Passing of the Pioneers

The final “Passing of the Pioneers” for 2011 sees another thirteen Western District pioneers remembered.  That takes the number of obituaries recorded into the sixties. The information in each listing is from the newspaper obituary which is a secondary source. If I have found a pioneer interesting, I may include further information, for which there will be a reference available. All “Passing of the Pioneers” posts can be found under “Obituary” in the Category tab in the side bar.

“Passing of the Pioneers” will be back in 2012 and with more Western District newspapers available at Trove, there were will be even more obituaries to choose from. I have also updated the post “The Horsham Times goes Digital” to reflect the current additions at Trove.

Bridget Priscilla TALBOT: Died December 1904 at Hamilton.  Bridget Talbot was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1834 and arrived in Australia in 1848.  She married John Jennings in Adelaide in 1849 and they moved to Hamilton in 1852 where she resided until her death.

Richard PRICE: Died 15 December 1904 at Milltown.  Richard Price arrived in Victoria in the late 1850s and settled at Digby.  He later went on to Heywood before making his final home at Milltown where he worked in the sawmilling trade.  He had eight sons and two daughters.

John PERMEWAN: Died 23 December 1904 at Ballarat.  Born around 1837, John Permewan gave his name to the well known stores of Victoria, Permewan Wright & Co. He was known around Australia in commercial circles.  Permewans still exists in Hamilton.  It has seen a couple of name and location changes, but I would often visit there with my parents in the 1970s and 80s for horse feed and saddlery, but it also stocked hardware and still does today.

Effie MURDOCH: Died December 1914 at Romsey.  Effie Murdoch is the oldest pioneer I have come across to date.  She died at age 106.  Effie was from the Isle of Skye, Scotland and arrived in Australia in around 1852.

Margaret HOARE:  Died 16 December 1914 at Nhill.  Margaret Hoare and her husband Bernhardt Mulraney arrived in Australia from Ireland during the 1850s.  After spending time around Hamilton, Mt. Gambier and Goroke, they settled in the Mallee at Nhill.  Margaret was eighty at the time of her death.

John HARRIES: Died 18 December 1914 at Stawell. John Harries was born at Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1843 and arrived in Stawell in 1875.  Like many with Welshmen, John could sing and was a member of Prout’s band at Ballarat and sang in the Presbyterian church choir.

John THORNTON: Died 15 December 1919 at Mount Myrtoon.  John was born in Yorkshire in 1835 and travelled to Australia at age eighteen.  He spent time in Melbourne and Gippsland before settling at Mount Myrtoon.  He set up a successful stock and station business with links to Dalgetys. He was an accomplished cricketer and played for Victoria in his younger days.  He was the Melbourne Cricket Club’s oldest member at the time of his death.

Mary McLEOD: Died December 1928 at Narracoorte. Mary McLeod was born in the Isle of Skye in 1842. After her mother died when she was eleven, her father moved the family to Australia.  Mary took on the role of mother to her younger brothers. After they arrived in Melbourne, they travelled to Portland and then Narracoorte, South Australia by bullock wagon. She later married Angus MORRISON and they eight children while living around the Apsley area.

Jenny Sage CRABBIE: Died 17 December 1932 at Branxholme. Jenny Crabbie was born in Edinburgh and having seen the boat the Julia Percy built in Scotland, she was offered passage to Australia by the ship’s directors, whom she knew.  It was because of the ship that Jenny met her husband Benjamin Lear in Portland.  Benjamin worked on the Julia Percy and continued to do so for some years after. Jenny would have been popular among Portland children. She was a confectioner, with a shop in Bentick Street, Portland for many years.

Annie PITTS: Died 12 December 1934 at Portland. Annie Pitts was born in Somerset, England and travelled to Australia with her parents, James and Sarah when she was three. She married John JENNINGS of Portland when she was twenty-one and they had ten children. Annie was eighty-five at the time of her death.

Louisa BROWN: Died 26 December 1937 at Camperdown. Louisa was just a baby when her family arrived in Victoria from Westminster, England. She married Henry SHARP, a stonemason, at Terang. They had four daughters and five sons, with the sons forming a quarrying business, Sharp Bros.

OBITUARY. (1937, December 30). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28321980

Nicholas WHITE: Died 17 December 1942 at Portland. Born in 1869 at Cape Bridgewater, Nicholas was a farmer but a keen sporting interest and was knowledgeable about all matters of  cricket and horse racing. His wife had previously passed away and they had one married daughter, Ethel.

James Trotter KITTSON: Died 11 December 1945 at Cape Bridgewater. James was a member of the pioneering Kittson family.

OBITUARY. (1945, December 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64406262

James left a wife, son and daughter and was buried at the Bridgewater cemetery.

In the News – May 26, 1927

The Portland Guardian of May 26, 1927 reports the death of Mrs Hugh Kittson.  The obituary gives much information about Mrs Kittson’s early life including her arrival in Australia and her marriage.  She was 94 years old and had been in Victoria for 82 years and had many memories of those early times.  As I read her story, I wanted to know more about Mrs Hugh Kittson.  The obituary, as was often the way, did not mention her first or maiden names.  It did say she had travelled to Victoria on the “Intrinsic” with her parents and two brothers in 1840.

Obituary. (1927, May 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 3. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257291

 

After searching death records and Trove, I found that Mrs Kittson was Margaret Jennings, daughter of Cook Abraham Jennings and Hannah Birchall.  She was born in Manchester about 1833.  Her brothers were Samuel and Robert Jennings and the “Intrinsic” had in fact arrived in 1841.   I then discovered stories about two pioneering families of the south Western District I had not heard of before, the Jennings and the Kittsons who were both in the Portland and Bridgewater areas before 1850. I particular enjoyed a Letter to the Editor from the Portland Guardian of January 23, 1877 by Cook Jennings which painted a picture of the 1840s.

Cook Abraham Jennings’ letter gives an  insight into life in the early days of Western Victoria.  He refutes a claim by Thomas Fairburn to be the first person to find freestone at Mount Abrupt near Dunkeld suggesting it was he instead who made the first discovery.   He describes a journey from Portland to Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt almost 30 years earlier.  As a stonemason in Portland, he was keen to source some freestone and after a tip-off, headed to the southern end of the Grampians in 1848, his travelling companions son Robert and an indigenous boy raised by Jennings wife.

CORRESPONDENCE. (1877, January 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63337471

CORRESPONDENCE. (1877, January 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63337471

Jennings describes the return journey when “there was no Hamilton…save Mr Beath’s store and Phastock’s public house”.  After difficulty crossing the Grange and Violet Creek he eventually reached Portland and sold off the stone, which was still being used as grindstones 30 years later.

The letter also shows that overseas travel was not out of the question for those early pioneers.  Cook Jennings travelled to Richmond, Virginia in 1858 to lodge a claim on a relative’s will.  Although Cook did come across as somewhat of an opportunist!

Margaret Jennings’s husband Hugh Kittson was himself some sort of trailblazer.  The Irish-born son of James and Catherine Kittson, was reported as the first white person to ride overland from Portland to Melbourne.  Hugh and Margaret had seven children and surnames of their descendents include Johnson, White and Hodgetts.