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.