Take A Photo – Daystar

The following photo from the Museums Victoria collection was posted to the WDF Facebook page in October 2017 when the photo theme was animals.

Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/771583

The description with the photo reads as follows, “The horse ‘Daybreak’ or ‘Daydream’ (?), a champion hunter who won many equestrian events in the Wimmera and Western district. His certificates and prizes are displayed.”  The individuals identified were named as Ethel McIntyre and John Ross and the photo was taken at Douglas (north-east of Harrow) c1920.

Using those clues, I uncovered a wonderful story of a horse called Daystar and his owner John Hugh Ross. I also found John was part of a family I was familiar with from my Byaduk research.

Born around 1900, Daystar was by the sire Timmon out of the mare Phyllis. In the years 1905 and 1906, John Ross of Douglas (also known as Salt Lakes) was racing Daystar on the flat and over steeples at meetings including Casterton, Chetwynd, Wando Vale, and Hamilton. I couldn’t find him winning a race but he did run second a couple of times.

CHETWYND RACES. (1905, June 6). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved October 19, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72816584

John also took Daystar on the show circuit, riding the horse in hurdle races and hunter classes and it turned out Daystar was a handy jumper. On 14 July 1909, at Douglas, John was schooling Daystar when the horse cleared a jump of 3ft 6in but it was not the height of the jump, rather the length which stood out.

From take-off to landing, Daystar jumped a width of thirty-nine feet (almost twelve metres). At the time, records dating back to 1847 were cited when another horse jumped thirty-seven feet. The current world record for a long jump by a horse across water is held by a horse called “Something” who jumped twenty-eight feet. (8.4 metres) in 1975.

A WONDERFUL JUMP. (1909, September 7). Glen Innes Examiner, p. 5.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180126153

John Ross was born at Knebsworth south-west of Byaduk in 1875. He left school and started working when he was thirteen.  In the 1890s John joined others from Victoria who travelled to the Western Australian goldfields but he was back in Victoria and living at Douglas by 1905. John was a blacksmith and purchased the Douglas blacksmith shop in 1908,  He was also a good footballer.

The young lady in the photo was named as Effie McIntyre. In 1913, John Ross married Effie Grace McIntyre at the Presbyterian Manse at Hamilton (below).

FORMER HAMILTON PRESBYTERIAN MANCE

The wedding ceremony was followed by afternoon tea at the Caledonian Hotel where Daniel Scullion proposed a toast to the newlyweds on behalf of their parents.  John’s wedding gift to Effie was a gold broach and Effie gave John a gold watch guard.  The couple honeymooned in Warrnambool.

On their return to Douglas, a gathering was held and John and Effie were presented with fifty sovereigns from the locals. It was there Thomas Hobbs spoke of John and Daystar’s contribution to the community.  If someone was requiring medical assistance in the night, they just had to knock on John’s window and ask him to go to Harrow for the doctor. In no time Jack would be aboard “his favourite Daystar” and on his way. John thought he was only doing what he thought was his duty to help others whenever there was a chance.  The rides to Harrow were no trouble because he loved to spend time in the saddle.

John and Daystar continued to compete but in August 1914, Daystar then aged fourteen and with John aboard, dropped dead at the Edenhope P&A show during a round of a hurdle competition.  Daystar cleared the first two hurdles well but ran out at the third jump and dropped from beneath John. A sad and sudden end for Daystar. John must have been devastated not just to lose a horse but his companion. The news of Daystar’s death spread across the country. The story led the “News of the Day” in the Warracknabeal Herald (below).

The Border Chronicle remarked on the coincidence that Daystar carrying number 13 (unlucky for some) had his first and last jumps competition at the Edenhope Show.

As for the Byaduk connection, if you’ve ever travelled through Byaduk, say going from Hamilton to Port Fairy, just past the Byaduk oval you will see the Byaduk Boer War Memorial to the right.  On it is the name of Donald Ross, killed in South Africa on 15 November 1900.

BYADUK BOER WAR MEMORIAL

Across the road is the Byaduk War Memorial.

BYADUK WAR MEMORIAL

With the names of Andrew and Samuel Ross.

BYADUK WAR MEMORIAL

Donald, Andrew, and Samuel Ross were the sons of George Ross and Flora Cameron and younger brothers of John Ross. The boys’ father George died at Byaduk in 1895. Their mother Flora sent off son Donald to South Africa as part of the 1st Australian contingent. Three months after his return in August 1900, Donald was dead from a lung condition. When WW1 came, Flora sent three sons, Andrew, Samuel, and William. At the time of Andrew’s enlistment, the Hamilton Spectator wrote of the “Patriotic Family”

A PATRIOTIC FAMILY. (1916, June 29). Hamilton Spectator p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133702199

On 7 November 1917, Samuel Ross was killed in Palestine while serving with the 11th Australian Light Horse Regiment.  Andrew Ross returned from overseas but died of bronchitis on 10 June 1919.  William returned in 1919 and died at Red Cliffs in 1963.

Meanwhile, John and Effie were running the Douglas Post Office. John had taken over duties temporarily in 1917 when the postmaster at the time enlisted. They also built a new house at Douglas in 1937

John Ross died at Douglas on 29 April 1949 aged seventy-three.  Later in the year, Effie was recognised by the people of Douglas for her service running the Douglas Post Office for over thirty years.  Effie died at Portland in 1976 aged eighty-five. 

Further Reading

Jump of “Daystar” – Gippsland Times – 9 August 1909

Wedding of John Ross and Effie McIntyre – Horsham Times – 21 February 1913

Death of “Daystar” – Terang Express – 25 August 1914

John and Effie’s House Warming – Horsham Times – 23 March 1937 

Obituary of John Ross – Horsham Times – 3 May 1949 

 

Passing of the Pioneers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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