It’s a bumper January Passing of the Pioneers. So much bigger than I’d planned. But I’ve found some interesting pioneers’ obituaries this month and it was hard not to want to learn a little more about them. The sixteen pioneers are now included on the Western District Families Pioneer Obituary Index.
HERBERTSON, Robert – Died 23 January 1879 at Portland. Robert Herbertson was born in Scotland and travelled to Tasmania in 1830. He married fellow Scot Isabella Bailey in 1834 in Tasmania and they arrived in Portland in 1841. They eventually moved into a house in Julia Street and Robert worked as a builder and hotel keeper. Robert built the Steam Packet Inn (below) in 1842 and it is now one of the oldest surviving buildings in the state.
The Herbertsons also ran a drapery store.
In 1843, Robert opened the Union Inn and in 1847, the Britannia Inn and built shops and houses in Julia Street. Robert purchased land on the Bridgewater Road and built Briery (below). From Robert’s obituary in the Portland Guardian that was in 1867, however the report on the home found at the Victorian Heritage Database gives the date at around 1850.
Briery was definitely built by 1867 as Robert had the house and land up for lease.
In the days before his death, there was a fire on Bridgewater Road near the farm. Robert’s over-exertion helping to fight the fire most likely led to his death. Isabella Robertson died in Portland in 1883.
WILSON, John – Died 3 January 1906 at Portland. John Wilson was born around 1826 at Glasgow, Scotland and arrived in Portland around 1853. He went on to the diggings but returned to the Portland district, dairy-farming at Lower Bridgewater. John’s property The Lagoons was one of the district’s largest and most successful farms.
TWOMEY, Edward – Died January 1907 Melbourne. Edward Twomey was born in Ireland around 1836, the son of John Joseph Twomey and Margaret O’Conner. John Twomey took up large amounts of land around Penshurst which he divided into Kolor (below), Banemore and Langulac and passed it on to his sons.
Langulac, south of Penshurst, came under the charge of Edward Twomey in 1882. Three years later, Edward announced his engagement to New Zealander Mary Ellen Josephine Cantwell and in 1887 Edward and Mary married. They went on to have five children.
Edward enjoyed horse racing and was one of the earliest trustees of the Hamilton Race Course. He bred and raced horses, with his greatest success coming with Mermaid, winner of the 1871 Sydney Cup. Mermaid was a daughter of King Alfred, the great Western District sire imported in 1854 aboard the Severn by Rifle Downs owner Richard Lewis.
Edward Twomey was a devout Roman Catholic. He attended the fist mass in the Western District according to his obituary, however most of the congregation were his own family. He was also a great supporter of the St. Josephs Catholic Church at Penshurst.
In search of an interesting story about Edward Twomey, I found an article published in the Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser on 10 December 1864. It alleged Edward rode past the Presbyterian minister lying injured by the roadside without offering help. Edward wrote a lengthy “Letter to the Editor” denying the claims and Donald Cameron, presumably the Donald Cameron formerly of Morgiana, also wrote the following letter defending Edward.
At the age of seventy-one, Edward went to Melbourne for medical treatment. He died there and his body was returned to Hamilton for burial at the Hamilton Old Cemetery. A service was held at Hamilton’s St Mary’s Catholic Church. Mary died in 1926 aged sixty-two at Penshurst and is also buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.
EVANS, Edward – Died January 6 1915 at Ararat. Edward Evans was the son of Ararat butcher John Pritchard Evans and was born around 1865. In time, Edward took over his father’s butchery. In 1889, he married Emily Harricks of Ararat. Edward was a member of local A.N.A and a vestryman at Ararat’s Holy Trinity Church of England (below). He developed Bright’s Disease in 1913 which took his life at age fifty. Emily, a son and two daughters were left after his death, with Emily dying in 1949 aged eighty-six.
SANDRY, Alice – Died 18 January 1916 at Hamilton. Alice Sandry was born in Cornwall, England around 1848. She arrived at Portland with her parents William and Anne and three siblings in 1853 aboard the Eliza. In 1869, Alice married William Arnott and they lived in Gray Street, Hamilton. Their residence was most likely at the grocery store William ran close to Thomson’s Iron Store. Alice and William went on to have nine children and for a time, William was a Hamilton Borough Councillor.
On 9 May 1887, Alice and William’s nine year old son Frederick died as a result of an accident. On the day, he was travelling in the wagonette of Frederick Giles, storekeeper of Giles & Dunn Beehive Store at Hamilton. Mr Giles was a passenger and, as he often did, he allowed Frederick’s older brother Archie to drive. They were going to the Wannon store of Giles & Dunn. During their journey the pony stumbled throwing Archie and Mr Giles from the wagonette. The pony took fright and bolted with Frederick holding on for his life.
Found with a severely broken leg, and with no witnesses, it was thought Frederick had attempted to jump clear but his leg wedged between a tree and the wagonette. Taken to the Wannon Inn, amputation was the only option. Frederick went into shock as a result of the operation and died at his parents home. The Portland Guardian published a lengthy account of the accident on 11 May 1887. The Horsham Times provided a report on the inquest published on 13 May 1887.
In 1898, William’s grocery store became a part of John Thompson & Co in Gray Street. The Arnotts then moved to Cox Street, Hamilton.
In 1899, William was declared insolvent owing over £800 and he died the following year. Alice’s probate file indicates she retained ownership of the Gray Street property and Thomson’s rented it from her. She also owned her house in Cox Street.
Alice was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery with William. Three of their children were remembered on the headstone, Frederick and two infants, George who died in 1879 aged six months and Norman who died in 1886, two months short of his second birthday.
O’BRIEN, Patrick – Died 20 January 1916 at Hamilton. Patrick “Paddy” O’Brien was born in Ireland around 1831. He eventually arrived in Hamilton and became one of the great characters of the town.
Paddy married Mary Harritty* in 1865 and a daughter Bridget was born in 1867 at Portland. They then settled at Hamilton and another daughter Margaret was born there in 1871. Paddy worked as a gardener and the family lived in Cox Street close to the corner of Gray Street. He was a devout Catholic, attending the St. Marys Catholic Church (below) and was a member of the local Hibernian Society.
In 1881, tragedy struck the O’Brien family. Ten year old Margaret drowned in the local creek, the Grange Burn on 14 October. There was a large turnout to follow the funeral cortege to the cemetery.
Mary died at Hamilton in 1907. At the time of Paddy’s death in 1916, The Hamilton Spectator wrote, “He may best be described as one of the identities of the town, that being the term generally used where one is well known, and yet perhaps, so so far as his personal history is concerned, not so well known after all.” How true.
* While searching records for Patrick O’Brien and his wife Mary, I found several variations of Mary’s surname. The Victorian Marriage Index has Harritty, but I also found Garraty, Haraty, Harty, Harrity, Heroty and Harety on entries for births and deaths. As Paddy was most likely the informant on those occasions, I suspect his thick Irish brogue resulted in the many variations.
TATLOCK, Thomas Henry – Died January 1918 at Hamilton. Thomas Tatlock was born in on 13 January 1834 and christened on 23 March 1834 at the British Chaplaincy in Hamburg, Germany.* His father was Englishman Thomas Marriot Tatlock and his mother, Scot Margaret Turner Rolland. Another son, Francis Rolland Tatlock was born in 1835 and christened in Hamburg the following year. After their marriage, Thomas Sr and Margaret had moved to Hungary where Thomas ran a successful pottery works. Due to unrest in Hungary the family moved into Austria and then, as the christening records show, on to Germany.
Moving forward around twenty years and Thomas Henry Tatlock arrived in Victoria around 1853 and joined the mounted police force. He was in Ballarat during the Eureka uprising in 1854 and worked with the Gold Escort. He was later stationed at towns including Casterton, Woodend and Port Fairy. In 1865, Thomas married Mary Ann Scarsbrick and a daughter Ellen was born at Port Fairy in 1866. However, Ellen died aged seven months and was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery. In 1875, while working as a Senior Constable at Casterton, Thomas was appointed Customs Officer with the Customs and Excise department based in Casterton. As Inspector for Licensed Premises and Liquors for the Customs and Excise Department, he based himself at Hamilton around 1880.
During the 1880s, there were some sad times for the Tatlock family. Mary Ann died in 1883 aged thirty-eight from complications due to childbirth as did their baby Lillie. In 1884, Daisy Nellie Tatlock died aged five and on June 3 1887, Thomas’ son “of about four summers” Herbert, died of diphtheria.
In 1890, Thomas married again to Margery Atchison. Thomas was a member of the congregation at the Christ Church Hamilton and was involved with the Hamilton Pastoral and Agricultural Society. He was a renowned judge of flowers, poultry and dogs at district P&A shows and was an importer of Black Orpington poultry. The Tatlocks lived in Gray Street and later Griffin Street. Thomas’ and Mary Ann’s son Alfred Tatlock born in Port Fairy in 1868, went to become one of Hamilton’s leading citizen’s as business owner and Borough Councillor. Thomas’s second wife Margery moved away from Hamilton after Thomas’ death and died in Warrnambool on 7 May 1938.
*”Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:ND14-PZK : accessed 12 January 2016), Thomas Henry Tatlock, 23 Mar 1834; citing ; FHL microfilm 576,997.
MURRAY, Isabella – Died 27 January 1924 at Warrnambool. Isabella Murray was born around 1852 at Summer Hill, Allansford, the property of her parents James Murray and Isabella Gordon. She married Walter Stephen Helpman in 1877 and they lived at Warrnambool.
Walter was a Colonial Bank manager running branches at Koroit, Port Fairy and Warrnambool. Isabella kept herself active in the community. She was a part of the Ladies Benevolent Society for thirty years , including time as President. Hospital fundraising and the Red Cross, serving as treasurer for five years, were some of Isabella’s other works. She was also concerned for the welfare of the aboriginal community at Framlingham and extended her kindness to them. As the sister of politician, John Murray who became Premier of Victoria, she had a strong interest in politics, helping to campaign at state and federal level.
HUNT, Caroline – Died January 1925 at Brighton. Caroline Hunt was born around 1848 and arrived in Australia in 1853 with her parents. Her father was one of the Wimmera’s first settlers, residing at Rosebrook Station. In 1866, Caroline married William James Carter. William Carter held North Brighton run until 1888 after purchasing Tarrington Estate in 1886. William died in 1904 and Tarrington Estate was sold in 1909, but the Carters retained ownership of the Tarrington homestead until after Caroline’s death.
HEDGES, Elizabeth – Died 14 January 1942 at Portland. Elizabeth Hedges was born in Ballarat in 1882. She became an art teacher and moved to Melbourne. She married Francis Caine of Bridgewater in 1914 and they lived there until 1921 when Francis purchased land at Kongorong, South Australia where they established the property Mona Park. While in Kongorong, Elizabeth was organist at the Kongorong church. Around the age of fifty, Elizabeth began suffering ill health and Francis decided to sell Mona Park and bought Cammis near Sandford. The couple enjoyed holidays at Portland. In 1941, Elizabeth’s health was still failing and since she always felt better on seaside holidays, Francis bought Burswood at Portland, built by Edward Henty in 1855 . Elizabeth only enjoyed the home for seven months before her death. Another obituary for Elizabeth, written by a resident of Kongorong, was published in the Border Watch on 22 January 1942.
FIELDER, Annie Matilda – Died 16 January 1945 at Camperdown. A daughter of William Fielder and Matilda Greer, Ann Fielder was born at Cobden in 1877. In 1903, Annie married William Florence and they settled at Camperdown. Annie was a member of the Camperdown branch of the Red Cross and Life Governor of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. She was also a member of the Camperdown Country Women’s Association and the Camperdown Ladies Auxiliary among other things. Annie also attended the St. Paul’s Church in Camperdown (below).
MONK, Samuel – Died January 1948 at Cobden. Samuel Monk was born at Connewarre in 1861 and arrived at Cobden four years later with his parents George Monk and Sarah Stenson, early pioneers of that district. In 1885, Samuel married Patience Silvester. In his early working days, Samuel made a name for himself working on the roads and was highly sort after by road contractors. He then turned to farming around 1907 and continued in that pursuit for almost forty years. Samuel was the oldest surviving member of the original Cobden Football Club and at the time of his death, his son Lesley was the club president. Samuel was a devout Anglican and a member of the Colac Turf Club.
FITZGERALD, John Cunningham – Died 3 January 1950 at Portland. John Fitzgerald was born at Portland in 1864 to John Bryan Fitzgerald and Mary Birmingham. Mary’s first husband Walter Birmingham owned Mullagh near Harrow with David Edgar. Edgar lived at another of their properties Pine Hills and the Birminghams at Mullagh. Walter Birmingham died in 1850, and Mary took over Mullagh. She remarried in 1851 to John Bryan Fitzgerald and John ran the property. One of his workers was Johnny Mullagh, who went on to tour England with an Aboriginal team in 1868. Johnny was born at Mullagh around 1841.
The homestead at Mullagh (below) was built around 1864, the year of John Cunningham Fitzgerald’s birth.
In 1893, John C. Fitzgerald married Eliza Anne Silvester. They lived at Mullagh with John taking over the running of the property from his father. They eventually moved to Portland. John was something of an amateur meteorologist and enjoyed contributing rainfall observations to the Portland Guardian. John and Eliza did not have any children.
COWLEY, Albion – Died 1 January 1951 at Tandarook South. Albion Cowley was born at Cowley’s Creek on 25 April 1878 and attended Cowley’s Creek State School. In 1904, he married Mary Ann Love and in 1911, they moved to a property at Tandarook. Albion was an elder of the Jancourt Church and taught Sunday School there. Mary Ann, three sons and five daughters survived him.
DAVIS, Robert George – Died 21 January 1952 at Camperdown. Robert Davis was born at Scotts Creek around 1880 and lived there until he was twenty-one. He then moved to Jancourt buying property from divided Jancourt Estate. Robert married Emily Dunstone in 1905. He was a member of the Jancourt Presbyterian Church and was correspondent for the Tandarook State School. Robert remained at Jancourt until around 1951 when he retired from farming and purchased a property at Camperdown.
SILVESTER, Serena Owen – Died 26 January 1953 at Camperdown. Serena Silvester was born in 1867 at Camperdown to pioneers William Silvester and Harriet Owen. William Silvester built the second house in Cobden, then known as Lovely Banks. Serena attended the Cobden State School. In 1886, Serena married William Wilson. The year before, her sister Patience married Samuel Monk (above). Serena was a congregation member of the Cobden Presbyterian Church and a member of the Ladies Auxiliary and the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union. William Wilson died in 1937.