Wonderful Western District Women Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRIDGEWATER BAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Passing of the Pioneers

April Passing of the Pioneers includes members of some of Western Victoria’s well-known pioneering families including Bell, Learmonth, Trigger, Kittson and Coulson. There is also the great character of Thomas Tattersall of Ararat, a train driving pioneer.

Edwin CUMMINGS:  Died 2 April 1892 at Portland. Edwin Cummings, originally from Tasmania, had only been in Portland around sixteen years but in that time he worked hard to improve his lot. On his arrival in Portland, he ran a successful saw-milling/cabinet making business. Edwin then moved to farming pursuits. Using modern farming methods, he was able to improve his holding. Edwin also lost several adult children to consumption.

Thomas TATTERSALL: Died 24 April 1894 at Ararat. Lancashire born Thomas Tattersall died from fish poisoning on his birthday. He was a pioneering engine driver and his death was recognised by the  Governor of Victoria who sent a telegram of condolence to the Ararat railway station. Thomas drove the first train from Melbourne to Bendigo and was one of the first drivers to Portland. He had also driven the train for many dignitaries including the Governor and the Premier of Victoria.

Thomas BROWN: Died April 1903 at Hamilton. Thomas Brown went to Hamilton with his parents, after their arrival in Victoria from Scotland in 1852.  Thomas was an elder of the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and a long time member of the Sons of Temperance and was also involved with other temperance movements. Active in many charities, his obituary noted that the poor of Hamilton had lost a friend in Thomas Brown.

Alfred COWLAND:  Died 27 April 1908 at Casterton. Alfred Cowland was born in Kent, England and arrived in Victoria around 1858 aged twenty-two  He travelled with his parents, and Alfred and his father began farming at Greenwalde.  Alfred married the widow of Fred Spencer, but they did not have any children.

Sophia Styche COLBY: Died 8 April 1915 at Port Fairy. Sophia Colby’s husband Harry Osmond was a partner in Osmond Bros., hotel keepers and butchers. Sophia was the hostess at the Market Hotel, Port Fairy and considered a most popular landlady in the Western District and if the races were on, she was there.

Thomas Ferry PEARSON:  Died 24 April 1915 at Port Fairy. Thomas Pearson was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England and arrived in Portland in 1852. He married Jane Strachan there before moving to Port Fairy in 1855.  He went to work on the pilot boats under Captain Mills and then for 13 years was keeper of the Griffiths Island lighthouse.

GRIFFITHS ISLAND, PORT FAIRY.

GRIFFITHS ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE, PORT FAIRY.

Francis Stubbs COULSON: Died 10 April 1916 at Hamilton. Francis Coulson was the husband of my gg aunt Harriet Martha Diwell. He was the son of Christopher Coulson and Mary Frances Stubbs and was born in Yorkshire, England in 1842.  He married Harriet in 1873 and they had thirteen children. Francis ran a carrying business between Portland and the inland towns. He also farmed at Rosebank Dwyers Creek and hard work saw him turn it into a “nice property”.

Mary Ann ANDREWS: Died 23 April 1918 at Port Fairy. Mary Ann Andrews was born in Somersetshire, England and arrived in Victoria in 1852. Soon after she married Joseph Digby.  They had a large family of nine sons and daughters.  She was eighty-eight at the time of her death.

Kate CUE: Died 23 April 1917 at Port Fairy. Kate Cue was from the Casterton district. Her brother  Tom Cue, a miner, had the town Cue, Western Australia named after him. Kate married William Sutherland McPherson of Nangeela station, Casterton. They took up residence in Port Fairy and had seven children.

James MAHONEY: Died 27 April 1918 at Port Fairy. James Mahoney of Killarney was a member of one of the oldest families in the district. He was the son of Mrs Quirk and had three brothers and a sister living at the time of his death aged sixty-nine. James had travelled extensively throughout Australia and never married.

James BELL: Died April 1923 at Mt. Eckersley. James Bell was a member of the well known Bell family of Mt Eckersley near Heywood. James, his parents and siblings arrived in Victoria in 1841 and they settled at Mt Eckersley. He was the last surviving member of the original family known for their longevity. James was ninety-seven at the time of his death and his father John Bell lived to 101.

Jonathan HARMAN:  Died April 1930 at Heywood. Jonathan Harman, my ggg uncle was also from a family known for longevity. He died at the home of his daughter, Amelia, wife of the nephew of James Bell (above). Jonathan was ninety-two years old and a colonist of seventy-six years.

Kate Isabella HILL: Died April 1934 at Wodonga. Kate Hill was the daughter of John and Isabella Hill of West Portland.  She was better known as “Kitty Hill” and her and sister Lizzie were household names in their early days. John Hill was a local school teacher. Kitty married William Smith of Wodonga and was seventy-five years old when she died.

Alexander MOTT:  Died 12 April 1934 at Casterton. Alexander was born in Millicent, South Australia and went to the Casterton district in the early 1900s. He farmed at Carapook and Bahgallah before settling in the Casterton township. His wife predeceased him and he left seven sons and daughters.

Mary Simpson LEARMONTH: Died 2 April 1939 at Hamilton. Mary Learmonth was from one well-known Hamilton family and married into another when she wed David Fraser Laidlaw in 1899. Mary was the daughter of Peter Learmonth of Prestonholme Hamilton. David’s father was David Laidlaw, a saddler who arrived in Hamilton with no money and become one of the town’s most prominent citizens.

Mary was quite the sportswoman and was seventeen times female champion of the Hamilton Golf Club. This was according to her obituary in the Portland Guardian, however, her obituary in The Argus of April 4, 1939 states she was club champion thirty-nine times.  She was also a talented tennis and croquet player. Other than sport, Mary was president of the Australian Women’s National League prior to her death and was a member of the Hamilton Horticulture Society.

Mary died at her home Eildon on the corner of Thompson and French Street Hamilton. Everyone who has lived in Hamilton will know the Laidlaw’s former home, just on the edge of the CBD and overlooking the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.  The house, designed by Ussher and Kemp, was sold after Mary’s death to the Napier Club, a club formed by the female counterparts of the Hamilton Club.  The club, formed around 1931, still occupies Eildon today.

“Eildon”, Hamilton

Alice Maria WYATT:  Died 23 April 1940 at Hamilton. Alice Wyatt, the daughter of Mr and Mrs Thomas Lewis Wyatt, spent her childhood in Portland before moving to Hamilton around 1878 when she was twenty. She did spend some time in Melbourne working for Sir Edward Miller and his wife Lady Mary Miller. Sir Edward was a politician who made his money in finance and pastoral pursuits.  Alice spent the last twenty-five years of her life in Hamilton.

Irwin BELL: Died April 1940 at Hamilton. Irwin Bell of Dartmoor was a son of James Bell (above). Irwin was born in Portland around 1874 and lived at Mt Eckersley until the Bell family property was sold. He married Ann Letts of Heywood and together they led a life dedicated to the Church of England. They established the first Sunday School at Dartmoor and prepared parishioners for their first communion. Irwin also worked for the Department of Forestry and in later years was a Justice of the Peace. He died at KiaOra Hospital in Hamilton and was buried at Heywood cemetery.

James TRIGGER:  Died 25 April 1945 at Macarthur. James Trigger was the son of Samuel and Eliza Trigger of Warrabkook near Macarthur. Born in 1859, James selected land at Mt Eccles at a young age and he farmed there for the duration of his life.

OBITUARY. (1945, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64404393

OBITUARY. (1945, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64404393

James was interested in horse racing and was an owner of a number of horses. He left a widow and a son and daughter.

Robert Steven KITTSON: Died 8 April 1948 at Lower Cape Bridgewater. Robert Stephen Kittson was the son of James Kittson and Catherine Trotter and the last surviving member of the first family of Kittsons to arrive at Cape Bridgewater. A deeply religious man, he was involved in many church activities. Having had two sons serve in WW1, Robert showed an interest in returned servicemen and with his passing “ex-servicemen have lost a loyal friend”

Mary Ann ALLSOP:  Died 10 April 1953 at Port Campbell. Mary Ann was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Samuel Allsop, pioneers of the Port Campbell district. She married Thomas Wiggens at Purrumbete. After the death of Thomas, Mary Ann moved to Camperdown.  She left one son and three daughters and was buried at the Camperdown cemetery.

Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online book – Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance 

Passing of the Pioneers – A Year On

PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1927, November 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259147

On July 22, 2011, I posted the first Passing of the Pioneers and 12 months on I am preparing to post the 13th edition.

There are now over 180 links to Western Victorian pioneer obituaries at Western District Families and the 13th edition will see the total go over 200.

Reading all those obituaries has been a privilege and has taken me on a wonderful journey, not only through the history of the Western District, but to place such as game parks in Africa and the silver mines of South America.  The lives I have glimpsed into range from that of gentry to general hand, but all have shared in making Western Victoria the place it is today.

Some of the pioneers were born during the early days of Victoria,  while others dared their lives aboard immigrant ships in the hope of a better life.  Many travelled from the ports to the Western District by bullock wagon on rough tracks, while enduring unfamiliar conditions.  They built houses on land that would one day see towns such as Penshurst, Hamilton and Balmoral grow around them.

The women from the pioneering era deserve recognition.   Some were alone among men, left to bear and raise children and turn their canvas tents or slab huts into homes.  Many endured loneliness, but as towns grew some became involved with community activities such as the church.   Despite their hardships, many of these women’s obituaries noted that even in old age they would reminisce about those times.

Obituaries came after the pioneer “crossed the Great Divide”, penned by someone who too had heard the stories but may not have had all the facts.  That is my warning to you while you read obituaries and in the July 2012 Passing of the Pioneers I will show this with an obituary from my family.

Having said that,  it is the snippets of information within them that make obituaries a worthwhile family history resource.  Names of children and their married names, places of residence, occupations and immigration details are just some of those snippets which you can then test against the relevant records.

Many of the obituaries I have read have moved me, inspired me and led me to further research.   I have listed just some of those, not so much for the achievements of the subject but the stories they tell.  Click on the pioneer’s name to go to their original newspaper obituary or the date to go to the Passing of the Pioneers post where the obituary appeared:

Frederick William BILSTON (August 2011)

Mrs Agnes CHEQUER (November 2011)

Thomas Denton CLARKE (October 2011)

Elizabeth COLE (March 2012)

James DAWSON (April 2012)

Alfred Irvine HOGAN (February 2012)

KITTSON family – James (May 2012), James Trotter (December 2011),  Rebecca (January 2012),  Susannah (June 2012) and Mrs Margaret Kittson (May 2012)

MALSEED family – Fanny Ann (February 2012),  Robert J. (May 2012) ,  Mrs E.A. MALSEED (August 2011) and Mary HEDDITCH  (Mrs James MALSEED) (July 2011)

Finlay McPherson PATON (September 2011)

Joseph Bell PEARSON (July 2011)

Passing of the Pioneers

It never ceases to amaze me how the branches of my family tree reach out through the Western District and entwine with the branches of other family trees. The roots of each tree are different, but the branches come together by way of marriage.  In this month’s Passing of the Pioneers, two of the families represented have links to two of my own families.

This month also sees Mr and Mrs George Excell who sadly passed away within hours of each other. There is also a member of the Kittson family of Bridgewater and a dentist born in the same area. There is Margaret McWilliams, educated in Belgium and John Gorman, an Irish policeman.

William LUXTON: Died 4 June 1903 at North Hamilton. William Luxton was born in Devonshire, England about 1819.  He arrived in South Australia around 1846 before moving to Macarthur, Victoria in the 1850s where he remained until his death.  He had four daughters still alive at the time of his death including Mrs T.R. Oliver (Margaret Luxton) who was the sister-in-law of Elizabeth Oliver (wife of Reuben Harman) and Mary Oliver (wife of Jonathan Harman).

Robert ISBEL:  Died June 1908 at Ararat. Robert Isbel’s father came to Victoria from Adelaide in search of gold, with Robert and his mother joining him at Great Western in 1862. Robert settled at Concongelia.

Francis MATTHEWS: Died 6 June 1915 at Landsborough. Francis Matthews was a native of Ireland and had worked in the Dublin Customs Department before coming to Australia. He eventually settled at Joel Joel and worked hard on the land. He only had two relatives in Australia at the time of his death, a brother and a cousin.

Sarah Elizabeth PORTER: Died 8 June 1915 at Hamilton. Originally from Blackwood, Victoria, Sarah married James Reece from Purdeet, near Penshurst.  She saw Penshurst grow from nothing to a permanent town.  arah and James had three sons and four daughters.

Adrina McDONNELL: Died 13 June 1915 at Rhymney.  Adrina McDonnell and her husband Duncan McKenzie arrived in Victoria from Scotland in the early 1850s.  Duncan obtained a job at Allanvale Estate a large sheep station near Great Western.  Adrina died at the home of her daughter, Mrs Foley and was buried at Ararat Cemetery.

Margaret McWILLIAMS: Died 27 June 1915 at Warrnambool.  Margaret McWilliams arrived in Melbourne from Scotland in 1852 to marry Alfred M. Jukes.  After time living in Richmond, they moved to Warrnambool where Alfred took up a post of solicitor, one of the first in the town.  He was also Town Clerk for a time.  Alfred died in 1872. Margaret was a member of the Christ Church Ladies Guild and when World War 1 broke out she was particularly interested in the fate of Belgium and its residents.  As a girl, she was educated in Malines, Belgium a town later destroyed by the Germans.

George EXCELL: Died 11 June 1916 at Stockyard Hill.  George Excell was a successful breeder of dairy cattle, draught horses and sheep. He began his time in Victoria when he landed in Geelong aged around twenty-seven during the 1850s.  He went to Ballarat and was there at the time of Eureka, before residing at Swan Bay near Queenscliffe for forty years.  He later moved to Stockyard Hill, east of Ararat where he remained until his death.

Susan Angelina PRYKE: Died 11 June 1916 at Stockyard Hill.  Susan Pryke was the wife of George Excell, above. They married in 1853 in Victoria and heir union was so great that Susan died only hours after George’s passing.

Alexander McBEAN: Died 13 June 1917 at Casterton.  Alexander was a blacksmith, who learnt his trade as a teenager, fresh from the boat.  His first boss was known as “Terrible Billy” Thomson.  He was then apprenticed to Mr. W. Handley at Sandford before moving to the Ballarat district.  He later moved to Edenhope and then Casterton where he had a blacksmith’s business behind Cawker’s Mart.  He again moved, this time to Harrow, before once again moving back to Casterton and opening another blacksmith business which he ran until his death.

John Henry Morris BILSTON Died 17 June 1917 at Penola, South Australia. John Bilston was the son of Thomas Bilston, an early settler of Melbourne and brother of Frederick William Bilston, from August Passing of the Pioneers. John was born in Heywood around 1846 and his first job was an apprentice saddler which he did for five years. Finding that rather sedate, he became a gun shearer and a buckjump rider. After some time farming, he took up saddlery again in his later years.  John married Mary Mingoue, the daughter of Simon Minogue of Portland.

William MULLEN:– Died 13 June 1917 at Drik Drik. Born in Ireland, William Mullen arrived in Victoria in 1862 aged eighteen.  He married Emma Holmes of Lower Cape Bridgewater and they celebrated their fiftith wedding anniversary just prior to William’s death. They had a family of nine children.

Thomas Gibson HENRY: Died 16 June 1920 at Portland. The lure of gold brought Thomas Henry to Australia from Ireland but his life soon went from that of a miner to teacher. He taught at the Heywood school from 1870 to 1876 and the Mumbanner school from 1876 to 1888 after which he retired. He then farmed until he moved to Portland in 1906.  His wife was Miss Tatham of Doncaster, Melbourne and they had five children.

Luke BYRNE: Died 18 June 1920 at Ballarat. This is obituary which tells a great pioneering story. Irishman Luke Byrne began in his time in Australia at Ballarat and his life ended in Ballarat. Luke originally carted goods from Ballarat through to Horsham and the stations beyond.  At the time, the only residents of Horsham were all male except for one woman.

Obituary. (1920, June 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73193445

Luke was one of the first to select land in the Wimmera in an area which became known as Byrneville.  The early years were very difficult and at times Luke had to leave his selection and take up jobs to supplement his income. By the time he retired, Luke had increased his holding to 3,000 acres of the best wheat growing land which he was able to pass on to his three sons.  Luke and his wife had a total of twelve children.

John GORMAN: Died 18 June 1922 at Geelong. As a policeman of thirty-four years, John Gorman worked in towns throughout Western Victoria. John joined the police force shortly after arriving in Victoria from Ireland in 1863. In his retirement, he lived in Geelong. He left a wife and five children.

Susannah KITTSON: Died 3 June 1926 at Portland. Susannah Kittson came to Victoria from Ireland as a six-year-old in 1841.  She was a member of the pioneering Kittson family of Bridgewater. On arrival at Geelong, her family “trekked” to Colac,then Tahara and then on to Bridgewater.

Susannah married John Harcoan and they settled at Minyip in the Wimmera.  Three months before her death, Susannah returned to live at Portland where she found “peace at last” in the place of her childhood. She left five children.

William OSBOURNE: Died 19 June 1930 at Portland. Born in Portland, William with his brothers, followed his father into the butchering business. Osbournes Butchers were known as giving  “full value and a square deal to all”. William was also a foundation member of the Portland P & A Society and was a vestryman at St Stephens Church.

St Stephens Church Portland

Caroline HUMPHRIES: – Died 8 June 1931 at Casterton. Born at Portland around 1860, Caroline was the daughter of Charles Humphries and Caroline Sampson.  Within a few years of her birth, Caroline’s family moved to Henty, between Merino and Casterton.  She later married James Lane and they settled at Dunrobin, north of Casterton where they raised a large family. I have a link to Caroline Humphries through my Diwell line. Caroline’s niece  Margaret Ley Humphries, married my1st cousin 3 x removed, William Ralph Francis Coulson a grandson of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.

Peter GAMBETTA: – Died 5 June 1931 at Stawell. Peter Gambetta came to Stawell from his home in Ticiano which lies in Italy but is a state of Switzerland. Gold was the lure but after the boom, he started a vineyard “St Bernards” near Stawell.

Joseph Henry PORTER: Died 22 June 1931 at Portland. Born in England around 1840, Joseph Porter arrived in Portland around 1854.  Taking on the trade of cabinet maker, he was known for his fine craftsmanship.  His wife was Sarah Herbertson, a member of a well-known family from Portland West.  They had no children.

A MODEL BY JOSEPH HENRY PORTER.

A MODEL BY JOSEPH HENRY PORTER.

Dr. James Thompson TUNNOCK: Died 16 June 1933 at Hamilton. Despite moving away at a young age, Dr. Tunnock had strong links to the early pioneers of south-west Victoria. James was the son of Jonathon Carrick More Tunnock and Jane Kennedy and was born at Cape Bridgwater in 1853. Being bright at school and having no interest in farming, James took himself off to Melbourne to study dentistry. Maybe I should not have put the prefix of Dr. in front of James’ name as in 1913, he was fined £5 for using the title Dr. on signage, breaching the Dentists Act 1910.

Advertising. (1908, September 5). Independent (Footscray, Vic. : 1883 – 1922), p. 1. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73259572

I don’t think I would fancy visiting a Dental Parlor. It sounds too much like Funeral Parlor!

Ann BEGLEN Died 7 June 1940 at Portland. Miss Ann Beglen’s Irish parents John and Margaret, arrived at Williamstown in 1841 before travelling on the Frances Henty to Portland. On arrival, John set up a butcher shop. Ann was born in 1848 and educated at Miss Dunbar’s private school at Portland. In her later years, Ann could still remember playing as a child around the foundations of the then under construction”Burswood” built by Edward Henty. At the time of her death, Ann was living with her nieces at “Pioneer Cottage” the home where she was born.

Nonogenarian’s Birthday. (1938, July 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64279644

Passing of the Pioneers

If some of the pioneers from May Passing of the Pioneers could be gathered in one room, the stories would be flowing.  Many of them enjoyed telling stories from the past and had great recollections of the early days. Subjects would include Queen Victoria, the Henty brothers, the Eureka Stockade, lands sales and gold. I’m sure they would have all agreed with  fellow pioneer John Waters’ philosophy to “paddle your own canoe”.

Agnes PATERSON: Died 29 May 1901 at Portland. Agnes was the was the daughter of a Tasmanian solicitor, Alex Paterson.  She married John Norman McLEOD and they first arrived in the Portland district around 1850. John built Maretimo before purchasing Castlemaddie, a property at Tyrendarra. Between 1851 and 1856, John McLeod was the MLA for Portland.  Agnes was seventy-five at the time of her death and left three sons.

MARETIMO.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

MARETIMO. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

James KITTSON:  Died 20 May 1911 at Melbourne. James Kittson was one of the original pioneers of the Bridgewater area.  He was the father of Rebecca Kittson and James Trotter Kittson both of whom have featured in Passing of the Pioneers. James was a Councillor with Portland Shire Council.

John GILLIES:  Died May 1914 at Moonee Ponds. John Gillies was a farming pioneer around the Ararat district. He was a member of the Farmers’ Co-operative Company and the Ararat Agriculture Society.

Emily Julia BENNETT:  Died May 1914 at Stawell. Emily Bennett was a Stawell pioneer. Originally from London, she arrived in Victoria around 1860 with her parents Dr. Edwin Bennett and Mrs. Bennett. They settled around Stawell around 1865. Gold was the main focus in Stawell at the time and the town consisted mostly of tents. Dr Bennett took up a position as hospital doctor which he held for many years.  Emily married Richard Z. DAVIES at the Stawell West Anglican church.  Richard was the headmaster at the Stawell State School.

William B. BRADSHAW:  Died 26 May 1915 at Ballarat. Born in Cambridgeshire, England, William Bradshaw arrived in Adelaide as an eleven-year-old in 1837. One of the last events he attended in London before his departure was the ceremony for the Proclamation of the accession of Queen Victoria. Once in South Australia, his father established one of the first bakeries in Adelaide. William was lured to the goldfields of Victoria in 1851. He had reached Ballarat by1854 the time of the Eureka Stockade. He was one of the first Justices of the Peace appointed in Victoria.

John WATERS:  Died 4 May 1917 at Nareen. John Waters was born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland in 1830. He and his wife arrived at Portland aboard the General Hewitt in 1856 and headed towards the Casterton district. After some moving around he finally settled at Rock View at Nareen in 1867 where he remained until his death. John’s pioneering story is similar to so many others of his time:

Obituary. (1917, May 7). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74489225

If John was concerned about “coddling legislation” almost 100 years ago, what would he think of our society today?

John CHRISTIE:  Died 15 May 1918 at Byaduk. Born at Garvard, Haddington, Scotland in 1834 and arrived at Portland in 1851. He settled at Byaduk, naming his property Garvard Vale. With his brother, they breed find Lincoln sheep. A further obituary can be read at Obituaries Australia

Margaret JENNINGS Died 19 May 1927 at Heywood. Although she was only eight at the time, Margaret Jennings retained memories of her voyage to Melbourne in 1840 with her parents Cook Abraham Jennings and Hannah Birchall.  She also recalled the early days of Portland, the Hentys, William Dutton, Black Thursday of 1851 and the wreck of the steamer Admella. She married Hugh Kittson and they settled at Bridgewater Lakes.  In her later years, she retained her wit and loved the company of children. She was a contributor to the Red Cross during WW1.  You can read more about Margaret in the post “In the News – May 26, 1927“.

William Primrose ANDERSON:  Died 26 May 1927 at Portland. William Anderson was a well-known resident of Portland and was known around the town as “W.P.”. He was born in 1845 in Melbourne and arrived in Portland with his parents around 1857. His first job was working in a grocery and hardware store in Portland. By the age of twenty-eight, he had taken over the business. He set up a wool export business and had many other business interests around the town. His obituary is lengthy and is worth reading to learn more, not only about “W.P’s” life but also the early days of Portland.  William Anderson demonstrated the qualities shown by many other pioneers:

Obituary. (1927, May 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257336

William McINTYRE:  Died 23 May 1936 at Hamilton. William McIntyre arrived at Portland in 1852 with his parents aboard the John Davis. He was born in Inverness, Scotland only three years earlier. By 1855, the McIntyres arrived at Muddy Creek near Hamilton via Strathdownie and South Australia. William was a gun shearer, with his record being 209 sheep in one day. He also was a good athlete, winning many prizes at sports days from Penshurst to Branxholme.

Mary MUMFORD:  Died 5 May 1940 at Camperdown. Mary Mumford was born in England in 1845 and arrived in Australia with her parents in the late 1840s.  She married Frederick TILL in 1863 and lived in Cobden. Frederick was killed in an accident, leaving Mary with four children.  She married John PETER and they had a further five girls. It is not mentioned what happened to Mr Peter, but Mary left Cobden for Cowley’s Creek where she resided for 25 years.  Later in life she married Mr NELSON.  At the time of her death, she had one son, six daughters, forty-four grandchildren, fifty-five great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Her son William Till played a part in the rescue of the two survivors of the Loch Ard.

Mary LOUREY:  Died 3 May 1941 at Glenormiston. Mary Lourey was the last surviving child of Thomas and Johanna Lourey.  She was born at Kirkstall around 1858. Twenty-two years later she married Thomas KELLY and they eventually settled at Glenormiston. Thomas was behind the construction of the Glenormiston butter factory. At Mary’s funeral at the Noorat Catholic Church, the children from St Joseph’s School formed a guard of honour. The cortege was said to stretch from Noorat to Terang where Mary was buried.

Henry Cowap WILLIAMSON:  Died 25 May 1948 at Portland. Henry Williamson was a pioneer of the fruit growing industry in the Gorae district. He and his brother grew apples and later built cool stores at Gorae which were a profitable ongoing concern.  Henry retired into Portland and was a prominent member of the Wesley Church and the Portland P & A Society,

Robert John MALSEED Died May1950 at Portland. Robert Malseed was the youngest son of Irish immigrants, Stewart and Margaret Malseed. Robert was born at Portland in 1860 and married Elizabeth Ann TRENEAR in 1888.  Robert and Elizabeth lived all their married lives at 88 Garden Street, Portland where Robert had an orchard.  One of his proudest moments was representing the Malseed family at the 100th anniversary reunion of the arrival of his parents.  He was the oldest surviving member of the Portland Oddfellows Lodge.

Passing of the Pioneers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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