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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Harry at the races in Melbourne in 1919.
Harry (left) at the Warrnambool May Carnival in May 1921 with Robert Hood, one of his long-time owners.
Harry (left) at the 1929 Warrnambool May Carnival.
Harry at the 1936 Warrnambool May Carnival in 1936, four years before his death.
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