Passing of the Pioneers

Eight more pioneers join the Pioneer Obituary Index this month in the 68th edition of Passing of the Pioneers.  There are a couple of Hamilton pioneers, one with a great racing story and there are a publican and a publican’s wife.  And what better lead into Women’s History Month (March) than the story of Janet Russell of Golf Hill, Shelford.  You’ll notice loads of links throughout the post, so click on underlined text for more information about a subject.  The links will take you to such things as relevant newspaper articles, the Passing of the Pioneers entries of those connected to this edition’s pioneers, and the Victorian Heritage Database.

UREN, Nicholas John – Died February 1872 at Hamilton.  Nicholas Uren was born in Penzance, Cornwall around 1823.  He joined the British Army serving in India for seven years.  He returned to Penzance and found others in the town were planning to travel to Australia and he decided to join them. Before he left, however, Nicholas married Tryphena Uren in 1854. They left soon after as Assisted Immigrants, arriving at Portland on 16 September 1854 on the ship Nestor.  They were recorded on the passenger list under the name of Wren.

Once in Portland, Nicholas obtained work with the solicitor John Dodd and he and Tryphena resided in Percy Street.  Nicholas stayed with John Dodd until mid-1856 before he and Tryphena went to Hamilton with one of Nicholas’ co-employees Henry Cox. Henry set up a solicitor’s practice in Hamilton and Nicholas joined him as a legal assistant.  In time Angelo Palmer took over the practice.  Nicholas also acted as the Borough solicitor.  In December 1869, he was nominated as a candidate for the Hamilton Borough Council along with Sigismund Jacoby.  Nicholas was successful and he took his place on the council in January 1870.  Nicholas also served was on various committees.

Nicholas was a lover of horses, enjoyed racing, and considered a good judge of horses. In 1865, he nominated a horse for the Melbourne Cup called The Miller.  It was around that time Nicholas acquired a filly foal owned by trainer James Wilson.  James wanted to put it out of its misery by his wife started hand feeding the poorly foal. Nicholas just happened to call in at the Wilson’s property and James mentioned he wanted the foal gone. Nicholas offered to take it and took her home and raised her. He named her Milksop.  Around 1866, Nicholas took Milksop to the well-known stallion, King Alfred and a filly was born to Milksop and given the name Mermaid.  Her beginnings are outlined below.  James Wiggins lived at Sandal on the hill above the Grange Burn off Digby Road, Hamilton.  It was he who took Mermaid to the Hamilton Show in September 1868.  

SPORTING NOTES, BY “AUGUR.” (1871, May 20). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article219367415

By 1870, Mermaid was sold to Edward Twomey for £30. In 1871, Mermaid won the Sydney Gold Cup as a four-year-old. Interestingly it was James Wilson who trained her to the win, the same man who wanted to take the life of Mermaid’s dam Milksop. The newspapers picked up on the story.

ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. (1871, May 27). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 22, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196305363

They were still talking about the story of Milksop and Mermaid in 1935.

A James Wilson Story (1935, December 21). Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic. : 1922 – 1954), p. 6 (Edition1). Retrieved February 22, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189136383

Nicholas was just forty-nine at the time of his death in 1872.  His wife Tryphena died at Hamilton in 1907.  They had four children, three sons and one daughter, with two sons predeceasing their parents.  Frank Uren was one of their sons, a chemist and leading Hamilton citizen.  Nicholas was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

HORWITZ, Henry – Died February 1899 at St Kilda.    

Another of the old landmarks of the colony has been washed away by the stream of time, and Henry Horwitz has gone to join the long list of those who in a humble way helped to build up the destinies of the land in which he made his home

And so began the obituary of Henry Horwitz who was born in Prussia around 1819.  He came from a long line of musicians and lawyers and was himself a fine violinist.  He also had a want to travel and around the age of eighteen, Henry left for England.  From there he then went to Central America “where he was amongst the pioneers who crossed the Isthmus (of Panama), taking the route up Lake Nicaragua”. He then went north to California before travelling to Tasmania where he set up a business in Hobart.  He was there from at least 1843 and went into business with Abraham Woolf.

Advertising (1847, June 18). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 3. Retrieved February 13, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8760796

Henry was not yet tired of travelling and went off to England on a stock buying trip.

Advertising (1848, June 20). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 1. Retrieved February 13, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8762991

On 11 March 1849, Henry and Abraham’s shop burnt down. Henry was still in England at the time, but Abraham was sleeping on the premises.  Henry and Abraham built another shop and were open for trading again by August 1849.  In August 1850, Henry and Abraham dissolved their partnership and Henry went into business in Hobart with Abraham Marks, an old school friend of Henry’s.

While in London in 1850, Henry married Sarah Pyke, a daughter of Louis Pyke and Charlotte Wolfe.  By the end of 1851, Henry had returned to Hobart. Henry and Abraham opened a store in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne around 1855 and were acting as gold brokers.  In March 1856, Henry and Abraham faced charges of gold smuggling and were fined £100. In the same year, Henry and Sarah’s first child was born in Melbourne. They went on to have a further three children.  During his time in Melbourne, Henry was one of the first presidents of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation and was involved with the Melbourne Jewish Benevolent Society from the early 1860s.  In 1865, Horwitz and Marks were in financial trouble.

MELBOURNE. (1865, May 23). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1929), p. 3. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article150405376

In 1864, Jacob Tallerman an importer of Lonsdale Street, Melbourne built a shop on the corner of Gray and Thompson Streets, Hamilton and opened for business.  At some point, Henry Horwitz went into business with Jacob and in August 1866 it was announced Jacob was leaving the partnership but Henry would keep the Hamilton store.  Henry did not move to Hamilton at that time and Abraham Marks instead went to Hamilton to manage the store.   

Advertising (1866, September 5). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 1. Retrieved February 13, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194466922

The Horwitz family took up residence in Hamilton around 1869.  It was also around that time Henry went into business with Sigismund Jacoby who in 1869 married Henry’s daughter Hannah. Henry was soon involved in community matters.  In 1870, he was one of the founders of Hamilton and Western District College.  He was at the first meeting of shareholders in September 1870 at the Victoria Hotel.

HAMILTON AND WESTERN DISTRICT COLLEGE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/241676

During October 1883, Henry retired and sold his Hamilton business to Mr Hillman. The Hamilton Spectator wrote, “The jovial face and cheery conversation of Mr Horwitz will be much missed from the corner”. On 18 January 1884, Henry and Sarah left Hamilton by the midday train to take up residence again in Melbourne. On 27 June 1888, Sarah died at St Kilda.  Henry died at Shandon, Beaconsfield Parade, St Kilda the home of his daughter Hannah Jacoby.  As seen, Henry enjoyed travel and his obituary stated he had sailed around the world three times via Cape Horn.

McCORMACK Thomas Francis – Died 1 February 1914 at Sandford.  Thomas McCormack was born around 1861, a son of James McCormack and Elizabeth O’Meara. He lived at Sandford most of his life.  On 11 April 1888, he took up the licensee of the Commercial Hotel in Sandford.  In addition, he was on various committees throughout the district including the Sandford Mechanics Institute and the State School committee.  He was a trustee of the Sandford Race Course and Recreation Reserve and vice president and treasurer of the Sandford Boxing Day Sports and was involved with Sandford football, cricket and rifle clubs. 

Thomas married Anne Mitchell in 1888 and their first child Richard Thomas McCormack was born the following year.  The couple went on to have a further four sons and one daughter. Thomas was just fifty-three at the time of his death in 1914.  Anne McCormack continued to run the Commercial Hotel until 1921.  She died at Casterton on 1 October 1933.

MacCALLUM, Mary Isabella – Died February 1915 at Dandenong. Mary MacCallum was born in Scotland about 1835.  During the late 1850s, she married Archibald Campbell who had returned to Scotland after ten years in Australia including time at the Victorian goldfields.  They travelled to Victoria and were at Ellangowan in December 1860 when Mary gave birth to her first child Archibald.

Family Notices (1860, December 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 4. Retrieved February 23, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5694984

Not long after Archibald’s birth, the Campbells left for New Zealand and Archibald ran a shop in Dunedin.  Further children were born at Dunedin.

Family Notices (1864, September 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 4. Retrieved February 23, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5734148

The Campbells were back in Victoria around 1872 and Archibald was granted the licence of the Green Hills Hotel at Green Hills (Condah).  A son Allan was born at Condah in 1873.  In December 1877, Alexander was granted a licence for the Argyle Arms Hotel in Gray Street, Hamilton which he operated until 1881 when he opened a wines and spirits business in Gray Street. 

In 1891, Archibald died and Mary remained at her home Pennycross in South Hamilton for a time, before moving to Pennycross Dandenong with her daughter. It was there Mary spent the last eight years of her life. In 1913, her brother Allan MacCallum who had previously lived in the Hamilton district went to live at Dandenong with Mary. Allan died in November 1914. Only the month before Mary’s son Archie died in Queensland on 18 October 1914.  Mary’s body was returned to Hamilton and she was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

McNEIL, Duncan – Died February 1916 at Hamilton.  Duncan McNeil was born in Inverness, Scotland around 1842.  He arrived at Portland with his parents Donald and Catherine McNeil and siblings in 1852 aboard John Davis. The family went to the Bochara area near Hamilton. Donald McNeil died in 1856 when Duncan was fourteen. Duncan farmed on the Grange Burn at North Hamilton for most of his adult life.  In 1885 he married Mary Ellen Pevitt at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Hamilton.  At the time of his death, Duncan left his widow Mary, five daughters and one son.  

QUIGLEY, Joseph Thomas – Died 2 February 1927 at Hamilton.  Joseph Quigley was born in Melbourne around 1846, a son of John Quigley and Winifred Tracey.  Around 1853, the Quigleys moved to Hamilton and Joseph’s father purchased the first township block offered for sale.  Joseph went to school at St Patrick’s College in Melbourne.  After completing school, Joseph spent time at Redruth (Wannon) where his parents were then residing at the Falls View estate.  Joseph was a good athlete, participating in sports days around the district.  He was also interested in racing and was the secretary and treasurer of the Redruth Racing Club. It was said he also rode in steeplechase races with Adam Lindsay Gordon.

Advertising (1865, April 12). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 4. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194468224

In 1872, Joseph married Mary Costigan and around 1874, he took up  Maori Park near the Dundas Range north-west of Cavendish. Several children were born at the property. By the early 1890s, Joseph had left Maori Park and by 1902 was living at Burcott in Alexandra Parade, Hamilton.  Mary died there in October 1902.  Joseph continued on at Hamilton and worked as a commission agent.  In his last year, Joseph went to live with his daughter Mary and her husband John Dwyer in Lonsdale Street, Hamilton. In 1926, however, he did the rounds visiting family and friends throughout Victoria for one last time and he died in February 1927 at daughter Mary’s home in Hamilton.       

ADAMSON, Thomas Edmund – Died 25 February 1937 at Hamilton. Thomas Adamson was born in New York around 1852. He arrived at Port Phillip with his parents Thomas and Alice from the United States aboard the Flying Scud in 1854 when he was two.  The family made their way to Portland where Thomas’ father opened a store in the town. When he was older, Thomas farmed at Myamyn on his property called Leylands. He married Mary Malseed a daughter of John Malseed and Elizabeth Wallace in 1879 and they had two children.  Mary died on 9 September 1882 at Condah aged thirty-one. Thomas then married Fanny Ann Malseed in 1885, a daughter of James Malseed and Eliza Ann Malseed and they had eight children.  Fanny died on 13 February 1936 at Myamyn.  In 1938, Thomas fell sick and it was thought it best he go to the Hamilton Hospital where he eventually died on 25 February.  He was buried at the Condah Cemetery.   

RUSSELL, Janet – Died 15 February 1954 at Shelford.  

JANET RUSSELL c1890. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/283407

Janet Russell was born in Melbourne in 1866, a daughter of George Russell and Euphemia Leslie (Carstairs).  Janet’s father owned the large pastoral property Golf Hill at Shelford.  She had six sisters and a brother, Phillip.  Her mother died on 3 March 1867 when Janet was eleven.  After her father’s death on 3 November 1888, Phillip inherited Golf Hill.  Phillip never married and on 12 January 1898, he died leaving Golf Hill to Janet.

“GOLF HILL”. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320773

Aged thirty-four, Janet married John Biddlecombe on 7 July 1900 at Scots Church, Collins Street Melbourne. They had no children and John died in 1927. 

Janet was a renowned Hereford breeder and showed her cattle throughout Australia.  Herefords had arrived at Golf Hill in the 1870s but when John Biddlecombe went to Golf Hill, he brought in new stock. By the 1920s, the Herefords of Golf Hill were catching attention Australia wide.  After John’s death, Janet kept improving the herd and took the standard to new heights.

PASTORAL (1930, February 1). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 33 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). Retrieved February 26, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14142617

In 1930, Janet’s stud was considered one of the best in the Commonwealth. While she had a stud manager, Jack Tanner, Janet was the overseer of all activities at Golf Hill.  Her cattle were photographed many times over the years at the many shows Janet attended, but a photo of Janet was a little harder to come by.  This photo shows her presenting a ribbon to the Champion Shorthorn bull at the Royal Easter show in 1939.

 

JANET BIDDLECOMBE AT THE ROYAL EASTER SHOW (1939, April 8). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 12. Retrieved February 26, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141815969

In 1953, Janet was eighty-seven and saw that it was time to wind up her stud. She couldn’t be as active in the operations of the stud as she would like.  It was announced in July 1953, she would sell her stock in October.  In September after the Royal Melbourne Show, an article in the Weekly Times of 23 September 1953 reflected on Janet’s efforts at Golf Hill and the reporter expressed sadness that Janet would no longer be at the Royal Shows around the country. 

On 29 October 1953, the dispersal sale was held with more than 1500 people in attendance  By then, Janet was bedridden but was able to listen to a broadcast of the auction.  It must have been a sad day for the woman they called “The Grand Old Lady of Golf Hill“.  The total price of 125,000 guineas for the 130 lots sold broke a record for the British Empire in what was considered a great tribute to Janet. Her Herefords by then were amongthe best in the world.  The money would have meant little to Janet. 

Less than three months have the dispersal sale, Janet died at Golf Hill.  At the time of her death, her generous philanthropy was acknowledged, something she had prefered to keep private.   

Passing of the Pioneers

Welcome to November Passing of the Pioneers with a Stawell, Port Fairy and Irish flavour. The pioneers include a licensee, a chemist and an inventive engineer.

If you are new to the monthly Passing of the Pioneers, the obituaries listed here are a summary of the original obituaries, using dates and other information direct from the obituary. I make no attempt to check or correct information contained in the obituary. The original obituaries are found by clicking on the names of the pioneers.

A word of warning, while obituaries often have a wealth of information, that information must be treated with caution.  Naturally, obituaries are written using second-hand information and recall events that occurred many years before the subject’s death, therefore that information can often be incorrect and sometimes even fanciful.   Therefore, information found in an obituary can only used for a guide to find primary sources to qualify the claims of an obituary.

Alexander RUSSELL: Died 27 November 1867 at Port Fairy. When Alexander Russell first arrived in Port Fairy in 1847, he took up his chosen profession as a doctor. However, upon his return to the “old country” he gave away medicine and moved into the field of “mercantile speculation” and upon his return to Port Fairy established the Moyne Mill using machinery he brought back from Scotland. Alexander was also the first Mayor of Belfast (Port Fairy) and was elected to the State parliament as member for Villiers and Heytesbury. He relinquished his seat due to ill-health.

Mary D. KEATING: Died 8 November 1914 at Port Fairy. Mary Keating was born in Port Fairy and before her marriage to William Wall, she worked as a teacher at the local Catholic school. William was the Secretary of the Belfast Shire. During her life, Mary was a tireless worker for the Catholic church. William predeceased Mary by fifteen years and they had four children.

Michael QUINLAN: Died November 1914 at Hawkesdale. Michael Quinlan was born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1835, and travelled to Australia when he was around twenty-four. He settled first around Koroit, before taking up land at Hawkesdale. He was a Minhamite Shire Councillor and enjoyed visiting the winter race meeting at Warrnambool.  Michael left one daughter at the time of his passing.

George KAY:  Died 11 November 1915 at Stawell. George Kay lived his forty-nine years in Stawell, in that relatively short time left his mark. He began work at the Stawell foundry and worked in engineering. He took up a partnership in the Kay & Co. Stawell Foundry and remained there until his death. One of his engineering feats was inventing a judging machine for the Stawell Athletics Club, famous for the Stawell Gift. The machine earned him much praise, including from the Governor of Victoria on a trip to Stawell. He was a member of the Stawell Rifle Club and a member of the Pride of Wimmera Lodge.  He left a widow and two daughters.

William WAREHAM: Died 3 November 1916 at Woolongoon. William Wareham’s obituary states he was born at Box Hill in 1844 , however his Victorian Birth registration shows Moonee Ponds in 1845.  At age nineteen, William went to work at Woolongoon Station, near Mortlake. He married and settled in the area.

OBITUARY. (1916, November 8). Mortlake Dispatch (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119795904

OBITUARY. (1916, November 8). Mortlake Dispatch (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119795904

He left a large family including thirty-two grandchildren.

Mary KELLY: Died 19 November 1916 at Stawell. Mary Kelly was born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1836 and travelled to Australia with her parents when she was a girl. She married John Kay and they settled at Great Western.They later moved to Stawell and ran a wine saloon in Main Street before becoming licensees of the Star Hotel (later known as the Stawell Club) in the late 1890s. Family members continued to run the hotel until 1910 when John Alison took over the licence, but Mary continued to own the building.

Margaret ANDERSON: Died 20 November 1916 at Port Fairy. Margaret Anderson was born in Melbourne in 1844 and moved to the Western District with her family at the age of three, taking up residence at Rosebrook. She married John Wright and they settled at nearby Yambuk. Four years prior to her death, Margaret moved into Port Fairy. She was a devout member of St Patrick’s Catholic Church at Port Fairy. Three sons and one daughter were alive at the time of her death, with son George a parish priest in New Zealand.

ST. PATRICKS CATHOLIC CHURCH, PORT FAIRY. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no H32492/7521 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/61612

ST. PATRICKS CATHOLIC CHURCH, PORT FAIRY. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no H32492/7521 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/61612

William DAWSON: Died 30 November 1916 at Stawell. William Dawson was born in Stawell around 1868 and followed his father into the chemist business. After his father’s death, William took over the family chemist shop. William’s passion was sport and he was involved in most of what was on offer in Stawell.  He rode high-wheeled bicycles when they were in vogue and was an official at the Stawell Cycling Club. William was also a cricketer and played with state side, the Victorian Rangers. He was also a founding member of the Stawell Rifle Club and Golf Club and was a keen fisherman. Sport aside, William was a prominent member of the Stawell Brass Band.

Bridget MAHONEY: Died 15 November 1918 at Port Fairy. Bridget Mahoney was born in Ireland in 1823. She arrived in Australia with her husband John Clancy in 1855, travelling from America. Bridget and John settled on a farm at Yambuk.  John passed away around 1895 and Bridget continued to live at Yambuk until seven years prior to her death when she moved to Port Fairy to live with her daughter Lizzie.

William REES: Died 29 November 1918 at Stawell. William Rees was born in South Wales around 1830. He began an apprenticeship as a joiner and for the next five years he travelled to Canada and the United States, arriving in California in 1853. In 1854, he was lured to the goldfields of Victoria, including Ballarat, Carisbrook and Ararat. He married another native of South Wales in Jane Symons in 1855. William and Jane arrived at Stawell in 1857. William  worked as a carpenter for the Oriental and North Cross Mining Company for many years.