When I begin researching a Passing of the Pioneer post, I have two aims – not too many Hamilton obituaries and as many women as possible. Unfortunately, as I often do, I failed this month with four Hamilton people from eight obituaries and one woman. When I started Passing of the Pioneers, only the Portland Guardian and Camperdown Chronicle, along with The Argus were available at Trove newspapers, the source of the obituaries. Eventually, the WW1 years of many Western District papers became available including the Hamilton Spectator. It was 2016 before the Hamilton paper was digitised from 1860 to the WW1 years. Since then I’ve been playing catch up on Hamilton obituaries.
Finding the obituaries of women has been an issue all along with many women’s deaths marked with a family notice or a few lines in the main section of the paper. Some deaths were not mentioned at all or were only known of if death was a result of an accident or an inquest was required. It was usually women of a certain status who received an obituary of any substance. Even then, I often need to refer to a husband’s obituary to fill in the gaps between the woman’s birth, childbirth, and her death. This month the woman I have found to remember was not of a high class, but she was of high character making her worthy of the obituary she received.
MINOGUE, Simon – Died 12 November 1880 at Portland. Simon Minogue was born around 1815 in Ireland. He married Johanna Quin in County Clare and they had two sons Daniel and Jerome before they boarded the Agricola for Port Phillip in 1841. In the months after arriving in Victoria, the family moved to Portland and Simon took up Wattle Hill in West Portland. Stephen Henty was the vendor and Simon paid £10 per acre. He also bought land at Mount Clay and Bridgewater.
In July 1849, Simon was the successful tenderer to provide 100 piles for the construction of the Portland dam. Simon was an active member of the Catholic community in Portland. In April 1857, he was a trustee of the land set aside for a Catholic Church in Portland. He also contributed £30 to the building fund. In 1858, he was elected to the Roads Board. Simon died in 1880, leaving his widow, Johanna, and nine children. Johanna died just eight years later in 1888.
BUTLER, Josiah – Died 18 November 1890 at Hamilton. Josiah Butler was born around 1841 in Brixton, England. He arrived in Victoria around 1857 and spent time at the goldfields. He then went to the Balmoral district where he worked as a hawker for storekeeper James Cuzens. On 1 July 1878, he married Sarah Ann Goss at the home of Sarah Ann’s brother in Gray Street, Hamilton. It was around the time Josiah moved to Hamilton and started the construction of a soap works. It was located in the vicinity of the Friendlies Oval in King Street and opened in July 1879. Josiah spent £1000 on equipment but it took time to get the factory operational because there was no ongoing water supply. The winter of 1879 saw water reverses build-up and by January 1880, Josiah was producing three tons of soap a week and sending five tons of tallow a month to Melbourne.
Josiah later moved into candlemaking but poor health saw him sell the business in February 1883 to Denton Bros. By June 1883, he had opened the Economic Cash Grocery in Gray Street, not far from the Thompson Street intersection. He sold all manner of things including sporting goods, bicycles, and tricycles.
Tricycles for adults (below) were taking off and in 1884, Josiah attempted to start a tricycle club in Hamilton.
He also had an interest in cricket and in 1885, donated a Challenge Cup for a series of matches between the Hamilton Academy and the Portland College. In 1886, as an agent of Messrs Bussey & Co., he donated a cricket bat to the highest Hamilton scorer in a match against Ararat.
Later, Josiah moved east along Gray Street to the corner with what is now Cook Walk, where he ran a fancy goods store. He died in 1890 leaving his widow Sarah, three daughters, and two sons. Sarah carried on the store no doubt helped by two of her daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth who later ran a fancy goods and toy shop at 45 Brown Street Hamilton until their retirement in 1954. Sarah died in 1932, and Rachel and Elizabeth died within two months of each other in 1959.
SANDISON, John – Died 12 November 1901 at Glenisla. John Sandison was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland around 1831. At age sixteen, he left for Australia and found work at Skene station near Hamilton. The 1850s saw the discovery of gold and John set off for the diggings not only in Victoria but also the New Zealand goldfields. Once back in Victoria, he secured the mail run between Apsley and Hamilton. In 1861, John married Mary Alexander, and the following year he opened a butcher shop in Gray Street, Hamilton at first in partnership with Mr. L Kaufmann. They dissolved their partnership on 1 September 1866 and John continued on alone.
John was a member of the Hamilton Mechanics Institute and sat on the committee.
He also enjoyed sport and was involved with local athletics. Eventually, John selected land at Glenisla in the Western Grampians. In January 1899, a fire broke out at Glenisla spreading on to John’s property. He lost all his grass and fencing. In July that year, his wife Mary died.
John died in 1901, leaving three sons and four daughters, the youngest being seventeen. John was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).
KENNEDY, Christina – Died 1 November 1909 at Hamilton. Christina Kennedy was born in 1855 at Geelong. She married Alfred Bulley in 1872 and their first child was born in 1875 at Brunswick. Alfred worked on the Ararat to Hamilton railway line during the 1870s and in 1881, a daughter was born at Coleraine. Around 1891, Alfred contracted spinal disease attributed to working in wet conditions on the railways. It left him an invalid. Life became very difficult for Christina, caring for Alfred and her daughters. In 1893, their plight came to the attention of the Hamilton Ladies Benevolent Society.
In 1902, Alfred applied to the Old-Age Pensions Court for an allowance. He couldn’t make it to the court so Christina represented him. The court heard she earned 15 shillings a week as a laundress. One of her daughters helped while the other stayed at home with Alfred. From her earnings, she had to pay rent on their home in Milton Street. The Reverend Canon Hayman acted as a witness and said Christina was a “respectable hardworking woman”. Alfred was granted 6 shillings a week
Christina worked hard and attended Christ Church Anglican Church on Sundays but she fell ill in 1909 and required an operation. She died in the Hamilton Hospital on 1 November 1909 aged fifty-four. Christina’s obituary was one normally seen for a woman of a higher station but it demonstrates she obtained much respect, not just pity.
…was a striking example of what a woman may accomplish. Her life was not a path of roses, for the thorns of adversity were in her way for several years, and she had been the practical breadwinner for her household over a long period…but notwithstanding the burden thus placed upon her she faced her task bravely, and by her indomitable spirit of perseverance and industry had gained the highest, admiration and respect from all. But despite the fact her hands had to be used in the performance of work of somewhat heavy manual character, she preserved her womanly characteristics continuously, and in all her intercourse with others, there was a fine air of refinement and gentleness, combined with kind heartedness, which irresistibly appealed for appreciation. In all the work she was compelled to do for others the latter were always pleased to have her service again. Her character was upright and her actions just, and it Is worthy of commendation that the fine high principles which enabled her to struggle on despite great disadvantages and guided her in the upbringing of her family. who helped her in later years,…”
FIELDER, William John – Died 10 November 1917 at Camperdown. William Fielder was born around 1846 in London and arrived in Australia about 1853 with his parents. His father Thomas was an officer with HM Customs in Melbourne. Thomas died suddenly in 1875 and soon after William arrived in Camperdown. In 1878, he married Matilda Sophia Greer. William worked as a painter, decorator, and signwriter.
William was heavily involved with the Camperdown Amauter Theatrical Society and performed in many plays and operas. He also played with the society’s orchestra and painted all the scenery. He considered his time with the theatrical society the happiest time of his life. He was well-read and sat on the committee of the Camperdown Mechanics Institute. He was also a member of the Camperdown Bowling Club.
Matilda died on 14 September 1897 at their home in Brooke Street. She was just forty-seven. In August 1908, William decided to live with his daughter in Queensland. He was given a send-off at the Mechanics Institute while the Camperdown Brass Band played outside. As reported in the Camperdown Chronicle, William in his speech at his send-off said he was proud because, “…Camperdown had been loyal to him and he had been loyal to Camperdown. He had never got anything outside Camperdown that he could get in it. He had made that the rule of his life. He trusted that everybody would do the same. Camperdown was one of the best places in the world. He believed in it.”
William did not stay away from Camperdown long returning within a few years. He died in 1917 and was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery leaving five daughters to mourn his loss.
An obituary in the Camperdown Herald of 14 November 1917 mentioned William had originally worked at the Argus newspaper.
SCULLION, John James – Died 13 November 1918 at Terang. John “Jack” Scullion was born around 1867 at Mount View Garvoc and remained there for the duration of his life. With two of his young brothers, he carried on the running of Mount View for their father John. Jack was president of the Garvoc Racing Club and he served on the board of the Garvoc Butter Factory. Jack never married and was just fifty-one at the time of his death. Requiem mass was held at St Thomas Catholic Church, Terang (below).
The cortege, one of the longest seen in the town, comprising…representatives from most distant parts of the Western District, was a strong proof of the love in which his friends held him, and the respect in which he was held by those who, though associated with him publicly, did not always share his views – no surer sign of recognised worth.
WHITEHEAD, Robert – Died 5 November 1922 at Warrnambool. Robert Whitehead was born in 1849 at Goodwood on Spring Creek, south of Caramut, the home of his father Robert.
Robert was one of the first students at Melbourne Grammar School which opened in 1858. Robert had an interest in racing and did some amateur riding during his early years. Prior to his death, Robert Whitehead senior divided the Goodwood property among his sons. Robert named his share Wurroit and built a home in the 1870s (below). He married Jane Phillips in 1877 and they raised a large family.
Robert was a breeder and judge of sheep and horses. In January 1900, a grass fire went through Wurroit and only the homestead and paddocks close to the homestead were saved. He lost 2000 sheep. Jane died in October 1908 leaving Robert, three sons, and three daughters.
In 1913, Robert married Myrtyl McFarlane and two daughters were born in the following years. They spent time living in Kerford Street, Malvern, and at Spring Gardens in Warrnambool where Robert died in 1922.
CARTER, William – Died 14 November 1927 at Hamilton. William Carter was born in 1853 at Portland. Soon after the family moved to Hamilton and William went to school at Hamilton and Western District College. In 1879, he married Emma Crossy and they would go on to live in Pope Street. William worked as an accountant and auditor and in 1882, he took over the business of the late H. W. Thirkell.
William and Emma had five children, but four predeceased their parents. In 1884, Francis died aged six months. Minnie died in 1886 aged fifteen months. In 1889, seven-year-old Charles died, and in 1892, Percival died aged five years and five months. Their only surviving child and firstborn, Annie Julia married in 1902.
William’s passion was volunteering with the Hamilton Fire Brigade. He was one of the founding members of the brigade, elected to office at the first general meeting in January 1881 and he was a long-serving Captain. He was a very active member and a special presentation was made to him in August 1888. He retired from fire fighting duties in 1898. but he remained on the committee and helped out with the fire brigade sports.
Since its beginnings, accommodating the brigade was an issue. They started out in a council owned timber building next to the Town Hall when it was Gray Street, The brigade soon outgrew and during the 1890s there was a big push for brigade owned and built fire station. While some committee members were keen on the idea, William Carter later admitted he preferred the option of the brigade buying the existing station. He was overruled and the new fire station opened in 1901. William said it was then he’d realised it was the right thing. He served as vice president of the brigade committee becoming president in 1918 when the position became vacant due to the departure of William Melville to Melbourne.
William was also the secretary of the Hamilton Christ Church Anglican Church, the Hamilton Friendly Societies Union, and the Hamilton Angling Society. He was also involved with the Hamilton Rope Quoits Association.
William died suddenly in 1927 aged seventy-four, leaving his wife Emma. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery with his children. Emma died in 1942.