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.

 

Passing of the Pioneers

Fifteen pioneers go into the Pioneer Obituary Index this month including two Presbyterian ministers and two female pioneers from Port Campbell.  Also, two men who were in the transport business, a ship’s captain and a coach driver. And as with most months, there are those who lived a life of privilege and those for whom life was a struggle. 

Captain James Donaldson LIDDELL – Died 3 February 1878 at Queenscliff.  James Liddell was born in Scotland in 1807 and arrived in Sydney around 1826.  He came as Chief Officer of the brig Admiral Gifford and from there sailed on to New Zealand to trade with the Maoris.  It was a successful voyage, so James went back to New Zealand on the ship Hannah. In 1830, James married Mary King in Sydney.

In 1833, James arrived in Launceston as master of the Jolly Rambler.  It was there he met the Henty brothers and was employed to captain their schooner  Thistle on trading voyages to the Swan River, Western Australia.  That took James close to the south-eastern coast of Victoria and on one occasion with Edward Henty on board, he sailed into what would later be called Portland Bay to collect oil from the whalers.  They went ashore, saw William Dutton’s hut and potato patch then dug up a sod of the fertile soil to take back to Launceston to show Thomas Henty.  (Bassett, Marnie The Hentys: an Australian colonial tapestry (Australian Paperbound edition, p. 252). Melbourne University Press, [Parkville], 1962).

The following article from 1950 about the Public Library of Victoria (now State Library) collection lists part of the Thistle‘s manifest for a voyage to Portland Bay on 13 October 1834 with Edward Henty aboard, intent on settling there.  They arrived at Portland Bay on 19 November 1834 after over a month of heavy seas. Some of the livestock did not survive the trip. Edward Henty stayed behind and James returned to Launceston with a cargo of oil.  James Liddell’s manifest is now available online.  It is a two-page document listing supplies for Henty and the whalers. You can view the document on the link – Captain Liddell’s Manifest

"LAND AT FIVE SHILLINGS AN ACRE!" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 20 May 1950: 4 (The Argus Week-end Magazine). Web. 21 Feb 2017 .

“LAND AT FIVE SHILLINGS AN ACRE!” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 20 May 1950: 4 (The Argus Week-end Magazine). Web. 21 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22830263&gt;.

By 1838, and aged just thirty-one, James took up whaling off the Victorian east coast. Five years later he was ready to return to New Zealand, a place close to him since his early trading voyages. Taking the family, James purchased land from the Maoris at Kawhia on the mid-west coast of the North Island.  He turned to farming and boat building and began transporting supplies between ports in New Zealand. With the discovery of gold in Victoria, James started taking passengers from New Zealand to the diggings.

Page 1 Advertisements Column 1,Daily Southern Cross, Volume VIII, Issue 520, 22 June 1852 http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18520622.2.2.1

Page 1 Advertisements Column 1,Daily Southern Cross, Volume VIII, Issue 520, 22 June 1852 http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18520622.2.2.1

Soon after, the family home at Kawhia burnt down prompting the Liddells to leave New Zealand for Melbourne where James joined the Victorian Pilot Service.  In early April 1855, James arrived in Portland as the appointed pilot for the harbour.  There were concerns about he would survive off the little money a pilot could make.

"PORTLAND." South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) 11 April 1855: 3. Web. 24 Feb 2017 .

“PORTLAND.” South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900) 11 April 1855: 3. Web. 24 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49308755&gt;.

The Liddells moved back towards Geelong and on 15 February 1859 James’ wife Mary died.  The following year, he married Annie Justice.  In his last years of work, James was master of the Geelong and West Channel lightships.  He retired in 1870, living at Queenscliff.  James had thirteen children, seven children from his first marriage and six children from his second marriage.  At the time of his death, he had a two-year-old son and a great-grandchild.  Life on the sea wasn’t lucrative and James and his family survived on his pension during his retirement. He had nothing to leave his family and some in the community were worried they would struggle if the pension was not continued for them.

Two interesting newspaper items are a letter James wrote to the editor of the Geelong Advertiser in 1868 on the link – Victoria’s First Settlers.  Also, a letter James’ daughter Miss J. Liddell wrote  to The Argus in 1884 about her father at Portland Bay available on the link – The Settlement of Portland

George HICKS  – Died 13 February 1894 at Stawell.  George Hicks was born in Cornwall around 1824.  After leaving England, George went to South Africa for a few years before arriving in Australia during the 1850s.  He got work with The Argus newspaper, eventually working as the commercial editor.  He then worked as editor of the Geelong Advertiser and later the Ararat Advertiser.  After a short time in Melbourne again, George went to Stawell and acted as that town’s correspondent for The Argus.

In his later years, George’s irritability increased and he lost many of his old friends.  In the end, he was living in a one-roomed cottage on the corner of Houston Street and Glenorchy Road, Stawell. His favourite quote was from Englishman Thomas Hood, “When he is forsaken, withered and shaken, what can an old man do but wither and die?” It was a sad, lonely death with George’s body discovered by the postman.  An inquest found although it was clear he had fallen out of bed and hit his head, the primary reason for death was starvation.

Jean ROBERTSON – Died 11 February 1895 at Geelong.  Jean Robertson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and arrived in Australia aboard the John Bull in 1840 with her parents. Her father Thomas Robertson took up Mount Mitchell Station near Ballarat. On board the John Bull, Jean had met William Skene and they went on to marry in 1843.

Once married, William became a partner in Mount Mitchell and Jean and William lived there until 1850 when they moved to Strathkellar near Hamilton, residing at the property William named Skene. William was elected as representative for the Western Province in the Legislative Council of Victoria and remained in the role until 1876. On retirement, the Skenes moved to Bell Park, Geelong, but William died the following year. Skene was sold in 1881 to Jean’s brother John. She remained in Geelong until her death.  Jean was interred in the Skene family vault at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

skene4

SKENE FAMILY VAULT, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

Reverend John Kennedy MacMillan – Died 9 February 1904 at Hamilton.  John MacMillan was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1832, a son of a clergyman.  He went to high school in Edinburgh and then university at age thirteen, graduating when he was seventeen. John began his clergy training in 1850 and was then an assistant at St George’s Church, Paisley, Scotland for around two years.  With a demand for clergymen in Australia, John left Scotland in 1858, taking up an appointment at Beechworth.  In the same year, he married Janet Manson Clarke.  John was appointed to Hamilton’s Presbyterian Church (below) in 1869. During his time there, the church and manse were both expanded.

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

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

While in Hamilton, John MacMillan sat on the committee of the Hamilton Hospital including time as President and was part of the development of Hamilton College and Alexandra Ladies’ College.  He was also involved with the Hamilton Mechanics Institute. At the time of his death, John MacMillan left his widow, Janet and eight children. A lengthy report of John’s funeral is available on the link Hamilton Spectator 13 February 1904.

Reverend Samuel FRASER – Died 27 February 1914 at Terang.  Samuel Fraser was born in Ross-shire Scotland around 1844 and attended the University of Aberdeen where he obtained a Master of Arts.  He studied theology at New College, Edinburgh and was granted a license to preach in 1869.  The following year Samuel arrived in Australia and Terang soon after that on a month’s trial.  His first sermon was on 1 July 1870.  A month turned into forty-four years in Terang for Samuel. In 1875, Samuel married Jane Hamilton, daughter of Reverend Hamilton of Mortlake and they had two sons and four daughters.  In 1894, a new church opened, the Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church (below).  At the time of Samuel’s death, he was the only Presbyterian Minister in Victoria to have stayed in the one location for over forty years.

J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234278

THOMPSON MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, TERANG. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234278

James Robinson WOODS – Died 2 February 1915 at Portland.  James Woods was born in Tasmania around 1849 and attended Horton College there. On arriving in Victoria, he worked for the Union Bank in Melbourne for some years. before joining merchants Grant & Co. of Port Fairy.  From there, James went to Portland in 1877  to set up an outlet of Grant & Co. in Julia Street. He then started his own business as a shipping agent and auctioneer.  In 1888, James married Margaret Robertson Cameron.  He next went into partnership with Mr A. R. Balfour on the corner of Percy and Henty Street.  James sat on the Portland Council for over thirty years and was Mayor several times. He played a large role in the resurrection of the Portland harbour and organising the Henty Jubilee.  James also sat on the hospital board and was a member of the racing club.  He left his widow Margaret, two sons and one daughter at the time of his death.

John McCORMACK  Died 2 February 1916 at Hamilton.  John McCormack was born in Limerick, Ireland around 1856.  He was a builder and had arrived in the Hamilton district around 1907 having previously lived in Geelong.  John first worked at Sleat Bank near Yulecart and then on the construction of the grandstand at Melville Oval, officially opened in 1910.

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GRANDSTAND, MELVILLE OVAL, HAMILTON

John also worked on the construction of the Cavendish Railway Station.  He was living at Cavendish at the time of his death but had stayed in Hamilton for two nights to finish a job.  On Wednesday 2 February he called at the home of Mr W. Taggert in Thompson Street for lunch.  He had only taken a few bites when he died at the dining table.  John left three daughters who lived in Geelong at the time of his death.

Catherine RYAN – Died 4 February 1916 at Port Fairy.  Catherine was born in County Clare, Ireland around 1844. She married Thomas Maloney and they arrived in Port Fairy around 1865 on the Chariot of Fame, settling at Yambuk.  Catherine and Thomas went on to have fourteen children but Thomas died in 1891 aged forty-eight.  Catherine remained at Yambuk for a further twenty years before moving to Port Fairy to live with her son Dan Maloney in James Street.

Mary CAMERON – Died 2 February 1929 at Camperdown.  Mary Cameron was born around 1839 on the Isle of Bute, Scotland and arrived in Victoria in 1852, living at Modewarre, near Geelong, In 1884, with her husband Donald McRae and family, they moved to Port Campbell.  When they arrived in Port Campbell it looked like the sketch below.  Donald was active in town affairs and he and Mary attended the local Presbyterian Church. Donald died in 1913 and Mary went to live with various members of her family.  She left eight children at the time of her death.  Mary was buried at the Port Campbell Cemetery.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/253483

PORT CAMPBELL 1884. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/253483

Catherine Isabella McKEAN Died 3 February 1941 at Newfield.  Catherine was born around 1866 at Lucky Woman’s, a gold mining settlement south-west of Ballarat.  As a child, her parents moved to Cobden then, when she was eight they moved to Port Campbell. Like Mary Cameron (above), the Port Campbell Catherine grew up in was similar to the sketch above.  In 1887, Catherine married Moreland Magilton. They lived at Cowley’s Creek briefly before returning to Port Campbell.  Moreland died around 1938.  At the time of her death, Catherine left five sons and five daughters, twenty-four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Anne Josephine Selina LEMPRIERE – Died 12 February 1943 at Melbourne.  Annie Lempriere was born around 1863 at St Kilda. In 1888, she married Cecil Trevor Cooke, formerly of Condah but then of Murndal, west of Hamilton.  The wedding was held at St Mary’s Church Caulfield on 22 August 1888. From the time of their marriage until 1902, Anne and Cecil lived at Murndal as Cecil was managing the property.  His brother Samuel Winter Cooke had inherited Murndal from their uncle Samuel Pratt Winter.

MURNDAL.

MURNDAL HOMESTEAD.

In 1902, the family moved to the Clondrisse Estate at Flinders then to Abshot Estate, Korumburra around 1917. Cecil died in 1922 at South Yarra. Anne left three sons, two daughters and nine grandchildren at the time of her death.  She was buried at Murndal’s cemetery.

The photo below shows Annie and her son William Lempriere Winter Cooke.  William was born in 1892 so this photo would be from around 1894.  William served as a Captain with the 4th Battalion during WW1. While at Gallipoli, he collected acorns from a prickly oak growing on the island. He sent them home and the acorns were planted at Murndal and his former school, Geelong Grammar.  More than one hundred years later the descendants of those trees are being planted across Victoria as part of the Gallipoli Oaks project. After the death of Samuel Winter Cooke in 1929, William inherited  Murndal.

c1900 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/334496

ANNIE LEMPRIERE WITH HER SON WILLIAM LEMPRIERE WINTER COOKE c1894, Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/334496

Christopher HUMPHREYS – Died  13 February 1943 at Kew.  Christopher Humphreys was born around 1863 at Koroit and married Maria Jane Johnston in 1884.  He was the licensee of the Otway Hotel in Warrnambool during the 1890s, before taking over the Farmer’s Rest Hotel in Warrnambool in the late 1890s.  Christopher enjoyed horse racing and was the owner of the steeplechaser Euro, winner of the 1898 Grand Annual Steeple at Warrnambool and the Great Eastern Steeple at Oakbank. He also won the Bendigo Cup with Miss Gower in 1911.

"WARRNAMBOOL RACE WEEK." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 7 May 1898: 25. Web. 23 Feb 2017 .

“WARRNAMBOOL RACE WEEK.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 7 May 1898: 25. Web. 23 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138666284&gt;.

Christopher retired from the Farmer’s Rest Hotel in 1928 and moved to Melbourne. Maria died on 23 December 1942 and Christopher died less than two months later. They had seven children but only a son and three daughters were living at the time of his death.

Mary O’DONNELL Died 18 February 1951 at Warrnambool.  Mary was born in 1850 at Kilbane, County Clare, Ireland.  She arrived in Victoria in 1870 with her parents and they settled at Yambuk.  In 1884, Mary married Michael Ryan.  They moved to Gippsland briefly then to Melbourne where they ran a green grocers at 27 Spencer Street, Melbourne. Their marriage was brief as Michael died in 1886.  Mary then married Yambuk local Michael Gleeson in 1890 and she returned to Yambuk.  Mary was buried at the Yambuk Cemetery.

gleeson2

HEADSTONE OF MARY GLEESON (nee O’DONNELL) YAMBUK CEMETERY.

Edward ADAMS – Died 23 February 1952 at Cobden.  Edward Adams was born at Cobden around 1864.  He first worked as a road contractor then took up dairy farming.  In 1904, Edward married Elizabeth Richards and they had two sons.  Edward was a member of the Cobden Turf Club, Cobden Football Club and the IOOF Lodge.

William TARRANT – Died 6 February 1946 at Cobden.  William Tarrant was born in a tent at Camperdown around 1856 and for twenty-nine years drove coaches for E.J.Morehouse & Sons of Cobden.  He did runs from Camperdown to Princetown and Peterborough and mail runs on other routes.  On weekends, he drove a four-horse drag to football matches.  Another more grizzly task he undertook was transporting bodies from the coast to Camperdown or Cobden in the event of a fatal shipwreck.

"Death of Mr. W. (Bill) Tarrant" Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954) 15 February 1946: 3 (Afternoons.). Web. 23 Feb 2017 .

“Death of Mr. W. (Bill) Tarrant” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 15 February 1946: 3 (Afternoons.). Web. 23 Feb 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65435134&gt;.

In 1882, William married Mary Sarah Harding and they had three children.  Mary died in 1929 and the following year William married Agnes Elliott of Cobden.  After he retired from coach driving, William began a wood carting business.  He enjoyed fishing and tending his garden in Curdie Street Cobden.  He had a good sense of humour and quick wit and could tell a good yarn.

Passing of the Pioneers

Ten pioneers join the Pioneer Obituary Index this month and an interesting group they are.  Previously I have mentioned how bringing the monthly pioneers together revels things they have in common. This month it’s the name Alan/Allan.  There are three pioneers bearing the moniker this month, two of whom were given it as a second name but preferred it over their first.  A reminder that all underlined words are links to further information about the subject.

James WIGGINS – Died 21 October 1896 at Hamilton.  James Wiggins was born in Launceston, Tasmania on 23 February 1833 and arrived at Portland with his parents in 1840.  In the early 1850s, James headed to the goldfields around Eaglehawk before giving up and going to Drysdale near Geelong where he and his brother John purchased the Buck’s Head Hotel for £6000. It was there James met recently widowed Jane Blastock (nee Fountain) from Hamilton, ten years older than himself.  At the time, James was a cross-country rider but Jane did not approve, so on the day before they married in 1859, James rode in and won his last steeplechase.

The couple soon moved to Hamilton, taking up residence at Sandal on Digby Road overlooking the Grange Burn.  James turned to farming with root crops his main priority.  He was also elected to the Dundas Shire and was president for a time.   James was on the first Hamilton Borough Council formed in 1863. As Mayor on 24 May 1872, James laid the foundation stone (below) for the first Hamilton Town Hall in Gray Street.

044-2

FOUNDATION STONE OF HAMILTON’S FIRST TOWN HALL. IT IS NOW LOCATED ON THE SIDE WALL OF THE HAMILTON PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE.

At the time, James expressed disappointment funds wouldn’t allow for a bigger structure.  Fourteen years after James’ death, in 1910 a new, grander Town Hall was opened in Brown Street to replace the original building (below)

Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/765800

HAMILTONS FIRST TOWN HALL IN GRAY STREET. Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au

As a young man, James excelled at competitive sport. He was a “one of the best and boldest footballers” and could “wield the willow as well as most up-country players”.  He also participated in competitive walking and the aforementioned cross-country riding.  After his vow not to ride, James instead owned and bred horses and sat on the Hamilton Racing Club committee.  He also had an interest in greyhound racing.  James was for a time president of the Hamilton Cricket Club and the Hamilton Bowling Club and was a bowls champion. He was a member of the Hamilton Pastoral and Agriculture Society and won many prizes for his roses at flower shows. James received the Commission of the Peace and when he died was, along with David Laidlaw, the most senior Justice of the Peace in the town and was a respected for his attention to detail as a Magistrate. James’ wife Jane lived on for a further five years after his death.  They had no children.

Caroline Agnes HENTY – Died 1 October 1914 at Merino.  Caroline Henty was born in 1849 at Portland, a daughter of Francis Henty and Mary Ann Lawrence.  She grew up at Merino Downs, the large pastoral run of her father.  In 1889, Francis Henty died and left Caroline his property in Portland including Claremont (below).

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CLAREMONT, PORTLAND

Also, Merino Downs  was split three ways and shared between Francis’ daughters Louise, Alice and Caroline. The following year when Caroline was around forty, she married Alexander Magnus MacLeod at Holy Trinity Church, Kew.

"Family Notices" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 22 August 1890: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8429127

“Family Notices” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 22 August 1890: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8429127

The marriage set tongues wagging and the difference in age questioned along with Alexanders’s worthiness to marry a woman of high status.  Alexander was in fact only two years older than Caroline and was himself from good standing. His father John McLeod was a member of Victoria’s Legislative Assembly and owned several large properties including Castlemaddie at  Tyrendarra.

"Personal." The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 - 1950) 30 August 1890: 3. .

“Personal.” The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950) 30 August 1890: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86271136&gt;.

Caroline and Alexander’s first daughter Caroline Agnes MacLeod was born at Hawthorn in 1892 and in 1894, Alexandra Frances MacLeod at Albert Park.  In 1901, Caroline and Alexander built Talisker on Caroline’s share of Merino Downs and they took up residence there.

TALISKER, MERINO 1901. Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766380

TALISKER, MERINO 1901. Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766380

In 1910, Alexander and Caroline were staying at Melbourne’s Menzies Hotel when Alexander died on 19 July aged sixty-four. Caroline returned to Talisker and died there four years later and buried at the Merino Cemetery. Applications for Probate for Caroline and Alexander’s estates were lodged in December 1914, and the joint worth of the couple was a tidy sum for the times.

"Wills and Estates" Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954) 12 December 1914: .

“Wills and Estates” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 12 December 1914: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132723107&gt;.

In 1959 for the purpose of a Red Cross fundraiser, Caroline’s gowns and even her “unmentionables” were displayed by her descendants.  You can see the photos from the Australian Women’s Weekly on the link –  Caroline’s Gowns

Alan McCALLUM – Died October 1914 at Dandenong. Alan McCallum arrived at Cavendish in the early 1860s and worked on stations around the area as overseer and station manager.  He then purchased the Cavendish Hotel and general store and spent time on the Dundas Shire Council.  Alan then sold up and went to Heywood, operating the Commercial Hotel for several years.  He then went to Hamilton taking up the lease on the Prince of Wales Hotel in Thompson Street.  He was soon on the move again, operating a store in Cobden for two years before returning to Hamilton where he remained until 1913. He then moved to Dandenong to live with his sister and remained there until his death the following year.

Emala ILIFFE  – Died 29 October 1915 at Koroit.  Emala Iliffe was born in Warwickshire around 1826.  She came to Australia with her husband Ephraim Brittain in 1855 arriving at Port Fairy aboard the Samarang with a three-year old son Charles and baby Jane.  They spent two years at Port Fairy before moving to Koroit where they remained for the rest of their lives.  They went on to have a total of seven sons and six daughters. Emala attended the Koroit Methodist Church (below).

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63789

KOROIT METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63789

Ephraim died in 1904.  At the time of Emala’s death, she had sixty-eight grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. Six of her grandsons enlisted for WW1.  

Michael MUGAVIN – Died October 1916 at Crossley.  Michael Mugavin was born in Ireland around 1832 and arrived in Australia sometime between the mid 1850s to 1860s.  Michael and his wife Mary Lineen settled in the Crossley area.  Michael had early success as a farmer, becoming quite prosperous.  He was described as having a “…quiet and inoffensive disposition, honest and thrifty”.  He had a son and four daughters, one of whom was a Catholic nun with the Convent of Mercy at Warrnambool.  Requiem mass was held for Michael at the St Brigid’s Catholic Church at Crossley and he was buried in the Tower Hill Cemetery.

Sarah Ann HICKS – Died 16 October 1918 at Mortlake.  Sarah Hicks was born near Bristol, England in 1844 and arrived at Melbourne in 1863 aboard the Princess Royal with her cousin Mr Fielding.  They then travelled to Logan Station at Mount Elephant near Derrinallum.  In 1864, Sarah married William Whitson and they selected land at Mortlake.  They had a large family of twelve. Despite failing health, Sarah contributed greatly to the Red Cross during WW1.

Catherine MEAGHER – Died 24 October 1918 at Hamilton. Catherine Meagher was born in County Tipperary in 1841 and travelled to Australia when she was fifteen with her parents aboard the Clara, arriving at Portland. After a short time, she went to South Australia to live remaining there around five years.  She then moved to Hamilton where she married Henry Anslow in 1866. They settled on Mill Road and lived there until their deaths. Henry died in 1908. Catherine’s funeral left Hamilton’s St Mary’s Catholic church for the Hamilton Cemetery.

James Allan LEARMONTH – Died 29 October 1928 at Hamilton. James Learmonth better known as Allan, was born at Merino Downs in 1856, a son of Peter Learmonth and Mary Pearson.  By 1859, the Learmonths had taken up residence at Prestonholme, beside the Grange Burn on the eastern side of Hamilton.  Allan attended Wesley College and gained his matriculation.  He then went to work for Andrew Rowan, a Melbourne merchant.

By 1879, Allan was back in the Hamilton district, running his father’s flour mill at Penshurst but his life almost ended soon after. In April of that year, Allan was in the mill’s engine room, leaning on the bed of the boiler and about to start the engine when the boiler exploded, sending it twenty yards away from its base.  Allan was found lying under bluestone, lucky to be alive. The full account of the explosion is on the following link to The ArgusPenshurst Mill Explosion.

In 1881, it was decided Allan and Stanley would travel to Mexico to run their father’s 82,000 acre share of Nacimiento Ranch purchased by David McKellar of Strathkellar. The Learmonths share was called La Mariposa.

"Items of News." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 6 December 1881: .

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 6 December 1881: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226060700&gt;.

Allan left for Mexico with a heavy heart as he was leaving behind his sweetheart Annie Thomson, a daughter of James Thomson of Monivae, south of Hamilton.  On 2 August 1882, Allan wrote a letter home of his first impressions of the “mystic land”, published in the Hamilton Spectator of 28 September 1882 under the headline – News From Mexico.  Allan’s letters were regularly published in the Spectator during his time there.

Although several years had passed, Allan and Annie’s love remained strong and in 1886, Allan returned from Mexico to marry her.  The wedding was a large social occasion and sparked much interest within the Hamilton community.

"The Portland Guardian," Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 3 September 1886: 2 (EVENING.). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63406515

“The Portland Guardian,” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 3 September 1886: 2 (EVENING.). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63406515

Allan returned to Mexico with Annie and they remained there until 1892, arriving back in Australia with four children, all born in Mexico.  Allan then took up the running of  Corea near Dunkeld. The following year, his father Peter Learmonth died and Allan took over Prestonholme.  There he built up one of the best flocks of Lincoln sheep in the state.  An all round sportsmen, Allan participated in cricket, golf and bowls.  At the time of his death, Allan left three sons and three daughters.  Annie died two years later and was buried with Allan at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

 

learmonth6

HEADSTONE OF JAMES ALLAN LEARMONTH AND ANNIE THOMSON, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

Highly recommended further reading on the Learmonths is the book Mariposa:  A Story of the Learmonths of Western Victoria and Mexico, 1834-1930 by Anita Macdonald available from the Hamilton History Centre.

Samuel KING – Died 29 October 1940 at Cobden.  Samuel King was born around 1870 and went to the Cobden district around the age of twenty.  Taking up a life on the land, he soon became a renown breeder of Southdown sheep and Hereford cattle.  That led to show judging with Samuel well known in all states of Australia for his good eye for livestock. He was among the oldest members of the Hereford Cattle Breeder’s Association and the Society of Breeders of British Sheep.  Samuel was also a Councillor on the Heytesbury Shire for three years in the 1920s.  Samuel left a family of five sons and two daughters.  He is pictured below with two of his sons and a grandson.

"DEATH OF WELL KNOWN SHEEP JUDGE" Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954) 21 November 1940: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92400968

“DEATH OF WELL KNOWN SHEEP JUDGE” Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954) 21 November 1940: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92400968

Henry Alan CURRIE – Died 10 October 1942 at Burrumbeet. Henry Currie was born around 1868 at Geelong, a son of John Lang Currie of Larra, Camperdown.  Better known as Alan, he attended Melbourne Grammar School and then Melbourne University studying engineering.  He then joined the Victorian Board of Works as a surveyor with the Western Australian Public Works Department working on providing water to Kalgoorlie. After returning from Western Australia, Alan managed Mt Elephant Station near Derrinallum for his father until John Currie’s death in 1896 when Alan inherited the property.

During WW1, Alan served with the Royal Field Artillery, suffered wounds several times and was awarded a Military Medal. After his return from war in 1920, Alan sold Mt Elephant and purchased Ercildoune Estate at Burrumbeet.  He also developed a group settlement scheme for returned serviceman.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/283228

ERCILDOUNE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/283228

At Ercildoune, Alan became a renowned breeder of Merino sheep owning the only flock with descendants of John Macarthur’s Merinos. Alan’s interest in horse racing began while still at Mt Elephant.  He owned Mala a champion two and three-year old and a winner of the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington in 1910.  His horses also won the Grand National Steeple and Grand National Hurdle. Such was his passion, he even purchased a thoroughbred while on leave in England during WW1.  Alan was elected to the committee of the Victorian Amateur Turf Club in 1909 and was chairman in 1910.  He resigned from the committee because of the war but returned in the 1920s, and was later was chairman.  In 1937, Alan Currie was knighted.  Five years later Alan died at Ercildoune and was buried at Learmonth cemetery.  There is more information on Alan in his Australian Dictionary of Biography entry on the link – Sir Henry Alan Currie