Author Archives: Merron Riddiford

Sweet Daisy

Do you have a favourite Australian genealogy record?  For me, it’s the Electoral Rolls.  When they first became available at Ancestry, I spent hours finding addresses, checking Google maps, finding occupations, spouses and unusual living arrangements.

That’s when I came to grow fond of a little branch of my Diwell family.  The head of the family was Thomas Edward Diwell, my 3 x great uncle, and his wife, Mary Jane Pretlove.  Thomas, a blacksmith, was the son of the first Diwell arrivals to the Western District, William Diwell and Margaret Ann Turner.

Thomas and Mary Jane married at Sandford in 1899 with their first child, William, born at Casterton in 1890.  Then Thomas took his family further than any of his family had been before within Australia, and moved to Balranald in south-west New South Wales where they remained for some years.   Nine children were born in Balranald, including a set of twins.  Sadly they lost two children, including one of the twins.  In 1913, eldest daughter Florence married at Balranald.

Around 1914, some of the family moved back to the Western District and a further child, Eva Muriel, was born at Hamilton.  Eldest son William was at Dartmoor working as a blacksmith.  At some point before 1919, Mary Jane and some of the children moved to Carlton, while Thomas seems to have travelled for work, listed at Donald and Beenak on the 1919 Electoral Rolls.   But not everyone was living together.  Third child, Daisy Isabel, aged 26,  was working as a packer and living at 171 Drummond Street Carlton, older brother William, a returned serviceman, was a student and living at 53 Barkley Street Carlton and mother Mary Jane, presumably with the younger children, was at 203 Drummond Street, Carlton.

By 1924, the family had moved to 134 Johnston street, Fitzroy (below), during a colourful period in that suburb’s history.  Father Thomas was, according to the Electoral Rolls, not in Melbourne, but instead living at Beenak in the Warburton area at least until 1928.  He reappeared on the Electoral Roll with the family in 1931, by which time they had moved next door to 132 Johnston Street Fitzroy (below).

So here was a family, used to living in an isolated country town, now residing in Melbourne’s bustling and bursting inner north, renown for slums and crime.  That alone captured my interest.  But what really attracted me to the family, particularly Daisy, other than her lovely name, was that her occupation on the Electoral Rolls was confectioner.  Taking that clue, I found that MacRobertson chocolates had a factory in Fitzroy, just down the road from the Diwells, so there was a strong possibility that Daisy worked there, making some of my favourites, including Freddo Frogs and Cherry Ripes.  Even sweeter.  I put Daisy away for awhile…until recently.

A new discovery, an article from Adelaide’s Daily Herald, has me liking Daisy even more, because Daisy fought for workers’ rights, particularly female workers, with her involvement with the Female Confectioners Union.

The Victorian Branch of the Female Confectioners Union, formed in 1916, met for their annual conference in February 1921, the subject of the Daily Herald’s article.  Mr E.H.A Smith, the union secretary, reported on the progress the union had made during the previous six months.  Wages had increased, eight days paid leave achieved and, in just six months, the union had increased in number by 474, with most of the women employed in confectionery manufacturing being paid members.

Mr Smith then passed on his congratulations to the leaders of the union, pointing out the unselfish work done by Margaret Wearne , the general secretary and Daisy Diwell, the treasurer, two pioneers of the union.

Miss Diwell has the distinction of being the union’s first shop president and her achievements in securing new members during the early stages of the union have been remarkable

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CONFECTIONERS MAKE PROGRESS. (1921, February 9). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924), p. 7. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107251855

CONFECTIONERS MAKE PROGRESS. (1921, February 9). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 – 1924), p. 7. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107251855

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32336

PACKING CHOCOLATES, MACROBERTSON’S FACTORY c1910-1940. Image Courtesy of State Library of Victoria. Image No. H2003.101/82 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32336

By the end of 1921, the female confectioners had achieved another pay increase.

Confectioners' Wages. (1921, December 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 9. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4613994

Confectioners’ Wages. (1921, December 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 9. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4613994

Naturally, after that find I had to keep digging.  Some bits and pieces came up, but finally I found a recent essay, A fine and self-reliant group of women”: Women’s leadership in the female confectioners union”  by Cathy Brigden (2013).  From that I found out a lot more about Daisy.  She did work at MacRobertsons and had been there since at least 1918.  Also, when living at 171 Drummond Street, Carlton, she was boarding at the home of two of her co-workers and union members,  Elsie and Maud Hood and their parents.

Brigden’s study revealed, the three girls, Daisy, Elsie and Maud came to the fore as leaders of the union in 1918, tirelessly recruiting other girls to the union and Daisy became treasurer.  It was, however, that dedication that contributed to the failing of Daisy’s health and in 1921 it forced her resignation from her union role.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32448

TOFFEE CUTTING LINE & PACKING, MACROBERTSON’S FACTORY. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H2003.101/105 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32448

Despite not being a union official, it does seem that Daisy kept working at MacRobertsons  with her occupation listed as confectioner up until the 1943 Electoral Roll, four years before her death.  Since her last change of address was for the 1928 Electoral roll, I can only assume she was a confectioner up until that time, but it is unlikely she took the trouble to update her occupation on the Electoral rolls, when she had no need to update her address.

Since the Electoral Rolls have been available up until 1980 on Ancestry, I have been wary of assuming a person remained in their listed occupation when they did not move their residence.  I realised this when I saw my mother’s entries on the 1977 and 1980 rolls  In 1977 she was a teacher and in 1980, again a teacher.  However, she left teaching around 77/78, and was a business proprietor in 1980, but did not change address between 1972 and 1995.  Therefore if I were to check the Electoral Rolls beyond 1980, Mum is probably listed as a teacher up until 1995 when she had to change her address details with the Electoral Office.  That’s going to confuse some eager genealogist in the future.

Daisy died in Fitzroy in 1947 aged 54.   She never married and predeceased her mother Mary Jane, by seven years.  Thomas had passed away in 1932 and Mary Jane continued to live at 132 Johnston Street, Fitzroy with her daughter Margaret, also a confectionery worker.

So who or what was MacRobertsons?  In 1880, MacRobertsons had humble beginnings in the family bathroom in Fitzroy, of Ballarat born Macpherson Robertson, then aged 21.  The business grew from a small bathroom to the huge  factory where Daisy worked.  Everything at the factory was white and it was known as “White City”. The factory workers wore white. the buildings were white, the delivery horses were white and even Macpherson Robertson wore white.  The factory was self-sufficient with even the chocolate boxes produced there.

Robertson was a father figure to his staff,  had an interest in their welfare and supported the Female Confectioners Union.  In 1921, he authored a book,  “A Young Man and a Nail Can: An Industrial Romance”.  MacRobertsons introduced fairy floss and chewing gum to Australia and by 1923, the business had grown to 2000 employees earning a total sum of £350,00 per annum and the profits were flowing.

"OLD GOLD.". (1923, March 9). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), p. 3 Edition: THIRD EDITION. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77897193

“OLD GOLD.”. (1923, March 9). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), p. 3 Edition: THIRD EDITION. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77897193

As I read about Macpherson Robertson.  I kept thinking, “Didn’t Roald Dahl write about this guy?”.  Then I found an article by Kirstin Masters, entitled Australia’s Willy Wonka: From Home Candy-Making to Confectionery Magnate.   Say no more.

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WONDERLAND OF INDUSTRY. (1925, April 15). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 10. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63710202

WONDERLAND OF INDUSTRY. (1925, April 15). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 10. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63710202

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32436

HORSE-DRAWN DELIVERY VANS OUTSIDE MACROBERTSON’S FACTORY. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2003.101/256 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32436

Now that I have found this latest information about Daisy, it has opened up a whole new line of research.  Just for starters, there are four archive boxes of minutes, copies of the “Women’s Clarion“, the union’s journal,  and photographs held by the University of Melbourne Archives.  There are a multitude of histories about MacRobertsons and the man behind the brand, so I’ll be reading everything I can from that respect.

I would like to know more about the two residences, 132 and 134 Johnston Street, Fitzroy where members of the family resided for at least 33 years.  I wish the Electoral Rolls were more Census like, because I’m interested in who, other than the Diwell family, may have lived at the two homes over the course of three decades.  Also, how long did father Thomas live and work near Warburton and did Daisy’s sister Margaret have any involvement with the union during her time as a confectioner?  Finally my interest in Carlton and Fitzroy during the 1910s, 20s and 30s has grown and I will do more reading about the two suburbs to learn more about the life of Daisy and the Diwell family.   There are also tours of the MacRobertson factory site, a great way to get the feel for Daisy’s working life.  The Melbourne Chocolate History Tours site has some great photos of MacRobertsons.  I will try to do all this… when I find the time…

Until the next update on sweet Daisy, here are some wonderful advertisements for my favourite MacRobertson’s products, from the Australian Women’s Weekly.

Advertising. (1939, March 25). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 30. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51271083

Advertising. (1939, March 25). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 30. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51271083

Advertising. (1958, August 6). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 16. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51776246

Advertising. (1958, August 6). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 16. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51776246

Brigden, Cathy (2013-05). “A fine and self-reliant group of women”: Women’s leadership in the female confectioners union. In Labour History. (104), 49-64.


After Many Days

To really get a feel for a time in history, there is nothing better than a diary, letter, memoir or personal account.  Some of my favourite Western District history books are those from pioneer times, such as “The Diaries of Sarah Midgley and Richard Skilbeck” and James Bonwick’s educational tour of Western Victoria in 1857.  There is another on my list that I haven’t shared with you before, “After Many Day’s: being the reminisces of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh.  Even better, the book is available online. (See link at end of post)

Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, born in Ireland in 1837, published his memoir in 1918, when he was 81, written, he claims, after much prodding from his wife, Flora and friends particularly a friend from the later part of his life, writer Walter G. Henderson of Albury.   Much thanks must go to them, because their persuading resulted in a  414 page rollicking yarn, packed with places, names and stories from the first half of Cuthbert’s life.  And there are illustrations.

EARLY MEMORIES. (1925, June 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16211009

EARLY MEMORIES. (1925, June 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16211009

This is not just a story of the Western District, but of life in Ireland and Germany during Cuthbert’s childhood.  There is also a wonderful description of his passage on a second-class ticket to Melbourne aboard the “Sussex” in 1853.  Cuthbert spent some time in Melbourne before he went to  the Henty’s Muntham Station (p.90) in the Western District, and his account brings 1850s Melbourne  to life.

He outlines his friendship with Thomas Browne/Rolf Boldrewood author of “Robbery Under Arms “(p 40).  He includes the obituary of his father, Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, who spent time as a Police Magistrate at Hamilton (p.52).  During his time there, Cuthbert senior, resided at  Correagh at Strathkeller, just north of Hamilton.  (Today, Correagh is in excellent condition and was featured in an issue of Home Life magazine, available online)

There are stories of horse breaking, bushrangers, colonial racing and more.

Some of the Western District identities he met included members of the Henty family, Samuel Pratt Cooke, Acheson Ffrench and the Learmonths.  But there were also stockmen, horse breakers and crack riders.

He associated with Adam Lindsay Gordon (p.165), a person he admired for his riding skill and poetry, and there are several extracts of ALG’s verse.

Cuthbert devoted several pages to George Waines (p177) and the trial, that saw Waines convicted and sentenced to hang for the murders of Casterton couple Robert and Mary Hunt.

After Muntham, Cuthbert travelled to Queensland via Sydney.  On the way he dropped in at the Chirnside’s Mt William Station at the foot of the Grampians.  It is was there he saw the “western mare” Alice Hawthorne, in the days when she was beginning her Cinderella story, transforming from station hack to champion racehorse.

After lengthy reminisces of his time in Queensland, past Rockhampton, Cuthbert then focused on his life in N.S.W where he spent two years as an Anglican minister.  He died in Wellington, N.S.W. in 1925, aged 88, remembered as a pastoral leader.

What the critics said:

At the time of the book’s release, the Sydney Stock and Station Journal described the book as “pure Australian”

GOSSIP. (1918, April 12). The Sydney Stock and Station Journal (NSW : 1896 - 1924), p. 3. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124218838

GOSSIP. (1918, April 12). The Sydney Stock and Station Journal (NSW : 1896 – 1924), p. 3. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124218838

When Cuthbert died in 1925,  Walter Henderson wrote of his friend and the book he persuaded Cuthbert to write.

CUTHBERT FETHERSTONHAUGH. (1925, July 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16210414

CUTHBERT FETHERSTONHAUGH. (1925, July 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16210414

Read “After Many Days: being the reminiscences of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh” online


Trove Tuesday – Ostrich Farming

It was a wish to have a touch of home that saw plants and animals introduced from England in the mid to late 19th century, some with dire results.   Other exotic animals arrived too, such as monkeys.  But it was ostriches that offered a monetary return, with their feathers in demand in the fashion industry.   However, ostrich farming was not all it was cracked up to be, as Samuel Wilson of Longerenong and an unsuspecting carpenter found out in November 1868.  The ostriches, owned by the Acclimatisation Society of Victoria, were acclimatising at Wilson’s property and  had given the first impression they were tame, but as the two men found out, “familiarities are likely to breed contempt”

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MISCELLANEOUS. (1868, November 16). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64691135

MISCELLANEOUS. (1868, November 16). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64691135

 

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/165898

LONGERENONG HOMESTEAD, PRE 1940. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2006.161/4 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/165898

Samuel Wilson must have grown tired of the ostriches as they popped up 13 years later at Murray Downs Station, on the opposite side of the Murray river to Swan Hill.  It was owned by Suetonius and Charles Officer.  Seems they had more of a clue about ostriches than Samuel Wilson.  The birds had gone wild at Longerenong, probably after the trousers incident, with no one game enough to go near them.  Rounding them up to move to Murray Downs was a major operation but once there, the Messrs Officer paired the birds off and accommodated them in small yards, and calm returned…somewhat.

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Ostrich Farming in Victoria. (1881, May 21). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), p. 6 Supplement: Second Sheet to The Maitland Mercury. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article817426

Ostrich Farming in Victoria. (1881, May 21). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), p. 6 Supplement: Second Sheet to The Maitland Mercury. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article817426

 

MURRAY DOWNS HOMESTEAD.  Image Courtesy of State Library of South Australia.  Image no.  PRG 1258/2/1721 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/godson/2/01750/PRG1258_2_1721.htm

MURRAY DOWNS HOMESTEAD. Image Courtesy of State Library of South Australia. Image no. PRG 1258/2/1721 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/godson/2/01750/PRG1258_2_1721.htm

 

OSTRICH FARM, PORT AUGUSTA, SA.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H82.43/140 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/57060

OSTRICH FARM, PORT AUGUSTA, SA. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H82.43/140 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/57060

After Suetonius died in 1883, Charles sold Murray Downs and the ostriches were on the move again, this time to Charles Officer’s new property near Kerang.

os1Ostrich Farming. (1885, January 13). Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (Vic. : 1877 - 1889), p. 4. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65601344

Ostrich Farming. (1885, January 13). Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (Vic. : 1877 – 1889), p. 4. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65601344

 

ostrich1 (600x800)

OSTRICH, HALLS GAP ZOO

Two years later, and the ostriches had settled in to their new home and were producing feathers of a high quality.

 

VICTORIAN OSTRICH FEATHERS. (1887, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE PORTLAND GUARDIAN. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65410783

VICTORIAN OSTRICH FEATHERS. (1887, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE PORTLAND GUARDIAN. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65410783

Twenty-six years later, the next generation of Officer Bros. had taken over the ostrich farming.

    OSTRICH FARMING. (1913, March 29). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45239223

OSTRICH FARMING. (1913, March 29). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45239223

If you are wondering if any of the 1913 ostriches where a part of the group that started out in 1868, well, so was I and it is possible.  In the wild an ostrich can live to up to 40 years and up to 60-70 years in captivity.  The Officer Bros. fed their ostriches well so you never know.

 


Trove Tuesday – Wartime Home Economics

Back in May for Trove Tuesday, I  posted about the “For Wives and Daughters” columns from the Colac Herald.  I’ve got more, this time from April 18, 1917 with hints on keeping the household budget in the black during the hard years of WW1 and we learn which is a better investment, a sausage or a chop.

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A FEW HINTS ON ECONOMY. (1917, April 18). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918), p. 5. Retrieved October 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74520295

A FEW HINTS ON ECONOMY. (1917, April 18). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 5. Retrieved October 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74520295


Byaduk Methodist Church Jubilee

With the Hamilton Spectator (1914-1918) now online at Trove, I am finding some good articles about my family members. One of those articles included ggg grandfather James Harman  and the Byaduk Methodist Church Jubilee in May 1914.

I have outlined the history of the Byaduk Methodist Church and the part  James played, in the post M is for….Methodist, and this new find further confirms what I knew.  The Byaduk correspondent remarked that James, “who claims and justly so, to be the father of the movement” in the town was present at the celebration dinner.  James spoke, reminiscing about the early days and his time as a lay preacher.  I wish there had been video cameras in those days.  What I would give for that information.

Some of the local pioneers to return for the Jubilee were Thomas Harper, Samuel Clark, John Poynton.  Daniel Tyers, then 94,  was also in attendance at the dinner, joining 200 others in the Byaduk Mechanics Institute.  The evening had a jam-packed program of speeches, recitation and song.

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METHODIST JUBILEE AT BYADUK. (1914, May 9). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 8. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119828889

METHODIST JUBILEE AT BYADUK. (1914, May 9). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 8. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119828889

BYADUK METHODIST CHURCH

BYADUK METHODIST CHURCH

In 1907, some of the early Byaduk pioneers gathered for a photo outside the Byaduk Methodist Church.  In the back row, 2nd left was Samuel Tyers,  James and Jonathan Harman,  5th and 6th (both were listed as J. Harman, helpful) Thomas Harper, 9th from the left.  Daniel Tyers was In the 2nd row, 5th from the left.

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BYADUK PIONEERS 1907, Photographer G. Earney. Image courtesy of the Hamilton History Centre.


Trove Tuesday – Gone to Byaduk

One of the Victorian towns named in last week’s Trove Tuesday post, What’s In A Name?, was Byaduk, home of the Harmans.  The Portland Guardian of May 17, 1945 found the following story from the Warrnambool Standard so amusing, they had to share it themselves.

GONE TO "BYADUK.". (1945, May 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64404340

GONE TO “BYADUK.”. (1945, May 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64404340

I find with Byaduk’s name is that it is often spelt incorrectly as Byaduck.  If I am searching Trove for Byaduk, I have to search Byaduck too.

Cut among the People. (1938, May 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 27. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30867560

Cut among the People. (1938, May 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), p. 27. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30867560


Passing of the Pioneers

This September’s Passing of the Pioneers includes some early colonists, many offering up some interesting extra tidbits.

The images I have used in this post, show how Trove can help illustrate your family stories.  Simply pick a landmark, ship or even a theme (thinking of the recent post Stretching my Genealogy Muscles), and then do a Trove search.  I find many “out of copyright” images from both the State Library of Victoria and the State Library of South Australia.  As long as you cite the image correctly, you are free to use that image.  Other repositories require that “out of copyright” images be used for personal use only, except with permission from the institution.  For the purposes of my blog, that’s not practical as I’m usually searching on a whim, but would not be problem if writing an article or book.

John MOFFATT – Died September 5, 1871 .  The story of John Moffatt is a something of a rags to riches story and easily could have ended in rags again.  Moffatt was born in Scotland around 1817. He arrived in Victoria around 1839 and began work as a shepherd at “Hopkins Hills” Estate, then run by the Clyde Company.  He then went to “The Grange” at Hamilton owned by Captain William Lonsdale.

In 1854, prophesies of financial doom were directed at the squatters. The Clyde Company got cold feet and sold Hopkins Hill.   John Moffatt was able to buy the property where he worked as a shepherd, 15 years before, presumably at a reasonable price.  In the late 1850s he built “Chatsworth House” for around £20,000 and given his small freehold, many thought such a lavish investment  would lead to his demise.  By the time of his death, however, he was earning £35,000 per annum from rental on his properties.

HOPKINS HILL HOMESTEAD.  Engraving by Grosse, Frederick, d 1828-1894, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/4 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/237805

HOPKINS HILL HOMESTEAD. Engraving by Grosse, Frederick, d 1828-1894,
Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/4 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/237805

John Moffat sat as a member of Villiers and Heytesbury from November 1864 to December 1865 in the Victorian Parliament.  He also imported horses with some of the finest bloodlines seen in the colony.  His greatest triumph was hosting Prince Alfred in 1867 as depicted in the sketch below by Nicholas Chevalier.  An extensive report of the visit, including Chevalier’s sketch were published in the Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne: 1867-1875) on February 4, 1868.  Unfortunately the Prince was keen hunter and was able to indulge in his “sport” at Hopkins Hill which sadly involved a yard of kangaroos.  That incident too, was reported on at length.

THE ENTRANCE HALL, HOPKINS HILL. - Nicholas Chevalier. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/1  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/237840

THE ENTRANCE HALL, HOPKINS HILL. – Nicholas Chevalier. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/1
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/237840

John Moffatt travelled to England around 1869 .  In 1871, he decided to return to Australia, taking an overland route,  but died during the course of the trip and was buried at Galle, Sri Lanka.  He never married.  A line at the end of the obituary gives some insight into John’s character.  His brother, Robert Moffatt, was described as “even more eccentric” than John.

Thomas MUST – Died September 2, 1905 at Portland.  Thomas Must was born in London in 1815 and arrived in Sydney in 1832 aboard the Guardian.  He worked for general merchants and shipping agents, Marsden and Flower and in 1842 he married Ann Wilcox.  Marsden and Flower sent Thomas to Victoria in 1846 and he established an agency at Portland.   Horace Flower joined him and they formed the partnership, Flower, Must & Co., traders.  A large warehouse was built in Bentick Street.

After seven years, Must bought out Flower’s share in the company.  Thomas later set up a branch at Port McDonnell, South Australia. He operated his business for a further 27 years, but in the meantime he served on local government and sat on the Victorian Legislative Assemble and saw some shaky financial times.  Thomas had the family home Prospect built in 1855, and from there he and Ann raised eight daughters and four sons.

"Prospect" Portland circa 1962-1966. Photographer:  John T. Collins.  J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H98.250/2022 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233117

“Prospect” Portland circa 1962-1966. Photographer: John T. Collins. J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H98.250/2022 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233117

Angus McDOUGALL – Died September 4, 1914 at Hamilton.   Angus McDougall, a Scot,  arrived at Portland around 1854 aged 17, aboard the Edward Johnstone.  He started working as a carrier between Portland and Hamilton, but eventually took up land at Buckley’s Swamp.  He married, but he and his wife never had children.  Eight of his siblings were still alive at the time of his death and the funeral was one of the largest seen in the district, with around 60 vehicles and many on horseback.

Sarah Ann BURNETT – Died September 7, 1914 at Warrnambool.   Sarah Ann Burnett arrived at Port Fairy aboard the Persian in 1852 with her husband William Miller and three of their children.  They lived first between Port Fairy and Tower Hill, then settled on the Merri River at Cassidy’s Bridge.  Sarah and William raised seven children.  Her obituary states there were two grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren at the time of her death.  Reverse that I think…or, maybe, her two grandchildren were just prolific breeders,

Sarah and her fellow Methodist church goer, Henry Beardsley (below), died a day apart and were both remembered at a service at the Warrnambool Methodist Church led by Reverend Harris.

WARRNAMBOOL METHODIST CHURCH.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No. H32492/2746 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63534

WARRNAMBOOL METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H32492/2746 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63534

Fortunately, the Warrnambool Standard documented the service.  Reverend Harris reminded the congregation of the great contribution pioneer women made to the colony, a fact often forgotten.

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73581774

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73581774

Henry BEARDSLEY – Died September 9, 1914 at Russell’s Creek.  Henry Beardsley, born in Derbyshire on Christmas Day, 1842, arrived in Hobsons Bay, Victoria, 1852 aboard the Marco Polo.  He accompanied his parents, John and Elizabeth, and four siblings.  That information is from the PROV Index to Assisted British Immigration (1839-1871), something the writer of Henry Beardleys’ obituary did not have access to.  If he did, he would have known that the Marco Polo didn’t land at Geelong in 1850.

Henry first went to Ararat with his family, then on to Warrnambool where he took a job at “Spring Gardens” nursery.  After nine years he took a managerial role at the nursery of Mr R. S. Harris.  He remained there for another nine  years.  After 18 years in the industry he started his own nursery at Russell’s Creek.

At the Warrnambool Methodist Church memorial service, Henry, a Sunday School teacher,  was remembered as the children’s friend,

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METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73581774

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73581774

Margaret BISSETT – Died September 14, 1914 at Richmond.  Margaret Bissett was born in Scotland and came to Victoria around the 1850s.  She went to Dunmore Station (below), between Port Fairy and Macarthur, owned by  Charles MacKnight.  It was there she met her future husband, Michael Horan, a worker at the property.

DUNMORE c1866. Photographer Joseph Henry Sodden. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H1736 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/74132

After Charles and Margaret’s marriage, they moved to Orford, near Warrnambool,  and purchased the Horse and Jockey Hotel which they ran for several years  Margaret also ran the Post Office.  Margaret passed away at her daughter’s home in Richmond and she was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

James PAPLEY – Died September 18, 1914 at Port Fairy.   In 1852, James Papley from Orkney Island, Scotland, his wife Jessie and two babies and a female relative, presumably his sister, left Birkenhead for Port Phillip aboard the  Ticonderoga on what was to become a hellish voyage with 170 passengers dying during the passage. 

MELBOURNE SHIPPING. (1852, November 15). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 2. Retrieved September 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60132168

MELBOURNE SHIPPING. (1852, November 15). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), p. 2. Retrieved September 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60132168

There is an excellent website Ticonderoga that documents the voyage, the passengers and related articles.  It is well worth a look.

James and Jessie began work as the master and matron of the Port Fairy Hospital and remained there many years before turning to farm life at Narrawong, their home for 43 years.

FORMER PORT FAIRY HOSPITAL c1958.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

FORMER PORT FAIRY HOSPITAL c1958. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

Letitia WALL – Died September 8, 1915 at Toorak.  Letitia Wall was born in the Wynard Barracks, Sydney in 1824, her father Colonel Charles William Wall led the 3rd Regiment (The Buffs).  She married Robert Henry Woodward in 1846 at Moreton Bay and they went to the Port Fairy district soon after.  In her later years Letitia took up residence at “Kilmaron” Toorak Road, Toorak where she passed away.

Margaret SEFTON – Died September 1915 at Coleraine.  Margaret Sefton, born in County Down, Ireland in 1823, travelled to Port Phillip with her father and siblings,  She married William Brown in 1847 at St. James Church,  Melbourne,  The couple spent some time in Melbourne and Hamilton before settling at Coleraine.  They had 13 children and by the time of Margaret and William’s Diamond Wedding anniversary,  there were 81 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren to  join the celebrations.  William passed away in 1908.

The  Australia Marriage Index records Margaret and William’s marriage as 1847, as does the site “Came to Port Phillip by 1849″, however Margaret’s obituary refers to their marriage in 1846, their Golden anniversary as 1896 and Diamond anniversary as 1906.  Maybe Margaret and William forgot the year they married?

Michael CASEY – Died September 8, 1918 at Macarthur.  Born in Limerick, Ireland around 1835, Michael Casey arrived at Geelong aboard the “Great Australia“, possibly on her 1862 voyage.

GREAT AUSTRALIA, Image Courtesy of the  John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.  Image no. 77078 http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/36910375?q=%22great+australia%22&c=picture&versionId=47922188

GREAT AUSTRALIA, Image Courtesy of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image no. 77078 http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/36910375?q=%22great+australia%22&c=picture&versionId=47922188

He obtained Municipal contracts for work and he also married, but the newlyweds left Geelong for Sydney when Michael obtained work as a stone mason on the new St Mary’s Cathedral.

ST MARY'S CATHEDRAL, SYDNEY.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H92.200/429  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/22531

ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL, SYDNEY. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H92.200/429 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/22531

After Sydney, Michael and his family moved to Colac, then the Wimmera and finally Macarthur

George Elias BUTLER – Died September 15, 1918 at Hamilton.  A son of a doctor, George Butler was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1844.  At the age of 25 he travelled to Australia aboard the Great Britain”.

GREAT BRITAIN.  Image courtesy of the Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H99.220/4119 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/14669

GREAT BRITAIN. Image courtesy of the Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H99.220/4119 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/14669

He married at Ballarat in 1875 to Catherine Abbott.  George spent time working at “Blumesbury” Muntham before leasing “Glengleeson” near Macarthur.  In his later years, George moved to Hamilton and was known as a respected citizen with many friends throughout the district.

Edward SIMMONS – Died September 20, 1918 at Melbourne.  Edward Simmons found his fortune  but it seems he didn’t set out to do it the way he did, unlike many other that tried.   Edward started out selling stock in the Moonambel district before moving to Stawell and running a butcher shop with his brother William.

Fortunately, they obtained shares in Stawell’s Orient Mine, one of the town’s most profitable, as history would show.  Healthy dividends saw them increase their interests in other mines in the town.  Edward was able to buy “Oban” ,now the Stawell RSL.  He also purchased pastoral properties including “Yarram” and “Drung” .  In his later years, he moved to Melbourne and lived with his daughter at “Shanghai” on St, Kilda Road.

 


Trove Tuesday – What’s in a Name?

The Argus of July 22, 1944 took a look at some of the more unusual place names around Victoria.  Some of Western District towns appear including Byaduk and Bessibelle.  The copy is streaky in parts, but is still legible.

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VICTORIA HAS SOME CURIOUS PLACE NAMES. (1944, July 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 2 Supplement: The Argus Week-end Magazine. Retrieved September 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11353326

VICTORIA HAS SOME CURIOUS PLACE NAMES. (1944, July 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 2 Supplement: The Argus Week-end Magazine. Retrieved September 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11353326


Muntham Station

Oh wow…I just had to share this.  Muntham Station, between Coleraine and Casterton, first settled by the Henty family, is for sale and so significant is the property, the agents have set up a stand alone website, www.munthamstation.com to display this beautiful property.  There is a history, photos, plans and a virtual tour of the homestead.  But hurry.  Expressions of interest for the property close on November 1 and the website will probably disappear.

A YouTube clip has also been made and it gives you an opportunity to see the beautiful countryside that Major Thomas Mitchell named Australia Felix in 1836.  The same countryside Mitchell recommended to the Hentys that saw them travel inland from Portland to see for themselves.  They agreed with the Major’s description and settled at Muntham and neighbouring  Merino Downs.

Coincidentally, the Hamilton Art Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of the works of colonial artist Thomas Clark.  The accompanying website, Exposing Thomas Clark , displays his main works, including Clark’s landscape of Muntham Station.  The Art Gallery will also be displaying works from other colonial artists they hold in their permanent collection, including Eugene Von Guerard and Nicholas Chevalier.  I’m off to Hamilton soon and a trip to the Hamilton Art Gallery is on the agenda.

Now I’m off to buy a lotto ticket…

MUNTHAM.  Image Courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H94.200/273

MUNTHAM. Image Courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H94.200/273 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217208


The Vagabond…Out and About in Portland

The first installment of The Vagabond’s Picturesque Victoria in Western Victoria, introduced Portland of 1884 and reflected on the history of the area.   The second installment sees the Vagabond, still in Portland and, on a tour of the town.   He admires the Portland Botanic Gardens, soaks up the atmosphere of the Portland North cemetery and visits the inmates of the Portland Benevolent Asylum.

The first stop was St. Stephens Church, undergoing an extension at the time.  The Vagabond noted the church’s opulence, much of it built from Henty money and a memorial stained glass window giving thanks for their generosity had been installed.

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St Stephens Church, Portland

ST STEPHENS CHURCH

The Vagabond mentioned the left hand end of the church was boarded up for extensions and the ivy that gave the church an aged  appearance.  The image below would have been how the church looked in 1884, before the extension began and the church today (above)

ST STEPHENS CHURCH, PORTLAND (c1880).  Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.  Image No.  B 21766/101 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_101.htm

ST STEPHENS CHURCH, PORTLAND (c1880). Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image No. B 21766/101 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_101.htm

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INTERIOR, ST. STEPHENS CHURCH,

Next, the Botanic gardens, the “pride of Portland”.

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS

Local residents enjoyed strawberries growing at the back of the gardens but anyone trying to scale the garden’s fence faced ferocious dogs chained at intervals around the perimeter.

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PORTLAND BOTANIC GARDENS

PORTLAND BOTANIC GARDENS

The time he spent  imbedded at the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, must have  deepened The Vagabonds’ compassion for the unfortunates residing in such institutions.  His visit to the Portland Benevolent society gives a most interesting insight into the  life of the residents.

Nineteen men and one woman, residents at the time of the Vagabond’s visit, were eating supper of bread and butter and tea.  Many were early arrivals to the colony and most had worked for the Henty family …”poor old fellows, they are remnants of a much despised class, not by any means all bad, good mates to each other, who bore the heat and burden of the early days of colonial life”

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The Old Portland Cemetery had the same effect on the Vagabond as it did on me, even though we visited almost 130 years apart…”I love the place” he declared.

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OLD PORTLAND CEMETERY

OLD PORTLAND CEMETERY

In 1884, if one was to remove the churches and public buildings from Portland, there would be little left, according to the Vagabond.  There were ploughed paddocks in the city centre and cows grazing in the streets.

vaga12The Vagabond considered Mac’s Hotel (below) one of the finest bluestone buildings outside of Melbourne.

MAC'S HOTEL, PORTLAND

MAC’S HOTEL, PORTLAND

Fishing was the main trade in Portland when he visited, but The Vagabond could foresee a day when Portland would resemble Scarborough, England.  He noted the relaxed feel of the town where ladies could visit and not feel they had to change up to four times a day, they even could wear their “oldest gowns”.

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061545

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061545

The photo below is of Portland’s beach around the 1940s.  While villas weren’t lining the cliff tops as the Vagabond predicted, I think he would have been happy that his prophecy had eventuated in part.

THE BEACH, PORTLAND (ca1940-ca1950) Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image No. H86.98/429 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84638

THE BEACH, PORTLAND (ca1940-ca1950) Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image No. H86.98/429 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84638


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