Passing of the Pioneers

The first of the pioneer obituaries for 2021, a year which also marks the 10th birthday of Passing of the Pioneers in July.   There won’t be a Passing of the Pioneers post next month because I’m aiming to do an all-female version in March for Women’s History Month, and another in April as part of the Western District Families’ 10th birthday celebrations.  April is the month with the smallest number of published pioneer obituaries.  Since 2015 my time leading up to April has been spent writing posts for Hamilton’s WW1 in preparation for Anzac Day and the Passing of the Pioneers post has missed out.  I’m going to make a special effort to get some April obituaries out for what will be the 80th edition of Passing of the Pioneers.

This month there are ten obituaries including the wife of a Baptist minister and a successful racehorse trainer from Warrnambool.  Don’t forget to click on the underlined text which will take you to more information about a subject. 

WALTERS, Hugh Oxenham – Died 10 January 1891 at Warrayure.  Hugh Walter was born in England around 1821.  He married Jane Walter in Devon in 1845 and they started their family.  In 1853, they left England for Australia, settling in the Geelong district. Around the late 1860s, Hugh took up land at Warrayure, east of Hamilton.  He named his property  Devon Farm.  There he bred high-quality long-wooled sheep and purebred poultry, Hugh’s wife Jane died in 1877 aged fifty-three.  Hugh remarried to Mary Houston in 1879. 

Hugh was described as a “quiet, unassuming man”.  Away from his farm, he enjoyed showing sheep and poultry, and with much success. In 1887, at the Horsham Grand National Show, for example, Hugh’s sheep won three first prizes and two second prizes, and his poultry, four first prizes, and three second prizes.  He also enjoyed ploughing competitions and was a member of the Hamilton Farmers’ Union.

Hugh was sixty-nine at the time of his death leaving his widow Mary and eight children, four sons, and four daughters. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  

KEARNEY, Mary – Died 27 January 1892 at Hamilton.  Mary Kearney was born in Ireland around 1834 She married Michael Cummins and they settled in the Warrnambool and Port Fairy districts. In 1864, a daughter was born at Byaduk south of Hamilton. Michael Cummins died in the same year leaving Mary with young children. The following year, 1865, a Mrs Cummins applied to the Hamilton Hospital and Benevolent Asylum for assistance. She was given an allowance for groceries but was told nothing more could be done for her.   

In 1872, Mary married William Arnott of South Hamilton and a son was born that year. On 27 January 1892, Mary was visiting her old friend Mrs Bloomfield.  While they admired Mrs Bloomfield’s garden, Mary suffered an apoplectic fit. She died two days later at the age of fifty-eight. Mary was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF MARY ARNOTT (nee KEARNEY), HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

SEYMOUR, Robert – Died 15 January 1896 at Glendinning. Robert Seymour was born around 1831.  He was the manager of the Spring Hill station north of Harrow from the late 1860s. In 1871, he married Mary Johnstone Dunn Beath, a daughter of David Beath the first storekeeper at The Grange (later known as Hamilton).  A child was born in Horsham in 1875 and in the same year it was reported in the Hamilton Spectator Robert was very sick and his recovery looked unlikely.  

Around 1882, Robert took over the management of the Glendinning station near Balmoral. During his time there, he collected samples of stream tin or alluvial tin. Other landholders in the district had also discovered stream tin, giving a group of men hopes gold and other minerals may have been present in the district. In 1892, Robert and others including Messrs Horwitz and Rippon from Hamiton formed a company to undertake further exploration. Robert died in 1896 at the age of sixty-five.  He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. 

GRAVE OF ROBERT SEYMOUR, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

HUTTON, Thomas – Died 5 January 1900 at Penshurst.  Thomas Hutton was born in Hobart in 1843. Around 1846, having heard of good grazing land in the colony of Victoria his father David travelled to Portland. He leased part of the Purdeet run near Mt Rouse (Penshurst) and the family moved to Victoria to join him.  David bought Purdeet in 1851 and changed the name to Cheviot Hills. Thomas was educated at Hamilton under Mr Moss and Cavendish under Mr Elliot, the headteacher at the local National School.

On finishing school, Thomas went to Port Fairy where he is older brother George was a general merchant. Thomas eventually went in partnership with him. He was still taking an interest in farming at Penshurst in partnership with his brother William in the property Gazette station. During that time, Thomas and William built a woolshed on the property, still in use today William died in 1869.

Advertising (1865, March 11). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (Vic. : 1860 – 1870), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194470503

Thomas was very active in public affairs at Port Fairy.  Like his brother, he was a member of the Port Fairy Borough Council and Mayor from November 1875 until July 1876.  His brother George Hutton was Mayor from 1872-1874. Thomas was also a Lieutenant with the local battery of the Garrison Artillery. He was also a member of the Masonic lodge. 

David Hutton died in 1875 and Thomas went back to Cheviot Hills to join his brother John in its running. He married Jean Mason in 1878, the eldest daughter of Captain Mason of Port Fairy.  David and Jean and their family lived at Eden, a home build on the Cheviot Hills property.

In 1884, Thomas donated a row of Norfolk pines for planting on the western side of Sackville Street, Port Fairy (at right in the photo below).

NORFOLK PINES IN SACKVILLE STREET, PORT FAIRY c1960, Photographer: Lillian Powling. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95732

During the 1880s, Thomas was on the Penshurst railway committee. He was also a Justice of the Peace and secretary to the managers and committee of the Penshurst Presbyterian Church for many years. In 1889. Thomas became a Mount Rouse Shire councillor. He went on to serve twice as President, in 1893-94 and 1896-97.     

FORMER MT ROUSE SHIRE OFFICES, PENSHURST, 1968. Image courtesy of the John T. Collins Collection, State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233458

Thomas died in January 1900 at the age of fifty-six leaving his widow Jean, three sons, and two daughters.  He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery. Jean died on 19 October 1925 at Hawthorn.

SINCLAIR, Jane Roderick – Died 5 January 1900 at Casterton. Janes Sinclair was born in  Glasgow around 1822 and arrived in Australia in the 1850s. She married Baptist Reverend Ebenezer Henderson in 1861 at Morpeth near Hinton, New South Wales.  Ebenezer had arrived at Hinton in February 1861 after an invitation for him to be the pastor of the Hinton Baptist Church.  He was a widower with a son and daughter and had previously been in Geelong. Ebenezer resigned his position in September 1867 and by the early 1870s, the Hendersons were in Warrnambool. In 1873, Ebenezer accepted the position of pastor at the Hamilton Baptist Church. 

FORMER HAMILTON BAPTIST CHURCH.

Jane helped out with the Baptist Sunday School. She was also an active member of the Hamilton Ladies Benevolent Society. The group gave her a send-off in 1891 when it was decided the Hendersons would leave Hamilton due to Ebenezer’s failing health. It was said at the send-off, Jane was always available to help someone in need.  The couple was also given a send-off by the Baptist Church community in August 1891.

The Hendersons took up residence in Kew, however, things did not go well. Jane had a fall while stepping from the train.  Also, Ebenezer’s health didn’t improve and medical advice suggested the climate in Hamilton may be better than in Melbourne. The news the Hendersons were returning was announced in the Spectator in March 1893.  They eventually moved to Casterton to live with Ebenezer’s daughter Mary Hughes.    

Jane died at Casterton in January 1900 at the age of seventy-eight.  Her remains were transported from  Casterton to Hamilton by train and she was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

GRAVE OF JANE HENDERSON (nee SINCLAIR), HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

Ebenezer died in 1904 at Casterton, the oldest Baptist pastor in Australia. In 1918, the Hamilton Baptist Church unveiled a memorial pulpit dedicated to Ebenezer.  Jane was remembered. She “was well-beloved, and it was due to her loving care that he (Rev. Henderson) was so long sparred. She helped all who were in sorrow.”

No title (1902, December 13). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 9. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221241039

FOLEY, Thomas Nicholas – Died 28 January 1913 at Hamilton. Thomas Foley was born at Coleraine in 1867. His father Cornelius was the manager at the nearby Mt Koroite station, something he would do for thirty-five years.  In 1891, Thomas married Margaret Maria O’Hagan and they settled at Coleraine and started a family.  They were living on the Cavendish Road and Thomas was breeding and showing pigs.  In 1903, Thomas took up the freehold and license of the Hamilton Inn in Lonsdale Street, Hamilton from Mary Meagher.

DOYLE’S HAMILTON INN, LATER FOLEY’S HAMILTON INN. FORMERLY IN LONSDALE STREET, HAMILTON, C1880 Image no. B 21766/53 Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/53

His brothers were also in the hotel trade with Cornelius Jr the licensee of the National Hotel at Coleraine and John, the licensee of the Hermitage Hotel at Harrow.  Thomas had the entire premises renovated on purchase of the inn.

Advertising (1903, November 24). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226112992

Thomas has a keen interest in sport particularly coursing.  His dogs were runners up several times at the Commonwealth Stake at Camperdown. He also enjoyed football and often donated trophies to the local league.  Thomas was a staunch supporter of the Labor party and a member of the Australian Natives Association (ANA).  In January 1912, Thomas transferred the license of the Hamilton Inn to Jemima Grogan but retained the freehold.

On 23 January 1913, Thomas, by then living in Coleraine Road, Hamilton suddenly fell ill and there were fears for his life. It was reported in the Hamilton Spectator the following day he was suffering from heart failure.  The next day, the Hamiton Spectator was happy to report Thomas was out of danger.  His health failed again and he died on 28 January.  Thomas left his widow Margaret, and a young family of three boys, and four girls. He was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. 

In 1914, Jemima Grogan moved on from the Hamilton Inn and the hotel was put up for sale.

Advertising (1914, March 28). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119826027

In 1917, Thomas and Margaret’s son Cornelius was killed in Belgium.  A memorial to him was added to the Foley headstone at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery (below).

GRAVE OF THOMAS FOLEY, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY.

UEBERGANG, Charles – Died 18 January 1918 at Warrnambool. Charles Ubergang was born in  Marzdorf, Silesia, Prussia around 1828. Military service was compulsory for young men but Charles was found to be unfit for service.  Around the age of twenty-one, he made his way to Australia.  His obituary states he took the ship Flying Fish to Adelaide arriving in 1848, However, Shipping Intelligence from the time, and printed in the South Australian Register, show a Charles Ubergang arrived via the ship Alfred from Hamburg, arriving on 6 December 1848. Rather than go overland to Victoria, Charles caught a boat sailing from Adelaide via Tasmania.  He made his way to the Warrnambool district and spent time there as a carrier, taking goods to the goldfields.  He was living in Purnim in 1853 when he was naturalised, giving him the rights of a citizen of the colony.  He married in 1854 to Augusta Klose

In 1855, Charles selected land close to the junction of the Hopkins River and the Mt Emu Creek, east of Warrnambool. It was there in 1862 when his sister-in-law was bitten by a snake. Despite the efforts of Charles and a doctor to save her, she died as a result.  Around 1893, Charles moved into Warrnambool and took up residence in Raglan Street. Augusta died in 1917 and Charles lived only months after, dying on 18 January 1918 at the age of ninety.  He left three sons and four daughters and was buried at the Warrnambool Cemetery.

JESSUP, Elvina – Died January 1920 at Warrnambool.  Elvina Jessup was born in 1849 in Norfolk, England, and arrived in Portland with her parents in 1852 when she was three years old. Her father Walter became a police constable in the town.  In 1869, Elvina married Benjamin Jewell and they went on to have nine children at Casterton  They later moved to Allansford where Benjamin died in 1896.  At the time of her death, Elvina left a sister, seven children, twenty grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She was seventy-four.

SAVIN, William – Died January 1924 at Portland. William Savin was born at Launton, Oxfordshire England around 1843. He arrived with his parents Samuel and Hannah at Portland in 1853 aboard the ship Eliza.  The family first went to the Crawford estate near Condah where Samuel had work.  They then moved further north to Muddy Creek, south of Hamilton where Samuel took up land.  

MEMBERS OF THE SAVIN FAMILY ON THE BANKS OF MUDDY CREEK c1885. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/772275

William married Elizabeth Addinsall in 1865. He later took up land with his brothers in the Macarthur district.  He retired to Portland around 1899.  There he was involved with the Portland bowling and golf clubs. Elizabeth died in 1912 and the following year, William remarried to Theresa Lear.  At the time of his death, he left his widow Theresa and his three daughters from his marriage to Elizabeth.

CONNELLY, Henry ‘Harry’ – Died January 1940 at Warrnambool. Harry Connelly was born at Yangary in 1866.  First sitting on a horse as a baby, Henry started his career as a jockey as a young boy, winning races in the country and Melbourne. He also spent time living in Sydney where he rode more winners. Harry later turned to training horses and his first big success came in 1900 with the horse Aquarius winning the VRC Grand National Hurdle,  That win helped him get more clients and for the next twenty-six years, he had a successful training career.  He would spend the winter and spring at Caulfield then return to his Warrnambool stable at the Warrnambool racecourse for summer and the autumn.  In 1909, he trained Aberdeen to third in the Melbourne Cup, 

Harry married Agnes Lucas in 1890. Two of their sons followed Harry into the racing game, with Joseph and Robert becoming jockeys.  They rode for Harry as Robert did in 1918 when he rode Cobram, owned and trained by Harry, to a win in the Grand National Steeplechase. Henry’s grandson was photographed on the horse after the win. 

HARRY CONNELLY TRAINS HORSES ENGAGED IN NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (1921, May 28). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 4 (SPORTING EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article242503979

It was said Harry was camera shy but newspaper photographers managed to capture him several times, particularly at the Warrnambool May Carnival.  He was a fixture at Warrnambool meeting and he didn’t miss a Warrnambool winter meeting for fifty years.

WESTERN DISTRICT TRAINER DEAD (1940, February 3). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 55. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225983711

   

Harry at the races in Melbourne in 1919.

 

SNAPPED AT MELBOURNE RACE MEETINGS (1919, December 6). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 18.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222567323

Harry (left) at the Warrnambool May Carnival in May 1921 with Robert Hood, one of his long-time owners.

RACING AT WARRNAMBOOL (Victoria), MAY 3, 4, and 5. (1921, May 14). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 48.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140258819

Harry (left) at the 1929 Warrnambool May Carnival.

SOME WARRNAMBOOL PERSONALITIES. (1929, May 11). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 25 (METROPOLITAN EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141392076

Harry at the 1936 Warrnambool May Carnival in 1936, four years before his death.

WARRNAMBOOL (V.) RACE WEEK (1936, May 16). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 27 (METROPOLITAN EDITION).  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141773372

Harry died in 1940 leaving three sons and two daughters.  An extensive article about Harry’s racing career and the horses he trained can be found on the link to the Sporting Globe –        http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article178135059

Passing of the Pioneers

Just in the nick of time and after a few months break, Passing of the Pioneers is back with ten obituaries for the month of November.  Remember to click on any underlined text to take you to more information about a subject. 

RUSSELL, George – Died 3 November 1888 at Shelford. 

GEORGE RUSSELL 1852. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/282507

George Russell was born on 12 June 1812 at Cluny, Fifeshire, Scotland.  At the age of eighteen, he left Scotland for Hobart to meet up with his brother Phillip who had been in the colony for nine years. George spent several months at Dennistoun, the property of Captain Patrick Wood at Bowthell, Tasmania. The following year George leased land in the area and spent the next two years, improving and cultivating it, doing much of the work himself. By 1835, George was twenty-three and leasing a property at Lauriston when he heard the news of John Batman landing at Port Phillip and of the good land in the area. It was then he decided he must go and see for himself.

Soon after, Captain Wood sold a flock of sheep to men wanting to establish a sheep station at Port Phillip so George took up the opportunity to travel with the sheep. They left in March 1836 on the schooner Hettie, landing at what is now Brighton, Victoria.  From there, George and the two station owners rowed up the Yarra River to what is now the city of Melbourne.  They then walked around 200 miles over the next seven days following the Werribee River to the Barwon River and then to the Leigh River. As they made their way through the valley of the Leigh, George decided that was where he wanted to settle.

George returned to Tasmania for the winter of 1836 and made plans to return to the Leigh Valley. He sold his property and arranged for his sheep to be transported to Port Phillip. Around that time the Clyde Company had formed and George was chosen to manage it.  The company’s first station was on the Moorabool River and George went there from the spring of 1836.

Advertising (1838, December 8). Port Phillip Gazette (Vic. : 1838 – 1845), p. 3. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225006721

Two years later at the age of twenty-six, he built a hut in the Leigh Valley where he had visited two years before and close to what would be become the township of Shelford.  The land on which the hut stood become the Golf Hill estate. In 1850, George travelled to England then on to his homeland of Scotland. While there, he married his cousin Euphemia Leslie Carstairs in 1852 and a daughter was born the following year. George and Euphemia returned to Victoria and in 1854, a daughter Ann was born at Geelong.  A further five daughters and one son were born over the next eleven years until the birth on 24 April 1866, of a daughter Janet.

George had become a partner of the Clyde Company and in 1857, the company was dissolved and George was able to purchase the freehold for the Golf Hill property. In 1859, photographer Thomas Hannay toured the Western District and dropped in a Golf Hill and took this photo of the then brick homestead and the three eldest Russell daughters. The home was designed by Alexander Skene of Geelong in 1846.

GOLF HILL c1859. Photographer: Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/321169

On 3 March 1867, Euphemia died leaving George with eight children including baby Janet. The month prior to Euphemia’s death, George had purchased the Punpundhal estate near Camperdown. Considering his loss, George renamed the property Leslie Manor in remembrance of her. In 1882, he purchased the Strathvean and Poliah estates near Cressy from Hugh McVean.

In 1876, the brick cottage in the previous photo was demolished to build the homestead below, designed in the French Second Empire style.

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

George made a great contribution to the nearby Shelford community including covering the cost of the construction of the Presbyterian Church below.

SHELFORD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320782

George died in 1888 and was buried at Golf Hill.  He left seven daughters and one son, Phillip. He inherited Golf Hill but Phillip’s youngest sister Janet, already having developed an interest in the property, who stepped in and took over the running of Golf Hill with Phillip’s blessing.  Phillip died in 1898 but with no wife or heir, it was Janet who inherited Golf Hill.

You can read more about George Russell and Shelford on the link to the excellent blog, Barwon Blog: Anything and Everything to Do With the Barwon River http://barwonblogger.blogspot.com/2013/07/branching-out-life-at-leigh.html

DILNOT, George – Died 29 November 1892 at Hamilton. George Dilnot was born at Herne Bay, Kent around 1852.  As a young man, he went to London to work as a commercial traveller. It was there he married Emily Wallis, a distant relative of Charles Dickens. Around 1882, the Dilnots arrived in Victoria and over the next two years, George held a range of jobs including working for James Henty and at Bruce’s Brewery at Sandhurst.  In 1884, the family arrived in Hamilton as George had been appointed to take over the running of the Western City Brewery (below) which he later bought and then sold again soon after.

VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA. (1888, April 17). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225809074

George then became an accountant with the Hamilton Spectator in 1887 and 1888 as well as taking on freelance work. He was then able to open his own accountancy and auctioneering firm. 

George died suddenly in 1892 leaving his wife Emily and five children  A large procession left his residence Marathon on the corner of Carmichael and Gray Streets for the Hamilton Cemetery where more mourners had gathered including members of the Masonic Lodge.

GRAVE OF GEORGE DILNOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

In February 1893, Emily and the children returned to England to live.

EDWARDS, Morris – Died 9 November 1904 at Casterton. Morris Edwards was born in England around 1832.  In 1854. Richard Lewis of Rifle Downs near Casterton imported a three-year-old thoroughbred from England called King Alfred who would go on to become the colony’s leading sire.  Morris Edwards accompanied the horse to Australia as its groom on the ship Severn.  On the ship, Morris met a young lady Eleanor Anne Lamborn.  They married in 1856.

Morris stayed at Rifle Downs for a number of years before working for John Robertson at Straun.  In the early 1870s, Morris and Eleanor settled at Casterton. Around 1877, Morris took over the livery stables of Casterton’s Albion Hotel which he did for about three years before retiring.

Advertising (1877, October 9). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226043057

Morris and Eleanor lived on Toorak Hill at Casterton.  Morris died in 1904 at the age of 72 while Eleanor died in 1914 at Casterton.

In 1931, the following article was published in the Sporting Globe about a rather grisly family heirloom in the possession of Morris’ son Morris Jr. It was an inkwell made from a hoof of King Alfred who died in 1873 at Koolomurt near Casterton.

MOMENTO OF KING ALFRED (1931, January 10). Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic. : 1922 – 1954), p. 2 (FIRST EDITION). Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article183010196

In 1934, one of Morris and Eleanor’s daughters wrote a Letter to the Editor of The Age in search of passengers from the voyage of the Severn in 1854, the ship her parents, aunt, sister and of course the horse King Alfred arrived on.

RIPPON, George Reynolds – Died 2 November 1912 at Hamilton. George Rippon was born in Geelong on 27 May 1867, a son of George Reynolds Rippon and Maria Smith.  In 1876, his father went into a partnership in the Hamilton Spectator newspaper, later becoming sole proprietor. The family moved from Geelong to Hamilton and George attended Hamilton College before going to work at the National Bank.  He then obtained a job a the Melbourne Stock Exchange.

Eventually, George returned to Hamilton and went to work at the Hamilton Spectator as a journalist. His father died in 1899 and George’s brother Herbert took over the running of the Spectator.  In 1900, gold was discovered at the foot of Mount William in the Grampians. It wasn’t long before the area was populated with those seeking their fortunes. George travelled to the Grampians to see the diggings for himself and decided to start a newspaper for the miners called The Mount William Pioneer.  Printed at the Hamilton Spectator, the paper and it was very popular with twenty-three editions published between July and December 1900.  The rush was short-lived and the newspaper folded.

WINTER ON THE MT WILLIAM DIGGINGS 1900 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172520

No title (1900, July 28). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved November 27, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222249274

Like his father, George was a talented sportsman and was a particularly good cricketer, a notable all-rounder.  While at Hamilton College, George could throw a cricket ball over 100 yards.  He was also a good footballer and was captain of his team in Hamilton.  He had an interest in horse racing and was a handicapper for the Hamilton Racing Club and several other clubs around the district.  He was also one of the best runners in the area over 50 yards,  was a champion amateur billiards player, played lawn bowls and was an excellent shot.  He was au fait with the sport of boxing and refereed matches while he was on the Mount William diggings.

George was sick for most of 1912, having contracted a disease while in NSW. He succumbed on 2 November 1912.  When the news of his death reached the citizens of Hamilton, flags around the town flew at half-mast.  George never married and was buried in the Rippon family plot at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

RIPPON FAMILY PLOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

O’DONNELL, Annie – Died 20 November 1917 at Hamilton. Annie O’Donnell was born in Limerick, Ireland around 1840. She arrived in Victoria and on 1 February 1863, she married  Adolphe Jean Baptiste Destree born at The Hague, Netherlands. Adolphe was a Hamilton jeweller and watchmaker who previously had a shop in Portland. He also served as a Magistrate. A son Adolphe was born at Hamilton in 1864, the first of a family of five sons and one daughter.  In November 1868, Annie became Lady Mayoress of Hamilton when Aldophe was elected Mayor. On 11 February 1875, Annie gave birth to a son but exactly four months later on 11 June, Adolphe died aged forty.  Annie continued the business but by September 1875 she had sold to Farroll & Sons Jewellery Importers.  

Advertising (1875, June 26). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226071758

Annie eventually moved from Kennedy Street to French Street close to the Hamilton Botanic Gardens. In 1898, the Hamilton Borough Council was one of several councils to receive a cannon from the decommissioned HMVS Nelson.  It was placed near the main entrance of the gardens on the corner of French and Thompson Streets.  In 1900, for Mafeking Day, the council thought it a good idea to fire the cannon. They tried it two years earlier and the result was broken windows to homes and businesses in the area. Of course, nothing was different in 1900 and many, including Annie, suffered broken windows and structural damage to their homes.  Annie’s damage costs were £100 and she sought compensation from the council.   

At the time of her death, Annie had four sons still living. She was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.

THE DESTREE FAMILY PLOT, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

RANKIN, John – Died 10 November 1936 at Colac. 

JOHN RANKIN. (1923, August 3). Farmers’ Advocate, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223631678

John Rankin was born in the Mallee around 1865 and went to Colac with his family at a young age.  When he was of working age he became involved in the local dairy industry and went on to become one of the leaders of the Australian Dairy industry.  In 1892, John married Mary Jane Monkivitch.  Aside from dairying, John was a non-commissioned officer with the Mounted Rifles and on the board of the Colac Waterworks Trust.  Mary Jane died in 1932.

At the time of his death in 1936, John was chairman of directors of the Western District Co-operative Produce and Insurance Co Ltd, chairman of directors of the Colac Dairying Co Ltd, director of the Western and Murray Co-operative Bacon and Meat Packing Co Ltd, director of the Co-operative Insurance Company of Australia Ltd, a member of the executive council of the Victorian Dairymen’s Association, a member of the council of the Co-operative Butter and Cheese Factories Association of Victoria and a member of the Federal council of the Australian Dairy Cattle Research Association.  Four sons and three daughters survived John.  He was buried at the Colac Cemetery.  

SAVIN, Mary – Died 29 November 1936 at Heywood.  Mary Savin was born at Macarthur around 1867. Soon after, her parents William and Elizabeth settled at Muddy Creek, south of Hamilton.  The family were involved with the local Primitive Methodist Church.  Mary married John McIntrye in 1895 and they moved to Wallup in the Wimmera but later returned to the south-west, settling at Heywood. 

During WW1, Mary and John’s second eldest son Murray enlisted. He was killed on 4 July 1918 at Amiens France while serving with the 23rd Battalion.  In 1921, John McIntyre died and Mary continued on the farm with her sons. At the time of her death in 1936, Mary had eight children still living.  She was buried at the Portland Cemetery. 

On 24 June 1937, an article in the Portland Guardian reported on a send-off held for those members of the McIntyre family still living in the Heywood district who were off to Gippsland to live.  “And so this respected family has left the Heywood district to the regret of everybody in that locality.”

VAUGHAN, Daniel – Died November 1944 at Swan Marsh.  Daniel Vaughn was born at Ballangeich east of Woolsthorpe around 1872. As a young man, Daniel travelled around the country as a  shearer before selecting land in the Otway district.  In 1903, he married Mary O’Donnell and they went on to have a large family of eight sons and four daughters.  Daniel was a supporter of the union movement, horse racing and in his early days, he was a good footballer. He was buried at the Colac Cemetery.

BOYD, James Alexander – Died 10 November 1944 at Camperdown. James Boyd was born at South Geelong around 1857.  When he was about twelve, his parents went to live in Camperdown before settling at nearby Pomberneit. James married Mary Louisa Cooper in 1877 and they lived at Braeside Pomberneit. 

James was a  member of the Camperdown and Colac P&A societies.  He was also an exhibitor at the local shows with his Lincoln sheep and in 1932, he revealed to the Camperdown Chronicle his collection of prize cards from the 1880s.  He was also proved himself a thoughtful husband, having bought Mary a gold watch with his winnings.

CAMPERDOWN CHRONICLE. , OCTOBER 11, 1932. NEWS. (1932, October 11). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved November 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23367240

James was a member of the Leura Lodge of Freemasons, the Pomberneit Rifle Club and in his early days, played cricket for Pomberneit

In 1937, James celebrated his eighth birthday.  Later, he placed a Thank You notice in the Camperdown Chronicle

Family Notices (1937, June 22). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved November 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26090561

James was a champion for the local children.  He donated basketball trophies for local state schools to compete for in order to encourage the children to play. He also lobbied for a swimming pool at Camperdown for the ‘kiddies’.

LOOKING AROUND (1943, January 12). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved November 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28322115

Mary died in July 1940 aged eighty-four. James died in the Camperdown Hospital in 1944 aged eighty-seven and was buried at the Camperdown cemetery.

WHAT A COINCIDENCE

While searching for further information on one of this month’s pioneers Annie Destree (nee O’Donnell), I found the following Birth notices from the Hamilton Spectator of 13 February 1875. As well as the Destree birth there was also the birth of a daughter to another of this month’s pioneers Morris Edwards and his wife Eleanor. Fancy that!

Family Notices (1875, February 13). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved November 26, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226076215

 

Passing of the Pioneers

Welcome to the 67th edition of Passing of the Pioneers.  This month eight new pioneers from districts including Camperdown, Macarthur and Balmoral join the Pioneer Obituary Index .

MANIFOLD, John – Died 3 January 1877 at Purrumbete.

JOHN MANIFOLD. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/18071

John Manifold was born in Cheshire, England in 1811, the fifth son of William Manifold and Mary Barnes.  In 1831, the Manifolds left England for Tasmania to meet up with John’s brother Thomas who had gone ahead three years before.  They settled there but in 1836, Thomas Manifold was keen to see the colony of Victoria of which he was hearing stories.  He travelled to Point Henry near Geelong and took up land on the Moorabool River.  He put his two younger brothers, John and Peter in charge of the property and he returned to Tasmania. 

John and Peter wanted to investigate the land further west and in 1838 found themselves on the shores of Lake Purrumbete and decided that was the place for them.  Thomas joined them but later went to the Grassmere run further west.  John and Peter built up their property Purrumbete and eventually switched from sheep breeding to cattle.

PURRUMBETE c1913 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/75019

On 4 September 1856, John married Marion Thomson at West Tamar, Tasmania.  They went on to have four sons and five daughters including past Passing Pioneers, Edward, James Chester and William.  John wasn’t interested in public life but he and Peter were generous contributors to the community. One example of their generosity is St Peters Church, Camperdown (below) to which they contributed greatly.

ST PETER’S CHURCH, CAMPERDOWN. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63204

You can read more about John Manifold and his brothers on the link to the Australian Dictionary of Biography http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/manifold-john-2839

ARMSTRONG, Alexander – Died 12 January 1890 at Shelford.  Alexander Armstrong was born at Kildonan, Scotland around 1824.  He married Barbara Thomson in 1851 and soon after they set sail for Australia on board Europa with Alexander’s sister Christian and her new husband James Thomson, arriving in 1852.  The following year Barbara died. Alexander first managed Warrambine (also known as Warrambeen) for Major John Bell until Bell’s death in 1876.  He was left £2000 from Bell’s estate.  He then took up a lease on the property and remained there until his death.

WARRAMBINE HOMESTEAD. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233634

In 1859, Alexander married widow Betsy Thomson (nee Sutherland) and they went on to have a large family.  Alexander’s sister Christian Thomson and her husband James took up residence at Monivae south of Hamilton in 1870. In 1888, Alexander purchased properties close by, Upper Audley and Arrandoovong near Branxholme.  He also had interests in an estate in the Riverina district of NSW.

At the time of his death, Alexander was the oldest councillor on the Leigh Shire Council, representing the East Riding.  He was known as generous and charitable and a leading member of the Leigh Presbyterian Church at Shelford.  At the time of his death, Alexander left his widow Betsy, five sons and four daughters.  He was buried at the Golf Hill Cemetery, Shelford.

Alexander’s estate was worth more than £200,000.  The estate of Alexander Armstrong retained Upper Audley until 1906 and Arrandoovong remained within the Armstrong family until 1923.  Betsy stayed on at Warrambine until the lease expired on 20 December 1892.  She moved to Brighton and died in 1923.

ROBERTSON, George – Died 15 January 1890 at Warrock.  

GEORGE ROBERTSON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/18268

When George Roberston died, an obituary was published in the Hamilton Spectator of 18 January 1890.  Included was George’s recent history from an unknown source and his early history taken from a Casterton Times obituary. On 22 January 1890, the Portland Guardian published an obituary with “particulars supplied” by an unknown source.  Information in the obituaries was quite different. The Hamilton Spectator obituary:

DEATH OF MR. GEORGE ROBERTSON. (1890, January 18). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved January 25, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225765999

The Portland Guardian obituary:

The Portland Guardian, (1890, January 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 (EVENING). Retrieved January 25, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63626300

The Hamilton Spectator/Casterton News stated George arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in 1843 aboard Lord Goodridge, staying there three or four years before travelling to Victoria with his brother J. Robertson “who took up Wando Vale estate”. Meanwhile, the Portland Guardian stated George had sailed on Lord Gaderage arriving in Van Diemen’s Land in January 1840 where he stayed a month before sailing to Victoria on Eagle captained by Captain Fawthrop of Portland.  A fellow passenger was William Corney and they landed at Portland Bay on 7 March 1840.  It continues…”He then joined his cousin J.G. Robertson who took up Wando Vale estate.  He remained with his brother for three years…”.

Checking the shipping news in newspapers of the time, I found George’s ship from England was not Lord Goodridge or Lord Gaderage, but rather Lord Goderich, also used to transport convicts.  The Lord Goderich arrived at Launceston on 7 February 1840.  George would have been around thirty-two at the time. On board was a Mr Robertson and two Misses Robertson. Unfortunately, there were no initials to help confirm if it was George.  While George might not have been related to the two Misses Robertson, he did have at least two sisters who came to Australia, Isabella and Ann. However, Isabella didn’t arrive in Australia until 1849 when she arrived with her husband Hugh Patterson and their family aboard  Duchess of Northumberland. George’s cousin John George Robertson (Wando Vale estate) who had already arrived in Van Diemen’s Land by 1840 also had at least two sisters who came to Australia.  Maybe they were the two Misses Robertson.

Shipping Intelligence. (1840, February 14). The Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen’s Land Gazette (Tas. : 1839 – 1840), p. 4. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8748202

The Portland Guardian obituary stated George only stayed in Tasmania about a month before going to Victoria on Eagle.  Sure enough, Eagle did sail to Victoria in the suggested timeframe, leaving Launceston on 28 February 1840.  On board were sheep, bullocks and horses for cousin John Robertson.  Also, the Guardian mentioned William Corney was a passenger on Eagle with George.  William Corney later married George’s cousin and sister of John Robertson, Stephen Rowan Robertson.  The shipping report from Launceston’s The Cornwall Chronicle in February 1840 shows there was a Mr Robertson on board Eagle and he was travelling with Mr Corney.

SHIP NEWS. (1840, February 29). The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880), p. 3. Retrieved January 22, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66015719

But was it John Robertson not George Robertson on Eagle?  There’s a good chance it was John.  Not only was there stock belonging to John on the ship but it’s likely at least two if not all the shepherds on Eagle were off to Portland Bay to work for John.  Only a month before the Eagle departed John Robertson, then living at Lake River in Van Diemen’s Land, advertised for shepherds and a splitter to go to Portland Bay.

Advertising (1840, January 2). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 1. Retrieved January 24, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article84751944

In addition, 1840 is the year generally given as the year John Robertson took up the Wando Vale run.  Checking shipping arrivals and departures via the Names Index on the Libraries Tasmania site, I found John Robertson made more trips from Tasmania to Portland Bay on Eagle in February and March but unfortunately no mention of George.  The newspapers show several voyages to Portland in the first months of 1840 with John’s stock on board. 

In contrast to the Portland Guardian, the Casterton News/Hamilton Spectator obituary stated George travelled to Victoria in 1843 with his brother J.Robertson. The Portland Guardian had a bet each way as to whether George had a brother J.Robertson stating after George arrived in 1840, he went to stay with his cousin J.G.Robertson, staying three years with his brother.  The Casterton News/Hamilton Spectator continued, suggesting after his 1843 arrival he then went to Nangeela, west of Wando Vale estate. Although not mentioned in the obituary, Nangeela was held by Robert Savage in 1843 with Captain Robert Dana.  But the Casterton News/Spectator went on to say George purchased Warrock from Robert Savage in 1845 or 1846.  However, William Wilmore owned Warrock at the time of George’s purchase, supported by the Portland Guardian obituary which said George purchased Warrock in 1844, the generally accepted year.

After all that we are really none the wiser as to when George arrived in Victoria, although the Portland Guardian was probably closer to the mark.  Either way, George was at Warrock on the Glenelg River from around the mid-1840s. 

Moving on to the 1850s, The Argus reported in February 1851, George had lost his home and between 1000 and 2000 sheep in a fire. The following year, he married his cousin Mary Ann Robertson, a sister of John Robertson of Wando Vale. They never had children but instead devoted their lives to Warrock and charitable work.  Over time, George built a large pastoral complex at Warrock. Not just the usual homestead, woolshed and staff quarters but more than fifty mostly timber buildings including a church.  Mary Ann established a beautiful home, known for its tasteful decor.

WARROCK HOMESTEAD c1865. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769377

WARROCK HOMESTEAD c1865. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769376

WARROCK c1900 Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769391

WARROCK c1900 Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/769389

George led a quiet life only stepping into public life to sit on the Glenelg Shire Council. As mentioned he was charitable and supported among other things, the Hamilton hospital, local public schools as well as the Casterton and Sandford Mechanics Institutes.  He was the founder of the Casterton Mechanics Institute (below) and was president at the time of his death.  He also donated to churches of all denominations.

CASTERTON MECHANICS INSTITUTE c1880. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/773754

Another passion for George was his dogs, importing Scotch Collies from the home of his birth.  The Kelpie breed descends from a pair of George’s imported collies.

Mary Ann died in 1886 and George died four years later leaving his large estate to his nephew George Robertson Patterson, a son of his sister Isabella. George was buried at the Old Casterton Cemetery.

You can see more of Warrock on the property’s website on the link www.warrockhomestead.com.au or Facebook page. www.facebook.com/warrockhomestead  Restoration is in progress with wonderful results so far.  George and Mary Ann would be pleased.

FAHEY, Patrick – Died January 1911 at Macarthur.  Patrick Fahey was born in Ireland around 1883. He arrived at Port Fairy about 1854 and settled at nearby Coddrington.  When land became available further north in the 1860s he selected land near Macarthur.  He stayed on his land until the mid-1870s when he built the Farmers Inn within the Macarthur township. Patrick married Catherine O’Connor.  Catherine died in 1881 aged forty-four.  He remarried to Mary O’Donnell in 1890. 

Patrick operated the Farmers Inn for around nineteen years, making additions in 1883.  He sold to Miss Grogan in 1892. Patrick then retired and lived out his days at Macarthur.  At some stage, an accident resulted in the amputation of one of his legs. Patrick was known for his good humour and his charitable ways.  He left his widow, Mary and six sons. The Farmers Inn burnt down on 18 June 1906.

MOLLOY, James – Died January 1913 at Balmoral.  James Molloy was born in Dublin, Ireland around 1853. He arrived at Portland around the age of sixteen.  He went straight to Charles Armytage‘s Fulham estate near Balmoral where he had a job.  After much hard work, James rose through the ranks until he became the manager of the property.  He worked there for forty-four years until his death.

STAFF QUARTERS AT FULHAM ESTATE c1977. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/214317

A Hamilton Spectator article from 2 September 1897 describing the Fulham stud stated James was “as enthusiastic a sheep man as one would care to meet”. James was a member of the Balmoral Pastoral and Agriculture Society.  He never married and left two sisters still living in Ireland at the time of his death.  James was buried at the Harrow Cemetery.

SAVIN, William – Died 2 January 1924 at Portland.  William Savin was born at Launton, Oxfordshire around 1843.  In late 1852, William left England with his parents Samuel Savin and Hannah Wise and five siblings aboard Eliza and landed at Portland in 1853.  The family headed to the Upper Crawford estate near Branxholme where there was work available.  Samuel then purchased the first land available for sale at Muddy Creek, just south of Hamilton.  When William was older, he and his brothers selected land at Mount Eccles (Budj Bim) near Macarthur. In 1865, William married Elizabeth Addinsall and they went on to have three daughters. 

Around 1900, William and Elizabeth retired to Portland where William was a member of the bowls and golf clubs.  He also had an interest in political happenings and was a past member of the Hamilton Farmers Union in the 1880s.  Elizabeth died in 1912 at Portland. William remarried to Theresa Lear in 1913.  They were living in Cameron Street, Portland when William died. He left his widow Theresa and three daughters from his first marriage.

HOOD, Eliza Mary – Died 22 January 1926 at Malvern.  Eliza Hood was born in Belfast, Ireland around 1847.  With her parents, she arrived at Hobson’s Bay, Victoria in 1852 aboard Marco Polo.

MARCO POLO BY THOMAS ROBERTSON (1819-1873). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/132534

Eliza’s father John Hood was a doctor and he set up a practice in Camperdown.  When Eliza was older she opened the Camperdown Ladies’ College.  In 1878, she was given a farewell as she was off to New Zealand to take up employment at the Invercargill Ladies High School.

The Chronicle. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 1878. (1878, December 24). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved January 14, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22473892

Eliza returned to Camperdown around 1881 and continued to educate the young ladies of Camperdown and district.

Advertising (1884, July 16). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 14, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23581723

In May 1886, the Camperdown Chronicle announced Eliza was leaving the district and selling her home in Brooke Street along with her furniture including a German-made piano, a harmonium and even the curtain rods.

Classified Advertising (1886, May 5). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 14, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22098133

In early August 1886, news came to Camperdown of Eliza’s marriage.  At the age of thirty-nine, Eliza married in Melbourne to widower sixty-eight-year-old Peter McArthur of Meningoort near Bookaar just north of Camperdown, on 31 July 1886.  Peter’s first wife Margaret had died in 1883.  Peter had nine children at the time ranging in age from their mid-twenties downwards.  Eliza and Peter had one son George born in 1887.  Peter died on 1 July 1897 aged seventy-nine.

MENINGOORT. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/169949

Eliza died at Malvern and her body returned to Camperdown for burial.

CARMICHAEL, Thomas – Died 5 January 1930 at Casterton.  Thomas Carmichael was born around 1874 at Casterton, one of fifteen children of Thomas Carmichael and Margaret Fletcher of Argyle station, Lake Mundi. Thomas attended the Portland College and then went to work for the Colonial Bank at the Casterton branch (below).

COLONIAL BANK OF CASTERTON c1880 Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia Image no. B 21766/88 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/88

Banking wasn’t for Thomas and he resigned from the bank and returned to Argyle station.  On 15 March 1915, Thomas married St Kilda’s Violet Malcolmson at Middle Park and they took up residence in Henty Street, Casterton. Despite living in town, Thomas kept a keen interest in the family-run Argyle and listed his occupation as a grazier.  He was a leading bowler for the Casterton Cricket Club and a councillor with the Glenelg Shire Council for ten years from 1911. He was Shire President from 1919 to 1920. During his time on council, Thomas was the main protagonist for a proposed Casterton water supply scheme which was eventually introduced.  He was also a supporter of the local returned servicemen after WW1.  Thomas left his widow, Violet and four children.

Passing of the Pioneers

When I started posting pioneer obituaries under the heading “Passing of the Pioneers” in July 2011, I never imagined that “Passing of the Pioneers” would still be going three years on. (I didn’t think Western District Families would still be going). Nor did I expect that I could announce this month marks the posting of the 500th pioneer obituary. Over the three years, thanks to the stories of those 500 pioneers, the amount I have learnt about Western District history and the families who built that history has been invaluable. However, the best aspect has been the number of people who have contacted me after finding their pioneering ancestor in the posts. I hope what I have provided has gone a little way toward them learning more about their ancestors’ lives.

The precis I give for each pioneer summarises the obituary that appeared in the paper when the pioneer passed away.  I don’t check the facts written there, such as ships sailed on or years of arrival.  I do search for the maiden name of married women, simply because I prefer to list them with their maiden names and not Mrs A. Smith, for example.  Sometimes I will search for further information about a pioneer and in the entry I include links to the sources I have found. So basically, what I give you is an index to pioneer obituaries with a link to the original and from there you can make what you like of the information provided at the time of the pioneer’s death. Obituaries are, after all, an inaccurate source as the information contained is second or third hand and rarely do you read of negative characteristics of a person or their failures in life.

Importantly, I must thank Trove Australia because without the digitised newspapers I would never have been able to find the 500 obituaries of some of the Western District’s great pioneers.

You can either search or browse the Passing of the Pioneers obituaries. Search a family name in the search box on the side bar of this page or select “Pioneer Obituaries” in the category box, also on the sidebar.  You can then browse through the 36 posts beginning with the most recent.  Simply click on the name of the pioneer to go to the newspaper obituary. If you find a family member, feel free to comment and give more information if you have any.  Leaving a comment increases your chance of finding someone else researching the same person.

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This month’s pioneers include two men who knew family members of mine with both men being important figures in their respective towns. There is also a bricklayer, a publican and one of the men who discovered the Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia.

Hugh MURRAY: Died 28 July 1869 at Colac. Hugh Murray was born in Scotland about 1814 and arrived in Tasmania with his parents and siblings in 1823.  At the age of twenty-three, Hugh left Tasmania for Victoria and settled on the banks of Lake Colac before there was a town and today is considered Colac’s first white settler. Hugh had pastoral interests but also sat as a Magistrate at the local Colac Magistrates Court. Last month’s Passing of the Pioneers included the obituary of Elizabeth Young of Hobart who married Hugh Murray in 1841.

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

Hugh knew my ggg grandparents Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry but not in the way one would like their ancestors to be acquainted with an outstanding citizen of Colac. It started with Thomas Gamble, said to have been employed by Hugh Murray to make bricks for his new home at Lake Colac, thus prompting the Gambles to move from Geelong to Colac. Their relationship soon soured. As early as 1851, Thomas’ wife Ellen faced Magistrate Murray in the Colac Court of Petty Sessions charged with drunkenness, one of dozens of charges she would face during her life and it certainly wasn’t her first. In January 1853, Thomas Gamble faced court as the defendant in a case against Hugh Murray. Although the handwriting in the original register of the Colac Court of Petty Sessions (p.83) is difficult to read, I can make out the words  –  “Thomas Gamble – Charged alleged arson in setting fire to Hugh Murray Esq.”.  Fortunately, the case was  dismissed.

Peter LEARMONTH: Died 19 July 1893 at Hamilton. Peter Learmonth was one of Hamilton’s most prominent citizens from the 1860s to the time of his death, contributing greatly to the growth of that town and the  villages surrounding it. Born in Scotland in 1821, Peter travelled to Tasmania to meet up with his brother William who had already bought land in that colony. Gold attracted Peter and he left for the Californian goldfields in the late 1840s. With no success, he made his way to Victoria in the early 1850s and had good fortune on the Castlemaine goldfields. Getting out while ahead during the mid-1850s, he took up a manager’s job at Merino Downs station owned by Francis Henty, but not before marrying Mary Jarvey Pearson at Portland in 1854.  By 1859, Peter purchased Prestonholme on the banks of the Grange Burn near Hamilton from George Younger and proceeded to build the Grange Burn Flour Mill. He later purchased mills at  Byaduk, Sandford and Penshurst.  The homestead at Prestonholme and the mill still stand today on the Mill Road, Hamilton.

PETER LEARMONTH'S PRESTONHOLME MILL. Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

PETER LEARMONTH’S GRANGE BURN MILL. Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

Not satisfied with his milling empire, Peter established P.Learmonth & Co Stock & Station agents in Gray Street, Hamilton. Peter’s sons continued the business after his death.

P. LEARMONTH & CO. STOCK & STATION AGENTS. GARY STREET, HAMILTON, WILLIAM TIBBITS (c1896). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.253/1 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/67235

Peter Learmonth was a member of the Dundas Shire Council for nine years, serving as President for four successive terms, a record he still holds. He was also one of the first councilors of the Borough of Hamilton. Peter was one of the driving  forces behind the Hamilton & Western District Boys College and Alexandra Girls School, two schools that built Hamilton’s foundations as an education town.

HAMILTON COLLEGE. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection. Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

HAMILTON COLLEGE. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection. Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

The Hamilton Hospital was another of Hamilton’s institutions that Peter Learmonth helped set up and was President of the Hospital for eighteen years.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

Two of  Peter Learmonth’s children married into families that were also influential in Hamilton ‘at the time. Eldest son James Allan Learmonth married Annie Thomson, daughter of John Thomson of Monivae in 1886.  A daughter Mary married the son of another prominent Hamilton man, David Laidlaw jnr, son of saddler and self-made man, David Laidlaw. Mary’s obituary appeared in April 2013 Passing of the Pioneers.  Messrs. Learmonth, Laidlaw and Thomson were a force to be reckoned with and include Peter’s brother, Alex Learmonth, also a man of much influence, and it is not surprising that they were able to grow Hamilton into one of Victoria’s most eminent towns.

Later in life, Peter purchased land in Mexico and gave his share to two of his sons. He also purchased Correa Estate” near Dunkeld and pursued pastoral interests with much success.

A supporter of the temperance movement, Peter was president of the Total Abstinence Society and the work of he and John Thomson, saw a Temperance Hall opened in Kennedy Street, Hamilton. They obtained an existing building and converted it to suit the needs of the Society.

As I write my Harman family history and delve into the local histories of Byaduk and Hamilton, Peter Learmonth comes up time and again. A Methodist, he knew my ggg grandfather James Harman and at one stage James was acting as an agent for farm machinery on Peter’s behalf.  James’ daughter Julia married George Holmes Jnr, the son of George Holmes who was a manager of the Grange Burn mill before managing the Byaduk mill. George Jnr worked at the Penshurst mill and took over the Sandford mill with his brothers.

Peter Learmonth passed away at his home at “Prestonholme” .  He was seventy-four.  Peter was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

GRAVE OF PETER LEARMONTH, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY.

GRAVE OF PETER LEARMONTH, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY.

PLAQUE ON THE GRAVE OF PETER LEARMONTH, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

PLAQUE ON THE GRAVE OF PETER LEARMONTH, OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

With his prominence with the Methodist Church, a memorial window was unveiled at the Hamilton Wesleyan Methodist Church in McIntyre Street on Sunday 7 January 1900. A new Methodist church was opened in Lonsdale Street,  Hamilton in October 1913, and the window was installed there.

020

THE PETER LEARMONTH MJEMORIAL WINDOW, HAMILTON UNITING CHURCH, FORMALLY HAMILTON METHODIST CHURCH

Sources:

Dundas Shire Centenary, 1863-1963. Hamilton Spectator for the Dundas Shire Council, [Hamilton, Vic.], 1963.

Garden, Donald S. (Donald Stuart) and Hamilton (Vic.). Council Hamilton, a Western District history. City of Hamilton in conjunction with Hargreen, North Melbourne, 1984.

Glenelg & Wannon Settlers (website)

Macdonald, Anita Mariposa : a story of the Learmonths of western Victoria and Mexico, 1834-1930. Heatherleigh Publishing, [Melbourne], 1982.

John SYMONS: Died 10 July 1914 at Hamilton. Born in Cornwall around 1828, John Symons’ trade was ship’s carpenter and after his arrival at Portland in 1854, his skills were in demand with much building work required. From Portland, John moved to Balmoral before settling at the Wannon, near Hamilton. John farmed but was also a contractor for the Roads Board and later the local Shires. One of his most important works in the district was constructing the bridge over the Wannon River at Redruth, a necessity to enable travel from Hamilton to Coleraine and beyond. Timber for the bridge was cut using pit saws and John did much of that work himself. During his marriage, John and his wife raised eleven children with seven still living at the time of his death.

William DUNN: Died 1 July 1914 at Box Hill. William Dunn arrived in Victoria in 1855 from Somersetshire aboard the Raven’s Craig.  After two years in Geelong, he rode by horseback to Hamilton, his home for the next forty-four years.  As a bricklayer and builder, he constructed the Victoria and Colonial banks in Hamilton with William Holden and  Budock Vean, a home in French Street, Hamilton still standing today.  A devout Methodist, he held various positions within the church.

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/89 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/89
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

Jane DONNELLY: Died 1 July 1914 at Hawkesdale. Born in Ireland around 1834, Jane Donnelly arrived in Australia in the 1860s, settling at Myamyn. She married William Walshe and they raised six children. In the meantime, Jane established the Foresters Hotel at Myamyn and ran a store to cater for the many carriers who used the town as a stopover on their travels.  After the death of her husband, Jane remarried to William Jenkins in 1883 and for a time ran the former Victoria Hotel at Portland.

John MUNRO: Died July 1914 at Hotspur. John Munro was born in Scotland around 1833 and sailed to Hobsons Bay aboard the Champion of the Seas in 1854. Gold must have been his primary reason for coming to Victoria as he spent time around the various diggings before travelling to New Zealand and the goldfields of Otago. After two years, he returned and took up residence at Portland and married in 1867. For many years, he was a storekeeper and post office operator.  He also engaged in farming pursuits and in the early 1890s took up land at Hotspur. At the time of his death, he left a widow and nine children. He was buried at the Hotspur Cemetery.

Alexander John McLEAN: Died 23 July 1915 at Hamilton.  Alexander McLean was born in Scotland around 1836 and arrived in Sydney as a three-year-old with his parents. They later moved to Victoria, taking up residence at Tower Hill. From there, Alexander went on to Myamyn and then Macarthur where he was a founding member of the Methodist Church.  Alexander enjoyed telling stories of the pioneer days, before bridges spanned creeks or railways traversed the countryside.  Alexander and his wife had nine children.

Sarah Ann FARNHAM: Died 21 July 1916 at Hamilton. Born in Somersetshire, England around 1839, Sarah Ann Farnham arrived at Portland in 1858. She married Andrew Lockie at Portland in 1860 and by 1866 they had moved to Hamilton were Andrew ran a saddlery business.  Leaving a family of six children and her husband, Sarah Ann was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

Mary SAVIN: Died July 1918 at Muddy Creek. Mary Savin was born in Oxfordshire and sailed to Victoria with her parents in 1853.  Around 1855, the family travelled north to Muddy Creek where they settled. Two years later, Mary married John Addinsall and they had a family of twelve children. Like many of the early settlers at Muddy Creek, Mary was a Methodist and it was in a crowded Muddy Creek Methodist Church where Mary was given her last farewell.

John HUXLEY: Died 21 July 1918 at Portland. John Huxley was born in Portland around 1863. During the 1890s, John travelled to Western Australia, lured by the discovery of gold, but unlike the other July pioneers who chose to seek their fortunes, John struck gold in a big way. John and several other men discovered the rich Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia. Having made his fortune, John returned to Victoria and purchased the Straun Estate at Merino. A keen racehorse owner, one of John’s big successes came less than a year before his death, when his horse the Ruralist, trained by James Agnew of Hamilton, won the Great Western Steeplechase at Hamilton in September 1917. The horse was also a two-time Brierly Steeplechase winner at Warrnambool.  John passed away at his seaside home Kenly at Portland and was buried at the South Portland cemetery.

Christina Emily FORD: Died 26 July 1931 at Hamilton. Christina Ford was born in Macarthur in 1880 into a well-known pioneering family. In 1905, she married William Baker and they moved to Portland and  raised nine children. Christina was a keen volunteer for the Portland Football Club and was a member of the Australian Women’s National League.

Charles HOLDER: Died 21 July 1922 at Warrnambool. The story of Charles Holder’s life appeared in the Portland Guardian on 28 September 1931, nine years after his death and it gives a great account of Melbourne and Victoria in the 1840s. Charles Holder was born in Bristol, England around 1838 and from the moment he set sail on the Wardshipton as a three-year-old with his parent and siblings, his great pioneering life had begun. The voyage in 1841, with almost 300 other immigrants was harsh with twenty-four deaths including twenty-two children.  hree of those children were Charles’ young sisters. Arriving at Hobson’s Bay, Charles, his parents and two remaining siblings, took a steamer along the Yarra River to Melbourne.

MELBOURNE 1841. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H6262/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

MELBOURNE 1841. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H6262/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

After spending time on stations around Melbourne, including Dandenong as a boy and young teenager, Charles made his way to the Western District, working at The Gums between Caramut and  Penshurst. By that time, it was the early 1850s, and Charles headed to the Bendigo diggings but like so many his luck was out and he returned to the west of the state, working at Grassmere near Warrnambool. In the early 1860s, he selected his own land at Cooramook and remained there for the rest of his life.

An obituary in the The Register (Adelaide) on September 2, 1922 , published at the time of Charles’ death has further detail of his pioneering life.

Ellen OSBOURNE: Died 15 July 1934 at Hamilton. Born at Portland, Ellen Osbourne married local builder Thomas Cruse and they continued to resided at Portland. She raised a family and was a devoted member of the Church of England.  Prior to her death, Ellen had been ill for many weeks and as a consequence was admitted to Kia Ora Private Hospital at Hamilton.  Ellen needed a blood transfusion but unlike today when we take for granted stocks of blood at hospitals, in 1934 there wasn’t a Red Cross Blood Bank. Therefore, Ellen’s son donated the blood required for the transfusion.  Unfortunately, it was not enough to save his mother.