Passing of the Pioneers

The first of the pioneer obituaries for 2021, a year which also marks the 10th birthday of Passing of the Pioneers in July.   There won’t be a Passing of the Pioneers post next month because I’m aiming to do an all-female version in March for Women’s History Month, and another in April as part of the Western District Families’ 10th birthday celebrations.  April is the month with the smallest number of published pioneer obituaries.  Since 2015 my time leading up to April has been spent writing posts for Hamilton’s WW1 in preparation for Anzac Day and the Passing of the Pioneers post has missed out.  I’m going to make a special effort to get some April obituaries out for what will be the 80th edition of Passing of the Pioneers.

This month there are ten obituaries including the wife of a Baptist minister and a successful racehorse trainer from Warrnambool.  Don’t forget to click on the underlined text which will take you to more information about a subject. 

WALTERS, Hugh Oxenham – Died 10 January 1891 at Warrayure.  Hugh Walter was born in England around 1821.  He married Jane Walter in Devon in 1845 and they started their family.  In 1853, they left England for Australia, settling in the Geelong district. Around the late 1860s, Hugh took up land at Warrayure, east of Hamilton.  He named his property  Devon Farm.  There he bred high-quality long-wooled sheep and purebred poultry, Hugh’s wife Jane died in 1877 aged fifty-three.  Hugh remarried to Mary Houston in 1879. 

Hugh was described as a “quiet, unassuming man”.  Away from his farm, he enjoyed showing sheep and poultry, and with much success. In 1887, at the Horsham Grand National Show, for example, Hugh’s sheep won three first prizes and two second prizes, and his poultry, four first prizes, and three second prizes.  He also enjoyed ploughing competitions and was a member of the Hamilton Farmers’ Union.

Hugh was sixty-nine at the time of his death leaving his widow Mary and eight children, four sons, and four daughters. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  

KEARNEY, Mary – Died 27 January 1892 at Hamilton.  Mary Kearney was born in Ireland around 1834 She married Michael Cummins and they settled in the Warrnambool and Port Fairy districts. In 1864, a daughter was born at Byaduk south of Hamilton. Michael Cummins died in the same year leaving Mary with young children. The following year, 1865, a Mrs Cummins applied to the Hamilton Hospital and Benevolent Asylum for assistance. She was given an allowance for groceries but was told nothing more could be done for her.   

In 1872, Mary married William Arnott of South Hamilton and a son was born that year. On 27 January 1892, Mary was visiting her old friend Mrs Bloomfield.  While they admired Mrs Bloomfield’s garden, Mary suffered an apoplectic fit. She died two days later at the age of fifty-eight. Mary was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF MARY ARNOTT (nee KEARNEY), HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

SEYMOUR, Robert – Died 15 January 1896 at Glendinning. Robert Seymour was born around 1831.  He was the manager of the Spring Hill station north of Harrow from the late 1860s. In 1871, he married Mary Johnstone Dunn Beath, a daughter of David Beath the first storekeeper at The Grange (later known as Hamilton).  A child was born in Horsham in 1875 and in the same year it was reported in the Hamilton Spectator Robert was very sick and his recovery looked unlikely.  

Around 1882, Robert took over the management of the Glendinning station near Balmoral. During his time there, he collected samples of stream tin or alluvial tin. Other landholders in the district had also discovered stream tin, giving a group of men hopes gold and other minerals may have been present in the district. In 1892, Robert and others including Messrs Horwitz and Rippon from Hamiton formed a company to undertake further exploration. Robert died in 1896 at the age of sixty-five.  He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. 

GRAVE OF ROBERT SEYMOUR, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

HUTTON, Thomas – Died 5 January 1900 at Penshurst.  Thomas Hutton was born in Hobart in 1843. Around 1846, having heard of good grazing land in the colony of Victoria his father David travelled to Portland. He leased part of the Purdeet run near Mt Rouse (Penshurst) and the family moved to Victoria to join him.  David bought Purdeet in 1851 and changed the name to Cheviot Hills. Thomas was educated at Hamilton under Mr Moss and Cavendish under Mr Elliot, the headteacher at the local National School.

On finishing school, Thomas went to Port Fairy where he is older brother George was a general merchant. Thomas eventually went in partnership with him. He was still taking an interest in farming at Penshurst in partnership with his brother William in the property Gazette station. During that time, Thomas and William built a woolshed on the property, still in use today William died in 1869.

Advertising (1865, March 11). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194470503

Thomas was very active in public affairs at Port Fairy.  Like his brother, he was a member of the Port Fairy Borough Council and Mayor from November 1875 until July 1876.  His brother George Hutton was Mayor from 1872-1874. Thomas was also a Lieutenant with the local battery of the Garrison Artillery. He was also a member of the Masonic lodge. 

David Hutton died in 1875 and Thomas went back to Cheviot Hills to join his brother John in its running. He married Jean Mason in 1878, the eldest daughter of Captain Mason of Port Fairy.  David and Jean and their family lived at Eden, a home build on the Cheviot Hills property.

In 1884, Thomas donated a row of Norfolk pines for planting on the western side of Sackville Street, Port Fairy (at right in the photo below).

NORFOLK PINES IN SACKVILLE STREET, PORT FAIRY c1960, Photographer: Lillian Powling. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95732

During the 1880s, Thomas was on the Penshurst railway committee. He was also a Justice of the Peace and secretary to the managers and committee of the Penshurst Presbyterian Church for many years. In 1889. Thomas became a Mount Rouse Shire councillor. He went on to serve twice as President, in 1893-94 and 1896-97.     

FORMER MT ROUSE SHIRE OFFICES, PENSHURST, 1968. Image courtesy of the John T. Collins Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233458

Thomas died in January 1900 at the age of fifty-six leaving his widow Jean, three sons, and two daughters.  He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery. Jean died on 19 October 1925 at Hawthorn.

SINCLAIR, Jane Roderick – Died 5 January 1900 at Casterton. Janes Sinclair was born in  Glasgow around 1822 and arrived in Australia in the 1850s. She married Baptist Reverend Ebenezer Henderson in 1861 at Morpeth near Hinton, New South Wales.  Ebenezer had arrived at Hinton in February 1861 after an invitation for him to be the pastor of the Hinton Baptist Church.  He was a widower with a son and daughter and had previously been in Geelong. Ebenezer resigned his position in September 1867 and by the early 1870s, the Hendersons were in Warrnambool. In 1873, Ebenezer accepted the position of pastor at the Hamilton Baptist Church. 

FORMER HAMILTON BAPTIST CHURCH.

Jane helped out with the Baptist Sunday School. She was also an active member of the Hamilton Ladies Benevolent Society. The group gave her a send-off in 1891 when it was decided the Hendersons would leave Hamilton due to Ebenezer’s failing health. It was said at the send-off, Jane was always available to help someone in need.  The couple was also given a send-off by the Baptist Church community in August 1891.

The Hendersons took up residence in Kew, however, things did not go well. Jane had a fall while stepping from the train.  Also, Ebenezer’s health didn’t improve and medical advice suggested the climate in Hamilton may be better than in Melbourne. The news the Hendersons were returning was announced in the Spectator in March 1893.  They eventually moved to Casterton to live with Ebenezer’s daughter Mary Hughes.    

Jane died at Casterton in January 1900 at the age of seventy-eight.  Her remains were transported from  Casterton to Hamilton by train and she was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF JANE HENDERSON (nee SINCLAIR), HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Ebenezer died in 1904 at Casterton, the oldest Baptist pastor in Australia. In 1918, the Hamilton Baptist Church unveiled a memorial pulpit dedicated to Ebenezer.  Jane was remembered. She “was well-beloved, and it was due to her loving care that he (Rev. Henderson) was so long sparred. She helped all who were in sorrow.”

No title (1902, December 13). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 9. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221241039

FOLEY, Thomas Nicholas – Died 28 January 1913 at Hamilton. Thomas Foley was born at Coleraine in 1867. His father Cornelius was the manager at the nearby Mt Koroite station, something he would do for thirty-five years.  In 1891, Thomas married Margaret Maria O’Hagan and they settled at Coleraine and started a family.  They were living on the Cavendish Road and Thomas was breeding and showing pigs.  In 1903, Thomas took up the freehold and license of the Hamilton Inn in Lonsdale Street, Hamilton from Mary Meagher.

DOYLE’S HAMILTON INN, LATER FOLEY’S HAMILTON INN. FORMERLY IN LONSDALE STREET, HAMILTON, C1880 Image no. B 21766/53 Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/53

His brothers were also in the hotel trade with Cornelius Jr the licensee of the National Hotel at Coleraine and John, the licensee of the Hermitage Hotel at Harrow.  Thomas had the entire premises renovated on purchase of the inn.

Advertising (1903, November 24). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226112992

Thomas has a keen interest in sport particularly coursing.  His dogs were runners up several times at the Commonwealth Stake at Camperdown. He also enjoyed football and often donated trophies to the local league.  Thomas was a staunch supporter of the Labor party and a member of the Australian Natives Association (ANA).  In January 1912, Thomas transferred the license of the Hamilton Inn to Jemima Grogan but retained the freehold.

On 23 January 1913, Thomas, by then living in Coleraine Road, Hamilton suddenly fell ill and there were fears for his life. It was reported in the Hamilton Spectator the following day he was suffering from heart failure.  The next day, the Hamiton Spectator was happy to report Thomas was out of danger.  His health failed again and he died on 28 January.  Thomas left his widow Margaret, and a young family of three boys, and four girls. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. 

In 1914, Jemima Grogan moved on from the Hamilton Inn and the hotel was put up for sale.

Advertising (1914, March 28). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119826027

In 1917, Thomas and Margaret’s son Cornelius was killed in Belgium.  A memorial to him was added to the Foley headstone at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF THOMAS FOLEY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

UEBERGANG, Charles – Died 18 January 1918 at Warrnambool. Charles Ubergang was born in  Marzdorf, Silesia, Prussia around 1828. Military service was compulsory for young men but Charles was found to be unfit for service.  Around the age of twenty-one, he made his way to Australia.  His obituary states he took the ship Flying Fish to Adelaide arriving in 1848, However, Shipping Intelligence from the time, and printed in the South Australian Register, show a Charles Ubergang arrived via the ship Alfred from Hamburg, arriving on 6 December 1848. Rather than go overland to Victoria, Charles caught a boat sailing from Adelaide via Tasmania.  He made his way to the Warrnambool district and spent time there as a carrier, taking goods to the goldfields.  He was living in Purnim in 1853 when he was naturalised, giving him the rights of a citizen of the colony.  He married in 1854 to Augusta Klose

In 1855, Charles selected land close to the junction of the Hopkins River and the Mt Emu Creek, east of Warrnambool. It was there in 1862 when his sister-in-law was bitten by a snake. Despite the efforts of Charles and a doctor to save her, she died as a result.  Around 1893, Charles moved into Warrnambool and took up residence in Raglan Street. Augusta died in 1917 and Charles lived only months after, dying on 18 January 1918 at the age of ninety.  He left three sons and four daughters and was buried at the Warrnambool Cemetery.

JESSUP, Elvina – Died January 1920 at Warrnambool.  Elvina Jessup was born in 1849 in Norfolk, England, and arrived in Portland with her parents in 1852 when she was three years old. Her father Walter became a police constable in the town.  In 1869, Elvina married Benjamin Jewell and they went on to have nine children at Casterton  They later moved to Allansford where Benjamin died in 1896.  At the time of her death, Elvina left a sister, seven children, twenty grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She was seventy-four.

SAVIN, William – Died January 1924 at Portland. William Savin was born at Launton, Oxfordshire England around 1843. He arrived with his parents Samuel and Hannah at Portland in 1853 aboard the ship Eliza.  The family first went to the Crawford estate near Condah where Samuel had work.  They then moved further north to Muddy Creek, south of Hamilton where Samuel took up land.  

MEMBERS OF THE SAVIN FAMILY ON THE BANKS OF MUDDY CREEK c1885. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/772275

William married Elizabeth Addinsall in 1865. He later took up land with his brothers in the Macarthur district.  He retired to Portland around 1899.  There he was involved with the Portland bowling and golf clubs. Elizabeth died in 1912 and the following year, William remarried to Theresa Lear.  At the time of his death, he left his widow Theresa and his three daughters from his marriage to Elizabeth.

CONNELLY, Henry ‘Harry’ – Died January 1940 at Warrnambool. Harry Connelly was born at Yangary in 1866.  First sitting on a horse as a baby, Henry started his career as a jockey as a young boy, winning races in the country and Melbourne. He also spent time living in Sydney where he rode more winners. Harry later turned to training horses and his first big success came in 1900 with the horse Aquarius winning the VRC Grand National Hurdle,  That win helped him get more clients and for the next twenty-six years, he had a successful training career.  He would spend the winter and spring at Caulfield then return to his Warrnambool stable at the Warrnambool racecourse for summer and the autumn.  In 1909, he trained Aberdeen to third in the Melbourne Cup, 

Harry married Agnes Lucas in 1890. Two of their sons followed Harry into the racing game, with Joseph and Robert becoming jockeys.  They rode for Harry as Robert did in 1918 when he rode Cobram, owned and trained by Harry, to a win in the Grand National Steeplechase. Henry’s grandson was photographed on the horse after the win. 

HARRY CONNELLY TRAINS HORSES ENGAGED IN NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (1921, May 28). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 4 (SPORTING EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article242503979

It was said Harry was camera shy but newspaper photographers managed to capture him several times, particularly at the Warrnambool May Carnival.  He was a fixture at Warrnambool meeting and he didn’t miss a Warrnambool winter meeting for fifty years.

WESTERN DISTRICT TRAINER DEAD (1940, February 3). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 55. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225983711

   

Harry at the races in Melbourne in 1919.

 

SNAPPED AT MELBOURNE RACE MEETINGS (1919, December 6). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 18.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222567323

Harry (left) at the Warrnambool May Carnival in May 1921 with Robert Hood, one of his long-time owners.

RACING AT WARRNAMBOOL (Victoria), MAY 3, 4, and 5. (1921, May 14). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 48.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140258819

Harry (left) at the 1929 Warrnambool May Carnival.

SOME WARRNAMBOOL PERSONALITIES. (1929, May 11). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 25 (METROPOLITAN EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141392076

Harry at the 1936 Warrnambool May Carnival in 1936, four years before his death.

WARRNAMBOOL (V.) RACE WEEK (1936, May 16). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 27 (METROPOLITAN EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141773372

Harry died in 1940 leaving three sons and two daughters.  An extensive article about Harry’s racing career and the horses he trained can be found on the link to the Sporting Globe –        http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article178135059

Passing of the Pioneers

One of the best things about finishing a Passing of the Pioneers post is adding the new pioneers to the Pioneer Obituary Index.  If they have family already in the index, I link them up. When you look at the index, you will see parents, siblings, spouses, aunties, uncles, and/or cousins listed beside some of the pioneers. It’s to make it easier for you if you come across a relative in the index. There will be some linking to do now I’ve finished this post.  Previous passing pioneers Alice Sandry will “reunite” with her husband, Mary Ann Skilbeck with her brother, and David Hutton will have his son join him.  Don’t forget to click on underlined text throughout the post to read more information about a subject.

WYLIE, James Roxburgh – Died 20 May 1876 at Hamilton. James Wylie was born in Scotland around 1843, a son of Hugh Wylie and Margaret Roxburgh.  He attended the University of Glasgow where he studied medicine. After some time as an assistant physician in Glasgow, he took a position as a staff surgeon with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), in Alexandria, Egypt. It was during the time of a cholera epidemic in 1865-6.

JAMES AND MARY WYLIE c1872. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/402115

By 1867, James had travelled to Batavia in the Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia) remaining for three years.  In 1868, he married Mary Thompson in Singapore and their first child Charles was born in Batavia in 1870.  The Wylies arrived in Melbourne later that year, 

A listing in the Government Gazette in late 1870, revealed James had been added to the list of legally qualified Medical Officers in Victoria.  James, Mary, and baby Charles then proceeded to Hamilton where James took over the practice of Dr. Jenkins at the Manor House while Jenkins travelled to England.

THE MANOR HOUSE, HAMILTON

Advertising (1871, April 19). Hamilton Spectator , p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196305691

Dr Jenkins returned and needed his home back so James moved his family and practice to a cottage on Gray Street opposite the post office.

Advertising (1871, July 12). Hamilton Spectator p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196306880

His time in Hamilton was short but James left a lasting legacy, Roxburgh House in Thompson Street. Tenders from builders were called for in the latter half of 1873.

Advertising (1873, September 10). Hamilton Spectator, p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226074995

William Holden and William Dunn won the tender and began work. The Wylie family was able to take up residence in mid-1874.

Advertising (1874, August 22). Hamilton Spectator p. 2.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226076370

Roxburgh House still stands today.

ROXBURGH HOUSE

In 1874, James was appointed deputy Coroner of Victoria acting from Hamilton and was appointed as the Public Vaccinator for Victoria. Away from medicine, James was on the committee of Hamilton’s Alexandra Ladies’ College (below).

ALEXANDRA LADIES’ COLLEGE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399135

James and Mary went on to have a further three children, girls Margaret, Harriet, and Josephine but In 1875, two-year-old Harriet died. She was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  By the end of 1875, Mary was pregnant again.

Tragedy struck again on 20 May 1876, when James died after a short illness leaving a pregnant Mary and three children.  It was found he died of a heart complaint at just thirty-three. Throughout his time in Hamilton, James was extremely busy with his various roles.  He was also visiting patients in surrounding towns and at Macarthur, he and Dr James had set up a surgery in the months prior to his death.  James was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with his daughter Harriet.

HEADSTONE OF JAMES ROXBURGH WYLIE, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

On the 1 August 1876, a daughter Millicent Birmingham Wylie was born to Mary at Roxburgh House.  Mary and the children later left Australia for England and Mary remarried. Her son Charles returned to Australia to live around 1924. Charles was am an interesting character. He was a writer under the pen name “Flinders Barr”.  In 1928 he won a competition for the design of a Canberra Coat of Arm still in use today.

CANBERRA COAT OF ARMS. (1929, May 2). The Argus, p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4002833

Charles Roxburgh Wylie died at Warrawee, New South Wales on 17 November 1947.

ARNOTT, William – Died 2 May 1900 at Hamilton. William Arnott was born in Fifeshire, Scotland in 1842. With his parents, William arrived at Williamstown in 1850 and they made their way to Fiery Creek station (Streatham) where his father had work. He was then employed at William Skene’s station, Kanonalla on the Wannon River. On the way there, the family passed through Hamilton when it was known as The Grange and most of the settlement at the time was around the Grange Burn near Portland Road.

After five years at Kanonalla, the family moved to Hamilton. By that time William was fourteen and he went to work for blacksmith and wheelwright George Brownlees in Lonsdale Street as an apprentice.  Once qualified, William went into business with John Jones.

Advertising (1865, December 20). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser, p. 1.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194470707

The partnership was dissolved in late 1874 and William entered into business with William Betts.  They took over the blacksmith business of the retiring John Denholm.

Advertising (1875, January 23). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226076945

Around the same time, William entered into the retail trade with his brother James, taking over Mrs Fulton’s grocery business in Gray Street.

Advertising (1874, November 11) Hamilton Spectator., p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226076157

Arnott and Betts then took over the undertaking business of David Arnott. They offered a free coach for those who couldn’t afford it and erected headstones and grave fences. They even had photos of the latest monument designs. 

Advertising (1876, May 31). Hamilton Spectator p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226039620

In his personal life, William married Alice Sandry in 1869, and they went on to have nine children.  The family lived in a cottage behind the grocers in Gray Street.  In 1879, the couple’s infant son George died and in 1886, the couple lost their young son Norman Dundas. On 9 May 1887, their nine-year-old son Frederick died as a result of a fall from a wagonette near the Wannon. 

William was a Hamilton Borough Councillor from 1881 to 1887.  He was also a member of Hamilton’s Princess Alice Lodge of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows. He continued in his grocery business, eventually trading alone. By the end of the 1880s, he was operating as the Beehive Store, a cash grocer with produce and a steam chaff mill. In 1898, William sold to neighbouring store John Thompson & Co. who extended into his store.

The Portland Guardian,.” Portland Guardian  21 Dec 1898: 2 Edition: EVENING.

After the sale, the Arnotts moved to Cox Street, Hamilton. Less than eighteen months later, William was dead at the age of fifty-eight, leaving Alice, five sons, and one daughter.  He was buried at Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with his three sons and later Alice.

HEADSTONE OF WILLIAM ARNOTT AND FAMILY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

HARRIS, George Cornfield – Died May 1904 at Colac. George Harris was born around 1831 in Coventry, England. He arrived in Melbourne in 1852 aged twenty-one.  Two years later he married Elizabeth Columbine and the couple settled in Prahran and started a family. In the early 1860s, George moved his family to Barongarook near Colac, however, Elizabeth died in 1863 leaving George with young children. On 10 June 1865, he remarried to Elizabeth Hilton of Geelong and they went on to have a large family together.

George was instrumental in the construction of a church and Sunday school at Barongarook West.  He was also the Barongarook West correspondent for the Colac Herald.  George’s obituary mentioned his “brightly” written pieces ensured the “wants and requirements of the forest country were brought before the public, and especially under the notice of the Colac Shire Council.”. Given that description, it would seem the following Barongarook update from the Colac Herald in 1894 may have been the work of George Harris.

BARONGAROOK. (1894, July 3). The Colac Herald, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91882409

At the time of his death, George had eight living children with four predeceasing him.

HUTTON, John Alexander – Died 2 May 1908 at Penshurst.  John Hutton was born in Tasmania around 1840.  When John was six his father David Hutton took up the Cheviot Hills run near Penshurst which he held until his death in 1875. At that time, John and his brother Thomas took up the property. In 1877, John married Christina Aitken of Penshurst and they went on to have two sons.

Fire touched Cheviot Hills a number of times but one deliberately lit during February 1892 caused much damage to the property. John and Thomas lost 2000 acres of grass, fencing, and valuable Merino rams.  John almost lost his life when fire encircled him while rounding up stock. 

EXTENSIVE BUSH FIRES. (1892, February 9). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226163601

In 1900, Thomas died and the following year Cheviot Hills was subdivided.  John retained a portion including the homestead. 

FAMOUS PASTORAL PROPERTIES: Cheviot Hills Adjoins Penshurst in Rich Volcanic Country (1942, January 3). The Australasian p. 24. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article142415846

John was an active member of the Penshurst Presbyterian Church and sat on the Mt Rouse Shire council from 1887 until his death and was Shire President for much of his last ten years. He was also a trustee of the Penshurst Mechanics Institute. In September1905, a gig John was travelling in hit a rock and tipped over and John was thrown out.  He broke his thigh and suffered shock.  He died three years later aged sixty-eight leaving his widow Christina and two sons, Stanley and Oswald. He was buried at Port Fairy Cemetery.

JACKMAN, James – Died 27 May 1916 at Woodford.  James Jackman was born around 1847 near Tower Hill. He married Margaret Barry in 1867 and they went on to have ten sons and three daughters.  James was a champion ploughman, participating in ploughing matches as a participant and judge.  He was a crop and a dairy farmer, and his was considered a model farm.  James was also a director of the Farnham Cheese & Butter Factory.

GILL, James Bruce – Died 8 May 1918 at Sandford.  James Gill was born around 1849 in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of a watchmaker. He arrived in Queensland in 1867 aged eighteen. After some time there, he travelled south and purchased Runneymede near Sandford in 1880.

‘RUNNYMEDE’ HOMESTEAD NEAR CASTERTON, 1977. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217175

James was widely known in racing circles not only as President of the Casterton Racing Club for thirty years but also as an owner at metropolitan courses during the 1880s and 1890s. During his time with the Casterton Racing Club, the course was remodelled to take advantage of the hill on which the grandstand now sits. He also contributed half of the costs of the changes.

CASTERTON RACECOURSE c1905.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399152

The next photo shows a meeting at the Casterton Racecourse in 1914 at a time James was president of the club.

CASTERTON RACECOURSE 1914. Image courtesy of the State LIbrary of Victoria https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/767564

James also enjoyed hunting and was a member of the Melbourne Hunt Club while his paddocks at Runnymede became a retirement haven for retired hunters.  In 1894, artist Herbert Woodhouse completed the work below showing sixty prominent members of the Melbourne Hunt Club. Among them are several Western District ladies and gentlemen including those by the name of Manifold and Chirnside.  James was also depicted and I have coloured his jacket below.  You can view the work and the names of those illustrated on the link to the State Library of NSW – A Meeting of the Melbourne Hunt Club

‘A MEETING OF THE MELBOURNE HUNT CLUB’. Image courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1cvjue2/ADLIB110332134

On 15 July 1885, James married Ruth Pennycuick at the Christ Church, Warrnambool. Ruth was the daughter of the Mayor of Warrnambool James Pennycuick and a granddaughter of William Rutledge late of Port Fairy and Farnham Park, Dennington.  The couple did not have children.

James was a familiar sight around the district driving his black ponies, four in hand, and would often drive them as far as Warrnambool for the races. His obituary remembered that “…beneath a brusque. blunt exterior, he carried a warm and sympathetic nature; being distinctly one for whom esteem increased on acquaintance. He was very generous to his employees, and was ready at all times to do a good turn to anyone”.  From a noted family, James’ older brother was Sir David Gill a Scottish astronomer and he was among a group of colonists named in Burkes Colonial Gentry in 1891.  He was buried at the Casterton New Cemetery.

VAGG, Laban – Died 8 May 1920 at Bostock’s Creek.  Laban Vagg was born around 1837 in Somersetshire, England. Laban joined the British Navy and in 1855, was part of naval activities during the Crimean War (1853-1856). In the late 1850s, he joined the rush to Australia and arrived at Geelong.  He found himself at Ewen’s Hill, Cobrico near Camperdown, and met Jonas Jeffers. He went on to do fencing work with Jonas and he also married Jonas’ sister or maybe daughter Elizabeth in 1863.  They went to have eight sons and two daughters. 

About 1890, Laban and his family moved to Bostocks Creek district where he took up dairy farming.  He was a member of the Hampden and Heytesbury Shire Pastoral & Agricultural Society for more than twenty-five years and a director of the Camperdown Cheese and Butter factory.

Elizabeth died in 1891 aged forty-seven.  Her youngest child was just four at the time. Laban died in 1920 aged eighty-three leaving eight sons and two daughters. He was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery.

SKILBECK, Richard – Died 12 May 1924 at Koroit.  Richard Skilbeck was born in 1838 in Compton, England. He arrived in Victoria in 1858 aboard the Salem.  He headed to Yangery Grange near Koroit owned by his uncle John Midgley.  He started work for them on the farm. In 1860, Richard purchased land in High Street, Koroit and built a small cottage. The following year he married his cousin Sarah Midgley.  Their new home was opposite the newly built Methodist Church which was most convenient as Richard was a devout Methodist and had been one of those who assisted with the construction of the church.   He was also a lay preacher and treasurer with the church.  In 1867, a new Methodist church was built (below).

Richard acquired more land around Koroit and began growing tobacco used to treat scab in sheep. It proved to be a successful crop. In 1864, he became a part-owner in the York Mill at Koroit with his brother-in-law William Midgley but they only kept it for two years.

Advertising (1866, October 10). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 3. Retrieved May 24, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194471135

In 1866, Richard took over the management of Yangery Grange after the death of John Midgley.  Richard’s successful farming practices saw the property become well known in the district.  In 1889, Yangery Grange was the equal runner up in a Prize Farms competition conducted by the government.  The judges found Richard’s farm was, “certainly one of the very best, neatest and most profitably managed holdings in the Tower Hill district”

GOVERNMENT PRIZE FARMS’ COMPETITION. (1889, September 21). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 10. Retrieved May 24, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198058642

It’s was said, Richard was the first in the district to use a threshing machine in partnership with Mr Holden of Port Fairy.  He eventually owned three threshing plants that worked full time at harvest time.

 

AN EXAMPLE OF A THRESHING PLANT, 1910. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/771220

Richard was on the committees of the Warrnambool and Koroit Pastoral and Agricultural Societies and served as President of both. He also was an exhibitor, showing his pigs, sheep, and cattle.  About 1890, he bought into the Koroit Butter Factory.  At the time, the factory wasn’t going well so Richard personally guaranteed the bank so the factory could continue to operate.  He was also chairman of the butter factory board for a good part of his thirty years involvement and chairman at the time of his death. He also represented the Koroit factory on the board of directors of the Western District Cooperative Produce and Insurance Company.

As a Methodist, Richard led a life of temperance and was the founding member of the Koroit Independent Order of Rechabites, a temperance organisation. He also collected funds to build a Temperance Hall in Koroit which also incorporated the Koroit Mechanics Institute.  He was also a trustee of the Koroit Botanic Gardens.

KOROIT BOTANIC GARDENS. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/443593

In 1893, Sarah died aged sixty-one.  In 1907, at the age of 70, Richard travelled to his home town in England and married a woman he knew before he left for Australia, Charlotte Dunn (nee Stables).  Charlotte herself had married after Richard left for Australia but was widowed.  Back in Australia, they settled into life at Yangery Grange and remained there until Richard retired when they moved to nearby Hillcrest owned by his son Alfred. Richard died at Hillcrest in 1924 aged eighty-seven, leaving five children. Two sons and one daughter predeceased him. Charlotte died on 5 October 1922 at Hillcrest

Richard’s obituary in the Koroit Sentintal mentioned his

Strength of character, intelligence, thrift, courage and other sterling qualities were possessed by their departed brother. Few men were so widely known throughout the State – certainly none in a Methodist connection – as Richard Skilbeck. He had known him for over 40 years and had on numerous occasions enjoyed his hospitality, and he knew that the inmates of his home were very dear to him. He not only founded a Christian home, but constantly showed his interest in the house of God. It was largely owing to him that the church was founded at Koroit and he had been an officer and administrator from its beginning. He would be sadly missed from the life of the church throughout the State.

In 1967, Harry McCorkall of Koroit edited and published The Diaries of Sarah Midgley and Richard Skilbeck: A Story of Australian settlers 1851-1864 which is a great read. More information about the Midgley and Skilbeck families can also be found at the Midgley family website

McCANN, Margaret Jane – Died 27 May 1947 at Dartmoor. Margaret McCann was born at Sandford in 1864.  As a young woman, Margaret was a good rider and would accompany her brother Peter on kangaroo hunts.  She married Daniel Sullivan in 1885 and they went on to have seven children.  After the birth of her own children, she acted as a midwife in the Dartmoor district. 

Margaret’s son Joseph enlisted in 1916 with the 38th Battalion while Margaret did her bit at home.  She was involved with the Dartmoor Red Cross, the local Comforts Fund, and the Catholic Church committee.  Sadly, Joseph was killed on 15 April 1918 in France. 

Margaret was eighty-four at the time of her death leaving three sons and two daughters.  Three of her siblings were still living, Peter aged eighty-five and Bella at Sandford aged eighty-seven, both of Sandford and Ann at Tallangatta.  Margaret was buried at the Dartmoor Cemetery.

Passing of the Pioneers

If you have read my last post, A Pleasant Distraction, you will understand why October Passing of the Pioneers just got in by the skin of its teeth. Thankfully I had the bones of the post done before “Hamilton Fever” took hold. This month there are the obituaries of a bricklayer, a Gaelic preacher, a disgraced crewman from the General Hewitt and a member of the Henty family.

David HUTTON: Died 9 October 1875 at Mount Rouse. David Hutton was born in Greenock, Scotland around 1809. He was an engineer by trade, and left Scotland in 1833 for Hobart to follow his brothers. One brother, William, saw opportunities in the new colony of Victoria, and David later followed, arriving at Portland in around 1844. He took out a lease on land at Mount Rouse and established Cheviot Hills.  David Hutton was a foundation member of the Mt. Rouse Board and served for seven years. A Presbyterian, he was one of those behind the building of a church at Penshurst. He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery with other members of his family.  Hutton street in Penshurst is named after David Hutton. Another obituary, published  in The Mercury of Hobart, has more on David’s story

Ewan McDONALD: Died 13 October 1891 at Warrion. Ewan McDonald was born around 1808 and first went to the Colac district when he settled on land at Dreeite around 1866. Ewan was a Presbyterian and at one time gave services at the Larpent Presbyterian Church in Gaelic.

John H. DUNN: Died 29 October 1914 at Hamilton. John Dunn was born in Geelong around 1860 and arrived in Hamilton, with his parents, two years later. Like his father, John was a bricklayer and together they built some of Hamilton’s larger buildings.  A search for Dunn’s bricklayers found a reference on the Victorian Heritage Database. The home mentioned, in the Church Hill area of Hamilton is well-known to me and was built by William Dunn, when John was still a baby. In later life, John was a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites and the Methodist Church. He married Miss H. Luxton of Macarthur and they had nine children.

James DUNCAN: Died 8 October 1916 at Balmoral. James Duncan was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1837 and he arrived on the Flora McDonald to Portland in 1855. He went to Rocklands, near Balmoral, working as a shepherd. He left the district for Serpentine before returning to Glendinning station as overseer. He later took up the carpentry trade in Balmoral.  He married Emily Rogers in 1876 and they had six children.

Elizabeth LEAHY: Died 15 October 1916 at Cavendish. Elizabeth Leahy was born in Adelaide around 1849. Her family came to Victoria to the goldfields of Bendigo and Ballarat, before returning to South Australia, taking up residence at Mt. Gambier. Elizabeth later moved to Lake Bolac and met her future husband, J.H Wallis. They married at Ararat. The couple farmed in the Wimmera, moved back to Ararat before settling at Mooralla around 1910.

Samuel BROWNLAW: Died 13 October 1917 at Tyrendarra. Samuel Brownlaw and his wife, Mary Ann Speechly, arrived on the Severn to Portland in 1856. They first went to Yambuk, before settling at Tyrendarra were they remained. In 1875, Samuel donated land for the Tyrendarra School. Samuel left three sons and three daughters at the time of his death.

John Stevens ANDREW aka John FORSTER: Died 5 October 1918 at Merino Downs. I have touched upon the obituary of John Andrew/Forster before, in the post The General Hewitt. John’s obituary gave me some clues to the names of the crew members that caused unrest during the voyage and those that deserted. John was one of those crew members, explaining his alias. Unfortunately, his obituary speaks of nothing else but that voyage that hung over his head, even after death,

Christina McGREGOR: Died October 1925 at Hamilton. Christina McGregor was born in Inverness, Scotland around 1835. and arrived in Melbourne around 1847 on The Indian. Aboard the schooner The Wave, Christina travelled to Portland. Her next destination, on horseback, was to Satimer Estate near Casterton, owned by her uncle Alexander Davidson.  Station life must not have been proper for a young lady as Christina returned to Portland to attend the ladies school run by the Misses Allison. It was in Portland she met her future husband, Archibald McDonald, from Condah, where they remained for the rest of the lives.

Phillip Henry THEISINGER: Died October 1942 at Portland. Geelong native, Phillip Theisinger, moved to Portland as a small child and remained there for the rest of his life. He worked as a storeman and was a secretary of the Portland Waterside Worker’s Union. Phillip was also a member of the Portland Citizen’s Band for forty-five years and was a member of the Portland Masonic Lodge. He married Sarah Ann Surrey and they had twelve children, but only three still survived at the time of Phillip’s death.

Henry COWLAND:  Died 21 October 1942 at Heywood. Henry Cowland was born in Brixton around 1847. He arrived with his parent to Portland aboard the Severn in 1856. He attended the Butler’s School in Portland until he was twelve and then he obtained work as a contractor at Sandford. He also worked as a fencer and a carrier, carting sleepers for the railway line between Hamilton and Portland.

HENRY COWLAND.  OBITUARY. (1942, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382636

HENRY COWLAND. OBITUARY. (1942, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382636

Annie DAWKINS: Died 2 October 1942 at Hamilton. Annie Dawkins was born at Glencoe, South Australia around 1866 and travelled to Victoria as a girl with her parents and they settled near Condah. Annie married Henry Dyer Rundell at Condah in 1890. She was a supporter of the Red Cross and did her bit during the two World Wars. She left a family of five children,

Agnes Cecil HENTY: Died 30 October 1945 at Nelson, New Zealand. Agnes Cecil Henty was the 6th daughter of Stephen and Jane Henty and she was born at Portland in 1850. In 1877, she married Edward Stafford Coster in New Zealand and they resided at Canterbury on the South island. Twenty-five years later Agnes and family moved to Nelson and she remained there until her death aged ninety-five.

Robert Henry HOLLIS:  Died October 1946 at Portland. Robert Hollis was born in Tarragal around 1863. His parents moved to Gorae when Robert’s father began work as a stockman for the Henty’s. After some time working as a butcher, Robert turned to farming and at the time of his death he “had a fine dairy farm and orchard property”.