Passing of the Pioneers

Looking back through previous Passing of the Pioneers posts, I noticed the months of April and May have missed out a couple of times over the last five years.  To remedy that, this is joint post and look at the obituaries of seven pioneers from each of those months.  As usual, there are some wonderful stories and characters from towns across the Western District. Hexham features prominently with two of the best known past residents of the district included.   Be sure to click on the underlined text as you’ll find links to further information about the subjects.  

APRIL

CAMERON, Donald – Died April 1870 at Campbellfield.  Donald Cameron was born in Scotland around 1812 and travelled to Sydney about 1835.  He first selected at Mount Sturgeon Plains. He later took over Morgiana earning him the name “Morgiana Cameron” around the Hamilton district where he was known for wearing full Highland regalia to town.  Donald also held Bochara Station.  He was fifty-eight at the time of his death.  The Hamilton Spectator reported on the death of “Morgiana Cameron”, presenting him not very flattering terms.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 6 April 1870: 2. Web. 23 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196307141&gt;.

In response, Donald’s brother John wrote to the Hamilton Spectator, setting the record straight and reminding the paper that one should not speak ill of the dead.

“THE LATE MR. DONALD CAMERON.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 April 1870: 3. Web. 23 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196302866&gt;.

CHAPMAN, James – Died 15 April 1886 at Colac.  James Chapman was born in Scotland and attended the Bathgate Academy before working for the Linen Bank Company.  He arrived in Victoria around 1873 and started work with the Colonial Bank.  He was the manager at Sandhurst, then Portland for nine years before moving to the Colac branch.  Well known in Masonic circles, James was the Worshipful Master of the Warrion Lodge. His funeral included a Masonic burial service.  The Colac Herald published a further description of James’ life on 16 April 1886.

HORNE, John – 6 April 1914 at Terang.  John Horne was born in Scotland around 1825.  He arrived in Victoria in 1852 and tried his luck at the diggings before moving to the Warrnambool district.  He then went on to Terang in 1857 where few buildings existed and families lived in tents. John married Catherine McLean at Warrnambool in 1859 and they settled in High Street, Terang with John working as a bootmaker.  Two days before his death, John celebrated his fifty-seventh year in the town and was the longest continuous resident. He was a leading member of the Terang Presbyterian Church (below) and was a member of the Sons of Temperance, secretary of the Cemetery Trust and was on the State School Board of Advice.  He was also a trustee of the Mechanics Institute and the Public Park.  Catherine died in 1910 and John left a family of seven children.

THOMPSON MEMORIAL CHURCH, TERANG 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234278

PETRAS, Johanna – Died 11 April 1916 at Hamilton.  Johanna Petras was born in Prussia in 1816 and arrived in Australia at Geelong in 1855 with her husband Friedrich Herrmann.  They took up land near Muddy Creek in 1869 where they settled.  Johanna and Friedrich kept an orchard and vegetable garden, large enough to sell produce to the people of Hamilton each week. The couple attended St Lukes Lutheran Church (below) in South Hamilton.  Friedrich died in 1893 after a kick from a horse at the age of seventy-two.  They had four children with two still living at the time of Johanna’s death.

FORMER ST. LUKE’S LUTHERAN CHURCH, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229921

LITTLE, Thomas – Died 5 April 1917 at Camperdown.  Thomas Little was born around 1862 living at Terang all his life.  In 1886, he married Caroline Patterson.  Thomas was a founder of the Terang Butter Factory Company and a member of the Oddfellows Lodge.  At the time of his death, Thomas was looking after his son’s property Wiridgil near Camperdown.  He died suddenly after milking the cows on the morning of 5 April.  Thomas left his widow Caroline, two sons and one daughter and was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

HOULIHAN, Ellen – Died 26 April 1917 at Mortlake.  Ellen Houlihan was born in County Kerry, Ireland around 1837 and arrived in Victoria about 1857.  She spent some time at Warrnambool before moving to Mortlake.  In 1860, Ellen married James Campion and James ran a bootmaking business in Mortlake.  James died in 1895 and their son Michael took over the business. Ellen was a member of the Mortlake Roman Catholic Church congregation. She left two sons at the time of her death.

CATHOLIC CHURCH, MORTLAKE, Image courtesy of the State Libary of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64602

HOOD, Robert Alexander David – Died 10 April 1934 at Hexham.  Robert Hood was born at Merrang at Hexham in 1863 and attend Geelong Grammar School.  Better known as Alex, after his schooling he went to Burenda Station in Queensland to learn about station life before returning to Merrang to take over operations from his father.  Upon his fathers’ death,  Alex inherited Merrang.

MERRANG, HEXHAM. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231920

Alex was a champion polo player and a member of the “Caramut Four” polo team.  He was also captain of the Victorian team, touring the colonies and New Zealand. Below is a photo of the Victorian team in 1899 including other members of the Caramut team.  Further down, you’ll find another photo of Alex  Hood with James Chester Manifold and another Hexham passing pioneer.

“INTERCOLONIAL POLO MATCH.” Melbourne Punch (Vic. : 1855 – 1900) 18 May 1899: 21. Web. 26 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180224372&gt;.

In 1909, Alex married Georgina Anderson and they raised their family at Merrang.  Alex was a renown breeder of Lincoln sheep and racehorse owner.  He sat on the committee of the Warrnambool Racing Club for around forty years and won the 1918 Warrnambool Cup with Mneon.   He was also a Mortlake Shire councillor for over forty years. .  There are many photos of Alex Hood in the newspapers at Trove, easily found searching R.A.D.Hood and filtering the illustrated articles.  Most are from the races, like the photo from 1909 below showing Alex in the centre.

“WATCHING THE PARADE OK STEEPLECHASERS.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 8 May 1909: 30. Web. 27 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139692972&gt;.

More information and photos about the Hexham Polo Club are on the link here.  Further reading about the Hoods at Merrang is available on this link to The Australasian

MAY

MALSEED, John – Died May 1915 at Myamyn. John Malseed was born in Donegal, Ireland in 1824 and arrived at Portland in 1849 where he started in the carpentry trade. He married Elizabeth Wallace and a daughter was born in 1851.  With the discovery of gold at Ballarat, John left his family in Portland and walked to the diggings where he had some luck.  In 1866, John moved his family to Sunnyside at Myamyn and worked as a contractor for the Portland Council.  The Malseed family attended the Myamyn Methodist Church where John was superintendent of the Sunday School.  Elizabeth died in 1891.  The couple had ten children but only five were living at the time of John’s death at the age of ninety-two

WATERS, John – Died 4 May 1917 at Nareen.  John Waters was born in Ireland’s north at Lurgan in 1830.  Newly married, James and his wife Ellen Maxwell arrived at Portland aboard the General Hewitt in 1856 and John secured work at Newlands near Apsley.  They went on to Lake Wallace North before settling at Rock View near Nareen where they settled and John raised Merino sheep.  At the time they were among the first settlers in the district.  John and Ellen went on to raise five sons and three daughters.  Ellen died in April 1913 and John in 1917 aged eighty-six.  District newspapers,  such as the Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser below, published parts of John’s Casterton News obituary.

“PORTLAND RED CROSS.” Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 10 May 1917: 2 (MORNING). Web. 27 May 2017 .

The Casterton News of 7 May 1917 added John had “little sympathy for the coddling legislation of later days, being a whole-souled believer in the fine old doctrine of ‘Paddle your own canoe.'”

McBAIN, Anne – Died 12 May 1917 at Casterton.  Born in Scotland around 1831, Anne McBain married Archibald McKinnon and they left for Australia arriving at Port Adelaide on the Man-O’-War in 1854.  Travelling to Victoria, they settled at Dergholm where they spent the next thirty years raising four sons and four daughters.  In her later years, Annie moved to Casterton. and regularly attended Scots Church.  At the time of her death, Anne left eighteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  One-third of her grandchildren were serving overseas when she died, with six grandsons enlisted.  Because of her family’s involvement in the war, on 20 May 1917, Annie was to attend Scots Church to unveil the second list on the church honour roll but she died the week before. Her death came on the anniversary of the death of her husband Archibald in 1898.
 
 

SCOTS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CASTERTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63512

NIXON, George – Died 16 May 1917 at Terang.  Born around 1833 in Northumberland, England, George Nixon arrived at Port Fairy aboard the Tiptree on 9 January 1857.  He married Emily Parry in the same year and they moved to Caramut. After twenty years they moved to Lovely Banks near Garvoc where they remained for thirty years.  George bred and exhibited Lincoln sheep and his relatively small but successful stud caught The Australasian newspaper’s attention with an article on 5 August 1899.  His sheep, and presumably George, were photographed in 1898 at the Sheep-Breeders Show.

“THE SHEEP-BREEDERS’ SHOW.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 13 August 1898: 32. Web. 28 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138603271&gt;.

Around 1907, George and Emily moved to McKinnon Street, Terang where Emily died in 1913.

URQUHART, Roderick Robert – Died 18 May 1917 at Hexham.  Roderick Urquhart was born around 1849, a son of Roderick William Urquhart and Lydia Fraser.  Roderick’s father arrived in Sydney in 1837 before travelling to Victoria 1842. When Roderick Jr was born, the Urquharts were settled at Yangery Park at  Illowa near Warrnambool.  Around the time Roderick was seven, the Urquharts returned to Scotland for the children’s education.  Went they returned to Yangery Park in 1862, Roderick’s father purchased Ardachy near Branxholme for Roderick and his brother Angus.  They ran it for a few years before selling and Roderick left for Queensland in the Birdsville district.  

By 1882, Roderick was back in Victoria and forming a partnership with Walter Armstrong of Hexham Park.  Another partnership Roderick entered into was his marriage tp Walter’s sister Mary Helen Armstrong (below) in 1883.  Roderick and Mary, better known as Helen, had two sons and three daughters.

MARY HELEN ARMSTRONG c1882 Stewart & Co. photographer. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/235424

During the mid-1900s, Hexham Park was divided up and Roderick and Walter’s partnership dissolved.  Roderick took up part of the former Hexham Park property and named it Boonerah.  Sons Keith and Roderick Jr were members of the Caramut Polo Club (later known as the Hexham Polo Club) and Roderick enjoyed supporting them.  He also enjoyed the races and in 1914, three of Hexham’s most notable gentleman were photographed together at the Colac races.  They are from left Roderick Urquhart, James Chester Manifold of Bortkoi, Hexham and Alex Hood (see April obituaries above)

“COLAC TURF CLUB: CUP MEETING, FEBRUARY 24.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 28 February 1914: 68. Web. 29 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143317765&gt;.

When WW1, broke both Roderick and Helen’s sons enlisted.  Roderick Jr, better known as Roddie, was killed on 7 August 1916 in Palestine aged thirty.  Roderick and Helen learnt the news soon after and it may have contributed to Roderick’s sudden death eight months later at the age of sixty-eight.  Keith returned to Australia on 11 July 1917, two months after his father’s death.  You can read Roderick Urquhart’s Obituary Australia entry on the link here.

NELSON, Thomas – 8 May 1918 at Colac.  Thomas Nelson was born in Scotland on Christmas Eve, 1844.  He became a sailor and sailed to “practically every seaport in the world”.  He arrived in Australia around 1865, settling at Cressy.  Thomas married Eliza Ann Perkins in 1869.  In those times, Cressy consisted of only three buildings being two stone houses and the Frenchman’s Inn. Thomas built many stone walls in the district including at Yarima where his brother John was the manager for many years and where Thomas worked for four years.

YARIMA STATION, CRESSY c1912 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/369501

Thomas selected around twenty acres at Mia Mia near Poorneet growing barley which he carted to Ballarat.  With the lands opening up in the Wimmera, the Nelsons moved to Donald but drought saw them eventually return to Cressy.  Thomas then started working on the roads for the Cressy Shire Council.  At the time of his death, Thomas left his widow Eliza, five sons, four daughters and thirty-three grandchildren.  He was buried at the Cressy Cemetery.

STEVENSON, Joseph Tyson – Died May 1938 at Hamilton.  Joseph Stevenson was born at Portland around 1873, a son of Joseph Stevenson and Mary Hale. Joseph’s first worked at the Portland Guardian learning the newspaper printing trade.   He then took a job with the Echo in Ballarat.  Joseph married Laura Pfundt in 1899 and they moved to Hamilton where Joseph worked as a compositor at the Hamilton Spectator. Retirement in 1936 was a chance for  Joseph to try farming, something he had longed to do.  He purchased land near Mount Gambier but took ill and never got the opportunity to pursue his dream.  In his day, Joseph took part in competitive cycling races.  He left his widow Laura, three daughters and six sons.

Passing of the Pioneers

The Ararat Advertiser (1914-1918) is now available at Trove and October Passing of the Pioneers highlights some obituaries from that area.  They show the lure of gold drawing people to Victoria with some of them, such as Mr and Mrs George Stock and Elizabeth Williams, being more like “gold rush chasers” moving from town to town as a rush occurred.

If you hoped your ancestor may have been a gold seeker and you haven’t found them at Bendigo or Ballarat, maybe they were at towns like Pleasant Creek (Stawell), Ararat, Landsborough or Ampitheatre. I thought I had no gold miners until I found that James Bishop was a miner at Mount Ararat when my gg grandmother, Elizabeth Bishop, was born.

Other pioneers featured include one of my family members, Edward Gamble, Mrs Hannah Johnstone who would never have starved if she had a gun at hand and two friends of Adam Lindsay Gordon. I have noticed reading obituaries that Adam Lindsay Gordon had a lot of friends, maybe even more than he thought himself!

James STARRIT: Died October 3, 1889 at Portland. It could be easy for those like James Starrit to be forgotten forever.  I have come across similar obituaries of men and women, unmarried and with few living relatives. James Starrit, his two brothers, two sisters and elderly father arrived at Portland from Garry Gort, County Donegal, Ireland on August 18, 1852.  James and his two sisters never married and lived together on a farm, earning enough from the farm to allow them to live their simple life.  Prior to farming, James had been a policeman at Portland.

Edward GAMBLE: Died October 1897 at Colac. Edward was my ggg uncle, and the son of Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry. He was only forty-seven at the time of his death from cancer. His obituary alludes to its cause being his work canning rabbits, a job he had for twenty-one years.  There was a preserving factory in Colac and surrounding towns.  Born in Geelong in 1847, Edward married Martha Hodgins in 1873. They had 10 known children. Almost 100 Oddfellows attended Edward’s funeral, dressed in their full regalia as a tribute to their fellow lodge member.

John McKAY:  Died October 1907 at Richmond. At the time of his death at age eighty-four, John McKay was living with his son-in-law. Prior to that, he resided in Portland where he made his name as a blacksmith and wheelwright. He arrived in Victoria in 1853 and Portland in 1854.

Martha HILLS: Died October 30, 1908 at Portland. Martha Hills died at the home of her grandson Charles French, just three months short of her 99th birthday. Martha raised Charles and his siblings after the death of their father Henry and as the obituary puts it so well “…the love and care she gave the three little ones was not relaxed as years advanced, and in return she in her declining years reaped the full reward by equally as loving care and devotion”.  Martha arrived in Victoria around 1858, spent a few years in Hamilton before moving to Portland with her husband Charles French. She had two children living at the time of her death.

Mary BURNELL: Died October 1910 at Stawell. Mary Burnell was born in Yorkshire on October 23,1836 and at thirteen she travelled to Adelaide, South Australia. She married John Moulden and around 1875, they moved their family to the Wimmera in Victoria. They later moved close to Stawell where she remained until her death.

Mahala CARBIN:  Died 14 October 1915 at Malvern. Born in Cornwall in 1824, Mahala Carbin arrived in South Australia with her parents in 1840. Mahala and her gold seeking parents moved to Victoria around 1852. She married John Little at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1857 aged thirty-three and they lived in the Ararat district throughout their married lives. Just weeks before her death, Mahala moved to Malvern to live with her daughter.  Mahala lived through the reign of five monarchs and was ninety-one at the time of her death.

Thomas Christopher COATES:  Died 26 October 1915 at Buninyong. Thomas Coates was one of the founding members of the Ballarat Stock Exchange and served as the secretary of the Ballarat Benevolent Society for twenty-six years. He was born in Westmorland, England and arrived in Australia in 1853. He settled at Creswick in 1854. He died at the home of his son.

Agnes GORMAN: Died  11 October 1916 at Rosebrook.

Obituary. (1916, October 19). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88009495

Elizabeth DAVENPORT: Died 30 October 1916 at Port Fairy. Elizabeth Davenport was born in Parramatta, New South Wales in 1838. When she was eleven, she spent six weeks on a voyage to Port Fairy with her parents. She married William Presnell, a farmer, known for having one of the first threshing machines in the Port Fairy district. Elizabeth and William had thirteen children, six sons and seven daughters.

William ARMSTRONG:  Died 5 October 1917 at Colac. William was born in Belfast, Ireland the son of a Presbyterian Chaplin. He arrived in Victoria in the 1860s, first spending time with his uncle at West Cloven Hills before setting up his own dairy farm at Darlington. His community interests included the Darlington Presbyterian Church, the Mechanics Institute and he was the Darlington correspondent for the Camperdown Chronicle. He left a widow and nine children.

Elizabeth PURNELL: Died October 1917 at Ararat. Born in 1823 in Somersetshire, England. Elizabeth Purnell married George Stock around 1852. Not long after they married they sailed for Geelong arriving in October 1852. In 1853, the moved to Ballarat then Stawell when gold was discovered in 1856 at Forty Foot Hill and then on to Ararat for the “Commissioners Hill” rush.  George was obviously following gold as they then went on to the rushes at Amphitheatre, Barkly and Landsborough. Finally, in 1867, they settled at Ararat. Elizabeth and George had eleven children, with seven still alive at the time of her death.  Like Mahala Carbin (above), Elizabeth’s obituary mentioned that she had lived through the reign of five monarchs.

Elizabeth BREWIS: Died 10 October 1918 at Ararat.  Elizabeth Williams was an early resident of Ararat. She was born in Essex, England around 1824 and sailed for Sydney in 1852 aboard the Earl of Elgin. While in Sydney she married J. Green. After a year and with the lure of gold, she arrived in Bendigo, Victoria and followed the rushes until she ended up in Ararat.  She remarried to Robert Williams and they had three daughters.

Mary BARRETT: Died 19 October 1918 at Ararat. Mary Barrett was born in Ireland and arrived in Ararat in the 1860s. Her uncle, Reverend Father Barrett was a pioneer Roman Catholic priest in the Ararat district and Mary resided with him. Mary never married and when her health was failing, she moved to the Brigidine Convent in Ararat where she passed away aged seventy years.

James R. KEAN:  Died 11 October 1926 at Ararat. Born in Portland in 1858, James Kean started working as a printer at aged twenty. Two years later, he became a journalist and produced the Portland Mirror. The paper started out small, but within a year the subscribers increased and the paper was already thought of as “an influential and up to date journal”  In 1885, James purchased the Portland Guardian a paper established in 1842.  In the same year, he married Jane Robertson, daughter of Angus Robertson of Straun station near Merino. James was  a member of the St Stephens Church choir, a member of the Portland racing club and the Masonic Lodge.

St Stephens Church Portland

John JOHNSTONE: Died October 1930 at Portland. John Johnstone was a very early arrival in Portland, in 1841, as a baby with his parents James and Dorothy Johnstone. James was a blacksmith and wheelwright but he eventually purchased land at Kentbruck and built the Emu Flat Hotel or as known by travellers,” Mrs Johnstone’s”.  After his parent’s deaths, John took over the running of the hotel for a short time before selling it and taking up farming. More commonly known as “Jack”, he was an expert bushman and rider and was a friend of Adam Lindsay Gordon. He married Elizabeth Angus and they had three daughters and two sons.

John Richard MALLINSON:  Died 14 October 1934 at Pomborneit.  Born in Portland, John spent time in Merino and Hamilton as a child and young man. He completed an apprenticeship as a blacksmith and wheelwright and opened a business in Coleraine. After eight years, he moved to Timboon and then Camperdown in 1894 where he again ran a blacksmith’s shop.

Having lived in a number of towns and with his work as a blacksmith he had many friends with horse interests including Cobb and Co drivers of renown and like John Johnstone (above) Adam Lindsay Gordon.

OBITUARY. (1934, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27395509

Frederick WRIGHT:  Died 14 October 1934 at Camperdown. Frederick Wright was born in Cambridgeshire, England around 1842 and arrived at Corio Bay, Victoria aboard the Omega aged fourteen.  He worked as a nurseryman in the Geelong district before learning to drive bullocks.  At eighteen years of age, he took a load of flour to the goldfields at Stawell, the first bullock wagon driven into that area and he only had bush tracks to follow. He moved to Camperdown in 1871 and ran a dairy farm and a chaff mill and later a butcher shop. He was an original member of the Camperdown Turf Club.  He had thirty-five grandchildren and thirty-nine great-grandchildren at the time of his death.

Hannah HANNON:  Died October 1937 at Portland. Hannah was born in Adelaide in the late 1840s and moved to Kentbruck, near Portland aged eighteen.  She married Thomas Charles Johnstone, brother of John Johnstone (above).  Hannah was a woman not afraid to open and close gates and was handy with a gun.  She was known around Portland for sharing ducks or other game she had hunted.  Hannah and Thomas had ten children.

John Alfred RIPPON:  Died 13 October 1938 at Camperdown.

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22995091

John Rippon carted the first load of timber into Purrumbete Estate  owned by the Manifold brothers  at age eighteen.  He liked it there and stayed for ten years. He then spent another ten years with William Irving Winter-Irving at Tirrengower near Colac.  He then returned to work for William Thomas Chirnside splitting timber.  But John yearned for his bullock driving days and he began his own carrying business.

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22995091

Rachel BLACK: Died 27 October 1941 at Kongorgong. Rachel Black was born in the mid-1850s at Bridgewater. Her father was Joshua Black, a pioneer of that area. When Rachel married James Lightbody, the union brought three Bridgewater pioneering families together as James Lightbody was the son of Rebecca Kittson also from a pioneering family of Bridgewater,

Colins CATHELS: Died 26 October 1952 at Hamilton. Although he died at  Hamilton, Colin Cathels was a Portland identity.  Old aged forced him to leave the town he loved and he was not happy in his last days. Born in the 1850s, Colin knew much of  Portland history and enjoyed reminiscing about picnics at the Henty’s home. He was the Portland manager of the Belfast and Koroit Steamship Navigation Company. Colin married a Robertson girl, from the well-known local family.