Passing of the Pioneers

It’s an interesting mix of pioneers for July with several family links.  It begins with Margaret Laidlaw who’s father and brother-in-law also have their obituaries listed.  Then there’s William Thomson and his son Robert Thomson, and James Brake, a brother-in-law of William’s brother John Thomson. Also there are several connections to previous Passing Pioneers and I’ve linked them up where possible.  You can also see the growing number of family connections among the pioneers on the alphabetical lists at the Pioneer Obituary Index.  A reminder that all underlined text will take you to further information about the subject.

LAIDLAW, James – Died 1 July 1892 at Amphitheatre.  James Laidlaw was born around 1823 in Scotland, a son of Adam Laidlaw and Margaret Stoddart.  He arrived in Victoria in 1852 and married Mary Ann Coates in 1855.  After their marriage, James and Mary Ann resided at Lake Learmonth near Ballarat.  James was a Justice of the Peace and during the 1860s, Chairman of the Ballarat Shire. Around 1872, James purchased Lake Wallace South Estate near Edenhope.  His brother Walter was at nearby Newlands and he and James became well-known in the district. James was the local Justice of the Peace and a Kowree Shire councillor.

In 1883, James purchased Amphiteatre Station, near Avoca with three of his sons while another two sons remained at Lake Wallace to manage affairs.  James was soon involved with public affairs in the district and was elected to the Lexton Shire Council.  James and Mary Ann had two daughters, Helen who married Hamilton stock and station agent John Fenton and another Margaret who married grazier, Thomas Philip. Both daughters lived in the Hamilton district. Margaret’s obituary is further down the page.  James Laidlaw was buried at the Lexton Cemetery.  Mary Ann died in 1896.

THOMSON, William – Died 17 July 1892 at Hamilton.  Born in Fifeshire, Scotland in 1836, William was a son of merchant Robert Thomson and arrived at Hobsons Bay aboard the Yarra at the age of sixteen.  With him was his father, brothers and uncle William Dick Thomson. While his father went to the Bendigo diggings, William and his brother Alex worked with merchants in Melbourne until their father’s return twelve months later.  Robert Thomson opened his own business in Collins Street, Melbourne then later at Collingwood.  Not long after, an accident claimed his life. William and Alec then went to Geelong working as merchants there.  In 1864, the opportunity arose to buy the Levy & Sander Iron Store in Gray Street, Hamilton.

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870) 8 January 1864: 1. Web. 9 Jul 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194724116&gt;.

The store was known as W & W Thomson with William and his Uncle William senior partners. In 1872, William married Ella Guthridge and in the same year, his uncle retired and William’s younger brother John Thomson became a partner in the firm.  In 1875, the Thomsons had grand plans for a new two storey stone building. Tender applications opened (below) and work began. Within in two years, the Thomson built another store next door, resulting in a “handsome and commodious edifice”.  In time, the store expanded to other towns including Horsham.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 25 December 1875: 2. Web. 9 Jul 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226071140&gt;.

During his time in Hamilton, William lived at Malvern House in Gray Street.  Along with being a senior partner in W & W Thomson, William was a Hamilton Borough Councillor first serving in 1868 and going on to serve as Mayor on six occasions.  He was Sunday School Superintendent at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for over twenty years and on the Hamilton Hospital committee, serving as President.  At the time of his death, William was President of the Hamilton Mechanics Institute.  William was a force behind the Hamilton railway and was a member of the Railway Extension League.  He was a member of the Hamilton Bowling Club and served as President.  William was a keen lodge attendee, as a Freemason and Oddfellows, climbing to the highest ranks

JOHN THOMSON & CO., GRAY STREET, HAMILTON, 1930. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769322
Accessed 27 June 2017

William Thomson died on a Sunday afternoon and that evening, his brother John approved a partial post-mortem for “humanitarian purposes” and suspicions confirmed.  William Thomson’s death was due to liver cancer at the age of fifty-six.  He left a widow, two sons and three daughters.  The funeral was one of the largest seen in the town with the funeral procession almost one kilometre in length.

“FUNERAL OF THE LATE MR. WILLIAM THOMSON.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 21 July 1892: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226161727&gt;.

After William’s death, his younger brother John took over the running of the Thomson store, operating as  John Thomson & Co.  John died suddenly in 1894 and James Brake (see obituary below), brother of John Thomson’s wife Martha,  took over the store’s management.  Thomsons as it was locally known, operated in Gray Street until the early 1980s.  The building remains today as a shopping centre and the façade was recently restored.  The photo below was taken prior to the restoration.

FORMER JOHN THOMSON & CO BUILDING, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON, 2015

McLEOD, Alexander Magnus – Died 19 July 1910 at West Melbourne.  Alexander McLeod was born near Elaine, Victoria in 1846, a son of John Norman McLeod and Agnes Paterson.  He went to school in Portland and Scotch College and then worked in a Portland bank. Later, Alexander became the Deputy Chief Inspector of Stock in South Australia. 

In 1890, at the age of forty-four, Alexander MacLeod married Caroline Henty.  There was gossip about the marriage because of the age difference which was by no means vast and because Caroline had only the year before inherited property after the death of her father Francis Henty. That included part of the Merino Downs property Caroline and Alexander would go on to name Talisker after the McLeod ancestral home on the Isle of Skye. Alexander and Caroline built a grand homestead in 1901 (below).  Prior to settling at Talisker, the McLeods had two daughters, Caroline Agnes and Alexandra Frances.

“TALISKER”, MERINO, 1977. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232509

During his time in the district, Alexander was associated with the construction of the Merino Butter Factory, a cooperative close to Talisker.  In 1910, Alexander and Caroline were visiting Melbourne and in residence at the Menzies Hotel.  It was there on 19 July 1910, Alexander died suddenly from a heart attack.  He was buried in Melbourne and Caroline returned to Talisker where she died four years later.

BRAKE, James Hugh – Died 29 July 1915 at Mont Albert.  James Brake was born at Cavendish around 1854.  Educated in Hamilton, James first worked for David Laidlaw, a storekeeper in Gray Street, Hamilton. James moved across the road to the W & W Thomson Store and was later promoted to manager of the Horsham branch of the store around 1880.  His move to Thomsons was most likely due to the family connection coming in 1877 when James’ sister Martha married John Thomson, a senior partner of W & W Thomson and younger brother of William Thomson (see obituary above).  

In 1881, James married Barbara McDougall and they went on to have five children.  While in Horsham, James was one of the first members of the local progress association and was a contributor to the Horsham Hospital. He served on the Horsham Borough Council and held the Horsham seat in State Parliament.  James was a supporter of temperance and attended the Horsham Presbyterian Church.

After the death of William Thomson in 1892, James’ brother-in-law  John Thomson became the sole partner.  However, John died suddenly in 1894 and James returned to Hamilton to manage the store in that town.  In time, his sons also worked in the store. In 1914, the Brakes moved to Elouera in Stanhope Street, Mont Albert.  James managed the Hamilton store from afar but died soon after at his home aged sixty-one.  His body was returned to Hamilton and buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.  In November of that year, James and Barbara’s younger son William Brake enlisted with the 4th Field Artillery Brigade and middle son James enlisted with the Australian Flying Corps in 1916.  Both sons returned, however, William died at the family home in Mont Albert in 1922 aged just twenty-nine.  He was buried with his father at Hamilton (below).

BRAKE FAMILY PLOT, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY.

PHILIP, John – Died July 1916 at Hamilton.  John Philip was born at Victoria Lagoon Station north of Cavendish in 1855, the third son of Captain John Philip and Margaret Robertson. John attended the Hamilton Academy and Geelong College.  When he left school, John went to his father’s property Miga Lake Station, north of Harrow, before managing Ascot Heath Station near Dartmoor in 1879. The following year, John married Katherin Swan of  Koonongwootong station near Coleraine.  He later purchased Englefield near Balmoral (below) and the Lower Crawford Estate near Condah in 1902. In 1904, he purchased the Mooralla Estate.

ENGLEFIELD. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/214202

John served on the Portland Shire Council and later the Wannon Shire.  He was also president of the Balmoral Mechanics Institute and the Toolondo-Cavendish Railway League.  He was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF JOHN AND KATHERIN PHILIP, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

WALTER, Emma – Died July 1916 at Hamilton.  Emma Walter was born in Devonshire, England in 1828 where she married Thomas Bromell.  In 1852, Emma and Thomas arrived in Victoria and after a short stay in Geelong went to the Ballarat and Avoca diggings before returning to Geelong by the end of the year,  purchasing a farm in the Barabool Hills.  In 1860, the Bromells took up Hensleigh Park north of Hamilton.  Thomas died in 1887 and around 1904, Emma moved into town, living at Edgecumb in Milton Street Hamilton.  In her earlier years at Hensleigh Park, Emma often attended the Hamilton Hunt Club meets.  She also enjoyed attending the local football.  Emma and Thomas had nine daughters and one son.  At the time of her death, Emma had twenty-two grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.  She was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF EMMA BROMELL (NEE WALTER), OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

 

JONES, Edwin John – Died 21 July 1928 at Dartmoor.  Edwin Jones was born at Portland around 1856.  His parents settled at Drik Drik where Edwin remained until around 1908 when he purchased land at Mumbannar.  Edwin married Sarah Emerson around 1898 and they had three sons and one daughter. He was member of the Drik Drik P & A Society and Methodist Church (below)

DRIK DRIK METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230495

LEARMONTH, Edgar Thomson – Died 8 July 1933 at Mount Gambier.  Edgar Learmonth was the son of James Allan Learmonth and Annie Thomson and was born in Mexico around 1889 while his parents were living there.  The Learmonths returned to Australia in 1892 when Edgar was four and resided at Correa, near Dunkeld for the next ten years before moving to the home of Edgar’s grandfather Peter LearmonthPrestonholme near Hamilton. Edgar went to Hamilton College and later Wesley College.  He spent some years in Western Australia after his schooling then returned to manage his uncle James Thomson’s property Inverary near Branxholme While two of his brothers were serving during WW1, Edgar returned to Prestonholme and helped his father run that property.  It was during those years, Edgar an all round sportsman, won three Hamilton Golf Club championships.  After the war, Edgar and his two returned serviceman brothers purchased land together.

In 1923, Edgar married Nellie Coy of Woorndoo and the following year he and his brother Russell purchased Barnoolut near Mount Gambier where Edgar and Nellie took up residence and went on to have a daughter Janet.  On the afternoon of 9 July 1933, Edgar attended a football match at Mount Gambier and later attended Jenz’s Hotel. He was found unconscious in the outhouse at the hotel with a bullet wound to his head. He died five hours later in a private Mount Gambier hospital.  On 10 July 1933, the Mount Gambier coroner found Edgar Learmonth, at the age of forty-five, died from suicide due to an unsound mind.  During the inquiry, letters by Edgar revealed he was a worried man, however, his brother Russell said that while there were some financial worries, “they were not such to trouble a healthy man”.  Edgar was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF EDGAR LAIDLAW AND FAMILY, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

LAIDLAW, Margaret – Died July 1935 at Hamilton.  Margaret was born at Lake Learmonth near Ballarat in 1858, a daughter of James Laidlaw (see obituary above) and Marian Coates. On 21 August 1883, Margaret married Thomas Philip at Wanliss House, Ballarat.  Thomas was a brother of John Philip (see obituary above).  The groomsmen were Margaret’s brother Henry Laidlaw and John Fenton, Margaret’s brother-in-law.  The Hamilton Spectator of 25 August 1883, headlined the report with, “A Fashionable Wedding”.  Margaret and Thomas eventually went to live at Koornong near Branxholme and in 1910, Thomas was involved in accident with a horse and suffered back injuries.  Since he was fifteen years older than Margaret, it was time to retire to town and the Philips took up residence at Kenmure in Ballarat Road.

KENMURE, HAMILTON 2015

 

In August 1933, Margaret and Thomas celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary with sixty family and friends.  Margaret died two years later at the age of seventy-six.

THOMSON, Robert Erskine – Died 18 July 1948 at Benalla.  Robert Thompson was born in Hamilton around 1875, a son of store owner William Thomson (see obituary above) and Ella Guthridge.  Around 1904, Robert married Sophie Dowie of Carisbrook.  After his marriage, Robert moved to Benalla and following his father’s footsteps, took over the Beehive Store in Bridge Street.  Robert was a member of the Benalla Lawn Tennis Club and Benalla Golf Club.  He was also a member of the Holy Trinity Church choir.

MANN, Samuel Furneaux – Died 17 July 1954 at Sandringham. Samuel Mann was born at Ballarat in 1866.  His father Samuel Furneaux Sr was a Ballarat solicitor and they lived in Lydiard Street.  Samuel Jr attended Geelong Grammar School.  He was a good sportsman and was part of Geelong Grammar’s rowing eight crew for the local  Head of the River twice.  Samuel also played football and cricket and golf.  He also played polo with the Caramut Polo Club later known as the Hexham Polo Club.   In 1897, Samuel purchased Minjah Station from the Ware family in partnership with Rutherford Albert Affleck.  He married Isabella Cecilia Affleck on 8 December 1897 at Scots’ Church in Collins Street, Melbourne.  Samuel and Cecilia went to have two sons and two daughters.  In 1903, Samuel purchased Lawrenny at Caramut (below).  A further obituary for Samuel Mann is available on the link to Obituaries Australia http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/mann-samuel-furneaux-barney-670

‘LAWRENNY”, CARAMUT 1986. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/216637

 

Passing of the Pioneers

April Passing of the Pioneers includes one of the pioneers of the Presbyterian Church in the Coleraine district, a mother of fourteen children, several Shire Councillors and a successful storekeeper.

Thomas GOODWIN: Died 7 April 1914 at Rosebrook. Thomas Goodwin was born in Tasmania about 1833 and arrived at Port Fairy as a child. He farmed first in the Glenormiston district but when land became available at Farnham, he moved there. In his later years, he farmed at Rosebrook.  He left three sons and four daughters.

Letitia WILLIAMSON: Died 11 April 1914 at Koroit. Letitia Williamson was born in County Armagh, Ireland. She arrived in Victoria in 1857 and married James O’Neill in Melbourne the following year. They spent some time in Melbourne then moved to Koroit where James was a boot maker. James passed away around 1903 and when Letitia passed away she left six children.

William QUILL: Died 13 April 1914 at Portland. William Quill was born at Werrangourt Station, Byaduk around 1845, but his family moved to Yambuk when he was a boy. After his marriage to Miss Doherty, William and his new bride settled at Macarthur. William was on holiday in Portland when he passed away.

Samuel KEEN: Died 21 April 1914 at Hamilton. Samuel Keen was born in Stafford, England around 1846 and came to Australia aboard the ship Helen about six years later with his parents. The family travelled to Hamilton by bullock wagon, where Samuel remained for the rest of his life.

Reverend William John GILLESPIE: Died 24 April 1914 at Hawthorn. Reverend Gillespie was born in Antrim, Ireland in 1826 and trained for the ministry in Belfast. He travelled to Australia in 1867 with his wife of five years, Mary Oliphant Morrison. The following year he took up position in charge of Coleraine, Casterton, Merino and Digby Churches and remained in that role until 1902. During his time at Coleraine, he was president of the Coleraine debating club, and chairman of the Board of Advice, Mechanics Institute and Railway League. With his health failing, the Reverend and his wife moved to Melbourne where he remained until his death. He was buried in the Coleraine cemetery.

Arthur Grainger HILL: Died 7 April 1917 at Edenhope. Arthur Hill was born in Somersetshire, England and when he arrived in Australia he first settled in N.S.W. He came to Victoria to work with the Railway Department of Victoria. Around 1880, he was appointed Engineer of the Wannon Shire Council. Due to  a successful period of employment with the Shire, upon his retirement Arthur was awarded a bonus of a years wages.

Sarah MOFFATT: Died 22 April 1917 at Hamilton. Sarah Moffatt was born in Ireland around 1836 and arrived in Australia in the late 1850s. She married Peter Lewis and they had two sons, however, Peter passed away. She married Benjamin Chamberlain of Port Fairy and they had three daughters and one son. Sarah was buried at the Port Fairy cemetery. Another obituary appeared in the Hamilton Spectator on 27 April 1917.

George TRANGMAR: Died 25 April 1917 at Melbourne. George Trangmar was born in Brighton, England around 1828  and arrived in Victoria in 1849. He started in business with his brother James in Portland before opening a store in Coleraine in 1851. He remained in business there for twenty-five years and during that time was a member of the Wannon Shire, including some years as President. During the 1870s, he purchased the Toolang Estate near Coleraine for sheep farming.  He sold Toolang around the turn of the century and moved to Melbourne. He was buried at Coleraine Cemetery.

Thomas Lewis WYATTDied 15 April 1918 at Hamilton. Thomas Wyatt was born in London, England around 1831 and married at St., Brides Church, London in 1853. In 1855, Thomas and Mrs Wyatt. a young son and Thomas’ brother James, left Plymouth aboard the Anna Maria, arriving at Portland in February 1856.  He took up the trade of plasterer and his work took him to Mt. Gambier and Melbourne before he went into partnership in Hamilton. He was a founding member of the Portland Oddfellows lodge. Thomas left a widow, two sons and three daughters

Johanna STEVEN: Died April 1925 at Heywood. Johanna Steven was born near Glasgow, Scotland and arrived in Victoria with her parents around 1860. Her father owned what was known around Portland as the “Wee Station” in South Portland,  a small acreage as up to date as a large pastoral station which attracted visits by tourists to the town. Johanna married William Reid at Portland and they raised a family of fourteen children. Johanna and William were foundation members of the Heywood Presbyterian Church.

William PHILIP: Died April 1933 at Hamilton. William Philip was born around 1858 and was educated at the Hamilton Academy and Geelong College. After Geelong, he returned to the Western District and owned properties including Violet Creek, Kenilworth and Mt. William. He was a member of the Dundas Shire Council for twenty years and was a member of the racing, golf and swimming clubs as well as the Masonic Lodge. His support assisted the financing the Hamilton War Memorial and  local swimming pool.

 

 

Passing of the Pioneers

What an interesting group of pioneers December brings us. Some were well-known in the Western District while others toiled quietly to build their lives. Obituaries come from a chemist, a cricketer, a former Portland Mayor, a pastoralist, a Monsignor, mothers and two pioneers of the newspaper industry in Western Victoria.

James TRANGMAR: Died 16 December 1888 at Portland. James Trangmar was a resident and a former Mayor of Portland, but he acquired land throughout the Western District.

James Trangmar, photographer Thomas Fostor Chuck -1872. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/17715

James Trangmar, photographer Thomas Foster Chuck -1872. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/17715

After working as a manager of a grocers in Tasmania, he arrived in Portland in 1844.  He worked in that field before turning to sheep farming. He bought  properties including Bochara, Violet Creek and Morgiana. James had connections to the Portland Hospital and the  Portland Free Library and was also a Justice of the Peace.  He was buried in the North Portland Cemetery

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Headstone of James Trangmar & family. North Portland Cemetery.

William NICHOLAS: Died 17 December 1890 at Colac. Arriving in the Colac area around 1841, William Nicholas was an early pioneer of the district. He came first to shear for three local squatters, then he worked in the forests before purchasing a bullock wagon.  He carted produce to Geelong and Ballarat, returning with stores.  His obituary, by Mr B.N. Butcher of Colac, was written with emotion.

MEMOIR OF A DEPARTED COLONIST. (1891, January 2). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87728049

MEMOIR OF A DEPARTED COLONIST. (1891, January 2). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87728049

John HARRIES: Died 18 December 1914 at Stawell. John Harries was born in Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1843 and arrived in Stawell in 1875.  A true Welshmen, he was a great singer and was a member of the Presbyterian church choir and Prouts Band of Ballarat.  He married and had eight children. His brother, Reverend David Harries had joined him Australia, but he had passed away a few years earlier.

Ann WALTON: Died 31 December 1914 at Mount Arapiles. Ann Walton is one of my favourite pioneers and I am familiar with her as she was the mother-in-law of Jonathan Harman Jnr and mother in-law to the nephews of the Oliver sisters that married Harman brothers.  Also, I know the area around Natimuk and Mount Arapiles in the Wimmera where she and her husband James Keyte pioneered and it can be harsh country.

Ann, born in Scotland, arrived in Portland aboard the Indian Ocean in 1854 as a four-year-old. Her parents, David Walton and Margaret Tennant went to Mount Gambier and that is where she married James Keyte. James and Ann selected land in the Natimuk district in 1872 and remained until 1892 when the bought land in New South Wales. She later returned to Mount Arapiles when her health began to fail.

Oliver YOUNGMAN:  Died 17 December 1915 at Port Fairy. Oliver was born in Norwich, England in 1847 and arrived at Port Fairy with his parents in 1849. His father, Arthur Youngman was an owner of the Port Fairy Gazette and later the Alpine Observer at Bright and Oliver was involved with both newspapers.  He was the ledger keeper for grazier Sir William Clarke for twenty-nine years and later his for his son Sir Rupert Clarke.  Oliver held high office in the Methodist Church and was a member for fifty years. Leaving a daughter to mourn him, he was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

Catherine COWAN:  Died 14 December 1916 at Ararat. Catherine Cowan was born in Scotland and arrived in Australia with her parents around 1853.  She was married Alexander McKenzie at Trawalla Station near Beaufort where Alexander was manager. They spent time at De Cameron Station near St Arnaud before settling at Ararat.  Catherine and Alexander had nine children.

Florence GILLIES:  Died 16 December 1917 at Ararat.  lorence was born in Scotland and arrived  in Victoria aboard the Lady Peel as a sixteen-year-old in 1853. She married John Dow at Skipton before they took up land at Tatyoon under the Duffy Land Act of 1862.  After John died, Florence lived at the Burrumbeep homestead, before moving into Ararat.

Alfred Bussell CLEMES:  Died 26 December 1917 at Stawell. Born in Cornwall, Alfred Clemes trained as a chemist in Bristol before travelling to Victoria in 1852. He opened a business in Melbourne until 1854 when he and his wife opened businesses at the various goldfields. They arrived in Stawell in 1858 where he remained. He became Shire secretary in 1870 and held the role for forty-four years, only retiring four years before his death. He was a co-founder of the Stawell Hospital and the Mechanics Institute.

Bernard CONLAN:  Died12  December 1918 at Dixie. Bernard Conlan, born in County Down, Ireland, should have bought himself a lottery ticket after a twist of fate saved him from death from a cauldron of molten iron at the Clyde shipyards in Scotland and he survived a bout of typhoid fever on the voyage to Australia, despite given little chance of survival. He worked first in South Australia before moving to Victoria, living at Garvoc and Wangoom before buying land at Dixie, near Warrnambool.  Despite being burnt out in bushfires in 1887 and losing much of his stock during drought time, with Bernard’s hard work and perseverance he raised a family that had much respect for him.

John THORNTON:  Died 16 December 1919 at Mount Myrtoon.

Late Mr. John Thornton. (1919, December 18). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25362137

Late Mr. John Thornton. (1919, December 18). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25362137

And so begins the obituary of Yorkshire born, John Thornton.  At age eighteen, with his brother, he left England aboard the Great Britain for Melbourne. He spent time in Gippsland before buying land at Mount Myrtoon, where he lived for the next fifty years. He also opened a stock and station agents that he built into a successful business with transactions from Hamilton to Geelong. John was a talented cricketer and represented Victoria in 1859 and 1860 and made a great contribution to the Camperdown Cricket Club.

James Park Dawson LAURIE:  Died 2 December 1928 at Naracoorte, South Australia. James Laurie was a son of Reverend Alexander Laurie and was born at Kongatong station, near Warrnambool, in 1846, After his schooling, mostly at Portland, he pursued his journalistic aspirations and started the Mount Gambier newspaper The Border Watch, along with his brother Andrew Frederick Laurie. In 1868, he travelled to America and Europe and on his return, having sold his share in the newspaper, he moved into pastoral pursuits. In 1870, he was elected to the South Australian House of Assembly. He married Dora Kean, daughter of Thomas Kean, in 1882 at Portland.  James Kean, Dora’s brother, established the Portland Mirror.

Right Reverend Monsignor Michael Joseph SHANAHAN:  Died 6  December 1931 at Hamilton. Monsignor Shanahan was well-known among the Roman Catholic community in the Western District.  Ordained in his home country, Ireland in 1864 he then travelled to Melbourne. He took up the parish at Carisbrook and later the Inglewood parish overseeing churches in towns such as Clunes, Creswick and Talbot. In 1878, he became assistant pastor at Warrnambool, then parish priest at Hamilton in 1886 and was there for the completion of the St Mary’s Church. In 1916, he was appointed Dean of Ballarat.  During his time in Hamilton, Monsignor Shanahan was president of the hospital for twenty-two years.  Money raised and presented to him went towards completing the well-known spire of  Hamilton’s St Marys Church.

Louisa SEALEY:  Died 4 December 1934 at Casterton. Louisa Sealey was born around 1861 and arrived in Casterton with her parents when it consisted of only two houses. She married John Black and they lived in Miller Street, Casterton.  After her husband’s death, she resided with her son on his soldier settlement property at Nangeela.  Another son, Gordon was killed at Passchendaele, France during WW1. Four sons and four daughters survived at the time of Louisa’s death and she still had eight surviving siblings.

Thomas PHILIP: Died December 1937 at Hamilton. Thomas Philip was born in Scotland and came to Victoria as a child after his father, Captain John Philip, gave up the high seas and took over Lagoon Station near Cavendish. John then purchased Miga Lake Station and St Mary’s Lake Station, which his sons, trading as Philip Bros. ran after his death.  Thomas married Margaret Laidlaw in 1883 and they had one son and three daughters.

Thomas died at his home Kenmure in Ballarat Road, Hamilton. Kenmure is one of my favourite homes in Hamilton and one that I went  past almost daily for around fifteen years. It has recently been sold and is now, probably for a short time only, on a Hamilton Real Estate agent’s site, with some great photos too.

Mary Ann JOHNSTONE: Died 22 December 1951 at Portland. Mary Ann was born in Portland around 1856, the daughter of James Johnstone and Dorothy Hall. Her brother was John Johnstone and her sister-in-law, Mrs Hannah Johnstone.  Mary Ann married Mark Kerr in 1876 and they resided at Drik Drik before moving to Swan Lake about twenty-five kilometres away. Mary Ann was considered an excellent horsewoman, equal to any man.