Strong in Faith…A Story of Monivae Estate

For over 175 years, the name of “Monivae” has been familiar to the people of Hamilton and district. What it represents has changed with the generations from a parish and schools to an old bluestone homestead Hamiltonians pass on their annual migration south to Port Fairy. For the returned WW1 soldier and poet Thomas SkeyhillMonivae was the place the fairies played as he walked the paddocks, “with a copy of Keats…and dog at my heels.” 

Local history wasn’t something taught at school but I  did learn the origins of the name “Monivae”. Not during a history class, rather religious education. I attended Hamilton’s Monivae College, a Catholic secondary school. The college opened in the 1950s, on the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road, just south of Hamilton on a property with a two-storey bluestone homestead.  After the school relocated to Ballarat Road, Hamilton, the original property became known as “Old Monivae”.  Those of similar age to myself, who didn’t sit through a Form 1 RE class at Monivae, could be excused for thinking the name started with the school.  Instead, it goes back to an Irish Protestant by the name of Acheson Ffrench.

Appointed as Police Magistrate in 1841 at Hamilton, then known as The Grange, Acheson Ffrench aged twenty-nine was from Monivea Castle, County Galway, Ireland, the Ffrench ancestral home dating back to the 16oos when the Ffrenchs took over from the O’Kellys.  Born at the castle in 1812, the son of Robert Ffrench and Nicola O’Brien was educated in Dublin, destined to join the clergy, but Acheson had questions. He left Ireland and went on a pilgrimage of sorts through Europe and the Holy Land before landing in Australia.  Don Garden in Hamilton, A Western District History, cites C. J. Griffith who met Ffrench in Melbourne soon after his arrival.  Griffith recalled Ffrench’s tattoos, Jerusalem Arms inked by a monk in the ancient city along with various Arabic characters.

“Government Gazette.” Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 – 1843) 8 July 1841: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31732227&gt;.

It was also 1841 when Ffrench took up land, a large run of 17,000 acres to the south of The Grange. He named it Monivae after his Galway home. It seems he never took on the original spelling of Monivea but Ffrench seemed fairly flexible in that respect.  He dropped a letter from his surname, signing letters to the newspapers, of which he wrote many, as A.French. The Ffrench surname had already evolved back in Ireland from ffrench.

“Advertising” The Melbourne Daily News (Vic. : 1848 – 1851) 1 February 1849: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226472923&gt;.

On 8 February 1842, Ffrench married his fiancé Anna Watton, a daughter of Dr John Watton who in that year became Medical Officer at the Mt Rouse Aboriginal Protectorate.  Acheson and Anna lived at the Police Magistrate’s residence on a site selected by Acheson on the corner of Thompson and Martin streets. The Hamilton Police Station and Courthouse still stand there today.

“Family Notices” Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1840 – 1845) 14 February 1842: 3. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92679898&gt;.

By the end of 1843, the role of Police Magistrate was abolished and Ffrench was without a job.  However, by February 1844, the government announced a new commission intended to keep the peace and Ffrench was named as a commissioner.  He was able to stay on in at his residence but with reduced employment, Ffrench turned to improving Monivae and running sheep. The Ffrench offspring were arriving at a steady rate and in 1847, a homestead was built at Monivae on what is now the eastern side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.  Anna would bear twelve children in all, six boys and six girls, with one dying as a baby.

Acheson Ffrench wasn’t the best of farmers and money problems arose.  In 1864, he put Monivae up for lease for a term of three years and moved the family to Melbourne.

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 29 January 1864: 8. Web. 18 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5743286&gt;.

The family spent two years in Melbourne, returning to Monivae in 1866. Ffrench’s trips to Melbourne continued and he was there on 29 January 1870.  He fancied a dip at Kenny’s Gentleman’s Bathing Ship (below) at St Kilda. With his arms reportedly by his side, Ffrench described as, “somewhat heavy with a stout build”, dived into the water from one of the diving boards. Normally at a depth of six feet, the tide was out leaving the water depth at just over four feet. Ffrench hit his head on the bottom and unconscious when dragged out.  He could not be revived, dying within minutes.  An inquest found Acheson had broken his neck. Arising from the inquest was a conversation, of which Ffrench was a part in the days before his death.  At lunch with friends, the topic of discussion turned to death from diving accidents.

KENNY’S BATHING SHIP, ST. KILDA. Artist – Thomas Clark. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84320

When news of Acheson Ffrench’s death reached Hamilton, shops closed as a mark of respect.  He was remembered in the Hamilton Spectator, “…as generally very highly respected throughout the district for his strict integrity and manliness of character, whilst there was a certain rugged independence about him which led him to adhere strictly to his own convictions, without, however, attempting to force his views upon others”.  Monivae was placed on the market and Anna Ffrench and the children moved to Melbourne.

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 9 August 1870: 3. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5828208&gt;.

Ownership of Monivae transferred from an Irishman the Spectator described as having “peculiar” religious views, to a staunch Presbyterian from the Scottish Highlands.  James Thomson and his wife Christian Armstrong arrived in Victoria in 1852 aboard the Europa.  They spent around five years at the Clyde Company’s Golf Hill, near Shelford. Their first child John was born in 1853 at neighbouring Warrambeen, home of Christian’s brother Alexander Armstrong.  James Thomson then purchased an interest the Ullswater and Maryvale Stations near Edenhope and settled at the later property.

By the time the Thomsons arrived at Monivae in 1870, they had seven children aged two to seventeen and they moved into Ffrench’s homestead. Over the next six years, the Thomson family continued to grow.  In 1871, twins James and George were born followed by Wilhelmina Jessie in 1873. Sadly, Wilhelmina died on 5 April 1875.  The last child born to the family was William Armstrong Thomson in September 1876.  It was around the time of William’s birth, James Thomson decided they needed a bigger home or more correctly, a “mansion”. He wasn’t the only one and the “bloated aristocrats” were duly roasted by the Ballarat Star calling for a mansion tax.

“NEW SOURCE OF TAXATION.” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 18 December 1876: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199833143&gt;.

Some may believe, especially if they did Form 1 RE with me in the 1980s, the existing Monivae homestead was built by Acheson Ffrench.  James Thomson was never mentioned in our classes.  Likewise, Thomson was not mentioned in historian Margaret Kiddle’s book Men of Yesterday and she credited Ffrench for building Monivae “probably in the late sixties” (p.316). However, James Thomson was responsible for the Monivae Homestead we know today.

The site for the new homestead was about 800 metres from the former homestead and on the other side of the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road.  William Smith, the Borough Surveyor drew up plans, tenders opened and using bluestone sourced from the quarry on the property, construction began.  Thomson’s total expenditure was £5400 something he likely regretted because the government did introduce a “class” tax and if the timing was slightly different, the homestead may never have been built. The land tax, introduced in the colony in 1877, intended to break up large holdings such as Monivae and it was thought Thomson would never have gone ahead had it come earlier.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

Hamilton Spectator correspondent toured the new sixteen roomed homestead in May 1878. Critical of the external appearance he suggested “one of those elegant lookout towers” to improve the looks. He remarked it might be an addition “when times – politically speaking – improve”.  A tower was never added and reforms to the land tax didn’t come until 1884. The lacework and coloured tiles of the verandah did meet approval. As the correspondent entered the front door, a hallway measuring twenty-four feet by ten feet wide was before him with, “white walls, shining like so much marble would perhaps give it too cold a look; but for the coloured light thrown into it, from the staircase and front door windows, and its mosaic pavement formed of Minton’s tiles.” The drawing room was around twenty-six feet by sixteen feet but for special occasions, folding doors into the breakfast room could open.  The floor space then increased to forty-six feet, allowing for dancing.

The homestead boasted an eighteen-foot tiled staircase with a cedar railing leading to the upper storey with a balcony verandah around ten feet wide and 130 feet long.  Paved in coloured tiles, it was perfect for the Thomson children to roller skate. That was until 1887 when sixteen-year-old James Thomas Thomson skated straight over the railing onto the gravel about nine metres below. He fractured his skull and although it was touch and go for a few days, he made a full recovery.  His twin George, known as “Joe” was not so lucky.  Having suffered congenital heart problems, he died suddenly two years late on 4 June 1889, at Monivae aged eighteen.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

The Thomson children were not the marrying kind. Of the five Thomson girls, three married, as did three of the surviving four boys. None married before the age of twenty-seven and John was fifty-six. The first Thomson wedding was that of thirty-year-old Annie Thomson to James Allan Learmonth, son of Hamilton businessman and grazier Peter Learmonth and Mary Jarvey Pearson of Prestonholme. Learmonth was also a devout Methodist, a pillar of the Hamilton Wesleyan Church in McIntyre Street.

It was the grandest of the three weddings James Thompson would pay for.  Celebrated on 1 September 1886, at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hamilton, the marriage was not followed by the usual wedding breakfast. Instead, two weeks later James threw a private ball for two hundred guests in the Hamilton Town Hall for the newlyweds in lieu of a wedding breakfast.  Such a grand affair may have been due to Annie’s imminent departure for Mexico with her new husband who’d been managing the family property there.  It could also have been the thinking of a canny Scot.  Why pay for both a wedding breakfast and a send-off when one event will suffice.

HAMILTON TOWN HALL 1910. Image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/765800

On 3 October 1888, it was Margaret “Maggie” Thomson’s turn to marry. She too had reached the age of thirty and opted for a small quiet gathering at Monivae. The groom was Thomas Haliburton Laidlaw, son of Thomas Laidlaw and Grace McLeod and those in attendance were mostly family. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Thomson married on 27 July 1893 in the drawing room at Monivae, again a quiet celebration.  Her groom was bank manager Forrester Goldsmith Armstrong, a son of Oliver Armstrong of Kyneton. By this time Lizzie’s older sister Annie and her family were home from Mexico to witness the occasion.

Fire has threatened the Monviae homestead many times since its construction including 1891, 1944 and more recently Ash Wednesday of 1983. The fires of February 1901 were particularly fierce and practically wiped out Byaduk North a little further south. At Monivae, fire swept through the property from one end to the other killing around 2000 sheep.

“ALONG MACARTHUR ROAD.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 February 1901

In 1906, the Victorian Government received an offer to buy 17,000 acres of the Monivae Estate from James Thomson for Closer Settlement.  He would keep 3,000 acres and the homestead. Negotiations with the government broke down, so James subdivided the land himself. An initial sale on 24 November 1906 saw 322 acres auctioned.  Of the lots sold they averaged around £16 per acre. A second sale was held on 20 December 1906 and 1022 acres were sold at an average of £9 13/ per acre. James also sold off Crawford Estate and subdivided 500 acres of Lake Condah Estate. With a downsized Monivae, youngest son William left the property and moved to Portland. Oldest son John stayed on at Monivae as did unmarried daughters Mary and Christina.

The land sales came in the wake of a great loss for the Thomson family.  On 8.20am on 24 October 1906 at Monivae, the matriarch of the family, Christian Thomson drew her last breath at the age of seventy-five.  A deeply religious and charitable woman, she was one of the fundraising champions of the town and attended St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church like clockwork “morning and night”. Everyone knew her pew. A full member of the church for thirty-six years, her name was added to the church roll on 4 October 1870.  Christian was also a member of the Ladies Benevolent Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society.  She managed to attend church until just a couple of weeks before her death.  Christian was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF CHRISTIAN THOMSON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

It was fourteen years between the weddings of Thomson children and it was James Thomas Thomson, the roller skater, who was next to take the plunge.  He was living at Inverary, Branxholme by the time he married Henrietta Moynan on 26 November 1907 at the Anglican Christ Church Hamilton, the church sharing Church Hill with St. Andrew’s. The couple made their home at Inverary.  By that time, some may have thought James’ older brother John who had hit his mid-fifties, would remain a bachelor but on 31 March 1909 at Lilydale, he married Christiana Robertson.  Younger brother Alexander was close behind, marrying Ethel Manning on 6 May 1909.  He was forty-six.

Possibly the last public duty undertaken by James Thomson of Monivae was the laying of a foundation stone for a new St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  A devout parishioner, James donated bluestone from the Monivae quarry for the new church.  The ceremony took place on 18 December 1907 with James just four months from his eighty-seventh birthday.

FOUNDATION STONE, ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

 

ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HAMILTON

After completion of the new Presbyterian church, James donated a memorial window to remember his wife, Christian.  Also, portraits of James and Christian and their children John and Margaret Thomson were unveiled at the church in 1918 along with those of seven other prominent Hamilton Presbyterians.

“BEAUTIFUL MEMORIAL WINDOW.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 26 May 1909: 4. Web. 14 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225037595&gt;.

James Thomson died at Monivae on 25 April 1910 after an illness of two weeks.  His obituary described him as, “…a man of sterling qualities and simple tastes. Never courting publicity, he was never so happy as when surrounded by children or occupying himself in his garden”.  James left Monivae for the last time at 2.30pm on Wednesday 27 April 1910 for the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF JAMES THOMSON, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

James Thomson’s probate file reveals his liabilities were £814. His debts included rates, wages to a number of Monivae staff and accounts with businesses in Hamilton.  The total of the estate was £36,209. Of that, over £2600 was stock including several thousand sheep. Another £300 was the furniture filling the rooms of the homestead.  The Monivae property including the homestead was valued at £25000. By that time, the homestead Ffrench built was accommodation for Monivae workers.  James bequeathed two-thirds of his estate to his four living sons, divided equally.  To his five daughters, James bequeathed one-third of his estate in equal shares. Eldest son John Thomson was given the first option to buy the property at a value of £8 per acre.  He could also buy the farm implements and furniture in the homestead for £400. The last of the Lake Condah Estate was sold as too a large amount of stock.  Extra funds were no doubt wanted to pay the duty on the estate totalling more than £2500, seven percent of the total.

John Thomson did take up the option to buy Monivae.  He was around fifty-seven and newly married to Christina “Keenie” Robertson, a daughter of Scot James Robertson and Jane Ritchie of Keilor.  Christina herself was forty-three and children were not in the equation. Like his parents, John was a stalwart of the Presbyterian Church and on the board of management of St Andrew’s for thirty years.  As well as running Monivae, John was a politician and by 1910, had held the seat of Dundas in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly for eighteen years across two terms and was a Honourary Minster in the Cabinet.

“THE OPENING OF THE THIRD FEDERAL PARLIAMENT.” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 2 March 1907: 9. Web. 13 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221256443&gt;.

In May 1914, John Thomson announced after twenty-two years in the seat of Dundas, he would not stand for re-election at the forthcoming State Election. The reasons given were the need to spend more time at home with his wife and to tend to other family matters. He said the last five years were extremely busy ones and he was looking forward to leading a quieter life.

John’s unmarried sisters Christina and Mary had stayed on at Monivae after their father’s death.  In 1914 and feeling under the weather, Christina then aged forty-six attended the doctor on Friday 6 November but managed to take up her usual place at St Andrew’s the following Sunday.  She died suddenly about midday at Monivae on Monday 9 November with Mary at her side. Well-liked in the community, Christina like her mother was devout and charitable.

It was around the time of Christina’s death, the Monivae State School opened on the Portland Road.  With Closer Settlement in the district and James’ subdivision of Monivae, the area was becoming increasingly populated. The school eventually closed and in 1946, the school building was moved to the North Hamilton State School.

John Thomson spent the years after his political retirement maintaining Monivae and was involved with various committees and activities in the Hamilton district.  He made a trip to Melbourne on 3 August 1917 and attended a school football match with Archibald Simpson of Clifton, Hamilton.  The funeral for John Thomson was large with condolences and floral tributes sent from dignitaries across Victoria.  His coffin bearers were Monivae employees and members of the Hamilton Angling Club. John was buried in the Thomson family plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery as the Hamilton Brass Band played “Nearer My God to Thee”.   

GRAVE OF JOHN THOMSON AND HIS WIFE CHRISTINA ROBERTSON

John left his estate valued at over £46,000 to his wife Christina and brother-in-law Thomas Laidlaw. Upon Christina’s death, the estate would be divided between John’s brothers and sisters.  One of John’s more interesting investments was 500 shares in the Melbourne Ice Skating Company. The estate was held in trust and Christina moved to Sandringham in 1921. She died at Toorak in December 1949 at the age of seventy-nine.

Alexander, the second eldest son of James and Christian Thomson took over the running of Monivae.  Alexander and his wife Ethel Manning and their two children Kathleen Mary and  James Yelverton Monivae Thomson moved into the homestead.  Kathleen (below) married Hugh Lloyd Cameron of Geelong at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton on 18 February 1937.

KATHLEEN MARY THOMSON 1937 ‘Family Notices’, Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), 11 March, p. 50. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149614310

The 1930s saw the death of five of the Thomson siblings.  Annie died on 14 June 1930 at Prestonholme aged sixty-four leaving six children, Edgar, Russell, Keith, Christina (Mrs James Young), Maggie (Mrs Alex Armstrong), and Mona Learmonth. Having married the son of Hamilton’s leading Methodist, Annie changed her allegiances and was active in within her new church.  A memorial window (below) was installed in the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church remembering Annie and her husband James Learmonth.

LEARMONTH MEMORIAL WINDOW, HAMILTON UNITING CHURCH

Annie was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery

Margaret died on 30 December 1932 at her home Kilora (below) in Kennedy Street, Hamilton. She left six children, Hal, John, Alexander, Thomas, Gretta (Mrs Lance Lewis) and Bea (Mrs John McKellar) Laidlaw.  On 23 March 1933, Elizabeth died at Corra, Willaura, the home of her son-in-law Donald Moffatt leaving two children Vera and Pat.  James Thompson Jr. died in 1934.  He and Henrietta did not have children.  Youngest son William, who never married, died on 2 May 1943 aged sixty-six at Portland.  His body was taken to Monivae before leaving for the Hamilton Cemetery.  After the death of her sister Christina, unmarried Mary Thomson spent time in Malvern living with her sister Elizabeth. After Elizabeth died, Mary moved into Kilora (below), sharing the home with her widower brother-in-law Thomas Laidlaw, husband of Margaret Thomson, until her death on 13 May 1939. Thomas Laidlaw died in 1941.

KILORA, HAMILTON

Alexander Thomson’s death in June 1946 aged eighty-three, brought to a close the lives of the children of James and Christian Thomson. Sixteen of their grandchildren and their children remained. Like his siblings, Alexander was buried in the Thomson plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).  

THOMSON FAMILY PLOT, PRESBYTERIAN SECTION, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

After seventy-seven years, with the estate of John Thomson requiring closure, Monivae in the Parish of Monivae in the County of Normanby went up for sale.  

“Advertising” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 28 December 1946: 18. Web. 16 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22384820&gt;.

The Catholic order of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) was looking for a new site for a boys’ boarding college after establishing a school in Toowoomba, Queensland sixteen years earlier.  The Monivae homestead was purchased in 1947 with grand plans of developing the property into a school.

“M.S C. BOYS’ COLLEGE FOR HAMILTON” Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954) 13 August 1947: 7. Web. 16 Oct 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172490068&gt;.

It soon became clear, the site was not suitable and the MSC went in search of a new site. Bob Strachan owned land on Ballarat Road, Hamilton and the MSC were able to negotiate a trade with him.  The MSC obtained the land in Ballarat Road for the new school and retained 100 acres at Monivae including the homestead.  Bob Strachan’s side of the bargain was the balance of the Monivae property.  A day school in temporary buildings on the Monivae property started in February 1954 while the new school was under construction.  On 17 October 1954, the foundation stone for the Ballarat Road school was blessed. The contract for the building which started in mid-1953 was the largest seen in Hamilton, estimated at £250,000. Classes started at the new school in 1956 despite it being far from complete.  Monivae College not only adopted the name of the Ffrench named property, the school’s badge includes a reminder of Ffrench’s heritage, two Dolphins  also part of the Ffrench family crest.

MONIVAE COLLEGE, BALLARAT ROAD, HAMILTON c1956.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64414

From 1841, religion was at the forefront at Monivae.  From Acheson Ffrench questioning and challenging his faith to the Thomson’s unwavering devotion, to the arrival of the priests of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The Monivae College motto Fortes in Fide meaning Strong in Faith could easily have been the Thomson’s motto too.  

The Monivae homestead became rundown and was later taken over by Glenelg Region Water, now known as Wannon Water.

MONIVAE HOMESTEAD 1981. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230082

The homestead and what remains of the surrounding Monivae property has since returned to private ownership and has undergone extensive restoration.  Monivae will be open on Sunday 22 October from 10am to 4pm.  All proceeds go to another of Hamilton’s historic jewels the Hamilton Botanic Gardens and its ongoing redevelopment. Appropriate as a feature of the gardens is the beautiful John Thomson Memorial Fountain. Such was the high regard for John Thomson of Monivae around the Hamilton district, the fountain was built in his memory and unveiled in April 1919 by the then Premier of Victoria.  In its position, the fountain is visible from the front gates of Kilora in Kennedy Street, acting as a constant reminder of their dear brother John for sisters Margaret and Mary Thomson during their time at the home.     

©2017 Merron Riddiford

Passing of the Pioneers

It’s an interesting mix of pioneers for July with several family links.  It begins with Margaret Laidlaw who’s father and brother-in-law also have their obituaries listed.  Then there’s William Thomson and his son Robert Thomson, and James Brake, a brother-in-law of William’s brother John Thomson. Also there are several connections to previous Passing Pioneers and I’ve linked them up where possible.  You can also see the growing number of family connections among the pioneers on the alphabetical lists at the Pioneer Obituary Index.  A reminder that all underlined text will take you to further information about the subject.

LAIDLAW, James – Died 1 July 1892 at Amphitheatre.  James Laidlaw was born around 1823 in Scotland, a son of Adam Laidlaw and Margaret Stoddart.  He arrived in Victoria in 1852 and married Mary Ann Coates in 1855.  After their marriage, James and Mary Ann resided at Lake Learmonth near Ballarat.  James was a Justice of the Peace and during the 1860s, Chairman of the Ballarat Shire. Around 1872, James purchased Lake Wallace South Estate near Edenhope.  His brother Walter was at nearby Newlands and he and James became well-known in the district. James was the local Justice of the Peace and a Kowree Shire councillor.

In 1883, James purchased Amphiteatre Station, near Avoca with three of his sons while another two sons remained at Lake Wallace to manage affairs.  James was soon involved with public affairs in the district and was elected to the Lexton Shire Council.  James and Mary Ann had two daughters, Helen who married Hamilton stock and station agent John Fenton and another Margaret who married grazier, Thomas Philip. Both daughters lived in the Hamilton district. Margaret’s obituary is further down the page.  James Laidlaw was buried at the Lexton Cemetery.  Mary Ann died in 1896.

THOMSON, William – Died 17 July 1892 at Hamilton.  Born in Fifeshire, Scotland in 1836, William was a son of merchant Robert Thomson and arrived at Hobsons Bay aboard the Yarra at the age of sixteen.  With him was his father, brothers and uncle William Dick Thomson. While his father went to the Bendigo diggings, William and his brother Alex worked with merchants in Melbourne until their father’s return twelve months later.  Robert Thomson opened his own business in Collins Street, Melbourne then later at Collingwood.  Not long after, an accident claimed his life. William and Alec then went to Geelong working as merchants there.  In 1864, the opportunity arose to buy the Levy & Sander Iron Store in Gray Street, Hamilton.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870) 8 January 1864: 1. Web. 9 Jul 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194724116&gt;.

The store was known as W & W Thomson with William and his Uncle William senior partners. In 1872, William married Ella Guthridge and in the same year, his uncle retired and William’s younger brother John Thomson became a partner in the firm.  In 1875, the Thomsons had grand plans for a new two storey stone building. Tender applications opened (below) and work began. Within in two years, the Thomson built another store next door, resulting in a “handsome and commodious edifice”.  In time, the store expanded to other towns including Horsham.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 25 December 1875: 2. Web. 9 Jul 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226071140&gt;.

During his time in Hamilton, William lived at Malvern House in Gray Street.  Along with being a senior partner in W & W Thomson, William was a Hamilton Borough Councillor first serving in 1868 and going on to serve as Mayor on six occasions.  He was Sunday School Superintendent at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for over twenty years and on the Hamilton Hospital committee, serving as President.  At the time of his death, William was President of the Hamilton Mechanics Institute.  William was a force behind the Hamilton railway and was a member of the Railway Extension League.  He was a member of the Hamilton Bowling Club and served as President.  William was a keen lodge attendee, as a Freemason and Oddfellows, climbing to the highest ranks

JOHN THOMSON & CO., GRAY STREET, HAMILTON, 1930. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769322
Accessed 27 June 2017

William Thomson died on a Sunday afternoon and that evening, his brother John approved a partial post-mortem for “humanitarian purposes” and suspicions confirmed.  William Thomson’s death was due to liver cancer at the age of fifty-six.  He left a widow, two sons and three daughters.  The funeral was one of the largest seen in the town with the funeral procession almost one kilometre in length.

“FUNERAL OF THE LATE MR. WILLIAM THOMSON.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 21 July 1892: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226161727&gt;.

After William’s death, his younger brother John took over the running of the Thomson store, operating as  John Thomson & Co.  John died suddenly in 1894 and James Brake (see obituary below), brother of John Thomson’s wife Martha,  took over the store’s management.  Thomsons as it was locally known, operated in Gray Street until the early 1980s.  The building remains today as a shopping centre and the façade was recently restored.  The photo below was taken prior to the restoration.

FORMER JOHN THOMSON & CO BUILDING, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON, 2015

McLEOD, Alexander Magnus – Died 19 July 1910 at West Melbourne.  Alexander McLeod was born near Elaine, Victoria in 1846, a son of John Norman McLeod and Agnes Paterson.  He went to school in Portland and Scotch College and then worked in a Portland bank. Later, Alexander became the Deputy Chief Inspector of Stock in South Australia. 

In 1890, at the age of forty-four, Alexander MacLeod married Caroline Henty.  There was gossip about the marriage because of the age difference which was by no means vast and because Caroline had only the year before inherited property after the death of her father Francis Henty. That included part of the Merino Downs property Caroline and Alexander would go on to name Talisker after the McLeod ancestral home on the Isle of Skye. Alexander and Caroline built a grand homestead in 1901 (below).  Prior to settling at Talisker, the McLeods had two daughters, Caroline Agnes and Alexandra Frances.

“TALISKER”, MERINO, 1977. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232509

During his time in the district, Alexander was associated with the construction of the Merino Butter Factory, a cooperative close to Talisker.  In 1910, Alexander and Caroline were visiting Melbourne and in residence at the Menzies Hotel.  It was there on 19 July 1910, Alexander died suddenly from a heart attack.  He was buried in Melbourne and Caroline returned to Talisker where she died four years later.

BRAKE, James Hugh – Died 29 July 1915 at Mont Albert.  James Brake was born at Cavendish around 1854.  Educated in Hamilton, James first worked for David Laidlaw, a storekeeper in Gray Street, Hamilton. James moved across the road to the W & W Thomson Store and was later promoted to manager of the Horsham branch of the store around 1880.  His move to Thomsons was most likely due to the family connection coming in 1877 when James’ sister Martha married John Thomson, a senior partner of W & W Thomson and younger brother of William Thomson (see obituary above).  

In 1881, James married Barbara McDougall and they went on to have five children.  While in Horsham, James was one of the first members of the local progress association and was a contributor to the Horsham Hospital. He served on the Horsham Borough Council and held the Horsham seat in State Parliament.  James was a supporter of temperance and attended the Horsham Presbyterian Church.

After the death of William Thomson in 1892, James’ brother-in-law  John Thomson became the sole partner.  However, John died suddenly in 1894 and James returned to Hamilton to manage the store in that town.  In time, his sons also worked in the store. In 1914, the Brakes moved to Elouera in Stanhope Street, Mont Albert.  James managed the Hamilton store from afar but died soon after at his home aged sixty-one.  His body was returned to Hamilton and buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.  In November of that year, James and Barbara’s younger son William Brake enlisted with the 4th Field Artillery Brigade and middle son James enlisted with the Australian Flying Corps in 1916.  Both sons returned, however, William died at the family home in Mont Albert in 1922 aged just twenty-nine.  He was buried with his father at Hamilton (below).

BRAKE FAMILY PLOT, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY.

PHILIP, John – Died July 1916 at Hamilton.  John Philip was born at Victoria Lagoon Station north of Cavendish in 1855, the third son of Captain John Philip and Margaret Robertson. John attended the Hamilton Academy and Geelong College.  When he left school, John went to his father’s property Miga Lake Station, north of Harrow, before managing Ascot Heath Station near Dartmoor in 1879. The following year, John married Katherin Swan of  Koonongwootong station near Coleraine.  He later purchased Englefield near Balmoral (below) and the Lower Crawford Estate near Condah in 1902. In 1904, he purchased the Mooralla Estate.

ENGLEFIELD. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/214202

John served on the Portland Shire Council and later the Wannon Shire.  He was also president of the Balmoral Mechanics Institute and the Toolondo-Cavendish Railway League.  He was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF JOHN AND KATHERIN PHILIP, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

WALTER, Emma – Died July 1916 at Hamilton.  Emma Walter was born in Devonshire, England in 1828 where she married Thomas Bromell.  In 1852, Emma and Thomas arrived in Victoria and after a short stay in Geelong went to the Ballarat and Avoca diggings before returning to Geelong by the end of the year,  purchasing a farm in the Barabool Hills.  In 1860, the Bromells took up Hensleigh Park north of Hamilton.  Thomas died in 1887 and around 1904, Emma moved into town, living at Edgecumb in Milton Street Hamilton.  In her earlier years at Hensleigh Park, Emma often attended the Hamilton Hunt Club meets.  She also enjoyed attending the local football.  Emma and Thomas had nine daughters and one son.  At the time of her death, Emma had twenty-two grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.  She was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF EMMA BROMELL (NEE WALTER), OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

 

JONES, Edwin John – Died 21 July 1928 at Dartmoor.  Edwin Jones was born at Portland around 1856.  His parents settled at Drik Drik where Edwin remained until around 1908 when he purchased land at Mumbannar.  Edwin married Sarah Emerson around 1898 and they had three sons and one daughter. He was member of the Drik Drik P & A Society and Methodist Church (below)

DRIK DRIK METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230495

LEARMONTH, Edgar Thomson – Died 8 July 1933 at Mount Gambier.  Edgar Learmonth was the son of James Allan Learmonth and Annie Thomson and was born in Mexico around 1889 while his parents were living there.  The Learmonths returned to Australia in 1892 when Edgar was four and resided at Correa, near Dunkeld for the next ten years before moving to the home of Edgar’s grandfather Peter LearmonthPrestonholme near Hamilton. Edgar went to Hamilton College and later Wesley College.  He spent some years in Western Australia after his schooling then returned to manage his uncle James Thomson’s property Inverary near Branxholme While two of his brothers were serving during WW1, Edgar returned to Prestonholme and helped his father run that property.  It was during those years, Edgar an all round sportsman, won three Hamilton Golf Club championships.  After the war, Edgar and his two returned serviceman brothers purchased land together.

In 1923, Edgar married Nellie Coy of Woorndoo and the following year he and his brother Russell purchased Barnoolut near Mount Gambier where Edgar and Nellie took up residence and went on to have a daughter Janet.  On the afternoon of 9 July 1933, Edgar attended a football match at Mount Gambier and later attended Jenz’s Hotel. He was found unconscious in the outhouse at the hotel with a bullet wound to his head. He died five hours later in a private Mount Gambier hospital.  On 10 July 1933, the Mount Gambier coroner found Edgar Learmonth, at the age of forty-five, died from suicide due to an unsound mind.  During the inquiry, letters by Edgar revealed he was a worried man, however, his brother Russell said that while there were some financial worries, “they were not such to trouble a healthy man”.  Edgar was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF EDGAR LAIDLAW AND FAMILY, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

LAIDLAW, Margaret – Died July 1935 at Hamilton.  Margaret was born at Lake Learmonth near Ballarat in 1858, a daughter of James Laidlaw (see obituary above) and Marian Coates. On 21 August 1883, Margaret married Thomas Philip at Wanliss House, Ballarat.  Thomas was a brother of John Philip (see obituary above).  The groomsmen were Margaret’s brother Henry Laidlaw and John Fenton, Margaret’s brother-in-law.  The Hamilton Spectator of 25 August 1883, headlined the report with, “A Fashionable Wedding”.  Margaret and Thomas eventually went to live at Koornong near Branxholme and in 1910, Thomas was involved in accident with a horse and suffered back injuries.  Since he was fifteen years older than Margaret, it was time to retire to town and the Philips took up residence at Kenmure in Ballarat Road.

KENMURE, HAMILTON 2015

 

In August 1933, Margaret and Thomas celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary with sixty family and friends.  Margaret died two years later at the age of seventy-six.

THOMSON, Robert Erskine – Died 18 July 1948 at Benalla.  Robert Thompson was born in Hamilton around 1875, a son of store owner William Thomson (see obituary above) and Ella Guthridge.  Around 1904, Robert married Sophie Dowie of Carisbrook.  After his marriage, Robert moved to Benalla and following his father’s footsteps, took over the Beehive Store in Bridge Street.  Robert was a member of the Benalla Lawn Tennis Club and Benalla Golf Club.  He was also a member of the Holy Trinity Church choir.

MANN, Samuel Furneaux – Died 17 July 1954 at Sandringham. Samuel Mann was born at Ballarat in 1866.  His father Samuel Furneaux Sr was a Ballarat solicitor and they lived in Lydiard Street.  Samuel Jr attended Geelong Grammar School.  He was a good sportsman and was part of Geelong Grammar’s rowing eight crew for the local  Head of the River twice.  Samuel also played football and cricket and golf.  He also played polo with the Caramut Polo Club later known as the Hexham Polo Club.   In 1897, Samuel purchased Minjah Station from the Ware family in partnership with Rutherford Albert Affleck.  He married Isabella Cecilia Affleck on 8 December 1897 at Scots’ Church in Collins Street, Melbourne.  Samuel and Cecilia went to have two sons and two daughters.  In 1903, Samuel purchased Lawrenny at Caramut (below).  A further obituary for Samuel Mann is available on the link to Obituaries Australia http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/mann-samuel-furneaux-barney-670

‘LAWRENNY”, CARAMUT 1986. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/216637

 

Passing of the Pioneers

It’s a bumper Passing of the Pioneers for December with twenty-five new pioneer obituaries from across the Western District.  Christmas is a particularly sad time to lose a loved one and this month there are five pioneers who passed away on Christmas Day.  Two of those were at Casterton on Christmas Day 1917.  As with most months, there are those with something in common. This month, sons or grandsons at war was a common theme.  Remember to click on any underlined words to find further information about a subject.

David Wright BRAYSHAY – Died 16 December 1888 at St Kilda.  David Brayshay and his wife Maria Scott arrived in Buninyong near Ballarat around the time the Union Jack Lead near Warrenheip Street opened in 1857. He opened a drapery with a Mr O’Donnell almost opposite the Robert Burns Hotel in Warrenheip Street.  They then built a brick shop near the centre of the township. When the partnership dissolved, David remained in the brick shop and expanded into groceries. During his time in the town, he was a Buninyong Councillor from 1863 until 1869.

Things turned awry in 1869 when the Ballarat Star reported David’s insolvency and an order of compulsory sequestration. His insolvency case continued in the courts into 1870 and it was not long after David and his family arrived in Hamilton.  David purchased a large amount of land near Buckley’s Swamp and took over the running of Hamilton’s Victoria Hotel.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 9 November 1870: 1. Web. 25 Nov 2016 .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 November 1870: 1. Web. 25 Nov 2016 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196302997&gt;..

1930 Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766568

THE VICTORIA HOTEL, HAMILTON, 1930. image courtesy of the Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766568

David was again drawn to public life serving as a Hamilton Councillor and  Mayor. On 14 February 1884, the Hamilton Spectator reported David wanted to let 1000 acres of land, reclaimed from Buckley Swamp, for farming purposes.  David’s contribution to reclaiming the swamp was remembered in his obituary in the Hamilton Spectator.

"OBITUARY." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 18 December 1888: .

“OBITUARY.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 18 December 1888: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225762827&gt;.

During December 1888, Hamilton agents Robert Stapylton Bree & Co. advertised the sale of David’s land at Buckley’s Swamp because he was leaving the district.  The following advertisement appeared in the Hamilton Spectator on 13 December 1888 for the auction on the following Saturday.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 13 December 1888: .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 December 1888: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225759630&gt;.

The sale was then postponed because David, staying at The Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, fell ill and died the day after the scheduled sale.  He left his widow Maria, one son and seven daughters. Maria died at Hamilton in 1902.

Ann SAVAGE – Died 4 December 1898 at Hamilton.  Ann Savage was born in Walkern, Hertfordshire, England around 1823.  She arrived in Victoria during the 1850s and in 1857 at Geelong married Mark William Hughes, widower and father of two sons.  The couple arrived at Strathkellar around 1859 and their first child Ellen was born at Hamilton that year. In 1862, a son Frederick Charles Hughes was born.  Mark set up a nursery business in Gray Street, Hamilton selling seeds and flowers and the family moved to Gray Street. In 1888, Ann and Mark’s son Frederick married my ggg aunt, Martha Harman, daughter of James Harman,  Mark Hughes died in March 1897 and Ann survived for less than two years after. Ann was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

John MacLENNAN – Died December 1908 at Mumbannar.  John MacLennan was born at Contin, Ross-Shire, Scotland around 1825 and arrived at Portland aboard the John Davis in 1853. With a good knowledge of sheep, John was employed by Henry Monro at Upper Crawford Station near Hotspur for six years then at Rifle Downs working for Richard Lewis.  In 1869, John took up land at Mumbannar where he was always willing to let the passing travelling public stop at his homestead.

Elizabeth KINSELLA –  Died 6 December 1914 at Hamilton.  Elizabeth Kinsella was born in Dublin, Ireland around 1828 and arrived at Geelong with her husband Richard Mullin during the mid-1850s. After living in Geelong for a couple of years, they moved to Portland and then Hamilton around the mid-1860s.  They lived in Cox Street and Richard worked as a carpenter. In her later years, Elizabeth was independent and had a great memory of all significant dates from her life.  Elizabeth left three daughters at the time of her death.

John LUCAS – Died 5 December 1915 at Macarthur.  John Lucas was born in Tasmania around 1841 and arrived with his parents in Victoria as a young boy.  He lived at Macarthur from the mid-1860s and he worked as a bootmaker.  He married Bridget Haley in 1863. Bridget died in 1903 at Macarthur.  John’s obituary indicates he had previously been married.  At the time of his death, John had five sons, three daughters, forty-four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Helen LAIDLAW –  Died 18 December 1915 at Hamilton.  Helen Laidlaw was the second daughter of James Laidlaw and Mary Coates and was born at Learmonth on 24 September 1860.  In the 1870s Helen’s father purchased Lake Wallace Station near Edenhope. He was soon back in central Victoria, purchasing  Amphitheatre Station south of Avoca around 1880.  It was at Amphitheatre Station where Helen married John Fenton of Ararat in 1884.

"Family Notices" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 31 July 1884: 2. .

“Family Notices” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 31 July 1884: 2. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226046744&gt;.

The following year, Helen and John’s first child Gwendoline was born at Ararat. Soon after they arrived in Hamilton and Nellie was born there in 1887. John ran a stock and station agency in Gray Street, Hamilton and served as Mayor from 1904 to 1906.

On 21 June 1915, Helen and John’s eldest son John Wilfred Fenton enlisted, embarking on 18 November 1915. Around two weeks later, Helen fell ill and her condition deteriorated until her death on 18 December at the Fenton home Lantana in Gray Street aged just fifty-five.  On 19 June 1918 John Wilfred Fenton, by then a Military Medal recipient, died from the effects of gassing in France.  Helen was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery and a memorial to John Fenton Jr, appears on the headstone.

fenton-2

HEADSTONE OF HELEN FENTON, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY.

William BROWN –  Died December 1915 at Branxholme.  William Brown was born around 1825 in Scotland and arrived in South Australia about 1850.  Three years later he married Maria Boyne, arriving in the Western District around 1863.  William worked at Muntham and Grassdale stations near Digby then owned by John Coldham.  By 1869, they were living at Branxholme where their daughter Agnes was born.  William worked as a contractor around the Branxholme district.  In February 1909. William lost a daughter and wife. First his daughter Mrs Rosina Joyce of Branxholme then just ten days later his wife Maria died.  Two of William and Maria’s grandsons, brothers Matthew and Thomas Joyce were both killed in France while serving in 1917.

Isabella IRVINE – Died 15 December 1916 at Mortlake. Isabella Irvine was born at Newcastle on Tyne around 1849 and arrived at Portland with her parents and three siblings in 1854 aboard the Indian Ocean.  In 1875, Isabella married Thomas Keogh and they spent their married life living in Mortlake. At the time of her death, Isabella had three sons and one daughter.  Two sisters were also still alive, Annie Boswell Irvine Small and Tomina Irvine Small both living in Mortlake and married to brothers Thomas and Charles Small.

Henry POTTER – Died 4 December 1916 at Hamilton.  Henry Potter was born around 1841 in Norfolk, England and arrived in Adelaide with his parents around 1854.  The family moved to Portland and Henry became an apprentice plasterer.  After his apprenticeship, Henry entered into a partnership with Thomas Wyatt lasting forty years. Henry married in 1861 to Catherine Stokes.  In 1870, Burns and Wyatt moved to Mount Gambier where they remained for five years completing several large jobs including the Mount Gambier Church of England.  By 1874, Henry and Thomas had moved their business to Hamilton and worked on the Alexandra Ladies College and the Hamilton and Western District College.  In his later years, Henry was a Clerk of Works for the Hamilton Borough Council on projects such as the Hamilton YMCA (below).  At the time of his death, Henry was the oldest living member of the Grange Lodge of Freemasons.

dscn0968

THE FORMER YMCA BUILDING IN HAMILTON.

Thomas McALLEN – Died 16 December 1916 at Port Fairy. Thomas McAllen was born around 1836 in County Clare, Ireland and left when he was twenty-seven with his wife Jane.  They arrived at Port Fairy and first lived at Yambuk then Tyrendarra.  Thomas retired to Port Fairy around 1910 and lived in Polding Street where Jane died in March 1915.  At the time of his death, Thomas had three sons and four daughters. Thomas was buried at the  Yambuk Cemetery.

Janet Manson CLARKE – Died 17 December 1916 at South Yarra.  Janet Clarke was born in Scotland around 1835 and on 23 August 1858 she married John Kennedy MacMillan a young Presbyterian minister.  With a demand for Presbyterian clergymen in Victoria, Janet and John left for Australia soon after their marriage and made their way to Beechworth where John was inducted as Reverend of the Beechworth Presbyterian Church.  In 1869, Reverend MacMillan was appointed to the St Andrews Presbyterian Church and remained there  for thirty-five years.

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

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

Janet was also active in the community and was a founding member of the Hamilton Ladies Benevolent Society.  In 1891, Janet travelled to the “old country” Scotland accompanied by one of her daughters.

"Items of News." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 12 November 1891: . .

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 12 November 1891: . <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226165639&gt;.

Reverend MacMillan died in February 1904 and Janet survived him a further twelve years.  When she died, Janet had three daughters and five sons.  She was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

Elizabeth BYRNE  – Died 12 December 1917 at Tellangatuk. Elizabeth was born in Liverpool, England and was married there in 1858 to Thomas Jasper.  They arrived at Port Fairy around 1864 on the Birkenhead. By then the couple had three young daughters. After spending some time in Port Fairy, they went to Mount Rouse then Dunkeld before settling at Tellangatuk around 1872. The couple had ten children. Thomas died on 7 May 1900.  Elizabeth and Thomas had a further nine children after their arrival in Victoria and when she died, Elizabeth had twenty-six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Bridget GHEOGHAN – Died 25 December 1917 at Casterton.  Bridget Gheoghan was born in England in 1839 and arrived in Australia in 1853  In 1870, Bridget married  Robert Pierce at Penola. Bridget and Robert lived at Mount Gambier for eighteen years before moving to Casterton around 1880.  At the time of her death, Bridget had one daughter and four sons, with her youngest son John serving in France.  John died of pneumonia in France on 17 November 1918, seven days after the Armistice.

Mary Clare TYNAN – Died 25 December 1917 at Casterton. Mary Tynan was born in Ireland around 1864 and arrived with her husband Richard Bolton in Victoria around 1885. They headed  to Casterton where Richard opened a barrister and solicitor practice.  Better known as Clare, Mary left one son and two daughters when she died during the evening of Christmas Day.  Her son Richard was away on active service at the time of her death and returned to Australia on 1 July 1919.  She was just fifty-four.  Richard Bolton died in April 1920.

William Henry ROSEVEAR – Died 27 December 1917 at Condah.  William Rosevear was born around 1848 and in 1869, he married Margaret Morrison. He was a bootmaker at Condah for forty years.  William enjoyed cricket and football and was a longtime goal umpire for the Condah football team.  He left his widow Margaret and four sons.

John GILL – Died 1 December 1918 at Koroit. John Gill was born at Galbally, Ireland about 1844.  He arrived in Melbourne around 1864 and headed straight to the Koroit district to join family members.  He was a carpenter by trade but turned to farming. In 1891, John married Margaret McGrath and they had three children.  John was buried at Tower Hill cemetery.

Catherine GRANT – Died 7 December 1918  at Digby. Catherine was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1839.  She arrived in Australia aboard the Lord Raglan in 1862 with her parents and they made their way to the Digby district.  Catherine’s was a tragic life.  In 1865, she married Thomas Finlay and they had a son Edward in 1867 but tragedy struck in December 1869 when Thomas died as the result of a fall from a hay wagon.

"COUNTRY NEWS." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 28 December 1869: .

“COUNTRY NEWS.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 28 December 1869: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5809360&gt;.

On 8 March 1880, Edward Finlay then fourteen was accidentally shot while he and a friend prepared for a hunting excursion.  Edward died a short time after.  Catherine lost the two closest to her in the space of eleven years.  She never remarried and continued living at Digby for the next thirty-eight years.  As she grew older, living alone became more difficult and on 15 December 1913 Catherine slipped while tending to her chickens and dislocated her shoulder. In February 1915, Catherine fell in her backyard and broke her elbow.  On 7 December 1918, Catherine died aged seventy-nine and a large cortege followed her remains to the Digby Cemetery two days later.

Charles Henry JOHNSTONE – Died December 1930 at Mortlake.  Charles Johnstone was born around 1843 and arrived in Victoria as a fourteen-year-old.  It wasn’t long before he was drawn to the goldfields and spent time at the Ballarat and Clunes diggings. Still keen to chase his fortune, Charles went to the goldfields of New Zealand but had no success. After his return, Charles selected in the Laang district west of Cobden. In 1871, he  married Louisa Molyneaux from Garvoc. Louisa died in 1923. At the time of his death, Charles had sixty-eight grandchildren and forty-five great-grandchildren.

John McLean GALLACHER – Died 1 December 1933 at Hamilton.  John Gallacher was born around 1867 at Redruth on the Wannon River.  As a young man, John went to the Wimmera as land became available but returned to the Western District. He married in 1899 to Emma Payne and they settled at Mount Eccles near Macarthur. In 1917. the family moved to  Hamilton and John and Emma were given a send-off at Macarthur’s Methodist church in July 1917. In his younger years, John excelled at football, cricket, boxing and rope quoits.  His obituary stated John, “by his sterling manliness. won hosts of friends, by whom he was highly respected.”  John and Emma had five daughters and one son and each of the girls became teachers.  John was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery and forty-five cars followed the hearse to the cemetery.

Janet Scott MacDONALD – Died December 1934 at Peterborough.  Janet was born around 1844 near Mount Buninyong. Her parents had arrived three years earlier from Perth, Scotland.  She married Charles MacGilivray in 1869.  In 1873, they moved to  Peterborough settling “in the wilderness on the banks of Curdie’s Inlet”,

CURDIE'S RIVER. PETERBOROUGH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64687

CURDIE’S RIVER. PETERBOROUGH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64687

In the early days, Janet welcomed pioneering clergymen into her home and Charles MacGilivray was behind the construction of the first church at Peterborough. Janet was often turned to when a history of the town was sought.  She could tell of the times she was lonely when barely anyone else lived around or the tales of the many shipwrecks along the coast near Peterborough.  Janet’s six sisters all lived into their eighties and two were living at the time of her death.

Thomas O’HALLORAN – Died 24 December 1934 at Hamilton.  Thomas was born at Allansford around 1868. His first job was with James Farrar, a Warrnambool coachbuilder. He then went to Macarthur operating  a coachbuilding and undertaking business.  In 1893,  Thomas married local girl Mary Ann Lucas a daughter of John Lucas (listed above). Around 1915, Thomas and Mary Ann moved to Hamilton and Thomas opened Thomas O’Halloran & Son undertakers in Lonsdale Street.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 3 March 1917: 8. .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 3 March 1917: 8. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129397006&gt;.

Mary Ann died in 1929 and since Thomas’ health was not good, he retired soon after. Thomas was considered  one of the best cabinetmakers in the state.  His craftsmanship is still on display today in St Mary’s Catholic Church Hamilton, with Thomas having made the tabernacle and canopy over the altar and the confessional. He also made the St. Mary’s Church WW1 Roll of Honour. It was in the same church a Requiem Mass was held for Thomas on Boxing Day after he died on Christmas Eve from a lengthy illness.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63044

INTERIOR ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63044

William Charles PEVITT – Died 25 December 1938 at Heywood. William was born around 1857, a son of Henry and Harriet Pevitt.  He married Alice Hannah Scantlebury at Sandford in 1880 and they had four children.  Alice died in 1893 at Heywood aged thirty-one.  After Alice’s death, William lived with family at Merino and then Homerton. In 1907, William married Mary Ann Brown at Warrnambool. William returned to Heywood and lived there until his death.  Mary Ann died around 1935.

George Edwin CHARMAN – Died 21 December 1942 at Coleraine.  George Charman was born in  1852 at Moorabbin.  He married Elizabeth Hollis at Portland in 1877. They spent the first nine years or so of their marriage at Portland before moving to Coleraine where they remained and had eleven children.  A sad time came in 1897 when their third daughter Mary Ann died suddenly aged fourteen.

"OBITUARY" Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 4 January 1943: 4 (EVENING). .

“OBITUARY” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 4 January 1943: 4 (EVENING). <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64383343&gt;.

In 1922, Elizabeth died and in time George moved in with his daughter Edith, wife of Ben Rigby.  It was there George died in 1942.  He was buried at the Coleraine Cemetery.

James WILSON – Died 25 December 1944 at Portland.  James Wilson’s parents were earlier settlers at The Lagoons, Bridgewater where he was born in 1863.  In 1886, he married Priscilla Hollard.  James ran a hairdresser and tobacconist shop in Portland and did some work for Messrs Learmonth & Co auctioneers in Portland.

"Mr. James Wilson's New Building." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 14 November 1894: .

“Mr. James Wilson’s New Building.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 14 November 1894: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65397334&gt;.

He spent time in Melbourne running a business and living at 346 Burwood Road Hawthorn in 1918 before moving back to Portland in 1937.  James was closely associated with the Methodist Church and Sons of Temperance.  Priscilla died in January 1943 at Portland.  James and Priscilla had no children.

William Henry ANDERSON – Died 23 December 1950 at Ballarat. William Anderson was born around 1861 at Linton and married Edith Gardiner of Smythesdale.  The couple moved to the Otways, early pioneers of the district.  William ran dairy farms at Princetown and Carlise River.  They remained in the district until 1914 when William and Edith moved to Wangoom, near Warrnambool but remained in dairy farming.  After WW1, William’s returned servicemen sons took up soldier settlement blocks at Chocolyn and William and Edith moved there until 1930. They then moved to Ferguson Street, Camperdown. William was a member of the Oddfellows and enjoyed following football and cricket.  He was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery.  Edith died in November 1951 at Camperdown.

Passing of the Pioneers

If you have seen the Western District Families Pioneer Obituary Index, you’ll notice pioneers have links to their relatives. I will be busy linking this month as six of the fourteen pioneers are related to earlier pioneers.  There is also Walter Henty, father  of one of the men featured in Hamilton’s WW1 Edward Ellis Henty.  And William Chadderton who was practically a neighbour of Walter Henty. There is a link between two of the pioneers, Hamilton’s David Laidlaw and Garvoc’s John Scullion by way of the Hamilton home St Ronans.  Interesting too is the story of William Doig’s will, giving us an insight into anti-German sentiment during WW1.

Any underlined text in the post is a link to further information about the subject.

Harry NORTHCOTT – Died  5 November 1894 at Merino.  Harry Northcott was born in Plymouth, England in 1853 and arrived in Victoria with his parents two years later. They settled at Merino and his father, George Northcott was a builder in the town and later operated the Commercial Hotel (below).

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

Harry was apprenticed to his father as a joiner and remained working with him until 1879 when Harry married Alice Leake.  He then turned to work on the land having purchased several hundred acres on the edge of Merino. In 1891, Harry took over the running of the Commercial Hotel from his father. Harry was involved with the Mechanics Institute, a Shire Councillor and was a Freemason. He also enjoyed football, horse racing, and cricket. On 23 July 1894, Harry’s father died. Harry himself had suffered illness at the time and died only three months after his father.

John DARCY – Died 27 November 1905 at Ondit.  John Darcy was born in Milltown Malbay, County Clare, Ireland in 1833.  At the age of twenty-two, he arrived in Australia and went to the diggings around Ballarat, Beechworth and Chiltern.  In 1860, John married Catherine Doherty and by 1862, had selected land near Beeac.  John and Catherine went on to raise nine sons and two daughters. John spent six years on the Colac Shire Council and owned several successful racehorses.  At the time of his death, John owned two properties in Queensland run by one of his sons. John’s funeral was held at Beeac and was one of the largest seen there with 126 carriages and thirty horsemen making up the funeral cortege

David LAIDLAW – Died 22 November 1913 at Hamilton. David Laidlaw was born at Selkirk, Scotland in 1831, a son of William and Agnes Laidlaw.  The Laidlaw family arrived at Melbourne aboard the Argyle in March 1841. David attended the Scots School in Collins Street Melbourne then went to the property of his older brother Robert at Heidelberg where he learnt all things pastoral.  He then moved to Port Fairy where his parents resided and continued farming.  It was around that time David gained a reputation as one of the best riders of buckjumpers around.

In 1854, David married Elisa Fraser a daughter of John Fraser of Mount Sturgeon Plains Station, east of Hamilton. Their first child Edith was born in Port Fairy in 1856. Another daughter, Florence was born in 1858 at Port Fairy before David and Elisa moved to Hamilton with Margaret born in 1859.  The family grew with a further seven children born over the next thirteen years. Soon after his arrival in Hamilton, David started a saddlery business in Gray Street.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 - 1870) 9 November 1861: 3. Web. 12 Nov 2016 .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870) 9 November 1861: 3. Web. 12 Nov 2016 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194859603&gt;.

laidlaw1

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870) 29 December 1869: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194156977

In 1866, David sold the business and in November 1867, took over the ironmongery business of James Allan in Gray Street. By the end of 1869, David had expanded the business to include drapery and groceries.

"VIEW OF HA[?] [?]AM[?]TON VICTORIA." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 April 1888: 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Web. 13 Nov 2016 .

“VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 April 1888: 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Web. 13 Nov 2016 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225809074

In September 1875, David entered into a partnership with Thomas Pratt and the business started trading as D.Laidlaw & Co. The partnership continued until 1881 when it was dissolved.  David remained in the business.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 13 January 1891: 3. Web. 12 Nov 2016 .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 January 1891: 3. Web. 12 Nov 2016 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226083364&gt;.

By 1890, David and his family were occupying St Ronans, a large bluestone home in Dryden Street Hamilton previously owned by draper Sigismund Jacoby and built with the stone of Hamilton’s first post office.  The photo below shows St Ronans while the Laidlaws were in residence.

"HAMILTON." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 2 May 1903 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138684187

“HAMILTON.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 2 May 1903 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138684187

321

ST RONANS, HAMILTON TODAY.

From the time David Laidlaw arrived in Hamilton, he had an interest in the future development of the town.  As a result, he was one of the founders of the Mechanics Institute, the Hamilton Hospital, the Hamilton and Western District College and the Alexandra College.  A Presbyterian, David was an elder of the Hamilton Presbyterian Church from 1861.  He also served on the Hamilton Borough Council, first in 1861 and later as Mayor in 1871, 1888, 1892 and 1893.  With his role on council, he was part of the committee for the building of Hamilton’s first Town Hall and was there when Mayor James Wiggens laid the foundation stone in 1872.  He was also a Justice of the Peace and a member of the Caledonian Society.  David Laidlaw’s contribution to Hamilton are still present today as the photos below show and a street was also named in his honour.

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David’s wife Elisa died in December 1906.  David soon spent more time at home and indulged in his great passion for Scottish literature right up until his death on 22 November 1913, taking solace in the great works. He was eighty-two.  On the day of David Laidlaw’s funeral, the bells of St Andrew’s Presbyterian rang out across Hamilton as the townspeople made their way to Church Hill to pay their last respects to a man who had done much for their town.  Appropriately, the Hamilton Scottish Pipe Band accompanied David to his final resting place at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

laidlaw3

“BURIAL OF MR. DAVID LAIDLAW.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 21 November 1913: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225165507 .

laidlaw4

GRAVE OF DAVID AND ELISA LAIDLAW, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

William Henry DOIG – Died 21 November 1915 at Hamilton.  William Doig was born in Hamilton in 1863.  He worked in the building and carpentry trade and built many residences in the town. In 1885, William married Matilda Graves.  Matilda died in 1912 and William went to live with his newly married daughter Alexandra in Dinwoodie Street Hamilton.  It was where he died in 1915. William’s death came over a year after the beginning of WW1 and a newspaper report about his will brings a twist to William’s tale, but indicative of the times.

"A HAMILTON WILL" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 22 November 1916: 4. Web. 12 Nov 2016 .

“A HAMILTON WILL” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 22 November 1916: 4. Web. 12 Nov 2016 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129390444&gt;.

Williams daughter Alexandra Mary Doig married Eric Gramsch in 1914, the year WW1 started but before the rise of anti-German sentiment in the community.  Eric was born in Berlin and arrived in Australia in 1912. Since William was living with Alexandra and Eric, it may have been an uncomfortable arrangement with William’s strong feelings. The court case made news nationally with the Chronicle in Adelaide running the headline “Married a German” in the 25 November 1915 edition.  The judge did find that Alexandra could inherit her father’s property and a report of the finding was published in the Ballarat Star of 1 December 1916.

William and Matilda Doig were buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below)

doig

Agnes DOWNING – Died 29 November 1915 at Hamilton. Agnes Downing was born around 1844 at St Edmunds, Suffolk and arrived in Victoria with her parents around 1869.  Soon after, they arrived in Hamilton.  In 1871, Agnes married butcher James Willet and they had two sons and two daughters.  Agnes was living in Skene Street at the time of her death and was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

William CHADDERTON – Died November 1916 at Hamilton. William Chadderton was born at Staffordshire England and arrived in Victoria in 1883.  He lived at Buckley Swamp for eight years and during that time married Jane Kirkwood in 1885.  William then purchased Glencoe at Bochara where he bred fine Jersey cattle.  He was a member of the Hamilton Pastoral and Agriculture Society and won many prizes at shows with his stock and produce.  At the time of his death, William left his widow Jane and four sons and two daughters.  He was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

Kirkwood4

GRAVE OF WILLIAM AND JANE CHADDERTON, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

Robert Pender WILLIAMS – Died 28 November 1916 at Lilydale. Robert Williams was born around 1833 in Cornwall, England. During his early years, he was involved with mining in Victoria possibly on the diggings.  In 1859 he married Honora Mary Corcoran at Hamilton and they lived on a dairy farm at Penshurst.  After retiring from farming in 1901, Robert and Hannah moved to Ararat, living on the Stawell Road. Hannah died the following year and by 1905, Robert purchased Aldersyde at Port Fairy and lived there for a few years before moving to Wee Station at Lilydale.  Robert was buried at Ararat Cemetery.  He left five children, twenty-one grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.  An obituary for Robert in the Advocate, Melbourne, a Catholic newspaper and is on the following link http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article151841357

Jane COBB – Died 4 November 1917 at Lower Crawford.  Jane Cobb was born in Dorset, England around 1833. She married James Hiscock and they travelled to Australia on the Shand arriving at Portland at Christmas 1854. They first went to Grassdale but soon moved to the Lower Crawford district, living at their property The Elms for the rest of their lives.  James died in 1900. Jane had two daughters at the time of her death.

Walter Thomas HENTY – 25 November 1917 at Hamilton. Walter Henty was born in 1856 at Portland a son of Stephen George Henty and Jane Pace. On 27 November 1881, Walter married Annie Margaret Campbell at St Stephen’s Church, Portland (below).  They spent their honeymoon at nearby Bridgewater.

St Stephens Church Portland

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH, PORTLAND

Three sons were born to Annie and Walter, Wilfred in 1883 at Hamilton, Archie  in 1884 at Portland and Edward Ellis in 1888 at Portland.  They family moved to The Point at Victoria Valley in the Southern Grampians were Walter farmed. Around 1897, they settled at The Caves, a property on the Grange Burn, very close to William Chadderton (above).  Walter Henty led a quiet life, avoiding public life, but was well-known all the same.  He was well-liked and “highly respected for his sterling and generous qualities”.  Those qualities were also present in his son Edward Henty. Walter’s appears to have been a relatively simple life considering his heritage and the lifestyles of some of his siblings and cousins.  He went about his business of farming, with Archie joining him running The Caves and Annie selling chooks (below).

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 23 October 1911: 5. .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 23 October 1911: 5. .

The following photos are from a collection of photos taken by Wilf Henty and held by the State Library of Victoria.  I can’t be totally sure but after looking at Wilf’s other photos and comparing photo descriptions, I believe the photos depict Walter and Annie Henty.  The second photo has three young men and Walter and Annie had three sons close together in age.  Having researched Edward Ellis Henty and seen a number of photos of him, I believe Edward is the young man on the right. If so, the second photo would date back to around 1905-1908, when the Henty’s resided at The Caves.  The first photo shows a younger version of the couple but in front of a weatherboard house.  This is possibly the Henty home at The Point, Victoria Valley.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/38928

Photographer: Wilf Henty. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/38928

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/42101

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/42101

In 1914, Walter and Annie attended the wedding of their son Edward on 18 November 1914.  Edward was the only one of their three boys to marry and it was a large social event for Hamilton but bittersweet for Walter and Annie. Lieutenant Edward Ellis Henty of the 8th Light Horse Regiment was on leave from camp at Broadmeadows.  Home to marry his sweetheart Florence Pearson. Edward left for Egypt in February 1915 and by May 1915 was off to Gallipoli. Lieutenant Edward Henty was killed during the Charge at the Nek on 7 August 1915, standing little chance. By then Florence was six months pregnant and living at The Caves with Walter and Annie.  Walter and Annie’s only grandchild, Edward Henty Jr was born on 21 October 1915.

Around the time of Edward’s death, Walter’s health began to falter.  A few weeks before his death, he was confined to home. He was just sixty-two. Walter was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery. Annie died in 1921 aged sixty-nine.

John Joseph SCULLION – Died 13 November 1918 at Terang.  John Scullion was the son of John and Janet Scullion and was born at Dennington in 1866.  The Scullions moved to Garvoc settling at Mount View and John was soon helping his father with the property.  He succeeded his father as a member of the board of Directors of the Garvoc Butter Factory and was a senior partner in Scullion Bros at Garvoc.  He was also on the executive committee of the Garvoc Racing Club.  At the time of his death, John’s sister Lilias Scullion was running a private hospital at St Ronan’s Hospital in Hamilton, the former residence of David Laidlaw in the obituaries above.  His brother, Daniel Scullion had owned the Caledonian Hotel in Hamilton until 1915, and at the time of John’s death, Daniel’s widow was still operating the hotel.

Anne WILLIAMS – Died 17 November 1918 at Colac.  Ann Williams was born in Ireland around 1831 and arrived in Victoria in 1849 aboard the Elgin.  During the Eureka uprising in 1854, Anne was living at Ballarat. She then lived at Geelong before going to Pomberneit in 1869 with her husband Samuel Lord.  Two years prior to her death she moved to Colac.  Anne had an interest in the history of Victoria and knew much about the early days. She and Samuel had five sons and three daughters.  At the time of her death, she had seven grandsons serving with the AIF. One had lost his life and another awarded a Military Medal and Military Cross and recommended for a Victoria Cross.

Grace Murray WILLIAMSON – Died 24 November 1918 at Chetwynd.  Grace Murray was born at Inverness Scotland in 1823.  She married Walter Edgar and they had three children before they left for Australia in 1853. On arrival, they headed for Pine Hills at Harrow where Walter’s brother David resided.

Around 1870, the couple went to Tallengower and by 1876 were at Woodacres at Chetwynd where they remained and had a further seven children.  Devoted to her family, she ran a true Scottish home with much hospitality shown to a wide circle of friends. Grace never went far from her home at Woodacres and during her time there only visited Casterton three times and Coleraine twice. Walter died in 1896.  A stoic Scot, Grace endured the loss of Water and rheumatism she had suffered with for thirty years and in 1908, she broke her thigh. Grace was buried at the Tarrayoukyan Cemetery near Nareen.     

Eliza Ann OWENS – Died November 1918 at Coleraine.  Eliza Owens was born around 1845 at Anglesea, Wales. She arrived in Australia in 1854 aboard the Severn with her parents and younger sister.  Also on board was her uncle Richard Lewis who lived at Rifle Downs. He was importing thoroughbred stallion King Alfred, who went on to sire many successful racehorses in the colony. Other passengers included James Edgar and his family, a brother-in-law of Grace Williamson (above).  Eliza Owens married William Moodie at Portland in 1866 and they settled at Wando Dale, Nareen (below).

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217385

WANDO DALE. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217385

Eliza was an organist at the Digby Church of England before her marriage and later at St. David’s Nareen (below). She was well known for growing and exhibiting flowers.

Museums Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/767539

ST DAVID’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, NAREEN Museums Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/767539

In their later years, Eliza and William moved to Mona Vale, Coleraine.  At the time of her death, Eliza left twelve sons and daughters including one on active service.

Annie HORAN – Died November 1930 at Elsternwick. Annie Horan was born at Warrnambool around 1859. In 1877 she married James Beeching at St Josephs Catholic Church, Warrnambool (below)

They operated the Princess Alexandra Hotel for twenty years, later known as the Grand Central Hotel.  After retirement, they lived in Warrnambool for a few years before moving to Melbourne around 1915.  Annie was buried at the Fawkner Cemetery.

Passing of the Pioneers

As the Passing of the Pioneer post comes together each month, I often find the pioneers have something in common.  Sometimes it’s their occupations or their birthplace.  This month, five of the twelve pioneers went to the goldfields after arriving in Victoria. It is one of the most common similarities I come across, and not surprising as gold was the big drawcard to Victoria in the 1850s. To read the newspaper obituary for each pioneer, just click on their name.  You can also click on other underlined text in the post to find more information.

William Henry GUBBINS:  Died 9 August 1905 at Penshurst. William Gubbins was born at Tavistock, Devonshire, England around 1827 and arrived in Victoria in the mid-1850s. After his arrival, he went to the diggings at Creswick then later Clunes. Around that time, William married Mary Ann Down and they had five children.  The family then spent time around the Terang district before purchasing  Burn Brae Estate at Penshurst in 1888.

J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233170

“BURN BRAE” HOMESTEAD, PENSHURST IN 1978. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233170

Mary Ann died in 1900 and William stayed on at Burn Brae until his death. William was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

John MILLMAN:  Died 2 August 1914 at Hamilton. John Millman was born in Leamington, Warwickshire, England in 1832.  He and his brother left England together, arriving in Melbourne in 1852.  John worked as a carpenter in Melbourne but his brother went “up country”.  By the time of the Eureka uprising in Ballarat in 1854, John was in Ballarat trying his luck as a miner.  Around 1855, John purchased a three month Miner’s Right for £2 and he later passed the document on to his family.  By 1861, John had arrived in Hamilton where his brother was residing.  It was in Hamilton John married Sarah Jane Knapp in 1878. A member of the Hamilton Rifle Club, John was also a keen horticulturist, competing at the various shows around the district.  Sarah died in 1910.

Mary LORD:  Died 23 August 1914 at Karabeal. Mary Lord was born in Wexford County, Ireland around 1833 and travelled to Portland with her parents around 1850.  They settled in that town and in 1860, Mary married Joseph Brewis.  At the time, Joseph was the manager at Mokanger Station near Cavendish and he returned there with Mary. After working at Mokanger for seventeen years, Joseph Brewis purchased land at nearby Karabeal they called Canridge and remained there for the rest of their lives.  Mary and Joseph had seven sons and one daughter. They were buried at the Cavendish Old Cemetery (below).

THE HEADSTONE OF MARY AND JOSEPH BREWIS OBSCURED BY THE HEADSTONE OF MARY'S PARENTS WILLIAM AND MARY LORD AT CAVENDISH OLD CEMETERY

THE HEADSTONE OF MARY AND JOSEPH BREWIS OBSCURED BY THE HEADSTONE OF MARY’S PARENTS WILLIAM AND MARY LORD AT CAVENDISH OLD CEMETERY

Edward HALL:  Died 8 August 1915 at Malvern.  Edward Hall was born in England around 1830.  He left Liverpool, England for Australia on the Satellite, arriving at Melbourne on 2 August 1851. He then sailed on the Red Rover to Port Fairy.  Edward worked as a tutor for the children of Messrs. Mills and Glare but in 1852 after the discovery of gold, he left for the Ballarat diggings with some other local men. It was short lived with Edward returning to Port Fairy the following year.  He next went to Brighton as a lay reader with the Church of England.  While there he had an encounter with bushrangers in the area where the suburb of Moorabbin is now located.  After that experience, Edward returned to Port Fairy, opening a school at Rosebrook and then teaching at Port Fairy.  He again returned to Brighton and then Nunawading where he remained until his death.

Mary Josephine ROACHE:  Died 24 August 1915 at Hamilton. Mary Roache was born in Ireland around 1860 and arrived in Australia in the mid-1870s.  Mary went to Hamilton and resided at the Town Hall Hotel in Gray Street when it was known as Mackey’s and the licensee was Michael Roache, possibly Mary’s brother.

"VIEW OF HA[?] [?]AM[?]TON VICTORIA." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Web. 19 Aug 2016 .

THE TOWN HALL HOTEL, HAMILTON c1888. (“VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR).

Mary married widowed travelling dentist John Mawson in Melbourne in 1887 and they had one daughter Veronica in 1892. After spending time in Melbourne, they moved back to Hamilton around 1901 and in 1902 John built a practice in Gray Street.  John Mawson died two years after Mary in 1917.

James SPRING:  Died 24 August 1916 at Bochara. James Spring was born in County Meath, Ireland in 1830. When eighteen, James sailed to Sydney, NSW aboard the Royal Saxon.  He then made his way south to Mount Gambier, South Australia. In February 1855, James arrived in Hamilton and settled north of the town at Bochara on the Grange Creek.  During February 1891, bad bushfires swept through the Bochara district impacting on James’ farm.  While his house was saved, he lost a lot of feed and farm machinery.

Thomas WHEATLEY:  Died 11 August 1917 at Terang.  Thomas Wheatley was born in Middlesex, England in 1827.  He joined the Royal Navy and during the 1840s spent time sailing around the South Seas. He joined the crew of the Aberfoyle and in 1854 landed a Geelong.  Thomas was able to take leave of his employment and went to the Ballarat goldfields but arrived in December around the time of the Eureka uprising. With unrest in Ballarat, Thomas continued on north to Creswick.  With no luck on the diggings,  Thomas eventually made his way to the Terang district and married in 1856 to Ellen McLaughlin, born in Kilkenny, Ireland.  He bought a bullock team and set up the first carrying business in Terang. Thomas was a member of the Salvation Army.  Ellen died around 1914 and eight of their children were still living at the time of Thomas’ death three years later.

Mary Ann Coughlan:  Died August 1917 at Caramut.  Mary Ann Coughlan arrived in Australia with her family in 1849.  She later met John Bendall the manager of John Moffat’s Hopkins Hills and The Gums.  They married in 1864 and lived at The Gums.  After that property was sold, the Bendalls ran a General Store and Post Office at Caramut and raised two sons and two daughters.  Mary Ann was widowed for more than thirty years with John dying in 1887 aged forty-seven but she remained in Caramut.

Janet CALDOW:  Died August 1918 at Caulfield.  Janet Caldow was born around 1832 in Ayrshire, Scotland. While still in Scotland she married Joseph Blain and they travelled to Australia aboard the Lord Nelson, arriving in Melbourne in 1855.  They went straight to the Ballarat diggings but soon took up a farm at Coghills Creek near Ballarat.  Around 1865, they moved to Garvoc, running a dairy farm and raising three sons and four daughters.  Joseph died around 1896.  Janet’s immediate family also immigrated from Scotland and lived long lives in Australia.  At the time of her death, the ages of her remaining five brothers and one sister totalled 425 years.

Adam Gordon LAIDLAW:  Died 1 August 1918 at Melbourne. Adam Laidlaw was born at Harrow in 1858 to Walter Laidlaw and Mary Gordon. Adam grew up on his father’s property Mundarra near Edenhope and later attended Hamilton and Western District College and obtained his matriculation.

MUNDARRA Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H95.200/1068 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230342

MUNDARRA Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H95.200/1068 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230342

Adam Laidlaw was associated with several properties including Ardachy near Branxholme where he lived for ten years.  He also owned Wootong Vale near Coleraine but in his later years leased the property out.  Never married, Adam was a philanthropist donating much money to charity including the Hamilton Hospital.  During the war years, he donated regularly to the War Loans Fund.  He was also a member of the Coleraine and Hamilton Racing Clubs.  Prior to the war, Adam went on a world trip but returned in 1915 and took up residence at the Melbourne Club in Collins Street.  In July 1918, Adam visited the Western District and returned to the Melbourne Club by the start of August.  On 1 August,  Adam was playing billiards when he fell ill.  He was rushed to hospital but later died.  Adam Laidlaw was buried at the Brighton Cemetery

Robert Ernest McARTHUR:  Died 29 August 1929 at Camperdown.  Robert McArthur was born in 1867 at Camperdown, a son of Margaret McLean and well-known pastoralist Peter McArthur of Meeningoort, Camperdown.  Robert attended Geelong College and was captain of the cricket and football teams and later went to Ormond College at Melbourne University, studying law.  He returned to Camperdown and helped his father manage Meeenigoort before purchasing  Koort Koort Nong (below) where he resided.

J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217051

KOORT KOORT NONG, CAMPERDOWN. J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217051

Robert was an amateur jockey, excelling at cross-country events and enjoyed polo.  In 1897 and 1898, he rode three winners at the Warrnambool Amateur Races. He also won the Melbourne Hunt Club Cup. Robert was a member of the Camperdown Turf Club and honourary starter at the Terang Racing Club and a founding member of the Western District Racing Association.  He was also a councillor on the Hampden Shire from 1898 to 1907. Another obituary for Robert is on the link here.

George GEMMELL: Died August 1945 at Camperdown.  Born around 1867 at Mortlake, George Gemmel moved to Cobden around 1880 working as a stonemason.  Works he was involved with included the foundations of Grand Central Hotel at Cobden, the Shire Offices and Poligolet (below) near Derrinallum.

 J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217239

POLIGOLET J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217239

George married Elizabeth Porter in 1890 and the family were members of the Camperdown Presbyterian Church.  At the time of his death, George had four sons, one daughter, sixteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

 

 

 

Passing of the Pioneers

Robert Laidlaw becomes the fifth member of the Laidlaw family included in the Pioneer Obituary Index.  Others this month include a man who left Portland at an early age but often returned for a visit and another who lived at beautiful Bridgewater all of his life.  And why not?

Lindsay CLARKE – Died 16 October 1891 at Portland.  Lindsay Clarke was born in Ireland in 1818 and at the age of sixteen began training as a surveyor.  He arrived in Sydney some time after 1845 and Portland in 1848.  Lindsay’s role in Portland was Assistant Government Surveyor.  By 1851, he had done much surveying around Portland and further north.

"PORTLAND BAY." The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880) 15 Jan 1851: 26. .

“PORTLAND BAY.” The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880) 15 Jan 1851: 26. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65575510&gt;.

Lindsay was promoted to District Surveyor for Portland, Hamilton and Ararat and spent some time residing in Ararat.  In 1873, Lindsay moved to Hamilton after the closure of the Lands Office there, and he remained there for six years until his retirement in 1879.

Lindsay Clarke was on the committee of the Portland Benevolent Asylum and Hospital and was in the role of President for ten consecutive years.  He was also a member of the Portland Borough Council and declined the Mayoral role when it was offered to him.  Another roll, was Justice of the Peace acting as Bailiff for the Western area.  He would attend Portland Court (below) every court day to fulfill his role as bailiff.

 

PORTLAND COURT HOUSE. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/47642

PORTLAND COURT HOUSE. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/47642

Lindsay was also Superintendent of the Sabbath School at the Church of England, a member of the Bowling Club; and Horticulture Society.

Mary MARSDEN – Died 9 October 1909 at Cobden.  Mary Marsden was born around 1833 and arrived in Victoria in 1854, living in Ballarat for around thirty years. Around 1887, she and her husband Roger Hirst settled in the Timboon district.  In her last years, Mary and Roger moved to Cobden where Mary died in 1909.

Robert LAIDLAW – Died 28 October 1914 at Beulah.  Born in Scotland in 1831, Robert Laidlaw arrived at Portland in 1851.  He spent time around the diggings before purchasing Lake Roy station near Naracoorte, South Australia.  He sold that property during the 1880s and retired to Geelong.  Two of Robert’s brothers, Thomas and Walter, have been Passing Pioneers in the past.

Richard BARNES – Died October 1915 at Hamilton.  Richard Barnes was born in South Australia around 1852.  He arrived in Penshurst as a child and remained there throughout his life.   Richard was well-known around Penshurst  through his community activities.  He was a founding member of the Penshurst P&A Society, a trustee of the racecourse and the recreation reserve. For six years he was  a Councillor with the Mt Rouse Shire (offices below)

PENSHURST SHIRE HALL. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233458

PENSHURST SHIRE HALL. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233458

Richard was also known as the “father” of the Penshurst Boxing Day Racing Club and was President of the club for fifteen years.

James Frederick HILL – Died October 1935 at Essendon.  James Hill was born in Portland in 1852 where his father was Principal of one of Portland’s National Schools.  As a young man James left Portland and obtained a job with the Chief Secretary’s Department.  Despite leaving Portland, he was a regular back to the town of his birth and was well-known by all.

Henry William OSBORNE – Died 20 October 1936 at Malvern.  Henry Osborne was born in 1865 near Amhurst in Central Victoria.  After a couple of newspaper jobs, Henry moved to Warrnambool working as a junior reporter for the Warrnambool Standard in 1886.  He was appointed Shire of Warrnambool secretary in 1898 and held that role for six years before resigning to take up the roll of General Manager of the Western District Co-operative and Insurance Ltd.  The company grew under the Henry’s management and his job also took him overseas.  In 1920, the Federal Government sent him overseas to negotiate the sale of Australia’s surplus butter.  He was selected to advise the Australian delegation at the Ottawa conference in 1932 and was a member of the Australian Dairy Producers’ Board.   There is an entry for Henry Osborne in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

John James KENNEDY – Died 20 October 1939 at Bridgewater.  The Kennedy family were early settlers at Bridgewater and John Kennedy spent his childhood days roaming the hills surrounding Bridgewater Bay and running on the sandy beach.

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BRIDGEWATER BAY

John was born at Bridgewater around 1861 to James Kennedy and Margaret Lennan, and he lived there, following farming pursuits, for his entire seventy-eight years.  In 1939, three family members died at the Kennedy homestead on Blowholes Road overlooking the bay.  Along with John on 20 October, his brother Daniel died on 8 April and an aunt, Frances Ann Kennedy on 21 November.  More information about the Kennedy family and their homestead, now in ruins, is available on the link – Kennedy Family Bridgewater

 

 

 

Passing of the Pioneers

August Passing of the Pioneers includes a member of the Victorian Parliament, a publican, and a school principal.  All of this month’s pioneers are now on the Western District Families Pioneer Obituary Index.

Robert HEANEY – Died 20 August, 1890 at Melbourne. Robert Heaney was born in Ireland around 1836.  He married Jane Armstrong and soon after they departed for Australia. The Heaneys arrived on the General Hewitt at Portland Harbour on 9 October 1856.  They spent the first ten years in Victoria at Heywood before moving to Condah Swap, later known as Wallacedale.

Mary Ann COUGHLAN – Died August 1917 at Caramut. Margaret Coughlan was born around 1833 and arrived at Portland on 21 January 1848 aboard the Sir Edward Parry with her siblings to meet up with their parents Jonathan Gordon Coughlan and Jane Richmond who settled in that town.  After some years, during a trip to Caramut, she met John Bendall and they married in 1864.  John was the manager of Hopkins Hill and The Gums, near Caramut for John Moffatt.  After the sale of The Gums, John Bendall operated a store and post office in Caramut until his death in 1887.  Mary Ann remained living at Caramut and was eighty-four at the time of her death.  She left two sons and two daughters.

John THOMSON – Died 3 August 1917 at Melbourne.  John Thomson was born at Warrambine Station near Shelford in 1853.  His parents were James Thomson and Christian Armstrong.  In 1870,  James Thomson purchased Monivae near Hamilton from the deceased estate of former Police Magistrate Acheson Ffrench.  The family resided in the original homestead built for Acheson Ffrench but a new homestead was completed in 1877.

MONIVAE 1966. Image Couresy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/44 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

MONIVAE 1966. Image Couresy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/44 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230077

John attended Scotch College in Melbourne where he was one of the college’s finest athletes.  After he completed his schooling, John returned to Monivae. Soon after he entered public life, first as a Dundas Shire Councillor.  In 1892 he contested the seat of Dundas in the Victorian State Parliament.  He held the seat from 1892 to 1900 and from 1902 to 1914.  At the age of fifty-six, in 1909 John married Christina Robertson.

Aside from his political life, John was on the management committee of the St Andrews Presbyterian Church and member and onetime president of the Hamilton Racing Club.  He was also a supporter of many of Hamilton’s community and sporting groups, including the P&A Society, the Hamilton Pipe Band and the fire brigade.  John Thomson was attending a public school football match in Melbourne on 3 August 1917, when he died suddenly.  He was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

In 1919, a fountain was unveiled in the Hamilton Botanic Gardens by the then Victorian Premier, Harry Lawson in memory of John Thomson

 

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William DERHAM – Died 16 August 1918 at Port Fairy.  William Derharm was born in County Tyrone, Ireland and arrived in Victoria around 1863.  He first worked at Korongah Station at Rosebrook for Messers Lydiard and Knight. He then turned to onion growing and resided at Korongah Lodge. William left four daughters and two sons.

Robert FRASER – Died 4 August 1918 at Strathkellar.  Robert Fraser was born in Scotland in 1841 and arrived in Adelaide in 1854 on the Joseph Rowan with his parents Archibald and Helen Fraser and his four sisters.  They soon headed for Victoria and resided at Bochara.  In 1865, Robert married Jane Mason and they settled and farmed at Muddy Creek.  Robert died at the home of his daughter at Strathkellar and was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.  Jane died only a few weeks before.

Francis Hazel WRIGHT – Died 18 August 1918 at Hamilton. Francis Wright was born at Broadwater around 1865.  He took up the running of the Grange Hotel (later called George Hotel) in Hamilton around 1914. He was involved with many Hamilton sporting clubs and the gun club.  For thirty years he was part of the Victorian Land’s Department rabbit extirpation branch and served as an inspector for the last five years of his life.  Three weeks before his death, Frank broke his kneecap while climbing into his buggy.  He then contracted pneumonia and died.

Christina Ross LINTON – Died August 1926 at Hamilton.  Born at Inverness, Scotland in 1848, Christina came to Victoria with her parents William Linton and Jean Sinclair and her younger brother John around 1851 aboard the Statesman.  William gave his occupation as shepherd.  In 1868, Christina married Thomas Laidlaw at Wickliffe.  Christina and Thomas moved around between properties, Thomas had interests in and their first stop was Lake Roy in South Australia.  They also lived at Glenburnie, Macarthur, South Wonwondah Station and finally Glencairn just south of Hamilton.

Christina was buried in the Laidlaw family plot at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

 

laidlaw6

 

Rose Hannah HANN – Died 18 August 1935 at Portland.  Rose Hann was born in Somersetshire in 1850 to Paul Hann and Asenath Pitman.  The family arrived at Melbourne in 1852 aboard the Priam and stayed in the area for a time, before travelling to Portland to settle.  Around 1871, Rose married John Marshall.  Early in their marriage, they spent some time at the Bendigo diggings but most of their lives, Rose and John lived at Portland.  They raised a family of eleven  children.

Clara Jex EDRICH – Died August 1937 at Portland.  Clara Edrich was born at Portland in 1855 to Richard Jex Edrich and Eliza Martin and was baptised at St Stephens Church.  In 1877, Clara married John Guy at St Stephens Church, Portland by the Reverend Allnutt.

St Stephens Church, Portland

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH, PORTLAND

After a year of marriage they took up residence in Barclay Street, Portland, the birthplace of eight of Clara and John’s nine children and where Clara died in 1937.  John passed away four years before Clara.

Mary Arabella “Minnie” HISCOCK – Died 29 August 1941 at Hotspur.  Mary Hiscock, born in 1859 at Hotspur, was the daughter of James Hiscock and Mary Cobb and was known as Minnie. After her birth, the Hiscocks moved to Lower Crawford and Minnie remained there until she was fifty-eight in 1917 when she returned to Hotspur.   In her younger years, Minnie was known as a fine horsewoman and would ride around the countryside to attend balls and other social gatherings.  When she was seven, she rode with her father from Hotspur to Birregurra east of Colac, a distance of around 235 kilometers which took three days. Minnie never married.

Florence Helena LAIDLAW – Died 26 August 1944 at Malvern.  Florence Laidlaw was born at Port Fairy in  1858 to David Laidlaw and Eliza Fraser.  Although Florence was born at Port Fairy, where her grandparents William and Agnes Laidlaw lived, David and Eliza Laidlaw resided in Hamilton where David was a saddler.  David Laidlaw quickly rose to prominence in the Hamilton district and went on to serve five terms as Mayor of the town.  In 1873, David laid the foundation stone for the Alexandra Ladies’ College in Hamilton, of which he was one of the founders.

"TELEGRAPHIC DESPATCHES." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 11 Nov .

“TELEGRAPHIC DESPATCHES.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 11 Nov <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5875156&gt;.

Florence Laidlaw attended Alexandra Ladies’ College and later became the headmistress.

THE FORMER ALEXANDRA LADIES COLLEGE

THE FORMER ALEXANDRA LADIES’ COLLEGE

On 29 December 1917, the Weekly Times reported on a trip Florence was making to Sydney to stay with her sister and mentioned she was the headmistress at Alexandra College.  However, she appears to have retired soon after.  On 25 July 1919, the Horsham Times reported that Florence was intending to visit Japan with Edith Lansell, daughter of George Lansell of Fortuna, Bendigo. After her return from overseas, Florence moved to South Yarra.