Category Archives: Pioneer Obituaries

Passing of the Pioneers

A small band of Pioneers come together for August Passing of the Pioneers.  They include the first Mayor of the Borough of  Portland and a crew member of William Dutton’s whale boat.

William McLEAN – Died August 28, 1888 at Port Fairy.  At the time of his death, William McLean had resided at the Port Fairy Benevolent Asylum for 10 years and was known to all as “Old Billy”.  In 1887, he spoke about his life from his time in his birthplace of  Scotland .  William was born around 1790 and when around 20, he joined the navy and was a crewman on the HMS Warspite which brought him to Sydney while escorting convicts in 1822.  After meeting some whalers he decided to jump ship and join them.  The whaling ship belonged to William Dutton, one of the first whalers to Portland Bay and William was with him.

Image Coutesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  PN05/05/77/00  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/78495

Image Coutesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. PN05/05/77/00 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/78495

 

When asked who was the first to Portland Bay, William Dutton or the Hentys,  William replied that Dutton and his crew were there long before the Hentys.  Later, William spent time whaling at Port Fairy where he settled.

Mary GRIERSON  – Died August at Port Fairy.  Mary Grierson was born in Scotland in 1827 and arrived in Victoria with her parents in 1839.  They had sailed aboard the David Clark with Port Fairy’s Captain Mills at the helm.  Mary married David Thomas in 1846 and they settled at Rosebrook, near Port Fairy.  They had a family of 12, six girls and six boys.  Mary was a member of the Presbyterian church and her goodwill was known throughout the district.

Thomas BEVAN – Died August 1915 at Colac.  Born in Devonshire, England in 1829, Thomas Bevan arrived in Geelong in 1851.  He moved to Beeac and became a local preacher for the Methodist Church.  Thomas worked hard to build the community and had a strong involvement in all aspects of public affairs.  He was also a musician, with violin and flute his instruments both learnt while still in England.

George HAYNES – Died August 18, 1916 at Port Fairy.  The Port Fairy Town Hall flag flew at half mast the day George Haynes passed away.  George was one of Port Fairy’s earliest residents and the first Mayor of the Borough.  George was born in Staffordshire in 1826 and at the local grammar school.  In 1854, he and his wife travelled to Australia, landing at Melbourne where they remained for around a year.  George then moved on to Port Fairy where he settled and established a merchant business, Haynes and Young.  Married twice, George had seven children from his first marriage.

Advertising. (1915, February 1). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 30, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94722841

Advertising. (1915, February 1). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 30, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94722841

Joseph LEWIS – Died August 27, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Joseph Lewis was born in Staffordshire around 1824  and travelled to Australia aboard the Royal Saxon, landing at Willliamstown, Victoria in 1841Also on board was a relative of Charles Dickens.  After some time working at Little River Joseph travelled to the Grampians with a Mr Dwyer and they attempted to run cattle.  Unsuccessful, Joseph moved on to Port Fairy and purchased the property Glenview,  residing there until old age when he moved into the Port Fairy town.  Joseph left a widow, four sons, four daughters, 32 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Denis BERMINGHAM – Died August 17, 1917 at Port Fairy.  Denis Bermingham was from Ireland and arrived in Port Fairy aboard the Chance during the 1850s.  Spending time at Koroit and then Woodlands, Denis worked on the land. After moving to Port Fairy the 1880s, he worked for a few years on the harbour.  Denis and his wife had 13 children, nine of whom were still living at the time of Denis’ death.

Robert LEISHMAN – Died August 28, 1917 at Port Fairy .  Robert Leishman was born in Scotland around 1830 and arrived in Victoria as a boy in the 1850s.  After some time spent at Woodford, he settled at Crossley and for many years ran the farm Cockpen.  He had also spent some time working on Korongah Station, then owned by Messrs. Knight and Lydiard.  It was there, during the 1870s that Robert’s wife passed away.  During their time together they had a family of five.  In the last years of Robert’s life, he moved to Rosebrook and then Bank Street, Port Fairy.

 


Passing of the Pioneers

When I started posting pioneer obituaries under the heading “Passing of the Pioneers” in July 2011, I never imagined that “Passing of the Pioneers” would still be going three years on.  (I didn’t think Western District Families would still be going).  Nor did I expect that I could announce this month marks the posting of the  500th pioneer obituary.  Over the three years, thanks to the stories of those 500 pioneers, the amount I have learnt about Western District history and the families who built that history has been invaluable.  However, the best aspect has been the number of people who have contacted me after finding their pioneering ancestor in the posts.  I hope what I have provided has gone a little way toward them learning more about their ancestors’ lives.

The precis I give for each pioneer summarises the obituary that appeared in the paper when the pioneer passed away.  I don’t check the facts written there, such as ships sailed on or years of arrival.  I do search for the maiden name of married women, simply because I prefer to list them with their maiden names and not Mrs A. Smith, for example.  Sometimes I will search for further information about a pioneer and  in the entry I include links to the sources I have found.  So basically, what I give you is an index to pioneer obituaries with a link to the original and from there you can make what you like of the information provided at the time of the pioneer’s death.  Obituaries are, after all, an inaccurate source as the information contained is second or third hand and rarely do you read of negative characteristics of a person or their failures in life.

Importantly, I must thank Trove Australia because without the digitised newspapers I would never have been able to find the 500 obituaries of some of the Western District’s great pioneers.

You can either search or browse the Passing of the Pioneers obituaries. Search a family name in the search box on the side bar of this page or select “Pioneer Obituaries” in the category box, also on the sidebar.  You can then browse through the 36 posts beginning with the most recent.  Simply click on the name of the pioneer to go to the newspaper obituary. If you find a family member, feel free to comment and give more information if you have any.  Leaving a comment increases your chance of finding someone else researching the same person.

 

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This month’s pioneers include two men who knew family members of mine with both men being important figures in their respective towns.  There is also a bricklayer, a publican and one of the men who discovered the Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia.

 

Hugh MURRAY – Died July 28, 1869 at Colac.  Hugh Murray was born in Scotland about 1814 and arrived in Tasmania with his parents and siblings in 1823.  At the age of 23, Hugh left Tasmania for Victoria and settled on the banks of Lake Colac before there was a town and today is considered  Colac’s first white settler.  Hugh had pastoral interests but also sat as a Magistrate at the local Colac Magistrates Court.  Last month’s Passing of the Pioneers included the obituary of Elizabeth Young of Hobart who married Hugh Murray in 1841.

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

Hugh  knew my ggg grandparents Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry but not in the way one would like their ancestors to be acquainted with an outstanding citizen of Colac.  It started with Thomas Gamble, said to have been employed by Hugh Murray to make bricks for his new home at Lake Colac, thus prompting the Gambles to move from Geelong to Colac. Their relationship soon soured.  As early as 1851, Thomas’ wife Ellen faced Magistrate Murray in the Colac Court of Petty Sessions charged with drunkenness, one of dozens of charges she would face during her life and it certainly wasn’t her first.  On January 1853, Thomas Gamble faced court as the defendant in a case against Hugh Murray.  Although the hand writing in the original register of the Colac Court of Petty Sessions (p.83) is difficult to read, I can make out the words  –  “Thomas Gamble – Charged alleged arson in setting fire to Hugh Murray Esq.”.  Fortunately the case was  dismissed.

Peter LEARMONTH – Died July 19, 1893 at Hamilton.  Peter Learmonth was one of Hamilton’s most prominent citizens from the 1860s to the time of his death, contributing greatly to the growth of that town and the  villages surrounding it.  Born in Scotland in 1821, Peter travelled to Tasmania to meet up with his brother William who had already bought land in that colony.  Gold attracted Peter and he left for the Californian goldfields in the late 1840s.  With no success, he made his way to Victoria in the early 1850s and had good fortune on the Castlemaine goldfields. Getting out while ahead during the mid 1850s, he took up a manager’s job at “Merino Downs” station owned by Francis Henty, but not before marrying Mary Jarvey Pearson at Portland in 1854.  By 1859, Peter purchased “Prestonholme” on the banks of the Grange Burn near Hamilton from George Younger and proceeded to build the Grange Burn Flour Mill.  He later purchased mills at  Byaduk, Sandford and Penshurst.  The homestead at Prestonholme” and the mill still stand today on the Mill Road, Hamilton.

PETER LEARMONTH'S PRESTONHOLME MILL.  Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

PETER LEARMONTH’S GRANGE BURN MILL. Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

Not satisfied with his milling empire, Peter established P.Learmonth & Co Stock & Station agents in Gray Street, Hamilton.  Peter’s sons continued the business after his death.

P. LEARMONTH & CO. STOCK & STATION AGENTS. GARY STREET, HAMILTON, WILLIAM TIBBITS (c1896). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.253/1 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/67235

Peter Learmonth was a member of the Dundas Shire Council for nine years, serving as President for four successive terms, a record he still holds.  He was also one of the first councillors of the Borough of Hamilton.   Peter was one of the driving  forces behind the Hamilton & Western District Boys College and Alexandra Girls School, two schools that built Hamilton’s foundations as an education town.

 

HAMILTON COLLEGE.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection.  Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

HAMILTON COLLEGE. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection. Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

 

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE, [No heading]. (1874, July 11). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), p. 52. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5985586

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE, [No heading]. (1874, July 11). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 – 1889), p. 52. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5985586

The Hamilton Hospital was another of Hamilton’s institutions that Peter Learmonth helped set up and was President of the Hospital for 18 years.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

 

Two of  Peter Learmonth’s  children married into families that were also influential in Hamilton ‘at the time.  Eldest son James Allan Learmonth married Annie Thomson, daughter of John Thomson of Monivae in 1886.  A daughter Mary, married the son of another prominent Hamilton man, David Laidlaw jnr, son of saddler and self-made man, David Laidlaw.  Mary’s obituary appeared in April 2013 Passing of the Pioneers.  Messrs. Learmonth, Laidlaw and Thomson were a force to be reckoned with and include Peter’s brother, Alex Learmonth,  also a man of much influence, and it is not surprising that they were able to grow Hamilton into one of Victoria’s most eminent towns.

Later in life, Peter purchased land in Mexico and gave his share to two of his sons.  He also purchased “Correa Estate” near Dunkeld and pursued pastoral interests with much success.

A supporter of the temperance movement, Peter was president of the Total Abstinence Society and the work of he and John Thomson, saw a Temperance Hall opened in Kennedy Street, Hamilton.  They obtained an existing building and converted it to suit the needs of the Society.

As I write my Harman family history and delve into the local histories of Byaduk and Hamilton, Peter Learmonth comes up time and again.  A Methodist, he knew my ggg grandfather James Harman and at one stage James was acting as an agent for farm machinery on Peter’s behalf.   James’ daughter Julia married George Holmes jnr, the son of George Holmes who was a manager of the Grange Burn mill before managing the Byaduk mill.  George Jnr worked at the Penshurst mill and took over the Sandford mill with his brothers.

Peter Learmonth passed away at his home at “Prestonholme” .  He was 74.

Sources:

Dundas Shire Centenary, 1863-1963. Hamilton Spectator for the Dundas Shire Council, [Hamilton, Vic.], 1963.

Garden, Donald S. (Donald Stuart) and Hamilton (Vic.). Council Hamilton, a Western District history. City of Hamilton in conjunction with Hargreen, North Melbourne, 1984.

Glenelg & Wannon Settlers (website)

Macdonald, Anita Mariposa : a story of the Learmonths of western Victoria and Mexico, 1834-1930. Heatherleigh Publishing, [Melbourne], 1982.

John SYMONS – Died July 10, 1914 at Hamilton.  Born in Cornwall around 1828, John Symons’ trade was ship’s carpenter and after his arrival at Portland in 1854, his skills were in demand with much building work required. From Portland, John moved to Balmoral before settling at the Wannon, near Hamilton.  John farmed but was also a contractor for the Roads Board and later the local Shires.  One of his most important works in the district was constructing the bridge over the Wannon River at Redruth, a necessity to enable travel from Hamilton to Coleraine and beyond.  Timber for the bridge was cut using pit saws and John did much of that work himself.  During his marriage, John and his wife raised 11 children with seven still living at the time of his death.

William DUNN – Died July 1, 1914 at Box Hill.  William Dunn arrived in Victoria in 1855 from Somersetshire aboard the “Raven’s Craig”.  After two years in Geelong, he rode by horseback to Hamilton, his home for the next 44 years.  As a bricklayer and builder he constructed the Victoria and Colonial banks in Hamilton with William Holden and  Budock Vean, a home in French Street, Hamilton still standing today.  A devout Methodist, he held various positions within the church.

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON.  Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image no.   H97.250/89 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/89
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

Jane DONNELLY  – Died July 1, 1914 at Hawkesdale.  Born in Ireland around 1834, Jane Jenkins arrived in Australia in the 1860s, settling at Myamyn.  She married William Walshe and they raised six children.  In the meantime,  Jane established the Foresters Hotel at Myamyn and ran a store to cater for the many carriers who used the town as a stopover on their travels.  After the death of her husband , Jane remarried to William Jenkins in 1883 and for a time ran the former Victoria Hotel at Portland.

John MUNRO – Died July 1914 at Hotspur.  John Munro was born in Scotland around 1833 and sailed to Hobsons Bay aboard the “Champion of the Seas” in 1854.  Gold must have been his primary reason for coming to Victoria as he spent time around the various diggings before travelling to New Zealand and the goldfields of Otago.  After two years he returned and took up residence at Portland and married in 1867.  For many years he was a storekeeper and post office operator.  He also engaged in farming pursuits and in the early 1890s took up land at Hotspur.  At the time of his death he left a widow and nine children.  He was buried at the Hotspur Cemetery.

Alexander John McLEAN – Died July 23, 1915 at Hamilton.  Alexander McLean was born in Scotland around 1836 and arrived in Sydney as a three-year old with his parents.  They later moved to Victoria, taking up residence at Tower Hill.  From there, Alexander went on to Myamyn and then Macarthur where he was a founding member of the Methodist Church.  Alexander enjoyed telling stories of the pioneer days, before bridges spanned creeks or railways traversed the countryside.  Alexander and his wife had nine children.

Sarah Ann FARNHAM – Died July 21, 1916 at Hamilton.  Born in Somersetshire, England around 1839, Sarah Ann Farnham arrived at Portland  in 1858.  She married Andrew Lockie at Portland in 1860 and by 1866 they had moved to Hamilton were Andrew ran a saddlery business.  Leaving a family of six children and her husband, Sarah Ann was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

Mary SAVIN – Died July 1918 at Muddy Creek.  Mary Savin was born in Oxfordshire and sailed to Victoria with her parents in 1853.  Around 1855, the family travelled north to Muddy Creek where they settled.  Two years later, Mary married John Addinsall and they had a family of 12 children.  Like many of the early settlers at Muddy Creek, Mary was a Methodist and it was in a crowded Muddy Creek Methodist Church where Mary was given her last farewell.

John HUXLEY – Died July 21, 1918 at Portland.  John Huxley was born in Portland around 1863.  During the 1890s, John travelled to Western Australia, lured by the discovery of gold, but unlike the other July pioneers who chose to seek their fortunes, John struck gold in a big way.  John and several other men discovered the rich Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia.  Having made his fortune, John returned to Victoria and purchased the Straun Estate at Merino.  A keen racehorse owner, one of John’s big successes came less than a year before his death, when his horse the Ruralist, trained by James Agnew of Hamilton, won the Great Western Steeplechase at Hamilton in September 1917.  The horse was also a two-time Brierly Steeplechase winner at Warrnambool.  John passed away at his seaside home “Kenly” at Portland and was buried at the South Portland cemetery.

Christina Emily FORD – Died July 26, 1931 at Hamilton.  Christina Ford was born in Macarthur in 1880 into a well-known pioneering family.  In 1905, she married William Baker and they moved to Portland and  raised nine children.  Christina was a keen volunteer for the Portland Football Club and was a member of the Australian Women’s National League.

Charles HOLDER – Died July 21, 1922 at Warrnambool.  The story of Charles Holder’s life appeared in the Portland Guardian on September 28, 1931, nine years after his death and it gives a great account of Melbourne and Victoria in the 1840s.  Charles Holder was born in Bristol, England around 1838 and from the moment he set sail on the “Wardshipton” as a three-year old with his parent and siblings, his great pioneering life had begun.  The voyage in 1841, with almost 300 other immigrants was harsh with 24 deaths including 22 children.  Three of those children were Charles’ young sisters.  Arriving at Hobson’s Bay, Charles, his parents and two remaining siblings, took a steamer along the Yarra River to Melbourne.

MELBOURNE 1841.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria,  Image no. H6262/2  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

MELBOURNE 1841. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H6262/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

After spending time on stations around Melbourne, including Dandenong as a boy and young teenager, Charles made his way to the Western District, working at the “The Gums” between Caramut and  Penshurst.  By that time, it was the early 1850s, and Charles headed to the Bendigo diggings but like so many his luck was out and he returned to the west of the state, working at Grassmere near Warrnambool.  In the early 1860s, he selected his own land at Cooramook and remained there for the rest of his life.

An obituary in the The Register (Adelaide) on September 2, 1922 , published at the time of Charles’ death has further detail of his pioneering life.

Ellen OSBOURNE – Died July 15, 1934 at Hamilton.  Born at Portland, Ellen Osbourne married local builder Thomas Cruse and they continued to resided at Portland .  She raised a family and was a devoted member of the Church of England.   Prior to her death, Ellen had been ill for many weeks and as a consequence was admitted to Kia Ora Private Hospital at Hamilton.   Ellen needed a blood transfusion but unlike today when we take  for granted stocks of blood at hospitals,  in 1934 there wasn’t a Red Cross Blood Bank.  Therefore, Ellen’s son donated the blood required for the transfusion.  Unfortunately it was not enough to save his mother.

 


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.

 

 

 

 


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Passing of the Pioneers

March Passing of the Pioneers shares obituaries of well-known residents of Hamilton, Heywood and Portland.  They include the surveyor of Camperdown and yet another man who was at Blue Lake, Mt. Gambier the day Adam Lindsay Gordon took his famed leap.

Thomas BROOKS – Died March 7, 1888 at Hotspur.  At the time of his death, Thomas Brooks was on of the oldest inhabitants of the Heywood district, having arrived in 1853.  His death was a result of an accident, after 62-year-old Thomas delivered a coffin to Hotspur from Heywood for the funeral of Mr Fidler.  After the funeral he returned home, only to fall from his horse.  He received head injuries, from which he died.  A contract worker for the local shire, Thomas was known as an eccentric and was referred to as “Old Tom Brooks”  For more information about Thomas see the South-West Victoria Pioneers website.

John THOMSON – Died March 27, 1894 at Melbourne.  Anyone who lived in Hamilton and district prior to the late 1980s, would know the name John Thomson as that was that name that adorned the front of one of Hamilton’s longest running department stores John Thomson & Co of Gray Street, locally known simply as Thomsons.  John Thomson arrived in Victoria from Scotland at a young age and was educated at Scotch College, Geelong and the Hamilton Academy.  He joined his uncle and brothers, Alexander and William in the store, first established as an Iron store in 1866, and later became a partner.  He had a strong association with the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and when he died, aged 46, he had attended  the Convention of  the Presbyterian Fellowship Association.  He fell sick over the weekend and passed away.

 

Advertising. (1953, July 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 21. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23256981

Advertising. (1953, July 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 21. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23256981

 

 

 Robert Dunbar  SCOTT - Died March 7, 1898.  Robert Scott was born in Scotland and he and his wife arrived in Victoria around 1851.  Robert was employed as a land surveyor, his first job to survey the western part of Port Phillip.  He set up camp near what would become the town of Camperdown and set about laying out a new township.  He named the first streets, including Manifold Street after the Manifold brothers.  He selected land on the banks of Lake Gnotuk and established the property “Gnotuk Park”.  Robert was a member of the local P&A Society and the Freemasons.  In the late 1890s, he sold “Gnotuk Park” and let a property at Craigieburn.  He later moved to Melbourne establishing himself as a commission agent, but lost money in the crash after the land boom.  A further account of Robert Scott is on this link – A Link With The Past – Interview with David Scott.

Mercy ERRI – Died March 26, 1932 at Cobrico.  Mercy Erri was born in England and arrived in Victoria with her parents in 1857.  Her father started in business in Camperdown, one of the early pioneers of that town.  Mercy trained as a nurse and was a Sunday School teacher.  In her later years, she became an invalid, confined to her bed, but she continued to produce beautiful needlework, even with failing sight.  Mercy was 88 years old when she died and never married.

James MOLLOY  – Died March 25, 1937 at Portland.  James Molloy arrived in Portland with his parents aboard the “British Empire” when he was 11.   He went to school at All Saints school in Portland and during those years spent time with William Dutton extracting oil from whale blubber.  He was then employed by Edward Henty at Narrawong.  His next job was for the Bell’s at Heywood, training racehorses, his greatest success winning the Great Western Steeplechase at Coleraine.  Apparently he was with Adam Lindsay Gordon on the day Gordon took his leap at Blue Lake, Mt Gambier.  He later returned to Portland, working as a storeman and a water-side worker.  James married Mary Beglen and they had three sons and two daughters.

David Edmund BATES – Died March 5, 1938 at Casterton.  David Bates was born at Narracorte before moving to Casterton with his parents when six.  He was educated at the Casterton school before becoming an apprentice draper with Mr Mills.  David was an athlete and once ran second in the Stawell Gift.  He took a great interest in the public affairs of Casterton and served as secretary on the Casterton Hospital board.

Eliza MOORE – Died March 24, 1939 at Colac.  Eliza Moore was born in Ireland in 1854 and travelled to Victoria as a child aboard the “Chance“.  Her parents settled at Port Fairy and later at Woodford.  Eliza married Alexander Russell at Warrnambool and they farmed at Dennington.  They then moved to Colac where they remained until Eliza’s death.  In her younger years, Eliza was an excellent horsewoman and was devoted to the Church throughout her life.

Daniel FENTON – Died March 17 at Camperdown.  Daniel Fenton was born in Camperdown in 1860 and was the first child baptised at the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in the same year.  Educated at Camperdown State School, he spent his entire working life as a dairy farmer.  He married Mary Ann Shenfield of Cobden and five children were living at the time of Daniel’s death.

 

 

 

 

 


Passing of the Pioneers

When an obituary has only a female pioneer’s married name, I do like to find their maiden name.  This month, there was one such pioneer, Mrs Susan Sloan.  After a quick search, I found on her death record her father’s name recorded as Francis Sloan.  As I don’t want to make assumptions based on a death certificate, I will continue to call her Mrs Susan Sloan, however I will keep trying to find her maiden name in the future as I have an interest in Susan as you will see in her obituary below.

Marks DAFFY – Died February 22, 1902 at Cundare.  Marks Daffy was born at County Clare, Ireland and arrived in Melbourne in 1857.   He spent his first five years in the colony around the Barrabool Hills near Geelong, working on various farms.  With money saved, Marks selected land in the Colac district after the passing of the 1862 Duffy Lands Act.  He set about building a fine dairy farm, using his good eye for stock to select the best dairy cows.  He gave up dairy-farming after 25 years and settled into an “easier” life as a grazier.  In 1887, after dissatisfaction with the Colac Shire, he ran for a seat which he won.  Around 18 months before his death, a fall from his buggy eventually left him bedridden and ultimately  claimed his life.  His funeral procession was a mile long and was the largest to arrived at the Cundare cemetery.

William MOODIE - Died February 25, 1914 at Coleraine.  William Moodie arrived in the Coleraine district with his Scottish parents at the age of six weeks around 1841.  His father took up the property “Wando Dale” at Nareen and so began William’s life on the land, breeding some of the finest wool stock.  After taking over the property from his parents, he built the current “Wando Dale” Homestead (below) in 1901.

"WANDO DALE", NAREEN.   Image courtesy of the  J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H94.200/302 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217385

“WANDO DALE”, NAREEN. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H94.200/302
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217385

He also spent a good part of his 73 years in public life.  He was a member of the Casterton Roads Board and the Wannon Shire Council.  He was also involved with the P&A Society, the local Horticultural Society and St Andrews Church at Coleraine.  William Moodie left a widow, seven sons and five daughters.

John KELLY – Died February 7, 1915 at Macarthur.  John Kelly arrived from Tasmania, his birth place, with his family when he was three years old.  If John was 85 at the time of his death, it would mean that he arrived in Victoria in 1833, so I’m thinking it may have been a little later.  Even still, he was an early arrival in the colony.  John worked as a carrier with his brother, working the route between Geelong and stations as far west as Casterton.  He also ran a store at Yambuk for many years and took up property at Codrington.  He died at the home of his daughter Mrs Hindhaugh of Macarthur.

John MURRAY – Died February 13, 1915 at Hamilton.  Born  in Stirlingshire, Scotland, John Murray was a resident of Hamilton for over 50 years by the time of his death.  His family arrived at Geelong aboard the “Chariot of Fame” and went directly to Hamilton.  He spent much of his working life as a labourer and was a member of the Court Brotherhood  of the Ancient Order of Foresters for over 45 years.  He was a widow and left five sons and one daughter from a family of 12 children.

Jane O’MAY - Died February 17, 1916 at Buckley Swamp.  Jane O’May was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1822 and married William Kirkwood in 1842.  William and Jane arrived at Portland in 1852 aboard the “John Davis”.  They travelled by bullock dray to “Warrock“, near Casterton.  The Kirkwoods were hard-working pioneers and Jane left a large family at the time of her death.  Three daughters were still alive along with 24 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.  Jane’s grandson, William Kirkwood of the Hamilton South area, married my first cousin 4 x removed, Sarah Ann Reed.

James COWELL – Died February 24, 1917 at Mortlake.  James Cowell was born in Cambridgeshire around 1838 and by 1868, had already established a butcher’s shop at Mortlake.  he later became a road contractor for the local Shire.  One of James’ three sons, Pte Harry Cowell, lost his life at Gallipoli.

Joseph WOMBWELL – Died February 9, 1918 at Casterton.  Arriving in Portland in 1853 aged 17 years from Essex, England,  Joseph Wombwell’s first job was at the  Henty’s Muntham Station.  He married Betsy Ann Coulson in 1869, the daughter of Christopher Coulson and Mary Frances Stubbs and stayed in Merino until 1875.  They then moved to Casterton and lived in a bark hut while Joseph ran a carrying business between Casterton and Portland.  One claim to fame is that he delivered the “first load of grog” to the Sandford Hotel.  The Hamilton Spectator also published a lengthy obituary for Joseph Wombwell

Mrs Susan SLOAN – Died February 9, 1918 at Hamilton.  Mrs Susan Sloan was born in Glasgow, Scotland and after arriving in Portland in 1855, she went to Ararat where she married Thomas Sloan    They returned to Portland, and ran a shipping business, but the trade was tough and they moved inland to Hamilton where there were greater opportunities, and they established a cordial business.  Thomas died in 1910 and Susan continued to run the business until her death, after which time family members continued its operations until 1930.    The Sloan’s cottage “Whinhill” in Pope Street, Hamilton was featured in a I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria group post as it is a highly visible and known to most who have lived in Hamilton time, None of us knew the history of the cottage and there is still more we would like to find out.  The cordial business operated behind the cottage.


John MOFFATT – Died February 9, 1926 at Chatsworth. John Moffatt was born in Scotland in 1854 and arrived in Victoria with his parents in 1872 and resumed his education at Geelong Grammar.  At aged 19 he took up the running of the Burnewang Estate near Bendigo before he inherited “Chatsworth House” from his uncle John Moffatt in 1879.  He also leased his uncle’s property “Hopkins Hill” from the estate’s trustees.  John Moffatt was a sat on the Shire of Mt Rouse and was a member of the Landowner’s Council.

DEATH OF MR. JOHN MOFFATT. (1926, February 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 21. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3733963

DEATH OF MR. JOHN MOFFATT. (1926, February 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 21. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3733963

John Moffatt’s uncle, John Moffatt, has been a Passing Pioneer and his obituary offers more history about the Moffatt family.

 

 

 


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