Passing of the Pioneers

The Passing of the Pioneer posts are getting a little behind. To fix that I intended to do a March/April/May edition but it was too long so I changed to a March/April edition to be followed by a May/June edition, however, March/April got too long.  Instead, I’ll post March, closely followed by April and then a May/June combined edition.  Hopefully, by July I’ll be back on track with a monthly post again.  This edition with seven pioneers includes early residents of Glenthompson and Hamilton and a woman who had thirty-five grandchildren and thirty-five great-grandchildren when she died and a man who had forty-one grandchildren and forty-eight great-grandchildren at the time of his death. Imagine how many descendants those two have today.  Click on any underlined text to read further information about a subject.

HUTCHESON, John – Died 27 March 1870 at Hamilton.  John Hutcheson was born around 1819 in Abernethy, Perthshire, Scotland descending from a long line of millers.  After his father David died, John’s mother Isabella took John and his brothers to Tasmania to be close to relatives.  The Hutcheson boys, John, George, and David heard about the rich pastoral area of the Western District of Victoria and decided to see for themselves.  After arriving at Port Phillip, they took up Runnymede station near Sandford and in 1849 Mount Straun station near Digby. 

John and George bought land on the northern banks of the Grange Burn to the west of the Hamilton township. They planned to farm as well as follow in the footsteps of their ancestors and open a mill.  They had the machinery built in Melbourne and by February 1854, it was ready to transport by ship to Portland and then overland to Hamilton.  It was a slow process getting the mill components to Hamilton and constructing the building to house them.  Finally, in December 1855 the mill was close to completion.

PORTLAND. (1855, December 21). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved May 21, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154861185

And by February 1856 it was ready to go.

Advertising (1856, February 22). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876), p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE PORTLAND GUARDIAN.). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71573744

George died in 1857 at Runnymede after he was kicked by a horse but John continued on with the mill. Opposition came in 1859 when Peter Learmonth opened a mill on the Grange Burn on the eastern side of the township. Aside from opening the first mill, John was the first person in the district to own a steam operated thresher.  He was also a founding member of the Dundas Roads Board in 1857.   

Sometime after his arrival in Victoria, John married Ann Robertson, sister of George Robertson of Warrock near Casterton.  Ann died in 1860 at South Hamilton. They had no children. In 1861, John married Mary McDonald.  

John was fifty-one at the time of his death.  He left his widow Mary, four sons and one daughter. His obituary read,

He was well read and held opinions in advance of his time. This, to some, made him appear somewhat eccentric, but those who knew him intimately were charmed with his conversation, and while admiring the man for his selfwill and robust turn of mind, they knew how soft a heart was covered by anapparently brusque exterior, and that many a family have had their flour ground or a bag of flour sent to them when they most wanted It, and no charge made, When a disastrous bush-fire ruined half the people on the creek a few years ago, Mr Hutcheson was the first to move in getting up subscriptions in their aid, and we are justified in saying that when the committee left the distribution of the funds to him, all were satisfied. Mr Hutcheson was a very retiring man; he loved the hum of his mill more than the bustle of the town,…He was a fine mechanic and could make anything in wood or metal, the old Hamilton Mill remaining a monument of his skill in that direction. (Hamilton Spectator 30 March 1870 p. 2)


GRAVE OF JOHN HUTCHESON AT HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

John was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. After John’s death, Mary continued to run the mill until 1877 when she sold it to Charles Pilven of the Commercial Hotel. In something of a trade, Mary purchased the Commerical Hotel. 

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 5 April 1877: 3. Web. 21 May 2019  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226041685

The mill became a Rabbit Preserving Factory in 1892. John’s mother Isabella lived at Coleraine and died on 10 June 1876.  

PEARSON, John – Died 10 March 1885 at Portland. John Pearson was born near Edinburgh, Scotland around 1801. In 1832, he married Mary Simpson and four children were born. They left their home at Leigh, Scotland for Tasmania in early 1840 after John inherited Douglas Park at Campbell Town from his older brother Dr Temple Pearson who died on 1 October 1839. They set off on 24 January 1840 aboard the North Briton but during the voyage, she ran aground on the Goodwin Sands off the English coast near Kent and was put into Ramsgate Harbour. That delayed the journey a month and they departed again on 17 February. Back on course, as the ship rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 30 April 1840, Mary gave birth to a son, Joseph.  They finally arrived in Tasmania on 17 June 1840.

The Pearsons remained in Tasmania until 1846 when John sold Douglas Park and they travelled to Victoria aboard the Minerva captained by Captain Fawthrop on 30 May 1846.  With them were servants and all their household furniture.  On another ship John chartered, the Lady Mary Pelham were horses, cattle and farming implements.  It took two weeks to make the trip to Portland Bay.  Four nights were spent anchored at King Island due to rough weather.  Since there was no pier at Portland at the time, the horses and cattle swam ashore and John’s family were carried through the surf to shore.

John purchased Retreat station on the Glenelg River near Casterton and built a house and a woolshed. During their time at the station, the Pearsons saw the impact of the Black Thursday bushfires on 6 February 1851. Such was the fire’s intensity, birds and wildlife sought refuge at the homestead. Two days later on 8 February 1851, John’s wife Mary died. Her body was transported to the Portland North Cemetery for burial.  John sold Retreat soon after, taking up Yambuk Station in July 1851.  After three years he bought Mount Shadwell estate near Mortlake.  In 1855, John purchased the Glenorchy station near Merino. John decided to retire to Melbourne but lasted six months returning to the Western District in 1857 to reside in Percy Street, Portland. It was also in 1857, John brought new sheep bloodlines to the Western District.

PROBABILITIES OF A NEW AURIFEROUS DISTRICT. (1857, August 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 5. Retrieved May 27, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7136358

John continued buying properties and in 1859 purchased the Rifle Range station near Coleraine. He was an avid reader and a keen gardener and was known for his floral displays and introduced new plants to Portland.  He formed his own opinions and more than once was encouraged to stand for a seat in the Legislative Assembly but he could not agree with the policies of parties requesting his nomination. He did serve as a chairman of the District Roads Board. John died at his home in Percy Street at the age of eighty-four and was buried at the North Portland Cemetery.  In his will, he left £50 for the widows of Portland.

McLENNAN, John – Died 4 March 1907 at Glenthompson. John McLennan was born in Scotland around 1832.  He arrived at Yuppeckiar, just west of what is now Glenthompson in 1862 to run the Cobb & Co changing station located at what was known as the “mail tent”. The changing station consisted of two tents, one for John and one for the horses.  The “post office” was a hole in a red gum tree with a flap of hide to protect the mail from the weather. 

A township was surveyed and when land became available, John purchased acreage and built the first house in the town which would become Glenthompson He also built a hotel on the main road but when the railway came through, he built a second hotel opposite the station.  In time, it became Mac’s Hotel (seen below, it was renovated in the 1920s). John also operated a store which was profitable for him. 

MAC’S HOTEL GLENTHOMPSON

John married Jessie Roderick in 1872. In 1883, John announced his intention to retire

Advertising (1883, November 20). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved May 13, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226049701

In 1884, John did retire and turned to wool-growing. He was given a testimonial at Glenthompson led by Charles Gray of Nareeb Nareeb.   

PRESENTATION AT GLENTHOMPSON. (1884, September 16). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved May 13, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225662520

Jessie died on 26 November 1895.  When John died in 1907, he left a son and a daughter. He was buried at the Glenthompson Cemetery.

GRAVE OF JOHN McLENNAN AND FAMILY AT GLENTHOMPSON CEMETERY

NICOL, Gideon – Died 20 March 1908 at Merino. Gideon Nicol was born near Aberdeen, Scotland around 1836. When he was fifteen, Gideon began working on ships, sailing first to Calcutta, India in 1851.  He then went on several voyages including to South America and then to Sevastopol to deliver horses for use in the Crimean War. Despite all his time at sea, Gideon managed to be in England in 1852 to witness the funeral of the Duke of Wellington.

Gideon arrived in Victoria in 1858 at the age of twenty-two aboard the Greyhound and set off for Warrnambool.  He secured work on stations as a bullock driver until heading for the New Zealand gold diggings in 1861.  When he returned, he selected 300 acres of land at Mount Warrnambool near Panmure in 1865. He also selected 600 acres at Tahara. In 1866, John married Ellen Dunne.

Farming was tough and in 1871, he was losing calves so he wrote a letter to The Australasian newspaper requesting advice.

QUARTER-ILL, OR BLACK-LEG. (1871, March 18). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 24. Retrieved May 25, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138081853

The correspondent from The Australasian provided a solution to Gideon’s problem and it must have held him in good stead.  By the time a correspondent from The Australasian visited the district in 1881, he found Gideon was running a successful farm.

A TOUR IN THE WARRNAMBOOL DISTRICT. (1881, July 16). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 25. Retrieved May 25, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137816975

Gideon mentioned to the correspondent the problems he had with his calves ten years before and was still singing the praises of the solution offered by The Australasian

A TOUR IN THE WARRNAMBOOL DISTRICT. (1881, July 16). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 25. Retrieved May 25, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137816975

Gideon was one of the first directors of the Farnham Cheese and Butter Factory Company and was a Warrnambool Shire Councillor for twenty-seven years including two terms as President.  He represented the Shire at the opening of the Federal Parliament in Melbourne in 1901.  At the time of his death, Gideon was a director of the Merino Butter Factory.  He was buried at the Tower Hill cemetery leaving his widow Ellen, one son and two daughters.  Ellen died in January 1914.

JENNINGS, John – Died 18 March 1910 at Hamilton.  John Jennings was born in England around 1819.  He arrived in Portland about 1846 and two years later he went to Hamilton then called The Grange.  Around 1849, John went to Adelaide where he married Bridget Priscilla Talbot. A daughter Catherine was born in Adelaide in July 1851. Back in Victoria around 1852, John and Bridget took up residence at Violet Creek to the south of Hamilton.   

JOHN JENNINGS -HAMILTON PIONEER. (1912, January 13). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 32. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198127055

John worked as a shepherd at Violet Creek but wanted a change in career and since there was a demand for timber in the growing town of Hamilton, he took up timber splitting at Victoria Valley in the Grampians. The timber he split was used to build the Hamilton Inn and the Victoria Hotel.  He then set up sawmill below Billy Goat Hill which overlooked the area which would more than fifty years later become Melville Oval. To accommodate his growing family, John built a house on Billy Goat Hill from timber he collected nearby.  It had slab walls and a clay floor and is pictured below.

JENNINGS FAMILY HOME – HAMILTON PIONEER. (1912, January 13). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 32. Retrieved March 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198127055

Bridget died at Hamilton in 1904.  John continued living at his home until his death in 1910.  He left forty-eight grandchildren and forty-one great-grandchildren at the time of his death.

jennings

PERSONAL. (1910, March 26). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 39. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article142923081

GRAVE OF JOHN AND BRIDGET JENNINGS, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

John and Bridget’s son Jack and his wife Emma contributed eighteen of the grandchildren. After John’s death, his home of fifty years which had never been altered was dismantled and a new house built.    

HAMILTON PIONEER. (1912, January 13). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 32. Retrieved May 13, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198127055

In 1912, some of his family came together and are seen below.

DESCENDANTS OF JOHN AND BRIDGET JENNINGS – HAMILTON PIONEER. (1912, January 13). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 32. Retrieved March 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198127055

Vanda Savill in her book Dear friends, now know ye: Hamilton District, wool centre of the world. Part one  (p180) stated by 1940, John and Bridget’s son John “Jack” Jennings had 183 living descendants consisting of nine children, 50 grandchildren, 49 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren. Further, it says Jack was born in a tent on the site of the current Gray Street Primary School in 1853, however, his birth was registered in 1855.     

SCULLION, John – Died 8 March 1919 at Garvoc. John Scullion was born at County Antrim, Ireland around 1827.  When he was around seventeen, he went to England and worked for around five years in a foundry.  He left England at the age of twenty-two and sailed for Portland.  He worked as a bullock teamster travelling to and from the diggings.  In 1861 he married Janet MacKellar. 

John took up land at Wangoom near Warrnambool before going to Garvoc around 1864 and became a dairy farmer. In 1909, he lost his home in a fire.  It had nine rooms, three of stone and six of timber.  At the time John estimated his monetary loss was £800.  At the age of ninety-two, John died at his home Mount View, Garvoc, leaving his widow Janet and five daughters and three sons.  He was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

ANDREWS, Mary Ann – Died 31 March 1940 at Colac.  Mary Ann was born at Muntham station near Casterton around 1855.  She married Thomas Rhodes at Coleraine in 1873 and they moved to Lower Gellibrand between Lavers Hill and Princetown around 1885.  Thomas died four years after their arrival there on 8 December 1889 aged thirty-nine. Mary continued on at their dairy farm.  At the time of her death, Mary Ann had four daughters and two sons, thirty-five grandchildren and thirty-seven great-grandchildren.

 

Wonderful Western District Women Part 1

On International Women’s Day this is for the women of the Western District.  The women who arrived in a new country, often as newlyweds with no other family, those who walked behind a plough planting seed, those who didn’t see their husbands from dawn to dusk or weeks at a time and the women who gave birth in a tent or shack sometimes without another woman present.  It’s for the benevolent women, the pillars of the church, the businesswomen, the matriarchs, and in many cases their husband’s rock. It’s for those women who lost their husbands young, and were left to raise children and survive in a man’s world. For many of these women, their lives went by unheralded.

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/54600

As it’s also Women’s History Month, this is the first post during March remembering some of the great pioneering women of the Western District.  Firstly I will focus on those I’ve discovered through monthly Passing of the Pioneers posts. For many of those women, I’ve had to draw on their husband’s life story to get some idea of their own.  For others we are lucky as something of their lives still remain, maybe a letter or a diary and we glean some idea of who they really were. Even in their obituaries, women were mostly known by their husband’s name, for example, Mrs John Little or Mrs James Berry. At least those who were given an obituary have something of them left behind, for others their lives passed silently and without celebration.

Hopefully, the women I have selected to celebrate this month are representative of those women whose stories have been lost.  Also, because most women lived behind the names of their husbands, I’ve chosen to remember the women by their maiden names.  Click on the underlined text through the post to read more information about a subject.

NICOL, Janet (c1822-1903) Also known as Janet Laurie and Janet Black

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77974940

Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954) 6 May 1933: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77974940

Janet was born in born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1822, the daughter of Professor Andrew Nicol a linguist, university lecturer and head of a boys’ college. Janet, one of eight daughters, attended boarding school and like her father could speak several languages. In 1841, she married the Reverend Alexander Laurie and shortly after they sailed to Port Phillip aboard the appropriately named William Nicol, arriving in February 1842.  Alexander was appointed the minister for the Portland Bay Presbyterian Church so they sailed for Portland Bay.  On arrival at Portland, Janet was carried ashore and on the same day, she gave birth to her first child Alexander John Laurie.  The Lauries couldn’t stay at any hotels because of quarantine restrictions so they camped under a shelter near the flour mill in the bitter cold,  They soon settled in the town and another son Andrew was born the following year.

The year 1848 was tumultuous for Janet.  Alexander was accused of spending time in the company of a young lady, even travelling away with her.  The church frowned on his behaviour and Alex was removed from his role, not because of the shame he brought to his wife and children, but the shame he brought to the church.  A report of his falling out appeared in the Geelong Advertiser of July 11, 1848.  In 1850, Alexander started making the news in a different way when he took over the Portland Herald in Gawler Street.  The Portland Guardian remarked,”Mr Laurie would have seemed to have abandoned the use of his church for the Herald and exchanged religion for politics”.

In 1854, Alexander died at the age of thirty-six, leaving Janet with four young children. She took over the running of the Portland Herald and after a short break, resumed publication every Friday with a promise the paper would be “renewed in strength and efficiency” and before long the subscribers to the paper grew.

“Advertising” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876) 9 November 1854: 3 (EVENING.) http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71571179

Janet also set up an employment registry in 1856 operating it until 1861 from her home in Percy Street.

“Advertising” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876) 3 November 1858: 3 (EVENINGS.). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64509486

Janet finished up the Portland Herald in 1860 and she and the children went to Mount Gambier where she assisted two of her sons in setting up the Border Watch, a paper still published today. The paper was established in the name of second born son Andrew, then seventeen and the first edition published on April 26, 1861. The name for the paper came from Janet as there was a Border Watch newspaper on the border of Scotland and England. Given the close proximity of Mount Gambier to the South Australian/Victorian border, it was a perfect choice.

In the same year, Janet married widower Joshua Black of Cork Hill, Bridgewater. Joshua was a father to seven children and Janet must have been busy helping her sons with the paper and the duties of matrimony. Janet and Joshua had three children together, the first in 1862 when Janet was forty.  By 1865, there were fifteen children aged from twenty-two to newborn. Joshua Black died in 1876 aged seventy-six.  Janet continued on at Bridgewater and was involved in the community.  

BRIDGEWATER BAY

She died in 1903 aged eighty-one and was buried in the North Portland Cemetery in the same grave as Alexander Laurie. The Portland Guardian of 29 July 1903 reported that “the funeral procession was one of the largest, if not the largest seen in Portland.” Returning to Alexander in death was possibly something Janet would not have wanted. Her thirteen years with Alexander were not happy times.  Aside from his adultery, it seems Janet also endured family violence.  She was known throughout her life as having a hearing impairment, put down to the cold on her first night in Portland.  Ann Grant and others in a paper, “Portland – The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, tells of police records showing Janet had charged Alexander with assault and her deafness was in fact caused by a blow from him.

COLE, Elizabeth (c1845-1942).  Also known as Elizabeth Dalziel.

Elizabeth Cole was seven when she sailed into Hobson’s Bay in December 1852 with her family aboard the Bombay, the same ship my ggg grandparents James Mortimer and Rosanna Buckland arrived on.  Once in Port Phillip Bay, the ship was placed in quarantine because of a typhus fever outbreak on board.  During the 111 day voyage, at least twenty-four of the 706 passengers died from various causes including typhus.  After they disembarked, the family went to the diggings at Ballarat.

“OLD COBDEN RESIDENT” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 March 1938: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11174181&gt;.

The family then went to Port Fairy and Elizabeth remembers the first bullock team of Walter Manifold and was soon driving bullocks herself and despite being only a teenager, gained a reputation as one of the finest bullock drivers around.  From Port Fairy, her father purchased land at Yambuk.

Elizabeth was only seventeen when she married twenty-eight-year-old Alexander Dalziel on 31 July 1862 at Lethbridge where Alexander ran a boot store servicing the large canvas town set up for the men working on the Moorabool viaduct.  They then went to Bannockburn before moving to Carpendeit near Cobden in 1885. In 1891, Elizabeth signed the Women’s Suffrage Petition.  After Alexander died 1928 aged ninety-four, Elizabeth lived with her granddaughter at Cobden. At the time of her death at age ninety-six, Elizabeth had six sons, three daughters, forty-five grandchildren, sixty-five great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

THE DALZIEL FAMILY WITH ELIZABETH AND HER HUSBAND ALEXANDER SURROUNDED BY THEIR SIX SONS IN FRONT OF THEIR CARPENDEIT HOME c1885 Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/765729

HAZELDINE, Eliza (1857-1941)  Also known as Eliza Lea.

Eliza Hazeldine was born at Portland in 1857 and started her working life as a teacher.  Her first school was Portland North followed by Koroit, Corindhap, Coleraine, Queenscliff and Casterton. Her teaching career ended in 1890 when she married Job Lea.  The couple’s first son was born the following year, the same year Eliza signed the Women’s Suffrage Petition.  A second son was born on 22 March 1892. A month later on 22 April 1892, Job died of typhoid fever aged thirty, leaving Eliza with two children under two.  She returned to her family in Portland before opening a drapery store at Condah Swamp.  Eliza applied to run the first Post Office in the district and in 1899 her application was approved and the Post Office opened with the name Wallacedale.

"Wallacedale." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 15 February 1899: 3 (EVENING). Web. 6 Mar 2017 .

“Wallacedale.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 15 February 1899: 3 (EVENING). Web. 6 Mar 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63675448&gt;.

Eliza played piano and organ and taught her boys with Charles showing great talent in acquiring three theory certificates from Trinity College, London.  When the boys were older, they helped Eliza in the post office.  She was also a generous community member, donating to various causes. In 1902, she started the fundraising for the purchase of a piano for the Wallacedale Hall donating  £1.  Although she was a devout Methodist, when the Wallacedale Presbyterian Church was built in 1913, Eliza donated the linoleum.

War broke in 1914 and on 22 January 1915, son Charles enlisted leaving for Egypt a month later. Charles served with the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade and found himself at Gallipoli where he was killed on 26 July 1915, six months after he left Australia.  The loss of Charles brought great sorrow for Eliza and she placed an “In Memoriam” notice for Charles and her late husband Job each year until her death.

"Family Notices" Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 24 July 1933: 2 (EVENING.). Web. 5 Mar 2017 .

“Family Notices” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 24 July 1933: 2 (EVENING.). Web. 5 Mar 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64282976&gt;.

During the war, Eliza was a great contributor to the Red Cross. In 1919, Eliza returned to Portland where she died in 1941. Charitable to the end, Eliza left £100 to the Portland Hospital.

KITTSON, Rebecca (c1827-1929) Also known as Rebecca Lightbody.

"No title" The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 23 July 1932: 4 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). Web. 7 Mar 2017 .

“No title” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 23 July 1932: 4 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141361822

Rebecca was born at Fermanagh County, Ireland and arrived at Melbourne with her parents James Kittson and Katherine Trotter in 1841 aboard the Westminster.  Rebecca remained in Melbourne while her father went ahead to Cape Bridgewater to settle, joining her family in 1842. On 22 January 1852, Rebecca, described as the “fair Lady of the Lake” married Wesleyan minister Reverend William Lightbody at Geelong.  Rebecca and William rode on horseback from Bridgewater to Geelong, the location of the nearest minister, married and rode home again.

William was the itinerant minister for Port Fairy, Warrnambool and Portland and they spent time at each of the parsonages, raising a family of four sons and two daughters.  In March 1879, William visited a property he owned at Drik Drik and fell ill there.  He made it back as far as Mount Richmond where a doctor was called. He was then transported home and appeared to be on the mend.  Having business to do in Portland, he asked his son to drive him into town but William died on the way.

On Rebecca’s 100th birthday, Reverend Toi of the Portland Methodist Church presented Rebecca with 100 shillings, one for every year of her life.  On her 101st birthday, a celebration was held and Rebecca proved she still had her wits about her.

“A GRAND OLD LADY.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 9 February 1928: 3 (EVENING). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64264653

A colonist of eighty-eight years, Rebecca was a month from her 102nd birthday when she died at Portland in 1929.

READ, Rachel Forward (1815-1904).  Also known as Rachel Hedditch.

"Bridgewater Pioneers Commemorate Centenary of Landing of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Charlton Hedditch." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 27 June 1938: 4 (EVENING). Web. 7 Mar 2017 .

“Bridgewater Pioneers Commemorate Centenary of Landing of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Charlton Hedditch.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 27 June 1938: 4 (EVENING). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64279418

Rachel Forward Read was born in Dorsetshire, England and married Richard Charlton Hedditch in 1837.  The following year they planned to travel to Australia but the ship, The Eden was stuck in the then frozen Thames River and the voyage was delayed. They eventually arrived in Adelaide in 1838.  In 1841, they left for Tasmania but heard favourable reports about Portland Bay and the Henty’s settlement so they made their way there, but not before their son Charlton was born.  Rebecca and Richard were appointed to run the Portland Church of England school where Rachel taught the infant classes.  They then took up a pastoral lease at Bridgewater in 1845 and Rachel opened the first post office there in 1864, operating it for thirty-five years. The Hedditch property was known as Lal Lal Homestead.  The Book of Remembrance of the Pioneer Women of the Portland Bay District includes a letter Rachel wrote home to her mother on Christmas Day 1848.  She was thirty-three and life was very difficult.  It shows the depth of her faith and how she appreciated the isolation of Bridgewater for raising the children away from the bad influences in the town.

“…last Sunday after dinner I was considering whether it would be wrong to devote part of the Sabbath in writing to you, and coming to the conclusion that under present circumstances it not,  I rose to take a sheet of paper from my portfolio, when I felt quiet unwell, and continued worse, until about ten o’clock, when I gave birth to a little girl – stillborn – an event which I had long dreaded, for my hands were always full.  I also expected to suffer from the heat, for it is usually very hot here…but it has been cooler this summer…How apt we are to murmur and despair, forgetting our Heavenly  Father does all things for our good.  Although I felt amiss – a kind of loss of the infant – yet I cannot help feeling very thankful that it please God to order it as it was.

“But although we are not doing better in this country we have better health; and I think the children are better for being away from the others’ and children out her are generally brought up badly. Times are very bad indeed.  Almost the whole dependence of this district is on wool growing and tallow, and on account of the disturbed state of Europe the wool at home has fallen in value more than half.  Tallow is very, also, and it has caused such a depression of business here that it is almost impossible to dispose of anything.”

Our fences were all burnt, but we have a garden fenced and a half-acre paddock.  We have also a comfortable three-roomed cottage and a kitchen and dairy, besides fowl house and yard,…We have both fat cattle and milking cows for sale, but nobody is inclined to purchase.  Butchers will not give more than eight shillings a hundred weight for fat beef and a fine cow with calf at side will not fetch more than £3.  There were good milking cows with calves sold by action last week at about 30 shillings per head.  Butter is now down to 1 shilling per pound.  If things do not get better I do not know what shall become of us all.  Our prospects are not worse than that of many others.  Indeed, I think we live at less expense than most families here.

The troubles did not end. In 1854, daughter Emily died at the age of seven and in 1863, son Charlton died aged twenty-three.  Richard died in 1894 and Rachel lived on for a further ten years. She was buried at the Cape Bridgewater Cemetery.

 

You’ll find more Wonderful Western District Women on the link – Part 2

Passing of the Pioneers

Welcome to July 2013 Passing of the Pioneers, the second birthday of Western District Families monthly feature. Including this month’s obituaries, there are now 372 pioneer obituaries recorded here. You can view all of them on this link – Pioneer Obituaries – or search family names using the search box on the side bar.

I didn’t expect Passing of the Pioneers would continue this long.  In July 2011, I didn’t even think I would be blogging this long.  Also, I have had a few desperate moments when I thought I would run out of obituaries. I started using only the Portland Guardian and the Camperdown Chronicle  and then the Horsham Times, but thankfully papers like the Port Fairy Gazette (1914-1918) and the Ararat Advertiser (1914-1918) came online.  Now with the likes of the Hamilton Spectator(1914-1918) and the Coleraine Albion (1914-1918) coming online I’m reassured that Passing of the Pioneers should see at least a third birthday.

As it is birthday month it is only appropriate that one of the obituaries belongs to one of the great pioneering women of the Western District  who left a legacy that is still around today and has a link to Trove, a source I’m totally dependent on for the obituaries in Passing of the Pioneers.  .

Janet NICOL: Died July 1903 at Bridgewater. After reading two obituaries and an entry in the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance, I have concluded that Janet Nicol was an intelligent woman and one of the most significant pioneers to appear in two years of Passing of the Pioneers.

No title. (1936, May 5). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77987617

No title. (1936, May 5). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77987617

Janet Nicol was born in Lankashire, Scotland in 1822, the daughter of Professor Andrew Nicol a linguist, University lecturer and head of a boys college. Janet, one of eight daughters, attended boarding school and like her father could speak several languages. In 1841, she married the Reverend Alexander Laurie and shortly after they sailed to Port Phillip aboard the William Nicol, appropriately, arriving in February 1842. After a short time in Melbourne, they sailed for Portland Bay.

On arrival at Portland, Janet was carried ashore on a chair by the crew through the surf. It is unclear whether it was before or after her disembarkation, but on that same day, she gave birth to her first child,  Alexander. The Lauries couldn’t stay at any hotels when they first arrived because of quarantine restrictions and instead camped under a shelter near the flour mill. The draughts left Janet with a severe cold and a lifetime of deafness.

Alexander had been appointed minster for the Portland Bay Presbyterian ministry and went about setting up a church. He then took an interest in newspapers and became involved with the Portland Herald. After his death in 1854, Janet took over the running of the Herald. By that time, she had four children. Interestingly the first child, Alexander was not one of those children. I can find his birth record from 1842, but in 1854 Janet gave birth to another Alexander. Therefore I would assume the first Alexander passed away some time before 1854, however, I can’t find his death record. He may have been a victim of that cold introduction to the world.

That is the glossy story so far taken from the Pioneer Women’s book and the obituaries, however, I found another side of the story that I can support with articles found at Trove. The Pioneers of Port Phillip Inc website includes articles from the group’s newsletters.  One of those entitled “Portland – The truth, the whole truth and anything but the truth” submitted by Jan Hanslow reveals research by Ann Grant about stories passed down over the years and the facts behind them.  The Reverend Laurie and Janet are mentioned.

The first revelation is the cause of Janet’s deafness. It was not the cold draughts on the first night in Portland, rather a blow allegedly inflicted by Alexander for which Janet had him charged for assault, as recorded in Police records. This and various other incidents saw him removed from the church. A report of his falling out with the church appeared in the Geelong Advertiser of July 11, 1848. That is how he really came to be at the Portland Herald, not a voluntary swing from God to journalism.

THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN PORTLAND. (1850, April 16). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851), p. 3 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93135253

THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN PORTLAND. (1850, April 16). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 – 1851), p. 3 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93135253

The next revelation from Ann Grant was that Alexander got himself into trouble with the paper and Janet had to take over.  The following article supports that claim.

LOCAL. (1851, July 12). The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880), p. 436. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65576481

LOCAL. (1851, July 12). The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880), p. 436. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65576481

Alexander died in 1854 and after a short break, the Portland Herald resumed publication every Friday with a promise that the paper would be “renewed in strength and efficiency”.

Advertising. (1854, November 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71571179

Advertising. (1854, November 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71571179

ESCORT. (1854, December 1). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), p. 4 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91858365

ESCORT. (1854, December 1). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 – 1856), p. 4 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91858365

Janet finished up the Portland Herald in 1860 and she and the children went to Mt, Gambier where she assisted two of her sons in setting up the Border Watch, a paper still published today. The first edition was published on April 26, 1861 and is online at Trove. The eldest son was only seventeen then, so Janet must have been the main force behind the paper’s establishment. The name was definitely her idea as there was a Border Watch newspaper on the border of Scotland and England. Given the close proximity of Mt Gambier to the South Australian/Victorian border, she thought the name appropriate.

(1861, April 26). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page7596636

(1861, April 26). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page7596636

Also in 1861, Janet married widower Joshua Black of Cork Hill, Bridgewater. Joshua was a father to seven children and Janet must have had a busy time running a paper in Mt. Gambier and the duties of matrimony at Bridgewater. Janet and Joshua had three children together, the first in 1862 when Janet was 40.  By 1865 there were fifteen children from the combined marriages, aged from twenty-two to newborn. One would hope by this time Janet was leaving the running of the newspapers to her sons.

Janet was buried in the North Portland Cemetery in the same grave as Alexander Laurie. The Portland Guardian of 29 July 1903 reported that “the funeral procession was one of the largest, if not the largest seen in Portland”.

The Glenelg Shire have completed a Heritage study of Cork Hill and there is a good history of the Black and Laurie families  http://www.glenelg.vic.gov.au/files/52757_CORK_HILL_HO184.pdf

The State Library of South Australia website includes a history of the Border Watch. http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=2585

The entry for Janet in the “Book of Remembrance of the pioneer women of the Portland Bay district”  including a photograph is found here  http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/vicpamphlets/1/4/4/doc/vp1442-007-0000.shtml

Janet’s obituary from the Border Watch, 29 July 1903 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77160512  and from the Portland Guardian http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/63998138

132 (2)

BRIDGEWATER BEACH

Henry DOWN:  Died 4 July 1914 at Port Fairy. Henry Down arrived in Victoria around 1856 aged twenty-one and his first employment was at Yambuk. He was then appointed manager of St Helen’s were he displayed successful farming practices. He purchased his own land at Coddrington and continued his success. Henry married twice. His first wife, Susan Dawe was the mother of all of Henry’s six children. She passed away in 1893 and Henry married the widow of Mr William Cain. Henry returned twice to the north of England to visit his two brothers, both coal miners.

James FRY: Died 26 July 1914 at Broadwater. James Fry was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1830. He married Sarah Brown in 1853, in Gloucestershire. They left England in 1857 aboard Chance bound for Port Fairy. He set up a business as a plasterer in the town and was deeply involved in the Oddfellows and the Farmers Rest Lodge. He even built a lodge room at Broadwater for the Farmers Rest masons, at his own expense. James and Sarah had eleven children and Sarah predeceased James in 1907.

Silias SMITH: Died 5 July 1915 at Hamilton. Silias Smith was born in Somerset, England in 1824. He arrived in Hobart in 1855 and then in 1857, sailed for Portland, settling in the Narrawong area. Silias worked in the horticultural field and had great knowledge in both this and general agriculture. In later life, he lived with his married daughter in Heywood and later in Hamilton.

Bridget McCARTHY: Died 16 July 1916 at Crossley. Born in Ireland around 1835, Mrs Bridget O’Brien arrived in Victoria in the mid-1850s. Bridget and her husband Patrick O’Brien lived at Crossley for many years before leasing their land and moving to Port Fairy North. The O’Brien’s had four children but lost three of them at a young age. They had one son John survive them.

Francis McSORLEY: Died 16 July 1916 at Port Fairy. Francis McSorley was born in Ireland around 1826 and arrived in Victoria in the early 1860s aboard the Mindora, along with his wife and two sons. Francis was an expert on the Crimean War and the early history of Victoria. He worked on the railways for many years before retiring to Rosebrook.  He left six sons and one daughter. Another son Patrick, a jockey was killed in a race fall in Adelaide.

Thomas SHANLEY: Died 12 July 1917 at Killarney. Thomas Shanley took up residence at Killarney in 1856. He married Ellen Malone in the same year.  Thomas was the road overseer for the Belfast shire for twenty-two years.

John WILLIAMS: Died 26 July 1917 at Port Fairy. John Williams was born in Hobart in 1834 and arrived in Victoria as a fourteen-year-old in 1848. He worked on stations doing stock work and around the time of the discovery of gold, he was droving stock to Ballarat and Bendigo. He tried his luck while at each of these goldfields with no success and returned to station life and marriage in 1855. He later went to Port Fairy were he remained for forty-nine years. During that time he worked at Guinn’s Brewery and at the harbour. John and his wife raised thirteen children.

Kate St George McCANN: Died 27 July 1929 at Coleraine. Kate McCann was already well travelled by the time she reached Melbourne in 1866 aboard the Great Britain. She was born on a ship just off shore of San Fransisco in 1849.  Her birth certificate would have stated she was born in Stepney, London as all children born at sea under the British flag were allocated to the Parish of Stepney. Kate grew up playing on her mother’s ranch in the Rocky Mountains, California.  After her mother’s death she travelled to England with her sister, living with her aunt, Emma Crouch in London. It was with Emma that Kate and her brother and sister sailed on the Great Britain.  They caught the steamer Edina to Portland.

In 1876, Kate married James Trangmar. They moved from Portland to Coleraine and ran a family store. The store was run by members of the Trangmar family until 1969. Kate and James had eight children, six surviving at the time of Kate’s death.

Lottie McKEAND: Died 11 July 1942 at Casterton. Lottie was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Andrew McKeand of Penola and she was born there in 1875. She married James Carmichael of Argyle Station at Lake Mundi near Casterton and they moved to their own property Argyle after their marriage.  ames passed away and Lottie moved to Melbourne with her three sons to enable them to finish their education. She later married James Mitchell of Moredun Hills, Casterton, however, he predeceased her. Lottie was keen on dogs and horses and will still riding only a few years before her death. At the time of her passing, her three sons were serving with the A.I.F, with Thomas missing in Malaya.