“Claremont” Portland

It’s been 18 months since our Portland visit and I’m still trying to find a moment to share some photos.  Recently I got around to writing the Portland Botanical Gardens post that had sat in my drafts for months with just photos waiting to be fleshed out.  It’s the fleshing out that is my downfall as you will see soon see.

While in Portland, I stole myself away and took the Portland Historic Buildings walking tour.   Incredibly for a town of its size, there are more than 200 buildings in the Portland CBD that date back to the 1800s.  It was on that self-guided tour that I found “Claremont” at 65 Julia Street, just along from the St Stephen’s Church.

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I had only intended to share the photos of “Claremont” and give a small amount of information about the former residents, but as usual, once I got searching at Trove I couldn’t leave it at that.  There was very little information about “Claremont” elsewhere online, save for an entry on the Victorian Heritage Database that only gave the person who had the house built and an early resident, information I had from the walking tour guide.  But it was Trove that took the story of “Claremont” an extra step.  Or two.

Stephen George Henty  had “Claremont”  built in 1852.  He rented the property to his brother Francis, but Francis only used “Claremont” as his seaside residence while his country residence was Merino Downs Station” and his city residence was “Field Place”  at Kew in Melbourne.

BUILDING an Aristocracy for AUSTRALIA. (1934, December 15). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 19. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58435596

FRANCIS AND MARY-ANN HENTY – BUILDING an Aristocracy for AUSTRALIA. (1934, December 15). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 19. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58435596

As “Claremont” was not a permanent home there was not much to be found about it in the papers until 1889 when Francis Henty passed away at “Field Place“.  He left “Claremont” and the furniture to his daughter Caroline Henty (1849-1914).  As he was able to bequeath “Claremont“, formally owned by his brother , it is likely that Stephen Henty left the house to Francis at the time of his own death in 1872.  I have not been able to find information about Stephen Henty’s estate at either PROV or Trove.

The Will of the late Mr. Franis Henty. (1889, March 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592299

The Will of the late Mr. Franis Henty. (1889, March 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592299

The three daughters of Francis Henty also inherited “Merino Downs”.

The Late Mr. Francis Henty. (1889, March 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), p. 513. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19812393

The Late Mr. Francis Henty. (1889, March 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), p. 513. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19812393

In 1900, the sisters registered a Deed of Partition and “Merino Downs” was split into three separate properties, “Merino Downs”, “Talisker” and “Wurt Wurt Koort”  with each sisters retaining a property each.  Caroline took charge of “Talisker Estate .

Caroline was quite a catch and a year after her father’s passing she married  Alexander Magnus McLeod (1846-1910), not a bad catch himself.  With Caroline and Alexander living at the “Talisker Estate”, Alexander’s spinster sisters Catherine (1845-1919) and Constance (1859-1934) and, at times, his bachelor brother Wallace (1855-1919) took up residence at “Claremont“.

The McLeods were the children of John Norman Mcleod and Agnes Patterson.  John owned “Castlemaddie” at Tyrendarra and “Maretimo” at Portland.  Incidentally, John purchased “Castlemaddie” and while he was waiting for the sale to go through, he had “Maretimo” built.  Constance was born at “Maretimo” in 1859.

"MARETIMO", PORTLAND, VICTORIA. ca.1874-ca.1895.  Photographer: O.Dolphin.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no.  H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

“MARETIMO”, PORTLAND, VICTORIA. ca.1874-ca.1895. Photographer: O.Dolphin. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

While I can’t find when Alexander McLeod’s siblings went to live at “Claremont“, at least one Miss McLeod was in residence  in 1902, although she was heading off for a summer holiday.

[No heading]. (1902, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 10. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page332030

[No heading]. (1902, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 10. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page332030

Another possible guide was the death of the McLeod sister’s mother Agnes Patterson in 1901.  Her obituary stated  she had moved into town from “Castlemaddie” and passed away in Julia Street.

There was also a death of a baby at “Claremont” in 1904.  I did try to find a link between Phyllis Mary Crawford and the McLeods or the Hentys, but after a quick look without success, I gave up.  The story was getting deep enough.

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Claremont” hosted the St. Stephen’s girls confirmation class in April 1909 as they gave thanks to Catherine and Constance for making their confirmation veils.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1909, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63987683

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1909, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63987683

The Portland branch of the Australian Women’s National League was established during a meeting at “”Claremont” in January 1911.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1911, January 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63979327

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1911, January 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63979327

Through the years, the  McLeod sisters occasionally ran advertisements looking for staff.  In 1912, a general servant was required.

Advertising. (1912, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64003591

Advertising. (1912, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64003591

In 1914, Caroline McLeod (Henty) passed away.  Her probate documents listed “Claremont” and the two acres of land it stood on to the value of £160,000.  Her estate was placed in trust for her two daughters Caroline Agnes Henty McLeod ( 1892-1943) and Alexandra Frances Henty McLeod (1894-1943) aged 22 and 20 respectively at the time of their mother’s death.  In the meantime the girls’ aunts and uncle continued to live at “Claremont“.

In July 1919, Wallace McLeod passed away aged 64 at “Claremont“.

Portland Guardian. (1919, July 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959256

Portland Guardian. (1919, July 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959256

Two months later his older sister, Catherine was dead.

Portland Guardian First Issue August 20, 1842. (1919, September 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959741

Portland Guardian First Issue August 20, 1842. (1919, September 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959741

The death of her brother and sister in such close succession, led Constance to reconsider her future at “Claremont“.  On June 9, 1920 she held a auction of furniture.

Advertising. (1920, June 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021540

Advertising. (1920, June 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021540

A week later, her friends gave her a send off in the St Stephen’s Parish Hall.

ST STEPHEN'S CHURCH HALL, PORTLAND

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH HALL, PORTLAND

Constance was going on an extended holiday.  She was most likely heading to New Zealand to stay with her sister Jessie, married to Frederick Loisel.  Jessie  was present at the send off and lived in New Zealand by that time.

cl3

Presentation to Miss McLeod. (1920, June 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021677

Presentation to Miss McLeod. (1920, June 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021677

In 1934,  Constance passed away in New Zealand.  She and her sister Jessie had just departed Hamilton, New Zealand bound for Portland for the Portland Century Celebrations, when Constance fell ill and died.

Obituary. (1934, October 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286992

Obituary. (1934, October 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286992

After the deaths of Wallace and Catherine and the departure of Constance, “Claremont” was vacant.  In June 1920, the Estate of Caroline Henty, advertised “Claremont” for lease by tender with a term of three years.

Advertising. (1920, June 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021641

Advertising. (1920, June 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021641

There is something about the  staircase in the foyer of “Claremont”.  I think it is because I can imagine the likes of Mrs Mary-Ann Henty, wife of Francis, or her daughter Caroline, sweeping done the stairs in their crinolines while in summer residence.  The State Library of Victoria holds a photograph of Caroline Henty in her crinoline, if you care to imagine further.

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Taking up the lease of “Claremont” in 1920 was Caroline Florence McLean , daughter of Hector McLean and Mary Ann Humphries of Casterton.  Only a year after her arrival another death occurred at “Claremont“, that of returned WW1 soldier Benjamin Byard.   Reading Benjamin’s War  Service Record I found that he only made it as far as England when he fell ill with tuberculous.  He spent time in hospital in England before returning to Melbourne and was again confined.  Once released he travelled to his hometown of Casterton to meet up with friends.  It was suggested to him that he visit Portland and he ended  up at the home of Caroline McLean.

When I initially found this story, I couldn’t understand how Ben just seem to pitch his tent in “Claremont’s” front yard. It was after finding out more about Caroline that I found her Casterton link and that went a long way to explaining how Ben chose her front yard to pitch his tent.

A Pathetic Ending. (1921, August 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024369

A Pathetic Ending. (1921, August 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024369

It was a happier time at “Claremont” in June 1922, when Maud McLean of Casterton, Caroline’s sister, married James Anderson of East Malvern, at St Stephens Church.  The wedding breakfast was held at “Claremont

Family Notices. (1922, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64026127

Family Notices. (1922, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64026127

After seven years at “Claremont” it was time for Caroline to move on.  An afternoon tea was held as a send off.  One of the attendees was Sarah Wadmore, author of Portland’s Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.

Valedictory Tea. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64256993

Valedictory Tea. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64256993

After the departure of Caroline McLean, “Claremont” was put up for sale as a guest house.

Advertising. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257015

Advertising. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257015

By November 1927, “Claremont‘ was a guest house accommodating professionals such as Nurse Frances the Chiropodist.

The Portland Guardian. (1927, November 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259180

The Portland Guardian. (1927, November 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259180

There were vacancies at “Claremont in June 1929.

Advertising. (1929, June 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269647

Advertising. (1929, June 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269647

While I can’t find who owned “Claremont” at this point, I do know that Janet Kosch took over the registration of the boarding house in 1930.  Prior to that there was a Mrs McIntosh and then Norman McIntyre holding the registration.

Borough Council. (1930, November 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64293741

Borough Council. (1930, November 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64293741

In 1934, the two acres of land that made up the “Claremont” property were subdivided.  Again it is not clear who the vendor was, the Henty estate or a new owner from a possible sale back in 1927.

"Claremont" Sud-division. (1934, October 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287062

“Claremont” Sud-division. (1934, October 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287062

Mrs Kosch was still running the “Claremont” guest house in 1943 when her son visited her and her husband while on leave from service.

NEWS OF THE FORCES. (1943, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387036

NEWS OF THE FORCES. (1943, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387036

In 1948, after 18 years running the “Claremont” guest house, Mrs Kosch retired.  She held a furniture sale on April 22, 1948.  In 1952 she passed away at Heywood.

    Advertising. (1948, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64414613

Advertising. (1948, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64414613

“Claremont” continued on as a guest house to at least 1954.   In recent years it has been a bed and breakfast and an art gallery, as it was when I visited.  It has also been for sale.  The listing is seen on this link:  http://www.homehound.com.au/65+julia+street+portland+vic+3305/       The verandah has changed and a photo of the original verandah can be seen on this link http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72863

In at least the first 100 years of existence “Claremont” was many things but never a family home.  There were  never children raised under its roof or playing in the yard, memories were never kept of a treasured family home.  It was always a temporary house, even when the Misses McLeods and Miss McLean where in residence, they were more out than in.  Now. at the end of my search, I think the reason I kept digging for information is that I wanted to find “Claremont’ as a home, not a just summer residence or a guest house, but I never did.

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2 responses to ““Claremont” Portland

  • iODyne

    Great post MR. A grand house but not a Home.
    somewhere there must be a photo of the bride in that “black Napoleon hat with white feather”, and your photo of St Stephen’s Hall reminds me that the Vern McCallum Photos show was held there one year (I went) and it has been a while since the Digby show after that one.
    Last week I buried my 90-year-old father in Digby cemetery near two of his father’s great grandfathers, a great-aunt and assorted other ancestors. photos at my blog bwican.blogspot.com will give you a laugh.

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