edenhope and they moved to the later property.  In 1870, James purchased Monivae from the estate of Acheson Ffrench.  By then there were seven Thomson children.  Twins were born in the year after their arrival at Monivae and a girl Jessie in 1873.  Sadly Jessie died in 1875, In 1877, a new homestead was built (below), to accommodate the large family.  On  4 June 1889, one of Christian’s twins, George died suddenly at Monivae, from heart trouble he’d suffered from birth.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD, NEAR HAMILTON. 1966. Image Courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

A deeply religious and charitable woman, Christian was one of the fundraising champions of the town and attended St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church like clockwork “morning and night”. Everyone knew her pew. A full member of the church for thirty-six years, her name was added to the church roll on 4 October 1870.  Christian was also a member of the Ladies Benevolent Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society.  She managed to attend church until just a couple of weeks before her death.

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

Christian died at Monivae at 8.20am on 24 October 1906 and was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

HEADSTONE OF CHRISTIAN ARMSTRONG, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

The year after Christian’s death, James Thomson lay the foundation stone for a new Presbyterian Church at Hamilton.  He later donated a memorial window for the new church in remembrance of Christian.  You can read more about the Thomson family of Monivae on the link – Strong in Faith…A Story of Monivae Estate.

McKINNON,  Anne – Died 7 October 1914 at Noorat. Anne McKinnon was born around 1825 at Inverness, Scotland. She arrived in Victoria with her parents and siblings in 1852 aboard the Chance to Port Fairy.  In 1854, Anne married Charles Podger.  Anne and Charles spent the early years of their marriage at Mount Fyans near Darlington before Charles selected at Kolora, naming the property Werrook. Anne and Charles had six children, three sons and three daughters.  Anne was buried at Terang Cemetery.

BEGG, William – Died 9 October 1915 at Branxholme. William Begg was born in Scotland around 1840 and arrived in Australia in 1855 aboard the Nashwauk.  His arrival was exciting and dangerous as the Nashwauk wrecked off the South Australian coast at Moana. Surviving the wreck, the family settled in South Australia and William worked as a baker.  Around 1865, William’s parents selected land next to Morven Estate near Branxholme and he moved with them.  The property was called Fontus and William took over the property after his father’s death.  William was involved in the Branxholme Rifle Club and was captain for around twenty years.  He always thought he was lucky to be alive after his perilous arrival on Australian soil.

“”YATHONG” PATRIOTIC FETE.” Punch (Melbourne, Vic. : 1900 – 1918; 1925) 11 November 1915: 18. Web. 24 Oct 2017 .

William never married and lived with his mother who died only three years before him.  He spent his last year living with his sister Mrs Agnes Gough at Royston, Branxholme (below).

ROYSTON, BRANXHOLME, 1976. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/215598

LAYH, Carl – Died 2 October 1917 at Brighton.  Carl Layh was born in Germany around 1837 and arrived in Australia from Liverpool, England in 1859 aboard the Florence Nightingale and headed to the Ballarat diggings. There only briefly, he moved on to Geelong to work for Sander’s tobacconist in Malop Street. Around 1862, Carl moved to Hamilton and opened a tobacconist shop in partnership with Sanders. Located in Gray Street opposite the Victoria Hotel, it went under the name Sanders, Layh and Co.

On 10 June 1863, twenty-seven-year-old Carl married seventeen-year-old Jane Emma Remfrey.  The wedding took place at the Remfrey family home conducted by a Wesleyan minister. Making a career change about 1870, Carl and Jane moved to Burnt Creek near Horsham and opened a school. Carl and his family returned to Hamilton in 1878 and Carl opened an accountancy and commission agents firm and the Western District Labour Mart also known as Layh’s Labour Mart.  Jane also worked in the business.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 March 1879: 1. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226053797&gt;.

For twenty-seven years Carl was on the staff of the Hamilton Spectator as a reporter and he also contributed to the Daily Telegraph, The Age, The Argus and Herald. He retired from his work at the Spectator in 1909.   He also taught German at the Western District Academy, Hamilton (below) and privately.  Carl was also a member of the Grange Lodge from 1864.

THE WESTERN DISTRICT ACADEMY, POPE STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 21766/58 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/58

Carl and his wife had five sons and one daughter and lived in Gray Street, Hamilton.  On 10 June 1913, Carl and Jane celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.  With a son serving overseas, in 1915, Jane Layh unveiled a memorial tablet at the Hamilton State School for past students who had enlisted for WW1. Their son,  Herbert Thomas Christoph Layh who began the war as a Lieutenant in “Pompey” Elliot’s 7th Battalion, was awarded a Distinguished Service Order in 1916 and appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1919.

Ill health forced Carl to retire from his labour mart and he and Jane moved Melbourne to live with their sons.  Carl died in 1917 aged eighty.  At the timeof his death, He and Jane had twenty-five grandchildren.  Jane died in Brighton in 1931 aged eighty-four.

HOWELL, William – Died 7 October 1917 at Hamilton. William Howell lived at Coleford in Milton Street, Hamilton, his home named after the town where he was born in Gloucestershire in 1844.  William arrived in Victoria aboard the Great Victoria,  his twentieth birthday passing during the voyage.  He first went to Murghebolac near Geelong, staying for twelve years before moving to Hamilton. There he worked in partnership with Robert Coulter at Coulter and Howell Monumental Masons, from around 1878 first in Brown and then in Pope Street.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 April 1882: 4. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226064020&gt;.

William later set up his own business in Brown Street with branches in Portland and Casterton.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 3 August 1909: 1. Web. 28 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225047867&gt;.

In 1880, William selected land at Marney’s Swamp, north-west of Dunkeld. In 1889 at the age of fifty-four, William married thirty-one-year-old Mary Ann Taylor. They had no children. William was a member of the Rechabite Lodge, the YMCA, was a trustee of the Temperance Hall, and a playing member of the Hamilton Bowling Club.  Mary Ann lived another thirty-three years after William and died at Hamilton in 1950 aged ninety-two.

HICKMER, Sarah Ann – Died 16 October 1918 at Muddy Creek.  Sarah Hickmer was born at Brighton, Sussex, England and arrived in Adelaide, South Australia with her family in 1851.  Sarah then went to Melbourne briefly before going to Mt Gambier. She married Peter Williamson in Victoria in 1853 and around 1866, they took up land at Murphy’s Creek near Yulecart.  Peter died in 1871 but Sarah stayed on at the property with the help of her sons. She did have time away in the 1880s when she went with her sons who bought land at Tellangatuk East. She returned to the district and lived with a son at Muddy Creek.  Sarah was eighty-nine at the time of her death and still the owner of the property she and Peter bought fifty years before.  She left two sons, three daughters, twenty-five grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

CAMPBELL, Hugh John Munro – Died 24 October 1921 at St Kilda. Hugh Campbell was born in 1854 at Melbourne.  The Campbells went to Portland in the early 1860s where Hugh’s father was a merchant.  Hugh entered the family business at a young age.  On 21 January 1880, Hugh married Harriet Jarrett and they went on to have three children. In 1894, Hugh purchased Maretimo at Portland (below).  In 1896, Hugh had telegraph lines installed from his business in Julia Street to Maretimo.

MARETIMO“, PORTLAND c1895. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/266298

As well as operating the family business, Hugh also had a bark mill in Percy Street and wool washing works near the town. He was considered a pioneer among shipping merchants in Portland.  He was also one of the chief supporters of Scots Church, Portland.  In 1906, Hugh entered politics winning the seat of Glenelg in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly.  In August 1912, Harried died aged sixty-three after an illness. Hugh himself was also very ill that year and was in a hospital in Melbourne when Harriet died. He recovered to continue on with his political duties. In 1914, Hugh’s son Sydney James Campbell, a doctor enlisted with the Army Medical Corps at the outbreak of WW1.  He died of wounds at Gallipoli on 14 July 1915.  Two days later, another son Albert Campbell enlisted.  Fortunately, Albert returned home on 16 July 1917 after serving as a Lieutenant with the 29th Battalion.

“Portland Mourns” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 24 October 1921: 2 (EVENING.). Web. 24 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024740&gt;.

Hugh retained the seat of Glenelg until 1920 when defeated. It was also in 1920 when Hugh married on 9 June to Ethel May Waddell aged forty-one.  The following year he tried to win his seat back and was unsuccessful. It was a difficult period for Hugh who fell sick during the campaign of 1921.  He improved slightly before the election but his second defeat saw his health fail again leading to his death on 24 October 1921 at the age of sixty-seven. His body was returned to Portland by train for burial. After sixteen months of marriage, Ethel was a widow.  Twenty-five years younger than Hugh, she died at Camberwell in 1965 aged eighty-six.

HAMILTON, James Charles. – Died 25 October 1927  at Apsley. James Hamilton was born at Haddington, Scotland in 1836. In November 1841, James arrived at Port Melbourne with his parents and three siblings. The Hamiltons headed to Kilmore where they remained until 1846.  James’ father travelled alone to the west of the colony applying for land to form two stations Bringalbert and Ozenkadnook Stations near Apsley.  The family set out from Kilmore to join him in late February and arrived at Lake Wallace on 8 May 1846. James’ father lived only another four years.

James started driving bullocks at a young age and made trips with his brother to Portland with wool then returning with supplies. At some point, James was sent to St John’s Church of England Grammar School in Launceston to study surveying  On his return, he went to New Zealand with his brothers, with one having bought land there. Back in Australia by 1860, James married Eleanor Bax at Robe, South Australia. They returned to settle at Ozenkadnook Station.

James acquired other properties, owning up to five at one stage  It wasn’t a profitable venture and a tough existence, with drought and poor seasons. By the time he left his last station, James was penniless.  Adding to the hardship, during April 1883, James accidentally shot himself in the leg, leading to its amputation. In February 1888, a fire swept through Ozenkadnook.  Station hands had to run for their lives and James had to try to escape the fire on his crutches.  In 1910, Eleanor died having lived the past fifty years at Ozenkadnook Station.

“Crossed the Bar.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 July 1910: 24. Web. 24 Oct 2017.

It was after Eleanor’s death, James began writing his memoirs, “Pioneering Days in Western Victoria”.  He said in the year after publication it cost him a lot of money but he had sold 2500 copies in the first ten months. The book mentions many Western District names such as Henty, Cooke, Affleck, Edgar, Learmonth, Moffat, Armytage, and Laidlaw and includes James’ memories of stations including Muntham, Merino Downs, Nangeela, Rifle Downs, Gringegolgura, Dunrobin, and Pine Hills. The topics it covers include carting wool to Portland, Black Thursday bushfires, the bushrangers Morgan, Gardiner and Captain Melville, and Cobb and Co. in the 1850s including noted drivers.  You can read James booking on the link – Pioneering Days in Western Victoria.

“PIONEERS OF VICTORIA” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 12 July 1924: 10. Web. 24 Oct 2017 .

In his later years, James moved to Apsley and in 1924, it was reported he was compiling another book “The Civilisation and Occupation of Western Victoria” although it seems it was never finished.  James’ also published another edition of his earlier book in 1923.  In 1925, the Weekly Times published the book in a series.  James died at his son’s home at Apsley, aged ninety-two.  He also had one daughter still surviving.

SATCHWELL, Adeline Eliza – Died 7 October 1943 at Darlington. No one has known the Elephant Bridge Hotel like Adeline Satchwell.  Adeline, known as Ada, was born at the hotel on 9 February 1861 to  John Satchwell and Mary Ann Hudson.  Her father, a hot-tempered man, had only recently taken up the license on the hotel.  When Adeline was just two months old, her father went in a fit of “temporary insanity” and locked his wife Mary-Ann in her room and tried to set her alight.  She managed to climb out a window to safety. Where Adeline was during that time is unknown. Eventually, a trooper arrived and in his presence, John Satchwell killed himself.  He was thirty-four. A full report of the incident was published in The Argus on 2 May 1861.  Only weeks earlier, a letter of complaint was sent to the Geelong Advertiser complaining of John Satchwell’s rudeness and insulting manner.  Mary-Ann continued running the hotel and remarried in 1876 to John Eales.

In 1882, Adeline married Murdoch McLeod.  Her mother continued to hold the hotel licence until July 1889 when it was transferred to Murdoch and Mary Ann moved to Melbourne. However, Murdoch died suddenly on 20 September 1889, leaving Adeline with a hotel and four young children.  Then three months later, news came her mother had died on 12 October 1889 at St Kilda. Mary Ann was buried at the Darlington Cemetery

THE ELEPHANT BRIDGE HOTEL, DARLINGTON 1934. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/245872

Adeline continued on at the hotel.  In 1895, she married widower Joseph Gellie who had ten children from eighteen to seven. He and Adeline would have a further three, two sons and a daughter. When interviewed in 1937, Adeline said the road wasn’t as busy at it was when she was a girl. Then the hotel was the coach changing station and “meeting place of waggons and travellers up from Warrnambool to the great stations of the Camperdown-Terang area”. One of her bachelor sons,  Claude McLeod helped his mother at the hotel. Adeline is pictured below with Claude and another son Garnett.

“The children indicated by circles will each be presented with a Weekly Times pencil.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 January 1937: 31 (FIRST EDITION). Web. 26 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223897391&gt;.

On 9 February 1939, Adeline celebrated her fiftieth year as a publican and it was also her seventy-eighth birthday.  She was the only publican in Australia to hold a license in one hotel for the longest consecutive time. Adeline died in October 1943 at the place she was born. She was buried at the nearby Darlington Cemetery. Adeline left four sons and three daughters.  Her son Claude McLeod died only two years after Adeline on 25 March 1945.  The Elephant Bridge Hotel was put up for sale in 1946.

Apparently Adeline still “frequents” the hotel along with a couple of other ghosts, including a man in his thirties…the age of Adeline’s father at the time of his death. The Elephant Bridge Hotel is often named among Australia’s haunted pubs.

CAMERON, John – Died 17 October 1947 at Natimuk.  John Cameron was born at Byaduk around 1871 and became a dairy farmer.  He was involved with founding the Condah Butter Factory and was the factory’s first secretary.  In 1907, John put his Condah property up for lease and went to Queensland with his brother, selecting land at Darling Downs. It was a time many from the district were moving to that state, at the time described by the Hamilton Spectator as a “Queensland exodus”. John eventually returned to Condah and married Mary Amelia “Milly” Cameron of Condah on 9 June 1910 and a very fancy wedding it was.  The wedding report in the Hamilton Spectator mentioned within John Cameron’s family, for five or six generations, the Cameron men had all married women with the same surname.

Around 1916, John bought the farm of Louis Oliver, a Byaduk born man who moved to the Wimmera.  Located at Duchembegarra, north of Natimuk, the property was named Caringal.  John was soon well-known in the district and became President of the Presbyterian Church.  John and Millie Cameron had one son and four daughters.  John Cameron died on 17 October 1947 at the age of seventy-six and was buried at the Natimuk Cemetery.  Milly died three years later aged sixty-three.

Strong in Faith…A Story of Monivae Estate

For over 175 years, the name of “Monivae” has been familiar to the people of Hamilton and district. What it represents has changed with the generations from a parish and schools to an old bluestone homestead Hamiltonians pass on their annual migration south to Port Fairy. For the returned WW1 soldier and poet Thomas SkeyhillMonivae was the place the fairies played as he walked the paddocks, “with a copy of Keats…and dog at my heels.” 

Local history wasn’t something taught at school but I  did learn the origins of the name “Monivae”. Not during a history class, rather religious education. I attended Hamilton’s Monivae College, a Catholic secondary school. The college opened in the 1950s, on the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road, just south of Hamilton on a property with a two-storey bluestone homestead.  After the school relocated to Ballarat Road, Hamilton, the original property became known as “Old Monivae”.  Those of similar age to myself, who didn’t sit through a Form 1 RE class at Monivae, could be excused for thinking the name started with the school.  Instead, it goes back to an Irish Protestant by the name of Acheson Ffrench.

Appointed as Police Magistrate in 1841 at Hamilton, then known as The Grange, Acheson Ffrench aged twenty-nine was from Monivea Castle, County Galway, Ireland, the Ffrench ancestral home dating back to the 1600s when the Ffrenchs took over from the O’Kellys.  Born at the castle in 1812, the son of Robert Ffrench and Nicola O’Brien was educated in Dublin, destined to join the clergy, but Acheson had questions. He left Ireland and went on a pilgrimage of sorts through Europe and the Holy Land before landing in Australia.  Don Garden in Hamilton, A Western District History, cites C. J. Griffith who met Ffrench in Melbourne soon after his arrival.  Griffith recalled Ffrench’s tattoos, Jerusalem Arms inked by a monk in the ancient city along with various Arabic characters.

“Government Gazette.” Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 – 1843) 8 July 1841: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31732227&gt;.

It was also 1841 when Ffrench took up land, a large run of 17,000 acres to the south of The Grange. He named it Monivae after his Galway home. It seems he never took on the original spelling of Monivea but Ffrench seemed fairly flexible in that respect.  He dropped a letter from his surname, signing letters to the newspapers, of which he wrote many, as A.French. The Ffrench surname had already evolved back in Ireland from ffrench.

“Advertising” The Melbourne Daily News (Vic. : 1848 – 1851) 1 February 1849: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226472923&gt;.

On 8 February 1842, Ffrench married his fiancé Anna Watton, a daughter of Dr John Watton who in that year became Medical Officer at the Mt Rouse Aboriginal Protectorate.  Acheson and Anna lived at the Police Magistrate’s residence on a site selected by Acheson on the corner of Thompson and Martin streets. The Hamilton Police Station and Courthouse still stand there today.

“Family Notices” Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1840 – 1845) 14 February 1842: 3. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92679898&gt;.

By the end of 1843, the role of Police Magistrate was abolished and Ffrench was without a job.  However, by February 1844, the government announced a new commission intended to keep the peace and Ffrench was named as a commissioner.  He was able to stay on in at his residence but with reduced employment, Ffrench turned to improving Monivae and running sheep. The Ffrench offspring were arriving at a steady rate and in 1847, a homestead was built at Monivae on what is now the eastern side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.  Anna would bear twelve children in all, six boys and six girls, with one dying as a baby.

Acheson Ffrench wasn’t the best of farmers and money problems arose.  In 1864, he put Monivae up for lease for a term of three years and moved the family to Melbourne.

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 29 January 1864: 8. Web. 18 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5743286&gt;.

The family spent two years in Melbourne, returning to Monivae in 1866. Ffrench’s trips to Melbourne continued and he was there on 29 January 1870.  He fancied a dip at Kenny’s Gentleman’s Bathing Ship (below) at St Kilda. With his arms reportedly by his side, Ffrench described as, “somewhat heavy with a stout build”, dived into the water from one of the diving boards. Normally at a depth of six feet, the tide was out leaving the water depth at just over four feet. Ffrench hit his head on the bottom and unconscious when dragged out.  He could not be revived, dying within minutes.  An inquest found Acheson had broken his neck. Arising from the inquest was a conversation, of which Ffrench was a part in the days before his death.  At lunch with friends, the topic of discussion turned to death from diving accidents.

KENNY’S BATHING SHIP, ST. KILDA. Artist – Thomas Clark. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84320

When news of Acheson Ffrench’s death reached Hamilton, shops closed as a mark of respect.  He was remembered in the Hamilton Spectator, “…as generally very highly respected throughout the district for his strict integrity and manliness of character, whilst there was a certain rugged independence about him which led him to adhere strictly to his own convictions, without, however, attempting to force his views upon others”.  Monivae was placed on the market and Anna Ffrench and the children moved to Melbourne.

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 9 August 1870: 3. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5828208&gt;.

Ownership of Monivae transferred from an Irishman the Spectator described as having “peculiar” religious views, to a staunch Presbyterian from the Scottish Highlands.  James Thomson and his wife Christian Armstrong arrived in Victoria in 1852 aboard the Europa.  They spent around five years at the Clyde Company’s Golf Hill, near Shelford. Their first child John was born in 1853 at neighbouring Warrambeen, home of Christian’s brother Alexander Armstrong.  James Thomson then purchased an interest the Ullswater and Maryvale Stations near Edenhope and settled at the later property.

By the time the Thomsons arrived at Monivae in 1870, they had seven children aged two to seventeen and they moved into Ffrench’s homestead. Over the next six years, the Thomson family continued to grow.  In 1871, twins James and George were born followed by Wilhelmina Jessie in 1873. Sadly, Wilhelmina died on 5 April 1875.  The last child born to the family was William Armstrong Thomson in September 1876.  It was around the time of William’s birth, James Thomson decided they needed a bigger home or more correctly, a “mansion”. He wasn’t the only one and the “bloated aristocrats” were duly roasted by the Ballarat Star calling for a mansion tax.

“NEW SOURCE OF TAXATION.” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 18 December 1876: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199833143&gt;.

Some may believe, especially if they did Form 1 RE with me in the 1980s, the existing Monivae homestead was built by Acheson Ffrench.  James Thomson was never mentioned in our classes.  Likewise, Thomson was not mentioned in historian Margaret Kiddle’s book Men of Yesterday and she credited Ffrench for building Monivae “probably in the late sixties” (p.316). However, James Thomson was responsible for the Monivae Homestead we know today.

The site for the new homestead was about 800 metres from the former homestead and on the other side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.  William Smith, the Borough Surveyor drew up plans, tenders opened and using bluestone sourced from the quarry on the property, construction began.  Thomson’s total expenditure was £5400 something he likely regretted because the government did introduce a “class” tax and if the timing was slightly different, the homestead may never have been built. The land tax, introduced in the colony in 1877, intended to break up large holdings such as Monivae and it was thought Thomson would never have gone ahead had it come earlier.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

Hamilton Spectator correspondent toured the new sixteen roomed homestead in May 1878. Critical of the external appearance he suggested “one of those elegant lookout towers” to improve the looks. He remarked it might be an addition “when times – politically speaking – improve”.  A tower was never added and reforms to the land tax didn’t come until 1884. The lacework and coloured tiles of the verandah did meet approval. As the correspondent entered the front door, a hallway measuring twenty-four feet by ten feet wide was before him with, “white walls, shining like so much marble would perhaps give it too cold a look; but for the coloured light thrown into it, from the staircase and front door windows, and its mosaic pavement formed of Minton’s tiles.” The drawing room was around twenty-six feet by sixteen feet but for special occasions, folding doors into the breakfast room could open.  The floor space then increased to forty-six feet, allowing for dancing.

The homestead boasted an eighteen-foot tiled staircase with a cedar railing leading to the upper storey with a balcony verandah around ten feet wide and 130 feet long.  Paved in coloured tiles, it was perfect for the Thomson children to roller skate. That was until 1887 when sixteen-year-old James Thomas Thomson skated straight over the railing onto the gravel about nine metres below. He fractured his skull and although it was touch and go for a few days, he made a full recovery.  His twin George, known as “Joe” was not so lucky.  Having suffered congenital heart problems, he died suddenly two years late on 4 June 1889, at Monivae aged eighteen.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

The Thomson children were not the marrying kind. Of the five Thomson girls, three married, as did three of the surviving four boys. None married before the age of twenty-seven and John was fifty-six. The first Thomson wedding was that of thirty-year-old Annie Thomson to James Allan Learmonth, son of Hamilton businessman and grazier Peter Learmonth and Mary Jarvey Pearson of Prestonholme. Learmonth was also a devout Methodist, a pillar of the Hamilton Wesleyan Church in McIntyre Street.

It was the grandest of the three weddings James Thompson would pay for.  Celebrated on 1 September 1886, at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hamilton, the marriage was not followed by the usual wedding breakfast. Instead, two weeks later James threw a private ball for two hundred guests in the Hamilton Town Hall for the newlyweds in lieu of a wedding breakfast.  Such a grand affair may have been due to Annie’s imminent departure for Mexico with her new husband who’d been managing the family property there.  It could also have been the thinking of a canny Scot.  Why pay for both a wedding breakfast and a send-off when one event will suffice.

HAMILTON TOWN HALL 1910. Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/765800

On 3 October 1888, it was Margaret “Maggie” Thomson’s turn to marry. She too had reached the age of thirty and opted for a small quiet gathering at Monivae. The groom was Thomas Haliburton Laidlaw, son of Thomas Laidlaw and Grace McLeod and those in attendance were mostly family. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Thomson married on 27 July 1893 in the drawing room at Monivae, again a quiet celebration.  Her groom was bank manager Forrester Goldsmith Armstrong, a son of Oliver Armstrong of Kyneton. By this time Lizzie’s older sister Annie and her family were home from Mexico to witness the occasion.

Fire has threatened the Monviae homestead many times since its construction including 1891, 1944 and more recently Ash Wednesday of 1983. The fires of February 1901 were particularly fierce and practically wiped out Byaduk North a little further south. At Monivae, fire swept through the property from one end to the other killing around 2000 sheep.

“ALONG MACARTHUR ROAD.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 February 1901

In 1906, the Victorian Government received an offer to buy 17,000 acres of the Monivae Estate from James Thomson for Closer Settlement.  He would keep 3,000 acres and the homestead. Negotiations with the government broke down, so James subdivided the land himself. An initial sale on 24 November 1906 saw 322 acres auctioned.  Of the lots sold they averaged around £16 per acre. A second sale was held on 20 December 1906 and 1022 acres were sold at an average of £9 13/ per acre. James also sold off Crawford Estate and subdivided 500 acres of Lake Condah Estate. With a downsized Monivae, youngest son William left the property and moved to Portland. Oldest son John stayed on at Monivae as did unmarried daughters Mary and Christina.

The land sales came in the wake of a great loss for the Thomson family.  On 8.20am on 24 October 1906 at Monivae, the matriarch of the family, Christian Thomson drew her last breath at the age of seventy-five.  A deeply religious and charitable woman, she was one of the fundraising champions of the town and attended St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church like clockwork “morning and night”. Everyone knew her pew. A full member of the church for thirty-six years, her name was added to the church roll on 4 October 1870.  Christian was also a member of the Ladies Benevolent Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society.  She managed to attend church until just a couple of weeks before her death.  Christian was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF CHRISTIAN THOMSON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

It was fourteen years between the weddings of Thomson children and it was James Thomas Thomson, the roller skater, who was next to take the plunge.  He was living at Inverary, Branxholme by the time he married Henrietta Moynan on 26 November 1907 at the Anglican Christ Church Hamilton, the church sharing Church Hill with St. Andrew’s. The couple made their home at Inverary.  By that time, some may have thought James’ older brother John who had hit his mid-fifties, would remain a bachelor but on 31 March 1909 at Lilydale, he married Christiana Robertson.  Younger brother Alexander was close behind, marrying Ethel Manning on 6 May 1909.  He was forty-six.

Possibly the last public duty undertaken by James Thomson of Monivae was the laying of a foundation stone for a new St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  A devout parishioner, James donated bluestone from the Monivae quarry for the new church.  The ceremony took place on 18 December 1907 with James just four months from his eighty-seventh birthday.

FOUNDATION STONE, ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

 

ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

After completion of the new Presbyterian church, James donated a memorial window to remember his wife, Christian.  Also, portraits of James and Christian and their children John and Margaret Thomson were unveiled at the church in 1918 along with those of seven other prominent Hamilton Presbyterians.

“BEAUTIFUL MEMORIAL WINDOW.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 26 May 1909: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225037595&gt;.

James Thomson died at Monivae on 25 April 1910 after an illness of two weeks.  His obituary described him as, “…a man of sterling qualities and simple tastes. Never courting publicity, he was never so happy as when surrounded by children or occupying himself in his garden”.  James left Monivae for the last time at 2.30pm on Wednesday 27 April 1910 for the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF JAMES THOMSON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

James Thomson’s probate file reveals his liabilities were £814. His debts included rates, wages to a number of Monivae staff and accounts with businesses in Hamilton.  The total of the estate was £36,209. Of that, over £2600 was stock including several thousand sheep. Another £300 was the furniture filling the rooms of the homestead.  The Monivae property including the homestead was valued at £25000. By that time, the homestead Ffrench built was accommodation for Monivae workers.  James bequeathed two-thirds of his estate to his four living sons, divided equally.  To his five daughters, James bequeathed one-third of his estate in equal shares. Eldest son John Thomson was given the first option to buy the property at a value of £8 per acre.  He could also buy the farm implements and furniture in the homestead for £400. The last of the Lake Condah Estate was sold as too a large amount of stock.  Extra funds were no doubt wanted to pay the duty on the estate totalling more than £2500, seven percent of the total.

John Thomson did take up the option to buy Monivae.  He was around fifty-seven and newly married to Christina “Keenie” Robertson, a daughter of Scot James Robertson and Jane Ritchie of Keilor.  Christina herself was forty-three and children were not in the equation. Like his parents, John was a stalwart of the Presbyterian Church and on the board of management of St Andrew’s for thirty years.  As well as running Monivae, John was a politician and by 1910, had held the seat of Dundas in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly for eighteen years across two terms and was a Honourary Minster in the Cabinet.

“THE OPENING OF THE THIRD FEDERAL PARLIAMENT.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 March 1907: 9. Web. 13 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221256443&gt;.

In May 1914, John Thomson announced after twenty-two years in the seat of Dundas, he would not stand for re-election at the forthcoming State Election. The reasons given were the need to spend more time at home with his wife and to tend to other family matters. He said the last five years were extremely busy ones and he was looking forward to leading a quieter life.

John’s unmarried sisters Christina and Mary had stayed on at Monivae after their father’s death.  In 1914 and feeling under the weather, Christina then aged forty-six attended the doctor on Friday 6 November but managed to take up her usual place at St Andrew’s the following Sunday.  She died suddenly about midday at Monivae on Monday 9 November with Mary at her side. Well-liked in the community, Christina like her mother was devout and charitable.

It was around the time of Christina’s death, the Monivae State School opened on the Portland Road.  With Closer Settlement in the district and James’ subdivision of Monivae, the area was becoming increasingly populated. The school eventually closed and in 1946, the school building was moved to the North Hamilton State School.

John Thomson spent the years after his political retirement maintaining Monivae and was involved with various committees and activities in the Hamilton district.  He made a trip to Melbourne on 3 August 1917 and attended a school football match with Archibald Simpson of Clifton, Hamilton.  The funeral for John Thomson was large with condolences and floral tributes sent from dignitaries across Victoria.  His coffin bearers were Monivae employees and members of the Hamilton Angling Club. John was buried in the Thomson family plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery as the Hamilton Brass Band played “Nearer My God to Thee”.   

GRAVE OF JOHN THOMSON AND HIS WIFE CHRISTINA ROBERTSON

John left his estate valued at over £46,000 to his wife Christina and brother-in-law Thomas Laidlaw. Upon Christina’s death, the estate would be divided between John’s brothers and sisters.  One of John’s more interesting investments was 500 shares in the Melbourne Ice Skating Company. The estate was held in trust and Christina moved to Sandringham in 1921. She died at Toorak in December 1949 at the age of seventy-nine.

Alexander, the second eldest son of James and Christian Thomson took over the running of Monivae.  Alexander and his wife Ethel Manning and their two children Kathleen Mary and  James Yelverton Monivae Thomson moved into the homestead.  Kathleen (below) married Hugh Lloyd Cameron of Geelong at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton on 18 February 1937.

KATHLEEN MARY THOMSON 1937 ‘Family Notices’, Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), 11 March, p. 50. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149614310

The 1930s saw the death of five of the Thomson siblings.  Annie died on 14 June 1930 at Prestonholme aged sixty-four leaving six children, Edgar, Russell, Keith, Christina (Mrs James Young), Maggie (Mrs Alex Armstrong), and Mona Learmonth. Having married the son of Hamilton’s leading Methodist, Annie changed her allegiances and was active in within her new church.  A memorial window (below) was installed in the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church remembering Annie and her husband James Learmonth.

LEARMONTH MEMORIAL WINDOW, HAMILTON UNITING CHURCH

Annie was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery

Margaret died on 30 December 1932 at her home Kilora (below) in Kennedy Street, Hamilton. She left six children, Hal, John, Alexander, Thomas, Gretta (Mrs Lance Lewis) and Bea (Mrs John McKellar) Laidlaw.  On 23 March 1933, Elizabeth died at Corra, Willaura, the home of her son-in-law Donald Moffatt leaving two children Vera and Pat.  James Thompson Jr. died in 1934.  He and Henrietta did not have children.  Youngest son William, who never married, died on 2 May 1943 aged sixty-six at Portland.  His body was taken to Monivae before leaving for the Hamilton Cemetery.  After the death of her sister Christina, unmarried Mary Thomson spent time in Malvern living with her sister Elizabeth. After Elizabeth died, Mary moved into Kilora (below), sharing the home with her widower brother-in-law Thomas Laidlaw, husband of Margaret Thomson, until her death on 13 May 1939. Thomas Laidlaw died in 1941.

KILORA, HAMILTON

Alexander Thomson’s death in June 1946 aged eighty-three, brought to a close the lives of the children of James and Christian Thomson. Sixteen of their grandchildren and their children remained. Like his siblings, Alexander was buried in the Thomson plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).  

THOMSON FAMILY PLOT, PRESBYTERIAN SECTION, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

After seventy-seven years, with the estate of John Thomson requiring closure, Monivae in the Parish of Monivae in the County of Normanby went up for sale.  

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 28 December 1946: 18. Web. 16 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22384820&gt;.

The Catholic order of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) was looking for a new site for a boys’ boarding college after establishing a school in Toowoomba, Queensland sixteen years earlier.  The Monivae homestead was purchased in 1947 with grand plans of developing the property into a school.

“M.S C. BOYS’ COLLEGE FOR HAMILTON” Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954) 13 August 1947: 7. Web. 16 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172490068&gt;.

It soon became clear, the site was not suitable and the MSC went in search of a new site. Bob Strachan owned land on Ballarat Road, Hamilton and the MSC were able to negotiate a trade with him.  The MSC obtained the land in Ballarat Road for the new school and retained 100 acres at Monivae including the homestead.  Bob Strachan’s side of the bargain was the balance of the Monivae property.  A day school in temporary buildings on the Monivae property started in February 1954 while the new school was under construction.  On 17 October 1954, the foundation stone for the Ballarat Road school was blessed. The contract for the building which started in mid-1953 was the largest seen in Hamilton, estimated at £250,000. Classes started at the new school in 1956 despite it being far from complete.  Monivae College not only adopted the name of the Ffrench named property, the school’s badge includes a reminder of Ffrench’s heritage, two Dolphins  also part of the Ffrench family crest.

MONIVAE COLLEGE, BALLARAT ROAD, HAMILTON c1956.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64414

From 1841, religion was at the forefront at Monivae.  From Acheson Ffrench questioning and challenging his faith to the Thomson’s unwavering devotion, to the arrival of the priests of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The Monivae College motto Fortes in Fide meaning Strong in Faith could easily have been the Thomson’s motto too.  

The Monivae homestead became rundown and was later taken over by Glenelg Region Water, now known as Wannon Water.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1981. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230082

The homestead and what remains of the surrounding Monivae property has since returned to private ownership and has undergone extensive restoration.  Monivae will be open on Sunday 22 October from 10am to 4pm.  All proceeds go to another of Hamilton’s historic jewels the Hamilton Botanic Gardens and its ongoing redevelopment. Appropriate as a feature of the gardens is the beautiful John Thomson Memorial Fountain. Such was the high regard for John Thomson of Monivae around the Hamilton district, the fountain was built in his memory and unveiled in April 1919 by the then Premier of Victoria.  In its position, the fountain is visible from the front gates of Kilora in Kennedy Street, acting as a constant reminder of their dear brother John for sisters Margaret and Mary Thomson during their time at the home.     

©2017 Merron Riddiford

Hamilton Old Cemetery – Beyond the Headstones

Enter the gates of the Hamilton Old Cemetery and rising up before you are hundreds of diverse and fascinating headstones and monuments.  Some always catch my eye when I visit whether it’s for their design, the effects of time or the inscription.  Taking six headstones I find interesting, I’ve looked further into the history of each and those who lie beneath.

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GEORGE AND JANE BOWLER

GRAVE OF GEORGE AND JANE BOWLER

A broken column, a life cut short.  In 1856, Jane Scott married London-born George Bowler presumably at Portland where their first child Thomas Joseph Bowler was born the following year.  In 1858, a second son, George Richard Bowler was born at Hamilton.  In 1860, the Bowlers suffered the loss of baby George and welcomed a daughter Mary Jane. The following, year on 16 July 1861, George Bowler Sr. also died at the age of twenty-seven and was buried in the Anglican section of the cemetery.  Jane was left with two small children aged four and one.  In 1864, she lodged a request for the Hamilton Borough Council to relieve her from paying her rates due to poverty.

In later years, Jane’s daughter Mary Jane married Robert McFarlane in 1887 and son Thomas Bowler took up the trade of blacksmith in Hamilton.  He for a time was in partnership with David Arnott in the Hamilton Carriage Factory, blacksmith, wheelwrights and coachbuilders.  Jane lived in Griffin Street and took in boarders to make ends meet.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 25 January 1894: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225784055&gt;.

Jane died on December 1896 at Hamilton. She was buried with George.  George’s parents Joseph and Mary Bowler occupy the adjacent plots.

“Family Notices” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 23 December 1899: 3. Web. 25 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article188661034&gt;.

ISAAC FOSTER

HEADSTONE OF ISAAC FOSTER

 On 9 March 1901, Isaac Foster had his Station Street property up for auction as he was leaving town.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 March 1901: 2. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226091868&gt;.

But Isaac didn’t leave town. By 23 March, he was dead at the age of sixty-eight and still in Hamilton.

Isaac Foster arrived at Williamstown in 1870 before heading to Portland where he started a building and contracting business.  A new hospital was planned in Hamilton and Isaac was appointed   Clerk of Works on the project and moved to Hamilton.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399127

He also worked on the Hamilton Anglican and Presbyterian Sunday Schools and William Melville’s residence at Weerangourt. Two years before his death, Isaac began suffering from consumption which would claim his life. Isaac also owned property at Branxholme which was auctioned in the week after his death.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 26 March 1901: 2. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226090807&gt;.

NAOMI HICKMER

HEADSTONE OF NAOMI HICKMER

Inscribed with the words “There remaineth a rest for the people of God” from the Book of Hebrews, stands the headstone at the final resting place of Naomi Hickmer.  Naomi, a spinster lived in Stephens Street, Hamilton and died on 6 April 1883 aged fifty-two.

Naomi’s brother Henry also lived in Hamilton and fortunately, he was a storyteller occasionally sharing his recollections with Mount Gambier’s Border Watch. Henry’s obituary included his life story from his own pen and from that I was able to find out more about Naomi and her family. The Hickmers were from Brighton, Sussex, England. Naomi was born around 1831. The family arrived at Adelaide, South Australia in 1851 when Naomi was twenty. Most of the members of the family then moved to the Lake Leake Station, east of Millicent, South Australia.

“OBITUARY.” Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954) 26 April 1918: 1. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77655550&gt;.

Henry Jr arrived in Hamilton around 1874, living at various rural properties around the district before settling in Milton Street in 1892.  It is possible his parents and Naomi were in the district from around 1856.  The 1856 Australian Electoral Roll lists a Henry Hickmer, a farmer of South Hamilton.  Henry Hickmer Sr. died at Milton Street, Hamilton on 8 September 1881 aged eighty-three and Ann Hickmer died on 17 September 1884 also at Milton Street. They are buried beside Naomi.

HICKMER FAMILY GRAVE

Naomi’s estate consisted of property to the value of £20 being her home in Stephens Street and £543 of personal property.   During the month after her death, Naomi’s assets were auctioned off.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 May 1883: 2. Web. 18 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225492898&gt;.

Naomi’s probate file held by the Public Record Office made interesting reading and the outstanding accounts she had when she died, give some clue about her life at the time.  She owed £4 15′ shillings to the grocer Henry Horwitz, £2 6′ to W. & W. Thomson, drapers and £2 7′ for buggy hire from Richard Elijah.  Her other debts show she had a period of illness with amounts due to two surgeons Thomas Scott and George Annaud.  There was also a fee owing to Mrs Young for nursing services and an account of £1 from Carl Klug the chemist.  Naomi also paid Elizabeth Kennett servant’s wages and there was a charge of 13″ 6′ to Mott and Rippon publishers, being the Hamilton Spectator.  It’s likely the bill was for Naomi’s funeral notice pictured further up.

ANTONIO & ROSINA RIZZO

GRAVE OF ANTONIO AND ROSE RIZZO

The Rizzo headstone not only displays Hamilton jeweller Antonio Rizzo’s devotion to his wife Rose but also a love of cameos, his specialty.

Rose Genevieve McCrystal was born around 1855, the daughter of Patrick McCrystal and Bridget Crinnion of Portland.  The McCrystals married in 1845 at Launceston.  In 1878, Rose married William Pearson.  Their first child a son was born at Branxholme around the time William purchased Hamilton’s Temperance Hotel and Confectionery Establishment.  Two more children, a son and daughter were born in Hamilton in 1883 and 1884.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 16 March 1880: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226055844&gt;.

Four years later, a buggy accident near Branxholme claimed William’s life.

“FATAL BUGGY ACCIDENT.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 30 September 1884: 5. Web. 18 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191469587&gt;.

Rose kept the Temperance Hotel operating after William’s death.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 27 January 1885: 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225659244&gt;.

In 1886, Rose put the Temperance Hotel up for lease and she and the children moved to Portland. Rose ran a boarding house in Percy Street.

“The Portland Guardian, (ESTABLISHED 1842.) With which is incorporated The Portland Mirror.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 14 November 1887: 2 (EVENING). Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65411182&gt;.

Meanwhile, Italian Antonio Rizzo had arrived in Australia sometime in 1884. He was born around 1845 and came from Naples. In 1887, he travelled to the Adelaide International Exhibition for which he received first prizes.

“EXHIBITIONS.” South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900) 17 October 1887: 1 (Supplement to the South Australian Register.). Web. 20 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46830011&gt;.

Antonio moved on to Melbourne for the 1889 Melbourne International Exhibition exhibiting his speciality of shell cameos.

“Italy.” The Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 – 1934) 2 February 1889: 30. Web. 25 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article186193649&gt;.

It was in 1889, Antonio first ventured to Portland when he entered the Industrial and Art Loan Exhibition there in March 1889 and won first prize in his section for his artistic and cameo jewellery. Some of Antonio’s chosen materials were coral and lava from Mount Vesuvius.

“Portland Industrial and Art Loan Exhibition.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 8 March 1889: 3 (EVENING). Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592279&gt;.

Having previously worked for Gaunt and Drummond Jewellers in Melbourne, later in 1889, Antonio opened his own jewellery shop at 37 Sturt Street, Ballarat.  In that year, the Ballarat Star, described Antonio as “our Italian sculptor” after he created a marble statue for an All Nations Fancy Fair in October 1889.

“Advertising” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 25 December 1889: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 .

Although he was in Ballarat, Antonio’s thoughts were in Portland and in 1891, he married the widow Rose Pearson at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Ballarat.

“Family Notices” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918) 2 May 1891: 44. Web. 25 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198045151&gt;.

A daughter, Italia Florence was born the following year in Melbourne.  Next, Antonio applied for a wine license in Portland in December 1893 but failed in his application as he was not born in the colony or naturalised.  Instead. he started a jewellery store in Percy Street, Portland in March 1894.  In the same year, Antonio and Rose’s eldest son Hubert was born at Brunswick.  On 30 September 1895,a fire swept through the Percy Street shop and residence.  Rugerio Patrick was born in the same year at Portland. Not perturbed by the fire, Antonio opened a jewellery store in Gray Street, Hamilton in December 1895.  Antonio’s talents were soon noticed in Hamilton and in 1897 he was commissioned to produce an engraved silver-handled trowel for Jane Henty to lay the foundation stone of the Hamilton Hospital Fever Ward.

“Established August 1842. The Portland Guardian, With which is incorporated The Portland Mirror.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 28 June 1897: 2 (EVENING). Web. 18 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63661275&gt;.

In 1904, Antonio became one of the many unwitting victims of fraudster Louis Horwitz. Horwitz was Antonio’s landlord and legal advisor.  He swindled Antonio into signing documents with regard to his overdraft with the Union Bank.  Before he knew it, Antonio was taken to court by the bank and other creditors all demanding money. It was enough to ruin Antonio.  He had debts of around £1600 and only £830 of assets, leaving a shortfall of £700 forcing him into insolvency in September 1904.  He could no longer trade and a clearance sale was held in early 1905.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 19 January 1905: 3. Web. 25 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225883597&gt;.

In  August 1905, Antonio made a successful application to have his insolvency dissolved and was able to reopen his business.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 29 December 1908: 3. Web. 18 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225891265&gt;.

Antonio was a generous donor of trophies for various events around Hamilton.  One trophy known as the Rizzo Trophy, was for the Hamilton Gun Club becoming highly sort after prize among shooters. While in Hamilton, Antonio and Rose resided at Roma in Milton Street. When WW1 broke, their son Hubert enlisted in 1915 and safely returned to Australia in 1919.

Rose died on 8 November 1920 at a Kyneston Private Hospital in Caulfield aged sixty-five.  Her body was returned to Hamilton and buried in the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery. In time, an exquisite and unique headstone was added to Rose’s grave.  The feature, a cameo made in Italy in the image of Rose. Antonio died on 27 October 1924 at his daughter Italia’s home in Kew at the age of seventy-nine. He was reunited with Rose and today their grave is part of the cemetery’s Notable Graves Walk.  While the entry recognises Antonio, Rose shouldn’t be forgotten. She earned a living and raised her two children alone for seven years, later losing everything in the Portland fire and was there for Antonio through his enforced insolvency.

SIGN ON THE RIZZO GRAVE

Rugerio Rizzo followed his father into the trade and continued operating Rizzo Jewellers for several decades after Antonio’s death.

TIMOTHY TWOMEY & THE TWOMEY FAMILY PLOT

HEADSTONE OF TIMOTHY TWOMEY

The beautiful Celtic cross in the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery belongs to a man they called the Squire of Banemore, Timothy Twomey.  Timothy was a member of the Twomey family of Penshurst.  He was born in Ireland around 1829, the son of John Twomey and Margaret O’Conner. When the family arrived in Victoria, John Twomey acquired a large amount of land near Penshurst.  He later divided the property into three for his son Timothy’s property was Banemore from 1866  In 1867, Timothy married Annie Hayes. The Twomeys enjoyed overseas travel and by 1887, Timothy and Annie had visited Asia, Europe and America.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 January 1887: 2. Web. 3 Jun 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226154135&gt;.

In early 1894, Timothy and Annie were off to England again.  The trip did not go to plan with Timothy dying suddenly in London on 10 July 1894 aged sixty-five.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 12 July 1894: 2. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225779799&gt;.

Timothy’s body was returned to Hamilton but on the way there was a stopover at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne for a memorial service on 7 September 1894.  The cortege left for Spencer Street Station in time for the 6.50pm train to Hamilton. The following day, Timothy’s funeral was held at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Hamilton before burial.

“Family Notices” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 8 September 1894: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 .

In 1896, Annie commissioned Messrs. P. Finn & Co, stonemasons of Mitchell Street, Bendigo to make an appropriate headstone. What they created was considered one of the finest headstones in the colonies.  It was a huge undertaking with the granite quarried at Cape Woolamai on Victoria’s east coast, then shipped to Melbourne for transport to Bendigo.  The four metre high Celtic cross was available for viewing at Finn’s yard prior to its transportation to Hamilton.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 6 October 1896: 3. Web. 19 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225554924&gt;.

Timothy’s Celtic cross is just one of a number of graves in the Twomey family plot and is by no means the tallest. There were eighteen Twomey burials at the cemetery, including Timothy’s parents and brothers Edward and Daniel.  The two brothers were at one time on the Hamilton Cemetery Trust.

TWOMEY FAMILY PLOT, ROMAN CATHOLIC SECTION

THOMAS & MARGARET WALKER

HEADSTONE OF THOMAS AND MARGARET WALKER

A scroll such as that on the column of the Walker monument can symbolise a life unfolding for an uncertain time. It’s doubtful Margaret Walker ever expected her life to unfold across 104 years. Thomas Walker arrived at Portland around 1840 and married Margaret Brown in 1843.  They lived in Portland until 1866 when they moved to Hamilton.   Thomas acquired various properties around the Hamilton township and for a time worked as a land agent.  He died on 15 April 1909 aged eighty-six, leaving his widow Margaret, then aged seventy-four, one son and two daughers.

Margaret, born on 11 August 1835 at Launceston, went on to live for a further thirty years. On 10 August 1939, Margaret celebrated her 104th birthday at her home in Shakespeare Street, Hamilton. At the time, it was thought she was the oldest woman in Victoria living through the reign of six monarchs.

MARGARET WALKER The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 11 August 1939: 14. Web. 19 May 2017 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article204924449

Margaret long life ended two months after her birthday on 19 October 1939.  Her obituary in the Hamilton Spectator of 23 October 1939 said Margaret was, “…a lover of all things beautiful, and in quiet contentment, surrounded by her own people and home where she could indulge her liking, which amounted to almost a passion, for her garden she enjoyed to the full of her heart’s desire.”

Also buried with Thomas and Margaret is their daughter Maria, who Margaret outlived by seven years.  Maria Watson died at Hamilton aged seventy-six.

 

HEADSTONE OF MARIA WATSON (nee WALKER)

This is the second in a series of posts about the Old Hamilton Cemetery.  You can read the first on the link –  Hamilton Old Cemetery – Finding Family

© 2017 Merron Riddiford