Passing of the Pioneers

It’s Women’s History Month so I thought I would have an all female Passing of the Pioneers. Men have dominated past Passing of the Pioneers posts so I didn’t think it was going to be easy. However, I managed to find thirteen obituaries of some amazing women including sisters.  There was a common theme with several losing their husbands at an early age, leaving them to raise children alone. There is also extra information for most of the women so click on any underlined text to read more about the subject.

Mary DRISCOLL – Died 3 March 1908 at Portland.  Mary Driscoll was born in Kent around 1828 and later married James Wadmore.  The couple came to Australia on the ship Constant on her maiden voyage for shipping agents Messrs S.G.Henty & Co with James acting as doctor’s assistant on the voyage. They arrived at Portland Bay on 24 February 1855 and one of the crew carried Mary ashore. They were in Portland a short time when James got work with Charlton Hedditch at Cape Bridgewater where they took up land themselves. The couple’s first daughter Ann was born during their first year in Victoria and a son was later born.

A month after their second daughter Sarah was born in 1859, James drowned after he was washed off rocks on the west coast of Cape Bridgewater.  That did not deter Mary who worked hard to raise her children regardless of the hardships.  She was a city girl but adapted quickly to her new life in the isolation of Cape Bridgwater. As well as caring for her own family, she rode a “spirited bay mare” across the district helping those who were sick.  When her daughter Sarah was fifteen, she was offered teacher training, pleasing Mary a great deal.  Mary remained at Cape Bridgewater until around 1905 when her daughters Ann and Sarah bought Annesley in Julia Street, Portland, operating a private guest house. That is where Mary died in 1908.

ANNESLEY, PORTLAND. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233404

Eliza McANALLY – Died March 1909 at Myamyn. Eliza McAnally was born in Ireland around 1836.  She married her husband James Cowan in 1855 and the couple immediately left Ireland for Australia arriving at Portland.  They made their way to Crawford Station near Condah where James had work.  They remained there nine years then selected their own land near Condah. The farm on Lake Condah Road was known as Pleasant Banks.  In April 1876, Eliza and James’ only son died after an outbreak of scarlet fever in the district.  He was nine.

Around 1886, the Cowans built a new homestead. Only months later, a fire in January 1887 burnt their garden fence and to within two feet of the new house.  The Cowans were away from home at the time but James returned just as the doormat caught fire.  The Cowans remained at Pleasant Banks until about 1903 when they moved to Myamyn to live with their daughters Sarah and Isabella who had both married into the Malseed family.  James died in 1905 at the home of their daughter Sarah Malseed.  Eliza remained living at Myamyn but fell sick in early 1909 and died six weeks later.

Lucy RICHARDSON – Died 9 March 1911 at Hamilton.  Lucy Richardson was born around 1831 at Ulverstone, England and arrived in Melbourne in 1857.  In 1861, Lucy married Law Gooderidge and they left for Hamilton where Law was opening Clough & Co., a wool brokers business in Gray Street. Three children were born at Hamilton but in late 1866,  Law died suddenly aged thirty-three. At the time, Lucy was pregnant and gave birth to a daughter Elizabeth Law Gooderidge in 1867.  By the 1880s, Lucy was living in French Street, Hamilton and on 9 May 1889, Lucy’s youngest daughter Elizabeth, known as Lawla, married Harold Learmonth a son of prominent Hamilton businessman Peter Learmonth.  Lucy died suddenly at The Gables (below) in French Street, Hamilton the home Harold and Lawla.  Lucy left one son and three daughters. She was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

THE GABLES, HAMILTON

Catherine MATHEWS – Died 9 March 1912 at Cavendish.  Catherine was born in County Louth, Ireland around 1843. She arrived at Geelong in 1861 before travelling to Hamilton. In April 1866, Father Farrelly married Catherine and Edward Hynes in the then wooden Roman Catholic chapel. Catherine and Edward settled at Flower Hill near Cavendish where they remained for twenty-eight years.  In 1895, they moved to Wattle Grove at Glenisla.  As a devout Roman Catholic, Catherine went to church every Sunday even as her health failed her.

Mary MALONE – Died 3 March 1914 at Dunkeld.  Mary Malone was a daughter of Henry and Rose Malone and her obituary states she was eighty years of age, born in Ashby Street, Geelong. Melbourne wasn’t settled in 1834, let alone Geelong so the story had become a little mixed up over the years. When I checked the Victorian Assisted Passenger Lists, I found a Henry and Rose Malone and three children, Joseph aged ten, Mary aged eight and Ann aged one.  They arrived at Geelong in 1841 aboard the Frankfield.

In 1851, Mary married Thomas Lynch and their first child was born in 1852 at Batesford.  They moved to Mount Burchett Estate west of Glenthompson by the 1860s. In January 1890, Thomas died and shortly after, in March 1890, a fire lit in scrub near Mount Burchett went through the property.  At the time there was only Mary and another woman there. Mary lost sheds, outbuildings and a haystack.  She sold Mount Burchett in November 1890 and moved to Dunkeld to live with one of her sons.  At the time of her death, Mary had six sons, two daughters, six great-grandsons and fifteen great-granddaughters. She was buried at Glenthompson with Thomas.

Mary BEATON – Died 2 March 1915 at Hamilton.  Mary Beaton was born on the Isle of Skye, Scotland around 1847.  She arrived in Portland aboard the Edward Johnson with her parents in 1854, then transferred to another ship to travel on to nearby Port Fairy. In 1867 when Mary was twenty, she married Thomas Clohesy at the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and they settled in the town. On 24 April 1910, Thomas died suddenly at the age of sixty.  Mary went to live with her daughter Mary-Ann and her husband Robert May in Gray Street.  On 2 March 1915, Mary had a visitor, a shipmate from the Edward Johnson. The pair had just set off for a walk from Mary’s daughter’s home when Mary suffered an apoplexy fit and never regained consciousness, dying six hours later. The cause was put down to the excitement of the occasion.  Mary was sixty-eight and was buried in the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below). She left two daughters and four sons.

GRAVE OF THOMAS AND MARY CLOHESY, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

Evelyn MAY – Died 5 March 1916 at Coleraine. Evelyn May and her sister Bessie both died at Coleraine in March 1916.  Evelyn’s death was barely acknowledged in the papers and it was Bessie’s obituary that alerted me to Evelyn’s death three weeks before.  As she did not have an obituary, I’ve had to do some digging to find out more about Evelyn.

Evelyn May was born in Middlesex, England around 1837, the middle daughter of Leon May and Abigail Lyons.  The 1841 England Census lists Leon, Abigail and three girls, Elizabeth (Bessie), Avelina (Evelyn) and Isabella.  Leon was a dentist and they lived at Harrison Street, Bloomsbury, London in what was known as the Harrison Estate.  Leon was from “foreign parts” and Abigail was born in Scotland.  Leon was not present at the time of the 1851 England Census, but the rest of the family were still in Bloomsbury but had moved to Russell Street.  Evelyn’s mother, by then known as Adelaide, listed her occupation as a dental surgeon.

Evelyn’s elder sister Bessie left for Australia around 1861 and married, taking up residence at Coleraine. In 1865, Bessie’s brother-in-law Louis Lesser travelled from Coleraine to England and in 1867, he and Evelyn married and left for Australia.  They arrived in Melbourne and made their way to Coleraine to join Louis’ brother Abraham and Evelyn’s sister Elizabeth.  Louis and Abraham had been in partnership in store in Whyte Street,  Coleraine but mutually dissolved it in May 1865 when Louis left for London.  But they seem to have resumed the partnership with Louis operating the store with other family members after Abraham’s death in 1886.  Evelyn died in 1916 and Louis died on 19 June 1921.  They were buried in the Jewish section of the Coleraine Cemetery.  It appears they had no children. The photo of A.Lesser & Co Pty. Ltd. (below) was taken in 1922, after Louis’ death.

A.LESSER & CO., WHYTE STREET, COLERAINE. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769410

Hanora FLEMING – Died 22 March 1916 at Hamilton.  Hanora was born in Ireland around 1850.  On arrival in Victoria, the Fleming family settled at Woodend.  In 1870, Hanora also known as Norah married Thomas Joseph Fitzsimmons, a railway worker.  Their first child Eliza was born in 1871 at Woodend and over the next decade, more children were born as the family moved around with Thomas’ work.  By the 1880s, the family was living in Ballarat. In 1892, Hanora had the last of her children at the age of forty-two.

On 19 January 1900, one of Thomas’ work mates and close friends Edward Lake, had part of his foot amputated while shunting trains at Elaine.  The accident had a deep effect on Thomas and he went into shock.  As a result, he died on 1 February 1900 at Ballarat.  At the time of Thomas’ death, the Fitzsimmons were living in Peel Street North, just near the railway bridge.  Hanora still had four children under the age of eighteen in her care.  Her eldest son Edmund lived in Hamilton and a daughter was also there with her husband Robert Drummond, the licensee of the Victoria Hotel in Gray Street, Hamilton. Hanora moved to Hamilton sometime after 1905, reuniting the family. Hanora died in 1916, leaving three sons and three daughters.

Elizabeth MAY – Died 22 March 1916 at Coleraine.  Elizabeth May, better known as Bessie, was born around 1835 in Manchester, England.  As a young child, her dentist father moved the family to Bloomsbury, London.  Around 1860, Bessie travelled to Victoria and in 1861, married Abraham Lesser at the Mikveh Israel Melbourne Synagogue.

“Family Notices” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 13 April 1861: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5699307

Abraham operated a store in Coleraine with his brother Louis, so Bessie moved to Coleraine taking up residence in a house she would live in until her death.  In 1867, Bessie’s sister arrived in Coleraine from London after her marriage to Abraham’s brother Louis.  A search of children born to Bessie and Abraham Lesser at Victoria Births Deaths and Marriage was interesting with the results showing several children.  Bessie lost her first two unnamed babies and by 1870, had lost five children. In November 1886, Abraham died suddenly after taking ill at a concert.  He was sixty.  They had four children still living at the time.

On 5 March 1916, Bessie’s younger sister Evelyn died and only three weeks later, Bessie died. At the time of her death, she had just one son and one daughter from her large family of ten. Bessie was remembered fondly in both the local papers and the Jewish Herald.  Bessie was musical and was believed to have taken the first piano to Coleraine, regularly playing at concerts. She was also the secretary of the Ladies Benevolent Society.  Bessie was remembered for her good sense of humour and charitable ways.  She bequeathed a large amount of money to various institutions and causes including £10 to the Hamilton Hospital.  Bessie was buried in the Jewish section of the Coleraine Cemetery.

Eliza WHITTAKER – Died 13 March 1918 at Macarthur.  Eliza Whittaker was born in Ireland but moved with her family to Somerset, England after the death of her father.  She married Samuel Trigger and they had three children.  On 9 April 1853, the family arrived at Portland aboard the Eliza.  They went to Mount Taurus, west of Winslow and Samuel worked as a sawyer.  They later settled near Macarthur, acquiring land at Warrabkook and Mount Eccles.  Four grandsons enlisted for WW1 and in 1916 one was killed, Samuel Trigger at Mouquet Farm, France. His body was never recovered. In 1917, Samuel and Eliza Trigger were photographed for The Weekly Times of 14 April 1917 when they were both aged ninety-five.

“A VENERABLE COUPLE.” Weekly Times (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 Apr 1917: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121151983

Eliza died on 13 March 1918 and Samuel died only three weeks later.  They left four sons, two daughters, thirty-one grandchildren and thirty-eight great children.

Johanna Helena HERGER – Died 17 March 1918 at Yulecart.  Johanna Herger was born around 1833 in Breslau, Silesia, now known as Wroclaw, Poland.  Around 1859, she married Ernest Reich and they had two daughters, Ernestine and Emelie.  In 1874, the Reichs arrived in Victoria and moved to the Yulecart district where Ernest farmed. Johanna and Ernest’s daughters never married and remained living with their parents.  By 1900, Johanna was an invalid and early that year fire burnt through 140 acres of the Reich’s property. Ernest, most likely into his seventies, and his daughters fought the fire alone on 28 January 1900.  It ran up to the homestead, a scary experience for housebound Johanna.  They managed to save the homestead but lost two haystacks. Ernestine and Emelie cared for their parents in their old age, operating a dairy farm to support the family.  Johanna died on 17 March 1918, and Ernest died six months later on September 1918.

Sarah Jane COLE – Died March 1947 at Geelong.  Sarah Jane Cole was born in Lethbridge in 1861.  She was the youngest daughter of teacher Robert Nelson Cole.  She spent her early years at Boot’s Creek near Daylesford where her father was teaching.  Sarah’s brother Robert followed his father into teaching and before long Sarah too had taken up the profession. When she was nineteen, Sarah was appointed head teacher at the Carpendeit School, east of Cobden.  She lived with her brother Robert who was living and teaching at the South Purrumbete school.  Sarah rode seven miles to school each morning and seven miles home at night.  She was a “fearless horsewoman” but if for some reason she couldn’t take her horse, she was happy to walk the distance and she was never late. But it wasn’t the safest thing for a young lady to do as she found out.

“Tribute to Life of The Late Mrs.Port” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 27 March 1947: 5 (Afternoons.). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65240862

Eventually, Sarah was able to board at Carpendeit and in time a residence was built.  In 1884, Sarah married John Port of Port Campbell.  There first child a son John George Port was born the following year. Sarah had a further seven children.  Sarah also wrote poetry and sent them to the newspapers. Personal experience may have inspired one of those “On the Death of a Baby” published on 12 January 1889.

“ON THE DEATH OF A BABY.” The Caulfield and Elsternwick Leader (North Brighton, Vic. : 1888 – 1902) 12 January 1889 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66889460 .

In those times, it was still possible for a married woman to continue teaching and Sarah did so until around 1898 when the regulations changed.  In 1902, she wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Colac Herald defending a local married woman still teaching. Sarah was active in the Carpendeit community as a member of the Band of Hope and the Carpendeit Methodist Church.

In 1900, the Ports sold their farm and moved to Nalangil, west of Colac. During her time there, the Education Department asked Sarah to fill in for a few months at the Nalangil School.  Around 1926, John’s health was failing so he and Sarah moved to Ryrie Street, Geelong where he eventually died in August 1927. Around 1932, Sarah went to live with her daughter in Kilgour Street, Geelong. At the age of seventy-three in 1934, Sarah published a book “Victoria’s Centenary and Other Loyal Poems”.  There were fourteen poems and the book sold for a shilling. Sarah died at here daughter’s home in March 1947 aged eighty-six

Ellen Lavinia WINCHCOMB – Died 5 March 1954 at Cobden.  Ellen Winchcomb was born in Cobden about 1883, a daughter of James Winchcomb and Fanny Laundry. Known as Nell, she was organist at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Cobden and did all the floral arrangements for the church and was a Sunday School Teacher.

ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/772413

Ellen was a keen gardener and kept a cottage style garden. In 1914, Ellen’s mother Fanny visited a sister living on the Penshurst Road, Hamilton.  She fell sick there and died at Hamilton on 4 December 1914 aged fifty-eight. Ellen’s father, James Winchcomb died in 1925. On 5 March 1954, Ellen died at her home in Cobden after a long illness.

Passing of the Pioneers

June Passing of the Pioneers features the obituaries of several former Councillors, Mayors and a Mayoress. There are members of well known pioneering families and a man who died with no other relatives in Australia. There is also a Hamilton cricket champion who had the potential to play for Australia.

William RUTLEDGE: Died 1 June 1876 at Farnham. William Rutledge, born in Ireland, arrived in Sydney in 1833 aged around twenty-seven.  After his marriage in 1839, he headed south to Queanbeyan, N.S.W. then Kilmore, Victoria in 1840.  A visit to Port Fairy in 1843 saw him buy the business of John Cox and he transformed it into William Rutledge & Co, importers.  He also selected a large amount of  land at Farnham near Koroit.  William also sat on the first Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1851. The Christ Church Anglican church at  Warrnambool has a  memorial window dedicated to the memory of William.

DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM RUTLEDGE, OF FARNHAM. (1876, June 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5890095

DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM RUTLEDGE, OF FARNHAM. (1876, June 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 5. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5890095

A biography of William Rutledge (below) by Martha Rutledge in the Australian Dictionary of Biography tells of Edward Henty having referred to William as “Terrible Billy”.

WILLIAM RUTLEGE.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H5056/68

WILLIAM RUTLEGE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H5056/68

George OSBORNE: Died 14 June 1884 at Geelong. George Osborne was born in Sydney around 1809, his father a member of the 45th Regiment of Foot. George was a ship maker’s apprentice and worked on a whaling ship as ship’s carpenter.  George first arrived in Victoria in 1840 at Portland. He then went to Melbourne before returning to Portland where he remained with his family. While he had lived in Portland for twenty-five years, after his wife’s death, George moved amongst his family members until his death. He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

Eliza PITTS: Died 2 June 1914 at Edenhope. As an infant, Eliza Pitts travelled to Victoria with her parents aboard the  Severn in 1846 and they settled at Wattle Hill, Portland. In 1860, Eliza married Richard Guthridge. They raised a family of six sons and six daughters. Son Frederick has also been a Passing Pioneer. In the early years of their marriage, Richard and Eliza moved several times between Portland, Mt Gambier and Carapook before settling in the Edenhope district. They were a well-respected family, renown for their longevity.

Walter DISS: Died 3 June 1916 at Port Fairy. Walter Diss died with no relatives in Australia. He was born in London around 1851 and arrived in Victoria during the 1880s. He ran bakery businesses in Port Fairy and for a time ran the Exchange Hotel at Sale, East Gippsland. He returned to Port Fairy after the death of his wife, two years before his own passing.

Ellen MALONE: Died 20 June 1916 at Killarney. Born in Queen’s County, Ireland around 1831, Ellen arrived at Portland in 1855 aboard the Caringorm.  In 1856, she married Thomas Shanley and they settled at Killarney and raised seven children. At the time of her death, Ellen had forty-two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Robert WOOD: Died 27 June 1917 at Warrnambool. Robert Wood was born in Scotland in 1847 and arrived at Port Fairy, with his parents, aboard the Athletae in 1854. He farmed around  Hopkins Point and Woodford before taking up a job as a storeman for R.H. Patterson of Warrnambool. He had a strong association with the Warrnambool Fire Brigade, serving as a member for forty-two years, twenty years of which he was the station keeper.

Agnetta VIGAR: Died 24 June 1917 at Ararat. Agnetta Vigar was born on the island of Guernsey around 1831. She arrived in Adelaide in 1852 and married William Aggett. They moved to Ararat during the 1860s, settling on the Stawell Road.  She left one son, Thomas, serving in Europe at the time of her death.

John TWOMEY: Died 30 June 1918 at Lilydale. John Twomey was born at Banmore Penshurst, the son of John Twomey a pioneer squatter of the district. John Jr entered in the stock and station business and lived at Warrnambool. He was a member of several racing clubs and was a successful owner. In the years before his death, he moved to Melbourne then Lilydale where he passed. He was buried at Warrnambool Cemetery.

John DOYLE: Died 8 June 1922 at Heywood. John Doyle was born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1842. He arrived in Port Fairy about 1856 with his twin brother and they set up a carrying business. John then bought land in Casterton before purchasing the Hamilton Inn at Hamilton. Tired of life as a publican, John bought land at Cape Bridgewater and Heywood and  farmed dairy cows. He served as a Councillor with the Portland Shire. After the death of his first wife in 1877, he remarried. He left five sons and two daughters. A sixth son predeceased him. John’s twin brother died five weeks before at Hamilton.

James GOLDIE: Died 4 June 1924 at Port Fairy. James Goldie’s death was tragic, but it should not take away from the contribution he made to Port Fairy. James was born around 1860, the son of John Goldie of Port Fairy. He was the first butter factory manager in Victoria, running a factory at Rosebrook. He later managed a large butter factory in N.S.W.

James’ father, John Goldie tended his farm using the latest scientific practices. A photo of his farm is below. Taken in 1895, it shows trial crops of sugar beets. After John died, James took up part of the farm and became a respected breeder of Ayrshire cattle.

SUGAR BEET GROWING AT PORT FAIRY ON THE FARM OF JOHN GOLDIE c1895.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

SUGAR BEET GROWING AT PORT FAIRY ON THE FARM OF JOHN GOLDIE c1895. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

James served on the Council of the Borough of Port Fairy with two terms as Mayor. He was also a member of the Agriculture Society committee and he was one of the men that established the Glaxo Milk Company at Port Fairy.

Mary FLETCHER: Died 19 June 1942 at Sandringham. Mary Fletcher was born in Scotland around 1847 and arrived in Victoria as a child. Her parents settled at Goroke and in 1865 she married William Affleck. William passed away in 1867 and in 1869 she married James Wooton Shevill.  James was a Warrnambool Councillor from 1875-1878, holding the Mayoral role in 1877-1878.  In later life, the Shevills moved to Melbourne.

Peter DUSTING: Died 30 June 1946 at Melbourne. As Peter Dusting was the last surviving member of the family of John and Sally Dusting of South Portland, this obituary is more a Dusting family obituary rather than Peter’s. In fact, I was able to find little about Peter from it.  He was born in Portland around 1866 and followed his father and brothers into the fishing business. Later he moved to Melbourne and remained there until his death.

Emma Watsford TERRILL:  Died June 1948 at Hamilton. Emma Terrill was born at Cape Bridgewater around 1880, the youngest daughter of Mr & Mrs George Terrill, pioneers of the district. Emma married William Jennings in 1905.  William was the grandson of Cook Abraham Jennings and Hannah Birchall, also Cape Bridgewater pioneers. Emma was an expert on poultry and was often sought after for advice. After living all her life at Cape Bridgewater, two years before her death she moved into Portland.  Emma passed away in the Hamilton Hospital.

George KENNEDY: Died June 1950 at Hamilton. When I think of Hamilton cricket, I think of Kennedy Oval. George Kennedy is the man who the oval was named for. An obituary for  George Kennedy  in the Portland Guardian of 29 June 1950, suggests a decision by Melbourne born George to leave the city for Hamilton as a young man in 1905, may have cost him the opportunity to compete at interstate or even at international level. He played for the Grange club in Hamilton and excelled at both batting and bowling, the later his specialty. His talent was on display in 1912 when a touring English team played at Hamilton and George’s bowling figures where 3/35. After the match, the ball and a bat signed by the English team was presented by one his scalps, Sir Jack Hobbs, the most prolific scorer in first class cricket history. George was seventy-one at the time of his death.