Wonderful Western District Women Part 1

On International Women’s Day this is for the women of the Western District.  The women who arrived in a new country, often as newlyweds with no other family, those who walked behind a plough planting seed, those who didn’t see their husbands from dawn to dusk or weeks at a time and the women who gave birth in a tent or shack sometimes without another woman present.  It’s for the benevolent women, the pillars of the church, the businesswomen, the matriarchs, and in many cases their husband’s rock. It’s for those women who lost their husbands young, and were left to raise children and survive in a man’s world. For many of these women, their lives went by unheralded.

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/54600

As it’s also Women’s History Month, this is the first post during March remembering some of the great pioneering women of the Western District.  Firstly I will focus on those I’ve discovered through monthly Passing of the Pioneers posts. For many of those women, I’ve had to draw on their husband’s life story to get some idea of their own.  For others we are lucky as something of their lives still remain, maybe a letter or a diary and we glean some idea of who they really were. Even in their obituaries, women were mostly known by their husband’s name for example Mrs John Little or Mrs James Berry. At least those who were given an obituary have something of them left behind, for others their lives passed silently and without celebration.

Hopefully the women I have selected to celebrate this month are representative of those women whose stories have been lost.  Also, because most women lived behind the names of their husbands, I’ve chosen to remember the women by their maiden names.  Click on the underlined text through the post to read more information about a subject.

BLACK, Janet (c1822-1903) Also known as Janet Laurie and Janet Black

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77974940

Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954) 6 May 1933: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77974940

Janet was born in born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1822, the daughter of Professor Andrew Nicol a linguist, university lecturer and head of a boys’ college. Janet, one of eight daughters, attended boarding school and like her father could speak several languages. In 1841, she married the Reverend Alexander Laurie and shortly after they sailed to Port Phillip aboard the appropriately named William Nicol, arriving in February 1842.  Alexander was appointed minister for the Portland Bay Presbyterian Church so they sailed for Portland Bay.  On arrival at Portland, Janet was carried ashore and on the same day she gave birth to her first child Alexander John Laurie.  The Lauries couldn’t stay at any hotels because of quarantine restrictions so they camped under a shelter near the flour mill in the bitter cold,  They soon settled in the town and another son Andrew was born the following year.

The year 1848 was tumultuous for Janet.  Alexander was accused of spending time in the company of a young lady, even travelling away with her.  The church frowned on his behaviour and Alex was removed from his role, not because of the shame he brought to his wife and children, but the shame he brought to the church.  A report of his falling out  appeared in the Geelong Advertiser of July 11, 1848.  In 1850, Alexander started making the news in a different way when he took over the Portland Herald in Gawler Street.  The Portland Guardian remarked,”Mr Laurie would have seemed to have abandoned the use of his church for the Herald and exchanged religion for politics”.

In 1854, Alexander died at the age of thirty-six, leaving Janet with four young children. She took over the running of the Portland Herald and after a short break, resumed publication every Friday with a promise the paper would be “renewed in strength and efficiency” and before long the subscribers to the paper grew.

“Advertising” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876) 9 November 1854: 3 (EVENING.) http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71571179

Janet also set up an employment registry in 1856 operating it until 1861 from her home in Percy Street.

“Advertising” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876) 3 November 1858: 3 (EVENINGS.). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64509486

Janet finished up the Portland Herald in 1860 and she and the children went to Mount Gambier where she assisted two of her sons in setting up the Border Watch, a paper still published today. The paper was established in the name of second born son Andrew, then seventeen and the first edition published on April 26, 1861. The name for the paper came from Janet as there was a Border Watch newspaper on the border of Scotland and England. Given the close proximity of Mount Gambier to the South Australian/Victorian border, it was the perfect choice.

In the same year, Janet married widower Joshua Black of Cork Hill, Bridgewater. Joshua was a father to seven children and Janet must have been busy helping her sons with the paper and the duties of matrimony. Janet and Joshua had three children together, the first in 1862 when Janet was forty.  By 1865, there were fifteen children aged from twenty-two to newborn. Joshua Black died in 1876 aged seventy-six.  Janet continued on at Bridgewater and was involved in the community.  

BRIDGEWATER BAY

She died in 1903 aged eighty-one and was buried in the North Portland Cemetery in the same grave as Alexander Laurie. The Portland Guardian of 29 July 1903 reported that “the funeral procession was one of the largest, if not the largest seen in Portland.” Returning to Alexander in death was possibly something Janet would not have wanted. Her thirteen years with Alexander were not happy times.  Aside from his adultery, it seems Janet also endured family violence.  She was known throughout her life as having a hearing impairment, put down to the cold on her first night in Portland.  Ann Grant and others in a paper, “Portland – The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, tells of police records showing Janet had charged Alexander with assault and her deafness was in fact caused by a blow from him.

COLE, Elizabeth (c1845-1942).  Also known as Elizabeth Dalziel.

Elizabeth Cole was seven when she sailed into Hobson’s Bay in December 1852 with her family aboard the Bombay, the same ship my ggg grandparents James Mortimer and Rosanna Buckland arrived on.  Once in Port Phillip Bay, the ship was placed in quarantine because of a typhus fever outbreak on board.  During the 111 day voyage, at least twenty-four of the 706 passengers died from various causes including typhus.  After they disembarked, the family went to the diggings at Ballarat.

“OLD COBDEN RESIDENT” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 March 1938: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11174181&gt;.

The family then went to Port Fairy and Elizabeth remembers the first bullock team of Walter Manifold and was soon driving bullocks herself and despite being only a teenager, gained a reputation as one of the finest bullock drivers around.  From Port Fairy, her father purchased land at Yambuk.

Elizabeth was only seventeen when she married twenty-eight year old Alexander Dalziel on 31 July 1862 at Lethbridge where Alexander ran a boot store servicing the large canvas town set up for the men working on the Moorabool viaduct.  They then went to Bannockburn before moving to Carpendeit near Cobden in 1885. In 1891, Elizabeth signed the Women’s Suffrage Petition.  After Alexander died 1928 aged ninety-four, Elizabeth lived with her granddaughter at Cobden. At the time of her death at age ninety-six, Elizabeth had six sons, three daughters forty-five grandchildren, sixty-five great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

HAZELDINE, Eliza (1857-1941)  Also known as Eliza Lea.

Eliza Hazeldine was born at Portland in 1857 and started her working life as a teacher.  Her first school was Portland North followed by Koroit, Corindhap, Coleraine, Queenscliff and Casterton. Her teaching career ended in 1890 when she married Job Lea.  The couple’s first son was born the following year, the same year Eliza signed the Women’s Suffrage Petition.  A second son was born on 22 March 1892. A month later on 22 April 1892, Job died of typhoid fever aged thirty, leaving Eliza with two children under two.  She returned to family in Portland before opening a drapery store at Condah Swamp.  Eliza applied to run the first Post Office in the district and in 1899 her application was approved and the Post Office opened with the name Wallacedale.

"Wallacedale." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 15 February 1899: 3 (EVENING). Web. 6 Mar 2017 .

“Wallacedale.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 15 February 1899: 3 (EVENING). Web. 6 Mar 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63675448&gt;.

Eliza played piano and organ and taught her boys with Charles showing great talent in acquiring three theory certificates from Trinity College, London.  When the boys were older, they helped Eliza in the post office.  She was also a generous community member, donating to various causes. In 1902, she started the fundraising for the purchase of a piano for the Wallacedale Hall donating  £1.  Although she was a devout Methodist, when the Wallacedale Presbyterian Church was built in 1913, Eliza donated the linoleum.

War broke in 1914 and on 22 January 1915, son Charles enlisted leaving for Egypt a month later. Charles served with the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade and found himself at Gallipoli where he was killed on 26 July 1915, six months after he left Australia.  The loss of Charles brought great sorrow for Eliza and she placed an “In Memoriam” notice for Charles and her late husband Job each year until her death.

"Family Notices" Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 24 July 1933: 2 (EVENING.). Web. 5 Mar 2017 .

“Family Notices” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 24 July 1933: 2 (EVENING.). Web. 5 Mar 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64282976&gt;.

During the war Eliza was a great contributor to the Red Cross. In 1919, Eliza returned to Portland where she died in 1941. Charitable to the end, Eliza left £100 to the Portland Hospital.

KITTSON, Rebecca (c1827-1929) Also known as Rebecca Lightbody.

"No title" The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 23 July 1932: 4 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). Web. 7 Mar 2017 .

“No title” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 23 July 1932: 4 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141361822

Rebecca was born at Fermanagh County, Ireland and arrived at Melbourne with her parents James Kittson and Katherine Trotter in 1841 aboard the Westminster.  Rebecca remained in Melbourne while her father went ahead to Cape Bridgewater to settle, joining her family in 1842. On 22 January 1852, Rebecca, described as the “fair Lady of the Lake” married Wesleyan minister Reverend William Lightbody at Geelong.  Rebecca and William rode on horseback from Bridgewater to Geelong, the location of the nearest minister, married and rode home again.

William was the itinerant minister for Port Fairy, Warrnambool and Portland and they spent time at each of the parsonages, raising a family of four sons and two daughters.  In March 1879, William visited a property he owned at Drik Drik and fell ill there.  He made it back as far as Mount Richmond where a doctor was called. He was then transported home and appeared to be on the mend.  Having business in Portland, he asked his son to drive him into town but William died on the way.

On Rebecca’s 100th birthday, Reverend Toi of the Portland Methodist Church presented Rebecca with 100 shillings, one for every year of her life.  On her 101st birthday, a celebration was held and Rebecca proved she still had her wits about her.

“A GRAND OLD LADY.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 9 February 1928: 3 (EVENING). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64264653

A colonist of eighty-eight years, Rebecca was a month from her 102nd birthday when she died at Portland in 1929.

READ, Rachel Forward (1815-1904).  Also known as Rachel Hedditch.

"Bridgewater Pioneers Commemorate Centenary of Landing of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Charlton Hedditch." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 27 June 1938: 4 (EVENING). Web. 7 Mar 2017 .

“Bridgewater Pioneers Commemorate Centenary of Landing of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Charlton Hedditch.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 27 June 1938: 4 (EVENING). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64279418

Rachel Forward Read was born in Dorsetshire, England and married Richard Charlton Hedditch in 1837.  The following year they planned to travel to Australia but the ship, The Eden was stuck in the then frozen Thames River and the voyage was delayed. They eventually arrived in Adelaide in 1838.  In 1841, they left for Tasmania but heard favourable reports about Portland Bay and the Henty’s settlement so they made their way there, but not before their son Charlton was born.  Rebecca and Richard were appointed to run the Portland Church of England school where Rachel taught the infant classes.  They then took up a pastoral lease at Bridgewater in 1845 and Rachel opened the first post office there in 1864, operating it for thirty-five years. The Hedditch property was known as Lal Lal Homestead.  The Book of Remembrance of the Pioneer Women of the Portland Bay District includes a letter Rachel wrote home to her mother on Christmas Day 1848.  She was thirty-three and life was very difficult.  It shows the depth of her faith and how she appreciated the isolation of Bridgewater for raising the children away from the bad influences in the town.

“…last Sunday after dinner I was considering whether it would be wrong to devote part of the Sabbath in writing to you, and coming to the conclusion that under present circumstances it not,  I rose to take a sheet of paper from my portfolio, when I felt quiet unwell, and continued worse, until about ten o’clock, when I gave birth to a little girl – stillborn – an event which I had long dreaded, for my hands were always full.  I also expected to suffer from the heat, for it is usually very hot here…but it has been cooler this summer…How apt we are to murmur and despair, forgetting our Heavenly  Father does all things for our good.  Although I felt amiss – a kind of loss of the infant – yet I cannot help feeling very thankful that it please God to order it as it was.

“But although we are not doing better in this country we have better health; and I think the children are better for being away from the others’ and children out her are generally brought up badly. Times are very bad indeed.  Almost the whole dependence of this district is on wool growing and tallow, and on account of the disturbed state of Europe the wool at home has fallen in value more than half.  Tallow is very, also, and it has caused such a depression of business here that it is almost impossible to dispose of anything.”

Our fences were all burnt, but we have a garden fenced and a half-acre paddock.  We have also a comfortable three-roomed cottage and a kitchen and dairy, besides fowl house and yard,…We have both fat cattle and milking cows for sale, but nobody is inclined to purchase.  Butchers will not give more than eight shillings a hundred weight for fat beef and a fine cow with calf at side will not fetch more than £3.  There were good milking cows with calves sold by action last week at about 30 shillings per head.  Butter is now down to 1 shilling per pound.  If things do not get better I do not know what shall become of us all.  Our prospects are not worse than that of many others.  Indeed, I think we live at less expense than most families here.

The troubles did not end. In 1854, daughter Emily died at the age of seven and in 1863, son Charlton died aged twenty-three.  Richard died in 1894 and Rachel lived on for a further ten years. She was buried at the Cape Bridgewater Cemetery.

Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.  I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

A  Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online.  I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.

The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights.  She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.

After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of  Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated.  She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).

There are the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917.  Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore.  Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the life boat captain.

Following is the story of  Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on, a letter she wrote on Christmas Day 1848, to her parents in England.  Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.

After some local poetry comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”.  Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.

Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women.  Women born or living in Portland prior to 1864 were eligible.  This is where I found Margaret.  The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.

Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb,  is also listed as Mrs William Diwell.  Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, who is also listed.  This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.

The oldest pioneer women, recognised separately, include Marion Nunn Jones, Emma Holmes and Anne Beglan.

The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.

The booklet also comes as an Archive CD book and is available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Online book – Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance 

Christmas 1930s style

Christmas in the 1930s was tough as the Depression set in but the goodwill shown by those more fortunate helped make the day a little happier for those who had nothing.

Fewer advertisements for Christmas gifts was obvious but by the middle of the decade there was something new to advertise, electrical products.  By the end of the decade, Australians realised that the war to end all wars, the Great War, was not the end.  The big message to shoppers throughout the 1930s, a follow on from the 1920s, was to “Buy Australian”.  At least they still had the choice then.

The Victorian Dried Fruits Board came up with this recipe and more were in their free cook book.

Christmas Cake. (1930, November 28). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72647907

What a nice touch from the Portland Guardian editor for Christmas 1930 as he reminds us not to forget “our brothers the animals” at Christmas.  Now what’s for dinner?

1930b

Christmas. (1930, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64294022

Christmas. (1930, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64294022

Mrs.  S. Roy Champness generously provided a three-course meal for the unemployed men finding themselves in Kaniva on Christmas Day 1930.  Seven “tramps” had a better Christmas day thanks to Mrs Champness, while in Portland 26 unemployed men ate dinner in the rather unsettling surrounds of the old goal buildings, with the overseer of proceedings, the senior constable of police.  Any wonder he reported the men were “decent and well-behaved”

CHRISTMAS DINNER FOR UNEMPLOYED. (1931, January 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72628871

CHRISTMAS DINNER FOR UNEMPLOYED. (1931, January 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72628871

The State Relief Committee were calling on all housewives of Victorian to contribute to the making of 10,000 Christmas puddings for Christmas 1931.  Others providing aid to feed the unemployed and their dependents were merchants, farmers and manufacturers.

Wanted.—10,000 Xmas Puddings. (1931, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64296734

Wanted.—10,000 Xmas Puddings. (1931, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64296734

A “Mother Hubbard Cupboard” was placed in Horsham’s Firebrace Street in the week leading up to Christmas Day 1931.  Non-perishable goods could be put on the shelves, but on December 24, poultry and other perishables could be added.

"MOTHER HUBBARD CUPBOARD" CHRISTMAS CHEER. (1931, December 11). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72654972

“MOTHER HUBBARD CUPBOARD” CHRISTMAS CHEER. (1931, December 11). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72654972

Horsham shops were adorned with cyprus greenery and bunting for Christmas 1931.  Good weather gave shoppers a feeling of bright times ahead.

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT IN TOWN. (1931, December 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72655454

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT IN TOWN. (1931, December 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72655454

Guesstimates in 1932 put the annual Christmas shop at over £1,000,000.  The Portland Guardian considered the effect this would have on Australia’s prospects if all that money was spent on Australian made goods.  Another guesstimate suggested this would generate £250,000 of wages and thus stimulate the economy.

JOBS & CHRISTMAS BOXES. (1932, December 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64299947

JOBS & CHRISTMAS BOXES. (1932, December 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64299947

JOBS & CHRISTMAS BOXES. (1932, December 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64299947

A trip to the pictures over the Christmas period became more popular during the 1930s.

Christmas Talkie Attractions. (1932, December 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64300056

Christmas Talkie Attractions. (1932, December 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64300056

Hopes were up for some old-time Christmas spirit for 1933.  Money was beginning to circulate more than it had in the two years before.  The banks received £30,000 of coins from the Treasury for Christmas 1933, for the purpose of change, while in 1932, the amount required was only £10,000.

1930l

A Merrier Christmas. (1933, December 1). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72577244

A Merrier Christmas. (1933, December 1). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72577244

Buying for the man of the house is not an easy task any Christmas.  In 1933, wives were advised to “Please Him,  Not Only Yourself”.  Obviously written by a male and one with considerable tastes too.  It was suggested that a subscription to a magazine such as “National Geographic” would be appealing to a husband, but stay away from the “Vogue” and “Harper’s Bazaar“.

1930n

CHRISTMAS GIFTS and GIVING. (1933, December 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 13. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11718687

CHRISTMAS GIFTS and GIVING. (1933, December 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 13. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11718687

Campbell’s Cash Store also had gift suggestions for men including Fuji Tennis shirts and boxed suspenders.

CAMPBELL'S CASH STORE. (1933, December 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64284389

CAMPBELL’S CASH STORE. (1933, December 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64284389

Another call for “Buy Australian” and possibly a more accurate guesstimate from the Commonwealth statistician regarding the annual Christmas spend.

1930q

CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1934, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287561

CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1934, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287561

The trend of dieting was taking off in 1934, but girls, forget it at Christmas.

1930s

CHRISTMAS DISHES. (1934, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287556

CHRISTMAS DISHES. (1934, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287556

Buy Australian first, Empire goods second.

Australian Made Gifts and Toys. (1934, December 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287698

Australian Made Gifts and Toys. (1934, December 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287698

Hams were scarce in 1935 after 1000 overcooked in a factory fire at Dandenong.

CHRISTMAS HAMS BURNT. (1935, December 10). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75239494

CHRISTMAS HAMS BURNT. (1935, December 10). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75239494

Camperdown’s famous clock tower was lit up for Christmas 1935.  Christmas Eve plans in the town included the arrival of Santa at 7pm and amplified music broadcast from the Amalgamated Wireless Australia Ltd.  At 10pm, dance music would be played in Manifold Street.

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES. (1935, December 17). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32177037

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES. (1935, December 17). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32177037

In 1935 at Cobden, Santa arrived at a golf course in a car to meet with children from the Cobden School.  Times sure were changing.

COBDEN. (1935, December 28). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32177289

COBDEN. (1935, December 28). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32177289

The well known Hedditch family of Bridgewater ate Christmas dinner at the same table the family had celebrated around for the previous 90 years.  Those at the table in 1935 included the fifth generation of Hedditchs to do so.

PERSONAL NOTES. (1936, January 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64271313

PERSONAL NOTES. (1936, January 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64271313

Electrical appliances boosted advertising during Christmas 1936.  This article comes from a double page feature in the Argus of December 4, promoting various brands of electrical products including Hecla  kettles.  There was also a message from the State Electrical Commission, remember them, recommending electrical products as a  Christmas gift.

Advertising. (1936, December 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 15. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11943599

Advertising. (1936, December 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 15. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11943599

Even the geese were thinking about the merits of dieting in 1936!

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!. (1936, December 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 18. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11944520

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!. (1936, December 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 18. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11944520

Greeting telegrams returned that year.

Christmas Greetings by Telegraph. (1936, December 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64274441

Christmas Greetings by Telegraph. (1936, December 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64274441

The giving of plants at Christmas was beginning to take off in 1937 and J.W. Robinson from the Ormond Plant Farm had some suggestions.

Gardening Column. (1937, December 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64277874

Gardening Column. (1937, December 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64277874

Prosperity was beginning to return to Australia and 1937 was one of the best seen for many years.  There had been a recent decline in wool and wheat prices but things were still looking promising.  As Australian manufacturing grew, more Australian goods were being consumed than ever before.  Apparently in the past Australians were ashamed to give an Australian made Christmas gifts, but with a growing pride in the quality of product being produced, that was changing.

Christmas, 1937. (1937, December 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64277899

Christmas, 1937. (1937, December 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64277899

The Government were offering some Christmas cheer in 1938.

1930z

CHRISTMAS SUSTENANCE SPECIAL ISSUE TO FAMILIES. (1938, December 2). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73186034

CHRISTMAS SUSTENANCE SPECIAL ISSUE TO FAMILIES. (1938, December 2). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73186034

The Horsham Times considered the history of Christmas.

1930bb

The Horsham Times. (1938, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73186642

The Horsham Times. (1938, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73186642

Someone or something stole Mr L. Harvey’s turkey the week before Christmas, 1938.

THE CHRISTMAS DINNER THAT VANISHED. (1938, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73186705

THE CHRISTMAS DINNER THAT VANISHED. (1938, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73186705

Christmas 1939 arrived and so had WW2.  It was the first of six Christmases Australians would celebrate while troops were fighting.

An interesting scheme in Victoria was given the go ahead to continue despite the war.  Gifts of Victorian produce could be bought from the Department of Agriculture which would then be sent overseas to British recipients.  Produce included tinned fruit and sultanas.

1930ee

CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1939, October 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64394241

CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1939, October 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64394241
Posting of Christmas Cards. (1939, November 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64394633

Posting of Christmas Cards. (1939, November 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64394633

If you couldn’t afford a Christmas ham in 1939, you could always try to catch one at the Horsham Christmas Angling Competition.

angling. (1939, December 8). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73144147

angling. (1939, December 8). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73144147

Fifty children from the Narrawong district enjoyed a visit from Santa and gifts from a Christmas Tree.

Christmas Tree at Narrawong. (1939, December 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64394794

Christmas Tree at Narrawong. (1939, December 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64394794

Just like WW1, the soldiers’ Christmas hampers were a focus, something that would continue into the 1940s.

SOLDIERS' CHRISTMAS HAMPERS. (1939, December 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73144465

SOLDIERS’ CHRISTMAS HAMPERS. (1939, December 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73144465

Passing of the Pioneers

Many of the November pioneers came from the south-west of Victoria from Bridgewater to Timboon.  Somewhere in between is Koroit and four of the pioneers resided there, all of Irish descent.

Samuel LORD: Died 18 November 1906 at Pombeneit.  Samuel Lord was a resident of Pomberneit for forty-one years, but it took him the twenty years prior to settle. Samuel, born in Devonshire, England. arrived in Adelaide in 1845, went to Sydney, then back to Adelaide and in 1849 returned to England for a visit. He then came back to Australia, heading to the goldfields for several years. He then selected land at Pomberneit in 1865. He was a member of the Heytesbury Shire Council and had nine children.

Johanna RYAN:  Died 27 November 1914 at Panmure. Johanna Ryan and her husband Mr T. Lowrey and a child, left Tipperary, Ireland in 1851 for Australia, specifically Hobsons Bay, Victoria. After a time at the Bendigo goldfields, the Lowreys bought land at Kirkstall. Following  the Land Selection Act of 1865 the Lowreys selected at the Yallock Estate and turned bush into a “beautiful farm”  Johanna was ninety years of age at the time of her death.

GARVOC. (1914, December 5). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73556791

Daniel O’CONNELL: Died 5 November 1916 at Koroit. It was a lonely end for Daniel O’Connell. He lived in a hut near the Koroit racecourse and received the old-age pension. In his earlier years, he had worked as a groom and roustabout.  Daniel’s body was found in his hut after a kindly neighbour, Miss Mullens, noticed he seemed unwell and couldn’t hear her.  She rang the police who visited the hut and found his body. He was well in excess of eighty years, according to locals, and he had lived in the district for around sixty years.

Johanna CLEARY: Died 16 November 1916 at Chocolyn. Johanna arrived in Port Fairy from Ireland when she was sixteen, around 1845.  She married John Moloney and they raised six sons and one daughter. The Moloneys also resided at Koroit, but when John died, Johanna went to live with her son James at Chocolyn.

Hugh McDONALD: Died 17 November 1917 at Ararat. Hugh McDonald was another Ararat resident, like those in October Passing of the Pioneers, who did the goldrush circuit. Arriving from Scotland in 1854 aboard the ship Tasmania, he travelled to most of the goldfields in Victoria as well as a stint in New Zealand, but like those October pioneers, it was Ararat that he returned to. His travels must have brought some success as he selected land at Mt. Ararat and built up what became known as the Mt. Ararat Estate (a winery today).  He married and had five children.  He was buried at the Moyston cemetery.

George CAMPBELL: Died November 1918 at Portland.

(1918, November 25). Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved November 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88197935

Catherine MITCHELL: Died 6 November 1918 at Yambuk. Catherine Mitchell arrived in Port Fairy in 1852 aboard the Priam.  She married Richard Thomas of Yambuk and they had four sons, two daughters, forty-five grandchildren and thirty-seven great-grandchildren at the time of her death.  She lived to ninety-two years of age.

James BLACK: Died 17 November 1918 at Koroit. James met an unfortunate death at age seventy-six.  Despite bad health, he was turning out cows when a bull rushed him and knocked him to the ground. He never recovered and died four days later. James was born in Paisley, Scotland and had been a Koroit butcher for over forty years.  He was also Mayor of Koroit on several occasions.

Maria MOLONEY: – Died 24 November 1918 at Koroit. Maria Moloney’s obituary described her as a “good old sort”.  She had been a resident of Koroit for 60 years after arriving from Ireland with her father and brother in 1852 at the age of 15. Her son Richard was killed at war in 1916 and Maria’s health began to fail after hearing the sad news.  She was buried at Tower Hill cemetery.

Sarah Ann OLIVER: Died 15 November 1928 at Brisbane, Queensland. Sarah Ann Oliver was an older sister of Elizabeth and Mary Oliver, wives of Reuben Harman and Jonathon Harman.  Like her two sisters, she was born in Cornwall and immigrated in 1849 aboard the Courier into Port Phillip. Ten years later she married Edmund Dalton, an Irishman and they lived in Port Fairy for the following twenty years, raising eight children. In 1879, Sarah and Edmund moved to the Darling Downs, Queensland.

Thomas MAILON:  Died 10 November 1930 at Portland. Thomas Mailon was born in Portland and was a policeman during his working years.  He lived in what was known locally as the “White House”, a home set on the sand hills near Portland.   An advertisement in the Portland Guardian (below) lists the “White House” for sale. This was only nine months before his death. Thomas had a number of brothers and sisters but never married.

Advertising. (1930, February 10). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64291549

Marion Nunn JONES: Died 11 November 1936 at Bridgewater.  Marion Jones was born at the Tasmanian Hotel in Portland around 1851. She married William Forward Hedditch at Lal Lal, the Hedditch family home at Cape Bridgewater.  Forty-six years later, Marion died in the same room as she was married.  Her mother-in-law, Rachel Read was a January Passing Pioneer.

Janet Isabella Mary BLACK: Died 10 November 1941 at Mt. Gambier. Janet Black was born at Bridgewater in October 1863. She was the only daughter of Joshua Black and Janet Nicol and stepsister to Rachel Black who’s obituary was in the October Passing of the Pioneers.  Janet married Samuel Kenney and they had one daughter, Lexie. They lived at both Cape Bridgewater and Kongorong. Janet was the last surviving child of Joshua Black.

Mary KENNEY:  Died 19 November 1941 at St. Kilda.  Mary Kenney was a sister-in-law of Janet Black (above) and they passed away within nine days of each other. Mary was the daughter of John and Ellen Kenney of Lower Cape Bridgewater and she was born in Richmond Street, Portland in 1847. She later married J.K. Palmer of Hawkesdale.

Margaret Bennett MARTIN:  Died 12 November 1942 at Portland. Margaret Martin lived in Portland for the entire eighty-five years of her life. She married Mr Symington and they had two sons and three daughters.

Florence COUCH:  Died 17 November 1954 at Surrey Hills. Florence Couch’s father was one of the original pioneers of the Scott’s Creek district near Timboon. Florence was the last surviving member of a family of thirteen. The Couch family were well-known for their horse handling skills. When Florence married Mr Roberts around 1906, they moved to South Africa for two years before returning to Scott’s Creek. She had five surviving children at the time of her death.

Passing of the Pioneers

Seventeen more obituaries of Western District pioneers join the collection this month, and what a group they are.  I must say I had to pass a lot over, but it will ensure Passing with the Pioneers will be going to at least January 2014!  New papers at Trove has guaranteed that. Obituaries came from the Portland Guardian, Horsham Times and Ballarat Courier.

There are a couple of special ones, those of  James HENTY and Rebecca KITTSON and I highly recommend that you read the obituary in full.  I actually found Rebecca’s obituary rather moving and after driving through the Bridgewater area recently, I have great respect for her family and others that settled there.  To read the full obituary, just click on the pioneer’s name and the obituary will open in a new tab.  Some are a little hard to read, but magnifying the page helps.

I have also included a “young” pioneer who has a family link to me.  Thank you to Rachael Boatwright for allowing me to include a photo of her family member.

James HENTY: – Died 12 January 1882 at Richmond.  I thought trashy magazines today told all, but the obituary of the Honourable James HENTY M.L.C. shared every detail of the last twenty-four hours or so his life.  How can I possibly give a summary of the life of James HENTY, one of the famous pioneering HENTY clan?  Instead, read the obituary, it is great!  Sadly I think James’ life may have ended prematurely, if that is possible at eighty-two, due to a collision with a Newfoundland dog the week before.

JAMES HENTY c1855.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H83.158/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/290239

JAMES HENTY c1855. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.158/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/290239

Hugh MCDONALD: Died 30 January 1899 at Portland. This is a timely obituary coming so soon after my Portland trip.  While there, I learnt something of the wreck of the steamer Admella in 1859 and the Portland life boat crew that went to her aid. Hugh McDONALD was one of the brave men on board the life boat during that daring rescue.

William GARDINER: Died 17 January 1904 at Warracknabeal.  William GARDINER, another pioneer with an interesting life.  He arrived in Victoria in 1849 aboard the barque Saxon and spent time in Melbourne, Geelong and the goldfields, before heading to New Zealand.  On his return to Australia, he lived in Port Fairy and Hamilton, working as a journalist, before moving to the Wimmera as a correspondent for the Belfast Gazette.  He like it so much, he decided to select land at Warracknabeal.  He also worked as a correspondent for the Horsham Times and built houses!

Jean McCLINTOCK:  Died 19 January 1904 at Melbourne. While only forty at the time of her death and not an “old pioneer”, I have included Jean as she was the sister-in-law of  Alfred Winslow HARMAN.  Jean married William MILLER and they resided at Rupanyup.  After some illness, Jean travelled to Melbourne for an operation, but she died as a result.

Jean McClintock & William Eaton Miller. Photo courtesy of Rachael Boatwright & family.

Joseph JELBART: Died 17 January 1904 at Carapook. Joseph worked as the mail contractor between Carapook and Casterton up until his death. Prior to that, he had worked as a blacksmith and a wheelwright at Chetwynd, Merino and Natimuk. Interesting coincidence, just as Joseph did, his father and brother both died on a Sunday morning in the same house.

Rachel Forward READ: Died 15 January 1904 at Lower Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel Forward READ and her husband Richard Charlton HEDDITCH arrived in Adelaide in 1838 and settled at Cape Bridgewater from 1845 after a stint teaching at the Portland Church of England school.  They resided at the Lal Lal Homestead.  The  Victorian Heritage Database listing for Lal Lal includes a letter home by Rachel after their arrival at Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel was buried at the Cape Bridgewater cemetery rather than the Hedditch family cemetery at Lal Lal.

Donald McRAE: Died 12 January 1914 at Tooan.  Donald McRAE was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1842 and travelled with his parents to Portland. In 1865, he moved to Muntham near Hamilton to farm with brother. The pair eventually selected 320 acres of land each at Natimuk.  Donald was a member of the Horsham Caledonian Society.

Samuel WALKER: Died 24 January 1914 at  Ballarat. Samuel WALKER was born in Cheshire, England around 1828 and travelled to Australia in 1852.  After his arrival on the goldfields of Ballarat, he set up a soda water factory which proved profitable for him.  He then became a partner in Evans and Walkers and worked as an accountant.  He was also the registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at Ballarat from 1872.

Selina MILLER: Died January 1917 at Wickliffe. Selina MILLER had resided at Wickliffe for almost sixty years.  She was twice married.  Her first husband was Mr HAIG and her second, George HARRIOTT.

Elizabeth HUBBARD: Died 3 January 1919 at Horsham.  Elizabeth HUBBARD was born in Norwich, England around 1831 and travelled to Australia with her husband, Mathias HARDINGHAM in the mid-1850s.  From Geelong, they travelled to the Horsham area and were two of the first pioneers in that district.  Mathias ran the Horsham Hotel for some time.

Christina FOX: Died 8 January 1921 at Vectis.  Christine FOX was born in Yorkshire, England around 1835.  As a teenager, she travelled to South Australia with her parents.  She married Robert SANDERS who had also travelled with his parents on the same immigrant ship.

John W. DAVIS: Died 24 January 1928 at Horsham.  John or “Jack” as he was known, arrived in Australia as a three old, living in Williamstown and then Stawell.  He played with the Temperance Union Band in Stawell and then moved to Horsham in 1877 to play with one of two brass bands in the town.  Known throughout the northwest for his ability as an euphonium player, Jack was also a bandmaster at Natimuk and Noradjuha.

Rebecca KITTSON: Died 4 January 1929 at Portland. What a grand old pioneer Rebecca KITTSON was.  A colonist of eighty-eight years, she was a month from her 102nd birthday.  Arriving in Melbourne from Ireland aged eleven, she spent the next year in Melbourne, before joining her family at Cape Bridgewater where her father James Kittson had settled.  She married Reverend William LIGHTBODY, a Wesleyan minister in 1852.  This obituary is a must read.  Mrs LIGHTBODY, as she was known for most of her life, was the last surviving member of her family and the obituary gives a glimpse at how the KITTSON’S came to be in Australia.

Obituary. (1929, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64268096

Adrian ANDERSON: Died 16 January 1932 at Horsham. This is a first for Passing of the Pioneers.  Adrian ANDERSON was an immigrant from the United States. Wisconsin to be precise. He arrived aged four, with his parents and resided in Western Australia until he was ten.  The family moved to Victoria, where he remained.  He ran a shop in Jeparit before his death in the Horsham Base Hospital.

Agnes Sarah COOK: Died 18 January 1942 at Casterton. This obituary begins “Born in a small house on the banks of the  Glenelg River at Casterton seventy-nine years ago…”.  Agnes was a lady that like the past and the future, knowledgeable about the history of Casterton, she also liked to predict the future.  Agnes married  Robert SYLVESTER and they had four children.

Helen GULL: Died 18 January 1942 at Casterton. Helen was born on the ship Helen during her parents’ voyage to Australia in 1852.  The GULL family became respected pioneers throughout the Western District.  Helen married Frederick PERRY in 1876 and they resided at well known Western District properties, Rifle Downs at Digby and Runnymeade at Sandford.  Frederick later ran the Digby Hotel.

Passing of the Pioneers

The Portland Guardian was mindful of the contribution made by the early pioneers toward developing the south-west.  They offered regular items titled “Passing of the Pioneers” or “Passing Pioneers” and often mentioned in obituaries that “…one by one are old pioneers are passing”.  As early as 1889, they were lamenting the loss of the links to the early settlers and suggesting that the efforts of those who passed be recognised.

The Portland Guardian,. (1889, January 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63591640

Established August 1842. The Portland Guardian,. (1899, July 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63676630 MLA citation

In 1921, the paper spoke of the many unwritten histories that had gone before, but  now we can see The Portland Guardian lived up to its charter of 1889,  successfully recording the histories of many of the local pioneers.  By doing so, they are now helping us learn more of our families and gain a sense of life in the early days of the Western District.  Of course, The Guardian was not alone.  References to the “passing pioneers” are found in most of the papers on the Trove website.

Obituaries are a secondary source as the information comes from the knowledge of those still living and I have noticed errors in obituaries of my family.  But they can offer leads to records you may never have thought of such as Masonic lodge records and local council records. Whatever you do or don’t get out of an obituary, no-one can deny they are often a good read.

July was a month when many “Passing of the Pioneers” columns appeared.  Cold winters in the southwest saw many of the older residents “cross the Great Divide” as the Guardian would put it.

Some of the more notable passing pioneers in the month of July were:

James PARKER:  Died 6 July1889 at Heywood. James PARKER’S obituary is an interesting read.  Born in Tasmania, he came to the mainland as a whaler. Later he had some luck at the Creswick goldfields only to have an encounter with bushranger Captain Moonlight.

William TULLOH: Died 19 July 1889 at Portland.  This is a lengthy obituary of a Portland resident of nearly fifty years, whose death saw half closed shutters on homes around the town.  Born in Scotland in 1812, he left a wife, four sons and a daughter at the time of his passing.  I have  found a site with more detail of William and his wife Eliza Mary KEARTON.

James BARNETT: Died 18 July 1892 at Portland.  James was known as “Old Barney” around Portland and while the Portland Guardian credits him as a pioneer, they make judgement in saying that he did not make the most of his opportunities as other early settlers had done.

Alexander THOMSON: Died July 1897 at Hamilton. Scottish born Alex THOMSON was prominent around the Hamilton area as a Shire of Dundas Councillor for twenty-one years.  At the time of his death, he was the owner of Pierrepoint Estate near Hamilton and was also an active member of the Pastoral and Agricultural society.

Thomas Webb SMITH:  Died 29 July 1914 at Branxholme.  Thomas served on the Borough of Portland council and was mayor from November 1871-November 1873.  He was also a member of the Goodfellows and Freemasons.

Annie Maria HENTY: Died 2 July 1921 at Hamilton.  Annie was from the most famous southwest pioneering family of them all, the Henty’s. The daughter of Stephen HENTY, Annie married Hamilton stock and station agent Robert STAPLYTON BREE in 1874.  The Bree name is preserved in Hamilton with a much used road of the same name in the town.  Their home Bewsall (below) once stood near the end of Bree Road in North Boundry Road.

HAMILTON. (1903, May 2). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 27. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138684187

HAMILTON. (1903, May 2). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 27. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138684187

Ann Eliza KEEPING: Died 9 July 1921 at Portland.  Annie Eliza KEEPING arrived in Australia aboard the Eliza and married John FINNIGAN in 1857.  She was eighty-two at the time of her death.

Joseph Bell PEARSON:  Died 7 July 1922 at Portland. Yet another interesting character.  According to his obituary, Joseph was born on the voyage from England to Tasmania.  His family moved to the Retreat Estate near Casterton in 1844.  He was a noted horseman, with several good racehorses which he would ride himself.  One of his jumps racing rivals was Adam Lindsay Gordon.

Sarah MARSHALL:  Died 7 July 1923 at Gorae West. Sarah was the wife of the late Richard BEAUGHLEHOLE and she died at seventy-three. Richard selected land at Gorae West and transformed swampland into flourishing orchards.  Sarah and Richard had twelve children.

Mary Thurza HEDDITCH: Died 1 July 1930 at Drik Drik. Mary HEDDITCH was born in Portland in 1844 and moved with her family to Bridgewater in 1846.  Her elder brother drowned when she was a teenager leaving her to take on some of his duties.  As a result, she became an accomplished horsewoman, helping her father with the cattle.  She married James MALSEED and together they had seven children.

Phillipa JOHNS: July 1931 at Portland.  Phillipa JOHNS, the daughter of a doctor, was herself something of a substitute doctor for those living in the Willenbrina area, near Warracknabeal.  Later she and her husband William DELLAR moved to the Portland district.  They had nine children.