Passing of the Pioneers

September Passing of the Pioneers sees ten new obituaries enter the Obituary Index. I started writing in mid-August and between limited time and some interesting stories among the subjects, it’s taken me almost to the end of September to finish.  You can read about a father and son, a woman who lost her sons during WW1 and another her grandson, and two young people who did so much in their comparatively short lives. There are also some connections as there often are.  They include two Branxholme pioneers who both operated out of the same shop. One of them became mixed up with rogue Hamilton solicitor Louis Horwitz just as another of the subjects did, however, their experiences were very much different.

WALKER, Duncan Stewart – Died 29 September 1889 at Camperdown. Duncan Stewart was born around 1827 in Arglyeyshire, Scotland. After the death of his father, Duncan came to Australia with his mother, arriving at Geelong in 1841.  Just thirteen  Duncan gained employment at Kardinia on the Barwon River, the run of Dr Alexander Thomson remaining for ten years.  He then went into partnership with Robert Lowe in a tanning and currier business on the Barwon River.  It operated successfully until the river flooded in June 1852. The following year the partnership was dissolved.

Advertising (1853, March 5). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 – 1856), p. 2 (DAILY.). Retrieved August 30, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94360577

However, Duncan started a partnership with another member of the Lowe family in 1853 when he married Robert’s sister Margaret.  Soon after he bought two lots of land at Lismore in September 1853 at a price of £25. Around 1860, he took over operations of the Leura Hotel at Camperdown and he and Margaret moved to that town

LEURA HOTEL, CAMPERDOWN. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/307684

After selling the hotel in 1867 to John Wiggins, Duncan went into partnership with John Paton in the Dixie estate on the Mount Emu Creek near Terang, but eventually, Paton left the partnership.  Duncan was elected to the Hampden Shire Council in 1870 and sat until 1888 serving as president for the last two years.  He was also the first chairman of directors of the Cobden Cheese and Butter Factory in October 1888.

COBDEN CHEESE & BUTTER FACTORY. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/772409

Duncan was an elder of the Terang Presbyterian Church,(below), and was also involved with the church at Camperdown and Ecklin. He had a special interest in ensuring the religious needs of the Presbyterian community of the Heytesbury Forest were met.

TERANG PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/3044 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63615

In 1886, Duncan sold Dixie estate.

Items of News. (1886, December 11). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved August 30, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226158486

It was subsequently subdivided.

SUBDIVISION OF DIXIE ESTATE Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/85606

After his death, memorial services were held for Duncan at the Presbyterian churches in the Terang district.

BROWN, Elizabeth Moncreif – Died 2 September 1900 at Hamilton. Elizabeth Brown, known as Bessie was born at Hamilton in1868, the eldest child of butcher Thomas Brown and Mary Ann Cameron.  When she was eight, she suffered from a bout of severe inflammation of the lungs damaging one of her lungs permanently. Bessie never married and devoted her life to her faith, charity, and temperance.  She was an active member of Hamilton’s St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church as a Sunday School teacher and honourary organist for around ten years.  

ST. ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (foreground) c1890. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/69513

In May 1900, at the financial business meeting of the church, Bessie was given a purse of sovereigns in recognition of her work as the organist.  She was also given a bound copy of the new Hymnary which was making its way into Victorian Presbyterian churches after being adopted by churches in Scotland.  Her father spoke on her behalf saying Bessie’s work was “purely a labour of love, and from sincere desire to advance the welfare of the church.”

Bessie was a member of the Hamilton branch of the Band of Hope, the Hamilton Total Abstinence Society, Society of Christian Endeavour of which she was treasurer, and she was secretary of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) from the time of its inception in Hamilton. At the last WCTU meeting before her death on 14 August 1900. when the time came for Bessie’s secretary’s report, her father was called on to read it, with the chairman commenting he was sorry they could not induce her to read the report herself.  

On 29 August 1900, Bessie contracted a cold, and inflammation to her lungs resulted. She rallied for a time, but things took a turn for the worse on 1 September and she died the following morning aged just thirty-two. She was remembered for her quiet, unassuming nature and her devotion and enthusiasm to her various voluntary endeavours.  That admiration was evident with the large attendance at Bessie’s funeral. The pallbearers were made up of prominent townsmen including three past and future Hamilton Mayors. 

Items of News. (1900, September 6). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved August 29, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225689541

After Bessie’s death, The Band of Hope held a special night of entertainment to honour her work with the organisation.  Bessie’s father Thomas died in 1903 and in 1904, memorial windows in honour of Bessie and Thomas were unveiled at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

RYAN, Anthony – Died 2 September 1901 at Perth.  Anthony Ryan was born to Thomas Ryan and Margaret Witherow at Sebastopol in 1871. Thomas worked with Victoria Railway and with the opening up of the railways in the south-west in the late 1870s, the Ryans moved close to Hamilton. Thomas worked as the railway gatekeeper at Pierrepoint on the Penshurst line. Anthony, known to all as Tony, attended the Warrayure State School just east of Hamilton.  He was a very bright student and his final marks saw him offered a scholarship to the Hamilton Academy to complete matriculation.  While still a student, he was also helping as an assistant teacher, and on finishing his matriculation, he began teaching in his own right at the Academy.

THE HAMILTON ACADEMY. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/58

He was then appointed headteacher of St Mary’s School in Hamilton around 1900. Around the same time, Tony’s younger brother Edmund was following in his footsteps. He had received a scholarship from the Academy and was dux in 1890.  Edmund was then was taken on as an articled clerk with local solicitors Samuel and Horwitz. He showed an aptitude for the law but his life was cut short at just seventeen. Edmund died on 20 June 1892 from rheumatic fever.  Tony and Edmund’s mother had only died in the months before.

That same year, Tony left education and himself went in the law, working as a clerk for Samuel & Horwitz and beginning his study for the law examination. When partner Samuel Samuel was elected to Victoria’s Legislative Assembly for the seat of Dundas in April 1892, Tony became his private secretary. Samuel, however, died suddenly in Melbourne on 28 July 1892.  Tony got involved with the Hamilton branch of the Progressive Political League. He was appointed acting honorary secretary in January 1893 and in August 1893 was elected president.  He was vice-president of the Catholic Young Men’s Society. He was also the secretary fo the Grangeburn Cricket Club and 4 October 1895 turned down a nomination for President because he would “probably leave Hamilton”.

Probably became definitely soon after when Tony aged twenty-four announced he was leaving for the Western Australian goldfields. On 17 October 1895, he was given a send-off at the Caledonian Hotel. It appears he travelled first to Niagara close to 200 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie and where gold was discovered in January 1895.  It was there he had an interest in a butcher shop with Mr Hill.  He then headed to the goldfields further north in the area between Leonora and Laverton, at the Mounts Margaret, Morgans, and Malcolm goldfields.

Tony got into action quickly and threw himself into the community. He was chairman of the first progress committee at  Malcolm and chairman of the hospital committee. He contributed to the Goldfields Press and the sporting journal The Umpire.  He also joined Charles Geddes in partnership in building the Royal Hotel at Malcolm 1897 which they conducted successfully.  

ROYAL HOTEL, MALCOLM (1899, June 3). The Menzies Miner WA, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article233066431

It was eventually time for both Tony and Charles Geddes to move on.  They sold the Royal Hotel and in September 1898, they were given a send-off by the people of Malcolm They explained their partnership would continue and they knew of some land which had not been prospected so they were going to try their luck. Two months later it was announced they were opening the Golden Pinnacle mine at the British Flag. Their luck must have been out because  Tony apparently ended up at Freemantle working at solicitors firm as an accountant. He then worked with a solicitor in Perth, before joining Dalgety & Co.  He then returned to the east and Hamilton.

GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/399057

On 7 March 1899, the Young Catholic Men’s welcomed Tony back to Hamilton and gave a talk about the geography of inland Western Australia, an area he described as the “land of sand and sorrow”. Over summer 1900, as all good Hamiltonians do he enjoyed a holiday in Port Fairy staying at the Star of the West Hotel. He also joined the Liberals and at a meeting in Hamilton in April 1900 to discuss all things political in the Shire of Dundas, Tony was appointed chairman. He also returned to work for Louis Horwitz.  It was said he assisted Horwitz on his work “The Consolidation of the Statutes of Victoria.” volumes of which were published in 1898 but also in September 1899. That would have left little time for Tony to contribute.

LOUIS HORWITZ (1898, December 1). Melbourne Punch , p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180221822

The goldfields of the west were once again summoning him.  At least friends from Mount Margaret who had notified him of a chance for candidature in upcoming WA elections It was an opportunity Tony couldn’t miss. He had a yearning for political life. In February 1901, a group met at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Thompson Street Hamilton to once again farewell Tony before his departure for the west. Louis Horwitz was among the speakers.

PRINCE OF WALES HOTEL, HAMILTON. (1888, April 17). Hamilton Spectator, p. 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225809074

The Evening Star in Perth conveyed news of the send-off from an article from The Age.  They added the following,

Political (1901, March 7). The Evening Star (Boulder, WA), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202849093

Unfortunately for Tony, he was not accepted as a candidate for the Labor party. His time away impeded his chances and he just missed out to fellow candidate George Taylor.  Tony joined George’s campaign assisting him in winning the seat.  On 16 April 1901, Tony was given a send-off at Lenora before his return to Perth after the elections.  He was presented with an inscribed gold locket.     

 

The Mt Lenora Miner, reflecting back only five months before when Tony was leaving Leonora, commented, “frequent were the remarks that the future premiership of the colony was within Mr Ryan’s grasp”.  The Mount Morgans Miner remembered him as one of the pioneers of Malcolm.  Tony was only thirty when he died but had done so much and had such a bright future. He was likened in several obituaries to West Australian Charles Vosper who died in January 190. They were taking similar paths into Western Australian public life.  They were also buried in the same cemetery, both in the Roman Catholic section.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
On 5 December 1902, a group of Hamilton townsmen met at the Prince of Wales Hotel to discuss a memorial for Tony. On 10 February 1904, a memorial was unveiled at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery.  Senator Trenwith was in town at the time so was asked to assist with the unveiling along with Father Shanahan.  A letter was read from Louis Horwitz who could not attend.

 

MEMORIAL FOR ANTHONY RYAN, HAMILTON (OLD) CEMETERY

BEST, Jabez – Died 9 September 1903 at Branxholme. Born in Hastings, England around 1821, Jabez arrived in Tasmania with his parents in 1829.  He remained there until  23 September 1843 when at the age of twenty-two, he boarded the Minerva and travelled to Portland Bay.  His brother Thomas had arrived there a year earlier on 20 April 1842 also on the Minerva. Thomas had made his way to the area known then as Arrandoovong, later becoming Branxholme. and was running the Travellers Rest hotel. 

In 1853, Jabez married Nanny Penrose and they went on to have six children.  Jabez ran a store in Branxholme and was also the first postmaster, not to mention the Electoral Registrar, Dog Inspector. the correspondent for the Common School, and Registrar for Births, Deaths, and Marriages something he did for forty years before his daughter Sarah carried on the role. Jabez was a member of the Branxholme Presbyterian Church congregation and was the first secretary of the Branxholme Branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

Jabez, who lived in Wyndham Street, Branxholme was rightly opposed to the poor treatment of the local aboriginals who knew him as “Sixty-Six”.  He was an abstainer and member of the Sons of Temperance. At the time of his death, he was the oldest pledged total abstainer in the Commonwealth having attended the first public Temperance meeting held in Tasmanian sometime around 1840.

Jabez left his widow Nanny, two sons, and four daughters to mourn him. He was buried at the Branxholme Cemetery, The Best family are remembered on the Branxholme Pioneer Wall, below.

BRANXHOLME PIONEER WALL

HAMILTON, Barnabas – Died 19 September 1907 at Kirkstall. Barnabas Hamilton was born around 1830 in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland. As a young man, he made a trip to New York but returned to Scotland where he married Ann Hope on 27 May 1854. Not long after, Barnabas and Ann, along with John, Catherine, and Matthew Hamilton, the parents and younger brother of Barnabas, began their journey to Australia. They set off from Aberlady, East Lothian travelling first to Edinburgh then Glasgow and then on to Plymouth, England where they sailed aboard the Oithona on 21 October 1854. They arrived at Portland on 30 January 1855.

John and Catherine went on to Warrnambool while Barnabas and Ann went to Kirkstall as Barnabas had obtained work on the property of Andrew Laidlaw. He remained there for three years before joining a shearing team at William Rutledge’s property Farnham Park between Warrnambool and Tower Hill. Barnabas and Ann settled at Kirkstall and raised six children. Barnabas was an elder of the Koroit Presbyterian Church (below).    

KOROIT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/389090

Barnabas was seventy-seven at the time of his death and left his widow Ann, four sons, and two daughters. He was buried at the Tower Hill Cemetery. Ann died in 1916. 

In 1937, four years after the death of Barnabas and Ann’s son John Hope Hamilton (see obituary below), a dusty box was found amongst his things.  Inside was an old diary belonging to Barnabas. It was then found Barnabas had visited New York prior to his marriage to Ann and their departure for Australia.  In the diary, Barnabas went into great detail describing the daily routine of the Sing Sing prisoners and the design of the prison.  You can read more on the link – Diary of Barnabas Hamilton.

SILBERBERG, Mayer Matus – Died 6 September 1908 at St Kilda. Mayer Silberberg was born around 1843 in Poland. While Mayer was still a young child, he and his parents Seacob (Jacob) and Golda, two elder sisters and an elder brother made their way to England. They then left London on 2 August 1853 aboard the ship Asia bound for Australia, arriving at Port Phillip. They settled in Melbourne and Jacob ran a shop in Queen Street. At one stage the family was living in Bourke Street opposite the Theatre Royal.

When he was fourteen, Mayer’s mother Golda died on 17 August 1857  aged forty. By then, Jacob was running a small shop in Little LaTrobe Street and by 1860, Mayer was working at the pawnbroker’s store of Wolf Brasch in Swanston Street. Wolf was also Mayer’s brother-in-law having married Esther Silberberg in 1857. 

Jacob Silberberg moved to Macarthur by 1863 to operate the  French General Store and Mayer followed his father.

Advertising (1863, March 6). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194859010

Jacob built a new store in Macarthur in 1866 which Mayer helped him run. In 1869 and at the age of twenty-six, it was time for Mayer to out on his own and he took over the store of Jabez Best (see obituary above) at Branxholme.  

Advertising (1869, May 15). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194473249

In 1872, Mayer married Caroline Issacs and they went on to have seven children. He also continued to build up his business.

Advertising (1872, August 21). Hamilton Spectator, p. 3.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194847009

Mayer took over the shop of Mr Maxwell at Condah in 1879. He took out a grocer’s liquor license as he had done with the Branxholme store, something that would not have happened while teetotaller Jabez Best owned it.   

Advertising (1899, July 29). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918), p. 3 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225680581

In January 1885, there was a fire at Mayer’s Branxholme store. The family home was attached and they lost all their possessions but Mayer rebuilt. 

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator  14 February 1885:   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225661212

Mayer also took part in money lending.

Advertising (1889, August 15). Hamilton Spectator p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225764094

 

Mayer was active in the community.  He was a member of the Branxholme Mechanics Institute and a founder of the Branxholme Debating Society. He was secretary of the Branxholme Cemetery trust for seventeen years.  On 1 May 1885, a rifle club was formed at Branxholme on Mayer’s suggestion and he was a member of the first committee. Mayer was a Portland Shire councillor for around fourteen years and was president at the time of Australia’s Federation in 1901

In February 1902, Mayer announced was retiring from business and was moving to Melbourne. In March 1902, he resigned from his position on the Portland Shire Council  He was described by the Portland Guardian as the “Pooh-Bah” of Branxholme. The following month, on 4 April 1902, a gathering was held at Branxholme to farewell Mayer and Caroline from the district.  John Thomson of Monivae presided and various tributes were paid, telling of the charitable work of the pair.  They were presented with two silver dishes.  The inscription read, “Presented to Mr, and Mrs. Silberberg by the residents of Branxholme and Condah, as a token of esteem and regard, on their departure from the district after a residence of 32 years”. Soon after they moved to their new home in  High St, Prahan. 

In November 1903, Mayer lent his son Sidney £2000 plus interest so Sidney, a solicitor could enter a partnership with Hamilton solicitor Louis Horwitz. Horwitz guaranteed Sidney a return of £1000 return per annum. In June 1904, Horwitz left Hamilton for Western Australia. Reports came back a week after his departure that had fallen overboard from a ship between Adelaide and Freemantle and drowned.  Soon after, Sidney began hearing his partner had misappropriated significant sums of money from many Hamilton and district residents.  It turned out Horwitz didn’t drown.  He had faked his death and was subsequently brought back to Victoria to stand trial, leading to jail time.  That didn’t help Sidney.  He was insolvent and his father became a creditor of Horwitz.  Sidney faced the insolvency court in 1906.         

Mayer Silberberg died on 6 September 1908 at his home in High Street Prahan, leaving his widow Caroline, four sons, and three daughters. He was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery. Mayer left money in his will to the St Kilda and East Melbourne Synagogues, the Children’s Hospital, and the Melbourne Jewish Philanthropic Society.

The repercussions of Sidney’s failed partnership with Louis Horwitz were still dragging on in 1913, as Mayer’s family were trying to settle his estate.  Proceedings in the Insolvency court focused on a second mortgage taken out by Mayer on land in Hamilton and the underestimation of his proof of debt.  If you are interested in learning more you can read the related articles on the following links – Insolvency Court 1 – 7 November 1913 and Insolvency Court 2 – The Outcome – December 1913 

URQUHART, Alexander Wilson – Died 20 September 1911 at Myamyn.   Alexander Urquhart was born in Glasgow, Scotland around 1822.  He arrived at Portland in 1853 and got work at Bowett station.  Soon after he married Euphemia McDonald of Branxholme. About ten years into their marriage they moved to the Whittlebury district near Condah.  Alexander obtained work as a shepherd for Cecil Cooke at the Lake Condah estate. He continued in that work for forty-seven years eventually working for Cecil’s son Samuel Winter Cooke.

In 1901, a bushfire that started at Tahara spread to the Condah area. Alexander’s wife Euphemia had her hands and feet badly burnt and was lucky to be saved by one her sons. Their home was not saved.  Alexander and Euphemia took up residence at the Condah Hills homestead where their son John was the manager.  Euphemia, who never fully recovered from the shock of the fires, died in July 1907. When Condah Hills was sold by Samuel Winter Cooke in 1911, Alexander went to live with his son but his health quickly declined.  Alexander left five sons and three daughters and was buried at the Myamyn cemetery.

BARCLAY, Janet – Died 4 September 1916 at Hamilton.  Janet Johnstone was born around 1840 in Scotland. Her family arrived in Victoria was she was still a young child and her father John Barclay operated the Greenvale Inn near Heywood. Janet married James Bannam in 1864 and they went on to have nine children.  She was an active woman, often outdoors, and was an excellent horsewoman. Janet had great community spirit and was always ready to help.  Back in the times when medical help was still some distance away, she was often called on to for assistance. 

In early June 1895, an explosion at the sawmill of James Bannam at Dunmore near Heywood, her son Arthur Bannam was killed along with her brother Robert Barclay.  WW1 broke and Janet grandson John died in 1915 from wounds received at Gallipoli.  Janet fell sick in September 1916 and was taken from her home in Milltown to the Hamilton Hospital where she died. She was buried at the Hamilton (Old) Cemetery. Janet left her husband James, seven sons, and two daughters.

McPHERSON, Mary – Died 30 September 1920 at Bostock’s Creek.  Mary McPherson was born in Canada to Scottish parents around 1848.  She arrived in Australia with her parents when she was four.  In 1869, Mary married Arthur Clingin. Arthur had discovered the Homeward Bound reef at Hillsborough in north-east Victoria around 1865.  They went on to have eight sons and two daughters. Arthur died in November 1897.  At the time her youngest child was just five and her oldest twenty-six. Mary made a move to the Camperdown district around 1900. She spent fifteen years living at Bostocks Creek. Tragedy came in November 1912, her son Wilfred, known to the family as “Little Billy” died in Albany, Western Australia at the age of thirty-two,

Mary was a member of the local Church of England congregation and helped out with community events. During WW1 three of Mary’s sons enlisted and she did her bit with the Red Cross.  The war, however, took its toll on Mary who suffered anxiety while her sons where away, heightened by the capture of her son George as a POW.  George died in a POW camp from pneumonia in 1918.  Mary died on 30 September 1930 and was buried at Camperdown Cemetery,  

HAMILTON, John Hope – Died 13 September 1933 at Camperdown.

SOME OF THE JUDGES, ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SHOW—No. 3. (1911, September 21). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic.), p. 19. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146571833

John Hamilton was born at Kirkstall around 1856 to Barnabas Hamilton and Ann Hope. When still a boy, he went to work at nearby Farnham Park where his father also worked.  After seven years John was taken on as manager and remained for a further four years.  He then rented a dairy farm from William Horne at Allansford sending milk from his cows to the Warrnambool Butter Factory.  In 1882, John married Mary Alice Smith of Port Fairy. 

John and Mary then moved to Renny Hill on the banks of Lake Bullen Merri at Camperdown, with John taking over the running of the dairy which at the time was at the top of Park Lane, later named Taylor Avenue. Eventually, John became the manager of the whole estate from about 1911. The family lived in the manager’s residence (below). until around 1921 when they moved to their own home in Taylor Avenue opposite Rennyhill.

MANAGER’S RESIDENCE RENNY HILL, CAMPERDOWN (1899, August 12). Leader (Melbourne, Vic ), p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO “THE LEADER”). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198073954

When John arrived at Renny HIll the cows were mostly Jersey but he purchased a shorthorn bull at the Royal Melbourne Show, greatly improved the herd. He also set about improving the dairy and built a piggery.  So successful was his farm management, he won the Leader Dairy Farms Competition, worth 50 guineas, and open to all farms in the State. Mr. Hamilton’s portion of the prize was an inscribed silver teapot, given to him by William Taylor. Photos of Renny Hill also appeared in the Leader newspaper as seen below.

RENNY HILL, CAMPERDOWN (1899, August 12). Leader (Melbourne, Vic), p. 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO “THE LEADER”). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198073954

The following year, the Camperdown Chronicle included John in a series “Talks with District Dairymen” and he imparted his expert knowledge of dairy farming. A sample is below

TALKS WITH DISTRICT DAIRYMEN. (1900, May 17). Camperdown Chronicle p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26108100

William Taylor wasn’t keen on cropping, but eventually, John convinced him to trial three acres of oats. So impressive was the crop, oat cropping became a regular part of the farm.  John also trained sheep dogs and was in demand as a cattle judge at agriculture shows throughout the Western District and the Royal Melbourne Show.  He was also involved with the Camperdown Pastoral and Agriculture.

During WW1, George Leonard Hamilton, a son of John and Ann served with the 7th Field Engineers as a farrier reaching the rank of Sergeant and being Mienitoned in Distpatches.  Mary died on 11 November 1931.  In March 1933, just six months before John’s death, the Camperdown Chronicle ran a story on John, preserving some of his memories.  John was seventy-seven at the time of his death on 13 September 1933. He was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery leaving five sons and one daughter.

Passing of the Pioneers

Looking back through previous Passing of the Pioneers posts, I noticed the months of April and May have missed out a couple of times over the last five years.  To remedy that, this is joint post and look at the obituaries of seven pioneers from each of those months.  As usual, there are some wonderful stories and characters from towns across the Western District. Hexham features prominently with two of the best known past residents of the district included.   Be sure to click on the underlined text as you’ll find links to further information about the subjects.  

APRIL

CAMERON, Donald – Died April 1870 at Campbellfield.  Donald Cameron was born in Scotland around 1812 and travelled to Sydney about 1835.  He first selected at Mount Sturgeon Plains. He later took over Morgiana earning him the name “Morgiana Cameron” around the Hamilton district where he was known for wearing full Highland regalia to town.  Donald also held Bochara Station.  He was fifty-eight at the time of his death.  The Hamilton Spectator reported on the death of “Morgiana Cameron”, presenting him not very flattering terms.

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 6 April 1870: 2. Web. 23 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196307141&gt;.

In response, Donald’s brother John wrote to the Hamilton Spectator, setting the record straight and reminding the paper that one should not speak ill of the dead.

“THE LATE MR. DONALD CAMERON.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 13 April 1870: 3. Web. 23 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196302866&gt;.

CHAPMAN, James – Died 15 April 1886 at Colac.  James Chapman was born in Scotland and attended the Bathgate Academy before working for the Linen Bank Company.  He arrived in Victoria around 1873 and started work with the Colonial Bank.  He was the manager at Sandhurst, then Portland for nine years before moving to the Colac branch.  Well known in Masonic circles, James was the Worshipful Master of the Warrion Lodge. His funeral included a Masonic burial service.  The Colac Herald published a further description of James’ life on 16 April 1886.

HORNE, John – 6 April 1914 at Terang.  John Horne was born in Scotland around 1825.  He arrived in Victoria in 1852 and tried his luck at the diggings before moving to the Warrnambool district.  He then went on to Terang in 1857 where few buildings existed and families lived in tents. John married Catherine McLean at Warrnambool in 1859 and they settled in High Street, Terang with John working as a bootmaker.  Two days before his death, John celebrated his fifty-seventh year in the town and was the longest continuous resident. He was a leading member of the Terang Presbyterian Church (below) and was a member of the Sons of Temperance, secretary of the Cemetery Trust and was on the State School Board of Advice.  He was also a trustee of the Mechanics Institute and the Public Park.  Catherine died in 1910 and John left a family of seven children.

THOMPSON MEMORIAL CHURCH, TERANG 1966. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234278

PETRAS, Johanna – Died 11 April 1916 at Hamilton.  Johanna Petras was born in Prussia in 1816 and arrived in Australia at Geelong in 1855 with her husband Friedrich Herrmann.  They took up land near Muddy Creek in 1869 where they settled.  Johanna and Friedrich kept an orchard and vegetable garden, large enough to sell produce to the people of Hamilton each week. The couple attended St Lukes Lutheran Church (below) in South Hamilton.  Friedrich died in 1893 after a kick from a horse at the age of seventy-two.  They had four children with two still living at the time of Johanna’s death.

FORMER ST. LUKE’S LUTHERAN CHURCH, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229921

LITTLE, Thomas – Died 5 April 1917 at Camperdown.  Thomas Little was born around 1862 living at Terang all his life.  In 1886, he married Caroline Patterson.  Thomas was a founder of the Terang Butter Factory Company and a member of the Oddfellows Lodge.  At the time of his death, Thomas was looking after his son’s property Wiridgil near Camperdown.  He died suddenly after milking the cows on the morning of 5 April.  Thomas left his widow Caroline, two sons and one daughter and was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

HOULIHAN, Ellen – Died 26 April 1917 at Mortlake.  Ellen Houlihan was born in County Kerry, Ireland around 1837 and arrived in Victoria about 1857.  She spent some time at Warrnambool before moving to Mortlake.  In 1860, Ellen married James Campion and James ran a bootmaking business in Mortlake.  James died in 1895 and their son Michael took over the business. Ellen was a member of the Mortlake Roman Catholic Church congregation. She left two sons at the time of her death.

CATHOLIC CHURCH, MORTLAKE, Image courtesy of the State Libary of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64602

HOOD, Robert Alexander David – Died 10 April 1934 at Hexham.  Robert Hood was born at Merrang at Hexham in 1863 and attend Geelong Grammar School.  Better known as Alex, after his schooling he went to Burenda Station in Queensland to learn about station life before returning to Merrang to take over operations from his father.  Upon his fathers’ death,  Alex inherited Merrang.

MERRANG, HEXHAM. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231920

Alex was a champion polo player and a member of the “Caramut Four” polo team.  He was also captain of the Victorian team, touring the colonies and New Zealand. Below is a photo of the Victorian team in 1899 including other members of the Caramut team.  Further down, you’ll find another photo of Alex  Hood with James Chester Manifold and another Hexham passing pioneer.

“INTERCOLONIAL POLO MATCH.” Melbourne Punch (Vic. : 1855 – 1900) 18 May 1899: 21. Web. 26 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180224372&gt;.

In 1909, Alex married Georgina Anderson and they raised their family at Merrang.  Alex was a renown breeder of Lincoln sheep and racehorse owner.  He sat on the committee of the Warrnambool Racing Club for around forty years and won the 1918 Warrnambool Cup with Mneon.   He was also a Mortlake Shire councillor for over forty years. .  There are many photos of Alex Hood in the newspapers at Trove, easily found searching R.A.D.Hood and filtering the illustrated articles.  Most are from the races, like the photo from 1909 below showing Alex in the centre.

“WATCHING THE PARADE OK STEEPLECHASERS.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 8 May 1909: 30. Web. 27 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139692972&gt;.

More information and photos about the Hexham Polo Club are on the link here.  Further reading about the Hoods at Merrang is available on this link to The Australasian

MAY

MALSEED, John – Died May 1915 at Myamyn. John Malseed was born in Donegal, Ireland in 1824 and arrived at Portland in 1849 where he started in the carpentry trade. He married Elizabeth Wallace and a daughter was born in 1851.  With the discovery of gold at Ballarat, John left his family in Portland and walked to the diggings where he had some luck.  In 1866, John moved his family to Sunnyside at Myamyn and worked as a contractor for the Portland Council.  The Malseed family attended the Myamyn Methodist Church where John was superintendent of the Sunday School.  Elizabeth died in 1891.  The couple had ten children but only five were living at the time of John’s death at the age of ninety-two

WATERS, John – Died 4 May 1917 at Nareen.  John Waters was born in Ireland’s north at Lurgan in 1830.  Newly married, James and his wife Ellen Maxwell arrived at Portland aboard the General Hewitt in 1856 and John secured work at Newlands near Apsley.  They went on to Lake Wallace North before settling at Rock View near Nareen where they settled and John raised Merino sheep.  At the time they were among the first settlers in the district.  John and Ellen went on to raise five sons and three daughters.  Ellen died in April 1913 and John in 1917 aged eighty-six.  District newspapers,  such as the Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser below, published parts of John’s Casterton News obituary.

“PORTLAND RED CROSS.” Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 10 May 1917: 2 (MORNING). Web. 27 May 2017 .

The Casterton News of 7 May 1917 added John had “little sympathy for the coddling legislation of later days, being a whole-souled believer in the fine old doctrine of ‘Paddle your own canoe.'”

McBAIN, Anne – Died 12 May 1917 at Casterton.  Born in Scotland around 1831, Anne McBain married Archibald McKinnon and they left for Australia arriving at Port Adelaide on the Man-O’-War in 1854.  Travelling to Victoria, they settled at Dergholm where they spent the next thirty years raising four sons and four daughters.  In her later years, Annie moved to Casterton. and regularly attended Scots Church.  At the time of her death, Anne left eighteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  One-third of her grandchildren were serving overseas when she died, with six grandsons enlisted.  Because of her family’s involvement in the war, on 20 May 1917, Annie was to attend Scots Church to unveil the second list on the church honour roll but she died the week before. Her death came on the anniversary of the death of her husband Archibald in 1898.
 
 

SCOTS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CASTERTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63512

NIXON, George – Died 16 May 1917 at Terang.  Born around 1833 in Northumberland, England, George Nixon arrived at Port Fairy aboard the Tiptree on 9 January 1857.  He married Emily Parry in the same year and they moved to Caramut. After twenty years they moved to Lovely Banks near Garvoc where they remained for thirty years.  George bred and exhibited Lincoln sheep and his relatively small but successful stud caught The Australasian newspaper’s attention with an article on 5 August 1899.  His sheep, and presumably George, were photographed in 1898 at the Sheep-Breeders Show.

“THE SHEEP-BREEDERS’ SHOW.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 13 August 1898: 32. Web. 28 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138603271&gt;.

Around 1907, George and Emily moved to McKinnon Street, Terang where Emily died in 1913.

URQUHART, Roderick Robert – Died 18 May 1917 at Hexham.  Roderick Urquhart was born around 1849, a son of Roderick William Urquhart and Lydia Fraser.  Roderick’s father arrived in Sydney in 1837 before travelling to Victoria 1842. When Roderick Jr was born, the Urquharts were settled at Yangery Park at  Illowa near Warrnambool.  Around the time Roderick was seven, the Urquharts returned to Scotland for the children’s education.  Went they returned to Yangery Park in 1862, Roderick’s father purchased Ardachy near Branxholme for Roderick and his brother Angus.  They ran it for a few years before selling and Roderick left for Queensland in the Birdsville district.  

By 1882, Roderick was back in Victoria and forming a partnership with Walter Armstrong of Hexham Park.  Another partnership Roderick entered into was his marriage tp Walter’s sister Mary Helen Armstrong (below) in 1883.  Roderick and Mary, better known as Helen, had two sons and three daughters.

MARY HELEN ARMSTRONG c1882 Stewart & Co. photographer. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/235424

During the mid-1900s, Hexham Park was divided up and Roderick and Walter’s partnership dissolved.  Roderick took up part of the former Hexham Park property and named it Boonerah.  Sons Keith and Roderick Jr were members of the Caramut Polo Club (later known as the Hexham Polo Club) and Roderick enjoyed supporting them.  He also enjoyed the races and in 1914, three of Hexham’s most notable gentleman were photographed together at the Colac races.  They are from left Roderick Urquhart, James Chester Manifold of Bortkoi, Hexham and Alex Hood (see April obituaries above)

“COLAC TURF CLUB: CUP MEETING, FEBRUARY 24.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 28 February 1914: 68. Web. 29 May 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143317765&gt;.

When WW1, broke both Roderick and Helen’s sons enlisted.  Roderick Jr, better known as Roddie, was killed on 7 August 1916 in Palestine aged thirty.  Roderick and Helen learnt the news soon after and it may have contributed to Roderick’s sudden death eight months later at the age of sixty-eight.  Keith returned to Australia on 11 July 1917, two months after his father’s death.  You can read Roderick Urquhart’s Obituary Australia entry on the link here.

NELSON, Thomas – 8 May 1918 at Colac.  Thomas Nelson was born in Scotland on Christmas Eve, 1844.  He became a sailor and sailed to “practically every seaport in the world”.  He arrived in Australia around 1865, settling at Cressy.  Thomas married Eliza Ann Perkins in 1869.  In those times, Cressy consisted of only three buildings being two stone houses and the Frenchman’s Inn. Thomas built many stone walls in the district including at Yarima where his brother John was the manager for many years and where Thomas worked for four years.

YARIMA STATION, CRESSY c1912 Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/369501

Thomas selected around twenty acres at Mia Mia near Poorneet growing barley which he carted to Ballarat.  With the lands opening up in the Wimmera, the Nelsons moved to Donald but drought saw them eventually return to Cressy.  Thomas then started working on the roads for the Cressy Shire Council.  At the time of his death, Thomas left his widow Eliza, five sons, four daughters and thirty-three grandchildren.  He was buried at the Cressy Cemetery.

STEVENSON, Joseph Tyson – Died May 1938 at Hamilton.  Joseph Stevenson was born at Portland around 1873, a son of Joseph Stevenson and Mary Hale. Joseph’s first worked at the Portland Guardian learning the newspaper printing trade.   He then took a job with the Echo in Ballarat.  Joseph married Laura Pfundt in 1899 and they moved to Hamilton where Joseph worked as a compositor at the Hamilton Spectator. Retirement in 1936 was a chance for  Joseph to try farming, something he had longed to do.  He purchased land near Mount Gambier but took ill and never got the opportunity to pursue his dream.  In his day, Joseph took part in competitive cycling races.  He left his widow Laura, three daughters and six sons.