In Broad Daylight

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the youngest son of Joseph Harman and Sarah Mulberry of Byaduk and formally of Melbourn, Cambridgeshire. “Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows” was so named because research for the post uncovered things about Alfred I hadn’t known.

Finding a photo of Alfred was the next aim and I thought I had just one shot at it…a photo of the Rupanyup Rifle Team c1880-90.  Having seen their great Facebook page, I thought I would contact the Rupanyup Historical Society.  I soon heard back from Helen, the society’s Secretary. The society had a meeting the following evening and the President was an expert on the Sargood Shield.   That was great news as the Rupanyup Rifle Club had great success in the Sargood Shield, a highly prized annual competition between Melbourne and country Victorian teams. Alfred was captain of the team in 1886.

Helen came back to me after the meeting and finally I was able to see Alfred Harman, out of the shadows and in broad daylight.  Helen had emailed me a photo of the 1885 Rupanyup Rifle Club. Alfred is the middle row, first on the left in this photo of the 1885.  To give you some idea about where he was in his life,  he was thirty-three years old, married for seven years and father to a six-year-old son.  His brother-in-law Samuel Miller is in the back row, third from the left.  There are some impressive Hairy Mancestors among them.

Image courtesy of the Rupanyup Historical Society.

Image courtesy of the Rupanyup Historical Society.

Thank you so much to the Rupanyup Historical Society.  Please go and check out their wonderful Facebook page on the link – Rupanyup Historical Society Facebook Page.  It was there I found WW1 photos of Alfred Harman’s great-nephews Robert and George Cruikshank, my 2nd cousins, 3 x removed,  who grew up in Rupanyup.  I also found photos of members of the Loats and Starbuck families who had lived in the Muddy Creek area, near Hamilton, and with whom I have family links.


Passing of the Pioneers

This September’s Passing of the Pioneers includes some early colonists, many offering up some interesting extra tidbits.

The images I have used in this post show how Trove can help illustrate your family stories. Simply pick a landmark, ship, or even a theme (thinking of the recent post Stretching my Genealogy Muscles), and then do a Trove search. I find many “out of copyright” images from both the State Library of Victoria and the State Library of South Australia. As long as you cite the image correctly, you are free to use that image. Other repositories require that “out of copyright” images be used for personal use only, except with permission from the institution. For the purposes of my blog, that’s not practical as I’m usually searching on a whim, but would not be a problem if writing an article or book.

John MOFFATT: Died 5 September 1871. The story of John Moffatt is something of a rags to riches story and easily could have ended in rags again. Moffatt was born in Scotland around 1817. He arrived in Victoria around 1839 and began work as a shepherd at Hopkins Hills Estate, then run by the Clyde Company. He then went to The Grange at Hamilton owned by Captain William Lonsdale.

In 1854, prophecies of financial doom were directed at the squatters. The Clyde Company got cold feet and sold Hopkins Hill.  John Moffatt was able to buy the property where he worked as a shepherd, fifteen years before, presumably at a reasonable price. In the late 1850s, he built Chatsworth House for around £20,000, and given his small freehold, many thought such a lavish investment would lead to his demise. By the time of his death, however, he was earning £35,000 per annum from the rental on his properties.

HOPKINS HILL HOMESTEAD. Engraving by Grosse, Frederick, d 1828-1894, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/4

HOPKINS HILL HOMESTEAD. Engraving by Grosse, Frederick, d 1828-1894,
Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/4

John Moffat sat as a member of Villiers and Heytesbury from November 1864 to December 1865 in the Victorian Parliament.  He also imported horses with some of the finest bloodlines seen in the colony. His greatest triumph was hosting Prince Alfred in 1867 as depicted in the sketch below by Nicholas Chevalier.  An extensive report of the visit, including Chevalier’s sketch, was published in the Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne: 1867-1875) on 4 February 1868. Unfortunately, the Prince was a keen hunter and was able to indulge in his “sport” at Hopkins Hill which sadly involved a yard of kangaroos. That incident too was reported on at length.

THE ENTRANCE HALL, HOPKINS HILL. - Nicholas Chevalier. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/1

THE ENTRANCE HALL, HOPKINS HILL. – Nicholas Chevalier. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/1

John Moffatt travelled to England around 1869.  In 1871, he decided to return to Australia, taking an overland route,  but died during the course of the trip and was buried at Galle, Sri Lanka.  He never married.  A line at the end of the obituary gives some insight into John’s character.  His brother, Robert Moffatt, was described as “even more eccentric” than John.

Thomas MUST: Died 2 September 1905 at Portland. Thomas Must was born in London in 1815 and arrived in Sydney in 1832 aboard the Guardian. He worked for general merchants and shipping agents, Marsden and Flower and in 1842 he married Anne Wilcox. Marsden and Flower sent Thomas to Victoria in 1846 and he established an agency at Portland.   Horace Flower joined him and they formed the partnership, Flower, Must & Co., traders. A large warehouse was built in Bentick Street.

After seven years, Must bought out Flower’s share in the company. Thomas later set up a branch at Port McDonnell, South Australia. He operated his business for a further twenty-seven years, but in the meantime, he served on local government and sat on the Victorian Legislative Assembly and saw some shaky financial times. Thomas had the family home Prospect built in 1855, and from there he and Ann raised eight daughters and four sons.

“Prospect” Portland circa 1962-1966. Photographer: John T. Collins. J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H98.250/2022

Angus McDOUGALL:  Died 4 September 1914 at Hamilton. Angus McDougall, a Scot, arrived at Portland around 1854 aged seventeen, aboard the Edward Johnstone. He started working as a carrier between Portland and Hamilton but eventually took up land at Buckley’s Swamp. He married, but he and his wife never had children. Eight of his siblings were still alive at the time of his death and the funeral was one of the largest seen in the district, with around sixty vehicles and many on horseback.

Sarah Ann BURNETT:  Died 7 September 1914 at Warrnambool.  Sarah Ann Burnett arrived at Port Fairy aboard the Persian in 1852 with her husband William Miller and three of their children. They lived first between Port Fairy and Tower Hill, then settled on the Merri River at Cassidy’s Bridge. Sarah and William raised seven children. Her obituary states there were two grandchildren and twenty-five great-grandchildren at the time of her death.  Reverse that I think…or, maybe, her two grandchildren were just prolific breeders.

Sarah and her fellow Methodist churchgoer, Henry Beardsley (below), died a day apart and were both remembered at a service at the Warrnambool Methodist Church led by Reverend Harris.

WARRNAMBOOL METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H32492/2746

WARRNAMBOOL METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H32492/2746

Fortunately, the Warrnambool Standard documented the service. Reverend Harris reminded the congregation of the great contribution pioneer women made to the colony, a fact often forgotten.

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

Henry BEARDSLEY: Died 9 September 1914 at Russell’s Creek. Henry Beardsley, born in Derbyshire on Christmas Day, 1842, arrived at Hobsons Bay in 1852 aboard the Marco Polo. He accompanied his parents, John and Elizabeth, and four siblings.  That information is from the PROV Index to Assisted British Immigration (1839-1871), something the writer of Henry Beardleys’ obituary did not have access to.  If he did, he would have known that the Marco Polo didn’t land at Geelong in 1850.

Henry first went to Ararat with his family, then on to Warrnambool where he took a job at “Spring Gardens” nursery. After nine years he took a managerial role at the nursery of Mr R. S. Harris. He remained there for another nine years.  After eighteen years in the industry, he started his own nursery at Russell’s Creek.

At the Warrnambool Methodist Church memorial service, Henry, a Sunday School teacher, was remembered as the children’s friend.


METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

Margaret BISSETT: Died 14 September 1914 at Richmond. Margaret Bissett was born in Scotland and came to Victoria around the 1850s. She went to Dunmore Station (below), between Port Fairy and Macarthur, owned by Charles MacKnight. It was there she met her future husband, Michael Horan, a worker at the property.

DUNMORE c1866. Photographer Joseph Henry Sodden. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H1736

After Charles and Margaret’s marriage, they moved to Orford, near Warrnambool, and purchased the Horse and Jockey Hotel which they ran for several years Margaret also ran the Post Office. Margaret passed away at her daughter’s home in Richmond and she was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

James PAPLEY: Died 18 September 1914 at Port Fairy. In 1852, James Papley from Orkney Island, Scotland, his wife Jessie and two babies, and a female relative, presumably his sister, left Birkenhead for Port Phillip aboard the Ticonderoga on what was to become a hellish voyage with 170 passengers dying during the passage. 

MELBOURNE SHIPPING. (1852, November 15). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 2. Retrieved September 28, 2013, from

MELBOURNE SHIPPING. (1852, November 15). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), p. 2. Retrieved September 28, 2013, from

There is an excellent website Ticonderoga that documents the voyage, the passengers, and related articles.  It is well worth a look.

James and Jessie began work as the master and matron of the Port Fairy Hospital and remained there many years before turning to farm life at Narrawong, their home for forty-three years.

FORMER PORT FAIRY HOSPITAL c1958. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

FORMER PORT FAIRY HOSPITAL c1958. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

Letitia WALL:  Died 8 September 1915 at Toorak. Letitia Wall was born in the Wynard Barracks, Sydney in 1824, her father Colonel Charles William Wall led the 3rd Regiment (The Buffs). She married Robert Henry Woodward in 1846 at Moreton Bay and they went to the Port Fairy district soon after. In her later years, Letitia took up residence at Kilmaron Toorak Road, Toorak where she passed away.

Margaret SEFTON: Died September 1915 at Coleraine.  Margaret Sefton, born in County Down, Ireland in 1823, travelled to Port Phillip with her father and siblings. She married William Brown in 1847 at St. James Church, Melbourne. The couple spent some time in Melbourne and Hamilton before settling at Coleraine. They had thirteen children and by the time of Margaret and William’s Diamond Wedding anniversary, there were eighty-one grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren to join the celebrations.  William passed away in 1908.

The  Australia Marriage Index records Margaret and William’s marriage as 1847, as does the site “Came to Port Phillip by 1849″, however, Margaret’s obituary refers to their marriage in 1846, their Golden anniversary as 1896, and Diamond anniversary as 1906. Maybe Margaret and William forgot the year they married?

Michael CASEY: Died 8 September 1918 at Macarthur. Born in Limerick, Ireland around 1835, Michael Casey arrived at Geelong aboard the Great Australia, possibly on her 1862 voyage.

GREAT AUSTRALIA, Image Courtesy of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image no. 77078

GREAT AUSTRALIA, Image Courtesy of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image no. 77078

He obtained Municipal contracts for work and he also married, but the newlyweds left Geelong for Sydney when Michael obtained work as a stone mason on the new St Mary’s Cathedral.

ST MARY'S CATHEDRAL, SYDNEY. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H92.200/429

ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL, SYDNEY. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H92.200/429

After Sydney, Michael and his family moved to Colac, then the Wimmera, and finally Macarthur.

George Elias BUTLER: Died 15 September 1918 at Hamilton. A son of a doctor, George Butler was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1844.  At the age of twenty-five, he travelled to Australia aboard the Great Britain.

GREAT BRITAIN. Image courtesy of the Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H99.220/4119

GREAT BRITAIN. Image courtesy of the Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H99.220/4119

He married at Ballarat in 1875 to Catherine Abbott. George spent time working at Blumesbury Muntham before leasing Glengleeson near Macarthur. In his later years, George moved to Hamilton and was known as a respected citizen with many friends throughout the district.

Edward SIMMONS: Died 20 September 1918 at Melbourne. Edward Simmons found his fortune but it seems he didn’t set out to do it the way he did, unlike many other that tried.  Edward started out selling stock in the Moonambel district before moving to Stawell and running a butcher shop with his brother William.

Fortunately, they obtained shares in Stawell’s Orient Mine, one of the town’s most profitable, as history would show.  Healthy dividends saw them increase their interests in other mines in the town.  Edward was able to buy Oban, now the Stawell RSL. He also purchased pastoral properties including Yarram and Drung. In his later years, he moved to Melbourne and lived with his daughter at Shanghai on St, Kilda Road.


Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows

Imagine the family tree of the Harmans of Byaduk, with its long branches sweeping far and wide, lush and prosperous.  That is except for one.  Near the top of the tree sits a small, stunted branch, a mere twig.  It is the branch of Alfred Winslow Harman.

To me, Alfred Harman is like a shadowy figure standing at the rear of the imaginary Harman family photo.   I know little of him and there are no living descendants.

Born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1852, Alfred was a baby when he sailed to Australia with his parents Joseph and Sarah, sister Sarah and brother Walter.  He was too young to remember life in England, the arduous journey and the early settlement of the family.

Alfred was seven years younger than Walter Harman, his immediate older sibling and 22 years younger than oldest brother James.  He probably had more in common with the elder children of his brothers than his brothers themselves.  For example, James Harman’s son Reuben James Harman, my gg-grandfather was only two years younger than his Uncle Alfred.

In his 20s, Alfred headed north to the Wimmera.  It was there that he met Alice Jane Miller, daughter of Scots Joseph Bass Miller and Rose Jane Church of Warracknabeal, formerly of South Australia.  Alfred and Alice married in 1878 and their only son was born in 1879 at Murtoa.

Let’s stop right there…

If I keep going on like this, the post will be over in another paragraph.  All I have to say further is that Alfred went to Western Australia, suffered a loss, returned home and passed away! There must be more to add to this branch to give it some life.

For the purpose of this post, I decided to search for Alfred again at Trove.  With newly digitised papers added regularly, it is worth checking back.  This time I directed my search to the surname “Harman” and the places I knew Alfred lived.  Starting with “Harman Murtoa”, as I gathered leads I moved to “Harman Rupanyup” and then “Harman Hopetoun”.  I searched the decades the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.

I then turned my attention to Western Australia where I knew Alfred had lived.  I tried “Harman Gwalia”, “Harman Perth”, “Harman Malcolm Street”, “Harman The Crescent” between the years 1900-1930.

Thanks to a  number of other leads on Alfred and his wife Alice, the story of Alfred Winslow Harman is looking better.

Let’s pick up the story again in 1878 with Alfred’s marriage to Alice.

Alice Jane Miller was born at Pancharpoo, South Australia in 1859.  The Millers moved to Warracknabeal sometime after 1868.  Alice’s father, Joseph Bass Miller, was an upstanding citizen and the local Justice of the Peace. I have found that while Joseph spelt his name as Miller, some of his children spelt it Millar. In case you are wondering further on in the post.

After Alfred and Alice married in 1878, they soon started their family.  Herbert Winslow Harman was born at Murtoa in 1879.  I am not sure if they were living there or at Rupanyup as newspaper articles found refer to them at both places.  There are only 16 kilometres between the two towns.

The first newspaper reference I have for the Harmans is from 1883 in a Horsham Times report of the Rupanyup and Dunmunkle Society Show. Alice won Best Ironed Gent’s Shirt and Collar.

Subsequent articles show Alfred had something of a talent for rifle shooting.  Alfred entered many competitions and was a member of the Rupanyup Company of Rangers.  In 1886, he and four teammates secured the coveted Sargood Shield, so prized a banquet was held in their honour.

COMPLIMENTARY BANQUET TO THE WINNERS OF THE SARGOOD SHIELD. (1886, December 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from

The team went on to repeat their success in the following two years, as remembered at a dinner at Horsham in 1913.  Samuel Miller, Alice’s brother, also a member of the famous Rupanyup team, was present on the night

The Rifle. (1913, March 7). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from


In 1890, the team competed at Mount Gambier, the hometown of the Miller boys.  It was there they suffered one of their few defeats.

RIFLE MATCH. (1890, August 30). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from

By 1897, Alfred Harman was shooting with the Hopetoun club, over 100 kilometres north of Rupanyup.  The Hopetoun Rifle club was more than happy with their new acquisition,

RIFLE SHOOTING. (1897, February 9). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from

Alfred and his family could not have stayed at Hopetoun long, as I found him on the 1903  Electoral Roll at Gwalia, Western Australia. Gwalia was a gold mining town situated over 800 kilometres east of Perth and north of Kalgoorlie.  Gold was first mined there in 1897, so the town was in its beginnings when Alfred was there.

Today, Gwalia is described as a ghost town but has been preserved so the town’s history is not lost.  The Gwalia & Hoover House Historic Precinct website has some great photos of some of the buildings in the town

How the Harmans came to be in Western Australia, especially in the middle of nowhere at Gwalia, I can only guess.  Two of Alice’s brothers, Joseph and Josiah Miller also turned up in Western Australia, so there may have been some motivation there.

In both 1903 and 1906 on the Gwalia Electoral Roll, Alfred listed his occupation as an agent, however in 1906, he is also on the electoral roll for Midland Junction, Perth (commercial traveller) and Francis Street, Perth (traveller).  Who knows where he and Alice were actually living at the time?  Especially Alice, as she was on the 1903 Electoral Roll at Warracknabeal, the home town of her parents.  Did Alfred go ahead or did Alice just fail to change her details?

When Alfred and Alice went to the West, their son Herbert, who also went along,  was around 20.  After only a few years he was working as the manager of the Canada Cycle and Motor Company at Kalgoorlie.  In November 1904, tragedy struck when Herbert (Bert) was stricken with Typhoid fever.  He passed away in the Perth Hospital on November 20.  Alfred and Alice had lost their only child.

Family Notices. (1904, November 29). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916), p. 16. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

I noted Warracknabeal was given as the home of Alfred and Alice. As mentioned, Alice’s address was Warracknabeal in 1903, but did Alfred also live there at some time?.

The death of Bert also hit the Miller side of the family hard.

Family Notices. (1904, November 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

Joseph Bass Miller Jnr, Alice’s brother was a Health Inspector in Perth. The funeral left his home at The Crescent, Midland Junction.  This is just one of the addresses Alfred is listed at on the 1906 Electoral Roll.

The funeral of Bert was large with many members of the Miller family in attendance.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1904, November 24). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

What interested me in this report was the coffin…” a massive polished jarrah casket, mounted with silver-plated handles and plates”.  Either Alfred’s job as a travelling salesman was doing well or the Miller family chipped in.  Bert himself had done alright for a 25-year-old, with an estate to the value of £212.00.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1905, January 13). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

In 1905, Alice’s mother Rose Church passed away at Warracknabeal and her then 81-year-old father moved to Perth.  He passed away in 1908.

Family Notices. (1908, August 22). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 31. Retrieved March 15, 2012, from

If I ever wanted to find out where Alfred was living, Electoral Rolls were not going to help.  I use Electoral Rolls a lot and I have never seen anyone with multiple entries like Alfred.  From 1910 to 1916, Alfred is listed at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth.  That is the only period where Alfred did not have multiple entries.  In 1910, Alfred was a collector and in 1916 he was a clerk.  In 13 years, he has been an agent, commercial traveller, traveller, an agent again, collector, and clerk.

After the 1903 Electoral Roll,  Alice did not show up again until 1916, living at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth with Alfred. However, from my search at Trove of “Harman Malcolm Street”, I know Alice was at 71 Malcolm Street in 1914.  How?  Thanks to this interesting snippet from The Western Australian.

PERSONAL. (1914, October 7). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

It is a little difficult to read, but what is that about Miss E. Stafford Millar, of Chicago visiting her sister Mrs Harman, of Malcolm Street, Perth?  I checked back on the Miller family tree and Elinor Stafford Millar was the sister of Alice.  But what about Chicago?  Any excuse to get sidetracked, I turned to Trove again.  A search on Elinor revealed all.  Who needs Google?

PERSONAL. (1914, September 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

In fact, I found so many articles on Elinor, I have decided she deserves her own post in the future.  She was after all born at Mount Gambier, almost Western Victoria!  I found that she was an amazing woman, well-travelled and known in the U.S. as the “Australian Evangelist”

I had seen a photo of Elinor on the family tree of Rachel Boatwright at (one of Rachel’s photos of Alice’s brother William Miller is on  January Passing of the Pioneers). I was taken in by the difference between her photo and those of her siblings.  Now I know she led a very different life at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.   I found another photo of her in The Advertiser, Adelaide from 1937.

South Australian-Born Woman Evangelist. (1937, December 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), p. 16. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

Alfred’s next Electoral Roll appearance was in 1925 at 105 Stirling Street, North Perth.  But wait, he is also listed at Dumbleyung in Western Australia’s wheat belt, a long way from Perth.  At his Perth address, he was a clerk, while at Dumbleyung he was retired.  No mention of Alice at either address.  That was because, in 1924, she was on the electoral at 593 Burke Road, Camberwell, Victoria!

Further investigation found that this was the address of Alice’s brother Alexander.  She is also listed at 27 Aroona Road,  Elsternwick on the  Electoral Roll from the same year.  I don’t know whose house that was!  I sometimes wish the Electoral Rolls were like a census, listed by household and not surname.  It would make it so much easier to find out who was living with who.

Alice appears on the Electoral Roll again in 1931, this time at 15 Torrington Street, Canterbury. But where was Alfred?  He was listed over at 50 Downshire Road, Elsternwick of course!.  Why does that address sound familiar?  It just happened to be the address of Alfred’s niece, Susan Oakley, daughter of Alfred’s sister Sarah Harman.  And that is where it all ended for Alfred, at 50 Downshire Road, Elsternwick on March 22, 1933.  He was buried at the Box Hill Cemetery.

Family Notices. (1933, March 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

The link to Susan Oakley, explains why Susan and her husband Robert Cruikshank are mentioned in the family notice.  There was only 13 years difference in age between uncle and niece and Susan was living in the Wimmera, including Rupanyup,  at the same time as Alfred, which may explain their close relationship.  I like to find these links as it gives me some idea of the family dynamic.

So what became of Alice?  According to the Electoral Roll of 1936, she had moved to the house next door at 17 Torrington Street, Canterbury.  She passed away on May 21, 1940, and was buried with Alfred at the Box Hill Cemetery.

Family Notices. (1940, May 23). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from

Thanks to Trove and the digitised newspapers, I was able to take the information I had from Electoral Rolls and obituaries to discover so much more about Alfred’s life. I also found a lot more about the Millers/Millars and that helped work out who was where and when.

However, questions still stand, such as exactly where did Alfred and Alice live and what was with all the Electoral Roll entries?  I also want to know what Alfred was selling, especially during his time in Gwalia.  I will keep checking the newspapers.

Alfred’s branch is now looking a little healthier.  It will never grow but I think I can see some blossom now.

In The News – 8 February – 13 February 1901

I have an interest in the weather, not just for today or the coming weekend but also historically.  Participating in Melbourne University’s Climate History newspaper tagging project involving tagging Trove newspaper articles about weather events, it became evident the weather behaves in a cyclical nature.  If it has happened before it will happen again, droughts, floods, and storms.

Taking my interests a step further,  investigating how weather events affected my ancestors can add greatly to their story. That is why the Victorian bushfires of 1901 are of interest as the Byaduk district, where many of my ancestors lived, was heavily affected.  The weather was similar to two days in my lifetime,  Ash Wednesday on 16 February 1983 and  Black Saturday on 7 February 2009. On each day, fires blazed across Victoria.  

The first reports of fire came through on 8 February 1901.  The following article from The Argus describes the weather of 7 February 1901.  The descriptive language takes the reader to that day.  The heat was oppressive, the wind was strong and dust storms crossed the state, causing unnatural darkness.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from

Fires had sprung up throughout the Western District.  Early reports from Branxholme were tragic with one death, stock killed and houses lost.  I have family links to three families who lost their homes, the Millers, Storers and Addinsalls.  George Miller, a racehorse trainer, lost his house and stables and no doubt his horses.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from

The two-day race meeting at Ararat was held in stifling conditions. A fire started at the course on the second day, with horses receiving burns.  Later the wind picked up and ripped iron off the grandstand roof, sending the ladies within running for shelter.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from

Fires started across Victoria including Warrnambool, Alexandra, Wangaratta, Buninyong, Yea, and Castlemaine.

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from

The articles below report on homes lost in the Byaduk district with Byaduk North worst hit.  My relatives were closer to Byaduk township further south and while they were lucky not to lose their homes it must have been terrifying all the same.  

The fire travelled at a great pace, coming within a mile of my ggg grandfather James Harman’s property Mount Pleasant, on the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road, reaching the properties of the Christie brothers just to the north. As well as James and his wife Susan Reed, my great-grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Harman, and her father Reuben James Harman were living at Byaduk but lived further south again in the Byaduk township.  Numerous other family members lived in the area from the Byaduk Caves through to the Byaduk township.  

TERRIBLE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 7. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 – 1904), p. 2. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

The Hamilton Spectator reported twelve homes destroyed leaving just three standing in Byaduk North.  Most were close to the course of the Lyne Creek running to the west of the township. The Free Presbyterian Church was lost and the Byaduk North Hotel was under threat.  In the days after the fire, the hotel served as a refuge for the homeless.

BYADUK NORTH HOTEL c1906. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections

BYADUK NORTH HOTEL c1906. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections

The homestead of Richard Thomas Carty at Brisbane Hill, a large property to the north of Byaduk North, was destroyed.  While running for the creek, after escaping the homestead, Mrs Carty’s dress caught fire but it was fortunately quelled.  The Cartys rebuilt and the replacement homestead Dunroe still stands today.

"ALONG MACARTHUR ROAD." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 9 February 1901 .

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

"THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES." Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907) 23 February 1901: .

“THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES.” Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907) 23 February 1901: <;.

The fire burnt through the Monivae Estate with a large loss to fences and livestock and burnt within a mile of Hamilton.  On the other side of town, closer to the Coleraine railway line, the Hamilton Racecourse fell just short of the fire’s path.

"MANY FAMILIES HOMELESS." Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918) 9 Feb 1901: 18. .

“MANY FAMILIES HOMELESS.” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918) 9 Feb 1901: 18. <;.

Other areas throughout the Western District felt the brunt of fire on 7 February 1901.  This photograph from Birregurra shows the devastation in that town.

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

Portland was also under threat with fire circling the town.  The fire did not stop until it met the sea.

VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

Buninyong near Ballarat was one of the worst areas hit.

BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 9). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

Macarthur had losses as did Princetown on the south coast.  At Timboon, bullock teams from the local sawmill were lost.

FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 12). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 6. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 12). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 6. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

By 11 January, aid for the homeless was on the agenda and at Branxholme a public meeting was held to discuss such matters.  Authorities discovered the fire near Branxholme, which was probably the same fire to hit Byaduk, was accidentally started by a travelling tinsmith fixing a trough at Ardachy Estate.

THE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

A meeting was called at Byaduk for 18 February 1901, and James Harman donated £2 2/ to the fund for the homeless.

"BUSH FIRE BELIEF FUNDS." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 21 February 1901: .

“BUSH FIRE BELIEF FUNDS.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 21 February 1901: <;.

The fire was so strong and relentless, old residents were drawing comparisons to Black Thursday almost fifty years earlier to the day on 6 February 1851.

TELEGRAPHIC. (1901, February 12). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916), p. 32. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from


Passing of the Pioneers

Seventeen more obituaries of Western District pioneers join the collection this month, and what a group they are.  I must say I had to pass a lot over, but it will ensure Passing with the Pioneers will be going to at least January 2014!  New papers at Trove has guaranteed that. Obituaries came from the Portland Guardian, Horsham Times and Ballarat Courier.

There are a couple of special ones, those of  James HENTY and Rebecca KITTSON and I highly recommend that you read the obituary in full.  I actually found Rebecca’s obituary rather moving and after driving through the Bridgewater area recently, I have great respect for her family and others that settled there.  To read the full obituary, just click on the pioneer’s name and the obituary will open in a new tab.  Some are a little hard to read, but magnifying the page helps.

I have also included a “young” pioneer who has a family link to me.  Thank you to Rachael Boatwright for allowing me to include a photo of her family member.

James HENTY: – Died 12 January 1882 at Richmond.  I thought trashy magazines today told all, but the obituary of the Honourable James HENTY M.L.C. shared every detail of the last twenty-four hours or so his life.  How can I possibly give a summary of the life of James HENTY, one of the pioneering HENTY clan?  Instead, read the obituary.  I think James’ life may have ended prematurely, if that is possible at eighty-two, due to a collision with a Newfoundland dog the week before.

JAMES HENTY c1855. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.158/2

JAMES HENTY c1855. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.158/2

Hugh MCDONALD: Died 30 January 1899 at Portland. This is a timely obituary coming so soon after my Portland trip.  While there, I learnt something of the wreck of the steamer Admella in 1859 and the Portland lifeboat crew that went to her aid. Hugh McDONALD was one of the brave men on board the life boat during that daring rescue.

William GARDINER: Died 17 January 1904 at Warracknabeal.  William GARDINER, another pioneer with an interesting life.  He arrived in Victoria in 1849 aboard the barque Saxon and spent time in Melbourne, Geelong and the goldfields, before heading to New Zealand.  On his return to Australia, he lived in Port Fairy and Hamilton, working as a journalist, before moving to the Wimmera as a correspondent for the Belfast Gazette.  He like it so much, he decided to select land at Warracknabeal.  He also worked as a correspondent for the Horsham Times and built houses!

Jean McCLINTOCK:  Died 19 January 1904 at Melbourne. While only forty at the time of her death and not an “old pioneer”, I have included Jean as she was the sister-in-law of  Alfred Winslow HARMAN.  Jean married William MILLER and they resided at Rupanyup.  After some illness, Jean travelled to Melbourne for an operation, but she died as a result.

Jean McClintock & William Eaton Miller. Photo courtesy of Rachael Boatwright & family.

Joseph JELBART: Died 17 January 1904 at Carapook. Joseph worked as the mail contractor between Carapook and Casterton up until his death. Prior to that, he had worked as a blacksmith and a wheelwright at Chetwynd, Merino and Natimuk. Interesting coincidence, just as Joseph did, his father and brother both died on a Sunday morning in the same house.

Rachel Forward READ: Died 15 January 1904 at Lower Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel Forward READ and her husband Richard Charlton HEDDITCH arrived in Adelaide in 1838 and settled at Cape Bridgewater from 1845 after a stint teaching at the Portland Church of England school.  They resided at the Lal Lal Homestead.  The  Victorian Heritage Database listing for Lal Lal includes a letter home by Rachel after their arrival at Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel was buried at the Cape Bridgewater cemetery rather than the Hedditch family cemetery at Lal Lal.

Donald McRAE: Died 12 January 1914 at Tooan.  Donald McRAE was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1842 and travelled with his parents to Portland. In 1865, he moved to Muntham near Hamilton to farm with brother. The pair eventually selected 320 acres of land each at Natimuk.  Donald was a member of the Horsham Caledonian Society.

Samuel WALKER: Died 24 January 1914 at  Ballarat. Samuel WALKER was born in Cheshire, England around 1828 and travelled to Australia in 1852.  After his arrival on the goldfields of Ballarat, he set up a soda water factory which proved profitable for him.  He then became a partner in Evans and Walkers and worked as an accountant.  He was also the registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at Ballarat from 1872.

Selina MILLER: Died January 1917 at Wickliffe. Selina MILLER had resided at Wickliffe for almost sixty years.  She was twice married.  Her first husband was Mr HAIG and her second, George HARRIOTT. Selina was buried at the Wickliffe Cemetery (below).

Elizabeth HUBBARD: Died 3 January 1919 at Horsham.  Elizabeth HUBBARD was born in Norwich, England around 1831 and travelled to Australia with her husband, Mathias HARDINGHAM in the mid-1850s.  From Geelong, they travelled to the Horsham area and were two of the first pioneers in that district.  Mathias ran the Horsham Hotel for some time.

Christina FOX: Died 8 January 1921 at Vectis.  Christine FOX was born in Yorkshire, England around 1835.  As a teenager, she travelled to South Australia with her parents.  She married Robert SANDERS who had also travelled with his parents on the same immigrant ship.

John W. DAVIS: Died 24 January 1928 at Horsham.  John or “Jack” as he was known, arrived in Australia as a three old, living in Williamstown and then Stawell.  He played with the Temperance Union Band in Stawell and then moved to Horsham in 1877 to play with one of two brass bands in the town.  Known throughout the northwest for his ability as a euphonium player, Jack was also a bandmaster at Natimuk and Noradjuha.

Rebecca KITTSON: Died 4 January 1929 at Portland. What a grand old pioneer Rebecca KITTSON was.  A colonist of eighty-eight years, she was a month from her 102nd birthday.  Arriving in Melbourne from Ireland aged eleven, she spent the next year in Melbourne, before joining her family at Cape Bridgewater where her father James Kittson had settled.  She married Reverend William LIGHTBODY, a Wesleyan minister in 1852.  This obituary is a must read.  Mrs LIGHTBODY, as she was known for most of her life, was the last surviving member of her family and the obituary gives a glimpse at how the KITTSON’S came to be in Australia.

Obituary. (1929, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from

Adrian ANDERSON: Died 16 January 1932 at Horsham. This is a first for Passing of the Pioneers.  Adrian ANDERSON was an immigrant from the United States. Wisconsin to be precise. He arrived aged four, with his parents and resided in Western Australia until he was ten.  The family moved to Victoria, where he remained.  He ran a shop in Jeparit before his death in the Horsham Base Hospital.

Agnes Sarah COOK: Died 18 January 1942 at Casterton. This obituary begins “Born in a small house on the banks of the  Glenelg River at Casterton seventy-nine years ago…”.  Agnes was a lady that like the past and the future, knowledgeable about the history of Casterton, she also liked to predict the future.  Agnes married  Robert SYLVESTER and they had four children.

Helen GULL: Died 18 January 1942 at Casterton. Helen was born on the ship Helen during her parents’ voyage to Australia in 1852.  The GULL family became respected pioneers throughout the Western District.  Helen married Frederick PERRY in 1876 and they resided at well known Western District properties, Rifle Downs at Digby and Runnymeade at Sandford.  Frederick later ran the Digby Hotel.