Author Archives: Merron Riddiford

Passing of the Pioneers

The stories of the Western District pioneers continue with June Passing of the Pioneers.  Pioneer obituaries come from a woman who was the first European woman at Colac, a man who survived a ship wreck of Tasmania, and a Reverend who started his career as journalist for the London Times.  Look out for the July obituaries when Passing of the Pioneers celebrates a birthday.

Nicholas COLE – Died June 22, 1879 at Darlington.  Born in England and heir to an estate in Plymouth,  Nicholas Cole decided to try his luck in Australia and arrived in Sydney in 1839.  During his voyage, he met another man Peter McArthur and together they sailed on from Sydney to Geelong.  They became partners and took up the West Cloven Hills and Menningort runs at Darlington.  Those early pioneers faced many hardships including the Black Thursday fires in 1851.  Nicholas ran Merino sheep and built up a herd that produced high yields of good quality wool.  More information about Nicholas, thought to be a desendant of “Old King Cole” the subject of the nursery rhyme of the same name, is at the following links –    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145242490    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article29098160   www.stanbury.com.au/history1.htm

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

SHEARING SHED, WEST CLOVEN HILLS (1987) Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection. Image no. H95.200/65 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217139

Elizabeth Young – Died June 11, 1892 at Barongarook.  Jean Young was born in Scotland in 1823 and as a girl sailed to Tasmania with her parents and her father worked as a solicitor in Hobart.  In 1841, she married Hugh Murray.  They moved to Geelong and Hugh, considered the founder of Colac, moved to that area, before Jean and her young son joined them, becoming the first European woman in the district.  She raised a family of 14 children and endured the many hardships faced by early pioneer women in Victoria.   Among other things, Jean and Hugh were founding members of the Colac Presbyterian church and Jean remained a pillar of the church during her life.  Hugh passed away 23 years before Elizabeth in 1869.

George COXON – Died June 20, 1892 at Portland.  George Coxon was born and married in England and in 1857 , he and his family, including seven children, travelled to Victoria.  After a short time on the Victorian goldfields he took up farming pursuits in the Casterton district.  In his later years he moved to Portland where he passed away.  A profile of George and his family his available on the SW Pioneers website –    http://www.swvic.org/sandford/coxon_george.htm

Lawrence McKENNA – Died June 1914 at Curlew Hill.  Lawrence McKenna was born around 1830 in Ireland and  travelled to Adelaide around 1861.  The South Australian explorer John Stuart was about to leave on a government funded expedition to cross the continent and Lawrence joined his party.  Stuart eventually abandoned his attempt.  After 10 years on the goldfields of Victoria and New Zealand, Lawrence gained work at Woodhouse near Dunkeld in 1872.  He took a trip back to Ireland in 1874 then returned to Dunkeld to marry Elizabeth Irwin and they settled at nearby Curlew Hill.  In 1900, he was badly burnt while trying to protect his property during bushfires and never fully recovered.

Sophia GERDTZ - Died June 5, 1914 at Hamilton.  Sophia Gerdtz was born in Germany around  1831 and arrived in Melbourne during the early 1850s.  Her family travelled to Hamilton, where few buildings stood.  She first married Robert Thomson at Lyne Station in 1852 but was left a widow during the 1860s.  She then married storekeeper Cavendish Neville.  Again widowed, she spent the last years of her life living with her son at Pierrepoint, just out of Hamilton.

 Bridget McNAMARA – Died June 19, 1914 at Tower Hill.  Born in Ireland around 1843, Bridget McNamara arrived with her parents to Port Fairy in 1852 and they settled near Farnham and later Dennington. In 1866 at Warrnambool, Bridget married Hugh Reilly, afterwards settling at Southern Cross were they lived for the rest of their lives.

THE Roroit Sentine[?] AND Tower Hill Advocate. (1914, June 27). Koroit Sentinel and Tower Hill Advocate (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved July 1, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119554315

THE Roroit Sentine[?] AND Tower Hill Advocate. (1914, June 27). Koroit Sentinel and Tower Hill Advocate (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved July 1, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119554315

Reverend George Duke LEE - Died June 1915 at Hamilton. Born in Derbyshire, England around 1830, George Lee first worked as a reporter for the London Times in America.  After briefly returning to England he sailed to Victoria aboard the “Blue Jacket” in 1853 and made for the Ballarat goldfields.  He worked as a teacher but left after medical advice as his eye sight was failing.  Instead he went on a lecture tour for the Sons of Temperance Friendly Society through the Western District.  While visiting Chetwynd he became interested in the teachings of the Presbyterian church and entered the Ministry.  He was sent to the St. Johns Presbyterian Church at Cavendish where he remained for 30 years.

Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

ST JOHNS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CAVENDISH (1974). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection. Image no. H94.200/605 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217138

When George retired around nine years before his death, he moved to Hamilton.

William ALFORD – Died June 1916 at Ellerslie.  William Alford was born in England around 1831 and 21 years later he travelled to Australia.  He was a steward on the ship he sailed aboard which wrecked off the Tasmanian coast.  William and other passengers were able to reach shore on a dingy and they walked to Hobart without shoes.  William then travelled to the goldfields of Victoria, working as a driver with the gold escort out of Ballarat and later driving the mail coach between Ballarat and Geelong.  He moved to Ellerslie in the mid 1860s and he remained there for the remainder of his life.  William was a caretaker of the local Mechanics Institute and was involved with the Ellerslie Football Club.

James WORLAND – Died June 18, 1916 at Warrnambool.  James Worland was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire around 1851 and arrived in Port Fairy two years later with his parents and they settled in the Warrnambool district.  When working age, James took a job at a tannery and later purchased his own tannery.  William also took up many roles in the community including warden of the Christ Church and a founding member of the local branch of the Society of St. George.  At the time of his death he left a widow and nine children.

William DAVIDSON – Died June 1917 at Woolsthorpe.  Born at Aberdeen, Scotland, William Davidson arrived at Port Fairy in 1855.  He first took up labouring at Minjah, a property near Hawkesdale before opening a store at Woolsthorpe.  He later  then turned to dairy-farming .  William was known as “The Chaffer” around Woolsthorpe because he enjoyed having a tease.  A widower at the time of his death, William had 12 surviving children.

 

 

 

 


Trove Tuesday – Hamilton’s Hero Herbalist

Well it’s Tuesday and that could only mean one thing…Trove Tuesday. It’s been too long.  I’ve read a lot of  the Table Talk newspaper lately, a recent addition to the wonderful collection of Trove Digitised Newspapers.  Because Table Talk (1885-1939) was  a social newspaper, I have enjoyed the comings and goings of Western District folk from those times, spending their holidays with friends or living it up in the “big smoke” as guests of Melbourne’s best hotels.  Alas, my Western District families were not in the same class of people who graced the social pages, but I still enjoy the photos of those from a higher station in life enjoying tennis and golf tournaments and fox hunts all in the finest fashions.

One feature of Table Talk is wedding photos.  I have found several  Hamilton brides, and have admired their beautiful gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses while following the changing trends in wedding attire.  One particular photo caught my eye, mainly because I didn’t recognise the Hamilton  family names as those that regularly graced the Table Talk pages. It was from the marriage of  Caleb Shang and Annie Kassene , celebrated at the home of Mr J. Quing Yen of Brown Street, Hamilton.  The bridal party consisted of members of the Shang, Kassene and Quing Yen families.

shang

TOILET ECONOMY. (1923, May 24). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), p. 12. Retrieved June 22, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146570075

 

I searched Trove for Caleb Shang and was immediately met with headlines of “War Hero”.  I then Googled his name and there were entries from the Australian Dictionary of  Biography , Wikipedia, the Australian War Memorial and various newspaper articles.  I checked with those sites and the same Caleb Shang married Annie Kassene, but considering Caleb was from Cairns, I was left wondering why he was in Hamilton?

As it turns out,  Caleb served with the 47th Battalion during WW1 and after a battle at Messines Ridge in 1916, he received a Distinguished Conduct Medal(DCM).  In 1918, while still with the 47th, his brave actions at the Somme saw him awarded a Military Medal and a bar was added to his DCM , thus becoming the highest decorated Australian soldier of Chinese descent. In August 1918, he was shot in the leg and returned to Australia where he was given a hero’s welcome by the people of Cairns.

Sometime after his return, Caleb worked as a herbalist and moved to Victoria to practice.  To be precise, he moved to Hamilton, joining another herbalist John Quing Yen who married Maud Elizabeth Wah Shang in Queensland in 1910.  Presumably Maud was Caleb’s sister.  As a herbalist,  Caleb not only serviced the people of Hamilton but also travelled to Mt Gambier offering consultations at a local boarding house, as seen in this advertisement from the Border Watch of September 22, 1922, eight months before his marriage.

Advertising. (1922, September 22). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 22, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77677775

Advertising. (1922, September 22). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 22, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77677775

After the wedding,  Caleb and Annie did not remain in Hamilton long, returning to Cairns. After a long illness,  Caleb passed away in 1953.

I thought it necessary to find out a little about the bride Anna (Annie) Louise Kassene,  born at Hamilton in 1900.  She was the daughter of bootmaker Gustav Kassene and Hulda Grambau of Hochkirch (Tarrington).  Hulda died in 1901 after the birth of her third child at barely 20 years of age and Gustav died in 1915.  The two Kassene men in the wedding photo are possibly Annie’s two siblings.  Annie died in Cairns in 1955.

 

Sources

Australian Dictionary of Biography

Australian War Memorial

Herald Sun

 

 


Looking for Mary Ann

A week ago, Karen Annett of the Annett Family Australia Facebook group, posted on another group, Victorian Genealogy, about a missing family member, Frances Annett (born 1840, Seven Oaks, Kent).  As a member of the Annett Family group, I had previously read about the search for Frances, one of those elusive women we often come across in our family trees.  Frances had arrived with her parents William and Mary and siblings to Portland in 1853 and that is the last record of Frances’ being.  In reply to Karen, I posted a message of support that she shouldn’t give up hope of finding Frances, giving her a brief summary of my search for Mary Ann Harman.

For my 300th Western District Families post, this is the extended version of  the story of Mary Ann Harman who I thought was…

 

LOST WITHOUT TRACE. (1931, December 10). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 62. Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90636449

LOST WITHOUT TRACE. (1931, December 10). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), p. 62. Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90636449

 

 

Mary Ann Harman has always been a mystery.  I have accounted for all the first generation Harmans of Byaduk, their births, death and marriages.  Except for Mary Ann, the daughter of Jonathan Harman and Mary Oliver.

Born in 1869, the sixth child of Jonathon and Mary, Mary Ann drops off the radar after birth.  I’ve checked and double checked her birth record and yes she was definitely born.  Over the 20 years I’ve researched the Harmans, I reached the conclusion she had died as an infant.  Not that unlikely since her younger siblings Joseph and Sarah died during the 1870s, Joseph as a baby and Sarah aged six.

My pursuit of Mary Ann has not been a desperate one because. as she was a child of my ggg uncle, I thought I could live with the fact she was missing.  However, because I’m writing a Harman family history I considered I would have to get some of the records I have refrained from getting before.  Recently I received a copy of Jonathan Harman’s will from PROV via Archival Access, and the mystery deepened because there in black and white was the name of Mary Ann.  At the time of his death in 1930, Jonathan had four daughters, besides Mary Ann, and two sons,  Arthur a farmer from Byaduk and Jonathan, a man I considered  the black sheep of the family.  No surprise to me, he was not named in his father’s will.

Jonathan snr. left his ready money and money in the bank to all his daughters, with a proviso that it did not include Mary-Ann.  He bequeathed the net profit of one of his properties to his daughters…except Mary Ann.  Arthur was to receive the balance of Jonathan’s estate “but subject to and charged with the payment by him of the annuity of twenty pounds to my daughter Mary Ann during her life…”.

So Mary Ann wasn’t dead, rather 61 years of age in 1930, but why was she treated differently to her sisters and Arthur?  Was she untrustworthy or did her father think she was not worthy of a share of his property?  Why did was left an annuity instead?  Was she not capable of supporting herself?  The discovery in Jonathan’s will certainly raised more questions than it answered.

But it meant I could begin searching for her again with renewed confidence.  I went straight to the Victorian Death records and searched for “Mary Ann Harman” (assuming she never married) and found the closest match – Mary Ann Harman born about 1873, died Ararat 1948, parents unknown.  If  that is my Mary Ann,  the fact she died in Ararat possibly answers some of my questions.  The reason being there was a lunatic asylum in Ararat (Aradale).

A search of Trove only found a Law Notice from 1951 declaring the said Mary Ann Harman intestate, however it confirms to me that the Mary Ann who died in Ararat was a spinster.

Advertising. (1951, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 18. Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23036219

Advertising. (1951, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 18. Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23036219

Now I have some new leads.  I’ll follow-up probate records and check for an inquest, with the latter helping me confirm if the said Mary Ann was in Ararat Asylum.  But maybe Mary Ann was merely the female black sheep of her family and moved away from the fold and it’s possible that the male black sheep was living with her.  My reason for that thought is that my only other Harman connection to Ararat was Mary Ann’s brother Jonathan jnr. further supporting my case that I’m on the right track with Mary Ann.

After Jonathan jnr. married Hannah Keyte of Arapilis in 1904,  they moved to Kingaroy, Queensland.  Hannah appears to have remained in Queensland but Jonathan disappeared after 1913 reappearing again at the time of his death in 1941 at Ararat.  I do know that after Jonathan’s death there was an inquest, raising the possibility he was in Ararat Lunatic Asylum and a copy is now a must.  To think I have driven past the imposing building of Aradale, on a hill east of Ararat, hundreds of time, looking up and wondering what when on behind its walls.  Now I’m a few steps closer to discovering if members of my family knew exactly what life was like as an inmate.

ARARAT ASYLUM c1880.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H1887 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151015

ARARAT ASYLUM c1880. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H1887 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151015

Writing the Harman family history has  helped me get to know Jonathan Harman snr.  better than I did before and it would be tragic if either or both Mary Ann and Jonathan jnr. were inmates at the Ararat Asylum.  Between 1871 and 1886, he saw the passing of three of his 10 children and his wife Mary at just 43. Then, one by one, his remaining children moved away from Byaduk leaving him alone, while his brothers’ children continued on in the town, growing and prospering.

So in conclusion,  to all of you, including the Annett family researchers, never give up hope that you will one day find your Mary Ann.

 

**Tours are now held within Aradale, during the day by the Friends of J Ward (a hospital for the criminally insane also in Ararat) and ghost tours by night,conducted by Eerie Tours .Aradale operated from 1867 until 1998.


Passing of the Pioneers

Despite little time to devote to Western District Families as regularly as I would like, there is always time to remember the great pioneers of the Western District with the monthly Passing of the Pioneers.  There are just a small band of pioneers for May, but they each have wonderful stories.  Be sure to click on any of the links for more information, especially the link to the wonderful recipe and remedy collection of Mrs Eliza Duckmanton.

James HANKS – Died May 21, 1909 at Horsham.  While James Hanks was not an old pioneer, he was from a large pioneering family.  He was also my great grandmother’s brother-in-law.  James was born at Branxholme in 1871, the son of Thomas Hanks and Sarah Ashton.   He married Ellen May Harman of Byaduk in 1901.  James had worked in Horsham previous to his marriage and took Ellen to live there.  He worked for Messrs Broadbent Bros., carriers of Horsham and by the time of his death, he was the head carter.  James and Ellen had three children by 1909 and while Ellen was pregnant with a fourth, James fell ill with typhoid fever and died before their fourth child was born.  Poor Ellen was exhausted when her husband’s died, caring for him, the three children, one of those also ill, and coping with pregnancy.

Michael COTTER – Died May 10, 1913 at Dunrobin.  Michael Cotter arrived in Tasmania around 1844 and after 10 years, travelled to Victoria spending time at the Bendigo and Ballarat diggings.  During the 1860s, he started farming at Branxholme and remained there until later in life when he farmed at Carapook.   For a detailed history of Michael including his wife Catherine McIntosh and children, follow this link to the SW Pioneers site  http://www.swvic.org/carapook/names/cotter.htm

Wilhelm PETSCHEL – Died May 1914 at Hamilton.  Wilhelm Petschel born in Saxonby, Germany was one of Hamilton’s earliest pioneers.  Arriving in Adelaide in 1848, he made his way to Portland before taking up a job as a groom at Heywood.  He heard of the land sales at The Grange (Hamilton) and upon inspection of the land available was so impressed he purchased a block, declaring that day the happiest of his life.  William married in 1856 and two children were born from the union.  He was a founding member of the South Hamilton Lutheran Church (today at the Hamilton Pastoral Museum)

SOUTH HAMILTON LUTHERAN CHURCH.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H97.250/65  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229921

SOUTH HAMILTON LUTHERAN CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/65
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229921

 

Rev. Samuel FRASER – Died May 1914 at Terang.  Born in Scotland around 1844, Samuel Fraser arrived in Terang  around 1871 sick from consumption, but still able to take up his duties as Minister in the Parish of Mortlake,  based at the Terang Presbyterian Church. His health improved and he remained in the role until his death 43 years later.  Samuel was also the Honorary Treasurer of the Presbytery and clerk of the Presbytery.  Among Presbyterians, his was considered a “model presbytery”.  He married Miss Hamilton, the daughter of the Reverend William Hamilton of Mortlake and they had two daughters and four sons.  Several obituaries were published and they appear on the following links.   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119798095     http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119789693 

 

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

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

 

 

John DUCKMANTON – Died May 1915 at Dunkeld.  John Duckmanton was born in Nottinghamshire, England around 1833 and arrived on the Yorkshire to Victoria about 1860, settling at  Dunkeld.   John was a carpenter and wheelwright and built the first state school at Dunkeld, among other buildings.  He belonged to the St Marys Church of England, sitting on the committee when the foundation stone of the church was laid and was an active member of the Loyal Duke of Edinburgh M.U.I.O.O.F.   He and his wife had a family of 12 and he left 33 grandchildren. I found an absolute treasure on the Museum Victoria website which is worth a look.  John’s wife Eliza Womersley was a bush nurse and in 1870 recorded her recipes and remedies in a book, using handwritten notes and cuttings from other publications.  The original book can been seen on the M.V. website on the following link – Eliza’s book.

Patrick BALKIN – Died May 17, 1916 at Hamilton.  Born in Kilkenny, Ireland around 1831, Patrick Balkin arrived in Newcastle, N.S.W. aboard the Red Jacket.  After two years he arrived at Port Fairy and then on to the Grange (Hamilton) with his wife Hannah Quinlan.  On arrival at the Grange, the town was only young, with just one hotel.  They settled at their property “Knockaney” where they stayed for the rest of their lives.  Patrick was a member of the Dundas Shire for 22 years and had a wish to advance his chosen place of settlement.  Hannah predeceased Patrick and he left a family of two daughters and three sons.

Jane MASON – Died May 14, 1918 at Strathkellar,  Jane Mason was born in Norfolk, England and arrived in Portland in 1852 aboard the Marmion with her parents.  The Masons settled first at Balmoral before moving close to Hamilton.  In 1865, Jane married Robert Fraser of Glencoe, Hamilton.  Around the beginning of the 20th century, they purchased Seesford at Muddy Creek. They retained the property until only months before Jane’s death when she moved to live with her daughter at Strathkellar.

OBITUARY. (1918, May 18). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved May 25, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119502066

OBITUARY. (1918, May 18). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved May 25, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119502066

 

 

 

 


Passing of the Pioneers

April Passing of the Pioneers includes one of the pioneers of the Presbyterian Church in the Coleraine district, a mother of 14 children, several Shire Councillors and a successful store keeper.

Thomas GOODWIN – Died April 7, 1914 at Rosebrook.  Thomas Goodwin was born in Tasmania about 1833 and arrived at Port Fairy as a child.  He farmed first in the Glenormiston district but when land became available at Farnham, he moved there.  In his later years he farmed at Rosebrook.   He left three sons and four daughters.

Letitia WILLIAMSON – Died April 11, 1914 at Koroit.  Letitia Williamson was born in County Armagh, Ireland.  She arrived in Victoria in 1857 and married James O’Neill in Melbourne the following year.  They spent some time in Melbourne then moved to Koroit where James was a boot maker.  James passed away around 1903 and when Letitia passed away she left six children.

William QUILL – Died April 13, 1914 at Portland.  William Quill was born at Werrangourt Station, Byaduk around 1845, but his family moved to Yambuk when he was a boy.  After his marriage to Miss Doherty, William and his new bride settled at Macarthur.  William was on holiday in Portland when he passed away.

Samuel KEEN – Died April 21, 1914 at Hamilton.  Samuel Keen was born in Stafford, England around 1846 and came to Australia aboard the ship “Helen” about six years later with his parents.  The family travelled to Hamilton by bullock wagon, where Samuel remained for the rest of his life.

Rev. W.J.GILLESPIE- Died April 24, 1914 at Hawthorn.  Reverend Gillespie was born in Antrim, Ireland in 1826 and trained for the ministry in Belfast.  He travelled to Australia in 1867 with his wife of five years, Mary Oliphant Morrison.  The following year he took up position in charge of Coleraine, Casterton, Merino and Digby Churches and remained in that role until 1902.  During his time at Coleraine he was president of the Coleraine debating club, and chairman of the Board of Advice, Mechanics Institute and Railway League.  With his health failing, the Reverend and his wife moved to Melbourne where he remained until his death. He was buried in the Coleraine cemetery.

Mr Arthur Grainger HILL – Died April 7, 1917 at Edenhope.  Arthur Hill was born in Somersetshire, England and when he arrived in Australia he first settled in N.S.W.  He came to Victoria to work with the Railway Department of Victoria.  Around 1880 he was appointed Engineer of the Wannon Shire Council.  Due to  a successful period of employment with the Shire, upon his retirement he was awarded a bonus of a year’s wages.

Mrs Sarah CHAMBERLAIN - Died April 22, 1917 at Hamilton.  Sarah Chamberlain was born in Ireland around 1836 and arrived in Australia in the late 1850s.  She married Peter Lewis and they had two sons, however Peter passed away.  She then married Benjamin Chamberlain of Port Fairy and they had three daughters and one son.  Sarah was buried at the Port Fairy cemetery.

George TRANGMAR – Died April 25, 1917 at Melbourne.  George Trangmar was born in Brighton, England around 1828  and arrived in Victoria in 1849.  He started in business with his brother James in Portland before opening a store in Coleraine in 1851. He remained in business there for 25 years and during that time was a member of the Wannon Shire, including some years as President .  During the 1870s he purchased the Toolang Estate near Coleraine for sheep farming.  He sold Toolang around the turn of the century and moved to Melbourne.  He was buried at Coleraine Cemetery.

Thomas Lewis WYATT – Died April 15, 1918 at Hamilton.  Thomas Wyatt was born in London, England around 1831 and married at St., Brides Church, London in 1853.   In 1855, Thomas and Mrs Wyatt. a young son and Thomas’ brother James, left Plymouth aboard the “Anna Maria“, arriving at Portland in  February 1856.   He took up the trade of plasterer and his work took him to Mt. Gambier and Melbourne, before he went into partnership in Hamilton.  He was a founding member of the Portland Oddfellows lodge.  Thomas left a widow, two sons and three daughters

Johanna STEVEN – Died April 1925 at Heywood.  Johanna Steven was born near Glasgow, Scotland and arrived in Victoria with her parents around 1860.  Mr Steven owned what was known around Portland as the “Wee Station” in South Portland,  a small acreage as up to date as a large pastoral station which attracted visits by tourists to the town.  Johanna married William Reid at Portland and they raised a family of 14 children.  Johanna and William were foundation members of the Heywood Presbyterian Church.

William PHILIP – Died April, 1933 at Hamilton.  William Philip was born around 1858 and was educated at the Hamilton Academy and Geelong College.  After Geelong, he returned to the Western District and owned properties including “Violet Creek“, “Kenilworth” and “Mt. William“.  He was a member of the Dundas Shire Council for 20 years and was a member of the racing, golf and swimming clubs as well as the Masonic Lodge.  His support assisted the financing the Hamilton War Memorial and  local swimming pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Last Ride

Each regiment formed upon a squadron frontage in three lines from 300 to 500 yards apart, and every man was restless, excited, and resolute for victory.

At 4.30 the two regiments moved off at a trot. Surprise and speed were their one chance, so no time was lost in breaking into a gallop. For what seemed to be a space of minutes the Turkish fire ceased, as if the garrison was wondering what the approaching horsemen had in mind. Then swiftly realising that they were out for business, the whole line burst into a flame of fire.

But the Australians were not to be denied, much less were their glorious chargers in the mood to hesitate. As if entering into the spirit of the great game, with ears pricked and manes flashing back, they headed in a wild scamper into the setting sun.

As they reached the Turkish front line trenches, the leading troopers dug in their spurs and their mounts cleared the obstacle in their stride”   

P.Goldensted. (November 11, 1933). The Sydney Morning Herald, p11 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17023181.

The outcome, achieved in just under 60 minutes of wild riding,sheer bravery and maybe a touch of madness, saw the 4th Light Horse Brigade, consisting of the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments, capture Beersheba in one of the most important offensives of  WW1.

Eight hundred Australian Light Horsemen waited on a ridge about six kilometres from the town of Beersheba, hidden from the Turkish troops.  At 4.30pm on October 31, 1917, under the orders of Lieutenant General Harry Chauvel, they moved forward, first at a walk, then a trot, gradually quickening until the order of “CHARGE” was given, and 800 horsemen urged their horses, tired and thirsty from travelling overnight, into a gallop.

THE CHARGE AT BEERSHEBA.  Image courtesy of the Australian WAr Memorial.  Image No, A02684  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/A02684/

THE CHARGE AT BEERSHEBA. Image courtesy of the Australian WAr Memorial. Image No, A02684 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/A02684/

The Turks, expecting the Australians to dismount and fight one on one at the first trench, watched with surprise as horsemen, with only bayonets in hand, rode resolutely with no intention of stopping.  They cleared the first trench, then the second. As the first squadron approached the third trench and dismounted,  gun fire raining upon them, a bullet hit a 28-year-old farmer from Byaduk in the Western District and he died where he fell.

Walter Rodney Kinghorn, the youngest child in a family of 12, was born in Byaduk in 1888 to Francis Kinghorn and Elizabeth White.  Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914 and 20 days later at Broadmeadows, 26-year-old Walter Kinghorn enlisted, one of the first from the Hamilton district to do so.  Prior to that, life for unmarried Walter consisted of farm work at Byaduk, like his father and brothers before him.  His future had looked mapped out for him, but with no wife or children, the offer to see the world was all too enticing.

On August 22 1914, the people of Hamilton demonstrated the patriotic feelings that abounded as they bid farewell to what they then thought was the remaining quota of Hamilton district volunteers preparing for departure overseas.  Those in the streets that day described the scene as “stirring”.

THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. (1914, August 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 6. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119865290

THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. (1914, August 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119865290

It was not just men leaving Hamilton.  Fourteen horses, donated by prominent local breeders, including James Learmonth of Melville Forest, also said goodbye to their breeding grounds and like the men, were oblivious to what lay ahead of them.

The mood was buoyant and locals provided gifts for the men including cigarettes and a box of cigars, from Mr Short, brother-in-law of Private Maurice Tilley.  The parade moved along the streets of Hamilton to the Town Hall, accompanied by the Hamilton Pipe Band.

THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. (1914, August 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 6. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119865290

THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. (1914, August 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119865290

 

Walter spent time training at the Broadmeadows Camp until  October 19, 1914 when the men and horses of the 4th Light Horse sailed aboard the steamer HMAT Wiltshire bound for Egypt.  With him were Tom Henderson, Maurice Tilley and William Niven of Hamilton and John Francis of Yulecart.

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image No. A04186  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/A04186/

HMAT WILTSHIRE. Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image No. A04186 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/A04186/

 

FEEDING HORSES OF THE 4TH LIGHT HORSE ON BOARD HMAT WILTSHIRE. Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no. PS0008 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PS0008/

FEEDING HORSES OF THE 4TH LIGHT HORSE ON BOARD SS WILTSHIRE. Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. PS0008 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PS0008/

They arrived at Port Said, Egypt on December 10, 1914 and work began to unload the horses and set up camp.

THE 4TH LIGHT HORSE UNLOADING AT .  Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no.  PS0384 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PS0384/

THE 4TH LIGHT HORSE UNLOADING AT PORT SAID, EGYPT. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. PS0384 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PS0384/

 

Walter Kinghorn’s service record gives no clue to his whereabouts from the time the steamer docked in December 1914 until January 2, 1916 when he was recorded as being in Heliopolis.  The only other listing was that he was a driver with 4th Light Horse Transport from the time of his enlistment until July 5, 1916.

4th LIGHT HORSE TRANSPORT.  Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no.  B00752 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B00752/

4th LIGHT HORSE TRANSPORT. Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. B00752 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B00752/

If Walter remained with the 4th Light Horse after their arrival, he would have travelled with them to Gallipoli during May 1915, minus the horses, as infantry reinforcements.  The regiment spent six months in the trenches at ANZAC Cove before returning to Egypt to discover the regiment would be split up.  Horses had limitations in the desert with water supplies an ongoing concern.  Two squadrons left for France, while the rest remained around the Suez Canal.

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Image no. PS0800 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PS0800/

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Image no. PS0800 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PS0800/

Walter spent time at the 4th Light Horse Regiment Headquarters at Heliopolis before falling ill late in May, 1916.  He spent a few weeks in hospital before joining the 1st Light Horse for a month at Tel-El-Kebir.  Then on to the  1st Double Squadron at Serapeum, Egypt in July, where he remained for four months.

There was still reshuffling among the Light Horse regiments and the 4th Light Horse joined with the Imperial Camel Corps to form the 3rd Camel Regiment at El Ferdan, Egypt in November 1916. Walter was with the camel regiment for three months.  On December 27, 1916, Henry Langtip wrote in his diary “Got camels issued today.  I don’t like them at all but I suppose one will get used to them“, but the following day…”On camels for the first time today and it was great fun as several fell off”.

4th LIGHT HORSE REGIMENT BATHING HORSES & CAMELS,  MARAKEB, PALESTINE, 1917.  Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Image No. J00425 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/J00425/

4th LIGHT HORSE REGIMENT BATHING HORSES & CAMELS, MARAKEB, PALESTINE, 1917. Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Image No. J00425 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/J00425/

 

With further reorganization to the mounted brigades in early March 1917, Walter returned to his role as a driver with the 4th Light Horse Transport, then camped at Ferry Post on the Suez Canal.  He was also promoted to Lance Corporal.   For some reason, at his own request, Walter reverted from driver to trooper on May 26, 1917 while in Tel El Fara, Palestine.  That decision may have sealed his fate.

4th Light Horse in Palestine c 1915.  Image courtesy of Picture Queensland, State Library of Queensland Image no. 182314 http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/47940236

4th Light Horse in Palestine c 1915. Image courtesy of Picture Queensland, State Library of Queensland Image no. 182314 http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/47940236

 

In the months leading up to the attack on Beersheba, on two occasions the Allies had unsuccessfully tried to take Gaza but a different tack was in the planning.  The Light Horse would come from a another direction, the East.

Harry Langtip wrote on Sunday October 28, 1917, “We are ready  to move out to attack Beersheba at a moments notice.  We have had a lecture from the Colonel and he tells us that we are going 30 miles tonight and 30 miles again the next night” (p37 of transcript).

On October 31 he wrote “We rode all night to get right around Beersheba, 32 miles in all…Our horses ready to go into the line to attack within the next few minutes.  It was a terrible ride in heavy dust all the way.  The horses have still got the saddles on and I don’t know when they will get them off…”

 

 

The Road to Beersheba (Oct 1917).  Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Image no.  A02788  A02788

THE ROAD TO BEERSHEBA (Oct 1917). Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Image no. A02788 A02788

 

Soon they were on the move as the charge began.  Aloysius Cotter of the 4th Light Horse, wrote home  to his sister in Gippsland about the charge.  He recounted burying his head in his horse’s mane as they galloped directly into the barrage.

OUR SOLDIERS. LETTER FROM PALESTINE. (1918, February 28). Foster Mirror and South Gippsland Shire Advocate (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129511784

OUR SOLDIERS. LETTER FROM PALESTINE. (1918, February 28). Foster Mirror and South Gippsland Shire Advocate (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129511784

Thomas Hoskisson, of the 12th Light Horse Regiment wrote home to his brother in N.S.W. about his experience.

HOW THE LIGHT HORSE FOUGHT IN THE CAPTURE OF BEERSHEBA. (1918, December 5). Camden News (NSW : 1895 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136790912

HOW THE LIGHT HORSE FOUGHT IN THE CAPTURE OF BEERSHEBA. (1918, December 5). Camden News (NSW : 1895 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136790912

 

Walter Kinghorn was one of the brave troopers at the head of the charge.  His father Francis received a letter from Major James Lawson, a hotel keeper from Rupanyup prior to the war, describing  Walter’s last ride.

THE LATE LANCE-CORPORAL WALTER KINGHORN. (1918, May 9). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119501800

THE LATE LANCE-CORPORAL WALTER KINGHORN. (1918, May 9). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119501800

As members of the 4th Light Horse dismounted and fought the Turkish soldiers in the trenches, the 12th Light Horse passed them by and continued on to Beersheba clearing the way for the remaining squadrons to move forward, resulting in the capture of the town.  Horses wasted no time drinking from the wells, another advantage of taking Beersheba.  Some horses that had survived the grueling gallop, dropped dead from exhaustion after drinking.  Behind them, on the path they had travelled lay fallen horses, taken down from underneath their riders.  Considering the number of troops involved and the risk taken, the casualties were considered light with 31 men killed and 36 wounded.  The loss of horses was higher, with 70 killed and at least 70 wounded.

Seven other men died at the same trench as Walter from Troopers to Officers , and they were buried close to where they fell.  Eight white crosses marked their graves.

Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no. H15569  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H15569/

Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. H15569 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H15569/

 

The 4th Light Horse Quarter Master Sergeant James French managed to craft a memorial plaque for the grave site, using scrap metal, the debris of war.  During the 1920s, the plaque was donated to the Australian War Memorial, but not before approval was given by the eight families.

 

Memorial at Beersheba. (1918, May 14). Gippsland Farmers Journal (Traralgon, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88057978

Memorial at Beersheba. (1918, May 14). Gippsland Farmers Journal (Traralgon, Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88057978

 

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no. H15570  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H15570/

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. H15570 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H15570/

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Image no.  RELAWM06330  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RELAWM06330/

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Image no. RELAWM06330 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RELAWM06330/

He may have been thousands of miles from home when he died,  but a touch of Byaduk, family and friends was not far away from Walter.  Also in Palestine was the No. 1 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corp (A.F.C.) and among the ranks was Charles Harman, Walter’s brother-in-law.

 

No. 1 Squadron Mechanics at work in Palestine. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no.B01646  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B01646/

No. 1 Squadron Mechanics at work in Palestine. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no.B01646 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B01646/

The A.F.C.’s role in Palestine was mainly surveillance, taking photos of the war front and military objectives, such as this photo above Beersheba.

Aireal View of Beersheba taken from the plane of No 1 Squadron AFC.  Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no. B02020 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B02020/

Aireal View of Beersheba taken from the plane of No 1 Squadron AFC. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. B02020 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B02020/

 

Charles Harman, 10 years older than Walter, married Walter’s eldest sister Catherine in 1905, but he would have known Walter all of his life.  After all, Charles’s grandfather James Harman and the Kinghorns had neighboring properties and in 1907, James and Jonathan Harman stood with Frank and Elizabeth Kinghorn for a photograph with other Byaduk pioneers.  The two families had known each other for 50 years.  Even while they were overseas, letters to Walter and Charles would have told them the news of the marriage of Walter’s brother David Kinghorn to Charles’ cousin, Charlotte Harman in 1915.

Charles Harman was a Sergeant with the A.F.C. No. 1 Squadron mechanics.  The mechanics made a memorial plaque and Charles erected it on Walter’s grave.  A touching gesture and most likely one of the most difficult times of Charles’ war service.  During the 1920s, the plaque was returned to the Kinghorn family after Walter and the other men were exhumed and buried at the Beersheba War Cemetery.

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image No.

MEMORIAL PLAQUE MADE BY THE MECHANICS OF THE NO. 1 SQUADRON AFC Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image No. B02143 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B02143/

 

In contrast to the deserts of Palestine, back at home in Western Victoria, the spring grass was abundant, lambs were fattening and the local P&A Agricultural show season was underway.  News of Walter’s death, however, began to reverberate from Byaduk by mid November, 1917.  His death was felt as far away Trawalla, west of Ballarat,  home to Walter’s sister Flora. Reports appeared in both the Ballarat Courier and the Ripponshire Advocate.

FOR THE EMPIRE. (1917, November 17). Riponshire Advocate (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119573918

FOR THE EMPIRE. (1917, November 17). Riponshire Advocate (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119573918

 

TROOPER W. KINGHORN. (1917, November 16). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 1 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73334841

TROOPER W. KINGHORN. (1917, November 16). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 1 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73334841

 

In the Hamilton Spectator, Frank Kinghorn gave thanks to all those who had paid tribute to his youngest son.

Advertising. (1917, December 1). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 7. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119860038

Advertising. (1917, December 1). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 7. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119860038

 

When Major Lawson corresponded with Frank Kinghorn the following year, he too paid tribute to Walter and reassured Frank that Walter had played a part in the “finest charge in the annals of modern warfare”.  Little consolation for Frank, then in his 80s.  He died in 1919.

THE LATE LANCE-CORPORAL WALTER KINGHORN. (1918, May 9). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119501800

THE LATE LANCE-CORPORAL WALTER KINGHORN. (1918, May 9). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119501800

Byaduk suffered the loss of 14 men during WW1 and the community moved to remember them.  Described as a historic day for Byaduk, on June 28, 1918, the families of the local men that served, planted trees for an Avenue of Honor. Those who had paid the supreme sacrifice carried a laurel wreath on their plaques. One of Walter’s sisters, most likely Fanny, planted his tree.  Mrs Hilda Harman, aunt of Charles Harman planted one for him, while Charles’ sisters Julia and Alice planted trees for the other Harman brothers to serve, Reuben Edward and William Loud.

A cousin of Charles Harman, Isabella Harman had two brothers-in-law serve, Denis and Michael Bunworth.  Denis was killed only a month earlier in France.  As Isabella’s husband, Jonathan Bunworth planted a tree for his brother Michael, he could never imagine that within two weeks, Micheal’s plaque too would bear the telling laurel wreath. Michael was killed on August 1, 1918 in France.  The deaths of the two Bunworth boys was also felt by the Kinghorns as Walter’s brother Frank jnr. married Denis and Michael’s sister, Johanna.  Three families intertwined through marriage and united in grief.

BYADUK AVENUE OF HONOUR. (1918, July 13). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 8. Retrieved April 22, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119504179

BYADUK AVENUE OF HONOUR. (1918, July 13). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 8. Retrieved April 22, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119504179

 

In 1922, a  War Memorial was officially unveiled at Byaduk to remember the fallen.  A fitting tribute to the men from Byaduk who served and died.

HAMILTON. (1922, June 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 15. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4627391

HAMILTON. (1922, June 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 15. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4627391

wm (503x800)         wm1 (552x800)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In nearby Hamilton, the brave ride of the Light Horsemen at Beersheba was also remembered, with a row of  14 Aleppo palms planted along Alexandra Parade in 1920 as a tribute.

 

025 (600x800)

Unveiled in 1995, a memorial stone close to the palms completes the Beersheba memorial.  Water Kinghorn’s name is beside Dunkeld boy, Edward Womersley, who died of his wounds in the days after the charge.

026 (600x800)

027

 

To the horses of the Australian Light Horse, especially those from the Western District that never returned to rolling green pastures, but instead only knew sand, dust, flies, heat and death, their bravery and endurance should never be forgotten.

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image No. H12486  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H12486/

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image No. H12486 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H12486/

 

While in no way can the adrenaline, fear and the scale of the charge at Beersheba be recreated, the Australian film “The Lighthorsemen” does go some way to depict the events of October 31, 1917.

But nothing can go past recollections of those that were at Bersheeba such as the following poem by  Trooper Arthur Beatty of Sassafras written in 1918 remembering those buried in a “Bedouin camping place”

 

beersheba

ORIGINAL POETRY. (1918, September 21). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 53. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140212130

ORIGINAL POETRY. (1918, September 21). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 53. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140212130

 

SOURCES

Roll of Honour – Walter Rodney Kinghorn

Embarkation Roll – Walter Rodney Kinghorn

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Casualty Details – Walter Rodney Kinghorn

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre – Roll of Honour Walter Rodney Kinghorn

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre – Embarkation Roll – 4th Light Horse Regiment – A Squadron – HMAT Wiltshire

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre – The Battle of Beersheba

The AIF Project – 4th Light Horse Regiment, A Squadron Unit Details

A.W.M – 4th Light Horse Regiment

The Desert Mounted Troops at Beersheba

Transcript of Diaries of Henry “Harry” Langtip

Beersheba: The Charge of the 4th Light Horse

The Australian Light Horse Association – Mounted Troops

Australian Reserve Forces Day Council – The Charge at Beersheba

A.W.M. – The Charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba

 

This post was written for the 2014 Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.  Click on the link to read some great ANZAC day tributes from other bloggers.  To read my previous ANZAC Day posts, click on this  link…Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge – 2011-2013.

 

 


Happy Birthday WDF

That time of year has rolled around again…blogiversary time.  Yes, Western District Families is three today and it’s party hat time.

_221

MY NANA, LINDA HADDEN, IS IN THE BACK ROW WITH THE POINTY WHITE HAT

At first glance, my blogging year seemed uneventful.  With much time taken up with study and family, and little left to write the type of posts I enjoy.  But when I look back over the 100 or so posts of the past year, when at times I’ve felt as though I was in a tug of war with demands from everywhere, I didn’t too badly.

hb

Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2010.137/14 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/85452

I managed to write posts that are now among my favourites of the past three years including Sweet Daisy, stories of The Vagabond, the Muddy Creek Reeds, Claremont, Portland and  Skipton, the Local Horse, each requiring plenty of research to sink my teeth into.  I also enjoyed writing the post that evolved while cooking, Stretching My Genealogy Muscles.

There has also been the ever dependable Trove Tuesday posts. This time last year I had written 33 Trove Tuesday posts and in the past year another 49 have evolved. I particularly enjoyed learning about Aaron Weller, who in 1897 was Victoria’s oldest man.  I know some you are missing the Trove Tuesday posts, but they’ll be back.  Another regular, Passing of the Pioneers, is still going strong and I will keep up the posts over the coming months.  I haven’t counted for a while, but the number of pioneer obituaries is nearing 500.

There were some other highlights such as The Hamilton Spectator (1914-1918) arriving online at Trove.  Also the birth of the Western District Families Facebook page  now with 162 members.  And of course,  the re-incarnation of the “I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria” Facebook group , with 2590 members. It has been huge, bringing me new friends, new research ideas and an increased knowledge of Hamilton and district.

But the biggest highlight once again was Western District Families inclusion in Inside History magazine’s 50 top genealogy blogs.  To have Western District Families recognised with 49 fantastic blogs from Australia and overseas definitely takes the cake.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/85452

Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria . Image no.H2010.137/14 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/85452

 

So what’s been popular this year?  The Top 5 includes two new posts, another only 13 months old and two old favourites.

  • A Pleasant Distraction – Introducing the Hamilton Facebook group and an insight into the gathering of Hamilton social history that has resulted.
  • The General Hewitt – Portland Bay 1856 - First posted in March 2013, this post tells the story of the ship’s arrival in Portland Bay and the events in days after, along with some of the passengers who made the Western District their home.
  • Muntham Station – A You Tube clip, produced for the sale of the former Henty property, spurred me on to share a little of the history of the former Henty property.

It is also great  to see the Links page getting many views and lots of clicks.  I hope you found a useful Western District link.

Western District Families has really moved forward in the past 12 months.  Views to the blog have almost doubled and at the last blogiversary had 64 followers, today there are 144. I would love to get back to the usual two posts a week, but while I’m working on my Diploma thesis I will be limiting my output here, but I’m looking forward to the second half of the year when I can share some more stories of our Western District Families.

Thank you to everyone.

 

Image courtesy of the Lindsay G. Cumming Collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H2005.88/353 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/26100

Image courtesy of the Lindsay G. Cumming Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2005.88/353 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/26100

 


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